Manaslu Trek in December

  • Admin
  • Last Updated on May 13, 2024

Manaslu Trek is a wonderful opportunity to experience the raw wilderness of the Himalayas. If you are looking for a journey that takes you across the isolated sections of the Himalayas that haven’t been touched by modernity and are farther from the bustling crowds of mainstream routes, this is where to be. We all know that for incredibly exciting adventures, the high seasons like spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) are the top choices. However, the Manaslu Trek in December is also a wonderful time to explore the isolated beauty of the Himalayan region under a tranquil atmosphere.

Why December? Well, for starters, December, the initial month of the winter season, is farther from the peak trekking period in the Himalayas. As the winter starts taking over in full swing, the number of trekkers in the region slowly starts to thin out. So, you will be able to immerse in the true Himalayan wilderness this route is famous for; that is one of the reasons why I personally prefer Manaslu Trek in December. If you are willing to do this trek during December, the first part of the month, you will also get to witness the slow transitions from the fall landscape to the winter wonderland.

It is certainly a unique and exhilarating experience, witnessing the enchanting beauty of the Himalayas as it slowly heads toward its peak point in a peaceful atmosphere. The snow-clad terrains, mountain peaks at their prime, peaceful setting, and the contrast white setting make it seem like you have entered an unchartered magical territory.

If you have done this trek in other periods, you should definitely try the December Manaslu Trek; it is a soul-stirring and transformative experience that you will always treasure. As by late December, nature’s cycle heads toward the core period of the winter season. Thus, if you are considering this trek in December, you should do it during the early part of this month.

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What can you expect from Manaslu Trek in December?

What can you expect from Manaslu Trek in December

This wilderness journey in December promises a lot of remarkable experiences. Each day of your trek will unfold a unique experience and captivating perspective of the Himalayan wilderness. After driving from Kathmandu (1,400 meters) to Machha Khola (930 meters), you will immediately continue your trekking journey toward Khorla Besi (970 meters). From the next day, you will move along the typical trekking itinerary plans, which will include breakfast at around 7 AM to 8 AM in the morning.

You will then move along with the adventures of the particular day and check out the popular highlights around the region. Normally, you will trek for about 4 hours during the first part of the day, and after that, you will reach the stopping point at your lunch destination. However, as December is the month of winter season and most part of the trail is covered with snow at the higher altitudes, it will take more time for you to reach your destination.

After enjoying your lunch here and taking a break, you will then move along with the remaining part of this day’s trail. The final part of the trek will not generally be long, and you will need to walk for about 2 to 3 hours to reach your resting point for the night. If you have enough daylight hours, you can also take your time to do some sightseeing around the teahouses and do some short hikes. But make sure to consult your guide before that. Dinner will usually be served around 6 PM to 7 PM, and you will enjoy your meal with the whole group in the dining room.

You can also communicate with other trekkers resting at the same teahouse, sharing adventure stories. After dinner, the guide will brief you about the exciting journey of unpacking tomorrow and how you should prepare for it. You can spend the rest of your time as you want before turning in for the night.

Note: I personally noticed during this my trek that some trekkers, who didn’t get enough rest were often lagging behind and were often exhausted. So, I recommend at least 8 hours of eye shut-in so your body gets enough rest and can replenish the lost energy.

Physical Strength You Need for the Trek

Physical Strength You Need for the Trek

Manaslu Trek is a moderate level of trekking adventure in the Himalayas. Although this trekking adventure is recommended for even beginners without any experience, it doesn’t mean that the journey isn’t physically demanding. Granted, that there are no technical or strenuous, you will ascend to significant altitude, and you will also have to cross a Himalayan pass on the route.

Furthermore, as December is a month of the winter season, the snow-covered trails and cold climatic conditions add further challenges to the trek. Thus, in order to overcome these factors, you will need to put in extra effort during the physical preparation so you can enjoy the magical allurements of this isolated route during the high point of the Himalayas.

During your trek, which will start from Machha Khola (930 meters), you will climb to high altitude points like Samda Gaon (3,530 meters), Samdo (3,875 meters), and Bhimtang (3,720 meters). You will reach the highest vantage point of this trek at Larke La Pass (5,106 meters). Besides trekking across such high altitudes that pose the risk of altitude sickness, the trekking becomes more exhausting as you climb higher.

Similarly, the total trekking distance in Manaslu Trek is around 180 km (110 miles). In a standard 16 Day Manaslu Circuit Trek, there will be around 11 trekking days. So, you will trek about 16 km on average during the trekking part, which is equivalent to 5 to 6 hours of walking per day. So, to overcome such demand for trails, especially on the route covered with thick snow, you will need a good amount of physical strength.

You don’t necessarily need to get in top shape for this trek, as basic fitness and good health backed up by enough preparation will be sufficient. However, you should have a good level of endurance and stamina level to easily overcome the physical demands of the trail.

