Manaslu Circuit Trek Transport – Getting In and Out

Manaslu is the eighth highest peak globally, located in Nepal’s west-central region, within the Mansiri Himal range. It sits between the Gorkha and Manang districts, just 64 kilometers / 39 miles east of Annapurna. To reach its base camp, you head north from the village of Arughat, which is considered the gateway to this region. Manaslu is approximately 180 kilometers/ 111 miles northwest of Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital.

Arughat used to be the starting point for the Manaslu trek. However, due to recent road construction, it’s now more convenient for everyone to begin the trek from Machakhola. Machakhola is approximately a 10-hour drive by public bus or an 8-hour drive by private Jeep. When you book with Magical Nepal, transportation is already included in the package, so you don’t need to worry about it. If you’re curious and want more details, you can check out the comprehensive transportation guide for the Manaslu Circuit.

1. Kathmandu to Maccha Khola

Kathmandu to sotikhola

Kathmandu to Machha Khola is a distance of approximately 160 kilometers /99 miles. Traveling this route typically takes 9 to 10 hours by public bus and 7 to 8 hours if you opt for a private jeep. Buses to Machha Khola depart daily from the Macha Pokhari Bus Park. It’s advisable to book your bus ticket in advance to secure a seat.

At MagicalNepal, we offer a convenient service to book your bus ticket and arrange transportation from your hotel to the bus station. This ensures a smooth and hassle-free start to your journey.

Remember, while the journey from Kathmandu to Dhading Beshi is relatively smooth with asphalt roads, the road conditions can become challenging beyond this point, especially between Arughat and Soti Khola. In the event of heavy rains, be prepared for potential delays due to muddy conditions or landslides. However, our team at MagicalNepal is committed to providing you with the latest travel information and support to make your journey as comfortable as possible.

Kathmandu to Maccha Khola by local bus

There are a few options for morning buses from Kathmandu to Maccha Khola which take different routes. The most recommended one is via Dhading Beshi, which will be a 35-seater bus and take around 9-10 hours including a short lunch break.

It’s recommended to either eat your breakfast before departing or bring a packed breakfast with you when you travel from Kathmandu to Maccha Khola by public bus. Given that the journey can take about 9 to 10 hours, starting your day with a meal is a good idea to ensure you have sufficient energy for the trip ahead.

During the journey, the bus will make stops for lunch and toilet breaks. These pauses are crucial not only for eating and restroom needs but also provide an opportunity to stretch and take a break from the long sitting periods. However, the schedule and length of these stops might vary, so having some food ready with you can be beneficial, particularly if the stops do not coincide with your regular meal times.

Considering the long duration and varying road conditions of the trip, maintaining your energy and hydration levels is important. Carrying additional snacks and water for the journey is also advisable to stay comfortable throughout the day.

Kathmandu to Maccha Khola by private jeep

Traveling from Kathmandu to Maccha Khola by private jeep is a popular option for those seeking a more comfortable and flexible journey compared to public buses. The distance of approximately 160 kilometers can typically be covered in about 7 to 8 hours by private jeep, which is faster than the public bus.

Choosing a private jeep offers several advantages:

  1. Comfort and Convenience: Private jeeps are generally more comfortable and offer better seating and space compared to public buses. You’ll have more room to stretch out and relax during the journey.
  2. Flexibility in Schedule: Unlike public buses that have fixed departure times, a private jeep allows you to start your journey at a time that suits you best. This flexibility can be especially beneficial if you prefer to avoid early morning departures.
  3. Custom Stops: You have the liberty to ask the driver to stop at specific points for breaks, or meals, or to enjoy scenic views. This is particularly advantageous on a picturesque route like Kathmandu to Maccha Khola.
  4. Better for Groups: If you are traveling in a group, a private jeep can be more economical and fun. It also fosters a sense of camaraderie among travelers.
  5. Road Conditions: Given the challenging road conditions, especially in the sections beyond Dhading Beshi, private jeeps, which are often four-wheel drive, can navigate these roads more easily than buses.
  6. Safety and Personal Space: In a private jeep, you’re traveling only with your group, which can be a safer option and provide a sense of personal space, especially during the ongoing concerns about health and safety.

2. Dharapani to Beshi Sahar

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 journey between Dharapani and Beshi Sahar is a segment of a larger road project overseen by the Nepali Army, extending up to Manang Chame. Travelers should be aware that these roads, carved out of mountainsides, can be quite intimidating at certain stretches due to their rugged nature.

However, it’s important to note that, despite the challenging terrain, there have been no fatal accidents reported on this route. This safety record is largely attributable to the expertise of local drivers who are well-versed in navigating these mountainous roads.

Local jeeps, a common mode of transportation on this route, typically take about 5 hours to travel between Dharapani and Beshi Sahar. These jeeps usually depart almost every hour, or as soon as they are fully loaded with passengers, offering a relatively frequent and flexible travel option.

