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The Manaslu Circuit Trek is the best all round tea-house hike in Nepal on the Great Himalaya Trail; the new Annapurna Circuit. No camping needed.

Tsum valley homestay accommodation

tsum_valley_chang_deana_zabaldo--2

© Deana Zabaldo - click for more

I asked Sonam Lama from Tsum for the locations of homestays and camping, and how many people could be accommodated. He looked at me a little bit like it was a stupid question, but then did his best to explain. The bottom line was that it would always be possible to find space for one more to sleep. Still, the homestay numbers he provided seem like they could easily result in problems if two groups landed in the same village at the same time. Thus, call and plan before going. Details on tsumvalleyhomestay.com.

The following is a list of villages and the approximate capacity for trekkers in home-stay and camping.

  1. Lokpa: 8 home-stays, 20 camping
  2. Chumling: 10 home-stays, 20 camping
  3. Chhokand Paro: >10 home-stays, 20 camping
  4. Dzong: 8 home-stays, 20 camping
  5. Ngakyuleru: 10 home-stays, >20 camping
  6. Lama Gaun: 10 home-stays, >20 camping
  7. Burji: 10 home-stays, >20 camping
  8. Laar: 10 home-stays, >20 camping
  9. Furbo: 5 home-stays, >20 camping
  10. Pangdun: 5 home-stays, >20 camping
  11. Chhule: 10 home-stays, >20 camping
  12. Nile: 10 home-stays, >20 camping
  13. Mu Gumpa: 5 home-stays, >20 camping
  14. Dumje: 5 home-stays, >5 camping
  15. Ripchet: 5 home-stays, >20 camping
tsum valley manaslutrek buddhist festival monks

© Lopsang Lama

12 Responses

  1. Kostas said on November 24, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    I would like to mention to all reviewers here that I had a nasty experience with Tsum Valley Home Stay trekking agency. I got in contact with them because of some positive reviews regarding their professionalism but soon found out the truth. They add hidden charges on their quotes and I reported the incident to the tourist police of Kathmandu. Not suprisingly there have been also other reports for this agency so be aware and do not get fooled by their welcoming and kind aperance. I only suggest you to contact the tourist police and find for yourselves.

    Reply
    • admin@manaslu said on November 25, 2012 at 2:49 am

      Kostas – can you be more explicit about “hidden charges”? Was this the only “nasty experience”. How many other reports have their been? Just want to be clear about this case here on this site.

      Reply
    • Bob Milne said on December 12, 2012 at 11:05 pm

      We are just back from 2 weeks trecking with Tsum Valley Home Stay in the Tsum Valley & part of Manaslu. They were fantastic – great guide & porters and we could not have wished for better. They gave us a detailed budget up front – had no “hidden extras” (apart from beer!!!)
      Can only say our experience was very different to yours – we found them exceptionaly good & honest.
      Dec 2012

