Days: 18 / Difficulty: 3 of 5 (Moderate to strenuous)
Overview: Upper Mustang, ancient wall city of Lo-Manthang and Forbidden Kingdom
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. 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. 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.
Our mountain biking trip to the Upper Mustang Valley is truly an awe-inspiring adventure and a phenomenal experience that you’ll never forget. Words can’t really describe this amazing & unique place of ancient Buddhist and Tibetan culture. The Upper Mustang, where our destination point ‘Lo-Manthang’ is located, is a remote and forbidden area, restricted to foreigners until 1992. Now, with our unique knowledge of the area and our passion for finding awesome biking trails we’ve managed to carve out a spectacular route on some of the most remote trails in the world in a place where most riders would never get the chance ride. If you’re looking for something truly unique, our Upper Mustang biking trip is certainly one of the best rides that Nepal has to offer!
Fact of the Trip;
Trip Region: Upper Mustang Region
Types of Trip: Biking and Hiking
Duration: 18 Days
Highest Elevation: 4230m
Mode of Trip: Lodge or Tea-house
Grade: Moderate to Strenuous
Average Biking: 4-6 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)
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 biking tour 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.
Itinerary in detail
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: Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara 800m/25min.
Up early for our short but scenic flight to Pokhara, 198 kilometers west of Kathmandu. You will fly high above the north-south Rivers flowing down towards the Terai from the Himalaya and Tibet, over terraced villages and green hills with the Ganesh Himal, Langtang, Manaslu and massif Annapurna ranges in the distance, to balmy, sub-tropical Pokhara. Our car will pick up you from airport and drive to Hotel. The adventure starts today with a warm up ride on our home trails of the Pokhara Valley! We have plenty of circuits to choose from. Flat Cross Country rides, hard climbs that offer stunning views of the Himalayan Range, recreational rides visiting some caves or just enjoying our flowing single-track, it’s up to you. Get into the groove before jumping up into the high mountains the next day. Stay overnight at Hotel.
Day 4: Fly from Pokhara to Jomsom 2710m, 40 minutes and biking trip to Kagbeni 2800m, Distance: 12 Km,
Early in the morning, we will drive to airport by private vehicle and we fly to Jomsom which will be approximately around 40 minutes, we assemble our bikes, and have breakfast in the lap of Mount Nilgiri. After breakfast, we start biking to Kagbeni (2800m). Our ride will follow the Kaligandaki gorge on a flat, rocky jeep track along a famous holy trekking trail. Kagbeni is the entry point to Upper Mustang. We will have lunch there and We can visit the red-painted Gompa which is said to be about 1000 years old. Stay overnight in Lodge.
Day 5: Biking Trip from Kagbeni to Muktinath 3800m, Distance: 20 Km,
We recommend waking up early to enjoy the spectacular sunrise and get some photos that you wouldn’t believe! Today we will be biking mostly uphill to Muktinath on jeep track. We will have lunch at Jharkot exploring afterwards some of the monasteries and local culture. Then continue riding upto Muktinath. Stay overnight in Lodge.
Day 6: Biking Trip from Muktinath to Chaile 3050m, Distance: 18Km,
Today our journey enters into the forbidden land of Upper Mustang. We will ride uphill to the Gyu La pass descending to Chusang where we will have lunch and rest for a while. After having lunch, we’ll follow the banks of the Kali river and cross by bridge, riding uphill to reach Chaile. This is a nice little village which offers an awesome view of mount Nilgiri and the Kaligandaki valley from a different angle than the first day in Jomsom. In Chaile we can explore some ancient buildings and a monastery. Stay overnight in Lodge.
Day 7: Biking Trip from Chaile to Syangboche 3800m, Distance: 20km,
Heading farther North into the Himalayas we’ll ride and push the uphills, enjoying the downhills after the passes. There’s 4 passes in between Chaile and Syangboche. We’ll stop at Samar for lunch then ride again towards Syangboche, being likely to meet some village people, ponies and donkeys along the way! Stay overnight in Lodge.
Day 8: Biking Trip from Syangboche to Charang 3560m, Distance: 22 km,
To start we have short climb to reach the first small pass with two more passes to come. From the 1st pass we will be rewarded with an amazing view of Nilgiri, Annapurna and Mustang. We will then ride, first on gentle track then hair rising downhill, to the Gilling then uphill again through some beautiful villages on single track. After the bigest pass of the day (4000m) we’ll ride the downhill to Ghami. We’ll have Lunch in a local tea house with some delicious food from the Tibetan influenced kitchen. Next we’ll ride down through some farmland where yak/ Chauri graze and cross a bridge riding past Mani wall and an ancient Gumba. Then we’ll approach the last pass followed by a downhill taking us towards Charang where finally we can relax after the big day! Stay overnight in Lodge.
Day 9:Biking Trip from Charang to Lo-Manthang 3800m, Distance: 20Km,
Today we’ll finally reach our destination of Lo-Manthang, the walled city of Buddhist heritage. It is a relatively easy day’s ride with only the Lo-la pass (3810m) to cross. In this true Himalayan landscape the views are amazing and there are some 360 degree view points where we can stop and take photos. We’ll be riding through open jeep tracks and some trekking trails. After the pass we’ll reach Lo-Manthang after about half an hour. We’ll take lunch in our guest house and relax for the rest of the day. Stay overnight in Lodge.
