Tsum Valley is one of world’s remotest Himalayan Valleys which was also a restricted region until recently. The trek to Tsum Valley takes you into the majestic surroundings of the Ganesh Himal, Sringi Himal, and Boudha Himal ranges. The region once being part of Tibet looks completely different from what you will find elsewhere. The people of Tsum Valley or the Tsumbas belong to Tibetan origin with their own ancient form of dialect, art, culture and religion. Very few adventure travelers have made it to this high and mysterious valley, which used to be an important trade link with Tibet. In the initial days, we trek the route of Around Manaslu Trek or the Manaslu Circuit Trek. The Tsum Valley lies on the northern part of Manaslu and used to be a restricted area until 2008.
A. Itinerary in Detail (20 Days)
Day 01: Arrive Kathmandu (1,300m/4,264ft)
Transfer to hotel, introduce your trekking guide and check the necessities. Afternoon stroll Tourist colourful market Thamel down town.
Overnight in Kathmandu at 3 star Hotel with breakfast
Day 02: Full day Kathmandu City excursion
After breakfast, proceed for sightseeing tours to world heritage sites of Pashupatinath Temple-the holiest Hindu Temple on the bank of sacred Bagmati River, Bodhanath Stupa-the biggest Buddhist Stupa architecture in the world! Patan Durbar Square is the oldest city in the Kathmandu valley with age old tradition also called Lalitpur-the city of fine arts. The visit covers the Durbar Square, the Krishna temple, the Kumbheswore temple, the Golden temple and many more. Swayambhunath Stupa-the 2000 years old legendary stupa on the hillock also nick-named as monkey temple. Your day tour ends Kathmandu Durbar Square Showcasing living goddess Kumari Temple, Nautale Durbar, the Kaal Bhairav, the Swet Bhairav, the freak Street and more.
Day 03: Kathmandu – Arughat (670m/2,198 ft) – Soti Khola (710m/2,330ft), 8-9 hrs drive
A scenic drive west through the middle hills to Malekhu, then a secondary road to Dhading Besi and a 35km dirt road to Arughat on the Budhi Gandaki River. This is a large Newar and Gurung village with many mango orchards. Then another 2 hrs drive upstream to Soti Khola.
Day 04: Soti Khola – Machha Khola (890m/2,920ft), 6-7 hrs
The trail undulates over ridges and passes waterfalls on a steep trail clinging to the side of a cliff. It then drops to pass rice paddies before climbing to the attractive Gurung village of Labubesi. Beyond, the valley opens out and the trail drops onto gravel banks along the river before rising to the village of Machha (Fish) Khola above the river – with good views of the 7,000m/22,950ft Ganesh Himal.
Day 05: Machha Khola – Dobhan (1,000m/3,280ft), 6-7 hrs
The narrow trail follows minor ups and downs, often dropping to the gravel bar before crossing the Thado Khola and following a rocky ravine to Khorlabesi. After more moderate ups and downs there is a small hot spring at Tatopani. The trail then climbs a ridge before crossing the Budhi Gandaki on a suspension bridge. A good staircase, leads to a landslide before a final ridge to Dobhan.
Day 06: Dobhan – Philim (1,590m/5,216ft), 6-7 hrs
Today’s trail follows the east bank to a 93m suspension bridge over the Yaru Khola, then climbs stone stairs up and back to the river before climbing to Thado Bharyang. Here it crosses to the west bank of the Budhi Gandaki, climbs a ridge and follows the river gently upwards to the village of Jagat. Walk on to Salleri, via a cliff-side trail – with views of Shringi Himal (7,187m/23,580ft) to the north. Descend to Sirdibas; and the first signs of Buddhist culture. Another suspension bridge leads to the east bank, and a tiring climb up to Philim: a prosperous Gurung village, the Chholing Sandu Gompa and surrounded by fields of maize and millet.
Day 07: Philim – Chumling (2,360m/7,750ft), 6-7 hrs
Traverse north of Philim, through forest up the narrowing valley to Ekle Bhatti. The trail then drops through a steep gorge under pine trees to a junction at New Bridge which leads to the Larkya La. To the right (east) a well-graded, exposed, zigzag track leads up through pines and rhododendrons, to Lokpa and the narrow lower Tsum Valley.
