Manaslu Circuit Trekking Guide
Getting to Manaslu circuit
The trip will start from kathmandu and the trail will begin from soti khola. The trekker can reach soti khola from bus or private jeep which runs from kathmandu it will take around 6 to 8 hours to reach soti khola and it will stop for lunch. Getting to soti khola on a local bus is quite an adventure. the trekker needs to travel to gongabu bus park and the bus will take to arughat and from there we need to board a local bus or jeep to reach soti khola. And from soti khola our trek will start.
While travelling in local bus you need to careful of your valuables your bags will probably be kept in the roof of the bus always keep your valuables with you and don’t leave anything unattended. Our guides will also be there to watch your belongings.
Returning from the trail
Once you arrive Tal you need to take a local jeep which will go up to beshisahar and from beshisahar take a local bus to kathmandu the total journey would be around 10 hours.
How long does it take to travel the whole Manaslu circuit
It will take around 16 days to do the whole Manaslu circuit including your arrival and departure date. And also you will be travelling in road for 2days jeep and bus and trekking for total of 12 days.
This 16 days trip is a standard itinerary which includes acclimatization days also. The trekker can also add few days for side trips as there are many nice places to visit in Manaslu circuit. However we do not recommend to shorten the days as it will increase the risk of altitude sickness.
Best time to travel Manaslu circuit
Manaslu circuit during Autumn
Autumn is one of the best seasons to trek around Manaslu circuit autumn starts from September and ends in late November. During these seasons the weather are clear offering the trekker best views of the mountain ranges and varied landscapes. The difficulties of the trek also depend on the season if you trek on autumn the weather and temperature are favorable so crossing the high pass will be bit easier. The weather-related hazards are also minimum during autumn. However Autumn is the peak season for trekking so there might be lots of tourist trekking around Manaslu and the restricted Area Fee is also a bit higher during Autumn
Manaslu circuit during Spring
Spring season is the time when the flowers start to bloom, This season starts from March and ends in late April. During these season the lower zones of the trail will be full with beautiful flowers spreading their fresh aroma. The skies will be more clear and bright the trekkers will have a magnificent views of the lush green forest as well as the amazing landscapes.
Manaslu circuit during winter
We do not Recommend any trekker to trek Manaslu circuit during the winter. Winter starts from December and ends in late February. During the winter the temperature are very cold and can reach below minus degrees. There will be heavy snowfall in the higher zones of Manaslu circuit, The trails will also be covered in snow making it very slippery and difficult to walk. The people of higher altitude migrate down to lower zones to avoid the cold and heavy snowfall so all the teahouses will remain close during winter so the trekker will have no access to food or accommodation. The weather remains unclear and trekker will not have clear view of the landscapes.
Trekking in Monsoon
The monsoon starts From June and ends in August, during these months the weather is not good for trekking. Like other trekking regions Manaslu region also receives heavy rainfall which increases the chances of rockfall and landslide. The Clouds and mist makes the visibility really poor so the trekker might not enjoy the landscapes and the mountains. In the lower zones the trail would be filled with leeches and other insects. Trekking during monsoon is very risky and we do not recommend the trekkers to travel during these seasons.
Manaslu circuit Difficulty
The difficulty of the Manaslu circuit depends on various factors. The trail condition, Weather and season, personal fitness, Trekking group, guide and porter Your weight of your backpack and your effort and commitment. We Have break down all these factors to make you easy to understand the difficulty of the trail:
Trekking around Manaslu circuit the trekker do not need any technical skills as the paths are in good condition and yearly maintained. The trails are not confusing which makes easy to navigate expect in some places the trekker might get confused to be on the right track, And sometimes the trail might get a bit tricky due to the landslide. The season also determines the difficulty of the trail if you are trekking in winter or monsoon which is usually not recommended the trails will be more slippery and high chances of the landslide which will blocks the path. So you need to be more careful during these time.
The weather depends on which month of the year you are trekking in Manaslu Circuit. If you are trekking in March, April, May, September, October and November there is high chance that the weather will remain clear, The temperature is not so cold neither too hot and the skies will also remain clear without the clouds. In the high pass there wont be thick snows and chances of rock fall are minimum. So there isn’t much difficulties trekking during these months. But if you plan to trek Manaslu Circuit in other months then the difficulty and risks are higher because the trails would be filled with thick snows , The temperature in winter may drop to minus degrees and finding accommodation and food would be very difficult because most of the local tea houses owners would migrate down to avoid the unfavorable weather. Expect for Autumn and spring other seasons are considered as off season for trekking so trekking in Off season increases the level of difficulty and risks.
