Tsum Valley is one of the remote area and is hidden gems of Nepal. Tsum Valley is known as the Beyul Kyimolung, the holy hidden valley of happiness, first described by Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava) in the eighth century. Milarepa meditated in the caves of Piren Phu and there are centuries old nunneries. The Tibetan Buddhist culture is still very widespread in Tsum valley and the scenery is very stunning, with beautiful forests and countryside, with Ganesh Himal towering above the valley. Tsum comes from the Tibetan word ‘Tsombo’, which means vivid and after visiting Tsum, you can only agree.
Many people combine the Tsum Valley trek with the Manaslu Circuit or round trek, starting in Arughat Bazaar and ending in Besisahar, which is also the starting point for the Annapurna circuit trek. You can already catch a jeep further north from Dharapani onwards. Others proceed back to Arugath the same way, a circuit is not possible. You start low, walking through green countryside, and passing small Hindu villages. You enter the Tsum Valley going right from the main trail and you soon enter a beautiful forest with pines and rhododendrons. Heading eastwards, the valley opens up to reveal a beautiful countryside and small Tibetan-style villages.
Day 01- Arrival in Kathmandu
Welcome to Nepal! Ramdung Expedition representative will meet you at the airport and bring you to your hotel in Kathmandu. You can take a rest or if you are arriving earlier, can visit around the city.
In the evening we will hold a briefing session regarding your trip and get to know your Nepali trekking companion. We’ll be happy to answer any question you may have. O/N Hotel.
Day 2- Sightseeing trip / Trek preparation
Kathmandu valley is has fantastic UNESCO world heritages all around. Today after the breakfast, you’ll be visiting Boudhanath Stupa (the largest Buddhist shrines in the world), Pashupatinath (the holiest Hindu temple in the world), Durbar Squares (Palaces and fortresses of medieval Kings). The lifestyle of the Nepalese people, holy sadhus and monks, the fascinating history and the awe-inspiring architecture will be the highlight of this day. You can also buy or rent any needed gear or clothing from trekking/mountaineering shops. O/N Hotel (B)
Day 03 - Drive to Arughat
Your Trekking staff will come at your Hotel in the early morning at around 8.00 am to pick you up, from there we’ll have an 6-7 hour depending upon road condition driving journey to Arughat. O/N Tea house (B,L,D)
Day 04 - Arughat to Soti Khola (775m)
After the morning breakfast, we’ll start our journey following the Budhi Gandaki River toward its point of origin. We’ll be passing the village of Morder and Simre to reach at Arkhat River. Then we ascend slowly towards Kyoropani. Camp today nears the confluence of Seti River - an ideal place to take a fresh water bath and clean the cloths. O/N Teahouse (B,L,D)
Day 05 – Soti Khola to Machha Khola (900m)
The trail star descending slowly until you climb again to mountain ridge to Almara. Then Pass forest trail to arrive at the village called Riden Gaon. The valley here cuts into another side of the river to enter Budhi Gandaki. Then at Lambesi, the trail follows down to the sandy river bed of Budhi Gandaki. O/N teahouse (B,L,D)
Day 06 – Machha Khola to Doban (1070m) 6-7 hours
The trail from MachaKhola is some steep ascents and descents often dropping down to the gravel bars beside the river. After crossing the Tharu Khola river, you’ll reach a valley which contains many fields of wheat and buckwheat on either side. After two hours on the trail you get to the small village of Tatopani which has a natural spring. A further climb across a well crafted staircase brings you to our today destination Doban. This village lies at the confluence of the Shiar Khola, which flows from the east, and the Sarpu khola, which flows from the west. O/N teahouse (B,L,D)
Day 07 – Doban to Philim. (1550m) 6 hours
After breakfast, we start our trek today. The route climbs on further across rugged rocky terrain, up and down ravines and notched trees. We pass Jagat which is where the official Police check post is located otherwise the village is exceptionally clean and well organized. We spent some time here meanwhile officers check our permits. We get good views of Sringri himal as we continue up to the village of Philim. This is a large Gurung village with fields of corn and millet. O/N teahouse (B,L,D)
Day 08 – Philim to Chumling (2363m, Lower Tsum) 7 hours
Continuing along the river for about one hour we get to a diverge in the river system. Taking the left hand trail across the suspension bridge will take you to larke pass on the Manaslu circuit route. We stay to the right which takes us into lower Tsum Valley and our main destination of this trek. In Philim the landscape was very spread out but now you are trekking through a canyon with some exceptionally tall pine trees and beautiful grasslands hugging the mountain side. O/N teahouse (B,L,D)
Day 09 - Chumling to Chhokangparo (3010m, Upper Tsum) 5-6 hours
We continue our trek up the valley to Dumje where we stop for lunch at afternoon. There is a trail leading us South Easterly that takes you to the Ganesh Himal Base Camp. From here we can see spectacular views of the Baudha and Himalchuli peaks to the south-west. Chhokangparo which is part of the Upper Tsum valley (part of the Inner Himalaya) is a village situated on flat land and made up of two settlements Chhekam and Paro. Some households in this village sill practice polyandry. Overnight at Chhokangparo. O/N teahouse (B,L,D)
