Manaslu Circuit Trek for Solo Travelers

Experience personal service and caring on the Manaslu Trek.
  • Rajesh Neupane
  • Last Updated on Jun 3, 2024

Manaslu Circuit Trek is the serene and isolated beauty of its nominative peak, the eighth-highest mountain, Manaslu (8163 meters/26781 feet). The trek is one of the unexplored gems wrapped in the arms of the Manaslu Himalayan range.

The trail of the Manaslu Valley along the Budhi Gandaki River is adorned with cascading waterfalls and rugged terrain that offers breathtaking vistas of the Manaslu, Ganesh, Shringi, and Annapurna ranges, serving as a source of constant support and inspiration throughout the journey. 

Additionally, the ancient dialect, art, culture, and tradition of the unspoiled Buddhism followed by the Tibetan people allow you to immerse yourself in their enriching lifestyle. 

Can I trek the Manaslu Circuit solo?  

According to government regulations, exploring the Manaslu region requires at least two trekkers to obtain the Manaslu restricted area entry permit and trek. However, if you are willing to pay for a "ghost trekking permit," you can undertake a solo trek with your guide. Nepal Trekking Experts has been facilitating such solo treks for over a decade, ensuring a safe and memorable experience.

For solo trekking in the Manaslu region, you require careful planning and consideration. Don’t worry, we have got you covered. Let us understand all the information needed for the success of the Manaslu Circuit Trek for solo travelers.

Table of Contents

Highlights of the Manaslu Trek for Solo Travelers 

  • Enjoy breathtaking views of Manaslu, the eighth-highest mountain, along with the Himal Chuli, Nadi Peak, Larkya Peak, Ganesh, Shringi, and Annapurna ranges.
  • Experience solitude and tranquility on the less crowded trails, perfect for solo travelers seeking a peaceful adventure.
  • Immerse yourself in the local Tibetan-Buddhist culture by visiting traditional villages and Pungen Gompa, Serang Gompa, Hinang Gimpa, and other monasteries while interacting with friendly locals.
  • Trek through diverse terrains, from lush forests and terraced fields to alpine meadows and glacial lakes, keeping the journey exciting and scenic.
  • Cross the challenging Larkya La Pass at 5,106 meters (6751 feet), offering a sense of accomplishment and stunning panoramic views of Manaslu, Ganesh, and Annapurna. 
  • Spot wildlife like blue sheep and Himalayan marmots, and enjoy vibrant rhododendron blooms and alpine flowers, especially in spring.
  • Embrace the challenges of solo trekking, fostering personal growth, resilience, and confidence while reflecting in the solitude of the mountains.

Manaslu Circuit Trekking Facts:

  • Max Elevation: 5106 meters (16752 feet)
  • Accommodation: Tea House
  • Duration of the Trek: 17 Days
  • Activity: Trekking and Hiking
  • Trekking Difficulty: Strenuous
  • The best time to visit: March to May and September to November
  • Group Size: 1 to 20
  • Trek Starts: Machha Khola
  • Trek Ends: Besisahar

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Manaslu Circuit for Solo Travelers

Manaslu Circuit Trek Advantage for solo TravelersManaslu Circuit Trek Disadvantage for solo Travelers
More opportunities for personal interactions with locals lead to richer cultural experiences.Higher individual costs due to lack of cost-sharing for guides, porters, or accommodation.
Enhances self-reliance and confidence through independent navigation and overcoming challenges.Increased stress and potential feelings of isolation without companionship.
Ability to tailor the trek to your own fitness level and skills, ensuring a comfortable pace. 
Opportunities for solitude and reflection can be therapeutic and rejuvenating. 

The Best time for the Manaslu Circuit Solo Travelers

You should visit the Manaslu Circuit Trek at the best time for an amazing trekking experience. Spring and autumn are the best seasons for trekking in the region. In these seasons, you get to have a beautiful landscape, perfect weather, and excellent visibility. At the same time, Manaslu's pathway is not recommended during the summer and winter. Let's break down the season pattern in detail. 

Spring Season:

Spring (March to May) is a delightful time to explore the Manaslu Circuit Trek. It offers a refreshing start with new blooms, cool weather, and breathtaking views. The lush greenery forest and hillside are adorned with vibrant rhododendron blooms (pink, red, and white) that create a colourful tapestry alongside diverse flora and wildlife. 

Clear skies, crisp air breezes, and temperatures around 28°C to -15 °C provide the perfect backdrop for enjoying the majestic mountain ranges.

With fewer crowds compared to autumn, spring allows for ample availability of transportation, accommodation, and food options along the trail. Meanwhile, if you have enough time and are interested in the unique cultural experience of the Manaslu region, you can also go for the Manaslu Tsum Valley Trek or Manaslu Annapurna Circuit Trek.

