Trip Duration : 18N / 19D
Trekking Code: STE/MAN/02
Trek Duration: 13 Nights / 14 Days
Grade: Moderate…Ideal for families and students
Maximum altitude: 4060m
Activity: A Pilgrimage Trek that brings you close to nature of a supreme natural kind
Starts and ends in: Kathmandu
Trek type: A fully organized camping trek [staying in teahouses are an option]
Accommodation: Hotel and Camping
Meals: Hygienic meals are provided on the trail
Transportation: Normal coach / Jeep
Region: Manaslu / Langtang
Others: Guides without licenses are prohibited in this area
Price per person [Min. 2 PAX required]
Hiking the ‘TSOMBO’’ Trail – 19 Days…A venture into the sacred haven of Tsum Valley
The far-off Tsum Valley is sure one of Nepal’s hidden gems. This is one of the planet’s most ‘out of sync’ regions with natural ecosystems that blend in with the geographical environment of the land in perfect tandem with one another; Tsum Valley is also called the ‘Beyul Kyimolung’, - ‘holy hidden valley of happiness’’, for which the first description was given by Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava) at some time in the eighth century B.C. Milarepa meditated in the caves of Piren Phu with nunneries that are centuries old in this area. The Tsum Valley was also a restricted region at one time, but the government of Nepal soon opened its beautiful doors after 2008 to earn badly needed foreign exchange revenues. ‘Hiking the ‘Tsombo’’ Trail’ is something you’d like to do once before you pass from this universe.
It is assumed that in olden times, Tsum was once part of Tibet and visiting trekkers will observe that this region is far different from most other areas in the Himalayas of Nepal.
The local folks of this Valley – called ‘Tsumbas’ trace their roots to Tibet and follow a medieval culture with a separate dialect, art and religious practice that is dissimilar to others. Not many adventure backpackers have treaded the high altitudes and mystifying trails of this secret valley, a vital commercial connection close to Tibet. The Tsum valley is a haven of immense cultural wealth and the vistas in this area are simply astounding, with lush green forests and amazing geography, wonderfully placed in the laps of the Ganesh Himal that stands protectively above the valley. Tsum is a word derived from Tibetan jargon ‘Tsombo’, which means ‘vivid’ and once you hit the trails to Tsum, you will be in full agreement with this right to the hilt.
This is an off-track region with virgin trails, not much used by trekkers and is way different compared to the more established trek zones that hear the thuds of thousands of trek boots in the peak season period. The trail begins in the lower area by gradually ascending the Budhi Gandaki Valley on pretty gentle routes through green countryside dotted with small hindu hill villages and verdant terraced fields. As we steer off the main Manaslu Trail for the Tsum valley, we suddenly encounter a complete quiet where we only hear the scattered chirping of birds and a wave of curiosity and suspense consumes us with the feeling we are on the verge of entering a secret hidden valley or the Garden of Eden. The beautiful hidden valley and its people possess a unique identity of their own; upfront information on family lifestyles hereabouts maybe shocking initially and baffle outsiders out of their wits. It’s enigmatically surprising, because all the male members [brothers] of the same family are married to a single girl of another family, something one may call a practice of polyandry.
Nevertheless, the folks here are welcoming and friendly, visitors will be warmly welcomed with a home grown cuppa natural coffee and the hotsprings you encounter will relax your body on this gritty trail. The local folks hereabouts strictly forbid the slaughter of all animals, even as sacrifice for the gods. The trip commences after a scenic drive down to the commercial trading town of Arughat and concludes at Besisahar.
Note: Minimum 2 PAX is required for this trek as it is a restricted area trek.
