Isolated from the modern world, the Tsum valley was opened for tourists as recent as 2007. It is one of the restricted regions in Nepal, therefore, inflow of the tourists in the region is highly regulated.
Tsum Valley is known as the Beyul Kyimolung, the holy hidden valley of happiness, first described by Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava) in the eighth century. Milarepa meditated in the caves of Piren Phu and there are centuries old nunneries.
It is called ‘TsumTsoChuksums’ -thirteen provinces ruled as a single territory. The valley lies in Gorkha district and comprises of two remote villages, Chumchet and Chhekampar. The name ‘Tsum’ came from the Tibetan word called ‘Tsombo,’ meaning vivid.
The trek trail passes through the wild and unexplored country of ‘Tsumbas,’ which mainly consists of ethnic Gurung inhabitants. One interesting fact about the locals is that they have claimed to have encountered Yeti (Mythical Himalaya creature) in the region. It also has a long history of Buddhism, and is believed that the Buddhist saint Milarepa meditated in the caves among the mountains.
Some of the major festivals celebrated throughout the region are; Lhosar, Dhacyhang, SakaDawa and Faning. Tsum valley is rich in Buddhist Monasteries, Chortens and Mani (Prayer) walls -the longest wall being over 250 meters.
Ngula Dhojhyang Pass 5,093 m (16,709 ft), located on the Nepal-China border, is the highest elevation you can reach during the trek.
One of the restricted regions of Nepal, the influx of tourists is highly regulated by the officials. you must obtain a special permit to enter the region. Due to its obscure nature, many of the religious and archaeological relics are still untouched and remain unexplored in the valley.
Tsum valley is a part of Himalaya of Nepal, therefore, snowfall is expected during Winter.
Gear and Equipment
- Pair of hiking boots (well broken in) – One could spend over 5 to 6 hours a day on the trail, therefore, long-lasting boots are essential. The boots can range from light to medium, high or low. If one plans to trek during the months when it snows, the high boots become essential for proper hiking.
- Soft and light shoes (sneakers) – Carrying light-weight sneakers for ‘after the day hike’ serves comfort.
- Lightweight knapsack – It is useful for short trips away from one’s lodge, and will save you from carrying large backpack along. It should be large enough to fit a camera, spare clothes and a sleeping bag, if one plans to spend a night away.
- Lightweight sleeping bag – Essential during peak seasons (October-December). Lodges do offer blankets, but are scarce during the peak season, therefore carrying a sleeping bag (-10°C) can be a great precaution.
- Fabric band-aids – Blisters are common due to rigorous walking. A good alternative to bandaids is duct tape. Works great for blisters and also proves invaluable in many other ways.
Costs & Permits
You must obtain a special permit to enter Tsum Valley. The cost is as follow;
- From Sep to Nov (Post-Monsoon) = USD $35 for the first 8 days
- From Dec to Aug (Winter+Pre-monsoon+Monsoon) = USD $25 for the first 8 days
- Trekking in Tsum Valley -19 Days