A Complete Guide To Manaslu Tsum Valley Trek

  • Last Updated on Mar 25, 2024

"Beyond the Beaten Path: Unveiling the Mystique of the Manaslu and Tsum Valley Circuit Trek in the Himalayas"

A compelling and off-the-beaten-track journey, the Manaslu Tsum Valley Trekking takes hikers into Nepal's isolated areas while presenting stunning scenery, varied cultures, and historic Buddhist monasteries. Adventure seekers seeking a more clean and uncrowded alternative to the heavily travelled Everest and Annapurna regions have made this trek increasingly popular. The trek offers trekkers an exceptional experience by fusing the allure of the Manaslu Circuit with the peaceful charm of the Tsum Valley.

The 18–22 day Manaslu and Tsum Valley Trek takes hikers through the secret valley of Tsum and up close to Mount Manaslu, the eighth-highest mountain in the world at 8,163 meters.

Mount Manaslu is the eighth-highest peak in the world. 

The trek itself features roaring rivers and waterfalls, difficult rocky pathways clinging to cliff sides, Gurung villages with terraced rice fields, lengthy suspension bridges that test one's mental stamina, and mani walls, chortens, and other Buddhist temples, especially on the Tsum Valley stretch.

One of Nepal's most secluded treks in the Himalayas is the Manaslu Tsum Valley Trek. The Boudha, Siringi, and Ganesh Himal peaks provide an imposing background for this journey. Tsum means vivid and lies in the heart of the most isolated and hidden Himalayan valley on the Tibetan border.

The Tsum Valley, which was a restricted area until 2008 and is still mainly unvisited, is to the north and may be reached by following a portion of the Manaslu Circuit Trek. One of Nepal's most picturesque valleys is Tsum Valley, which is isolated from Tibet in the north and the southern lowlands by snow-covered passes and deep, forested gorges, and fast rivers. Surprisingly, the Manaslu valley floor is home to about 4,000 people, almost all of whom are of Tibetan descent and who have developed their unique ancient dialect, art, culture, and religion.

The Manaslu and Tsum Valley Circuit trek delivers a singular and unmatched Himalayan adventure. Manaslu and Tsum Valley Circuit hikers looking for a less-travelled road in the beautiful Himalayas will find the ideal balance of natural beauty, cultural diversity, and adventure there.

suspension bridge
Crossing a suspension bridge

Table of Contents

The Major Highlights of the Manaslu Tsum Valley Trek

1. Cultural Immersion: The trek takes you through remote villages inhabited by diverse ethnic groups like the Gurung, Tamang, and Tibetan communities. You will get an opportunity to interact with locals, experience their daily lifestyle, and learn about their unique customs and traditions.

2. Tsum Valley, "Hidden Valley of Happiness": Tsum Valley is a secluded and spiritually significant region. It remains relatively untouched by modernization and offers a glimpse into traditional Tibetan Buddhist culture. The ancient monasteries, prayer flags, and mani walls along the trail add to the mystical ambience of the valley.

3. Buddhist Monasteries and Gompas: The trek presents several ancient Buddhist monasteries and gompas that hold deep historical and religious importance. Mu Gompa and Rachen Gompa are among the most notable ones, where you can witness monks performing rituals and immerse yourself in the serene atmosphere.

4. Stunning Mountain Views: Throughout the trek, you'll be treated to breathtaking views of towering peaks, including Manaslu (8,163 meters/26,781 feet), the eighth-highest mountain in the world. Other prominent peaks, like Ganesh Himal, Himlung Himal, and Annapurna II, are also visible along the trail.

5. Larkya La Pass: Crossing the challenging Larkya La Pass (5,160 meters/16,929 feet) is a thrilling experience. The pass offers awe-inspiring vistas of the surrounding mountains and valleys, rewarding trekkers with a sense of accomplishment.

6. Diverse Landscapes: The trek showcases a remarkable range of landscapes, from lush green forests and terraced fields in the lower regions to barren, rugged terrain in the high alpine zones. You'll pass through quaint villages, glacial rivers, and enchanting rhododendron forests.

