Visit the hidden valley of Tsum and experience a unique Himalayan sanctuary!
Tsum, the hidden valley, is a unique Himalayan sanctuary located in the northern Gorkha which lies in north-central Nepal. It is nestled within the rim of majestic snow-capped mountains such as Baudha Himal and Himalchuli to the west, Ganesh Himal to the south and Sringi Himal to the north. The area was only opened to tourists in 2008, and has a long history of Buddhism—it has been a major pilgrimage site for several centuries. The people are of Tibetan origin and, with little outside influence, have successfully preserved their ancient art, culture and religion. In keeping with Buddhist faith, hunting is not allowed in the valley, so rich flora and fauna abound. There are 33 species of mammals including the elusive snow leopard, musk deer, ghoral, Himalayan Thar, and blue sheep. There are also over 110 species of birds, 11 species of butterflies, and three species of reptiles. There are approximately 2,000 species of plants and over 50 species of medicinal plants. The trek is very diverse in terms of terrain, ethnicity, and culture. Starting from Arkhet, we hike all the way up to Mu Gomba (11,000'.), one of the oldest monasteries in the valley. There is also a nunnery on the way called Rachen Gomba which has over one hundred nuns practicing Buddhism.
- Visit a once-closed valley still locked in time
- Trek past gorgeous green scenery studded with rivers, forests, farm land, waterfalls and forest
- See ancient monasteries, nunneries and soak in the well-preserved Buddhist culture
- Enjoy views of majestic, snow-capped mountains rivaling any in Nepal
- Return to Kathmandu by helcopter (making this trip do-able in two weeks)
Duration: 13 days Start Location: Kathmandu End Location: KathmanduDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrive in Kathmandu, Nepal (4,500')
Upon arrival in Kathmandu, you will be picked up by our local representative and transferred to your hotel.
Day 2 : Kathmandu
Tour nearby Bhaktapur, with its well-preserved 17th-century architecture.
Day 3 : Arkhet (2,034')
Today we drive 120 miles from Kathmandu to Arkhet. The road is very picturesque with beautiful views of the terraced farmlands, smiling faces of the locals and the rivers flowing gracefully toward the Ganges. We drive on the main highway linking Nepal to India until we reach Munglin, where the road branches off towards Pokhara in western Nepal. We drive further to Abu Khaireni where we turn off to Gorkha, a historical town where the ruler Prithivi Narayan Shah unified the small feudal states of Nepal and gave the country its present shape. The drive from Gorkha to Arkhet is 33 miles and we follow a dirt road which can be a little rough. We reach Arkhet which is a bustling town with a police station and plenty of shops. The people living here are Gurungs and Magars mainly. We camp overnight.
Day 4 : Lapu Besi (2,824')
Today we walk downhill along the banks of Soti Khola and follow the undulating path through Sal forest towards Liding, a small Gurung settlement. We break for lunch where there is a view of a gorgeous waterfall cascading down to join the Budi Gandaki river. We set off climbing up very gradually through the sal and schima forest and start heading down to cross a landslip area making a steep ascent to a small pass called Hawa Danda with a single hut providing cold drinks and local snacks. The dirt road ends soon after that and we start following a proper trail. There are stone steps going downhill through the sal forest. We then climb up the trail clinging to the rocky cliff. The forest abounds with different species of birds and butterflies along with the rejuvenating waterfalls. The view of Ganesh Himal in the distance is spectacular. The trail goes up and down and finally reaches Lapu Besi which is a Gurung and Ghale village.
Day 5 : Maccha Khola (3,041')
A little above our campsite is another village called Nyauli Khola. Beyond that, there are a few landslip areas. In the past the debris from landslides blocked the river for several days and when the resulting build up of water broke loose, it created heavy flooding downstream. This washed away many houses and bridges. Occasionally, even the course of the river changes with such landslides. We cross the river on a metal suspension bridge from where we can see a beautiful waterfall and a small hydro power station supplying electricity to the villages nearby. It is a very steep climb before we reach Khani Besi. Maccha Khola is another hour and there are a few lodges for the trekkers as well as good camp sites.
