Manaslu and Ganesh Himals
In the centre of Nepal is a trekking gem, the Ganesh Himal, which is perhaps the country’s best-kept secret and one of the least-visited areas despite offering a wonderfully diverse range of cultural and wilderness-exploratory treks.
A little further west, is the neighbouring Mansalu Himal, which many would have argued was the best general trek in the country. Despite extensive road building and the negative impact of mis-guided INGOs with ‘tourism development programs’, the region still offers some amazing trekking with colourful cultures set against a backdrop of classic Himalayan peaks.
Lying to the west of the Langtang valley, the Ganesh Himal is a collection of seven major peaks (one in Tibet, six in Nepal or on the border) that form a natural barrier with Tibet. Named after the Hindu elephant god, Ganesha (Ganesh IV is said to look like the head of an elephant), the range is bordered by the Budhi Gandaki river to the west and extensive forests across the southern flanks that flow to Dhading District. Beyond the Budhi Gandaki, to the west, rises a collection of peaks dominated by the 8163m summit of Manaslu. Throughout both Himals Gurung, Tamang, Magar, Ru-Pa, Larke and Siar people blend to create perhaps the most ethnically interesting series of valleys throughout the entire Himalaya.
Itinerary options abound and provide some of the best general trekking of GHT routes in the Nepal Himalaya. This chapter documents all the major trails in the region, including the Tamang Heritage Trail, which can be combined with more strenuous routes into and around the Ganesh Himal, as well as the Ruby Valley trek. Tsum, a remote Larke valley to the north of the Ganesh Himal, is accessible from the Manaslu Circuit. If you want to do the full Circuit trek and cross the impressive Larkye La, a large saddle to the north of Manaslu, you can explore the massive natural amphitheatre of mountains at Bimtang before descending to the Annapurna Circuit.
The Tamang Heritage Trail region was opened to tourists in 2002 when the Chinese and Nepali governments resolved all border claims; in contrast the Manaslu region was opened in 1992, and yet has only become popular since 2012. The Manaslu Conservation Area Project (MCAP) provides guidance to villagers in maintaining their natural heritage and is similar to the neighbouring Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP). The Tamang Heritage Trail and the Ganesh Himal are not protected, so logging and poaching remain unchecked. Hopefully, the Nepali Government will one day safeguard this region to link MCAP and the Langtang National Park.
As at August 2019, the trekking permit fees are:
- Rasuwa District (including Thungmen and Timure) is US$10 per week per person.
- Gorkha District / Manaslu region:
From October to November: US$70 per week per person and after 7 days US$10 per day per person.
From December to August: US$50 per week per person and after 7 days US$7 per day per person.
- Tsum Valley region of Chhekampar and Chumchet VDC areas:
From September to November: US$35 per person for 8 days.
From December to August: US$25 per person for 8 days.
- Plus the Manaslu Conservation Area entry fee of NRs 3000 per person (foreigners), NRs 1000 (SAARC nationals) and NRs 100 (Nepali nationals).
Dorje Lakpa can be seen from Kathmandu and dominates Helambu
Good to Know
Manaslu is a restricted area, whereas the Ganesh Himal is open to general trekking
Nepali, some people speak a little English
Nepal Rupee (1US$ = NRs110)
Manaslu (8,156m), Himal Chuli (7,893m), Yangra (Ganesh I, 7422m)
GHT Treks in Bhutan
These treks have very easy access, are inexpensive and a great deal of fun!