Ultimate Guide to Manaslu Trek: Tips & Permits

Mount-Manaslu

The 16-day Manaslu circuit trek is one of the most challenging treks in remote parts of Nepal. It offers a wide range of fascinations, such as Manaslu mastiffs, Larkya La pass (5215 m/ 17109.58 ft), and subtropical forests. Likewise, exotic wildlife, landscapes, green meadows, and Gurung villages with unique cultures and traditions. The trek links to Upper Budi Gandaki, called Nupri ( the western mountains). Since the trek elevates to a high altitude, there is a risk of altitude sickness and respiratory problems.

Manaslu circuit trek begins from Sotikhola after sightseeing around the capital, Kathmandu, on the first day. The trek trail goes through many small villages of Nepal, flaunting stunning views of Larkya La pass and Larkya La glacier. It also provides trekkers with the opportunity to experience the natural hot spring ‘Tatopani.’

So, grab the chance to get close to remote Nepal’s beauty and adventures in majestic mountains. Moreover, explore different lifestyles, cultures, foods, flora and fauna, wildlife, etc. via the Manaslu Circuit trek.

How difficult is the Manaslu circuit trek?

The Manaslu circuit trek does not involve many technicalities, and you do not need to learn unique techniques or skills to complete it. However, it is one of the longest, with a total of 16 days. Trek’s trail goes from plains to hills to canyons to the lap of the great Himalayas through steep trails and huge cliffs.

Therefore, it is tedious and requires good physical condition and strength. One needs to be agile in adapting to the changing environment. All in all, the Manaslu circuit trek is moderately challenging for people with experience and hard for newbies.

Manaslu-Circuit-Trek

Is the Manaslu circuit trek beginner-friendly?

The trek trail is quite risky and has some risky places. It passes through the Larkya La pass, which makes it even more challenging. Beginners who have absolute past trekking experience are sure to find the trek very difficult. 

The Manaslu circuit trek can not necessarily be classified as “beginner-friendly.” However, a couple of small hikes and physical exercises for a couple of weeks ( 3 weeks to 4 weeks) before the trek are enough to prepare for it. Beginners should trek slowly and steadily, not gain elevation quickly, and acclimate well to avoid getting ill.

Manaslu curcuit elevation

Discover the breathtaking altitudes of the Manaslu Circuit Trek, where every stride elevates your journey amidst the Himalayan splendor. Scaling up to 5200 meters (approx. 17060.37 feet) near the Larkya La pass in Bhimtang, this trek unfolds a captivating ascent through diverse landscapes. Beginning at a modest 720 meters (about 2362.2 feet) in Sotikhola, trekkers gradually ascend, navigating valleys, hills, and canyons. The adventure peaks at the majestic Larkya La pass, before descending to the final destination of Besi Sahar, nestled at 760 meters (approx. 2493.44 feet). Each step unveils panoramic vistas of snow-capped peaks, lush valleys, and remote mountain villages. Embark on an unforgettable Himalayan odyssey with the Manaslu Circuit Trek.

The highest elevation of the Manaslu circuit trek is 5200 m / 17060.37 ft. near the Larkya La pass in Bhimtang. Elevation starts as low as 720 m / 2362.2 at Sotikhola, gradually rising until Bhimtang, and then gradually lowering down to 760 m / 2493.44 at Besi Sahar, the last destination.

Manaslu-Circuit-Trek-Range

Physical condition and experience required

Now, the Manaslu circuit trek is bound to give you altitude sickness as it takes us high up to the 5200 m / 17060.37 ft altitude. So, it is obvious that the trek is a big no-no for people with pulmonary  ( related to lungs) health issues, heart disease, and joint and muscle problems. One has to be in a good physical state before opting for the Manaslu circuit trek. 

Food during the trek

Most common food you are served are: Dal (lentils ), Bhat ( steamed rice), and tarkari  (vegetable). For breakfast, coffee, tea, milk, cereals, bread, jam, butter,  kodo ko roti (millet flour pancake) are available. Likewise, for lunch and dinner: Mo: Mo (dumplings stuffed with veggies and minced meat ), Thukpa, vegetable soup, noodles, macaroni, etc.

