Nepal is known as the country of mountains and a heaven for trekkers all around the world. There are 8 peaks above 8000 m above sea level in Nepal. Nepal also offers abundant mountains and hills. The landscape of the country offers trek routes that range from easy to tough level for all kinds of trek enthusiasts around the world.
Manaslu trek is another such great adventures to try if you are a nature-lover with a daredevil attitude.
Manaslu circuit trek is certainly creating the next hype among both internal and external tourists in Nepal. Although this particular trek route has not been explored by many trekkers. Mount Manaslu is the 8th highest peak in the world. It stands at a height of 5213 m (17,103 feet).
The eye captivating scenes, unexplored trails, peaceful atmosphere, clear sky, fresh air, rural lifestyle with a fusion of Nepalese-Tibetan culture is the major essence of this trek route. Trekkers are considering this route to be a good alternative for the Annapurna Circuit Trail.
There are two best seasons to trek around the Manaslu Circuit. One is in the spring from March to May. The other during the winters from September to December. You can choose a feasible time to pack your bag and set off for this amazing experience.
But before that, it is equally important to know how heavy is it going to get on your wallet.A basic cost estimation will definitely help you plan accordingly. Let me usher you through.
Things that you will need in the trek includes a permit (for international tourists), a travel guide, a porter ( highly suggested), a travel group or partner, transportation, food and accomodation. The cost estimation will include all these factors plus the minor miscellaneous.
Major Expenses for Manaslu Circuit Trek
As described earlier, the Manaslu circuit trail has not been uncovered much. So, there is no means of transportation that reaches directly to the place. It isn’t connected with the roads yet. You take the walking trails that are used by the locals.
Your journey to Manaslu Circuit Trek starts from Soti Khola. You can get to Soti Khola by taking an off-road local bus from Kathmandu directly to Soti Khola. You also have the option to hire a private jeep from Arughat to Soti Khola.
Arughat is at a distance of 138 km (86 miles) from Kathmandu (the capital city of Nepal). Soti Khola is another 12.9 km (8.02 miles) from Arughat.
The cost for riding a local bus to Soti Khola is less than USD 10 per person. If you go for a private jeep, it will cost you about USD 150 to 200 up to Arughat and it can extend to USD 200 – 250 if you continue further to Soti Khola.
The rates are quite similar if you choose the route from Tal or Besisahar to Kathmandu. You can also find a local jeep running every hour in between Tal and Besisahar which will cost you around NRS. 800 for Tourist and NRS. 600 for Nepalese.
A local bus for Arughat sets off early in the morning at 7:00 AM and 8:00 AM from Kathmandu. So it is better to reach the local bus stand some 30 minutes prior to the departure.
Note: It is better to equip yourself with a mask, scarf and sunglasses for the ride. The roads can be quite dusty and bumpy. So be prepared as your adventure can start at any point.
The government of Nepal has declared the Manaslu region as conservation area. Therefore, entering the region will require you a valid permit for exploration along with an authorized local trekking member from Nepal. As there is an open border with Tibet, the permit rules are strict and must be followed by every tourists.
There are a total of 3 permits that you will need to have, which are as listed below:
Manaslu Restricted Permit
The cost of the permit depends on the month that you are travelling and the number of days of your visit in the area. You will be charged about USD 70 per person for first week with USD 10 per additional day thereafter, if you are travelling during the winters from September to November.
While for every other time of the year, i.e., from December through August, you will be charged a total of USD 50 per person for first week and an additional USD 7 per day thereafter.
Usually, the Manaslu trekking will take an average of 14 days and you will possibly need the permit for roughly 8 to 9 days. But sometimes, when the trekkers are not well prepared, they tend to extend the trek for up to 17 days. In this case, it will require you for a permit of nearly 10 days.
Therefore, it is suggested to consult and plan the duration with a local travel agency before you head for the trek.
Manaslu Conservation Area Permit
This permit will cost you USD 23 per person.
Annapurna Conservation Area Permit
This permit will cost you USD 23 per person.
Tsum Valley Restricted Permit (if Tsum Valley is included in your list)
This permit will cost you USD 35 per week per person.
Note: You will not require a TIMS (Trekking Information Management System) for this route as you will be having a special authorized trekking permit. But if you would like to continue the trip followed by visits to Annapurna Base Camp or even places like Jomsom, Muktinath and Pokhara, it is better to carry the TIMS card.
