Tsum Valley and Manaslu Trek is a 20-day-long trip that combines trekking around the foothills of world’s eighth highest mountain, Mt. Manaslu (8,156m) with a side trip to Tsum Valley, a traditionally intact Buddhist region devoid of modern civilization. The Tsum Valley (pronounced ‘Chum’) is one of the world’s most secluded Himalayan valleys; it was a restricted area until 2008. Also known as the Beyul Kyimolung, the hidden valley of happiness as described first by Guru Rinpoche in the 8th century, Tsum still houses centuries old nunneries and ancient holy caves.
This secret Tibetan Buddhist land was a separate area that didn’t belong to Nepal or Tibet. Even though a part of Nepal now, Tsum Valley with its Tibetan Buddhism is a different world altogether. Only a handful of travelers make it to the high and mystic valley each year. Tsum comes from Tibetan word ‘Tsombo’ which means vivid, rightly so! The valley was an important trade link with Tibet and Tsumbas or the people of Tsum Valley still trade to the north; they also have their own ancient form of dialect, culture, art, and religion.
In Tsumbas culture, all the brothers in a family marry a single girl. They have been practicing polyandry for centuries. Not only their culture but the trails leading to the region are unique, less beaten and surprising as well. Tsum Valley and Manaslu Trek is a challenging but at the same time splendidly rewarding experience. The landscape here is stunning with ancient looking countryside overshadowed by Ganesh Himal towering above and beautiful forests on the foothills. Ganesh Himal, Shringi Himal and Boudha Himal ranges sneak out and beyond throughout most parts of the Tsum Valley and Manaslu trek, it is indeed a Great Himalayan Trail.
The trek starts and ends at Arughat, a highway town seven hours away from Kathmandu. We follow the trail of raging Budhi Gandaki River for the first four days since starting the trek from Arughat. Passing the villages of Soti Khola (710m), Machha Khola (900m), Phillim (1,590m), Ripchet (2,470m) and Nile/Chule (3,360m), we traverse into the fascinating land of Tsum valley as we head for MuGompa (3,700m). We spend around 5-6 days in the ‘’valley of happiness’’ visiting centuries-old Buddhist monasteries at Mu Gompa and Rachen Gompa in which there are nuns of the Ngak-pa sect, nunneries like Gumba Lungdang where they welcome trekkers at the evening puja, and strolling through the spellbindingly gorgeous landscapes.
One of the major highlights of Tsum Valley and Manaslu Trek-20 Days is the climb up to the Larkya La ( a high mountain pass) at 5220m which offers views of Kang Guru, Cheo Himal, Himlung Himal and Annapurna massif. We take an acclimatization rest at Samagaon before climbing up the Larkya Pass. Tsum Valley and most of Manaslu region practice Buddhism which bans hunting, thus the wildlife here is untouched. You can come across the Himalayan Tahrs, Bharal (Himalayan Blue Sheep) and snow leopards among other animals.
From Larkya La, our trailheads gradually down to meet the Annapurna Circuit Trail at Tilije, we then trek to Chamje and take a bus to Kathmandu from there onwards. Trekkers also have the option to instead break down the Tsum Valley and Manaslu Trek-20 days to Manaslu Circuit Trek-18 Days or Tsum Valley Trek-19 Days to explore the regions thoroughly. For those interested in exploring the less beaten trekking paths in Nepal, Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek is another great option. Join Adventure Club Trek’s Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek-24 days to live the experience.
Upon your arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, a representative from Adventure Club trek will receive you and take you to your hotel; you can instead choose to visit our office as well. Take ample rest and wear off the jet-lag as you have a welcome dinner from the company in the evening. Overnight at a hotel in Kathmandu.
Today, we go on a sightseeing tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the city. We start the program after breakfast, first visiting the sacred Hindu temple of Pashupatinath. Though non-Hindus are not allowed inside the main premises of the temple we are allowed to visit the cremation site and surrounding areas. We then head to Boudhanath, considered one of the largest stupas in Asia due to the massive mandala that surrounds the main dome. The smell of Himalayan incense and locals doing kora(making clockwise rounds of the stupa) gives you a little insight on Buddhist culture. Our next stop is Swayambhunath also known as the Monkey Temple, located on top of a hill. The stupa is similar to Boudhanath, but here the stupa is surrounded by many temples and shrines. Some of the temples date back to the medieval Lichchhavi period. Our final stop is Kathmandu Durbar square which is a fine example of Newari architecture. The premises of the Durbar square house many temples and royal palaces, however, most of the temples and building were destroyed by the 2015 earthquake and are being renovated. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Let the adventure begin! Your guide will pick you up from your hotel at 6:30 in the morning, and we will set on a 9 hour-long journey from Kathmandu to Soti Khola via Arughat. Overnight in a lodge in Arughat.
