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. The region has a long history of Buddhism and 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 thirty three species of mammals including the elusive snow leopard, musk deer, ghoral , Himalayan Thar and blue sheep. There are also over hundred and ten species of birds, eleven species of butterflies and three species of reptiles. There are approximately two thousand species of plants and over fifty 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
Duration: 20 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 (2,493')
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 towards 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 place from 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 Arughat is 25 miles and we follow a dirt road which can be a little rough. Arughat is a small busy town. The majority of the people leaving here are Newars, who are very good businessmen. Besides trekkers, it is also the road head for mules transporting supplies for the local traders or even trekking groups. We keep heading north following small settlements with tea shops selling local snacks. The occasional ficus trees along the trail which provide shade are very welcoming. The river flowing wildly below us is the Budi Gandaki, which we will be following for next four or five days. The view of terraced fields on the other side of the river is simply breathtaking. We also follow the sub-tropical forest where rhesus monkeys can be seen. The view of the mountain up the valley is of Sringi Himal. Later on, we will also see beautiful snowy peaks of Manaslu and Himalchuli far upon the horizon. We reach a local police station which marks the beginning of another bustling town called Arkhet, which has plenty of shops. The people living here are Gurungs and Magars mainly. We camp overnight.
Day 4 : Liding (2,837')
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 overnight at a lovely campsite here with views of a gorgeous waterfall cascading down to join the Budi Gandaki.
Day 5 : Maccha Khola (3,041')
We set off climbing very gradually through the sal and schima forest and then head 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 to be followed going downhill through the 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 trail goes up and down to reach Lapu Besi and a little higher there is another village called Nyauli Khola. We cross the river on a metal suspension bridge from where we view 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.
Day 6 : Yaru (3,740')
Today we take a detour to reach another part of Maccha Khola village in order to avoid the Maccha Khola River. After crossing it on a metal suspension bridge and traversing its left bank for a while, we get to the other part of the village. We follow the undulating trail and cross the Thadok Khola flowing in a rocky ravine before we reach Khorla Besi. From there the trail is fairly easy following small farms. 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 springs with two water spouts, but no pool. It is a tiny settlement with a few shops selling refreshments. After that we have a gentle climb following a rock fall area . 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 in the wild. To reach Doban, we climb up stone stairs, which are short but steep. We then cross the Doban River and continue on sticking to the eastern bank of the Budi Gandaki. We walk past small farms, 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 : Philim (5,249')
Today we cross the Yaru River and traverse on the right bank of the Budi Gandaki. After crossing the western bank of the Budi Gandaki, we make a steep ascent on stone stairs. We keep a look out for the langur monkey,s which are often seen harvesting 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. We start traversing on a rocky wall and cross one of the rivers with a beautiful waterfall and then reach 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. Then we start following a wide valley and get to Ghatte Khola. We cross a side stream and recross the Budi Gandaki on a long metal suspension bridgebefore climbing up steeply to a picturesque Gurung village, Philim, which is the administrative center of this region. Our camp is near Philim Gaon Lodge.
Day 8 : Lokpa (6,249')
As we leave the village, we descend gradually and start making a long traverse with terraced farmland on our right and the Budi Gandaki flowing down below us. After awhile, we see a beautiful waterfall right above our trail. We also start noticing pine and rhododendron trees from now on. Very soon we will come to an intersection where the left trail leads to the Manaslu Circuit trek and we bear 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 a little just before we reach Lokpa which is the first village of the valley. We camp on a terrace of Tsum Guest House which is the only lodge here. There is an excellent view of Ganesh and Sringi from our camp.
Day 9 : Rainjom (7,709')
We set off heading gently downhill 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 until we reach a small saddle offering a great view of Sringi Himal. We cross the Sardi River on a suspension bridge and there is a colorful Buddhist prayer carved on a rock on the other side of the river. We start climbing up steadily on a steep path. But the beautiful view of the snow-capped mountains and the lovely fragrance of the evergreen pine forests compensate for all our exertion. We continue through conifer and rhododendron forests, crossing a few side streams. Later we cross the Shyar River and climb up a steep hillside to reach Chumling where we break for lunch. It is relatively an easy hike from here to Rainjom where the trail goes past beautiful farmlands and small villages. Just before we reach our camp there is a small settlement called Dramba which has a small monastery along with prayer flags.
