Why Is Manaslu Circuit Restricted Area?

  • Last Updated on May 5, 2024

The Manaslu route was opened to trekkers only in 1991 by the Nepal Government. Though being opened that back the government still declares this region as a restriction. 

There are several reasons why is Manaslu Circuit restricted area. One of the major ones is the protection of the flora, fauna, and culture. Along with that, the circuit is home to rare species of Snow Leopard. Similarly, being an open border to Tibet is also considered another specific region.

But don’t worry, even being restricted the place can be explored with a few permits.

This blog will cover the major reasons that you need to know about the Manaslu and others in Nepal regarding restrictions.

Table of Contents

Reasons for Manaslu Circuit being declared a restricted area

The reasons of Manaslu Circuit is considered a permit requiring are:

Availability of rare flora and fauna

Rare species of plants like Himalayan Blue Pine, 19 species of rhododendrons, and Edelweiss can be easily seen throughout the villages. Similarly, you can also see rare animals like Snow Leopard, Himalayan Tahr, Lynx, and Himalayan Musk Deer.

So the reason is to prevent people from hunting and saving the habitat of the species in their natural places.

Snow Leopard In Manaslu
Photo By: Charles Miller

Open Border to Tibet

As Tibet itself is quite a travel-strict region, being a Manaslu and Tsum Valley open to Tibet, it’s considered restricted. Thus, there are specific government permits required for this region. 

What is the meaning of being a restricted area?

This means an area that is not banned but requires a special permit to visit. You need to get a permit from the Immigration Department of Nepal only after you arrive and have the Visa issued in Nepal.

You will need to pay a certain permit fee to issue it and within a single day, you can get it on your hand. Moreover, to get to these places, you will need a local accompanying guide who is issued with a trekking operator based in Nepal. This ensures that the travelers are most of the time under the surveillance of the government.

Manaslu Circuit Trek

Rescues and evacuation in the restricted areas

Usually, for rescues in these areas if somebody else is suffering, then the home ministry and the District Administration of the place need to approve the evacuation.

But for that, they usually ensure that the rescue is not fake. This is why if you as a hiker are having altitude sickness during the trek, try to contact your agency via the guide as soon as you can. This is because the government offices while verifying your rescues take around 2-3 days. Thus, also try coming to lower altitudes so that your case doesn’t worsen.

Permits required for the Manaslu Circuit Trek

Altogether trekkers need MRAP, MCAP, and ACAP. Among these three permits, ACAP is the optional one depending on the route but MRAP and MCAP are compulsory.

Manaslu Conservation Area Permit

MRAP- It stands for Manaslu Restricted Area Permit. This permit was declared to keep it raw and to prevent illegal activities in Manaslu. MRAP costs $100 from September to November. Similarly, from December to August, the price is $75. 

MCAP - It stands for Manaslu Conservation Area Permit. 

ACAP - It stands for Annapurna Conservation Area Permit. 

Both the MCAP and ACAP come at the permit fee of NPR 3000/- each.

The permits cannot be issued unless you are assigned to a trekking agency registered with the Nepal Government and a Government Licensed guide of the same agency.

Heading for the Manaslu Circuit Trek

This trek consists of 10 - 18 days depending on the physical fitness and choice of itineraries of the travelers. Due to unexpected weather, it might also take more time in the journey.

The difficulty of this trek is moderate where one can go up to 5106 m.(16751 ft) also known as Larkya La Pass.

Different trekking routes in the Manaslu Region

The Manaslu region offers many routes including various adventures and breathtaking scenes. There are many routes for the region though all routes require permits. Some of the routes are:

Manaslu Circuit Trek 

This is the major route of the region that consists of 14 days of hiking. One can go up to 5106 m.(16,751 ft.) which is Larkya La Pass. It is a famous as well as a Classic trek due to its majestic views, local villages, green forest, and many other views.

Village During Manaslu Circuit Trek

The major villages enroute are Deng, Namrung, and Samagaon. These places consist of especially the Gurung and Magar Communities. Along with that, there are a few Tibetan Communities nestled in this region.