Arrive in Kathmandu atTribhuwan International Airport
From Kathmandu drive to Arughat Bazaar (8-9 hrs)
Trek Arughat to Soti Khola (6 -7 hrs)
Trek Soti Khola to Machha Khola (6-7 Hrs)
Trek Machha Khola to Doban (6-7 hrs)
Trek Doban to Philim (6 hrs)
Trek Philim to Chumling (Lower Tsum) (7 hrs)
Trek Chumling to Chhokangparo (Upper Tsum) (5-6 hrs)
Trek Chhokangparo to Nile/Chhule, visit Milarepa Piren Phu Cave on the way (6-7 hrs)
Trek Nile/Chhule to Mu Gompa (3700m), visit Dhephyudonma Gompa (4060m) - 4 hrs
Extra day for excursion
Trek Mu Gompa to Rachen Gompa, visit Gonghye Gompa (Nyingma-pa Buddhist sect) (5 hrs)
Trek Rachen Gompa to Dumje (6-7 hrs)
Trek Dumje to Philim (cross Ripchet) (6-7 hrs)
Trek Philim to Tatopani (6-7 hrs)
Trek Tatopani to Soti Khola (6-7 hrs)
Trek Soti Khola to Arughat Bazar (6-7 hrs)
From Arughat Bazar drive to Kathmandu (8-9 hrs)
Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu
It’s a panoramic thrill flying into Kathmandu on a clear day. The views of snow-capped mountain peaks sprawling down below you are almost ecstatic, beginning a whole chain of memorable experiences that stay with you for a long, long time. And as your plane hits the tarmac, our waiting support team will meet and greet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel. Welcome drinks will be served and after you’ve refreshed, your trek leader will brief you about your trip in the lobby of your hotel in the evening. Get familiar with your surroundings by taking a walk down the street, don’t make it too late, get back to your nest for a good night’s sleep. The first overnight at your hotel in the valley of temples and cows – probably the most in the world
Day 2: Drive from Kathmandu to Arughat Bazaar – [600m] (8-9 hours)
It’s a pretty scenic 8-9 hrs bus ride to Arughat Bazaar in Gorkha district. The village of Arughat is divided into two parts on opposite banks of the Buri Gandaki River. Arughat Bazaar is large, clean and pretty active with hotels and shops selling cloth, food and hardware for the local folks in the region. This is our first night out before we hit the trails the next day.
Day 3: Arughat to Soti Khola (700m) 6-7 hours
We hike across the airy bridge over Budhi Gandaki and begin our trek from the western part of Arughat, following a stone-paved street north through the bazaar. We go by the hydro-electric power plant, fields of rice and millet to Mangaltar, and through forests we arrive at Shanti Bazar. The trail to Budhi Gandaki valley now becomes steeper and the trek pretty tough as we cross the Arkhet Khola on a suspension bridge, passing by some shops of Arkhet Bazar. We descend to a high, cascading waterfall doing a long steep plod up a ridge to Kuerepani. Then from here the trail descends to Soti Khola. We bunk out Overnight at our campsite in Soti Khola.
Day 4: Soti Khola to Machha Khola [870m] - (6-7 hours)
We hike up a bit from Soti Khola by a stream to Machha khola (Fish River). Machha khola is a village situated above a stream with the same name. We Cross the bridge and trek through lovely Sal forests, then clamber up a ridge above huge rapids on the Budhi Gandaki. The gravel trail then winds its way up and down, past two tropical waterfalls on a steep, stony trail clinging to the side of a cliff. It eventually makes its way down and past a few rice terraces, then up and around to the ethnic Gurung village of Labubesi. We camp for the night by a wide campsite in Machha Khola
Day 5: Machha Khola to Dobhan [2345m] (6-7 hours)
The path from Machha Khola to Dobhan takes some steep ascents and descents. We climb a well – structured staircase over a ridge to Dobhan. Dobhan lies at the convergence of the Shiar Khola, which flows from the east, and the Sarpu khola, which flows from the west. This is where we haul up for the night
Day 6: Dobhan to Philim [1550m] (6 hours)
The trail climbs through a craggy rocky trail. We climb up and down ravines and uneven trees. We enjoy great views of Sringri himal as we continue up to the village of Philim at 1550m.This is a large Gurung village with fields of corn and millet. There are several suitable campsites for us to make home for the night amid alder, blue pine and poplar trees.
Day 7: Philim to Chumling [2386m] (Lower Tsum) - (7 hours)
We go by the route through Philim and head up over a crest that leads to Ganesh Himal Base camp and Chumling (Lower Tsum). We Pass Lokpa, descend half an hour towards Lungwa khola and clamber up a zigzag tough trail further two hours north through pines and rhododendrons reaching Gumlung. After Crossing the Siyar Khola, we finally arrive at Chumling, from where we can view Shringi Himal. We visit the old Chumling gompa, and the stone streets of the village. Its nice camping out for the night at Chumling because there are some favorable campsites around.
Day 8: Chumling to Chhokangparo (Upper Tsum) [3010m] - (5-6 hours)
We hike across the airy suspension bridge onto the opposite bank of the river and enjoy the great views of Ganesh Himal as we hike the swaying bridge. We continue Walking past Rainjam to Serpu Khola crossing another bridge before we arrive at the village of Gho. Our hiking continues with a 2 hours climb to Tsum, bringing us to the village of Chhokangparo. If the weather is good, we enjoy fantastic views of Himalchuli at 7893m and Ganesh Himal at7140m. Several families in this village practice polyandry. We bunk out Overnight at Chokhangparo.
