Trekking Tsum Valley

The spectacular Tsum Valley is located in the trans-Himalayan Gorkha region of Nepal, surrounded by the Sringi Himal, Ganesh Himal and Boudha mountains. The valley is a popular trekking destination providing a mix of challenging terrain, with incredibly beautiful scenery all along the way. The name of the valley comes from the Tibetan word translated as ‘vivid’, and certainly there is nothing ordinary about Tsum Valley with its pristine surroundings and ancient culture, art and religion, with a level of warm hospitality from locals that adds to the experience of trekking this route.

Tsum Valley has a long history of Tibetan Buddhism with the majority of its inhabitants having Tibetan ancestry. The valley is a sacred pilgrimage route and trekkers will find stupas, as well as large slabs of stone standing upright and carved with symbols, deities and prayers along the way. These are known as Mani Walls and are a common sight along Tibetan Buddhist pilgrimage trails. Tibetan Buddhists believe that their revered saint Milarepa meditated in the mountains surrounding Tsum Valley, adding to its status as a holy pilgrimage site. The remoteness of Tsum Valley has resulted in its unique culture and ancient traditions remaining intact, offering visitors an opportunity to experience some of the history of this unique region of Nepal.

Highlights of the Tsum Valley trail include a visit to Phulkarka village where trekkers will have the opportunity to meet with villagers and perhaps have a game of soccer with the local children before preparing for departure. The first twenty kilometers of the hike passes by a number of small villages, as well as some spectacular waterfalls and fast-flowing streams. The following days offer views of the Budhi Gandaki and Shiar Khola Rivers, Manaslu Mountain, and the majestic Himalayas from various vantage points. Trekkers will pass through remote villages, visit the secluded Mu Gompa monastery and Dheron Gumba nunnery, and may see the hardy Himalayan blue sheep, ghoral and Himalayan tahr that inhabit the region.

The Tsum Valley trail takes about three weeks, covering around twenty kilometers a day, and including several high altitude points. Travelers who want to participate in a Tsum Valley trek need strong hiking skills and physical endurance, but those who have successfully completed the trail agree that the experience is well worth the effort. For those who would like to add a philanthropic dimension to their Nepal adventure, the Tsum Valley Welfare Committee welcomes volunteers to participate in their various programs. Visit the Tsum Valley Welfare Committee Website for more details.