Tsum Valley Short Trek - 12 days

Tsum Valley Short Trek - 12 days

Tsum Valley Short Trek takes you to a unique Himalayan valley in Nepal where the killing of all living beings is strictly prohibited. Known as a sacred valley blessed by Buddhist saints, Tsum lies nestled under the snow-covered ranges of the Ganesh Himal close to Tibet. Opened to tourists only in 2008, the valley remains untouched by modern civilization. Tsumbas, the inhabitants of the Tsum Valley still follow the old traditions and culture of their ancestors. This trek will let you experience their rich Tibetan heritage, culture, and the Tsumba dialect which they have preserved for generations. 

Your journey begins from Kathmandu with a bumpy but scenic drive to Machha Khola in Gorkha District. You begin your trek from Machha Khola and walk past the verdant Budi Gandaki River Valley. En route, you cross enchanting waterfalls and stop at picturesque Gurung villages for rest and food. Breathtaking views of the Ganesh Himal and other mountains keep you inspired while hiking past narrow trails and swaying metal bridges.

The trail goes uphill and downhill and cuts through deep river gorges covered by pine and rhododendron trees. Once you reach Tsum Valley you will be walking on a wide valley dotted with patches of buckwheat and barley fields. The villages are decorated with mani walls and gigantic mud chortens painted white, yellow, and red. Prayer flags flutter around houses and monasteries.

The highlight of your Short Tsum Valley Trek is your hike to Piren Phu, the cliffside meditation cave of Buddhist saint Milarepa and a visit to Mu Gompa, the most important monastery in the Tsum Valley. During your journey, you will meet local villagers, lamas (Buddhist monks), and anis (nuns) who together work to preserve and protect all sentient beings (from insects to birds, fishes, and animals) living in the Tsum Valley.

After your hike to Nile, the last village in Tsum Valley and Mu Gompa retrace your steps to Budhi Gandaki Valley and return to Kathmandu by vehicle. This trek is moderately difficult and can be done by people who have some experience in hill walking and trekking. The risk of altitude sickness is negligible as you will be trekking well below 4000 meters. The best seasons to do this trek are autumn and spring. The weather during these seasons is favorable and pleasant.

How Much Does This Trip Cost?

The trip's price depends on the type of services chosen by our clients and the group size. The cost of each trip we organize is different because we see travelers as individuals having their own particular needs and preferences.

Get ready for an incredible journey tailored to your interests and preferences, whether you're looking for a budget-friendly adventure or a luxurious getaway. Leave the planning to us as we take care of all the details, ensuring your dream trip becomes a reality. You can relax and focus on creating unforgettable memories that will stay with you forever.

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Trip Highlights

  • Explore the hidden Tsum Valley, a sacred Himalayan Buddhist site
  • Experience centuries old Tibetan culture, art, and religion of Tsumbas
  • Walk past picturesque Gurung villages in the lower Budhi Gandaki River Valley and the rich forest of the Tsum Valley
  • Stunning views of Ganesh Himal, Singri Himal, Manaslu, Annapurna, and Bauddha Himal
  • Visit Piren Phu, the ancient meditation cave of Saint Milarepa
  • Hike to Nile, the last village of Tsum Valley, and visit Mu Gompa, the largest monastery in Tsum Valley
  • Opportunity to spot Himalayan wildlife - Musk Deer, Himalayan Tahr, and Blue Sheep
  • Minimal risk of altitude sickness as you don't venture beyond 3700 meters above sea level

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights
Day 1 Arrival in Kathmandu (1400m)
Day 2 Free Day in Kathmandu, Special Permit Arrange and Trek Preparation
Day 3 Drive from Kathmandu to Machha Khola (887m) - 8- 9 Hours
Day 4 Trek to Jagat (1300m) – 6-7 hours
Day 5 Trek to Lokpa (2300m) – 6-7 hours
Day 6 Trek to Chumling (2386m) – 4-5 hours
Day 7 Trek to Lama Gaun (3025m) – 5- 6 hours
Day 8 Hike to Mu Gompa (3700m) and back to Chhekampar (3031m) – 6-7 hours
Day 9 Trek to Eklai Bhatti (1900m) – 5-6 hours
Day 10 Trek to Lapu Besi (900m) – 5-6 hours
Day 11 Drive to Kathmandu by Private Jeep – 8-9 hours
Day 12 Final Departure

Route Map

Route Map Tsum Valley Short Trek Route Map Tsum Valley Short Trek 12 Days

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival in Kathmandu (1400m)

Kathmandu lies in a beautiful valley enclosed by green forested hills. Flying into the city you get to enjoy an aerial perspective of the city. After landing you can complete the immigration process and make your way to the airport terminal where our guide will welcome you. If the terminal is crowded just look for someone holding a placard with Third Rock Adventures or your name printed in bold letters. The guide will drop you at your hotel and help you check in. Take it easy today and sleep off the jet lag.

Overnight in Kathmandu.

