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Manaslu and Tsum Valley trek

Abhishek Subedi July 19, 2020

Tsum Valley, also called “beyul” literally meaning “Hidden valley in which people can take refuge at times of political disturbance and where Buddhism can be practiced safely” is yet being explored and the right place to trek for the travelling passionate. The valley is blessed with a Himalayan Buddhist pilgrimage site located in the northern part of Gorkha district, Nepal. In another sense ‘Tsum’ meaning vivid against the majestic backdrop of the Ganesh Himal, Shringi Himal and Boudha Himal Ranges, this serene Himalayan valley is rich in ancient art, culture and religion. It is said that the Buddhist saint Milarepa is believed to be meditated in the caves of these mountains. 

The valley is home of some of the unique and historic monasteries, including Mu Gompa and Rachen Gompa, mani and prayer walls which lie on a pretty highland nestled in the lap of the valley and Gompa Langtang, situated at the base of a conical hill against the main slope of Ganesh Himal. The tribes here celebrate many Buddhist festivals, perform ritual burning of juniper sense to purify the air and Mother Nature, place the prayer flags and install Mani Walls for the happiness of the entire sentient living beings. The area is left behind from modernity so their culture remained as it is as it was centuries ago. The palace is really tempting for the trekkers. 

Manaslu and Tsum Valley trek

About the Manaslu and Tsum Valley trek

Manaslu Trek via Tsum Valley, around mighty 8163 meter high Mount Manaslu and hidden valley of Tsum is unexpectedly popular among wilderness trekking keens. This region was opened for the trekkers only in 1995 and Tsum was also just released in 2008. Manaslu and Tsum Valley Trek in this geographically extra spectacular and culturally most mesmerizing area, that rewards the trekkers to discover ultimate nature and cultural heritage and experience the mountain lifestyle in Tsum Valley and Manaslu.

The residents of upper Bhudi Gandaki, a region known as ‘Nup Ri’ meaning Western Mountain are direct descendants of Tibetan immigrants and they settled here during early 16th century consequently their speech, dress and customs are absolutely similar to Tibetans in the North of Nepal. The Mountain Views in Nup Ri are sensational and iconic that you can find nowhere in the world. The dramatic Larke Pass after visiting Tsum Valley is thrilling.

Manaslu Trekking: Manaslu Trekking An exciting new route circumnavigating the World’s eighth highest peak, Manaslu (8,163 m) was officially opened to trekkers in 1991, but mountaineering expeditions have long had access to the area.The attraction of the under trekked trails and high mountain scenery is hard for the seasoned trekker to resist. This trek gives an insight into both Nepalese Hindu and Tibetan Buddhist cultures. Manaslu trek passing through Lubumbashi is an unfolding natural phenomenon of biophysical dynamics. Leaving behind the historical town of Gorkha and Arughat, the trail follows the magnificent deep blue waters of Buddhi Gandaki, entering a wild gorge that cuts between Ganesh (7,429 m) and Himalchuli (7,893 m), where villages are linked by precipitous trails that make few concessions to the knees.

Day 1 Drive to Soti Khola

First day of the journey starts by a day drive to Soti Khola – your trekking starting point which leads to Manaslu circuit and Tsum valley trek. To reach Kathmandu to Soti Khola, you will have to go past Arughat bazar 570 elevations. Kathmandu to Arughat normally takes around 6-7 hours. From Arughat it takes another 1:30 -2 hours to reach Soti Khola; again depends on the road condition, the type of transportation, driving speed etc. Our guide will pick you from your hotel at a selected time. Drive to Soti Khola which lies at an elevation 700 meters above sea level. Local bus service is available from Kathmandu to Soti Khola distance but it is not recommended. We do provide transportation service by jeep or bus for Kathmandu to Soti Khola distance via Arughat Nepal.

Manaslu and Tsum Valley trek

Day 2 Trek to Machha Khola

After taking a nice breakfast; you will set off from Soti Khola to Machha Khola which lies at the elevation of 869 meters from sea level and it takes about 6 hours total time. Alternatively you can still plan on going a bit further to Khorla Besi (970m). The village of Machha Khola is bigger than Khorla Besi and you could do washing and flashing yourself at fresh Machha Khola water.

Day 3 Trek to Jagat

The third-day your Manaslu and Tsum valley trek today has some ups and downs which will make our trail challenging to some extent. From Machha Khola, you will cross the Tharo Khola and reach Khorla Besi. Khorla Besi is another small yet beautiful Gurung village. After another short steep climb, you will reach Tatopani, a hot-spring site where you will be spending some time to enjoy the natural sauna. Then we will climb over a ridge, crossing the Budhi Gandaki River through the suspension bridge and climb up the staircase and a ridge to finally reach Doban. After crossing another suspension bridge, you will climb another stone staircase, go down to the river and climb the stairs again to reach Thado Bharyang. You will walk here in Nepal’s first cantilever bridge. 

