Manaslu Tsum Valley Trekking
Manaslu a mighty mountain standing tall at 8163m is a part of great Himalayan range in western region of Nepal. The name “Manaslu” derived from Sanskrit language means “mountain of spirit”. Japanese explorers Toshio Imanishi and a expedition team member Gyalzen Norbu were the two first humans to conquer Manaslu on 9th day of may in 1956.
Tsum Valley being a part of Manaslu region hidden and isolated from the outer world has become a very popular and highlighted tourist destination recently, after restrictions having been pulled off for tourists after a long by the government of Nepal. Manaslu region was opened for the trekkers in 1995 and Tsum happened just in 2008.
The terrain of Tsum Valley is beyond spectacular as it has preserved its pristine culture and sustained its fragile ecosystem. Along with the geographical exquisiteness it retains its cultural fascination. The inhabitants of upper Bhudi Gandaki, a region known as ‘Nup Ri’ meaning Western Mountain are direct descendants of Tibetans immigrants and who settled during early 16th century. The reason that their settlement is not dated so far in the history is also the reason why Tibetan culture reflects in their speech, attire and norms. The View from Nup ri is sensational and dramatic Larke Pass is a thrilling experience.
The trek also encompasses trails through Manaslu Conservaition area which is home to endangered snow leopard and red panda. The conservation area of Manaslu is diverse as its flora and fauna, it comprises of sub-tropical Himalayan foothills to arid Trans-Himalayan high pastures. The complete area covers six climatic zones: the tropical, sub-tropical zone, the temperate zone; the sub-alpine; the alpine zone; and the arctic zone.
The trek is authentic and truly Tibetan culture reflecting trek with the view Himalchuli (7,893m), Ngadi Chuli (7,871m), Shringi (7,187m), Langpo (6,668m) and Saula (6,235m) along with Ngadi Chuli, Baudha and the tallest Manaslu peak. Over all the trek is a complete package trek.
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Day 01: Kathmandu to Arughat 625m, 7/8 hours by bus or jeep.
We begin early in the morning, after breakfast on this day. We board the vehicle of our choice and embark on the highway and make our way to Arughat, on the highway along the gushing tributaries. Once we reach Arughat, which is a beautiful city divided in half by Budhi Gandaki; a major tributary in Nepal, we unpack our bag and enjoy the rural ambiance. Arughat is a growing market and serves trekkers in the region.
Day 02: Arughat to Lapubesi 882m. Approx. 6 hours walk.
We leave early as usual and start climbing upwards, leaving the trail to Soti Khola down. The trail makes its way through seasonal farming of rice, millet and corn and encompasses beautiful settlements of Magar and Gurung. Lookout for monkeys in the initial phase of the trek! The trails goes up and down, on the trails carved out of a hill and mostly along Soti Khola, until its source. We arrive Lapubeshi, which is a Gurung village. We spend overnight in Lapubeshi.
Day 03: Lapubesi to Tatopani 990m, 6-7 hours walk
We ascend again along the river and descend all the way to river bed and cross Machha Khola. On the way beyond here you will encounter Langoor and monkeys and beautiful lush green knolls. We come across sheep herders and dodge beautiful villages to make it to Tato pani. Tato pani means hot water in English and is named after the natural hot water spouts in the place. We spend a night in Tato Pani and possibly enjoy the natural hot water spring and soften our skins.
Day 04: Tatopani to Philim 1570m, 5-6 hours walk.
Start climbing the ridge and cross Buri Gandaki via suspension bridge and further climb from the river bed, on rocky trails to Duman. You will as well cross the longest suspension bridge in Nepal, on this day. We reach a remarkable village named Jagat which has even more beautiful flagstone village square. We continue further with the beautiful views of Singri himal (7187m) and past mani walls, which indicates the beginning of the Tibetan culture although the settlement is of Gurungs. We finally arrive filim after crossing a rustic bridge and climbing uphill. We call it a day in Filim.
Day 05: Philim to Chhumling 2386m, 6-7 hours walk
The trail to Manaslu and Tsum valley separates beyond Philim. We head towards Ekle Bhatti and further into peaceful Pine and Rhododendron forest and make our way through completely uninhabited circumstances. We cross many bridges, some wooden ones and others suspension and we get a glimpse of Himalchuli (7893m) on this phase of the trail. Looking at Chum valley on the distance, we further ascend on a fragile and narrow trail until we finally descend down to Chumling. Comparatively today is a difficult day, compared to that of previous days. Chumling is basically hand crafted Buddhist village, where we can see rustic gompas, beautiful stone carving, prayer walls and flags. We stay overnight in Chumling.
