Trekking in Nepal

Upper Mustang Trek

Upper Mustang Trek
  • Total Duration

    18 days
  • Trek Grade

    Moderate to Adventurous
  • Trek Duration

    13 days
  • Max Elevation

    3780m at Lo Manthang
  • Mode of Trek

    Teahouse
  • Trek Starts

    Jomsom
  • Trek Ends

    Jomsom
“On the trans-Himalayan trade route, between the massif snow capped mountain range”

Overview

Mustang is the extension of the Tibetan plateau has an average elevation of over 3,000m. Located to the north of the highest mountains Dhaulagiri and Annapurna and to the north of the main Himalayan range and geographically part of the Tibet highlands. Mustang is the old kingdom of Lo. Officially the capital of the Mustang district is Jomsom, but the natural and original Tibetan customs, which is situated north of Kagbeni and is known as Upper Mustang.

It is a vast high valley, arid and dry, characterized by eroded canyons, colorful rock formations and has a barren, desert like appearance.

One of the most fascinating features of Mustang is literally thousands of cliff dwellings, some of which look completely inaccessible. Mustang was once a much greener land in theory way back 8-10,000 BC. The most when well known, intrepid explorers such as Professor David Snellgrove and the Italian scholar Guiseppi Tucci visited Mustang in the 1950's and it has largely been their tales of a Tibetan like arid region that has fuelled interest in the area.

Recognizing the special nature of this old, tiny kingdom, the Nepal Government has imposed a surcharge for anyone wishing to trek past Kagbeni, the border of Upper Mustang. Only the organized trekking groups are allowed in for the first time since March 1992, an opportunity for you to be a part of a small privileged minority to visit these remote frontiers of Nepal.

Our Mustang program, gives you an excellent options to visit the main town, Lo Manthang, and one or two of the villages beyond in this harsh, arid beautiful landscapes.


