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Manaslu Circuit Trek high snow capped mountains, picturesque waterfalls, and centuries-old culture leave visitors in constant awe. It attracts visitors every year in search of its unparalleled beauty.
As opposed to the popular Everest and Annapurna regions, the Manaslu Circuit offers a far more tranquil experience with traditional heritage sites along the way. Over 500 people walk to Everest Base Camp every day, while the Manaslu Circuit Trek attracts a smaller number. Last year’s journey drew only 288 participants in total.
This ancient salt-trade route of 180 km (110 miles) was only available to a maximum of 400 hikers until 1992. As a result, the trek path is free of contemporary infrastructure. In other words, if you want to take a trip back in time, the Manaslu Circuit Trek will provide you with a complete picture.
The trail passes through dramatic and varied landscapes while traversing around the 8,163-meter-high Manaslu, the eighth highest mountain in the world at 26,781 feet. Several tea houses line the way, which offer basic amenities such as food and accommodation, making the trip easier and cheaper.
The 14-day trek can also be extended to 22 days with Tsum valley as an additional side trek that begins at Soti Khola. The trekking route flows along the bank of the ice-cold waters of Budhi Gandaki with panoramic views of Annapurna and Ganesh Himals to the west and east.
Numerous suspension bridges are interspersed along the trail. In terms of length and height, suspension bridges in the Manaslu trek are unparalleled, but during the monsoon season, minor bridges often wash away, leaving travelers to use semi-submerged rocks.
The trail then slowly ascends to higher altitudes a few days into the journey, leaving the steamy lowlands of green rice and millet fields behind.
Samagaon offers the best hiking options to acclimate with the altitude change. A full day hike to Manaslu Base Camp, located at 4750 meters, takes around 7-8 hours, or you can do small hikes around the village. Within walking distance is Sama village, where you can see the ancient monastery of Pungyen Gompa and enjoy stunning views of the glacier, or you can explore Birendra Lake.
As you move closer to the destination there is a strenuous trail of Larkya La Pass next to the Tibetan border. The windy conditions at 5167 meters make it necessary to start early in the morning for this challenge. A day of rest is required in Samdo prior to ascending Larkya La Pass, so the body can adjust to the higher elevation.
In the meantime, you can take full advantage of two hiking options:
There is an easy trail behind the Samdo valley that has lots to offer. Among the Himalayan peaks visible from this route are Manaslu, as well as Simrang, Hiunchuli, Ngadi, Larkya Peak, Cheo, and perhaps Kang Guru. The way to these viewpoints is marked by many seasonal herding settlements called doksas and by mountain birds such as the Lophophorus (Nepal’s national bird), Lammergeyer (, and Himalayan Griffon vulture.
The second option is a full-day hike that is not recommended for people looking for a quick break. Walking to the Gaya La (big pass) north of Samdo, a more commonly used trade route to Tibet, is more challenging. Despite being bleak and barren, the Gyala Pass still has a certain mystical allure that attracts visitors to Tibetan landscapes. As you continue north, you’ll come to the Gyala pass and the glaciers draping these northernmost mountains. Chenge Lake lies on the east side of the valley. At Gyala Phedi, you get to camp in a deep valley surrounded by mountains, making it even more interesting.
Beyond being one of Nepal’s most renowned treks, the Manaslu circuit trek offers more rewarding options than any other trek in the Himalayas. You could opt for the higher Manaslu way, a scenically beautiful and rarely used path across the mountain, to get even further off the beaten path. Another detour is the trail to mystical Tsum Valley, which has been closed to the public for many years and has only been reopened on a limited basis.
Alternatively, you might skip the climb up and over Larke La entirely and concentrate solely on the attractions of Tsum Valley Buddhist culture and its renowned monasteries.
Manaslu Trekking Circuit offers more than just cascading rivers and steep trails replete with stunning views. It is also a melting pot of ethnicities, including the Gurung, Tamang, and Tibetan communities living harmoniously together at the foothills of the Himalayas. Therefore, you get the chance to immerse yourself in the culture, even for a short time.
Trip Highlights of Manaslu Circuit Trek
- Get a chance to drift through the gorgeous subtropical lowlands passing through rich wildlife, Agali Tahr, Pika, and Himalayan Marmots leading to the snow-capped Larkya la pass. The dramatic landscape changes every day.
- Trekkers can explore nature at their own pace when they venture off the beaten path.
- Cool breeze streaming from the snow-capped mountains will keep you refreshed at all times.
- An exotic valley along the Budhi Gandaki River.
- A refreshing sight as the natural beauty and culture are intact.
- High and mighty suspension bridges over cascading rivers with picturesque waterfalls at almost every stop.
- Many fascinating insights into the cultures of the Nubri and Tsum of the Gurung and Tibetan peoples.
- A magnificent view of Mt. Manaslu, Mt. Himchuli,. Annapurna II, Mt. Ganesh, and others.
