The remoteness of the very northern region of Gorkha District is a step back in time and in many ways, to another country. While many people today want to visit Lhasa and Tibet, they come away disappointed because it is becoming more and more Chinese. But for the real flavor of the Tibet of before 1950, then the region of Tsum Valley and Upper Manaslu offers some of the finest opportunities to obtain this feeling.
The people here are Tibetan, having settled here over 1000 years ago. They found the fertile valleys and lower elevations much more conducive to farming. They have maintained their monasteries, traditional houses farms and the ancient ways of the Tibetan Buddhist faith.
The journey takes in the two popular areas of the northern region, but also adds a unique thrill to exiting by way of Larkya-La Pass. This high pass offers some of the most incredible views of Mt. Manaslu (elev. 8,163 m), the 8th highest peak in the world. There are mountain lakes as well as breathtaking panoramas.
Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition is pleased to be able to offer this wonderful 23 day trek into this beautiful as well as remote land. It is a difficult trek with Larkya Pass, but those who climb to its spectacular heights will enjoy one of the finest views in all of Nepal.
DAY 1 – Arrival in Kathmandu and transfer to your hotel.
DAY 2 – Drive to Arughat Bazar (elev. 570 meters) by land cruiser (5 – 6 hours)
DAY 3 – Trek to Lapubesi (elev. 884 meters) – 6 – 7 hours
DAY 4 – Trek to Dobhan (elev. 1070 meters) – 5 – 6 hours
DAY 5 – Trek to Philim (elev. 1570 meters) – 5 – 6 hours
DAY 6 – Trek to Lopka (elev. 2240 meters) – 5 – 6 hours
DAY 7 – Trek to Chhokang Paro (elev. 3031 meters) 8 – 9 hours
DAY 8 – Trek to Nile (elev. 3361 meters): 4 – 5 hours
DAY 9 – Trek to Mu Gumpa (elev. 3700 meters) and return to Lamagaon (elev. 3302 meters) 8 – 9 hours.
DAY 10 – Trek to Gumba Lungdang (elev. 3200 m) 8 – 9 hours
DAY 11 – Trek to Ganesh Himal Base Camp and Back
DAY 12 – Trek to Lokpa (elev. 2240 m): 8 – 9 hours
DAY 13 – Trek to Ghap (elev. 2397 meters): 7 – 8 hours
DAY 14 – Trek to Lho (elev. 3180 meters): 5 – 6 hours
DAY 15 – Trek to Samagaon (elev. 3520 meters): 4 – 5 hours
DAY 16 – Trek to Samdo (elev. 3875 meters): 4 – 5 hours
DAY 17 – Trek to Dharamsala (elev. 4460 meters): 4 – 5 hours
DAY 18 – Trek to Bimtang (elev. 3590 meters) by Larkya La Pass (elev. 5260 meters): 8 – 10 hours.
DAY 19 – Trek to Dharapani (elev. 1860 meters): 7 – 9 hours
DAY 20 – Trek to Syange (elev. 1100 meters): 6 – 7 hours
DAY 21 – Trek to Bhulbale (elev. 840 meters): 4 – 5 hours
DAY 22 – Drive back to Kathmandu by Land Cruiser – 6 – 7 hours
DAY 23 – 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 – 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.
DAY 3 – Travel to Lapubesi (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 4 – Trek to Dobham (elev. 1070 m): The trek continues to follow along the Budhi Gandaki River. We will cross the river on a suspension bridge over river with its many rapids as it cuts a deeper and deeper canyon. Dobham is a delightful little village next to a narrow canyon with great views of the Ganesh Himal mountains. Trekking time is 5 – 6 hours.
DAY 5 – Trek to Philim (elev. 1570 m): We cross the Budhi Gandaki twice today on long suspension bridges. We will find ourselves climbing higher and higher as we trek upwards to the pretty little village of Philim. This will be the last village of any size as we prepare to enter Tsum Valley the next day. Philim sits high on a hill overlooking the Budhi Gandaki River. This is also one of the last places to get a bath before entering into Tsum Valley. Trekking time is 5 – 6 hours.
DAY 6 - DAY 7 – Trek to Lokpa (elev. 2240 m): We are rising in elevation as we following along the Budhi Gandaki. 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 on their way to meet the river below. The river has become narrower. 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 7 – Trek to Chhokang Paro (elev. 3031 m): While we officially entered the Tsum Valley area yesterday, today we will drop down and pass through the narrow gorge on the Syar River that marks the true entrance to this valley. For centuries, this entrance was often overlooked, which protected the valley from invaders. It is still a narrow trail, but there are new suspension bridges being constructed. The trail will rise high again as we make our way into the lower valley. We will climb upwards into the upper valley to reach the largest village in Tsum Valley, Chhokang Paro. Trekking time is 8 – 9 hours.
DAY 8 – Trek to Nile (elev. 3361 m): We are reaching some higher elevations today as we make our way upwards to the village of Nile. Here in the upper valley, we see great views of the mountains. The valley is very fertile, well watered by not only the Syar River, but the other streams that flow from the mountains. There will be time to stop at Piren Phu, a cave monastery with a great overlook of the valley. Inside is a footprint of St. Milarepa who meditated here for several months. We will pass yak herds along the way. Trekking time is 6 – 7 hours.
DAY 9 – Trek to Mu Gompa (elev. 3700 m) and Lamagaon (elev. 3302 m): We make our way to the monastery of Mu Gompa. A large monastery, it has over 100 monks and it offers places for visitors to stay. There are great views of Tibet from here with all of the spectacular peaks to behold. We will return to a delightful little home stay at Lamagaon which is near Rachen Gompa, the largest nunnery in Tsum Valley. Trekking time is 7 – 8 hours.