      Reply
  2. Kostas said on November 25, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Dear admin the story is a bit long but I would like to share it with you. When we arrived to KTM first thing we did is we started looking for a trekking agency. We contacted 5 different agencies and got different quotes. As a frequent traveller I know that coming in an arrangement abroad can be tricky so I always made all my points and details crystal clear. When we contacted the Tsum Valley Home Stay agency a sincere looking girl apeared and we discussed for almost half an hour regarding the schedule, details and pricing. I will for the sake of the story focus only on the pricing. The details which were written down where the following: Guide/35 US $ per day, Porter 20/US $ per day, Service charge 150 US $, Permits for 2 persons 130 US $, Food and accommodation included. When we asked her 2 (possibly 3 times) if this was all she clearly said “yes”. We calculated with a calculator in front of her the total amount for 16 days and the total was shown to her and again asked her if this was all including all our expenses and she again said yes. We did the calculation at least 3 times because there was a significance difference of aproximately 600 US $ in total compared with the other agencies. She looked well informed, positive personality and the price was very good. We thought about it and next day we went to their “agency”. This is an poor internet cafe with one computer and nothing, absolutely nothing that reminds you a trekking agency. We nevertheless did not question why this is not a typical agency as we thought that this is cost cutting and this is why it is cheaper. We gave 130 US dollars for the permitts and 150 US dollars for their service charge (which is supposed to be there for arranging your permits), I received no receipt and was told that next day they will come to the hotel to inspect our equipment and that at that time she will hand in the detailed payment paper. So next day she, Sonam and a porter came to our room. At one point she gave me a paper with the total cost. I was socked, the difference on it there was another charge never mentioned before. 25 US $ per person per day for food and accommodation, which means an extra 50 US $ per day for both of us for our food and accommodation at our trekking. Trying to comment this amount for food and accommodation at the Tsum Valley region is really hopeless but this is not the case. We had asked them several times on our first meeting if this is all and she said yes and why did she mentioned on the paper she gave this that “food and accommodation” was written down but she said that “this is for the guide” not for you. Now all they said was “but who will pay for this, this is your expenses”… Our trust immediatly was gone, our efforts to reveal our clear points on this had no affect. We were disapointed, next day we were supposed to go with these people for trekking and now despite the fact that by paying them this amount we would pay more or less the same with other quotes we had (including the permitts and the service charge we had already paid) we could not go with these people for a 16 day trip trekking for obvious reasons. Everything was ruined, our stay in Nepal had to be completely rescheduled plus we had already got used to the idea that we had lost 280 US $. The permits were issued again as we could not used them from another agency and as far as the 150 US $ we requested this money back. This is money that was reffering to a completely different trekking than the one they originally mentioned as there was a completely different pricing. They refused to do so and when we came back from our trekking we went to the tourist police with both documents (their hand written offer plus the detailed printed charges we received next day) and made an official report. The police officers there seemed to be aware of them. They opened in front of my eyes a book where there were more reports about them, I honestly can not tell you how many because I was not able to see clearly in detail but if you contact them by phone they will happily assist you, they have been great with us. Very helpful department and with enormous respect for the tourists. They arranged a meeting for both sides for next day (which was our departure day) and showed up 08:00 in the morning. After following the process you can imagine explaining several times what has happened the police officers told us they will do our best and talk to them too. At that time Sonam was there, nothing personal with him and soon a very grimpy,flufy Nepali woman showed up, she must be the actual owner of the agency apeared. The police officers without exaggerating were furious with her. The talked in Nepali for almost half an hour and just to let you know at one point the chief as he was all the time talking to her in Nepali turned in English and said to her “I know your office do not talk like this to me!”. We went there for 2 reasons, firstly to take our 150 US $ (not of course the 130 US $ which was paid already by them for our permits and we had seen them) and to make the department aware of this. It took 4 hours! in the police station it was ridiculous they were even at that point unwilling to cooperate and at one point I realized it got also personal with the police officers there who did not like their attitude. We comprimazed with taking back aproximately half of this money in Nepaleese Rp. from them and had to cancel our official report. This of course does not mean that I am happy I just compremised and was really in a hurry after all these hours because our plane would be leaving soon. I have already made efforts to other forums I hope this will help any other reviewers, I told them that I will not give up this story so easy being a tourist does not mean that you are an idiot and now I will make sure to reveal what happened. Note that they may be excellent and very professional on the actual trekking I seriously can not tell and would not be suprised if they were, but as said I focused only on their pricing. I hope this will help. Lastly just to finish this letter with a sweet memory I have to say that the Tsum Valley has been one of the most exciting and wonderful days of my life and I highly reccommend to all yo visit.

    Reply
    • Tsum Valley Home Stay said on November 26, 2012 at 3:41 pm

      This is an absolute example of misunderstanding while our prices are crystal clear in web page http://www.tsumvalleyhomestay.com/our-services.
      Moreover, we have some positive and constructive feedback which is important for potential trekkers:
      Namaste Sonam,

      We have just returned from Nepal having had the most wonderful trip! Whilst its still fresh in our minds we wanted to contact you to provide some feedback as requested by Chirring.

