A complete Guide to Manaslu Circuit Trek- Highlights, Guide, Cost, & Itinerary

  • Admin
  • Updated on May 22, 2024
This trek is truly for experienced trekkers or individuals who are fit to take on the hurdles. The trail ascends the Budi Gandaki river valley and passes by dense forests before opening up to vast grassy meadows. Once you are above the treeline, you will trek past landslide-prone areas and navigate glacier moraines. The Manaslu Circuit trek route is dotted with tea houses, where you will spend the nights and have meals. The services are limited on this trek, but the basic necessities will be met. So, trekkers do not need to carry tents.

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Embark on a peaceful journey in the Himalayan range of Nepal by joining our Manaslu Circuit trek package. A lifetime trip amidst giant mountains and arduous terrain!

The Manaslu Circuit trek is the next great adventurous trek in Nepal. This trek has everything- beautiful villages, pristine landscapes, stunning mountain views, rich cultural heritage, and an offbeat route. Not only that but being a restricted area, there is no crowd even in the peak trekking seasons (spring and autumn).
 
On the Manaslu Circuit trek, you will follow offbeat trails. The terrain is rugged and steep. You will be trekking within the Manaslu Conservation Area, so expect a wide range of vegetation, fauna, and birds along the way. Once you are above Jagat, the restricted area starts. Trekking in at least a group of two trekkers is necessary.
 
Today, the Manaslu Circuit trek is considered one of the great alternatives to the Annapurna Circuit trek. Off the famous trails in Nepal, trekkers get to explore unspoiled and untouched parts of the Himalayas. This trek route traverses close to the Nepal-Tibet border, so you will notice many cultural resemblances.

Highlights of Manaslu Circuit Trek 

  • The next great adventurous circuit trek in Nepal, packed with beautiful rugged landscapes
  • Trek within the Manaslu Conservation Area and a restricted area in Nepal
  • The trail route winds through different climate zones, offering diverse landscapes and breathtaking mountain vistas
  • Explore beautiful villages resided by Gurungs, Nubri Community, and Tibetan refugees
  • Get to see the unique lifestyle of the locals and explore ancient monasteries, stupas, and chortens on the way
  • The trail is offbeat and goes through lush forests before continuing via glacier moraines
  • Enjoy tranquil trekking, explore Manaslu Base Camp, and cross Larkya La pass

What to expect during the Manaslu Circuit trek in Nepal?

As much as the Manaslu Circuit trek is adventurous and beautiful, the journey is equally challenging. This trek is truly for experienced trekkers or individuals who are fit to take on the hurdles. The trail ascends the Budi Gandaki river valley and passes by dense forests before opening up to vast grassy meadows.
 
Once you are above the treeline, you will trek past landslide-prone areas and navigate glacier moraines. The Manaslu Circuit trek route is dotted with tea houses, where you will spend the nights and have meals. The services are limited on this trek, but the basic necessities will be met. So, trekkers do not need to carry tents.
 
On the way, you will cross many hanging suspension bridges and streams. There are beautiful waterfalls as well. Likewise, many old stupas, chortens, prayer flags, and monasteries are scattered around the Manaslu Circuit trail. The Manaslu region is home to rare wildlife like snow leopards. But spotting one is quite rare.

Why will you love the Manaslu Circuit trek 15 days?

Compared to famous trek routes like Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Base Camp, the Manaslu Circuit trek sees 10 times fewer trekkers. So, you will have a solitary trip. The contrasting landscapes from the start to the end of the trek will not let you feel bored. Every village will surprise you and offer you a different experience.
 
You will trek to the lap of the eighth-highest mountain in the world, Manaslu Base Camp. Explore the Pun Gyen Gompa and Birendra Lake as well. The trail then crosses the Larkya La pass (5,160 m/16,929 ft). It is the toughest part of the Manaslu Circuit trek. From here, descend to Bhulbhule via small villages. The trek ends at Bhulbhule, and you will drive to Kathmandu.
 
During the Manaslu Circuit trekking, you will be surrounded by hills, mountains, and glaciers. Mountains like Manaslu (8,163 m/ 26,781 ft), Kang Guru (6,981 m/22,903 ft), Naike Peak (6,211 m/20,377 ft), Boudha Himal (6,672 m/21,890 ft), Samdo Peak (5,117 m/16,788 ft), Himlung Himal (7,126 m/23,379 ft), Annapurna (8,091 m/26,545 ft), and many are visible throughout the trek route.
 