Having previous experiences of trekking will make this trek more comfortable and easy. If the trekker has experiences of high passes, altitude and Himalayas then Manaslu circuit will be quite easy for them. But if the trekker is a complete new to trekking in Himalayas then Manaslu circuit could be a bit challenging. As they need to walk for 6 to 7 hours a day and cross a high pass of more than 5000m.The difficulty also varies from your present physical condition if you do exercises regularly and hikes few times a month or an outdoor person then Manaslu circuit may be not be challenging for you. To make the circuit more comfortable we recommend you to start training for the circuit one month before the trip. Remember you need to be fit and healthy in order to complete the trek.
Weight of your backpack
The Weight of your backpack is the most important factor in determining the difficulty of the trek. If you are going to carry all your stuff by yourself and packing unnecessary items in your backpack and making it bulky then it will be more difficult and challenging. At first you may feel like you could carry all the stuff by yourself but believe us it will be far more challenging than you can imagine after few hours of hiking you may feel like you should have packed lightweight items.
If you trek with a guide and porter the difficulty will be much more easier because the porter will carry all your stuff and you will be only carrying your small daysack. But if you ae planning to trek with our porter remember to make your rucksack as light as possible only pack essential items and don’t make it more than 12 kilograms.
Accommodation on the Manaslu Circuit
The Accommodations around Manaslu circuit are Teahouses and lodges. These tea houses are made specially for trekkers. Most like other trekking regions of Nepal the tea houses around Manaslu circuit are similar. Since Manaslu region was highly affected by the 2015 earthquake many tea houses and local homes were damaged by it, but the local have already rebuild their homes and new teahouses are all along the way.
What to expect in Manaslu circuit:
Most of the Tea houses have Sharing rooms with two single beds. The Tea houses provides blankets, Bed sheets pillow and Sleeping foam. The blanket may not be enough to tolerate the cold so you might want to bring your own sleeping bag. Usually the rooms are small and has a small window right next to the bed.
The acoomodation around Dharmasala or larke phedi is limited, Dharamasala is the last stop before the larke pass. There is only three places to stay in Dharmasala, the trekker might need to stay in tents or the dark small rooms, But if it’s the busy season finding rooms in Dharamasla becomes very difficult as all the lodges will be full with guests.
Restrooms and Toilets
Attached room toilet are uncommon around Manaslu circuit. The Tea houses have shared Bathroom facilities which is mostly outside the room but in the compound of the tea house. The Bathroom may be squat or western style it depends on the tea house. But In higher altitude all the toilets are squat Asian style. You should bring your own toilet paper only few tea houses have toilet paper and don’t forget your personal soap or hand sanitizer. The toilet might not have auto flush system so there will be bucket and you can flush it by scooping water out from the bucket.
Getting a hot shower is very difficult in Manaslu circuit, You might get hot shower in the first or second day but as you trek and gain altitude the chances of getting hot shower decreases because the Gas needs to transported using the mule or donkeys and it is used for cooking and other purposes. Few Tea houses may offer hot shower but you may need to pay some amount to get it. Taking a shower in the cold dark bathroom may not be a good idea.
All the Tea houses have dining room it’s a common place for all trekkers, The Tea houses serves meals in the dining room the dining room may have a Firewood heater to warm the room and you may be accompanied by other trekkers where you can share your experiences. You can also enjoy your Lunch and Breakfast in the courtyard followed by the warm sun.
Trekking in Busy trekking season
Manaslu circuit may not be crowded like Annapurna or Everest region but it will be quite busy during the peak seasons. Finding accommodations in small places may get difficult as there will be only few teahouses like in Dharmasala so you may want to book your rooms in advance. If you have your guide then you don’t need to worry as they will book the place in advance for you.
