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 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 with 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 the 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 many 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.  It is relatively cheaper than Everest, but don’t expect it to be less expensive than Langtang and Annapurna.  Our clients who experienced Manaslu trek have nothing but positive feedback. 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.

Manaslu Trek

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 traveling months are from September to November, the cost is about USD 100 for the first week per person plus USD 15 per day per person after that.  If you are traveling between December and August, the cost is slightly cheaper at USD 75 for the first week per person, and USD  10 per day per person after that.  The average total number of days for the Manaslu trekking is about 14 days, and you will likely need the restricted permit for nearly a week.  Some trekkers chose to trek for 17 days, and if that is the case, there will be ten days of special permit required.  It’s always a good idea to discuss this with your local travel agency to plan or (Contact us).   We are not done yet, and as mentioned above, you are also required to buy MCAP and ACAP.  These are roughly USD 27 (NPR 3,000) 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 30 per week per person.  If you compare the permit cost with other trekking regions such as Everest, Annapurna, Langtang, and Kanchenjunga, Manaslu is 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 the Manaslu permit. Contrary to what international travel companies might tell you, hiring a professional guide is 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 from 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 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 traveled trekking trail. The only way to reach the starting point for the trek is to take a local off-road 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 approximately 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 has 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 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 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 daily.  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 homes were damaged, and this calamity had not spared even the tea houses.  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 costs 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 travelers, 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 ones, 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 a 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 travelers 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 unspoiled 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 any 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.

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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, leader, to being a manager. And finally today I am the 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 and 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 America, USA, Canada, one-third of Europe, the Caribbean Islands, and Latin America.

I studied in the UK and moved to the United States. During that period, I had the opportunity of 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 for the Nepalese Himalayas, I started writing about my own country. Which I would love to share with you. In case you required free information about Nepal or join a group with our existing departure, (particularly If you are a solo hiker for the restricted area) please do not hesitate to visit my office in Thamel. We are located in the centre of Kathmandu called 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. 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 nestadventure@gmail.com. I am also available 24x7 on WhatsApp  +977- 9851052042. If you are interested to know more about my travel journey follow me on  FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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