The Manaslu Circuit trek is a breathtaking 9-13 day journey around the world's eighth-highest mountain, Manaslu. The trek begins in the bustling market town of Soti Khola and ends in the village of Syange. When including travel time and days spent in Kathmandu, the trek can take up to 17 days.
One of the unique aspects of this trek is that it offers a different experience compared to other popular treks in Nepal. The Manaslu region was closed to outsiders until the early 90s, and tourism is still restricted. It is less crowded and offers a more remote and secluded trekking experience.
Additionally, the trek is not as high as the Annapurna Circuit, making it a more accessible option for some trekkers. The Manaslu Circuit trek is often compared to the Annapurna Circuit trek, but before it became popular.
The trek offers some of the most striking and jaw-dropping scenery in Nepal, with a diverse range of landscapes, from lush subtropical forests to rugged high-altitude terrain. The trek passes through traditional and remote villages, providing a glimpse into the traditional way of life of the local people.
Manaslu Circuit Trek Permit
Manaslu Circuit Trek Permit The Nepalese government has taken steps to control tourism in the Manaslu region between Jagat and Dharapani. To preserve this region's natural beauty and cultural heritage, the government has declared it a restricted area. This means that independent trekkers are not allowed to enter the Manaslu region and that all trekkers must obtain a special entry permit to enter.
To obtain this permit, trekkers must be part of a group that includes at least two individuals and be accompanied by a local guide. This ensures that trekkers know the local customs and traditions and can navigate the area safely. Additionally, the permit must be processed through a registered agency, and freelance guides are not permitted to issue the necessary permits for the Manaslu Circuit.
The Manaslu trek requires three different permits: the Restricted Area Permit, the Manaslu Conservation Area Permit, and the TIMS card. Also, if you plan on merging the Manaslu trek with the Tsum Valley trek, you will need an additional permit for the Tsum Valley. The government has put these regulations in place to ensure that the trekkers are safe and that the region is preserved for future generations.
Special Restricted Area Permit for Manaslu (Manaslu RAP)
The Special Restricted Area Permit for Manaslu, also known as the Manaslu RAP, is a permit required for trekkers who wish to trek in the restricted Manaslu region. This permit is required for the trek from the village of Jagat until you cross the village of Sama Gaun. Once you have crossed the village of Sama, you will need to obtain another entry permit, known as the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP). The Special Restricted Area Permit for Manaslu (Manaslu RAP) costs depending on the time of year when you plan to trek.
From September to November, the permit costs USD 100 per person for the first seven days and an additional USD 15 per person per day from the eighth day onwards. Similarly, for December to August, the permit cost is USD 75 per person for the first seven days and an additional USD 10 per person per day from the eighth day onwards. The Special Restricted Area Permit for Manaslu is a requirement for trekking in the Manaslu region. It is important to ensure that you have obtained the permit before embarking on your trek. It is also mandatory to have a licensed guide and a group of at least two people to enter the restricted area.
Manaslu Conservation Area Project (MCAP Permit)
The Manaslu Conservation Area Project (MCAP) Permit is another permit required for trekking in the Manaslu region. This permit is required from the village of Philim, where the Manaslu Conservation Area starts. The price of the MCAP permit is the same throughout the year, at USD 30 per person. Unlike the Special Restricted Area Permit (Manaslu RAP), there is no restriction or change in price based on the number of days you spend inside the MCAP. Magical Nepal issues the MCAP permit, and all trekkers must have this permit before entering the conservation area. The permit is issued based on the client information provided, although the client information may be blurred on the permit for privacy reasons.
The Manaslu Conservation Area Project (MCAP) permit is important as it helps maintain the ecological balance and conservation of the area. It also helps in generating revenue for the local communities, promoting sustainable tourism and preserving the culture and heritage of the area. This permit is in addition to the Special Restricted Area Permit (Manaslu RAP) and Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP), which are also mandatory to obtain before entering the Manaslu region.
