Manaslu Circuit Trek - First time in Nepal

  Traveler visited Nepal in March 2016

“I was thinking to trek the manaslu circuit. I'm looking for good trekking, moderate to challenging days, great Himalayan scenery, stays at tea houses, and fewer crowds. I've never been to Nepal or the Himalayas though, so Manaslu is just based on some internet research. I'd like to keep the trek to 12 to 18 days too.”

Richard Ball, a local specialist from Nepal, helped this traveler put together a customized itinerary based on Manaslu Circuit Trek: The Ultimate Off-The-Beaten-Path Trek in Nepal - 18 Days.

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Trip planning highlights

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Trip planning conversation


Your research is spot on - Manaslu would be a great choice. It has what you're looking for and the trails have re-opened now since the earthquake.

There are 14-18 day itineraries, depending on a few route options. I haven't done the trek myself, but have a friend who knows the route well and is largely responsible for opening it as a teahouse trek.

Are you looking to hire a guide or porter for the trek, and if so, can we help arrange any of the logistics? I'd be happy to recommend a local guide and help put a trip plan together if needed.


The guide can act as a porter too. I always recommend packing light and simple as then it is easier to carry the stuff, and pack in the mornings. Less clutter is nice.


Sure that sounds good, thanks Richard.

I pack pretty light normally - agree with you on that. And I will be coming off a couple weeks hiking in New Zealand so I should be in good shape. I've never been above 14k feet though so the altitude may slow me down a little ;)

Let me know when you have the quotes / dates and I will take another look at flight options.


Hi Richard,

Ideally I would do the 15 day trek starting on March 23. Would that work? I do have some flexibility if the other trekker or guide prefer other options.


OK, go for it! Alex will handle payment now. Then I will be in touch for your personal details, and we can go for 23rd March and we'll put the group together accordingly. :)


Great. I will book a flight into Kathmandu on the 22nd and a departure on April 7. Could you confirm these work? With the 15 day trek it looks like I will be leaving Katmandu on the 23 to start and returning / finishing on the 6th.


Hope your travels are going well. Here is a suggestion of the itinerary we'll use, but it can be flexible based on facts on the ground so to speak. See you in Kathmandu!

Day 01: Drive from Kathmandu to Arughat and Arughat to Soti Khola
Day 02: Trek from Soti Khola to Macha Khola
Day 03: Trek from Macha Khola to Jagat
Day 04: Trek from Jagat to Deng
Day 05: Trek from Deng to Namrung
Day 06: Trek from Namrung to Lho
Day 07: Trek from Lho to Sama Gau
Day 08: Acclimatization day in Sama Gau (Side trip to Manaslu Base Camp)
Day 09: Trek from Sama Gau to Samdo
Day 10: Acclimatization day in Samdo (Side trip to Tibetan Border)
Day 11: Trek Samdo to Dharmasala
Day 12: Trek from Dharmasala to Bimthang
Day 13: Trek from Bimthang to Tilije
Day 14: Trek from Tilije to Tal
Day 15: Drive from Tal to Beshi Sahar and Beshi Sahar to Kathmandu


Hi Richard - looks great.

I have a few questions:
1. I use fairly lightweight hiking boots as I travel light and my hiking is mostly warm weather. I don't think I can attach crampons to my boots (never tried). Will that be an issue over the pass?
2. Should I bring any sort of water purification or will that be provided?
3. Food - should I plan on bringing any food (or stocking up in Kathmandu)? I believe I can get breakfast and dinner at each stop (could you confirm) but what about lunch and snacks? Are those available at each stop or should I plan on bringing a few days worth?
4. For equipment I think I just need to bring a sleeping bag and don't need a tent or sleeping pad. Could you confirm?


1. You can use micro-spikes. You can buy in Kathmandu for $10 or so. The stretch over your boots. Those with a trekking pole or two, should be fine. I've been over the pass 7 times in running shoes, but clearly would not do that if there was anything more than ankle deep snow. But the pass can be icy but without drops to slip off, so not dangerous.
2. You should. Will save you money buying bottle water or boiled water. A pump filter also an option, or taste free tablets. Iodine tablets can be followed up 30 min later with a Vitamin C tablet which neutralises the taste.
3. You can bring some energy snacks for on the trail - muesli bars, nuts, chocolate etc. All meals you can find in all villages along the trails - great to stop in the smaller shacks and give them some business.
4. Correct - a sleeping bag only, 3 season or 4 if you are a cold sleeper. At this time, 3 season should be ok and you can normally ask for a blanket from the tea-house owner.


Hi Richard,

Thanks for the tips and I'm looking forward to arriving in Nepal!

Just a couple more questions. I'm arriving in Ktm on Tuesday March 22 at 12:45pm on TG319. I'm staying that night at the Kathmandu guest house. When should I meet with the you or the guide? Wednesday when we are ready to depart by jeep? If so where?

Also I'm planning on getting a Nepal telecom SIM card when I arrive. I read they have ok coverage in some of the mountain villages. Is that true? And should I expect to have service half the trip or none of the trip ;) ?



You should expect no service after the second day pretty much, until near Dharapani at the end of the trip. Some wifi in Sama (maybe) and Samdo if you have a smartphone.

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Traveler Review

Overall the trip was very good. The trek was great, the choice of towns to stay, and the overall experience was very good.

The only thing I can think that could be improved was the handoff from kimkim to the agency doing the trek (i.e. magical nepal with the guide). It wasn't entirely clear to me who was responsible for what at first. But honestly this is a small thing, as I said overall things were great.