Best time of the year to trek to Manaslu Circuit
Trekking in the right season is as crucial as properly planning & preparing for the trek. The Manaslu circuit trek especially traverses a very remote part of the Himalayas, and you cannot be wrong with the timing. As per Nepal's Himalayan standard, spring and autumn are the perfect months to trek in the Manaslu region. You'll have quite a pleasant journey in these two seasons.
Winter and monsoon/summer are off-season for the Manaslu trek. The bad weather condition, snowfall, and rainfall make the trail prone to avalanches & landslides. The lodges at Dharamsala get closed in winter, making it even more challenging to cross the Larkya La pass. The cold weather and continuous rainfall in the respective season will become more of an annoyance to you.
Spring- March to April
Spring is the ideal time to do the Manaslu circuit trekking. You'll feel the warmth of the upcoming summer season in the air. The climate begins to warm gradually, making you feel cozy amidst towering mountains. The favorable weather and the bright clear sky are all you need to enjoy the best views of the western Himalayan mountains.
At the beginning of the trek (lower altitude), the climate remains more on the hot side. In the high mountains (Lho, Samagaun, Samdo, Dharmasala, Bhimtang), it's neither cold nor hot. The temperature ranges from 18°C to -4°C. The trekking route gets bloomed with beautiful rhododendrons and other vegetation. The forests once again get lively with seasonal flora & fauna.
Autumn- September to October
Autumn is another great time of the year to enjoy trekking in the Manaslu region. The perfect climate and stunning mountain panorama with rejuvenating mountain air make Manaslu trekking incredible. As the monsoon has just ended, you'll feel a distinct freshness in the air. The region gradually begins to get colder. The temperature varies from 20°C (in the daytime) to -6°C (in the upper part of the trail).
Autumn is all about festivity in Nepal. Some of the biggest and most vibrant festivals are celebrated in autumn in Nepal. It doesn't matter where you are in Nepal, there's a high chance you get to experience at least one of the festivals. October and November are the busiest seasons, but in a good way.
Manaslu region Flora & Fauna
The Manaslu Conservation Area has six climatic zones, ranging from tropical to arctic. It is home to many species of flora & fauna. The conservation area inhabits 110 species of birds, 33 species of mammals, 11 species of butterflies, and 3 kinds of reptiles.
Likewise, there are approximately 11 types of forests, 2000 species of plants, and 50 species of useful plants. While trekking, there's a high chance you may get to animals like the Himalayan tahr, blue sheep, snow leopard, marmot, etc, and one of those 110 species of birds.
Manaslu Trek Difficulty
Manaslu circuit trek is marked as an off-the-beaten trek. It means the trail is steep, rugged, and uneven mostly. Likewise, the isolation of the Manaslu region from other parts of the Himalayas gives a new edge to the trekking experience. It is a high-altitude trek with lots of hurdles and difficulties. You'll cover approximately 180 km on this trek in the span of a handful of days.
The trail ascends and descends through steep forests and rough foothills. You'll walk on pastures and moraines. Similarly, crossing Larkya La pass is strenuous too. The slippery slopes make climbing very tough. The descending part is as difficult as ascending, so do not take it lightly. As the elevation increases every day, you also have to face thin air pressure, which makes the walk even more exhausting.
There are risks of altitude sickness, and limited facilities on the way add up to the challenges. Our expert guide will help you with any difficulty, but you also have to be self-aware and take care of your body while trekking.
Accommodation during Manaslu Round Trek
In Kathmandu, you stay in a three-star hotel. All the modern amenities are available in the hotels. Manaslu circuit involves tea house accommodation. It is the most common accommodation facility in the Himalayas. The tea house rooms are shared between two trekkers. We only book single rooms on request at the time of booking.
The double occupancy room comes with two separate beds and clean blankets. There's no heating system in the rooms, so you have to carry a sleeping bag with you for extra warmth. The toilets can be common or private in some places. There are not many services available in the tea houses along the trail. Anything additional, like a hot shower, wifi, etc will cost you surplus money.
