Manang is famous amongst the trekkers specifically because of the well-stocked
shops, good gear shops, health posts etc. This is precisely the reason why
many trekkers choose Manang for a rest day. It is a favorite town for many
trekkers because it is very well catered towards them. It has a museum, a
public library, a small movie theatre that plays select movies and an ACAP
post. It also has cafes with internet connections (good luck finding internet
connection after Manang). Some hotels here even have western-style toilets
which we know will be a great relief for many. Also, Manang can be your
information center for the upcoming days. After Manang, the altitude will rise
quickly and with that trekkers will have to deal with stark weather changes.
It will be advisable to get constant weather updates as communication will not
be a problem at Manang. And never underestimate a local's knowledge as they
know their place better than anyone else.
But Manang is important not just logistically. It is one of the oldest
settlements of the Nyeshyang region and has the distinction of having one of
the most attractive gompas in all of Annapurna Circuit, the Bodzo Gompa. In
fact, it was around Bodzo Gompa (situated on a hilltop) where the original
settlement of the Manang used to be. And this is quite logical as history has
proved that settlements form around religious sites. With time, the settlement
shifted and now sits on a large sedimentary bed. The lodges start immediately
after entering Manang and the local Manange settlement lies further towards
the west. What not many people know is that there is a small extension of
Manang known as Tenki Manang to the northwest, just 20 minutes away from the
larger settlement. Houses at Tenki are more primitive and have a very rustic
feel about them. Perhaps you could take a stroll around the narrow alleys of
Tenki Manang if your rest day is at Manang.
The people of Manang are mostly Gurungs and Ghales who are well-known traders.
The objects traded range from precious stones, ornaments to livestock. Before,
musk products used to be traded as well by the Mananges but nowadays since
musk products are illegal it is not traded legally. They trade food as well
since the high altitude only allows them to cultivate buckwheat, barley,
wheat, and potatoes. History tells that Mananges traded as far as Singapore
across the seas but nowadays with the passage of time their trade connections
has expanded far and beyond. Mananges have earned quite a reputation for being
avid and skilled traders. Even in Kathmandu, many businesses belong to Manange
Characteristic to all of Nyeshyang region, traces of Tibetan culture is still
present in Manang. History tells that the Ghale kings migrated from Tibet and
came into Nyeshyang from Nar valley and neatly outplayed the Gurungs.
Manang, besides being an attractive town itself provides many other
attractions. Gangapurna lake is a nice and short side trip, then there is
Chhongkor viewpoint and Praken gompa, all of which are worth a visit. The Ice
lake sidetrip and Milarepa cave sidetrip are also famous sidetrips from Manang
but they will be closer if you do these sidetrips from Bhraka. Take a look at
the side trips section to find more about all the awesome side trips you could
do from Manang.