DAY 10 – Trek to Gumba Lungdang (elev. 3200 m): We will return to the Lower Valley but take a side trip to another monastery at Gumba Lungdang. Here we have an incredible view of the Ganesh Himal Mountain Range with its incredible snow-capped peaks. From Domje to Gumba Lungdang there are no villages. We pass through rhododendron forests and along mountain streams. We will spend the night at this monastery which is open to travelers. Trekking time is 8 – 10 hours.
DAY 11 – Optional trip to Ganesh Himal Base Camp (elev. 4200 m): Today we can make a day trip to the Ganesh Himal Base Camp and back to Gumba Lungdang. It is quite a journey uphill as we follow along Torogumba glacier. There are no villages here, but there are a few kharkas (high mountain pastures). There are great views of the glacier and the mountains. Of course, you can still enjoy great views if you choose to stay at Gumba Lungdang and rest after a week of trekking in Tsum Valley.
DAY 12 – Trek to Lokpa (elev. 2240 m): We return to the lower Tsum Valley today as we make our way toward the entrance and one of our favorite places to stay here: the little village of Lokpa. The village is very small, but a great guest house, restaurant and local store. Trekking time is 8 – 9 hours.
DAY 13 – Trek to Ghap (elev. 2397 m): Today we leave Tsum Valley and now enter the Manaslu Conservation Area. It is a great trek as we pass through pine forests. We make our way down toward the Syar River, crossing it and once again meet our old friend the Budhi Gandaki River. Here we find some spectacular waterfalls as well as excellent views of Mt. Manaslu. We will cross the Budhi Gandaki River and then start the upward trail as we pass the village of Nyak and eventually reach Ghap. Trekking time is 8 – 9 hours.
DAY 14 – Trek to Lho (elev. 3180 m): Today is a day of climbing as we make our way to the village of Lho. The people here wear traditional Tibetan outfits as we pass through villages and terraced fields. In the middle of the fields are high platforms where people sleep to keep watch of their fields at night in order to chase out bears and other wild animals that threaten the crops here. Life is always on the edge in this place, so a bad harvest can mean starvation. We will pass through forests of oak, pine and rhododendron. We will stay overnight in a lodge at Lho, which will offer us great views of the Manaslu mountains. Trekking time is 5 – 6 hours.
DAY 15 – Trek to Samagaon (elev. 3520 m): We will be leaving behind some of the impressive views of Mt. Manaslu, but will see other impressive snowcapped peaks. This area is home to a variety of yak kharkas and small villages. Trekking time is 4 – 5 hours.
DAY 16 – Trek to Samdo (elev. 3875 m): Today we move northward on the trail gaining elevation along the way. To our right, the snowcapped peaks we see are all on the Tibetan border. We will leave the tree line behind and instead see low juniper trees. The winds can be cold up here so it is good to have a good wind-breaker. We will spend the night at a local lodge. Trekking time is 4 – 5 hours.
DAY 17 – Trek to Dharamsala (elev. 4460): The trail turns westward again as we make our way past mani walls and yak kharkas along the way. We will pass glaciers along with great overviews of snowcapped peaks. We will cross the Budhi Gandaki River, but it will hardly be recognizable. Here it is a small stream as it heads down the mountain. The views up here are incredible. We may stay in a stone hut if there is no snow. The hut has no doors, and can often be filled with snow. If it is, we will stay in a small tent for the night. Trekking time is 4 – 5 hours.
DAY 18 – Trek to Bimtang (elev. 3590 m) via Larkya-La Pass (elev. 5160 m): Today we reach the highest elevation of our trek at Larkya-La Pass. We walk beside the largest lateral moraine of Larke Glacier. The climb today is really not that difficult, although the trail is quite rocky underfoot. We will pass four frozen lakes until we finally reach Larkya-La Pass which is marked by prayer flags that flutter in the ever present breeze. From here, it is downhill to the village of Bimtang where we will find some good lodges to stay at. Going down is steep so it will take us some time. From Larkya-La Pass to Bimtang are great views, frozen glacial lakes along with glaciers and ice falls. We will spend the night at a local lodge. Trekking time is 8 – 10 hours.
DAY 19 – Trek to Dharapani (elev. 1860 m): We will climb up and down today, crossing the Bhimdang Glacier. We will climb up the moraine wall and enter some great forests. We will be able to see the backside of Mt. Manaslu today along with other snowcapped peaks. Dharapani offers the first village of any significance since we left Samdo. We will be entering the Marsyangdi Valley, crossing over the river on a long suspension bridge. We will stay in a local lodge. Trekking time is 8 – 10 hours.
DAY 20 – Trek to Syange (elev. 1100 m): We are beginning to see more and more of civilization. We will cross an iron bridge outside of Dharapani. The trail descends downhill along the river, past small villages. Our goal is the village of Syange where we will spend the night in a local lodge. Trekking time is 6 – 8 hours.
DAY 21 – Trek to Bhulbule (elev. 840 m): This is the final day of the trek as we make our way along the river to Bhulbule. The landscapes along the Marsyangdi River are impressive with its terraced fields and fast flowing waters. It is a shorter day of trekking today as we will overnight at a lodge in Bhulbule. Trekking time is 4 – 6 hours.
DAY 22 – Drive to Kathmandu: We have reached the end of the trek and we will ride back to the capital city in the comfort of a private Land cruiser. We pass along the Trisuli River Valley as it rises to the pass into the Kathmandu Valley. In the evening, enjoy a farewell dinner and a cultural show.
DAY 23 – 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 Tsum Valley and Manaslu Circuit Lodge Trek via Larkya-La Pass 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 and tea houses which do vary in quality. 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.