Upper Mustang
Trip Grade
Adventure Overland Tour
Highest Elevation
Breakfast, Lund & Dinner
Trek Duration
10 Days
Group Size Min
2 Traveler
Best Time
March to December
Start/End Point
Pokhara to Pokhara

Trip Overview

Upper Mustang Jeep Tour. Nestled in the heart of the Himalayas, this remote region of Nepal beckons intrepid explorers to discover its hidden treasures. And what better way to experience the enchantment of Upper Mustang than by embarking on a thrilling Jeep tour? Traverse rugged terrains, cross roaring rivers, and conquer towering mountain passes as you delve deeper into this awe-inspiring land. From the captivating walled city of Lo Manthang to the awe-inspiring Muktinath Temple, every stop along the way promises to leave you spellbound. Immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of the region, as you witness the timeless traditions of the Mustang people.

Why choose a Jeep tour for exploring Upper Mustang

When it comes to exploring a rugged and remote region like Upper Mustang, choosing a Jeep tour offers a multitude of benefits. First and foremost, the challenging terrains of this region require a robust and reliable mode of transportation, and Jeeps are perfectly suited for the task. With their powerful engines and sturdy build, Jeeps can conquer the rough roads and steep inclines that characterize Upper Mustang. Additionally, Jeep tours provide a comfortable and spacious ride, allowing you to relax and enjoy the breathtaking views without worrying about the physical demands of trekking.

Moreover, Jeep tours offer the convenience of covering larger distances in a shorter period, allowing you to explore more of the Upper Mustang within a limited timeframe. This is particularly advantageous for those with time constraints or physical limitations. Jeep tours also provide the opportunity to travel with a knowledgeable guide who can enhance your experience by sharing insightful information about the region’s history, culture, and landmarks. With a Jeep tour, you can make the most of your time in the Upper Mustang while ensuring a safe and enjoyable journey.

Permits and regulations for visiting Upper Mustang

Before embarking on your Jeep tour to Upper Mustang, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the permits and regulations required for visiting this restricted area. Upper Mustang is a controlled region, and foreign visitors need to obtain a special permit called the Upper Mustang Restricted Area Permit. This permit is in addition to the standard trekking permit required for the Annapurna Conservation Area.

To obtain the Upper Mustang Restricted Area Permit, you must be accompanied by a registered trekking agency, as individual permits are not issued. The agency will handle the necessary paperwork and facilitate the permit process on your behalf. It is important to note that the permit fee is higher than regular trekking permits due to the restricted status of the area. Additionally, there is a daily fee for each day spent inside Upper Mustang.

It is advisable to plan and book your Jeep tour well in advance to ensure a smooth permit process. Remember to carry your passport and necessary identification documents during your tour, as they may be required for verification at checkpoints along the way. By adhering to the permit regulations and respecting the local authorities’ guidelines, you can ensure a seamless and hassle-free journey through Upper Mustang.

Highlights of Upper Mustang Jeep Tour

A Jeep tour through Upper Mustang promises a plethora of unforgettable highlights that will leave you in awe of this captivating region. One of the most iconic sights is the walled city of Lo Manthang, the former capital of the Kingdom of Mustang. Enclosed by imposing mud-brick walls, this ancient city is a living testament to the region’s rich history and culture. Explore the narrow streets, visit the ancient monasteries, and witness the traditional festivals that bring the city to life.

Another must-see attraction during your Jeep tour is the Muktinath Temple, a sacred pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Buddhists. Located at an altitude of 3,800 meters, this temple is set against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains, offering a truly breathtaking setting. Immerse yourself in the spiritual ambiance as you witness devotees taking holy dips in the 108 water spouts surrounding the temple.

As you traverse the rugged landscapes of Upper Mustang, you will encounter numerous picturesque villages that seem frozen in time. These remote settlements, such as Kagbeni and Jomsom, offer a glimpse into the traditional lifestyle of the Mustangi people. Marvel at the intricately carved wooden houses, visit the ancient monasteries and interact with the warm and welcoming locals who are proud custodians of their unique heritage.

Must-see attractions in Upper Mustang

Upper Mustang is replete with captivating attractions that will leave you mesmerized at every turn. Here are some must-see attractions during your Jeep tour:

1. Lo Manthang: Explore the ancient walled city of Lo Manthang, with its intricate architecture, monasteries, and royal palace. Immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of the region as you wander through the narrow streets and interact with the friendly locals.

