Everest Base Camp Trek vs Manaslu Circuit Trek - Which is Better?

  • Ganesh Adhikari
  • Last Updated on Mar 26, 2024

Table of Contents

The Everest base camp trek and the Manaslu circuit trek are two well-known trekking routes in Nepal. Both of them are very famous among adventure lovers. The Everest base camp trek is a beginner-friendly moderate/difficult trek, whereas the Manaslu circuit trek is a challenging trek good for trekkers with previous trekking experience. While you reach the base camps of the two highest mountains in the world during both of these treks, the Manaslu circuit trek also crosses a high mountain pass called Larkya La. 

Trekking in Nepal is not an easy journey. There are many hours of preparation and lots of effort, time, energy & money involved before you even put your foot on the trail. So, selecting the right trekking package is crucial. The Everest base camp trek and Manaslu circuit trek both are famous and offer a distinct trekking experience. So how should you pick the right trek for you?

Answer the below questions honestly, and you will not only have the ideal trekking package for yourself but also learn other things that will help you curate the trek as per your requirements:

  • Are you a beginner trekker or an experienced trekker?
  • Are you in good health? What is your fitness level?
  • Are you prepared for high altitude and remote region challenges?
  • Would you prefer trekking in a group or privately?
  • What is your budget? Would you like to stay tight to your budget, or are you flexible about spending more money for better services?
  • How long can you travel in Nepal?
  • Do you want to experience or see anything specific?

Below we have answered these questions in regard to the Everest base camp trek and Manaslu circuit trek:

Are you a beginner trekker or an experienced trekker?

Both beginner and experienced trekkers can do the Everest base camp trek. However, if you are looking for a challenging and offbeat trek in the Himalayas and have previous trekking experience, then we recommend the Manaslu circuit trek. The Everest base camp trek is perfect for beginner trekkers. In exceptional cases, beginner trekkers with strong fitness and endurance can also do the Manaslu circuit trek. 

Which category do you fit in?

Are you in good health? What is your fitness level?

Good health is important for any trek in Nepal. You can choose the trek as per your fitness level. If you are a normal person and do not do any exercise or sports, you can think about the Everest base camp trekking. With 4 to 6 weeks of preparation, you will be good to go for this trek. However, the Manaslu circuit trek demands strong fitness and endurance.

Are you prepared for high altitude and remote region challenges?

Both the Everest base camp and Manaslu circuit treks are high-altitude treks. You will go above 5,000 meters on both treks. However, in terms of tourist infrastructure Everest base camp trail is much better. The availability of nice accommodations, meals, and many other modern conveniences make the EBC trail relatively doable than the Manaslu circuit trail. The Manaslu circuit trek route has the bare minimum of modern conveniences, so you have to make lots of adjustments.

Would you prefer trekking in a group or privately?

With us, Ace Vision Treks & Tours, you can either trek in a group or do a private trek. Solo trekkers can join our fixed group departures for the EBC trek or Manaslu circuit and pick one of the dates as per their wish. Trekking in a group allows you to enjoy the venture with like-minded travelers from around the world at a bit low cost. 

Likewise, trekking privately allows you to select the date as per your availability. You can also modify the package and customize the itinerary. You can do a private trek with us solo or with your loved ones. We also provide an assistant guide if the group has more than 8 trekkers.

What is your budget? Would you like to stay tight to your budget or are you flexible about spending more money for better services?

The Manaslu circuit trek is more expensive than the Everest base camp trek because of the restricted area permit and costly accommodation and meals along the trail. You can do the Everest base camp trek on a budget if you cut off some services and days, however, the Manaslu circuit trek on a budget is not feasible. 

Talk to our team to know more about the prices involved in both of these treks. We have also talked about the cost related to these two treks in a bit more detail toward the end of the blog.

How long can you travel in Nepal?

The standard Everest base camp trek and Manaslu circuit trek are 14 days & 16 days long, respectively. You can extend the EBC trek to Gokyo Lakes and the Manaslu circuit trek to Tsum Valley. Similarly, we also have a short 13-day Manaslu circuit trek and 12-day EBC heli trek packages available. As we are very flexible with customizing the itineraries, as per our guest's demands, you can do any trek with us as per your time.

Do you want to experience or see anything specific?

The Everest base camp trek and the Manaslu circuit trek are very different from each other. From mountain views to mountain communities, you will have a distinct experience on both treks. Sherpas, Mount Everest, rhododendron forests, lovely villages, decent facilities, and the bustle of the trekkers are an integral part of the Everest base camp trek. 

