Days: 17 / Difficulty: 4 of 5 (Strenuous)
Horse Riding Trek to Upper Mustang is one of the most popular trekking destinations for the traveler who would like to explore ancient monasteries and caves in a remote area and a beautiful landscape. This is the forbidden kingdom and ancient wall city of Mustang and it is open for trekkers since 1992. This trek is very enjoyable due to its isolation and beautiful landscape. Mustang is a land where the soul of the man is still considered to be as real as the feet he walks on; a land said to be ‘barren as a dead deer” but where beauty and happiness about in spite of hardships. Mustang is an ancient Himalayan Kingdom which lies in the northern central part of Nepal and at the top of the Kaligandaki River. Upper Mustang 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. 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 and Dhaulagiri. 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 Amepal, 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. Our plan is to follow the Kali Gandaki from Jomsom northwards for two days, then taking the west route to the capital Lo Manthang and from there back to Jomsom over the holy site Muktinath.
Fact of the Upper Mustang Trek:
Trip Region: Upper Mustang Region
Types of Trip: Trekking and Hiking
Duration: 17 Days
Highest Elevation: 4230m
Mode of Trip: Lodge or Tea-house
Grade: Moderate to Strenuous
Average Walking/Riding: 5-6 hours in a day
Trip Start/End: Kathmandu
Meal: 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 (June-July-August)
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.
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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: Kathmandu to Pokhara by tourist bus ,6-7 hours
Drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara at 7:00 in the morning by AC tourist bus passing by the Riverside of Trisuli, about 7 hours to Pokhara. Some sightseeing in Pokhara with your guide. Overnight in hotel.
Day 4: Pokhara to Jomsom by flight and ride and trek to Kagbeni 2800m, 3-4 hours riding
Early in the morning, we go to the airport by taxi and we fly to Jomsom and have breakfast. Then we continue our trail passing the River bank of Kaligandaki until we reach Lubra where we visit the Bon-Po monastery. It takes about 3 hours. We keep walking to Eklebatti. Where we have lunch. After lunch, we continue until Kagbeni which takes about 1 hour. We can visit the red-painted Gompa which is said to be about 1000 years old. Overnight in Lodge.
Day 5: Ride and trek from Kagbeni to Tsaile 3100m, 5-6 hours riding
In the morning after breakfast, we must register our Restricted Area Permit in check post which is situated at the end of the village. Then the route continue passing the river bank of Kaligandaki. Repeating small ascents and descents until Tangbe village which takes about a 3 hours walk. We can see beautiful landscapes and the Buddhist influence like Chhörtens , Maniwalls. Then we continue our trek for 1 hour to Chhusang village passing over a rocky trail. We have our lunch break in this village. After lunch, we again continue on our route by the river bank and we cross over an iron bridge where the Kaligandaki River runs through a tunnel naturally built in a huge rock. It takes about 1 hour. Later we can see 16 caves above the tunnel. We walk up a steep ascent untill we reach the village of Tsaile which takes about 30 minutes. We have a good view of Nilgiri Himal and the Kaligandaki River. Overnight in Lodge.
Day 6: Ride and trek from Tsaile to Ghiling 3570m, 6-7 hours riding
In the morning, we climb up an unstable path and arrive at a plateau. We keep ascending the gentle slope and later we climb steep cliff way and arrive at a small pass.We keep gently descending to Samar village. It takes about 2 and half hours. We have lunch break here. After lunch, we leave the village and keep on going up and down until we reach the Chungsi cave monastery. It is an incredible place and we enjoy the strong spiritual environement . It is a steep ascent about 1 and half hours . We visit the monastery where Guru Padmasambhava meditated in 8th century. Then we continue our trek passing narrow way between two big huge rocks. It takes 1 and half hour to reach Syangmochen village. Again we climb up until we reach a small pass. After a you gentle descend we reach the village of Ghiling. We see a big Chhörten and two Gompas whose walls are notably painted in red. Overnight in Lodge.
Day 7: Ride and trek from Ghiling to Tsarang 3560m, 6-7 hours riding
In the morning, after breakfast, we visit the monastery. Then we keep on walking ascending gently until we reach Zaite village which takes about 1 hour. After the village a long ascent awaits us to Nyi-La 4020m. We cross over this pass entering the center of Mustang which is called the Lo region. Then we keep gently descending to reach a small pass again. After that pass it really goes steep down in a zigzag way to Ghami village. It takes 2 and half hours. We have lunchbreak. After lunch we walk again through Nepali flat which means down and up and finally crossing the small Khola. We can now see the longest Mani Wall in the Mustang region which is painted with vertical stripes of white, red and black. Then we have again a long steep ascent to a small pass and descend gently to Tsarang village. It takes about 3 hours. We can see a big huge Chhörten in the entrance of village, an Old Palace and Tsarang Gompa which we willvisit in the evening. Overnight in Lodge.
Day 8: Ride and trek from Tsarang to Lo-Manthang 3840m:
Upper Trail 7-8 hours riding, Lower trail 4-5 hours riding
We follow the upper trail which allows us to explore the Lo-Gyakar-Ghar Gompa. First we follow the river side trail to Marang village. It takes about 1 hour. Then we cross the River on a suspension bridge and continue to Ghar Gompa which takes about another 1 and half hours. Where we visit the Gompa. It is one of the oldest Gompas of upper Mustang. It was built by Guru Padmasambhava, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism in the 8th century. After visiting the monastery, we continue our trek crossing the small river and keep walking on the plateau and where we have at some point our packed lunch. After lunch, a long gentle ascent continues to reach Chogo-La 4230m which is the highest point in this region. Then we keep descending to Lo-Manthang which takes about 4 hours. Now we are in the ancient wall city of Mustang. Overnight in Lodge.