2. Muktinath Temple: Pay a visit to the sacred Muktinath Temple, where devotees from all over the world come to seek blessings. Marvel at the natural beauty surrounding the temple and participate in the spiritual rituals performed by the priests.

3. Tiji Festival: If you’re lucky enough to time your visit during the Tiji Festival, you’ll witness a vibrant display of ancient rituals and cultural performances. This three-day festival celebrates the triumph of good over evil and showcases the unique traditions of the Upper Mustang.

4. Kagbeni Village: Take a detour to Kagbeni Village, a picturesque settlement situated at the confluence of the Kali Gandaki and Jhong Rivers. With its mud-brick houses, narrow alleyways, and ancient monasteries, Kagbeni offers a glimpse into the traditional way of life in Upper Mustang.

These are just a few of the many attractions that await you during your Jeep tour through Upper Mustang. Each stop along the way will unveil a new facet of this enchanting region, leaving you with lasting memories.

Local Culture and Traditions in Upper Mustang

The cultural heritage of Upper Mustang is deeply intertwined with Tibetan Buddhism, and the region is often referred to as “Mini Tibet.” The Mustangi people have preserved their ancient traditions and customs, making it a fascinating destination for cultural enthusiasts. During your Jeep tour, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and witness the unique traditions of the Mustangi people.

Visiting monasteries is an integral part of experiencing the local culture in the Upper Mustang. The region is home to numerous ancient monasteries, such as Thubchen Gompa, Choser Cave, and Lo Gekar Monastery. Explore these spiritual sanctuaries, admire the intricate murals and statues, and witness the monks engaging in their daily rituals.

The people of Upper Mustang are known for their warm hospitality and friendly nature. Take the time to interact with the locals, learn about their way of life, and participate in their traditional ceremonies and festivals. Engage in conversations, try local delicacies, and gain insights into the rich cultural tapestry that defines this region.

It is important to respect the local customs and traditions during your visit. Dress modestly, ask for permission before taking photographs, and be mindful of cultural sensitivities. By showing respect and appreciation for the local culture, you will forge meaningful connections and create unforgettable memories during your Jeep tour.

Accommodation and dining options in Upper Mustang

While Upper Mustang is a remote region, it offers a range of accommodation and dining options to cater to travelers’ needs. During your Jeep tour, you can choose from a variety of lodges, teahouses, and guesthouses that provide comfortable and basic amenities. These establishments are owned and operated by the local community, ensuring an authentic and immersive experience.

The lodges and guesthouses offer clean and cozy rooms with shared bathrooms. Although the facilities may be basic, they provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere after a day of exploration. Most accommodations also offer hot showers, which can be a welcome luxury in the chilly mountain climate.

When it comes to dining, you can expect a variety of options ranging from local Nepali cuisine to international dishes. The teahouses and lodges serve hearty meals that will satisfy your appetite after a day of adventure. Don’t miss the opportunity to try traditional Mustangi dishes such as Thakali Dal Bhat, a wholesome meal consisting of lentil soup, rice, and vegetables.

It is important to note that the availability of accommodation and dining options may vary in different villages, so it is advisable to plan and book in advance. Your trekking agency can help you with making the necessary arrangements and ensure a comfortable stay and delicious meals throughout your Jeep tour.

Safety tips for a successful Jeep tour to Upper Mustang

While a Jeep tour through Upper Mustang offers thrilling adventures, it is essential to prioritize safety to ensure a successful journey. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

1. Acclimatization: Upper Mustang is located at high altitudes, and it is crucial to acclimatize properly before starting the tour. Gradually ascend to higher altitudes, stay hydrated, and listen to your body’s signals. If you experience severe altitude sickness symptoms, descend to lower elevations immediately.

2. Weather conditions: The weather in the mountains can be unpredictable, so it is important to be prepared for all conditions. Carry appropriate clothing layers, including warm jackets, hats, gloves, and waterproof gear. Stay updated on weather forecasts and be flexible with your itinerary if necessary.

3. Hygiene and water safety: Maintain good hygiene practices, especially during meals. Wash your hands regularly with soap or use hand sanitizers. Drink only purified or boiled water to prevent water-borne illnesses. It is advisable to carry water purification tablets or a water filter for additional safety.

4. Follow the guide’s instructions: Listen to your guide’s instructions and follow their advice regarding safety precautions and trekking routes. They are experienced professionals who are familiar with the terrain and know how to navigate through the region safely.

