Manang Road is the name of a very exciting drive located on the boundary between Lamjung and Manang districts of Gandaki Province, in Nepal.
Can you drive to Manang?
Set high on the north of the Annapurna mountain range, the road is mostly unpaved. A lot of websites list the most dangerous roads in the world. Not a single one of them mention the road to Manang, a narrow ledge chiselled into the side of a cliff, and it takes a brave driver (and passenger) to ride it. The road 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.
How long is the road to Manang?
The road is 99 km (61 miles) long, running from Besishahar (in Lamjung District in Gandaki Zone, at an elevation of 710m above the sea level) to Manang (in the Manang District) at 3.776masl. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 3.066m and the average gradient is 3.2% with some sections up to 10%. The road is carved into the hill on the western side of the river, rising through breathtaking scenery with a river raging below. The most challenging 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. Try to avoid the rainy season.
Is the road to Manang dangerous?
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. At some points, the road is carved into a vertical cliff with drops of some 500 meters vertical down to the river. The road itself is not more than two to three meters wide. 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.