Beginners Guide to Manaslu Circuit Trek: What You Need to Know

If you are looking for a thrilling adventure in the Himalayas, the Manaslu Circuit Trek is a perfect trek choice. Hence, we have prepared this Manaslu Circuit Trek for beginners to provide you with vital information.

The Manaslu region in Nepal offers a breathtaking and less crowded alternative to the popular Annapurna and Everest treks. The Manaslu circuit trekking takes you through diverse landscapes, picturesque villages, and stunning mountain vistas, including the magnificent Mount Manaslu. 

While the Manaslu Circuit Trek poses challenges, it is accessible to beginners with proper preparation and a spirit of adventure. Get ready to embark on the journey of a lifetime as you immerse yourself in the beauty and tranquility of the Manaslu region.

 

Understanding the Manaslu Circuit Trek

The Manaslu Circuit Trek is a challenging trek that demands moderate physical fitness, but no prior experience is necessary. This trek can last 14 to 18 days, depending on your pace, season, and itinerary.

The trek begins from Soti Khola and follows the Budhi Gandaki River valley route, ultimately circling the world’s eighth mountain - Mount Manaslu. As you circumnavigate Manaslu, you will pass through lush forests, terraced fields, and traditional villages while enjoying the views of humongous snow peaks. 

As you elevate, the landscape changes from subtropical to the alpine desert-like at the highest trek regions. The highest altitude in the Manaslu Circuit is Larkya La Pass, at an elevation of 5,160 meters (16,930 feet), from where you can get stunning views of Manaslu, Himlung, and Cheo Himal.

The trek ends in Dharapani Village, from where you can either return to Kathmandu or continue your trek, to the Annapurna Circuit or Tilicho Lake.

 

Read more: Top 7 reasons to choose Manaslu Circuit Trek

 

Best Time to Trek

The best time to trek the Manaslu Circuit is spring (March to May) or autumn (September to November).

These seasons provide the most favorable weather conditions, optimum temperature, clear skies, and minimum rain, allowing you to enjoy the views of the incredible landscapes. The trails are at their best providing a safe passage. 

During spring, the rhododendron forests are in full bloom, adding vibrant colors to the trek regions, while autumn lures trekkers who want to enjoy the festive mood while trekking during the most Nepali festivals such as Dashain, Tihar, Chhat, and Indrajatra fall in this season.

 

📅Click Here to learn the cost and available dates for Manaslu Circuit Trek.

 

Manaslu Circuit Trek Permits

To trek in the Manaslu region, you will need to obtain three permits:

 

1. Restricted Area Permit (MRAP)

During the Manaslu Circuit trek, you will pass through Samdo Village near Tibet. To stop illegal activities against Tibet, the Nepal government has designated this area as a restricted zone.

Please note that only Nepal government-registered and licensed trek and tour companies can acquire this permit on your behalf in Kathmandu. The cost of this permit varies during different months. 

In the autumn season (September, October, and November), this permit costs USD 100 for the first week and an extra USD 15 for each additional day.

In other (winter, spring, and summer) seasons, the permit costs USD 75 for the first week and an extra USD 10 for each additional day. You are required to show this permit at the entry point of Jagat.

2. Manaslu Conservation Area Project (MCAP) Permit

In addition to MRAP, you will also need an MCAP permit. The proceeds of this permit support the Manaslu Conservation area.

You will need to show this permit at the Philim entry point. SAARC citizens can acquire this permit by paying NPR 1000 (~USD 8), while foreigners have to pay NPR 3,000 (~USD 23).

3. Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP)

Since the trek connects with the Annapurna Conservation Area, you will also require an ACAP permit. You can either acquire this permit in Kathmandu or other local offices.

The ACAP permit costs NPR 1000 (~USD 8) for SAARC nationals and NPR 3,000 (~USD 23) for foreigners. You must show this permit at the checkpost in Dharapani. 

Since permit requirements, costs, and regulations may change, you should check with your trekking agency or the Department of Immigration for the most up-to-date information.

