Tsum Valley Trekking

Known as a Little Tibetratingbased on 7 reviews
  • Duration17 Days
  • Difficulty Level Moderate
  • Activity Trekking/Hiking
  • Max. Altitude 5093 m
  • Starts Kathmandu
  • Ends Kathmandu/ Pokhara
  • Group Size 2-20
  • Best Season March to May & September to November
Group Discount Prices
  
2 - 3 paxUS$925
4 - 6 paxUS$825
7 - 10 paxUS$790
11 - 15 paxUS$745
16 - 20 paxUS$695
Tsum Valley Trekking Highlights
  • Landscapes ranging from tropical forests to snow-capped peaks and high 5000-meter passes.
  • Extraordinary Tibetan culture with deeply rooted Buddhist beliefs
  • A range of monasteries, nunneries, and other Buddhist structures
  • Trekking to the legendary border with Tibet
  • Visiting Ganesh Himal Base Camp and taking in its spectacular views

The 17 Days Tsum Valley Trek 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 Trek is the richest Tibetan Buddhist culture that lies at its heart, making it one of Nepal’s truly magical experiences.

Kathmandu to Tsum Valley

Starting from Machha Khola 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 Gompa and Dhephu Doma—the panoramic views from Chhokang Paro and Mu Gompa 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 under the incomparable views on show at Ganesh Himal Base Camp (4900m), a one-day excursion from the village of Gompa Lungdang—a breath-snatching hike with breathtaking views.

History and the Unique Culture of Tsum Valley

A holy and hidden sanctuary known in the distant past as Beyul Kyimolung, Tsum Valley Trek 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 seems to radiate with the profound faith that has been the cornerstone of 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.

Given our staff’s background as natives of the Manaslu region, Tsum Valley Trek falls within the scope of our intimate knowledge of the area and is thus one of our favorite treks to recommend to clients—it 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.

In addition, you can also check out our amazing related packages like Helambu Trek, Langtang Valley Trek, Mardi Himal Trek, Tamang Heritage Trek, Gokyo Valley Trek, etc.

Useful Information
  • Respect the privacy of local people and kindly ask for permission before photographing them or their children
  • Appreciate and respect the local culture and customs
  • For your own personal safety always stay on the uphill side of a trail when being passed by donkeys.
  • In landslide zones either traverse them quickly or climb over and around if at all feasible
  • Smoking and drinking alcohol at altitudes above 3000 meters is not recommended
  • Drink a minimum of three liters of water per day
  • Remain aware of symptoms related to altitude sickness and be honest about any signs with yourself and your guide
  • Even when not mandated there are always benefits to using the invaluable services of a guide on a trek 
  • Travel Insurance

    It is one of the most important things you'll need overseas, particularly when trekking in Nepal. A policy that covers loss and theft, medical and hospitalization, evacuation from high altitude, and adventure activity coverage are among the basics you'll need. A wide variety of policies are available, so make sure to shop for the best possible options. You need to have a policy that's specific to the maximum height on your trek, bearing in mind that a number of companies place restrictions on that score—look closely at the fine print so that you're sure to get the right coverage, especially in the event of an emergency such as altitude sickness—helicopter evacuations are horrendously expensive.

    Also note that most medical treatment and facilities in Nepal, such as hospitals, require payment upfront or approval from your insurance company, so it’s wise to choose a policy that pays the bills directly rather than lumping the burden on you and leaving it till later for the insurer to reimburse you.

    Nepalese Currency and Payment

    The currency of Nepal is the rupee. The ideal currencies for exchange are those of the USA, Australia, Great Britain, Canada, and Singapore, as well as the Euro, any of which can be readily exchanged in either Kathmandu or Pokhara.

    Credit and debit cards such as Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are accepted in major tourist-class hotels, restaurants, airlines, and larger stores in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Patan, Pokhara, etc. A surcharge of 3.5% is typically levied on all purchases or payments.

    ATMs are also very common in Kathmandu and Pokhara, with Thamel being a particular area of focus for their use. Some ATMs only allow a daily maximum of Rs 10, 000 to be withdrawn, while others allow for as much as Rs 35, 000. A charge of USD $4 is usually applied per transaction, on top of which your own bank may also apply a fee of its own.

    Can I get an on-arrival visa in Nepal?

    On arrival in Nepal, you can obtain the requisite visa at Tribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu, or you can choose the alternative of applying for it at the Nepalese Embassy or Consulate in your home country before departure. The visa is also available at land-based points of entry such as Birgunj, Kakarbhitta, Bhairawa, Belhiya, Nepalgunj, Dhangadi, and Mahendranagar. The Kodari Pass is the access point from Tibet where the visa can be obtained.

    While you can use different modes of payment at the visa fee counter, we advise you to bring cash in the following currencies: US dollars, euros, Swiss francs, pound sterling, Australian dollars, Canadian dollars, Hong Kong dollars, Singapore dollars, and Japanese yen. Credit card payments are also available nowadays.