Then you will cross the west bank of Budhi Gandaki River, climb over the ridge and walk along the river to reach Jagat village. You will hear Nepal’s first cantilever bridge. It is the entry checkpoint of the Manaslu Conservation Area. 

Day 4 Trek to Lokpa

Today you will enter the restricted region of Tsum Valley. Guide will register your permit at the checkpoint at Jagat. On the very first part you will trek a little bit through the riverbank. After some up and down through Shridibas settlement of Philim come into your sight. Pass through the suspension bridge and stop in Philim for lunch. Explore the village of Philim and Japanese made school there. As you pass by Ekle Bhatti trail gets separated toward Tsum and Manaslu. Pass through the welcome board and hike up toward Lokpa. You might feel like it is early to stop in Lokpa (2240m) but next settlement Chumling is far to go further. 

Day 5 Trek to Chhumling

Today your plan is to make Chumling from Lokpa and it is only 4-5 hours of hike but it is demanding and there are no lodges in between so don’t forget to carry energy bars or snickers. Trail completely passes through the silence of the tropical forest. You will encounter numerous up and down until you arrive at a small suspension bridge. Trail gets diverted from this bridge toward Ripchet and Chumling. You will cross the bridge and walk past a small stone wall made by the side of the trail. Chumling is not that far from this point. There are few teahouses by main trail. 

Manaslu and Tsum Valley trek

Late afternoon you can make a small side trip to the upper part of Chumling, there are few teahouses too. There is a monastery at the upper end of the village where you can go for a view of Ganesh Himal. Personal hygiene is not that good so use hand sanitizer every thirty minutes or whenever possible. Depending on season fields might be covered by barley or buckwheat. Big Chorten in the middle of the field helps to enrich the view of the small valley.

Day 6 Trek to Chhekampar

From Chumling; the day begins with a cross over a suspension bridge onto the opposite bank. You will rejoice in the great views of Ganesh Himal. Walk past Rainjam to Serpu Khola crossing another bridge and you will arrive at the Gho Village having a local tea shop. Another 2 hours climb to Tsum takes you to the stunning traditional village of Chhokangpar. Weather permitting; enjoy the views of Himalchuli at 7893 meters and Ganesh Himal at7140m.

Day 7 Trek to Nile

Today it is an easy 5-6 hours to the Nile from Chhekampar. You may visit Milarepa Cave (locals called it Piren Phu). The entrance fee was NPR 300 as of 2015. Though it is an easy walk to the Nile; you may feel altitude as you go higher so it is recommended to walk gently above Chokhangparo, better to be careful of altitude problems. You will hike through Phurbe and Pangdun. Leaving the old historic Stupa of Buddha in a way crossing the village of Chhule, climb upstream and cross the bridge to finally arrive at the Nile. If you consider, you can make your visit to a famous monastery of Chhule which is located at the top of the area.

Manaslu and Tsum Valley trek

Day 8 Hike to Mu Gompa and Trek to Chhekampar via Rachen Goma

After a nice breakfasts; you will go hiking to make an exploration day to famous and religious Mu Gompa without taking your luggage. You are now almost close to the Tibetan border. Walk to the west bank of the valley through the Tibetan landscapes. Climb up to the Mu Gompa. You will also visit the monastery. Then after, you will make a visit to the Dhephu Doma Gompa. You will descend down to the hotel for lunch and get your baggage and trek down to Chhekampar via Rachen Gompa a Buddhist nunnery and retrace back to Chhekampar.

Day 9 Trek to Lokpa

It is the same way back to Lokpa via Chumling again though there is an alternative trail via Ripchet that detours at the bridge. Here, you will be following the trail into the forest again that takes 6 to 7 hours. Spending a night at Lokpa you will arrange to shift towards Deng.

Day 10 Trek to Ghap

The trail goes down to Gumpul where you will reconnect with the main Manaslu trail. Crossing on the top of stunning gorge and entering the mainly unoccupied area of pine trees previous to drop to a trail junction at New Bridge, you will be following the trail towards the left to Ghap, the Budhi Gandaki and then entering into its narrow gorge on an up-and-down trail with river crossings. After a suspension bridge the trail enters bamboo forest and rises to the village of Deng, hiking further towards Rana and Bhi Phedi then to Ghap that takes approximately 7-8 hours depending on your pace and stamina to walk. 

