Manaslu Circuit with Nawaraj
We (a group of 4 friends) are self-sufficient travellers and prefer not using guides, but Manaslu circuit requires one, therefore after several suggestions online I found Himalaya Hub Adventure. I was organising the trek from home and at first thought that I'm chatting with a freelance guide Ramesh, but as it turns out he was the manager and we would get a different person as our guide. Oh well, that's Nepal! At first he wanted to sell us an all-inclusive package, but us being us, we managed to strike a deal where we pay only for the guide and transportation, but everything else was on our own shoulders, so we controlled all the costs.
We received a wonderful guide Nawaraj - a young bloke who was very accessible and friendly. Our group consisted of two fast-goers and two slow-goers. At first it took us some effort to convince our guide that we don't need babysitting and it's ok to split up and that we like taking it slow, enjoying the scenery and photographing, since I see no point of arriving soon at a tea-house and spending the rest of the day bored by the stove. Nawaraj helped with all the food-ordering and other small requests around tea-houses since in the Manaslu area English is not yet a very common thing.
Even with our slow pace we saved a couple of days on the trek and had a spontaneous idea to visit Pokhara. Nawaraj helped to organise the transportation that otherwise would take us a lot more trouble.
Ramesh organised a farewell dinner in Kathmandu. As it turns out it was a place where all the agencies bring their clients and offer them a standardised "culture program" in a big hall. Since we don't feel very touristy, this was a bit of a miss for us, but hey - free food! :)
All in all a very good experience and we would recommend Nawaraj for your Manaslu experience!