It was nearly 1000 years ago that St. Milarepa, a renowned Buddhist holy man entered this valley to meditate. The people, who were from Tibet, were highly warlike and always involved in some kind of killing and pillaging. St. Milarepa's teaching with Tibetan Buddhism changed the valley into its peaceful state today where no animal or fish is killed for food.
Tsum Valley is a very remote area which is only entered through very narrow passes. Its isolation over the centuries has led to the development of its unique culture. Proud of their Tibetan Buddhism, you see pictures of the Dalai Lama everywhere; people wear pictures on buttons on their clothing. The valley was closed to outsiders until the year 2008.
The region is rich in wildlife and is home to the Himalayan Thar and Blue Sheep. Monkeys abound along with other wildlife. The animals come close to you as they have no fear of humans as no animal is hunted here.
This peaceful existence is religious as well as cultural based. The people as a group renewed their commitment to peaceful existence with their environment recently for another 300 years. The valley contains 14 monasteries, incredible views, friendly people and a culture not found anywhere else in the world.
Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition is pleased to be able to offer this exciting camping trip deep into Tsum Valley. Most of the treks simply take in the highlights; this trek goes to many remote places that few visitors ever see. We reach the High Himalayas which overlook Tibet to the north as well as the Ganesh Himal Mountain Ranges to the south. Much of this trip is a camping trek as some locations do not have tea houses. It is a difficult, but very rewarding trip for those who desire to experience the wonders of incredible Tsum Valley.
DAY 1 – Arrival in Kathmandu and Transfer to Hotel
DAY 2 – Sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley by Private Car
DAY 3 – Drive to Arughat (elev. 570 m) by land cruiser. 6 hours
DAY 4 – Trek to Liding (elev. 860 m): 5 – 6 hours.
DAY 5 – Trek to Machhakholagaon (elev. 930 m): 5 – 6 hours
DAY 6 – Trek to Jagat (elev. 1370 m): 6 – 7 hours
DAY 7 – Trek to Lokpa (elev. 2240 m): 6 – 7 hours
DAY 8 – Trek to Chumling (elev. 2386 m): 6 – 7 hours
DAY 9 – Trek to Lamagaon 3302 m): 6 hours
DAY 10 – Trek to Chule-Nile (elev. 3361 m): 5 – 6 hours
DAY 11 – Trek to Chho Syong (elev. 4000 m): 6 – 7 hours
DAY 12 – Trek to Dupchet (elev. 4180 m): 6 – 7 hours
DAY 13 – Trek to Chhemdo (elev. 4110 m): 6 – 7 hours
DAY 14 – Trek to Chhekya (elev. 4240 m): 6 – 7 hours
DAY 15 – Trek to Dangchet (elev. 4350 m): 6 – 7 hours
DAY 16 – Trek to Yamdro (elev. 4510 m): 5 – 6 hours
DAY 17 – Trek to Bhajyo (elev. 4030 m): 6 – 7 hours
DAY 18 – Trek to Thongbu (elev. 4560 m): 6 – 7 hours
DAY 19 – Trek to Lungdang (elev. 4240 m): 5 – 6 hours
DAY 20 – Trek to Lamagaon/Rachen Gumpa (elev. 3240 m) 7 – 8 hours
DAY 21 – Trek to Domje (elev. 2460 m): 6 – 7 hours
DAY 22 – Trek to Gompa Lungdan (elev. 3200 m) 6 – 8 hours
DAY 23 - Trek to Ripchet (elev. 2470 m): 6 – 7 hours
DAY 24 – Trek to Lopka (elev. 2240 m): 6 – 7 hours
DAY 25 – Trek to Jagat (elev. 1340 m): 6 - 8 hours
DAY 26 – Trek to Soti Khola (elev. 700 m): 6 – 8 hours
DAY 27 – Drive to Kathmandu: 6 – 7 hours
DAY 28 – Sightseeing in Bhaktapur and Patan Durbar Square by Private Car
DAY 29 – Departure
DAY 1 – Arrival in Kathmandu: You will arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport where you will be met by your representative at Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition and taken by private vehicle to your Three Star Hotel where you can relax for the night. There will be a short orientation program in the evening at your hotel.
DAY 2 – Sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley: We will visit several of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Valley. There are seven UNESCO sites, of which we will visit four today. In the evening, prepare for your journey to Tsum Valley.
