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Manaslu region situated northwest of Kathmandu and located in the Gorkha district, is a hope to some of the beautiful trekking routes like Manaslu Circuit and Tsum Valley. Manaslu Trek is a challenging trekking route that provides a unique and less-crowded trekking experience as opposed to more famous treks like the EBC Trek or the ABC Trek.
In this article will explore the ground transportation options available in Manaslu for trekking. Although The trek used to start from Arughat now it’s not the case the roads have been extended up to Machha Khola which provides a boost to the trekkers to complete the trek early. You can still start walking from Arughat or Soti Khola if you wish to hike for more days exploring the jungles and interacting with local people. This trek route ends in Dharapani Village, which is also a starting point for travelers heading towards Manang and Mustang region.
Here's a simple easy to easy-to-understand trek map that showcases the trekking route for the Manaslu Circuit, so that you can have an idea of where the transportation reaches.
Our Journey starts By heading to Machha Khola or Soti Khola from Kathmandu
One of the most common ways to reach the starting point of the Manaslu Circuit is by catching a local bus to Machha Khola (900m/2952 ft). The bus departs from Kathmandu, Gongabu Bus Park at about 7 AM. You will travel nearly about 158 Kilometers by bus. The roads are good until you reach Arughat, which used to be the starting point of the trek a few years back, you can expect bumpy roads after crossing the Ankhu Khola. This bus drive takes about 8-9 hours.
Post-COVID-19 the bus only used to reach Soti Khola but from the year 2021, the road has been extended up to Machha Khola which reduced one-day trekking allowing the trekkers to get a head start. However, you can still drop off at Soti Khola and start your Manaslu Trek.
Another best and most comfortable way to reach the Starting point for Manaslu Trekking is by hiring a private jeep from Kathmandu to Machha Khola. You can find comfortable Jeeps with air conditioning from Kathmandu. These jeeps are comparatively faster, taking 5-6 hours to reach the starting point, and provide you with a less hassle-free road experience.
You can find two types of private jeep, one with a tourist number plate (green colored plate) and another with a red plate. Red plate jeeps sometimes may have to stop at some points so it’s better you get one with a tourist number plate.
One extra benefit of hiring a private jeep is you can stop at any point of the drive you want and have a break.
Just recently extended in the year 2023, now you can take a jeep not only up to Machha Khola but all the way up to Jagat. Big public buses cannot reach so a jeep is the only option. You can find a lot of sharing jeeps in Machha Khola or Soti Khola heading for Jagat.
If you have hired a private Jeep from Kathmandu, then you don’t need to worry about anything and directly reach Jagat.
On the other end of the circuit trekking ends at Dharapani, we don’t suggest walking after this as the roads are busy and dusty. We have two options from here to reach Besisahar
Traveling from Dharapani to Besi Sahar via a public shared jeep is a popular choice for budget-conscious adventurers. This mode of transportation allows you to join fellow travelers, sharing the experience and the cost while navigating the challenging terrains. The road condition is not that great as it is under construction for a bigger road project by the Nepalese Army
If you are already with a group of 5-7 people, then a private jeep would be a better option. With a private jeep, you have the freedom to set your own pace. Stop for photos, take detours to explore hidden gems, and savor the journey on your terms. The private option provides the ultimate level of convenience and control.
Keep in mind that in peak seasons you need to book a private jeep a few days early. You can contact your trekking agency or ask your guide to book the jeep beforehand.
Tilije, is a village that arrives one day ahead of Dharapani during the Manaslu Circuit Trekking, although we used to take jeeps from Dharapani to Besi Sahar, now the roads are extended a little bit and you can directly take a private or shared jeep from Tilije to Besi Sahar.
Nowadays You can even catch jeeps at Gwa, which lies even a little ahead of Tilije. If you are exhausted by a long walk, then taking a jeep from Tilije would also be a good option however if you are willing to walk more and explore around you can hike up to Dharapani.
To reach Pokhara from Besi Sahar you have various options as the vehicles will be leaving very frequently from there.
Local buses that can fit 35-40 people are widely available in Besi Sahar. The bus drive takes about 4-5 hours. You can expect good stable roads to reach Pokhara. Along with bigger buses, you can also find small micro-buses which can fit up to 14-16 people. They tend to be a little faster than the local buses.
If you are already in a group of more than 5 people, then taking a private jeep is also a good option. Private jeeps can fit up to 7 people and are more comfortable. You will reach Pokhara within 3-4 hours with this option.
You again have an option of catching a local bus or a private jeep to return to Kathmandu. The drive takes 5-6 hours by bus and is a little bit faster if you are opting for a private jeep. The roads are good if not excellent. You may expect some traffic jams before arriving in Kathmandu.
You may face some road blockage issues during the monsoon season due to heavy rainfall and landslides. Else you won't face much of a problem during the journey.
Here is a list of pricing for ground transportation available in Manaslu Trek
Note: the price may vary depending on various factors and the above-mentioned price is an average price as of now.
You can book the ground transportation for the Manaslu trek from a registered trekking agency in Nepal.
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Some of the popular trek packages for the Manaslu Region are:
Although a reasonable level of fitness is required, beginners can undertake this trek with proper preparation and acclimatization.
The ideal time is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) seasons when the weather is favorable, and the views are stunning.
Yes, there are teahouses and lodges in most villages, providing basic accommodation and meals for trekkers.
Trekkers need the Manaslu Conservation Area Permit (MCAP) and Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) along with a special restricted area permit.
From Besi Sahar, you can arrange a private vehicle or take a local bus back to Kathmandu.
Although the trek used to start from Soti Khola, nowadays you can directly reach Machha Khola So, the starting point of the Manaslu trek is Machha Khola.
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