      We cannot commend highly enough Tenzing and Pemba for the wonderful service, companionship and care they provide over the 3 week period. Tenzing proved to be a very attentive guide and was particularly mindful of our safety and comfort as well as finding us a nice place to stay each evening and ensuring we would get a good meal. Sometimes this involved him helping out with or supervising the cooking -Pemba also contributed to this on more than one occasion. Pemba was a great porter and we also felt very cared for and looked after by him; even though he struggled with communicating in English we really felt he was looking out for us and was there to help whenever we needed it. As a team they worked really well together and struck a good balance between looking after us and ensuring we had some space to ourselves from time to time.

      We were impressed by the way our permits and transport were organised so effectively by Chirring and her partner in Kathmandu and everything went smoothly and according to plan within the tight timeframe, so many thanks for that.

      We have no criticism or problems we want to draw to your attention but Chirring was eager to get feedback so the service could be improved. The following are some suggestions you may wish to explore:

      1. At times we felt the plan for the day was vague, in particular we were not sure when we would next get a chance to eat. We feel this could be avoided by having a discussion at the start of each day about options for stopping/eating along the way.

      2. Whilst we were generally happy with Tenzings choice of accommodation each night (which mostly were good Tibetan guest/teahouses) some clients may appreciate choice; we noticed some of the other trekkers guides let it up to the clients to choose/select the accommodation.

      3. Both Tenzing and Pemba were a bit under-prepared with clothing for the higher altitudes and whilst we were happy to give them some of our extra clothing, thermals/gloves/fleece etc other trekkers may not have surplus gear to share with them on future trips. If it is the responsibility of the trekkers to ensure guide and porter are fully attired/equipped for the trip it would be useful for this to be pointed out to them in advance by you or Chirring, so they can check all this with guide and porter in Kathmandu prior to departure.

      I hope the above will not create the impression we were not satisfied with the services of Pemba and Tenzing, on the contrary we were more than satisfied with them as stated above and would not hesitate to recommend their services to others. Please feel free to pass on our details to others seeking recommendations on Tsumvalley homestay services.

      We were particularly delighted with our stay in Tsum valley. We are really interested in exploring with you how we may be able to help raise awareness of the Tsum valley and issues/problems we may be able to help with (by raising funding and awareness).

      Many thanks for helping us plan this trip, which we will remember forever…and hopefully we will return there again soon!

      Kindest regards,

      Michelle and Gerry

      Reply
      • Kostas said on November 26, 2012 at 6:42 pm

        Dear Sonam,
        Firstly I am not obliged to visit prior to our meeting your website nor see your pricing in full detail through the internet. I admit it would help us, we did not to do this but I dont think I should apologise for it. This is one of the reasons why we arrange a meeting otherwise I would book directly from the internet but the personal touch makes all the difference and this is why we insisting in meeting you. We believed this was a way much better way to do the arrangement, I am sure most of the people agree on this. Unfortunately due to the technicalitites mentioned above this task was far from succesful. Secondly even on your website (just to tell you how unreliable you are on your pricing) you mention that food and accommodation are 20 US $ per person per day while you quoted 25 US $ per person per day to us. This would end up 10US $ per day in total times 16 days 160 US $. You may think “big deal” but do not advertise yourself and your agency as being reliable as even in this case you are not. So using the term “crystal clear” regarding your prices is not accurate. In addition, you copy paste a letter from another trekker which was thankfuly very happy with your service but you have said absolutely nothing on my constructed and proven critisism or by the tourist police report I made. I never doubted your quality it was never an issue (you may be a very good guide, maybe not, it is irrelevant at the moment) If you are a little bit confused please read carefully my above post and then reply on the actual points and please answer with arguments on my points in order to help the reviewers form their own opinion. I assume as well that you have forgotten to reply regarding the other reports your agency has at the tourist police. Lastly I will also like to point out that I am particular upset with you and your agency (explaining my attitude) for one basic reason: You look sincere, you have a social responsible profile, you are welcoming and very convincing. That has been my biggest issue as hypocracy is not a disadvantage a go on well with. Nevertheless please reply on what was mentioned above.