    As per a recent update, the visa fee costs you the following amounts:

    Multiple entries for 15 days—USD 30 or equivalent

    Multiple entries for 30 days—USD 50 or equivalent

    Multiple entries for 90 days—USD 125 or equivalent

    You should also have a minimum of six months of validity remaining on your passport.

    Visa extensions are available from the offices of Nepal Immigration in Kathmandu and Pokhara.

    For more details, please go through the Nepal Immigration website or contact us.

Itinerary
  • Max. Altitude:1400m/4593ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast
  • Accommodation:2/3 Star Hotel

Welcome at the Tribhuwan International Airport, then transfer to your hotel.

  • Max. Altitude:1400m/4593ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast
  • Accommodation:2/3 Star Hotel

Free day for the final trekking preparation.

  • Max. Altitude:930m/3051ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea House

Because the road extension has gone further than Soti Khola, Nepal Trekking experts recommend driving directly to Machha Khola rather than staying in Soti Khola and walking on the road the next day. We leave Kathmandu for the long drive to Machha Khola, passing through Arughat and Soti Khola along the way on the dusty road. Machha Khola is located on the banks of the Budhi Gandaki River, our companion, and guide through the Manaslu region, the source of which we touch on at some point.

  • Max. Altitude:1340m/4396ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea House

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.

  • Max. Altitude:2240m/7349ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea House

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.

  • Max. Altitude:2386m/7828ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea House

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.

  • Max. Altitude:3031m/9944ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea House

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 Chhaikampar, the largest settlement in the valley.

  • Max. Altitude:3700m/12139ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Monastery

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 we arrived 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.

  • Max. Altitude:3700m/12139ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Monastery

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.

  • Max. Altitude:3031m/9944ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea House

We retrace our steps from Mu Gompa as far as the village of Lar then take an alternate route back to  Chhaikampar via Rachen Gompa, home to the valley's most famous nunnery.

  • Max. Altitude:3400m/11155ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Nunnery

Our day begins with a descent to the village of Dumji, after which we change direction and take a steep trail through dense pine and rhododendron forests until we reach Gompa Lungdang and its serenely situated monastery below Ganesh Himal.

  • Max. Altitude:3400m/11155ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Nunnery

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 down the trail to Gompa Lungdang.

  • Max. Altitude:2240m/7349ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea House

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.

  • Max. Altitude:1340m/4396ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea House

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 to Jagat.

  • Max. Altitude:930m/3051ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea House

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 on to Macha Khola.

  • Max. Altitude:1400m/4593ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast & Lunch

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.

    Transfer to the airport as per your flight time.

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    Note

    The above itinerary is a guideline. If you're not satisfied or have an alternative plan please feel free to discuss it with us.

    What's Included
    Cost Includes
    • Complimentary airport picks up and drops off
    • Complimentary welcome dinner
    • Two nights stay on arrival in Kathmandu with breakfast included.
    • All necessary trekking permits such as Tsum Valley permit, Manaslu conservation area permit, TIMS card, etc.
    • All accommodations during the trek
    • Three meals a day during the trek
    • A cup of tea or coffee with the meal
    • Fresh fruit each day if and when available
    • Complimentary duffel bag, agency t-shirt, trekking map, sleeping bag if needed
    • Government-registered and first-aid-trained local guide who speaks English
    • First-aid kit
    • Bus transportation between Kathmandu and Machha Khola
    • Staff insurance, meals, accommodation, equipment, transportation, etc
    • Rescue arrangements if necessary
    • Agency service charge and government TAX/VAT
    • Certificate of achievement if needed
    Cost Excludes
    • International airfare and Nepal visa fee
    • Lunch and Dinner in Kathmandu
    • Porters to carry your backpacks (we provide porters on request)
    • Personal Insurance, personal expenses, loss of property and theft, etc.
    • Sightseeing costs (temples, monasteries, etc.)
    • All beverages, snacks, and additional expenses such as laundry, hot showers, battery charging, Wifi, etc.
    • Tipping to staff
    Route MapDownload Map
    Tsum Valley Trekking map
    Dates & Availability
    Start:ThursdayApr 25, 2024
    End:SaturdayMay 11, 2024
    PriceUS$890
    StatusGuaranteed

    Note

    Are you satisfied with the group departure dates? Aside from that, we organize private trips or any special dates you prefer. Let's talk to our local specialist now.

    Photos & Videos
    FAQs for Tsum Valley Trekking
    • The Tsum Valley is located in the Gorkha District of Nepal, in the northern part of the country, close to the border with Tibet.

    • The length of the trek can vary depending on the route you take and the side trips you choose. Generally, the trek takes around 2 to 3 weeks, covering approximately 177 kilometers (110 miles) round trip.

    • Yes, you do. The Tsum Valley is a restricted area, and trekkers are required to obtain a special restricted area permit. Additionally, you will also need a Manaslu conservation area permit.

    • The Tsum Valley Trek can be moderately challenging due to its remote location, high altitudes, and some steep ascents and descents. Trekkers should be prepared for long days of walking and potential altitude-related challenges.

    • The best time for the trek is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) seasons. During these times, the weather is relatively stable, and the views are clear. However, it's important to be prepared for varying weather conditions at higher altitudes.