Annapurna Conservation Area Permit
Another permit necessary for walking in the Manaslu region is the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP). From the town of Dharapani, until you leave the Annapurna Conservation Area in Beshi Sahar, this permit is necessary. There are no restrictions or price variations depending on how many days you spend inside the ACAP; the cost of the ACAP permit is USD 30 per person for the entire year.
When applying for the Special Restricted Area Permit (Manaslu RAP) and the Manaslu Conservation Area Project (MCAP) permit, it is important to note that a printed photograph is required for both permits. This photograph will be attached to the permit, and it is important to have it with you when trekking in the region. Still, Manaslu RAP does not need to provide a printed photograph, as it will be uploaded online and printed on the permit itself.
Once you have obtained the Special Restricted Area Permit (Manaslu RAP) and these two conservation areas entry permits (MCAP and ACAP), there is no need to obtain a TIMS (Trekkers Information Management System) card unless you are heading towards the Annapurna Circuit from Dharapani. The TIMS card is a permit required for trekking in the Annapurna region and is not needed if you are only trekking in the Manaslu region.
Manaslu Circuit Trek Guide
The Manaslu Circuit Trek is remote and challenging in Nepal's eastern part of the Annapurna Himalayan range. It is a relatively less-travelled trekking route, offering a unique blend of biodiversity, historical heritage, and stunning mountain landscapes. The trek circles Mt Manaslu, the 8th highest peak in the world, and offers some of the most breathtaking mountain views in the region.
Along the trek, you will have the opportunity to see other peaks such as Mt Annapurna, Mt Machhapuchchhre, Gangapurna, Ganesh Himal, and many more nearby mountains. The trek takes you through the beautiful Budhi Gandaki river valley, where you can interact with the local communities and learn about their way of life. The trek also passes through the Manaslu Conservation Area, home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including the endangered snow leopard and red panda.
The trek also includes crossing the Larkya La Pass, which is considered the most striking pass in the region and the highest pass of the Manaslu region. The pass offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and highlights the trek. The pass is located at an altitude of 5,106 meters, making it important to be prepared for the altitude and to take acclimatisation days into account when planning your itinerary.
The itinerary for the Manaslu Circuit Trek can vary based on the starting point and mode of transport. The trek usually starts from Arughat and ends in Besisahar, one of the starting points for the Annapurna Circuit trek. The trekkers can hire a guide and porter to help navigate the route and carry their heavy gear. Depending on the itinerary, the trek can take 12-15 days to complete.
Manaslu Circuit Trek Detailed Itinerary
Day 01: Arrival at Kathmandu Upon your arrival at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport, you will be greeted by a representative from the trekking agency and transferred to your hotel. After check-in, you will have some time to rest and freshen up. You will have a pre-trek briefing with your guide where you will discuss the trek itinerary, equipment, and any other important information related to the trek. You can also discuss any questions you may have about the trek.
Day 02: Kathmandu Sightseeing Tour The next morning, after breakfast, you can begin a Kathmandu tour. Situated at an altitude of 1300m, Kathmandu is Nepal's capital city with important religious and historic landmarks. These landmarks include the durbar squares, which were once a part of the history, the sacred Hindu shrine of Pashupatinath, Changu Narayan, one of the oldest temples in Kathmandu, the famous Monkey Temple Swayambhunath and the Buddhist shrine Boudhanath, one of the biggest stupas in the world and a UNESCO world heritage site. These sites will give you a glimpse into Nepal's rich cultural and religious heritage.
Day 03: Drive to Soti Khola After breakfast early in the Kathmandu hotel, we will set off towards Soti Khola, which takes between 8 and 9 hours. The route is an asphalt road from Kathmandu towards Dhading Besi (the district headquarters of the Dhading district). During the drive, you can enjoy the stunning landscapes surrounded by lush green forests and mountain scenery. However, it is recommended to drive from Dhading as the road is extremely rough. After reaching Seti Khola, several guesthouses are located in Soti Khola, including ABC guest house, Satkar guest house, Tsum Valley guest house, Fulbari guest house, and Green valley guest house. These guesthouses offer essential accommodation facilities such as a room with a bed, and you can avail of WiFi service as well as a telephone to make calls in a teahouse.
