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Manaslu Circuit Trek in Nepal: Complete Guide

Manaslu Circuit Trek in Nepal: Complete Guide

Olly Gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler for 6 years. I visit every place I write about & share real tips, photos, & advice from my trips.

After trekking the Manaslu Circuit, I’ve written this essential guide to help you plan the adventure of a lifetime.

Although much less popular than the Everest Base Camp Trek or the Three High Passes, the Manaslu Circuit Trek is one of the world’s most spectacular tea house trekking itineraries in the Himalayas of Nepal.

This is a circuit route typically completed in 13-15 days, encircling the magnificent and unspoiled Manaslu Region. Along the way, we experienced pristine Himalayan views, a high-altitude pass crossing above 5,100 meters (Larkya La Pass), and exposure to the unique and fascinating Tibetan culture.

In this essential guide, I’ll cover everything you need to know about trekking the Manaslu Circuit, including costs, the ideal itinerary, choosing a guide, and more. Read my day-by-day Manaslu Circuit itinerary for a more personal rundown of what to expect.

Manaslu peak at sunrise
The famous Manaslu Peak (8,163 m) seen from Shyala Village on the Manaslu Circuit Trek

What You Need To Know About the Manaslu Circuit Trek

Beginning in the green Himalayan foothills, the Manaslu Circuit trek journeys around the eighth-highest mountain in the world, Mount Manaslu (8,163 m), and crosses over a high alpine pass to finish in the Annapurna Region.

  • Typical Trekking Itinerary: 13-15 Days
  • Total Distance: 175 km (recorded on my Garmin watch)
  • Total Elevation Gain: 9,800 m (recorded on my Garmin watch))
  • Maximum Elevation: 5,100 m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trekking Seasons: March-May & September-November
  • Cost: $900-$3,000 USD
  • GPX route: My Strava Track

The Manaslu Trek is a unique and less crowded alternative to the well-known Annapurna Circuit Trek and Everest Base Camp Trek– offering a moderate trekking challenge and world-class views while staying in authentic Nepali tea houses– without the espresso machines and hot towels.

Along the way, you'll pass over huge suspension bridges leading to remote villages where the Buddhist traditions and customs of Tibetan Culture have been preserved. Other highlights include epic day trips to the ancient Pungyen Gompa, tucked away at the end of a pristine glacial valley, a side trip to Manaslu Base Camp (4,800 m), and a long journey to the Nepal - Tibetan Border at 4,900 m.

Tip: While it was once possible to trek independently, hiring a local guide is now compulsory for the Manaslu Circuit Trek following the recent regulatory changes.

Trekking in the manaslu region, nepal
High altitude environment after the famous Larkya Pass

My Recommended Trekking Guide for the Manaslu Trek

I trekked the Manaslu Circuit with my favorite local trekking company– Himalayan Masters, which is who I organize all my treks with in Nepal.

Himalayan Masters is a small company run by my good friend Sandip, who was born near the Manaslu Region but now has a small office in Thamel, Kathmandu. I have no problem recommending this company as they pay their guides and porters 25% more than others.

Sandip also gives back to the local community by building schools and investing in other community projects– while still offering a very competitive price for their treks, especially compared to big international trekking companies.


You'll also get 5% OFF any of the treks or tours with Himalayan Masters by using code OLLY5 at checkout.

Book with Himalayan Masters

Trekking guides and porter for the manaslu circuit at larkya pass
Crossing the pass with the guys from Himalayan Masters

Manaslu Circuit Trek Itinerary

The most popular Manaslu Circuit itinerary runs between 13-15 days, with the first and last days involving a jeep or local bus drive from and to Kathmandu. 

Below is the most common itinerary that we followed and includes all the Manaslu trekking highlights such as the Pungyen Gomba, remote villages, Birendra Lake, Manaslu Base Camp, Tibetan Border, and the Larkya La Pass. 

DayRouteTimeSleep Altitude
1Jeep from Kathmandu to Maccha Khola 7 hours830 m
2Trek from Maccha Khola to Jagat6-7 hours1,410 m
3Trek from Jagat to Deng7-8 hours1,804 m
4Trek from Deng to Namrung6-7 hours2,630 m
5Trek from Namrung to Shyala4-5 hours3,480 m
6Trek from Shyala to Samagaun via Pungyen Monastery (4,050 m) 4-5 hours3,530 m
7Rest Day in Samagaun with Side-Trip to Manaslu Base Camp (4,800 m)7 hours3,530 m
8Trek from Samagaun to Samdo 2.5-3 hours3,860 m
9Rest Day at Samdo with Side-Trip to Tibetan Border (5,030 m)8-10 hours3,860 m
10Trek from Samdo to Dharmasala2.5-3 hours4,460 m
11Trek from Dharmasala to Bhimtang via Larkya La Pass (5,106 m)8 hours3,720 m
12Trek from Bhimtang to Tilje5-6 hours2,300 m
13Jeep from Tilje to Kathmandu (9 hours)9 hours1,400 m

It is also possible to extend this trek by including more overnight stays in villages between, or by adding the Tsum Valley Trek as an extension. Remember, most trekking companies recommend at least one rest day upon reaching altitudes above 3,400 meters to aid in acclimatization and avoid any issues later on.

