The Manaslu Circuit Trek is one of the most popular trekking routes in Nepal, known for its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural experiences, and challenging terrain.
The Manaslu Circuit Trek unfolds before trekkers with awe-inspiring views of the magnificent Manaslu Massif, dominated by the towering Manaslu peak, which majestically stands at an astounding 8,163 meters (26,781 feet) above sea level. Additionally, the journey unveils breathtaking panoramas of neighboring peaks that adorn the Himalayan landscape.
This remarkable trek offers an immersive experience in a rich tapestry of cultures. As you traverse diverse terrains, you’ll engage with a mosaic of ethnic communities, including Gurungs, Tamangs, and Tibetans. Each group preserves its vibrant traditions and lifestyles, creating a fascinating cultural mosaic along the route.
Winding through remote villages and settlements, trekkers have the unique privilege of connecting with local inhabitants. These encounters provide profound insights into the daily lives, rituals, and customs of the people, fostering authentic cultural exchanges that enrich the trekking experience.
The Manaslu Circuit Trek presents challenging terrain, notably the formidable Larkya La Pass, which ascends to a lofty 5,160 meters (16,930 feet). Conquering these high-altitude stretches demands not only physical fitness but also meticulous acclimatization to ensure safety and enjoyment.
Setting it apart from some other remote trekking regions in Nepal, the Manaslu Circuit boasts a well-established network of tea houses and lodges along the trail. These cozy accommodations offer weary trekkers a place to rest and indulge in nourishing meals, enhancing the overall trekking experience.
A standard Manaslu Circuit Trek spans approximately 14 to 17 days, though the itinerary can be tailored to specific preferences and acclimatization needs. Over the course of this adventure, trekkers traverse a distance of roughly 177 kilometers (110 miles), making it a rewarding yet demanding journey into the heart of the Himalayas.
Manaslu Circuit Trek itinerary
|Day 01||Arrival in Kathmandu and transfer to hotel.|
|Day 02||In Kathmandu with optional sightseeing tour and trek preparations.|
|Day 03||Drive to Machha Khola 900 m / 2,952 feet approx. 8 hours.|
|Day 04||Trek to Jagat 1,340 m -06 hours walk.|
|Day 05||Trek to Pewa 1,710 meters-06 hours.|
|Day 06||Trek to Ghap 2,160 meters-05 hours.|
|Day 07||Trek to Lo-Gaon 3, 180 m-05 hours.|
|Day 08||Trek to Sama-Gaon 3, 500 m /11, 480 feet-06 hours.|
|Day 09||At Sama-Gaon rest day for acclimatization and excursion.|
|Day 10||Trek to Samdo 3,690 m -05 hours.|
|Day 11||Trek to Dharmasala 4, 450 m /14, 596 feet-04 hours.|
|Day 12||Trek to Bhimthang 3, 590 m via Larke-La Pass 5,106 m -08 hours.|
|Day 13||Trek to Dharapani 1,820 m -05 hrs.|
|Day 14||Drive to Kathmandu-08 hours.|
|Day 15||Free day for individual activities.|
|Day 16||International departure for homeward bound.|
Best Time for the Manaslu Circuit Trek
The best times for the Manaslu Circuit Trek are during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) when the weather is generally stable, and the views are clear.
- Spring(March to May)– Spring is one of the most suitable seasons for trekking in the Manaslu region. The stable weather, mild temperatures, and clear skies make trekking possible during the spring season. Tea houses and lodges along the trekking trail also remain typically open and are fully operational during this season, providing comfortable accommodations and healthy meals to the trekkers.
- Autumn(September to November)– Autumn is another season that is favorable for trekking in the Manaslu region of Nepal. Autumn provides some of the clearest mountain views, comfortable weather, and clear skies, making it an excellent time for trekkers to venture out and capture the beauty of the Manaslu massif and the surrounding peaks.
Permits required for Manaslu Circuit Trek
The Manaslu region has been declared as a restricted area by the Government of Nepal to control tourism and as such, individual trekkers are not allowed, and obtaining a permit to enter or trek in the Manaslu region is compulsory as per the regulations laid down by the government. The rule also states that there must be a minimum of two trekkers along with an experienced guide and your permit must be processed through a registered agency.
Basically, three different permits are required for the Manaslu Circuit Trek:
1. Special Restricted Area Permit for Manaslu (Manaslu RAP): This Manaslu trek permit is required from Jagat until you cross Sama Gaon. Once you cross the village of Sama, you need another entry permit (ACAP)! The price for the Manaslu RAP depends on the number of days you spend between Jagat and Dharapani. The last checkpoint for RAP is in Sama Gaon.
