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The Tsum Valley trek goes into the Tsum valley that lies in the North-East end of Gorkha district bordering Tibet. The valley is surrounded by the Ganesh Himal range (which are a series of seven peaks over 7,000 meters), Sringi Himal, Himalchuli and other unnamed peaks. The inhabitants of this region – the Tsumbas – are of Tibetan origin and Buddhism is evident in the numerous mani walls, chortens, monasteries and Kanis (Buddhist gates) dotting the trails in this blessed valley. The Tsum valley is one of eight Beyuls in the Himalayas. Beyuls are valleys that have been blessed by Guru Padmasambhava for those seeking refuge when the world is on the verge of destruction.
The Tsum Valley trek starts at Soti Khola and follows the popular Manaslu Circuit trail until a little past Philim where you head North-East to enter the Tsum Valley. After trekking to Mu Gompa, the most important monastery in the region, return on an alternative route that will allow a visit to the Ganesh Himal Base Camp. Rejoin the Manaslu Circuit trail again near Phillim and return to Soti Khola where a private vehicle will bring you back to Kathmandu.
Crystal Mountain Treks – has been in business for over two decades and employs only the best guides with a minimum of 15 years experience. We treat our staff with the utmost care and respect. Each staff member is provided high-quality equipment and paid higher-than-average wages. Our clients have commented that our treks provide a better value (we provide more for less) than other companies they researched, comparing services, quality and price. We are happy to provide references of people who have journeyed with us in the past upon request.
|Day 1||Arrival in Kathmandu||Kathmandu||1,340m/4,300ft|
|Day 2||Exploring Kathmandu||Kathmandu||1,340m/4,300ft|
|Day 3||Kathmandu to Arughat (600m/1,970ft.). Drive onward to Soti Khola.||Soti Khola||730m/2,395ft|
|Day 4||Trek to Macchi Khola||Machhi Khola||870m/2,950ft|
|Day 5||Soti Khola to Salleri||Salleri||1,410m/4,630ft|
|Day 6||Trek to Lokpa||Lokpa||2,240m/7,400ft|
|Day 7||Lokpa to Chumling||Chumling||2,386m/7,900ft|
|Day 8||Trek to Chekkampar||Chekkampar||3,010m/9,900ft|
|Day 9||Acclimatization day at Chekkampar||Chekkampar||3,010m/9,900ft|
|Day 10||Chekkampar to Nile||Nile||3,360m/11,100ft|
|Day 11||Trek to Mu Gompa||Mu Gompa||3,705m/12,200ft|
|Day 12||Explore Mu Gompa||Mu Gompa||3,705m/12,200ft|
|Day 13||Trek to Chekkampar||Chekkampar||3,010m/9,900ft|
|Day 14||Trek to Dumje||Dumje||3,200m/10,500ft|
|Day 15||Trek to Gumba Langdang||Gumba Langdang||3,540m/11,600ft|
|Day 16||Gumba Langdang to Ganesh Himal Base Camp (16,400ft)||Base Camp||5,000m/16,400ft|
|Day 17||Trek to Ripchet||Ripchet||2,470m/8,200ft|
|Day 18||Trek to Philim||Philim||1,700m/5,600ft|
|Day 19||Trek to Khorla Besi||Khorla Besi||930m/3,050ft|
|Day 20||Trek to Soti Khola.||Soti Khola||730m/2,395ft|
|Day 21||Drive to Kathmandu||Kathmandu||1,340m/4,300ft|
|Day 22||Kathmandu sightseeing||Kathmandu||1,340m/4,300ft|
|Day 23||Final Departure|
Arrive Kathmandu. You will be met on arrival at the Tribhuwan International Airport. Transfer to Hotel Tibet or similar. Day free. Enjoy welcome dinner. Briefing during dinner. Overnight Hotel Tibet or similar. (Dinner)
In the morning, visit Bodhanath – one of the largest stupas in the world. Watch Buddhist monks and join devotees as they circum-ambulate the stupa clock-wise. Then visit Pashupatinath, Nepal’s most sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is two-tiered and has a golden roof and silver door and is located on the banks of the Bagmati river where there is a cremation ghat.
Drive to Patan for lunch in the garden of the Patan Museum Café. After lunch, visit the well-maintained Patan Museum storing ancient Nepali artifacts, followed by a tour of Patan Durbar Square.