Meals on Manaslu Trek
The meals during the Manaslu circuit trekking are simple too. You can expect Nepali and Tibetan dishes mostly on the menu. The flavors will be unique to you but fresh and appetizing for sure. Breakfast is usually toast and eggs with soup, tea/coffee. You'll get roti tarkari, porridge, thukpa, oats, etc, too.
For lunch & dinner, you'll generally have dal bhat, the staple Nepali meal. You can choose a veg or non-veg option as per your wish. It's a complete meal with all the nutrients. Likewise, you'll also get dhido, Tibetan bread, curries, mashed potatoes, boiled sweet potatoes, boiled corn, etc.
Water & Beverages on Manaslu Circuit Trekking
We use water purification tablets to double purify the drinking water if needed. You can refill your water bottles with boiled water in the tea houses free of cost. Do not drink water from a stream or tap. It may give you an upset stomach. Likewise, buying plastic water bottles will only increase your waste and will be very expensive.
Beverages like tea, coffee, Tibetan tea, local drinks, soft beverages, etc are available along the trail. Many tea shops sell a range of local alcoholic drinks too. We advise you to not drink alcoholic drinks while gaining elevation. It'll dehydrate your body and make you vulnerable to altitude sickness.
Manaslu Trek Permits & Fees
Manaslu circuit trek explores the Manaslu Conservation Area, which is also a restricted area in Nepal. Likewise, towards the end of the trek, the trail also enters the Annapurna Conservation Area. Therefore, you'll need the following permits for Manaslu circuit trekking:
Special Restricted Area Permit for Manaslu (Manaslu RAP)
- September to November: USD 100 per person for the first seven days and USD 15 per person per day from the eighth day onwards
- December to August: USD 75 per person for the first seven days and USD 10 per person per day from the eighth day onwards.
Manaslu Conservation Area Project (MCAP Permit) & Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP Permit)
- permit cost: USD 30 per person
Note: You do not need a TIMS card.
Fitness Level & Preparation for the Trek
You walk for a minimum of 6 hours a day straight for 8/9 days on a rough Himalayan trail during the Manaslu circuit trek 15 days. Your fitness for Manaslu circuit trekking should be strong. The trail also requires you to be mentally fit to endure all the limitations. You should be able to walk on an uphill route and tolerate elevation changes.
Overall, any fit individual with previous trekking experience can do the Manaslu circuit trek. To prepare for the trek, we recommend you work on building your stamina, leg muscles, and core body strength. You can do activities like cycling, swimming, or hiking to upgrade your stamina. Likewise, you can train at the gym to build your endurance.
To prepare yourself mentally, go without modern facilities like the internet and have simple meals. You have to understand it's a remote trek that demands you to leave modern conventional things behind and get uncomfortable.
*Note: Get used to your trekking boots. Do not wear brand-new trekking boots while walking.
Manaslu Circuit Trek for Beginners
Manaslu circuit trek is not ideal for beginners. It is a very demanding trek. The trail is strenuous and can put a lot of pressure on beginner trekkers. The Manaslu circuit trail does not have infrastructures like the famous Everest base camp trail or the Annapurna base camp trail, which make the journey even more challenging. In every aspect, the Manaslu trekking route is lacking.
Previous trekking experience and awareness of high-altitude are necessary. The trekkers have to be physically and mentally strong. The Manaslu circuit trek also crosses a high mountain pass over 5,000 meters called Larkya La, which is too much for beginner trekkers.
We understand your wish to do the most adventurous treks in the Himalayas, but you have to know that the Himalayas demand patience and perseverance. You cannot just reach the top of the world on your first day. You have to make yourself worthy of standing at that point, and that costs a lot of dedication & respect for yourself; for nature.
These are some adventurous treks that you can embark on as a beginner trekker- Mardi Himal trek, Tilicho Lake trek, Langtang Valley trek, Khopra Danda trek, Gosaikunda Lake trek, etc.
How Safe are Solo Female Trekkers in Manaslu?
In terms of safety and security, solo female trekkers are very safe in Nepal and its mountains. However, in a new place, it's always best to be mindful of your surroundings. Learn about the culture and people of the places you are traveling to. Learn their ways of greeting each other and saying thank you. This will help you connect with them and show your respect.
