Located high up in the Manaslu region of Nepal, near the Tibetan border, the Tsum Valley is one of the unknown and most isolated valleys in Nepal. It has an extremely Tibetan Buddhist feel, quite different from the surrounding countryside. It is a difficult trek to Tsum valley because of the difficult terrain. While visiting the valley, you will be surrounded by the beautiful mountains of Mt. Ganesh, which includes Mt. Sringi and Mt. Boudha. Unfortunately, the valley does not receive many tourists since it is so difficult to access.

Few outsiders have managed to reach this Promised Land in terms of trekking to the valley, and so many things about this valley remain a mystery. However, the off-the-beaten track to the Tsum valley offers you the opportunity to take an extraordinary hike on one of the most challenging trails in the world.

About the Region

Arughat is the starting point for this beautiful Trek, which follows the trail alongside the majestic Budhi Gandaki River, passing through dense forest and gorgeous villages to reach the hidden valley of Tsum. The small hotels in the region offer basic services and facilities, but the beauty of the wide landscapes and small villages is exceptional.

Buddhist traditions believe that the Tsum Valley is one of the sacred hidden valleys of Buddhism, a place of spiritual progress and old monasteries that remain active today. Historically, people in this valley have subsisted on agriculture and yak herds, traded with Tibet, and raised barley and tended yaks. The trails lead past square chortens and walls of stones hand-carved with Buddhist prayers.

Necessary Permits and Accommodations

Mandatory permits are required for the Tsum Valley trek. The permit fee is imposed to protect the delicate ecosystem and culture of the region. MCAPs and ACAPs are also vital to the Trek. 

At the beginning of the Trek, the accommodation options consist of well-run hotels and lodges. As the Trek progresses, well-equipped hotels become more difficult to come by. These paths mainly consist of small teahouses and homestays.

Preparing for the Trek

The tallest point on the Tsum Valley trek is at an altitude of 3,700 meters. This may not be much elevation for frequent travelers, but it is still quite a change for newcomers. In addition, the Trek requires the explorers to walk for multiple days. In addition, people with lung diseases should refrain from engaging in such activities or take precautions before doing so, as the high altitudes at such altitudes are extremely difficult to adapt to. Further, altitude sickness may occur at such high altitudes.

We recommend that you bring the following items to your Trek due to the cold at high altitudes for the Trek. Our group of mates brought these things on our first trip to Tsum Valley.

  • Warm clothes, including jackets, sweaters, and thermal wears
  • Water bottles and thermos
  • Backpack
  • Portable fire stoves
  • Snow Glasses and flashlight
  • Well-fitting gloves, socks, and shoes or boots
  • Trekking sticks
  • First aid kit
  • Moisturizers and lip guard
  • Energy bars

These items can be quite useful during the Trek. You can, however, easily purchase these items at the starting point of the Trek if you forgot any of them, though the price will likely be higher than usual.

Tsum Valley Trek Itinerary 

In order to begin the Trek, we need to get to Arughat Bazaar. For foreigners, it’d be better if you get to Kathmandu after acquiring your Nepali visa. From Kathmandu, the road is paved till Dhading Besi, and then a gravel road takes you to Arughat. Furthermore, you pass the Trishuli River and the Rakhu River on your way.

From Soti Khola, you make a steep climb uphill, passing rural settlements like Armala, Lapubesi, and Khani Besi. These settlements are populated by the Gurung people, who live a unique lifestyle. As you travel through the route, you can also observe the unique landscapes and the unique flora and fauna. Finally, we stayed overnight at Machha Khola.

Today, the trail leads you across the Machha Khola and upstream along the river's edge. After crossing Tatopani, the trail leads to Dovan through a wooded area. As you continue along, you will have views of Ganesh Himal at 7,429 m and Himalchuli at 7,893 m. We stay overnight after we reach Jagat after five to six hours of hiking.

On the fourth day, the crisp morning breeze greets you as you make your way to Sirdibas and enjoy the landscape's views. As you continue up the winding trail, you pass the Gurung and Magar settlements in Philim on your way to Chisopani. The Trek follows the Budhi Gandaki River during the day and ends at Chisopani.

From Chisopani, you cross a gorge and travel through a forest of rhododendron and pine trees before heading down to Tsum Valley. Up ahead, beautiful Lokpa village can be seen, and from here, you descend to Lungwa Khola. Further along the way, the trail leads you along the serene Siyar Khola to Chumling. You spend the night there.