 

Essential Gear for Beginners

Though the Manaslu Circuit is remote, the trails have scattered tea houses and lodges at the right places. A detailed Manaslu Circuit map will show you the tourism infrastructure in the region.

Hence, there is no need for outdoor camping. However, as a high-altitude trek, you need to prepare yourself. Here are a few things you must carry for this trek. 

Body Hiking shirts
Long-sleeved shirt
Hooded rain jacket
Fleece jacket
Lightweight cotton pants
T-Shirt (bring Lightweight wool)
Polypropylene underwear
Down jacket (available for rent in Kathmandu)
Sweater
Waterproof jacket and pants
Head Sun hat or scarf
Winter hat or insulating hat or wide-brimmed hat
Headlight with extra batteries
Hands Lightweight gloves
Heavyweight winter gloves
Footwear Hiking Boots
Thick wool socks (take an extra pair of thick light socks)


Trekking equipment

Gear Backpack or daypack (Size depends on whether you take a porter or not).
Thermal bottle
Water purification
Trekking pole
Sleeping bag (-15 bag is best in high altitude trekking)


Personal Items

Accessories Money
Watch
Cell phone
Camera

 

You may also like: Some interesting trekking gear to consider for your next trek

 

How to prepare for the Manaslu Circuit Trek?

Manaslu Circuit Trek is a high-altitude, remote trek that lasts at least a week. You can refer to the Manaslu circuit map to plan your itinerary. As the trek is demanding, you must prepare yourself mentally and physically. Here are the ways to prepare.

Training and Fitness Regimen

If you are normally fit, you should be able to complete the trek. However, please note that the fitter you are, the more you will enjoy your journey. So, here is how to improve your physical.

  • Cardiovascular Fitness: Cardio exercises such as running, cycling, or swimming improves the blood flow to the body, ultimately delivering more oxygen to your body cells. Since you will be trekking at a higher altitude, there is less oxygen in the air, and your body needs to be efficient. Hence, engaging in cardiovascular exercises a few weeks before the trek is essential.

 

  • Strength Training: Manaslu Circuit trekking lasts at least a week, and you will need reasonable strength to complete the trek. Hence, we also advise you to participate in strength training exercises too. Focus on strengthening your leg muscles, core, and upper body to cope with the challenging terrain. Squats, lunges, planks, and push-ups will help you improve your inner strength.

 

  • Hiking Practice: If you have time, you can also practice hiking or taking long walks with a loaded backpack. It will provide you with a taste of what long-distance hiking will be like. 

 

Acclimatization

Manaslu Circuit Trek is a high-altitude trek that takes you up to 5,160m at Larkya La Pass. Hence, it is crucial to acclimatize to avoid altitude sickness. Here are some ways to acclimatize. 

  • Gradual Ascent: Experts say you should not climb to 2,750m (9,000ft) from a low elevation in one day. Hence, it is vital to gain altitude gradually. This provides your body time to adjust to higher altitudes.

  • Walking at your own pace: This is one of the basic and most important ways to avoid altitude sickness. If the team you are traveling with walks faster, tell them. Do not rush.

  • Acclimatization Days: You must provide enough time for your body to adapt at high altitudes. Hence, in addition to gradually ascending, you must spend some days acclimatizing. However, do not remain inactive during acclimatization. W advise you to explore nearby areas or even take short hikes.

  • Hydration: The respiration rate will be higher in high altitudes, and by trekking, you will lose water from your body fast. To replenish this water loss, you should take plenty of fluids during high-altitude treks. Experts also recommend you take garlic soup for additional health benefits. 

  • Trek high and sleep low: Health experts advise you to trek high and sleep low. This is also called the golden rule of high-altitude trekking. 

  • Altitude Medication: Despite taking the above precautions, if you do not feel well, you should consider taking medications such as Diamox as a precautionary measure. However, you must seek approval from healthcare professionals before taking such drugs.