Day 2
Free Day in Kathmandu, Special Permit Arrange and Trek Preparation

Today you will make preparations for your Short Tsum Valley Trek and get the necessary permits needed. You will be introduced to your trekking guide and who will answer your queries regarding your trek if you have any. If you want to rent or buy trekking gear you can do so from Thamel. The tourist hub in Kathmandu has many shops that rent and sell trekking and mountaineering gear and equipment. You can also stock up on your snacks and medicines as there will be very few shops on the trail. You can leave the stuff not needed for your trek in the hotel's locker room or at our office. Please do remember to lock your bag securely before giving it up for safekeeping.

Overnight in Kathmandu.

Day 3
Drive from Kathmandu to Machha Khola (887m) - 8- 9 Hours

After breakfast, you leave Kathmandu and head towards Machha Khola by road. The drive is quite interesting as you get to enjoy pastoral views of hillside villages and terraced fields. As you leave Kathmandu valley the road takes a serpentine route down to Dhading. From Dhading Besi the jeep takes the route to Gorkha. The ride starts getting bumpy as there will be off-road sections. Depending on the road condition you will reach Machha Khola after 8 or 9 hours. It may take longer if the road is muddy. Between Soti Khola and Machha Khola, you will come across plenty of small streams, rivers, and waterfalls.

Sometimes if there's heavy rainfall, the rain washes away the road. If this happens you will be starting your trek from Soti Khola. The distance between these two villages (Soti Khola and Machha Khola) is quite short and you will be able to complete the trek within 4 hours.

After reaching Machha Khola you head to a teahouse and have a good rest. Machha Khola is a typical Nepali village with villagers involved in farming and cattle rearing. There are a lot of newly built teahouses or lodges and you will be staying in one. 

Overnight in Machha Khola.

Day 4
Trek to Jagat (1300m) – 6-7 hours

Today you begin your trek by taking the route to Jagat. On your first day, you will be covering a distance of twenty-three kilometers. After a hearty breakfast, you leave the teahouse and follow a rough jeep track alongside the Budhi Gandaki River. The Budhi Gandaki Valley is filled with tropical forests and lush green scenery. After walking for about an hour or so you reach the Gurung village of Khorla Besi. Continue trekking along the dirt road and reach the next village of Tatopani, a picturesque settlement with a hot spring. Take a brief rest before continuing the journey. Henceforth you leave the bad road behind and walk on a foot trail.

Crossing the Budhi Gandaki River via a suspension bridge you reach the eastern side of the river. You will come across a lot of waterfalls along the way. Enjoy the rural scenery as you walk past these traditional villages. The next stop is Dovan where trekking groups usually stop for lunch. Leaving Dovan you climb up on a steep trail and cross a metal bridge built on the side of a steep rock face. The last leg of the trail to Jagat is relatively flat.

A small concrete gate with faded graffiti of the revolutionary groups is the entrance to the village. Jagat used to be a stronghold of the Maoist revolutionary groups during the decade-long Civil War that the country suffered from. While it was the hiding place of Maoist revolutionaries in the mid-nineties, now the village is filled with entrepreneurs and newly constructed lodges and teahouses that cater to tourists walking on this trail. At Jagat, you enter the protected Manaslu Conservation Area.

Overnight in Jagat.

Day 5
Trek to Lokpa (2300m) – 6-7 hours

You start your trek by walking past the small bazaar and purchasing the conservation area permit. You will also be needing a special permit to enter Tsum Valley which Third Rock Adventures will arrange. Leaving the village you come across a beautiful waterfall. Walking alongside the fast-flowing Budhi Gandaki River you will be presented with breathtaking sights of the mountains and hillside villages. The trail which is paved with stone tiles, hugs the side of a rocky hill. Remember to rest on the side of the wall and not on the exposed side, while giving way to mule trains. There are some stone stairs en route and river crossings via metal suspension bridges.

On the way, you cross the picturesque villages of Salleri, Sirdibas, Ghatte Khola, and Phillim. These villages are dotted with traditional stone arches and cottages. From Phillim you cross over to the other side of the river and reach the village of Chisapani. From Chisapani you proceed towards Ekle Bhatti and Gampul. On the way you come across a tri-junction – the lower trail leads to Larkye La pass in the Nubra Valley while the upper trails lead to Tsum Valley. You take the one leading to Tsum Valley. It takes only a short while from Gampul to reach Lokpa, your overnight stop. You are now in the sacred Tsum Valley, the land of the Tsombas.

Overnight in Lokpa

Day 6
Trek to Chumling (2386m) – 4-5 hours

After a hearty breakfast, it's time to get back on the trail. Today's destination is Chumling which you will reach after walking on paths built on a rocky cliff. There are some steep climbs on stone staircases and metal walkways. You make your way through river gorges and forests of pine, rhododendron, and cedar. A descent down to the river and a steep climb to the north west side of the valley brings you to Chumling.

The village of Chumling is filled with barley fields and old stone houses. You can explore the village after resting for a bit. Over here you can see the difference in attire and culture. People here follow Tibetan Buddhism and speak the Tsomba dialect which is closer to Tibetan than Nepali. They also dress in Tibetan Chuba or Bakhu. You can walk to the upper part of the village where you will find the three ancient monasteries – Guwa Gompa, Panago Gompa, and Mani Dhungyu.

