Get away from Kathmandu and the crowded trekking trails, flee to Manaslu this Christmas and have the Budi Gandaki Valley to yourself. Friendly people along the way, like this sahuni in Machha Khola (above), wait to welcome you. Even though Larkya Pass may be too cold to cross, here are five reasons to hit the Manaslu Trail:
• Mountains: The two-horned massif of Manaslu and its magnificent companions
• Villages: The further you go, the more remarkable the settlements.
• Forests: It's easy to not see the trees for the forest sometimes.
• The Unbeaten Trail: Forget the jams of Everest and Annapurna.
• Kathmandu: So you can get a breather.
Soul mountain, RABI THAPA
Manaslu, here we come