Day 04: Soti Khola to Machha Khola On the 4th day of your trek, you'll depart from Soti Khola after having lunch and passing over the bridge. You will traverse through Sal and Rhododendron forests before climbing up to the ridge over and below the Kali Gandaki. When you reach Khursane, you'll walk along the rocky terrain with waves upwards and downwards, passing through lush waterfalls and taking in the amazing views of the snow-capped mountains. You'll then walk along the rocky terrain, climbing up to the top of the cliff and going down and around to reach the Gurung settlement of Labubesi. Further, you will climb up into the rocky hills, passing by rounded stores and traverse a suspension bridge to reach the Machha Khola village. Enjoy every step with breathtaking views of the mountains. Explore the area and Overnight at Machha Khola. Tsum Valley guest house, Everest guest house, Hilltop guest house and Larkye guest house are a few guest houses in machha Khola; they offer good food and lodging with the basics and amenities. Included meals are breakfast, lunch, dinner, and breakfast. They also offer you WiFi and charging facilities for electronic devices and hot showers (for an additional cost).
Day 05: Machhakhola to Jagat On the 5th day of the trek, you will be heading towards Jagat, departing from Machha Khola through a Gurung village. The trek includes passing through Tatopani, Dobhan, and Khola through the Budhi Gandaki valley. It is an exciting walk on rough terrain with breathtaking views of the mountain covered in snow as you trek from Machha Khola to Jagat. As you progress towards higher altitudes, you will notice changes in the scenery. The trek is approximately 7 hours from Machha Khola to Jagat, and you will stay overnight in a teahouse in Jagat. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included. Hotels in Jagat have good WiFi facilities, and four teahouses provide basic accommodation facilities. These are Jagat Guest House, Himalayan Tourist Guest House, Manaslu Santi guest house and Rubii Nala guest house. It is important to note that from Jagat, there is a restricted permit to access the Manaslu or Tsum Valley trek and also, there is a checkpoint at which trekkers have to show their permit card to continue the trek. The check post is located in Jagat, and the trekkers are required to show the permit card issued by the government of Nepal, to proceed further.
Day 06: Jagat to Deng On the sixth day, you will be travelling towards Deng, leaving the picturesque village of Jagat and moving ahead to enjoy the breathtaking panoramas of the snow-capped mountains. Today's hike will lead you through the dense rhododendron forest, oak, pine, and birch. You will see the gorgeous wildlife and flora. As you travel, you will cross the Budhi Gandaki and another small river, traverse suspension bridges and travel through scattered villages such as Nyak, Paimo and many more, which Buddhism dominates. Finally, you will reach Deng, where you will have the chance to discover the mountain dwellers' history, culture, and way of life. The views of the mountains are also stunning. Windy Valley guest house, New Manaslu Guest House and Sangrila Cottage are a few tea houses in Jagat where you will be supplied with basic facilities.
Day 07: Deng to Namrung On the seventh day, you will be heading to Namrung, leaving Deng behind. On the way, you will see a strong influence on Tibetan culture. The houses and terrain from Deng up to altitudes are entirely different; they are closer to Tibetan culture and way of life, which is in the direction of their Tibetan and Buddhist tradition. Along the way, you will pass through Mani prayer stones and enjoy the breathtaking panorama of Kutang Himal Rang on the north and other snow-capped mountains that exceed 6000m. After a walk through the thick forest and uphill, you will reach Namrung village. Namrung is a small village located at an altitude of 2600m, and it is famous for its beautiful views of the Himalayas and the rich culture and lifestyle of the people living there. Namrung Guest House, Namrung Thakali guest house, Nubri Four-Season Resort and SamaGaoun are the teahouse options for the limited teahouses at Namrung. However, they supply the customer with an excellent internet connection and hot showers.
