A Detailed Guide for Manaslu Circuit Trek

Manaslu, at 8,163m, is the world's eighth highest mountain that lies in the northern region of the Gorkha district, near the Nepal-Tibet border, inside the Manaslu Conservation Area. The name "Manaslu" comes from Sanskrit, from the word "Manasa," which means intellect or the soul. 

The Manaslu mountain was first successfully summited by Toshio Imansishi, and Gayalzen Norbu, members of a Japanese expedition. Nepal government opened this region to trekking only in 1991. 

You can find plenty of trekking options in the Manaslu region. Most of those start from a ride away from Arughat Bazaar at Soti Khola and end at Besishar. Based on the trail you take and the places you visit, Manaslu Circuit Treks last anywhere from 12 to 19 days. 

The trekking trails follow the ancient salt trade route between Nepal and Tibet. 

You need Manaslu Restricted Area Permit (MRAP), Manaslu Conservation Area Permit (MCAP), and Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) to trek in this region, and you should have a group of at least two trekkers, including a registered guide. MRAP is issued for groups of two or more only. 


Manaslu Region

In 1998, the Nepal government declared this region, encompassing 1,663 sq. km, Manaslu Conservation Area (MCA). There are about 9,000 inhabitants inside MCA. It is also home to 2,000 plant species, 201 birds, and 39 mammals. You will find mammals like snow leopard, musk deer, red fox, jackal, brown bear, blue sheep, Himalayan tahr, wooly hare, etc. 

If you are a bird watcher, you will find the golden eagle, snow partridge, Tibetan snowcock, Himalayan griffon, etc.

The altitude ranges from 600m to 8,163m within the MCA. MCA encompasses six climatic zones, the tropical zone between 1,000 -2,000m to the arctic zone, above 4,500m. 

Two main ethnicities live in the MCA region - Nubri and Tsum, separated by the Chhikur river. A sizable number of the Gurungs from this region have joined the British army. 

You can find several monasteries, chortens, mani walls, and other Buddhist holy landmarks throughout this region. Shringi, Mu, and Chheckampar monasteries are quite popular. The Lamas strongly prohibit violence against wildlife in this region.

The highest elevation of this trek is 5,106m (16,752ft) at Larkya La Pass - which also happens to be one of the longest passes in the Himalayas. 


Best time for Manaslu Circuit

Manaslu Circuit treks are challenging and highly affected by rain during monsoon and snow during winter. To keep you safe and let you enjoy your hike to the fullest, we conduct Manaslu Circuit Trek only from February to June and August to December. Here is a brief overview of temperatures at high altitudes during these trek seasons.

February to June
March to May is the spring season in Nepal. From February, the snow starts to melt in high trek altitudes, and by mid-March, temperatures begin to rise, and it starts to get very comfortable to trek. Clear skies, starry nights, and good trail conditions let you enjoy Manaslu treks to the fullest. 

Tea houses restart opening in anticipation of tourists and the rhododendron flowers start blooming, providing a magnificent color to the forests. 

At high altitudes, daytime temperatures can reach 18°C and fall to -4°C at night. The lower regions are warmer, and the daytime temperatures can reach 24°C. 

August to December
From August, the monsoon starts retreating, ushering in great weather in the Manaslu region. The rainwashed environment looks clean, and it also enhances the views of snow-capped mountains. From mid-September, the skies clear out, and temperatures start becoming stable. This is also the period of festivities in Nepal, which adds a festive mood to the entire nation. 

At high elevations, the temperatures reach 15 °C and can come back to  -6 °C. As usual, lower elevations have higher temperatures - as high as 25°C during the day.

Manaslu Region Trek Highlights

  • Trek around Mt Manaslu (8,163 m) - the world's eighth tallest mountain
  • Scenic drive from Kathmandu to Soti Khola
  • Mu & Lungdang Gompas in Tsum valley
  • Milarepa Piren Phu Cave (pigeon cave), the most sacred cave in the Tsum Valley
  • Dephyudonma and Rachen monastery - the oldest monasteries in the Tsum valley
  • Side trip to Birendra Lake, Punhyen Glacier, or Mount Manaslu Base Camp 
  • Majestic views of glaciers, lakes, rocks, and mountains - Manaslu, Himchuli, Ganesh, and many more on the Nepal-Tibet border
  • Cross Larkya La Pass ( 5,106m) - one of the longest passes in the Himalayas
  • The unique cultural blend of Tibetan Nupri and Gurung inhabitants
  • Ancient Buddhist stupas, monasteries, and Tibetan lifestyle
  • Less crowded path
  • An ancient salt trading route between Tibet and Nepal


Trekking Grade

Manaslu Circuit Treks are challenging treks, and you will be reaching an altitude of 5,106m at Larkya La Pass. If you are normally fit and can walk for 5-7 hours a day, at a decent pace taking enough time to savor the scenic beauty, you can complete this trek. Former trek experience may be advantageous but not required. 


