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A complete Guide to Manaslu Trekking

  • 02-May-2021
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Interested in walking in the less crowded trekking destination following off-the-beaten trails of Nepal? If so, Manaslu Trek can the perfect choice. Trekking in the foothills of Manaslu (8156m), the world’s 8th tallest peak from the clammy lowland valleys and fields of rice give way to ice-coated passes haunted by leopards and much more exploring Nepal’s amalgamation of rich heritage and natural charm with epic scenery, intimate encounters along with local people with their ancient cultures. Manaslu Trek A Himalayan Pass- Larkey La is another prime attraction of this trek.

Manaslu Trek offers a combination of cultures, centuries-old traditional performances, and dramatic valleys against a backdrop of classic Himalayan peaks. Manaslu Trek covers almost every element of any other treks in Nepal including both Hindu and Buddhist culture, sheltered wildlife, rhododendrons and wildflowers, torrential rivers, swinging suspension bridges, and exquisite Himalayan landscapes.

Varieties of trekking options are available in and around giant Manaslu. The government of Nepal had officially opened to foreigners in 1991 and each day the number of explorers are increasing in increasing way. In the devastative earthquake of 2015, Manaslu was badly affected. However, all the trekking trails, teahouses, and religious shrines are reconstructed and are operating well now.

Manaslu, a restricted trekking zone of Nepal, needs a special trekking permit to explore around. Going through the registered trekking agency one should purchase such permits. Earlier, there were only a few teahouses that were accessible and were a bit problematic for lodging and eateries. But now several lodging stops are established throughout the trail and some of them are under construction, anticipating increased numbers of trekkers in the future.

Manaslu Circuit Trek

manaslu-circuit-trek Manaslu Circuit Trek, one of the restricted areas, teahouse trek circles the mighty 8th tallest peak of the planet-Mt Manaslu (8156m asl.) This single trek covers all the elements of other treks in Nepal such as religious shrines (mostly Hindus and Buddhists), protected wildlife and flowers, rhododendron woods, changed but surprising vegetation, torrential waterways, dew-fresh mountains as jeweled with snow as a newlywed bride, dazzling waterfalls, friendly and hospitable people, precarious bridges, river gorges, and stunning terraced fields of rice, corn, millet, potatoes, etc.

The journey commences relatively lower elevation around 800m above sea level. Passing the river gorge of mighty Budhi Gandaki, cultivated lands and lustrous sceneries along with panoramic views of the Himalayas from Annapurna to Manaslu including Manaslu, Cheo Himal, Himlung Himal, Nemjung, Gyaji Kang, Kang Guru, and Annapurna II, explorers reach Larkey La (5167 meters), the highest point on the trek before adjoining the trail of Annapurna Circuit Trek.

A moderately difficult journey to Manaslu requires sound physical and mental preparedness to complete this journey successfully. This trek covers around 180 kilometers through the jungles, conservation areas (both Annapurna and Manaslu), rough terrains, rocky ridges, and a couple of mountain passes and scenic ethnic settlements. Trekkers need a Restricted Area Permit, TIMS card, and permits for the Manaslu Conservation Area Park (MCAP) and the Annapurna Conservation Area Park (ACAP) for this trek which can be purchased from the Nepal Tourism Board in Kathmandu through a registered trekking agency in Nepal.

Manaslu Circuit Trek with Tsum valley

manaslu-trek-with-tsum...Completing the journey of Larkey-La, trekkers shall march towards the cultural heritages of sacred Buddhists including monasteries, spinning prayer wheels, colorful prayer flags, Chortens, and the deep-throated calls of lengthy Tibetan horns rumbling there around. It is a place immersed in the glow of its peaceable inhabitants and their enduring credence in the sacredness of all life, a landscape of jerry-rigged meadows, tiered fields, and the imposing Ganesh Himal ranges adding their own spectacular touch to the much-vaunted backdrop.

Therefore, trekkers witness the most iconic and immersive cultural experience on offer to trekkers, a living sentient Buddhist culture that’s been protected from the after-effects of the outside world for centuries in its hidden and well-protected valley. So, complete with the majestic peak of Manaslu standing in serene magnificence over the surrounding landscape. Combining them, one gets possibly the most complete and rewarding experience currently available to the trekking community, a tour de force of the very best that Nepal has to offer.