Overnight in Chumling.  

Day 7
Trek to Lama Gaun (3025m) – 5- 6 hours

From Chumling you make your way to Lama Gaun, a small settlement with a grand monastery. The walk is filled with glorious views of Singri Himal, Baudha Himal, and Ganesh Himal Range.  After a stiff climb through a dense pine forest, you cross Chhekampar and proceed toward Lama Gaun. Dotted with barley and potato fields, Lama Gaun is located in a vast valley surrounded by craggy mountains.  The villagers, like others in the Tsum Valley, are engaged in farming and yak breeding. Observing their lifestyle you will feel as though you are somewhere in Tibet. There are chortens and mani walls and Buddhist flags flutter at the village houses and monasteries.

After reaching Lama Gaun you head to a teahouse and rest your tired legs.

Overnight in Lama Gaun.

Day 8
Hike to Mu Gompa (3700m) and back to Chhekampar (3031m) – 6-7 hours

Today you can explore the ancient monasteries and meditation caves for which Tsum Valley is well known. Regarded as a 'beyul' or a sacred valley Tsum Valley was blessed by Padmasambhava/ Second Buddha or Guru Rinpoche. The Tibetan Buddhist saint Milarepa is said to have meditated at a cave in Tsum Valley. The valley is a sacred Buddhist pilgrimage site for followers of Tibetan Buddhism. Also known as a 'Shayagya' or a non-violent area, killing or consumption of animals and other living creatures is strictly prohibited in the valley. Because of this Tsum Valley can be regarded as one of the purest Buddhist settlements in the world where all living creatures are protected and remain unharmed by humans.

After a hearty breakfast, you make your way to Nile village, the last village in the Upper Tsum Valley. If the weather is clear you will find groups of women cleaning grain and spinning wool by the side of the Shyar Khola(river). En route, you visit the famous Milarepa Cave. Known also as Piren Phu or Pigeon's cave, Milarepa the 'singing saint' is said to have meditated here for years. He has left his footprint here which you will discover at the cave. Located at the base of a cliff, the cave has two monasteries or gompas which hold statues of Lord Buddha, Avalokiteshwara, Goddess Tara, and Milarepa and ancient Buddhist manuscripts. The cave is decorated with beautiful murals. From the cave, one gets a sweeping view of the surrounding village, Shyar Khola, Rachen Gompa, and the wide valley.

Later you head to Mu Gompa, the largest monastery in the valley. Established by a Bhutanese Buddhist monk Drukpa Rinpoche, Mu Gompa lies at the farthest point in Tsum Valley very close to the Tibetan border. This ancient monastery holds precious Buddhist manuscripts, thangkas, and murals. A life-size statue of Avalokiteshwara and statues of Guru Rinpoche and Goddess Tara are placed inside the monastery. 

After exploring Mu Gompa you head down to Chhekampar, where you will stay overnight at a local teahouse.

Overnight in Chhekampar.

Day 9
Trek to Eklai Bhatti (1900m) – 5-6 hours

Leaving Chhekampar you will trek down to Eklai Bhatti. It's a long walk filled with dramatic views of mountains, rocky cliffs, pine forests, and gurgling rivers. You can see herds of Musk Deer, Blue Sheep, and Himalayan Tahr running around the cliffside. Yaks can also be seen grazing on the meadows. Leaving Tsum Valley you join the main Manaslu trail in the Budi Gandaki Valley. Once you reach Eklai Bhatti rest your tired legs. Have an early night as you have a long walk tomorrow.

Overnight in Eklai Bhatti

Day 10
Trek to Lapu Besi (900m) – 5-6 hours

From Eklai Bhatti you retrace your steps to Lapu Besi. Savor the views of the beautiful Budi Gandaki Valley as you walk down alongside the river. As your body would have adjusted to walking for long hours you won't find the trek strenuous. Leaving the foot trail you come across a rough dirt track once more. Following the dusty road you arrive at the village of Lapu Besi. A picturesque Gurung village on the side of a mountain, Lapu Besi is surrounded by terraced fields and waterfalls that cascade down cliffs and hillsides. You will be staying overnight at a teahouse.

Overnight in Lapu Besi.

Day 11
Drive to Kathmandu by Private Jeep – 8-9 hours

Leaving Lapu Besi you take a long drive back to Kathmandu. Enjoy the views of the mountains, rivers, and villages for the last time before entering Kathmandu. Upon your arrival in the city, our driver will drive you to your hotel. Enjoy a refreshing hot shower and a good meal. You can explore Thamel and shop for souvenirs if you are not too tired.

Overnight in Kathmandu.

Day 12
Final Departure

You bid your final goodbye to Nepal and head toward the international airport. Our guide will drop you off at that airport at least three hours before your flight's departure. If you want to experience more adventures please do let us know. We will be at your service to help you plan another unforgettable Himalayan adventure. We also plan holidays in Bhutan, Tibet, and India, if you are interested in visiting these countries.

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