• MANASLU CIRCUIT TREKKING GUIDE

    Trekkers look out while descending from the Larke Pass on the Manaslu Circuit Trek
  • MANASLU CIRCUIT TREKKING GUIDE

MANASLU CIRCUIT TREK

The Essential Guide

So you’re thinking about tackling the Manaslu Circuit Trek? Great choice! Of the various treks we’ve done around Nepal, including Annapurna Circuit, Everest Three Passes, Langtang Valley and Upper Mustang, we think this is one of the best. The scenery is diverse and impressive, and in an age where development is proceeding at breakneck speed, the Manaslu Trek has the advantage of being quieter and much less impacted by road building. Additionally, Tibetan cultural influences at higher altitude lend a unique flavour to the experience that is notably different from other areas.

In this guide we’ll cover a whole range of essential topics including when to go, what to take, how to organise your trek, budgeting for your trek, accommodation, food, and much more. Want to know more about the Manaslu Circuit itinerary itself? Check out our day by day account of the trek. Want to see what the trek is really like? Watch our complete Instagram Stories from the journey (part one/part two), and check out our video below. 

WATCH THE VIDEO

MANASLU CIRCUIT TREKKING GUIDE

Read through our complete Manaslu Circuit trekking guide or jump to a particular section by clicking on the links below.

Read through our complete Manaslu Circuit trekking guide or jump ahead to a particular section by clicking on the links below.

*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links – if you purchase a product or service via these links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps offset the cost of running this blog and keeps us travelling so that we can continue to produce great content for you. We greatly appreciate your support!*

MANASLU CIRCUIT TREK ITINERARY

Below is an overview of the Manaslu Circuit trek itinerary. This is not set in stone, just a suggested route. Some people stay in alternative villages along the way, or add an extra acclimatisation day at Samdo. Trekking distances and times are approximate.

DAY 1Kathmandu → Machakhola160 km / 8-10 hours (by jeep/ bus)
DAY 2Machhakhola (869m) → Jagat (1340m)16 km / 7 hours
DAY 3Jagat (1340m) → Dyang (1860m)19 km / 7 hours
DAY 4Dyang (1860m) → Namrung (2630m)17 km / 7 hours
DAY 5 Namrung (2630m) → Lho (3180m)10 km / 4 hours
DAY 6Lho (3180m) → Samagaun (3520m)8 km / 4 hours
DAY 7Acclimatisation hike to Pungen Gompa (4050m) or Manaslu Base Camp (4400m)
Pungen Gompa – 14 km / 5 hours return
Manaslu Base Camp – 14 km / 8 hours return
DAY 8
Samagaun (3520m) → Samdo (3690m)8 km / 3 hours
DAY 9*Samdo (3690m) → Dharamsala/Larke Phedi (4460m)6 km / 4 hours
DAY 10Dharamsala/Larke Phedi (4460m) → Larke Pass (5106m) → Bimthang (3720m)16 km / 10 hours
DAY 11 Bimthang (3720m) → Tilche (2260m)18 km / 7 hours
DAY 12**Tilche (2260m) → Dharapani (1980m)5 km / 2 hours
DAY 13
Dharapani → Kathmandu (via Besisahar)10 hours (by jeep/bus)
DAY 1Kathmandu → Machakhola160 km / 8-10 hours (by jeep/ bus)
DAY 2Machhakhola (869m) → Jagat (1340m)16 km / 7 hours
DAY 3Jagat (1340m) → Dyang (1860m)19 km / 7 hours
DAY 4Dyang (1860m) → Namrung (2630m)17 km / 7 hours
DAY 5 Namrung (2630m) → Lho (3180m)10 km / 4 hours
DAY 6Lho (3180m) → Samagaun (3520m)8 km / 4 hours
DAY 7Acclimatisation hike to Pungen Gompa (4050m) or Manaslu Base Camp (4400m)
Pungen Gompa – 14 km / 5 hrs rtn
Manaslu Base Camp – 14 km / 8 hrs rtn
DAY 8Samagaun (3520m) → Samdo (3690m)8 km / 3 hours
DAY 9*Samdo (3690m) → Dharamsala/Larke Phedi (4460m)6 km / 4 hours
DAY 10Dharamsala (4460m) → Larke Pass (5106m) → Bimthang (3720m)16 km / 10 hours
DAY 11 Bimthang (3720m) → Tilche (2260m)18 km / 7 hours
DAY 12**Tilche (2260m) → Dharapani (1980m)5 km / 2 hours
DAY 13
Dharapani → Kathmandu (via Besisahar)10 hours (by jeep/bus)

*If you are concerned about altitude sickness, adding an extra day at Samdo is a good idea. From here you can do an acclimatisation hike to the Tibetan border at Rui La (4998m, 19km/10 hours) or easier hikes up the hills around the village.

