Budgeting for the Manaslu Circuit Trek: Cost Breakdown and Tips for Saving Money

By Glorious Himalaya on February 27, 2024 in Trekking

The Manaslu Circuit Trek is one of the best trekking spots in Nepal, and it takes you closer to Mount Manaslu. Although trekking the Manaslu region is fun and challenging, you have to prepare for the budget and the cost of the Manaslu Circuit. Before heading for the Manaslu Circuit Trek, it is necessary to do a cost breakdown and learn some tips for saving money.

Manaslu Circuit Trek is one of the most beautiful treks in Nepal. It takes you to an altitude of over 5000m in Larkya La Pass. The trek is not as popular as the Everest or Annapurna Base Camp trek, but recently, it has started to hold its own. One of the things that makes Manaslu Circuit Trek special is that it lies in a remote, isolated area with few facilities and infrastructure.

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Hence, before venturing on this fantastic adventure in the Manaslu region, it is wise to prepare and plan, especially regarding trekking costs. Many factors affect the trek’s price, which depends solely on you. Furthermore, knowing some tips for saving money during your trek is also wise. So, let’s get into it.

Cost Breakdown:

The cost breakdown of the Manaslu Circuit Trek is fundamental so that you don’t go over budget. While trekking or even before that, you must be wary of various factors that can increase your trek cost and prioritize them according to their importance. So, let’s get into some of the factors that increase your cost.

Permit Fees:

The permit fees are among the most critical factors to increase your trekking cost. Permits are essential during your trek; without the proper licenses, you won’t even be able to step foot in the Manaslu region. Suppose you want to trek the Manaslu region. In that case, you need two essential permits. The first permit you need is for the Manaslu Conservation Area Project (MCAP) for all the trekkers who want to enter the Manaslu region.

The permit fee is $25 per person. Since Manaslu is in the restricted area, you must issue the restricted area permit. However, this permit is only issued by your authorized trekking agency. A restricted area costs USD 100 per person for the first seven days and USD 15 per day after seven days. From December to August, the RAP costs USD 75 per person for the first seven days and USD 15 per day after seven days.

Guide and Porter Fees:

The Guide and Porter fee is another vital factor that influences the cost of the Manaslu region trek. Since 2023, guides have been compulsory in every trek in Nepal, including the Manaslu Circuit Trek. So you have to hire at least one guide, which will cost you. Generally, in Nepal, the cost of hiring a licensed and experienced guide ranges from $30 to $40 per day. Hiring a guide is crucial for your trek’s navigation, safety, and security. Unlike guides, hiring a porter is not mandatory, but they can help you tremendously during your trek. The proper daily cost ranges from $10 to $15.

Accommodation:

Accommodation is one of the most critical factors you should plan and budget for before visiting your trekking destination. Since the Manaslu region is remote, there is little infrastructure, such as huge hotels, restaurants, and lodges. The primary accommodation places during the Manaslu Circuit Trek are tea houses and low-budget lodges, meaning the accommodation cost is lower in the Manaslu than in other regions like Everest and Annapurna. Depending on the facilities of the teahouses, it costs from $5 to $12 per day. Some teahouses may have additional services like WIFI, private rooms, attached bathrooms, hot showers, etc., which costs extra—lastly, the accommodation cost increases during the peak season of spring and autumn due to increased demand.

Meals:

Meals are available at teahouses and lodges along the Manaslu Circuit trek. These places offer various options, including traditional Nepali dishes and international cuisine. Meal prices vary based on the type of food and portion size, typically ranging from USD 5 to USD 15 per meal. To save money, trekkers can bring their own snacks and trail food.

Transportation:

The cost of transportation to and from the Manaslu Circuit trek starting point varies depending on the mode of transportation and starting location. Most trekkers begin their trek in Machha Khola, which can be reached by bus or private jeep from Kathmandu. Bus tickets range from USD 12 to USD 16 per person, while hiring a private jeep ranges from USD 200 to USD 250, depending on the season.

Miscellaneous Expenses:

In addition to the main costs outlined above, trekkers should budget for miscellaneous expenses such as water, snacks, souvenirs, trekking gear rental or purchase, tips for guides and porters, and unforeseen costs such as medical treatment or emergency evacuation. Budgeting an additional USD 15 to USD 25 per day for miscellaneous expenses is recommended, depending on personal preferences and circumstances.

Tips for Saving Money:

Travel Off-Peak Season:

The Manaslu Circuit trek is busiest during the peak trekking seasons of spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November), when prices for accommodation, permits, and transportation are higher due to increased demand. Consider trekking during the off-peak seasons of winter (December to February) or summer (June to August) to take advantage of lower prices and fewer crowds.

Choose Budget Accommodation:

Opt for budget-friendly accommodation options such as basic teahouses and lodges with shared facilities rather than more upscale lodges or guesthouses with additional amenities. While basic accommodation may lack certain comforts and luxuries, it offers budget-conscious trekkers a more authentic and affordable experience.

Bring your snacks:

Bringing snacks for the Manaslu Circuit trek is a savvy way to reduce trip costs. Packing lightweight, non-perishable snacks such as nuts, dried fruits, energy bars, and trail mix can provide convenient and affordable sustenance on the trail. By avoiding expensive snacks purchased at teahouses and lodges, trekkers can save money while ensuring they have nutritious and satisfying fuel for their trekking adventures. Additionally, packing snacks allows for greater flexibility and autonomy in meal planning, especially during long days of hiking between remote villages. Bringing your snacks is an intelligent budgeting strategy that enhances the Manaslu Circuit trek’s financial and culinary aspects.

Travel Light:

Minimize the cost of transportation and porter fees by packing light and only bringing essential gear and equipment for the trek. Consider renting or borrowing trekking gear such as sleeping bags, poles, and down jackets from local outfitters in Kathmandu or Pokhara to save money on purchasing expensive gear that you may only use for the trek.

Conclusion

Hence, budgeting for the Manaslu circuit trek is essential and requires planning and preparation. Before booking your trek, you must learn all the costs you will incur, such as permits, guides and porters, accommodation, meals, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses. The best way to budget your trek is by breaking down all the costs and prioritizing them accordingly.

By breaking down and prioritizing the expenses based on importance, you can enjoy your fantastic adventure in the Himalayas without fearing going overboard. You can also budget your cost based on the itinerary. Generally, trekking agencies have their standard itinerary, which you can curate to adjust your budget.

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