The lands of Manaslu is one of the most pristine and protected regions of Nepal. Hence the government has implied certain restrictions for the area which makes the region impossible to access it without a guide. However, in this article, I have shed a light on the perks of taking a guide and why it can prove beneficial in an isolated area such as Manaslu!
Manaslu also referred to as the “Mountain of spirits” is a magnificent peak that lies in the western provinces of Nepal. Since the government of Nepal opened the route of Manaslu to outsiders only from 1991, the area is extremely remote and untouched.
The Manaslu trekking route takes you into the heart of the Manaslu Conservation Area with an up-close view of the majestic Mt Manaslu. The trekking route comprises of some of the remote paths in Nepal where you can observe the pristine wildlife and settlements along the off-beaten trails. The remoteness of the region also contributes to an unforgettable trekking experience in absolute solitude.
The trek is also a paradise for photographers! It’s crystal clear views of the panoramic mountain range, and the unique flora and fauna are appealing to any generic passerby. The rich cultural heritage, verdant valleys and glazing glacial river further add to a sublime trekking experience.
The trek is definitely not for the faint-hearted! Due to less intensity of tourists, getting lost is a likely occurrence if you fail to navigate correctly. Also, you won’t find frequent tea-houses and lodges every 15-20 minutes like the Everest Base Camp Trek or Annapurna trek.
Despite some hassles and difficulties, the trek is a rewarding experience in itself! The diverse natural beauty along tranquil trails of the Manaslu region is sure to grant you a heavenly experience that you will cherish for a lifetime!
Can You Take The Manaslu Trek Without Guide?
The thrill of walking independently along the rugged trails while enjoying the lofty scenery is an experience of its own. Hence, you might be wondering about venturing on the Manaslu Circuit all by yourself. Well, can you?
Unfortunately, the answer is no!
The government of Nepal highly prioritizes the privacy of the Manaslu region for security concerns and imposes a ban for travelling solo. Unlike the Everest Base Camp trek or the Annapurna trek, you cannot carry a backpack and run out for a thrilling adventure along the soils of Manaslu without the guidance of a local personnel.
The only alternative is to hire a government-licenced guide for the trek. It makes your trip much safer and reliable. You can also hire a local porter if you do not wish to carry heavy loads during your trek.
Along with a guide, you will also need to grab the necessary permits if you wish to visit the border shared territories of Manaslu such as the Tsum valley, Larkya La pass, and Manaslu Base Camp.
The government of Nepal has implied a few conditions that trekkers need to fulfill to visit the Manaslu region. They are
- There must be at least two people, excluding the guides and porters.
- You must hire a government-licenced guide or porter from a local trekking agency.
- You must apply for the permit through an authorized trekking agency.
Porter or a Licensed Guide?
Since the government of Nepal imposes a rule to hire at least one trekking staff for the Manaslu trek, you will need a porter or a guide. A porter is a much cheaper option of the two.
They help carry upto 25 kgs of luggage as they guide you through the offbeat trails. They also help you to communicate with the locals acting as a translator.
The average cost for a porter is 25-30 USD per day, including their food, lodging and insurance expenses.
Guides are the safest and most reliable person to guide you through the Manaslu trek. Well trained and certified by the government, they carry complete knowledge about even the remotest places of Nepal.
Travelling with a licenced guide is always hassle-free and safer. Communication is also not a barrier with the guides as they can fluently answer all your queries.
A licensed guide will also take care of all your necessary permits, and they make sure you do not wander off to restricted areas. They will also monitor your body for altitude sickness and take respective actions.
A licensed guide costs you upto 35 USD per day including their food, lodging and insurance expenses.
Porter-guide is the best option for budget-friendly travellers. By hiring a porter-guide, you can save a heap of money by not spending individually on a porter and a guide.
A porter-guide can lead you through the unfamiliar trails while carrying a certain amount of your luggage. They are also quite fluent when it comes to speaking, helping you to communicate with the locals with ease.
You can hire a porter-guide at around 30-35 USD, including their food, accommodation and insurance charges.
What Are The Permits Required For The Manaslu Trek?
