Planning for the Manaslu Circuit trek. You shouldn't miss reading this!!

In this article, we hope to answer some basic questions you may have about the Manaslu Circuit Trek, in particular on the overall impact this trek may have on your wallet!  We strongly believe you will enjoy reading this post, so happy reading!!!
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Most trekkers have not heard of Manaslu Base Camp, but in the past year or so, this is becoming more and more popular.  During season time, tourists usually flock to Everest Base Camp and because of that, some trekkers find it too crowded to enjoy the scenic trail of the world's most famous mountain.  Second to the list of popular trails in Nepal is the Annapurna region.  However, the government has decided to improve the condition of the highway on the way to Annapurna and a massive road construction is underway making some of the classical trails impassable.  Due to these events, Manaslu has started to make a name to those who love the mountains.  Still, it remains one of the least unexplored trails in Nepal as it is restricted by the government and that alone is enough to poke the interest of anyone looking for an off-the-beaten trekking experience.  

Let me tell you more about Manaslu, which is near and dear to my heart as I was born in the region.  Manaslu lies in the west of Nepal's Gorkha district.  Mt. Manaslu, the highest in the region is roughly 8,163m above sea level so this is not a minor mountain in Nepal.  As mentioned above, this is a restricted trail in Nepal and therefore, there are certain rules to follow in order to be allowed to trek here.  For this reason, alone, not all tourists are willing to venture into the unknown, and with stricter rules compared to the other base camps.  You should know, that whoever did dare go is rewarded with the kind of travel experience you would want to share to your grandchildren one day! It is definitely worth the effort! 

The Manaslu Circuit Trekking is often compared with Annapurna Circuit but the scenery is somewhat different. The national parks of the two regions are next to each other so they are connected. Manaslu is much closer to Tibetan side, so the culture you will see here is more Tibetan. Up to this day, it remains a remote and virgin trail and less crowded than any other treks in Nepal.

One good thing about venturing into this unknown world of Manaslu is that it is not at all as expensive as one would think.  In fact, it is relatively cheaper than Everest, but don't expect it to be cheaper than Langtang and Annapurna.  Our clients who experienced Manaslu trek have nothing but positive feedback and for most of them who had also been to Everest Base Camp aka EBC or Annapurna Base Camp aka ABC, Manaslu is so much better compared to other trails in Nepal. 

In this article, we hope to answer some basic questions you may have about Manaslu, in particular on the overall impact this trek may have on your wallet! Okay, to do this trek, you will need a permit, transportation, guide (and probably porter) and of course, food and accommodation. These are the essentials and we have gathered the cost  of Manaslu trek figures for you below. 

1. What trekking permits do I need for Manaslu? & How much is the cost? 

The Nepal government applied special rule and cost for the Manaslu trekking permit as this is a restricted area in Nepal. You will need three permits for the Manaslu
  • Manaslu restricted permit,
  • Manaslu Conservation Area Project Permit, aka MCAP, and lastly,
  • Annapurna Conservation Area Project Permit, aka ACAP.

 I know what you are thinking, why do we need all these permits?! Please allow us to explain these below.

The Manaslu restricted permit is necessary as you entering a special region in Nepal.  This is required by the government to preserve the area and probably carve down the tourists.  The cost of the permit varies depending on the month you will be in the region and the number of days you will be in the area.  If your travelling months are from September to November, the cost is about USD 70 for the first week per person plus USD 10 per day per person thereafter.  If you are travelling in between December and August  the cost is slightly cheaper at USD 50 for the first week per person, and USD  7 per day per person thereafter.  The average total number of days for the Manaslu trekking is about 14 days, and you will likely need the restricted permit for about 8 or 9 days.  Some trekkers chose to trek for 17 days, and if that is the case, there will be 10 days of special permit required.  It's always a good idea to discuss this with your local travel agency to plan ahead or (Contact us).  As a rule of thumb, the restricted permit is USD 10 a day. We are not done yet and as mentioned above, you are also required to buy MCAP and ACAP.  These are USD 20 a piece per person. 

If you choose Tsum Valley trek as a side trip for your Manaslu trek, then you are also required to buy another restricted permit for this area and the cost is USD 35 per week per person.  If you compare the permit cost with other trekking regions such as Everest, Annapurna, Langtang and Kanchenjunga, Manaslu is actually higher but still cheaper than Upper Mustang Trek

I know this is probably hard to understand and to remember, and I hope we did not confuse you even more! But you should not worry about this and let your local agency arrange these for you. 


