Tsum Valley was only opened to trekking in recent years and it’s become highly regarded both in its own right and as a popular addition to the classic Manaslu trek. While the landscapes, mountain scenery and wildlife make the journey more than worthwhile, the truly outstanding feature of Tsum Valley is the rich Tibetan Buddhist culture that lies at its heart, making it one of Nepal’s truly magical experiences.
A holy and hidden sanctuary known in the distant past as Beyul Kyimolung, Tsum Valley has long had strong associations with Buddhism and is considered sacred to its followers, so much so that the killing of animals is completely prohibited within the valley. Home to a string of monasteries and nunneries, every blade of grass and every stone seem to radiate with the profound faith that has been the cornerstone to the lives of the local people for centuries.
Existing on a mixture of subsistence agriculture, yak herding, and historical trading ties to nearby Tibet via Nglua pass to the north, the local culture has remained largely intact and vibrant behind its long held anonymity, and exists today as a touchstone to a distant era. The countless chortens and mani walls dotting the rugged and beautiful landscape serve as a constant reminder of the gentle and welcoming people who call the remote area their home, with the serene vistas, forests of rhododendron, bamboo and pine, and dramatic backdrop of the Ganesh Himal range only adding to Tsum valley's reputation as one of Nepal’s unforgettable destinations.
Starting from Arughat and following the riverbanks of the Budhi Gandaki northward through semitropical ranges of countless cascades and dense foliage, the trail reaches the village of Jagat and branches away northeast towards Tsum Valley and the restricted status of the region that has largely shielded it from the outside world. Beyond Chhokang Paro lies the famous nunnery of Rachen, while further afield at the valley’s head lie the legendary monasteries of Mu Gumba and Dhephu Doma — the panoramic views from Chhokang Paro and Mu Gumba have to be seen to be believed. Further north lies the mystical Tibetan plateau, accessible since ancient times by the route over the high pass of Nglua (5093m) to the border.
The return journey provides a further highlight by virtue of the incomparable views on show at Ganesh Himal Base Camp (4900m), a one day excursion from the village of Gumba Lundang — a breath-snatching hike with breathtaking views.
Given our staff’s background as natives of the Manaslu region, Tsum Valley falls within the scope of our intimate knowledge of the area and is thus one of our favorite treks to recommend to clients — it really is that beautiful and memorable an experience, even more so if you happen to visit the valley during one of its major festivals. Let our staff be the ones to arrange your trip to this entrancing destination — no one knows it better.
Manaslu and Tsum Valley are restricted areas and requires appropriate permits, a government registered trekking agency, and a licensed guide to accompany each party. A minimum of two people are required in order to obtain the trekking permit through the area. The special permit costs $70 from September to November for the first seven days plus $10 for each additional day, and $50 from December to August for the first seven days plus $7 per additional day. The costs are per person. Trekkers are also required to have an Annapurna and Manaslu Conservation area permits from the Nepal Tourism Board at a cost of 3000 Nepali Rupees per person including 13% vat of each different region. For further details please contact us.
Day 01: Welcome at Airport and transfer to your Hotel.
Day 02: Free day for trekking preparation
Day 03: Drive Kathmandu to Arughat/Soti Khola (700m,7-8 hrs).
Day 04: Soti Khola to Machhekhola (869m, 5 hrs).
Day 05: Machha Khola to Jagat (1340m, 7 hrs)
Day 06: Jagat to Lokpa( 2260m, 6-7 hrs).
Day 07: Lokpa to Chumling(2386m, 4-5 hrs).
Day 08: Chumling to Chhokangparo(3031m, 4-5 hrs).
Day 09: Chhokang Paro to Mu Gumpa(3700m, 6-7 hrs).
Day 10: Tibet border (Ngula Dhojyang, 5093m) then return to Mu Gumpa (8-9 hrs)
Day 11: Mu Gumpa to Gumba Lungdang(3200m, 6-7 hrs).
Day 12: Hike to Ganesh Himal Base Camp(4900m) and back to Gumpa Lungdang(8 hrs).
Day 13: Gumpa Lungdang to Lokpa(6hrs)
Day 14: Lokpa to Dovan.(1340m,7hrs)
Day 15: Dovan to Soti Khola (700m, 7 hrs)
Day 16: Soti Khola to Kathmandu by drive (7 hrs)
Day 17: Departure
Note:- Above itinerary is basically a guideline. If you're not satisfied or have an alternative plan please feel free to discuss it with us.
Welcome at Tribhuwan International Airport, then transfer to your hotel.
Free day for preparation and sightseeing in Kathmandu
We head out from Kathmandu for the long drive to Soti Khola, driving through Arughat along the way on the dusty road. Soti Khola is set on the banks of the Budhi Gandaki River, our companion and guide through the Manaslu valley whose source we'll eventually touch on when we ascend to the pass of Larke La.
The trek commences with an easy day of walking on the route to Machha Khola, (the name means 'fish river') with pleasant views of the surrounding jungle and occasional waterfalls adding their own soothing sound bite to the hike.