Accessing Manaslu Circuit

Accessing Manaslu is possible via overland. Each day, local buses proceed from Kathmandu to Arughat and Soti Khola. You can use a private 4*4WD jeep as well. Driving west along the Kathmandu-Pokhara Highway towards the village of Soti Khola, you will turn off toward the hilltop village of Dhading district. The drive passes through rural communities, small towns, green terraces, and lush hillsides.

The road will ultimately become a furrowed, grime path and you'll start to see views of the southern grades of Annapurna, Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, and Langtang peak. At the time of dinner, you will reach Soti Khola-the starting point of the trek located in the Budi Gandaki River valley spending 8-10 hours driving 141kilometers or 88 miles.

Manaslu Trek Itineraries

A couple of choices are available in the itineraries of the Manaslu trek. You can do either Manaslu Round trek or Manaslu with Tsum Valley trek or Tsum Valley trek according to your time restriction, willingness, and fitness level. Some of the popular packages for Manaslu are presented briefly.

I. Manaslu Circuit Trek

Day 1: Drive to Arughat to Soti Khola

Day 2: Trek to Machha Khola

Day 3: Machha Khola to Jagat

Day 4: Jagat to Deng

Day 5: Deng to Numrung

Day 6: Namrung to Lho

Day 7: Lho to Sama Gauon

Day 8: Rest and acclimatization day at Sama Gaon

Day 9: Trek to Samdo

Day 10: Trek to Dharamsala High Camp (Larkya Phedi)

Day 11: Cross Larkya La (5160m/16924 ft) to Bimthang

Day 12: Bimthang to Dharapani

Day 13: Dharapani to Syange

Day 14: Drive Syange to Kathmandu

II. Manaslu and Tsum valley trek

Day 1: Drive to Arughat by Jeep our bus

Day 2: Trek to SOti Khola

Day 3: Trek to Machha Khola

Day 4: Doban to Philim

Day 5: Philim to Chumling

Day 6: Chumling to Chhokangparo (Upper Tsum)

Day 7: Chhokangparo to Nile/Chhule, visit Milarepa Piren Phu Cave on the way

Day 8: Nile/Chhule to Mu Gompa, visit Dhephyudonma Gompa

Day 9: Extra day for excursion

Day 10: Mu Gompa to Rachen Gompa

Day 11: Rachen Gompa to Dumje

Day 12: Trek to Ghap

Day 13: Trek to Lho

Day 14: Trek to Samagompa

Day 15: Trek to Samdo

Day 16: Trek to Dharmashala

Day 17: Cross Larkya La (5,215m) and trek to Bhimthang

Day 18: Trek to Tilje

Day 19: Trek to Tal

Day 20: Trek to Chamje

Day 21: Drive to Kathmandu

 III. Tsum Valley Trek

Day 1 - Drive to Soti Khola via Arughat

Day 2 - Trek to Machha Khola

Day 3 - Trek to Jagat

Day 4 - Trek to Lokpa

Day 5 - Trek to Chumling

Day 6 - Trek to Chhokang Paro

Day 7 - Trek to Nile

Day 8 - Trek to Mu Gompa

Day 9 - Excursion Mu Gompa and Dhephyudonma Gompa

Day 10 - Trek to Burgi Village via Milarepa Cave

Day 11 - Trek to Chumling

Day 12 - Trek to Philim

Day 13 - Trek to Khorlabesi

Day 14- Trek to Soti Khola

Day 15- Drive to Kathmandu

Manaslu Trek Difficulty

Manaslu Trek transverse via six different climatic zones from sub-tropical to tundra, gaining gradual altitude from 715 meters (Soti Khola) to 5160 meters (Larkey-La) walking peacefully in less crowded zones with mesmerizing views. Depending upon the chosen route, you need to walk 160 to 200 kilometers within 17-21 days depending upon the package you chose.

