Tsum Valley is one of world's remotest Himalayan Valleys which was also a restricted region until recently. The trek to Tsum Valley takes you into the majestic surroundings of the Ganesh Himal, Sringi Himal, and Boudha Himal ranges. The region once being part of Tibet looks completely different from what you will find elsewhere. The people of Tsum Valley or the Tsumbas belong to Tibetan origin with their own ancient form of dialect, art, culture and religion. Very few adventure travelers have made it to this high and mysterious valley, which used to be an important trade link with Tibet. In the initial days, we trek the route of Around Manaslu Trek or the Manaslu Circuit Trek. The Tsum Valley lies on the northern part of Manaslu and used to be a restricted area until 2008. The region is still less exposed in comparison to other touristy areas, with relatively virgin and less beaten paths in comparison to the more popular regions. The Tsum people have their own way of family life, which may be quite surprising for many outsiders. All the brothers in the family are married to a single girl, what you may call a practice of polyandry.
6-7 hrs of drive will take us to Arughat. The road continues through Prithvi Highway for the first part before splitting from the Highway for Arughat. The pleasant Bazaar exists at the foothill of Manaslu. Along with being the largest settlement in Manaslu valley, Arughat is also the major junction for connecting it with different corners of Nepal. We will head north and prepare our camp at the bank of Budhi Gandaki River.
We need to follow Budhigandaki River for most part of our trek. The route passes through several small villages, hills and forests of Sal, pine and oak. About 6hrs of walk will take us to Liding Village that exists on the edge of Budhigandaki River. Stay overnight at Liding.
Cross the forest and choose the meandering trail through dispersed tea houses and cascading waterfalls to the meadow. Moving further through the meadow, we will reach Lapu Besi. Brief walk from Lapu Besi along the steep narrow trail will take us to Machha Khola. Moving on, we will pass through settlements at Khorlabeshi and Machha Khola to reach Tatopani which is a natural hot spring. Crossing the forest, we will reach Doban. Crossing the bridge at Lauri, we will reach Jagat.
Leaving Jagat early in the morning, we will choose the ascending trail to arrive at the top of ridge that endows gratifying views of Manaslu Mountain and surrounding. Crossong the suspension bridge over Budhi Gandaki River, we will reach Philim. The scenic village of Philim is inhabited by the Gurungs. Moving further, we will pass through Ekle Bhatti to Lokpa where we will stay overnight. Lokpa is the first village of Tsum Valley.
Follow the climbing route to Chumling. Located at the south face of the Shingri Himal, Chumling is the quaint village that is home to Tibetan Gompas. It is going to be a bit difficult day for trek as we need to follow the ascending trail for most of the part. Stay overnight at Chumling.
Leaving Chumling, we will begin yet another difficult day of trek. Chhekampar which is also known as Chhokangparo is located on the top of hill. Chhekampar comprises two unique settlements of Chhokang and Paro. The vantage point offers close-up view of Ganesh Himal Range. Besides, Chhokangparo is known for its practice of Polyandry culture.
After visiting the nearby Tibetan Gompa, we will leave Chhekampar and continue our journey through forest of pine woods to Nile. Existing in the edge of Shiar River, this is the last northern settlement of Upper Tsum Valley. We will stay overnight at Nile.
Leaving Nile, we will go through series of ups and downs to Mu Gompa. Mu Gompa is one of the oldest existing monasteries in Tsum Valley region. Due to its remote access, no human settlement is found in area around Mu Gompa. This Gompa exists at the highest and farthest point in Tsum valley. Yaks carrying goods to and from Tibet can be seen on the way.
Since Mu Gompa is as far as we will reach, we will begin our return journey on 11th day. It is going to be the easy day as we need to follow the descending path. We can get view of Punchen Himal throughout the day. We will stay overnight at Rachen Gompa.
Visiting Rachen Gompa early in the norning, we will observe worshipping and get blessing from Rinpoche. Following the descending trail through narrow steep path, we will reach Dumje which is clustered with few local teahouses. Stay overnight at Dumje.
After having quick breakfast, we will leave Dumje and choose the descending trail that enthralls us with scenic views of Manaslu Mountain and Ganesh Mountain. Moving through few dispersed settlements, we will arrive at Lungdang Gompa. Lungdang Gompa is a Buddhist nunnery where males are not allowed an entrance. Area around Lung Dang Gompa offers best sunrise view over Ganesh Himal range. Stay overnight in a camp nearby Lung Dang Gumpa.
Leaving Lung Dang Gompa, we will follow the descending trail through the path decorated with prayer flags. We can get view of looming Ganesh Mountain in the backdrop. 4hrs of walk will take us to Rainjam from where we will follow the trail going through series of ups and downs to the large village of Ripchet. Homestay is available in Ripchet.
Lowering down from Ripchet, we will take the descending trek through pine forest that is rich in wildlife. The trek offers better opportunity of bird watching and wildlife viewing where musk deer, rhesus monkeys and langurs are among the most commonly seen mammlas. Descending to the river, we will reach Dovan where we will stay overnight.
Leaving Dovan, we will pass through pretty dispersed settlements to Soti Khola through the village of Khorlabesi. The trail splits at Khorlabesi one of which will take us back to Arughat while the other one takes us to Gorkha. Continuing further, we will reach Soti Khola where we will stay overnight.
Crossing the river at Soti Khola, we will proceed through farm terraces and crop fields to Arughat Bazaar where we will stay overnight.
About 7hrs of drive from Arughat will take us to Kathmandu. The route is scenic as it proceeds through Dhading Besi and Malekhu. Enjoy the mountain views, rice fields and crop fields. Drive through Naubishe and enter Kathmandu from Thankot check point.