From Chumling, the trail passes Rainjam to reach Sarpu Khola and then descends into the hidden valley of Tsum. Ganesh Himal (7,429 m) is visible from the suspension bridge across the river. At the end of the steep climb, you will arrive at the village of Chhokang Paro. Before arriving at Chhokang Paro, you can visit a micro hydropower plant. Finally, we stayed at Chhokang Paro for the night.

We hike from Chhokang Paro on the seventh day, to Lamagau, before walking to Rachen Gompa. We continue through several villages, passing Chhule village and crossing towards the Nile.

We head towards the highest point on the Trek on this day. First, we cross close to the Tibetan border in today's trail while walking through a valley. Then, we go to the Dhepu Doma Gompa (monastery) before continuing to their overnight accommodation at Mu Gompa.

In today's 7 to 8-hour Trek, we head to Ganesh Himal Base Camp, where we are rewarded with fantastic views of the enormous Ganesh Himal. We then are driven back to Mu Gompa for the night.

Our Trek today is about 5 to 6 hours through a greener part of the country. First, we descend through the lower Tsum valley to Chumling, where we spend the night.

Today, we travel toward Lokpa, passing the beautiful Samba Falls. After that, you will find yourself on a flat trail leading off from Lokpa. Then, if you like, you can enjoy the sights of the diverse flora and fauna in the Manaslu Conservation Area. Finally, we arrive at the destination of our journey, Philim Village, where we will stay the night.

You descend the trail to Sirdibas and reach Jagat. Then, you descend even further to Yaruphant and continue on to Dovan. Soon, you get to arrive at the natural hot springs of Tatopani, where you rejuvenate yourself by enjoying a bath in the hot springs. This water is also believed to have healing properties. Then you hike on a zigzag path to Khorlabesi. Finally, we spent the night at Khorlabesi.

On this day, as you cross the Thado Khola, you descend to the Budhi Gandaki River. You walk alongside the river until you reach Lapu Besi. As you trek on, you admire the untouched beauty of waterfalls on either side. Continuing along the Budi Gandaki ridge, we pass through Khani Besi, Liding, and Soti Khola before arriving at Soti Khola, where we spend the night.

The last day of trekking takes you over the ridge of Kuerepani and down to a waterfall. Then, you pass through the Magar and Gurung villages of Kokhetar and Dhodehi as you continue trekking to Arkhet. Following the bridge crossing Arkhet Khola, the walk ends in Arughat, passing by the hydroelectricity plant.

In the end, we can follow our steps back home from Arughat. First, do not forget to acknowledge and cherish all the beautiful moments and gorgeous sceneries you experienced during the Trek as you return home.

Cost includes:

  • Arrival & Departure transport via private Car/Van/Bus.
  • Three meals per day throughout the Trek(Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)
  • Accommodation in lodges and tea houses during the trek.
  • Nights’ accommodation in Kathmandu with B/B.
  • Trekking Guide and a porter (Shared by two clients) with Insurance, food, and accommodations.
  • Sightseeing in Kathmandu or Pokhara valley with a car and tour guide
  • First Aid kit.
  • Trekking permit (Conservation fee).
  • TIMS card (Trekking information management system) is like a permit.
  • All needed government tax/vat.

Cost excludes

  • International Airfare.
  • Your travel insurance.
  • Sightseeing entrance fees
  • Nepal Visa fee (US$ 50 for 30 days and US$ 30 for 15 days; you should get a visa open your arrival)
  • Any kind of drinks, items of personal expenses like hot shower, battery charge, telephone, missing meal, WIFI Porters, etc.
  • Tips for Guide and Porters

Note

The itinerary mentioned above is the general plan arranged by Pokhara Info. The above itinerary is only a guideline; it might change due to availability of lodging and campsites, fluctuating weather conditions, unforeseen political, trail, and environmental, or any other factors beyond our control. After consulting with the group, your trek leader will decide the best way to reach a final decision if this occurs.

If the itinerary is unsuitable for you, please let us know, and we will customize it. We will be able to make changes to the itinerary if clients want to do so.

Finally, When you are ready to start adventures in Nepal, it is time to begin thinking about what to pack. If you are ready to book but aren’t sure when is the best time to trek or what to stay in, Pokhara Info has got you covered. You can figure out these queries through our site. We can also be found on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media sites. I hope you have a good time in Nepal and thank you for visiting!

  Bigyan Neupane