Manaslu Circuit Trek is one of the off-the-beaten-trail treks in Nepal. Nepal Government opened this trail only in 1991 for foreigners to explore the Manaslu region. Since it is a newly opened trekking trail, the area is still remote and unexplored.
This Manaslu trekking takes you to the heart of the Manaslu region and offers a picturesque view of the world’s eighth highest mountain, Mt. Manaslu (8,163 meters). Manaslu, also known as the “Mountain of Spirit”, is situated in Mansiri Himal in the west-central part of Nepal. Besides that, you can also get magnificent views of other mountains such as Mt. Himalchuli, Mt. Ganesh Himal.
The Manaslu trekking trail takes you through some of the remote paths in Nepal where you can experience rich wildlife, diverse flora and fauna, and local settlements with diverse cultures and ethnicity along the off-the-beaten-trail. Thus, trekking in Manaslu Circuit gives you a lifetime trekking experience in total isolation.
The trek is definitely a challenging one! Since the trail is less populated, there is a high chance that you will get lost if you fail to navigate correctly. In addition to that, you won’t find any tea-houses or settlements every 15-20 minutes as in other popular treks such as Annapurna Base Camp Trek and Everest Base Camp Trek.
Although there are many challenges and difficulties, the trek is equally rewarding.
Can You Take The Manaslu Trek Without a Guide?
The excitement of trekking solo along the mountainous trails with mesmerizing views of the pristine mountain peaks is an adventure of its own. Thus, you might wonder if you can go solo on this Manaslu Trek without a guide. So, can you?
Sadly, you cannot trek solo in the Manaslu region.
Since the Manaslu region falls under the restricted area of Nepal as declared by the government, trekking solo in the Manaslu Circuit without a guide is not possible. As per the rules and regulations of the Nepal Government, every foreigner requires a special permit and a government–licensed trekking guide, and at least a group of two trekkers to trek in the Manaslu circuit.
So, it is almost impossible to do Manaslu Trek without a guide. Thus, the best alternative is to hire a trekking guide for the trek. Having a guide with is you makes the trek much safer, easier, and dependable. Besides that, you may also hire a porter instead of a guide to accompany you.
An alternative to Manaslu Trek without a Guide
Being a Free Individual Traveler (FIT), you cannot get the special restricted area permit all by yourself. So, to get this special permit, you will be required a government-registered trekking agency to get it for you.
An alternative solution to Manaslu Trek without a guide is that you can either hire a government-licensed guide or a porter.
Porter or a Licensed Guide?
Since you require either a licensed guide or a porter to do the Manaslu Trek, hiring a porter is a more affordable choice between the two.
Having a porter can be of great help in this trek as they will carry up to 25 kgs of your luggage and walk with you through the offbeat trails. Thus, you will have an easy walk on the trek since you don’t have to carry the burden of your backpack all by yourself. Also, they can help you communicate with the locals by being a translator.
Hiring a porter will cost you around 25-30 USD per day including their food, lodging, and insurance expenses.
Perks of hiring a porter
- They will carry your luggage of up to 20-25 kgs.
- Much cheaper than hiring a licensed guide.
- They will help you communicate with the locals.
If you are a budget-trekker then a porter-guide is your best option. Hiring a porter cum guide is much cheaper than hiring a guide and a porter individually.
They will guide you through the trail as well as carry your heavy luggage for you.
It will cost you around 30-35 USD to hire a porter-guide with their food, accommodation, and insurance charges included in that price.
Perks of hiring a porter-guide
- They can lead you on the trail.
- Also help to carry your luggage.
- Help you communicate fluently with the local people.
Note: Porter-guides and Porters are less experienced than a guide in many terms such as during times of emergency evacuation, emergency first aid, altitude sickness, and so on.
The guide is the safest and most reliable person to have during the Manaslu Trek. They will guide you in the way and help navigate the trails. In addition to that, they will also recommend you the best places for your accommodation and food. The government-registered trekking guide has enough knowledge about even the remotest places in Nepal which is the biggest plus point in this journey.
Along with that, communication is much fluent with a guide as they can fluently answer all your questions. Your guide will take care of all your necessary trekking permits, also observe your body for altitude sickness, and take action if anything happens.
A licensed guide can charge you up to 35 USD per day including their food, lodging, and insurance expenses.
Perks of Hiring a Guide
- As the Manaslu Trail is not well marked, a guide will help you to navigate through the trail.
- They are more reliable people during the time of emergencies or medical issues.
- They will monitor you for altitude sickness and take appropriate action if your body starts showing any symptoms.
- A guide will take care of all your trekking permits. Thus, you don’t have to worry about standing in the queue to get the permit.
- Since all guides are fluent in the local language, they will help you get more insights into the local lifestyle and the culture.
- As a licensed guide, they will know about just everything such as the surrounding landscape, the flora and fauna, wildlife.
- They recommend the best place for accommodations and can pre-book the accommodation for you.
- A professional guide will make sure you don’t enter any restricted areas of the region.
- A guide can act as a motivator and encourage you when you need mental and physical strength.
Difficulties of Manaslu Circuit trek Without a Guide
A Probability of Getting Lost
Manaslu Circuit Trek is an isolated trek in the remotest part of Nepal due to which only fewer trekkers visit this region. Additionally, since the Manaslu Circuit Trek lies in the Manaslu Conservation Area, locals living in the area are very low.
Thus, you can easily get lost in the Manaslu region. Plus, you won’t get any communication signal on your mobile phones. Thus, getting lost becomes one of the most dangerous problems.
Manaslu Trek takes you along a very rugged trail, thus, there is a high probability of getting injured. So, Manaslu trek without a guide in this regard can be a dangerous choice. Even small injuries can be a huge problem without a well-informed guide with you.
Permits for Manaslu Circuit Trek
To do the Manaslu Circuit Trek, you will require three Manaslu trek permits in total:
Restricted Area Permit:
- September- November: USD 70 for the first 10 days and USD 10 per additional day
- December- August: USD 50 for the first 7 days and USD 7 per additional day.
Note: You do not require a TIMS card for this trek as the Restricted area permit works on its behalf.
Manaslu Conservation Area Permit (MCAP):
- SAARC Nationals: USD 2 per person
- Other Nationals: USD 30 per person
Annapurna Conservation Area Project:
- SAARC Nationals: USD 2 per person
- Other nationals: USD 30 per person
Tips for Hiring an Ideal Trekking Staff
- Check all the credentials of the person before hiring them.
- Check if they can speak English fluently. If you hire them without checking their English, then communication can be very hard.
- Hire the trekking staff before the trek. By doing this, if you are not comfortable with the staff then you can hire a new one.
- Since local trekking staff does not require any permits, you don’t have to get them the permits.
- In the trekking field, every trekking staff expects the tip. Thus, feel free to tip them.
If you are planning to do this Manaslu Circuit Trek, then you should do good preparation as this trek is not an easy one. Also, Manaslu Trek without a guide is impossible as the trail for Jagat to Bhimthang is declared as a restricted region. This means that you cannot trek solo and you need a government-licensed guide with you to do the Manaslu Trek.
As most of the trekkers are not aware that Manaslu Trek without a guide is not possible, they want to trek the Manaslu region alone. But, it is compulsory to have a guide or porter.
Since the trekking route has been damaged due to the massive earthquake back in April of 2015, most of the tea houses are under construction and many trails have been altered. So, you should better hire a guide for your own safety.
Furthermore, if you have any questions or queries regarding this trek or any other treks in Nepal, then feel free to contact us.