Departures

SPRING - AUTUMN

10 April to 27 April
08 May to 25 May
12 September to 29 September
07 October to 24 October

Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive at Kathmandu (1300m) and Transfer to Hotel
On arrival at Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport, you will be greeted by our staff, who will escort you to the hotel, where our Sherpa guide or the office staff will give you a brief orientation about the hotel, Kathmandu itself, trekking, and the do's and don’ts of the area. They will also review any additional information that you might require while in Nepal, including an overview of the next day's sightseeing tour. In the evening, you will enjoy a complimentary welcome dinner at one of the finest traditional Nepalese restaurants in Kathmandu, with the necessary transfer to and from the hotel by taxi, bus. Overnight in hotel
Day 02: Guided sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley
After your breakfast, you will precede to Kathmandu Durbar Square, where you will tour the ancient palace, the temple of Kumari, hailed as the living goddess of Nepal, Hanuman Dhoka and Kasthamandav Temple with a guide knowledgeable about Nepalese history, architecture, and religion. From there, you will proceed by taxi, bus to the Buddhist site, Swoyambhunath Stupa, also known as the "Monkey Temple" because of its lively troops of resident monkeys. You will then visit Pashupatinath Temple, the holiest shrine for Hindus, situated on the banks of the holy Bagmati River, a popular cremation site. Before returning to the hotel, you will visit Boudhnath Stupa, a Buddhist pilgrimage center and home to many colorful gompas, or monasteries. Once back at the hotel, you will receive a briefing about the trek and have a chance to meet your guides and ask any last minute questions before tomorrow morning's departure. Overnight in hotel
Day 03: Drive to Pokhara (820m) 06 Hrs
After an early breakfast, we will travel by tourist bus towards the scenic Pokhara highway. This is an interesting drive through the foothills of the Himalayas, made more comfortable in recent years by road repair. The drive continues with several stops on route before Pokhara. Upon reaching Pokhara, we will transfer to the hotel with enough time in the afternoon for a stroll around beautiful Phewa Lake. Overnight in Hotel
Day 04: Fly to Jomsom (2720m) and Trek to Kagbeni (2800m) 03 Hrs
After an early breakfast, you will transfer to the airport for a morning flight to Jomsom. It is quite a scenic flight of only 20 minutes and Jomsom the district headquarter of Mustang. It is also a major village on the Kali Gandaki area linking the age old Trans-Himalayan Salt Trade route to Tibet. From Jomsom onwards it is very windy in the afternoon. From Jomsom, the trek continues on the gradual path on the Kali Gandaki river bed for about 3 hrs and finally reaching at Ekley-bhatti village. After good stop here, an hour of easy walk reaches you to Kagbeni, which lies at the bank of two rivers. Kagbeni is an interesting windswept village situated on the main age-old Trans Himalayan salt trade route to Tibet via Upper Mustang area. Upon arrival, we will check in to the Lodge with afternoon free for a stroll around the village. Overnight at Teahouse
Day 05: Trek to Chussang (2920m) 06 Hrs
After leaving the Kagbeni village, the walk is uphill for half an hour leaving the Kali-Gandaki River behind for a while. The path leads to harsh barren countryside all the way with occasional stop, passing through few small villages as the walk progress coming to the village Tangbe, another hour of good walk brings you to the overnight stop at Chussang line up with few trees amidst the red earth surrounding. Chussang lies at the confluence of the Narsang stream and the Kali Gandaki River. Overnight at Teahouse
Day 06: Trek to Samar (3290m) 07 Hrs
Today’s walk leads first to Chele village after crossing the stream through the broken canyons and ruin castle walls on the surrounding cliffs, across the river from Chussang are some spectacular red eroded cliffs above the mouths of inaccessible caves. After crossing the small bridge an uphill walk for 45 minutes brings you to Chele village. Overnight at teahouse
Day 07: Trek to Ghiling (3600m) 07 Hrs
The walk today leads to a short climb above Samar village to a ridge, with a downhill leading to a large gorge past a Chorten painted red, black, yellow and white-all the colors are made from local rocks. The journey continues into another valley with juniper trees, after crossing the stream the walk follows uphill path to a ridge at 3,800m, the trail climbs over to another pass, from here the route descends to Shyangmochen, a small settlement with few tea shops at 3,710m. After a good break here, the trek continues to a gentle climb to a pass at 3,770m entering towards a huge valley, from here taking the right downhill path towards our overnight stop at Geling with its large fields of barley on the outskirt of the village. From Chele village the walk gets steeper for an hour up to the ridge at 3,130m, from here you can get a good view of Gyagar across a huge canyon. The trek continues with a slow climb on the windswept terrain till the pass is reached at 3,540m. From here a gradual descent leads you to Samar for the overnight stop. Overnight at Teahouse
Day 08: Trek Tsarang (3520m) 07 Hrs
From Geling, the route climbs gradually through the fields up the centre of the valley, passing below the Tama Gung settlements, the walk continues a long climb across the head of the valley to the Nye La pass 3,950m, the highest point of this trek. The pass itself happens to be the southern boundary of Lo. From here a gradual descend for half hour brings to junction; the right path leads direct to Tsarang while the left leads to Ghami village one of the main major of Lo region. Our route drops below the blue, grey and red cliffs across the valley to a steel bridge across the Tangmarchu River, the path climbs past to the long and magnificent stretch of “Mani” wall. Probably it is the longest one in Nepal. From here the final climb of the day brings to a 3,600m pass, after the last pass a gentle descent leads to the overnight halt at Charang, an interesting village with a maze of fields, willow trees and a huge five storey white Dzong and a red Gompa perched on the edge of the Kali Gandaki gorge. Tsarang has its own electricity system. Overnight at Teahouse