DAY 3 – Travel to Arughat (elev. 570 m): We will travel by land cruiser today to the village of Arughat Bazaar on the Budhi Gandaki River. Arughat is located at a low elevation, and tends to be rather warm in the spring and fall. We pass through interesting forests, cross the Akhu Khola (River) and then on to Arughat. This is the last village of any size, and it is a major bazaar for the people of this region. Any last minute items may be found here. You can find continental food, and we will spend the night in a lodge. Travel time is around 6 hours.
DAY 4 – Travel to Lapubesi (elev. elev. 880 m): We begin our trek today as we move north to the village of Lapubesi. This is a pretty little village on a tributary of the Budhi Gandaki. We will be following the Budhi Gandaki upstream for the first part of this trek. We will spend the night at a local lodge. Trekking time is 5 – 6 hours.
DAY 5 – Trek to Machhakholagaon (elev. 930 m): The farther north we travel, the narrower the valley begins. The cliffs are starting to rise high above us. We are following along the valley passing one hot springs at Tatopani, and will find ourselves walking next to the fast flowing waters of the river. There are some Mani walls along the way, as well as some coffee trees that have become a new cash crop. We will spend the night at a local lodge which is quite pleasant and has some good choices of food.
DAY 6 – Trek to Jagat (elev. 1370 m): Jagat is an amazing stone village with stone streets. The trek today will rise and fall along some of the cliffs as well as along some very large Mani walls. Watch out for donkey trains as they transport goods up and down the trails. You can hear their bells ringing to warn us of their coming. It is best to take the side away from the drop-off as donkeys sometimes don't care if they push you over as they make their way with their packs. There will be good views of Mt. Manaslu today. Trekking time is 6 – 7 hours, and we will spend the night in a local lodge.
DAY 7 – Trek to Lokpa (elev. 2240 m): We are rising in elevation as we following along the Budhi Gandaki. We will cross the river on a suspension bridge and then trek upwards to Philim Village. This is the last village of any size as we travel to Tsum Valley. From here, we will start seeing fewer and fewer villages while rising higher and higher above the river. We can watch eagles and hawks soar on thermals while spotting magnificent waterfalls as they fall over cliffs and down to meet the river below. The river below is has become narrow. Once we reach the confluence of the Budhi Gandaki and Syar Rivers, we will follow the trail along the latter. This river drains Tsum Valley. Our destination is the little village of Lokpa, the first village of Tsum Valley. It is small, but has a nice lodge with good selection of Chinese goods at the connecting store. The owner has four beautiful daughters who cook, clean and will serve you with a smile. Trekking time is 6 – 7 hours.
DAY 8 - Trek to Chumchet (elev. 2386 m): We may be in Tsum Valley area, but today we actually enter the valley through a very narrow trail that will take us down to the rapids of the Syar River. We will not see any villages along the way as we pass through the narrow canyon until we come almost to our goal of Chumchet Village. Near there is a little community of one house called Gumlung. Here there is a little local store, tea house, tea stall, little restaurant and anything else they can serve you. It is a great place to stop for a cold drink (he has cold Coca-Cola and Chinese beer). We cross the bridge of the Syar River and it is a short walk to Chumchet which has some fantastic views of the snowcapped peaks. The local lodge is pleasant and has good food. There is a monastery here along with wonderfully terraced farm fields. Trekking time is 5 – 6 hours.
DAY 9 – Trek to Lamagaon (elev. 3302 m): We continue to follow the Syar River as we move from the lower to the upper Tsum Valley. The entire population of Tsum Valley is only 2500 people, so villages are spaced far apart. The elevation rises as we go to the upper valley through dense forests with monkeys and other wild animals. The upper valley is rich farmland in the narrow valley with many monasteries, chhortens and Mani walls. Apple orchards become common once we reach the largest village of Chhokang Paro. We will continue up the trail to the delightful village of Lamagaon. Here there is a great home stay. The people who own this place are wonderful, and you will have the opportunity to not only have great hospitality, but also see how they live and farm. They make most of their goods by hand in the home. Nearby is Rachen Gompa, one of the largest monasteries in Tsum Valley that can house 113 monks and nuns. Trekking time is 7 – 8 hours.
DAY 10 - Trek to Nile (elev. 3361): We come to the twin villages of Nile and Chhule, separated by the Syar River. There are great views of the valley along the way. We are gaining in elevation as we make our way northwards toward the high Himalayas and the mountains of Tibet which are very visible around us. Trekking time is 6 hours, with lodging in our tented camp.
DAY 11 – Trek to Chho Syong (elev. 4000 m): It is a straight shot north along the Syar River. The valley is getting narrower and narrower and there are fewer and fewer villages. We will camp at Chho Syong for the night.
