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Tsum Valley Trek - 17 days

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Tsum Valley Trek - 17 days
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The Tsum Valley, north east of the Manaslu trail, was first opened to trekking region at the request of the Tsumbas in 2008. The valley lies along the border with Tibet and is one of the most secluded in the Himalayas. ~4 000 Tsumbas live in 18 villages. Little has changed and you are offered a rich glimpse into a bygone era. The topography of the region calls for much up and down walking, making this a fairly demanding trek: good initial fitness is called for.

The Tsumbas are of Tibetan origin maintain a unique culture and form of Buddhism; they speak an ancient dialect. Polyandry is still practised amongst some families; one girl married to the brothers of a family: They tend to be wealthier than ‘conventional families’. Hand worked crops in the short growing season include barley, maize, buckwheat and potatoes. Himalayan tahrs and bharal (blue sheep); preyed on by illusive snow leopards, may be seen on high slopes. 

Their unique architecture includes impressive square chortens, clustered stone houses and numerous religious centres with ancient art and remarkable views. Mu and the 800 year old Dephyu Doma Gompas are the ‘end destinations’ and highest permanent places of year-round habitation.

The Rachen and Gumba Lungdang Nunneries welcome visitors: the latter to a simple overnight stay and participation in their evening puja. With their 360o views including the Ganesh and Baudha Himals, this is a highlight of the trekking.

Overnight at different villages on the return trek.

Day 01: Arrival   Kathmandu Tribhuvan Airport (1 300m/4 260ft). We will meet and transfer you to your hotel.

Day 02: In the City Kathmandu Valley Sightseeing Tour   OR   A day at leisure. Trek preparation.

Day 03: Kathmandu – Arughat (670m/2 198ft) – Soti Khola (710m/2 330ft), 135km, 8-9 hrs drive 

Day 04: Soti Khola – Machha Khola (890m/2 920ft), 6-7 hrs

Day 05: Machha Khola – Dobhan (1 000m/3 280ft), 6-7 hrs 

Day 06: Dobhan – Philim (1 590m/5 216ft), 6-7 hrs

Day 07: Philim – Chumling (2 360m/7 750ft), 6-7 hrs

Day 08: Chumling – Chhekampar (3 010m/9 850ft), 5-6 hrs

Day 09: Chhekampar – Nile (3 480m/11 415ft), 4-5 hrs

Day 10: Exploration day: Nile – Mu Gompa (3 709m/12 169ft) – Chhekampar (3 010m/9 870ft), 6-7 hrs

Day 11: Chhekampar – Gumba Lungdang (3 200m/10 496ft), 5-6 hrs

Day 12: Gumba Lungdang – Ripchet (2 470m/8 100ft) – Lokpa (2 240m/7 348ft), 7-8 hrs

Day 13: Lokpa – Sirdibas (1 430m/4 690ft), 5-6 hrs                             

Day 14: Sirdibas – Khorlabesi (970m/3 182ft), 5-6 hrs

Day 15: Khorlabesi – Soti Khola (710m/2 330ft), 5-6 hrs

Day 16: Soti Khola – Arughat – Kathmandu (1,300m/4,260ft), 135km, 8-9hrs

Day 17: Final Departure: Transfer to Tribhuvan International Airport for your flight to your onward destination.

NB: Cloud and turbulent weather along the mountain ranges is common and may lead to internal mountain flight delays or cancellations. We suggest you add at least one extra day after your trek before flying out of Nepal.

Day 01: Arrival  Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport (1 300m/4 260ft)                    

After completing passport, immigration and visa requirements, we will meet you outside the terminal building (look for your name board) and transfer you to your hotel: afternoon free.  Evening: a welcome dinner, introduction to your guide and a briefing on the trek with a check on necessities.  Overnight at hotel. 

