Manaslu Circuit Trek

Manaslu Circuit Trek VS Everest Base Camp Trek

The challenging Manaslu Circuit or the well-sought Everest Base Camp Trek? Join us as we unveil the differences between the two go-to trekking routes amidst the Himalayan wonders.

Manaslu Circuit Trek VS Everest Base Camp Trek

Two very different treks along the majestic Himalayas of Nepal, both Manaslu Circuit and Everest Base Camp trek are iconic invitations to this trekker’s paradise. A journey of a lifetime amidst the mountainous wonders of the country, these treks are one of the best teahouse treks.

With the brimming grandeur of the mountains weaving unique tapestry of cultures, both these treks are equally enticing. Each with its own allure, picking one among these treks can be quite intimidating as they are completely different experiences in terms of culture, landscape, views, difficulties, and others.

Therefore, in this blog, we provide you with a detailed insight on both the treks helping you to unveil the secrets and making way to unfold your Himalayan adventures.

Below is a brief overview Manaslu Circuit trek vs Everest Base Camp trek:

AspectManaslu Circuit TrekEverest Base Camp Trek
LocationGorkha District in the Manaslu Conservational Area, along the Budi Gandaki RiverKhumbu region, Sagarmatha National Park
Highest PointLarke Pass at 5,160 mKalapathhar at 5,555 m
LengthApproximately 177 kmsApproximately 130 kms
PermitsMCAP, ACAP, TIMS, Restricted Area PermitTIMS, Sagarmatha National Park Permit, Khumbu Pasang Lhamu rural municipality entrance card
DifficultySteep ascents and descents with rough trails, comparatively more difficultHigher altitude with rapid ascent and limited oxygen
CulturesGurungs with deep-rooted Tibetan Culture and widespread BuddhismSherpas following Tibetan culture and Buddhism
SeasonsSpring and Autumn. Not preferred during MonsoonPreferred during Spring and Autumn. Open all year round
Trekker’s TrafficModerate during peak season, less during wintersCrowded due to popularity and no restriction
MountainsManaslu, Ganesh Himal, Shringi Himal, Annapurna II, HimchuliMt Everest, Ama Dablam, Cho Oyu, Lhotse, Nuptse, Makalu, Pumori, Thamserku

Treks at a Glance

Manaslu Circuit Trek

Also known as the ‘New Annapurna Trek’, the Manaslu Circuit trek is emerging as one of the popular trekking destinations amidst the majestic Himalayas of Nepal. This trek loops around the 8,163 m (26,781 ft) high Manaslu mountain in the untouched Manaslu Conservational Area.

Mt Manaslu
Mt. Manaslu from Lho village

This trek is a unique take on nature’s grandeur with rawness and authenticity of the Himalayas mixed with a bunch of challenges. For people wanting to get an authentic experience along the Himalayas enriched with the cultural touch, this trek is the prefect catch providing you with the true essence of trekking.

Everest Base Camp Trek

One of the top names in the best trekking destinations in the world, the Everest Base Camp trek is a unique and lifechanging experience. A doorway to Everest, this iconic trail takes you to the footstep of the highest peak in the world.

Namche Bazaar Acclimatization
View of the Himalayas from Hotel Everest View

Traversing through the white-water rivers, hospitable Sherpa villages, culturally enriched landscapes, and stunning panoramas along the Sagarmatha National Park, this trek is your perfect exposure to the splendor of the nature.

Location and Distance

Manaslu Circuit

Encircling the eighth highest peak in the world, the Manaslu Circuit trek takes you on an adventurous journey along the Manaslu Conservational Area. This stunning trek is in the Gorkha district of Nepal.

As you loop around Mt. Manaslu over the distance of 177 km, it takes you to a segment of the Annapurna Circuit as well. Starting from Machha Khola in the Manaslu region, this trek offers you a remote experience with a fascinating variety of landscapes by the time you conclude your trek at Tal in the Annapurna region.

Everest Base Camp

An iconic invitation to the doorstep of world’s highest peak, the Everest Base Camp trek is nestled in the lap of the Himalayas. This awe-inspiring trek starts and ends in Lukla, traversing across the Khumbu region in the Sagarmatha National Park.

Going through the captivating yet dramatic mountain landscapes, the EBC trek covers a distance of approximately 130 kms or 80 miles with gradual gain in altitude. The EBC trek weaves its way through different beautiful stops like Namche Bazar, Tengboche, Dingboche, Kalapathhar, and eventually reaching the EBC at 5,364 meters (17,598 ft).

