• Feb 15, 2024
  • Rupak Parajuli

Nepal houses breathtaking highest mountain peaks of the world. Apart from the spectacular vistas of the majestic mountains, Nepal offers the most popular variety of trekking routes. Manaslu Trek and Annapurna Circuit Trek are two of the popular trekking routes in Nepal. 

Travelers planning a visit to Nepal are always in a dilemma to choose between the two spectacular treks. Manaslu trek vs Annapurna Circuit trek is a topic you must not take lightly.

Manaslu Trek and Annapurna circuit trek are two of the most talked-about neighboring trekking routes. Manaslu region has an ancient ambiance. But Annapurna holds its own ground with charm and elegant natural attractions. 

Annapurna Circuit trek lies in the Annapurna Conservation Area Project. The trail takes you through the beautiful central-western part of Nepal and up close to Mount Annapurna. Manaslu trek, on the other hand, lies on the border of Nepal and Tibet.

Manaslu Trek is a splendid experience to the remote taste of Nepal. Manaslu Trek penetrates the off beaten path along with the beautiful tea houses along the journey. Manaslu trek leads you to Manaslu Base Camp lies at the altitude of 4800m. The trek takes you around Mt. Manaslu - the world's eighth highest mountain at 8,163 meters (26,781 ft). Manaslu trek is gaining attention from travelers seeking peaceful and quiet hike.

Annapurna Circuit Trek is also known as Thorong Pass trek. Annapurna Circuit trek is comfortable compared to Manaslu trek. You will pass through mesmerizing pristine villages on your Annapurna Circuit trek expedition. Annapurna Circuit Trek offers you the panoramic view of the Annapurna massifs 8,091 meters (26,545 ft).

Manaslu trek used to be a restricted region for travelers before 1992. You will need special permits to enter the Manaslu region. Hence, Annapurna Circuit Trek is slightly cheaper than Manaslu Trek. 

Both of the treks offer you a journey through the sacred places and Monuments. We will provide you detailed information about the Annapurna Circuit Trek and Manaslu Trek. So, you can have an insight into the topic to plan for your next destination.

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Major Attractions of the Annapurna Circuit Trek

  • A scenic bus ride from Kathmandu to Besisahar.
  • Visit the world’s deepest gorge- Kali Gandaki gorge.
  • Trek to the holy temple of Muktinath.
  • Splendid sunrise views from Mountain vistas.
  • A chance to view exotic like snow leopards, musk deer, Himalayan Tahr, etc.
  • Trek to beautiful villages like Manang, Marpha, Ghorepani, and Muktinath.
  • Cross Thorong La pass, which lies at an altitude of 5416 meters.
  • Major Attractions of the Manaslu Base Camp trek
  • Explore unspoiled nature on Manaslu Base Camp trek.
  • Experience Tibetan and Buddhist traditions.
  • Wander around the ancient tranquil Buddhist monument.
  • Hike through the rural village settlements of the Gurungs.
  • Accommodate yourself at the beautiful Teahouse in the Manaslu region.
  • Experience inner peace and tranquility in the less crowded region of Manaslu Base Camp.
  • The spectacular scene of Himlung Himal (7216m\23,345ft) and Mt. Manaslu (8153m/26,748ft).

Reaching Manaslu Trek vs Annapurna Circuit Trek

Manaslu region is a remote area. In order to get there, you will travel through the dry off-road terrains. Soti Khola is the starting point of your Manaslu Trek. You will arrive at Soti Khola after 6 hours by jeep ride. You will spend the night at Soti Khola. 

You will start your hike from Soti Khola to Machha Khola 930 meters early in the morning. The trails you follow on your Manaslu Camp is almost abandoned compared to Annapurna Circuit Trek.

You will start your Annapurna Circuit Trek from Pokhara, the beautiful lake city. You can take a flight to Pokhara 827 meters or get a bus ticket as a cheap alternative. You arrive at Pokhara after 30 mins of scenic mountain flight.

You will start your hiking journey from Syange. You will arrive at syange after 8 hours of bus drive from Kathmandu. After arriving at Synage 1100m you spend the night at a lodge. You set off for Dharapani 1860m after early morning breakfast. 