Along with adventure, you will also experience and discover the lifestyle and the heritage of the locals of the Manaslu region. In the lower part of the trail, you will meet Gurungs, while the upper part of Manaslu Circuit is resided by the Nubri community and Tibetan refugees. Their unique way of life will definitely question yours.
 

Who can do the Manaslu Circuit trek?

 

As we mentioned earlier, the Manaslu Circuit trek is strenuous, so this trek is only recommended to trekkers with past trekking experience and good fitness. Likewise, trekking in a group of at least two trekkers is mandatory. Solo trekkers can join our Manaslu Circuit trek 2024/ 2025 fixed departures. We have small groups and are well-guided by our expert mountain leaders.

How to prepare for this trek?

Manaslu Circuit trek preparation is done by training your body and packing for the journey. To train your body for this trek, you have to do activities that will help you improve your strength, stamina, and endurance. Daily long walking, strength training in the gym, running, hiking, swimming, cycling, etc are recommended.

What should I pack for the Manaslu Circuit?

Below are the things that you will need for the Manaslu Circuit trek. All these things are available at an affordable cost to buy or rent in Kathmandu, Nepal.
  • Clothes: Fleece jacket, down jacket, windbreaker, thermal wear, base layer, underwear, t-shirt and pants, socks, gloves, sun cap, beanie, raincoat and pants, trekking boots, casual shoes/slipper, etc
  • Gear: Sleeping bag, trekking poles, sunglasses, duffel bag, daypack, reusable water bottle, water purification tablets, etc
  • Personal first aid kit and toiletries: Antiseptic cream, bandage and spray for sprained joint, band-aid, cotton, ORS or electoral powder, general medicine, antifungal cream, insect repellent, sunscreen, lip balm, sanitizer, wet wipes, shampoo, comb, cold cream, face cream, toilet paper, soap, toothbrush & paste, etc
  • Miscellaneous: Identity card, travel insurance documents, permits, passport, visa, photo, spare batteries, power bank, charger, camera, headlamp/LED torch, adapter, snacks, nuts, journal, pen, etc

Extend the trek to the hidden Tsum Valley

Tsum Valley is a hidden section in the Manaslu region. The trail separates from Lokpa. You have the option to explore this pristine area before continuing to Larkya La pass. In this valley, you will traverse offbeat tracks, come across ancient monasteries, and meet with the Tsumba community.
 
If you wish to extend your Manaslu Circuit trek to Tsum Valley, let us know. Extending the trek will make changes to the Manaslu Circuit trek cost.

What makes us your best travel partner for Manaslu Circuit trekking in Nepal?

The Manaslu Circuit trek is not straightforward like the famous trekking routes in Nepal. This trek demands detailed preparation and strong support for a safe and satisfying experience. Our team will help you enjoy the Manaslu Circuit trek to the fullest. We have a genuine Manaslu Circuit trek price with top-notch service.
 
You can customize the Manaslu Circuit trek itinerary with us. Our many years of expertise in organizing treks in the Himalayas allow us to offer a professional service. Everything will be pre-planned and ready for you. Our reliable team will support you throughout your trip with us in Nepal.

Detailed Itinerary of Manaslu Circuit Trek 

Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu
 
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Welcome dinner
 
At the airport, you will meet our representatives with your nameplate. They will welcome you on our behalf and escort you to the hotel. It takes around half an hour to reach Thamel from the airport as per traffic conditions. Check into your room and freshen up. The remaining day is free. Meet us in the late evening for a welcome dinner.
 
Day 02: Kathmandu sightseeing and trek preparation
 
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast only
 
You have a whole day in Kathmandu to prepare for the trek and visit some tourist sites. Spend the morning exploring UNESCO World Heritage Sites like Kathmandu Durbar Square, Monkey Temple, Pashupatinath Temple, and Boudhanath Stupa with our friendly tour guide.
 
In the later afternoon, meet with the trek guide and pack duffel bags for the trek. Feel free to ask any questions during the trek briefing. Do any last-minute shopping and obtain all the necessary permits.
 
Day 03: Drive from kathmandu to  Machha Khola
Distance: 9.7 km/6 miles
Elevation: 890 m/2,920 ft
Duration: hours
Accommodation: Teahouse
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
 
The trail continues from Soti Khola and goes through lush rhododendron and sal forests to Machha Khola. On the way, you will see beautiful waterfalls. The trail sharply ascends and descends, offering excellent mountain panoramas. You may come across mules along the way. Before reaching Machha Khola, trek past Khursani village and Labubesi.
 
