Manaslu Circuit Trek is truly a beautiful, unspoiled, and unique trekking trail in Nepal. Manaslu Circuit Trail lies in the remote region of the northern part of Gorkha district bordering Tibet (China) which is cradled between the river Budhi Gandaki on the east and the Marshyangdi River to the west.
Manaslu came from the Sanskrit word "Manasa" which translates as “intellect or soul”. So, Manaslu means "the mountain of the spirit, " the 8th highest mountain in the world.
Although mountaineers had access for a long time in the Manaslu region, however, for trekkers, it was officially opened only in 1991. Britishers are more attached to Mount Everest and regard it as theirs sentimentally, and so is Mount Manaslu to the Japanese.
Manaslu Circuit is a less trekked trail than the Annapurna and Everest region, however, that doesn't mean this area is dull or not worth the trek to! This region is rich in cultural heritage, amazing lakes, breathtaking waterfalls, and a great view of Mount Manaslu and other surrounding mountains.
Manaslu Circuit excursion goes through the Manaslu Conservation Area which was declared a conservation area in 1998. This trek is listed as a restricted area of Nepal, so trekkers need Special Permits as well along with other regular permits to trek in this region.
Hiking around Manaslu is becoming an alternative to Everest and Annapurna due to its unique landscape, pristine natural beauty, culture, and traditions which are disappearing from other traditional trekking areas of Nepal.
The trek to the Manaslu Circuit begins with an epic ride to Arughat Bazaar(620m), the traditional gateway to Manaslu Circuit trekking; however, you can drive onwards to Soti Khola(730m) which goes along the Budhigandaki River.
After Soti Khola your drive journey goes along the upstream of the Budhi Gandaki River and reaches Machha Khola(930m) on the first day overnight. Trek gradually goes to Jagat(1410m), Philim(1519m), Deng(1800m), and Namrung(2660m) for other nights.
The trail after Namrung goes to another typical Tibetan village of Lo-Gaun (3180m) and Samagaun(3530m) for the next day. You take another day at Samagaun for acclimatization and exploration in which you will have choices to explore Birendra Lake, or all day long round trip onwards to Manaslu Base Camp or Pungyen Gompa.
After the Samagaun trail go onwards to Samdo(3690m) and to Dharamsala(4470m) which is your last night in Budhi Gandaki valley of Gurkha District.
The trip starts early in the morning for the highest point of the trip, Larkey Pass (5100m), and reaches Bhimthang(3720m). Larkey Pass is the border landmark between Gurkha District and Manang District.
Leaving Bhimthang then descends to Tilje (2300m) and to Dharapani(1860m), where you meet the trail to Annapurna Circuit Trek. the trek continues down to Chamje(1430m) and Jagat(1300m) from where drive back to Kathmandu.
Our Manaslu Circuit Journey itinerary is designed as the best itinerary on which trekkers have ample time to acclimatize before crossing the Larkey La(5106m), you can enjoy the Manaslu scenery and places of highlights on its full display.
However, if you are a real adventurer, physically fit, and have good experience in high-altitude trekking you can customize the Manaslu Circuit trek itinerary as per your desire to finish it earlier or can extend it further. For more details please inquire us.
How to get to the trailhead of the Manaslu Circut Trek?
There is not any nearer airport to begin the Manaslu Circuit by taking a flight. However, you can drive by bus or private vehicle to reach the trailhead. The traditional route to begin the adventure is from the Arughat Bazaar of Gorkha District.
Now you can drive further to Soti Khola which can be reached by a daily bus ride from Kathmandu taking about 7-8 hours and take a short drive through the local jeep to Machha Khola.
Manaslu Circuit Trek Route
Start: Drive to Arughat-Soti Khola-Machha Khola and continue from Jagat-Philim-Deng-Namrung-Lo Gaun-Samagaun- Samdo-Dharamsala-Larkey Pass- Bhimthang-Tilje-Dharapani-Jagat and drive to Beshisahar: End.
What is the best time of year to do Manaslu Trekking?
The months of March, April, and May (Spring) are the best time of year to do the Manaslu Circuit. These months are relatively warmer than other months of the year and also provide a clear sky which is good for mountains and scenery sightings.
These months also have little chance of snowing. Moreover, this time of year is best for Rhododendron blossoms which become colorful and surely add extra to the beauty of nature.
September, October, and November (Autumn) are the best times of year to explore the Manaslu Circuit. Although the night and morning can be a little cold, as soon as the daylight provides a pleasant temperature to walk in the mountains. The sky also remains clear at this time of year, so you have a blue sky with a clear view of mountains.
What are the Required Permits and their fees?
- The first one is the "Manaslu Conservation Area Project- MCAP" entrance fee which costs 3000 Nepali Rupees and for the SAARC Country citizen costs 1000 Nepali rupees per head.
- The second one is the Annapurna Conservation Area Project- ACAP " entrance fee which costs 3000 Nepali Rupees and 1000 Nepali Rupees for SAARC Country per head.
- Third is, as the higher part of the Manaslu region is declared as a restricted area, to trek onwards from Jagat you need a " Special Trekking Permit".
- Special Permits to Manaslu during Autumn (September to November), cost USD 100 for the first week, and additional you will be charged USD 10 per day. The rest of the other seasons (December to August) cost USD 70 per week and an additional USD 7 per day.
Manaslu restricted area rules and regulations.
- Trekking should be organized through the authorized local operator of Nepal as well and you need to travel with a guide with a minimum of 2 people.
- Buying endangered animal products, plants, and antiques is illegal in the Manaslu Circuit.
- Flying drones for videos is illegal without obtaining permission from the Home Minister.
- For filming and documentaries, you need special permits in this region.
- Respect the local tradition, culture, and religious monuments.
Accommodation and Food in Manaslu Trail.
As for the accommodation in Manaslu, there is traditional tea-house accommodation (mountain lodge) available along the trail which is similar to other parts of popular trekking areas.
In tea-house accommodation, each room has two beds with bedding and communal toilets to use. Besides this, it has a common dining hall which is normally heated in the center with firewood or yak-dung depending on altitude.
As for the food, this trek provides extensive choices on the menu but they are done in more basic ways than in other parts of Nepal. You can find Noodles, fried rice, curry with rice, potatoes, pizza, pasta, and soups for lunch and dinner. And cereals, pancakes, local bread, and eggs are available for breakfast.
You also can find hot drinks like tea and coffee and cold drinks like Coke, Fanta, Sprites, etc.
Manaslu Circuit Trek During 2023/2024
Discover Altitude provides good discount offers on Group booking, especially for Manaslu Circuit Trek in the years 2024-2025. To inspire people to travel to this particular region, to help the local economy after Covid-19, as this region mostly depends on the tourism industry.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this region was badly affected as most people built guest houses focusing on the revival of tourism after being badly hit by an earthquake in the region.