Food Around Manaslu Circuit
Like any other trekking regions the tea houses offers the food to the trekkers. The trekker can get wide variety off food from the menu but the menu is not as big as compared to Annapurna or Everest Region. The tea houses have professional cooks who prepares the food all the food reaches the basic standard. The trekker can get the Breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner at the tea house along with other beverages. The food may not be the same as you trek to higher altitude and the menu may also be limited because getting the supplies at higher altitude is quite difficult as the only means of transportation is Mule.
What to expect on the Meal
For Break fast
Breads are good option for breakfast and most of the trekker prefer bread for their breakfast.
Some the Breads that tea houses offer are
- Plain toast
- Cheese toast
- Bread with jam
- Honey toast
- Peanut butter toast
- Egg toast
Tibetan Bread :
Tibetan Bread are one of the most famous breakfast in high altitude Region of Nepal. As the culture of Everest region is influenced from Tibetan society. This Bread has also come from Tibet. Tibetan Bread is thick Bread like Chapati (Roti) but is fried in oil and bit tasty than chapati. One serving of Tibetan Bread will keep you full till lunch.
Porridge is the common option for breakfast. One of the best and quickest items of food for high altitude.
You can get variety of porridge as per the menu and your taste
- Porridge with honey
- Apple Porridge
- Porridge with chocolate
- Oat meal porridge
- Dry fruit Porridge
- Porridge with hot milk
- Porridge with honey, cinnamon and resins
Some people prefer Muesli over porridge you can select the muesli as per your taste some of the options for Muesli are
- Muesli with Yoghurt
- Dry Muesli
- Muesli with hot milk
- Muesli with chocolate
- Plain Muesli
- Muesli with fresh fruit
Puddings are great choice of breakfast which is a typical Nepali Breakfast. Puddings are same like porridge but it is more sweet and made from rice and comes in different flavors.
Some of the options for Puddings are
- Rice Pudding
- Chocolate Pudding
- Apple pudding
Eggs: Eggs are one the most essential foods which gives you energy for long period time. You can order your choice of eggs.
- Boiled Eggs
- Scrambled Eggs
- Fried Eggs
- Cheese Omelets
- Plain Omelets
- Poached eggs
The tea houses offers delicious pancakes, you have variety of pancakes like
- Apple pancakes
- Dry fruit pancakes
- Chocolate pancake
- Egg pancake
For lunch and dinner (main dishes)
The tea house have a standard portion of food for lunch and dinner some of the common dishes for lunch and dinner are
Rice meals Or Daal bhat
Daal Bhat is the typical Nepali Food which is Famous all over Nepal. Daal Bhat can be served as both lunch and dinner. The set of daal Bhaat includes A full plate of rice, Vegetables and meat. You can always refill your daal rice and curry except for meat. Daal bhaat is the quickest meal.The tea house offers different variety of rice with special flavors
- Fried rice with meat items, or vegetables or eggs
- Veg rice
- Rice with dried yak meat
- Fried rice with cheese and sauce
Thukpa is quite similar to Syakpa the only difference is the noodles in Thukpa is long and thick. Thukpa is one of the best food for winter and high altitude as it served with veggies like green onions, chick peas, carrot, and chillies. You can also get thukpa with meat and eggs.
Momo is another famous Food of Nepal. Manaslu circuit offers a unique taste of Momo which you should defiantly give a try. Momo Are the dumplings filled with meat, vegetables or cheese. You can ask for sauce.
Well the locals have mastered in the art of making pizza. You can get your pizza in different sizes with variety of flavors. Some of the famous pizza are
- Salami pizza
- Sausage pizza
- Yak cheese pizza
Spaghetti and pasta
Spaghetti and pasta the best diet for trekkers. Spaghetti and pasta were also famous in the world war. since then people have done magic with pasta. You can get spaghetti with the local mushrooms and handmade sauce.
As you trek to higher altitudes the Food Menu will be limited and if it the peak season then the taste of the food may also change so you have to adjust for couple of days.
Well there is not much options for snacks around Manaslu circuit there are limited shops where you buy chocolates, biscuits and chips. And in some Tea houses they may have potato chips available. We recommend you to bring some of your favorite snacks with you.