DAY 12 – Trek to Dupchet (elev. 4180 m): We pass the monastery of Mu Gompa as we head north. Our journey will take us to Dupchet past Mani walls. We are at the point where there is a junction in the trail. Go right and you go to the border of Tibet. Go right, and travel deeper into the heart of the mountains here. We will camp at Dupchet for the night. Trekking time is 5 hours. We will visit the monastery at Mu Gompa along the way.
DAY 13 – Trek to Chhemdo (elev. 4130 m): As noted, we are at a junction and we will go left deeper into the high mountains. We leave the Syar River and travel now along the Changmam Khola. There are fantastic views along the way. We have left the valley and farms behind us as we now walk along a narrow gorge. We will camp for the night at Chhemdo. Trekking time is 6 hours.
DAY 14 – Trek to Chhekya (elev. 4240 m): We are walking now north, crossing the Changmam River and toward the high mountain kharka of Chhekya. Here we will see herds of yak and goats as we move through the mountains. These are summer pastures where the residents of Tsum Valley come to graze their lives. Trekking time is 6 hours.
DAY 15 – Trek to Dangchet (elev. 4350 m): We continue northwards deep into the mountains. The border of Tibet is north, east and west of us as we are in a part of Nepal that juts northwards into China. The scenery is fantastic as we work our way to our next kharka at Dangchet where we will camp for the night. Trekking time is 6 hours.
DAY 16 – Trek to Yamdro (elev. 4510 m): It is high elevation today as we are now trekking eastward toward Yamdro Kharka. This place is way up, and we are above the tree line. It is just juniper bushes and some grasses which the yaks can feast on. This is some wild country, and we may see blue sheep and if we are really lucky, a snow leopard. This is their habitat where they feast on blue sheep for dinner. Chances of seeing a snow leopard is rare, but it is possible. The high mountains will offer us views of glaciers as we make our way past mountain streams with waterfalls. Camping at Yamdro. Trekking time is 5 hours.
DAY 17 – Trek to Bhajyo (elev. 4030 m): We start to trek southward where we plan to join up the main trail at Bhajyo. We drop in elevation as we rejoin the main trail which leads east and west from Tibet. Travel time is 6 hours.
DAY 18 – Trek to Thongbu (elev. 4560 m): We turn eastwards as we climb upwards on the main trail to the Tibetan border. It is a higher elevation, so we will take our time. We will probably see yak trains heading toward the border if the Tibetan border is open. We will camp at the Thongbu Kharka for the night. Trekking time is 6 hours.
DAY 19 – Trek to Lungdung (elev. 4240 m): The trek continues now southward as we leave the main trail and are now in the mountains of the Taya Himal. Our destination is Lungdang Kharka crossing the high pass of Chhyuka Bhanjyang at around 5300 meters in elevation. It will take us around five hours to make this trek through the mountain pass to our campsite. Trekking time is 5 hours.
Day 20 – Trek to Lamagaon (elev. 3302 m): Today we are returning to civilization as the trail will turn westward and finally rejoin the main north-south trail near Chho Syong. We will then trek southwards as we make our way to the pleasant little village of Lamagaon near Rachen Gompa, which is the largest nunnery in Tsum Valley. There is a great campground here at Lamagaon. Trekking time is 7 – 8 hours.
DAY 21 – Trek to Domje (elev. 2460 m): We leave the upper valley today for the village of Domje which is on the confluence of several mountain rivers. There village is small and rather picturesque as it sits between the hills and the rivers. We will spend the night camping here. Trekking time is 6 hours.
DAY 22 – Trek to Gompa Lungdan (elev. 3200 m): Today we head toward the Ganesh Himal Mountains to a remote Buddhist monastery at Gompa Lungdan. There will be no villages along today's trek. This is entirely jungle walk as we pass through rhododendron and oak forests. From our camping spot, we will have an incredible view of the Mt. Ganesh Himal I (elev. 7422 m). The snowcapped peaks of the Ganesh Himal separate Tsum Valley from Ruby Valley. Trekking time is 6 – 8 hours.
DAY 23 – Trek to Ripchet (elev. 2470 m): Ripchet is located high above the Syar river, situated on its south side. We return through our rhododendron and oak forests until we are close to Domje. Here we cross the Lungdang Khola before it reaches the Syar River. We will follow the trail as it rises above the Syar River until finally reaching our camping spot on a wonderful overlook of the lower Tsum Valley. Trekking time is 8 hours.
