Manaslu Tsum Valley Trek
- Country: Nepal
Tsum valley is one of the fascinating places in Nepal to look out. It’s a trekking route basically and follows the Manaslu trek route. It is also known as hidden valley. It’s a land of monasteries and hamlets with dominantly Tibetan population residing on the northern part of Manaslu on the Nepal-Tibet border. It was a restricted area until 2008. Nepal being a country dominated by Hindus, this place, in contrary is dominated by Buddhists. Before, Tsum used to be an isolated area different from both Nepal and Tibet.
The Tsum people have their own lifestyle and ambience. The cultural belief and tradition is also very peculiar in this place. A practice of polyandry is very famous in this place as all the brothers are married to a single daughter. The Tsum Valley and Manaslu area is full of imminent mountains, passes, deep gorges, hamlets, gompas, chortens, and mani walls.The trek to Tsum Valley takes you into the breath taking surroundings of the Ganesh Himal, Sringi Himal, and Boudha Himal ranges. The place is really beautiful as we can see lots of mountainous ranges and feel the tranquility. The trek is also a beautiful journey as we pass through the dense forests of alpine, glaciers and enjoy the warm hospitality of ethnic people. We can also visit the places like the Milarepa's Cave, Rachen gompa, Mu Gompa. Tsum valley. There’s another belief that Tsum Valley, also called "beyul" which means that people can take refuge at times of political disturbance. It also means that the place is a perfect one to practice Buddhism safely.
The place is still being researched and explored as its one of the best places for those people who are very passionate about travelling. It is also believed that the Buddhist saint Milarepa is believed to be meditated in the caves of these mountains. The tribes here celebrate many Buddhist rituals and festivals, hence this place has been the hub for Buddhist followers. This place is located in a geographically difficult place so it has been lagging behind the modern world but the place is famous for its own typical culture, social norms and values. This place is an amalgam of peace, tranquility in addition to the religion that promotes peace in every possible way.
Day 1: Kathmandu to Arughat
We begin our journey by taking direct bus from Kathmandu to Arughat (Gongabu Bus Park). At Arughat, a pleasant market town straddling the Budhi Gandaki river a walk through the town, cross the suspension bridge, and stay at the Manaslu Hotel as its one of the highly recommended hotel to stay at this place.
Day 2: Arughat to Lapubesi
A jeep is taken to Soti Khola and the road has less traffics and passes through wonderful fields and villages. The climate is hot and humid, so wet rice, maize and millet are the dominant crops and we can see monkeys in the forests. The spotless Manaslu Lodge and the Market View Lodge at the busy bazaar town of Arkhet could probably be your first night if you arrive early enough from Kathmandu. Climb on stairs as the valley becomes wilder, prettier and narrower and descend to Soti Khola. Overnight at Lapubesi.
Day 3. Lapubesi to Tatopani
Today, we continue through the gravel riverbed and across the Machhakhola. We can encounter frequent ups and downs ahead. The place is inhabited by Gurungs as we can see lots of Gurung villages. There’s a botanical garden and nice lodge as well. We continue up and down over a couple of ridges to Tatopani which is at an altitude of 930m where there are hot water spouts that provide a delightful evening shower and it’s quite beneficial from dermatological point of view. The place is very peaceful and you can really have your time.
Day 4: Tatopani to Philim
After breakfast, we start our journey for the day. We climb over the ridge and cross the Budi Gandaki on a new suspension bridge. After a landslip and Yaruphant we cross the bridge across the Yaru Khola and emerge onto riverflats at Yaru for some meal at the hotel. We walk up the riverbed then climb over a rocky ridge to Salleri. The Himal is at the altitude of 7087m. We have to descend to Sirdibas and pass through Ghatekhola finally reaching Philim Gaun. Overnight at Philim gaun.
Day 5. Philim to Chumling
We can see a wonderful trek route from now on. First of all, we traverse north out of Philim on the obvious track signposted to the Larkya La, through some pretty forest with views up the narrowing valley. This area is basically the area of pine trees where you can’t see any inhabitants. Across the Budi Gandaki is Himalchuli above steep cliffs. We walk through a largely peaceful dense temperate forest into Lokpa which is surrounded by barely fields. Actually this place is known for camp fire. We walk along towards Chumling for overnight.
Day 6. Chumling to Chhokang-Paro
We commence our day by walking across the suspension bridge and traversing through rich farming land of maize and potatoes. The houses are classic Tibetan. We cross a slip where rocks and flood cleared the area even up onto the opposite bank which is covered with a forest of new trees. Up the valley to the east is the superb view of the Ganesh Himal. Overnight at Chhokang-Paro.
Day 7: Chhokang-Paro to Nile
Today we head east through small villages and past a local school, climb over a ridge and visit Milarepa’s cave there which is related to Tibetian culture. Now we cross the Shiyar Khola and then pass through Phurbe and Pangdun and pass an unusual round stupa before reaching the larger village of Chhule (3347m) through a wonderful entrance gate. There is a facility of homestay in Chhule. The people there wear a dress called Chuba made up of yak’s skin. Overnight at Nile.