Manaslu Circuit Elevation Chart (13-Day Itinerary)

What I loved about the Manaslu trekking circuit is that it offers a great elevation profile to prepare for the high elevation pass beyond 5,100 meters. Below is our elevation chart to help you understand what to expect from this Manaslu Circuit itinerary. 

Manaslu circuit elevation plot
This clean profile helped prepare us for the 5,100+ m pass on day 11.

About the Larkya La Pass

The Larkya La Pass is one of the longest passes of the Nepal Himalayas. However, it is much less steep on the ascent when walking in the recommended anti-clockwise direction.

The pass is much easier than other popular passes, such as the Three Passes Trek or the Thorong La Pass in Annapurna. However, it still promises a moderate physical challenge and breathtaking views. Some claim Manaslu's Larkya La Pass is one of the most beautiful passes in Nepal.

Olly gaspar at larke pass, manaslu circuit

Getting High Altitude Trekking Insurance for the Manaslu Trek

Since most travel insurance companies void their coverage as soon as you step over 4,500 meters above sea level, it might be a good idea to consider specialized trekking travel insurance options.

This is a very contested topic in the Himalayan trekking and climbing community, but in my experience, these three options that might be worth checking out.

  • Global Rescue Membership - helicopter rescue membership with no altitude caps. One of the most popular options in Nepal.
  • World Nomads - offers peace of mind travel insurance. Check their PDS for options related to high-altitude trekking.
  • Heymondo - my new favorite general travel insurance policy with affordable prices and an excellent app. Has an altitude cap of 5,000 meters, so you may not be covered for the Larkya La Pass.
Manaslu circuit, nepal

Manaslu Circuit Trekking Map & Route

Below is a general Manaslu Circuit Trekking map that can be useful for your trip. However, paper maps are available for purchase in Thamel, or will be provided to you for free if you book your trek with Himalayan Masters as I did.

Map infographic showing the distances and elevations of the manaslu circuit trek in nepal

Accommodation & Tea Houses in the Manaslu Region

The Manaslu Circuit Trek is a tea house trek. Tea houses in Nepal are lodge-style accommodations offering a warm bed and hot meals in a common dining hall. This means you do not need to bring a tent or other sleeping gear.

Tea house accommodation in the Manaslu Region is similar to other mountain regions of Nepal. You can expect a small room with plywood walls, a basic bed with a foam mattress, blanket, and pillow, and a shared common squat toilet. 

There is also charging available in most tea houses up to Dharamsala. Most teahouses also offer wifi at an additional cost (usually 500 Nepali rupees).

Rooms usually offer two single beds, which means guests will usually share a room if you are trekking alone in the peak trekking season. However, in the low season or shoulder seasons, you will almost certainly have room to yourself.

Tea house cottages in manaslu region

Manaslu Region Trekking Permits

Unlike the popular Sagarmatha National Park, the Manaslu Conservation Area is a Restricted Area, meaning you will need a "Restricted Area Permit". You will also need the conservation area permits for Manaslu and Annapurna (since you will enter the Annapurna Region after crossing to Manang via the Larkya La Pass).

Below is a summary of the permits and current costs. Keep in mind that your trekking company will arrange this for you in Kathmandu prior to departure.

  • Manaslu Restricted Area Permit: USD $100 (Sep to Nov) or USD $75 (March to May)
  • Manaslu Conservation Area Permit: 3000 Nepali Rupees
  • Annapurna Conservation Area Permit: 3000 Nepali Rupees

Internet & Connectivity on the Manaslu Circuit Trek

Internet is quite limited in the Manaslu Region, though many tea houses offer wifi for an additional cost. If you need to stay connected with family, I recommend buying a Garmin inReach Mini, which is what I use and is great for its SOS functionality.

Alternatively, you can buy a sim card in Kathmandu quite cheaply. Currently, only Nepal Telecom (NTC) offers signal within the Manaslu Conservation Area, so do not buy an Ncell sim if you are planning to use it on the trek. Even the NTC signal is quite limited, operating mostly on the “EDGE” network after Maccha Khola– which is only enough to send and receive an online message and doesn’t always work.

