On the one hand, you have arguably the most memorable and immersive cultural experience on offer to trekkers: a living, breathing Buddhist culture that’s been protected from the ravages of the outside world for centuries in its hidden and well-protected valley. On the other hand, you have one of the most scenically spectacular and diverse wilderness treks available, complete with the majestic peak of Manaslu standing in serene splendor over the surrounding landscape. In combination, the two comprise quite possibly the most complete and rewarding experience currently available to the trekking community—a tour de force of the very best that Nepal has to offer.
Manaslu Tsum Valley Trek is one of Nepal’s crown jewels of cultural experiences, a sacred sanctuary of Buddhist monasteries and nunneries, spinning prayer wheels, and the deep-throated call of long Tibetan horns rumbling across the distances. It’s a place bathed in the glow of its peaceful inhabitants and their abiding belief in the sanctity of all life, with a landscape of patchwork meadows, terraced fields, and the imposing Ganesh Himal ranges adding their spectacular touch to the much-vaunted scenery.
Manaslu Tsum Valley Trek is fast gaining in popularity as the area of choice for those seeking an all-round experience of the mountains that encompass everything that a trekker could hope for in the Himalayas–an adventure-filled journey of layered landscapes ranging from semi-tropical to pure alpine, precipitous trails winding by myriad waterfalls and dense forests of rhododendron and pine, thread-like suspension bridges hanging impossibly high over thundering whitewater rapids, epic mountain scenery and spectacular Himalayan peaks, all rounded out by the classic culmination of a picture-perfect and prayer-flag festooned high pass to round out the journey. Throw in the ever-present mule and yak teams delivering the basic necessitates of life through the valley, abundant wildlife waiting to beguile at every turn of the pathway, and the resilient and ceaselessly optimistic inhabitants with their welcoming demeanor, and you truly have one of Nepal's most amazing experiences.
The Manaslu Tsum Valley Trek begins by following the banks of the Budhi Gandaki, tracking back and forth across the river in spectacular fashion via spidery suspension bridges through to the threshold of Tsum Valley. Beautiful views of the Ganesh Himal and Siringi Himal range unfold as the trail leads towards Lopka, while from Chhokoang Paro onward, the lush landscapes give way to the alpine regions of the valley and the cultural time capsule that the local Tibetan community represents, with its numerous Buddhist retreats, monuments, and the general air of spirituality that pervades the entire valley's atmosphere—a night spent at one of the monasteries adds even further to the sense of wonder and mystique. The return leg through the valley allows trekkers to visit Ganesh Himal Base Camp and its glorious outlook before the trail heads back to the Budhi Gandaki.