Highlights of Tsum Valley Trek
- Walks through a remote and least trekked trail taking you to the lap of world’s 8th highest Mt. Manaslu and near the Tibet border.
- You will get a chance to see the ancient trading route with Tibet.
- Gigantic Himalayan panorama of Ganesh Himal, Himal Chuli, and other peaks.
- Pass through the beautiful lush green forest, thundering rivers, suspension bridge, waterfalls, and many monasteries including Rache Gompa.
- You will be able to visit high valleys and villages of Tibetan Buddhist custom.
- Varied terrain, mixed ethnicity, and ancient village of mediaeval Tibetan culture.
Tsum Valley Trek Overview
Tsum Valley Trek is a special place in Nepal, hidden near the Tibetan border. This valley, surrounded by high mountains, used to be secret until 2008. This makes it one of the least explored trekking spots in Nepal. Tsum Valley has kept its traditional and natural beauty away from modern influences.
The trek to Tsum Valley follows the Budhi Gandaki River, offering a variety of plants and animals. You will see lush green forests of pine and rhododendron, waterfalls along the river, and numerous bird species in the woods. This area is also home to Himalayan Tahr and Blue Sheep.
The local people are originally from Tibet and have their own language. The untouched landscapes and remote villages make the trek a unique experience. You will get stunning views of mountains like Ganesh Himal (7,422 m/24,350 ft.), Shringi Himal (7,165 m/23,507 ft.), and Boudha Himal (6,672 m/21,890 ft.).
Tsum Valley Trek is also known for its ancient monasteries and the belief that the Buddhist Saint Milarepa meditated in the mountains. The valley has remained unchanged for centuries. During the trek, you will come across mani walls, chortens (Buddhist shrines), and kaanis (gateway chortens).
Because Tsum Valley Trek is a restricted area, you usually need at least two people in a group. However, our local trekking agency can arrange a group permit so you can have a private trek. This journey is not just about the breathtaking landscapes but also about experiencing Tibetan culture and the warm hospitality of the local people.
The trek starts with a scenic drive to Arughat and then Soti Khola which follows the Budhi Gandaki River. The trail takes you through villages, rhododendron forests, and pine trees. After passing Lokpa, the gateway to Tsum Valley Trek, you will reach Chumling. Upon reaching here, you will be welcomed with monasteries and stunning mountain views.
Heading north, the trek goes through Chhekamparo, where the landscape changes from sub-tropical forests to alpine pastures and high mountain deserts. You will then encounter sacred sites like Milarepa Cave and reach Mu Gompa, the northernmost point.
On the way back from the trek, you will reach Rachen Gompa. The trek concludes with a route through Lokpa, Jagat, and finally back to Arughat. From here we will take a local bus back to Kathmandu. Tsum Valley Trek offers a unique blend of Tibetan culture, breathtaking landscapes, and the warmth of the local people, making it an extraordinary adventure.
The 18 days trek itinerary includes 14 nights of lodge and teahouse stays and 3 nights at Kathmandu.Tea Houses are the most common type for the night stay during the Tsum Valley Trek. The teahouses are very basic and run by the local people. We are aware that you are not here for the sophisticated and luxurious stay, but they play a good role in overall experience.
We will do our best to locate the good lodges for you to spend the night during the Tsum Valley trek. You will be staying in the double bedroom with attached bathrooms where possible. But as you go higher, you will find very basic rooms with no attached bathroom. We will select the best lodges, paying attention to hygiene.
Eating healthy and nutritious foods while going to Tsum Valley Trek is super important. Two big things to remember while you are in high altitude are hydration and nutrition. We advise you to have fresh and green vegetables rather than frozen meat when you are at high altitude. Also, green tea, lemon tea, ginger tea or garlic soup are also very much beneficial when you are trekkin to high altitude.
As you will spend 18 days on this trip, we will provide you 16 breakfast, 16 lunch and 15 dinners during the Tsum Valley trek. The food menu is provided by the teahouse itself and they provide nutrient rich foods. Also, we would like you to suggest that, always focus on local foods rather than western or continental dishes. As you ascend higher, the food menu will get limited and expensive.
