For our third family trekking holiday to Nepal we decided to venture into a remoter region of the country. The Manaslu Circuit had beckoned since we walked the Annapurna Base Camp trek in 2014, our introduction to trekking in Nepal, which has since become something of a benign addiction, so deeply rewarding is the experience. On this occasion our family of four (mum, dad and two teenage boys) was joined by my sister and her 12-year-old son. We sought something more adventurous, so we added to our itinerary the almost-mythical Tsum Valley, a rugged region bordering on Tibet, where a traditional Tibetan culture and spirituality survives. School holidays in Australia dictated that our trek take place in midwinter, a time of year renowned for stable weather in the mountains but presenting significant logistical challenges due to off-season teahouse closures and freezing temperatures. Visit Himalaya Treks came to our notice via intrepid Nepal trekkers Howard and Sue Dengate, whose Manaslu-Tsum Valley trail notes we'd found online. Reviews we'd read about VHT and owner Himal Tamang and staff inspired confidence that we'd be in good hands for our ambitious undertaking, as they specialise in remote-area expeditions, including camping treks. Himal himself was reliable and helpful in his pre-trek communication, and showed us exceptional courtesy and hospitality in meeting us before and after the trek. He appreciated that our family group would benefit from the support of a strong team, and we consider ourselves very fortunate to have had the services of guide Ishwar, assistant guide Sambhu, and Sambhu's brothers Ramesh and Subash and their friend Deepak, who carried our gear. Ishwar speaks excellent English and is an experienced and conscientious guide, alert to the wellbeing of all members of the party and a thoroughly nice person to boot. He showed commendable organisational skills in challenging circumstances, calling ahead to arrange opening of teahouses for our party, including the coup of persuading locals to open Dharamsala, a key staging post in our successful climb over 5100-metre Larke La pass. Sambhu, an aspiring guide and qualified chef, was always a pleasure to be around too. He provided us with delicious meals, including more than a few unexpected dessert treats, which was a real asset as the few teahouses open were operating on a skeleton staff. There was never any sense of skimping on service or hot food and drinks, the latter much appreciated in the winter cold, especially by ravenous teenagers. The porters were all delightful young men, carrying our gear and assisting at teahouses with never-failing cheerfulness and warmth. We have the gods to thank for three weeks of blue skies, brilliant sunshine and uninterrupted views of spectacular mountains ranges - our reward for forbearance with the winter cold. As we'd previously experienced in Nepal, the cultural dimension of the trek was at least as rewarding as the spectacular natural environment. Passing through villages we were warmly greeted by local people, and there were glimpses of everyday life to surprise and delight around every turn in the trail, despite the evident hardships. Thank you VHT for ensuring that our family adventure was a safe and genuinely unforgettable experience. We do hope to come back and embark on a new adventure with you before too long! Francesca Coles from Australia
27th Jan, 2018Midwinter family adventure around Manaslu and the Tsum Valley
Highly recommended especially for long off-the-beaten-track treks - I highly recommend Visit Himalaya Treks, especially if you are planning a longer off-the-beaten-track trek in which they specialize. My wife and I did two treks of one month each with them in October and November of 2017. The first trek was a 30 day fully organized trek from Jumla to Jomson via Rara Lake and the Upper Dolpo. This was a very remote trek where we met few other foreign tourists. You pass through very isolated and traditional Tibetan villages and there is a week-long section in the middle where there is nothing other than the occasional shepherd hut. Much of the trek is above 4000m and you pass a total of 6 passes over 5000m (none of them technical or particularly difficult). Visit Himalaya Treks organized everything perfectly. Due to the remote nature of this trek you need to be completely self sufficient. They provided a guide (Ishwar) who spoke perfect English, a cook (Shambu) who was eagerly learning English, four porters (augmented with two additional locally hired porters for a small section that was too rough for the mules to pass), a horseman, 6 mules, and one horse. There was a dining tent, cooking tent, toilet tent, a sleeping tent, and spare sleeping tent. All the equipment was good quality. We chose to bring our own -30C sleeping bags. The service was exemplary and super friendly. The food was fantastic: it was plentiful and very varied. We never ate the same thing twice and on my wife's