**It is now possible to take a shared jeep from Tilche so you have the option of finishing the trek there instead of Dharapani

MANASLU CIRCUIT TREK MAP

We’ve marked the Manaslu Circuit trekking route on the map below, along with key villages and sights along the way. Tap the menu button at the top left for more details, to toggle layers on and off, and switch between satellite and terrain view.

To use an offline version of this map, download our KML file for use with Maps.me (iOS/Android) or Organic Maps (iOS/Android), or the GPX file for use with alternative offline mapping apps such as Gaia (iOS/Android). See our expandable box below for tips on using these apps.


To save this map to use online on desktop or mobile just tap the star symbol at the top. When you open Google Maps on your phone, navigate to ‘Saved’ at the bottom, then swipe along to ‘Maps’ at the top. You’ll find this map in your list of maps.

On desktop, click ‘Saved’ on the left side, then ‘Maps’. Click the map, then select ‘Open in My Maps’ to access the interactive version.

Alternatively, just tap the rectangle symbol at the top right of the map in this blog post to view the My Maps version larger on desktop.

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to view this version of the map offline, but we’ve created a similar version for offline use as per below.


ORGANIC MAPS

Organic Maps is our go-to offline mapping app. We find it straightforward to use for planning routes in advance, as well as navigating on the trail. It doesn’t drain our phone battery, and it’s quick and easy to save and organise ‘bookmarks’. There are many trails already marked on Organic Maps, plus you can download and import a KML track of your route to the app. 

To use Organic Maps, first download the app (iOS/Android). Hover over the region or country that you want to visit and the app will prompt you to download this map. Once downloaded, it can be viewed offline. 

You can tap anywhere and save it as a ‘bookmark’ by tapping the star symbol at the bottom. Hit ‘Edit Bookmark’ to personalise the bookmark colour, organise your bookmarks into different folders, and rename them. 

You can navigate easily or plan routes in advance by tapping your start point and selecting ‘route from’, then tapping your end point and selecting ‘route to’. Tap the car, walking, or cycling symbol at the top of the screen to indicate your mode of travel. If you want to plot a different route to the one suggested by Organic Maps, just tap a third (or fourth, fifth, etc.) bookmark between the start and end points and select ‘add stop’. 

Organic Maps shows the distance and travel time, plus elevation profiles for hiking trails. Note that the estimated time isn’t always reliable, but we’ve always found the distance and elevation gain/loss to be largely accurate. It only shows very basic contour lines.

You can track your progress on the trail using GPS. The arrow shows your direction of travel. Tap the compass at the top right of the screen to keep the map in a fixed position (the arrow will rotate). Alternatively, tap the arrow at the bottom right of the screen to rotate the map in the direction of travel (the arrow will stay in a fixed position).

Note that Maps.Me works in almost the exact same way, but it has in-app ads making it less user friendly in our opinion.

GAIA

Gaia (iOS/Android) is another offline mapping app that is very useful. It shows the contours in much more detail than Organic Maps, and you can download both the topographical and satellite view of your route in advance for offline use. The app has existing OpenStreetMap trails marked and you can import GPX tracks and view them offline. You can also create new routes online yourself and export them as GPX or KML files. You can navigate easily on the trail using the arrow that shows your GPS location. You can also check distances between places offline, however you will only get elevation profiles while online. There are a lot of useful features in the free version and even more benefits if you have a paid annual membership, so if you spend a lot of time outdoors it is worthwhile learning how to use the app to its full advantage. 

In our experience, Gaia drains your phone battery much quicker than Maps.me, even in flight mode, so it’s best to shut down the app completely each time you finish using it.