2. How much is the cost for the Guide and Porter for Manaslu trek?

While Nepal has some trekking trails where tourists can trek even without a guide, this doesn't apply to Manaslu.  It is also required that at least two trekkers are in a group to apply for Manaslu permit. Contrary to what international travel companies might tell you, hiring a professional guide is actually not at all expensive for the Manaslu region.  On average, the fee is about USD 20 to 25 per day and this includes the guide's food, accommodation, and insurance.  

We are also often asked by our client if it is possible to only trek with a porter in Manaslu.  The answer is Yes, this is possible!!!  However, the cost of hiring a porter is not that much different to hiring a guide due to the cost of food and insurance.  I would say roughly USD 15 to 20 a day inclusive of food, accommodation, and insurance would be the cost of hiring a porter for Manaslu trek. It is recommended that you go with a professional guide for safety reasons and you could be sure of the experience and rigid training they went through to get their license.  Of course, this is all dependent on you as long as you don't go trekking on your own in Manaslu trek without a guide or porter as it is not actually allowed by the government.

3. What transportation is needed for the Manaslu trek and how much is the cost? 

As you would expect in an off-the-beaten-trail, Manaslu trek hasn't connected yet with any public tourist bus services.  And because of this, it remains a less travelled trekking trail. The only way to reach the starting point for the trek is to take an off-road local bus to Arughat or Sotikhola or hire a private jeep for those looking for convenience.  Riding a local bus to Sotikhola is less than USD 10 per person. If you choose the private jeep option, it will cost you approximately USD 150 to 200 each way.  The same applies at the end of the trek from Tal or Besisahar to Kathmandu, and costs are also roughly the same.   In between Tal and Besisahar, there is also a local jeep running every other hour which will cost you roughly 1000 Rs for Tourist and 600 Rs for Nepalese. 

4. How much are the daily expenses in Manaslu Trek?
Manaslu is becoming more and more popular among trekkers and as a result, the availability of accommodation in tea houses and food have also improved.  

1. Let's talk about the most essential to all human beings -- FOOD!
No one could last a day without food so this is important to budget for.  Since Manaslu is still in a remote area of Nepal, the cost of food in is generally more expensive here than in Kathmandu and menu choices are limited.  Those who have been to other base camps in Nepal should be familiar with the rule that the cost of food increases as the elevation increases.   This is because it becomes harder to transport the higher the elevation and if the area is more remote.  From Sotikhola all the way up to Larke pass, supplies are being transported by pure hard work by men and mule, so you could imagine how much effort goes into each soup you will eat in the region.  You may want to budget roughly USD 5 per meal. so maybe USD 15 to 20 on a daily basis.  Of course, this would vary how much appetite you might have in each meal and your beverages.  Also, breakfast is generally cheaper than lunch and dinner.   If you have been to Annapurna, the cost is relatively the same.  Everest is still more expensive than Manaslu and Annapurna.  

2. So, the next main concern is where to sleep -- ACCOMMODATION.
After all, it is always nice to know that you will not be sleeping outside in the cold after a day's hike. and I assure you, this is not an issue at all in Manaslu as tea houses have started to spring up.  It is widely known that the recent earthquake in Manaslu has affected the trail and most of the local houses were damaged, and even the tea houses had not been spared by this calamity.  Since then, along with the rest of the nation, the area has recovered while the trail and tea houses have been rebuilt. All tea houses are back in business and trekkers can be accommodated at any time without any issue.  The cost for one twin sharing room is roughly USD 6 to USD 9 a night.  If you are renting one room with two twin beds so you could sleep on your own, please be reminded that you must pay for the total cost of the room, meaning the cost for two people. 

Conclusion! 
As you probably gathered from your research, different companies publish different cost for Manaslu trek.  This is probably very confusing as the cost range is relatively wide and it is difficult to decide which company to trust.  For example, if you try to look up the cost offered by international travel agencies, the charges could be more than USD 2000 but if you check with a local travel company in Nepal, the cost for the same package could reduce by a third.  For first time travellers, you would normally go with the international agencies because of their branding and you could be sure of your safety.  However, I assure you that local trekking agencies in Nepal could deliver the same level of quality at a fraction of the price.  It actually doesn't matter whether you go with the more expensive or the cheaper one, as everyone sleeps in the same category of tea houses.  There is no such thing as a 5-star tea house in the mountain region.  In addition, you are also assured that you will be served the same quality of the meal.   