Day 9: Exploration Day
Hike to Chhoser 7-8 hours riding or hike to Namgyal monastery 2-3 hours riding
Today, we have 2 options to explore the forbidden kingdom. To visit Chhoser Village and another to explore Namgyal Monastery. Both are nice hikes. If we decide to go to Chhoser, we can visit many caves and a cave monastery. We need to carry our packed lunch. Or we just go to Namgyal monastery. Later in the day you have a time to explore the other monasteries in Lo-Manthang or just do some shopping. Overnight in Lodge.
Day 10: Ride and trek from Lo-Manthang to Yara 3900m, 6-7 hours riding
We start our trek after breakfast, leave the village and keep by gently ascending going until we reach Day-La which takes about 1 hour. This is the last point where we can see Lo-Manthang. After 3 hours we reach Dhi village then we descend for about 1 hour down where we have lunch break. After lunch we pass the small Khola and make a short steep climb to Yara village. It takes about 1 and half hour. We can see innumerable caves at the stonewalls. Overnight in Lodge, Home Stay.
Day 11: Exploration Day:
Hike to Luri Cave Monastery 4-5 hours riding
Today, we make an excursion to Luri Gompa. In the morning, we continue through the river route to Luri cave Monastery which takes about 2 hours. There are actually two monasteries. First we visit one which is situated below of Luri Cave monastery. Then a short steep ascent brings us to Luri Cave Monastery which takes us about 30 minutes. This the oldest and most famous cave monasteriey in the Mustang region which was constructed in the 15th century. It is situated at an elevation of 4005m. Inside the cave we can see a big Old Chhörten and many images and statues of Protectors and Deities. There is an also highly sacred religious text which is always closed. Then we return back via Ghara Village and we have our lunch break. After lunch,we return toYara. Overnight in Lodge/Home Stay
Day 12: Ride and trek from Yara to Tangya 3240m, 6-7 hours riding
Today is a difficult and long day for us. Therefore we start really early in the morning. We first have short and steep ascent and then long flat way for about 1 hour. Then the trail continues steep down to Dechhyang Khola which origin is from Damodar kunda. It takes about 30 minutes.We find everywhere Saligrames (the black fossils of marine animals). Then the trail steeply ascents and leads us to the top of the pass which takes about 2 and half hour. Then another climb for about 30 minutes where we have our packed lunch break. After lunch, the trail goes up and down for about 1and half hour. Then we are on a huge plateau and cross it for reaching the to Tangya village.We can see several big Chhörtens. Overnight in Lodge/Home Stay.
Day 13: Ride and trek from Tangya to Chhusang 2980m, 8-9 hours riding
Today is also long day again. Therefore we start again really early in the morning. We leave the village, cross the suspension bridge and follow the short river route. After crossing the river, we steeply climb up to reach a small pass it takes about 3 hours. Then the trail goes straight to Pha (shelter house) where we have our packed lunch. After the break we continue crossing many small passes until we reach the top of the hill. It takes about 2 hours. Then the trail steeply descends and we encounter strong winds until we reach Chhusang village.We have a superb view of Nilgiri Himal, Dhaulagiri I, Tukuche Peak, and other snow peaks. Overnight in Lodge.
Day 14: Ride and trek from Chhusang to Jomsom 2720m, 5-6 hours riding
Today, we are back on the same way when we entered Mustang. We hike over the rocky trail to Tanbe have a short descent bringing us down to the river. We pass the river banks of Kalidandaki River until we reach Kagbeni which takes about 3 hours .There we have also lunch. After lunch, we continue over the motor way trail to Jomsom which takes about 2 and half hour. Overnight in Lodge.
Day 15: Jomsom to Pokhara by flight and sightseeing in Pokhara
Early in the morning, we fly back to Pokhara and transfer to our Hotel. We can do sightseeing or relax , the hot shower. Overnight in Hotel.
Day 16: Pokhara to Kathmandu by tourist bus 6-7 hours
Early in the morning, we drive to Kathmandu by AC tourist bus And transfer to hotel.
Day 17: 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.
Booking open for 2018/2019: Join with us now on a Horse Riding Trek to Upper Mustang
Our Trek Package Cost Includes:
* Airport / Hotel / Airport pick up & transfer by car / Van.
* Domestic Flight Pokhara-Jomsom-Pokhara and domestic airport tax
* 5 nights accommodation with breakfast at 3*** hotel in Kathmandu and Standard hotel in Pokhara.
* Kathmandu city tour as per the above itinerary.
* Meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) with Tea & coffee and hot/cold filer water during the trek.
* All teahouse accommodation during the trek.
* 1 experienced, helpful and friendly guide, porters (1 porter between 2 people), their food, accommodation, salary, equipments and their insurance.
* Restricted area special permits (USD 500/ 10 Days).
* All transportation by private car/van.
* Annapurna conservation area permit and all necessary permits.
* 1 Horse and horse man including his food, accommodation, salary and insurance.
* First Aid Medical kit box.
* Office Service charge.
Our Trek Package Cost doesn't include:
* Any meals (Lunch and Dinner) in Kathmandu and Pokhara other than breakfast.
* Travel insurance.
* International air fare to and from Nepal.
* Nepal Tourist Visa fees.
* Items and expenses of personal nature.
* Any kind of alcoholic drinks, cold drinks, snacks, laundry, phone call, internet.
* Personal Trekking Equipments.
* 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.
* Additional porters during the trek.
* Tips for guide, porters, driver...
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 email@example.com
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.
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