Day 6 : Yaru (3,740')
After leaving Maccha Khola we follow the undulating trail, and cross the Thadok Khola flowing in a rocky ravine, before we reach Khorla Besi. After Khorla Besi the trail is fairly easy and follows small farmlands. Occasionally, we get very close to the Budi Gandaki River. We cross a landslip area and after few ups and downs we get to Tatopani, where there is a hot spring with two water spouts but no pool. It is a tiny settlement with a few shops selling refreshments. It is a very gentle climb after that. We cross the Budi Gandaki for the first time on a metal suspension bridge. The trail climbs up very gradually following marijuana and nettle fields growing wild. We climb up the stone stairs which is short but steep to get to Doban. We cross the Doban River and carry on heading up, keeping to the eastern bank of Budi Gandaki. We walk past small farm lands, occasionally crossing landslip sections, and reach Yaru where there are temporary huts with Gurung people selling tea and snacks. We camp by the riverside.
Day 7 : Ekle Bhatti (5,351')
We cross the Yaru River and traverse on the right bank of the Budi Gandaki. After a few ascents and descents on stone stairs we climb up steep stone stairs called Thado Bharyang. We get to Thulo Dhunga, which has a few shops. We cross the Budi Gandaki to the western bank. We make a steep ascent following the stone stairs. Look out for Langur monkeys, which are often seen harvesting the fruit in the trees. After following the river bank for some time we get to Jagat (4,593'.) which marks the entry to Manaslu Conservation Area. There is a tourist check point in the village. There are few lodges and shops in Jagat. We start traversing on a rocky wall and cross one of the rivers with a beautiful waterfall and then get to Salleri. There is a great view of Sringi Himal from here. After climbing up gently for a while we ascend steeply on a rocky wall following stone stairs. The trail then descends to Sirdibas with Buddhist monuments such as kani, chorten and mani walls. But the people here are still Gurungs who practice Buddhism and Hinduism side by side. Now we start following a wide valley and get to Ghatte Khola. We cross a side stream and go past a big land slip area, then climb up steeply to a picturesque Gurung village of Philim, which is the administrative centre of this region. We gradually descend through beautiful terraced farmland to reach our camp at Ekle Bhatti.
Day 8 : Chumling (7,828')
As the trail descends we start noticing pine and rhododendron trees from now on. Far to the west, high above the opposite hillside, we see Manaslu which is one of the 8000 meter peaks. Very soon we will come to an intersection where the left trail leads to the Manaslu Circuit trek and we bear to the right towards the Tsum Valley. From this point we leave the Budi Gandaki and start following the Shyar Khola which originates from the glaciers of Ganesh Himal and Sringi Himal. We begin to ascend up a steep hill following pine and rhododendron forest. The trail levels off just a little before we reach Lokpa, which is the first village of the valley.
We set off heading downhill, gently following a well-marked trail through shrub land. Very soon we cross the Suchi Khola on a newly built metal suspension bridge and start heading downhill to the Sardi River and walk along the Sardi Gorge. Our trail takes us through a tranquil forest and to a small saddle offering a great view of Sringi Himal. We cross the Sardi River on a suspension bridge and follow the trail under a big rocky overhang cliff. There is a colorful Buddhist prayer carved on a rock on the other side of the river. We start climbing up steadily following a hill with a steep gradient. But the beautiful view of the snow-capped mountains and the lovely fragrance of the evergreen pine forests compensate for all our exertion. We start to notice more rhododendron trees and the trail levels off, too. It is fairly undulating from now on following the conifer and rhododendron forests called Ghumling. There are few side streams to be crossed on the way. After climbing up and down several times, we get to a small hut selling tea and snacks. The trail on the right leads to Ripchet and the left one to Chumling. We follow the latter. We cross the Shyar River and climb up a steep hillside to get to Chumling, where we spend a night.