As a rough estimate, the Manaslu package for 14 days could well range between USD 700 and USD 900 per person with full boarding package. An international agency would offer you USD 2,500 for the same package.  If you wish to pay for your own food and accommodation and just request the essentials from the local travel company (e.g guide, porter, permit, and transportation), the cost will drop to USD 300 to USD 500 per head. 

The Manaslu trek is for a special group of adventure trekkers who want to explore the unexplored and not boast that they have seen the Everest or have been to Everest Base Camp.  This trek is for travellers who want serenity and quiet while trekking and not be on crowded trails as in the Everest or Annapurna during season time.  Anyone who has been to Manaslu could vouch for the unspoilt beauty of the area and we hope to keep it that way for the years to come.  It is more remote than the other trails so you should be prepared to rough it as you travel and give up comfort for at least 2 weeks.  If you think you can handle this situation and if you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.  We hope this post has been helpful to you but please feel free to leave us a comment if you have any concern. 

About Rajendra Khanal (Raj)

Rajendra Khanal (Raj) Born and raised in Gorkha, Nepal, I am proud to call the Manaslu region my home! I have been in the travel business for over a decade from being a porter to being a guide to being a manager and finally a founder of NEST Adventure. So you could say, I know my way well enough in the Himalayas especially in some of the off-the-beaten trails in Nepal like Manaslu, Kanchenjunga or Mustang
I am passionate about travelling and I strongly believe that seeing the world shouldn't break the bank (at least not too much!).  I have been to over 15 countries in Asia, Central Americas, one-third of the Europe and just started Latin America, (Australia and Canada are on my bucket list..one day!) as a backpacker myself, I am happy to share the experience about Nepal Himalayas. If you think I can be helpful planning your trip to Nepal, then do not hesitate to contact me. at nestadventure@gmail.com. I am also available on Whats app and Viber +977-9851052042 Or direct phone call +1(702)456-9789. If you are interested to know more about me follow on  Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
 
1 + 5 = ?


Hello,

We are planning to have a Manaslu Circuit Trek in September as a couple. We have few questions;


- Although our dates are not set yet, we are wondering about if the second half of September is a good time to start Manaslu Circuit  Trek?

- How much does it cost, what is included in this cost? Do permit fees and transfer from Katmandu, etc are included in it?

- On the internet, we saw a very different variation of Manaslu Circuit  treks. Some with 14 days, some with 18 to 20 days. What is the duration your company offers? What are the differences between these options?

- What type of accommodation is included in your Manaslu Circuit treks?

- If we want to add Tsum Valley to visit Buddist Monasteries, how many extra days do we need? How much does it extra cost? 

Thank you,


Aysun Atlı

- Aysun Atlı


Hello Aysun, 

Thank you so much for your Comment. We are happy to help you to arrange Manaslu trek. Let me go to through your question's.

The trekking season actually starts from the month of September, that means the perfect time for the trek has been just started. But the rain might still remain few times a week. during the second half of the September. We would say it's not perfect as October, November but Manaslu trek can be perfectly done at that time. We have one group leaving on the 22nd of September for Manaslu Trek. 

Cost can be customized  up your request. and depends on what service you required on your package. You must arrange from agency, guide, porter, transportation, and accommodation in Mountain. However, food can be paid as you go. We are happy to give you trek cost once we know your Manaslu trek itinerary.  

Basically,  we provide all available itinerary, I know what you mean, simply if you understand how many rest days and side trip you want to have it. what all you need to know.  is 1-day side trip during the acclimatization or 2 days rest in two different camps.  On top of that if you add some days to Tsum valley trekking days will be longer. simply 14 days minimum itinerary is reasonable for Manaslu trek. If you spend a little time reading this post, I am sure you will be very much clear about Manaslu trek itinerary
Normal Mountain tea house are included, there are not any categories of tea houses in the Mountain, all are the same.  

Simply If you want to do Tsum Vally side trip including Manaslu trekking, 21 - 22 days will be all together. 

I hope to believe this information will help you to make a decision, do not hesitate to inquire for the further detail.   

Thanks 

Raj 

- Nepal Explore Summit Treks Pvt. Ltd.

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