WHEN TO TREK THE MANASLU CIRCUIT

Autumn/Fall

The best time to go trekking in Nepal is from September to November. The weather is generally dry and clear, with warm sunny days and excellent visibility. There’s a lower likelihood of weather related natural disasters at this time of year, making for a much safer trekking environment. The downside as far as the Manaslu Trek goes? The Manaslu Restricted Area Permit (RAP) is $100 per week during this period as opposed to $75 per week at all other times. Furthermore, given that it’s the best season, it’s also the busiest. Saying that, we hiked the Manaslu Circuit in October, had a great time, and still found it to be much less busy than other treks in Nepal.

Mount Manaslu at first light, seen from Samagaun on the Manaslu Circuit in Nepal

A cold, crisp, clear morning view of Manaslu (8163 m) at first light, seen from Samagaun (3520 m) on the Manaslu Circuit in October



Mount Manaslu at first light, seen from Samagaun on the Manaslu Circuit in Nepal

A clear morning view of Manaslu (8163 m)
seen from Samagaun (3520 m) in October



Spring

The spring season from March to May is considered to be the next best option. The weather is generally clear although a little colder, particularly at higher altitudes. Mornings are sunny and flowers are in bloom. There is however a higher chance of rain, or even snow, and melting ice increases the chances of landslides or avalanches – something we experienced trekking to Annapurna Base Camp in April.

Summer

June to August is to be avoided. The monsoon is responsible for warm and wet weather, with cloud and mist making visibility extremely poor. We can testify to this. Our very first trek in Nepal was in June and we hardly saw a mountain. Leeches are a big problem at this time of year, as is the risk of landslides. As the Manaslu Region was one of the worst affected by the 2015 earthquake, there are many landslide areas – these can be more dangerous in wet weather.

Winter

In the winter, from December to February, temperatures in higher altitudes plunge. Snow and ice make this time of year unsuitable for the Manaslu Circuit Trek.

OUR RECOMMENDED TREKKING AGENCY

We partnered with Himalayan Masters for our Langtang Valley, Gosainkunda, and Everest Three Passes treks, and found them to be professional and committed to a high level of service

To enquire about your own trek, get in touch via email at info@himalayan-masters.com and mention the code HOGG5 to get a 5% discount off the cost of your trip


HOW LONG DOES THE MANASLU CIRCUIT TREK TAKE?

The whole Manaslu Circuit Trek can be done in 13 days. That includes 2 travel days getting to and from the trail. However, some itineraries suggest longer, including an extra acclimatisation day at Samdo and/or continuing to walk from Dharapani rather than taking transport.

On our own journey, we took 13 days to reach Dharapani where we joined the Annapurna Circuit. This included the standard acclimatisation day at Samagaun, the travel day by bus from Kathmandu to Arughat, and 2 days trekking between Arughat and Machakhola (now no longer required as the road goes all the way to Machakhola).

A stupa and prayer flags on high pasture beneath snowy mountains in the Manaslu Region of Nepal

Surrounded by snowy mountains on an acclimatisation day trek to Pungen Gompa (4050 m)



A stupa and prayer flags on high pasture beneath snowy mountains in the Manaslu Region of Nepal

Surrounded by mountains on an acclimatisation
trek to Pungen Gompa (4050 m) from Samagaun



TREK DIFFICULTY

So how difficult is the Manaslu Circuit Trek?

We’ve seen this trek described as hard, strenuous and moderately difficult to name but a few. Which doesn’t really tell you a lot. However, there are some things we can say with certainty.

The Trail

As far as the trail itself goes, the paths are mostly in good condition. No technical skills are required so the act of walking is pretty straightforward. There are a few exceptions where things can get a little tricky, such as when the trail detours around landslides. The ground in these areas can be a bit less firm and a bit more slippery, so extra care is needed here.

The Effort

Over the course of the trek, you ascend in altitude from 700 m to 5106 m. This takes a considerable physical effort, and what’s more, it’s not all up, up, up. Much of the route, particularly in the early days, involves plenty of up and down – descending to cross the river, ascending again, then repeating the process further along the trail.

Trekkers, guides and porters climbing stone steps on the Manaslu Circuit Trek

Time to put effort in on the trail. Climbing stone steps after crossing the Budhi Gandaki,
on a morning of steep ups and downs from Dyang/Deng (1860 m) to Ghap (2050 m)



Trekkers, guides and porters climbing stone steps on the Manaslu Circuit Trek

Putting some effort in on the trail. Climbing the
stone steps after crossing the Budhi Gandaki,
enroute from Dyang (1860 m) to Ghap (2050 m)



So given the physical effort required, it clearly helps to be as fit as possible. Saying that, you don’t have to be an athlete, far from it. People of all ages and levels of fitness complete the Manaslu Circuit Trek. The key point to remember is to hike at your own pace.