 

Packing Tips

We advise you to pack light. If you are taking an international flight to Nepal, remember you do not have to carry all the clothing, gear, and equipment from your home country. You can buy most of the stuff at reasonable prices in Kathmandu instead. 

Most probably, you will require a porter to carry most of your luggage during the Manaslu circuit trekking. So, you must have two duffle bags - one for yourself and one for the porter.

We suggest you buy one duffle bag of over sixty liters capacity and another with 25 liters capacity. However, you can purchase duffle bags at moderate prices in Kathmandu. If you are flying to Nepal, please pay attention to your luggage weight limit.

While packing the duffle bags, keep your valuables, such as jewelry, informational documents, such as your passport, and items you might need while traveling, like the raincoat, in the duffle bag you are carrying and let the porter carry the rest of your items. Do not clutter. Travel light.

 

Accommodation and Facilities

Though the Manaslu circuit is a remote trek, there are teahouses/lodges in all the right places. Hence, there is no need to carry tents or prepare for camp stays unless you want to. These tea houses differ in the quality of services or amenities they provide.

So you must be ready to live with basic amenities. You will get enough food in these tea houses or lodges, but you may not have all the food choices modern cities provide.

In addition, you will also realize that the higher you go, the more expensive food becomes. We also suggest you buy energy bars in big cities in Kathmandu, where prices are cheap.

You can buy bottled water in the en-route shops in the Manaslu Circuit, but we suggest you carry a water bottle and buy boiled/filtered water from tea houses/lodges you will be staying in.

This will ensure you will not leave plastic water bottles in trek regions. You might come across many water resources such as wells, taps, and rivers in the trek regions, but we advise you against drinking from these water resources because the water may not be hygienic, and we do not want you to fall ill. 

The tea houses and lodges in the lower trek regions have internet, and you can use their wifi to connect with your friends, family, and colleagues.

However, you might need to pay a fee. At higher altitudes, you can communicate using your cell phone, You can buy the local sim card in Kathmandu. However, the signals may not be strong enough in high trek regions.

 

Interesting Differences:

Which is harder Mount Everest Base Camp Trek vs Manaslu Circuit Trek?

How different are Manaslu Circuit and Annapurna Base Camp Treks?

 

Conclusion

If you like remoteness and want to forget the hustle and bustle of the cities, Manaslu Circuit Trek is for you, and we hope this Manaslu Circuit Trek for Beginners guide will come in handy.

Nepal government regulation does not allow you a solo trek in the Manaslu region. Hence, you need to partner with a local trek and tour company.

Discovery World Trekking is a leading trek and tour company with over a decade of experience taking trekkers to their destinations throughout Nepal, including Manaslu Circuit.

For a hassle-free Manaslu Circuit trek in a fun-filled environment, you can book this trek with us. You can email us at [email protected] or call/Viber/WhatsApp at +977-9840055491. 

 

FAQs

 

Can I do the Manaslu Circuit trek alone?

Current Nepal-government regulations do not allow you to trek the Manaslu Circuit alone due to the sensitive geo-position of the trek regions. You cannot apply for the restricted region permit alone. 

 

How long is the trek to Manaslu Circuit?

The classic Manaslu Circuit trek takes sixteen days to complete. However, you can finish this trek in twelve to twenty days.

 

Is it safe to trek to Manaslu Circuit?

Manaslu Circuit Trek was opened in 1991. Since then, thousands of trekkers have completed this trek. Though, like other high-altitude treks,  Manaslu Trek comes with inherent high-altitude trek risks, this trek is very safe. We advise you to buy travel insurance that covers helicopter rescue to face difficult situations. 

 

How hard is the Manaslu Circuit Trek?

Manaslu Circuit is a challenging trek. However, if you are normally fit, you can complete this trek. If you are not in great shape, you might have to prepare yourself a few months before starting the trek. 

 

What is the cost of the Manaslu Circuit Trek?

The exact cost will vary based on how you travel, whether you take a porter or not, your spending habits, and the length of the trek. Roughly, you need anywhere between US $900 to $1,600 (excluding international flight costs).