Our destination for today is Machha Khola. We pass varied landscape through swirling narrow rocky trails, waterfalls and picturesque Gurung village of Labubesi before we finally arrive at Machha Khola. Overnight in a guesthouse in Machha Khola.
We head out of Machha Khola crossing a log bridge which leads us to the trail we follow hereafter. We keep on the steep-narrow path with numerous ascents and descents until coming across a Gurung village called Kharlabesi(970m).We also pass the Gurung village of Tatopani and then trek past Yuru Khola and Dobhan to arrive at Jagat, a village known as the gateway to Manaslu Conservation Area Project(MCAP). From Jagat, we descend towards a huge suspension bridge after crossing which our trail becomes a steep upward climb. We pass many waterfalls, and with views of Chamar Peak of the Siringi Himal range along the way, we come across the Buddhist village called Sirdibas. We pass the village and head down towards Ghatte Khola (water mill), a functioning mill used by locals to mill corn. Then, we cross a mountain stream followed by a steep climb up a ridge leading to a suspension bridge. On the other side of the bridge is the Gurung village of Philim. Overnight in a guesthouse at Philim.
We leave Philim and head north to which the magnificent views of the narrowing valley welcome us. Ekle Bhatti (Nepali translation: Single (only/alone) lodge) brings us to cross a gorge after which the trail leads into a pine forest. We descend towards Tsum Valley and again climb up through pine and rhododendron forest enjoying the views of Himalchuli Mountains through the gaps in the trees. We pass the village of Lokpa and continue north again through pine and rhododendron forest. We make final descend towards Ghumlong from where it is an uphill climb towards Ripchet. Overnight in a guesthouse in Ripchet.
A short walk from Ripchet brings us to Shiar Khola and upon crossing the river we reach Chumling. Heading forward, we cross a suspension bridge and pass by Rainjham and Serpu Khola. Along the way, we are awarded the spectacular views of Ganesh Himal (7,422m). The trail now climbs up towards the village of Chhokangparo. If the weather permits, we will witness the mesmerizing views of Himalchuli (6,441m). We continue to ascend from Chokhangparo to arrive at Lamagaon. Then, we pass Rachen Gompa and climb up towards Milarepa Cave also known as Piren Phu(Pigeons Cave). The cave is named after Tibetan saint Milarepa who used it as a meditation spot. Inside the cave footsteps of Milarepa are seen carved on the rocks along with painted murals and artistic scripts. Two gompas surround the cave which houses the statues of Avalokiteshvara, Buddha, Tara, and Milarepa. After exploring the cave, we cross Shiar Khola and walk pass the villages of Phurbe and Pangdum. Continuing through the village of Chhule (Chu le means water side), we come across a bridge which hosts the village of Nile(Nyi Le means sun-side) on the other side. These are the last villages in Tsum Valley. Overnight at the Nile.
Today, we are heading to Mu Gompa, one of the furthest settlements in Tsum Valley. We start off by heading north towards the Tibetan border on a trail that strictly sticks to the left side of the river. The last few hours before we reach Mu Gompa are the most challenging as the trail is steep and we gain around 400m in altitude. We pass many Mani walls and chortens before crossing a small bridge over a glacial stream. The path then climbs steeply to arrive at Mu Gompa finally. After arriving at Mu Gompa, we visit Dephyudonma Gompa, the oldest gompa in the Tsum Valley and also Mu Gompa, one of the largest monastery in the region.Overnight at Mu Gompa.
We descend back through Nile/Chule and also pass small villages, Phurbe and Pangdum. After crossing the Khugyu Khola, we come across a large school at Lar and past the school is Rachen Gompa. It is locally known as Gompa Rangjung and is affiliated with Kapan Gompa in Kathmandu. Dukpa Rinpoche established it in 1936. The monastery is especially for nuns, providing a young woman with the opportunity to explore greater options than just being a wife and a mother. Overnight in Rachen Gompa.
Today, we descend from around 3000m to 2000m, so it is advised that you maintain a steady speed throughout. Backtracking our footsteps to Lamagaon and Ngakyu, we arrive at Chhokangparo. We descend the same trail we climbed to enter Chumling once again.Further, we climb down to reach Gho(2,485m), a small hamlet, then cross Siyar Khola via a wooden bridge. The trail then goes through a light forest to Domje(2,030m). We retrace our steps back to Ripchet then head towards Lokpa. At this point, we leave behind Tsum Valley and continue further down but not all the way to Philim. We walk for half hour to cross the Budhi Gandaki via a steel bridge and continue towards Tibetan border region. A gradual climb along a wide hillside followed by a path through a thin pine forest brings us across two bridges. The trail continues through dense rhododendron and bamboo forest. As we climb up, we are awarded by fantastic views of Ganesh Himal IV(7,422m). After few hours of walk, we come across riverside camps and teahouse of Pewa. As we continue, we exit a narrow gorge and cross the Dying Khola via a suspension bridge to arrive at Deng. Deng is a part of the lower Nubri region where the language differs from that of the upper Nubri region (Tibetan language). People here speak in kukay, a mix of Tibetan, Burman, and Gurung. This small village offers beautiful views of Ganesh Himal, Lapuchen and Dwijen Himal(6,111m).Overnight at a lodge at Deng.
