A trek through Upper Mustang is a magical experience, one never forgotten.Your journey to Lo Mangthang needs to be earnt at times along the way but the reward outwieghs any temporary physical hardship you may have experienced.We travel through arid and haunting wilderness amongst wind eroded hills and cliffs on the way to the borders of the Tibetan Plateau.
The region until relatively recent times was a Kingdom within Nepal, hidden from the outside world until the early nineties with its own monarch. The area was first opened to tourists in 1992 and only then with strict limits on the amount of people allowed to travel there.
Your final destination is mystical Lo Manthang, the capital of Upper Mustang. The town was constructed on the orders of the first King of Lo ThKali in 1380 A.D and it still remains a fitting monument to Lo Manthang's rich history and cultural heritage. A maize of ghompas (religious shrines) and houses surround the king’s palace.The complex itself is contained within the eight meters high seven hundred meter long boundary wall. Along the periphery of the wall are a series of 14 guard towers, built to protect the town from its many envious enemies of the past due to its prominent position on the major ancient salt trade route betweenTibet and Nepal.
Trekking up can be pretty strenous at times so you need to be reasonably fit The trail follows The Ghandaki Valley with occasional detours above the valley walls. Settlements along the trail are scattered with little sign of cultivation between villages. A truly remarkable experience far removed from most adventures in Nepal.
On your arrival at Kathmandu our representative will meet you for the transfer to your hotel.After settling in there will be a tour briefing with your guide.Evening depending on group size we will arrange an introductory evening meal in a local restaurant.
Today there is an opportunity for those who wish to get around Kathmandu to visit sites of historical and cultural interest.We visit Major sites and two of the Durbar Squares in The Kathmandu Valley. This day is costed in the tour.
After a leisurely breakfast we take our own transport for the lovely and very scenic drive to Pokhara it takes around 5/ 6 hours through the middle hills with good mountain views along the Trishuli River for much of the way. Reaching the beautiful lake town of Pokhara and our hotel late afternoon.Evening is free to relax around the lake.o/n at Hotel,
In the early morning we transfer to Pokhara airport,10 minutes from our hotel for the flight to Jomsom in the lower Mustang Region.,A scenic flight of around 20 minutes brings us to the district headquarters.Jomosom is situated on the age old Trans-Himalayan Salt Trade route to Tibet. From Jomsom we begin our trek along a gradual path on the Kali Gandaki river bed for about 3 hrs to finally reach Ekley-bhatti village. After a refreshment stop we continue on for an hour of easy walking before reaching Kagbeni (2,858m/9,375ft), which lies on the bank of two rivers. Kagbeni, is an extremely interesting wind swept village again situated on the main age old Trans Himalayan salt trade route to Tibet via Upper Mustang . On arrival, check in to our hotel/guest house,the afternoon is free for a stroll to discover this fascinating place.around the village. O/n at Guest House.
After the formalities of presenting our restricted area trekking permits we set off on our journey, It is a windy region along the valley later in the day so we need to get moving early in the morning ,some good views of Mount Nilgiri glowing orange in the first rays of the sun as we set off. Taking the western route, we follow the east bank of the river until we reach the end of a broad crossing over the river at Chuksang, where we cross the Kali Gandaki. The trail ascends providing a good view of the village, the valley and Nilgiri.We continue eastwards to flat, arid, desert-like land. The scenery is surreal,very characteristic of Mustang with red sandstone pillars and rock formations and colors, formed by thousands of years of erosion and the crust of the land continuing to force its way ever upwards. The first main village we reach is Tangbe with its distinguished red and whitewashed houses, on the other side of the river from here are caves perched high in a vertical wall, which were inhabited in previous times. Chaile from here can be seen as a small white dot at the end of the canyon. The trail descends gradually to the river-bed an area well known for its fossils.Our trek up the valley ends abruptly at a vertical cliff where there is a bridge that crosses the Kali Gandaki river which flows through a natural tunnel in the cliff. The valley narrows further north and a steep trail leads us up to Chaile, Chaile is a small town with some good views towards the Himalayas. Overnight Lodge.
We start with a steep climb following the trail westwards when we reach the viewpoint of Ghyakar on the opposite side of a deep canyon we need to turn right, following the gorge. The landscape is eirie yet stunning, running high up above the path as if gouged out the rock falls in an almost sheer drop for more than 100 meters.An hour or so later we reach a pass that offers a good view of Samar along with the Kali Gandaki Valley with snow-capped peaks in the distance. After trekking through Samar we cross a side-valley, descending to its base before crossing over a creek, then a steep descent up again on the other side. Two hours or so from Samar there is a very interesting red painted cave monastery, which looks as if it is hanging on to the vertical wall. It is very sacred known as Rangchyung Chorten it is one of the most sacred places in Mustang. Its name means ‘the chorten that formed itself’, because inside thereare two large stalagmites in a chorten-like formation. Two famous Buddhist teachers, Padmasambh ava and Atisha stayed in this cave centuries ago. Many prayer flags adorn the ceiling and pilgrims have left small clay figures and other offerings inside.
