The Manaslu Circuit Trek is one of the best, less frequented treks in Nepal. Rarely heard off the beaten route of the Himalayas in the raw and pristine grace of Baudha, Gorkha, and Chuli Himal in the remote valleys of the country known for hills and mountains that combine two significant trekking regions, Annapurna and Manaslu, which provides the trekker with an opportunity to grasp all the highlights of both trekking areas cost-effectively.
The trekking circuit area of Manaslu is bordered by two main river systems in Nepal: Budhi Gandaki to the east and Marshandi Khola to the west, which quench the thirst for a wide variety of wildlife in both protected lands, which heavily cultivate paddies and winter crop orange in the rolling terraced hills as you progress from the subtropical jungle at the lower level to the seemingly arduous and frosty foothills of the Himalayas, Larkya La Pass above 5,100 meters from sea level.
Coherently, the niche of the Manaslu Circuit is dominated by the indigenous Gurungs and Tamangs. While, in the majority of the upper Himalayas, you will encounter ethnic communities whose practices and customs resemble more those of the Tibetans, each dressed in their traditional attire and varying way of regulating life. Even a slight interaction with the extremely hospitable and rich culture locals of Manaslu during the trek can provide you with a great insight into the interesting hardships and prosperity of the people from the center of the Himalayas.
Therefore in our 15-day itinerary underrated trek to Manaslu Circuit, you will get to relish all the epic scenery of the classic trek in Nepal that embraces the authentic culture, traditions, and architecture of the unspoiled Himalayas, including the natural beauty around the eighth highest mountain in the world, Mt. Manaslu, at an altitude of 8,163 (26,781 ft), which can be physically demanding and challenging due to a lack of prior preparedness due to the risk of altitude sickness regardless of age and past experiences.
The trekking route starts from Gorkha, which follows the rugged gorge of the tributary river of the Gandaki, Budhi Gandaki, through the picturesque settlements of native Gurungs and several ancient Buddhist monasteries such as Ribung Gompa, Mu Gompa, and Pung Gyen Gomps that showcase the Tibetan Buddhism influence in the Manaslu Circuit and offer an eye-opening glimpse into the spiritual and religious practices of the region.
On the other hand, while you pass by several diverse inhabitations of ethnic communities in the pure wildness of Manaslu, you will get to observe the uncanny series of changing vegetation, from tropical species to temperate stands of forest that include the trees of oak, beech, and rhododendron, where barking deer, Himalayan marmots, and alpine birds, as well as a group of ravens and other avians, play hide and seek.
To sum it up, the Manaslu Circuit Trek is an underestimated adventurous trekking experience in Nepal that lets you explore the mythical what seems like a heaven in the Himalayas of the Manaslu and Annapurna ranges that lead you to the typical mountain valleys where you can live the local way of Himalayan life in the homestays and tea houses of Nepal for a truly unforgettable trekking acquaintance of life.
Getting into the trekking trail of the Manaslu Circuit Trek
The trekking trailhead of the Manaslu Circuit is one of the closest routes from Kathmandu, accessible by road to the central-western part of the country, northwest of the capital city, which belongs to the Gorkha district. In the past, Arughat, the district headquarters, used to be the starting point to begin the trek to the Manaslu Circuit, which has changed to Soti Khola due to the expansion of roads in recent years.
Yet, there is no direct transport to the Soti Khola from Kathmandu. So, trekkers and travelers first have to make transit by Arughat, which is around 136 km, a 6-7 hour drive from Kathmandu valley, usually via asphalt-coated roads, till Dhading Besi, which can be bumpy and grueling in the section between Arughat and Soti Khola that you will cover with the help of a jeep arranged by the Adventure Himalayan Travels and Treks for a convenient trekking accomplishment.
However, one must always be prepared for a possible hike to reach the Soti Khola if you are planning to trek the Manaslu Circuit in the monsoon seasons due to frequent showers of rain that increase the probability of the road seeing landslides and flooding when the trail becomes muddy and slippery. Nonetheless, it is unlikely to hamper the set itinerary and budget considerations if you begin the ride early in the morning from Kathmandu.
In addition, if you are seeking a more comfortable and favorable drive option, you can arrange a private vehicle or leave the burdensome arrangement process to the hands of reputed travel and trekking organizers from Kathmandu, including Adventure Himalayan Travels and Treks. Although there may be an increase in the trekking expenses for the Manaslu Circuit, you will be granted greater flexibility and comfort.
What to expect in the Manaslu Circuit Trek?
The Manaslu region is the most iconic trekking destination in Nepal and offers the natural and cultural enthusiast a surreal journey to the not only naturally but also culturally fascinating paradise of the Himalayas, involving spectacular Himalayan panoramas, verdant hills, and forests, serene water streams, and falls, and riveting rivers as you pass through several settlements of the natives from the highlands where Buddhism and Hinduism coexist in perfect harmony.