7. Wildlife and Flora: The Manaslu Conservation Area is home to diverse wildlife, including the elusive snow leopard, Himalayan thar, musk deer, and various bird species. The region also boasts a vibrant display of flora, especially during the blooming season of rhododendrons and other wildflowers.

8. Off-the-Beaten-Path Experience: Unlike the more popular trekking regions in Nepal, the Manaslu Tsum Valley Trek offers a less crowded and pristine environment. You can relish the tranquillity of the mountains and connect more intimately with nature and local culture.

9. Warm Hospitality: The local communities along the trail are known for their warm hospitality and welcoming nature. You'll receive heartfelt greetings from the locals, making your trek even more enjoyable and memorable.

10. Responsible Tourism: The trek supports sustainable and responsible tourism, benefiting local communities and contributing to conservation efforts in the Manaslu Conservation Area.

The combination of stunning landscapes, rich culture, and unique experiences makes the Manaslu Tsum Valley Trek a truly rewarding and enriching adventure for trekkers seeking an extraordinary journey in the Himalayas.

Birendra Lake
A freshwater lake called Birendra Lake is situated in the Manaslu Glacier and base camp.

Is Manaslu Tsum Valley Trek a restricted area trekking?

Yes, the Manaslu Tsum Valley Trek is regarded as a restricted area hiking route in Nepal. Trekkers must get specific permits from the Nepalese government to do this trek. The permits are necessary to safeguard the preservation of the region's delicate environment and distinctive culture while regulating the number of tourists.

What are required Permits and How to Obtain Them?

The Manaslu Tsum Valley Trek requires four main permits: the Manaslu Restricted Permit, the Tsum Valley Restricted Permit, the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) and the Manaslu Conservation Area Permit (MCAP). 

The trekking agency will handle the paperwork and apply for the permit on your behalf.

restricted area permit for the Manaslu region
Manaslu region restricted area permit for trekkers

Manaslu Restricted Permit:

For September to November: US$ 100 per person for the first 7 days and US$ 15 per day after 7 days
For December to August: US$ 75 per person for the first 7 days and US$ 10 per day after 7 days

Tsum Valley Restricted Permit:

Flat rate for all months: US$35 per week per person.

Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP):

For foreign nationals: NPR 3,000 (about US$25) per person.
For SAARC nationals: NPR 1,000 (about US$8) per person.

Manaslu Conservation Area Permit (MCAP):

For foreign nationals: NPR 3,000 (about US$25) per person.
For SAARC nationals: NPR 1,000 (about US$8) per person.

annapurna and manaslu conservation area permit
Annapurna and Manaslu conservation area permit

Best time of the year for Manaslu Tsum Valley Trekking

The best time to trek the Manaslu Tsum Valley is during the pre-monsoon (spring) and post-monsoon (autumn) seasons. These months offer the most favourable weather and optimal trekking conditions, providing a fantastic and enjoyable experience. Also, read >>Best time for Trekking in Nepal<<

Spring Season (March to May):

Spring is one of the most popular times for trekking in the Manaslu Tsum Valley. It is the perfect time of year for trekking because the weather is typically mild, calm, and transparent with clear skies during the day.
The landscape comes alive with colourful rhododendron blooms and lush greenery, creating a picturesque setting throughout the trail.
Wildlife sightings are more frequent during this time, as animals become more active with the arrival of warmer weather.

blooming rhododendron
Blooming rhododendrons in the spring season, 9 different significant types can be found in this region 

Autumn Season (September to November):

Autumn is another highly recommended season for the Manaslu Tsum Valley Trek. The weather remains stable and dry, providing excellent visibility and stunning mountain views.
The skies are generally clear, and the temperatures are comfortable during the day, making it an enjoyable trekking experience.
The trails are in their best condition during this season, with less chance of landslides and slippery paths compared to the monsoon months.

Blooming wild orchids, here are approx. 2000 species of plants, 11 types of forests and over 50 species of useful plants.

Trekking during the Monsoon Season (June to August) and Winter (December to February) is generally not recommended.

