Review of Manaslu Tsum Valley Trek

we have a faith upon “Less is more”

Tsum Valley Manaslu

Tsum Valley Manaslu

Thank you to Ramesh at Nepal Mountain Trekkers and Expeditions for organising our group trip. We could not fault this company everything ran smoothly, our very experienced and knowledgeable guide TB kept us safe. TB went way beyond his duties of a trekking guide, even providing us with bed tea each morning. His infectious laughter and sense of humour kept our spirits high. We would not hesitate in recommending this fantastic company

Zuverlässlich, Erfahren, Familiär

Zuverlässlich, Erfahren, Familiär

Eine kompetente Trekkingagentur, auf die man sich in jedem Fall verlassen kann! Der Besitzer, Ramesh Dakal, war lange selber Porter und anschließend Guide (speziell für hohe und anspruchsvolle Routen), sodass er die nötige Erfahrung besitzt, um auch außergewöhnliche Expeditionen zu ermöglichen. Er ist ein wirklich liebenswürdiger Mensch, der nicht nur seinem Interesse, sondern auch dem seiner Mitarbeiter und seines Landes folgt. Auch sein Team (Porter und Guides) ist ausgezeichnet. Auf meinem Trekk um den Manaslu hatte ich einen wirklich tollen Guide an meiner Seite, der gutes Englisch sprach, und mir von sich aus viel über Land und Leute erzählt hat, sodass ich in ihm nicht nur einen verlässlichen Führer, sondern auch einen Freund gefunden habe. Mir wurde genug Spielraum gelassen, um den Trekk auf meine Bedürfnisse anzupassen und Ramesh und seine Guides geben sich generell große Mühe auf die individuellen Wünsche einzugehen. Das, die große Expertise aller Mitarbeiter und die familiär/freundschaftliche Umgangsweise zeichnen Nepal Mountain Trekkers aus. So unterscheidet sich das Unternehmen deutlich von anderen Agenturen, die in Kathmandu wie Pilze aus dem Boden schießen und von denen viele sehr unzuverlässlich sind. Wer für die Zeit in Kathmandu noch eine Unterkunft sucht, dem sei Ramesh's Hotel "Horizon" wärmstens ans Herz gelegt. Es ist eine kleine Oase im hektischen Kathmandu und die Mitarbeiter sind auch hier alle äußerst herzlich. Ramesh's Büro ist gleich um die Ecke, sodass man mit ihm in einer freien Minute bei einem Tee äußerst lohnend plaudern kann.

Manaslu Tsum Trek – 10th October to 4th November 2017

Manaslu Tsum Trek – 10th October to 4th November 2017
Kit Oi and Robert

This is a near perfect trek. It is a stunningly beautiful area where you have a grandstand view of the big mountains yet they are intimate, and there is much that is culturally fascinating. Magnificent sunrises and sunsets on big white peaks - we can’t get wait to go back!
Ramesh of Nepal Mountain Trekkers had organised everything really well, and our guide Min, and porters, DB and Bikash were excellent and were fantastic companions. 
We very much recommend our itinerary as below. 

We drove from Kathmandu to Gorkha, then to Barpak to start the trek. This is a big prosperous village, which was the epicentre of the earthquake in April 2015. We walked from there to Larprak over a ridge, Mamche, at 2,700 metres. There are great views of Ganesh Himal from Mamche.
Larprak was also badly damaged and there is a huge reconstruction effort to rebuild it in a safer site, New Larprak.
We walked from there to join the main Manaslu circuit at Khorlabeshi, by the thundering Bhudhi Gandaki. We followed the river, to Jagat, and then headed into the amazing Tsum Valley.
We passed through Lokpa to Chumling, which is a delightful village. There are beautiful terraced fields and mature Bhutan pine forests. We visited the newly constructed health post, built to be earthquake resilient and using local material as well as traditional building methods.
After Chumling, we walked to Gumba Lungdang. That’s a lovely walk through pine, hemlock and birch forest, with views of Ganesh 1 and 2, and Lumbo Himal as well as more distant views of Himalchuli and Ngadi Chuli. The monastery was nearly completely destroyed and if you want to stay there, it is best to have your own tent. The nuns do have 3 tents but they are not in good condition. They do feed you well though from their vegetable garden. There are awesome views of Ganesh Himal if it is clear.
We walked from there to Chhokang Paro, another delightful village, with lots of mani walls and chortens. Look out for the Tsum Valley Café run by Pema – he had been a barista at Himalayan Java in Kathmandu, and makes fantastic espresso, cappuccino, macchiato etc. What a delightful and surprising treat!
From Chhokang Paro, it is an easy walk to Nile through beautiful fertile large flat fields, the amazing and valuable productive land of the upper Tsum Valley, and lots of chortens, mani walls and gompas leave you in no doubt that you are in Buddhist land. Beyond the fields, the near vertical walls of the valley become the snow capped 6,000 metre+ peaks of Cherke Himal, Kipu Himal and Langju Himal.
Mu Gompa is fascinating and from there you can see sunset and sunrise on Ganesh 2 to the south. 
We went from there to Bhajyo at 4,030 metres. It is a beautiful spot, though you need tents to stay here - a wonderful place to relax, with Langju Himal and Tabsar towering over you. We walked from there to another pasture, Thongbu, 4,500 metres, to get a clear view of the pass and chorten on the border with Tibet.
From there, we retraced our steps back to Mu Gompa, then to Nile, where we stayed in delightful Mingma’s Homestay. We went from there back to Chumling, Lokpa, then re-joined the main Manaslu circuit trail and on to Deng, 
From Deng, it is worth visiting Bihi village, above the main trail at Bihi Phedi. Bihi is a lovely traditional village, which hardly sees trekkers, and there is a newly reconstructed school, built of wood, again with earthquake resilience principles and very aesthically pleasing with traditional styles. We walked to Namrung, which is charming.
The next day we walked to Lho and up to the impressive Ribung monastery.
From a viewpoint close to the monastery, we saw sunrise on Manaslu – absolutely awesome.
The walk from Lho to Samagaon is spectacular, we passed through the sleepy village of Shyala, where there is a magnificent amphitheatre of mountains - Himalchuli, Ngadi Chuli, Manaslu, Naike Peak, Larkye peak, Samdo Peak, Saula Himal. It is truly heart stopping.
Samagaon is a delightful village and what a location. One could easily spend days there. We made a day hike to Manaslu Base Camp - fantastic views of the huge shimmering glaciers and of Manaslu, Manaslu North and Naike peak. We got nice cups of tea at base camp - they were on a lull, the October climbers had gone and the November ones had not arrived yet. 
We tore ourselves away from Samagaon, to Samdo, which is high and fascinating. It is a Tibetan village that moved over the border to its current location when the Chinese entered Tibet in the 1950s. It was very icy and white when we were there. We had hoped to walk to the border with Tibet, but the snowy conditions made this difficult.
From Samdo, it is an easy walk to Dharamsala at 4,460 metres. It was perfectly clear and the views of Samdo Peak, Naike Peak, Larkye Peak, Cheo Himal, Manaslu and Manaslu North were wonderful.
Dharamsala accommodation is not great, but the location is staggering. We were extremely lucky and had a perfect crossing of Larkye La, seeing sunrise on Larkye peak; and as we headed down, the most amazing views of Cheo Himal, Himlung, Pongkar peak, Kang Guru, then Lamjung Himal and peeping over it, Annapurna 2. We passed by large glaciers, the Salpudanda glacier and walked down to Bhimtang.
Bhimtang has the most wonderful sunsets and sunrise and is surrounded by a myriad of high peaks.
From Bhimtang, it is a very fine walk to Gho, through an ancient and magnificent forest, with regular views back onto a cirque of white fluted peaks and glaciers.
Gho is a proper village, with fields of buckwheat and millet, and flower gardens and we stayed at a lodge with a warm solar shower…
After Gho, we drop down to Dharapani to join the Annapurna circuit. We stayed in gorgeous Tal with its waterfalls, pretty gardens and delicious food.
From Tal the first part of the walk to Syange is beautiful with the thundering Marsyangdi river in a deep gorge. After that we hit the road, and from Syange, we took a jeep to Besisahar. - and from there, by car, back to Kathmandu.