Day 04: Trek from Machhakhola to Jagat
 
Distance: 22.2 km/13.7 miles
Duration: 6/7 hours
Elevation: 1,410 m/4,625 ft
Accommodation: Teahouse
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
 
Follow the Budi Gandaki river and gradually ascend via dense forests. You may encounter langur monkeys on the way. You will reach Khorla Besi, and from here, walk to Tatopani. Further, cross a suspension bridge and follow the trail to Doban. You will then trek past a landslide area and reach Yaruphant. From here, it is an uphill walk to Jagat.
 
Day 05: Trek from Jagat to Deng
 
Distance: 19.9 km/12.3 miles
Elevation: 1,804 m/5,917 ft
Duration: 6/7 hours
Accommodation: Teahouse
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
 
Leaving Jagat, you will trek via lush forests to Deng. The trail ascends and crosses a long suspension bridge over the Budhi Gandaki river. Trekking past a settlement called Philim, descend via pine and rhododendron forest to Deng.
 
Day 06: Trek from Deng to Ghap
 
Distance: 11.5 km/7 miles
Elevation: 2,250 m/7,382 ft
Duration: 4-5 hours
Accommodation: Teahouse
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
 
Continue trekking from Deng to Bihi village. The trail descends and soon follows a sharp uphill route to Rana Bridge. From here, the trail winds through a pine forest and crosses a bridge before you reach Bhi. Further, you will trek past mani walls and stupas. Cross one more suspension bridge and ascend to Ghap.
 
Day 07: Trek from Ghap to Lho Gaon
 
Distance: 20 km/12.4 miles
Elevation: 3,180 m/10,433 ft
Duration: 8 hours
Accommodation: Teahouse
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
 
The trail from Ghap ascends to Namrung via dense forests of bamboo, rhododendron, fir, and oak. You will follow a steep trail and cross suspension bridges and stone stairs on the way. From Namrung, trek to Lihi. The trail further crosses a stream and goes past Sho before reaching Lho Gaon. Get to see stunning views of Simnang Himal on the way.
 
Day 08: Trek from Lho Gaon to Sama Gaon
 
Distance: 17.2 km/10.6 miles
Elevation: 3,530 m/11,581 ft
Duration: 6-7 hours
Accommodation: Teahouse
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
 
Today, you will begin trekking early. Follow a rugged, steep trail and reach Shyala village. Here, you will see farming fields. Leaving this place, cross a small stream that is made from Punggen glacier. The final stretch of the trail takes you to Samagaun.
 
Day 09: Acclimatization day- hike to Pun Gyen Gompa and Manaslu Base Camp
 
Duration: 4-5 hours
Accommodation: Teahouse
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
 
On this day, you will take an acclimatization break. You can hike to the ancient Pun Gyen Gompa and explore the Punggen glacier. Likewise, there is also an alternative hike to the Manaslu Base Camp via beautiful Birendra Lake. You can visit both places as well.
 
Day 10: Trek from Sama Gaon to Samdo
 
Distance: 8.2 km/5 miles
Elevation: 3,875 m/12,713 ft
Duration: 3/4 hours
Accommodation: Teahouse
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
 
From Sama Gaun, ascend along pastures. The valley gradually opens up, and you can see towering peaks and mountains around you. Leaving the tree line behind, walk up to Kani settlement. From here, hike to Samdo, enjoying views of Ngadi Chuli, Manaslu, and Simnang Himal.
 
Day 11: Trek from Samdo to Larke Phedi (Dharamsala)
 
Distance: 11.7 km/7.2 miles
Elevation: 4,480 m/14,698 ft
Duration: 4/5 hours
Accommodation: Teahouse
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
 
This part of the trail is very remote and quite isolated. Following a steep uphill route, you will trek to Larke Phedi. On the way, cross a wooden bridge and trek past the Athahra Saya river. Further, trek following the Larke river to Larke glacier. The trail goes around the Salkha Khola valley and finally leads to Larke Phedi.
 
Day 12: Trek from Dharamsala to Bimthang (3,720 m/12,205 ft) by crossing Larkya la pass
 
Distance: 24.7 km/15.3 miles
Elevation: 5,160 m/16,929 ft
Duration: 8/9 hours
Accommodation: Teahouse
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
 
Today, you will cross the Larkya La pass. From the Larke Phedi, descend and follow the moraine. The trail goes downhill to a small lake. From here, continue trekking on a rocky, unclear track. You will cross the south steep grass slope and further descend to four frozen lakes.
 
The trail then ascends to Larkya La pass, offering you a breathtaking mountain panorama from the top. To spend the night, descend to Bhimtang via moraine and a small meadow.
 
