If you’re planning to embark on the incredible Manaslu Circuit Trek in Nepal, you’re in for a treat!
This awe-inspiring journey takes you around the majestic Mount Manaslu, the eighth-highest peak in the world. While the main trek itself is an experience of a lifetime, I am here to let you in on a little secret that will make your adventure even more remarkable – the best side trips of the Manaslu Circuit Trek!
The Manaslu Circuit Trek is a treasure store of natural beauty, towering altitudes, charming monasteries, and peaceful lakes. It’s a place where you can soak in the calmness of small towns and the warmth of friendly locals. But there’s more to it.
There are side trips along this route that will leave you fascinated. Each one is unique and offers a different perspective of this stunning region.
Now, let’s explore the side trips of the Manaslu Circuit Trek that you can include in your itinerary.
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Explore our comprehensive guide on Manaslu Trekking to learn about the factors that affect the trek, such as challenges, trip highlights, average costs and tips to conquer the obstacles.
Serang Gompa (3100m)
Imagine a small paradise nestled at the foot of the towering Shringi Himal. That’s Serang Gompa for you. This little haven has been standing strong for 500 years, offering a unique Tibetan Buddhist sanctuary.
The valley surrounding Serang is considered one of the four Beyuls hidden among the Himalayas, making it a place of great spiritual significance. The trail to Serang Gompa is a journey in itself, taking you through forested roads, across suspension bridges, and past beautiful chortens.
Hinang Gumba (3100 m)
Have you ever encountered a hidden gem in the most unexpected places? That’s precisely what Hinang Gumba is. Nestled in the quaint village of Hinang, this monastery is a sight that will make your heart skip a beat.
Picture this: a serene monastery standing tall against the majestic backdrop of Mt. Himalchuli, surrounded by a lush yellow pine forest. It’s a sight that’s as breathtaking as it sounds.
But the beauty of Hinang Gumba doesn’t end there. The journey to this monastery is an unforgettable adventure. Starting from the village of Lihi, the road diverges, leading you on a path less traveled. As you follow this path, you’ll find yourself at the Hinang glacier, a spectacle that’s just a stone’s throw away from the gumba.
So, not only do you get to visit a stunning monastery, but you also get to witness the glory of the Hinang glacier. It’s a two-for-one deal that’s too good to pass up!
Kal Tal, meaning ‘Death Lake’ (3600m)
Don’t let the name ‘Death Lake,’ which Kal Tal is also known as, scare you. In fact, it’s a little piece of heaven hidden up high. Imagine a calm lake in the middle of tall mountains that reflects the clear blue sky. The view it gives is nothing short of stunning, and you’ll remember it for the rest of your life.
The trip to Kal Tal is an exciting adventure that is just as satisfying as getting there. Imagine walking through a lush forest on the path that winds through it, with only the sounds of nature to keep you company. It’s a peaceful activity that calms your mind and refreshes your spirit.
But here’s a tip: before starting this trip, ensure the weather is clear. Trust me, the work you must do to get to this beautiful lake is well worth it, but only if the weather is good. So, are you ready to find this secret treasure?
Birendra Lake (3620m)
Have you ever considered what standing next to a lake made by a mountain’s melting ice would be like? Birendra Lake, which is 3620m above sea level, gets you exactly that. This glacier lake is a beautiful sight. The powerful Mt. Manaslu made it.
It’s a famous side trip that’s easy to get to since it’s only a half-hour walk from the village of Sama. The lake’s calm is excellent for those much-needed days to get used to the altitude.
But the trip to Birendra Lake is about more than just getting there. The trail itself is a fun thing to do. On your way to the lake, you’ll pass by a gompa, which is a Buddhist temple that gives your trip a spiritual touch. Then there’s the open field, where dzopkyos and yaks can run around and play. Watching these animals feed in their natural environment is a beautiful sight that adds to the charm of the whole trip.
So, Birendra Lake is the place to go if you want a mix of natural beauty, peace, and a touch of local culture.
Pungyen Gompa (Around 4050m)
Let’s go a different way than we usually do between Shyala and Samagaon. There is a route to Pungyen Gompa, an amazing place to visit for a day. This isn’t just any trip. It’s a journey that takes you to an elevation of about 4050m, where you’ll find a temple that is just as interesting as the path that leads to it.
You’ll be in a big grassy area when you get to the end of the road. What makes this place unique, though, is the dramatic mountain beauty that surrounds it. It’s a sight worth seeing. And there, in the middle of all this beauty, is Phungen Gompa.
Here is one of the best places to see Mount Manaslu and its surrounding area. It will make you feel like you’re on top of the world, both physically and spiritually. So, Phungen Gompa is the place to go if you want a side trip that combines spirituality, natural beauty, and a little bit of adventure. It’s a journey that’s as rewarding as the destination itself.
Manaslu Base Camp (4848m)
Have you ever dreamed of standing at the base of a tall mountain and feeling a rush of energy as you looked up at its majestic peak? If so, a side trip to Manaslu Base Camp will make your dream come true. This base camp is the most exciting part of the Manaslu Circuit Trek. It is at an altitude of 4848m, which is very high.
The journey to Manaslu Base Camp is an adventure that’s as diverse as it is exciting. The trail goes through lush woods, across empty lands, and up a steep hill that will get your heart pumping. But it’s well worth the effort. You’ll see a small chorten with prayer flags when you reach the top. This is the base camp.
Standing there, with the wind rustling the prayer flags and the huge Manaslu mountain towering over you, is humble and thrilling. It’s a reminder of how big the world is and how small we are in it. So, if you want a challenging and rewarding adventure, Manaslu Base Camp is a side trip you shouldn’t miss.
Rui La, Nepal –Tibet border (4998m)
Last but not least is Rui La, the border between Nepal and Tibet and sits at a height of 4998m. This isn’t just any border. It’s a place where you can see the beauty of the Hindu and Fukang glaciers and see how big Manaslu is from a distance. The path to Rui La is a feast for the eyes. Every step brings a view that is more stunning than the last.
When you get to the pass, it will be marked by prayer flags flapping in the wind and a border stone that shows where Nepal and China meet. It’s a sight that’s as symbolic as it is beautiful. So, are you ready for this new adventure?
And there you have it, a journey through the captivating side trips of the Manaslu Circuit Trek. Each destination, from the peaceful lakes to the calming monasteries, offers a unique experience beyond the ordinary. They invite you to step off the beaten path and immerse yourself in the magic of the Himalayas.
But remember, these side trips are more than just destinations. They’re opportunities to connect with nature, to experience the warmth of local cultures, and to challenge yourself in ways you never thought possible.
So, as you embark on this journey, keep an open mind and a willing spirit. Embrace the unexpected, delight in the beauty around you, and let the mountains work their magic. After all, the Manaslu Circuit Trek is not just a trek; it’s an adventure of a lifetime.
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