Day 8: Trek to Dharmashala: During the Manaslu Circuit Trek

4 March, 2024 By Dambar Khadka

Day eight in the Manaslu Circuit is a trek to Dharmashala from Samdo village. Dharmashala is a small village located at 4470 m (14665 ft). The trek to Dharmashala from Samdo begins with a warm breakfast at the tea house in Samdo village. The journey from Dharmashala on the Manaslu Circuit passes through the pristine beauty of nature.

Dharmashala is the final destination before passing the longest pass in the Himalayas and on the journey of the Manaslu Circuit trek. Trekkers consider Dharmashala a resting point before passing the highest elevation on the Manaslu Circuit.

You’ll walk through a pine forest as you leave Samdo and move toward Dharmashala. Then, the trail passes through Fuka Kharka, and after passing a suspension bridge over Larke Khola, you’ll get to Larke Bazaar. At an elevation of 4090 m (13418 ft) above sea level, Larke Bazar is a fair, seasonal Tibetan market. If you feel tired upon reaching Larke Bazar, you can rest there for some time.

As you pass Larke Bazar, you’ll move further, visiting the mani wall. A 3 to 4-hour trek from Samdo takes you to the village of Dharmashala. The journey is easy, and you don’t need to walk for a long time. As you’ll have enough time left upon reaching Dharmashala, you can explore the area in the remaining time.

Trek to Dharmashala During the Manaslu Circuit Trek

Hiking distance

Dharmashala, known as Larke Phedi, is about 8km from Samdo village. If trekkers hike through the main trekking trail and don’t take any side trips, they get to Dharmashala, covering an 8km (5 miles) distance. However, the trekking time depends on the walking speed of the trekkers and the time they take to rest. In general, trekkers get to Dharmashala within 3–4 hours of trekking from Samdo, with a break and rest.

Trekking trails to Dharmashala

The trek to Dharmashala begins with a hike from the beautiful settlement of Samdo. The trail goes through the row of yaks. The trekking trail from Samdo to Dharmashala is gentle, and some parts involve switching back. Along the hiking trail to Dhamashala, trekkers will see the ancient areas and alpine meadows, providing a chance for trekkers to explore. The trail goes alongside the river of Budhi Gandaki at the first step and then passes through the riverside of Larke Khola at the second step until you reach Dharamshala.

Scenery and Trek to Dharmashala

The scenery along the trekking trail to Dharmashala from Samdo is breathtaking, offering magnificent views of the untouched beauty of the Manaslu Circuit. As you begin hiking, Mount Manaslu and Syacha Glacier will call you. Along the way, you’ll pass through the lush alpine meadow, pleasuring your eyes—the Buddhist prayer wheels with a colorful prayer flag create a peaceful and beautiful environment.

As trekkers get to Dharmashala, the mesmerizing mountain views of Jarkya Himal, Nysing Himal, and Lamjung Himal welcome them. As Dharmashala is at a higher elevation, views of Fukang Glacier, Larkya Glacier, Syacha Glacier, Yamnang Glacier, and Manaslu Glacier are also spectacular.

Hotels in Dharmashala

In trekking destinations in Nepal, including Manaslu Circuit and other areas, the word “hotel” is not used. Instead, people call it a “tea house.”. Throughout the journey of the Manaslu Circuit, including at Dharmashala, trekkers stay in tea houses that the locals of the area run. There is only one tea house in Dharamshala where more than 200 people can stay.

The teahouse of the Dharmnashala serves as a resting point for the trekkers. The tea house has limited yet essential and basic facilities. The toilet is not attached to a room; it will be beside your room. Also, the toilets can be slippery, so you need to be careful. Although trekkers don’t get any modern facilities at the tea houses in Dharmashala, they’ll get the best hospitality.

The tea house in Dharmashala is big enough, traditional, and made of stone or wood. The tea house provides amenities for overnight stays, including twin-sharing beds, pillows, and covers. For warmth, trekkers should bring sleeping bags and warm clothes with them.

Meals in Dharmashala

Throughout the journey to Manaslu Circuit, including at the Dharmashala, trekkers get a unique chance to taste the delicious meals the local tea houses serve. Trekkers get three meals throughout the journey in the tea houses of the region. The tea houses’ meals are tasty and nutritious and aim to provide energy to the trekkers, which is essential for trekking.

The tea houses serve different meals, from traditional Nepali dishes to international cuisine. It is highly recommended to have local and traditional Nepali dishes as they are rich in nutrition and come to your plate right after pickling from the farm and cooking with healthy ingredients.