Why Manaslu Trek in December?

manaslu circuit trek in december

Favorable Climate

As December is a winter month, due to the lower precipitation rate, there are hardly any days that have bad weather or rainfall. Thus, during your Manaslu Trek in December, you will be able to enjoy your exploration under stable weather conditions. You won’t have to worry about any delays or postponing your itinerary plan due to bad climatic conditions.

On top of that, the temperatures are not so harsh during this initial month of the winter season. The lower regions are generally on moderately warmer sides; however, as you ascend higher, it starts getting chilly, and you will also need to traverse across a snow-covered trail. The temperature of the Manaslu region generally averages around 5°C to 10°C this month at the lower regions, and at higher altitudes, it can drop as low as -8°C (near and over the alpine zone).

Clear and Crisp Mountain Views

The visibility of the winter season is also clearer like the autumn season. Due to the absence of clouds and fog, the alluring Himalayan vistas are visible from any part of the trekking trail. Your Manaslu Trek in December will guarantee the most spectacular views of the central Himalayan peaks as far as your eyes can reach.

This circuit trekking route is generally popular for providing the most stunning views of the central Himalayan peaks like Manaslu, Lamjung Himal, Annapurna, Ngadi Chuli, Himlachuli, Cheo Himal, Larke Peak, Samdo Peak and others. You will be able to catch the most photogenic views of these incredible peaks under clear blue skies during your Himalayan adventure in December. On top of that, the mountain peaks covered with additional fur of snow, perks of the winter season, make the Himalayan vistas even more elegant.

Tranquil Experience

In comparison to traffic on the trail, both high season attracts a large number of trekkers from all around the world to the Himalayas. However, in general, the spring season welcomes larger volume of tourists than any other season. As the core period of the winter season closes in with each passing day of December, trekkers generally tend to avoid setting their adventure in this month, and traffic is pretty thin on the route.

So, your Manaslu Trek in December will provide you the opportunity to enjoy the Himalayan ambiance in a more pleasant and tranquil setting. You will take your time with your adventure and have more meaningful reactions with the natives under such circumstances. The serene atmosphere will also ensure that you will have an intimate connection with nature and you will be able to fully embrace the natural and spiritual side of the Himalayas.

Festive Season

Colorful celebrations are one of the major highlights of traveling to Nepal. This beautiful-diversified country celebrates incredible festivals throughout the year. During your Manaslu Trek in December, you will also get to take part in some of the fascinating celebrations. Festivals like Urdhyauli Parwa, Sita Bibaha Panchami, Yomari Punhi, etc, are some of the significant cultural highlights of this initial month of the winter season.

Enchanting Landscape

Surely, you have heard about the autumn and spring seasons being the magical period to enjoy the incredible beauty of nature. The experience in the winter season doesn’t fall short enough to impress the trekkers as well. As this is the peak period of the Himalayas, your Manaslu Trek in December will introduce you to the incredible snow-clad landscape.

The winter wonderland that the month of December introduces undoubtedly will be a unique experience to enjoy your Himalayan adventure from a completely different angle.

How Should You Prepare for Manaslu Trek in December?

How You Should Prepare for Manaslu Trek in December?

Manaslu Trek is a high-altitude Himalayan exploration that takes you to the west-central part of the country. Renowned as the most popular off-beaten trekking prospect in the Nepali Himalayas, this journey takes you across the rugged-steep landscapes and high-altitude points of the region. So, your major focus should be on improving your strength, endurance and stamina aspects.

It is suggested that training for at least 3 to 6 weeks on these factors will improve physical capabilities to truly relish your Himalayan exploration. However, as the winter is a challenging off-season for Himalayan adventures, you will need to make some extra preparation for the trek compared to other seasons. Remember that the trekking trails are covered with snow, and it is physically demanding to move on the snow-covered route, and it is more exhausting than in other seasons.

Similarly, it is also difficult to properly acclimatize in cold climatic conditions compared to warm seasons. So, you shouldn’t underestimate the challenges of the winter and effectively develop your strength and stamina level. One of the effective ways to prepare for the Manaslu Trek in December is to include stair climbing and practice hikes in your preparation. The mountain terrains include a lot of ascending and descending segments, so stair climbing and practice hikes will help you get used to and familiarize yourself with the physical demands of each day’s trek.

You can include exercises like Push Up, Plank, Upright Row, Lateral Raise, Deadlift, Squat, Leg Press, etc for strength and endurance training. As for stamina training exercises like Jogging, Cycling, Swimming, Dancing, Mountain Climber, Rope Jumping, etc, are known to be quite helpful for long hours of trekking.

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Permit and Fee For Manaslu Trek in December

Permit and Fee For Manaslu Trek in December

There are generally two permit requirements for Manaslu Trek. However, as this circuit route also stretches across the Annapurna region, you will need to get an additional permit for the mainstream region as well.

Necessary Permits for Manaslu Trek

  • Manaslu Conservation Area Permit
  • Manaslu Restricted Area Permit
  • Annapurna Conservation Area Permit

Both the Manaslu Conservation Area Permit and the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit costs approximately US$ 30 per person. However, the Manaslu Restricted Area Permit cost differs according to the season of visit. This permit costs around US$ 100 per person during the autumn season (September to November) and US$ 75 per person in other seasons (i.e., spring, monsoon, and winter).

