Upper Mustang Trek – 17 Days
The former Himalayan kingdom of Mustang is an arid and starkly beautiful land. Long protected from mass tourism; its allure has come from its inaccessibility and its reputation as a last bastion of traditional Tibetan culture. Mustang has a long, rich and complex history that makes it one of the most fascinating corners of the Himalaya.
Mustang is an ancient Himalayan Kingdom which lies in the northern central part of Nepal and at the top of the Kali Gandaki River. This region is full of some of Nepal’s oldest Buddhist Monasteries, ancient and isolated villages with quaint white washed houses. The restricted area of Tibetan influence lies north of Kagbeni, and Nepalese refer to this as Upper Mustang.
By choosing this trek through Mustang, we will be sampling a slice of history which may not be preserved for much longer. The sights of spectacularly fluted red cliffs and Mustang’s endless expanse of yellow and grey rolling hills will stay in our memory long after we go home, as will our experience of the Kingdom’s incredible little towns and the rugged gentility of its people. The trek takes us to the walled town of Lo-Manthang, a visually extraordinary place, home of the present Mustang’s King and full of beautiful temples and Gompa.
This itinerary is designed best to those who have some kind of previous experiences in high altitudes over (3840m/12599ft), and are habitual for walking 7-8 hours in a day which allow us to walk a very long distances with required amount of high altitudes acclimatizing. Also the itinerary goes through the various landscapes and traditional Tibetan-like settlement. Please research and get consultations through our experts before starting this trip.
Day 1: Arrival KATHMANDU (1300m/4265ft)
Arrive at Kathmandu International Airport where you will be warmly welcomed by our representative and check in to the hotel. Overnight at hotel. Meals: NO
Day 2: Sightseeing in KATHMANDU
The second day is spent in Kathmandu with sightseeing around the valley. This mainly includes Kathmandu Durbar Square, Syambhunath Stupa, Hindu Temple-Pashupatinath & Boudha Nath – The biggest Buddha Stupa in ancient Kathmandu. Overnight at hotel. Meals: Breakfast, Welcome Dinner
Day 3: Fly to POKHARA (884m/2900ft)
After morning breakfast in the hotel, we take a 25 minutes flight from Kathmandu International Airport to Pokhara. In Pokhara we visit the deep, narrow gorge of roaring Seti River from where we drive to Davi’s Falls and further to Gupteswar Cave and the Bat Cave. In the evening we go lazing by the Phewa Lake for the leisurely row on its sparkling waters. Overnight at hotel. Meals: Breakfast
Day 4: Fly to JOMSOM (2760m/9056ft); Trek to KAGBENI (2840m/9318ft)
We fly from Pokhara to Jomsom and start the trek to Kagbeni. Overnight at tented camp. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Day 5: Trek to CHELE (3100m/10171ft
From Kagbeni the trail climbs immediately to a ridge marked by a small stone chorten, then descends and climbs over another ridge. After a few more ups and downs the trail climbs to Tange where we will get our first sight of black, white and red chortens that typify upper Mustang. About one hour beyond Tangbe we reach the village of Chhuksang (2980m) at the confluence of the Narshing Khola and the Kali Gandaki. Across the Kali Gandaki from Chhuksang are some spectacular red organ-pipe eroded cliffs above the mouths of inaccessible caves. We cross the Narshing Khola and continue north, making several ups and downs. We then descend to the riverbank near a huge red chunk of conglomerate that has fallen from the cliffs, forming a tunnel through which the Kali Gandaki flows. The trek now leaves Kali Gandaki valley and climb steeply up a rocky gully to Chele (3100m/10171ft). Overnight at tented camp. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Day 6: Trek to SHYANGMOCHEN (3800m/12468ft)
The climb from Chele leads up a steep spur to a cairn and a view of Ghyakar across a huge canyon. A long wall of packed earth encircles Ghyakar and its fields. The climb continues-a long, steep, treeless, waterless slog-switch backing up the side of a spectacular steep canyon, then traversing to a cairn marking the Chele La. After crossing the ridge the trail enters a large side valley and makes a long gradual descent to Samar (3620m), surrounded by a grove of poplar trees. The trail from Samar climbs to a ridge, descends steeply to a stream, and then climbs back to a chorten. The trail goes to another valley crosses a stream and climbs up to the Bhena La at 3830m. The route skirts a gorge, crosses a stream and climbs slightly to Yamdo. We climb to yet another pass, the Yamdo La at 4010m, and then we descend to Shyangmochen (3800m/12468ft). Overnight at tented camp. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Day 7: Trek to GHEMI (3510m/11516ft)
From Shyangmochen, it’s a short gentle climb to the Shyangmochen La at 3850m, where the route enters another huge east-west valley. Descending past a large painted square chorten we can have a view of Geling to a trail junction. We take the right fork and descend to the picturesque village of Geling (3570m) with its poplar trees and extensive fields of barley. The trail from Geling turns westward and climbs gently through fields up the centre of the valley, passing below Tama Gaon and its imposing chorten. Turning north, it rejoins the road and becomes an unrelenting climb across the head of the valley to the Nyi La (4020m). The descent from the pass is gentle for 45minutes to the Ghemi La, a cairn on a ridge top about 45 minutes below the pass. The trail then drops steeply to the whitewashed buildings of Ghemi. Overnight at tented camp.Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Day 8: Trek to TSARANG (3575m/11730ft)