Day 02: In the City  Kathmandu Valley Sightseeing   OR   A Day at Leisure 

Sadly, many of our architectural treasures were damaged in the recent earthquakes: but these sites still have much to offer.
Take a day tour to five of the Kathmandu Valley’s cultural world heritage sites: Swayambhunath, the famed “monkey temple”; the city’s historical Durbar Square with ancient temples, unique art and architecture, plus the chance to see the Kumari (living goddess); Patan’s Durbar Square; the Hindu temple Pashupatinath and Bouddhanath, the world’s largest stupa.
A car and driver will take you to each site-entrance and wait for you. (Entry tickets and lunch are not included.)

Day 03: Kathmandu – Arughat (670m/2 198ft) – Soti Khola (710m/2 330ft), 135km, 8-9 hrs drive 

Drive west from Kathmandu towards Pokhara through Middle Hill rural communities to Malekhu. Cross the Trisuli  and head north to Dhading Besi. A slow, rutted, dirt road then heads NW: over the Gola Bhanjyang (with panoramic views of the Baudha and Ganesh Himals).           

(Beyond this occasional views of Ganesh IV and VI will be seen above the valley walls as far as Khorlabesi. The Baudha Himal is seen from Philim and then from high in the Tsum Valley. The Ganesh Himal is spectacular from Gumba Lungdang. Manaslu is not visible from the Tsum Valley.)

Drive on to Arughat and the Budhi Gandaki that drains the Manaslu–Tsum region. A further ~3 hrs drive up the west bank leads to Soti Khola. Overnight in Soti Khola.

Day 04: Soti Khola – Machha Khola (890m/2 920ft), 6-7 hrs

The Budhi Gandaki’s rise from the glaciers NW of the Larkya La gathers runoff from tributaries, including the Siyar Khola from Tsum. Considerable water is added by the Tum Khola from the Tibetan highlands. The resulting outflow has cut more steeply into the rising ranges than in most other regions. Thus the lower trail must negotiate the steep sided main gorge, and numerous incoming tributaries: with exposed cliff-face trails and vertical-switchback paths.

Today’s generally narrow trail undulates upwards through Sal forests and terraced ridges passing countless waterfalls. At times it clings to cliff faces or drops through rice paddies to the river gravels. Labubesi (880m) is an attractive Gurung village before the spectacular Nauli Falls and a long suspension bridge. Beyond, the valley broadens, the river flows more peacefully and the trail follows the bar to Machha (fish) Khola. Overnight in Machha Khola.

Day 05: Machha Khola – Dobhan (1 000m/3 280ft), 6-7 hrs 

Cross the Thado Khola, descend stone stairs then follow the bar to Khorlabesi (970m, coffee and tobacco crops). The GHT trail through Gorkha (and Barpak, epicentre of the first quake on 25/04/15) crosses our trail, heading east from Manaslu to the Langtang then Everest regions.

Enter a lush narrow gorge constricting the river’s progress. Cross a landslide with a dicey path, before the three hot spring spouts in Tatopani (930m). Climb a ridge then cross the Budhi Gandaki (to avoid a cliff face and waterfalls). A staircase then leads to a landslide before climbing to a ridge; and Dobhan. Overnight in Dobhan. 

Day 06: Dobhan – Philim (1 590m/5 216ft), 6-7 hrs           

Exit over the Dobhan Khola, then follow the east bank to the hamlet of Thulo Dhunga (1 840m); above cataracts. Later the gradient lessens, the valley opens and the water is placid at Yaruphant (1 170m). Cross the Yaru Khola (from Ganesh II and VI) on an old suspension bridge then climb to the teahouses at Thado Bharyang. Cross back to the west bank and ascend gently to the old paved village of Jagat (1 410m): entrance and checkpoint to the Manaslu Conservation Area.

Cross a tributary before a cliff-side trail to Salleri: with views of Shringi Himal (7 187m) to the north. Descend to Sirdibas; and the first symbols of Buddhist culture. A final bridge beyond Ghatta (water mills) Khola (1 480m) to the east bank, leads to a steep climb up to Philim: a prosperous Gurung village set amongst millet and maize fields; see the Chholing Sandu Gompa. Overnight in Philim. 