Guide and Porter

In the trekking world, the guides and porters are integral parts of any exploration, no matter which part of the world. Similarly, in this Himalayan journey, the guides add value to your journey by providing necessary information, implementing a well-planned itinerary, and taking care of the details of your logistics. They enhance the overall experience and also ensure your comfort and safety factors.

The same goes for the porters; they have a lot of value to input that makes your Himalayan trek a fond memory. In general, the porters are mostly the natives of the region; they understand the landscape and communities of the region like the back of their hand. So, besides helping you with your luggage so you can travel light without exhausting yourself and truly enjoy your Himalayan endeavor, they will also add a native’s insight so you can understand their culture, traditions, and lifestyle in depth.

The general cost margin of guides for Manaslu Trek is around US$ 30 to US$ 35 per day, and as for the porters, it is about US$ 25 to US$ 30 per day. However, as winter is an extremely challenging season for trekking in Nepal, the cost of hiring these professionals can be slightly higher.

Packing List for December

larke pass

We generally recommend packing the right layers that are suitable for different climatic zones along the way (you will cross a total of six climatic zones in this trek). As December is the initial part of the winter season, the temperatures are generally cold. Although it is moderately warmer in the lower region, and there isn’t much snow on the trail, as you ascend higher, especially near and over the alpine zone, the walking route is completely covered with thick fur of snow.

So, it is important to pack the right gear and warm clothes to protect yourself from the winter climatic conditions during your Manaslu Trek in December. Besides clothes, your other priority should be packing and managing personal hygiene products, snacks, and help equipment in this remote trek. However, you don’t have to carry all your luggage by yourself, Explorer Adventure will provide you with a helpful guide who will carry about 15 kg of your baggage (2 trekkers are assigned 1 porter).

Here are some of our packing list suggestions for your December Manaslu Trek.

Packing List

  • Sun protection hat
  • Warm insulated hat for alpine regions
  • Headscarf and neck cowl (quite handy)
  • Insulated gloves and mitten
  • Comfortable and warm undergarments
  • Thermal vest
  • T-shirt, shirt
  • Sweater
  • Fleece jacket
  • Hooded jacket (waterproof and windproof)
  • Warm insulated jacket
  • Heavy down jacket
  • Breathable trousers or pants
  • Insulated trousers
  • Ski goggles or polarized sunglasses
  • Trekking boots (insulated boots)
  • Microspikes or trail crampons for your boots
  • Warm socks
  • Sports shoes
  • Snow gaiter
  • Trekking pole
  • Ice axe or ice tool (optional)
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sunglass
  • Powerbank
  • Water filtration system
  • Map and GPS
  • Snack
  • First aid kit
  • Personal hygiene products

Note: Bring enough cash converted to local or acceptable currency and shop in city areas; the costs are high on the mountainside.

Travel Insurance

During your Manaslu Trek in December, you will traverse across high-altitude and isolated terrains of the west-central Himalayas. Although the Himalayan trekking adventures, in general, are not that risky, getting travel insurance is a mandatory need for trekking. Travel insurance, depending on the coverage plan, will shoulder the financial burden in case of any unforeseen circumstances during your high-altitude adventure. If you are buying insurance plans with helicopter rescue, you will be escorted back to Kathmandu from anywhere en route in case you get sick.

The price of the travel insurance will depend on its coverage plans, duration, and altitude of the trek. You can get the most general travel insurance at around US$ 30 to US$ 50, which has coverages upto 3,000 meters. However, the recommended package, which covers your adventure to altitudes up to 6,000 meters, costs around US$ 100 to US$ 150.

Note: The price of the same coverage plan will differ depending on the age of the trekkers.

Some Helpful Tips for Manaslu Trek in December

  • Never ascend too fast, especially if you are transiting between low-altitude and high-altitude regions. Even if you are in top shape, it takes your body time to adapt to new altitudes.
  • Don’t be shy to take short breaks in the route and don’t overexert yourself. Completing exhausting yourself not only takes away the enjoyability factor but also puts you at risk of altitude sickness.
  • Eat right; during my trek, I saw a lot of trekkers feeling a loss of appetite as we climbed higher. It is quite normal to feel that way, but you shouldn’t skip your meal. I personally recommend you to force yourself to take the first few bites, and your system will get used to the food.
  • The recommended drinking water is 3 to 4 liters per day; it is helpful but is not entirely true. You can also enjoy other forms of hydration like healthy green tea, lemon water, fresh juice, etc.
  • Pack warm layers and keep yourself warm in the alpine zones. As winter is the coldest season on the mountain, the temperatures are extremely cold at the higher altitudes, and snowfall is quite common.
  • Know your limit, and don’t push yourself. In case of any discomfort, communicate immediately with your team leader and guide. And enjoy the exploration!


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