- The stunning panoramic view of the Himalayan Mountains is exhilarating.
- Crossing one of the world’s highest passes, Larkya La Pass (5153m/1,6901ft), is a rewarding experience.
Best Season/ Time for Manaslu Circuit Trek
There are four marked seasons in Nepal: spring, summer, fall, and winter.
Spring: Early March to End of May
March marks the beginning of spring in the region. During this time of year, you can enjoy colorful rhododendron blooms in the lower regions of Deng and Shyala. The cool temperatures and bright sunshine are optimal trekking conditions. There is neither extreme cold nor extreme heat. As a result of this peak season, it can be crowded, which is the only downside.
Despite a few snowfalls, the weather by mid-May at the starting and ending points of the trek can be very hot, so you will need to plan accordingly.
Summer: June to Mid-September
As the summer monsoon season begins in Nepal, the temperatures will begin to cool down and rain washes everything. However, most trekkers avoid Nepal during the summer due to muddy and slippery trail conditions, as well as leeches and mosquitoes, which are common on the trails and teahouses.
In addition, some small streams will have grown so big that they can no longer be crossed by the wooden bridges. Therefore, you will need to walk a bit farther to reach the higher suspension bridges this season. Also, there is the possibility that there may be landslides this season.
Fall: Late September to Mid-December
Manaslu Circuit Trek is best explored during this period. Thus, the prices of restricted permits rise during this period. The weather is perfect for climbing Larke Peak, the sky is clear, and the snow mountains are visible in stunning clarity.
However, this ideal window of time also attracts quite a lot of fellow travelers, which is the only drawback to peak season. Also, you could get a chance to meet those participating in the Manaslu Marathon.
Winter: Late December to Early March
During the winter, temperatures begin to drop. In the lower regions, you can enjoy trekking at 8 degrees Celsius. As you ascend, you can experience temperatures as low as -8 degrees Celsius. It is the coldest in the mornings and at night.
Furthermore, there is too much risk in climbing to Manaslu Base Camp while hiking on snow-covered trails. Due to the cold, the teahouses in the upper region are normally closed, and you might have to cross the Larkya La Pass within a day.
Thus, Manaslu Circuit Trekking is best enjoyed during spring, and during fall.
Transport for Manaslu Circuit Trek
Of the great Nepalese treks, the Manaslu Circuit trek’s trailhead is the closest to Kathmandu. However, the 140-kilometer (80-mile) journey from Kathmandu to Soti Khola (710 meters/ 2328 feet) is still an adventure, taking about 6 hours by jeep (ideal) or 8+ hours by public transportation.
Alternatively, you can hike from Machha Khola, situated 160 kilometers (99 miles) from Kathmandu, which takes up to 7 hours by private vehicle and 8 hours by public bus.
It is possible that, with deteriorating road conditions, which are often the case after monsoon in September, you will have to begin your journey in Arughat, which could add a day to your itinerary.
After completing the trek, you will have to travel 6 hours in a Jeep from Dharapani to Kathmandu, where you will change to another Jeep or public bus for a 7-hour journey.
Manaslu Circuit Trek Accommodation
The walk to Manaslu Circuit is a teahouse trek. Along the way, you’ll spend each night in local teahouses run by local communities. The majority of teahouses are fairly modest, with two single beds in each room. Toilets are typically shared and can be found outside of teahouses.
Teahouses offer common rooms for dining and relaxing, so trekkers can stay warm around the fire at night. Although camping is also an option, most trekkers choose to stay in teahouses because it is easier and more comfortable.
What to Pack for Manaslu Circuit Trek?
Your gear is essential regardless of where you are hiking. Hence, packing the right gear will certainly make the difference between enjoying yourself and being miserable. Here are a few things you cannot miss:
- Duffel Bag
- Pullover or Jacket in Fleece
- Fleece Gloves
- Head lamp with alkaline batteries and extra batteries as well
- Warm headwear
- Socks and boots for hiking, plus a pair of inner socks
- Hiking Shorts and pants
- Rain Cove Daypack for backpack
- Sandals or Shoes
- Poles for Trekking
- Lightweight thermal tops and thermal base layers
- Jacket and pants that are waterproof
- For Women, sports bra
- First-Aid kit
- Necessary medications
Everyone has different needs when it comes to packing, and while this isn’t an extensive list, these are the necessities.
Manaslu Circuit Trek Cost
One must first travel to Pokhara to pursue trekking in the Annapurna Region. Most trekking providers offer transportation from Kathmandu to Pokhara. Some offer bus service, others offer flight service.
Accommodations in Pokhara are usually part of the itinerary, as is transportation to Ghorepani from Pokhara. This is where some of the expenses are incurred. Despite not having to pay an admission fee, permits must still be purchased. In the Nepal Himalayas, hiking is not possible without it. Three types of permits are required for the Manaslu Circuit.