Manaslu Circuit and Marsyangdi Valley, Annapurna, Nepal Trekking

Manaslu Circuit and Marsyangdi Valley, Annapurna, Nepal Trekking
Kit Oi and Roberts


We had arranged with Ramesh from Nepal Mountain Trekkers to do the Manaslu/Tsum trek as a part camping/part tea house trek. We had had Min (Sanjeev) as our guide before and specifically asked for him to guide us again. The team was very considerate of our needs and our comfort and we were well looked after. There were problems, which were out of their control - the weather was not settled and for the first part of the trek we did not have clear views of the peaks; there had been several landslips which made part of the trek difficult; and the main trail into Tsum valley was destroyed so that it was very difficult to go there. Despite these substantial difficulties, we had a great trek around Manaslu, and found the villages of great interest. They are culturally fascinating and we enjoyed conversations with people we met on trek, specifically Nyima from Gyap and Nyima from Samdo who are involved with development projects in their villages. Look out for solar showers in 2017 in Samdo, which are for the local people but also for trekkers and should raise some money for the community. It is inspiring to see again the resilience of the local people as they re-construct after the earthquake as this area was one of the epicentres of the 2015 earthquake. Crossing the Larkye La was not easy, but stunning and we have to mention Syam, our cook, who popped up unexpectedly at different parts of this walk to hand us drinks and snacks. That lifted our spirits no end! As we had extra time, because we had not been able to go into Tsum valley, we did part of the Annapurna circuit, went to Tilicho Lake, Moon Lake and Ice Lake. Here the weather was kinder and we got perfect views of peaks and blue lakes. As we came down again, we spent a night at Temang and saw the most fantastic sunset on Manaslu from there. Apart from the cook Syam, we wish to comment on Min who again was an excellent guide. When there are difficulties, he told us clearly what these were and involved us with making decisions about what to do. We would ask for him as our guide for a future trek. We also had DB (Dhan Bahadur) as our porter/guide for the Annapurna part and could not ask for a better companion. He is very helpful, and sociable, and very helpful when we found parts of the trails difficult. What could have been done differently? The main thing is that it would have been helpful to find out before the trek that it was difficult to get into Tsum and we could have adjusted plans in Kathmandu and got different permits, for example to Nar Phu instead. The Department of Immigration, who issue the permit for Tsum, should have known that the trail into Tsum was closed and stopped issuing permits - their colleagues based in the villages near the beginning of the Tsum Valley trek had certainly known for a number of days before we were approaching that part of the trek. Also on the Annapurna circuit the ‘road’ is having a significant impact. There is a real need for alternative walking trails to be made, maintained and clearly signposted. The ‘road’ has made it possible for the well acclimatized to visit amazing spots like Tilicho Lake in five rather than fourteen days. This means that the hotels and lodges in Manang and above are becoming overcrowded. Overall, we are very happy with the experience. We'll just have to plan to go back to Tsum Valley another time, and would like to re-visit the high villages of Manaslu, and for a next trek, would plan to incorporate side treks, like walks to the border with Tibet. Thank you to all at Nepal Mountain Trekkers for an excellent trek.

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we have a faith upon “Less is more”