Upper Mustang Trek takes us to the secluded world of the ancient Buddhist Kingdom of Mustang, once called Lo. This spectacular remote trans-Himalayan mountain region in Nepal was once a part of the Tibetan empire. Hence, it has close ties to Tibetan culture, geography, and language even today. Also known as ‘The Las Forbidden Kingdom’ because it remained closed to foreigners until 1992, Upper Mustang’s isolation from the outside world has helped to preserve the ancient Tibetan culture and the region’s natural features. Mustang falls in the rain shadow of the Dhaulagiri massif creating impressive formations of rocks in all colors and a ruggedly arid landscape.
The enchantingly barren landscape of Mustang hosts white-washed houses, chortens decorated with prayer flags and barley fields. Upper Mustang Trek to this spiritual kingdom follows the ancient salt caravan route used by the people of Mustang to trade Tibetan salt for grain with the people of the lowlands. The center of our trek is the capital of Upper Mustang, Lo Manthang.
Once we enter Lo Manthang through the town gate, a world of hidden chortens, narrow alleyways, long walls of carved prayer wheels and herds of farm animals grazing in the fields enter your vision like a masterful landscape painting. The royal palace, the venerable Thugchen Gompa, built in the 15th century, amchi museum and amchi school (amchi is a traditional Tibetan doctor), a century-old cave in Chhoser and pony rides are some of the major attractions in Lo Manthang.
Upper Mustang Trek starts with a drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara following a flight from Pokhara to Jomsom the next day. From Jomsom, we follow the Kali Gandaki River upstream to Kagbeni which marks the start of the restricted area of Upper Mustang. We trek northwards from Kagbeni to reach Lo Manthang. After a day of excursion and acclimatization in Lo Manthang, we resume and come to rest at Dhakmar. Upper Mustang also dazzles you with panoramic views of Annapurna, Mt. Nilgiri, and Dhaulagiri among other majestic peaks.
Nearby Dhakmar is the Lo Gekar Monastery, one of the oldest Tibetan monasteries in the world. It was built in the 8th Century by Guru Rinpoche, the famous Buddhist master. It is said that Guru Rinpoche killed a powerful demon whose blood painted the rocks surrounding Dhakmar bright red. We then make a full circle back to Jomsom and fly back to Pokhara then drive to Kathmandu from there. With Adventure Club Trek’s experienced guide who is also fluent in English among other languages, you will truly get to know the magical trans-Himalayan region Upper Mustang to its fullest.
A typical day on a trek: Live the Experience in words:
A typical day on a trek organized by Adventure Club Trek will be exciting, informative, picturesque and lots of fun, of course! Our guides do not believe in hurrying the trekkers during the trip, they take a more leisurely approach which means you can take your time to enjoy the landscapes, take your photos and explore as much of the culture as you’d like. There are, of course, exceptions; times when guides have to hurry a team for safety reasons.
Trekking in the Himalaya is an experience like no other. Experienced, strong, qualified and friendly guides along with porters who carry your luggage make every day of this journey more pleasant for you. You have to carry your small regular daypack on trekking days. We start each day with a wake-up morning cup of tea. Then, we pack our bags and sit for a locally made wholesome breakfast before setting off for the trek.
We typically start the day’s hike around 7:00 am-8:00 am, depending on the nature of the day’s trek and duration. We sit for lunch after walking for 3-4 hours. We usually take the lunch break around midday and resume after an hour’s rest. The afternoon trek is usually 2-3 hours long meaning we reach our overnight stay before evening, so, we munch on extra dietary snacks until the dinner is ready. Once we have our dinner (around 6 pm) we are free to explore the splendor of adjacent locales.
Before going to bed, the group discusses their experience. Later, the guide will brief the group on the next day’s trip. If it is too early to go to bed for you, we can engage in some games and fun conversations. Most trekkers prefer playing cards, reading books or learning some Nepalese. We wake up and start the cycle again, refreshed for a new exploration.