The tea houses have a big list of Beverages they serve both hot beverage and cold beverage. Some of the beverages that the Tea house offer are:
- Milk tea
- Tea without milk
- Lemon tea
- Honey hot lemon
- Jasmine Tea
- Hot water
- Mint tea
- Ginger hot water or ginger tea
- Caffeinated Drinks: coffee
- Red bull and local energy drinks
Drinking Water on Manaslu circuit
Since Manaslu Circuit is challenging trek and includes crossing the high pass the trekker must drink plenty of Water to remain hydrated through out the day. While Trekking our body dehydrates quickly so we must drink at least 2 to 3 liters of Water. We usually do not recommend to drink untreated water as it is not safe and may cause some uneasiness so all water must be treated before drinking.
You can easily fill up your water bottle at the Tea house you are staying or there are plenty of Taps through out the trek where you can refill your water and there are also many big streams, Waterfalls and rivers where you can get the water.
You can treat the water by different methods: using purification tablets is the most common method of treating water but it takes a bit time so we prefer steripen ultra which filters the water within 90 seconds. You can also bring Life straw to filter the water.
PRO tips on water
Carry a Water bladder which could be attached inside your backpack. Having a bladder inside yoursacks saves makes so much easy you don’t need to stop for those little water breaks and reach for your water bottle you can just have few sips from the tube. You could carry a 2 3 liter bladder and 1 water bottle for treating your water.
Don’t Buy Bottled water on the circuit
You can but lots of bottle water throughout the trek but we do not recommend you to buy those bottle water. Bottle water is one of the main source of plastic pollution the local environment will have a hard time managing the waste you can just avoid the problem rather than contributing towards the problem.
You can treat your water by yourself so why invest those bulky money on bottle water, one liter of bottle water may cost you around 100 to 300 rupees so it is better to be wise and save those money. This will positively impact both on the environment and your cost.
Water at higher altitude
In the higher Altitudes the water may be frozen in the morning so it can be quite difficult to refill your water bottle or bladder in the morning so you can refill it just before going to bed. Or you can ask for hot water in the tea house but it will cost you few extra bucks.
Internet, Wifi, Simcards And electricity
Internet and Wifi
While Trekking around Manaslu circuit getting connected in the social media and replying to your Emails can be a bit difficult while some Tea houses offers Wifi to their guest they may charge some amount but the speed of the Wifi is really slow so you might not enjoy it.
You can get 4G simcards at the airport or Thamel. You can either buy Ncell Sim card or NTC sim cards and you can also buy data packages from both of these cards. The 4G service might not work around Manaslu so you have to use the 3G or 2G service which is really slow and some places you may not even get a Data connection. So better enjoy the mountains than internet.
You might need to charge your phones, cameras, and other essential items. On the first few days of trekking you can easily get electricity for charging your items but after few days it will be difficult to charge your items for free. The Tea houses will take few bucks for charging your items the price depends upon which item you are chagrining.
Bringing a power Bank and solar panel could be the best option In this trek as it will save a lot of amount. You can also carry extra batteries for your cameras.
Permits and insurance
The Trekkers requires three different kinds of permit for Trekking in Manaslu circuit And the cost of permits depends upon the season of the trek.
Restricted Area Permit (Rap)
Since Manaslu Area is restricted area the trekker needs to have a RAP
IF the trekking is travelling between September to November it will cost 100USD for 7 days and $15 for every extra days
And from December to August it will cost 75USD for 7 days and $10 for every extra days.
To get the Restricted Area permit the trekker needs to go through trekking agency the government does not provide RAP to solo travelers or individual trekker. The trekker must register from a Travel Agency.
We will help you to arrange all these permits if you are travelling solo then we can help you find a partner for getting the permit.
Manaslu conservation Area Project permit(MCAP permit)
Manaslu region lies inside the manaslu conservation area project this project helps to protect the biodiversity as well as develop the living standard of the local people.
The MCAP permit costs 3000NPR per person
You can get the MCAP Permit from Nepal Tourism Board, But you don’t have to do all those hassel as our guides will help you to get these permit. Which will save your time and in the mean time you can prepare for your trek.
Annapurna conservation Area Permit (ACAP permit)
The Manaslu area ends after you descend down from Larke pass and reach Bhimthang. And You need to cross Annapurna conservation area in order to complete the circuit so the trekker also needs ACAP permit.
The Cost of ACAP permit Is 3000 NPR and Nepal Tourism board provides the permit.
