Manaslu Trek is a unique trekking destination in Nepal. It was opened to foreign trekkers only in 1991. Therefore, not a lot of trekkers trek in this region. So the region has maintained all of its originality. This region is also one of the restricted regions to trek in Nepal. Therefore, it is a must for you to trek to Manaslu with a guide as Manaslu Trek Without a Guide is almost impossible.
Manaslu is the eighth highest peak in the world and lies at an altitude of 8163 meters. This trek lies in the central-western part of Nepal and takes you about 2 weeks to complete. The word Manaslu comes from a Sanskrit word ‘Mansa’, which translates as the “soul” or “intellect” in English. The word Manaslu, thus, means “Mountain of Spirit”.
The Manaslu Circuit trek takes you to an elevation of more than 5000 meters. The highest point along the trek is Larkya La Pass, which lies at an altitude of 5213 meters. As this is a high altitude trek, most trekkers prefer to complete this trek in spring and autumn. In these seasons there is a perfect mixture of warmth and cold making way for great trekking conditions.
Some portion of the Manaslu Circuit trek lies inside the boundaries of the Manaslu Conservation Area. Established in 1998, the conservation area harbors many species of birds and animals. It also protects many rare animals like red pandas, snow leopards, Asian black bears, etc.
This article will be your guide to trekking in the Manaslu region. It will also give you insights about trekking in this region, what you should inspect. Further, I will also highlight the importance of hiring a guide to this region and how much costs are involved in hiring a guide.
Is a Solo Manaslu Trek Possible?
There are many wonderful trekking destinations in Nepal where you can trek solo. These trekking destinations include Annapurna Base Camp, Everest Base Camp amongst others. Unfortunately, it will not be possible for you to go for a trek in Manaslu Circuit Trek without a guide.
There are six Village Development Committees (VDC’s) in the Manaslu region that borders Tibet. These regions are semi-restricted areas. This has limited the number of tourists to Manaslu. So only about 1000 people trek in this region. If you are trekking in this region, you need a special permit from an authorized trekking agency.
Three of the most important and beautiful places along the Manaslu trek borders the autonomous region of Tibet. These places include Tsum valley, Larkya La pass, and Manaslu Base Camp. You will need a permit to trek to all of these regions.
In addition, you will compulsorily need a guide to trek in this region. The guide can be a licensed guide or a porter-guide. Furthermore, you can’t be a single person to trek in this region. A minimum of two people besides the porter and guide needed if you want to complete this trek.
Manaslu Trekking Permits
There are various types of trekking permits you will need if you want to go for Manaslu trekking. The following are the types of trekking permits that you should check before starting your trek to Manaslu:
- Manaslu Conservation Area Permit
- Annapurna Conservation Area Permit
- Restricted Area Permit
- Tsum Valley Permit ( only needed if you intend to trek to Tsum Valley)
As long as you have made sure to obtain all these permits, you should be good for a Manaslu Trek.
You can get the Restricted Area Permit if you contact a reliable trekking agency in Nepal. You can the Manaslu and Annapurna Conservation Area Permit from the office of Nepal Tourism Board. You can avoid all the hassle by letting a trekking agency manage it for you.
If you want to apply for a trekking permit, you will need to present the following documents to the trekking agency:
- 4 passport-sized photos
- Your passport which documents an entry visa
- Travel insurance that has insured you for evacuation up to 6000 meters
Costs of Manaslu Trekking Permits
These are the various costs of the trekking permits to Manaslu:
Restricted Area Permits
The cost of restricted area permit changes according to seasons. In peak trekking season, it costs you 70$ for the first week followed by 10$ for each subsequent day. In offseasons, this drops to 50$ for the first week followed by 7$ for each subsequent day.
The points for checking in and checking out are located at Jagat and Dharapani respectively.
Conservation Area Permits
You will cross two conservation areas while trekking i.e. Manaslu Conservation Area and Annapurna Conservation Area. The cost of trekking in both these areas is NRs 2000.
Tsum Valley Permit
Between the months of September to November, the Tsum Valley permit will cost you US$35 for the first 8 days. The cost of the permit decreases to US$ 25 for all other months. The days that you spend in Tsum Valley don’t count against your time in the Manaslu region.
