Good to see you are planning to trek the Manaslu Circuit!
Before going through the costs, you can start with the summary page where everything you need to know about this best teahouse trek in Nepal can be found. Himalaya might be a bit expensive but is nowhere near as costly as the Alps. I will make a detailed breakdown of all the costs on this page and explain what to expect and what not to.
A few years ago Manaslu trek used to be like an expedition. Complex logistics involve arranging accommodations and meals when teahouses have yet to exist along the route. Nowadays, enough teahouses are available everywhere except for Dharmasala.
Check out more about accommodation here. Thanks to these teahouses, the trek is now affordable to budget travelers.
1. Manaslu circuit and Tsum valley permit cost
For a regular Manaslu circuit trek, you need three different permits and an additional one for Tsum Valley if you are venturing into these vivid valleys of happiness blessed with Buddhism. Read more about the necessary documents and processes to obtain these Manaslu trek permits.
Regular Manaslu trek permit cost:
- USD 110 per person from September to November
- USD 90 per person from December to August
Manaslu and Tsum valley trek permit cost:
- USD 145 per person from September to November
- USD 105 per person from December to August
2. Transport cost for Manaslu circuit and Tsum valley
15 day Manaslu circuit trek starts from Soti Khola, a small town north of Arughat. It is approximately 130 kilometers northwest of Kathmandu. There are no flights between Kathmandu and Arughat. So your options are only limited to fun-packed local buses or private jeeps.
Please note there is a syndicate of vehicles between Arughat and Soti Khola Section, which means there is no direct local bus between Kathmandu and Soti Khola. Once arriving in Arughat, you will need to switch to another local bus or local jeep for Soti Khola. However, private jeeps can go directly from Kathmandu to Soti Khola if they are registered with the Ministry of Transport under the tourist transport service. Read more about ground transport necessary for Manaslu circuit and Tsum valley trek.
Kathmandu to Soti Khola via Arughat
Prices will depend on which routes you take to Arughat, which happens to be quite a few. Depending on the season, the local bus will cost between USD 10 to USD 15 per person. Normally it is a fixed price but can go up during the peak season or festival time. A private jeep will cost somewhere between USD 200 to USD 250 for up to seven people.
Please note that some jeeps can fit only four people, and others can fit up to nine. Generally, an available SUVs can fit up to seven people. There will be enough space on the roof rack for the backpacks.
Dharapani to Kathmandu via Beshi Sahar
Some might consider walking all the way down to Beshi Sahar (Starting point of Annapurna Circuit) after completing Manaslu Trek. But it is the least ideal option. Believe me; there is nothing fun about walking dusty trucking roads shared with tons of other trekkers on their way to Annapurna!
I strongly recommend getting a drive back from Dharapani instead.
There is no public bus between Dharapani and Beshi Sahar, but you will find frequently running local jeeps with the cost ranging from USD 20 to USD 25 per person, depending on several factors. From Beshi Sahar, a local jeep to Kathmandu would cost USD 10 to USD 15 per person.
For those who are willing to spend more money in exchange for a faster and more comfortable trip, there is a private jeep option which will cost from USD 200 to USD 250 anywhere from Dharapani or Taal to Beshi Sahar. Jeeps in this section are hardcore Indian manufactured, some of which can fit up to twelve people. With a much better road conditions from Beshi Sahar to either Kathmandu or Pokhara, you’ll have one more transportation option: the small mini coaster. From Beshi Sahar to Kathmandu, the prices range between USD 100 and USD 250 depending on modes of transportation: car, jeep, or coaster.
3. Guide cost for Manaslu circuit and Tsum valley
The guide is compulsory, or someone with a guide license and he or can be your porter as well. Government rules state a minimum of two trekkers, a guide, and a local agency to do Manaslu Trek. Please note individual freelance guides cannot issue your permit, nor can you do it yourself independently. Being a circuit trek, it is not feasible to get the guide at the trailhead. So you have to hire a guide for the entire trek plus two additional travel days with his or her transport to and from Kathmandu. Insurance of guide is also compulsory.
Depending on the guide’s experience and skill, the cost varies greatly. If they speak your language, they cost almost double compared to regular English-speaking guides. It ranges between USD 25 and 40 per day for a guide. With 25 USD, you will get a trainee guide who has a license, can speak good enough English to communicate, and knows the trail. Some can help share the weight of your backpack up to 8 or 10 Kg. In the meantime, an average guide will charge between USD 30 and USD 40. And at USD 40 per day, you will get someone really excellent in all aspects.
4. Porter cost for Manaslu circuit and Tsum valley
If you are young on your knees, it is completely fine to do the trek without the porter. However, it’s not a bad idea at all to hire one. You can have all the freedom to enjoy the trek with less luggage burden while helping contribute to the local economy. The porter has no such weight limitation, especially on a camping trip.
But for the teahouse, 22 kilos is set as the maximum limit. Apart from this, the porters will have their own small packs. So try to make it as light as possible. A porter will cost between USD 20 and USD 25 per day, with all expenses and insurance covered except transport.
5. Food and accommodation cost
Unlike Annapurna and Langtang trek where room prices are negotiable, accommodation cost on the Manaslu trek is fixed. The food menu is similarly priced as in other regions. During my Manaslu circuit trek in 2016, I took a picture of the food menu and later converted it into PDF files, which can offer you a good reference. Check Manaslu trek food.
The minimum allocation for three basic meals and daily accommodation should be from USD 25 to 30. Always carry some extra money; they do not accept the card or have ATMs. Some may accept foreign currency but at a low exchange rate.
Other than that daily expenses you should allocate is USD 10 per person. Gas run hot showers are available at USD 2.5 to 4 each. The minimum cost for phone or camera charging is USD 1 or USD 2, depending on where you are. Service is mostly available except for Dharmasala and Samdo.
Wifi is no longer a luxury in some far-flung villages such as Sama Gaun, Namrung, Bimthang, Dharapani, and Beshi Sahar. However, it comes at a cost as high as USD 5 – 8 per night.
6. Food and Accommodation in Kathmandu
On average, a good meal costs between USD 8 to 12, including one main course and a drink in a good restaurant in Thamel. A fancy dining option is also available, and the expected price range is between USD 15 and 20.
If your agency does not cover accommodation in Kathmandu, this article might give you some idea of where to stay in Kathmandu. Accommodation costs in Kathmandu range from USD 5 per night for a hostel to USD 200++ in five-star hotels or resorts.
Note: On average, a good budget hotel in Thamel will cost between USD 30 and 40 per night.
Trek cost for solo trekker Manaslu and Tsum
As previously mentioned, to obtain a trekking permit for Manaslu, a minimum of two trekkers is required and must be accompanied by a registered guide. That being said, a solo trek with the guide can totally be arrangeable through agencies (and certainly at a higher cost as you are now the sole cost bearer). They will manage to find another non-trekker passport and take care of the procedures for you so that permits can still be obtained lawfully.