Days: 16 / Difficulty: 3 of 5 (Moderate to strenuous)
Upper Mustang Trek, our fascination for the unknown and the ability to explore the undiscovered have given us access to almost every corner of the world. One of the few regions which could escape foreigners was Mustang, a Buddhist kingdom in the Himalayas. Only a handful of Westerners had visited the area in western Nepal before it was opened to tourism in 1992. They brought back reports of a culturally highly developed, thriving medieval society and a landscape almost beyond description. It lies north of the two 8'000 meter peaks Annapurna I and Dhaulagiri I. The arid place with snow-capped mountains and barren hills reaches deep inside the vast Tibetan plateau. Cold winds sweep through narrow canyons and over plains. Erosion has left its marks in bizarre rock formations. Yet humans have lived in this hostile environment for centuries. They have built their settlements along rivers and creeks, the villages of whitewashed houses appear like oases in a huge desert. People work as farmers on their fields, sowing and harvesting barley and potatoes, and driving cattle to relatively fertile meadows. High up in vertical cliffs are inaccessible caves where people dwelled two thousand years ago. Much later the region came under the influence of the Tibetan Yarlung dynasty. In the 15th century the independent kingdom of Lo was founded by Ame Pal, whose invitation of the famous Buddhist scholar Ngorchen Künga Zangpo led to a cultural zenith never to be reached again in the following centuries. It was probably thanks to its remoteness that even in later times of conquest Mustang was granted large autonomy. The destruction of their culture and religion could be averted but the Hindu culture and tourism are definitely a threat these days. Only in 1950 was it officially declared part of Nepal. The years following the Chinese invasion of Tibet proved to be the most difficult ones in Mustang’s history. Large numbers of Tibetan freedom fighters set up their camps and attacked the nearby Chinese troops, putting Nepal in a delicate situation. In the 1970 the Dalai Lama asked the guerillas to stop their fighting, the Nepalese government arrested and sentenced some of the leaders. It takes some effort to discover the scenic and cultural beauties and mysteries of such an area. Mustang Trek is to follow the Kali Gandaki from Jomsom northwards for several days, then taking the west route to the capital Lo-Manthang and from there back to Jomsom. Mustang Trekking Nepal consists of two distinct regions: the southern part and the northern where the languages, culture and traditions are alike to those of the Tibetan people. This area is consider as one of the most interesting and picturesque places in Nepal. The whole area has an isolated and mystical feel to it, enchanting and inspiring visitors to this region. Mustang Nepal Trek is through high altitude desert country climbing in and out of the huge sided valley of the Kali Gandaki. In places the gorge which the Kali Gandaki River runs through is the deepest in the world. This region is full of some of Nepal’s oldest Buddhist Monasteries, ancient and isolated villages with quaint white washed houses.
Fact of the Upper Mustang Trek:
Trip Region: Upper Mustang Region
Types of Trip: Trekking and Hiking
Duration: 16 Days
Highest Elevation: 4230m
Mode of Trip: Lodge or Tea-house
Grade: Moderate to Strenuous
Average Biking: 5-6 hours in a day
Trip Start/End: Kathmandu
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: 3 Star Hotel in Kathmandu and Pokhara and normal tea-houses/lodges during the biking tour
Best Season: Autumn (Sep-Oct-Nov) and Spring (March-April-May) and Summer (Jun-July-Aug)
Transportation by: Domestic Flight and Private Vehicle
Culture Experience: Majority of Mustangis (Lobas) and their way of life
Major Himalayan Sights: Mt. Dhaulagiri 8167m, Tukuche Peak 6920m, Nilgiri 7061, Tilicho Peak 7134m, Thorong Peak 6144m, Saribung 6328m, Mustang Himal 6187m, Manshail 6235m,
Highlights of the Trip: A challenging trekking through arid desert canyons to the walled city of Lo Manthang, a pocket of lost Tibet that boasts spectacular ancients Buddhist monasteries such as Ghar Gompa, Jampa Gompa, Namgyal Gompa, walled villages and remote caves shrines such as Chungsi cave, Dzong Cave, spectacular views of high Himalayan range, scenic mountain flight in and out of Jomsom and Pokhara, meeting local Loba people and their traditional Tibetan culture, passing several Buddhist monuments, explore the formar Himalayan kingdom of Upper Mustang and its beautiful landscapes.