There are some trekking routes in Nepal for which you do not need any guide but Manaslu Circuit trail is different.It is still considered as one isolated part of rural Nepal. There are no roads connecting Manaslu Circuit with rest of the world.
The lack of transportation has made availability of good and services difficult. Therefore, making a living is quite challenging in the mountains. In this scenario, taking for a professional guide with you would be a wise decision.
I personally recommend you to look for a well-experienced guide who will make sure you enjoy every bit of your wanderlust to meet your expectations. It may seem outrageous to some people but there are agencies that provide you with quality service at very reasonable rate.
Hiring a well experienced professional guide is not as expensive as stereotyped. It is approximately USD 20 to 25 per day per guide inclusive of food, accommodation and insurance of the guide.
Also, as per the rule, you will have to take at least one local person (either guide or a porter) with you while you’re in this region.
If you are considering to take a porter instead of a guide, the cost is about USD 18 to 22 inclusive of food, accommodation and insurance. The rates are not much different due to the expensive food and accomodation plans in the mountains. The benefit of taking a learned poter will be that he will carry your goods and also be a free guide for you.
However, it is always recommended to take a professional guide for safety reasons.
When it comes to trekking in Manaslu, there are certain things that are overwhelming; like its rich natural beauty, local ethnic culture, religious monuments and monasteries and the typical housing with unique structures.
There are some tea houses that you can find on your way for accomodation. This may be one reason why the Manaslu trek is getting its new identity as tea-house trek these days. All in all, you ought not worry about camping unless you choose an unexplored track.
The approximate cost for a twin sharing room may range from USD 6 to USD 9 per night. Just in case if you are willing to rent only one room but with two twin beds, please be reminded that you will have to pay for the cost for two people as the total cost of the room.
Now that you know that Manaslu is located at a height of above 8000m and there is no good means of transportation available in the region, it is very difficult to supply required goods. All the goods that are found are transported by man and mule only.
As we know the cost of goods increases with altitude, it is very common to expect that the cost of food here is expensive than the regular pricing. The lack of proper means of transportation have aided to the price hike. The per meal cost can reach roughly USD 5 per meal. So considering that, a per day meal can range from USD 15 to 20.
The cost will definitely vary depending upon the number of meals you require on daily basis. But if you compare the cost of breakfast here with that in other trails like Annapurna Circuit Trek, you will find it quite cheaper.
The cost of a cup of tea varies from USD 1.5 to USD4 and that of coffee will be USD 2 to 4. A bottle of beer can cost USD 2 to 5 whereas a bottle of water or soda costs USD 0.5 to 4.
Beside the major expenses there are other minor costs that would require you to add few more dollars to your overall budget.
Miscellaneous expenses may include expenses for things like charging your electronic gadgets, purchasing water, buying batteries, getting yourself a bucket of hot water (heated by gas or firewood) for showering or drinking purposes and more. Since the trails are centered as a tourist attraction, you should expect it to not be cheap.
So, you need to prepare yourself for the added expenses you could have to bear without noticing.
Other miscellaneous costs can include the entry fees to the local monasteries in the region. They might also expect some amount of donation from you for the maintenance.
Another place you could be spending petty cash on is your guides or porters. They may be seeking some tips as a gratitude from you. However, these costs are not mandatory, it depends on how much you are willing or can spend.
The Manaslu Circuit Trek route is beautiful and a must go-to trek among many other trekking trails. The Manaslu Circuit is among the newer treks gaining fame in Nepal unlike the Langtang CircuitTrek, Everest Base Camp Trek, Annapurna Panorama Trek and more.
The adventure and breathtaking sceneries are totally worth the effort and the expenses that you need to put in. No doubt this is the reason why hundreds of travelers are taking up trekking adventures, around the year, as compared to relaxing in a town.
Manaslu is among the less explored world of Northern Nepal. This circuit has beautifully synced its ethnic culture to its the enchanting tranquility of landscape. Cherish the enriched beauty of the nature and relish the hidden stories as you visit this hidden part of the world.
The rates mentioned in the article are just an approximation. The rates can differ depending upon the travel agency you are seeking help with and the number of people you take on the trek. For a cost-effective charges and packages, you can contact us.