Best Himalayan Trip

Trekking the Tsum Valley

Woman in Tsum Valley, Manaslu restricted area, Nepal. Via Shutterstock     Photo: Zzvet

Most trekkers don’t stray far from Nepal’s obvious routes, like the Annapurna Circuit and Everest Base Camp, which might explain why the Tsum Valley, a remote north-central region nine hours by bus from Kathmandu that opened in 2008, sees fewer than 500 travelers annually. That could change quickly as word trickles out about a region where women spin wool by hand, men in Tibetan hats ride jangling horses on centuries-old paths, and many households still brew homemade raksi, a local moonshine. You need a permit to trek on your own here, and local guides and porters can be found at Tsumvalley.org. Or go with Mountain Madness’s new 27-day trip and trek with a local lama through valleys dotted with monasteries and surrounded by 18,000-foot peaks (Nov. 6–Dec. 2; $4,900). One World Trekking’s Tsum Valley Research Trek is another good option, a 21-day trip that passes hot springs, peaks, waterfalls, and hamlets (Oct. 7–27; from $2,495).

RUNNER-UP
Mountain-Bike the Himalayas
This year, World Expeditions introduces a novelty: a 25-day Himalayan mountain-bike expedition between Lhasa, Tibet, and Kathmandu (May 6–30; $4,890). Riders cover as much as 56 miles per day on remote four-wheel-drive roads and singletrack under the shadows of the tallest peaks on earth, including a three-day side trip to Tibet’s Everest Base Camp to see the North Face of the famed mountain. Camp and stay in guesthouses in tiny, seldom-visited Buddhist villages, ascend three passes over 16,000 feet, and top it off with a screaming 11,000-foot descent from the Tibetan Plateau to Kathmandu.

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