5. Respect the environment: Upper Mustang is a fragile ecosystem, and it is important to minimize your impact on the environment. Dispose of waste responsibly, avoid using single-use plastics, and respect the local flora and fauna.

By prioritizing safety and adhering to these tips, you can ensure a successful and enjoyable Jeep tour through Upper Mustang.

Details Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive in Kathmandu and transfer to hotel (1400m.)

Trek time: Trek time: 20 Minutes’ drive to hotel
Accommodation: Accommodation: Hotel

Day 02: Explore day in Kathmandu and preparation for Especial Upper Mustang permit

Trek time: Explore day & Permit Preparation
Accommodation: Accommodation: Hotel

Day 03: Kathmandu-Pokhara (by private jeep). (810m.) 6-hour

Trek time: Drive to Pokhara 6 hours
Accommodation: Accommodation: Hotel

Day 04: Drive from Pokhara to Tatopani - Kalapani (Late) – Marpha (2650m) 6-hour

Trek time: Drive to Marpha 6 hours
Accommodation: Accommodation: Lodge

Day 05: Drive Marpha to Jomsom - Kagbeni Tangbe -Chele (3050m.) 5-6 hour

Trek time: Drive to Chele 6 hours
Accommodation: Accommodation: Lodge

Day 06. Drive Chele - Chusang - Syangboche - Ghami (via Syagboche La - Chunggar - Nyi La). (3540m.) 5 hour

Trek time: Drive to Syangboche 5 hours
Accommodation: Accommodation: Lodge

Day 07: Drive Ghami - Tsarang (Lo pass 3950Mt) - Lo Manthang (3840m.) 5 hour

Trek time: Drive to Lo-manthan 5 hours
Accommodation: Accommodation: Lodge

Day 08: Exploring Lo Manthang. Sightseeing day Visit to chhosar cave and monastery.

Trek time: Explore and Sightseeing day
Accommodation: Accommodation: Lodge

Day 09: Drive Lo Manthang – Chusang - Tetang - Kagbeni – Muktinath. (3800m.) 6-7 hour

Trek time: Drive to Muktinath 7 hour
Accommodation: Accommodation: Lodge

Day 10: Drive Marpha - Lete- Tatopani (1100m.) 6 hour

Trek time: Drive to tatopani 6 hour
Accommodation: Accommodation: Lodge

Day 11: Drive Pokhara (810m) 5-6 hours

Trek time: Drive to Pokhara 5 hour
Accommodation: Accommodation: Hotel

Day 12: Drive - Kathmandu, 6 hours

Trek time: Drive to Kathmandu 6 hour
Accommodation: Accommodation: Hotel

Day 13: Transfer to the international airport.

Trek time: Drive to International airport

Cost Include/Exclude

Cost Includes

  • Airport / Hotel / Airport pick up and drop by private car/van/bus.
  • Hotel In Kathmandu: 3 Nights of ***3-star accommodation in Kathmandu with breakfast.
  • Hotel in Pokhara: 2 Nights Accommodation in Pokhara with Breakfast.
  • Round Trip Upper Mustang Kathmandu to Kathmandu Private Jeep.
  • Trekking Permit (ACAP) Annapurna Conservation Area of Project.
  • Special Upper Mustang Permit USD 500 Per Person for 10 Days.
  • You’re Meal in During the Trekking as Your standard meals (3 times a day Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner with a cup of tea or coffee).
  • Accommodation in Trekking: All accommodations in lodge/tea houses during the trek.
  • Trekking Guide: Government License Holder An experienced, helpful, friendly, and English-speaking Trekking Guide. His well-paid salary, meals, accommodation insurance, etc.
  • After the Success Trip, Everest Trekking Routes will Provide Adventure Certificate.
  • Arrangement of Emergency Helicopter service which will be paid for by your Travel insurance company.
  • Medical supplies (first aid kit will be available).
  • All government taxes and service charges.

Cost Excludes

  • All Meal in Kathmandu and Extra accommodation
  • Extra Days Restricted area USD 50 days
  • personal expenses (bar bills, beer, coke, a bottle of water, hot water, phone call, laundry service, Helicopter rescue, electronic device recharge such as Mobile, Camera, Helicopter Rescue, etc.)
  • Tips for guide, porters, and driver.