The tea houses serve meals in the communal dining area, where trekkers can talk with other trekkers and share their trekking journey on Manaslu with fellow trekkers. The warm hospitality shown to the trekkers while serving a meal adds to the tastiness of the meal.

Drinking water

Staying hydrated throughout the Manaslu Circuit is crucial. Throughout the journey, Boundless Adventure provides water purification tablets to each client. However, it is advisable to drink boiled water. Dharamshala is near the water stream; however, the stream becomes frozen during the morning and night, especially in the winter. So, the Dharmashala tea house provides you with boiled water, yet it costs extra.

Staying hydrated helps trekkers reduce the chances of altitude sickness, so water plays a vital role throughout your journey. Consider carrying a refillable bottle and drinking water regularly and occasionally, even if you don’t feel thirsty.

Altitude

On the Manaslu Circuit trek, Dharmashala is at an altitude of 4770 m (15649 ft) above sea level. Dharmashala, also known as Larke Phedi in Manaslu conservation, serves as the resting point before passing the most significant pass of the Himalayas, Larke La Pass (5106 m/16751 ft). As Dharmashala lies at a higher elevation, trekkers get a beautiful view of the surroundings from the vantage point of Dharmashala.

Upon reaching Dharmashala from Samdo, trekkers gain an elevation of 780 m or 2595ft, so trekkers should be careful during the trek to Dharmashala. Although the trek to Dharamshala is at a higher elevation and trekkers gain altitude, the trail is easy. However, trekkers should listen to their bodies while walking.

Altitude prevention

As trekkers start to hike towards Dharmashala from Samdo, they’ll gain altitude, and their bodies can’t adjust to the sudden change in surroundings and altitude. Trekkers will most likely get altitude-related issues like acute mountain sickness in such conditions. Trekkers should be careful to prevent altitude-related sickness while trekking to Dharapani from Samdo.

One of the most effective prevention methods trekkers can use is acclimatizing properly by ascending slowly. The distance from Samdo to Dharmashala is short and is completed within 3 to 4 hours. It is advisable to trek slowly, giving your body a chance to adapt to the changed temperature.

Staying hydrated is another prevention method for altitude sickness. Trekkers should drink a minimum of 3 liters of water each day. From time to time, trekkers should drink water so as not to let their bodies suffer from dehydration. Also, avoid consuming alcohol and coffee, as they lead to dehydration in the body.

A blanched diet is necessary to fuel your body throughout the trek to Dharmashala from Samdo. Eating food rich in carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, and fats helps your body stay energetic throughout the hike to Dharmashala.

Proper rest is also an essential factor in preventing altitude sickness. Adequate rest allows your body to recharge and provides continuity in your trek.

Additionally, listening to your body is most important so as not to let your body worsen the issue of altitude sickness. If you feel any altitude-related problems, you can tell your guide anytime. As per your condition, the guide will suggest what to do, and you must listen to your guide.

Equipment

Before starting your trek to Dharmashala on the Manaslu Circuit trek, you must be prepared with the right equipment for your safety and to make it an enjoyable trek. Here is a list of some essential equipment you should carry while trekking to Dharmashala from Samdo:

Clothing: having proper clothing while trekking in a Dharmashala is necessary. As Dharmashala is at a higher altitude, the morning and nighttime are cold, so appropriate clothing suitable for different weather conditions is essential. Moisture-wicking base layers, insulating second, and waterproof outer layers are necessary. A warm hat, a down jacket, and gloves are also required.

Trekking Boots: Trekking boots are the essential equipment to accompany you throughout your journey. High-quality trekking boots with ankle support help you complete your trek smoothly.

Sleeping Bag: A sleeping bag ensures sound and warm sleep in the teahouse of Dharmashala. The tea house doesn’t offer blankets, so trekkers should carry a high sleeping bag in the cold temperature of Dharmashala.

First Aid Kit: As Dharmashala is in a remote location and settlements are also few, carrying a first aid kit is necessary for the trek. A first-aid kit should have crucial medical supplies.

The mentioned items are the essential equipment required for trekking to Dharmashala. You can visit for some trekking equipment.

Dambar Khadka

Dambar Khadka, a passionate adventurer and the founder of Boundless Adventure Nepal, has spent his entire life writing about nature and Nepal's developing tourism business. Dambar's passion with nature and its different cultures began as a child in Nepal's stunning landscapes. He began writing following successful treks and expeditions across Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan. Dambar Khadka created Boundless Adventure Nepal in 1992 to share the majesty of the Nepal Himalayas with the rest of the planet. As an explorer and writer, he is committed to responsible tourism and cultural connection, allowing readers and adventurers to immerse themselves in Nepal's enchantment through his works.

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