- Annapurna Trekking Packages
- Manaslu Trekking Packages
- Upper Mustang Trekking
- Day Tours
While the lush roundabout trek of Mt. Manaslu itself is a tranquil and splendid trail– full of evocative and exquisite Himalayan landscapes (especially at Larkya La pass)– the side-trip to Tsum Valley, a beyul with a cultural history of non-violence prevalent still to the day, has emerged as the new hiking sensation.
One day, two fearless trekkers, like you and me, stumbled across a less traversed trail on their hike to the base of Mt. Manaslu (that’s the eight tallest peak of the world, standing on Nepal). Caught in the stupor of adventure, they flung themselves to this lush path, heedless of their limited ration and the irksome flies. Later they blessed themselves for being reckless since they had discovered the Garden of Eden itself.
Yes, my friend, the hidden Tsum valley is, without doubt, a piece of paradise on Earth. Its gate has been opened for the outside world since the late 2007 (the community people prioritize ‘homestay’ for the visitors). The word ‘Tsum’ translates to ‘vivid’ literally and realistically!
Myth, and the hospitable inhabitants of the Tsum, calls their valley a Beyul, which translated to plain English is a refuge, blessed by the great Guru Rinpoche, aka Padmasambhava. If you hear of any world-ending prophecies or seek spiritual release, then this is the place you should run to. Do not forget to pick up your loved ones on the way. After all, even Adam felt lonely in Eden.
Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu / Check into Hotel (O/N)
Welcome to Nepal. Our guide will escort you from Tribhuvan International Airport to the hotel, where you will spend the rest of the day in leisure, getting over the flight sickness, if any, and acclimatizing to the environment of Kathmandu.
Day 02: Kathmandu Sightseeing/Shopping (O/N)
Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, is famous for its world heritage sites like the Durbar Square, the Swayambhunath Stupa, Pashupatinath, and such other religious monuments expressing the excellence of Nepali art and culture. Follow our guide through a brief tour of Kathmandu, shopping on the way.
Day 03: Drive from Kathmandu to Aruhgat (7 to 10 hours) (O/N)
Brace yourself for a long drive –7 hours, if traffic permits (jeeps are faster, but costlier)– from Kathmandu to Arughat Bazaar (translates to “marketplace” in simple language). The first part of the journey takes you via a smooth highway but then we steer towards Arughat through the rough path of Gorkha. Alternative courses are possible.
Day 4: Arughat to Soti Khola (5 hrs) (O/N)
Leave the luxury of vehicles and get your legs moving. From this point on, your actual trekking commences. We will be walking across little villages of Gurung and Magar ethnics and through terraced fields, tucked on the hills against the backdrop of beautiful mountains.
Stick to the left bank of Budi Gandaki river, and climb upstream through the wild trails until you reach Soti Khola (710m).
Day 5: Soti Khola to Machha Khola (4-5hrs) (O/N)
We will continue our trek through sal forests and open tracks, emerging at Lapubeshi (880m), and then chasing the trail upstream, along Budi Gandaki. We will pass Machhakhola (at around 930m) on the way. Expect a good many uphill and downhill climbs, and do watch out for our ape cousins (they might throw rocks at you for good luck).
Day 6: Machha Khola to Jagat (5 to 6hrs) (O/N)
Resuming the trail, we will soon arrive at Khorlabeshi (960m; few houses, since ravaged by a devastating rockslide over two decades ago; a survivor, though, has built a botanic garden there and runs a lodge amongst others, where you would be offered an organic coffee). Resume the trail, climbing up and down along a few ridges, and you will shortly arrive at Tatopani (930m; look forward to a refreshing bath through a hot spring).
After crossing the Budi Gandaki river over a suspension bridge, we would be standing on Doban (1000m), and then we will head towards Thulodhhunga (translates to ‘big rock’; incredible view of wild gorges). We will continue upwards to another suspension bridge over Yaru Khola (at 1363m), stepping on Yaru (1140m), and then continuing up and down across the hill towards the Gurung village of Jagat (1410m).
Day 7: Jagat to Lokpa (O/N)
Your permits will be checked at Jagat before you move on along a rocky ridge towards Salleri (1440m; keep your camera ready to capture Sringi Himal, 7187m, in its splendor). The downhill trail will then bring you to the Buddhism-infused environment of Setibas or Sirdibas (1430m). Resume the upstream trail, and switch to Budi Gandaki’s other bank by crossing another long suspension bridge. Finally, an uphill climb next will release you into the prosperous Gurung village of Philim (1590m; lush fields, shops, lodges and a camping area).
