Manaslu Trek vs. Annapurna Circuit (Which One to Choose)



Annapurna Circuit Trek is a popular trek for explorers of the world. And why wouldn’t it be?

You get to walk in the rugged trails of the Himalayas, enjoy panoramic views of the Annapurna range and explore its natural beauty.

But, each year as thousands of trekkers go for the Annapurna Circuit Trek, the Nepal hiking trail has become crowded.

Manaslu Trek Nepal

However, for those who want to experience the Himalayan adventure in its calm and without any commotion, Annapurna Circuit Trek might not be the best fit.

For such quiet and thrilling routes, Manaslu Circuit is the best alternative of Annapurna Circuit Trek. In this article, we will discuss why Manaslu Trek is the best alternative to the famous Annapurna Circuit Trek.

Why Choose Manaslu Circuit Trek as an Alternative of Annapurna Circuit Trek?


Fewer Tourists

The biggest difference in Manaslu Circuit Trek and Annapurna Circuit Trek is the number of foreign trekkers you will find on the trail. In an estimate, Annapurna Circuit receives tens of thousands trekkers each year whereas only around 2000 trekkers go for the Manaslu Circuit Trek.

Manaslu Circuit Trek Nepal

This is mainly because of the establishment of the Annapurna Circuit trekking trail. Annapurna Circuit Trek took off around the 1970s. But, it was only after 1995 that Manaslu Region started to welcome trekkers.

Even though the region is now open to trekking, you still need to get special permits to trek in this region.

So, not all foreign trekkers go for the Manaslu Circuit trek. Hence, there are fewer tourists in the Manaslu region than the Annapurna region.

This makes the trekking trail quieter and you can enjoy the remote authentic lands of the Himalayas better.

Manaslu Gompa Nepal

Of course, due to fewer tourists, Manaslu Circuit does not have developed infrastructure.

In fact, when it just opened as a trekking trail, there were hardly any teahouses in the region. Trekkers would have to camp and cook their own food.

But, these days you can find many teahouses in the Manaslu region. Though, you may find a small difference in the standard of teahouses in the Annapurna and Manaslu region.

The Manaslu region has more of a basic type of accommodation, but are very comfortable.

Trekking Route

In comparison to the Annapurna Circuit Trek, you will be walking more in the dirt roads and rugged terrains in the Manaslu Circuit Trek. So, you can enjoy more of the authentic Himalayan trails in the Manaslu Circuit Trek.

Annapurna Circuit Trek trail has motor roads in some parts of the trail. It does not mean the trekking trail has lost any of its charms.

Manaslu Circuit Trek - Monastery at Manaslu Nepal

Yes, vehicles do use this road but it is not busy. You can still go mountain biking on this trekking route.

The astounding views that surround you along the way are still the same. Actually, this motor road has become more of a backup in case of an emergency.

This establishment of motor roads in the Annapurna Circuit trail has also affected the Manaslu Circuit Trekking trail. There are some parts of the Manaslu Circuit Trek where there are motor roads.

Talking about the challenges in both these routes, both Annapurna Circuit Trek and Manaslu Circuit Trek has high passes that you have to cross.

Thorang La Pass at 5416m is the most challenging part of the Annapurna Circuit Trek. Though challenging, once you reach the pass you can see panoramic views of the Annapurna range.

Manaslu Circuit Trek

Similarly, in the Manaslu Circuit Trek, the most challenging pass would be Larke La Pass at 5213 meters. This pass also rewards you with mesmerizing views of the Himalayas and is a cultural bliss.

Both the trekking routes for Annapurna and Manaslu Circuit Trek has its own beauty. You do not need to doubt that you will miss out any of the Himalayan beauty and its natural heritages on either of this route.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

However, for those who want to walk in the rugged terrain, dirt roads and enjoy more of the ‘untouched’ trekking trails Manaslu Circuit Trek is best. Annapurna Circuit Trek also offers the same but in the Manaslu Circuit Trek, such type of trails are more.

Best Views

Both Annapurna and Manaslu Circuit trekking trails offer extraordinary views of the Himalayas. You cannot compare and find out which one is better.

Manaslu Trek View

On the Manaslu Circuit Trek, you will be able to see the Mt. Manaslu, Annapurna I, Annapurna South Annapurna III, Ganesh Himal, Gangapurna, Himchuli and more.

The Annapurna Circuit Trek gives you astounding views of the Annapurna range, Macchapuchre, Gangapurna, Himchuli and more.

Cultural Heritage

Not only does the Manaslu Circuit Trek offer alluring views of the Himalayas but you will also be able to see the best of authentic Himalayan culture. Manaslu Circuit Trek, due to its remoteness, has an undisputed culture in practice.

Manaslu Nepal Natural Beauty

The isolation has preserved the ancient practices of Tibetan Buddhism since ages. So, you will be able to see their traditions, norms, and architecture prevalent since generations.

Natural Beauty

Trekking means spending time appreciating and exploring the natural beauty of the Himalayas and its surrounding. Undoubtedly, both Annapurna and Manaslu Circuit Trek offer unbelievable natural sights.

Manaslu Natural Beauty

On the Manaslu Circuit Trek, like the Annapurna Circuit Trek, you will get to enjoy the river valleys, deep gorges, glaciers, glacial valleys, moraines and many more.

On the trail, you will get many chances to encounter blue sheep, musk deer, leopards, Himalayan yellow-throated martin, Himalayan black bears, Hoary-bellied Himalayan squirrels, Red Panda, and even snow leopards.

Annapurna Circuit Trek without a doubt is magical. But, to experience a more quiet time and an authentic Himalayan culture with the same magical views of the Himalayas and surrounding, Manaslu Circuit is the best alternative of Annapurna Circuit Trek.

If you have the time, budget and the will to explore the unexplored regions of Nepal, we say go for the Manaslu Circuit Trek.

Photo of author

Andrzej Ejmont

Andrzej believes life to be a never ending adventure. Originally from Poland, he is a devoted husband and father. Dedicated and enthusiastic to chase all his dreams. Storytelling to entice other families to travel.

5 thoughts on “Manaslu Trek vs. Annapurna Circuit (Which One to Choose)”

  1. After reading your article, I think Annapurna Circuit Trek will be good for me. Natural Beauty, and Views are what I need in trek. For this, I think Annapurna Circuit is good choice.Thanks for sorting my dilemma.

  2. In my opinion travelers choose manasalu circuit trek as alternative of Annapurna Circuit Trek because these 2 trek almost same days,beauties,traditions,and locales.

  3. Definitely, Manaslu region is more beautiful and less crowded than Annapurna circuit but a yearly of travelers number might not correct. Recently more than 6 k tourist visit Manaslu throughout the year but still very less compared to Annapurna circuit trail.

  4. Awesome Article! Very intresting and informative. I think both trekking trails has their own value. But the truth is Annapurna Circuit trek is more crowded than Manaslu Circuit trek due to less govermment permit fees and classic trekking trails.

Comments are closed.