The Tsum Valley Trek is a hidden gem among the trekking routes of Nepal. The Tsum Valley is an important pilgrimage route and is located to the north west of Kathmandu in a Gorkha Region. This trek takes you into one of the most secluded hidden valleys in the Himalayas which until recently was a restricted region and is completely different in both culture and topography to any other region of Nepal. The people of the Tsum Valley or Tsumbas are of Tibetan origin with their own ancient dialect, culture and Buddhist religion and this route was once a very important trade link with Tibet.
This valley is one of the least explored areas of Nepal and allows trekkers to experience the natural beauty and culture of the area in it’s pristine and peaceful state without the hustle and bustle of tourists on the busy trekking routes. The Tsum Valley trek is unsurpassed in it’s majestic natural beauty with several mountain peaks such as Ganesh Himal, Sringi Himal and others.
As an area with a long history of Buddhism the valley is dotted with gompas (Buddhist Monasteries), Chortens and mani walls. The Buddhist saint Milarepa is believed to have meditated in the caves of these mountains and the valley has stories of both Milarepa and Guru Padmasambhava.
Also rich in wildlife particularly the Himalayan Thar and Blue Sheep which can be seen in large herds, hunting and fishing is not permitted in the Tsum Valley making it a great location to see these wild animals.
You will be welcomed by a Great Nepal Representative at the airport and be transferred to your hotel. Your Great Nepal Representative will explain briefly about the travel itinerary. There will be a welcome dinner tonight where you will enjoy local cuisine and folk dance. Overnight stay at hotel in Kathmandu.
Today you will be going for sightseeing around the world heritage sites in the Kathmandu valley including, Kathmandu Durbar square, Bouddhanath Temple and Pashupatinath Temple. Overnight stay at hotel in Kathmandu.
Today we will be driving to Arughat which nearly takes about 8 hours. The drive is divided to two parts. First you will be driving to Dhading Besi, the district headquarter of Dhading district, for 4 hours. From there, it’s another 4 hours drive to Arughat. Overnight stay at Guesthouse Lodge in Arughat.
After crossing the bridge over the Budhi Gandaki we begin our trek west of Arughat. Passing through pretty farmland and forest before arriving at Shanti Bazar. From here the trail becomes steeper and more difficult. The steep ascent to Kuerepani is made more pleasant by a high cascading waterfall before we descent to Soti Khola. Overnight stay at Guesthouse Lodge in Soti Khola.
Today we trek through beautiful Sal forest before climbing up onto a ridge above huge rapids on the Budhi Gandaki. The rocky trail weaves it’s way up and down past beautiful waterfalls while clinging to the side of the cliff before descending down to the Budhi Gandaki and onto Maccha Khola. Overnight stay at Guesthouse Lodge in Macha Khola.
After crossing the Macchi River and Khrola Besi we come across a hot spring called “Tatopani” (meaning hot water in Nepali). Many trekkers stop for a while and take a dip at the hot spring. From here the trail is through a forested area before arriving at Dovan. Below Dovan there is a huge rapid on the Budhi Gandaki. As we ascend the scenery changes before arriving at Jagat. Overnight stay at Guesthouse Lodge in Arughat. Overnight stay at Guesthouse Lodge in Jagat.
After having breakfast in the morning, we resume our trek and follow an uphill trail before crossing the suspension bridge over the Budhi Gandaki River. Then we reach a traditional Gurung village called Philim. From Philim, we again climb uphill through a forest with views of the narrowing valley before reaching Chisopani. Overnight stay at Guesthouse Lodge in Chisopani.
This morning after we cross the gorge beyond Ekle Bhatti we will see a beautiful waterfall before entering pine forest. From here we descend down the trail to the Tsum Valley. As we climb through rhododendron and pine forest we can enjoy views of Himalchuli (7893m) at a small village called Lokpa. Past Lokpa the trail zig zags through pine and rhododendron forest before reaching Gumlung. From here we cross the Siyar Khola before arriving in Chumlung from where we get great views of Shringi Himal. Chumling is a quaint village with stone streets and an old monastery (Chumling Gompa). Overnight stay at Guesthouse Lodge in Chumling.
After leaving today we cross a suspension bridge while enjoying fantastic views of Ganesh Himal. We walk past Rainjam and another bridge over the Serpu Khola before arriving at Gho Village. From here it’s another 2 hours of climbing to the village of Chokhangparo from where if the weather is clear we have amazing views of Himalchuli (7893m) and Ganesh Himal (7140m). Overnight stay at Guesthouse Lodge in Chokhang Paro.
This morning we climb above Chokhangparo past Lamagaon before crossing the rope suspension bridge to Rachen Gompa, where we have a short visit. From here we pass through the villages of Lar, Phurbe and Pangdun, a historic stupa of Buddha before crossing another bridge to arrive at Nile. Here we can visit the famous monastery of Chhule located above the village. Overnight stay at Guesthouse Lodge in Nile.