The trail will lead us through the banks of the Budhi Gandaki river to Khorlabensi. Once we continue from Khorlabensi then we will arrive at Tatopani(Tatopani meaning hot water). Tatopani is another interesting place where you can experience the natural running hot water. Probably we might have lunch at Dovan before we arrive at Jagat for the overnight. Jagat is a big town and the restricted area will start from here. It will offer a neat and clean stone paved trail, mani walls, MCAP office (Manaslu Conservation Area Project), Siringi Himal etc.
A series of striking suspension bridges dominate our path today as we steadily make our way up the trail past numerous waterfalls towards the Gurung village of Philim and its pretty setting. From there the trail climbs again and branches away into the Tsum Valley, with the striking image of Ganesh Himal and Shringi Himal drawing our attention as we make our approach to Lopka to end our day on the trail.
Lush jungle and three more suspension bridges usher us into the mystical Buddhist valley, and after an initial sharp climb the rest of our hike to Chumling is a fairly leisurely one that allows us to relax and take in the beauty of the valley.
Glorious views of the Ganesh Himal serve as our backdrop during the day as we steadily ease higher along the Shiar Khola, a minor tributary of the Budhi Gandaki, a small Tibetan monastery along our path reminding us of the valley's strong Tibetan influences. The day finishes off with our arrival at Chhokangparo, the largest settlement in the valley.
With the tributary still acting as our guide we make our way deeper and higher into the valley, following the ancient trade route to Tibet as we make our way past chortens, stupas, mani walls, monasteries and nunneries, all reminders of the close cultural and historical bonds to Nepal's mystical neighbor to the north — not for nothing is Tsum Valley known as 'Little Tibet'. We can pause briefly to inspect Milarepa cave before our arrival at the monastery of Mu Gompa where we'll stay the night and enjoy the hospitality of the resident monks — truly one of the cultural highlights of the trek.
Today's journey represents an exceptional opportunity to travel along an ancient route linking Nepal to the fabled land of Tibet to the north, making our way through high altitude yak pastures and soaring peaks to the pass of Ngula Dhojyang and the border crossing where local people are still permitted to cross in pursuit of age-old trading practices.
This long day's hike gives us amply opportunity to view the region from a different perspective as we head south past the Ganesh Himal ranges to the serene monastery of Gumpa Lundang, where we have another opportunity to enjoy the warm hospitality of the local monks for the night.
The ascent to the base camp takes approximately four hours, perhaps a little less, and once there our efforts are rewarded with some of the finest views on offer of towering Ganesh Himal and the surrounding alpine wilderness. After a suitable amount of time to savor the view we retreat back down the trail to Gumpa Lundang and another night as guests of the monastery.
Our return path takes the alternative route towards Ripchet, which gives us a new and rewarding perspective on the landscape as we make our way to Lokpa.
We continue to drop down in altitude, passing back through the picturesque village of Philim and back over the suspension bridges, following the tumbling waters of the Budhi Gandaki as they descend towards Sirdibas, Jagat and Yaruphant. The alpine terrain from on high has long given way to the dense and moist jungles of the subtropical foothills as we complete our long journey with our arrival at Dovan.
The trail along the Budhi Gandaki River continues south to Tatopani, where we can again avail ourselves of the hot springs before making our way down towards Khorlabesi and onto Macha Khola before finishing off the day with our arrival at Soti Khola.
Our drive via local transport takes us along the Marsyangdi and Trishuli rivers as we pass through the full panoply of Himalayan scenery on our way to Kathmandu, with a smattering of villages dotting a verdant green landscape interwoven with a patchwork quilt of crops and terraced fields, the snow-capped peaks in the background adding the final magnificent touch to the rolling panorama.
Departure from Kathmandu or an opportunity to link up with another of our programs.
This was my third trip to Nepal, having done multi day organized treks in Patagonia, Peru and Europe. I have never experience a level of professionalism and a quality of service like the one from Trekking Nepal Experts. We have just returned from a 15 day trek in the Tsum Valley and Manaslu region organized by this company and we could not be happier. It exceeded our expectations by a hundred times. Last year, in 2016 my husband and I trekked the Manaslu Circut with another company (one of the top rated by Trip Advisor). Midway we intersected with a group led by Raj, the owner of the Nepal Trekking Experts . We hiked along with his group for a few days and the contrast, on every level, was striking. So when we decided to return it was an easy choice who to work with. Raj is a native to Manaslu region and hires local guides and porters. As a result you are guided by someone who REALLY knows the area. We did many 'off the beaten path' side trips on our trek. Our guide was really flexible and we modified our itinerary multiple times. The highlight of our trip was hiking up to Ganesh Himal base camp and spending two nights at a nunnery. We did not see another tourist during those three days. treking out we used less popular route to avoid repeating a part of the trek (owners sugestion) we did the year before. Although this was logistically much harder to organize the cost of the trip didn't change, Raj just wanted us to have a better experience, and I think that it captures what this company is all about: making sure that you have the best possible time on your trek! The whole experience was unreal. The owner, Raj manages to blend genuine warmth and friendliness with constant awareness and attention to every detail.