Difficulty in any trek depends upon the route you follow, the season you choose, distance, altitude, weather conditions, travel and guide permits, and training. Slippery roads, narrow and stony paths, crevasse on the way, snow, and participation on the trek may add some challenges during the journeying. All you need is patience and should be aware while crossing the alpine pass, landscapes, and ridges. Being physically prepared and mentally determined helps one to complete the journey successfully.

Manaslu Trek Cost

Manaslu Circuit Trek, one of the most demanded trek of the entire Manaslu region of Nepal offers you a complete novice trekking experience along with the touch of the rural settlements and people, aged old uncommon cultural practices by them. Generally, Manaslu Circuit Trek completes in 17 commercial days including the days of arrival, departure, and acclimatization. You can modify the schedule and can extend or reduce some days according to your time restriction, interest, and budget.

All in all, the cost of Manaslu Trek accounts based on the number of days you wish to spend on a trek, the sort of accommodations you wish to grab, the transportation you choose, and activities you wish to do in this trek. The headings of the expenditure of this trek are listed below.

I. Manaslu Trek Permit Cost

You need to have three obligatory permits for Manaslu Trek. The cost for these permits may differ depending upon the month and number of days you shall spend in this region. You shall pass a couple of conservation areas viz. the Annapurna and Manaslu.

Manaslu Conservation Area Project Permit (MCAP)

  •  US$ 30 for each person all year round

Annapurna Conservation Area Project Permit (ACAP)

  • US$ 30 for each person all year round

Manaslu Restricted Area Permit (RAP)

  •  US$ 100 per week for each person and after 7 days, US$ 15 per day for each person in peak periods (September to November)
  • US$ 75 per week for each person and after 7 days  US$ 10 per day for each person in the off-peak periods (December to August)

Moreover, if you wish to have a side trip to Tsum Valley, you will need to have an additional permit.

  •  US$ 40 per person/week. After 7 days, US$ 7 per person/day in peak seasons (September – November)
  • US$ 30 per person/week. After 7 days, US$ 7 per person/day in off-peak seasons (December – August)

II. Cost for Transportation

It is possible to travel from Kathmandu to Soti Khola either by bus or private jeep. Choosing a private jeep makes your journey easier and comfortable. Although it is possible to reach by bus they are often get crowded, have narrow seats making it uncomfortable to sit and stop in every single stop to pick up several other passengers.

Concerning the cost of them, traversing via local bus expenses around US$ 10 per person to reach Soti Khola. Taking a private jeep costs around US$ 170-200 making the journey more convenient and passes without stopping frequently.

The alike smears at the end of the trek from Dharapani or Tal to Kathmandu. But while in between Dharapani/Tal and Besisahar, there are local jeeps which cost a bit less i.e. Rs.1000 (10$) for tourists and Rs.600 (6$) for Nepalese. From Bensishahar, you can choose any of the means from local bus to luxurious car. The local bus expenses USS$8-10 each while booking a car/private jeep costs US$ 150-200.

III. Cost of guides and porters

As Manaslu Trek is a restricted area trek, one cannot go on a solo trek in this region. For this, you need to hire a government-authorized license holder guide from a certified company and an experienced porter. There can be an option for porter-guide, a man does both a porter and guide. He will guide you along a route as well as help carry your loads en route. To hire a guide, porter, or porter-guide, you need to pay the following charges:

Trekking guide: US$ 25-30 each day

Porter: 20-25 each day

Porter-Guide: 25-30 each day

IV. Costs for Food and Accommodation

Manaslu Trek is popular as a teahouse trek as you can find enough tea houses throughout the trek which offer a warm meal and cozy bed. Most of the teahouses have set menus of their own. An average amount of food, drinks, and rooms during the trek route is listed.

  •  US$ 6-10 per day for room
  • US$ 15-20 per day for meal
  • US$ 1.5-4 for tea/coffee (per cup)
  • US$ 0.5-4 for water bottle (per bottle)
  • US$ 4-8 for beer (per bottle)

Remember: The price of everything may get differ according to the place and elevation. As you reach higher, the price ascends too.

Larkey La/ Larkey Pass

Larkey La, one of the longest passes in the Himalayas locates at 5106m/16752ft above sea level. The most heard word of the entire Manaslu Trek, Larkey La is accessible after a 4-5 hours’ walk from Dharmasala (4450m/14599ft), a popular stop before enthralling mountain pass.