Day 08: Namrung to Samagaon On the eighth day, Starting from Namrung, the path leads to Samagaon, which is located at 3,530m and is one of the biggest towns within the Manaslu region. The trek from Namrung to Samagaon gives you a breathtaking panorama of Mt Manaslu and other snow-capped mountains. Samagaon is a beautiful village located on the bank of the Budhi Gandaki River with a panoramic view of Mt. Manaslu. Along the way, you will be able to see many local farmers, and if you are looking to cross the frontier of Tibet, it will take you a day. There are also many walls, a prayer wheel, and several Buddhist monasteries that you can explore. Overnight stay in Samagaon included breakfast, lunch, dinner and breakfast. Gurung cottage guest house, Peace Heaven Guest house, Mount Manaslu Guest house, Norling Guest House, Sama Gaun Guest house and Tashi Dalek House of guests are several teahouses that provide trekkers with food and accommodation.
Day 09: Samagaoun to Samdo On the ninth day of your trek, you'll start your journey after breakfast and head towards the village of Samdo. This village is located not far from where you started, but as you are in the mountains, it's important to take your time and walk slowly. The trek will take you through the Gurung and Nagar villages, and you'll have the opportunity to walk through lush green forests of oak and pine and see blooming rhododendrons. When you arrive at Samdo, you'll find that it is one of the most remote settlements in Nepal that is away from commercialization and modernization. The village is beautiful, surrounded by nature, and you'll see around 40 houses with 200 villagers. This village is the final one you'll see before reaching the Larkya la Pass, and it's a great opportunity to observe the locals living an extremely strong agricultural culture. The trek took about 4 hours from Samagaoun and you'll experience basic lodging, food, and service. After you visit the village, you'll spend the night at a teahouse in Samdo. The teahouses in Samdo village are locally run and include the Tibetan twin hotel, Hotel Yak, and Jambalaya Guest house. These places are great options for an overnight stay and an experience of the local culture and hospitality.
Day 11: Samdo to Dharamsala/Larke Base Camp On the eleventh day of your trek, you'll be heading towards Dharamsala, also known as Larkya Phedi, which is located at an altitude of 4,470 meters. This is the base camp for your final destination, the Larke La Pass. The walk will start along a mountainous path and you'll cross the Gayala Khola and ascend to the ridge. When you reach the Larkya Bazar, you'll walk through the scattered village. There is only one teahouse in Dharamsala, so it's recommended to reserve with prior notice to ensure you have basic amenities for accommodation without disruption. During the trek, you'll come across several Buddhist monasteries, Mani walls, prayer flags, and hanging glaciers. These are all worth taking the time to see and appreciate. After a long day of trekking, you'll spend the night in a basic teahouse in Dharamsala. Your daily meals will include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and breakfast. In the Dharamsala region, you'll find two teahouses that provide guests with basic facilities for lodging. These include Larkya Guest house and Jambalaya Guest house. While these teahouses offer WiFi, hot showers may not be readily available, so it's best to be prepared for that.
Day 12: Larke Base Camp Larkya Pass (5,160 meters) to Bimthang On the twelfth day of your journey, you'll be heading to the Larkya La Pass after having breakfast early in the morning. The Larkya La Pass is the most attractive pass in the Manaslu region, and it is high and offers magnificent views of the world's highest mountain ranges such as Mt Manaslu, Mt Annapurna, Mt Dhaulagiri, and other snow-capped mountains. After taking in the stunning views, you'll return to Dharamsala and continue your trek to Bimthang where you will spend the night. The trek to Larkya La pass is demanding and takes around 5-6 hours, but the views will be worth it. After the pass, you'll walk back to Dharamsala and then to Bimthang. The meals included for this day are breakfast, lunch, dinner, and breakfast. In Bimthang, you'll find several teahouses that offer basic services such as the use of a hot shower and WiFi. These teahouses are great options for an overnight stay and an experience of the local culture and hospitality. Some teahouses in Bimthang include Apple Garden, Himalayan Guest House, Sushma Guest House, and Mountain Ponker Cottage.