Upper Mustang Trek Itinerary
Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu
Arrival in Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport and you will be met at the airport by our representative who will be waiting with a Swiss Family Treks sign outside the terminal and transfer to Hotel by private car. Welcome drink and after you settle into the hotel there will be a group briefing with your tour leader. He will discuss the trek details and co-ordinate any last minute arrangements. Stay overnight at Hotel.
Day 2: Full Day Guided Sightseeing Tour in Kathmandu Valley by private van.
After brekafast in the hotel, Drive to Swayambhunath Stupa which is very close form the centre of Kathmandu. It takes some minutes to be there. This Temple is also known as Monkey Temple which is considered to be self made Stupa. Then visit to Boudhanath Stupa: the biggest stupa in Nepal and one of the bigger stupa in the world. You can basically experience Tibetan Buddhism, culture and way of life in Boudhanath Area. Boudhanath area is the authentic place to buy Tibetan stuffs. Again you will be visit Pashupatinath Temple and it is one of the most sacred temples in the entire Hindu world. It is a sacred place where Hindus come to die and to be cremated. The temple of Pashupatinath is a large double roofed, gilt pagoda, decorated with brass, the gateway is plated with silver. There are images of Shiva along with other statues, shrines and temples dedicated to other deities in the complex. A circuit of the Pashupati area takes visitors past a sixth-century statue of the Buddha, an eight-century statue of Brahma the creator and numerous other temples. There are rows of Shiva shrines and Hindu pilgrims from all over south Asia offering ceremonies to worship Shiva, the Lord of Destruction. Stay overnight at Hotel in Kathmandu.
Day 3: Drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara 820m/6-7 hours with tourist bus,
Drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara at 7 O’clock in the morning by AC tourist bus passing the River side of Trisuli and takes about 7 hours to reach Pokhara. We can visit such as interesting places like Devi’s Fall, Gupteswor Cave, Temple Barahi and boating on Phewa Lake in Pokhara and transfer to Hotel.
Day 4: Fly from Pokhara to Jomsom 2720m and trek to Kagbeni 2800m/3-4 hours,
Early in the morning we fly from Pokhara to Jomsom with viewing a scenic and majestic Himalayan Ranges just above the deepest Kaligandaki gorge and after arrival in Jomsom, we meet with our support staffs and will have a breakfast. After breakfast, we prepare our trail goes along the Kaligandaki River passing the Jomsom’s main village. Then, we walk on the wide bank of the Kaligandaki and move on in the wind. We have a short glimpse of Mt. Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri Himal. On this bank ammonite fossils are often found. From the trail on the bank, we make a small ascent and go down again, and then we reach Eklebatti. We will have our lunch there. After lunch, we continue slightly ascends and level trail until reaching Kagbeni Village, which is doorway to upper Mustang. We will visit the peculiar colors and shapes of the Chhorten and Kani in the village and ancient Sakya-Pa Sect Buddhist Monastery. From the top of monastery, we have a great view of Nilgiri Himal, Tilicho Peak and other snow-capped mountains as well as scenic terraced field. Overnight at Lodge.
Day 5: Trek from Kagbeni to Tsaile 3100m/5-6 hours,
In the morning after breakfast, we check in our restricted area permit and we are taking first step into Upper Mustang. The route will continue on the left bank of Kaligandaki with small ups and downs along the Kaligandaki River. After a long walk, we cross small stream and climb up on the terraced hill; we will come to Tangbe, the first Mustang village where the village has a medieval atmosphere. We will have our lunch here, and then we continue the trail traversing upward and will reach Chhusang village. From Chhusang, we will go back again to the river shore and move in the upstream direction of the Kaligandaki. When there is an iron bridge where Kaligandaki River runs through a tunnel built in the huge rock that blocks the river shores and just above the bridge, there is 16 small caves. After cross the bridge, we make a steep ascent onto the terrace ahead and we will reach Tsaile from where we can see the zigzagging Kaligandaki and Nilgiri Himal further in the interior. Overnight at Lodge.