MEALS: B, L
Board a chartered bus with your staff for the 7-8 hour drive to Arughat. We first drive on the Tribhuwan highway which follows the Trishuli river. About 3 hours into the drive, we then head north towards Dhading besi. A little past Dhading besi, we then drive on a rough jeep track all the way to Arughat – a bustling town in Gorkha district. We then follow the Budi Gandaki river for another hour on a rougher jeep track to Soti Khola. Overnight Lodge.(All meals)
From Soti Khola, walk through the low hills with terraced rice fields through villages inhabited by the Brahmin and Chettri ethnic groups enroute to Machha Khola. Then walk through wheat and buckwheat fields to reach hot-springs at Tatopani (930m). Spend some time soaking in the hot-springs, before heading out to Dobhan (1,000m). Above Dobhan, the Buri Gandaki descends in an impressive series of steep rapids. Here, the trail climbs high above the river and then descends through a huge gateway that opens out into a wide valley where the river is calm again. Continue on to the campsite beyond Jagat (1,410m).
Jagat is a beautiful stone-paved village with a rudimentary trekker’s hotel, shops, and a customs office. Jagat is the entrance to Manaslu Conservation Area, an area where the concept of integrated conservation and development is being implemented to achieve conservation and sustainable development objectives. There is also an MCAP (Manaslu Conservation Area Project) office here where your permits will be checked. We walk a little further to another village called Salleri which is more peaceful and not as crowded. Overnight Lodge. (All meals)
Cross the Buri Gandaki again over a long suspension bridge at Ghatta Khola, then follow the route upstream. Climb up a steep incline to reach Philim (1,590m). Philim (1,590 m) is a large Gurung village with fields of corn and millet. The hillsides become steeper beyond Philim until Aga.
Trek through a narrow, dramatic gorge with towering walls, and past a thundering waterfall. About a couple hours past Philim, we leave the popular Manaslu Circuit trail and head North East towards the Tsum Valley. Both the number of trekkers and the number of mules sharing the trail reduces by at least 50%. After a couple hours of hiking on gradual uphill through thick forests you arrive at Lokpa.
From Lokpa, the trail descends for a short distance and then begins a grueling two-hour climb, mostly on switch backs. At the top, the few houses of Chumling is visible but you will still have to descend and cross a suspension bridge before making another 45 minute steep ascent to the village of Chumling. From Chumling, Ganesh is visible to the east and Himalchuli to the South.
From Chumling we follow a level path for a while. After two/three hours, we begin a steep ascent to Chekkampar – the first large village in the Tsum valley.
Overnight Lodge. (All meals)
The vegetation now is only pine trees and small bushes. The valleys from here to Nile widen and allow itself for cultivation of buckwheat and potatoes and this probably explains why the majority of the population of this region live in these upper valleys. Ascend gradually to Lamagaon. As you approach Lamagaon, look back south for spectacular views of the Ganesh range.
During lunch at Lamagaon, you have the option to visit a small cave with a foot imprinted on a rock which is supposedly believed to be that of Milarepa. Cross a suspension bridge to Pangdung with large fields and a couple spectacular stupas. Soon you reach Chule. Cross a small suspension bridge to reach Nile.
From Nile, the next day, start early towards Mu Gompa. The trail ascends gradually but the last thousand foot or so is a steep ascent to the monastery. The monastery is affiliated with the Kopan monastery in Kathmandu which probably is it’s major funding source. There is a nunnery a few hundred feet above Mu Gompa. Tibet is only a day from Mu Gompa and the locals still continue trading with Tibet. You may see yak trains going/returning from Tibet.