    • Accommodation options along the Tsum Valley Trek are quite basic. Tea houses and guesthouses are available in the villages along the route, providing simple rooms and meals. Keep in mind that facilities might be more limited compared to popular trekking routes like the Everest Base Camp or Annapurna Circuit.

    • The guide is mandatory for the Tsum Valley Trek.

    • While prior trekking experience is helpful, it's not mandatory for the Tsum Valley Trek. However, a reasonable level of physical fitness and mental preparation is important due to the trek's duration and varying terrains.

    • Yes, the Tsum Valley is home to people with a strong Tibetan Buddhist culture. Respect for local customs and traditions is important. Always ask for permission before taking photos of people or religious sites, and be mindful of appropriate dress codes when visiting monasteries and other religious places.

    • You need all the basic trekking equipment like other treks in Nepal. For more details, please go through our trekking gear checklist here https://nepaltrekkingexperts.com/blog/nepal-trekking-gear-packing-list

    7Travelers' Reviews
    • TripAdvisor
      rating star

      16 Days to the Tsum Valley, off the tourist trail

      Tsum Valley Trek

      From the very first email with Raj at Nepal Trekking Experts to the last goodbye, every part of our experience surpassed our expectations.

      We wanted to go on a cultural tour, with some challenge, but mostly to learn about this beautiful and remote valley. As Raj is from the district, he suggested we take the upper route to Tsum and it couldn't have been a more perfect suggestion. Our trip lasted for 16 days and the whole journey was spent in local homes. eating extrodinary food and being treated like family.

      There is no question, you have to take the upper route to the Tsum Valley or you are missing a hugely special part of the trip.

      We were granted the extrodinary gift of having Thakur as our Guide and Kritam as our porter for the journey. Thakur's knowledge was unsurpassable and Kritam's ability to get to to know you and your wishes was such a special touch. We felt so well cared for. Every day we were invited to discuss the day ahead and any adaptations we wanted to make along the way. We felt utterly taken care of and at the same time, felt we could make the trip our own. The equipement we rented, puffy jackets and sleeping bags were excellent quality and kept us warm in the cold nights.

      To get to the top of the Tsum Valley to Mu Gompa is an experience you will never forget. The atmosphere is like nowhere else in the world, the views breathtaking and the peace of the valley palpable. To go at the end of December was a gift as it was so quiet and exclusive. We were lucky enough to witness the Mane Festival in Runchet and on New years eve we stayed in Machhakhola Bazar and got to enjoy a local yearly celebration.

      This trip is not to be missed and you will feel a deep sense of peace after leaving the valley which will always stay with you.

      Nepal Trekking Experts is the company to choose as they are from the local area, have unique places to stay off the tourist route and can help you deeply connect with the people and the nature. We wouldn't want to choose anyone else.

      J
      JessJan 03, 2024United Kingdom
    • TripAdvisor
      rating star

      An amazing experience.

      Apr 2023

      6 of us (older but fit, experienced bushwalkers) did the Tsum Valley Trek managed and led by the excellent Nepal Trekking Experts.
      The director Raj had been so helpful and efficient in organizing the trek and allowing flexibility and a visit to Gorkha afterwards. The travel arrangements from pick up at the airport, to and from trek locations and the final departure went smoothly, (with some unforgettable four-wheel driving.)
      Raj is very experienced and was happy to spend time with us answering questions and discussing the details of what we should pack. I will certainly choose this company again if I return to Nepal.
      We were very fortunate in having Ram as our guide. He is an experienced guide who is familiar with many of the treks and the people who live along them. He is very knowledgeable and endlessly patient kind and gentle. He never tired of answering our questions and sharing his knowledge. Any issues were smoothed out with his good people skills and consideration of everyone's health, safety and enjoyment. I cannot recommend Ram enough as a guide.
      Our group was accompanied by 3 porters: Chhwang, Tej and Uttam. They kept us company along the way. Despite carrying their heavy load, they often stopped or turned back to provide assistance if needed, for example crossing the river or difficult terrain. Chhwang was always aware of what was going on, he likes to be funny , perhaps one day he will be a guide too. Tej walked so fast he was often ahead but would put bags down and return to help if he thought it would be necessary. Uttam was cheerful and again always looking to help.
      2 of us had birthdays during the trek and our guide and porter team made us a surprise birthday cake! finding the ingredients for a delicious cake where we were staying. The atmosphere on the trek was relaxed and good humoured with everyone getting on well.
      The Tsum valley trek is so beautiful. We had view of mountains, (Shringi Himal, Ganesh Himal) pine forests, river, birds, mules and yaks) The scenery is spectacular. We also enjoyed our experience of Nepali life in the accommodation, stops along the way and pressing ourselves against the sides of the mountains when the hard-working mules passed us.
      Higher up the valley we visited beautiful isolated temples and a Nunnery. Along the trails we passed many stone monuments with ancient, engraved writing.
      A beautiful trek, both with regard to scenery and local culture. Thank you Nepal Trekking Experts.

      A
      Ann BMay 21, 2023Australia
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