Day 09: Trek to Lo Manthang (3780m) the capital of Mustang 05 Hrs
Today's walk leads to our destination at Lo Manthang, the trek begins with a short descend crossing the Charangchu river with a steep climb on a ridge, then passing through the Tholung valley. The trail divert north with gentle climb as the valley ascends to a large Chorten, which marks the boundary between Tsarang and Lo, the climb follows to the stream, coming to a great wide windswept landscape, finally reaching the ridge at 3,850m a grand view of the walled large village of Lo-Manthang can be seen from this top. A short descent brings you to the stream that outlines the walled village, form here a short climb on the plateau leads you to the southern wall of Lo Manthang village. The only entrance to the village is from the northeast corner, so one has to circulate the wall to the main entrance gate sometimes. Overnight at Teahouse
Day 10: Rest day for local excursion of Lo Manthang
This large village contains about 150 houses plus number of resident for the lamas, the houses are closely packed, and the palace and monasteries are in the bottom portion in this vertical part of the L shaped houses. The school, health post, police post and several important chortens are located outside the walls to the north of the gate and east of the monastic part of the city. Despite the apparent squalor of Lo Manthang, the village is prosperous and maintains a strong sense of community. Though the people call themselves Lobas, people from Lo, they are very much Tibetan and practice a practical culture economy. Before strong trade with Tibet was disrupted, all of the salt and wool trade on the Kali Gandaki passed through Lo Manthang, and this brought a substantial amount of money to this great village town. The Mustang raja's palace stands an imposing 4 storey building in the centre of the city. It is the home of the present raja, Jigme Parbal Bista, and the Rani (queen), who is from the noble family of Shigatse on route Lhasa. Overnight at Teahouse
Day 11: Trek to Ghami (3400m) 07 Hrs
Today's walks is more of a descend with few short climb all the way to Ghami, once outside the walled Lo Manthang village-town the path leads to a steady climb to the pass offering the last glimpse of Lo Manthang, the walk from here on is more or less gradual on the downhill slopes most of the way to Ghami village. Ghami is another important village of this region. Overnight at Teahouse
Day 12: Trek to Syangboche (3800m) 04 Hrs
The trek today follows the straight route to the Nyi La, with a climb to the ridge and then contouring upwards and encountering the road from Tsarang. From the top of the ridge a steep descend awaits you all the way to Geling Valley. The trail continues bypassing Geling to a lone teahouse and then a gentle downhill to a small settlement of Tama Gung. A steep switchbacks trail leads to a stream; the trail climbs to a large painted Chorten to reach Syangboche. Overnight at Teahouse
Day 13: Retrace your steps to Chussang (2920m) 05 Hrs
Today you will retrace your steps back to Chussang with visiting Ching Si cave, one of the best caves to visit. Overnight at Teahouse
Day 14: Trek to Muktinath (3760m) 07 Hrs
Today the path leads to a slow climb for less than an hour towards the pass at 3,970m, after the pass the trek is on the downhill slope most of the way to Muktinath on much wider trail overlooking superb views of the Mt. Nilgiri and Tukuche peak in the far eastern and the plain of Kali Gandaki Valley, coming closer to Muktinath after 2-3 hours of walk, crossing the stream in the gorge then its uphill walk for an hour or so, till we reach the village of Dzong, from here the path is almost gradual all the way to Muktinath, and the walking gets much easier to the holy place of Muktinath for the overnight camp with ample time to visit the holy premises of Muktinath and its 108 ancient water spouts, believed to be the very source of the Kali-Gandaki River. Overnight at Teahouse
Day 15: Trek to Jomsom (2720m) 06 Hrs
From Muktinath onwards will be one of the most pleasant walk as you will lose altitude day by day. The trek follows an easy descends towards the Kaligandaki River Valley passing through the old village of Jharkot after an hour or more of this good walk. On reaching the river bed at Eklebhatti, there is a small settlement with few teahouses. From here onwards can get very windy in the afternoon time, the walk follows the gentle trail for another two hours till the large town village of Jomsom is reached for the overnight camp. Jomsom is headquarter of the Mustang region with a small airstrip just above by the river Kaligandaki. Here you will have ample time to celebrate with the local apple products like cider, brandy and juice this area from Kagbeni to Larjung is famous for its delicious apple and its product. Overnight at Teahouse
Day 16: Fly from Jomsom to Kathmandu via Pokhara
The flight time to Pokhara, are schedule for morning normally because of the wind in the afternoon, sometime the flight time can be delayed due to bad weather and other reason beyond our control. After getting the boarding pass depending upon the flight time enter the terminal for security check, this scenic flight from Jomsom takes about 25 minutes to Pokhara, a panoramic view of the snow capped peaks can be seen from the plane. Overnight in Hotel
Day 17: Full day in Kathmandu
Today you have whole day at leisure for relax or visit Thamel for shopping. Overnight in Hotel
Day 18: Transfer to airport for final departure
Keep the departure time of international flight in mind, and make sure to keep your confirmed air ticket and passport handy! Our staff will take you to the airport for your final departure from beautiful Nepal.