A short descent leads to a suspension bridge and on the other side is the way to Nupri. A steep climb through Rana village followed by a trail through pine forest leads to another suspension bridge. We cross the bridge to arrive at Bhihi Phedi from where you get to witness the Kutang Himal(8,163m). Hereafter, we get to see many artistic mani stone walls showcasing the Tibetan influence. Crossing the Budhi Gandaki many times followed by many ups and downs and trekking through a gorge, we arrive at Ghap. From Ghap, we pass through rhododendron, fir and oak forest and cross two suspension bridges after which we continue to climb up. There are high chances of spotting Danphes, Nepal’s national bird, and grey langurs along the way. As we climb further up, the skyline fills with views of the mountains. After nearly 5 hours we arrive at Namrung, a Tibetan settlement. Overnight in a lodge in Namrung.
As we ascend from Namrung, the valley opens out to huge barley fields with numerous scarecrows. Next, a climb leads us to the village of Lihi(2,840m), home of two old gompas. A short climb past the village of Lihi, we descend towards Hinang Khola formed by the Hinang and Lanjam Glaciers. We resume our ascent which bestows upon us views of Ngadi Himal as Manaslu north begins to appear in front of us. The Tibetan village of Shyo (3,00m) offers the views of Ngadi Chuli. Then, we set on a short walk downhill until you cross a small stream followed by a climb towards Lho gham. As we near Lho Gham, the climb steepens and along the trail, we pass a new chorten built by the Taiwanese in 2009.
Witness the magnificent Manaslu from Lho Gham. Overnight in a guesthouse in Lho Gham and the morning enjoy the sunrise.
Following the tributary of Budhi Gandaki, our trail continues through fir forest. Then, enjoy a pleasant walk through the forest followed by a short walk towards a plateau and the village named Shyala. While Manasalu and a large glacier is in front of us, Himal Chuli and Peak 29 are to the left, behind us is Ganesh Himal and to the right are other giant peaks. From Shyala we have to cross to bridges over glacial streams and trek through alpine scenery for almost two hours to reach Samagaon. Along the way, we also pass Tibetan style grazing settlements, many kharkas (meadows/pastures) and barley and potato fields.Overnight at Samagaon.
Today is for acclimatization to adjust to the thinning air. We have a long and a short trek planned for the day; you can pick one! If you wish to go for a short trek, you have the options of visiting Pungyen Gompa and Lake Birendra Tal which takes approximately around 4-5 hours. Situated at an altitude of 3,870m, Pungyen Gompa requires having to walk on an icy trail past Numla Khola and Pungyen glacier. An avalanche destroyed the gompa in 1953, and as of now, it has been restored. For those who prefer longer trek can walk up to Manaslu Base Camp and return to Samagaon which takes around 7-8 hours. Overnight in Samagaon.
Our destination for the day is Dharamshala. After a filling breakfast, we head out of Samagaon, and after a short walk, we come across a long mani wall at Kermo Kharka. We stay on the left side of the wall and follow the trail as it descends to Budhi Gandaki. After crossing a small bridge, the path climbs towards the entrance of Samdo. From Samdo, we follow an old trade route to Tibet; the Sherpas used it in the past. The trail requires to cross a small bridge then climb westwards past the Larkya Bazaar ruins. Before the Tibet border closed, the bazaar was packed with traders selling goods from Tibet. As we continue to climb we come across grazing lands, plateaus covered with juniper bushes, rhododendron and linchen to finally reach Dharamshala. Enjoy the view of Manaslu along the way. Overnight in a guesthouse in Dharamshala.
We start early in the morning, and today our trekking poles will come extremely handy on yak tracks. We climb up for a short period to descend to a narrow bottom of the valley. It is a grazing area for blue sheep, marmot, and Tibetan snow-cock. There are chances of spotting snow leopards as well. Upon our arrival at the Larkya Glacier’s north part, views of Cho Danda, Ganesh Peak and Larkya Peak (6,250m) entrall us. We continue on the glacial trail climbing up a small ridge past a frozen lake. We gradually ascend, and the path only steepens on the last section of the pass, Larkya La.
