Manaslu Trek With Porter Guide

Government policies require some of the trekking areas to have a restricted permit in Nepal, compulsory trekking staff either with a guide or a porter especially if the trekking area is an open border or has a connection with another country such as Tibet or India. Nepal immigration law requires to having at least one government authorised person with a tourist during their visit in such a restricted area. Manaslu trek permit also requires to follow such immigration law.  

In this article, we will not only discuss whether it is possible for go on a Manaslu trek without a guide or a porter but also some essential information you should know before hiring a guide or porter. 
(Photo Credit from

1.  Do I really need to hire a Porter for Manaslu Trek? 

Looking at the Manaslu trek difficulty, it is considered as a moderate trek.  Therefore, hiring a porter in Manaslu trek completely depends on you and how physically capable you are to trek on your own and carrying your own backpack. It also depends on  how much stuff you intend to bring with you.  I would say, if you are strong enough to hike in high altitude with a 15 to 20 kg of backpack for about 7 to 8 hours a day, then you probably don’t need one.  I would instead recommend to just trek with a guide. 

If you think your backpack is heavy to carry uphill or if you have any physical condition prohibiting you from carrying heavy stuff for a longer period of time, then you should go with a porter as well.  
Note that the longer your Manaslu trek itinerary, meaning the more days you spend trekking, the easier and the more convenient the trek as you will not be required to cover a large area in one day.  On average you are crossing 300m to 500m a day with roughly 5-8 hours of walking. 

2. How much do I need to bring with me on a Manaslu Trek? 

Every trekker has their own list of must-bring when trekking so it really depends on your personal choices.  If you are carrying your own bag, we would recommend limiting this to about 15-20 kg, or even less if you can pack lighter.   You must be thinking, what essential things could make my backpack 15-20 kg? Typically, your list should include a sleeping bag, down jacket, day backpack, camera or other electronics,  some change of clothes, perhaps a sunblock, sunglasses, headlamp, and anything you might need for your personal hygiene, and water bottle. The day backpack is necessary to carry your things needed for the day and if you are  hiring a porter so you can share the load of your backpack with him.  So anything you might not need for the day while trekking, you could keep this in your main backpack and give to your porter to carry, while you carry in your day backpack some essentials such as water bottle, electronics, light snacks, your jacket, sunscreen, sunglasses, headlamp, etc.  cream, sunglass, shocks etc. The good thing about having a porter is you are able to enjoy trekking with nature, without the stress of having a heavy bag behind you.

3. Can I only hire a Porter Guide and what should I expect from him? 

The answer is YES, you can hire a porter guide for the Manaslu trek. If you are thinking of hiring a porter guide you should expect: 
  • They are not as good in communicating in English as a professional trekking guide, but of course, this would vary individually and how much experience they've had in trekking and dealing with clients. 
  • They may not be able to provide some factual information such as history, background, culture, etc. 
  • They are not very much experienced in an emergency evacuation, emergency first aid, mountain sickness or other issues. 
! BUT, they are well capable of leading the trail, some basic communication in English, share some of the loads from your backpack. 

4. Can I trek only with a porter but without a guide? 

Nepal's immigration policy requires that tourists must trek Manaslu with at list one trekking staff.  So the answer above is YES, you can trek with only a porter and without a separate trekking guide. If you decide to go on a Manaslu trek just with a porter then you should expect: 

  •  They are capable of carrying your backpack weighing up to 20-25 kg. 
  •  Most of them know the trail, but some may not so we suggest you make sure they have done this trek before. At the very least, they should have done some high altitude trekking before, even if it is not the Manaslu trek
  •  They don't speak English very well. 
  •  We recommend that you hire from an authorised agency to ensure they have insurance in case of emergency. 
  •  As a respect, please don't refer to them as 'porter', but call them by their names.  

5. Can I hire a friend of mine as a guide or porter for Manaslu trek? 

This issue often comes up with the local trekking agency in Nepal like us. Last year we had a group of tourists travelling with their Nepali friend who also worked outside the country.  They wanted to check if their Nepali could serve as their guide in Manaslu.  Unfortunately, this is not possible.  It is not possible to just hire any Nepali as anyone travelling with tourists must have an authorised identity card from the government for a licensed guide and an identity card from a trekking agency for a porter or porter-guide.  Please note that this will soon change and the government will soon also provide an authorised ID for porter or porter-guide. The identity cards are very important as there are random checking by Manaslu conservation area offices in  different checkpoints, like Arughat, Jagat and Samagon. Note that this rule only applies in restricted trekking areas in Nepal

In higher altitude and for the safety of everyone, it's always recommended to go with a professional or authorised person.  In other regions that are not restricted such as Everest Base Camp, if you have absolutely no choice but to hire an unauthorised porter, then please make sure you at least get them insurance before the trek as you will be held responsible if something happens. If you are with an authorised person, then he becomes the responsibility of the trekking agency or the government.

6. How much is the cost to hire a porter-guide for Manaslu trek? 

Manaslu trek cost or hiring a guide or porter depends on how many days of Manaslu trek itinerary you got. Basically, if you are just hiring a porter, the cost would be roughly 18 USD to 22 USD per day inclusive of food, accommodation, salary and insurance.  In the case of a porter-guide, the daily charges are slightly higher at 20 USD to 25 USD which is the same cost for hiring a guide.  Please note that Manaslu treks without a guide or a porter are not allowable by the government.  