Day 07: Philim – Lokpa (2 240m/7 350ft) – Chumling (2 360m/7 750ft), 6-7 hrs

The trail winds through scrub and lush grasses up the beautiful narrowing valley to the high millet fields of Chisopani, then Ekle Bhatti (1 600m, one house). Gradually descend, past a spectacular waterfall, into the gorge: and a junction, left to ‘New Bridge’ and the Larkya La.  To the right a well-graded trail zigzags up through blue pines and rhododendron, to Lokpa in the narrow Lower Tsum Valley. Tsum has 18 villages and is home to ~4 000 people.

Drop down through forest, before tackling a long, steep climb up the south wall of the Siyar Khola gorge; above the river draining Tsum. The ‘summit’ is landmarked by flags; overlooking colourful potato, bean and grain fields with Shringi Himal above. Descend to Gumlung and cross the river: for a final, gentler ascent to Chumling. The buildings are classic Tibetan but with sloping roofs to shed rain and snow. Overnight in Chumling.

Day 08: Chumling – Chhekampar (3 010m/9 850ft), 5-6 hrs           

The trail crosses the river to new forest on an old landslide.  Pass a water powered prayer wheel on a ‘Nepali flat’ trail in deep forest: look out for chattering white-faced langurs. At Tanju (2 480m) the small Damphe Gompa houses hundreds of small Chenresig (Buddha of Compassion) ceramic statues: a common feature in Tsum’s gompas.

Beyond Dumje there are views of Baudha Peak and the Ganesh Himal. Beyond Rainjam Farm, cross the Sarphu Khola: draining the Syakpa Glacier from Shringi Himal. Then climb for ~2½ hrs, past Gho through birch, larch and pine forest, to the broad relatively flat Upper Tsum Valley.

Landmark slate chortens facing Ganesh II precede a kani gate to the, now joined, villages of Chhokang and Paro; collectively called Chhekampar (place of wisdom).  Houses nestle together to maximise agricultural land for barley, buckwheat, maize and potatoes: crops that ripen in high, short growing seasons. Yaks graze in pastures, tahrs graze along cliffs: and need monitoring to prevent crop losses. Overnight in Chhekampar. 

Day 09: Chhekampar – Nile (3,480m/11,415ft), 4-5 hrs

Two days, with numerous attractions are spent NE of Chhekampar: a full morning is needed N of Nile to visit the Mu and Doma Dephyu Gompas. The Siyar Khola flows SW down the centre of the valley; two bridges cross it: the first before twin Ngakyu and Leru (just S of the Rachen Nunnery), the second N of Lamjung and Milarepa’s Cave. A road has been started in this region!

Northwest of the Siyar Khola:Walk up and through the attractive, joined villages of Ngakyu and Leru (3 200m, with mustard fields and apple orchards). Continue to Lama Gaon (3 300m) and Burji (3 380m, where a key and Rs300/p ticket can be secured to visit the cave: best visited on the ‘up day;’ Rachen on the way down.)

A ~½hr tricky side path leads up, past chortens to Milarepa’s Caves (Piren Phu – Pigeon Cave) on the slopes of Langju Himal. There is an impression of Milarepa’s foot, an elephant shaped rock and two small gompas: one over his meditation place, the other devoted to local Nyingma-pa deities. The old retreat monastery, Chi Phu, clings to slopes higher up.            

Southeast of the Siyar Khola:N of the cave, the trail crosses the second bridge to the SE bank, joining the Rachen – Nile trail before Phurbe (3 250m). Walk up to Pangdun (3 260m, its gompa has a large prayer wheel). The valley now curves gently to the N, passing an unusual stupa before an entrance kani (gate) to Chhule (3 350m, Chhu Li, shady side). The 700 yr old and well endowed double storeyed Gonhgye Monastery is ½ hr to the east, with great views.

