Serene Chng introduces us to the rich wildlife of Nepal as she treks the oftoverlooked Manaslu Circuit
WHEN ONE MENTIONS TREKKING IN NEPAL, most people think of soaring peaks and impossible suspension bridges over glacial blue rapids and prayer flags frantically flapping in the wind. But this stunning landscape is also home to a rich and surprising diversity of wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled, and you’ll notice a group of Bharal grazing on the near-vertical slopes, lock eyes with a Himalayan Griffon sizing you up for lunch, even marvel at a delicate butterfly fluttering by at 5,000m above sea level. The rewarding Manaslu Circuit, the less-trodden (and therefore more exclusive) neighbour to Annapurna, was my first long-distance trek ever. It took us from sweltering subtropical lowlands through mysterious pine forests and magical misty rhododendron forests in full bloom, along cliff-edge trails cut into the mountains, past glaciers and avalanches, in the shadow of giant snow-capped peaks. I would do it all over again.