birthday the cook even baked a birthday cake with candles and frosting at 5000m! We planned this trek from the Netherlands. We wanted to use a local Nepali agency. It is not easy to find a trustworthy agency remotely. We contacted many and it quickly became clear that most trekking agencies have actually never done this remote trek (although they falsely claim they have). We stumbled on Visit Himalaya Treks through a blog post and organized a Skype video call with Himal, the owner. In this call and in many follow up emails he promptly and clearly answered every question, and it became clear that his staff had actually done this trek multiple times before. Furthermore, he was very flexible in terms of accommodating our specific requests (e.g. we prefer to make long days rather than end the day early). During the trek the guide Ishwar delivered on the promise of flexibility: if we wanted to adjust the itinerary along the way (longer days, shorter days, different stops, ...) he always found a way to adjust the itinerary to make it work. The second trek was on the opposite side of the spectrum: a 27 day teahouse trek following the Manaslu circuit, the Tsum valley, the Nar-Phu valley, and exiting over the Thorung-La pass to Jomsom again. Since there are teahouses along the entire trek we only brought a mandatory guide (Ishwar again) and we chose to bring one porter (Shambu, the cook from the first trek, who also doubled as a cook again when he thought the cooking of the teahouses was not up to his high standards). The price quote from Visit Himalaya Treks included everything (lodging and all meals). Unlike people who traveled with other agencies we were not nickeled and dimed. Every town where we stopped we were free to chose any lodge we liked and we could pick anything of the menu. The only thing we had to pay for ourselves was alcoholic drinks, hot showers, and boiled water (we chose to drink only boiled water). We had an absolutely fantastic experience with Visit Himalaya Treks and I would recommend the without any reservations whatsoever. Bruno Rijsman and Tecla Ris Great Himalaya Trail (GHT) and Upper Dolpo: Jumla to Jomsom
22nd Jan, 2018Highly recommended especially for long off-the-beaten-track treks
A truly unforgettable experience. Taking on the three-week Manaslu–Tsum Valley Circuit and 5100m Larke La pass in sub-zero midwinter with a 12-year-old boy seemed an ambitious undertaking, especially as a solo mum trekking for the first time in the Himalayas, joining my sister and her family. However, from beginning to end Himal and Visit Himalaya Treks were unfailingly conscientious, kind and supportive in their organisation of our trek. Our itinerary was planned in detail from arrival to departure, communication was prompt and thorough, and we were beautifully looked after by a group of very able, knowledgeable and always charming guides and porters. I cannot speak more highly of our guide, Ishwah, Sambhu (assistant guide and inspired cook) and the three ‘Herculean’ porters (Ramesh, Subash and Deepak). Ishwah’s English is excellent and we had a lot of fun with Sambhu swapping English and Nepali phrases. Although trekking through a relatively remote part of Nepal with often-rustic trekking facilities in the middle of winter is not without its challenges, my son had the time of his life and I think the trip will represent a pivotal moment in his young life. Our visit to the Tsum Valley was a highlight of the trek, not only for the majestic mountain vistas opening up around every corner but for the magical glimpse of a fast-disappearing, very traditional Tibetan Buddhist culture. People were unfailingly warm and welcoming to us, on more than one occasion inviting us to share their hearth and eat a home-cooked meal. As a somewhat anxious parent, safety was a major concern of mine, and I cannot fault Visit Himalaya with the care they took, particularly of the kids, to ensure we all got safely over the high-altitude pass and to the end of the trek. The company specialises in trekking to more remote areas and they combined careful planning with quick-thinking flexibility when their best-laid plans occasionally went awry due to the off-season timing of our trip. While not easy, I would recommend trekking Manaslu in winter as for much of the time we had the circuit almost to ourselves. We are already thinking about the next trip. Thanks guys! From Australia – Emily Coles.
21st Jan, 2018Unforgettable Winter Manaslu Circuit trek with teenage children
I have used Visit Himalaya Trek previously so when planning the Manaslu circuit Trek, I went back to them as they were a less costly option than a company in UK. The owner, Himal, is extremely helpful and personally ensures you are well looked after in Kathmandu. The guide and porter provided were reliable and competent. I would have no hesitation in recommending them and will be using them myself again in the future for further treks and activities. Grant Morley from UK.