Since the Manaslu region is a secluded and highly protected area, you will need a couple of permits to visit them. Even if you are travelling with a guide or porter, these permits are mandatory. These permits are
- Restricted Area Permit (RAP)
September to November: 70 USD for the first 7 days then an extra 10 USD per day.
December to August: 50 USD for the first 7 days then an extra 7 USD per day.
You do not require the TIMS card once you have obtained the Restricted area permit.
- Manaslu Conservation Area Permit (MCAP)
2 USD (For SAARC nationals) & 30USD (For foreign nationals)
- Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP)
2 USD (For SAARC nationals) & 30 USD (For foreign nationals)
- Tsum Valley Restricted Permit (TVRP)
35 USD Per Person
Note: To obtain the permits, you will require the help of a registered local trekking agency. We can arrange the necessary permits for you if you wish to opt for the Manaslu Trek.
Perks Of Hiring A Professional Guide
- Since the government of Nepal opened the Manaslu circuit only a few years ago, the trails are often confusing and difficult to navigate. Since guides are well familiar with the route, they will help you navigate the trekking route. You can rely on them entirely while walking through the trails without the fear of getting lost.
- Guides highly prioritize your safety and security. Thus they will look after you throughout the trek. They will also monitor your body for any signs of altitude sickness and if found, take respective actions. They also take immediate evacuation action if you fall prey to any unwanted emergencies.
- If you hire a guide from a local trekking agency, you do not have to face the hassle of getting the trekking permits. The company will arrange that for you. Getting permits by yourself is a hassle troubling business which requires you to stand in long queues for hours and possible delays.
- When you travel with a guide, accommodation will never be a problem even on peak seasons. They pre-book the rooms eliminating any possible risks.
- With the help of a guide, you can interact with the locals and learn a lot about the diverse culture and lifestyle of the respective places.
- A professional guide always checks the weather conditions and reports and keeps you aware of any possible climatic changes during the trek.
- A guide will answer all your queries about the surroundings. You can get additional information about the place and its flora and fauna.
What Might Happen if you didn’t Hire a Professional Guide?
Changes Getting lost
It is one of the most common things that can occur if you fail to navigate appropriately during a trek. Most of the trekking routes in Manaslu are remote with less clear directions. So, without a proper guide, navigating can be a significant issue. The cell signal is also weak in these areas, which contribute to higher chances of getting lost in the unknown terrains of Manaslu.
Injuries and Evacuation
Without a guide, evacuation can be a significant problem if you face some unforeseen emergencies, especially in remote areas. The Manaslu circuit is a strenuous trek with very little health posts on the way. So in the absence of a guide, if you get injured, treatment becomes very challenging.
English is not a common language and only spoken in significant cities in Nepal. The Manaslu circuit takes you to some of the remote places in Nepal where the locals only speak their native language. Here communication can be burdensome. Thus guides are beneficial, as they act as a translator who helps you to communicate fluently with the locals.
Some Tips For Hiring An Ideal Trekking Staff
- Be sure to check the credentials of the person before hiring them. Ensure that they are properly licensed and well experienced.
- Be sure to check their fluency in speaking English. If you cannot understand their speaking properly, communication throughout the journey can be a hassle.
- Always opt for a trusted trekking agency with excellent reviews.
- Local guides and porters do not require any permits. Hence you do not have to buy them permits.
- Porters and guides typically expect tips from you. You can tip USD 3-5 for your guides and USD 2-4 per day for porters although it is not mandatory.
- You can also find guides who speak your native language other than English. However, they are much more costly than general ones.
Final Verdict on Manaslu Trek Without Guide
Since the government of Nepal has imposed specific barriers on Manaslu for all foreign travellers, you cannot opt for it individually. The trek is only possible to a minimum group of two people travelling under the guidance of a local guide.
However, the untouched and remote beauty of the Manaslu region is what drives thousands of tourists to opt for the Manaslu trek every year despite the conditions.
So if you are looking forward to the Manaslu trek, contact us so that we can arrange all the requirements for you to have the best trekking experience along the remote and rustic landscapes of Manaslu.