Trip Map


Fixed Departure Booking

Departure Date Duration Availability Cost Booking

Recent Client Reviews

Liau Gii Hau


LangTang 8 days tour

I requested Mr. Rabin Gurung to have a guide/porter before starting my journey, and he sent a very experienced guide Mr. Phul to be my guide/porter. Mr. Phul has more than 25+ years of experience becoming a mountain guide. I had problems during the hike up to the mountain but Mr. Phul always gave me support all the way, he shared the newer things in the jungle with my brother along the trek.

Source by: TripAdvisor

Yap Chun Sing


Wonderful Experience trekking in Manaslu

Had a wonderful time hiking at the Manaslu area with my tour guide Sushil Gurung and porter Madan Gurung. They helped us with our every need from last minute rental gear like sleeping bags to telling us more about Nepal and being knowledgeable about the area. Both of them are experienced and knowledgeable. Both of them are very observant about how you are coping with the pace and terrain and will change pace to suit your pace.

Source by: TripAdvisor

Deon Poh


Manaslu Circuit Trekking

Positive experience liaising with Everest Trekking for our Manaslu Circuit Trek.
The guide made adjustments to our plans based on our comfort/fitness level and the weather so that we managed to finish the trail.
Our guide helped us secure some last-minute stuff for us like our sleeping bag rentals.
Most importantly the hike itself was great as well thanks to our guide for his hospitality and our porter’s hard work.
Appreciate the apples cut for us every night during the hike carried by the guide and to the porter for pushing through even though his eyes hurt from the sun glare from the snow.
Thank you for this great experience.
Everest Trekking liaison: Rabin Gurung
Guide: Sushil Gurung
Porter: Madan Gurung

Source by: TripAdvisor

Mook Kunnapat

Bangkok, Thailand

Annapurna Base Camp trekking

ในช่วง 5 ปีที่ผ่านมาได้มีโอกาศไปเดิน Trek ที่เนปาลกับไกด์ Rabin มา 3 ครั้งแล้ว ประทับใจทุกครั้ง ทีมงานลูกหาบดีเรียบร้อยใส่ใจ บริการดี ไว้ใจได้ ราคาสมเหตุสมผล ใครจะไปเนปาลแนะนำเลยครับ!!

I’ve trekked in Nepal with Rabin 3 times in the past 5 years, and it’s been awesome!! Great team, reliable services, and reasonable price. Highly Recommended!!

Source by: TripAdvisor

Mike Q


Manaslu basecamp and Circuit and Tsum Valley

I have just completed a trek of the Manaslu Circuit and Tsum valley with three other friends. The trip was magnificent, stunning mountain peaks, ancient forest, impressive rivers and waterfalls and interesting villages. During the trip we were very well looked after by our guide, Dhansingh Gurung who gently and efficiently took us through 21 days of trekking over diverse terrain and Sangam (Durga) our porter who was always helpful and cheerful. Both Dhansingh and Durga added considerably to the enjoyment of the experience with their friendliness and local knowledge. If I return to Nepal, I will definitely use our guide and porter again.

Sorce on: TripAdvisor

Jasmin H


Gokyo Lakes with Gokyo Ri

The trekking was an extraordinary experience. Breathtaking views of Everest and the surrounding 8000s. Rabin Gurung always made sure we have a nice accommodation, enough for eating and drinking, warm and comfortable. He is a really caring guide. I would do another trip with him right away. He organised everything so that we could totally focus on the hiking.

Source from: TripAdvisor

Tuffy Kin Leung


Gokyo Lake — EBC

My wife and I had an amazing experience with both Dhansingh and Rabin Gurung. We took a 2 weeks trek with them from Lukla — Gokyo Lake — EBC . What a blessing we had them along the way , we will never forget and be grateful and thankful for the unquie, warm , genuine hospitality that we had , plus all the priceless encounters within the nature. Namaste!


Sources from: TripAdvisor

Toft Lars


Mera Peak Climbing Guided & Trip Operation by Everest Trekking Routes

My brother and I had the pleasure of having Rabin as our guide on the trip to Mera Peak Expedition.
Everything was planned to perfection and we had a great time with Rabin, who is friendly, funny, and always helpful.
Last but not least, we reached the summit.

