Manaslu trek is a unique trekking destination in Nepal. It was opened to foreign trekkers only in 1991. Therefore, not a lot of trekkers trek in this region. So the region has maintained all of its originality. This region is also one of the restricted regions to trek in Nepal. Therefore, it is a must for you to trek to Manaslu with a guide.
Manaslu is the eighth highest peak in the world and lies at an altitude of 8163 meters. This trek lies in the central-western part of Nepal and takes you about 2 weeks to complete. The word Manaslu comes from a Sanskrit word ‘Mansa’, which translates as the “soul” or “intellect” in English. The word Manaslu, thus, means “Mountain of Spirit”.
The Manaslu Circuit trek takes you to an elevation of more than 5000 meters. The highest point along the trek is Larkya La Pass, which lies at an altitude of 5213 meters. As this is a high altitude trek, most trekkers prefer to complete this trek in spring and autumn. In these seasons there is a perfect mixture of warmth and cold making way for great trekking conditions.
Some portion of the Manaslu Circuit trek lies inside the boundaries of Manaslu Conservation Area. Established in 1998, the conservation area harbors many species of birds and animals. It also protects many rare animals like red pandas, snow leopards, Asian black bear etc.
This article will be your guide to trekking in the Manaslu region. It will also give you insights about trekking in this region, what you should inspect. Further, I will also highlight the importance of hiring a guide to this region and how much costs are involved in hiring a guide.
Is a Solo Manaslu Trek Possible?
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There are many wonderful trekking destinations in Nepal where you can trek solo. These trekking destinations include Annapurna Base Camp, Everest Base Camp amongst others. Unfortunately, it will not be possible for you to go for a trek in Manaslu without a guide.
There are six Village Development Committees (VDC’s) in the Manaslu region that border Tibet. These regions are semi-restricted areas. This has limited the number of tourists to Manaslu. So only about 1000 people trek in this region. If you are trekking in this region, you need a special permit from through an authorized trekking agency.
Three of the most important and beautiful places along the Manaslu trek borders the autonomous region of Tibet. These places include Tsum valley, Larkya La pass, and Manaslu Base Camp. You will need a permit to trek to all of these regions.
In addition, you will compulsorily need a guide to trek in this region. The guide can be a licensed guide or a porter-guide. Furthermore, you can’t be a single person to trek in this region. A minimum of two people besides the porter and guide needed if you want to complete this trek.
Manaslu Trekking Permits
There are various types of trekking permits you will need if you want to go for Manaslu trekking. The following are the types of trekking permits that you should check before starting your trek to Manaslu:
- Manaslu Conservation Area Permit
- Annapurna Conservation Area Permit
- Restricted Area Permit
- Tsum Valley Permit ( only needed if you intend to trek to Tsum Valley)
As long as you have made sure to obtain all these permits, you should be good for a Manaslu Trek.
You can get the Restricted Area Permit if you contact a reliable trekking agency in Nepal. You can the Manaslu and Annapurna Conservation Area Permit from the office of Nepal Tourism Board. You can avoid all the hassle by letting a trekking agency manage it for you.
If you want to apply for a trekking permit, you will need to present the following documents to the trekking agency:
- 4 passport sized photos
- Your passport which documents an entry visa
- A travel insurance that has insured you for evacuation up to 6000 meters
Costs of Manaslu Trekking Permits
These are the various costs of the trekking permits to Manaslu:
Restricted Area Permits
The cost of restricted area permit changes according to seasons. In peak trekking season, it costs you 70$ for the first week followed by 10$ for each subsequent day. In off seasons, this drops to 50$ for the first week followed by 7$ for each subsequent day.
The points for checking in and checking out are located at Jagat and Dharapani respectively.
Conservation Area Permits
You will cross two conservation areas while trekking i.e. Manaslu Conservation Area and Annapurna Conservation Area. The costs for trekking in both these areas is NRs 2000.
Tsum Valley Permit
Between the months of September to November, the Tsum Valley permit will cost you US$35 for the first 8 days. The cost of the permit decreases to US$ 25 for all other months. The days that you spend in Tsum Valley don’t count against your time in Manaslu region.
Manaslu Trek Guide Cost
Manaslu Trek cannot be done without the help of a guide. If you have not trekked in high altitude regions before, then you may need to hire a porter as well. Or, you could also hire a guide cum porter.
If you have arranged your trek with the help of a trekking agency, they will provide you with a guide. If you want to hire a guide, (s)he will cost you US$ 25 per day. This cost includes meals, accommodation, insurance, equipment, and salary. The cost of a porter, on the other hand, is US$ 18. The cost includes all the things that are included in the cost of a guide.
Perks of Hiring a Professional Trekking Guide to Manaslu
Hiring a guide to Manaslu Circuit trek is compulsory. Some of you might feel a bit restrained by this fact. But there are many things that will be on offer if you choose to hire a guide for your trek in the Manaslu region.
- While you are trekking in restricted areas like places in Manaslu trek, you might accidentally go to parts where trekking is not permissible. A guide will make sure that you don’t lose track of your trekking trail.
- Trekking in high altitude like Larkya La Pass of needs a bit of mental and physical strength. A guide will act as your motivator in case you find the trek difficult while trekking so high.
- Finding about local culture is so much easier with the help of a guide.
- Arranging for accommodation is never a problem when you go with a guide. Guides have good connections and friendships with owners of hotels and tea houses. This means that even in places of Manaslu trek where the number of tea houses, you won’t have difficulty in finding accommodation.
- Altitude sickness is something every trekker is worried about while trekking in high altitudes. In case you get affected by it while trekking in Manaslu region, the guide will help to give you the necessary medication. (S)he will also help you evacuate.
Manaslu is an off-the-beaten-track trekking destination. It is therefore full of authentic villages, culture, and landscape. But it is also a restricted trekking area. Hiring a guide is, therefore, a must. The cost of guides is not too high. Further, guides will help you explore this region quite well. So arrange for all your permits, get friendly with your guide and get ready to enjoy this beautiful trekking destination.