Day 9: Chhokangparo to Nile [3361m]/Chhule, visit Milarepa Piren Phu Cave on the way (6-7 hours)
After breakfast, we leave Chhokangparo and hit the heights for Nile/ Chulle. This is the last village as we head north in the Upper Tsum Valley. Nile stands on the western, sunny-side of the Shiar Khola, about 20 minutes walk across from Chhule. On the way we pass the interesting Piren Phu cave. Piren Phu (pigeon cave) is one of the most venerated caves in the Tsum valley. It is located at the foot of a rugged cliff near the village of Burji. Milarepa, the famed Tibetan saint, was believed to have meditated here. Two separate gumbas stand adjacent to the rocky cave. Opulently painted Buddhist murals, superb artistic scripts carved on stones, lengthy prayer flags and noteworthy Buddhists paper scripts make this cave one of the most important socio-cultural benefits in this lovely valley. Lovely views can be seen of the Shiar Khola, Rachen Gumba, the mountains and settlements amidst vast rural farmlands. This is where we set up camp for a quiet night of ancient mystery.
Day 10: Nile/Chhule to Mu Gompa (3700m), visit Dhephyudonma Gompa (4060m) (4 hours)
From Nile our path gradually ascends to Mu gumba, the largest monastery in the region and real close-up to the Tibetan border; Mu Gumba is located at the highest and outermost point in the Tsum valley. The Gumba was established in 1895 AD and is situated at an altitude of 3510m.The monastery is home to religious books, including Kangyur, a life sized statue of Avalokiteshwara, and metaphors of Guru Padmasambhava and Tara. And this is where we crash out for the night.
Day 11: This is an extra day for an excursion and to rest the limbs
We go out for a hike up Mu Gumba and reach the base of Pika Himal at (4865m).We are close enough to Tibet to look right in and get a good view of the Tibetan peaks as well as the Ganesh Himal range. After a solid day's excursion we revert back to our camp at Mu gumba for a good mile and the night.
Day 12: Mu Gompa to Rachen Gompa (5 hours)
From Mu Gumba we take the trail to Rachen Gumba, an old time nunnery. The nunnery is situated in the Shiar Khola Valley at the foothills of the mountains bordering Nepal and Tibet. Rachen Gumba was established in the year 1905 AD and is one of the largest nunneries in the Tsum valley. This nunnery belongs to a religious following of the Ngak-pa sect, which strictly forbids animal slaughter. The nunnery houses one thousand clay, molded statues of Avalokiteshwara, a brightly colored, carved throne and pillar, and a large prayer wheel. The interior is richly painted with murals about Buddhism and its history. We haul up here for the night
Day 13: Rachen Gompa to Dumje (6-7 hours)
From Rachen Gompa we make a beeline for Dumje, a small village with a cluster of several families and nearby cattle shed. Overnight at Dumje
Day 14: Dumje to Philim (cross Ripchet) (6-7 hours)
From Dumje we hike down to Philim and cross Ripchet. On the way we pass one of the most gorgeous waterfalls in the Lower Tsum Valley, Samba Tingding Chhupyang. We spend our night at the old point of Philim
Day 15: Philim to Tatopani (6-7 hours)
From Philim we trek to Tatopani. Tatopani, ideal to its namesake, is home to a wonderful natural hotspring. Spending some time at this hot spring will bring some sensational relief to your tired muscles. Overnight at Tatopani
Day 16: Tatopani to Soti Khola (6-7 hours)
From Tatopani we make our way back to Soti Khola. We pass through terraced fields and steamy waterfalls and finally set up camp at the village for the night
Day 17: Soti Khola to Arughat Bazar (6-7 hours)
This day heralds the conclusion to a great trip as we leisurely make our way from Soti Khola to Arughat Bazar, we come to the last leg of our journey where the curtain falls on our wonderful venture. We spend our night at the bazaar
Day 18: Drive from Arughat Bazar to Kathmandu (8-9 hours)
After breakfast, we cruise back to Kathmandu along the banks of the Marsyangdi and Trishuli rivers while relishing marvelous views of rolling green hills, mountains, farming terraces and vibrant villages brimming with life on both sides of road. On touching Kathmandu, we refresh ourselves with a hot shower, rest and chill out for a few hours. In the evening, we go out to a well known restaurant for a delicious Nepalese supper to celebrate a fantastic trip in Manaslu’s famous Tsum Valley; while enjoying our meal, we will be entertained to a thrilling cultural dance performed by the local belles. Overnight at our hotel in Kathmandu
Day 19: Depart Kathmandu for home sweet home: Ciao friends, it’s truly been nice knowing you!