Possible treks

You have several trekking opportunities in the Manaslu region that lasts between 10 to 19 days. 

1. Manaslu Circuit Trek in Nepal - 12 Days
The shortest Manaslu Circuit Trek trail starts from Soti Khola, circles the Manaslu mountain, and ends at Dharapani. You will be acclimatizing for a day at Samagaon.

2. Manaslu Circuit Trek - 16 Days
It is a much more relaxed trek that allows you plenty of time to soak in the stunning beauty visible from your path. Once again, you will be acclimatizing at Samgaon. Your trails end at Dharapani, and you will take a bus to return to Kathmandu.

3. Manaslu Tsum Valley trek - 19 Days
As a more comprehensive trek, it combines the Tsum Valley hike with the Manaslu Circuit trail. From Lokpa, you head north, reaching as far as Mu Gompa, and then you return to Lokpa and then continue the classic Manaslu Circuit. 


Preparing yourself

Manaslu Circuit treks are quite challenging high elevation treks. Trekking at higher elevations is much more intensive and requires more energy. Though you do not need previous experience, you can prepare yourself for the trek. The golden rule of trekking is - the fitter you are, the more you will enjoy the trek. 

Hence, we recommend you to engage in stamina-building exercises a few weeks before your trek departure date. You can choose to swim, cycle, or jog. If you want to know what a long day trek feels like, you can go on short hikes lasting 5-7 hours, carrying a small backpack. 

Even though you will spend most of your day trekking, you will have plenty of private time in the evenings, so plan how you will pass your extra time during the trek. If you love reading, bring some books with you. You might also bring cards, monopoly or chess. You can also learn fun Nepali words.

Since you will be trekking in stunning landscapes that only a few people will ever visit, it is a great idea to capture the incredible terrain with your camera. Of course, you can use your mobile for pictures, but for high-quality pictures, you will need a good camera.



Manaslu Circuit treks take place in remote regions, often at high altitudes. Hence, Manaslu treks come with inherent risks that all high altitude treks have. There is a reasonable chance of getting altitude sickness. Hence, adequate insurance is a must for these treks.

In addition to the treatment cost, your insurance must cover helicopter rescue and repatriation up to the highest trek elevation (5,500m). Heli rescue is essential because trek regions do not have developed road infrastructure or adequate health facilities. In emergencies, we will use your insurance policy and other documents you sent us to arrange a quick heli-rescue. 

While buying your insurance policy, call the insurance company, and recheck if they include heli-rescue up to the highest trek elevation. Do not just rely on what insurers state on their website. 

If you have difficulty finding the right insurance company, we can recommend them to you based on our previous clients' experience. 



It is always a good idea to travel light. You can leave your extra luggage at the Discovery World Trekking store for the duration of your trek.

We assign a porter for every two trekkers, who will carry at most 18-kg of luggage. So, per trekker luggage weight limit is 9-kg. However, we can arrange a porter per trekker, should you require. 

We also expect you to carry a small backpack for your essential items and valuable documents. 

The exact items you need for your trek vary based on the season, trek length, and nature of the trails. In addition to the clothes, you need to pack accessories, toiletries, and essential gear. As a responsible trek operator, we will recheck your luggage to ensure that you have everything required for the trek. 


Spending money

Though our trek packages cover major costs during the trek, you will need money for other expenditures. Our packages do not include accommodations and meals in Kathmandu. Kathmandu has various hotels/lodges suitable for different tastes and budgets that you can book easily online. 

Moreover, you will need money for beverages, gear purchases, snacks, travel insurance, tips for the crew, souvenirs, etc.

We recommend you to bring major currencies (USD, GBP, EURO) and exchange them for Nepali Rupees in legal money exchanges in Kathmandu and all-over Thamel. Currently, 1 USD is almost equivalent to 120 NPR (Nepalese Rupees). 