Source: TripAdvisor

Soren Dorfhoff


Island Peak, Everest Base Camp and Lobuche Peak Climbing (October 2022)

I have now used Everest Trekking Routes for two trips to Nepal. I can’t put my finger on anything that needs improvement. The initial communication part is spot on. They are quick to respond and I usually my questions answered on the first reply. Both times I have been greeted at the airport by a super polite guide. I’ve felt welcome and gotten all my needs tended to.
On my second trip, we could not fly to Lukla, because of bad weather. Instead of waiting for the weather to clear up, they arranged alternative transport to the mountains, to avoid wasting precious days in Kathmandu.

The whole city experience has been an absolute pleasure. Except for the hard work, summiting a mountain 😅

Best recommendations to the guys from Everest Trekking Routes 👌

Source: Tripadvisor

Family Tour in Nepal

Alex Lim


Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Base Camp Trek with Rabin Gurung

This is my second trip with Rabin and I am already looking forward to a third trip with him soon. That shows how much I value his services, his extensive experiences with the treks, his honesty, and of course, the great supporting staff he have.

I feel safe and well taken care of with Rabin as my guide. He is a man with integrity and deal in a most honest way with us. This is unlike lots of horror stories you read about guides and tea-house owners collaborating to fleece hikers. We pay exactly what we consumed at the tea houses based on the published menu prices, no more and no less. With Rabin, there is no hidden cost.

With more than 20 years of trekking experience, he gave good advises on the route and safety measures to take. For example, he insisted that we started off early on a particular day so that we will reach a section with an ice sheet before the ice started to melt and traversing the ice-sheet becomes dangerous and difficult.

We have a large team of porters and assistant guides to take care of our team of 12 hikers and everyone on Rabin’s team have been extremely helpful and friendly. My teenage son enjoyed playing Uno and sliding down the ABC  Trek icy slope with a teenage porter, a fellow hiker who has walking difficulties was supported all the way by assistant guides and porters and our meals were all ordered in advance so the group don’t have to wait long for food to be served.


Sources from: TripAdvisor

Family Tour in Nepal

Mark Gamboa

Vancouver, British Columbia

Everest Base Camp Trek with Suk Bahadur Gurung

Searching for the perfect company to embark on the EBC trek was not easy when doing research on who to go with. I happen to have really lucked out by choosing to go with Everest Trekking Routes, because they were great, through and through.

I did the trek in November but started inquiring with them back in February. Rabin is the CEO of the company, and he has helped me in every way possible. He was prompt in answering my questions via email and meticulously arranged the EBC trek, which felt customized to all my needs. In person, he was kind and courteous. And my guide Suk was friendly and helpful throughout the hike. He had brought all the necessary medication for me and asked every day how I was feeling. Suk is also a very good card player and was grateful for his company on the 12-day hike/ Kathmandu City Hike.

I’m sure most of you reading this have gone with some tour company elsewhere in the world, and perhaps you might agree that most of them have treated you as simply a commodity in the assembly line. By going with Everest Trekking Routes, I never felt that. Rabin and Suk took care of me from beginning to end, and I sing all their praises for getting me to Everest Base Camp, which was a major deal for me and my friends and Family. Rabin and Suk became family to me. Thank you for everything, guys!

Antonia Carol Suning

Sabah Malaysia

Everest Base Camp & Lobuche Peak with Rabin Gurung

It was such a hard fight to join this trip. Because I had to work hard to find funding for this training. It is the first summit I attended team NOBAT ( No Boundary Adventurers Association Sabah ) to the Himalayas with AMG (Adventure Mountain Guide Rabin Gurung), I gained a great experience, which Mr. Rabin Gurung was very friendly and kind as a mountain guide who experience he made this trip so enjoyable, and build a better friendship.

I would like to thank him for giving the best service to us, this is the first time I walk for 21 days hahaha. In every step, he remained faithful to accompany and not leave us, even though there are 2 people in our group who did not succeed, and he sent us back to our high camp Lobuche to support the spirit reaching the summit of Lobuche Peak Climbing.

Nice trip and good services such as tents, food, and stories you tell about your family, it is good, and I enjoyed the trip because you protected me and my team so much.

Keep up the good work you AMG! I am happy to see and to know you! Good luck! * extra bonus able to speak Bahasa Melayu! hehe

Jasen Moore & Helen Kerrandjas


Annapurna Base Camp Trek with Rabin Gurung

While Rabin is a very knowledgeable and capable guide it was his kindness, Warm smile, and Constant eagerness to help that made our trip truly memorable. Rabin Gurung quickly earned our trust and friendship and would be an excellent companion on any trek! we would very happily Recommend Rabin to anyone who is making a trip to Nepal. He is is a wonderful person and a good friend.