At the top of Larkya La, a 360 degree view of mountains surround you-to the east is Samdo peak and other mountains in Tibet region, Kang Guru(only ridge), Himlung Himal and Cheo Himal rise to the west, and Larkya Peak covers the southeast. Further down the pass, we witness Gyagi Kung and Annapurna II. We descend the pass sticking to the left of Salpudanda glacier moraine. The path gets easier after we get to a flatter surface. We pass a valley filled with azalea bushes and primulas which is followed by a boulder filled trail. We have to walk down a circular path to finally reach Bimtang(plain sand).Overnight in a guesthouse in Bintang.
A pleasant climb to a ridge starts our trek today. The trail continues to a boulder-strewn river, and after crossing it on a wooden bridge, we climb up then down through rhododendron and juniper forests. As we continue our descent, the backside of Manaslu slowly rises in front of us. We follow the glacial river and cross a steel bridge to arrive at Karche. Hereafter, we continue alongside the rocky banks of Dudh Kosi to finally arrive at Tilje.Overnight in a teahouse in Tilije.
Follow the trail along the Dudh Kosi across Bamboo village to reach Dharapani. We then head south on the main Annapurna Circuit trail and cross the Marsyangdi River many times on suspension bridges along the winding cliff side trail which goes through villages like Karte and Tal. From Tal village, we follow the trail on the left bank of the river, and after a short ascent, the path leads to a steep descend through dense forest to yet another suspension bridge. On the other side of the bridge is Chamje. Overnight at Chamje.
From Chamje, we drive back to Besisahar and then change vehicles to get back to Kathmandu. While the drive from Chamje to Besisahar is thrilling-passing through waterfalls on a small winding mountainous road- the drive to Kathmandu is rather pleasing with excellent views of Nepalese countryside. Overnight in a hotel in Kathmandu.
Our 20-day-long exploration of the Tsum Valley and the Manaslu Circuit comes to an end here. A representative from Adventure Club Trek will drop you to the airport in time for your international flight. If you wish to embark on another adventure in Nepal, Adventure Club Trek would be willing to assist.
We organised the trek of 20 days with Birendra before we left Australia. The planning with Birendra was faultless and he met us at the airport.
The guides and porters were reliable, honest and very helpful. The trek was suburb - we had trekked a year earlier to EBC / Three passes also organised with Birendra, and the fact that we used him again is probably the best indication of how we trusted the company.
The trek started 1 December, which is the start of winter. We did have a heavy fall of snow (60-90cm in a day) which prevented us going over the pass and we needed to trek back the way we came - whilst a little disappointing, the trek was far prettier and more interesting than EBC. The trek is predominantly in areas with farming villages, and is not as "touristy" as the Everest valley. There is also a better mix of forest, waterfalls, mountains, wildlife, and local culture as it has a bigger range of altitude.
Surprisingly, the accommodation / teahouses was superior to the Everest valley as well, and the day to day snacks and drinks were better priced as well.
We had a case of altitude sickness, and the support provided by Birendra, and his guides in managing the issue, getting them to lower ground, and shuffling the itinerary was without any trouble and what could have been a major problem was just a part of the adventure. The weather temperatures were much more comfortable than we expected given the time of year - other than for the two snowing days, the daytime temperatures were comfortable in T Shirt. At night it would not have been colder than -10C. Eight of us travelled, ranging in age from 14 to 50. The trek was very doable for all.
Note: Your safety is of the utmost concern whilst you are traveling with Adventure Club Trek. We will make every effort possible to follow the original itinerary but we reserve the right to change that itinerary if a segment of it becomes a safety issue. Certain mountain regions are remote, natural disasters can happen, weather conditions can decline and there can be illness or an injury. To avoid dangerous situations we may occasionally have to make changes to the itinerary to ensure everyone’s safety. That having been said, Adventure Club Trek will strive to provide you with the best possible trekking experience and to keep your safety our number one priority. We thank you for your understanding.
Prior to all the treks and expeditions, Adventure Club Trek hosts a pre-trip meeting in Kathmandu. The primary purpose of the meeting is to provide an opportunity for individuals to ask questions about the forthcoming trek and to introduce other team members. The meeting covers topics as diverse as personal equipment and acclimatization and usually involves a hike and some skills training. Pre-trip meeting is very important in order to have a better preparation of the trekking.
The quoted costs are per person but don't include International flights if you are a single person and want to be in a group you can join our fixed departure schedule if the schedule dates are not suitable for you, please contact us, and we will be happy to customize our trips to suit your needs. If any individuals/group don't want to join our other group, we can comply with your wishes and requirements. We are ground operators Himalayan destinations and can arrange your trip to suit your dates and choices.