Day 10 : Lama Gaon (10,662')
After leaving our campsite we climb up gently and cross the Sherpu Khola. It is a steady and steep climb from here to the Upper Tsum Valley. The trail zigzags to a small village of Gho where we see prayer rocks, mani stones and chortens--all Buddhist monuments along the trail. We keep ascending steadily passing 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. 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 vegetables. We are treated to magnificent views of Ganesh Himal in the background of the village. Following the wide valley with beautiful scenery we also see another stunning mountain, Himalchuli at the far end. Right after Chhekam the trail climbs up gradually. We cross side streams occasionally and after a while reach Ngakyu which is a compact settlement with narrow alleys uniquely walled by firewood. Ngakyu is at an intersection of the trails going to Rachen Gomba and Bhurji. We reach Lama Gaon where we spend the night at a lovely campsite.
Day 11 : Mu Gomba (11,515')
This morning we leave Lama Gaon and trek to Bhurji, which is an important destination for the Buddhist pilgrims because of a famous Milarepa cave known as Piren Phu or the pigeon cave, where we can see the footprint of a famous Buddhist saint called Milarepa. The river flowing beside Bhurji is called Langju. Right across the river and the moraine of Lanju 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. Afterwards, 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. We cross the Shiar River and walk for another 15 minutes to reach Nile which is the last village heading north of the Tsum Valley. We walk past several chortens and mani walls along the trail today. We reach Mu Gomba where the monastery was built in 1895. It has a Rimpoche who is the reincarnated Lama and the head of the institute of the Drukpa Kagyu sect. There are 18 monks living in the monastery. We camp at Mu Gomba.
Day 12 : Mu Gomba (11,515')
Today we explore the monastery and time permitting, go for an excursion towards the border of Tibet. There are 18 monks living at Mu Gomba monastery. The surrounding buildings are their quarters. Renovation work has been going on at the monastery since 1998 and new buildings are being established for the monks. There is also one of the branches of Mu Gomba in Kathmandu called Kopan Monastery, which is in the northeastern part of the city. Inside the monastery lies statues of Avalokiteshwara, the God of Compassion, Guru Rimpoche, Tara and Buddha Amitabha.
Day 13 : Lama Gaon (10,662')
Today we begin retracing our steps back to Lama Gaon. On our descent, we take a slight detour to the famous Rachen Gomba, a nunnery housing over a hundred nuns. It was built in 1905 and the nuns there are from Ningmapa sect and prohibit animal slaughter. During important festivals ritual dances are performed in the courtyard. The monastery also houses statues of Avalokiteshwara, Guru Padmasambhawa, Tara and Buddha Amitabha. After we leave the nunnery, we cross the Shiar River on a metal suspension bridge to reach Lama Gaon.
Day 14 : Chumling (7,283')
We backtrack towards Chhekam, at which point we head downhill steadily following the pine forest and passing religious monuments until reaching Rainjom. We follow a dense alder forest and start climbing up gently to a kani and follow the mixture of poplar and alder forest for a while. It is a very pleasant hike along the farmland and pine forest. Our camp is at Chumling, where we stopped for lunch on the way up.
Day 15 : Philim (6,249')
Today we zigzag downhill to cross the river and start climbing up through a mixed forest of pine, larch, rhododendron and oak. Later the trail becomes quite undulating until we begin a long descent to the Sardi Gorge. We then climb to Lokpa, where we stop for lunch. After lunch, we hike downhill to an intersection in the trail: one direction leads to Manaslu Circuit and the other to Philim, our next camp, which is a gradual climb all the way to the village.
Day 16 : Doban (3,051')
This morning we descend stone steps to cross the Budi Gandaki over a suspension bridge. After that we pass the villages of Ghatte Khola, Sirdibas, Salleri, Jagat and Yaru before reaching our camp at Doban.
Day 17 : Lapu Besi (2,824')
Today we walk past lovely farmland and small villages, crossing a few landslip areas and the Budi Gandaki to reach Tato Pani. The trail is fairly undulating from Tatopani to Lapu Besi and we cross few more rivers on the way.
Day 18 : Arkhet (2,057')
Although we make a few climbs today, most of the trail leads downhill. We catch a glimpse of farmers ploughing their fields, children heading to or from school and locals traveling to see their relatives or visiting markets in the nearest town. The view of the river valley looking to the south is mesmerizing. Our camp is at Arkhet tonight. Since it's the last night of the trek, we bid farewell to our crew members after dinner with a small farewell party with traditional music and dance. Everyone is welcome to join in.
Day 19 : Drive to Kathmandu (4,500')
Today we return to Kathmandu by road. The afternoon is free to relax or do some last minute shopping or sightseeing on your own. In the evening the group will gather for a farewell dinner with the group at a local restaurant.
Day 20 : Fly home
Depart Kathmandu, or join one of our extensions to India, Vietnam, or Cambodia.
DATES: Best time to go: March - April, October - November Departures: Oct 7 - 26, 2013 Nov 11 - 30, 2013
$725 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.