Manaslu Tsum Valley Trek difficulty

The Manaslu Tsum Valley Trek is considered a moderately difficult trek. While it may not be as challenging as some of the high-altitude and technical treks in the region, it still presents several factors that make it suitable for trekkers with a good level of physical fitness and some prior trekking experience. When navigating the Larkya La Pass, the Manaslu Tsum Valley Trek reaches its highest point. The pass, which rises to a height of roughly 5,160 meters (16,929 feet) above sea level, is the highest point of the journey. One of the difficult and rewarding sections of the walk is crossing the Larkya La Pass, which provides stunning panoramic views of the nearby peaks and glaciers. To successfully traverse the pass, one must be physically fit and well-acclimatized to the high altitude and steep ascent and descent. Proper acclimatization and trekking with a guide or an experienced group are needed for a safe and pleasurable trip at this height. 

teahouse trek
Manaslu Conservation Area (MCA), declared on December 28, 1998, became the second conservation area (1,663 sq.km.) under NTNC management.            

Manaslu Tsum Valley Trek Elevation Ranges

The Manaslu Tsum Valley Trek covers a wide range of elevations as it takes you through various landscapes and high-altitude regions. The trek starts from Machha Khola at 700 meters (2,297 feet), with Jagat, Lokpa, Chamling, Chokang Paro, Nile, Mu Gompa, Rachen Gompa, Deng, Namrung, Samagaon, Samdo, Dharmasala, Larkya La Pass, Bimthang, Tiligje, and Dharapani reaching various heights. The highest point is Larkya La Pass at 5,160 meters (16,929 feet). The trek ends at Dharapani at 1960 meters (6,430 feet).  <<What is high altitude sickness?>>
The trek includes several challenging ascents and descents, particularly when crossing the Larkya La Pass.


The starting point for the trek is typically the village of Machha Khola, and the endpoint is Dharapani. On average, the trek covers a distance of around 177 kilometres (110 miles) from the starting point in Soti Khola to the endpoint in Dharapani. The journey from Kathmandu to Machha Khola is primarily done by road. It takes approximately 7-9 hours covering a distance of about 160 kilometres (100 miles) by private jeep or bus, depending on road conditions and the type of vehicle used. The road from Dharapani to Kathmandu takes around 7 to 9 hours, covering a distance of approximately 215 kilometres (133.6 miles). 

The area harbours a mosaic of habitats that inhabits 33 species of mammals, 110 species of birds, 11 species of butterflies and 3 species of reptiles.

Food & Accommodation

During the Manaslu Tsum Valley Trek, you will find basic yet comfortable lodging and traditional Nepali meals at the teahouses and lodges along the trail. The availability of food and accommodation may vary from one village to another, with more limited options in the remote and higher altitude regions.

Teahouses and lodges are the primary accommodation options along the trekking route. These are simple guesthouses run by local families or entrepreneurs, providing a bed in a shared room or a private room (in some places) with basic amenities. In larger villages like Samagaon and Samdo, you may find relatively better facilities and more comfortable lodges.

Teahouses and lodges on the trek offer a menu with a variety of dishes, ranging from traditional Nepali cuisine to international options like pasta, noodles, and pancakes.

Dal Bhat (rice with lentil soup), a typical Nepali meal, is a popular and hearty choice among trekkers as it provides a good source of energy.

As you gain altitude and trek into more remote regions, the menu choices might become more limited. The availability of fresh produce may be reduced, so some items on the menu might be subject to availability.

Most teahouses also offer tea, coffee, and hot beverages to warm you up during the colder days.

local teahouse
local teahouse along the trail. 

Charging and Communication:

Electricity is available in some teahouses but it is limited and may not be available throughout the day. Some lodges charge extra for charging your electronic devices.
Mobile network coverage is available in some villages, but it might be sporadic or unavailable in more remote areas. It's best to inform your loved ones about limited communication during the trek.