Larkey pass is also a lodging and food items transportation route for local villagers on either side of Bhimtang valley or Nubri valley. And on many occasions, this high pass is a connector of Tsum valley with Nubri and Bhimtang valley. It is also known to have unimaginable scenes, rough and slow topped slops. Larkey pass connects Manaslu Conservation Area (MCA) with Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA). Manaslu circuit trekking is also called Larkey pass trek as in both of these trekking trips – trekkers have to cross over the high and long mountain pass.

Weather in Manaslu Trek

As Manaslu Trek is a high elevated trek, the weather remains quite fluctuating and unpredictable. Trekkers should walk along the tropical and subtropical zone at an altitude of over 710 meters to the consistent arctic climate at altitudes over 5,000 meters. Here they shall experience tropical, subtropical, sub-alpine, temperate, alpine, and arctic climatic conditions. With quickly changing weather, clouds interchanges with sunny moments, humidity, rain, and strong winds, it is obvious that the Manaslu Circuit trail has several seasons in a single day.

The Manaslu region experience four seasons throughout the year viz. spring (March to May), summer (June to August), autumn (September to November), and winter (December to February) graces the Manaslu region with their own individual charm. Having information on the Manaslu region also helps you in making some crucial decisions about your trek. This may include choosing the best time to trek, safety precautions, and packing essentials for the trek. Individual description of this trek is given.

Spring Season( March to May)

The season of new beginnings- spring is the best season for trekking Manaslu. Flowers bloom and the entire hills seem colorful by the rhododendron and other wildflowers throughout the trek. Farmers look busy planting new seeds in their lands and the earth seems to come alive again. The temperature gradually increases in a decreasing way.

The weather remains quiet during this time of the year in the trekking area. The temperature is also fine neither too hot nor too cold. Distinct vantage points offer excellent visibility of the giant peaks of the Mansiri Mountain range and its neighboring peaks. The favorable weather conditions and climatic conditions make your Manaslu Trek enjoyable, memorable, and easier

Summer (June, July, and August)

The months of heavy participation summer is considered a bit riskier season than others. It witnesses hot and humid temperatures and a lot of rainfall. When it is pouring up in the mountains and hills, it is dangerous to be around the trail. You have to use a path that is already wet and slippery.
You also have to carry extra rain gear for your expedition. In addition to this, there will be chances of landslide in the trail and flood in the river. Therefore, the season of summer is certainly an unpopular trekking option for most travelers. However, the rainfall clears the dust and pollutants from the surrounding and unleashes crisp views of the surrounding mountains. However, some adventurers like to do Manaslu trek in summer as well being extra prepared and careful.

Autumn (September, October, November)

The post-monsoon periods of autumn look clear and fresh. The skies look crystal and the atmosphere seems astounding. There is a very little chance of precipitation and trekking routes become dry and easier to hike.

 As the dust and smoke particles are washed away by the rainfall, there will be unobstructed views of glittering peaks. Trekkers can enjoy celebrating major Nepali festivals of Nepal-Dashain and Tihar with the locals during the trek. The colorful dresses of the people, unique way of celebrating the occasions, the hospitality they offer, makes the journey to Manaslu memorable and enjoyable in autumn. 

As the weather remains stable, days are longer, teahouses are fully in operation, can interact with plenty of fellow travelers, there will be fewer challenges to trek Manaslu during these periods. You need to encounter large snow-heaps and crevasses on the way as the chances of snowfall are quite less even in the high elevations.

Winter (December, January, February)

Being the coldest months in Nepal, winter gets heavy snowfall in the higher elevations of the Manaslu Trek. Crossing Larke Pass, the highest point of the Manaslu trek can be a bit thrilling between December-early January. The Manaslu region also witnesses the occasional and sudden winter storm during January and February.

The mornings and nights are chilly and icy cold of the higher elevations. Most of the teahouses in the higher elevations may get closed and you may need to carry camping gear for a couple of days. Else, you can call ahead to ensure the tea houses you book are open for the season.