Accommodation for Manaslu Trek vs Annapurna Circuit Trek

The rooms available on the Annapurna Circuit trek is fairly good with moderate facilities. There are plenty of tea houses to choose from even during peak seasons. You will accommodate yourself in these tea houses for the rest of your trip. The tea houses provide room ranging from 100 to 600 Nepali rupees.

However, this cost of accommodation rises the more you elevate through your trek. You may not get facilities like Hot Showers in tea houses at higher altitudes. Even if you do, you will have to pay US$ 3- US$ 5 for it. The tea houses in the lower altitude might provide a bucket full of lukewarm water for a quick shower. 

In comparison, such facilities will be limited in the Manaslu Trek. The trails are usually remote, the tea houses are mostly empty throughout the seasons. But you will find a room for yourself to spend the night. The tea houses are basic and they provide decent meals.

Porters and yaks carry the materials and goods to the remote Manaslu region. Hence, the price of accommodation is high. It will cost you around 200-1400 Nepali rupees to book yourself a room. There is no facility of attached bathrooms like the ones in standard lodges. You might also have to use the service of a shared bathroom with fellow travelers.

Food and Drinks during Manaslu Trek vs Annapurna Circuit Trek

The food served on the Annapurna Circuit Trek is Typical Nepalese food. You will enjoy staple foods like Dal Bhaat accompanied by seasonal vegetables. You can also treat yourself with pasta and chop suey.

Consuming such high-calorie food will keep you fueled up. You should not skip meals during your trek because you will be burning a lot of calories hiking. You can also fill yourself with treats and choco bars.

So, the food cost depends on what you order. Normally, the typical meal will cost you around 2-4 dollars during the Annapurna Circuit Trek. The food price goes up further from Thorong La pass.

Many trekkers enjoy quick snacks and stay hydrated on the Manaslu Base Camp trek. The food cost is high in the tea houses of the Manaslu trek. This is mainly down to the remoteness of this region.

You can buy a block of cheese from the tea houses, it will add the necessary protein to your diet. You can enjoy a pleasant breakfast at the tea house at the start of your day. There is a menu that provides continental and Indian foods on some of the tea houses. 

Nonetheless, you will enjoy a hearty meal costing around 7-10 dollars at the Manaslu teahouses.

The Difficulty of Manaslu Trek vs Annapurna Circuit Trek

Annapurna Base Camp trek is one of the moderate treks in Nepal. Mostly the Annapurna Circuit trek lasts for 20 days. So, you will be walking an average of 14 days for 6 hours covering some tough uphills as well. You will cover a total of 200 kilometers on your Annapurna Circuit trek Expedition.

Hence, you will hike an average of 14 kilometers each day. Most part of the trek is not easy, you will walk uphill for hours. It will strain your muscle and strain like never before. So, you should consider in preparing your body for 3 months before the expedition.

Manaslu Base Camp trek is comparatively difficult than Annapurna Circuit trek. The Manaslu Base Camp trek also provides a wide variety of terrains. You will hike across difficult landscapes and oddly shaped terrains. Each day you will walk 15 km through the harrowing steep terrains. The trail will definitely test your stamina and endurance.

You will have a tough start to the trekking expedition to the Manaslu region. The walk leading to Budhi Gandaki gorge is not easy and comfortable. Your body will exhaust quickly if you are not prepared for the steep uphill climb on Manaslu trek.

There are chances of altitude sickness on both of the trekking expedition. You will cross Larkya la pass 5213 m on Manaslu Trek and Throng pass 5416m on Annapurna Circuit Trek respectively. The exposure to such elevation will increase the risk of altitude sickness.

A healthy amount of preparation is the only way to limit the chances of altitude sickness. Besides, always look for the instructions of your trekking guide to keep altitude sickness away. 

Best Time for Manaslu Trek vs Annapurna Circuit Trek

Spring is the perfect season to trek in Nepal. Spring-fall under the month of March and May in Nepal. The sky is clear and visibility of the mountain peaks is spectacular in this season.