We will leave Philim and chase the trail through lovely forests, stopping here and there to catch a splendid view of the lush valley. An hour-long climb will get us to Ekle Bhatti (1600m; contrary to the name which means ‘lone hotel’, several teashops have sprung open). We will continue along, savoring the view of a picturesque gorge, walk across poignant pine trees, and descent down to a junction.
Ignore the left trail (it goes to Ghap), and move along the right trail, which opens to the lovely Tsum Valley.
Rhododendron flowers blossom along the way and pine trees escort you as you tentatively maneuver through rough paths, and come upon the fine sight of the lower Tsum valley. Stride gently across the Budi Gandaki, and walk into a tranquil forest, emerging onto Lokpa (2240m).
Day 8: Lokpa to Chumling (O/N)
Further up, expect a few more bridges and forests, not to mention steep climbs. Resume the trail towards Ghumlong (2130m), Ripchet (2470m), and maneuver gently across a dizzying wooden bridge (don’t fall down). Shortly you will emerge onto the scenic stone streets of Chumling, with its lovely orchards, gompas and traditional houses (there’s a clinic too).
Day 9: Chumling to Chhemkampar or Chhokang Paro (4-5hrs) (O/N)
Another more suspension bridge to cross, some fields to walk across, a forest to make way through, little hamlets to leave your footprints behind, and then another river (Serpu Khola) to cross by, hours of climb up and down, and you will then arrive to the rough path going to Upper Tsum. At 3031m altitude, you will find yourself in Chhokang-Paro – it’s a conjoined village of two villages, Chhokang and Paro. The valley opens up to a delightful scene of stone houses, spacious fields and, if the weather permits, an exquisite view of Himalchuli peak (7893m).
To avoid becoming the victim of Altitude Sickness (which would ruin our exciting trip), we would spend the night here. Explore the village; there are histories and mysteries (have you watched ‘Unmistaken Child’ yet?) here worth surveying.
Day 10: Chhokang Paro to Nile (3-4hrs) (O/N)
The treks from here on would be short and sweet, just 3 hours (Yay!).
We will leave behind little villages, and walk along ridges, with chortens astride them, arriving onto the Lamagaon, which we shall leave behind on the way to see the Rachen Gompa (3240m; superb accommodation for pilgrims). You should visit Milarepa’s Cave (the place of meditation of the saint who brought Buddhism to Tibet).
Another suspension bridge, a few more villages (Phurbe and Pangdun), a Buddhist Stupa, a spectacular entrance gate to a large village, Chhule (3347m), another bridge, and a climb will bring you to Nile (3361m, its pronounced Nee-lay, and has accommodation facilities, actually a comfortable homestay plan, with toilet facilities too, which is a recent development).
Day 11: Nile to Mu Gompa (1-2hrs) (O/N)
For breakfast, try the Tibetan butter tea and tsampa. We are then to visit Mu Gompa (3700m; a large monastery where over 100 monks live), and maybe some other monasteries too including the secluded Dhephu Doma nunnery (3900m). Keep your camera ready for incredible mountain vistas.
Day 12: Rest Day (O/N)
This day, like the previous one, is largely meant for acclimatizing to the environment. You could go on and climb Kalung or, more preferably, Bhajyo (4030m)– excellent standpoint for a glance into Tibet; the view of Ngula Dhojyang pass and the Yamdro glaciers are worth the day-trip.
Day 13: Mu Gompa to Rachen Gompa (3 to 4hrs) (O/N)
We are not trying to convert you into a monk or anything but the mountain treks mostly end up from one monastery to another. So, we stick along the Siyar Khola, which opens up to a valley, wherein the largest nunnery of the region, Rachen Gompa, stands from 1905 AD.
Day 14: Rachen Gompa to Chumling (3 to 4hrs) (O/N)
We begin by chasing the trail to the south, and cross a bridge to the west bank of the river, arriving once again at Chhokang Paro, and retracing our steps back to Chumling.
Day 15: Chumling to Deng (O/N)
We steer ourselves towards a small gompa at Gho (2485m) and maneuver across the Siyar Khola by a wooden bridge, emerging at Domje (2640m). And then, follow the path to Ripchet, and retrace the trail back towards Lokpa (you have already been here; check ‘Day 7’ for flashback).
We move further back, retracing our footsteps back ‘towards’ the direction of, but not all along to, Philim. This time we make for Ghap, which requires us to chase the trail to Nupri (aka the western mountains), to the small settlement of Deng (1800m).
Day 16: Deng to Ghap (4-5hrs) (O/N)
From Deng, we ascend to Lana or Rana (1980m) village, traverse the Bihi Phedi all along to the Bihi village (2130m; the village is know for its stone-carving artisans). In about 4 hours, we will arrive onto the village of Ghap (2160m) with its flair of mani walls and prayer flags.