Day 06: Chhumling to Chhekampar 3011m, 5-6 hours walk
Today the trek is easier than the previous and the views as well are better. We initially make our way through farmland of potatoes and corn and further into villages with beautiful Tibetan style houses with firewood fence and tilted roofs. Further up the valley awaits magnificent views of the Ganesh range. Climb for almost around 2 hours post Serpu Khola, to the valley opening of Upper Tsum, in the fields of barley, corn, buckwheat and Potato. On a clear day Himalchuli looks like on the reach of our palm. We spend a night in Chhekampar.
Day 07: Chhekampar to Mu Gompa 3700, 6-7 hours walk.
On this section we need to be very careful for any ascend we make and it is important to not under see the symptoms of altitude sickness. We walk past Lama Gaun to Milerapa cave, where it is believed that guru Milerapa meditated and even his frozen footprint can be witnessed. Further cross Shiar khola to Phurbe and further to Pangdun. We walk further to the village of Chulle, walk upstream and cross a bridge until we reach Nile, pronounced as Ne to Ley. The landmark gets arid and more dry and resembles to that of Tibet and almost 3 hours further we reach Mu Gompa. From Mu to Gompa you can see the yak pasture land on the south, where as the mountains surround from 3 sides with an extended view of Lungdang glacier.
Day 08: Mugompa to Rachen Goma/3240, 3-4 hours walk
We descend down from Mu Gompa to Rachen Gompa, which was established in 1905 A.D. and is located at 3210m. The beautiful, prehistoric monastery is run by nuns and has beautiful Tibetan murals painted on the walls. It is of surprise to many that one member of the house dedicates their life to either being a monk or nun or both. We rest the day in Rachen Gompa and explore the lives of the devotees.
Day 09: Rachen Gompa to Dunje 2460m, approx. 3-4 hours walk.
Continue south by embarking on the trails left on the previous day, cross the bridge and head further low until Chokangparo. We will stay on the same trail past Chokangparo unless we arrive a small nameless gompa in the village of Gho. We would stroll further on the northern route which leads to Yaju and then finally to Dhunje. We stay overnight in Dhunje.
Day 10: Dumje to Gumpa Lungdang/3200m, approx. 4 hours walk
We begin by climbing sheer uphill in the beautiful knoll of Rhododendron and Pine. The trail further is coiled and is marked by prayer flags. The Rhododendron and pine trees are replaced by only pine trees itself until we reach Gumpa Lungdang. Lungdang is well known for evening prayers conducted by the nuns and the panorama of the surrounding mountains on the all sides. We spend overnight in Gumpa Lungdang.
Day 11: Gumpa Lungdang to Lokpa/2240 approx. 7 hours walk
We descend again and descend in a good pace as it is one of those longest days to find logistics. Descend down on the trails in the beautiful pine forest, further down to gorges and couple of suspension bridges. We make through noticeable village of Ripchet, backed up by beautiful farm of buckwheat and barley, which again leads to the forest of pine. From Ripchet we come across scattered houses and make further drop to the village of Lungdang. We accommodate in Lungdang for the night.
Day 12: Lokpa to Deng 1860m, approx. 6-7 hours.
Further on this day we descend down and cross the bridge of Budhi Gandaki on a solid bridge and further navigate to the tea shops, which offers one final view of Tsum valley at the back. We continue on lose trails that acts like a roller coaster ride, with several ups and downs and crossing the river once again but on a suspension bridge and after around 2 hours, we enter bamboo forest. Further down the forest we reach Deng village, which is a beautiful settlements of Gurung, who practice Buddhism. We spend the night in Deng.
Day 13: Deng to Namrung 2630m, approx. 6-7 hours.
The first act we do this morning is climb to Rana and further uphill to the beautiful stone carving village of Bihi. We further ascend on the trails in and out of ravines until we reach Ghap. Lookout for beautiful prayer wall and arts of different Buddha praying, on the stones, unlike other paintings these show professionalism and display quality. Now after Ghap, we enter beautiful forest of rhododendron and fir and it is recommended to keep looking for opportunity to catch views of beautiful birds. We reach Namrung after almost two hours of uphill through dense forest of Pine, where we rest for the night.
Day 14: Namrung to Samagaun, 3520m, approx. 6 hours walk.