How Much Weight Will You Carry?

Aside from your physical fitness, this is the most important factor in determining how difficult the trek will be.

If you choose to carry all your own gear, clearly it will be more challenging. To make things easier for yourself, think carefully about what you need to take, and try to make your gear as lightweight as possible.

If you choose to hike with a porter as well as a guide, then the difficulty level becomes much easier. Carrying only a small daypack with a few essentials means the trek can be tackled by anyone with a moderate level of fitness.

CHALLENGE YOURSELF ON THE EVEREST THREE PASSES TREK

HOW TO ORGANISE A MANASLU CIRCUIT TREK

The Manaslu region is a restricted area, and as such, it’s not permitted to hike the Manaslu Circuit Trek independently. You must be accompanied by at least one government authorised person and there are two options to choose from. The first is a D.I.Y. approach where you arrange a guide (and/or porter) and pay for food, accommodation and transport along the way. The second is to book a prepaid package tour which includes everything.

THE D.I.Y. APPROACH

If you plan on trekking by yourself, as a couple, or as part of a small group, there are a few things to consider before deciding who to hire. The two most common situations on the Manaslu Circuit are those hiking with a guide or with a guide and porter, but before you decide which is best for you, it’s important to think about what you need. To help with that decision, first we’ll outline the differences between the various options, then go on to discuss how best to choose a guide and what to look for.

Guides, Porters & Porter Guides: Which Setup To Choose

Guide Only

 If you’re relatively fit and can keep the weight of your bag to a sensible level (around 15 kg), then you probably don’t need a porter. In which case, hiring a guide makes the most sense.

You can expect them to have a good level of English, know the trail and places on it well, and be more likely to have knowledge about the history, culture and geography of the area. Saying that, it can very much depend on the trekking company you choose and the individual guide provided. A guide generally costs $20-30 USD per day, although some agencies may charge more.

Porter Guide or Porter

If you don’t want to carry all your own gear then you’ll need to hire at least a porter or a porter guide. A porter is the cheapest option at around $18-25 USD per day, while a porter guide costs around the same as a guide. So, how to choose?

Well, a porter will be cheaper, but it’s probable that they will speak very little English. You can expect very little other than that they carry your bag.  Porters can carry up to 30 kg (maximum, but less is better), so you generally only need one for every two trekkers. While trekking with just a registered porter is possible, it’s important to note that this is not very common.

A porter guide will be more expensive (roughly the same as a guide). They tend to be trainee guides who will also carry your gear, although perhaps not as much as a porter. You can expect them to have better English than a porter, although not as good as a guide (this may vary with experience). Having a porter guide (or guide) with good communication skills can make a big difference. Unlike other regions where it’s possible to trek independently, guesthouses and lodges on the Manaslu Circuit are used to dealing with guides, not trekkers.

A trekker and guide are climbing the trail from Samdo to Dharamsala on the Manaslu Circuit, with snowy peaks behind and Samdo a tiny speck below

Kim and our guide, climbing the trail from Samdo (3640 m) to Dharamsala/Larke Phedi (4460 m)



A trekker and guide are climbing the trail from Samdo to Dharamsala on the Manaslu Circuit, with snowy peaks behind and Samdo a tiny speck below

Kim and our guide, climbing the trail from
Samdo (3640 m) to Dharamsala (4460 m)



Guide & Porter

If you don’t want to carry your gear and are not limited by an overly tight budget, then this is likely the best option for you: a knowledgeable guide to lead the trail and communicate on your behalf, as well as a porter to carry your gear.

This setup is most cost effective when you have a group with an even number of trekkers, as you generally only need one porter for every two trekkers. Most agencies allow up to five people per guide, the total cost being shared among the group.

How To Choose A Guide

The trekking industry in Nepal is huge and there are no shortage of registered companies and accredited guides competing for business. As such, it can seem a bit of a minefield when it comes to finding and choosing a guide, especially when looking online.

Finding a guide in Kathmandu

If you have a few days in Kathmandu and are comfortable not having anything pre-booked, it is definitely advantageous to shop around in person. It is much easier to get a sense of a trekking company and a guide when you meet them face to face. There are many trekking agencies in the Thamel area of Kathmandu, which is also the main backpacking hub and an ideal place to base yourself.

