Tsum Valley Trek: the best two-week adventure trek in Nepal.

Between the Annapurna and Everest giants there's the Manaslu Conservation Area: home to the 7th highest mountain of the world and safekeeper of Nepal's hidden gem the Tsum Valley trek. During this remote trek you will experience a melting pot of Nepali and Tibetan culture, spectacular mountain views and you might even get a touch of enlightenment as you visit one of the many Buddhist monasteries.

Tsum Valley Trek info

Max. Altitude:
Total Incline:
Total Decline:
Guide required?
Tsum Valley Special permit, Manaslu Conservation Area Project fee

Tsum Valley Trek highlights

  • Off-the-beaten-path experience
  • Avoid the Annapurna and Everest Base camp crowd. Way less tourists.
  • Experience the Buddhist Tibetan culture.
  • Visit Mu Gompa: a remote Buddhist monastery overlooking Tsum Valley.
  • Beautiful views and constantly changing scenery
A Tibetan stupa among snow covered mountains.
Snow covered mountains and Tibetan culture, a beautiful mix.

Is Tsum Valley a trek for me?

Tsum Valley is part of the Manaslu Conservation Area and was closed to tourists for a long time. In 2008 the remote area was first opened for trekking. If you like raw (Himalayan) landscapes, with little to non other tourists than this trek is for you. As the valley was closed for tourists for a long time the western influences have not yet (so much) put a mark on the region. You will find friendly locals, Tibetan shrines, monasteries, Mani-walls and lot’s more of cultural value around the route. For a quick impression of this remote trek check out my publication Tsum Valley: in search of Nirvana. For more info, keep on reading!


As days pass and you make your way along the trek you will notice that both food and accommodation will become more simple, as there are simply said less resources available deeper in the valley. I advise you to bring some energy bars, or a bag of nuts/cookies to provide you with some extra calories when needed during long days of walking. Most water-pipes are frozen (I was there in February-March), so showering and/or using the toilet are a bit of a struggle. Hot showers are 90% of the time not a possibility. As I may quote my guide “I prefer cold showers anyway”. 


To trek in Tsum valley you are obliged by the Nepali Government to get two permits (Ghorka Manaslu area and Ghorka Tsum Valley area), hire a guide and have a travel party of at least 2 people. You cannot do a solo trek in Tsum Valley! (Although possible by using a so-called “Ghost trekker”, you didn’t hear it from me) This might seem a disadvantage, but I have personally experienced it as a huge advantage in the end as it meant I only met about 10 other tourists in three weeks of trekking (in March, still lots of snow present) and I didn’t have to worry about route finding or safety (too much).

A Tibetan hang bridge in Tsum Valley trek
No worries, you won't have to cross this bridge. It was replaced by a new one.

Fear of heights?

If you have fear of heights this trek is not for you:  you will have to cross many Tibetan style bridges dangling tens of meters above deep valleys. These bridges can move, are often slippery and/or partially damaged. You can cross them safely, but be cautious and follow your guide’s instructions.

A map of the Tsum Valley Trek by Jeroen Cox
Overview of the Tsum Valley Trek

Tsum Valley trek itinerary.

A crowded street in Kathmandu Nepal
The busy streets of Kathmandu, Nepal.

Arrival and preparation.

If it’s your first time in Nepal, make sure to plan 1-3 days in Kathmandu before you leave. This will give you time to meet your guide, check your gear (Don’t forget a water-purification solution, batteries, crampons etc.), buy supplies, get enough cash to cover all your days trekking (There are no ATM’s along the route) and of course to explore beautiful Kathmandu. 

Tip: Not sure what to bring for your trek in Nepal? Check out my ultimate packing list for Nepal trekking.

I stayed in Hotel Blue Horizon where I've had a great stay. Personnel was friendly, big clean rooms and the location was great! It's located in Thamel, the heart of (touristic) Kathmandu. The hotel is located at the end of a one-way street, so I was able to get great sleep during the nights, while the buzzing streets of Kathmandu were just a 2 min. walk away.

Bus station in Kathmandu
The bus station in Kathmandu early in the morning.

Day 1: Kathmandu -> Soti Khola

From Kathmandu you can take a jeep or bus to Soti Khola, the starting point of the trek. By bus it takes a long day of intensive travel to get there and it will cost you about 4 euro per person. (FYI: My bus-trip started at 6:30 in the morning in Kathmandu and I arrived in Sothi Khola at 17:45.)  Do you prefer traveling more comfortably than let your guide arrange a jeep. This will cost you about 120 to 160 euro per jeep. Although the bus-trip wasn’t comfortable, it was definitely an experience I will never forget: loud music, infinite dust, live animals inside the bus and always laughing and cheerful locals. 

Soti Khola in Nepal.
Soti Khola: here your bus will drop you off and you start walking.

Day 2: Soti Khola -> MachhaKhola

From Soti Khola you will spend about 3 days walking north through various villages before you make it to the start of Tsum Valley. You start with an easy trek along the Budhi Gandaki river towards Macha Khola. (Machha = fish, Khola = river). You will pass some waterfalls and Tibetan style hanging bridges. In the evening you can treat yourself to some Dudha Chiya (milk tea).

A dangerous cliff along the Tsum Valley trek
One of the more "adventurous" parts of the trek.