At every entry point of the stopping places and villages of the Manaslu circuit, you will be welcomed by the Chorten and Mani walls. In the same phase, you will be in the peaceful ambiance of aromatic monasteries adorned with colorful prayer flags, where you can hear the enchanting holy mantras by the monks and Buddhist practitioners rhythmically with the shimmeringly flowing glacial water of the Budhi Gandaki river.
Overall, the Manaslu Circuit Trek is an excellent trekking experience that balances the adventure, offering a mesmerizing fusion of natural and cultural immersion in the Manaslu region in a descent customizable itinerary and costing provided by Adventure Himalayan Travels and Treks for a unique and memorable voyage to add to your journal of life in the heart of the Himalayas of Nepal. Here is a brief explanation of why the Manaslu Circuit Trek stands out among all the trekking destinations:
Striking mountain scenery seen in the Manaslu Circuit Trek
The Manaslu Circuit Trek is famous among true mountain and nature lovers, no wonder for its jaw-dropping majestic Himalayas. Along with the eighth-highest peaks of the world, Mt. Manaslu (8,163 m/26,795 ft), the popular trekking Manaslu region boasts about the closer embracement of Himal Chuli (7,893 m), Shringi Himal (7,165 m), Ngadi Chuli (97,871m), Buddha Himal (6,692m), Cheo Himal, Samdo Peak, Larke Peak, Himlung Himal, and many other unnamed giants in 15 days.
Inclusive of these predominant ranges, you will pass through the diverse scenic landscapes, terrains, alpine meadows dotted with wildflowers and multiple colored rhododendron blooms in the spring, last but not least deep gorges, and several goosebumping suspension bridges ready to be photographed, which can be appreciated from the very beginning of the Manaslu Circuit Trek while the mountain views are more clear and unobstructed from the Samagaon.
Off-the-beaten Manaslu Circuit Trekking route
Despite the major growth in popularity of the 15-day Manaslu Circuit Trek, it is still considered an off-the-beaten adventure in comparison to the bustling Annapurna and Everest Base Camp routes. Trekking here began only in 1991 and hence receives a comparatively smaller number of visitors.
This particular trekking region of Nepal falls under the restricted territory of the government to preserve the cultural and natural heritage of the nation, which is also one of the major reasons that Manaslu has earned fame as the hidden treasure in the remoteness that takes you away from the haphazard city.
Overall, the Manaslu circuit is a tea house trek that comes at an affordable and reasonable cost that lets you enjoy the true country life in the hills and Himalayas retained by its various indigenous communities like Gurung, Tamang, and Sherpa, along with the Tibetan refugees.
Adrenaline rushing expedition in the Larkya La Pass in the Manaslu Circuit Trek
What could be the most challenging part of the Manaslu Circuit Trek other than the mountain pass, Larkya La Pass, at an elevation of 5,160 m or 16,930 ft? Undoubtedly, this is the section of the trek where your determination and physical fitness will be put to the test, which is equally rewarding with a sense of achievement once you conquer the pass with a 360-degree complete view of the surrounding mountain vistas.
As you will be crossing the high mountainous zone of the Manaslu Circuit Trek, it is important to consider the weather, as it can vary simultaneously in a single hour. So, it is essential to cross the pass as early as possible to prevent snowfall and storm encounters in the afternoon.
Cultural engrossment in the Manaslu Circuit Trek
Throughout the trekking route to the Manaslu Circuit, you will visit several villages of Gurungs, Tamangs, Tibetans, and Bhotia communities in 15 days. Gurungs are considerably greater in number, while Tamang is another prominent ethnic group in the area, which provides a greater chance to witness the never-before-seen cultural and traditional aspects of the locals.
In spring and autumn, anticipate the local festivals that often involve cultural dances, religious rituals, and grand processions while you savor the emblematic Tibetan and Nepali cuisines, usually Dal-Bhat-Tarkari (lentil soup with a heap of rice and seasonal vegetables), momo (Nepali infamous dumplings), and Thukpa, or noodles, etc., in tea houses or homestays.
Customizable Manaslu Circuit Trekking Itineraries
Much to the delight of trekkers, the Manaslu Circuit Trek itineraries are customizable according to your preferences and budget planning, i.e., you can extend or reduce the itinerary as per your time constraints and cost flexibility, and they are adjustable depending upon your level of physical fitness.
However, for a better trekking experience in the most untouched part of the Himalayas, it is good to include as many extra rest days as possible and side trips in your Manaslu Circuit Trek that grant you ample opportunity to acclimate, which is one of the most crucial factors of the high Himalayan trek that determines your overall trekking acquaintance in Nepal.
In addition, you can customize the Manaslu Circuit Trek by choosing different endings and starting points, such as Arughat, Dharapani, or Lapubesi. So, deciding on the itinerary to trek the Circuit area of Manaslu might get complicated, but don’t worry, we have the perfect 15-day itinerary set for the Manaslu Circuit Trek to save you from unnecessary hassles on what to choose from the nonspecific itineraries.
The Adventure Himalayan Travels and Treks have been operating a wide variety of treks around the Manaslu Trekking region, including the circuit trek, and are offering a precisely tailored 15-day itinerary that involves a free day in Kathmandu and Samdo to explore the true beauty of Nepal, the Nepalese hills, and the eight tallest mountains, Mt. Manaslu (8,163 m) preserving the ancient local cultures for centuries.