At this point we are very close to the Tibetan border and the landscape is now very Tibetan. After a pleasant walk through the valley we climb up to Mu Gompa where we visit the monastery. From here we visit Dhephu Doma Gompa before spending the night at Mu Gompa. Overnight stay at Guesthouse Lodge in Mu Gompa.
Today we explore around the Gompa area and acclimatize for the rest of the day. Mu Gompa is the largest monastery in the area. It lies at the highest and most remote area of the Tsum Valley. We have the opportunity to walk around the local area and experience the culture and interact with the locals. This is a great opportunity to the traditional Tibetan culture. Overnight stay at Guesthouse Lodge in Mu Gompa.
As we trek through Chhule and Phurbe following the east bank of the Shiar Khola we arrive at the beautiful village of Burgi. From here we climb up to Milarepa’s Cave (Piren Phu) from where we can experience amazing views of the Poshyop Glacier, Kipu Himal and Churke Himal. Overnight stay at Guesthouse Lodge in Burgi Village.
After descending down to Chokang Paro we keep descending to Gho and then to the bridge over the Sarpu Khola. From here we trek along the lower Tsum Valley before arriving in Chumling. Overnight stay at Guesthouse Lodge in Chumling.
It’s a long day walking today but after passing through Lokpa and lunch we can stop to enjoy the beautiful Samba Falls before arriving at the gorgeous village of Philim. From Philim village there is a trail that goes to Ganesh Himal Base Camp. Overnight stay at Guesthouse Lodge in Philim.
We leave Lokpa village and descend along the trail downhill. The scenery is now subtropical green vegetation which is a stark contrast of the arid topography of the Tsum Valley. We cross the Budhi Gandaki River and arrive at the hot water spring (Tatopani). We can enjoy a dip in the hot spring to rejuvenate us after our long trek after which we head towards Khorlabeshi where we spend the night. Overnight stay at Guesthouse Lodge in Khorla Beshi.
We return to Soti Khola today after a day of mild trekking. Several wonderful waterfalls can be seen along the trail today making the trekking very pleasurable. Overnight stay at Guesthouse Lodge in Soti Khola.
A short trek from Soti Khola takes us to Aru Ghat from where we started our trek. From there we travel by vehicle back to Kathmandu. Tonight we have a farewell dinner where we can recount stories of our adventure with local cuisine. Overnight stay at Hotel in Kathmandu.
Sadly your most memorable journey ends today. A Great Nepal representative will escort you to the airport 3 hours before your scheduled flight. On your way home you have plenty of time to think about your recent adventure and to plan your next wonderful adventure in Nepal.
To enable all expedition members to acclimatize well and hence maximize their chances of success, our expedition programs are prepared with sufficient time for acclimatization. Adaptation to the altitude takes time and there can be no short-cuts, even if supplementary oxygen is used in the final stages. The atmospheric pressure at the base camp is half of that at the sea level. A thorough program of acclimatization is built into the itinerary which consists of regulated height ascents, followed by descents and rests before the final ascent to the summit. This will prevent the climbers to get rid from altitude sickness.
WHAT KIND OF PERSONAL FIRST AID KIT SHOULD I CARRY?
Although our guides carry first aid medical kit, it is better to carry a supply of first aid items for your own personal use according to your health conditions. Here are the list of some general as well as some special medications you may require:
DOES HIGH ALTITUDE EFFECTS AND BENEFITS?
You will be affected by high altitude problems if it is your fist trip at a high altitude. The altitude has some important beneficial effects on the human body and your trips have been designed to enable these. Please familiarize yourself with the information on AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) and understand how to avoid it and read on benefits of high altitude and take advantage of these to improve your body' metabolism.
WHAT IS ACUTE MOUNTAIN SICKNESS? (AMS)
Altitude sickness is the reaction of the body adjusting to decreasing amounts of oxygen. The high altitude slowly decreases the flow of oxygen means the higher you climb, the flow of oxygen is very thin resulting the malfunction of body. Altitude sickness most commonly occurs from above 2,800 meters (9,200ft) but this is different for everyone - there is simply no way of knowing your own susceptibility prior to being at altitude thus it is vital for you to monitor your own health. AMS occurs when the body is unable to adopt at the higher altitude having less amount of oxygen. At an altitude of 5490m (18000 ft.), the oxygen availability becomes just the half of the availability at sea level. While only a third of oxygen is available at the summit of Mt. Everest. Symptoms may be mild and subside/go away after a day's rest, or if it is ignored it could lead to death.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF AMS?
