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Manaslu Circuit Trekking which was opened for outside visitors in 1992, until then remained one of the forbidden countries. For the various regions, in the early days before the Chinese occupied Tibet in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. 

It was an open border for trade between Nepal and Tibet, where the old Trans Himalaya Salt Trade Route existed. A caravan of mules, horses, and yaks laden with goods from both sides passed through the upper Manaslu valley.

Overviews & Introduction:

At the end of Manaslu Valley, the district of Gorkha near the present Dharmasala or Larke Phedi market day was held. In the early days, it was a place for a big market, villagers from Manang, Tsum valley, and Gorkha areas. As far from Tibet used to gather at Larke Bazaar for trade and bartering their farm products, wools, and rugs. 

From the mid-1960 the Larke Bazaar was on the verge of losing its market, as the Tibet border was closed. Similarly, the Upper Manaslu Valley was banned for outside visitors due to its close border with Tibet. Then slowly it flung its door open for a limited number of travelers to experience the beautiful country and age-old culture.

In the beginning, since it was open few groups of trekkers entered the formerly forbidden territory of Upper Manaslu. It was from the year 1992, and it was declared a restricted area.

Allowed only trekkers to join with proper Government Regisrated reliable trekking companies, with Government Liaison Officer to accompany the group. Throughout the trip from the beginning to the end of the trekking, which was quite expensive to bear the cost.

Included a special permit fee as well as extra expenses for the Government Liaison Officer on top of the trip cost. For the past few decades, the service of a Government Liaison Officer was not required, making the trek much more possible. As well the cost came much lower having not to borne the expenses of the Liaison Officer. 

However, there are a few extra costs that trekkers have to bear besides the special permit and that is Conservation fees. Likewise, MCAP (Manaslu Conservation Area Project) at the same time requires ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Project).

Where trek leads at the end around Manang district, which falls within ACAP after crossing high Larke-La Pass.  On completing the Manaslu Circuit Trekking at Dharapani village in the Manang area, one can continue joining the Annapurna Circuit trek also.

The other reason for Upper Manaslu being a Restricted Area, besides the close border to Tibet / China. As well as to limit the mass flow of trekkers, to preserve the country’s pristine environment as it was before. Which makes the Manaslu Circuit a special and exclusive adventure for trekking, present for the past few decades. It has become much more popular after the famous Annapurna Circuit trekking, as the country offers grand views along with local culture.

The lodges and food facilities for trekkers have mushroomed over the years due to the demand for trekkers. The flow of visitors is increasing every season of the year along with new and better overnight accommodations. Making Manaslu Circuit one of the best and most enjoyable adventure destinations for less than two weeks or more trekking.

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Special Permits for Upper Manaslu Region:

Since it was opened for outside visitors in 1992, where special permit requires entering from Jagat village onwards. Including other necessary Conservation entry permits for Manaslu and Annapurna Areas. As there are check-posts at the main entry point in Jagat village after a few day’s walks from Soti-Khola or Machha-Khola villages.

For the special permit, trekkers need to declare the days as per the itinerary provided by respective local agents. One cannot travel or enter as FIT (Free Individual Trekkers) or solo, must join with Government Regisrated Companies. Accompanied by an expert local licensed guide approved and authorized by Government Nepal Tourism Department.

The MCAP (Manaslu Conservation Area Project) covers an area of 1,663 sq. km. The Area was declared in 1998 a conservation. MCAP is enriched with flora and fauna with 33 species of mammals. Includes 110 different bird species with 11 species of butterflies and 3 different species of reptiles. As well 2, as 000 various species of plants with 11 types of forest due to its varied landscape diversity. From low sub-tropical to cooler alpine climate with arctic zone freezing temperatures around the high region of Mt. Manaslu. World’s 8th highest peak at 8,163 m / 26, 781 feet, first ascent by the Japanese Expedition on May 9th, 1956.

Answers to your curiosity and queries:

Can I issue a permit for a single person?

Not allowed must join with a group of a minimum of 2-3 person, and should book with a local trekking company. Like MCT or any other reliable agents in Kathmandu or at Pokhara, where the local agents will obtain the needful. Like obtaining special permits along with MCAP & ACAP entry tickets, and providing necessary information, regarding Manaslu Circuit Trek.

What are the transportation facilities on the Manaslu trek? 

There are two choices of options as per the size of a group and trip cost from budget to standard services. Depending upon trip cost and size of trekking members, hiring a jeep or four-wheelers. Where drive leads to starting point of the trek, either at Soti-Khola or Machha-Khola as per the itinerary provided. Likewise, after ending the trek at Dharapani village either travel by local bus or in a reserved charted vehicle.

Do we need separate permits for the Manaslu Circuit & Tsum valley?

Traveling both Restricted Areas of Tsum Valley and Manaslu Circuit, needs a separate permit for these two different trekking destinations.

Do I need photographs to issue permits?

All trekkers for any Himalayan adventure destination require Passport size photographs to obtain TIMS. Trekking Information Management Systems or for special permits as well requires PP size photos for conservation entry tickets. Very important to carry a dozen Passport size photographs required for many purposes from visas, permits, etc.

It is possible to issue a permit in advance before arriving in Nepal?

Yes, it can be done, before you arrive in Kathmandu after sending your passport details with Passport size photos. At least a minimum of a week ahead before you arrive in Kathmandu for the trek departure.

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