Day 4: To Doban
(O/nt Altitude 1,070m/ 5 hrs approx.) The trail is undulating, crosses streams and rocky ravines and reaches Khola Besi. There is a hot spring not badly timed for lunch. In the afternoon a suspension bridge takes us to the eastern bank and thus to our night’s perch at Doban. (B,L,D)

Day 5: To Phillim
(O/nt Altitude 1,570m/6 hrs approx.) Resuming on a steeply rising rocky trail, we skirt landslips in an increasingly harsh and inhospitable landscape and press on up to Yara Khola. By another long suspension bridge we reach Jagat and cross into the designated Manaslu Conservation Area. The white façade of Shringi Himal (7187m), as if dramatically wedged in the valley’s cleavage, looms ahead. The trail inclines gradually to start off with until we’re over a bridge for the slog up to Phillim. (B,L,D)

Day 6: To Deng
(O/nt Altitude 1,860m/4.5 hrs approx.) Above Philim the sense of being dwarfed by sheer scale and the feeling of being truly amongst the mighty Himalaya simply has no comparisons. We yet again cross the Budhi Gandaki, the trail hugging the cliff-side, up and over ridge backs then down again to the river where the Shar Khola cascades into the Budhi. The trail flattens out, winds through bamboo

Climbing alongside a mani wall, through fields and past first the village of Barchham then Lihi. We then climb to Sho village - another cluster of stone houses. With altitude, the mountain views become more dramatic - Manaslu, Manaslu North, Himalchuli, Saula Himal and Dwijen Himal rise either side of the trail. After a small ravine we enter Lho, an important village with a monastery and a Lama school with some 80-90 resident scholars inspired by a fabulous view of Manaslu. (B,L,D)

Day 9: Samagaon/ Sama Gompa
(O/night Altitude 3,390m/4 hrs approx.) Resume the trek with a steep descent and a crossing of yet another rock-strewn torrent, the Thusang Khola.

forest to Deng Khola and into the non-descript Deng settlement itself. (B,L,D)

Day 7: To Namrung
(O/nt Altitude 2,540m/6.5 hrs approx.) Leaving Deng we again use the course of the Budhi Gandaki, recrossing the river and following an uphill trail to Rana, before zigzagging past the little monastery (gompa) of Shringi and the religious motifs carved on mani walls by the Shringi Khola suspension bridge, to Ghap – a pleasant lunch stop. Until today our route has been persistently due North but in the course of this morning we, as well as the river, have veered to the West.

Cutting across fields we enter a dense mixed forest of conifers and juniper with birdlife and monkeys. The trail holds its height above the river…another waterfall and another serious climb through woods to finally reach Namrung. (B,L,D)

Day 8: To Lho
(O/night Altitude 3,020m/4.5 hrs approx.) There is a marked sense of Tibetan influence with closely packed stone houses standing together like apartments and sharing a common flat roof and courtyard.

Manaslu and Himal Chuli dominate the entire landscape. Further on, across the glacier-fed Numla Khola the valley drops away to a moraine while we follow the ancient trans-Himalayan trail now just a very few kilometers from Tibet. We then arrive in one of the region’s classic lama settlements with monastery and mani walls and all things totally Tibetan. This is Samagaon. (B,L,D)

Day 10: In Samagaon/ Sama Gompa
(Altitude 3,390m) Rest and acclimatisation day. An optional hike to Pung-gyen Gompa can be made or the day can be spent immersing oneself in the daily life of Sama Gompa. (B,L,D)

Day 11: To Samdo
(O/nt Altitude 3,690m/3 hrs approx.) Passing by the foot of the great, white slide that is the Manaslu Glacier we pass the trail that branches off to Manaslu Base Camp. Our path enters a woodland replete with birch, juniper and rhododendron, heavy with moss and lichen, before a final upwards push brings us to Samdo. The village has a well-established Tibetan refugee community – no wonder with Tibet being a mere morning’s walk away. (B,L,D)

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