Note: “Everest Link” cards do not work in the Manaslu Region.

Travel blogger working in the mountains

Seasons & Best Time to Trek in Manaslu

As with the other Himalayan trekking regions of Nepal, there are distinct seasons for trekking.

The best time to trek the Manaslu Circuit is between March to May and October & November.

I trekked in mid May, which is considered to be the end of the Spring trekking season in Nepal. As you can see from the photos, we experienced great weather, with reliably clear mornings and a usual afternoon shower. However, seasons have varied greatly in recent years, and trekking during the shoulder seasons is risky, but worth the reward of much quieter trails.

The monsoon season in Manaslu runs from late May to late August and is usually best avoided. During the winter season of December to February, expect very cold conditions with frequent snowfall.

Larkya pass trek manaslu circuit

The People & Culture of the Manaslu Region

The Manaslu region in Nepal is not only known for its awe-inspiring landscapes but also for its rich cultural heritage. The local communities residing in the region, particularly in the Upper Budhi Gandaki area, have a deep connection to their Tibetan roots and follow Tibetan Buddhism. These communities are often referred to as the Nupri people, meaning "people of the western mountains."

The Nupri people are direct descendants of Tibetan immigrants who settled in the region in the early 1600s. Over the centuries, they have preserved their unique cultural traditions, language, and religious practices, creating a distinct identity in these parts of the Himalayas. Their close proximity to Tibet has heavily influenced their way of life, and the local culture resonates with Tibetan Buddhism.

The region is dotted with numerous Buddhist monasteries and sacred sites, serving as spiritual centers for the local communities. These monasteries, adorned with colorful prayer flags, intricate murals, and prayer wheels, are not only places of worship but also cultural landmarks that hold immense historical and religious significance.

Monastery bell in manaslu region

Hiring Porters & the Tipping Culture in Nepal

Unlike trekking guides, hiring porters is an optional luxury for your trek. You should discuss hiring porters to carry your sleeping and non-essential trekking items with your trekking company or guide. We decided to hire porters for our trek since we carry a lot of camera equipment. This makes the trek much more enjoyable and is an additional way to provide income to local communities.

While it is not compulsory to tip at tea houses or lunch spots, tipping your trekking guide and porters is an unspoken requirement when trekking in Nepal. This is up to your discretion but a recommended minimum is 500 NPR ($4 USD) for guides, or 400 NPR ($3 USD) for porters, per person, per day.

What to do in Kathmandu After Trekking the Manaslu Circuit

Remember, there's plenty to see and do in Kathmandu, including many UNESCO World Heritage Sites and significant Hindu and Buddhist temples. The Monkey Temple is also a great spot to spend your last sunset before flying out!

Or, if you want to see the world's tallest mountain before you depart, read my guide to planning an Everest flight from Kathmandu. Below are some other great experiences you can book in advance.

Where to Stay in Kathmandu Before & After the Trek

The trekking and tourist hub in Kathmandu is called Thamel. This is where you will find all of the best trekking shops, hostels, restaurants, bars, and hotels in Kathmandu.

If you're planning a trek in the Himalayas, you'll want to find a hotel or hostel that allows you to leave your luggage there until you return. Read my guide to Kathmandu's best hotels, or take a pick from the three best accommodation options below that offer this service.

Aloft luxury hotel room in kathmandu

1. Aloft Kathmandu Luxury

Overlooking the city from the heart of Thamel, this is "the place" where climbers including myself stay before big expeditions. It's a luxury pick with epic amenities like a gym, rooftop pool, and an EPIC buffet breakfast.

Flock hostel in kathmandu

2. Flock Hostel Budget

Best backpacker hostel in Thamel with very clean dorms with curtains & private rooms with excellent views. Amazing on-site cafe & restaurant serving delicious coffees & international meals.

Nirvana hotel in kathmandu, nepal

3. Nirvana Boutique Hotel Mid-Range

A peaceful boutique hotel to escape the hustle & bustle. Best mid-range pick with a 9.7/10 rating on

Packing List for the Manaslu Circuit Trek

Below is my recommended gear list for the Manaslu Circuit. This is typically what I bring and I have split it up into:

  • Trekking gear - what you wear and carry;
  • Tea House Gear - what you will keep in your duffel bag

Trekking Gear

  • Hiking boots
  • 3-4x Merino hiking socks
  • 1-2x Trekking pants
  • 1-2x Long sleeve trekking shirt
  • 1x trekking shorts (optional)
  • Fleece jacket layer
  • Waterproof or Goretex shell
  • Down or synthetic insulation jacket
  • Hat & beanie
  • Buff
  • Sunglasses (preferably with side shades)
  • Lightweight liner or trekking gloves
  • Sunscreen
  • Grayl GeoPress Water Bottle Filter
  • Trekking poles
  • Underwear

Tea House & Sleeping Gear

Filtering water on manaslu circuit trek

Money & Cash on the Manaslu Trek

There are no ATMs or opportunities to get cash anywhere once you begin the Manaslu Circuit Trek. Additionally, credit cards are not accepted anywhere, all payments are accepted in cash.