Cross a tributary (from a high waterfall) and then the Siyar Khola: climb to Nile (Nyi Li, sunny side) on the NW bank. The glaciers of Pashubo stand along the eastern border. Overnight in Nile.

Day 10: Exploration day: Nile – Mu Gompa (3 709m/12 169ft) – Chhekampar (3 010m/9 870ft), 6-7 hrs

This can be a long but rewarding day. Set out early for the <2hr trek past snow ridges to Mu Gompa (3 700m, 70 yrs). This is Tsum’s highest and last permanent settlement and overlooks the valley and western Ganesh Himal, including Ganesh I. Climb above Mu for a steep ¾ hr to the tiny Dephyu Doma Nunnery (4 000m, 856 yrs, place of the birth of light) perched on an unlikely slope: but with magical, exclusive views of Ganesh II and part of the western Himal.

The trail continues N of Mu to high grazing kharkas (pastures) with goths (herder’s huts): a few with seasonal teahouse facilities on the two pass routes to Kyirong in Tibet.
Return to Nile for lunch then retrace your steps to Phurbe and on to the extensive walled grounds of Rachen Nunnery (3 240m, 110 yrs, of the Ngak-pa-sect; that forbids all animal slaughter). Visit the intimate original monastery which stands in the SW corner of the complex, near the gate. Its old murals depict the history of Buddhism. Residential cells for the nuns and retreat buildings are set along and within the walls. A new, imposing light and airy temple with deities in tall glass-fronted cases now stands further back in the grounds.
Cross the bridge below Rachen and walk back to Chhekampar for the night.

Day 11: Chhekampar – Gumba Lungdang (3 200m/10 496ft), 5-6 hrs

Return to the grouped chortens and descend into the Lower Tsum Valley and the gompa at Gho. Turn south, and cross the river to Dumje (Gumba Monastery owns a small school, herbal medicine clinic and fields here). A ~3 ½ hr stiff climb through glorious oak, rhododendron and pine forest leads to a landmark mani wall (and gompa views): then an exposed section before snaking up through giant silver pines to a ridge and the Nunnery. This is another dramatically placed site with tremendous all-round views. Gumba Lungdang (110 yrs) is currently home to ~20 nuns. Expect a warm welcome and attend their evening puja. Morning views should offer one of the trek’s highlights. Overnight on the Gompa veranda. 

Day 12: Gumba Lungdang – Ripchet (2 470m/8 100ft) – Lokpa (2 240m/7 348ft), 7-8 hrs

Descend through the forests to a small chorten and left fork onto a narrow trail to cross the Langdang Khola. Later climb steadily crossing two high bridges over impressive narrow gorges up to Ripchet: an agricultural village cut from surrounding forest. After lunch, drop steeply down stairs to Gumlung at the river before re-tackling the forested pass and final ascent back to Lokpa. Overnight in Lokpa.

Day 13: Lokpa – Sirdibas (1 430m/4 690ft), 5-6 hrs

After breakfast, walk downhill to the trail junction for Manaslu, then trek up to the high waterfall and Ekle Bhatti (with great rear views). Walk to Philim for lunch, then follow the river bank trail back to Sirdibas; the last Buddhist village. Overnight in Sirdibas.

Day 14: Sirdibas – Khorlabesi (970m/3,182ft), 5-6 hrs

Today’s route exchanges alpine flora for greener, denser subtropical vegetation – and more humid conditions. Retrace your steps, leisurely, through Salleri, Jagat, Yaruphant, Dobhan and Tatopani to Khorlabesi (for local coffee). Overnight in Khorlabesi.

Day 15: Khorlabesi – Soti Khola (710m/2 330ft), 5-6 hrs

Follow the river bar to the hewn steps and ‘bridge with waterfall’ to Machha Khola. Undulate over tributary crossings to Khanibesi, the Nauli Khola Falls and Labubesi for lunch. Conclude the trek with the cliffside walk to Khursane and the Sal forested ridge walk above the river to Soti Khola. Overnight in Soti Khola.  