Organise a guide before travelling to Nepal

If you’re organising a guide before you go, a recommendation from someone you know and trust goes a long way. Just make sure you get a guarantee of who your guide will be. We’re aware of people arranging with a particular company for a certain guide, only to arrive and discover that they have a different guide. As the guide is the person you’ll be spending all your time with, they are the most important factor.

If you don’t have a recommendation but still want to organise a guide before you go, you can browse guide profiles here and here. Both sites outline the guides’ daily rate, experience and contact details so you can get in touch directly and discuss options with them.

Local trekking agencies commonly sell package tours but it is usually possible to arrange something more bespoke if you contact them directly to outline what you need and want, such as a guide only option

Our Recommended Trekking Agency

Our recommended trekking agency is Himalayan Masters, a company we’ve partnered with on two major treks, Langtang Valley/Gosainkunda and Everest Three Passes. They can arrange guide only, guide plus porter, or inclusive packages for a Manaslu Circuit trek, whatever suits your needs.

The company is professional, committed to a high level of service, and competitively priced. They are the third company we’ve trekked with in Nepal, and we can honestly say that Himalayan Masters provided us with the best guided experience we’ve had. What’s more, having met numerous other Himalayan Masters guides on the trail, and getting feedback from the trekkers with them, we’re confident that our positive experience with the company is one shared by others.

To enquire about a trek with Himalayan Masters just contact them via email at info@himalayan-masters.com to discuss your plans, and quote our referral code ‘HOGG5’ for a 5% discount off your trip cost.

Trekking Solo

If you’re a solo trekker and want to hook up with others to share the costs of a guide, then take a look at this page. Here you’ll also find people looking to partner up in order to get the Manaslu Restricted Area Permit (RAP). A minimum of two trekkers is needed to get the permit, although it is possible to get around this (see permits section).

Female Guides

If you would like to hire a female guide, there are a few companies out there who can help with this. 3Sisters Adventure Trekking is an agency based out of Pokhara which is very highly regarded.

A trekking guide sits at the end of a long suspension bridge before Samagaun on the Manaslu Circuit Trek

Appreciating the view at the Numla Khola suspension bridge between Shyala and Samagaun



A trekking guide sits at the end of a long suspension bridge before Samagaun on the Manaslu Circuit Trek

Appreciating the view at the suspension bridge over
the
Numla Khola, between Shyala and Samagaun 



Things to consider when choosing a guide

Whether you’re getting organised ahead of time or finding someone
in Kathmandu, here are the main things to keep in mind.

Whether you’re getting organised ahead of time or finding someone in Kathmandu, here are the main things to keep in mind.

Talk to as many guides/agencies as possible to compare prices and services.

Ask about the guide’s experience with the trek.

Have a conversation to gauge their level of English.

Ask if they have had any safety training and ask to see the certificate if they say yes. Ask how they would handle an emergency situation.

Ask whether they will drink alcohol on the trek (not necessarily a deal breaker, just use your judgement).


If after this you’ve found someone you’re comfortable with, here
are a few things to remember when finalising your arrangement.

If after this you’ve found someone you’re comfortable with, here are a few things to remember when finalising your arrangement.

Check that they are properly registered and insured (ask to see proof).

Agree on the daily rate, number of days and total price.

Agree on who pays for your accommodation and food (it’s most cost effective to pay for yourself along the way rather than paying up front to the trekking agency).

Confirm that the guide covers their own food and accommodation along the way (this is usual).

Agree that you have the final decision on which guesthouse/teahouse you’ll stay in at each place. A guide will often have a preferred place to stay for their own reasons which may not align with yours. This works best if you’re paying for your own accommodation as you go.


Make sure your guide (and porter) is well equipped

Make sure your guide and porter have everything they need prior to setting off on your Manaslu Circuit trek. If you’re hiring an experienced guide through a long established agency, then chances are they will be well prepared for conditions on the trail. However, this isn’t always the case. Younger, more inexperienced guides often don’t have the equipment they need. Porters too can sometimes lack what we would consider to be basic trekking necessities. We’ve seen some young porters with trainers on their feet that were practically falling off.

Check that your guide and porters have the following.

Warm clothing for higher altitudes
(down jacket, gloves, hat, etc.)