DAY 24 – Trek to Lokpa (elev. 2240 m): We return through rhododendron forests, past waterfalls and again descend deep into the Syar River valley that forms the entrance to Tsum Valley before we start to ascend to the village of Lokpa. This is the last place to buy Lhasa Beer and other goods from China as we prepare to leave Tsum Valley tomorrow. Today's trek is a little less, only about 5 – 6 hours as we prepare to camp at Lokpa.
DAY 25 – Trek to Jagat (elev. 1340 m): We leave Tsum Valley today as the trail will take a long bend to the south, following the Syar River as it prepares to join the Budhi Gandaki River. From here, it is along the east bank of the river, of which the trail hugs the side of a cliff. We come to Philim Village, making our way to the suspension bridge over the Budhi Gandaki River and south until we reach the pretty little stone village of Jagat. Trekking time is 6 – 7 hours where we will camp for the night.
DAY 26 – Trek to Machhakholagaon (elev. 869 m): We are on our way out today, with our last full day of trekking. The river will get wider and wider as more mountain streams continue to join the main river. We return to the multi-tiered village of Machhakholagaon where we will camp for the night. Trekking time is 6 hours.
DAY 27 – Trek to Soti Khola, drive to Kathmandu: We have a short walk today to the village of Soti Khola where we will pick up our private car and begin our journey to Kathmandu. It is a great day as we can relax and enjoy the scenery. We will take a different route back to Kathmandu that follows the Budhi Gandaki until it joins the mighty Trisuli River. Return to your Three Star Hotel for the night for a hot shower and a hot meal not cooked over a campfire.
DAY 28 – Sightseeing in Bhaktapur and Patan Durbar Square: Today we will do some sightseeing of two of the more popular UNESCO World Heritage Places in the Kathmandu Valley. The morning will take us to Bhaktapur where the entire city has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site with its palace and many temples. In the afternoon, we will stop at Patan's Durbar Square to appreciate its old palace and its many unusual temples. Both Bhaktapur and Patan were once their own kingdoms. Today, they retain all of their ancient charm. In the evening, we will enjoy a farewell dinner with a cultural show.
DAY 29 – Departure: All good things must come to an end, and today, it is time to travel to your next destination. Your representative at Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition can help you to plan your future trip as well as to other destinations around South Asia. Be sure to talk to your representative before leaving Kathmandu about a return trip to this great country. As they say, a lifetime is never enough to explore all that Nepal and the Himalayas have to offer.
Your safety is of paramount concern while traveling with Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition. Please note that your leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Every effort will be made to keep to the above itinerary; however, since this adventure entails travelling to remote mountainous regions, we cannot guarantee that we will not deviate from it. Weather conditions, health conditions of a group member, unexpected natural disasters, etc, can all contribute to changes in the itinerary. The leader will try to ensure that the trip runs according to plan, but please be prepared to be flexible if required.
THE TREKKING GROUP
For this trek, there will be one leader, an assistant leader (4 trekkers = 1 assistant leader) and Sherpa porters for carrying luggage (2 trekkers = 1 porter). This arrangement ensures that if anyone in the group is sick, the trip can still go ahead as planned. Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition can run this trek for groups of any size. But, Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition generally includes maximum of twelve (12) visitors as this company has found this to be the optimum size for a successful trip. However, if you would like to make a group booking for more than twelve people, Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition can arrange this, too.
All accommodations for the Entire Tsum Valley Camping Trek are on a twin sharing basis with inclusive trip costs and based on standard of hygiene, standard of service and food, location, etc. There are two styles of accommodations on this trip. In Kathmandu, we will stay in Three Star Hotels. On the trek, we will stay at local lodges/tea houses and comfortable two men camping tent. Most contain unheated rooms with wood beds and foam mattresses. Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition provides attached rooms in some major towns; however tea houses or lodges in some places only have shared facilities as well as shared toilet. If we are a solo traveler, we may have to share the room with someone else of the same sex. However, some places in Tsum Valley have just one big room where everyone sleeps. Please understand that we will try to provide single rooms if at possible for an additional supplemental fee.
During our trek, we can enjoy typical Nepali food as well as some basic foods from different types of cuisines. While in Kathmandu, we can enjoy a great selection of foods from a variety of ethnic cultures. In the larger villages, we will have good selections, but some of the small villages may only feature a single item for dinner. Lunch will be served as a picnic lunch. There will be a farewell dinner that will feature a cultural show in Kathmandu.