However, the Manaslu circuit trail offers less crowded trails, exclusive wildlife like snow leopards, offbeat terrain, picturesque villages, verdant gorges, ice lakes, landslide-prone areas, and mountain communities like Gurungs, Magars, etc.

Everest Base Camp and Manaslu Circuit Trek Major Differences

Terrain and landscape

Everest Base Camp Trek

From lush forests to towering glaciers, the EBC trek's diverse topography presents a breathtaking journey. During the first few days of the trek, you meander through dense forests of rhododendron and magnolia. The Dudh Koshi River follows most of the trail. You will cross numerous suspension bridges over it. Likewise, the trail passes through quaint Sherpa villages nestled in verdant valleys and fluttering prayer flags. 

Leaving the lower elevations behind, you ascend to alpine meadows adorned with the backdrop of stunning peaks. As you approach higher elevations, the landscape transitions into rugged terrain dominated by moraines – vast stretches of rocky debris left by retreating glaciers. The trail takes you across glistening glacial streams and rushing rivers that carve their way through the valleys.

everest base camp trek vs manaslu circuit trek

Manaslu Circuit Trek

The Manaslu circuit trek route goes through hidden valleys and remote villages. The trek begins with a descent into the lush subtropical forests that line the lower reaches of the trail. Diverse vegetation and the chirping of birds become your companion on this silent trail. You will cross the Budhi Gandaki River many times on sturdy suspension bridges adorned with colorful prayer flags along the trail.

As you ascend to higher elevations, the landscape transforms into alpine meadows with wildflowers. You will trek past landslide-prone areas and walk along glaciers. The trail is rugged and steep mostly. On the way, you will also come across many ancient monasteries and stupas. Towering mountain views make the trek thrilling. From the very first day to the end, you will also get to spend time at a gorgeous lake. 

The landscape from the Larkya La pass is out of this world. The absence of vegetation and the ruggedness of the landscape create a sense of isolation and solitude during Manaslu circuit trekking.


Cultural immersion and local communities 

Everest Base Camp Trek

Beyond the towering peaks and breathtaking landscapes, the Everest base camp trek offers a unique opportunity for cultural immersion and an intimate glimpse into the lives of the local communities that call this rugged terrain home. As you trek through the heart of the Khumbu region, you'll find yourself embraced by the warmth of Sherpa hospitality and fascinated by ancient monasteries.

The Sherpa people, known for their resilience and mountaineering mastery, are the heart and soul of the Everest region. As you walk through traditional Sherpa villages during the EBC trek, you'll encounter warm smiles and open hearts. Engaging with the locals offers insights into their unique way of life, their deep spiritual beliefs, and their enduring connection to the land.

everest base camp trek vs manaslu circuit trek

From sharing stories over cups of butter tea to witnessing Sherpa dances during local festivals, you'll get many opportunities to make lifetime memories. Visits to Tengboche and Pangboche monasteries let you get close to the beliefs and cultural practices of the locals. As you trek, you will come across local craftsmanship and delicacies too.

Manaslu Circuit Trek

The Manaslu region is a melting pot of ethnic diversity, and each village you encounter offers a distinct way of life. From the Gurungs and Tamangs to the Tibetans, you'll have the opportunity to interact with communities that have preserved their customs and heritage for generations. Wandering through traditional villages, with their intricately carved houses and fluttering prayer flags, you'll witness the harmonious coexistence between humans and the land.

Likewise, the Manaslu circuit trail is adorned with ancient Buddhist monasteries that serve as havens of spirituality and reflection. These monasteries offer insight into the region's spiritual heritage. Engaging with the resident monks, attending prayer ceremonies, and exploring the intricacies of the monasteries will deepen your connection to the local culture.

everest base camp trek vs manaslu circuit trek

As Manaslu Circuit Trek offers tea house/homestay accommodations, you will get a truly immersive experience living alongside local families and engaging in their daily routines. Sharing meals, learning traditional cooking methods, and participating in daily chores provide an authentic glimpse into the lives of the villagers.

Challenges and preparation

Everest base camp trek

The Everest region experiences drastic temperature changes. Freezing temperatures at night and chilly winds can pose challenges, especially at higher altitudes. As you ascend to higher altitudes, the reduced oxygen levels can lead to AMS, characterized by symptoms like headaches, nausea, and fatigue. Staying hydrated, acclimatizing, and eating light are recommended.

The Everest base camp trek involves daily hiking for several hours on uneven terrain. Endurance and strength are essential, especially during the steep ascents and descents. Likewise, walking at high altitudes demands more effort due to reduced oxygen levels. Breathlessness and fatigue are common, even for fit individuals. 