We immediately head into forest of Rhododendron, fir and oak before uphill to Lihi and than further to Sho, until we walk by ourselves through serene ambiance with almost no settlements. We keep walking further through beautiful paintings and you will notice that from this trail onwards you will find people in their traditional Tibetan gowns and even the small kids. We arrive Shrip and further Lho which offer a intimidating and jaw dropping view of Manaslu 8163m. After spending with the breathtaking views we further head to our destination of the day, which is comparatively an easy stroll all the way to Samagaun.
Day 15: Rest day, Hike to Pungyen Gompa/ Manaslu Base Camp or explore surroundings.
A well required rest day and a must for acclimatization. It is a rest day but not an idle day, we have plenty of things to do on this day.
We can do several hikes and among them one is to pungyen Gompa and the other is Manaslu Base camp. Due to result fatigue, added by high altitude, it is recommended to do one out of the above and then come down to Samagaun for lunch.
Day 16: Samagaun to Samdo 3860m, 3-4 hours walk
We limit this day for only 3 to 4 hours because of the altitude. The trail runs down to Budhi Gandaki and further heads north towards Manaslu base camp. Walk past broad valley of yak pastures along the long prayer walls and further into forest and further cross Budhi Gandaki on a wooden bridge. Immediately we are able to see the markings of Samdo village but it will take a while until we reach there. Upon reaching you will see that the village is all about the Yaks, so profound that the yak population is more than that of the inhabitants. We spend overnight in this pastureland.
Day 17: Hike to Lajyung La/5098m or Rui La/4998m Nepal-Tibet boarder and stay in Samdo.
We hike further to Lajyung on this day and return back to Samdo, as a part of exploring the surrounding as well as acclimatizing further for Larke pass. Larjyung la is also a pass and the main route into Tibet which at the moment is restricted even for the locals. It is almost a full day hike and takes around 4-5 hours to reach the zenith and head back to Samdo. The view is striking and you will also see plenty of blue sheep and Yak making their way in and out of the way.
Day 18: Samdo to Larke Rest home/Dharmasaala 4460m 3-4 hours hike
We head down on a broad trail to cross remarkably shrunk Budhi Gandaki. We further climb on narrow trails navigating through juniper shrubs and some scattered stone shelters. Dharmashala is cold and it is a temporary settlement to cater trekkers and it is a small tented campsite on the foot of the mountains. The views are unparallel and the logistics are very nominal. We spend a night in Dharmashala and get ready for the big day.
Day 19: Larke Rest Homes to Bimtang 3750m, via dramatic Larkey Pass/5100m, 8-9 hours.
This is the lengthiest, most strenuous and very demanding section of the entire Manaslu Tsum valley trek. To cover the ground, we have to begin the trek as early as 4:00 am in the morning and immediately head sheer uphill. Descend past 4 frozen lakes and finally to a very sheer uphill to Larke la or Larke pass. From larke we descend around 1400m in around 3 hours and the view of icefall and the surrounding mountain kills all the pain of ascend and walk. Bhimtang is a beautiful valley surrounded by glaciers from almost all sides and is a relief to call it a day at the same.
Day 20: Bimtang to Goa/2510m, approx. 6 hours walk
We descend a great deal of height today, initially through the forest of Rhododendron and further to the village with the largest cultivation in the region. From the beginning we cross the valley of Burdin, Karche and finally to Goa. We rest in Goa which is also known as Gho.
Day 21: Goa to Dharapani/1963, approx. 4-5 hours walk
From an exemplary village of Gho which is the only noticeable village, we further head low and now through villages more than the forests. We do make through rhododendron and pine but initially and further descending rapidly through scrubby forest in the Marsyangdi valley and into Dharapani.
Day 22: Dharapani to Jagat/1300m, approx. 5-6 hours walk.
Today we walk on the trails carved right out of rigid and barren mountain face and meet some beautiful waterfall and water deposits. Now we leave Buri Gandaki and Dudh Khola far behind and walk along another major tributary namely Marshyangdi. After easy but lengthy stroll we spend a night in Jagat.
Day 23: Drive to Besisahar - drive to Kathmandu
We walk more on flat surface and cultivated land and through villages which displays the touch of modern amenities. We walk early to catch a bus from a modern hilly town of Besisahar and hop on to our vehicle and continue riding along the Marsyangdi River. After frequent stops for refreshment and lengthy 8 hours of curvy highway ride, we enter the bustling Kathmandu city.
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