Day 16: Soti Khola – Arughat – Kathmandu (1 300m/4 260ft), 8-9hrs

Board your jeep for the drive to Arughat, then out of the Budhi Gandaki Valley to Dhading; the better road to Malekhu and finally the highway to Kathmandu. Overnight in Kathmandu.

Day 17: Final Departure

Transfer to Tribhuvan International Airport for your flight to your next destination.

Cost Include

  •  All the airport/ Hotel transfers
  • Two Star Hotel in Kathmandu, Thamel for 3 night with the  bed and  breakfast
  • Well come and farewell dinner
  • Full day Kathmandu city tour on  private car/Van/ Bus
  • Professional govt. registered tour Guide
  • Private Jeep transport  Kathmandu to soti Khola
  • Private Jeep transport Soti Khola to Kathmandu  
  • Full meals ( Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) during the treks
  • All necessary paper work  Tsum valley special  permit  and MCAP Permit
  • Supplementary snacks: seasonal fresh fruit, cookies and energy bar
  • An English speaking professional govt. registered trekking Guide and porter ( 2 trekkers 1 Porter ) above the 4 trekkers 1 assistant Guide
  • Hot drinks ( tea and coffee)
  • Safe drinking water ( Chlorine/ Iodine water)
  • All the Mountain accommodations comfortable private room with sharing Bathroom
  • Guide and Porter salary, meals, accommodations, insurance, transport and equipment
  • All the government and local taxes
  • A comprehensive medical kit
  • Trekking equipment four season sleeping bag down jacket rain coat walking poll many more as per necessary

Cost Exclude

  • Kathmandu city tour monument fees
  • Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu except welcome and farewell dinner
  • All the soft and alcoholic drinks
  • Mineral water
  • Boiled water
  • Personal  expenses
  • Electronic device re charge
  • Wi Fi
  • Hot shower 
  • Travel insurance and evacuation
  • Tipping

Route Map:

Amazing visit to Nepal

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My brother and I just got back from a 2 week trip in Nepal with Landmark Discovery Treks. Our guide Badri and our porter Ganesh were amazing from start to finish. We did the Tsum Valley trek which was a very intense hiking experience, and Badri's expertise of the land was helpful as well as how he always made sure we were well fed, had a nice hot milk tea and any extra blankets we needed as the weather got colder. Badri and Ganesh were always in a good mood, even when we were tired and sore from all the walking and kept us in good spirits. This trek had some perilous moments where the path had severely disintegrated since last year and crossing one of the passes was extremely difficult. Badri and Ganesh guided us across and ensured our safety. If you are planning a trip to Nepal, do yourself a favor and book with Landmark Discovery Treks. ( and be prepared if you go on the Tsum Valley trek for 18 miles on average a day on difficult uneven terrain)- the views are miraculous so its worth it, just know what you are signing up for.

Source: Tripadvisor

Address: Chicago, Illinois
Published on: 2017-04-02

Tsum Valley / Manaslu

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A brilliant hike with fantastic scenery. If you want to avoid the big crowds, this is the trek for you .My guide Badri really looked after me. As did my porter Ganesh. They were perfect.This was my third trek with Badri, the previous ones were Annapurna Circuit and Everest Base Camp. He is a top class guide and I can highly recommend landmarkdiscoverytreks.

Source: Tripadvisor

Address: Cape Town Central, South Africa
Published on: 2016-01-12

Trip Facts

Trip Name:  Tsum Valley trek

Duration: 17 days

Trek Days: 14 days

Country: Nepal

Region: Manaslu Region

Altitude: 3709m (Mu Gumpa)

Difficulty: Medium

Highlights: Mountain Views of all the Ganesh Himal Manaslu, Gurung and Tibetan Culture

Activities: Trekking, Sightseeing,

Accommodation: Hotel/Guest House

Transportation: Private Car/ Van/ Bus all the ground Transport

Best month: February-May/ September- December

Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

Cost:  Ask the Landmark Discovery Treks

Group Member Min: 2 Maximum -10


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