Day 13: Bimthang to Dharapani On the thirteenth day of your trek, you'll trek towards Dharapani from Bimthang. This trek connects with the famed Annapurna circuit route and is considered one of the more enjoyable and exciting hikes. The trail takes you through rhododendron and pine forests. After about 7-8 hours of walking, you'll reach Dharapani, where you can rest for a while, enjoy the surroundings and take an excursion to Besisahar. You will spend the night in a teahouse in Besisahar. The trek to Dharapani is challenging, but the beautiful forest and the trail will make it worth it. The meals included for this day are breakfast, lunch, and dinner. After reaching Dharapani, you'll have the option to stay in one of the many available teahouses. You will find various amenities such as attached bathrooms, hot showers, WiFi services, and other amenities. Dharapani is the final destination on the Manaslu Circuit Trek before you return to Kathmandu.
Day 14: Drive Back to Kathmandu On the fourteenth day of your journey, you'll travel towards Kathmandu from Besisahar following an early breakfast. This 5-6 hour drive back to Kathmandu will take you through trials that are not well-known, so you can take in every moment of the journey and enjoy the beauty of nature, Himalayan wildlife, and plants. When you arrive in Kathmandu, you can take a shower and then relax.
Frequently Asked Questions About Manaslu Circuit Trek
How Long Is The Manaslu Circuit?
The Manaslu Circuit is a trek in Nepal that takes 13 to 17 days to complete. The total distance of the trek is 177 kilometres (110 miles). The duration and distance can vary depending on the itinerary chosen by the trekking company. Some companies may start the trek in Arughat Bazar while others may begin at Soti Khola. The 14 or 15-day itineraries are considered the most popular as they allow for adequate acclimatisation and comfort.
What Is The Best Season for Manaslu Circuit Trekking?
The Manaslu Circuit trekking has four seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. The best seasons for trekking on the Manaslu Circuit are considered to be Spring (March to May) and Autumn (October to November), as the weather is relatively stable during these times, making for the best trekking conditions. However, each season offers its unique atmosphere and excitement for hikers. It is worth noting that the trek can be done throughout the year, but the trail condition and difficulty may vary with the season.
Why The Manaslu Circuit and not the Annapurna Circuit?
The Annapurna Circuit is a popular trek in Nepal that offers stunning mountain views, diverse landscapes, and rich culture. However, it is also one of the busiest treks in Nepal after the Everest Base Camp trek. The Manaslu Circuit, on the other hand, offers a similar trekking experience as the Annapurna Circuit but with fewer tourists. The Manaslu Circuit is known for its remote and off-the-beaten-path feel, making it a great option for those looking for a more authentic and genuine trekking experience. The trail is less crowded, and you will have a chance to experience the local culture and customs in a more intimate way. It also offers a chance to encounter the diverse culture of the different ethnic groups of the region.
Is the Manaslu Circuit Trek in Nepal Difficult?
The Manaslu Circuit trek in Nepal can be challenging, but it is not impossible to complete. You can make it if you enjoy hiking and start getting physically fit well before the trek. The average trek in the Annapurna region is not considered to be extremely difficult, but it is recommended that hikers and trekkers are moderately fit. Remember that you will be trekking in the Himalayas of Nepal, so some physical fitness is required. It is important to prepare physically and mentally to ensure a successful and enjoyable trek.
How Much Does The Manaslu Circuit Trek Cost?
The cost of the Manaslu Circuit Trek can vary depending on several factors, such as the time of year, the duration of the trek and whether you choose to go with a guide. Generally speaking, the cost of the Manaslu Circuit Trek ranges from $1,500 to $2,500 USD. This cost includes various expenses such as the guide fee, permits, accommodation and meals. Depending on the package you choose and the time of year, the cost may be higher or lower. It is important to remember that the trek cost does not include personal expenses such as travel insurance, tips, and souvenirs. It is always better to check with the trekking agency for more details and accurate pricing.