Guide and Porters

Hiring a guide and porter is mandatory for the Manaslu and Tsum Valley Circuit Trek. The cost for a licensed guide can range from USD 25 to USD 40 per day. The cost for a porter can range from USD 20 to USD 30 per day. The guide's and porter's fees are typically shared among the trekking group.
The guide and the porters will not leave you alone from the beginning to the end of the trek. They will continuously be helping you by carrying your luggage, serving you food, arranging your accommodation and helping you accommodate to a new culture and environment. 

View from the highest point, Larkya la pass.

Estimated Budget for the trek

For an 18-20-day trek with a moderately sized group, a rough estimate of the total budget can be between USD 1,200 to USD 1,800 per person which includes transportation, permits and fees, travel insurance, food and accommodation, guides and porters, and some miscellaneous expenses.
The budget is provided as a general estimate and can vary based on individual preferences, trekking itinerary, and unforeseen circumstances.

Complete Itinerary

The Manaslu Tsum Valley Trek typically takes around 18-20 days to complete.

Day 01: Kathmandu to Machha Khola (Drive), 910 m
Distance: Approximately 160 km (100 miles) 
Trail: Drive from Kathmandu to Machha Khola via Arughat Bazaar and Soti Khola

Day 02: Machha Khola to Jagat, 1340 m
Distance: Approximately 22 km (13.7 miles)
Trail: Trek along the Budhi Gandaki River, crossing through beautiful landscapes and charming villages like Tatopani and Dobhan.

Day 03: Jagat to Lokpa, 2240 m
Distance: About 18 km (11.2 miles)
Trail: Continue trekking along the Budhi Gandaki River, passing through Philim and Ekle Bhatti, before reaching Lokpa.

Day 04: Lokpa to Chumling (Entering Tsum Valley), 2390 m
Distance: Approximately 22 km (13.7 miles)
Trail: Trek from Lokpa to Chumling, which marks the entry point to the Tsum Valley.

Day 05: Chumling to Chhokang Paro, 3030 m
Distance: About 17 km (10.6 miles)
Trail: Trek through beautiful landscapes and traditional villages like Gho and Chhokang Paro.

Day 06: Chhokang Paro to the Nile, 3360 m
Distance: Approximately 10 km (6.2 miles)
Trail: Trek through picturesque landscapes, passing the villages of Lamagaon and Rainjam, before reaching the Nile.

Day 07: Nile to Mu Gompa, 3700 m
Distance: About 7 km (4.3 miles)
Trail: Trek to the remote and culturally significant village of Mu Gompa.

Day 08: Exploration Day at Mu Gompa
Spend a day exploring Mu Gompa and its surroundings, visiting ancient monasteries, and enjoying the breathtaking views.

Day 09: Mu Gompa to Rachen Gompa, 3240 m
Distance: Approximately 8 km (5 miles)
Trail: Trek to Rachen Gompa, another important monastery in the region.

Day 10: Rachen Gompa to Chumling, 2390 m
Distance: About 17 km (10.6 miles)
Trail: Retrace your steps back to Chumling.

Day 11: Chumling to Deng, 1860 m
Distance: Approximately 17 km (10.6 miles)
Trail: Trek through picturesque landscapes, crossing the bridge over the Budhi Gandaki River, and passing through villages like Philim and Ekle Bhatti.

Day 12: Deng to Namrung, 2635 m
Distance: About 19 km (11.8 miles)
Trail: Trek through forests and villages, passing places like Ghap and Lho, and enjoying views of Manaslu and other peaks.

Day 13: Namrung to Samagaon, 3510 m
Distance: Approximately 12 km (7.5 miles)
Trail: Trek through alpine forests and arrive at the scenic village of Samagaon, with stunning views of Manaslu.

Day 14: Samagaon to Samdo, 3875 m
Distance: About 7 km (4.3 miles)
Trail: Short trek to the village of Samdo, near the Tibetan border.

Day 15: Samdo to Dharmasala (Larkya Phedi), 4460 m
Distance: Approximately 10 km (6.2 miles)
Trail: Trek to Dharmasala, also known as Larkya Phedi, situated at the base of Larkya La Pass.