- September to November: USD 100 per person for the first seven days and an additional USD 15 per person per day from the eighth day onwards.
- December to August: USD 75 per person for the first seven days and an additional USD 10 per person per day from the eighth day onwards.
You do not need a printed photograph for the Manaslu RAP, as it will be uploaded online and printed on the permit itself.
2. Manaslu Conservation Area Project (MCAP Permit): This Manaslu trek permit is required from Philim, where the Manaslu Conversation Area starts. The price is the same throughout the year: USD 30 per person. Also, there is no restriction or change in price with a change in the number of days you spend inside MCAP.
A printed photograph is required for the MCAP permit.
3. Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP Permit): This Manaslu trek permit is required from Dharapani until you exit ACAP in Beshi Sahar. The price is the same throughout the year: USD 30 per person. Also, there is no restriction or change in price with a change in the number of days you spend inside ACAP.
Similar to MCAP, a printed photograph is required for the ACAP permit.
Additional Trek to Tsum Valley
Tsum Valley lies to the east of the Manaslu region and offers a unique cultural experience. It is a sacred Himalayan valley in northern Gorkha, and it was a restricted area until 2008. This trek offers a chance to explore unique Tibetan culture, ancient monasteries, and stunning landscapes. Trekking to Tsum Valley along with the Manaslu Circuit Trek is a fantastic option to extend your adventure and explore more of the beautiful and culturally rich Himalayan region.
Is the Manaslu Circuit Trek Difficult?
Hiking or trekking in the Manaslu region can indeed present challenges, but it’s important to emphasize that with dedication and proper preparation, it is achievable. If you have a passion for hiking and take the time to build your fitness in advance of your trek, you can absolutely succeed. While the average trek in the Manaslu region is not overly demanding, trekkers should still maintain a reasonable level of fitness.
Accommodation on the Manaslu Circuit Trek
Accommodation on the Manaslu Circuit Trek primarily consists of tea houses, also known as lodges or guesthouses. These tea houses are dotted along the trekking route and provide basic but comfortable accommodations for trekkers. You will spend every night at a tea house which will provide you with very basic facilities – two double beds and shared bathroom facilities. Heating is available only in the dining area and hot showers are usually available for an extra fee, and the availability of hot water can vary from teahouse to teahouse.
Tea houses typically provide meals for trekkers. You can expect a menu with a variety of options, including Nepali, Tibetan, and international dishes. Common meal choices include dal Bhat (lentil soup with rice), noodles, pasta, fried rice, and more. Many tea houses also serve tea, coffee, and soft drinks. You will stop at tea houses for lunch and overnight stay during the trek.
Telephone and WI-FI in the Manaslu Circuit Trek
You can purchase Nepali SIM cards in Kathmandu with relative ease. To obtain your SIM cards, you’ll need to provide two passport-sized photographs and a copy of your passport. Afterward, you’ll be required to complete a form and make a payment of approximately $1 to $2 to secure your SIM card.
While these SIM cards function well in areas with a strong network signal, it’s important to note that as you ascend to higher altitudes on the Manaslu Circuit trek, you may encounter regions with weaker or even no phone network coverage. Consequently, there may be instances where you are unable to use your Nepali SIM cards while trekking in the Manaslu region.
In such areas where your SIM card lacks connectivity, tea houses along the route often provide telephone services, allowing you to make calls. Additionally, some tea houses offer WiFi services for around $2 to $3 if your SIM card’s data package proves ineffective.