Day 13: Trek from Bhimtang to Tilje
 
Distance: 19 km/12 miles
Elevation: 3900 m/
Duration: 7 hours
Accommodation: Teahouse
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
 
From today onwards, the elevation decreases. Follow a narrow route and trek via a large forested path. The trail descends to Surki village and continues to Goa. On the way, you get to witness a wonderful view of Mt. Manaslu.
 
Day 14: Trek from Tilje to Dharapani 
 
Distance: 15 km/9.3 miles
Duration: 6-7 hours
Accommodation: Teahouse
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
 
Leaving Goa, you will trek via lush forests, crossing numerous suspension bridges over Dudh Khola and Marsyangdi Khola. On the way, you will also trek past mani walls and prayer flags. You will enter the Annapurna Conservation Area today. Spend the night in Tal village, observing the life of the locals.
 
Day 15: Drive back to Kathmandu
 
Distance: 175.6 km/109 miles
Elevation: 1,400 m/4,593 ft
Duration: 6-7 hours
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and farewell dinner
 
After a delicious breakfast, leave Dharapani and drive to Kathmandu. The first couple hours of the ride will be bumpy, but soon, you will follow a well-made highway. Enjoy mesmerizing sceneries on the way. Upon reaching Kathmandu, freshen up and rest. In the evening, go shopping and join us for farewell dinner.
 
Day 20: Fly to your destination
 
The trip ends here. Extend your time in Nepal with us or leave for your home. Our team will take care of your airport departure and assist you with any queries.
 
Manaslu Circuit trek permit and fees
To do the Manaslu Circuit trek trekkers have to obtain three permits - the Manaslu Conservation Area Project (MCAP) permit, the Restricted Area Permit for Manaslu (Manaslu RAP), and the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) permit.
 
Below, we have mentioned the permit fees:
  • Manaslu Conservation Area Project permit fee: USD 30 per person
  • Manaslu Restricted Area Permit fee from September to November: USD 100 per person for the first seven days and USD 15 per day per person thereafter
  • Manaslu Restricted Area Permit fee from December to August: USD 75 per person for the first seven days and USD 10 per day per person thereafter
  • Annapurna Conservation Area Project permit fee: USD 30 per person
 
*Note:
i) Once the permit is issued, it is not refundable.
ii) All the permits have only one entry.
iii) You cannot transfer the permit to someone else's name.

Guide and porter during the trek

Manaslu is a restricted area, so trekking with a guide is compulsory. Not only that, but you also cannot obtain this permit with an independant guide. Only a registered trekking company like us can help you obtain the Manaslu restricted area permit. Our Manaslu Circuit trek package includes native guides and porters as per the group size.
 
As at least two trekkers are mandatory in a group, there will be a guide and a porter to support them. We will partner you with a friendly and professional guide who will help you navigate the tricky tracks, assure your safety during the trek, and share profound insights about the region. Similarly, the porter will carry the duffel bag.

What is the best time to do the Manaslu Circuit trek?

The best time to do the Manaslu Circuit trekking is from March to May and September to November. These months offer stable weather, mild climate, dry trails, long daylight hours, and excellent mountain views. These factors are essential for a delightful trekking experience in the Himalayas.
 
Even in these peak trekking months, the Manaslu Circuit trail does not get crowded, so you can take your time and enjoy the best weather conditions. The lakes are unfrozen in these months, with a warm daytime and a hint of cold in the evenings and mornings. You will enjoy thriving vegetation, birds, cascading waterfalls, and gushing rivers and streams.
 
The villages are open. Usually, villagers descend to lower elevations to spend the winter (December to February), so most of the tea houses are closed in winter. Likewise, summer/monsoon (June to August) increases the risks of landslides along the Manaslu Circuit trail. The trek route is in worse condition.

Travel insurance for the Manaslu Circuit trek

For restricted area trekking packages in Nepal, travel insurance with helicopter evacuation and medical bills are mandatory. You have to give us a copy of your travel insurance before the trek starts. Failure to do so will result in trek cancellation, and we will not be liable for any refund.
 
Manaslu Circuit trekking has underlying risks of injuries, altitude sickness, and natural disasters. So, you have to make sure that the helicopter evacuation coverage works in high altitudes. Not all travel insurance providers issue helicopter evacuation in the Himalayas, so ensure it.

What is the Manaslu Circuit trek difficulty level ?

The Manaslu Circuit trek is considered one of the most challenging treks in Nepal. This trek is only for experienced trekkers with strong fitness. If you have done the EBC trek, Langtang Valley, and Annapurna Circuit, you qualify for the Manaslu Circuit trek. Previous trekking experience is a must for this trek.
 