A year after the massive earthquake in the Manaslu region, tourism has now bounced back to normal.  The Manaslu locals welcome everyone in their area.  If you are planning Manaslu trek sooner or later and have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. Picture source from (National Geographic)

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 assistance guide to being a guide/leader 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 backpacked to over 15 countries in Asia, Central Americas USA and Canada, one-third of Europe, Caribbean Island and  Latin America.

I studied in the UK and moved to the United States. During that period, I had an opportunity working with multinational companies which taught me, how to deliver quality customer service in the business? As a world travelling backpacker myself, and travel expert of Nepal Himalayas, I started writing about my own country.  Incase, If you required free information about Nepal, please do not hesitate to visit my office in Thamel. We are located in the centre of Kathmandu Thamel. I am happy to share a cup of Nepali tea and free information.  Our team at NEST has earned 5/5 star ratings on TripAdvisor from about 200 satisfied customers. Don't forget to visit our customer feedback page on TripAdvisor.
If you believe our expert team can be helpful in planning your next trip to Nepal, then please do not hesitate to contact me. at I am also available 24x7 on WhatsApp  +977- 9851052042. If you are interested to know more about my travel journey follow me on  Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  
1 + 7 = ?

We are a small group of three and will be arriving in Kathmandu the 2nd of November and plan to be in Arughat the 5th of November. One of the members is having difficulty to make this trip and the additional expense of a guide for him is impossible so we now are hoping for a porter though we all have light packs and really do not need anyone to carry them. Can we find someone in Arughat and what is the price difference between a guide and a porter?
Best regards, 

- Sherene Doucette

Hi, Sherene!
Thank you very much for your inquiry. I understand everyone has their budget limitation, but as a matter of fact, there are not much different in cost between guide and porter. If you hire guide/porter the cost would be USD 18 per day. 
First, you should convince yourself  and try to convince your friend. Let me help you with some point on how to convince your friend. 
1. You have to pay at list USD 140 per person to get the permit in Manaslu trek. If that is matter of money there are many trekking trails which don't  even cost you. tell she or him because you choose one of the extraordinary trail Nepal. 
2. This is not an individual trekking trail, you must hire at list one person and the permit should issue under the authorized local trekking  agency. That means local agency also charges some service charge. Also whoever you are hiring the local company should know in advance. it's because we have to inform to the immigration office before we issue the permit. You can't just pick someone on the way and trek. 
3. On top of that, the food and accommodation expenses would be 18-22 USD per day of the basic 3 times food. 
4. Transportation to Arughat and after the trek from Tal to Besishar - Kathmandu per person 50 - 60  USD person  
If you able to convince  your friend about the Manaslu Trek Cost, we can help you to organize a trek the cheapest possible. Let us know how many days trekking you are thinking. We can give you our best offer as possible. 
Thank you!

- Nepal Explore Summit Treks Pvt. Ltd.

I am planning a trekking vacation in Nepal this year with my brother and we are considering a tea house trek on the Manaslu circuit (or possibly Nar Phu valley). I have been to Nepal several times and have had a great time hiring just a guide or porter guide and would like the same arrangement for this next trek. Can you please advise cost for guide or porter guide only for 14 or 15 days. We intend to carry our own bags but it might be useful if a porter guide is available who could carry a few kgs. Please advise separately the costs for arranging the required permits. If we arrived on Saturday morning would it be possible to obtain the required permits and depart the following morning to Arughat or Sotikhola? Our current plans anticipate arrival at Kathmandu early on the morning of Saturday 5th November and departure late on Sunday 20th November (dates are still flexible). This will be a tight schedule for Manaslu but I am confident that it is sufficient. However, your advice would be welcome
- Simon Rigg

Hello, Simon --- " Once is not Enough - Nepal " welcome back to Nepal Simon! Really glad the heard that you made several times in Nepal and so much in love with our nature. Actually, I like that idea hiring a guide porter with whom you can share some loads that make you travel light enjoy more! As you are the most knowledgeable person about Traveling in Nepal I would just go street through the essential arrangement you have to do for the Manaslu Trek. Transportation Kathmandu to Arughat, Sotikhola - USD 8 per person Taal - Besishar to Kathmandu - 12 USD + 8 USD = 20 USD Per Person Special Permit, ACAP, MCAP - 100 USD + 20 USD + 20 USD = USD 140 Per Person Guide Porter : 20 USD Per day (Including food, Accommodation, Insurance, and Salary) 10 USD per person I hope this will help you to decide and planning the trip ahead. Thank you
- Nepal Explore Summit Treks Pvt. Ltd.

Namaste, ----- My friend and I are looking at doing part of the Manslu trek at the beginning of October and then linking up to the Anapurna Circuit after a few weeks. We have both spent time in Nepal before, but only he has experience trekking there, and he has asked me to find information on rates for a guide. He tells me we would need a porter/ guide for the Manaslu part of the trek and a guide only for the remaining Anapurna part. We will spend about 1 month on the trek. If you could give me information on your daily rates and charges my friend and I will consider using your services. Thank you. Sincerely ------ David H. Matthews
- David H. Matthews

Hello, Davide ----- Thanks for your comment! Glad to know that you guys have been in Nepal and had some experience. We are more than happy to assist your need, we would say It's a good idea make Annapurna circuit trek after the Manaslu trek. In order to complete the government required you need to hire a guide or at list one authorized trekking member for Manaslu trek. The cost for the Guide is roughly 18 to 25 USD per day and if you only hire a porter is 18 USD a day. for the more details please contact us at our email. -- I hope this helps you to make a decision. ---- Raj NEST Adventure
- Nepal Explore Summit Treks Pvt. Ltd.

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