Tsum Valley Trek

Starts at: Maccha Khola Ends at: Maccha Khola
Trek Region: Manaslu Transport: Public Bus
Duration: 11 Days Trip Grade: Challenging
Max Altitude: 3700 m | 12,139 ft Accommodation: Basic teahouses

The Tsum Valley Trek is different from other treks in Nepal in that it takes you through a secluded and remote valley, high up by the Tibetan border.  This area was only open to foreign trekkers in 2008 and remains a very quiet trail which sees fewer trekkers than other older and more established trekking areas.

The 11-day trek consists of two days of driving and 9 days on the trail, mainly at high altitudes.  With the days being long and elevations over 3,000 m / 9,842 ft, it is essential that trekkers have a good level of fitness to tackle this trek. 

The Tsum Valley Trek appeals to those who wish to see stunning, high mountains; learn more about Tibetan culture; interact with Buddhist monks at the many gompas and monasteries along the route, and who are more interested in hiking through remote forests, and fascinating villages than in the comfort and cappuccinos available on some other trekking routes. 

The wildlife is also unique to this area – Snow Leopard and Red Panda are the most famous of the species of Himalayan mammals found here.  Bird life and the different flora also add to the adventure. 

The valley is within the area of the Manaslu Conservation Area, where Mt Manaslu can be found. 

Standing at 8,163 m / 26,781 ft, Manaslu is the eighth-highest mountain in the world.  Also, in this area, you will see Ganesh Himal 7,140 m / 23,425  ft, Himalchuli 7,893 m /   25,895 ft and several other mountains. 

Why This Trek? – Highlights to Love

  • Explore the hidden valley of the Tsum Valley, closed to the outside world till 2008.
  • Get stunning views of snow-capped mountains, including Manaslu, the 8th highest in the world. 
  • Learn something about Tibetan Buddhism as you discover monasteries, Buddhist lamas,  and Buddhist artifacts. 
  • Visit Milarepa’s cave. 
  • Trek through pine and rhododendron forests, along rivers, and through valleys and yak pastures. 
  • Interact with local people who are shepherds and traders whose culture is close to Tibet.
  • Challenge yourself over high suspension and cantilever bridges, rough terrain, and high elevations.
  • Find out more about the unique flora and fauna in this area. 
  • Visit the Tibet border.

Manaslu Circuit Trek Itinerary

Day 1: Kathmandu to Macha Khola (Drive)

Macha Khola – 930 m / 3051 ft – 8 hrs

Day 2: Maccha Khola to Jagat

Jagat – 1340 m /4396 ft – 6 hrs

Day 3: Jagat to Lokpa

Lokpa – 2240 m / 7349 ft – 5 hrs

Day 4: Lokpa to Chumling

Chumling – 2386 m / 7828 ft – 5 hrs

Day 5: Chumling to Chekampar

Chekampar – 3031 m / 9944 ft – 6 hrs

Day 6: Chekampar to Nile

Nile – 3361 m / 11026 ft – 6 hrs

Day 8: Nile or Mu Gompa to Chumling

Chumling – 2,361 m / 7,746 ft / 5 – 6 hrs

Day 9: Chumling to Philim

1,570 m / 5,150 ft / 6-7 hours

Day 10: Philm to Macha Khola

Soti Khola 800 m / 2,395 ft – 6-7 hrs

Day 11: Macha Khola to Kathmandu

Kathmandu 1330 m / 4363 ft – 8 hrs

Day 1: Kathmandu to Maccha Khola (Drive)

  • Drive time: 8 to 9 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House
  • Distance: 160 km / 99 miles

Set off early this morning for the long road journey to the beginning of the trekking route. 

There is a choice of transport: public bus or private jeep.  The advantage of the bus is that it is less expensive, and you can see how the locals travel.  The disadvantage is that you are required to leave earlier in the morning (5.30 am from your hotel), the journey takes longer, and it is less comfortable.

Private jeep on the other hand gives you time to enjoy breakfast in your hotel before it collects you at 8 am.  You will be more comfortable and able to stop when and where you choose on the way (for food, for photographs).   

The first part of the journey is relatively smooth, along the Kathmandu to Pokhara highway.  Then the vehicle turns off onto a bumpy road for the last few hours.

Overnight at a lodge in Maccha Khola from where you will start your trek in the morning.

Day 2: Maccha Khola to Jagat

  • Trek time: 5 to 6 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House
  • Distance: 14 km / 8.6 miles

Wake up refreshed and excited – today is the first day of the trek! 

If this is your first time trekking at a high altitude, this trek gets you gently used to the altitude over the first few days.  It also familiarizes you quickly with, what at first sight seems daunting, suspension bridges, and which, again on the first visit seem daunting, the simple lodges or teahouses you will stay overnight in. 

Today you meet all of these: river crossings; local accommodation; local wildlife in the form of monkeys in the forests; and local people from the Gurung and Tamang communities, many of whom are shepherds. 

Also today you will discover the frequent ascends and descends of the mountain trails of Nepal!

Day 3: Jagat to Lokpa

  • Trek time: 5 to 6 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House
  • Distance: 17 km / 10 miles

Yesterday we entered the Manaslu Conservation Area, and today we follow the route taken by those undertaking the Manaslu Circuit Trek until lunchtime.