15 Days Manaslu Circuit Trek Cost 2024/2025
The Manaslu Circuit Trekking cost can vary significantly based on numerous factors, such as the specific route of your preference, the duration of the trek, the type of trekking package, and the accommodations you wish to spend the nights in, as well as whether you wish to hire a guide and porter or not.
Since the 15-day itinerary Manaslu Circuit is a moderately challenging tea house trek that offers basic accommodation and nourishing meals required for a convenient trekking experience, the cost of the package, specially customized by Adventure Himalayan Travels and Treks for 2024/2025, ranges from USD 1,025 to USD 1,325, offering a discount on the group price. Which is basically:
- USD 1,325 for 1 pax
- USD 1,175 for 2-3 pax
- USD 1,125 for 4-6 pax
- USD 1,075 for 7–10 pax
This package cost includes all the expenditures related to the several prerequisites of the trek, including food, accommodation, permits, transportation, guides, and porter fees. Even though you can do solo trekking in the Manaslu Circuit, it is mandatory to be at least accompanied by a guide for a better trekking experience that assures the safety of the trekkers and makes your trek more responsible as of April 1, 2023.
Local guides born and brought up in the Himalayas possess comprehensive expertise in the terrain and are experts in navigating for successful trekking in the circuit area. They are worth hiring to enhance cultural immersion as they fill the language barrier between the locals and the trekkers.
It is also good to know that, by hiring a guide that will cost you approximately USD 20 in 2024/2025, you will contribute largely to the conservation project of the Annapurna and Manaslu, which could leave a positive impact on the hardworking natives for generations, along with the project itself in the long run to uplift the living standard of the whole region.
But, if you are considering trekking solo in the Manaslu Circuit, make sure you have obtained the special trekking permits required for entry into the region. You will need the Manaslu Conservation Area Permit (MCAP) and the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP), including the restricted area permit.
How much the trekking permits are going to charge you depends on your nationality and you have to make a separate payment to it which generally comes around at the price of USD 30 per person per entry in each conservation area, while the permits cost around NPR 1,000 only for citizens from SAARC countries.
Likewise, for FITs (fully independent travelers), the arrangement of transportation can be a hectic experience, and the whole trek can be more expensive than an organized trek by an authorized travel and trekking company. So, it is advisable to take service from one of the locally reputed travel and tour operators in Nepal.
What to pack to Trek the Manaslu Circuit?
Many adventurers must be aware of the importance of the right day packing with appropriate gearing to avoid any sort of unwanted complications on the Manaslu Trek to ensure a comfortable, safe, and overall enjoyable trek in the Manaslu region while you round up the circuit.
Especially in the monsoon and winter, the packing needs extra consideration and suitable clothing. Nonetheless, here are some essentials to include in your packing to prevent yourself from carrying an unwanted load that could hinder your trekking participation:
Clothing for the Manaslu Circuit Trek
- Moisture-soaking base, layered top and bottom
- Insulating layers of fleece or a down jacket
- Waterproof and windproof outer shell of a jacket or pants
- Convertible trekking pants and shorts
- Long-sleeved shirts and T-shirts
- Sun hat
- A couple of pairs of socks and underwear
- Pair of gloves
- Buff or neck gaiter
Footwear to trek in the Manaslu Circuit
- Sturdy and waterproof-fitting boots with good ankle support
- Comfortable sandals or shoes for evenings
- Warm woolen pairs of socks
Gear and trekking equipment for the Manaslu Circuit
- A light yet warm sleeping bag
- Trekking poles
- Headlamps and extra batteries for it
- UV-protective sunglasses
- Reusable water bottles
- Water-purifying iodine tablets or filters
- Torso-fitting duffel bags or dry bags
Why is the Adventure Himalayan Travels and Treks a perfect choice to trek the Manaslu Circuit?
Adventure Himalayan Travels and Treks is a government-registered, licensed, and fully credentialed travel and tour organizer based in the heart of Nepal, Kathmandu, who has been actively operating tours, travel, and trekking in the most alluring parts of our country, Nepal, as well as Bhutan, Tibet, Singapore, and India, for more than 20 years. We feel honored to be one of the eco-friendly trekking companies promoting the environmental sustainability of the fragile Himalayas while we lead our clients to their dream destinations, including the Manaslu Circuit.
We value the ultimate satisfaction and safety of our clients without any hidden cost policies and are offering the 15-day Manaslu Circuit Trek at the most affordable price in 2024/2025 while making sure to provide a hand in the Himalayan encompassment to forever hold its pristine nature and reduce carbon footprints. Further, the team at Adventure Himalayan Travels and Treks is an expert in customizing the itinerary as per the personal preferences of our clients and can go to greater lengths to cater to your interests and time constraints.
Join us for an amazing adventure in the Manaslu Circuit in 2024/2025 to make the most of the trekking in the Himalayas of Nepal with the most qualified and experienced local Sherpa guides and porters of our management!