Things to Pack for the Manaslu Circuit Trek
Packing for the Manaslu Circuit Trek in Nepal requires careful consideration of the essentials and appropriate gear for trekking in varying altitudes and weather conditions. Here’s a comprehensive packing list to help you prepare for your trek:
- Travel Insurance
- Boarding passes for flights
- 2 passport photos
- Dollars in cash
- Credit card (make sure you have $500 available on your card in case evacuation by helicopter is required)
- Make sure you have non-cotton clothing for the trek
- 2 T-shirts with under layer (e.g. running T-shirts)
- Fleece / soft shell jacket
- Waterproof jacket
- Down jacket for warmth
- Trousers for underlayer (optional)
- Waterproof pants
- Trekking pants
- Lightweight and breathable trekking socks
- Gloves and woolen hat
- Sturdy and comfortable trekking boots (broken in before the trek)
- Camp shoes or sandals (for resting your feet at tea houses)
- Day pack (large enough for essentials like water, snacks, a rain jacket, and a camera)
- Duffel bag or backpack for your porter to carry your main luggage
- Sleeping bag (appropriate for the season and rated for cold temperatures)
- Trekking poles (helpful for stability and reducing strain on knees)
- Headlamp or flashlight (with extra batteries)
- Water purification tablets or a water filter
- Stuff sacks or dry bags (to organize and protect your belongings)
- Water bottle/thermos: at least 2 liters
- Sunglasses, sunscreen
- Personal medication (Inhaler, blister plasters…)
- General toiletries, contact lenses, spectacles (if necessary)
- Electronics, travel adapter, phone & charger
- Lip balm
- Hand disinfectant, biodegradable wet wipes
- Trekking maps and guidebooks
Why the Manaslu Circuit Trek and not the Annapurna Circuit?
The Manaslu Circuit is everything the Annapurna Circuit is, but it allows for a more genuine trekking experience.
For trekkers who are drawn to the allure of remote and less-trodden trails, the Manaslu Circuit offers a compelling alternative. While parts of the Annapurna Circuit have seen modernization, the Manaslu Circuit remains relatively untouched by such developments. As a result, trekkers seeking a more off-the-beaten-path experience are likely to find it in the pristine and secluded trails of the Manaslu region.
Map of Manaslu Circuit trek
Manaslu Circuit Trek FAQs
How difficult is the Manaslu Circuit Trek?
The Manaslu Circuit Trek difficulty is generally considered moderately challenging. Trekkers will need to traverse through taxing terrains to achieve their goal of completing the Manaslu Circuit. The rugged and remote landscapes of the region require a long-duration of walk
How long is the Manaslu Circuit trek?
The Manaslu Circuit offers a longer trek than some other treks in Nepal. The Manaslu can be tackled in 13 to 17 days. Most trekking companies offer 14 or 15-day itineraries as it allows for adequate acclimatization and comfort. The total distance of the Manaslu Circuit is 177 kilometers (110 miles).
Can I trek Manaslu without a guide?
No, you cannot do Manaslu Trek without a guide. It is not allowed to trek through the restricted path of the Manaslu Circuit on your own. Nepal’s Government has restricted solo access in the region.
Why is Manaslu so popular?
Located in west-central Nepal, this mighty peak in the Himalayas is well-known as the introductory 8000m peak among the fourteen throughout the world. Manaslu is an excellent training climb for aspiring Everest climbers to see how they handle being above 8000m, in the death zone.
What documents do you need for the permits?
We need your original passport for the permit. We also need a scanned copy of your passport which you can submit on our booking portal. It helps to arrange all the necessary documents for your permit before your Arrival
What is covered in the amount I pay for Manaslu Circuit Trek?
Your guide, all the required transport, permits, and Three meals a day are included in the cost. Drinks and snacks are not included in the cost. Porter and private transport cost an additional amount. You can select porter and private transport if necessary during the checkout process.
What is the total distance of Manaslu Circuit Trek?
Mount Manaslu is about 123 km aerial distance from Kathmandu to the Northwest. The starting point of the trek is around 126 km from Kathmandu.
How cold is it at Manaslu?
At the start of the trek, the climate is subtropical. Overall you can expect somewhere between 10 to 25 Celsius throughout the year. However, in the upper parts of the trek, the temperature will fall to -20 or below in the winter.
Can I do Laundry in the trek?
Laundry service is not available in the trek. You can wash your clothes with your hands if you want to.
What is the weight limit of the porter?
The weight limit of the porter is 20 kg.
What are the extra costs that I am not aware of?
Your Guide, accommodation, food, and transport are included in the price. Drinks are not included in the price. Hot shower costs extra in tea houses (USD 3 to USD 5).
It costs extra to charge your phone, and camera battery (USD 2 to USD 4 per charge) Wi-Fi costs extra as well (USD 3 to USD 5).
Should I be worried about Altitude Sickness in Manaslu Circuit Trek?
The Manaslu Circuit Trek commences at an altitude of 800 m (2,624 ft) and you’ll approximately gain an elevation of 400 m (1,312 ft) each day. By Day 6, you will have ascended to 3,000 m (9,842 ft), providing ample time for your body to acclimatize.
Furthermore, there are two designated acclimatization days, one in Samagaun and another in Samdo, to ensure your body adjusts comfortably to the high-altitude environment.