The Manaslu Circuit trek route is offbeat and crosses the Larkya La pass. It is a high-altitude trek, and the tourist infrastructure along the trail is very minimal compared to the other famous trekking routes in Nepal. On this trek, trekkers have to adjust a lot and be well-packed and prepared.
 
The trail ascends the Budhi Gandaki river valley and takes you across the Nubri settlement. You will traverse via dense forests that gradually thin out and lead you to meadows and glacier moraines. As the trek progresses, the terrain becomes more demanding and traverses many steep slopes and loose soils and scree.
 
The constant ascents and descents demand strong stamina and strength. You will trek around 240 kilometers in 15 days of trekking. Average daily walk is 6 to 7 hours. Overall, the diverse climatic zones, high altitude, offbeat terrain, and varying climates demand strong and determined individuals for the Manaslu Circuit trek.

Altitude Sicknes

During the Manaslu Circuit trek, you may suffer from altitude sickness. It happens if your body does not acclimate properly. You can avoid altitude sickness if you maintain your daily ascent under 500 meters and take an acclimatization break. Our Manaslu Circuit trek itinerary is curated considering these two factors.
 
In addition to that, you also have to make sure you are hydrated every day. Keep up with your pace, and do not rush. You do not have to trek fast or match others' speed. Take your time and enjoy the journey. Be aware of symptoms like shortness of breath, insomnia, vomiting, headache, nausea, etc. Get first aid under your guide's instructions.

Accommodation and meals during the Manaslu Circuit trekking

Manaslu Circuit trek route has limited tourist infrastructures and only a handful of luxury tea house options. During the trek, you will spend nights in basic tea houses that provide simple lodging and meal service to the trekkers. There will be WiFi, hot showers, and charging facilities in the tea houses, but it costs additional money.
 
In the lower part of the trail, you may get rooms with attached Western-style washrooms, but as you trek higher, shared squat toilets get common. Twin shared rooms are mostly available. At Larkya Phedi, only dorm-style rooms are available. In villages like Jagat, Lho, Shyala, Sama Gaon, and Samdo, the services are better.
 
You will have meals in the tea houses as well. Nepali and Tibetan dishes are common with some Western food options. You will get delicious and nourishing meals that will fuel your journey. Dal bhat, thukpa, Tibetan bread, thenduk, momo, noodles, porridge, soups, pancakes, etc are some usual food items.
 
FAQs
 
How difficult is the Manaslu Circuit trek?
 
The Manaslu Circuit trek difficulty is strenuous. It is one of the most challenging treks in the Himalayas, with offbeat trails, scarce tourist infrastructures, and high altitudes.
 
How much does Manaslu Circuit cost?
 
The Manaslu Circuit trek cost starts at USD 1,899 per person and can go above that. The price of the package depends on the itinerary and the services included in it.
 
Is Manaslu harder than Everest?
 
Yes, the Manaslu Circuit trek is way more harder than the famous Everest Base Camp trek. It is also a longer trek and has limited facilities for the trekkers.
 
Is the Manaslu Circuit trek safe?
 
Yes, the Manaslu Circuit trek is safe because you do it with a native mountain guide. The trail is offbeat but well-marked. You have to be careful while trekking. Our guide will make the journey much more safe for you with his knowledge and experience.
 
Can you trek Manaslu without a guide?
 
No, you cannot do the Manaslu Circuit trek without a guide. Manaslu is a restricted area, and as per the restricted area rule in Nepal, trekking with a guide is compulsory. Not only that, there must be two trekkers in the group.
 
How many kilometers is the Manaslu Circuit trek?
 
During the Manaslu Circuit trek, you will cover around 250 kilometers (155 miles). This does not include the ride to/from the starting and ending points of the trail.
 
How far is Manaslu from Kathmandu?
 
From Kathmandu, the starting point of the Manaslu Circuit trail is approximately 125 kilometers (77.6 miles) away. We start our Manaslu Circuit trek from Arughat.
 
Can a beginner do Manaslu Circuit?
 
It depends on the fitness and endurance level of the trekker. Usually, we do not recommend the Manaslu Circuit trek to beginner trekkers, but there can be an exception as per your fitness.
 
Is there any age limit for the Manaslu Circuit trek?
 
No, there is no age limit for the Manaslu Circuit, however the underage trekkers have to trek with an identified guardian. If you are below 16 years old, you are an underage trekker.
 
Can I combine the Manaslu Circuit trek with the Annapurna Circuit?
 
Yes, you can combine the Manaslu Circuit trek with the Annapurna Circuit trek. To combine these two treks, get in touch with us.
 
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