        Reply
  3. Tsum Valley Home Stay said on November 26, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Recent feedback for Tsum Valley Home Stay:
    Dear Sonam,

    Sarah and I arrived back in the States 2 weeks ago after an amazing
    trek on the Manaslu Circuit. Now that we’re readjusting to life back
    home, just wanted to provide some feedback ….

    Tsering was extremely helpful in Kathmandu taking care of all the
    preparations before our trek. She was very organized and made us feel
    very confident that we were in good hands. It was a great relief when,
    upon our arrival in Kathmandu and feeling very overwhelmed and a
    little anxious about our trek, she had everything taken care of from
    taking care of permits to coordinating a jeep at the last minute to
    working out our reimbursement at the end of the trek for arriving back
    a day early. We owe her a huge amount of thanks for her hard work.

    Our guide, Pasang, and porter, Dutman, were both amazing. Pasang
    always was looking out for us and had a great attitude no matter what:
    always smiling, always laughing, always friendly, and always
    understanding of our concerns. In addition, since he is originally
    from a traditional village himself (though in a different region), he
    always bonded with all the local villagers so that we always felt like
    we got to know the locals better than was the case in most other
    tourist groups. Though there are younger guides out there, his wisdom
    was immediately apparent to us and we couldn’t have asked for a better
    guide. He taught us a lot about traditional Nepali village life, from
    the foods people eat to the way they make their houses to the local
    animals and plants to what can be found in each village. He also was
    always willing to take us to the local Gompa (which we did a lot!) and
    track down the lama so we could go inside. Of course, it would have
    been even better if he was from the Manaslu area himself, but he still
    knew an amazing amount about the Gurong and Tibetan peoples in the
    areas through which we traveled. Dutman was truly incredible in that,
    even with a pack almost his size on his back, he never once complained
    or did anything but smile when we told him we wanted to go a little
    further. In retrospect, we couldn’t have imagined we would be so happy
    with our guide and porter. So much thanks to both you and Tsering for
    providing us with such great company for our trek.

    The Manaslu circuit, after a long jeep ride to Arughat, seemed to just
    keep getting better everyday, not just for the amazing scenery but the
    traditional village life which become more and more interesting as we
    moved away from the roads. My only complaint would be that there were
    more tourists than I expected and therefore there was more
    “development” being pursued in many of these villages because of
    tourists (Pasang commented on how much had changed, i.e., how many new
    lodges were being built, even in the last year). For the first week or
    so of our trek, we mostly stayed in small teahouses/homestays, and I
    really enjoyed this. However, after that, there started to be no
    option but to stay in large tourist lodges which I particularly
    disliked since I felt like we were completely removed from village
    life. It was almost as if the village, especially in places like Sama,
    had a tourist section and a local villager section and the two did not
    interact.

    In these tourist lodges, we mostly only saw other tourists and felt
    like we were in a separate world from the local villagers. However, my
    primary concern isn’t that it degraded my own personal experience
    (though it did) but that this is causing damage to the traditional way
    of life in these villages, from the waste created by all the processed
    food and drink the tourists consume to the inevitable roads that
    eventually seem to follow (arriving on the Annapurna circuit for the
    last few days was particularly discouraging since there are now roads
    almost the entire way to Chame and all the villages on this path had
    been completely transformed from traditional villages into ones that
    have lost many of their traditional ways and primarily exist to cater
    to tourists). It was extremely disheartening to find out, when we ran
    into a villager near Tal who was originally from Samdo and who told us
    that the Chinese are going to build a road to Samdo. This will be a
    huge loss not just for that region, but to the world. So my only
    regret is that I feel like, by staying in tourist lodges, we were in
    someway contributing to this destruction made under the name of
    “development”. So my only major complaint is that, in the Tibetian
    region, I wish there was a way we could have stayed in very small
    teahouses/homestays that weren’t so isolated from the villagers. I
    would have preferred to have met more villages and learned more about
    how they live rather than just trying to create a “mini-Western world”
    in one lodge. After all, we didn’t come to Nepal to eat Western food
    and talk to other Westerners!