Then descend through beautiful forest, cross streams and circle under a bluff on the river before climbing steeply on well-made but exposed steps. Later, traverse steeply up through pines and rhododendrons, past a rock fall and later drop to Gumling and the Siyar Khola that drains much of the valley. Cross the wooden bridge and finally ascend the steep, narrow and exposed track to Chumling. The houses are classic Tibetan with barricades of firewood on the roofs: but built with sloping roofs to cope with the abundant rain and snow. They farm maize and potatoes.
Day 08: Chumling – Chhekampar (3,010m/9,850ft), 5-6 hrs
Cross the suspension bridge and new forest growing over a recent landslide. Higher up, pass gompas and superb views of the Ganesh Himal. Beyond Rainjam the trail drops to cross the Sarphu Khola that drains the Syakpa Glacier off Shringi Himal (7,101m/23,298ft) to the north. The trail then climbs, for some 2,5 hours , on well-graded but exposed track, to the Upper Tsum Valley and the linked villages of Chhokang and Paro, generally known as Chhekampar.
Here the valley broadens but the stone houses nestle under cliffs to make full use of the spacious fields for barley, maize, buckwheat and potatoes. Herds of tahr frequently graze the wild cliffs to the north; and if not watched can cause havoc in the fields. Himal Chuli (7,893m/25,897ft) can be seen to the west.
Day 09: Chhekampar – Nile (3,480 m/11,415ft) 4-5 hrs
Today at first explore the linked villages and perhaps climb north to a retreat where Lama Kongdhog died after 26 years of meditation: the friendly people speak Tsumba, related to Tibetan, but little Nepali and are unused to visitors.
The trail passes through small villages and a local school, then rises to a ridge with chortens before passing through Lamagaon (3,020m/9,909ft). From here the huge courtyard of the Rachen Gompa nunnery is visible across the river. This is the female equivalent of the main Kathmandu Dopan Monastery.
Beyond the village of Burji a trail to the north leads to Milarepa’s Cave (Piren Phu – Pigeon Cave): one of the many places where the bringer of Buddhism to Tibet is reputed to have meditated.
Later, the trail crosses the Siyar Khola to join the trail from Rachen Gompa to Nile. There is an unusual round stupa before the impressive entrance gate to the large village of Chhule: where the children wear chubas and yaks abound. Further upstream, a bridge leads to the final climb to Nile.
Day 10: Exploration day: Nile – Mu Gompa (3,709m/12,169ft) – 3/4 hrs.
Make an early start for the walk up to Mu Gompa, through dry Tibetan countryside – with rows of chortens and broadening mountain vistas. The ancient monastery houses over 100 monks. On three sides are tantalising views of the Tibetan border – with three passes frequently used for trade by the Tsumbas just out of sight. There are extensive seasonal yak pastures, the Lungdang Glacier to the east and high peaks in all directions. If time, include a visit to the Dephyu Doma Nunnery (4,000m/13,100ft) to the west.
On the return route trek it is possible to visit the Rachen Gompa (the older sections are the most interesting) from Phurba and rejoin the trail to Chhekampar at Ngakyu Leru.
Day 11: Mu Gompa Acclimatization rest day
Day 12: Mu Gompa to Rachen Gumpa and Chhekampar – (3031m) 5 hrs This day, we follow trail back down same trail till Phurbe then we do not cross the bridge because we toward to Rachen Gmpa which is the next face of the Lama Gaun where we had stayed before.
Day 13: Chhekampar – Gumba Lungdang (3,200m/10,496ft), 5-6 hrs
Retrace the trail to the small gompa at Gho, then drop south to a wooden bridge over the river and continue to Dumje: which has a Tibetan herbal medicine clinic and school. The track then leads up steeply, through pines and rhododendrons to a mani wall, after which it traverses along an exposed route, before zigzagging up through huge silver pines to the gompa perched on a ridge. The mountain views in all directions are fantastic: this is likely to be a highlight of the trek.