Trekking in the Spring Season
Enjoy the Rhododendron in the Spring Season.

Autumn Season:

Autumn (September to November) is widely regarded as the prime season for embarking on the Manaslu Circuit Trek. It offers trekkers a perfect blend of mild temperatures and vibrant topography. The days are comfortably warm, with temperatures ranging from 25°C to -15°C, while the nights bring a refreshing.

One of the highlights of trekking during autumn is the breathtaking scenery, with lush landscapes adorned with the stunning contrast of the colourful fields of amaranth plants. Additionally, autumn is the festival season in Nepal, with celebrations like Dashain and Tihar infusing the air with excitement and cultural richness. 

While the trail may be busier during this peak trekking season, the vibrant atmosphere and clear mountain views make it a truly unforgettable experience for trekkers.  

Solo Trek
Blue Sky in October

Planning Your Manaslu Circuit Trek as a Solo Traveler

Before you dive into preparation, there's a lot to consider for your solo adventure. What should you know about the Manaslu Circuit Trek as a solo trekker? From accommodation to permits, we've got you covered below.

Logistics:

The Manaslu Circuit Trekking is required to get entry permits from the government to explore the Manaslu region.

  • The Manaslu Restricted Area Permit (MRAP)
  • The Manaslu Conservation Area Permit (MCAP)
  • The Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP)
  • The Trekkers' Information Management System (TIMS)

Solo travelers must apply for the above permits through a government registered trekking agency, hire a licensed guide to explore such a region as independent trekking is not allowed in this region. 

Government-registered trekking companies like Nepal Trekking Experts will handle the necessary trekking permits with the following documents, such as valid passport copies and visa copies, guide insurance, trekking itinerary, agency documents, etc., on your behalf and ensure that all necessary trekking permits are ready before the trek begins. 

Manaslu Conservation Area Trekking Permit
Manaslu-Annapurna Conservation Area Trekking Permit

Additionally, the Manaslu Trek starts with an 8-hour ride from Kathmandu to Machha Khola, which serves as the gateway to the trek. You have a great opportunity to experience by bus vs a private jeep towards Machha Khola. Since the public bus will be overcrowded, stop multiple villages, seats will be congested, and the road condition will be bumpy, we highly recommend taking a private jeep.

Throughout the trekking route, in the majority of the villages you'll find convenient access to teahouses, equipped with essential amenities such as Wi-Fi and hot showers. However, during peak season (March to April, and October to November), nicer tea houses can be over booked up quickly, so it is recommended to book in advance.

Budgeting for Your Manaslu Solo Trek:

Planning your solo trek involves more than just choosing gear and setting an itinerary. It's crucial to consider the financial aspects to ensure a smooth and stress-free journey. From permits and accommodation to transportation and food, budgeting plays a vital role in determining the cost of your adventure. 

 
ItemCost in USDDescription
Permits

$75-$100 per week Per person for the Manaslu Restricted Area

+MCAP +ACAP +TIMS Card Per Person

Manaslu Restricted Area Permit: $75 per week in spring and  $100 per week in autumn

Manaslu Conservation Area Permit: Rs 3000

Annapurna Conservation Area Permit: Rs 3000

Trekker's Information Management System (TIMS): Rs 2000

Accommodation and Food

$30 per day

Tea houses along the trail typically cost around $30 per day for accommodation and meals.

Additional charges may apply for charging electronic devices, hot showers, WiFi, and extra beverages. 

Note: The standard hotels in Kathmandu may cost around 20-50$ based on their quality of service and ratings.

Travel (bus or jeep) to Machhakhola

Bus: $10

Jeep: $200

Bus: Approximately $10 per person

Jeep: Approximately $200 for a jeep

Travel (bus or jeep) from Dharapani to Kathmandu

Bus: $25 per person

Jeep: $250 for a private service

Shared jeep: Dharapani to Besisahar $15 per person
By bus/Microvan: Besisahar to Kathmandu $10 per person

Private Jeep: Approximately $250

Guide$25 to $30 per dayAs per experience, a guide costs $25 to $35 daily including his salary, meals, accommodation, transportation, and insurance. Specefic language speaking guides typically cost $40 - $50 per day.
Porter$25 a dayNormally, a porter costs $25 a day including his salary, meals, accommodation, transportation, and insurance.