Day 3: MachhaKhola -> Jagat

This part of the trek can be a bit sketchy as it runs along narrow, muddy treks, going up and down, with often steep cliffs next to you. You will (possibly) also have to cross some landslide areas. Make sure to take a break in Tato Pani, where you can find a natural hot spring, one of your last chances to enjoy the pleasure of a warm “shower” during your trek. After Tato Pani the route becomes more challenging as it’s steeper. In Yaro Bagar you can have a break with an amazing view of the river and mountains (Makes you feel like Indiana Jones).  You’ll end your day crossing a bridge donated by Switzerland after the 2015 earthquake, which brings you to Jagat.

Scenery Manaslu Circuit Tsum Valley
One of the many spectacular views during the trek.

Day 4: Jagat -> Lokpa

On this day the trek starts easy and gradually becomes harder as you go deeper into the mountains. You will see the first 7km-8km Himalayan peaks in the distance, and if you’re lucky like me: a monkey. You will also often encounter large groups of donkeys carrying goods from village to village, which can cause some traffic jams on the narrow paths. (Pro-tip: stay away from the cliff side of the path as you’re waiting for the donkeys to pass, they move in unpredictable ways and will bump into you.) 

Today you’ll pass an intersection where you can go west to follow the Manaslu Circuit or go east to enter Tsum Valley. I advise combining both treks if you have at least 3 weeks to spend. After a steep climb you will end your day in Lokpha: a small village with 3 teahouses, of which only 1 was open. Enjoy a Ghorka beer with the locals and call it a day.

Teahouse in Lokpa Nepal
A teahouse in Lokpa.

A Tibetan stupa lit by the moon
A moonlit view on Langbo Kangri from Chumling.

Day 5: Lokpa -> Chumling

You’re officially in Tsum Valley! You will notice that the surroundings are slowly changing as the altitude increases. After an intense hike you’ll reach Chumling. Enjoy the view of the Buddhist stupa as the sun goes down and the moon starts to light up Langbo Kangri (6648m) in the distance.

A tibetan stupa in Tsum Valley
One of the many stupas in Tsum Valley

Day 6: Chumling -> Chhokkangparo

As you leave Chumling the altitude and cold will start to increase, as well as the presence of Tibetan culture. You will pass Tibetan stupas, monasteries and lot’s of Mani-walls: walls made of stone tablets carved with mantras. Combined with the beautiful raw mountainous landscape, snow and wildlife, this sure makes for a spectacular experience. There are only a few teahouses on this part of the route, so plan your lunch carefully. Once you arrive in Chekumparo take the time to walk around the village and enjoy the view. 

Interior of a Teahouse in Tsum valley
A typical interior of one of the many Teahouses along the trek.

Day 7: Chhokkangparo-> Nile

Today’s trek is an easy one as you’ll walk from Chekumparo (3000m) to Nile (+/- 3300m). You will pass  some Buddhist monasteries along the way. Based on the season you might experience snow-covered treks, snowfall and even avalanches. The trek follows the center of the valley, so avalanches stay quite a distance away. 

A Buddhist monk at Mu Gompa Nepal
One of the monks permanently living at Mu Gompa.

Day 8: Nile -> Mu Gompa -> Chhokkangparo

If the weather conditions allow it you’ll experience the highlight of Tsum Valley today: Mu Gompa. A 1.5-2h trek through snow-covered slopes will bring you to the monastery located at around 3800m altitude. With a bit of luck you will have the chance to witness the last 3 to 4 monks who permanently live there perform their prayers inside the temple and join them for a cup of Chiya. The isolated location, the friendly monks, the snow, the altitude, the temple: it’s special. 

After your visit to Mu Gompa you’ll make your way back down to Nile, get your stuff at the teahouse and your return trip starts. Don’t forget to peek through the doors of the monasteries that you will pass. If you're lucky you’ll get a tour by one of the monks. (I did and it was great!)

Buddhist monastery in Tsum Valley Nepal
Buddhist monastery in Tsum Valley.

Day 9: Chhokkangparo-> Lokpa

You might think that descending is easier than going up the mountains. But the opposite is true, if you ask me. Your knees will take a beating with every step you take, so make sure to bring some trekking poles to reduce the impact on your knees. 

Tsum Valley Nepal
Friendly encounters during the trek.

Day 10-13: Lokpa -> Manaslu Circuit or back towards Soti Khola

After you leave Lokpha you will soon encounter the intersection again where you can choose to go to the Manaslu Circuit or to make your way back down to Soti Khola. I had booked my guide for the Manaslu Circuit as well, so that’s what I did. Which you can read more about in my guide: Trekking the Manaslu Circuit. If you only planned to visit Tsum Valley, you will now make your way back down the valley along the river. 

While making your way back you can ask your guide to show you some different places from during your ascend. This doesn’t only make your trip more enjoyable, but also means more locals profit financially from your presence. If you have lots of cash left, now is the time to start spending before you head home. 

Day 14: Soti Khola -> Kathmandu

Congratulations! You have made it back to Soti Khola all in one piece (hopefully). Enjoy a hot shower and get ready for your bus-trip back to Kathmandu. By now you’ll be exhausted and longing for a luxurious hotel in Kathmandu. However, remember that bus-ride that got you here? Yup you’ll have to do it all again to get back to Nepal’s capital: Kathmandu. If you have the budget I would therefore highly recommend letting your guide arrange a private jeep back. I didn’t have the budget and it was a long, long ride back to Kathmandu.