Day 11 Trek to Lho

Today; it is an easy start in the beginning, then you will rise up through the bamboo tree and the woodland of Rhododendron along the Budhi Gandaki River. The hydro electric plant will take you to Namrung. You might have lunch break here. Then resume trekking to Lohegaon from Namrung. You are ascending quietly by passing from the outsized stream gracefully downward from the Lidanda Glaciers. At Sho (3,000m), you will take some time for lunch. Arriving at Lho at the elevation of 3180 meter, you will be taking pleasure from that breathtaking scenery of Manaslu. You will put your camp in Lho (3,180m), viewing amazing small Gompa.

Manaslu and Tsum Valley trek

Day 12 Trek to Samagaun

On this day; it is a short walk to Sama Gaun (3520) via Shyo. Walk through the blue pine and juniper pine woodland and soon you will walk through very wide and flat fiend and can see the beautiful Samagaun (3520m) in distance. Samagaun is one of the attractions in this trek having monasteries, religious monuments and locals.  

Day 13 Hike to Birendra Taal

Today, it is rest and acclimatization day as it is very important to get acclimatized considering AMS (Altitude Mountain Sickness). The elevation goes higher and air becomes thinner now. It is always suggested to hike in higher and sleep in lower that makes you properly acclimatized, to drink more water is recommended. A slow and gentle hike is always wise. If you feel fine and strong; Samagaun offers several day long hikes. Day hike to Pungyen Gompa, Manaslu Base Camp and Excursion to Birendra Lake is very popular to do day excursions. 

Day 14 Trek to Samdo

Today, you will descend to the Budhi Gandaki River, which has turned north and follow it to a bridge over a side stream. The trail to the left leads to the Manaslu Base camp. The Larkya la Trail passes several main walls as the valley begins to widen. It is an easy trail on a shelf above the river passing the juniper and birch forests of Kermo Kharka. You will drop off the shelf, cross the Budhi Gandaki on a wooden bridge and climb steeply onto a promontory between two forks of the river. From a stone arch you can view a large white kani. Finally passing through the kani you will find Samdo ((3780m).

Manaslu and Tsum Valley trek

Day 15 Trek to Larke Phedi

Even today, you will continue your walk down the edge, cross the wooden bridge over Budi Gandaki and begin walking upward. Upon crossing two streams and witnessing the Larke Glacier you will go around the valley of the Salka Khola and climb up again to the stone guest house (4460 m), which is not a lodge but a kind of shelter called Dharamshala, also known as Larke Phedi. This is the highest altitude at where you will sleep. The short walk today also leaves plenty of time for acclimatization and relaxing in the afternoon.

Day 16 Trek to Bimtang via Larkey Pass

After a short climb, you will reach a valley on the north side of the Larke Glaciers from where you can enjoy great views of Cho Danda and Larke Peak. Finally, you will walk across the moraines of the glacier, making a gradual ascent which becomes steeper only in the last section of the pass. From the past, there are outstanding views of Himlung Himal, Cheo Himal, Kangguru and the huge Annapurna II. It is a longer day than usual to Bimtang, but to walk into these low pastures with the evening mist coming in with Mt. Manaslu looming close by is an overwhelming experience. 

Day 17 Trek to Gowa

From a ridge at Bimthang, you can enjoy great views of Mt. Manaslu, Lamjung Himal, Himlung Himal and Cheo Himal. You will descend further and cross a high pasture (Sangure Kharka) followed by a bridge over Dudh Khola. Similarly, you will walk through rhododendron forest and follow a trail through a narrow valley until you reach the highest cultivated land of the valley at Karche, 2785 meters. You will pass across fields before making a steep climb over a ridge. The trail comes off the ridge in a big, sweeping arc to the river bank at 2580m. A short distance beyond is the village of Gho.

Manaslu and Tsum Valley trek

Day 18 Trek Chyamje

Cross a suspension bridge at the end of Gowa and follow easy trail to Tilche then climb over a small ridge and enjoy the stone paved trail as it passes through a beautiful village and walk down to Dharapani now you will walk on unsealed road and cross another suspension bridge over Dudh Khola. You will then cross the bridge over Dudh Khola and climb up through a chorten-shaped arch, pass a main wall and reach the Thonje village. At the village, you will go through a police checkpoint and continue to Dharapani. You have entered the Annapurna circuit section from Dharapani. Further down, you will come across Karte village and after quite a bit of walking you will cross a bridge over Marshyangdi Khola. You will also come across some mani walls before reaching the village of Tal then trek to Chyamje. 

Day 19 Drive to Besisahar and to Kathmandu Valley

Today is the last day of your trip. You will ride a 4WD sharing local jeep to Besisahar then take a connecting local micro hiace van to Kathmandu which could be a very long ride. If you can allow an extra day you can stay at Besisahar and take a deluxe local bus the next day. Overnight in Kathmandu. Your guide will take you to your hotel.

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