Essential trekking gear for Manaslu Solo Travelers

The gear gives the required support and comfort throughout the Manaslu Circuit Trek for solo travellers. From navigating rugged terrain to braving unpredictable weather, the right gear can make all the difference in ensuring a safe and enjoyable trekking experience. The professional from Nepal Trekking Experts recommend essentials like: 

Clothing:

  • Raincoat, poncho, or combination jacket/trousers
  • One down jacket/Gore-Tex Jacket
  • One down vest (it can be skipped if you have a down jacket)
  • One windproof or rainproof trouser
  • Two pairs of hiking pants (depending on the duration of the trek)
  • One pair of shorts
  • Four to Five T-shirts (depending on the duration of the trek)
  • One MIT/fleece jacket
  • One/two pairs of base layers/thermal coats depending on the duration of the trek
  • Four to five pairs of hiking socks and a couple of pairs of thicker socks (depending on the duration of the trek)
  • Two pairs of gloves—one pair light merino wool/fleece, the other waterproof/windproof
  • Undergarments

Footwear:

  • Trekking boots (water resistance, ankle supportive)
  • Flip-flops for leisure time around camp or one pair of sneakers

Other Equipment:

  • Sunglass, sunscreen, lip balm, sun hat, woolen/beanie/fleece hat, neck gaiter, first aid kit, Scissor, luggage cover, headlamp, trekking poles, gaiter (optional), micro crampons (depends on the trekking season and route), water purification tablets, or life straw bottle or steripen, extra batteries, adapter, power bank, water bottles/camel bag/Thermos, washing powder/multi-purpose soap, shampoo, a small towel, antiseptic hand wash, toiletries, female hygiene products, wet wipes, mosquito spray (optional), shoes repairing glue, whistle, earplugs, reading books, playing cards/chess, etc.
  • Sleeping bag rated to minus 15/20 degrees Celsius (extreme temperature) depending on trekking route and season
  • Sleeping bag liner – cotton, silk or fleece
  • Backpack (60 liters)
  • Daypack (25 to 30 liter)
  • Map and compass or GPS device (if and when available)

If you do not have complete gear, you can buy or rent it in Thamel at a reasonable price. Nepal Trekking Experts will assist you if needed.

Manaslu Circuit Trekking Itinerary Breakdown:

The Manaslu Circuit Trek is a 17-day round trip to the Manaslu region.

Day 1: Welcome to Tribhuvan International Airport, where you will be transferred to your hotel. Maximum Altitude: 1400m/4593ft.

Day 2: A day for trekking preparation in Kathmandu. Maximum Altitude: 1400m/4593ft.

Day 3: Drive from Kathmandu to Machha Khola (8-9 hours, 157 km). Maximum Altitude: 930m/3051ft

Day 4: Trek from Machha Khola to Jagat (7 hours, 17 km). Maximum Altitude: 1340m/4396ft

Day 5: Trek from Jagat to Deng (7 hours, 20 km). Maximum Altitude: 1860m/6102ft.

Day 6: Trek from Deng to Namrung (7 hours, 17 km). Maximum Altitude: 2630m/8629ft.

Day 7: Trek from Namrung to Shyala (6 hours, 14 km). Maximum Altitude: 3500m/11482ft.

Day 8: Trek from Shyala to Samagaun via Pungen Gompa (6 hours, 8 km). Maximum Altitude: 3500m/11482ft.

Day 9: Acclimatisation day. Hike to Birendra Lake or Manaslu Base Camp. Maximum Altitude: 3500m/11482ft.

Day 10: Trek from Samagaun to Samdo (3 hours, 8 km). Maximum Altitude: 3860m/12664ft.

Day 11: Acclimatisation day. Hike to the Tibetan border at Rui La. Maximum Altitude: 4998m/16397ft.

Day 12: Trek from Samdo to Dharmasala (5 hours, 6 km).Maximum Altitude: 4460m/14632ft.

Day 13: Trek from Dharmasala to Larkya La 5106 meters1 (6751 feet), then descend to Bhimthang (8 hours, 22 km). Maximum Altitude: 3590m/11778ft.

Day 14: Trek from Bhimthang to Goa (5-6 hours, 15 km). Maximum Altitude: 2515m/8251ft.

Day 15: Trek from Gowa to Dharapani, then drive to Besisahar. Maximum Altitude: 760m/2493ft.

Day 16: Drive from Besisahar to Kathmandu or visit Pokhara. Maximum Altitude: 1400m/4593ft.

Day 17: Departure to the airport.