- Manaslu Restricted Permit
- Manaslu Conservation Area Permit (MCAP)
- Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP)
Permits for Manaslu Trek are based on a number of factors, including the month of reservation and the number of days of your stay. For hikers to access the Manaslu region, three types of permits must be obtained from the Nepal Tourism Board.
Necessary Permits for Manaslu Circuit Trek
Manaslu Trekking is considered an exclusive experience. To enter a restricted area, a restricted area permit must be obtained from a local company. In order to trek, you need an ACAP and MCAP permit. The expedition requires a minimum of two trekkers.
Manaslu Restricted Permit
From September to November, the special permit costs $100-$150 for the first seven days plus $15 for each additional day, and from December to August, it costs $75-80 for the first seven days plus $10-15 for each additional day. Prices are listed per person.
Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP)
Trekkers should arrange all permits directly with their trekking provider. Because of the Manaslu Circuit Trek’s average length and exclusivity, it is one of the costlier treks in Nepal. Prices range between $1000 and $1400, or 900 EUR and 1200 EUR per person.
Manaslu Conservation Area Permit (MCAP)
Nationals of SAARC are charged 200 NPR per person, while other nationals are charged 2,000 NPR per person. Permit costs vary by region, but generally include 13% VAT per person.
Wi-Fi and Telephone
A number of tea houses offer Wi-Fi service. If you wish to talk to family or friends back home, the establishments provide SAT phones for a modest fee. As of March 2018, Nepal Telecom has a greater coverage area than Ncell in the Manaslu region.
FAQs for Manaslu Circuit Trek
1) How long is the Manaslu Circuit Trek?
The Manaslu Circuit trip is around 110 miles (180 kilometers) long and is expected to take at least 10 days to complete. The duration, however, may vary based on the traveler’s itinerary. From a nation other than Nepal, those who wish to complete the Manaslu Circuit Trekking should allow at least 18 days (including the days spent in Kathmandu) to complete the trek.
2) How fit do I need to be for Manaslu Circuit Trek?
The Manaslu Circuit is a difficult and off-the-beaten-path trip in Nepal that takes you through remote Himalayan settlements. On an uneven and steep terrain, you may traverse roughly 10 to 12 kilometers per day, which would require you to walk for six to seven hours every day for at least ten days.
Although the amount of fitness required to trek successfully varies by individual, it is recommended that you build up the stamina required to walk for an extended period of time. Cycling, jogging, and swimming should be scheduled a month ahead of time for the most effective fitness training for the Manaslu Circuit Trek.
3) Can I trek solo? Will there be any difficulty in doing that?
A solitary trekker’s chances of completing the Manaslu Circuit are little to none. Even if the trekker has a lot of experience, is well-armed, and is very driven to complete the trek on his own, there are still a lot of risks involved in trekking alone through the Himalayas.
In order to safeguard a trekker’s safety, the Nepalese government makes it illegal for trekkers to walk alone in the Manaslu region. You can, however, engage a registered and professional government guide who will ensure your safety while also assisting you in exploring the Himalayas’ hidden beauty.
4) Can I fly back after I complete the trek?
Yes, once you’ve completed the hike, you can fly back to Kathmandu. Helicopter flights, on the other hand, are reserved for emergency situations and are not used by hikers on a regular basis. If you opt to return by air, you must stop at the checkpoint at Samagau Heli. Off-road jeeps are another option for getting back to Kathmandu, but you must first return to Dharapani village.
- Private Arrival & Departure transfers on international flights,
- Hotel accommodation twin sharing basis including breakfast,
- Assistance for the trekking gears and the shopping for the trekking equipment,
- Welcome dinner in Kathmandu,
- Full board meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) during Manaslu Circuit Trekking period,
- Accommodation in teahouse / lodge during trekking ( from Arughat to Besishahar ) ,
- Private transportation to and from the starting and ending points of the trek.( from Kathmandu to Arughat and From Beshishar to Kathmandu ) ,
- All domestic flights and departure tax if mentioned in the itinerary,
- Treks Gears – sleeping bag, duffel bag for the use during the trip,
- Professional experienced English speaking local guide,
- Necessary Porters to carry all personal gear and group equipment,
- Adequate insurance for all staff including porters,
- Trekking map,
- First Aid Kit Comprehensive,
- Trek permit and government tax,
- Hiking Adventure treks special gift,
- Nepal entry visa fee which you will get it in to Kathmandu airport on upon arrival,
- Personal trekking equipment have a look list of trekking gears
- Items of a personal nature expenses such as alcoholic drinks, cold drinks, laundry, mineral water, hot shower, battery charge, Telephone, extra tea and coffee on the way.. etc..
- Tips for trekking/ tour guide & porters (expected, not mandatory)
- International airfare and airport taxes, excess baggage charges.
- Valid Travel Insurance with Medical evacuation in case of emergency
- Expenses incurred due to accidents, landslide, strikes, political unrest, etc.