Show photo
Photo: ©
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.

A road through Tsum Valley

Last November hikers walk towards Lapu Besi and Machha Khola (those who didn’t take the wonderful, high trail to Lapsibot) would have noticed the road building going on. Where is it going you may wonder. The answer is Tibet (China).

In 2010, the government’s Western Regional Road Directive under Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport Development of Nepal announced this plan to construct an international road connecting Tibet (China) and India and the route selected would pass through Tsum.

If you don’t know about Tsum (map link), Tsum is located behind the Ganesh Himal peaks you can sometimes see from Kathmandu. The local people there are called Tsumpas. They are mostly of Tibetan origin and speak a unique oral dialect. Like Upper Mustang, prior to 2008, the valley was closed to outsiders due to the proximity of the politically sensitive Tibetan border to the north of Tsum. Until now, it takes a daylong bus journey and at least five days walking to reach Tsum from Kathmandu. As a result, the unique culture of Tsum has remained intact and unchanged for centuries, with minimal influence from the outside world.

“This motorway represents both a great opportunity for the Tsum people and also a period of great change,” says Sonam Lama, an architect from Tsum. If you’ve hiked in Nepal already, you’ll know how how it goes with road building. Budgets are limited and the path of least resistance is usually taken.

There are two sides to every story of course. You can possibly imagine your own life if you lived 5 days walk from the nearest road, and all that would entail. The road building is inevitable.

What some people are asking, Sonam Lama most notably, is, what about the enormous wealth of cultural heritage that has stood for centuries along the trails that would form the most likely route for the road?

this film explores that, and watching it (worth the small fee) will give you a very interesting insight into life in Tsum. Fond out more about Tsum from

Mani, The Hidden Valley of Happiness at a Crossroad from Ella Chau Yin Chi on Vimeo.

4 Responses

  1. Martin said on February 19, 2018 at 3:13 am


    that doesn´t sound good!!! How bad is the impact on the the landscape along the Tsum valley? Is it still worth doing the trek through the valley? I want to do the Trek in the mid of April!
    I would appreciate all kind of personal informationen regarding to this topic



  2. FabGreg said on February 23, 2018 at 7:58 pm

    I’ve been trekking around the Manaslu beginning November 2017. Road already constructed till a little bit before Lapubesi, with work in progress along the cliff. Transportation stopped at Sotikhola. Should be possible to drive till Liding hamlet during dry season, if driver is OK (steep way just after crossing the Soti Khola river, our driver refused to go further).


  3. Sujoy Das said on May 12, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    Update May 2018 on the road

  4. robert vermont said on May 28, 2018 at 6:55 am

    I’m asking myself the same question, is it worth hiking along this valley, I didn’t come all that way to hike along a road. When I do my walk I don’t want to see vehicles unless i’m at the start or end. I might investigate if I can start at gorkha somewhere.


Leave a Reply