Again, we trek along streams and rivers and through forests and the villages of Salleri and Siribass. We also pass through the village of Philm, which is a large Gurung community, and a smaller settlement known as Ekle Bhatti before entering a gorge and crossing the Budhi Gandaki River once more.  

The trail branches off towards the route to the Tsum Valley but before we enter the valley proper, we overnight at Lokpa. From this small village, there are great views of the Himalchuli and Boudha Himal mountains. 

Day 4: Lokpa to Chumling

  • Trek time: 5 to 6 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House
  • Distance: 6 km / 3 miles

There are some pretty steep climbs today but by now your legs will be used to the Himalayas! But it is good to be mentally prepared also.

As well as a deep gorge, fabulous mountain views and the ups and downs of the trail, you will pass through peaceful pine, juniper and rhododendron forests, until you reach the stone-paved streets of Chumling village.  This small settlement is very Tibetan in style and look, and with several monasteries nearby it certainly feels that perhaps you have even left Nepal and entered Tibet! 

After lunch there is time today to explore Panago Gompa and Gurwa Gompa, should you want.  Or simply take in the feeling of simplicity and peace that is the Tsum Valley. 

Day 5: Chumling to Chekampar (also called Chokhangparo)

  • Trek time: 3 to 4 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House
  • Distance: 10 km / 6 miles

Today we hike to Upper Tsum Valley over a landslide area and up to a high ridge.  The views of Ganesh Himal from the ridge are stunning, as was the sunrise this morning over Shringri Himal if you were up early enough to catch it.

Here in the Upper Tsum Valley, which lies even closer to Tibet, the communities and houses take on an even more Tibetan feel and look. You may be interested to know that the communities of Gurung, Tamang, and Tsum people did indeed migrate from Tibet at different times during the distant past.  

We will overnight at a teahouse in Chekampar.  By now you appreciate the small comforts that these trekking lodges provide and enjoy any brief interaction with the owners and their families. 

Day 6: Chekampar to Nile

  • Trek time: 3 to 4 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House
  • Distance: 9 km / 5 miles

Nile is the last settlement in the Tsum Valley and to reach it we get a chance to see one of the many Milarepa Caves found throughout Nepal.  Milarepa, a Tibetan guru, travelled extensively through Nepal and Tibet to teach Buddhism.  This was around the 11th century.   We also have the opportunity to visit Rachen Gompa, so this is a day of Tibetan Buddhist history and teachings.  

As you would expect, Nile lies close to the Tibetan border, hence the heavy influence in this and other settlements in the Tsum Valley.

Day 7: Day Trip to Mu Gompa.  Overnight if possible, or  return to the Nile 

  • Trek time: 5 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House
  • Distance: 8 km /4 miles

The views of the mountains as we hike towards Mu Gompa are fabulous, as is the atmosphere of the Tsum Valley.  Mu Gompa is the most famous monastery in this region and home to many monks and lamas. 

We can participate, when possible, in some of the Buddhist rituals and have tea with the monks.  There are wonderful murals painted on the walls of the monastery of Guru Padmasambhava and Tara.  

Overnight in either Mu Gompa or return to the Nile (3 hours)

Day 8: Nile or Mu Gompa to Chumling

  • Trek time: 6 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House
  • Distance: 10 km / 6 miles

This is a short day on the trail, so maybe you can convince your guide to let you spend an extra hour in bed.  Or maybe not with the excitement building as you approach the main highlights of this trek.

Passing a valley of yak pastures, this is again a great time to get your binoculars out if you are a keen birdwatcher.  Climbing out of the treeline, cross the Budhi Gandaki river to reach the village of White Kani with its main trade being yak herding. It’s only a short walk then onto Samdo village.

Again, the locals, members of the Bhotia community, follow Tibetan Buddhism and the village is sprinkled with Buddhist artifacts such as prayer flags and chortens. 

Since it is still only lunchtime, we suggest you spend time either hiking to Samdo Peak (please consult with your guide first) or exploring the nearby villages. 

Day 9: Chumling to Philim

  • Trek time: 8 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House
  • Distance: 12 km / 7 miles

Today we pass the stunning Samba Falls on route to Philm village where we will overnight.

Day 10: Philm to Macha Khola

  • Trek time: 5 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House
  • Distance: 3 km / 1 miles

We meet with the Budhi Gandaki River again after hiking along the ridge to the river and Labubesi village.  This is our last full day on the trail and our last night in a trekking lodge at Macha Khola.

Day 11: Macha Khola to Kathmandu

  • Trek time: 10 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House
  • Distance: 18 km / 11 miles

We will take a public bus or private jeep back to Kathmandu.   

There is still beautiful countryside to see on this final leg of the trek as we pass another wonderful waterfall and meet the Arkhet Khola (river) at the end of the Budhi Gandaki Valley.

Arriving back to Kathmandu, we have a great sense of achievement as well as one of sadness as this adventure is over.

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Plan Your Trip


  • 10 nights accommodation in mountain teahouses
  • Guide for 11 days
  • Kathmandu Maccha Khola, Dharapani Kathmandu Local Bus
  • Manaslu u0026 Annapurna conservation area permit
  • Restricted area permit
  • 11 x breakfast, 11 x lunch and 10 x dinner while on the trek
  • One Porter for 13 days USD 220 (Optional)
  • Private Jeep USD 400 (Optional)
  • Any hot or cold drinks
Bestseller 10% off
Price Per person USD $986 USD $1,087
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