    So other than witnessing the corruption of traditional values that
    seems to be occurring on the Manaslu Circuit Trek and which has
    already occurred on the Annapurna Circuit Trek, especially the
    building of large tourist lodges and of course the terrible roads that
    are being blasted into the sides of mountains, we had an outstanding
    trip. We already have been reminiscing about how great our trip was,
    how amazing Nepal is, and how special the villages are in the
    Himalayas, whether Gurung, Tibetian, Sherpa, or otherwise. We miss it
    already. We were also very happy to support Tsum Valley Homestay as
    your goals — protecting the culture and environment of the Tibetian
    regions in Tsum Valley and the Manaslu region — align with our. We
    hope to return someday soon, and we just want to say thanks again and
    keep up the great work! I hope you have success in organizing the
    villagers to prevent any roads being built into such an amazing place
    in this ever-shrinking world.

    Namaste, and hopefully we will actually get to meet someday! Please
    give our best to Tsering, Pasang, and Dutman.

    Jonathan and Sarah

    Reply
  4. Jems Charles said on January 26, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    We just come back a 6 month ago and fantastic trip to Tsum valley by Tsum valley Home stay. Their all staff are very good and Budget was very clear in their web site.

    Reply
  5. Michael Johnson said on April 10, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Interesting that actually Sonam has NOT answered at all to the original report.

    Just by copying and pasting so called “testimonials” instead of replying to the actual allegations, does not inspire any trust.

    I will do some research about this company and post here if I find out new info:)

    Reply
    • admin@manaslu said on April 10, 2013 at 3:26 pm

      I’d be a bit more forgiving. They are real people just trying to make a living at the budget end of the market and Sonam has done a lot for the area, in terms of promotion, guide training and trying to help manage the slow transition to a tourism economy. There’s definitely work to be done in smoothing up their sales process, keeping the site up to date etc. Nepal is a funny place with inflation running around 16%, so prices and wages are going up really fast, to the point where it is hard to keep track. Fuel shortages are not uncommon either. It’s a difficult environment to run a business and I know because I also do that. They are definitely capable (and there are a few testimonials submitted here) but like on all non-package trips, just make sure you write everything down clearly, in detail an email and make a cost agreement and take it from there – and I am sure all will be well in Tsum Valley.

      Reply
      • Michael Johnson said on April 10, 2013 at 4:42 pm

        That is good to hear!
        I am familiar with the market conditions in that area and is good to know that someone is helping the locals to get a start in this business.

        At the same time, transparency and good will need to go hand and hand:)

        Reply
  6. Bruce Batchelor said on December 28, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Just returned from a 30-day visit in the Tsum Valley that was orchestrated by Sonam Lama and Tsum Valley Homestay. It was magical. Couldn’t have asked for better care by our guide and porters. Lots of adventures and interaction with the people of the valley. Rode horses, helped with farming, learned to cook traditional meals, attended the Horse Festival and women’s full moon ceremony, got purified by the senior monk at Mu Gumpa, hiked to the Tibet border, assisted in the making (and drinking) of roksi liquor, played tigers and goats, attended a funeral, saw where the Honey Hunters of Nepal gather their honey, and on and on. Fantastic trip. All business was conducted totally professionally with written contracts exchanged in advance by email, and no hidden or extra charges. 100% recommended.

    Reply

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