East of the famed Annapurna range and west of the Langtang range is the Manaslu region – an unspoiled mountain paradise for trekkers seeking to get lost in Nepal’s backcountry. The delight of the Manaslu region lies in the fact that it is one of the least-trafficked areas in Nepal. Few tourists know about the area and fewer take the opportunity to enjoy its beauty. It is one of Nepal’s best-kept secrets. In fact, the Manaslu Circuit Trek is regarded by many as our country’s best all-around trek. More and more people visit each year, so come visit before it becomes as well-known as Annapurna or Everest.
Manaslu (8,156 meters/26,758 feet) is the eighth tallest mountain in the world. It is also the point from which all treks in the region revolve around. The trails are rough and rugged, not for the faint of heart. But for those who brave this isolated terrain, you will reap the benefits. Walk along the majestic, turquoise Budi Gandaki river and up to the dramatic Larkya La Pass (5135 meters), one of the most incredible passes in all the Himalaya. Here, dozens of soaring peaks surround you. Locals of the area, especially along the upper Budi Gandaki river, are Tibetan descendants. Residents of “Nupri” (western mountains), have customs, clothes, and a dialect that is Tibetan. The Manaslu region exemplifies that ethnic and geographic diversity of our beautiful country.
Trekking around Manaslu Himal was opened to tourists in 1991 and it was not until years later that teahouses were opened. Until then, it had been a camping trek (which many still prefer). After the earthquake of 2015, teahouses and sections of the trail were destroyed by landslides. At the time of writing this, some places may not offer teahouses, thus making it partly or exclusively a camping trek.
You will need several permits to enter the region. A restricted area permit is required to trek in the Manaslu area, meaning that you must go with a registered company. The permit fee from September to November is $70 USD for the first week and $10 USD for each additional day. Throughout the rest of the year, the permit costs $50 USD for the first week and $7 USD for each additional day. Also, the Manaslu Conservation Area Project (MCAP) is part of the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), so a 2000-rupee (about $20 USD) entry fee is required to enter. As is the case with most treks, a TIMS permit is required. Finally, if you choose to trek in the Tsum Valley, an additional restricted area permit is required, costing $35 USD per week from September to November and $25 USD per week during the remainder of the year.