Manaslu is the eighth highest mountain in the world situated at 8,163 meters (26,781 ft.) above sea level. The name ‘Manaslu’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Manasa’ which means intellect or soul. Hence, Manaslu means “Mountain of Spirit”. Manaslu also known as Kutang lies about 64 km east of Annapurna in the district of Gorkha. In this blog we discuss if you can trek Manaslu trek without a guide or not.
The Manaslu region is one of the hidden gems and most adventurous trekking routes of Nepal. This trail takes you off-the-beaten path through some of the best remote parts of Nepal including dense forest, narrow pass-ways, traditional villages, suspension bridges, rivers, glaciers.
Manaslu and Larke La Pass trek offers you some of the most gorgeous views of some of the world’s highest mountain like Mt. Manaslu, Annapurna I, Annapurna South, Gangapurna, and Annapurna III, Ngadi Chuli, Himalchuli and, Baudha.
The area is conserved and protected by Manaslu Conservation Area. This is also a restricted region of Nepal opened to foreign climbers and trekkers only in the year 1992. It is managed by the National Trust for Nature Conservation in Nepal.
This is a major reason why Manaslu does not allow solo trekking. You need to be accompanied by a government registered tour guide and a minimum of two trekkers. However, you can choose to take a local porter instead of a guide
This trek was earlier categorized in the difficult level of trekking, however with growing number of tea houses and better roads, it has now shifted to the category of strenuous trek.
It is now also included in the tea house treks of Nepal. This also means it is suitable even for beginners. This trek can be done by anyone who has good physical fitness, willingness, determination and dedication.
Manaslu Trek with a Guide
The Manaslu trek falls under the category of restricted region treks of Nepal. Hence, some government enforced terms and conditions need to be followed.
Every trekker must have all permits to enter the region along with a professional guide. The permits must be obtained through a registered and official trekking company. So, if you are planning to do this trek alone, without a guide, it is impossible to do so.
Perks of having a Guide
- Some parts of the trails are not as wide or clear, so having a professional guide with you will help you navigate through the wild and remote parts of the trail more comfortably and safely.
- Professional guides are well-trained on safety and first-aid measures ensuring your safety.
- You will not have to queue or get worried about your trekking permits as the professional trekking guides will take care of all the trekking permits you require for your trekking.
- You will get a better chance of indulging and getting to know the local culture, lifestyle of the people in the region. Most guides are fluent in the local languages and will help you interact with the villagers if you choose to.
- The professional guides can also answer almost any questions you have of the region like the landscape, the flora and fauna, animals and so on.
- A professional guide will have the latest updates of weather, the conditions of the trails from the agency or fellow guides. This way the guide will ensure you avoid any situations that has occured on the trails like mudslides, landslides, accidents, heavy rainfall.
- A professional guide can also recommend you the best tea houses to stay at, eat at, rest stops, best time to trek and so on.
- Unlike some other popular trekking destinations of the world, the cost of hiring a professional guide will not make a heavy dent on your budget. The daily wage of a registered trekking guide is only about $25 per day. This will include everything from insurance, meals, accomodation to daily salary of the guide.
Manaslu Trek Permits
Any treks in the Manaslu region is considered a restricted region trek in Nepal. You will require the following permits:
- ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Entry Permit): US $20
- MCAP (Manaslu Conservation Area Entry Permit): US $20
- Manaslu Restricted Permit: The price is different on different months of the year.
September-November: US $70 per person per week, US $10 per day per person after the first week. December-August: US $50 per person per week, US $7 per day per person after the first week
An Alternate for a guide
Instead of hiring a guide, you can hire a licensed, professional porter-guide for your Manaslu trek.
The porter-guide as the name suggest does both the work of a guide and a porter. S/He will carry less than your regular porter, i.e. less than 12 kg.
The porter-guide is also usually someone on the way to being a fully licensed guide. The cost of hiring a porter-guide is $22-$25 per day, slightly more than hiring a porter.
Hiring a porter is also ideal for treks like these especially for beginners. This again includes everything from food, accommodation, insurance to salary of the porter.
Some of the more experienced ones can communicate well in English, answer questions about the landscapes, flora, fauna, trails and share your load at the same time.
If you are looking for a less crowded, rustic, remote and high altitude region trekking experience than the Manaslu trek is the perfect choice for you. The Manaslu trek is ideal for those wanting to trek in the isolated and wild regions of Nepal to experience the classic trekking experience of the Golden era of Trekking.
The best season to trek to Nepal including the Manaslu Circuit Trek is the local spring and autumn season. Spring( February-Mid-May) is very pleasant with nice, warm weather and full blossoms of flowers in the lower regions of the trek.
Autumn is considered the best time to trek in Nepal with more predictable and stable weather conditions. It lasts from late September to early December.
The region is also famous for wildlife species like snow leopards, red pandas, asian black bear, horseshoe bat, tibetan snow cocks and crimson horned pheasants. You get to experience a fabulous concoction of trekking in high mountain altitude with the chance to explore the rich cultural heritage and natural diversity and beauty of Nepal.
Trekking alone or without a professional, licensed guide is not possible according to the Government of Nepal.
As you can see from the cost and perks of hiring a guide, it is not too much of a disadvantage to have a guide with you.