Day 6: Trek from Tsaile to Ghiling 3570m/6-7 hours via Ranchung Cave Monastery,
Morning after breakfast, we leave the village and climb up the unstable pebble road and will come to a plateau. We keep climbing the gentle slope and enter an area with the big canyons. We follow the trail that cut out of the cliff and after passing the canyons we will reach a small pass. Then, we move to a gentle mountain flank and continue the slightly descent and will reach Samar village surrounded by a poplar grove. We will have our lunch here. After lunch, we descend steeply to a stream, then climb up and descend steeply to another stream, then climb up to a plateau. We keep climbing up the right fork to the Chungsi-La and countering through the amazing canyons until reaching Ranchung Cave whose large stalactites resemble Rangchung (self-arisen; ie not man-made) chhorten. The Buddhist saint Guru Rinpoche is said to have meditated here in 8th century during his traveling in Mustang. Himalayan griffons nest in the surrounding cliffs. After visiting the cave, we climb gradually past pasture to Syangmochen. Again we climb up to a small pass where there is a colorfully painted square chhorten. We will see a large valley of Ghiling spreading out in front of us. We continue descending to the right towards Ghiling, cross a stream and move on along the stone walls in the farm fields. Here is two ancient monasteries and big huge chhortens and we will visit in the evening. Overnight at Lodge.
Day 7: Trek from Ghiling to Drakmar 3450m/5-6 hours,
In the morning after breakfast, we walk through the big village and climb up the gentle slope with shrubberies and will join in mail trail. From here, a long ascent continues to Nyi-La. When we cross over this pass, we will enter the center of the Mustang, which used to be called the Lo Region. We descend the gentle slope and go around the valley ahead towards the left. We will be overlooking Ghami village and we descend steep zigzag slope and will reach the village. We will have our lunch here. After lunch, we leave the village and cross a river using the suspension bridge. We climb onto the terrace and pass along the longest Mani Wall in Mustang. The effect of the erosion on the cliff ahead attracts attention by its strange forms and the varieties of colors such as red, blue, white, etc. it is like a Mandala painted on the cliff. We keep going in level trail passing the big chhortens and cross a stream. Then, we keep walking along the upstream through the terraced fields until reaching Drakmar. Overnight at Lodge.
Day 8: Trek from Drakmar to Lo-Manthang 3840m/7-8 hours via Ghar Gompa and Marang-La Pass,
Today after breakfast, we leave the village and ascend a steep eroded gully overshadowed and the route cross some alpine meadows. Now will come to a plateau and then, across a valley to a cairn. We climb to a ridge and keep descending until Ghar Gompa. It is also known as Lo Gyaker which means ‘Pure virtue of Lo’. Ghar Gompa means ‘house temple’ and is affiliated with the Nyingma Lineage. This is one of the oldest Gompa in Mustang. After visiting Gompa, the trail steep descends to a wooden bridge and climb up to a plateau. We keep walking along a grassy valley and come to a ridge. We will make our lunch break here. Then, we continue the level trail until reaching Marang-La Pass. This is a high pass in this course. Then, we keep descending a large cairn and come to a small ridge from where first view of Lo-Manthang City. Again we continue crisscrossed with herder’s trail until reaching Lo-Manthang, a medieval ancient Wall City of Mustang. Overnight at Lodge.
Day 9: Explore to Chhuser Village for cave monastery and Dzong and back to Lodge.
Day 10: Trek from Lo-Manthang to Tsarang 3560m/3-4 hours,
In the morning after breakfast, we leave the castle village of Lo-Manthang and cross a small stream. Then, we gradually climbing steep sandy slope until Lo-La Pass from where we see the last view of ancient wall city of Lo-Manthang. We keep walking across the wide plain ahead with viewing the numerous caves on the terrace’s rock face. We continue the trail passing the big isolated chhorten that marks the boundary between Lo-Manthang and Tsarang till Tsarang Khola. We cross by an iron bridge and climb up until reaching Tsarang Village. We will have our lunch. After lunch, we visit the huge five-storey white Tsarang Palace (fortified palace) and the 14th century Gompa are perched on the edge of Kaligandaki gorgr at the eastern end of the village. Overnight at Lodge.
Day 11: Trek from Tsarang to Syangmochen 3500m/6-7 hours,
Morning after breakfast, we start our trek from our camp site and exit from the village passing huge chhorten. The trail goes a long gentle ascent until reaching to a ridge and after traverse the route down a rocky gully until reaching in Ghami passing again spectacular Mani Wall in Nepal. We will have our lunch here. After lunch, the trails continue steep up till Ghami-La and again a long gentle ascent brings to us on Nyi-La. Then, we climb down to Tamagaon and continue a steep set of switchbacks down a rocky canyon leads to a stream, then the trail climbs to a huge painted chhorten before rejoining the Ghiling trail near the ridge. We cross the small pass and descend to a Syangmochen. Overnight at Lodge.