This small gompa with 40 nuns: who each stay in a small cell, has an intense and engrossing puja from 18.00-19.30 each night. Visitors are invited to attend and permission may be obtained to camp in the gompa forecourt and use their kitchen and ablution facilities.
Day 14: Exploration day: Gumba Lungdang – Ganesh Himal BC (4,200m/13,780ft) – return, 7-8 hrs
Circle from the gompa past the nuns’ housing, and zigzag down to a lower indistinct track: follow it through the forest and cross the wooden Lungdang Khola bridge. Climb steeply through pines and rhododendrons and across a kharka up to a ridge. Continue up a birch-lined creek-bed and emerge onto grassy flats east of the Torogumba Glacier’s lateral moraine. Continue past yak huts to a track up the moraine wall that gives superb views of the cirque of mountains. The Ganesh Himal Base Camp (4,200m/13,780ft) is about here (~4hrs). Return to Gumba Lungdang in time for the evening puja.
Day 15: Gumba Lungdang – Ripchet (2,470m/8,100ft) – Lokpa (2,240m/7,348ft), 7-8 hrs
Descend the trail to Dumje, cross the Lungdang Khola and take the south bank trail down the Siyar Khola that climbs over deep gorges and cantilever bridges to the high fertile valley of Ripchet. Several chortens adorn barley and buckwheat fields that have been cut from surrounding pine forests. Steep stairs lead down to Gumling on the river before the trail climbs through temperate forest to Lokpa.
Day 16: Lokpa – Sirdibas (1,430m/4,690ft), 5-6 hrs
After breakfast, our trail returns to Philim for lunch. Continue downhill to the suspension bridge and river bank trail to Sirdibas while enjoying the reverse views.
Day 17: Sirdibas – Khorlabesi (970m/3,182ft), 5-6 hrs
Our trail now descends from the alpine Buddhist region back to the greener subtropical biome via Jagat, Yaruphant, Dobhan, Tatopani and then undulates to Khorlabesi – with time to linger along the way.
Day 18: Khorlabesi – Soti Khola (710m/2,330ft), 5-6 hrs
The trail crosses the Tharo Khola flowing in its rocky ravine. Drop down to the river and traverse to the village of Machha Khola. Walk along the Budhi Gandaki Nadi to reach the Gurung village of Labubesi. Pass the two waterfalls on the steep cliffside trail to Khursane. Then follow the ridge above the Budhi Gandaki, through Sal forests to the bridge before Soti Khola.
Day 19: Soti Khola – Arughat – Kathmandu (1,300m/4,264ft), 8-9hrs
From here we drive, down the Budhi Gandaki Valley to Arughat and on to Kathmandu; with lunch on the way. Transfer to your Hotel, and a free afternoon.
Day 20: Final departure
Transfer to Tribhuvan International Airport for your onward flight to your next destination.
USD 1800 per person for the entire trip
- Accommodation in Kathmandu, 3 star category hotel, on bed and breakfast basis as per the itinerary
- Special Permit for restricted areas
- Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS) registration fee
- First aid kit for comprehensive medical supplies
- Round trip / overland transport as per the itinerary
- Accommodation in guest houses/lodges
- Three meals (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) and a cup of tea/coffee a day during the trek and seasonal fresh fruit after every dinner
- Qualified and experienced trekking guide and porter services
- Transportation, accommodation, meal allowance, equipment and insurance for trekking staff
- All the official paper work and all the applicable government taxes
- Airport transfers for internal flights
- Sleeping bag, down jacket, rucksack, duffle bag, trekking poles if required
- T-Shirt or cap with Boundless Himalayas logo
- Tsum Valley trekking map
- Oxymeter for Altitude Sickness who wishes to check pulse rate and oxygen saturation to ensure better health conditions
- Farewell Dinner with typical local cultural program
- Airport pick-up on arrival and drop-off on departure
- Meals other than breakfast when staying in Kathmandu
- Personal expenses and bar bills
- Clients’ travel insurance
- Tips and gratuities