Manaslu Circuit Trek Transport – Getting In and Out
Manaslu region is located in the central-western part of Nepal, northwest of Kathmandu. It belongs to Gorkha District with Arughat being the headquarter. In the past, Arughat used to be the starting point of the Manaslu Circuit Trek but road expansion in recent years has allowed trekkers to have a further head start at Soti Khola. The ending point of the trek is at Dharapani village, a shared stopover with Annapurna Circuit Trek. You can check more information on Manaslu vs Annapurna Circuit here.
1. Kathmandu to Soti Khola via Arughat
Please note that there is no direct public bus from Kathmandu to Soti Khola so you must make a transit in Arughat. Distance between Kathmandu and Arughat is roughly 136km and transportation will take at least 6 or 7 hours.
Road condition from Kathmandu to Dhading Beshi is quite smooth with asphalt coated roads. From Dhading Beshi onwards, things can get a bit rough especially the section between Arughat and Soti Khola, where sometimes only a four-by-four is powerful enough to get through.
In case of heavy rains, the section about 30-45km ahead of Arughat can be extremely muddy, landslides can occur in worst case scenario. A possible solution is to walk through shortcuts to Arughat, which takes approximately 7-8 hours. Otherwise, as vehicles from both directions get stuck in the middle, negotiate with those heading opposite to drive you to Arughat.
Kathmandu to Soti Khola by local bus
There are a few options for morning buses from Kathmandu to Arughat which take different routes. The most recommended one is via Dhading Beshi, which will be a 35-seater bus and take around 6-7 hours including a short lunch break.
Once in Arughat, you can find a transport syndicate system with small jeeps or mini size buses frequenting the Arughat – Soti Khola route.
Kathmandu to Soti Khola by private jeep
This option will definitely save you from the hassle of waiting and guarantee a much more comfortable ride. Private jeeps with a tourist plate (in green color) can take you straight to Soti Khola without transiting in Arughat, plus they are rarely affected by protest. Private jeeps with a red plate, on the other hand, have to stop in Arughat, from where you need to switch to a privately reserved local jeep to continue to Soti Khola.
2. Dharapani to Beshi Sahar
Walking is definitely not a recommendable option between Beshi Sahar and Dharapani as the roads are heavily trafficked and dusty. Alternatives include:
Dharapani to Beshi Sahar by local jeep
The section between Dharapani and Beshi Sahar is a part of a bigger road project built by the Nepali Army, which extends up to Manang Chame. Please be advised that these mountain-blasted roads might be extremely daunting at some points. But it might be reassuring to know that there has been no fatal accident recorded so far thanks to skillful local drivers. Local jeeps take approximately 5 hours to get between two ends and depart almost every hour or whenever fully loaded.
Dharapani to Beshi Sahar by private jeep
Private jeeps should be reserved beforehand. It is recommended to make sure you find the jeeps at the local places with local drivers who know the road condition well.
In the event of heavy rainfall, immense flow of water from waterfalls can cause road blockage. The only option is to wait until the water subsides. Attempt to cross in high water is highly inadvisable.
3. Beshi Sahar to Pokhara
Beshi Sahar to Pokhara by local bus
You will easily find buses between Beshi Sahar and Pokhara, leaving on a frequent basis. They can vary from small mini coasters that can fit 16 people to quality 40-45 seater buses. The journey will be a smooth 4-to-5-hour drive thanks to good stable road condition all year round.
Beshi Sahar to Pokhara by private jeep
If you prefer a private mode of transportation, private jeeps or cars (if you’re in a group of 3) from Pokhara can be ordered to pick you up at Beshi Sahar. The trip will take approximately 4 hours.
4. Beshi Sahar to Kathmandu
Similarly, getting to Kathmandu from Beshi Sahar can be just as easy and with as many varieties of options. Local buses will take around 5-6 hours and the same for private jeeps.
The only potential road hazard in this section is the landslide once you reach Mugling, where the road is joined with the main East to West Highway. Other than that, road condition is fairly stable. However, it’s good to be reminded that a traffic jam can cause a few hour delay.