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Manaslu Trek Guide Cost
The Manaslu Trek cannot be done without the help of a guide. If you have not trekked in high altitude regions before, then you may need to hire a porter as well. Or, you could also hire a guide cum porter.
If you have arranged your trek with the help of a trekking agency, they will provide you with a guide. If you want to hire a guide, (s)he will cost you US$ 25 per day. This cost includes meals, accommodation, insurance, equipment, and salary. The cost of a porter, on the other hand, is US$ 18. The cost includes all the things that are included in the cost of a guide.
Perks of Hiring a Professional Trekking Guide to Manaslu
Hiring a guide to the Manaslu Circuit trek is compulsory. Some of you might feel a bit restrained by this fact. But there are many things that will be on offer if you choose to hire a guide for your trek in the Manaslu region.
- While you are trekking in restricted areas like places in Manaslu trek, you might accidentally go to parts where trekking is not permissible. A guide will make sure that you don’t lose track of your trekking trail.
- Trekking in high altitude like Larkya La Pass of needs a bit of mental and physical strength. A guide will act as your motivator in case you find the trek difficult while trekking so high.
- The finding of local culture is so much easier with the help of a guide.
- Arranging for accommodation is never a problem when you go with a guide. Guides have good connections and friendships with owners of hotels and tea houses. This means that even in places of Manaslu trek where the number of tea houses, you won’t have difficulty in finding accommodation.
- Altitude sickness is something every trekker is worried about while trekking in high altitudes. In case you get affected by it while trekking in Manaslu region, the guide will help to give you the necessary medication. (S)he will also help you evacuate.
Manaslu Circuit Trek Route:
Nepal is a trekking paradise. From a short day’s trek to a month’s long trail, there is something for everyone here. Furthermore, the Manaslu Circuit Trek is one of the most unique trekking experiences in the Nepalese trekking scene. Likewise, opened to foreign trekkers only in 1992, it is relatively a new trekking trail. Hence, you have to be prepared to experience the Himalayan trail at its most arduous state.
The Manaslu trail lies in the western-central part of Nepal with close proximity to the Nepal-Tibet border. Hence, it is one of the few restricted trekking trails in Nepal and is open to only 1,000 trekkers each year. Therefore, you’ll also need a guide to accompany you as you cannot trek this trail alone.
The Manaslu Circuit Trek stretches over 177 km and takes around 16 days to complete. There is always a risk of altitude sickness as you ascend the 2,500-meter mark. However, the Manaslu trail starts at a lower altitude and gradually increases giving you a better acclimatization opportunity.
The trail starts with a drive from Arughat at just 570m above sea level and reaches peak elevation at Larkya La Pass at a staggering 5,213m. Hence, this could be the most complete package to trek the diverse Nepalese landscape.
In short, it encircles Mt. Manaslu, (8,156 m), the eighth highest peak in the world. Moreover, Annapurna and Ganesh Himal accompany each side of the trail providing you with one of the most exotic sights of mountain scenery. Apart from this, you’ll also witness 10 mountain peaks above 6,500 m and a few over 7,000 m on your Manaslu Trek Without a Guide.
Likewise, the Manaslu Circuit Trek takes you through a diverse set of landscapes, forests, swift-flowing rivers, and authentic Nepalese villages with mesmerizing culture and traditions all along a serene peaceful path. Similarly, the trail is also well dotted with teahouses and trekking facilities. So, rest assured and enjoy the journey. Here, we present you an outline itinerary for Manaslu Trek Without a Guide.
Outline Itinerary For Manaslu Trek Without a Guide
Day 01: Arrive in Kathmandu (1,300m).
Day 02: Kathmandu Sightseeing and trek preparation
Day 03: Drive from Kathmandu Arughat to Sotikhola (710)
Day 04: Trek from Soti Khola to Machha Khola (900m)
Day 05: Trek from Machha Khola to Jagat (1410m)
Day 06: Trek from Jagat to Deng (1920m)
Day 07: Trek from Deng to Namrung (2700m)
Day 08: Trek from Namrung to Lho (3180m)
Day 09: Trek from Lho to Sama Gaun (3530m)
Day 10: Acclimatization day at Sama Gaun with a hike to Manaslu Base Camp.