Overnight Lodge. (All meals)
Descend to Nile and continue on a trail east of the river to Rachen Gompa. Rachen Gompa is a newly built nunnery and school complex. Shortly past Rachen Gompa cross a suspension bridge to meet the main trail. Descend past Chekkampar to the suspension bridge where you had lunch on Day 08. From here, follow the trail eastwards towards Ganesh Himal. From Dumje, we again ascend steeply past thick forests of pine and rhodendrons to Gumba Langdang. Overnight Lodge. (All meals)
Descend steeply to the river where the trail meets with the trail you took to Chumling at the suspension bridge. Retrace the trail from here onwards to Philim and then to Soti Khola. Overnight Lodge. (All meals)
From Liding, descend a short distance to Soti Khola and board a local vehicle to Arughat. Then board your chartered bus for ride back to Kathmandu. Overnight Hotel Tibet or similar. (Breakfast and Lunch)
Full day sightseeing in Kathmandu. Visit Bhaktapur Durbar Square and then continue to Swayambhunath Stupa (monkey temple). Overnight Hotel Tibet or similar. (Breakfast and Lunch)
Transfer to the airport for flight home. (Breakfast)
Per person price (valid until December 31, 2022)
For some, this may be a long trek. So it is possible to exclude the Ganesh Himal Base Camp portion and shave off 5 days from the program. Or if you are one of those who want a longer vacation, you could add on Manaslu Circuit to your trek.
We are happy to customize. Please write to us with questions.
You can get a Nepal visa either on arrival in Kathmandu at the airport or prior to arrival by sending an application to the Nepali consulate in your country. Do read our blog on how to obtain a visa at the Kathmandu airport.
There are two preferred seasons for the Tsum Valley and Ganesh Himal Trek: Spring (March through May) and Fall/Autumn (October through December). Day time temperatures range in the 50’s and 60’s (10 to 15 Centigrade) while night-time temperatures are in the 30’s and 40’s (0 to 5 Centigrade). Spring is around 10 degree Fahrenheit warmer than the Fall/Autumn.
In late November and December, expect night time temperatures of below Freezing near Kyanjin Gompa and Gosaikunda. And expect some late-afternoon showers in the Spring which is the season for rhododendrons and magnolias. The whole hill is painted red with the rhododendrons in bloom. October is historically regarded as the best month to trek with clear skies and better views of the mountains.
We highly encourage you to trek in the winter months of December, January and February when days can be quite sunny and warm (40/50 Fahreheit – 5/10 Centigrade) although you should expect temperatures below freezing on most nights above 10,000 feet. But the trails and lodges aren’t as crowded. We offer a $150 per person discount for treks in the Winter.
Anyone who is reasonably fit and can hike 8-10 miles a day can sign up for the Langtang/Gosaikunda Trek. This is a roller-coaster trek with a lot of ascents and descents (some quite steep). So the better shape you are in, the more you will enjoy the trek.
We rate the Tsum Valley trek a 4 (Strenuous) on a scale of 1 (easy) to 5 (challenging).
It is advised that anyone with a pre-existing condition consult their doctor before signing up for a trek.
Nepali tap water is NOT safe to drink. Even if you see the locals drinking water straight from the tap, never drink water before boiling or sterilizing. Bring water purifying tablets or other water purifiers. At higher elevations during the coldest times of year the water will freeze, so you’ll need to buy boiled water from teahouses. If you plan to use a STERIPEN, bring wide mouth water bottles. You would need at least 2 one-liter water bottles for the trek. Even if you plan to bring a hydration pack, bring 1 one-liter water to sterilize the water before pouring into your hydration pack.
Crystal Mountain Treks will provide you with a Steripen to use on the trek for no charge.
Meals on the Pikey Peak trek are not as varied as those on the Everest Base Camp Trek. Especially at the home-stays, expect basic but healthy and organic meals.
In general, expect porridge (Oatmeal), toast, eggs (any style), muesli, hash browns, sausages etc for breakfast. And sandwich, pizzas, momos, noodles (dry and with soup), rolls, fried rice, Indian bread with vegetables etc for lunch and dinner. And expect Nepali dal-bhat (rice-lentils with vegetables and/or meat) at all the lodges. Dal-bhat is the probably the safest and most nutritious option. For those with gluten allergies, some lodges will have buckwheat and millet flour from which they can make bread. Rice and fresh vegetables are widely available. Most lodges will have lentil and some will have chickpeas, kidney beans and garbanzo beans.
Ours is an OPEN menu. Meaning we allow our clients to order anything from the lodge menu besides bottled beverages, specialty coffee and packaged snacks. We also don’t limit the number of items per meal as long as you aren’t wasteful. When choosing your trekking company, ask if meals are fixed or if you are only allowed to order one item from the menu. If this isn’t the case, costs can add up over 15/16 days.
