I’m going to Nepal for November and December. Keen to go trekking somewhere a bit "off the beaten track" in November to avoid the crowds, followed by the Everest/Gokyo region in December. There will be two of us so I’m hoping to be as independent as possible.
I was really keen for Manaslu in November as it looks stunning and I thought we could trek on our own, staying in lodges as well as carrying a tent for some sections and sidetrips. However I've heard that Manaslu is no longer the tranquil haven it once was, the “new Annapurna Circuit” and it's now obligatory to trek with a guide and you can't get a permit without one... Is this true?! Anyone any recent experience?
If we are going to have to hire guides etc then I'd rather go somewhere "wilder" to get away from the crowds. Mustang looks good but the permit fees are very expensive - unfortunately we are on a shoestring budget!
Where would be good in November to avoid the crowds? Preferably that won't break the bank! I’ve already been to the Kanchenjunga area.
Likewise any recommendations for guides/small companies that might be able to help us arrange something low key? (i.e. not one of the big agencies)