Manaslu Circuit Trekking Map

Manaslu Trekking Map
Manaslu Trek Map

Safety Tips for Solo Manaslu Circuit Trek:

  • Safety is paramount, especially when trekking solo. While the allure of solo adventures is undeniable, it's crucial to prioritise your safety above all else. Here are different tips to help Manaslu circuit solo travellers ace their journey. 
  • Ensure you're adequately prepared by engaging in regular cardiovascular exercises and strength training.
  • Prior trekking experience is beneficial for understanding the demands of multi-day hikes and varied terrain.
  • Get travel insurance with the coverage for emergency evacuation medical emergencies, high-altitude evacuation, and trip cancellations or interruptions. Confirm that your insurance provider has a good reputation for quick and efficient emergency response.
  • Inform a trusted person about your trekking itinerary and emergency contacts in Nepal.
  • Be aware of altitude sickness symptoms and acclimatise properly by ascending gradually and taking rest days as needed.
  • Carry a comprehensive first-aid kit, including medications for altitude sickness, pain relief, and basic wound care.
  • In urgent situations, familiarise yourself with emergency communication options, such as satellite phones or emergency beacons.
  • You can download offline maps of the Manaslu Circuit and surrounding areas on your smartphone for reference in areas with limited connectivity.
  • Research the trekking company by reading customer reviews and have an experienced guide with a knowledge of the local terrain and emergency procedures. Nepal Trekking Experts has a team of guides with first aid training and more than 600 reviews on Tripadvisor. 

FAQs:

Is it safe to trek the Manaslu Circuit solo?

Yes, it is generally safe to trek the Manaslu Circuit solo. However, due to its remote and challenging nature, it's essential to be well-prepared, physically fit, and equipped with a reliable map and communication tools. Hiring a local guide or porter can enhance safety and navigation.

 How challenging is the Manaslu Circuit Trek for a solo traveller?

The Manaslu Circuit Trek is considered a strenuous trek due to its high altitude, long trekking days, and rugged terrain. Solo travellers should be in good physical condition, have prior trekking experience, and be comfortable with multi-day hikes carrying their gear.

Are there any specific tips for female solo trekkers on the Manaslu Circuit?

Female solo trekkers should take additional precautions for safety and comfort. It's advisable to dress modestly, especially in more conservative rural areas. Building rapport with local women and other trekkers can provide additional support. Carrying personal hygiene supplies and walking with guides are also important considerations. Hiring a female guide or porter can enhance safety and provide valuable cultural insights.

Is Manaslu better than Annapurna?

Yes, the Manaslu region offers a serene atmosphere, remote culture, and ancient Buddhism, providing a unique experience compared to Annapurna. However, if you want to combine the best of both worlds, Nepal Trekking Experts also conducts the Manaslu-Annapurna Circuit trek, allowing you to explore the highlights of both regions.

Can you trek Manaslu without a guide?

No, you cannot trek the Manaslu Circuit without a guide. The Manaslu region is a restricted area, and regulations require trekkers to be accompanied by a licensed travel company in groups of at least two trekkers. This ensures safety and helps protect the fragile environment and local communities.

What is the height of Larkya La Pass?

Larkya La stands at 5106 meters (16751 feet) above sea level. 

What is the height of Mt. Manaslu?

Mt. Manaslu stands at 8163 meters (26781 feet).

How high is the Manaslu Base Camp? 

Manaslu Base Camp is located at 4980 meter (16338 feet).

Conclusion:

The trails of the Manaslu Circuit Trek provide a unique fusion of fulfillment and change. Navigating through remote Himalayan landscapes and diverse cultures, solo trekkers find themselves immersed in a journey of self-discovery and exploration. Confronting rugged terrain and high altitude, Larya La pass solo builds resilience and confidence, fostering a profound connection with both the environment and oneself.

Solo trekking lets you set your own pace and enjoy the solitude of the mountains, giving you time to reflect and connect with nature. If you're craving an unforgettable adventure, join Nepal Trekking Experts and book your solo Manaslu Circuit Trek today. It's time to conquer the Himalayas on your terms!

Likewise, you may explore other restricted and isolated stunning trekking routes, such as the Manaslu Tsum Valley, the Tsum Valley, the Nar Phu Valley, Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek and more. 

Rajesh Neupane

Rajesh Neupane

Rajesh, known as Raj, is the founder and owner of Nepal Trekking Experts, as well as the company's main guide. He was born and raised in the mountain region of Manaslu and has a deep and abiding connection with the culture and nature of the Himalayan mountains. With more than 20 years in the trekking industry, from working as a porter and guide right through to his present role as the head of the company, Raj has the knowledge base and wealth of experience to customize and organize treks that fulfill each and every requirement for a successful journey,  including permits, equipment, clothing, medical supplies, and safety, as well as a familiarity with the fitness levels and experience required for each of the treks on offer in our portfolio. Having traveled most of the trails available in Nepal he has a deep affinity and connection to the broad spectrum of people and their cultures, as well as a deep appreciation for the various religions, history, flora and fauna of the mountain regions and their scattered valleys. 

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