The Tsum Valley, north east of the Manaslu (mountain of the spirit) trail, was first opened to trekking in 2008. In the Manaslu region, the Tsumbas of the Tibetan origin, speak a unique dialect and still trade to the north. The valley is rich in ancient art, culture and religion. It adds a richly rewarding extension to the Manaslu trek.
A scenic drive through the Middle Hills leads to the trail head beyond Arughat at Soti Khola. The Manaslu Tsum valley trekking trail crosses numerous ridges and villages as it rises to Philim. Here it turns east into the lower, then broader Upper Tsum Valley. Crops grown include barley, maize, buckwheat and potatoes. Look out for Himalayan Tahrs and Bharal (blue sheep); preyed on by the illusive snow leopards.
The Manaslu Valley Trek is more remote and spectacular than many, with rough steep tracks and less than luxurious accommodation. It is culturally fascinating with strong continuing links to Tibet in the upper Buri Gandaki (called Nupri ‘the western mountains’) and the Tsum Valley, and even has the Larkya La (5160m) as a challenge. The views of Mt Manaslu, eighth highest mountain in the world, are mind blowing and close.
Highlights include the village of Chhekampar with its stone houses, slate roofs and Milarepa’s cave. The monastery at Mu Gompa and Rachen Gompa to the south has nuns of the Ngak-pa sect. Gumba Lungdang is another important nunnery where trekkers are welcomed at the evening puja.
At Lokpa, the trail rejoins the Manaslu circuit and climbs through the Kutang – Nupri valleys (the western mountains: part of Tibet until the 1840s); peopled by another Tibetan community with its own distinct custom and language. The route is forested and gradually presents view of Himal Chuli, Ngadi Chuli and Manaslu with the glaciers that flow from their flanks.
Then, for two days, the trail climbs gradually toward the Larkya La, passing great vistas. The downward trek drops into the forested Marsyangdi Valley and joins the Annapurna Circuit Trail for the downstream walk to Dharapani and jeep besisahar and spend night then next day Kathmandu/ Pokhara.
by bus or jeep.