Details Address: 191 Millwood Rd, Upper Toronto, ON M4S 1J6 Canada

Jaistin Tamin

Sabah Malaysia

Everest Base Camp, Island Peak, Lobuche Peak & Chulu West Peak with Rabin Gurung

Sewaktu saya ditugaskan oleh persatuan NOBAT untuk mendapatkan khidmat ‘trekking guide’ bagi ekspedisi NOBAT Himalaya 2013, saya telah menghubungi beberapa ‘trekking agent’ di Kathmandu melalui emel. Saya tertarik dengan laman web Rabin Gurung dan ‘testimonial’ dari beberapa individu yang penat mendapatkan khidmatnya. Rabin memberikan tawaran kos yang paling berpatutan. Dari raut wajahnya saja saya yakin dia adalah orang yang jujur dan’friendly’. Satu kelebihan lain ialah dia boleh berbahasa Malaysia.

Apabila bertemu dengan Rabin buat pertama kalinya di Kathmandu, memang sah bahawa kami telah membuat pilihan yang tepat. Sepanjang trekking, Rabin sangat professional dalam khidmatnya. Beliau flexible dan mudah diajak berunding. Kami tidak lagi menganggapnya sebagai pemandu jalan tetapi sebagai sahabat..kepada sesiapa yang ingin trekking di Himalaya, sila dapatkan khidmat Rabin. Saya percaya anda bakal membuat pilihan yang tepat.

Island Peak Climbing

Jeff Tucker & Wanida Tucker


Manaslu Circuit & Tsum Valley with Rabin Gurung

Recently my wife and I visited Nepal for the eighteenth time and enjoyed a wonderful trek, one of the best treks ever, and this was largely due to our guide, Rabin Gurung (Trekking Guide in Nepal), with whom we also trekked around Manaslu in 2010.

If you come to Nepal with the idea of doing ‘your own trek’ with a small party, I highly recommend hiring Rabin. Not only does he have many years of experience but he is very honest and humble, so much so that one woman at a very basic lodge on our recent trek, impressed by his honesty, told my wife that “this man is a very good man, honest man, all other guide-man say lie to customers, say them that price is higher than the real price, so they can get more money.”

Rabin is always in good humor and friendly and gets along well with the local people and the porters too. Furthermore, his varied experience from his earlier years as a porter and cook helped to make him a better guide. I can’t remember how many times during our treks, when we stopped at a new or very basic lodge, or even at a tea house for lunch, when the owner’s cooking skills were at most primitive, Rabin tactfully volunteered to move into the kitchen and some amazingly delicious food would come out, made from the most simple ingredients.

Three years ago, in March of 2010, the Manaslu trek was not what it is now. Along the entire trek from Arughat (where we had to start walking), until we reached to Annapurna circuit route, there was at that time only a single lodge with what could be called a ‘menu’, and that was the one and only lodge in Sama village at that time. All other villages either had nothing but dal bhat and perhaps chapatis, or nothing to eat and no lodge at all. We had to camp some places, but when we could, we stayed in the simple lodges that existed and he often improved our diet by cooking foods that the proprietor did not know how to cook, sometimes even such a basic menu item as an omelet, to be rolled up inside a chapati for breakfast.

This year, again in March, we decided to return to the same area, with the desire to explore the newly opened valley of Tsum. This is a lovely, beautiful valley populated by some 4000 Tibetan people, who have lived for nearly a thousand years in that inaccessible ‘hidden valley’, connected by easy passes to Tibet but until not so many decades ago, without any reasonable connection to Nepal through the truly stupendous canyons of the lower section of the valley. Indeed, many inhabitants could not speak any Nepali, only Tibetan, which made it difficult at times. We had a double permit, which if you ever want to see Tsum Valley thoroughly, I highly recommend. Most people try to do a quick one-week detour to Tsum Valley as a kind of bonus side trip on the way around Manaslu. They never know what they have missed. Some of the most interesting villages and friendliest people, and some truly awesome scenery, can be visited in Tsum valley if you have time. One week is too little time to see more than a quick glimpse of the Valley.