Cardiovascular exercises, strength training, and hiking can help build the necessary stamina and endurance. If possible, engage in altitude training or simulated altitude exercises to help your body adapt better to high elevations. Maintain a positive attitude and be mentally prepared for the challenges. Mental resilience is just as important as physical fitness.

verest base camp trek vs manaslu circuit trek

Manaslu Circuit Trek

The Manaslu circuit trek involves long daily hikes, often traversing challenging terrain with steep ascents and descents. Building stamina, endurance, and leg strength through regular exercise is essential. As you climb higher, breathing becomes more exhausting due to thinner air. Adjusting your pace, staying well-hydrated, and taking frequent breaks can help your body adapt more effectively.

Likewise, the weather in the Manaslu region can be unpredictable, with rapid changes in temperature and conditions. Being prepared for sudden weather shifts is crucial for your safety and comfort. Begin a fitness routine well in advance, focusing on cardiovascular exercises, strength training, and hiking to enhance your overall fitness and endurance.

everest base camp trek vs manaslu circuit trek

Cost and Budgeting 

Everest base camp trek

From choosing between solo and group trekking to factoring in additional expenses like travel insurance, international flights, and shopping, a well-planned budget will help you make the most of your trek. The cost of the Everest Base Camp trek can vary based on several factors, including the trekking duration, services included, and the season you choose. On average, the trekking cost can range from USD 1,300 to 2,500 per person.

Manaslu circuit trek

The cost of the Manaslu circuit trek can vary based on the trekking duration, the services included, and the season you choose. On average, the trekking cost can range from USD 1,300 to 3,500 per person. In the off-trekking seasons (summer/monsoon & winter), the cost of a restricted area permit gets low, so the cost of the overall package also is low in these seasons.

Trekking Style

  • Solo trekking: Solo trekkers may have more flexibility in terms of customizing their itinerary and pace. However, they might incur higher costs for permits, accommodations, and guides/porters, as the expenses are not shared.
  • Group trekking: Joining a group trek can be cost-effective as the expenses are shared among participants. Group treks often include guides, porters, accommodations, permits, and meals, making them a convenient and budget-friendly option.

Additional expenses during EBC and Manaslu treks

  • Travel Insurance: Budget for comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, evacuation, and trip cancellations. Depending on your coverage, this can cost around USD 100 to 300 or more.
  • International Flights: Do not forget the cost of round-trip international flights to Kathmandu, Nepal. Prices vary based on your departure location and the time of booking.
  • Visa Fees: Obtain a tourist visa upon arrival (or via the Nepalese Embassy/Consulate Office in your home country) at Kathmandu International Airport. The cost is approximately USD 25 to 40, depending on the duration of your stay.
  • Meals and Snacks: Additional meals, snacks, and drinks beyond those included in your trekking package should be budgeted. Plan for approximately USD 20 to 30 per day.
  • Tips and Gratuities: It's customary to tip guides, porters, and teahouse staff as a gesture of appreciation for their services. Budget around USD 50 to 100 for tips, depending on the size of your group and the duration of the trek.
  • Shopping and Souvenirs: Set aside a budget for shopping and souvenirs, such as traditional handicrafts, clothing, and local products.
  • Contingency Fund: Allocate a contingency fund for unforeseen expenses or emergencies. Set aside around 10% of your total budget for unexpected costs.

As you stand at the crossroads of two remarkable trekking adventures—the Everest base camp trek and the Manaslu Circuit trek—you're presented with a choice that promises unforgettable experiences, breathtaking landscapes, and cultural immersion. Both treks offer distinct and captivating features that cater to different preferences, making the decision a deeply personal one.

Your choice between the Everest base camp and Manaslu circuit treks should be guided by what resonates with your spirit and aligns with your interests. Are you drawn to the allure of Everest's towering majesty and the cultural tapestry of the Khumbu region? Or does the untouched beauty of the Manaslu circuit, with its off-the-beaten-path appeal, captivate your imagination?

Ultimately, the choice between the Everest base camp trek and the Manaslu circuit trek is a voyage of self-discovery. Trust your instincts, listen to your heart, and embark on the adventure that resonates with your spirit. Whichever path you choose, Ace Vision Treks & Tours team is ready to make the journey hassle-free and seamless for you.

Ganesh Adhikari

Ganesh Adhikari

Ganesh is an adventure outdoor enthusiast originally from Gorkha, Nepal. I hiked Everest, Annapurna, Langtang, and Manaslu region and the most famous teahouse trekking in Nepal.  Besides Hiking, I provide online travel packages for travelers to value their time with family and friends. As well, I always provide updated travel information about the Himalayas! what's Going on? let's keep and touch with me for an unforgettable travel experience in a lifetime. I organize private tours for hikers per your interest and time frame.

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