Altitude and Acclimatization

Manaslu Circuit

Acclimatization becomes an important aspect during the Manaslu Circuit trek as the trekkers conquer the altitude difference of over 4,260 m (13,976 ft). Starting from Machha Khola at 900 m (2952 ft), the highest point of the trek lies at the Larke Pass standing tall at 5,160 m (16,929 ft).

Larke La Pass
Larke La Pass

A minimum of one day of acclimatization is recommended before you head towards Dharmasala at 4,460 m (14,632 ft). Locations like Samagaon or Samdo make for a good acclimatization spot with access for an acclimatization hike to Birendra Tal or to the foot of the mighty Manaslu at the Manaslu Base Camp.

Everest Base Camp

Taking you to the doorstep of the world’s highest peak, the EBC trek takes you to the maximum altitude of 5555 m (18,225 ft) at Kalapathhar. As compared to Manaslu, this trek is much more complicated in terms of altitude.

The starting point of the trek at 2,840 m (9,317 ft) at Lukla itself is much higher for most of the people embarking on this thrilling adventure. With a gradual ascent, the trek covers an altitude difference of 2,715 meters (8,907 ft).

Trekking group photo at Everest Base Camp
Trekking group photo at Everest Base Camp

Therefore, acclimatization becomes much more crucial in the EBC trek. You must allot at least a couple of days for acclimatization if you want to prevent altitude sickness at the high altitudes that this trek will take you to.

As the trail meanders through the Khumbu region crossing places like Phakding, Namche Bazar, Tengboche, Lobuche, and many more places, Namche Bazar and Dingboche are the preferred acclimatization stops.

During acclimatization at Namche Bazar, you can hike to some fascinating viewpoints of the Everest region like Syangboche Airport and Hotel Everest View (highest hotel on the planet) where stunning vistas of Everest, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, and other peaks unfold.

For the second non-consecutive acclimatization day at Dingboche, you can make your way up to the Nangkartsang peak to get an even more intimate and stunning view of the Ama Dablam.

Permits and Guide

Manaslu Circuit Trek

The Manaslu region is a restricted area, therefore it exposes the trekkers to quite a hassle of obtaining different permits. One needs to compulsorily have the permits listed below to successfully trek the Manaslu Circuit:

  • Trekker’s Information Management System (TIMS) card
  • Manaslu Conservational Area Permit (MCAP)
  • Annapurna Conservational Area Permit (ACAP)
  • A special Restricted Area Permit

ACAP is required for your journey as you will be entering the Annapurna region as well. Solo trekking is banned in Nepal and given that Manaslu region is a restricted area as it is, you cannot go alone for the Manaslu Circuit trek.

Hiring a guide or associating yourself with an agency becomes a necessity in that case. Doing so also provides you with benefits like your permits will be taken care of by the guide or the agency, porters will be arranged, and your entire journey becomes much easier.

Everest Base Camp Trek

Although trekking along the Everest region might not be as restricted, you still require certain permits to embark on this trek.

  • Trekker’s Information Management System (TIMS) Card
  • Sagarmatha National Park Permit
  • Khumbu Pasang Lhamu rural municipality entrance card

Unlike the Manaslu region, solo trekking is not prohibited for the EBC trek, However, it is highly recommended that you trek with an agency as it makes your trek much better in terms of health, safety, comfort, and overall experience.

Transportation Difficulties

Manaslu Circuit Trek

The transportation during the Manaslu Circuit trek consists of a scenic drive from Kathmandu to Machha Khola where your trek begins, and from Tal back to Kathmandu. Thats pretty much it.

There is no other kind of transportation needed or available at your disposal. Due to no road connectivity, the distance between the starting point and end point must be covered on foot.

Although trekkers must be prepared for the physically challenging nature of the trek, delays are a very rare possibility as you need not rely on any transportation.

Everest Base Camp Trek

For the challenging EBC trek, one must take a flight to Lukla from either Kathmandu or Manthali depending on the month of travel. If you are taking the flight from and to Manthali, an additional drive from Kathmandu to Manthali and vice versa is required.

Lukla Airport
Lukla Airport runway

Besides this, not much transportation access is available throughout the trek. However, the flights are highly dependent on the weather and visibility.

