Serene Chng in­tro­duces us to the rich wildlife of Nepal as she treks the oftover­looked Manaslu Cir­cuit

Escape! Asia - - Contents -

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.

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