Day 8: Nile to Mu Gompa
Now we have two options. We can now visit Mu Gompa as a day trip, continuing on to Rachen Gompa or Chhokang-Paro or stay overnight in Mu Gompa and visit the isolated Dhephu Doma nunnery and gompa and even climb above it for great views. The final climb up to the large Mu Gompa (3700m) is through dry Tibetan country with widening mountain ranges.
Day 9: Mu Gompa to Rachen Gompa
Continuing our trip ahead, we return down valley through Chhule and continue down as far as Phurbe. We should stay on the east bank of the Siyar Khola and then cross plains following to Rachen Gompa (3240m). From this place, we are able to inspect the gompa families. It’s a family which has at least one monk or nun.
Day 10. Rachen Gompa to Gumba Lungdang
It’s the 10th day and we have to make it to Gumba Lungdang. We continue south until a bridge crosses to the west bank and pass again through Chhokang Paro then drop below on the previous trail towards Chumling. After about 2hrs, we can see a small white gompa on the left at Ghoa and then we descend on a narrow trail passing the gompa on our left and drop to a wooden bridge over the Sarpu Khola and walk to Gumba Lungdang for the night.
Day 11. Day trip to Ganesh Himal Base Camp
This is going to be the outstanding trip now. We circle from the gompa through a white gateway and below the nuns’ house, and traverse through forest on a passable track with a lot of wind-thrown trees for about 30mins and then cross the Laudang Khola. Now we climb steeply for 30mins through pristine pines and rhododendrons on a ridge and finally emerging into grassy place behind the lateral moraine of the Toro gumba glacier. We explore around the Ganesh Himal basecamp and return back to Lungdang for overnight homestay.
Day 12. Gumba Lungdang to Lokpa
Now ywe have to descend to Domje, where there are no lodges. We cross the Laudang Khola on a new swing bridge between the two lowest houses in Domje and stay on the south bank of the Siyar Khola. We descend on steep loose stairs to the deserted Bhatti Ghumlong (2130m) on the river, which we passed through some days ago. We climb again through the pristine temperate forest to Lokpa for overnight stay.
Day 13: Lokpa to Ghap
Now you have to continue from Lokpa down the exposed track until the track from Philim comes in from the left. We turn right and cross the Budi Gandaki on a solid bridge after about an hour and traverse to a welcome Bhatti just around then enter a very narrow gorge with loose tracks where we get many ups and down. Overnight at Ghap.
Day 14: Ghap to Lho
We enter a dense amazing forest of fir and rhododendron with many birds, staying on the south bank, cross north on a wooden bridge. There’s a highly recommended narrow shortcut to the right just after the bridge and along the riverbank and through superb pine forest. After about an hour climb, a zigzag from the river to the neat village of Namrung (2660m) with shops and restaurants. We keep on forward as long as we stop for overnight at Lho.
Day 15: Lho to Samagaon
Actually this is going to be a very short day and it takes us into the mountains with time to enjoy and acclimatize. The views of Manaslu are stupendous. There is an easy walk to Shyala (3520m, Syal, Syalagaon, Shyaula) up a pine and rhododendron gully with moss and a clear stream. Another easy hour to the large village of Sama losing the gigantic views of Manaslu but entering a world of yaks, pastures and houses which seem to have grown from the stones.
Day 16: Explore Samagaon
Today, we will spend a day for acclimatization. So, we will explore around Samagaon by visiting the Birendra Tal, Monastery and the local town. We can go hiking upto the Manaslu Base camp or Pungeon Gompa which takes about 5-6 hours.
Day 17: Samagaon to Samdo
Our course passes the juniper and birch woodlands and the stone cabin of Kermo Kharka today. Trekking further for a few hours, we eventully reach at Samdo where we remain overnight.
Day 18: Samdo to Dharamsala
Today, we slide on a wide and delicate trail from Samdo. We go through a stone passage. We climb delicately over the colossal Larkya Glacier and get to the edge where there is a perspective to the edge of an enormous gorge. We achieve Dharmasala subsequent to trekking for a few hours. We remain overnight at a neighborhood guesthouse in Dharmasala.
Day 19: Dharamsala to Bimthang
Today, we leave Dharmasala crossing a few moraines. We drop past four frozen lakes and reach Larkya La from where we can witness the perspectives of Himlung Himal (7126m) and others including Annapurna II, Gyaji Kung, Cheo Himal, and Kang Guru. We additionally plummet along the moraine to a grassy land called Bhimtang where we remain overnight.
Day 20: Bimthang to Tiliche
Our trail today drops from Bhimtang and crosses an icy stream. We then drop into a wonderful forest of pine and rhododendron to Hompuk. Passing further, we come to the fenced field of Karache and to the town of Gho. Tiliche is nearby, where we spend overnight.
Day 21: Tiliche to Chyamje
Today, our trail drops down and goes through a few fields, houses, and woodlands of rhododendron and oak. We descend down through a forest and achieve Dharapani. Trekking for quite a while, we in the end reach at Chyamje, where we remain overnight. Chyamje marks the finish of our trek.
Day 22: Chyamje to Kathmandu
Today, in the morning, we drive back to Kathmandu from Chyamje. It takes about 7 hours to reach Kathmandu. We will have dinner together in the evening at a sophisticated hotel.
Day 23: Farewell
Our trip arrives at an end gathering some great experience together and memories to convey back to your nation. We will escort you to the airport to say goodbye and would like to meet again soon for the next adventure.