Short Manaslu Circuit Trek

Rapid Manaslu circuit is made especially for those adventure seekers who are physically and psychologically fit for the high elevated hiking in a short time span. In this trek, trekking days are shortened and acclimatization days are reduced which may cause altitude sickness as well. The journey commences around 800m above sea level reaching 5106m- Larkey La mostly following the Budhigandaki River bank through the rural village. Adjoining the trail of Annapurna Circuit Trek at Dharapani, you will drive back to Kathmandu before the final departure. An outline itinerary of 12 Days Manaslu Circuit Trek is presented below.

Day 01: Kathmandu Arrival

Day 02: Drive from Kathmandu to Sotikhola in a Jeep or a Bus

Day 03: Trek from Soti Khola to Machha Khola

Day 04: Trek from Machha Khola to Jagat

Day 05: Trek from Jagat to Deng

Day 06: Trek from Deng to Namrung

Day 07: Trek from Namrung to Samagaun

Day 08: Trek from Samagaun to Dharmashala

Day 09: Trek from Dharmashala to Bimtang via Larkey La

Day 10: Trek from Bimtang to Dharapani

Day 11: Drive back to Kathmandu from Dharapani by Jeep or Bus

Day 12: Final Departure

Manaslu Conservation Area (MCA)

Declared in the year 1998, the core aim of Manaslu Conservation Area (MCA) is to achieve ecological management of the natural resources and rich cultural inheritances of the region. It further aims to improve the living standards of the local people of this region. This conservation area covers an area of 1663 sq. km.

It is rich in diverse flora and fauna which is the home of 9000 inhabitants. It shelters over 2000 species of vegetation, 201 species of birds, 39 sorts of mammals, 11 types of butterflies, and changed forested lands. Snow leopard, Lynx, Musk deer, Red fox, Jackal, Brown bear, and their prey species such as Blue sheep, Himalayan tahr, Himalayan serow, Wooly hare, and Himalayan marmot are commonly found here. Varieties of birds as Snow partridge, Tibetan snowcock, Chukar partridge, Himalayan griffon, Golden eagle, among others are found in this region easily.

The government of Nepal has banned any sorts of hunting-related activities to conserve the wildlife of this section. People in this region are settled in the small houses in the different communities. There is harmony among people although people from different ethnic groups reside around and are actively aware to preserve the conservation area.

Throughout the region, there is harmony between religion and environmental conservation as

Lamas (religious leaders) from the religious shrines forbid any kind of violence against the environment. This has been massively significant in the prosperity of biota in this conservation area.

Tips for Manaslu Trek

  • Pack the necessary gears and equipment needed for the entire journey. However, be sure that a heavy backpack spoils the trek.
  • Always walk in a group (at least 2 people in a group) with a guide and porter. The solo trek is restricted in Manaslu.
  • Make sure you have all the required permits for the Manaslu Trek.
  • Drink plenty of water during the trek; Dehydration cooperates to cause Acute Mountain Sickness.
  • Drink purified water only. There may be unavailability of shops to buy in the stops, carry a bottle and purification tablets from Kathmandu.
  • Carry some high-calorie snacks like protein bars, raisins, and peanuts.
  • Stay aware of uncooked food. Get a vegetarian died as fresh meat may not available in the higher elevations.
  • Book the lodging, accessibility in advance if you are trekking in peak seasons.
  • Carry some insect repellents and table salt to avoid insects like mosquitoes and leeches if you are trekking in summer.
  • Carry a first aid kit with any medications you’re taking. Bring enough meds for the trek and DO NOT use any medicine that you are not sure about.
  • Alcohol and smoking increase the possibility of altitude sickness, so try avoiding them.
  • It is normal to get a little headache or slight fever while adjusting to the varying altitude. Don’t be too worried about it. However, there is more problem, inform immediately to your leader. 


Manaslu Trekking is a great choice and is a perfect alternative to the Annapurna Circuit and Everest Base Camp Trek. This noble trek destination witness offers several yet-to know facts and many uncommon experiences regarding the cultures and the way of living. As trekking Manaslu is not possible for solo travelers, Icicles Adventure Treks and Tours is always ready to help to complete the entire trip of Manaslu Trek.


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