Accommodations on the Tsum Valley trek trail aren’t of the same level as those on the Upper Everest trek or those on the Annapurna treks. But they are generally clean. All lodges, can be categorized as basic. Especially the ones in Mu Gompa, Ripchet and Gumba Langdang.
The more physically fit you are, the more you will enjoy the trip. There are three aspects to training for any trek.
1) Cardiovascular Training will make your body more efficient in using oxygen. Running, walking, swimming or biking, or any combination of these are great for cardiovascular conditioning.
2) Strength Training by either using free weights or machines at the gym will build hiking strength. Walking stairs, especially with a pack will simulate the hiking environment. We also recommend practicing squats. Trekkers will encounter low hanging obstacles to duck under, and many toilets are at ground level, which requires a low squat.
3) Endurance Training is where you build endurance in the months leading up to your trek, slowly increase your length of training sessions. By the time you are 2 weeks from the scheduled trek date you should be able to ascend 3,000 ft. in a 3-4 hour period.
In the end, the more your training simulates a trek, the better off you will be. So hiking 4-5 hours outdoors, uphill and downhill, about once or twice a week in addition to other cardio vascular training at the gym or at home will greatly benefit and prepare you for the trek.
Most tea houses have a common toilet. Only the tea house in Salleri has en-suite rooms. While squat toilets are more prevalent, newer lodges have Western style toilets.
Hot shower on this trek usually means a bucket of boiled water. A wet-wipe “bath” is a better option.
Layering is key. And it’s always recommended to trek with good branded gear. A good pair of hiking boots that’s been broken in is very important. Good top and bottom base layers, a mid layer (fleece or capilene), and an outer layer (Gore-tex or other material). If you tend to get cold quickly, bring a down parka especially for the evening at the lodge. On most days, you’d be hiking in a convertible hiking pant that can be converted into shorts and one or two top layers.
if you’re trekking with Crystal Mountain Treks, we provide a sleeping bag (rated to 0 degree F or -17 degree C), duffel bags, down jacket and Steripen for water purification to our clients for no charge.
It is possible to buy cheap and relatively functional gear in Kathmandu – convertible pants, down jackets, fleece, Gore-tex jackets. But remember, you get what you pay for. Wool gloves, hats, socks are available too.
There are quite a few branded stores too. North Face, Moutain Hardwear, Marmot and Sherpa. If you’re coming from Australia or Europe, items in these shops are probably cheaper than back home. But if you’re coming from the US, it’s better to buy branded gear at home.
Most of the places on the trek route do not have cell coverage. Lodges in some locations will offer wi-fi for between $1 to $2 per hour. You can also buy a Sim card with 5GB or 10GB data for under $25: do this in Kathmandu.
Christian and I very much enjoyed the Tsum valley trek and I am sure so did Margrith and Kuruvilla. The organisation was perfect. Our guide Ram and all the other members of the team did an excellent job. A particular mention goes for the cook. Food was very good, plentiful and varied. It was also great to taste some wild vegetables which Ram picked for us along the trail. The scenery of Tsum valley is magnificient and we were very lucky with the wheather. The highpoint of the trek was no doubt Gumba Lungdang. We also enjoyed trekking in an area which put us in touch with local culture. (Christian was happy to be able to pull some teeth). Thanks also for entertaining and showing us around in Kathmandu. A particular thank you to Ram and his family for taking care of us on last saturday and having us for lunch at their home.
Tsum Valley was our third trek with Crystal Mountain because our previous treks to the Everest and Annapurna regions had been very pleasant and memorable. And so was our Tsum Valley trek thanks to a dependable and very friendly staff who were efficient and proficient in every aspect of the trip. We were always surprised at how much variety there was in the food preparations and the menus were nutritious and balanced. Some of our favorites were the momos and the wild vegetables which our assistant guide picked during several days. Even delicious pizzas and pastas appeared out of nowhere at the remotest camp sites. We enjoyed the lack of hordes of tourists in this area and as always were enchanted with the scenery and the village life and the interactions with some of the inhabitants of the valley. Religion plays an important part in the life of the valley as evidenced by the many chortens and gompas and mani walls. The highlight of our trip was the opportunity to camp in front of a beautiful gompa amidst high mountains and slopes of flowering rhododendron. Again, thanks for a wonderful trip!
Margrith and Kuruvilla