I and my wife have been trekking in Nepal for years, myself since 1981, and our trek to Manaslu was the first time we had ever used a guide (because it was required on that trek), despite having visited some very remote areas such as crossing the Trashi Labtsa Pass from Khumbu into Rolwaling with friends in 1982. I had doubts about using a guide, I had seen how so many of them control their clients and take a commission from lodge owners to fill their pockets, I have seen many guides from Kathmandu who knew less about the local people and places than I did. I say this not to boast but as a word of caution: there are all too few honest, humble, helpful, and experienced guides out there, and many of those who are have moved into the higher levels of trekking management and no longer guide. But from the first days, on our 2010 Manaslu trek, we were impressed by the level of experience Rabin has, and also his sensitivity in allowing us to make our own itinerary day by day. He never was angry, never showed irritation, always explained patiently what was going on, and was always in a good mood. We were a group of five at that time, and by the end of the first week, we all agreed that if we returned to Nepal for another trek requiring a guide, we would try to get Rabin again.

This is what we did in March 2013 on our visit to Tsum Valley. Using more porters in order to have tents and extra food, we planned to visit the highest area of the upper end of Tsum Valley and ascend to one of the high passes overlooking Tibet. This year was plagued by poor weather and too much snow in March, however, and we were unable to do that, as were all the people who had set out to trek around Manaslu this March: the deep snow at higher elevations did not allow anyone in the first weeks of March to cross the Larkya La and go around Manaslu. But we had time, and because of the tents and food we had, we also had more options. The tents and food we used in a wonderful visit to the nunnery at Gumalungdang, up a steep side valley surrounded by the huge peaks of Ganesh Himal. We camped there for two nights, as there is no accommodation yet, and enjoyed incredible sunrise views of the nearby Ganesh Himal and also the distant great Peaks of HImalchuli, Ngadi Chuli, and Manaslu.

Tsum Valley is developing rapidly, as is the Manaslu circuit. However, particularly if you are new to Nepal trekking, don’t believe the hype that many agencies will tell you, that the Manaslu trek is the “new Annapurna circuit”. The Annapurna trek, over a period of three decades, developed a huge infrastructure for trekkers, with scores and scores of hotels, often equipped with deluxe menus and services, hot showers, laundry service, spring mattresses, etc. I think it will be some time yet before these things appear on the Manaslu trek, and if you find them in some places, don’t expect them at the next place. Tsum Valley is one step back in development yet.

One problem to watch out for is this: Manaslu Tsum Valley’s popularity and this can be said for Manaslu too, is growing much faster than services can be built–may be large because the road around Annapurna has grown so quickly and has put people off from that once glorious trek. We were there both times in March when there are fewer trekkers than in April or especially during the high season in October and November. In Tsum, as of March 2013, there was only one real lodge with rooms, and that was just a bit beyond Lokhpa at the foot of the valley. The other ‘lodges’ were basically beds in a side room of a local house, the largest such able to sleep ten people but others only four or five. Most villages had only one such place for trekkers to sleep, some villages had no place. When we reached Mu Gompa, in March all but one of the 80 monks were away from the valley for the winter, and furthermore, there was no food available at all. Only because we had our tents and stove and food for going higher up the valley (which we were unable to do because of snow), were we able to stay there e and eat our own food, instead of returning to Nile village the same day. The same goes for Gumbalunddang, where no food was available. if you are going o visit Tsum valley, and perhaps Manaslu too, during the busiest season, think seriously about hiring at least one EXTRA porter and having a tent, stove, and food, in case of accommodation is full! It might be worth it! Also, think of the porters: we saw many groups of two or three with a guide and a single porter carrying an enormous load, who was trailing far behind the others during the day. Many of them were unhappy with the arrangement.

In conclusion, this time with four people in our group, and with several porters and with Rabin as our guide again, we once more enjoyed what all agreed was one of the best treks we’ve ever done in the Himalayas, out of a total number of over thirty now, in Nepal and India. Rabin is an excellent choice for a guide. He is honest and will help you save money instead of trying to find ways to squeeze more for himself, he is fun and funny and friendly and all along the trails, he makes new friends with the people we meet along the way. He is experienced but doesn’t try to tell the customers what to do, he asks what they want to do, and then explains the options. If you are the type of trekker who is truly interested in Nepal, in the places, the culture, and religion and people and villages, and like to understand what is happening around you, hire Rabin as your guide, you won’t be disappointed. Indeed, like us (except for one, the same group that went around Manaslu with Rabin three years earlier), perhaps you will want to return to Nepal and go on another trek with Rabin Gurung!


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