We then enter a forest type area of small trees and green bushes able to survive in the narrow gorge because of the high vertical walls that keep them cool and sufficiently moist. Soon the valley broadens out as we pass in front of caves which are temporary homes for the herders whose animals graze here. Sometimes it is possible to see the rare blue mountain sheep in this area. The walk to Shyangboche is a long on, it is not that difficult, but a constant climb provoking a feeling that the destination is an illusion, until finally a cluster of houses appear. It is a lot colder here. Overnight Lodge.
Today’s trek begins with the first of today’s three high passes, Yanda La, we trek past a distinctive red Chorten painted with Buddhism’s eight auspicious symbols. From the pass a terraced valley with groups of yellowish trees appears and above the village of Ghelung there are two red Gompas.Ghelung differs from other villages in Mustang, where houses are built close together and look fortress-like. The village is spread out on a wide carpet of green giveing the impression of being a fairly affluent little community. Above the village are barren, brown hills and we can see another pass we need to negotiate Nyi La pass straight ahead. After the pass the path descends gradually towards the Ghami La pass trekking past a rundown, deserted village downstream. By now the landscape is even more rugged – a deep riverbed snakes its way down the red cliffs, ahead are hills resembling enormous red and colourful sand-dunes. Another broad valley approaches from the left side and in its centre is Ghami, Mustang’s third largest town. Ghami sits high above the river and surrounded by fields. Overnight Lodge.
On leaving Ghami we pass an incredible Mani (parayer) wall – approximately 1000m long and Mustangs longest. It is decorated with simple carvings and very much typical and in tune with the surrounding scenery. A group of Chortens stand erect in front of the red wall which forms the end of the valley.The architecture is hard to distinguish going hand in handmore like an organic extension of the nature here. The legend here of which there are many is on the death of the famous Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) who came to the area to fight and destroy a demon, its intestines landed at the site where the Mani wall stands, its lungs near the red cliffs behind and its heart at the spot where Mustang’s oldest monastery, Lo Gekar, was built. We make a steady climb up to a pass 3820m where a lunar-looking stretches as far as the eye can see. This is barren country with no sign of vegetation or human life, hill after barren hill with a distinctively haunting beauty. The first indication of human life is found at the Tsarang Chorten – the large red-painted Stupa standing alone, further down the trail the monastery palace of Tsarang can be distinguished in the fields. A wide road leads us to Tsarang, Mustang’s second town, with around 1000 inhabitants. Overnight Lodge
We start today along flat terrain apart from a chorten and a few caves it is barrenness all the way. We cross over a pass through two rocks that form a natural gate to finally reach our destination Lo Manthang where we spend two nights with a full day to soak up Lo Manthang.
We leave Lo Manthang rested and full of this mystical place our journey back will be different today we begin with a walk up through green meadow pastures a look back at Lo Manthang which will finally become a speck as we continue our journey back to civilisationA slight variation of the return route heading south first from Lomanthang to Chorang, later we turn east, to reach Lo Gekar (signifying 'Pure virtue of Lo' and also known as Ghar Gompa or house temple). The trail climbs steadily to a pass from where we have a beautiful view. From Lo Gekar the trek continues to reach a valley and then descends to the village Ghami at 3,440 m.Overnight Guest Hose
We stay on the western side of the Kali Gandaki Valley because the eastern part is more difficult terrain and even less inhabited with drinking water hard to find. In front of us the Himalayas once again rises to the North to greet us as we now need to negotiate the highest pass, Lugri La (4200m).
We v stop for a while at a monasteryLeaving the monastery before a short but steep walk down the yellow canyon to Tamar with good views of the valley and large red vertical cliffs in the North West. From the greyness of the barren landscape we have been in for a few days with little in the way of color contrast, the combination of red rock, blue sky, green grass and white yaks need some adjustment.
Above Samar numerous caves cut into the cliff walls these are only accessible to rock climbers. At the entrance to the canyon there is an unusual looking Chorten along with hundreds of prayer flags and stone erections. Overnight Guest House.
Nilgiri is visible again,we continue the trail past more caves on our way south before a steady climb bringing us above Ghami, where we can see the town along with the long Mani wall and the pass we climbed a few days back! There are two more passes to cross both providing some splendid views of the Annapurna range.We reach Jamyung, which lies at the fork between Ghelung and Shyangboche. We are likely to detour here to Ghelung where two Gompas are situated above the village and a small but fine monastery. Later we rejoin the regular trekking path to Shyangboche. Overnight Guest House.
The trail to Samar runs higher and higher above the canyons with each side valley we cross and the Annapurna range appears closer and closer as we go.The trek today can be difficult at times because of the gorges, but there is so much to be had in the way of compensation the trail conjures up some brilliant views of Tilicho and Nilgiri. As the mountains grow higher and higher with increased vegetation contrasting with the gigantic walls of ice it is hard to believe the ‘moonscape’ bleakness of a day or so back. We need to cross two deep valleys before taking a lunch break at Samar. The afternoon is relatively easy downhill all the way.Views become more spectacular as we trek high above the gorge. We take a break at Chaile before entering the riverbed of the Kali Gandaki region –and onwards to Chuksang. It is difficult to comprehend that we are on the same trail we were on when we started as so much has happened to us along the way, the sense of time seems to change when trekking! Soon we are at Tetang’s mani wall and the beautiful Chorten, Overnight Guest House.