Day 12: Trek from Syangmochen to Chhusang 2980m/5-6 hours,
In the morning after breakfast, we walk short level trail and steep climb up until reaching Yamdo-La. Then, we slightly climb down to Bhena. After passing the hamlets, namely Yamdo and Bhena, a long descent start to Samar crossing small streams. We will have our lunch here. After lunch, we continue the trail passing the big canyons and we reach in Tsaile. After that, we steep descend to the Kaligandaki River and cross by an iron bridge, then continue the trail along the Kaligandaki River until reaching Chhusang. Overnight at Lodge.
Day 13: Trek from Chhusang to Jomsom 2720m/6-7 hours,
In the morning after breakfast, we leave the village and gradually climb up a rocky trail until reaching Tangbe. Then, we continue our trail after passing the picturesque village of Tangbe and crossing small stream and steep climb up, we arrive to a plateau. We keep walking a long slope and again we continue to walking along the river bank of Kaligandaki until reaching Kagbeni. We will have our lunch here. After lunch, we continue the wind trail along the wide river bank of Kaligandaki until reaching Jomsom. Overnight at Lodge.
Day 14: Fly from Jomsom to Pokhara 820m and Half day Sightseeing in Pokhara with Guide.
Early in the morning after breakfast, we fly from Jomsom to Pokhara and check in our Hotel. We make a rest and will have a lunch. After lunch, we visit the some interesting places around the Pokhara Valley. We will have our dinner in quite and beautiful environment with culture dance show. Overnight in Hotel.
Day 15: Drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu 1340m/6-7 hours with Tourist Bus passing the scenic river of Trisuli and transfer to Hotel.
Day 16: Final Departure from Kathmandu
Your trip will come to an end today after breakfast. Your leader will be on hand to advise and assist with your onward travel arrangements and transfer to Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport by our private van around 3 hours before your flight schedule and flight back to your home/other travel destination.
Our Trek Package Cost includes;
* Airport/Hotel/Airport pick up and transfer by private car/van.
* 5 nights deluxe accommodation in twin bed sharing basis with breakfast at 3* hotel in Kathmandu and standard hotel in Pokhara.
* Sightseeing tour as per above mentioned itinerary and all entrance fees.
* Round Trip Flight Ticket from PKR-JOMSOM-PKR and airport tax.
* Meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) with Tea & coffee and hot/cold filter water during the lodge trek.
* Lodge to lodge accommodation during the trek.
* 1 experienced, helpful and friendly guide, porters (1 porter for 2 peoples), their food & accommodation, salary, equipments & insurance.
* All transportation by private vehicle and tourist bus.
* Upper Mustang Restrcited Area Permit.
* Annapurna Conservation Area Permit.
* All necessary permits.
* First Aid Medical Kit box.
* Office Service charge
* All Government Tax.
Our Trek Package Cost doesn't include;
* Any meals (Lunch and Dinner) in Kathmandu and Pokhara other than breakfast.
* Travel insurance (if you want us to arrange your travel insurance, we would greatly be happy to assist).
* International air fare to and from Nepal.
* Nepal Tourist Visa fee.
* Items and expenses of personal nature.
* Any kind of alcoholic drinks, cold drinks, laundry, phone call, internet.
* Personal Trekking Equipments like sleeping bags, jackets (can all be hired in KTM)
* Emergency Evacuation (Helicopter Rescue).
* Any costs which arise due to a change of the itinerary, because of landslides, domestic flight delays, political disturbance, and strikes etc.
* Any other costs whatsoever, that is not mentioned in the cost included.
* Horse renting and additional porters due to natural calamities during the trek.
* Tips for guide, porters, driver...
NOTE: Tipping is expected but it is not mandatory.
Customize Your Trek: This is a general itinerary, which can always individually be “tailormade”. The trek package can be redesigned or redeveloped as per your taste, For more information please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: In case of emergency during the trip, Helicopter will be arranged by Swiss Family Treks & Expedition GmbH. The charges must be paid by the clients themselves.