Our office support team will be on standby at your hotel to take you to the airport for your flight home. (Or stay longer for short tours such as game drive at National parks, do some wild-water rafting, a Tibet tour or even mountain biking, etc - please don't hesitate to let us know). We would be glad to help you. Thank you for doing this venture with us; it’s been wonderful knowing you over the weeks. Please do stay in touch in the months ahead. Bon Voyage and take care!!!
Please Note: that although we will go the lengths to follow the itinerary given above, at times local trails or unpredictable weather patterns may necessitate slight changes if necessary. The trekking itinerary may also sometimes vary slightly depending on our trekkers' acclimatization rates. This adventure goes into wild territory above the timberline, so we seek to request maximum flexibility if and when required for the success and safety of your trip and your life.
A ‘Camping trek’ is a term used for sleeping in tents. The tents we provide are ‘Two men or couple domes’ or ‘A’ shaped. A foam mattress with insulation underneath is used for sleeping. Clients need to have their own sleeping bag. Bags or cloth packs are used as pillows. It’s a matter of choice, if you want, you bring your own ‘Air pillow’ and freak out anyways, this is adventure in the wild…the rougher it gets the better.
We have a pool of hotels in Kathmandu under 3 Star categories which we provide to clients in connection with this program, unless it is mentioned otherwise or clients have a choice of their own. You can check on the description of such hotels through our website. Accommodation is never a problem, the choice exclusively yours.
At ‘Incentive Holidays’ – its zero tolerance on cutting of cost when it comes down to feeding our trekking guests, because we know how tough it is on the trails; we provide three tasty, bountiful and nutritious meals daily with a variety of local and Western dishes. To start the day, breakfast is ‘king size’ [the first meal of the day] consisting of a choice of porridge, muesli and cereals followed by omelet, fried or scrambled eggs with chapattis or bread. Lunch is generally a selection of salad, cooked vegetable dishes, pasta and traditional breads.
After a lengthy gritty day on the trail, dinner is a hearty 3 course meal - soup, followed by a variety of vegetables, meat, rice and pasta dishes completed with a simple dessert. Tea, coffee and hot chocolate are also provided at all meals. We use as much fresh produce as possible and special diets are regularly catered for. The local trek leaders are able to maintain very tight controls on health and hygiene in the kitchen with respect to general cleanliness and food preparation and also within the group with respect to personal hygiene. This has allowed us to maintain extremely high standards of health over many years of planning treks - and good health is vital to an enjoyable and successful trek and climb. All foods are well cooked and vegetables are treated by potassium permanganate or iodine. Boiled water is served for drinking. Antiseptic soaps and potassium or iodine treated water are provided for washing. Special dietary requirements can always be catered for. ‘Gluttony is a sin’ but there are no restrictions on the grub we serve to our guests on the mountains; we leave it up to our trekking guests who are the best judge of their own appetites.
Price per person [Min. 2 PAX required]
Budget : $2728
Standard : $2861
Deluxe : $3077
- 2N Hotel accommodation on twin sharing basis in BB plan at KTM
- 16N Normal/lodge/ home stay during trekking
- One English speaking guide
- Porter (1Porter for 2Pax)
- 3 meals (Breakfast, Lunch & dinner) everyday during Trekking
- A Complimentary dinner with a cultural program
- National park fees
- Special trekking permit
- Airport pick up and drop
- All ground transfer as per itinerary
- KTM-Arughat-KTM by normal coach/ Jeep
- International Air Fare
- Domestic Air Fare
- Daily Meals (Lunch & Dinner) during Kathmandu
- Tips to Guide & Driver
- Bar Expense
- Telephone, Laundry and Internet
- Personnel Insurance
- Emergency Evacuation
- All other personal expenses
- Nepal visa fees
The best time to visit for a trip of this kind would be in the Spring and Autumn. It is wonderful during this time of the year when an overall beauties of the landscapes found in these trips are so distinct & stunning, due to clear weather pattern & sunny blue skies. Our program could be changed to accommodate individual group choices and preferences in order to give you proper holidays that become signature ventures for a lifetime.