At Magical Nepal, we make special arrangements for our clients regarding transportation. We reserve local jeeps for our clients to ensure a smooth and hassle-free journey.

Our guides have personal contacts with jeep owners, which allows us to make these reservations efficiently and reliably. This service is part of our commitment to providing a comfortable and secure travel experience for our clients, ensuring that they can enjoy their journey with peace of mind, knowing that transportation has been arranged by a trusted source.

Dharapani to Beshi Sahar by private jeep

With a group infront of Jeep in Dharapani

Reserving private jeeps in advance is a crucial aspect of planning your journey, especially when traveling in regions like the one between Dharapani and Beshi Sahar. It is highly recommended to secure jeeps that are locally operated, as local drivers possess a deep understanding and experience of the road conditions, which can be quite challenging in these mountainous terrains.

One significant factor to consider during this journey is the weather, particularly heavy rainfall, which can lead to road blockages due to the sudden and immense flow of water from waterfalls. In such situations, the safest course of action is to wait until the water level subsides. It is strongly advised against attempting to cross these roads when they are flooded, as this can be extremely dangerous.

At Magical Nepal, we prioritize the safety and convenience of our clients. To ensure a smooth journey, we arrange for the booking of a private jeep well in advance of reaching Dharapani. We specifically opt for jeeps and drivers that are local to the area. This approach is not just about familiarity with the roads; local drivers are also more adept at handling any unforeseen circumstances that may arise due to weather conditions or terrain challenges. By choosing locally available jeeps and drivers, we provide our clients with a travel experience that is both safe and authentic, allowing them to enjoy their journey with peace of mind.

3. Beshi Sahar to Pokhara

Beshi Sahar to Pokhara by local bus

Traveling from Besishar to Pokhara is a feasible and common route for many travelers. If you’re planning this journey, our guide can arrange a bus for you from Besishar to Pokhara at no additional cost. This service is part of our commitment to ensuring a seamless and comfortable travel experience for our clients.

As of November 2023, it’s important to be aware that the road to Pokhara is undergoing significant expansion to become a 4-lane highway. While this development will ultimately improve travel conditions in the long term, it currently has some immediate implications for your journey:

  1. Dusty Conditions: Due to the ongoing construction work, you may encounter dusty conditions along the road. It’s advisable to be prepared for this by possibly having face masks or scarves to cover your nose and mouth.
  2. Extended Travel Time: The construction work and expansion process can lead to delays, meaning that the journey might take longer than it usually would. It’s a good idea to factor in this additional travel time when planning your itinerary.
  3. Variable Road Conditions: The construction may lead to temporary road diversions or uneven surfaces. The bus drivers are usually familiar with these conditions and navigate them as efficiently as possible.

Despite these temporary inconveniences, traveling by bus remains a popular and viable option for getting from Besishar to Pokhara. Rest assured, our guide will assist you in arranging this part of your travel, ensuring you have the latest information and the most convenient travel arrangements possible.

Beshi Sahar to Pokhara by private jeep

Traveling from Beshi Sahar to Pokhara by private jeep is a comfortable and efficient option, especially for those looking for a more personalized travel experience. The journey by private jeep offers several benefits over public transportation:

  1. Comfort and Flexibility: Private jeeps provide a more comfortable ride with better seating and the flexibility to leave at a time that suits you. This can be particularly appealing after a trek when you might prefer a relaxed start to your day.
  2. Customizable Stops: You have the freedom to request specific stopovers, whether for meals, scenic views, or just to stretch your legs. This personalized approach can make your journey more enjoyable.
  3. Faster Travel Time: Typically, traveling by private jeep can be quicker than public buses, as there are fewer stops and delays. However, as of November 2023, be aware that road expansion work is in progress to transform the road to Pokhara into a 4-lane highway. While this development is beneficial in the long term, it can cause temporary delays and dusty conditions, potentially extending travel times.
  4. Direct Route: A private jeep can take you directly to your destination in Pokhara, adding convenience, especially if you have specific accommodation arrangements or connections to meet in Pokhara.
  5. Safety and Convenience: For groups or those with extra gear (like trekking equipment), private jeeps offer a safer and more convenient mode of transport, allowing you to keep all your belongings with you and secure.

When arranging a private jeep from Beshi Sahar to Pokhara, it’s advisable to book through a reliable and reputable service provider. This ensures that you have a skilled driver familiar with the route and current road conditions. Additionally, booking through a trusted provider often means the vehicles are well-maintained and comfortable. At Magical Nepal, we can arrange such a private jeep for you, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable journey to Pokhara.

4. Beshi Sahar to Kathmandu

Kathmandu to pokhara bus
Deluxe tourist bus
Beshi Sahar to Kathmandu bus
Fun pack local bus on Prithvi Highway

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.

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Article by Pradeep Guragain

Pradeep is the co-founder of Magical Nepal. He was born and bred in Nepal and is a seasoned hiker and rider.

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