Day 11: Trek from Sama Gaon to Samdo (3780m)
Day 12: Trek from Samdo to Dharamsala (4480m)
Day 13: Trek from Dharamsala to Bhimthang (3700m) via Larkya La Pass (5213m)
Day 14: Trek from Bhimthang to Tilje (2300m)
Day 15: Trek from Tilje to Jagat or Syange (1100m)
Day 16: Head back to Kathmandu
Manaslu Tsum Valley Trek Route
The Manaslu region opened its door to trekkers in 1992. However, with a yearly quota of just 1,000 trekkers, it is one of the most authentic trekking experiences in the Himalayas.
The Manaslu Tsum Valley Trek Without a Guide is another beautiful trek in the Manaslu region. The trail circumnutates Mount Manaslu (8,156m)-the eight highest mountain peak in the world. With high passes and beautiful landscapes, the Tsum Valley is one of the last few hidden Himalayan gems waiting to be explored.
Known to the world only in 2008, the Tsum Valley is a newly discovered world. Far from the hassles of the world, the people of Tsum Valley live a life of solidity deeply rooted in Buddhist philosophy. Colorful Buddhist flags hang in and around the village adding vibrant color to the landscape. The deep humming sounds of monks reciting mantras give you a feeling of tranquility.
The Manaslu Circuit with Tsum Valley takes around 21 days to complete and is one of the most comprehensive trekking experiences. It is the perfect mix of cultural experiences and breathtaking scenery. The diverse landscape and topography mixed with unparalleled mountain views will keep enticing you. Likewise, the cultural shock and humility of the mountain people will surely warm your heart.
The trail set off at a relatively low altitude of 710 m at Soti Khola and gradually ascended to higher altitudes. Likewise, it reaches its peak elevation of 5,123m at Larke Pass. Moreover, the trail follows semi-tropical to pristine alpine landscape, dense forest, crystal-clear rivers, waterfall, and high suspension bridges.
En route, you’ll witness Mount Manaslu in all its grandeur. Likewise, be sure to check out Annapurna and Ganesh Himal. Also, the trail also leads to the Ganesh Himal Base Camp during Manaslu Trek Without a Guide. Moreover, you can also witness 10 mountain peaks above 6,500m and a few above 7,000m. Here, we represent your outline itinerary for Manaslu Trek Without a Guide.
Itinerary Outline For Manaslu Trek Without a Guide
Day 1: Drive from Kathmandu to Sotikhola (710m)+
Day 2: Trek from Sotikhola to Machhakhola (870m)
Day 3: Trek from Machhakhola to Jagat (1340m)
Day 4: Trek from Jagat to Lokpa (2,240m)
Day 5: Trek Lokpa to Dumje (2,460m)
Day 6: Trek from Dumje to Nile-Chule (3,361m)
Day 7: Trek from Nile-Chule to Mu Gompa (3,710m)
Day 8: Explore Mu Gompa
Day 9: Trek from Mu Gompa to Rachen Gompa (3,240m)
Day 10: Trek from Rachen Gompa to Chumling (2385m)
Day 11: Trek from Chumling to Deng (1860m)
Day 12: Trek from Deng to Namrung (2630m)
Day 13: Trek from Namrung to Lho (3180m)
Day 14: Trek from Lho to Samagaun (3500m)
Day 15: Acclimatization day at Samagaun
Day 16: Trek from Samagaun to Samdo (3860m)
Day 17: Trek from Samdo to Dharamasala (4480m)
Day 18: Trek from Dharamsala to Bimtang (3720m) crossing the Larke pass (5213m)
Day 19: Trek from Bimtang to Tilije (2300m)
Day 20: Trek from Tilije to Dharapani and drive to Besisahar (760m)
Day 21: Head back to Kathmandu from Besisahar
In conclusion, Manaslu is an off-the-beaten-track trekking destination. It is therefore full of authentic villages, culture, and landscape. But it is also a restricted trekking area. Hiring a guide is, therefore, a must. The cost of guides is not too high. Further, guides will help you explore this region quite well. So, arrange for all your permits, get friendly with your guide, and get ready to enjoy this beautiful trekking destination.