Day 10 – Chhokangparo to Nile/Chhule (3347) 5-6 hours
From Chhokangparo, we continue North east as we make our way to Nile/ Chulle. Two hours into the journey we visit the MilarepaPirenPhu Cave. PirenPhu (pigeon cave) is one of the most sacred caves in the Tsum valley. The great Buddhist Yogi ChyuchinMilarepa, the famous Tibetan saint, was believed to have meditated here. There are two separate gumbas attached to the rocky cavewhich houses the life size statues of Avaloketishvara, Budhha, Tara and Milarepa.. Richly painted Buddhist murals, excellent artistic scripts carved on stones, long prayer flags and significant Buddhists paper scripts make this cave one of the most important cultural assets in the valley.Beautiful views can be had of the ShiarKhola, RachenGumba, the mountains and settlements amidst vast agricultural land. Trekking further up the valley will bring you to Nile / Chulle. Chulle is on the Easternside of the ShiarKhola while 20 minutes further upstream is Nile. These are the last villages heading north in the upper Tsum Valley. O/N teahouse (B,L,D)
Day 11 - Nile to Mu Gompa (3600m) 4hours
Walking two hours further along the old Nepal-Tibet caravan path leads you to Mu Gompa. Close by is the oldest monastery in the valley-DephyudonmaGumba at 4060m height, founded about 700 years ago.The history of this monastery is directly associated with the dawn of Buddhism in the valley. The monastery houses religious books, including Kangyur, a life sized statue of Avalokiteshwara, and images of Guru Padmasambhava and Tara.The landscape is dotted with mani walls, chortens and kaanis (gateway chortens). Chortens are Buddhist religious monuments, also known as stupas, which are distinct features in Tsum Valley. They are erected to ward off evil spirits from places that are identified as thresholds such as confluences and bridges or to commemorate the visit or death of historic figures, lamas or even relatives. Kaanis are also called gateway chortens placed before the entry of any village which travellers are supposed to walk through. Mani walls are long walls made of mani stones i.e. stones with carved mantras. The main purpose of these mani walls is to ask the help of the gods for the wellbeing of travelers. O/N teahouse (B,L,D)
Day 12 – Sightseeing at Mu Gompa
You will see a trail that leads North from our camp. This trail is used by many local people as they take caravans of yaks every two months to get the necessary food supplies for the monks at the monastery. The journey takes 6-7 days and crosses the high pass NgulaDhojhyag (5093 m). We don't walk further North but instead hike to the base of Pika Himal (4865m) where views of glaciers, Tibetan peaks, the Ganesh Himalsand other surrounding mountains can be seen.The area is home to fauna such as Blue sheep, Yaks, Naks, Chauris and the rare sighting of Pika. After the day's excursion we return to our camp site at Mu Gomba. O/N teahouse (B,L,D)
Day 13 – Mu Gompa to Rachen Gompa (3240m) 5 hours
Upper Tsum Valley is a separate world where nature, people and spirit co-exist in harmony. The people here never slaughter animals, not even as sacrifice to the gods as is customary in many parts of the world. Every single family sends a child to the local monastery to become a monk or a nun. Heading back down the valley we arrive at RachenGompa, the biggest nunnery/monastery in the valley and houses nuns belonging to the Ngak-pa sect. Established in the year 1905 AD, it houses one thousand clay moulded statues of Avalokiteshwara, Guru Padmasambhava, Tara and Buddha Amitabha. The interiors of this monastery are richly painted with murals depicting Buddhism and its history as well as a brightly coloured carved throne and pillar, and a large prayer wheel. O/N teahouse (B,L,D)
Day 14 – Rachen Gompa to Dumje (2440m) 6-7 hours
An easy walk today with plenty of time for Photography as we proceed down the valley. There are many small villages worth exploring along the way otherwise Dumje is also small with about eight houses and some adjoining cattle sheds. O/N teahouse (B,L,D)
Day 15 – Dumje to Philim (1550m). 6-7 hours
From Dumje we trek down to Philimbut take a small alternative path via Ripchet. Here we pass one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Lower Tsum Valley, 'Samba Tingding Chhupyang'. O/N teahouse (B,L,D)
Day 16 – Philim to Tatopani (975m) 6-7 hours
From Phillim we trek to Tatopani where once again you may freshen up a little. After two weeks of long journey, your excitement will build knowing that you can visit this hot spring once more. Tatopani only has four or five houses with the majority being lodgings. O/N teahouse (B,L,D)
Day 17 – Tatopani to Sotikhola (775m) 6-7 hours
For the next two days we stay on this side of the river passing through many terraced fields of crops grown by local villagers and walking past tropical waterfalls. We pass through Jagot once more and have our permits checked and stamped as we now leave the Manaslu Conservation area. O/N teahouse (B,L,D)
Day 18 – Sotikhola to Arughat. 6-7 hours
Our last leg of our journey is the hike back down to Arughat Bazaar. O/N teahouse (B,L,D)
Day 19 - Drive back to Kathmandu (1345m).