Symptoms can appear within 1-2 hours although most often appear 6-10 hours after ascent and generally subside in 1-2 days as the body adjusts to altitude. They may reappear as you continue to go higher. Symptoms of AMS usually occur gradually and can be one or a combination of the following:
• Headache: Due to the less amount of oxygen in air, the blood influences the blood vessels to spread wide in order to supply more oxygen to the brain and which cause them to show the early symptom of AMS.
• Dopiness: The trekkers or climbers feel very sleepy but could not.
• Shortness of breath: The breathing pattern changes as the breathing becomes faster and deeper than normal in order to get enough oxygen and rapid pulse
• Loss of appetite and nausea: Despite of physical exercise, the trekkers don’t have an appetite to eat. They will feel as if they want to vomit.
• Pins and Needles: Sensation of a limbs falling asleep.
• Fatigue: Physical pressure while trekking the long hours followed by Insomnia shows the next symptom of AIMS which is fatigue.
• Dizziness: A feeling of falling down, it is the early symptoms of AMS.
• Malaise: Malaise is the feeling of being sick which is also one of the symptoms of AMS.
• Swelling of hands, feet & face: Due to the accumulation of fluids, the tissues swell which is also one of the symptoms of AMS.
Symptoms associated with more severe Acute Mountain Sickness includes:
• Cyanosis (alteration of skin color into bluish or purplish)
• Chest tightness or congestion
• Coughing up blood
• Decreased consciousness or withdrawal from social interaction
• Grey or pale complexion
• Inability to walk in a straight line, or to walk at all
• Shortness of breath at rest
At high altitude, all people will experience some of the above symptoms in a mild form. If the body is unable to adjust to altitude these symptoms will persist and if they are left untreated, altitude sickness may progress to High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) or High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE). Edema means simply fluid accumulation in your interstitial body tissues. Both HACE and HAPE can be fatal if ignored.
LIFE THREATENING FORMS OF AMS.
High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE)
If one accumulates of fluid in the lungs and mild fever then, there is a chance of High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE). The filling of fluid in the lungs is Pulmonary Edema. The fluid blocks the passage of fresh oxygen to get into the lungs which causes the shortage of oxygen. Though the exact reason for the HAPE has not been identified, scientists think that pressure of blood vessel around the lungs is directly proportional to the altitude. As a result the smaller blood vessels leak allowing the fluid to escape to the lungs. The treatment for the HAPE victims is to give the oxygen at the rate of 4 liters a minute, using Portable Altitude Chamber (PAC). In case of unavailability of PAC bag or oxygen, one is taken down to the low altitude which is the only way of life-saving. HAPE can also lead to unconsciousness which may also results to death in a short period of time.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF HAPE (fluid in the lungs)?
• A dry cough, developing to a wet one with blood-tinged discharge or saliva
• Tightness in the chest & blueness/darkness of face, lips & tongue
• Low fever up to 38°C/100°F
• Severe fatigue, progressing to coma
High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE)
HACE is the accumulation of fluid in the brain due of the swollen blood vessels to the brain. HACE is also seen within a couple of hours and can send the patient to coma and take his/her life in just few hours likewise to HAPE. The excessive flow of blood to the brain due to the low-level oxygen causes vasodilation which eventually leads to leakage of blood vessels to the brain. A 4 to 8mg of dexamethasone is given as a first dose to those who suffer from such sickness and then 4mg Diamox is given an every six hours gap. Similarly, 2-4 liters/minute oxygen is given and one is taken to down if it is necessary.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF HACE (fluid in the brain)?
• Severe headache symptoms not relieved by painkillers or lying down
• Confusion, disorientation & drowsiness
• Loss of balance or coordination
• Blurred or double vision/retinal hemorrhage
HOW TO PREVENT?
Certain medical conditions (such as respiratory disease) or medications (such as sleeping pills) can increase the risk of altitude sickness - it is important that you inform your guide of any medical conditions or medications before ascending to altitude. You can help your body to acclimatize and avoid altitude sickness by:
• Avoiding alcohol, tobacco and substances that can interfere with good delivery of oxygen to the body or cause dehydration
• Eating small, frequent meals high in carbohydrates
• Drinking plenty of water – the test of sufficient amount of water intake is ability to urinate colorless urine
• Taking it easy or have a rest. Walk at a slower pace than you would at sea level and avoid over-exertion
• Climb the mountain gradually and stop for a day or two of rest for every 600m/2000ft above 2,400m/8000ft
• Climb high but Sleep at a lower altitude if possible
• Learn how to recognize early symptoms of mountain sickness
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT?
Most travelers are able to successfully acclimatize by following the previously mentioned guidelines. However, there are instances where medical treatment is required. Ultimately, the best treatment for acute mountain sickness (AMS) is to descend to a lower altitude and rest. Early diagnosis is important. Acute mountain sickness is easier to treat in the early stages. The guide will monitor you all the time for symptoms and will pace you appropriately to minimize your exposure to AMS.