Day 9 : Chhekam Paro (9,944')
It is relatively an easy hike from here to Rainjom where the trail goes past beautiful farmlands and small villages. We also see pine forests on either side and the trail becomes a little narrow and precarious with occasional with sheer drops on our right to the Shiyar River. It is a steady and steep climb from here to the Upper Tsum Valley. The trail zig zags to a small village of Gho where we see prayer rocks, mani stones and chortens. We keep ascending steadily with beautiful pine forest along the side of our trail. We get to a small pass where there is a kani and prayer flags, which marks the entrance to the village of Chhekam and the upper Tsum Valley. There are two villages adjoined close to each other called Chhekam and Paro. The houses are built close to each other and are all stone with slate roofs. People here are called Tsumbas and they speak a unique Tibetan dialect. They are often referred as Bhote or Bhotia, who have adopted the Tibetan lifestyle, culture and religion due to the easy accessibility to the border as well as the ongoing trade and cultural ties with the country. People here grow different seasonal crops in their fields such as potatoes, barley, buckwheat, corn and other seasonal vegetables. We will also notice apple orchards near their houses. We get a magnificent view of Ganesh Himal in the background of the village. Following the wide valley with beautiful farmlands we also see another stunning mountain, Himalchuli at the far end.
Day 10 : Nile (11,026')
We reach Jhong right after Chhekam and the trail climbs up gradually. There is a primary school on the way. We cross side streams occasionally and after a while reach Ngakyu, which is a compact settlement with narrow alleys uniquely walled by firewood. Being on the western bank of the Shiar River we follow a virtually flat trail along the farmlands and walk past kani and mani walls. The fields are demarcated by stone walls whose main purpose is to keep cattle from eating the crops. Ngakyu is an intersection of the trails going to Rachen Gomba and Bhurji. We then reach Lamagaon and Bhurji, which is an important destination for the Buddhist pilgrims for it has a famous Milarepa cave known as Piren Phu or the pigeon cave which has the footprint of a famous Buddhist saint called Milarepa. The river flowing beside Bhurji is called the Langju. Right across the river and the moraine of Langju, we see a small monastery called Chi-phu which is built on the edge of a rugged mountain. The access to the monastery is not easy due to difficult trail conditions. As we keep heading up the valley we Cross Khungyu Khola on a wooden bridge where there are three water driven prayer wheels. After another hour and half, we reach Pangdun.We cross Polang, a small hillock which offers a great view of the Tsum Valley. Very soon we will see a huge stupa in the middle of the trail with the all seeing eyes of Buddha and a gilded pinnacle. Old folks from the nearby villages come here every morning and evening to circumbulate the monument to gain religious merit. There are beautiful farmlands on either side of the trail. We cross the Shiar River and walk for another 1 5minutes to reach Nile, which is the last village heading north of the Tsum Valley. We camp beside the river.
Day 11 : Mu Gomba (12,139')
We follow the trail on the right bank of the Shiar River and start climbing up gradually. At Rolmi we recross the river and the trail gets a little steeper. We cross several chortens and mani walls along the trail today. It is another three kilometers from here to Mu Gompa. The monastery was built in 1895. It has a Rimpoche who is the reincarnated Lama and is the head of the institute of the Drukpa Kagyu sect. There are 18 monks living in the monastery at present and the surrounding buildings are their quarters. Depending on time and how we feel, we will go for an afternoon excursion towards the Tibetan border and then head back to our camp.
Day 12 : Kathmandu
Today we fly by helicopter to Kathmandu. Farewell dinner.
Day 13 : Fly home
Depart Kathmandu, or join one of our extensions to India, Vietnam, or Cambodia.
DATES: Best time to go: April, October - November Departures: Oct 13 - 25, 2014
$700 single supplement
Yak & Yeti HotelKathmandu, Nepal
A 5-star deluxe oasis in the heart of Kathmandu, the Yak & Yeti is the perfect blend of contemporary international standards and time-honored Nepali tradition. Guests will find refuge among antique fountains, gilded temples and emerald gardens, while enjoying a state-of-the-art gymnasium, spa, shopping arcade, atrium, tennis courts and swimming pools.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.
Pranoy Rai was born in Nepal, studied in Darjeeling, India, and is a travel enthusiast who has always been keen on adventure. Working as a trekking leader since 1999, he has an enormous experience in the field, having led numerous treks and tours to Nepal, Tibet and India. Pranoy successfully completed his basic mountaineering course from the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute of Darjeeling with grade 'A' certificate. He has been trained in wilderness medicine by Dr. Jim Duff, an expert in wilderness first aid and co-author of “First Aid and Survival in Mountain and Remote Areas.” In addition to being fluent in English, Nepali, and Hindi, he speaks basic Tibetan and Chinese. Pranoy is very keen on birds, plants, and flowers, and has acquired a very good knowledge in them that he looks forward to sharing with you on trek.