Electricity/battery recharge and water resources

In hotels in Kathmandu and Pokhara, you can comfortably recharge your electrical devices. However, while on a trek, some teahouses charge extra to let you charge your devices. Therefore, it is wise to carry your own power bank. There are many natural water resources throughout the Manaslu circuit trek. Water from these resources is safe to consume, but it is good to carry water purifying tablets and your own bottle. Another option is to buy bottled water (  do not throw the water bottles in the trail ).

The best time for the Manaslu circuit trek

The spring and Autumn seasons are the most pleasant times of the year. So, it is best to plan your Manaslu circuit trek in the months of these seasons. These two months have moderate temperatures favoring the Manaslu Circuit Trek. However, that is not to be misunderstood, as the other months are bad times for the trek. All 12 months have their pros and cons when it comes to trekking.

Altitude sickness

Imagine being above 4000 m +/ 13123 ft + and expecting not to see any symptoms of altitude sickness!

It is almost impossible. If someone suffers from mountain illness, one needs first aid and rest for a bit. In severe cases, you may even cancel the trek and return. After all, nothing comes before your health.

Note: We suggest you carry a first-aid kit. Include over-the-counter medicine for mountain sickness, such as Nifedipine, Dexamethasone, etc. Also, acclimatize enough and stay hydrated to prevent it.

What are the permits required for the Manaslu Circuit Trek?

For adventurers setting out on the awe-inspiring Manaslu Circuit Trek, obtaining the requisite permits is a crucial step in ensuring a smooth and legally compliant journey. Two permits are essential for trekking in this region: the Manaslu Restricted Area Permit (RAP) and the Manaslu Conservation Area Permit (MCAP). The Manaslu RAP is imperative as the trek traverses through restricted zones, safeguarding the delicate ecosystems and cultural heritage of the area while regulating tourist access. Additionally, the MCAP permit grants entry into the Manaslu Conservation Area, a sanctuary for diverse flora and fauna, and supports conservation efforts. These permits not only ensure legal compliance with government regulations but also contribute to the sustainable management of the trekking route, fostering responsible tourism practices. By obtaining these permits, trekkers not only gain access to the breathtaking landscapes and cultural treasures of the Manaslu region but also play a role in preserving its natural beauty for future generations to explore and cherish.

One needs three different permits to grant permission to complete the Manaslu Circuit trek. Namely, Special Restricted Area Permit for Manaslu, AKA Manaslu Restricted Area Permit, Manaslu Conservation Area Project Permit (MCAP Permit), and Annapurna Conservation Area Permit.

What is the luggage limit for the Manaslu circuit trek?

Your luggage is expected to weigh around 32 kg while on the flight. On the trail, porters or animals are assigned to carry your load. Usually, porters carry 90 percent of their total body weight. However, one should not overload the porters and make them carry about 25 kg. Things not required for trekking should be stored at a hotel.

Nepal Tourist Visa for Manaslu Circuit Trek

You can either get a visa for Nepal at your country’s diplomatic mission/embassy or get a visa in Nepal (visa on arrival )itself. The price of the tourist visa differs with the number of days. 

15 days -$30

30 days – $50

90 days – $125

This is the normal tourist visa cost in Nepal. Many policies decrease the price if you fall into categories like children below 10 years of age, SAARC nationalities, officials, etc. Nepal provides gratis visas to eligible ones. To know more about it, go to the Visa Information blog.

Note: Nepalese and Indian citizens do not require a tourist visa.

Travel insurance for the trek

While on treks like the Manaslu circuit trek that lies on the dangerous side, it is good to have travel insurance to have you covered if anything goes wrong. The easiest way to get travel insurance is to get help from a travel agency. However, if you do it on your own, make sure to tick off the “helicopter evacuation” services. Travel insurance is essential for anyone embarking on the trek in Manaslu. This remote and challenging trek presents various risks, including altitude sickness, accidents, and unforeseen emergencies. A comprehensive travel insurance policy should cover medical expenses, emergency evacuation, trip cancellations, and loss of belongings. It provides peace of mind and financial protection against any mishaps that may occur during the trek, ensuring a safer and more enjoyable experience for trekkers exploring the majestic landscapes of Manaslu.

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