Therefore, it's imperative that you bring any cash (Nepali Rupees) you may need for tea houses and tips before departing from Kathmandu.

Trekking in nepal, prayer flags

More FAQs About Trekking the Manaslu Circuit in Nepal

Do I need a guide to trek in the Manaslu region?

Yes, trekkers must be accompanied by a licensed guide to trek the Manaslu Circuit. This comes due to the regulatory changes brought on by the Nepal Tourism Board. 

How much does it cost to trek the Manaslu Circuit?

Prices for the Manaslu Circuit Trek start at $900-$3,000 USD

What’s better, the Manaslu Circuit or the Annapurna Circuit trek?

The Manaslu Circuit and the Annapurna Circuit offer similar alpine vistas, a high pass crossing, and exposure to local mountain communities. However, the Annapurna Circuit is considered much more popular, and you can expect crowds on the trail during the peak season. Additionally, there is a newly constructed road covering much of the Annapurna Circuit, meaning more roadside trekking.

Do I need a special permit to trek in the Manaslu region?

Yes, you need a restricted area permit to enter the Manaslu Conservation Area. Your guide will arrange this from the Nepal Mountaineering Association in Kathmandu prior to departure. The cost is 25,000 Nepali Rupees.

Can I trek the Manaslu Circuit during the monsoon season?

While it is not a popular option, it is possible to trek during the monsoon season. During this period, you can expect a few hours of rain each day, which will slow down your journey. So it’s best to dedicate a few extra days to your Manaslu trekking itinerary in the monsoon season.

What is the food like on the Manaslu trek?

Teahouses along the trek offer warm meals consisting of a mix of local dishes like Dal Bhat (rice, lentil soup, and curry), (Sherpa Stew), and momos (Tibetan dumplings), and basic meals like spaghetti, fried potatoes, and fried rice. Meals are typically offered in large portions. As is the custom in Nepal, if you order Dal Baht, you will receive unlimited refills.

Is the Manaslu Circuit better than the Everest Base Camp Trek?

The Manaslu Circuit Trek offers a more authentic trekking experience than the now much-commercialized Everest Base Camp Trek. Furthermore, you will still experience incredible mountain views.

Is it possible to do a short Manaslu circuit trekking route?

Yes, it is possible to form a shorter Manaslu Circuit itinerary if you cut out the side trips like Manaslu Base Camp, Pungyen Monastery, and the Tibetan Border. However, note that these side trips also offer the opportunity to acclimatize to the high altitude. Therefore, the shortest recommended itinerary for Manaslu trekking is 11 days. 

Manaslu circuit, nepal

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this comprehensive guide to trekking the Manaslu Circuit in Nepal. This was one of my favorite tea house treks to date and I couldn’t recommend it enough if you are looking for an authentic trekking experience with amazing Himalayan views without the Everest crowds.

Still not decided? Perhaps you want some more travel and hiking inspiration for Nepal? 

Check out the list below for more detailed travel guides and adventure inspiration!

Manaslu circuit trek nepal pinterest pin
Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure traveler from Australia. I’ve spent the last six years traveling the world full-time, sharing my first-hand experiences & photography in over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. I visit every destination I write about to bring you unique travel itineraries, epic hiking routes, fun tour ideas, travel & photography gear ideas, & interesting places to stay.

I only make genuine, worthwhile recommendations based on my experience, expertise, & research. If you buy through my links, I may get a commission, supporting this website at no extra cost to you. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.


Thursday 9th of May 2024

Thanks so much for the detailed guide! This has been the most comprehensive breakdown i have seen on the internet and is getting me very excited for the trek! I want to ask you if you still recoomwnd HimalayanMasters?

They have good reviews online but I know you did this trek a few years ago? Are they still your recommended trekkkng company in Nepal?


Olly Gaspar

Thursday 9th of May 2024

Hey Jack thanks and I'm glad you enjoyed the guide. Yeah I still do all my trekking in Nepal with Himalayan Masters. Small group but very professional and they really go the extra mile to make sure you have a great experience.