Day 16: Dharmasala to Bimthang (3590 m) via Larkya La Pass 
Distance: About 14 km (8.7 miles)
Trail: Cross the challenging Larkya La Pass (5,160 meters/16,929 feet) and descend to Bimthang.

Day 17: Bimthang to Tilije, 2300 m
Distance: Approximately 9 km (5.6 miles)
Trail: Trek through rhododendron forests and cross several bridges, reaching Tilije.

Day 18: Tilije to Dharapani, 1860 m
Distance: About 12 km (7.5 miles)
Trail: Trek to Dharapani, where the Manaslu Circuit joins the Annapurna Circuit.

Day 19: Dharapani to Kathmandu (Drive)
Distance: Approximately 215 km (133.6 miles) by road
Trail: Drive back to Kathmandu from Dharapani. 

domesticated Yak
Domesticated Yak in this region.


Is it possible to do the trek as a solo traveller?

Manaslu Tsum Valley Trek is classified as a restricted area trekking in Nepal, so solo trekker is not allowed to do the Manaslu Tsum Valley Trek. The trekkers have to be part of a registered trekking agency and have a government-authorized guide for the entire trek.

What is the level of difficulty for the trek?

The Manaslu Tsum Valley Trek is considered moderately difficult. It involves reaching high altitudes, long days of walking, and varied terrains. Proper physical fitness and acclimatization are crucial.

Is there mobile network coverage and Wi-Fi on the trek?

Mobile network coverage is available in some villages along the trail but may be sporadic or unavailable in more remote areas. Wi-Fi is limited and often comes with an additional cost.

Are there any health risks during the trek?

Altitude sickness is a concern, so proper acclimatization is crucial. It's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before the trek and be aware of the symptoms of altitude sickness.

local dress
Manaslu region, locals wear colourful, distinctive traditional clothing during the festive season and play archery games.

Successful Trekking Advice:

Physical preparation in the form of endurance training and cardiovascular activities can greatly improve your trekking experience.

To lessen the likelihood of getting altitude sickness, go slowly and stick to a well-planned schedule that includes acclimatization days.

To keep your energy levels up when hiking, drink plenty of water and eat a healthy diet.

Include warm layers and waterproof gear when packing for a range of weather scenarios.

Travel with a certified trekking guide or through a trusted trekking company to ensure safety and appropriate guidance throughout the adventure.

The Manaslu Tsum Valley Trek may be a highly rewarding journey that offers hikers breathtaking scenery, cultural encounters, and a sense of success with the correct planning and a positive mindset.

The Manaslu and Tsum Valley Circuit Trek is more than just a hike—it's a journey through time and environment. It's an opportunity to regain our sense of adventure, to marvel at the magnificence of pristine landscapes, and to get to know the varied Himalayan culture. If you're looking for a path less travelled where each step will disclose more about the wonders of the Himalayas, come along on this once-in-a-lifetime experience with us. As we venture off the main path, we become one with the mountains, having been profoundly impacted by their beauty and allure.
Always remember to hike responsibly, showing respect for the environment and local culture.

local people
The culture of the local people in the region is equally unique with most people of Tibetan origin following Buddhism. 


Rajendra Thapa

Rajendra Thapa

"Take only memories, leave only footprints' -Chief Seattle 

Namaste! Greetings from the Himalayas!! I am Rajendra Thapa, a promising and adventurous wanderer and a travel guide from the beautiful country Nepal. Nepal is a country duct between the gorgeous mountains of the gigantic Himalayas and the lost jungles of the Terai and also a home to multicultural people with various traditions. I am passionate about traveling, trekking, hiking, and photography. You can find my travel experiences and blogs on my Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.
I was born in a small countryside full of greenery and fresh air on the lap of Ganesh Himal far from the city chaos. Growing up, I was always interested in exploring things,  places, people, and lifestyles, which developed into my career. Through the company Nepal Gateway Trekking Pvt Ltd. I am serving to share my knowledge, experiences, and guidance regarding various Himalayas base camps, jungles, cultural monuments, historical sculptures, and many more adventurous things to make your lifetime experiences amazing, after all, travel is all about having lifetime experiences with beautiful memories.