As the Manaslu region is a restricted area, you cannot trek solo or with a guide (being a single member of the group). There have to be at least two trekkers in the group (not including the guide & porter). You can trek with your friend or join our group departure. If you want, we can also arrange a single traveler to join the group with you. Either way, you will be guided by a licensed, experienced guide in the mountains.
Travel Insurance for Manaslu Trek
You cannot join the Manaslu circuit trek in Nepal without travel insurance. The trip entails the risk of altitude sickness and unpredictable events, such as a sudden drastic change in climate, trail blockage because of an unexpected landslide, etc. In an emergency like this we can only give you a prompt rescue if you have travel insurance.
Likewise, if any medical emergency occurs that is not treatable with first aid, the only option left is to air evacuate you to a hospital in Pokhara or Kathmandu. And again, we can only arrange a quick rescue operation if you have travel insurance. Without travel insurance, you have to show proof that you can pay the expenses, and it may cost a lot of time to make a deal with the rescue party.
Therefore, get yourself a well-covered travel insurance that has emergency air evacuation and medical bills coverage. Given the high altitude of the trek, we recommend you include rescue assistance up to 6,000 meters. You can also add other things like flight cancellation, loss or theft of luggage, etc, in the travel insurance. Make sure to double-check all the clauses in the travel insurance.
Communication & Internet
The team leader carries a satellite phone to use in the blackout zones to stay connected with the office team. The WiFi in the lodges at lower elevations comes with an additional service charge, which is not paid by the company. Once you go above 3,500 meters, there's no WiFi.
We recommend you buy a Nepali sim card with ample data to use the internet while trekking. The network will not be stable on the upper part of the trail, but you'll get a chance to connect with your friends & family now and then.
Charging & ATM
You can charge your cell phone and camera by paying a few extra bucks in the teahouses. For long treks like the Manaslu circuit, we highly recommend getting spare batteries or a solar charger. This is your personal expense and not covered by our Manaslu circuit trek cost, so make sure to carry money with you while trekking.
With that being said, there's no ATM on the Manaslu circuit trekking route. You can only withdraw money in Kathmandu or exchange it. You cannot use foreign currency or a card on the trail.
What should you pack for Manaslu Circuit trekking?
The below-packing guidelines will help you pack for the Manaslu circuit trek 15 days. You have to pack as per the season you are traveling in. In the mountains of the Manaslu region, everything is scarce, so it's better to pack small things like toilet paper, toothpaste, etc.
Be mindful that you do not need to bring everything with you to Nepal for the trek. There are many gear shops in Thamel, Kathmandu, that sell high-quality trekking clothes & other gear at the best rate. You can also rent some of it.
- Head & Hand: Wool/Fleece Hat, Sun Cap, Lightweight Synthetic Liner Glove
- Upper Body: Short-Sleeved Shirts/T-shirts, Lightweight Top/Thermo Coat, Synthetic or Fleece Jacket, Down Insulated Jacket
- Lower Body: Underwear, Trekking Pants, Warm socks
- First Aid Kit: Water Purification Tablets, Sinex, Handy Plaster, Crack Bandage, Aspirin, Anti-Diarrhea Capsule/Eldoper, Brufen/Ibuprofens, Diamox, Eye Drops, Lodine, Strepsils, Tincture, Antibiotic, Paracetamol
- Toiletries: Wet Tissues, Baby Wipes or Wet Towels, Hand Sanitizers & Hand wash, Laundry Soap, Bath Soap, Shampoo, Toothpaste/Toothbrush, Moisturizers, Garbage Bag, Zip-Lock Bags, Sunscreen (-50 Spf), Lips Guard (-20/-50 Spf)
- Miscellaneous: Swiss Knife, Trekking Poles, Sandals, Lightweight Hiking/Trekking Boots, Pocket Torch, Rucksacks (45 - 55 Ltr.), 1 Duffel Bag, Water Bottles, Pee Bottle, Umbrella/RainCoat, Pack Towel, Solar chargeable power bank (optional), Book/Board Game, Journal/Pen, Bars & Snacks, Spare batteries, Waterproof Stuff Sacks
- Travel Documents: Valid Visa, Valid Passport, Insurance Paper (Medical & Rescue), 4 PP Size Photo & Contact Address, Family/Company Contact Number & Address, Credit Card