Breakfast Menu: Muesli, Bread, Fruits, Vegetables, Oatmeal, Corn Flakes, toast with Jam, Butter, Cheese, Chapati, Eggs, Pancakes, Hot drinks (varieties of teas and coffees, hot chocolates, etc.)
Lunch Menu: Dhal, Bhat, & Curry, Tibetan Bread, Potatoes, Vegetables, Pizza, Various Soups, Sherpa Stew, Sandwiches, Momo, Macaroni, Spaghetti Noodles, Thukpa, Pasta, etc
Dinner Menu: Dhal, Bhat & Curry, Tibetan Bread, Various Soups, Vegetable Pizza (Tomato, Mushroom, Mixed), Momo, Macaroni, Spaghetti, Noodles Thukpa, Pasta, Ramen etc
In the past, Arughat was the place where people used to start their journey for the Tsum Valley Trek. But now, due to the expansion of roads in recent years, you can begin the trek even further at Soti Khola. But, you will not find any direct public bus that will take you from Kathmandu to Soti Khola. You will have to make a stop in Arughat. The distance between Kathmandu and Arughat is around 136 kilometres, and the ride usually takes at least 5 to 6 hours.
The road from Kathmandu to Arughat is generally in good condition, so you can expect a smooth ride. However, things can get a bit bumpy especially on the road between Arughat and Soti Khola. If there has been heavy rain, the road about 30 to 45 kilometres ahead of Arughat might be extremely muddy.
Once you arrive in Arughat, you can find small jeeps available to transport people from Arughat to Soti Khola. These jeeps make regular trips along this route which make it easier for us to reach their starting point for the Tsum Valley Trek.
Best season and Weather
Tsum Valley trek offers a mesmerising experience, and the best times to start on this adventure vary with the seasons. Spring, starting from early March to late May month is the prime season to trek. During this time, the weather is ideal for both long and short treks, providing clear views of the stunning Himalayan landscapes.
Another excellent time for the Tsum Valley trek is in autumn, from early September to the end of November. This season boasts clear skies, ensuring open views of the majestic mountain ranges. Autumn also aligns with important Nepalese festivals like Dashain and Tihar, allowing trekkers to immerse themselves in the local culture and celebrations.
While the summer and monsoon seasons, starting from early June to late August, might not be the top choice due to heavy rainfall and slippery trails. But many adventure lovers will find this weather as a unique experience. The decreased number of trekkers makes it an ideal time for those who prefer less crowded routes. This season also provides insights into traditional farming practices and the chance to observe the lush greenery and wild flowers brought about by the rain.
The winter season, from December to February, brings cold and dry conditions. Although temperatures can drop significantly, adventure seekers are drawn to this time. This season also gives you the great opportunity to witness pristine Himalayan views. Villagers often migrate to lower altitudes during mid-December to mid-February. Snowfall can make the trek more challenging. So being prepared with proper equipment like walking sticks and crampons can enhance the experience, especially in higher altitudes.
The Tsum Valley trek is located in the northern part of Gorkha district in Nepal This is a trip that combines breathtaking scenery, cultural richness, and challenging terrain. The difficulty of the trek varies, presenting a mix of moderate to hard parts. The trail is less explored by trekkers compared to other popular routes in the Annapurna and Everest regions.
The trek begins in the lower foothills with gentle ascents and descents, allowing trekkers to acclimatize gradually. As you walk ahead, the trail gains elevation, and the terrain becomes more challenging. Steep ascents and descents are accompanied by narrow paths with lush forests, river valleys, and alpine meadows.
One of the challenging parts of this trip might be the ascent to Mu Gompa, the highest point on the Tsum Valley trek. This day you will have to ascend upto 3700 m above sea level. To walk through high altitude, and steep terrain physical fitness and proper acclimatisation is must. Trekkers should be prepared for changing weather conditions, including cold temperatures and occasional snowfall, particularly at higher elevations.
The remoteness of the region adds an extra layer of difficulty, as foods and accommodations become more basic. Accommodations may be simple tea houses with limited resources, emphasizing the need for self-sufficiency in terms of supplies and equipment.