Due to development works, the roads have now reached up to Philim which in a few years will reach Samagaon. This way, the Larke La Pass is just 2 days of walk away. Alongside, during your journey, you can also get to Pungyen Gompa and Manaslu Base Camp. If you are quite a hiker then can also reach the Ice Lake and Tibet Border from Samagaon.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu (1400 m. |4593 ft.)

Day 2: Acclimatize in Kathmandu along with a heritage tour and permit issuance

Day 3: Drive to Macchakhola (870 m.  |2,854 ft.)

Day 4: Trek to Jagat (1,410 m.   |4625 ft.)

Day 5: Trek to Deng (2130 m.   |6988 ft.)

Day 6: Trek to Namrung (2660 m.   |8727 ft.)

Day 7: Trek to Samagaon (3530 m.   |11,581 ft.)

Day 8: Acclimatize in Samagaon

Day 9: Trek to Samdo (3875 m.   |12,713 ft.)

Day 10: Trek to Dharamshala (4460 m.   |14,632 ft.)

Day 11: Trek to Bhimthang via Larke La Pass (3720 m.   |40041 ft.)

Day 12: Trek to Dharapani (1860 m.   |20020 ft.)

Day 13: Drive to Kathmandu via Besisahar

Day 14: Departure from Kathmandu

Short Manaslu Trek

It is a short trek to the Manaslu circuit for travelers which consists of 10 days. This route follows the same route as the Classic trek until Larke La Pass. After Larke La Pass, it descends to the Marshyangdi Valley. One can observe the magic of Manaslu and the landscape of the Manaslu region. 

To do this expedition, ensure that you are physically fit as the camps are longer and you need to walk at least 6-7 hrs. per day.

Suspension Bridge During Manaslu Circuit Trek

Itinerary

Day 1: Permit Issuance in Kathmandu 

Day 2: Drive to Machhakhola (870 m.   |2,854 ft.)

Day 3: Trek to Jagat (1410 m.   |4,625 ft.)

Day 4: Trek to Deng (2130 m.   |6,988 ft.)

Day 5: Trek to Namrung (2660 m.   |8,727 ft.)

Day 6: Trek to Samagaon (3530 m.   |11,581 ft.)

Day 7: Acclimatization in Samagaon

Day 8: Trek to Dharamshala (4460 m.   |14,632 ft.)

Day 9: Trek to Bhimthang via Larke La Pass

Day 10: Trek to Dharapani and drive to Besisahar and same day drive to Kathmandu

Tsum Valley Trek

This trek can be covered in 14 days. It offers untouched beauty which was opened recently for travelers. One can learn more about culture, ethics, and many other local activities. Tsumba people have resided here for many years following Tibetan culture.

Regarding the Permit of Tsum Valley, you also need one Gorkha Tsum Valley Restricted Area Permit.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu (1400 m. |4,593 ft.)

Day 2: Permit Issuance and Trip Briefing

Day 3: Drive to Machhakhola (870 m.   |2,854 ft.)

Day 4: Trek to Jagat (1410 m.   |4,625 ft.)

Day 5: Trek to Lokpa (2240 m.  |24,111 ft.)

Day 6: Trek to Domje (1590 m.   |5,215 ft.)

Day 7: Trek to Nile (3332 m.   |35,865 ft.)

Day 8: Trek to Mu Gompa (3700 m.   |12,139 ft.)

Day 9: Trek to Chumling (2263 m.   |7,425 ft.)

Day 10: Trek to Salleri (2000 m.   |21,527 ft.)

Day 11: Trek to Jagat (1410 m.   |4,625 ft.)

Day 12: Trek to Machhakhola (870 m.   |2,854 ft.)

Day 13: Drive to Kathmandu

Day 14: Departure

NOTE: The given itineraries can be customized according to trekkers’ desires.

Conclusion

The main purpose of the Nepal government to keep the Manaslu Circuit in restricted areas is to keep it fresh and to preserve the flora and fauna over there. Though it is restricted, one can travel freely with the permits mentioned above.

Himalayan Scenery

Himalayan Scenery