Though you might want to bring a traveler's cheque due to its security, it is not a good idea. To cash a traveler's cheque, you will need to go through lengthy bank processes, and in addition, banks will charge you high commissions. The ongoing rate is 4 percent or more.

However, you can also use your credit/debit card to withdraw Nepalese Rupees from ATMs all over Kathmandu. Many of them are open 24/7. You can withdraw up to Rs. 35,000 for a fee of Rs.500.

Please note that trek regions only accept Nepali currency. So, you need to exchange your currency for Nepali Rupees in Kathmandu based on your expenditure estimates. We estimate that you will need around USD 10 to 20 per day as spending money while on your trails. 



Everyone, except Indians, needs a visa to enter Nepal.

Citizens from most countries get an on-arrival visa at the immigration office at Tribhuvan International Airport or immigration checkpoints along Nepal - India and Nepal-Tibet borders.

To apply for an on-arrival visa, you will need a passport valid for at least six months, a passport-size photo, and a visa application fee. The current rate is USD 50 for a 30-day stay. Children under ten get free visas.

Similarly, Chinese and SAARC (Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives) country citizens get free visas. However, free visas for SARRC citizens are capped at 30 days for one visa year.

Citizens from certain countries like - Somalia, Liberia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Palestine, Nigeria, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Cameroon, and Afghanistan - may not be entitled to on-arrival visas. If you are a citizen of any one of these countries, you need to contact your local Nepal embassy. 

Nepal government can change visa rules without notice, so for the latest information, you need to visit https://www.immigration.gov.np/.


Getting there

As soon as you confirm your booking, we urge you to send your flight details to us so that we can welcome you at the airport. We offer free airport to hotel pickup and hotel to airport drop-off for all our valuable clients. When you arrive at the airport, you will find our representative holding a pamphlet with your name on it. After welcoming you, they will present you with a marigold flower as a welcome gesture and then take you to your hotel in a private vehicle. 

Manaslu Circuit Trek is a restricted trek that requires a special permit from the Nepal government's immigration office. So, you must arrive in Kathmandu at least two office days (Mon - Fri) before the trek departure date. It is essential because we need a day to apply and acquire the special permit, and to apply for this special permit, we require your original passport with a Nepal visa on it. 

We will also use this time to conduct a trip briefing, where we will provide you with information about your trek. Moreover, we will also be rechecking your luggage to ensure you have everything required for your trek.  

On the trek departure day, we will drive from Kathmandu to Sotikhola, where the trek trails begin.


Permits & entrance fees

You will need three permits for the Manaslu Circuit trek.

1. Manaslu Restricted Area Permit (MRAP)
You need MRAP from Jagat till you reach Sama Gaun. However, from Sama Gaun, you will need Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP). The cost of MRAP varies based on the season. From September to November, the cost of the permit for a week is USD 100. Each extra day will cost you another USD 15. But the price goes down from December to August to USD 75 for a week and goes up by USD 10 for each extra day. 

2. Manaslu Conservation Area Permit (MCAP)
You require an MCAP from Philim, where the Manaslu Conservation Area begins. The cost for MCAP is USD 30 per person, and there are no restrictions based on the length you stay. 

3. Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP)
From Sama Gaon, you will need Annapurna Conservation Area Permit as you will be entering Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP). The ACAP permit costs NPR 3,000 (~USD 30) for foreigners and NPR 200 (~USD 2) for SAARC (India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives, Bhutan, Bangladesh) citizens. 

You will not normally require Trekker's Information Management System (TIMS) card for the Manaslu circuit trek. However, if you continue trekking to Annapurna Circuit from Dharapani, you will need a TIMS card.

To ensure that you will not have to face any hassles, Discovery World Trekking will get those required permits for you. 



Nepal is a multi-lingual nation with more than 122 dialects spoken, but the lingua franca of Nepal is Nepali. However, a sizeable population, mainly in big cities, knows English. So, there is no need for you to worry about language barriers. Our trek guides can speak English, Spanish, and Japanese. Wherever you might be coming from - you need not worry about the language problem. 


Remaining in contact

Nepal is reasonably connected. Though trek regions are some of the remotest on earth, you will find that hotels/lodges here are internet-connected. So, while on the trails, using the internet, you can remain in contact with your friends and families from the lodges/hotels. However, you will have to bear the costs of accessing the net. 

You can easily buy a local sim in Kathmandu, but the signals may not be strong enough in high elevations.