Proper boots in good condition

Suitable waterproofs

Sleeping bag
(it’s common for guides and porters to sleep in lodge dining areas on the Manaslu Circuit if it’s busy and there are not always enough blankets)

Sunglasses

Headtorch


What To Expect From A Guide (And Porter)

Having a professional and experienced guide is invaluable when it comes to your time on the trail, making for a safe and hassle-free journey, and giving you the opportunity to learn more about the history, culture, and geography of the land.

You will usually meet a guide (and porter) in Kathmandu prior to your trek, travel to the trailhead together, and then return to Kathmandu together at the end.

During your trek a guide will stick with you on the trail, recommend the best spots to stop for lunch, and suggest overnight accommodation options. At busy times, they may be able to call ahead and pre-book a room for you (depending on phone service). They will act as your go-between at each guesthouse, arranging your room, taking your food orders, and settling the bill. It’s normal for a guide to run through the following day’s itinerary each evening, giving you an overview of the trail, trekking time, and any other relevant information. Your guide will always be around at your guesthouse, but they won’t stick by you constantly. You will have plenty of freedom to hang out in your room or the dining room, read your book, chat with other guests, play cards, etc. Guides sleep and eat in the same guesthouse as you, always in a separate room.

Porters often trek at their own pace, meaning you won’t always be with them on the trail. It’s common for you to pack your porter bag before breakfast and have it ready for them, and for your bag to already be in your room when you arrive at your guesthouse for the evening. On the Manaslu Circuit trek, porters will sleep and eat at the same guesthouse as you, again in a separate room.

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A hiker trekking in Georgia, descending the rocky shale slope from Atsunta pass and heading towards the green valleys of Tusheti below
A walker on the old military road among the dramatic mountain scenery of the Lairigmor, a real highlight of the West Highland Way
A scene of the mountains and lakes of the Geghama Range in Armenia
A view of Buachaille Etive Mor on the West Highland Way
A hiker stands reflected in Udziro Lake, looking at the distant peak Shkhara
A white horse grazing on the grassy slopes of Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park
Two hikers traverse the grassy ridge on Day 2 of the Panorama Trail
A view of Tetnuldi peak from Latpari Pass on the Ushguli to Chvelpi hike
The twin peaks of Ushba and Chatyn-Tau, seen from the trail on Day 2 of the Mestia to Ushguli trek in Svaneti, Georgia
A hiker on the steep final approach to Gul Pass, on the Chuberi to Mestia section of the Transcaucasian Trail in Svaneti
Mountains reflected in Kelitsadi Lake on a still morning
Two hikers and a dog rest on a rock in front of an unnamed lake on the Black Rock Lake trek
A hiker climbs the shale switchback trail to Atsunta Pass on the Shatili Omalo trek, with the layered mountains of Khevsureti behind
A hiker descends the switchback ridgeline trail from Chaukhi Pass to Abudelauri Lakes on the Juta to Roshka trek in Georgia
The settlement of Abano in Truso Valley, with the old monastery on the right and Zakagori Fortress seen behind
One of the best views of Gergeti Trinity Church, seen from the hiking trail to Gergeti Glacier and Mt. Kazbek
Hikers descend from the viewpoint at Kojori Fortress in Georgia
A narrow trekking trail in Upper Mustang stretching off into the distance amidst some bizarre rock formations, with the snowy peak of Dhaulagiri in the background
Trekkers on a trail approaching a round orange rock formation with a plateau stretched out into the distance in Upper Mustang
Sunrise hitting the Annapurna Mountains in Nepal
Trekkers look out while descending from the Larke Pass on the Manaslu Circuit Trek
A catamaran sails on the calm water at sunset off the south coast of Jeju Island
A female Olle Trail hiker standing by a Hallabong mosaic mural, looking out to sea on Jeju Island
Looking out from wat Pha Lat over Chiang Mai, reflected in the still water and surrounded by lush green vegetation
Peanmeanach Bothy on the Ardnish Peninsula in February
Sunrise reflections on the mirror-like surface of Alauddin Lake in the Fann Mountains of Tajikistan.
Hiking Hallasan: South Korea's Highest Peak
Looking towards one of Saryangdo Island's suspension bridges from the ridge hiking trail, with the road bridge and surrounding islands in the distance, South Korea

BOOKING AN INCLUSIVE TOUR

If you want to have everything packaged together in an inclusive tour, there are no shortage of options out there. Group tours with international companies such as Exodus and World Expeditions include all of your transport, accommodation, and guide, plus meals on certain tours. These international companies tend to work with the very best local trek operators, so you can expect very professional service, highly experienced guides, and a pricetag to match. 