After an early start we have a good view of the village of Tetang, which consists of two separate settlements surrounded by high walls and from a distance looks like a large fort. The ascent to a plateau is steep and the trail here can be rather difficult to locate. There is an easy walk over a plain, after which comes about three hours of steep walking uphill, with the narrow trail getting precipitous at times, with loose black gravel. After ascending high in the valley the trail makes a right turn and the pass becomes visible above. At the pass, the mountains seem amazingly close, with Thorung, although the lowest peak, looking particularly impressive, having large glaciers clinging to its steep flanks. Tilicho is covered by snow with indented glaciers, while the summit of Annapurna further back does not actually seem as high as its 8000m +. Even Nilgiri’s almost sheer north face is also covered by glaciers.
It is a moderate walk down to Muktinath, with stunning views of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna. Their summits are only 34km apart, which accounts for the tremendous depth of the Kali Gandaki valley. Getting to Muktinath involves crossing another valley, which takes some time. The sporadic houses start to become more numerous as we get nearer Muktinath. There are 108 springs which have their source in or around Muktinath and bathing here is believed to bring good luck. Many people also collect the spring water in bottles to take home to relatives. Also at Muktinath is the legendary flame coming out of a rock, around which a Buddhist temple has been created. O/N Mukthinath
As we begin the final days hiking,Dhaulagiri glows a magnificent orange in the early morning sun. Here rather than descend on the main trail back to Jomosom we take a side trip to the Bon Punt soling monastery in Lubra. The settlement of Lubra consists of around twenty or so houses near a bend in the river and was founded in connection with the establishment of the Bon Punt Soling Monastery in the 12th century. This is one of the very few Bon monasteries remaining in Nepal. Bon was the predominant religion in Tibet before the spread of Buddhism it is alsao known asthe fifth tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. In the monastery there are pictures of four Lokapalas and Buddha Shakyamuni. Bags of masks can be seen hanging from the encrusted ceiling.Tradition still dictates today that the head member of Lubra’s nine major families automatically becomes a priest.
After Lubra, the trail leads to the Kali Gandaki where we across the river Panga a couple of times! At the confluence of the two rivers we join the caravan of tourists travelling to Jomsom. Overnight Lodge.
We fly back to Pokhara and transfer to our hotel.The rest of the day is free to explore this lovely lake town.
After a leisurely breakfast we take a morning flight back to Kathmandu and transfer to our hotel.The afternoon is free before an optional farewell evening meal and cultural show in the evening. Overnight Hotel
Today is a final farewell,one of our representatives will assist with the airport transfer with a wish for a safe journey and a hope to meet up again.
The Cost Include(s)
- 3 * Hotel accommodation (twin share) with Breakfast where stated.
- Government approved Trek team English speaking guide plus porters (all our staff are insured)
- Comprehensive First Aid Kit.
- Three meals a day plus tea/coffee (B.L.D.) on trek in lodges
- Private overland transport as described in the itinerary.
- Return flight Pokhara to Jomosom to Pokhara
- All conservation and trek permits (T.I.M.S.) including restricted area permit for Upper Mustang.
- Assistance with buying trek gear or we can loan you for the trek.
- Welcome and farewell Dinner in Kathmandu.
The Cost Exclude(s)
- Bottled drinks of any kind plus extra tea and coffee when trekking.
- Tips and gratuities for staff.
- Personal insurance which if trekking or climbing must include helicopter evacuation.
- Please Note: Visas can be obtained on your arrival at Kathmandu Airport
The Upper Mustang trek is suitable for anyone who is moderately fit it does not require any previous trekking experience. It is recommended that youparticipate in some physical fitness activities such as running, swimming and walking before your arrival. If you're suffering from a pre-existing medical condition, you should seek medical advice from your doctor before considering this trek.
In Kathmandu and before the trek we use our own modern vehicles or transport described in the itinerary.
Of course. You can use ATM and credit card facilities in Kathmandu and Jomsom. Above Jomsom, you’ll need cash for various services as there are no ATM lounges and payment is accepted only in cash.
Whilst you stay in a 4 to a 5-star hotel in Kathmandu whereas on trek compromise on accommodations is needed on the remote parts of the trek. You stay in teahouses with basic facilities they are cozy and offer heartwarming hospitality.
We strongly suggest you not to drink tap water. You can drink the tap water after using water purifying tablets or water filtures.
Electricity is available in upper mustang. You won’t have any problems to charge your camera battery, phone, and other electronics.
Upper Mustang trek is a moderate trek but obviously some days are more difficult than others.The fitter you are the more rewarding the experience.