Day 17: Ghap to Lho Gaon (5-6hrs) (O/N)
Expect a pleasant walk through fir and pine forests, switching between the banks of Budi Gandaki river at least three times. At length, we will reach the Namrung village, above which are pastures and a large stream (originating from Lidanda Glaciers) to cross over on our route. We will pass the Sho village, perched at the altitude of 3000m (provides spectacular views of Manaslu), and then trample on through gullies to reach our destination for the day – Lho Gaon (3150m).
Day 18: Lho Gaon to Sama Gaon (2-3hrs) (O/N)
Once again, we pick up the tortoise’s gait to safeguard us against the altitude sickness. This short trek will take us to Shyala, which yields an unrestricted all-around view of the Himalayan mountains; Manaslu, Himal Chuli, Peak 29 pose gracefully amongst other lovely snow peaks. Once your photography zeal abates, we can then continue towards Sama Gaon. We might camp here or move half an hour further to the edge of the village, where Sama monastery stands facing the valley.
Day 19: Rest Day (Visit around Manaslu Base Camp and Birendra taal) (O/N)
The highlight of the day is Manaslu Base Camp (4200m), which will take about 3 hours to reach from Sama Gaon. Leave your rucksack at the lodge in Sama Gaon. Just take your camera. After all, you would be standing on the base of the eight highest peak of the world, and you would certainly wish to shoot some pictures of you and your partner (and maybe our guide too) for memory.
Return back to Sama Gaon for a good night’s sleep.
Day 20: Sama Gaon to Samdo (3-4hrs) (O/N)
From Sama Gompa, a little further up is Samdo (3860m), the pleasant forest residing near the border of Tibet. Here we take out our cameras again and shoot some nice pictures of the mountains surrounding us. Enjoy the day acclimatizing to the altitude.
Day 21: Samdo to Dharmasala (3-4hrs) (O/N)
What was once a mighty river now dwindles to a narrow stream, and we ascend upstream along this BuriGandaki stream to Sumdu, probably the last thriving village on our trail. Next is some sort of a ruined marketplace called Larkya Bazaar. And further up at an altitude of 4450m, we hit the Larkya Lodge, aka the Dharmasala, for travelers to rest and spy about for the footprints of the glamorous snow leopards.
Day 22: Dharmasala to Larkya La pass and Trek to Bhimtang (7-9hrs) (O/N)
The major highlight of the day is Larkya La pass (5213m). There’s a trail snaking up from Dharmasala, which opens onto an ablation valley presenting stunning views of the Larkya Peak. The trail gets steep thereon, as we maneuver through the moraines to the Larkya La pass, an excellent standpoint from where we can capture incredible pictures of Annapurna II, Cheo Himal, Kang Guru, Himlung among other snowcapped mountain peaks.
We resume walking leisurely through snow and moraines, arriving at the lovely forest area of Tanbuche. A descent afterwards would bring us to Bimthang (3590m), an ablation valley composed of nothing but abandoned homes and Buddhist prayer rocks.
Day 23: Bhimtang to Goa (O/N)
We shall traverse the pasture land of Bhimtang, making way to a lateral moraine, which offers a splendid panorama of the surrounding mountain peaks. So, take out your camera and capture the majestic vista of Manaslu North, Purdi Himal, Naike Peak and Peak 29 looming across one horizon while the other horizon appears equally photo-worthy with Himlung, Nemjung, Mt Punkar and Cheo Himal.
Back to the trail, we descend towards a bridge at Dudh Khola, walk across the blossom of rhododendron flowers, leave Karche in our wake, submit to a checking at Thonje village, cross the Marsyangdi river, join other trekkers of the Annapurna circuit and spend the night at Goa.
Day 24: Goa to Tal (O/N)
What once used to be a pristine lake now has faded away leaving a beautiful valley. Tal, once a lake, is now a village. We will be trekking from Goa to Tal village.
Day 25: Tal to Ghermu Phant (O/N)
From Tal, our long route takes us through steep valley sides of the Himalayan range, tucked between the Manaslu and Annapurna range. We stop at Ghermu Phant.
Day 26: Ghermu Phant to Bhulbhule and drive to Besisahar (O/N)
A suspension bridge will get us to the east bank of Marsyangdi Khola, Then, there’s this short climb up to Bahundanda, a climb down to Ngadi, and then to the paddy fields of Bulebhule. From Bhulebhule, the trail becomes easy, with no hills and steep landscapes, as we move to Besisahar.
Day 27: Drive back to Kathmandu (O/N)
Sit back, and enjoy the 7-hour-long ride back to Kathmandu, where you can spend the rest of the day in leisure or do last minute shopping until your departure. Namaste!
Note: This Itenerary includes Tsum Valley with Full Manaslu Circuit. You can choose to only trek to Tsum valley and return. Please contact us for more information.