Day 10: In and Around Lo-Manthang 3800m
Now we get the chance to explore the fascinating Lo-Manthang with it’s centuries old Gumba, Royal Palace, inhabited caves, museum and ancient Buddhist ways of life. We may even get the chance to meet the traditional King and Queen of the region! Stay overnight in Lodge.
Day 11: Biking Trip from Lo-Manthang to Ghami 3510m via Ghar Gompa, Distance: 30Km,
Now it’s time to be leaving Lo-Manthang and head back through some new single-track routes. We’ll have to pass two passes over 4000 meters, looking back up the Mustang Valley with some amazing views. We’ll be able to see the Ghar Gumbaon from the other direction and later in the evening we’ll explore the village of Ghami (the village we had our lunch in on the way to Lo-Manthang). Stay overnight in Lodge.
Day 12: Biking Trip from Ghami to Samar 3620m, Distance: 32Km
We’ll now be reversing the route we took coming towards Lo-Manthang with the veiws and scenery just as spectacular as before! We’ll take lunch in Syangboche then ride up to the pass followed by a downhill to reach Samar village. Stay ovvernight in Lodge.
Day 13: Biking Trip from Samar to Marpha 2670m, Distance: 30km
We’ll start today’s ride early in the morning with small climb up to Da- Jorila pass (3737m) then a downhill ride to Chaile. We’ll ride along the kali Gandaki river bank to Kagbeni and take lunch in either Chhusang or Kagbeni. After lunch we ride back along the kaligandaki gorge to our starting point at Jomsom. Then we’ll continue with a ride through gorgeous apple gardens to the beautiful village of Marpha. We will stay overnight in Marpha which is known for it’s Apple brandy! Stay overnight in Lodge.
Day 14: Biking Trip from Marpha to Tatopani 1190m, Distance: 45Km
We’ll wake up early after a good sleep (as you come down from high altitude most people sleep better at night) and have the chance to explore some of Marpha. After a good breakfast we’ll get started on our journey toward a more subtropical region along the Kaligandaki River. It’s downhill all the way with lush, green scenery and more oxygen in your lungs, what a great feeling! We’ll reach Tatopani (meaning ‘hot spring’ in Nepali) which is a famous place among locals for treating skin ailments (& not bad for tired legs too!). Stay overnight in Lodge.
Day 15: Biking Trip from Tatopani to Beni 1000m, Distance: 18Km, then Drive to Pokhara,
After breakfast we will ride along the river bed on a jeep track to the Beni Bazaar where we’ll meet the Pokhara road. Our vehicle will be waiting for us to take us drive back to Pokhara and transfer to Hotel.
Day 16: Fly from Pokhara to Kathmandu for 25 minutes.
Morning after breakfast, our car will pick you up from the hotel and transfer to Pokhara airport and flight back to Kathmandu with scenic views of Annapurna massif, Lamjung Himal, Manaslu range, Ganesh Himal range and Langtang Himal for 25 minutes flight time and transfer to Hotel.
Day 17: Full Day Guided Sightseeing Tour in Bhaktapur and Patan Durbar square by private van
After breakfast, we are going to visit two historical monuments which represent early and late medieval history, architecture, culture and religion. Bhaktapur Durbar square is an ancient newari city, 13 kilometers far from Kathmandu stores numbers of Hindu temples, 55 windowed medieval durbar and offers you various examples of metal smith and wooden craft along with the opportunity of exploring traditional pottery work to the another corner. Patan durbar square is equally important which represents late medieval history, Culture and architecture. Stay overnight at Hotel in Kathmandu.
Day 18: 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.
Pricing on group size basis
2 persons group size basis; USD 3760 per person
3-6 persons group size basis; USD 3640 per person
7-10 persons group size basis; USD 2520 per person
11-16 persons group size basis; USD 3400 per person
Note: if some one interested to use the Dual Suspension Mountain Bike then it will cost USD 295 per person additional cost for the entire trip.
Our Trek Package Cost includes;
* Airport/Hotel/Airport pick up and transfer by private car/van.
* 6 nights accommodation in twin bed sharing basis with breakfast at 3*** hotel in Kathmandu and standard hotel in Pokhara.
* Sightseeing tour in Kathmandu with our tour guide and all entrance fees.
* Domestic flight tickets from Kathmandu-Pokhara-Jomsom and Pokhara-Kathmandu and airport tax.
* Meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) with Tea & coffee and hot/cold filter water during the trek.
* Lodge to lodge accommodation during the trek.
* 1 experienced helpful and friendly mountain biking guide, porters (1 porter for 2 peoples)/Donkeys, their food & accommodation, salary, equipment & insurance.
* Hard Tail mountain Bike and other maintainance.
* Upper Mustang Restricted Area Permit.
* All transportation by private vehicle.
* Annapurna Conservation Area Permit.
* All necessary permits.
* 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 Equipment 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 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 clients themselves.