Useful Information

Tea House Trekking

On the more popular treks in Nepal, particularly in the Everest, Langtang and the entire Annapurna regions, enterprising villagers have built teahouse lodges, similar to European style alpine lodges offering simple but comfortable accommodation and food. We offer a selection of single/twin sharing rooms in the best available lodges run to a high level of service. We also supply a four season sleeping bag and cotton liner free of charge on our teahouse treks. Hire of other key items if needed can be arranged in advance. During the trek you’ll have 3 meals a day, with a mixture of European and Asian style dishes and large portions. Soft drinks, sweets, mineral water and alcohol are not included.

Fully Provisioned Camping Style Trekking

This type of trek is staffed by a full Sherpa crew including a Sirdar (head man), cook and assistants. Porters, yaks, horses or mules carry your main baggage. It is the Sherpa crew’s job to perform all the camp work, from setting up to providing freshly made meals,to leaving the site clean on departure. We provide twin share dome or a frame sleeping tents, a kitchen tent, mess tent and toilet tent. We also provide tables, chairs or stools,lanterns/candles, thin sleeping mattresses and all crockery and cutlery as well as a fully equipped kitchen set up. The Sherpa crew will cook, wash up, and provide hot water for washing and tea and coffee at night and for your wake up call. Food is a mixture of Asian and Western dishes, with lots of choice, freshly prepared. As with teahouse trekking you can expect 3 main meals each day. Soft drinks, sweets, mineral water and alcohol are not included. A few of our teahouse treks involve crossing high passes and necessitate camping for a couple of nights. We provide full camping services for these nights including providing four season sleeping bags.

Small Group Travel

Most of our trips, treks and tours are organized on a small group basis, usually with a maximum of 16 persons in a group. On family holidays the maximum number is 20 to allow a number of families to join a group. By keeping numbers small we are able to offer a friendly, personal and high quality service.

Tailor Made Private Charter Adventures

We offer a very competitive complete tailor made service and are happy to design private charter programs for individuals and for groups as well as to tailor any of our packages to more closely meet your requirements. We have a wealth of experience in helping many clients in designing and planning individual adventures, ranging from romantic breaks to personal challenges, fundraising programs,student programs to extreme adventure expeditions, from low budget to no expense spared. We don’t charge a fortune to tailor make a trip for you and we have plenty of ideas, suggestions and experience we’re happy to share. We’ll work closely with you to design your adventure. Our advertised brochure prices will give you an idea of what you can expect to pay but we’ll provide individual quotes based upon your itinerary, requirements,budget and number of people traveling. Let us take care of the research and arrangements for your flights, accommodation,guides,transport,permits,peak fees,equipment requirements,food and all ground handling service for treks, expeditions or tours, using our local knowledge, expertise and contacts. And you can get on with enjoying yourself.

Group and Club Organizers

If you are organizing a trip for a group or a club we will offer one free* additional place for every 10 bookings made. You can use this for your own travel, use it to reduce the overall cost of the trip for everyone or perhaps offer it as a fantastic prize for your group members or for a charity. Contact us for more details and for conditions (*permit fees, national park entry fees, airfares and departure taxes not included).

Grading System

In Nepal, the trails often zigzag with plenty of ascents and descents and it is better to think in terms of hours spent walking rather than miles covered. A typical day’s walking is from five to seven hours with a number of ascents and descents. This includes a one hour lunch stop, a comfortable pace of walking and time to enjoy your surroundings. We use four grades for our treks, intended to give you a general sense of what to expect and to help you choose which adventure will suit you best. Factors such as weather conditions, altitude, fitness level, experience, interests and how you feel on a particular day all contribute to how easy or strenuous you find a trip. If you’re unsure of whether a trek is suitable for you just contact us before making your booking.

Equipment Checklist

A pair of light hiking boots
A pair of sandals
2 pairs of woolen socks and 2 pair of hiking socks
1 medium poly pro shirt
1 pile jacket
1 down jacket
1 woolen hat
A pair of sunglasses
A pair of glove shells with liner or ski gloves (opt.)
A pair of woolen gloves
One Trekking pack 3000 cubic inches capacity
One Sunscreen lotion SPF 10 to 30 and One Sunscreen stick SPF 10 to 30
Two Reading books (Optional)
One Walkman (Opt) and Music tapes (Opt) iPods Digi Camera and its Charger
A one liter water bottle
A pair of trekking poles
One flash light with 4 sets of batteries one -5 to -20 sleeping bag
Two T-shirts and one long sleeve T/city shirt
Two Trekking baggy pants

Toiletry Items

Towel, pre-moistened novelettes, wash cloth, lip balm, and any additional personal items such as toothbrush, comb, etc.

Miscellaneous Items

Photo equipment with plenty of films and spare batteries, reading/writing materials, postcards of hometown and/or photos of home and family to share with Nepalese people, safety pins, sewing kit, zip lock bags for small items.

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