Cooperating with the guide and reporting if any of the above-described symptoms are seen allows your guide to undertaking appropriate and timely action to minimize your exposure to AMS. Sufficient time for acclimatization (After 3000 meters) is also another method to minimize AMS. Following precautions can be done in order to get rid of AMS:
• Don’t ascent up rapidly.
• Never use alcohol, sleeping pills and smoking.
• Drink more fluid 3-4 liters a day, clean boiled water / tea / coffee / soup / juice etc.
• Climb high and sleep low.
• Don’t go trekking alone, take guide/porter.
• Follow the advice from your guide, hotel, local people, guidebook.
• Descent if mild symptoms rapidly getting worse.
• Never leave or descent sick person along.
• Avoid getting cold.
• Take an easy and comfortable trekking route even if it is longer.
• Sleep more than normal.
Your Guide will carry some medications in First Aid Kit and may suggest for medication such as Ibuprofen, Paracetamol, combination of them or specific AMS medication. Standard and effective medication for prevention of AMS is Acetazolamide (Diamox) and it may be given to help improve breathing and reduce mild symptoms. This drug can cause increased urination. Ensure you drink plenty of fluids and avoid alcohol when taking this drug.
With severe cases of AMS, our guide will contact our office in Kathmandu and arrange your evacuation by helicopter. Before we accept you on the trek we will require that you purchase health and travel insurance including helicopter rescue and hospitalization.
HOW DO WE HANDLE DURING THE CASE OF EMERGENCY?
You never know when the unexpected situation comes and put you in hearse condition. So such cases you will be rescued by Helicopter. You are entirely liable for all the expenses incurred in evacuation. So, before coming to Nepal, please make your travel insurance. Ask your guide to arrange a runner to the nearest communication point and inform office about requirement of a helicopter. For evacuation, we require the name of the sick person and the exact location from where helicopter can airlift you. You should not leave the place after calling Helicopter for evacuation though you are feeling better than before.
HOW TO GET SAFE DRINKING WATER?
On the trek, there is a facility of purchasing safe drinking water in teahouses.It is better if you carry the water purifying pills on your own. On camping trek, the water will be treated with Potassium permanganate or Iodine. On the trail, water from the streams is safe to drink, but better not to use it directly for drinking.
DO WE BE SECURE DURING OUR JOURNEY?
Security and a safe journey is our core objective of trekking. Our guide holds licenses issued by the Nepal Government and our staffs are local, honest, kind and genuine. But we also insist you to take care of your own personal belongings. If you are on ‘camping trek’ please take your main bag inside the tent once you reach campsite and put all bags and belongings in the middle of the tent when you feel sleepy. Your guide assigns a Sherpa on turn wise basis to guard the campsite throughout the night. If you are on ‘Tea house arrangement, never leave your baggage unattended and keep your lodge room locked when you go out.
IS YOUR COMPANY GOVERNMENTALLY RECOGNISED?
Our company is not only governmentally recognize but also affiliated with several other national and international agencies related to tourism. Our Managing Director Mr. Surya Bahadur Ghimire has already performed Media and press coordinator role being the Executive Member for two years (2015-2017) in TAAN (TREKKING AGENCIES ASSOCIATION OF NEPAL), which is only an umbrella organization of all trekking agencies’ in Nepal.
Why is Tipping essential?
There are several reasons why you should tip in Nepal. It is quite the same as for what you tip in restaurants. They live in remote areas that are far from proper health and education facilities. Tipping them will additionally encourage them to manage good and nutritive food to eat, warm and comfortable clothes to wear or other necessary basic requirements to maintain their livelihood in a comfortable way. A small gesture of gratitude will do no harm to you but actually changes the lives of many people for a long time in many reasons. Our company has its fund collected from the same percentage of profit and sometimes from the tips of our guests which will directly be invested for uplifting the economic condition of guides, porters and other staffs of office. It’s nothing more than the way to add smiles on those laborious faces.
You will be staying in 3 star hotels (as mentioned in itinerary) while you are in Kathmandu. While visiting the rural areas, especially high altitudes, you will be staying in teahouses. It is important to note that teahouses are small lodges run by locals and are a very popular type of accommodation in high altitudes and rural areas. They tend to be quite on the cheaper side and only offer limited services.It is important to be open-minded and not expect all the services you get in city areas. The rooms are typically small with twin beds, clean blanket, pillow and bed sheet. Normally people tend to carry their own sleeping bags for sanitary reasons. The only area, that is usually heated is the dining area, so be ready to face some cold night. Toilets in teahouses are typical squat-style and are very small but clean. Likewise, hot water is not available, but you can easily get some for a small fee. If you have any other questions related to accommodation, food, and other details during your visit to Nepal, you can always contact our operators who are available 24X7 at your service.