Due to this, delays and cancellations are quite common in this region which increases the likelihood of delay in the entire itinerary of the trek. Therefore, it is highly recommended to include a buffer period in the itinerary as a sign of preparation for the unpredictable.

Difficulty and Safety

Manaslu Circuit Trek

Considered a tough odyssey among the well-known treks in the Himalayan region of Nepal, the Manaslu Circuit trek is quite challenging. The trek requires you to tackle the 177km journey on foot while passing through rough terrains and steep ascents and descents.

With an average of 6-7 hours walk per day, this underdeveloped trail takes you over wooden bridges and untouched areas of the country, making it a strenuous and difficult trek.

The trek, however, is not considered a dangerous one given that you are physically and mentally prepared. You will come across challenges like altitude sickness as you cross over the altitude of 5,000 m (16,404 ft) to tackle the Larke Pass.

A trekker on the way to Bimthang after crossing Larke La Pass
A trekker on the way to Bimthang after crossing Larke La Pass

You might also face challenges due to unpredictable weather, steep ascents and descents, and snowfall. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you are fully prepared in the physical fitness and gear department.

A physical checkup before the trek would be highly recommended due to lack of immediate treatment, although helicopter evacuation can be possible in case of emergencies. Medicines for all general illnesses, a broad-spectrum antibiotic, and medicines for your specific illnesses, if any are a must to carry in your backpack.

Everest Base Camp Trek

In terms of length of the trek, the EBC trek is much more doable as compared to the Manaslu Circuit trek and welcomes trekkers of all ages. However, you will be going to a comparatively higher altitude which invites other challenges your way.

As you traverse the Khumbu region to reach the base camp, you will have to conquer Kalapathhar at 5555 m (18,225 ft), increasing the risk of altitude sickness. The starting point of the trek is enough to give mild altitude sickness to the trekkers.

Trekker relaxing on the Dingboche acclimatization hike
Trekker relaxing on the Dingboche acclimatization hike

With a daily increase of 600-800 m in elevation, physical and mental preparation is very much crucial for to tackle the difficulty of the Everest Base Camp trek.  You will walk for up to 5-6 hours on average per day, making the trek slightly strenuous and only a little less challenging.

As far as yours safety during the EBC trek is concerned, some of the health issues like food poisoning or altitude related sickness might come your way. Other issues like limited oxygen, overexertion, dehydration, sunburn, and environmental hazards might also arise.

Therefore, whatever safety measures apply for the Manaslu Circuit, the same applies here as well along with the possibility of helicopter evacuation in case of an emergency.

Cultural Encounters

Manaslu Circuit Trek

The intricate Manaslu Circuit trek offers you authentic and raw culture amidst the villages untouched by modernization. You will experience deep-rooted Gurung culture immersed in Buddhism with a touch of the Tibetan culture.

Pungyen Gompa Manaslu Circuit
Pungyen Gompa, Manaslu Circuit

The presence of prayer flags, mani walls, and several monasteries are sure to make your experience tranquil while keeping in touch with the true essence of life amidst the Himalayas.

Among the monasteries, Pungyen Gompa and Lho Riban Gompa are the ones that truly stand out and give you a life-size experience of the cultures.

Everest Base Camp Trek

Along with being a scenic trail, the Everest Base Camp is an equally enriching odyssey in terms of cultural experiences as well. This trek is guaranteed to foster a deep sense of appreciation amidst the trekkers towards the resilient and hospitable nature of the Sherpas.

At typical Sherpa residences like Namche Bazar, Dingboche, Pheriche, etc., you will be able to closely witness the daily life of the Sherpas along with engaging in the local economy and cultural immersion.

Sunset view of Tengboche Monastery
Sunset view of Tengboche Monastery

This holistic trail takes you to one of the world’s highest monasteries- Tengboche, and unfolds serene settings for cultural exploration at many stops along the trail. Adorned with prayer flags and mani stones, this trail gives you the true cultural essence of the Khumbu region.

You get to experience the joy of Sherpa cuisine and experience the legendary Sherpa hospitality while basking in the stunning view of the nature’s grandeur.

Scenery and Landscapes

Manaslu Circuit Trek

Featuring at least six climatic zones within the 177km route, the Manaslu Circuit trek is a treat for trekkers in terms of landscapes. Starting from lush forests along the Budi Gandaki River, the landscape undergoes a complete transformation as you conquer the Larke Pass.