As a responsible trek and tour company, Discovery World Trekking remains in contact with each trekking team via trek leader at least once a day to ensure treks are going as planned and trekking guests are comfortable. 


Food & water

Manaslu Circuit treks take you to high elevations, where you will need plenty of nutritious food. So, we will ensure that you get plenty of hygenic, tasty, and nutrient-rich food. We always recheck the tea houses/lodges carefully to ensure food hygiene. You will have plenty of choices in low regions, but as you reach higher trek regions, your food choices get limited and expensive as well. 

Though you will get plenty of non-veg options in trek regions, we suggest you not to consume non-veg items due to meat hygiene concerns. Instead, increase your fresh vegetable intake. Similarly, it is good to avoid dairy items, alcoholic and caffeinated drinks, and tobacco. 

At high altitudes, we recommend you to drink at least four liters of water. Further, you can drink hot lemon, lemon and ginger tea, and garlic soup (must). 

You can easily buy bottled mineral water from en-route shops and tea houses during the trek. All trek regions might not allow you to carry plastic bottles, so bring your own water bottle instead. You can purchase boiled/filtered water from the tea houses/lodges and put it into your water bottle.



Larke Pass - 5106 m

Most Manaslu trek packages do not include accommodations in Kathmandu because each person has different tastes and budgets, and we respect individual choices.

The trek infrastructure in the Manaslu Trek Regions is basic, but you do not need to set up camps. We choose the best possible lodges/hotels for your stay. You will be staying in rooms with attached bathrooms wherever possible. If not possible, you will be staying in standard rooms. Most rooms are on a twin-serving basis. 

All the lodges you will be staying in will have running water, electricity, and internet. You can charge your electronic equipment here. If you bear some extra cost, you can enjoy hot showers. 


Staying safe

The safety of our valuable clients is our utmost concern. We try to ensure safety by following several practices. We carry all the equipment and gear, ready to face all scenarios. Further, we will trek together to ensure group safety. 

We carry oximeters and use them at high altitudes to monitor blood oxygen saturation levels for early detection of altitude sickness. 

Many trekkers face altitude sickness. There are ways you can minimize the chances of getting altitude sickness - drinking four or more liters of water every day, trekking at your own pace, having enough rest, and not skipping acclimatization days.

Severe altitude sickness is serious, so you should remain alert at the first signs of altitude sickness. Here is what you should be paying attention to: 

  • Headache 
  • Appetite loss
  • Tiredness and dizziness 
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Difficulty in sleeping 
  • shortness of breath and increased heart rate 


Ways to decrease chances of catching altitude sickness:

  • Take plenty of rest after a daily hike 
  • Do not skip acclimatization days
  • Walk at your own pace
  • Drink 4 liters or more water every day 
  • Drink garlic soup
  • Take enough food during trekking 
  • Keep your body warm 
  • Avoid alcoholic and caffeinated drinks.

In case of severe altitude sickness or any other life-threatening conditions, we will use your insurance policy and arrange for helicopter rescue and transfer you to treatment facilities. The trek regions do not have good road connectivity, and the health facilities are very primitive. This is the reason why you need adequate insurance. 

In case someone falls sick during the trek, your trek leader has the authority to decide whether to continue trekking or descend immediately. The trek leader will decide based on the overall condition of the trek group. 


Being cared

You might be hesitant to trek in a foreign country at some of the most remote trails on earth. However, with Discovery World Trekking, you do not need to feel alone and helpless in a new country. As soon as you arrive at the Tribhuvan International Airport, you will find our company representative ready to welcome you.

We will take care of you from the moment you land in Kathmandu, throughout the trek, and until you return to your home country. You can contact us for any help throughout your time in Nepal.

Discovery World Trekking believes in universal brotherhood and treats each valuable client as a part of a global family.



You now know what to expect in the Manaslu Circuit treks, the area, major highlights, and how to prepare for the trek. Now, it is time to choose the perfect trek.

If you still feel you will need more information or want to customize your Manaslu Circuit Trek, feel free to call/Viber/WhatsApp Paul at +977 - 9840055491 or email at [email protected] - anytime.


Paul Gurung

Paul has an extensive experience in the tourism industry. Through his blogs, he shares his deep knowledge about the stunning trek regions in Nepal, inspiring trekkers worldwide to explore these regions and enrich their lives. In addition to geography, his writings delve into the human side of the trek regions, including culture, traditions, religions, and etiquette, offering a comprehensive and enriching perspective on the Himalayan trekking and expedition experience.