During the spring season, you will hike on the trails will off colorful blossoms of flowers. The hills are shaded with the colors of pink, red and white blossoms of rhododendron flowers. You will enjoy the cool temperature as you ascend to altitudes above 4000m.

Autumn is certainly the best time to trek in the Manaslu region. The temperature does not reach below zero even at villages like Samagaun(3529m). Autumn falls under the months of September, October, and December. You will enjoy the trek as the weather does not cause any hindrance on the trail.

The same is true for the Annapurna Circuit Trek. 

The sky is clear and you will have an incredible view of the beautiful sunrise and sunset. The season is dry and crisp with magnificently enhanced visibility of the Manaslu Base Cam as well as the Annapurna Circuit Trek. There is a low chance of rainfall and snowfall during this season.

But the trekking experience depends on your personal preferences. You can also enjoy the monsoon and winter season on both of the treks. The downpour of rain clears the dust from the air and offers an excellent view of the surrounding mountains. 

Physical Condition & Experience Requirements for Manaslu Trek vs Annapurna Circuit Trek

The trails leading the Annapurna Circuit are well-maintained and comparatively easier compared to the Manaslu Base Camp Trek. You will hike on flatlands for most of the part of your trek. So, your knees will get that extra spare time to cope with the difficult terrains ahead.

Unlike Annapurna Circuit Trek, Manaslu Base Camp needs hard work and dedication on the trail. Manaslu Base Camp trek might be challenging and passes through a lot of high and low passes. You need to be moderately fit- both physically and mentally- to enjoy the strenuous Manaslu Base Camp trek.

On both of the treks, you will have to hike for 7 hours a day. So, you need to prepare by jogging and exercising regularly at least a month prior to the start of the trek. If you have experience hiking in a high altitude environment, it will be an asset for the trip. 

You need to prepare physically for the challenge ahead. You can join the gym or take part in routine workouts like swimming and aerobics. You need to check your pre-existing medical conditions such as heart, lung, and blood diseases with your doctor before the trek begins.

Manaslu Vs Annpapurna Circuit Trek Summary

 Annapurna Circuit TrekManaslu Circuit Trek
Start PointNagdiSoti Khola
End PointNayapulDharapani
Altitude5416 meter (Thorong La)5160 meter (Larkya La)
SoloPossibleNot possible
No. of Days10 to 20 days10 to 16 days
Community Gurung, Thakali & ManangeyLama, Thakuri & Bhotey
AccommodationTeahouse or LodgeTeahouse or Lodge
FoodVeg & Non-veg menuVeg & Non-veg menu
CommunicationNepal Telecom, Ncell & Landline phoneNepal Telecom & Landline phone
Side TripTilicho Lake, Ice Lake, Gangapurna Lake & Nar Phu ValleySerang Gompa, Hinang Gompa, Pungyen Gompa, Rui La, Kal Taal, Birendra Lake, Manaslu Base Camp & Tsum Valley
PermitACAP & TIMSACAP, MCAP, Manaslu Restricted Area Permit
Best Time

Spring (March to May), Monsoon (June to August) & Autumn (September to November)

Spring (March to May) & Autumn (September to November)
Flight AccessYes (Jomsom Airport)No
Medical FacilityYes (Health post in Manang & Jomsom)Yes (Health post in Sama Gaun)
RiverMarsyangdi & Kali GandakiBudi Gandaki
Trek RouteWell-markedWell-marked
Transportation Local bus & 4 wheel jeepLocal bus & 4 wheel jeep


Final Review

Your heart needs to be in the right place when it comes to deciding on planning an expedition. You will remember the trekking expedition for the rest of your life. Hiking to the Himalayan regions is not as easy as it seems. You will need to dedicate a healthy amount of time on preparing yourself. So, consider all the factors we have discussed above and carefully choose which of the Manaslu or Annapurna Circuit Trek you want to complete. Better yet, you can complete both of these treks. 

Rupak Parajuli

Rupak Parajuli

He is a Travel Enthusiast and Writer, who mostly covers the guide to outdoor adventure in the Himalayas of Nepal. He can be your friendly trip planner. Feel free to reach out to him.

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