 Less expensive package tours run by local trekking agencies may just include your days on the trail and won’t necessarily be group treks with set departure dates. The professionalism and experience of the guide can vary greatly. You can browse a range of options on Tourradar.

Alternatively, contact our recommended local trekking agency directly, Himalayan Masters, who offer inclusive packages for a Manaslu Circuit trek from $995 USD. As outlined in the ‘How To Choose A Guide’ section above, we and other trekkers we’ve met have had a highly positive experience trekking in Nepal with them. To organise your trek, get in touch via email at info@himalayan-masters.com and mention our referral code ‘HOGG5’ for a 5% discount off your trip cost.

The pros and cons are the same with any inclusive tour. Everything is organised for you, but the costs can be considerably higher and freedom to choose is limited. So it entirely depends on what you need and want. If you have limited time and want to simply relax and enjoy your trip, without any of the hassle of organising the logistics along the way, then booking a tour could be for you.

Things to remember when booking a tour

Depending on the tour you book and the company you book with, different things will be included. Here are a few key questions to ask.

Transport
How will you be getting to and from the trail (private jeep or public bus?)

Accommodation
Will you be sharing a room and with how many people?

Food
Can you order what you like or are your choices limited?

Drink
What drinks are included and how many a day?

Permits
Are all permits included in the cost of the trek?


MANASLU CIRCUIT TREK PERMITS

In order to do the Manaslu Circuit Trek, there are three separate permits required per person. Here we’ll outline what they are and how much they cost. Your trekking agency can get all three permits for you.

Restricted Area Permit for Manaslu (Manaslu RAP)

The restricted area status stems from the fact that it shares a border with Tibet. This permit is needed between Jagat and Dharapani.

There are two different costs depending on the season:

September – November: 100 USD for 7 days ($15 for every additional day)

December – August: 75 USD for 7 days ($10 for every additional day)

For a standard 13 day Manaslu Circuit Itinerary, 7 days in the restricted area is enough and there is no need to pay for extra days.

This permit can only be obtained from the Department of Immigration by a fully licensed trekking agency. You will need to provide your passport.

Manaslu Restricted Area Permit (RAP)

An example of the Manaslu Restricted Area Permit (RAP)



Manaslu Restricted Area Permit (RAP)

The Manaslu Restricted Area Permit (RAP)



A minimum of two trekkers travelling together is needed to get this permit, but if you’re a solo traveller, there is a way around this. There is a practice of “ghost permits”. This is where a trekking agency uses another person’s passport who isn’t trekking to get a second permit. Alternatively, agencies who have guides trekking with solo travellers on the same dates can apply for the permit as if they were together, then trek separately on the trail. We met people who had done just that. If you’re travelling solo, you’ll need to discuss these options with your guide and their company.

Manaslu Conservation Area Project (MCAP Permit)

The MCAP Permit is to help protect the ecosystem of the area and help improve the lives of the local population.

The MCAP Permit costs 3000 NPR per person (local currency only)

You can get this permit yourself from the Nepal Tourism Board in Kathmandu or your guide can get it for you. To get the permit you need your passport and two passport photographs.

Manaslu Conservation Area Project Permit (MCAP)

An example of the Manaslu Conservation Area Project Permit (MCAP)



Manaslu Conservation Area Project Permit (MCAP)

Manaslu Conservation Area Project Permit (MCAP)



Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP Permit)

The Manaslu Circuit crosses into the Annapurna Conservation Area, just below Bimthang on the way to Dharapani. This permit is needed as far as Besisahar.

The ACAP Permit costs 3000 NPR per person (local currency only)

As with the MCAP, you can get this permit yourself from the Nepal Tourism Board in Kathmandu or your guide can get it for you. To get the permit you need your passport and two passport photographs. It looks pretty much the same as the MCAP permit.

There is no need for a TIMS Card (Trekking Information Management System) on the Manaslu Circuit, although you would need one if you were continuing on the Annapurna Circuit.

SEE MORE OF NEPAL ON THE LANGTANG VALLEY TREK