9th Jan, 2018Manaslu Circuit Trek
Visit Himalaya Treks is a small professional company with highly personalized service. We did two long treks back to back with them and absolutely love these guys. The first trek we did was from Jumla to Jomson which took a month. Due to the remoteness of the area, this was a fully organized trek meaning that we were self sufficient and had tents, food, mules, porters, a cook and a guide. If you like an adventure, remoteness, unspoilt beauty of nature and culture and a 'once in a lifetime hike', go for it: it was beyond expectations! You can find detailed descriptions on our blog 'hiking and coding' so I won't go into detail here. Our second hike was a teahouse trek in the Manaslu/Annapurna region, again with a duration of approximately a month (for a description see our blog 'hiking and coding') since the weather was turning icy cold. On both treks, we were very happy with our crew: they were outstanding. We like to make long days and they were willing to adjust the itinerary wherever possible and added sidetrips or a Gompa visit when we for example had a short day. Their flexibility and 'itinerary creativity' made all the difference - btw, our guide spoke excellent English so it was always very easy to communicate. Besides the hiking itself, we were very well taken care of: food was varied and delicious (first trek), campsites and teahouses (on the second trek) carefully chosen and they worked very hard to make sure we had a good time. Important was also that there was a very good energy amongst the staff themselves and with us -and especially with Ishwar (our guide) and Shambhu (cook) - who in fact we both liked so much that we asked them to come on the second trek with us, we joked and laughed a lot. We cannot thank our crew and Himal, owner of Visit Himalaya Treks enough: the trips were extremely well organized and a relaxed, gorgeous, fun adventure! Bruno and Tecla
3rd Jan, 2018Fantastic hikes with Visit Himalaya Treks
Our trek to Gokyo Lakes and EBC trek was our second trek with visithimalayastreks.com, having completed the Annapurna circuit and Annapurna Base Camp treks in 2015. As before, the service provided was superb throughout our stay. Our trek was 17 days in length and this time Kate and myself were returning with two friends from the UK, John and Norman. We were met at the airport by the company owner, Himal who accompanied us to our excellent hotel in the tourist area of Thamel. We spent day one on a guided tour of the main temples in Kathmandu and Durbhar Square. Our trek began the following day with an exciting and scenic flight to Lukla where we were met by our guide Krishna, assistant guide Ram and our two porters, Ramesh and Yogesh. The first leg of the trek took us from Lukla to Gokyo Lakes via Namche Bazaar, Dole and Machermo. The weather was superb, with the well planned route affording us spectacular mountain views. From Gokyo, we climbed Gokyo Ri (5360m), from where we had amazingly clear views of Everest, Nupste, Lohtse, Makalu, Choyo, Cholatse and Taboche, amongst others. We had originally intended to cross the Cho La Pass to Dzong La from Gokyo, but changed our plans, with help from Krishna, because of altitude problems with one of the group. This meant a descent to Phortse before heading up the Khumbu Valley to Gorak Shep via Pheriche and Lobuche. The scenery was brilliant throughout our amended route, with superb views, particularly of Amadablam (6800m) which is perhaps the most spectacular of the mountains, despite its diminutive size compared to the surrounding 8000’ers. From Gorak Shep, we took the short walk to Everest Base Camp and on return climbed Kala Pattar the next day, where we had probably the best views of the whole trip. From here we could see close up views Everest and Nuptse amongst many others. The trek back to Lukla was very enjoyable, taking us through Tengboche, with its impressive monastery and then Namche before trekking out to Lukla. Our trek had been superbly organized throughout, with Krishna and Ram ever attentive to our needs, providing advice and giving us a great narrative of the surrounding mountains, culture, flora and fauna. They were both excellent company and we felt safe at all times with them as our guides. On arriving back In Kathmandu, we spent a final day relaxing and shopping for trinkets in Thamel and were taken by Himal and Krishna to a Nepali cultural evening of music and dancing, with food provided. As a final touch, Himal accompanied us back to the airport to bid us farewell, a really nice personal gesture. In short, we cannot recommend visithimalayastreks.com highly enough and would not hesitate to use them again in the future. Thanks again Himal, Krishna and Ram, Kate, John and Norman from UK.
23rd Dec, 2017Gokyo Lakes and Everest Base Camp Trek
I would highly recommend visit Himalaya treks. It was super easy to organise via email prior to arrival in Nepal and they quickly answered my constant stream of questions! Then a one day turn around in Kathmandu to sort permits (which they did very efficiently) and payment (also efficient). Thanks to Himal and Rajan for that. Left the next day with our guide Tek who was excellent. Very knowledgable of the trail, and fun to be around with a positive attitude. Likes dogs as much as we do! Was good at knowing where to stay and where would be most comfortable. Very good at safely navigating some more crazy sections of the trail. Was also easy to adjust the route whilst on the trail to suit our style. The hike itself is incredible and highly recommended. For me the side trips were the highlight so if you have time, try and do some of these (e.g. Tibet border). On the way back it was the day after elections and so the roads were crazy. Tek was very good at getting us on a bus despite the high demand - highly recommended. Cheers!! Sam and Tom from France
22nd Dec, 201721/22 day trek of Manaslu circuit and Tsum valley
We did the Kanchenjunga circuit trek in November, 21 days, south base camp, over the Sele La pass, then to the north base camp. We were very happy with Visit Himalaya treks and would definitely recommend them. We found them by online recommendation and were not disappointed. Himal was very quick to respond to all correspondence by email before our trip and answer any questions. Our guide Bal Kumar and porter Shubas were both great, always smiling and eager to make our trip a success. Our guide was very knowledgeable of the entire route including best rest stops for tea or lunch, best accommodations, and he was very attentive to providing great service. We also really liked the hotel they booked for us in Kathmandu - the Holy Himalaya. Nice rooms, plenty of hot water, free drinking water, nice hotel staff and service, and awesome breakfast. It was in a perfect location: on a quiet street but only a few blocks from the busy restaurants and shops of Thamel. Don't hesitate to book with Visit Himalaya. They will make your trip a success with great service and trustworthy staff. Phillip and Lora Lockett from USA
19th Dec, 2017Highly recommend Visit Himalaya Treks