Mesmerizing view on the way to Samagaun
Mesmerizing view on the way to Samagaun

The forests are adorned with the different hues of rhododendrons and alpine flowers as the region is home to a wide range of flora and fauna. After crossing Dharmasala, you will also come across a barren desert-like landscape.

This picturesque trek boasts breathtaking views of Mt. Manaslu, Annapurna II, Himchuli, Ganesh Himal, Shringi Himal, and other stunning peaks draped in snow.

Everest Base Camp Trek

When it comes to landscapes and views, the EBC trek is no less than the Manaslu Circuit. Traversing through the world’s most iconic landscapes, this trek is a visual treat for trekkers forming lifetime memories.

Startin with the lush green landscapes at Lukla, the trail takes you along the Dudh Koshi River crossing pine and rhododendron forests to reach Namche Bazar, where the stunning first view of the Everest unfolds.

Mountain vista from Thukla Pass
Mountain vista from Thukla Pass

Following the formidable face of Everest, you go across the Khumbu region drowning in the oasis of culture as you cross alpine wonderland and high-altitude deserts accompanied by the vistas of several towering peaks.

As you reach the foot of the mountain that touches the sky- Sagarmatha at the EBC, you will be stunned by the glacial majesty of Khumbu Glacier and Khumbu Icefall.

Concluding the trek at Kalapathhar, jaw dropping views of Lhotse, Nuptse, Pumori, and Mount Everest will unfold before you, etching this trek into your memory for a lifetime. Besides these peaks, you will also get stunning views of Ama Dablam, Cho Oyu, Makalu, Thamserku, and other surrounding peaks throughout the trek.

Seasonal Accessibility

Manaslu Circuit Trek

The peak trekking seasons, i.e. Spring and Autumn are considered the best time for Manaslu Circuit Trek. During these seasons, the trekkers get a perfect essence of the Manaslu region, including the captivating landscape, stunning Himalayan vistas, lush forests, blooming flora and fauna, and more.

Draped in snow, the winters too give a pristine and ethereal experience along the untouched and isolated trail. However, trekking in this region during monsoon is highly not advisable as it can be very hazardous.

With high chances of landslides, overflowing of rivers, collapsing of wooden bridges, accessibility gets even more limited during monsoons. Therefore, Manaslu Circuit trek is not possible during the monsoon season.

Everest Base Camp Trek

The EBC trek on the other hand is open all year round, although the preferred seasons include spring and autumn. It is because these seasons are the peak trekking seasons in Nepal with optimal climate and clear panoramas of the Himalayas.

However, the off seasons serve a different perspective of the Himalayas to the trekkers, boasting a quieter and tranquil take on the trail. Despite throwing in some challenges, the EBC trek during monsoon and winters is equally doable.

Therefore, the best time for EBC trek depends on your personal preferences with all four seasons being available on your platter to pick from. Read on for more details on the weather and temperature in the Everest Region.

Trekker’s Traffic

Manaslu Circuit Trek

Despite the budding popularity of the Manaslu Circuit trek, it still hasn’t come into the competitive books where trekker’s traffic is concerned. The additional permits and the challenging nature of the trek might be some of the reasons behind this.

You will barely come across crowds in this region, especially during the off season. However, this secluded trail is the perfect catch for you if you enjoy a remote and more intimate interaction with the natural splendor.

Everest Base Camp Trek

If you are embarking on the Everest Base Camp trek, be prepared to see the backs of lots of rucksacks as this trail is bursting at the seams with the trekkers. This trek, being one of the most popular treks in the world, is the heart of tourism amidst the mighty Himalayas.

Trekkers on the Everest Base Camp Trail
Trekkers on the Everest Base Camp Trail

Be it due to the popularity or due to the comparatively better infrastructures, the trekkers traffic at the highly sought after EBC trek is pretty much contradictory to that at the Manaslu Circuit trek. However, it doesn’t stop the trek from giving you a once-in-a-lifetime experience.


With their own set of challenges and rewards, both the Manaslu Circuit trek and the Everest Base Camp are a treat for the trekkers. However, if trekking is a once-in-a-lifetime thing for you, you might wanna go for the EBC for obvious reasons.

Although, if you think you are fit for the challenges that the Manaslu Circuit will throw your way, this trek can be a life changing experience too.

Whichever trek you choose, make sure to be completely prepared and pick a reputable local trekking agency to make the experience better.

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