The Manang Road is the name of the sharply winding and precipitous ascent in a steep and narrow zig-zag road located to the north of the Annapurna mountain range in Nepal. A lot of websites list the most dangerous roads in the world. Not a single one of them mention the road to Manang. It’s a narrow ledge chiselled into the side of a cliff, and it takes a brave driver (and passenger) to ride it.
The drive is simply terrible. It’s a real challenging road and a true test of your vehicle and your stamina because the road abounds in twists and turns with wheels sometimes hanging above the precipice. The surface of the road is gravel but recently the walking trail has been widened for 4x4 vehicles with some concrete sections. The combination of steep uphill rocky terrain and lack of oxygen is dangerous for engines.
The road is 95.8 km long. It’s certainly breathtaking and it has a fearsome reputation. It still remains an adrenaline-pumping journey and is definitely not for the faint of lungs, heart, or legs. The road is very narrow and steep. The drive starts from Besishahar, a municipality in Lamjung District in Gandaki Zone, at an elevation of 710m abov the sea level, and ends in Manang, a town in the Manang District at 3.776m. The elevation gain is 3.066m. The average gradient is 3.2% with some sections up to 10%.
The most dangerous part of the road runs along the Marsyangdí river. Due to lack of proper drainage of water the road conditions are extreme after heavy rains. Another amazing feature of the road and surroundings are amazing waterfalls that fall over the road and water needs to be crossed.
During and after a storm the road may be impassable, even with a four-wheel-drive vehicle. It is dangerous and accidents do happen. The road is carved into the hill on the western side of the river, rising through breathtaking scenery with a river raging below.
The track is known as Annapurna Circuit. Words can’t describe the road and pictures don’t do it justice. The road is impassable for 2 cars at the same time. The drive runs along the edge of a cliff over a rocky road strewn with big round pebble stones. It takes a certain level of skill and concentration to stay on ground and not go airborne. It’s definitely not for anyone suffering from vertigo or a fear of landslides. Only the suicidal, the insane, or the paid-to-do-this should ever drive down. One mistake and it's a free fall to your death.
Your wheels will be astounded at the wonderful views of the mountains spread out before you! They are terrible for drivers who are prone to vertigo. At some points, the road is carved into a vertical cliff with drops of some 500 meters vertical down to the river. In many places the road is bordered by a drop of hundreds of meters (many hundreds of feet) unprotected by guardrails. The road itself is not more than two to three meters wide.