Ghemi is the 3rd largest village in Lo and is surrounded by extensive fields. The trail to Drakmar and Lo Gekar leads to the west from the upper part of the village. The trail descends below the blue, grey and red cliffs across the valley to a steel bridge across Tangmar Chu, and then climbs past what is perhaps the longest and most spectacular mani wall in Nepal. Beyond the mani wall, the route climbs a rocky gully, then transverse to the Choya La (3870m). Once over the pass the route makes a long gentle descent past a prayer flag, then wanders across fields to Tsarang. Overnight at tented camp. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Day 9: Trek to Lo MANTHANG (3840m/12599ft)
The trail descends about 125m from Charang, crosses the Tsarang Chu and follows the track to a cairn on a ridge opposite the village at 3580m, then enters the Thorung valley. The dirt road turns north and climbs gently to a large isolated chorten that marks the boundary between Tsarang and Lo. The road crosses a stream, and then becomes a wide thoroughfare traveling across a desert –like landscape painted in every hue of grey and yellow. Finally, from the Lo La (3950m), there is a view of walled city of Lo Manthang. A short descent leads into the plain of Aspiration, and then the trail crosses a stream and climbs up onto the plateau of Lo Manthang (3840m/12,672ft), crossing an irrigation canal at the southern wall of the city of Lo Manthang. Overnight at tented camp. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Day 10: Explore LO MANTHANG
With a handful of temples and the King’s palace in town, plus some noteworthy sites in the surrounding area, there’s enough in and around Lo Manthang to keep us occupied for a couple of days. Lo Manthang is the highlight of this trek, so we don’t scrimp on our time here. There are two valleys above Lo Manthang. In the western valley are Tingkhar, Phuwa gompa and Namgyal gompa. Namgyal, situated in a spectacular setting atop a desolate ridge, is of the Gelug tradition and is the newest and most active gompa in Lo. On the two hills to the north of the town are the ruins of castles. The castle on the higher hill was the palace of Ame Pal, the founder of king of Mustang. On the lower hill are the ruins of the round castle of the queen. This is now a sky burial site. Overnight at tented camp. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Day 11: Trek to GHAR GOMPA
The trail from here to Lo Gekhar is not the main trading route and the area is crisscrossed with herder trail so a local guide is particularly useful here. The trail climbs steadily to a cairn marks a pass at 4000m, offering a last glimpse of Lo Manthang. The trail climbs to a ridge at 4070m where a large cairn marks a pass into a side valley. We climb to the head of this valley and cross the Chogo La, at 4325m the highest point on the trek.The trail makes a short, steep descent to a wooden bridge across the Tsarang Khola, then climbs past an unpainted stone chorten and cross a swampy meadow to Lo Gekar. Ghar Gompa is a small monastery in a grove of large trees. Ghar gompa means ‘house temple’ and is so named because the structure is built like a house with small separate rooms. Overnight at tented camp. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Day 12: Trek to GELING (3570m/11713ft)
We climb to a ridge, then across a valley to a cairn and a pass at 4170m. The route crosses some alpine meadows to a crest then drops down a steep eroded gully overshadowed by red rock towers to the upper part of Drakmar. Then the trail from Drakmar descends alongside a stream passing the stone walls and fields of the extensive village of Drakmar, and then climbs to a ridge chorten and onto a ridge at 3710m. It then descends to another stream and makes a short climb to the upper part of Ghemi. Descending to the lower part of Ghemi, we follow the upward route, climbing to a cairn on the Ghemi La and contouring upwards to the Nyi La (4020m). Then we descend steeply into the Geling valley. Overnight at tented camp. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Day 13: Trek to CHELE (3100m/10171ft)
From Geling, we descend gently to Chhungar, a large chorten, house and camp site beside an apple orchard at 3750m. The trail then makes a long transverse past a Mani wall to the three houses of Tama gaon at 3710m. A steep set of switchbacks down a rocky canyon leads to a stream, and then the trail climbs to a huge painted chorten before rejoining the Geling trail near the ridge, just below the Shyangmochen La. Finally,retracing the upward trail through Yamdo and Bhena to Samar, we descend to Chele. Overnight at tented camp.Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Day 14: Trek to JOMSOM (2760m/9056ft)
From Chele, we continue trekking down towards Chhuksang. It takes about 4-5 hours from here to reach Kagbeni. We can easily continue another three hours or so to Jomsom to be in place for a flight the following day. Overnight at tented camp. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Day 15: Fly to POKHARA
We take the early morning flight from Jomsom to Pokhara. The remaining time we can enjoy in Pokhara. We can have the pleasure of enjoying the scenic beauty of Pokhara as it is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Nepal. Overnight in hotel. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Day 16: Fly back to KATHMANDU
From Pokhara we fly back to Kathmandu and are dropped to the hotel. This is a leisure day which can be utilized buying gifts and souvenirs for your friends and family. In the evening you will be invited to join a FAREWELL DINNER reviewing great photos and share experiences of the trip. Overnight at hotel. Meals: Breakfast, Farewell Dinner.
Day 17: Fly back HOME or extend your HOLIDAYS
If you prefer to stay longer, you can consult us for short tours such as game drive at National parks, rafting, mountain biking, Tibet, India or Bhutan tours etc. Meals: Breakfast
Cost, Includes and Excludes
- All airport/hotel pick up and drop in private car/van
- An experienced English speaking Trekking Guide and a Porter during trek.
- Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Tea/Coffee during trek.
- National Park Permit and TIMS for Everest.
- Nepal entry visa fees.
- International airfare and departure tax.
- Bar bills, laundry and other expenses of personal nature.
- Travel insurance including evacuation.
- Tips for local staffs, guides and porters.