You can do the insurance from your own home country you should consider few things before doing the insurance like the insurance should be valid for high altitude trekking below 6000meter and it should also cover the cost of helicopter rescue in case of emergency.
Money on the circuit
Well the total amount of money depends on how you are trekking. IF you are trekking through an organized inclusive trekking agency with guides and porters then you will only need money for the snacks or drinks and tips. But if you are paying for yourself everyday for the foods accommodations and drinks then you need to discuss it with our guides on how much you need per day.
All the Tea house accept Nepali currency and the guides and porters can accept foreign currency also.
There are no ATMs on the whole circuit so you may want to take enough cash with you from kathmandu.
Manaslu circuit with Guide and porter
Manaslu circuit being a restricted Area you cannot trek solo or without a guide you need to have at least two person in the group excluding the guide to get the permit. The government has banned to trek solo and without guide in this region. The reason for banning the trekker to travel solo or without the guides is to keep the travelers safe and maintain the beauty of the place as well as preserve it.
Before hiring a guide you should know what it feels like trekking with the guide:
- Trekking guides are license guide who have received the certification and training from the government
- The guides have received trainings on Navigation, First Aid, Conflict management, Map reading, Search and rescue, Rope rescue, Leave No trace and other various trainings
- The guide will help you to get to your destination safely
- Guides will help to arrange all the permits and entry the permits at different checkpoints where you do not have to wait for the long ques
- The weather up in the mountains are unpredictable so the guides will update ypu about the day to day climate and temperature
- They will brief you about the local culture, Landscapes, bio diversity and always be ready to clear your confusions
- Guides will help you to get the best accommodation food and they will also pre book the lodges
- Guides will be also responsible for your safety, they have received trainings on First Aid and Emergency Rescue and in case of any accident they will always be with you to provide the basic first Aid and if the first aid doesn’t relieve the symptoms they will do the emergency Rescue
- A guide is not just someone who will show you the path but they will be with you throughout the trek they will ensure you safety and security and always try to give you the best of the best experience
A porter is some one who will help you to carry your bags so that you can trek comfortably hiring a porter will make the trip much more easier as the load of the backpack will not give you full opportunity to enjoy the trek to the fullest. The porter will carry up to 25to 30 kgs of load.
What to pack for Manaslu circuit
Packing is the most important factor while trekking. Most of the trekkers gets confused on what they should be packing and forgets to pack important items and sometimes they just pack to many items that they don’t even need. You should make you pack as light as possible and only pack the essential items.
Your packing should be based on the months you are trekking around Manaslu, if it is winter then you may need technical gears like Crampons as there will be ice in the the Larke pass.
IF you are hiring a porter then the porter will carry your rucksack but don’t make it difficult for the porter the standard weight that a single porter will carry is 35 to 30 kgs.
TO make it easy on what to pack we have made a list of items that you must pack for Manaslu circuit
You need to bring the right clothing for trekking a good layering will decrease the chance of altitude sickness as well as make you comfortable through out the trek. Also you should be ready for all kinds of weather condition it can be warm and hot in the lower zones during the day while it might be freezing at higher altitudes.
- Base layer
- T-shirt : It can be a quick dry T-shirt and avoid cotton. A quick dry T-shirt will dry fast and keep you cool during the hot days and one good thing is it doesn’t get smelly fast. Keep at least 2 pairs of T-shirts
- Thermal set : You will also need a pair of thermal set to keep you warm.
- Undergarments: Pack at least 3 to 4 pairs of undergarments and sports bra for girls
- Mid layer: For mid layer 1 pair of warm fleece would be enough for this trip
- Insulation: Down or synthetic jacket.
- Waterproof jackets and pants 1 pair
- Hiking pants 2 pairs
- Warm pants for night
- Trekking socks 3 pairs and 1 extra pair for night
- Gloves:1pair of inner gloves and 1 pair of waterproof gloves.
- Hats or caps: For a sunny day Caps works like a miracle. A woolen hat will always keep your ears head warm and protect from cold
- Buff: Buff is the one thing that you should not miss. As it prevents your nose from being dry as it blocks the dry wind
- Day pack
- Sleeping bag (-20)
- Trekking poles
- Toiletries and sunscreen
- Personal medication and first Aid
- Extra batteries and chargers
- Solar panel
- Power bank
- Hand sanitizer
- Head torch