You’ll return to Kathmandu from Besisahar by Bus. You can spend time resting/buying souvenirs back to home. In the evening, we will host farewell dinner in traditional restaurant with cultural dance performances in celebration of your amazing trip. O/N Hotel (BD)
Day 20 - Trip ends. Farewell and departure
The journey in the mountains of Nepal comes to an end today ! At last approximately 3 hours before your scheduled flight, a representative from Ramdung Expedition will drop you to the airport. (B)
Normally, we use following 3 star standard hotels in Kathmandu depending on availability in our trekking package.
Hotel Manang. Located in touristic hub, Thamel. www.hotelmanang.com
Hotel Utse. Located in touristic hub, Thamel. www.utsehotel.com
Hotel Manaslu. Located in Lazimpat near to Thamel area. www.hotelmanaslu.com
while on trek, the lodges are fairly basic but perfectly adequate for the mountain type service. Two people will be accommodated in each room mostly in twin beds with foam mattresses. If you prefer private accommodation, you can choose “single supplement” option. It is important to consider that some places in the trek do not have sufficient lodges and rooms; in this case you’ll have to share room. Some lodges now have showers (charged at $3-$5).
it is mandatory to have travel insurance for the trekking and please submit us photocopy before departure to mountain. Standard policies often only cover medical evacuation to 4000m so make sure it covers up to 6000m.
You are expect to trek about 5-7 hours covering distance of 10-15 kilometer daily depending on trial conditions and state of the weather. You’ll be traveling through wilderness, remote countryside and high elevations. Trekking with a guide is not only safer but also for more enjoyable experience. Our guides and porters are expert in Himalayan treks and have more than one decades of experience in average.
It is recommended that you prepare for trek with suitable training such as climbing hills/stairs, jogging, exercise and gym to improve your stamina few months prior to trek. The trek will be more enjoyable if you are fit.
MEALS AND DRINKS
There are plenty of excellent restaurants to serve food and drinks in Kathmandu such as Rum doodles, Fire & ice, La Dolce Vita, Ktoo Steak House, Everest Steak, New Orleans, Gaia etc. Breakfast is provided at your hotel every morning. It will cost $ 3-7 per meal depending on meals item chosen and restaurant.
While on trek, the lodges or teahouse provide good quality food in sufficient quantities. Meals whilst on trek are included in the package which is breakfast, lunch, dinner and hot drinks. You can choose your meal from hotel menus. Meals in lodges are varied ranging from traditional Nepalese daal bhaat to pizza, apple pie, steak, pasta and so on.
It is safer to drink bottled, boiled and filtered water. A reasonable variety of both hard and soft drinks are available in cities and while on trek. You can purify your own water if you carry a canteen or water bottle and iodine drops or tablets.
Spring starts from March until May where temperature fluctuated between 20°c to 30°c. From June to August is summer season which is also time of monsoon with occasional thunderstorms and hot temperatures. From late September to end November is autumn and is best for trekking activities. Winter is from late November to February.
The trek will have a wide range of temperatures depending on the elevation and time of the particular day. In the mountains between 1000m-3500m, the night generally will be cool around 5°C and during the day temperatures every so often rise to 20°c. At the higher altitudes, temperatures range from 15° to -15°c.
Tips is not mandatory but generally after hard work something extra is expected. We recommend a tip for guide and porter as at least $70 (more will be appreciated).
CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT LIST
The following are what we recommend to bring as clothing and equipment needed for the trek. Trekking gear can be rented or purchased in Kathmandu at cheaper price; we can assist you with necessary arrangement. Except for your day pack, your luggage will be carried by porters. You’ll have strong and hospitable porter for two people. The weight limit for trek is 10-13kg per person. One porter can carry 20-25kg weight. Before the trek, you can store all your excess baggage in Kathmandu at hotel or at our office and take only which is required for the trek.
Light balaclava or warm fleece hat
Sun Hat or scarf
Cotton tees or thermals
Gloves for hand
Lightweight cotton pants (long)
Thin inner socks
Thick, warm wool hiking socks
Comfortable Trekking boots
Sleeping bag rated to -20
Trekking bag or duffel bag
Large plastic bags (keeping items dry inside trek bag)
Trekking poles (recommended, optional)
Lonely Planet Nepal: A guide book of Nepal.
Annapurna: A book by Reinhold Messner about his expedition experience in the dead zone of Annapurna.
Trekking in Nepal: Written by Stephen Bezruchka is an nice book for all treks with and bibliography of additional books.
Trekking and climbing in Nepal: Written by Steve Razzetti, this book gives comprehensive knowledge of major trekking trails and climbing peaks.
Nepal Handbook: By Kerry Morgan. Recommended specially for Kathmandu Valley sightseeing’s.
Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya: By Stan Armungton. This book has detailed trek descriptions including restricted areas of Mustang, Manaslu, Dolpo and kailash.
Into Thin Air: By Jon Krakaur. A personal account of the Mount Everest disaster.
Travelers Tales: Edited by Rajendra Khadka, Traveler’s Tales, and San Francisco.
Mustang: A lost kingdom by Michel Peissel.