Upon your arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM), you will be welcomed by a representative from Adventure Club Trek. After sorting out your custom formalities (visa and so on), you will be then transferred to your respective hotel in Adventure Club Trek’s private vehicle and give you some time to freshen up. After this, you will attend an orientation about your trek led by the trekking leader over a welcome dinner. Overnight at Hotel
Today, we go on a sightseeing tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the city. We start the program after breakfast, first visiting the sacred Hindu temple of Pashupatinath. Though non-Hindus are not allowed inside the main premises of the temple we are allowed to visit the cremation site and surrounding areas. We then head to Boudhanath, considered one of the largest stupas in Asia due to the massive mandala that surrounds the main dome. The smell of Himalayan incense and locals doing kora(making clockwise rounds of the stupa) gives you a little insight on Buddhist culture. Our next stop is Swayambhunath also known as the Monkey Temple, located on top of a hill. The stupa is similar to Boudhanath, but here the stupa is surrounded by many temples and shrines. Some of the temples date back to the medieval Lichchhavi period. Our final stop is Kathmandu Durbar square which is a fine example of Newari architecture. The premises of the Durbar square house many temples and royal palaces, however, most of the temples and building were destroyed by the 2015 earthquake and are being renovated. Overnight in Kathmandu.
The third day of our Upper Mustang 17-days trekking journey, we are headed to the lake city of Pokhara.
Highlights of Day 3
• Early morning drive (wake up at 6:00 am, pack up and leave before 7:00 am) from Kathmandu to Pokhara via Prithvi Highway alongside the mighty Trishuli river.
• Pass twists and turns on the mountain road drive, views of layered hills, forests, highway settlements, Trishuli River and local villages.
• Boating in Few Lake, views of Dhaulagiri (8,167m/26,794ft), Manaslu (8,156m/26,759ft), and Machhapuchhre (6,993m/22,943ft). Stroll through the cheerful streets at night. Overnight in a hotel in Pokhara
Wake up with the views of Machhapuchre mountain and get ready for a once in a lifetime experience of flying over the Himalaya.
Highlights of Day 04
• Early morning mountain flight to Jomsom, enjoy views of the deepest gorge in the world, Kaligandaki Gorge, and Mt. Nilgiri, Dhaulagiri and Annapurna peaks among others.
• Enjoy the serenity of Eaklibatti village situated at the bank of two rivers hosting beautiful flat-roofed houses and remains of an old fortress before reaching Jomsom- famous for apple fields, cold and dry weather with strong winds and hauntingly beautiful landscapes with horses, ponies, and other animals.
• Cross suspension bridges and walk through the arid dry land to reach Kagbeni for the overnight stay.
Kagbeni marks the beginning of restricted area in Mustang.
Highlights of Day 05
• Get permits checked and trek alongside Kai Gandaki River on the sand while bearing strong winds, then ascend a hill to reach the village of Tangbe with apple orchards, narrow alleyways, white-washed houses and buckwheat and barley fields.
• After passing another village and a river, we walk on a ridge to finally reach Chele village for overnight stay and dinner.
Trekking from today is going to be a little more challenging than what we have experienced so far.
Highlights of Day 06
• Crossing Taklam La passes at 3,624m, and Dajori La passes at 3,735m.
• Views of Tilicho peak, Damodar Danda and Yakawa Kang. Also, bass by Ramchung Cave.
• Pass the village of Samar, walk on a trail above the village to reach a ridge which descends to a stream via a steep trail. Overnight in Syanboche.
Crossing more passes today.
Highlights of Day 7
• Ascend Yamda La Pass (3,850m) passing chortens, beautiful villages and a few teahouses.
• Ascend Nyi La Pass at 4,010m after trekking through poplar forests and barley fields.
• Descend to Ghami from Nyi Pass. Ghami is one of the biggest villages in the region of Lo and is surrounded with buckwheat and barley fields on all sides. Overnight in Ghami
Another day closer to Lo-Manthang.
Highlights of Day 08
• Trek through a rough and slippery descending trail till we reach a suspension bridge over the Ghami Khola.
• Trek on an ascending trail decorated with mani walls, cross the Tsarang La Pass (3,870m) before finally reaching Tsarang village.
• Tsarang Village-it lies on the top of the Charang Chu canyon that hosts a red gompa towards its east and a huge fortress. Overnight in Tsarang.
Enter the walled kingdom of Lo Manthang.
Highlights of Day 09
• Uphill trek to Lo La passes at 3,950m after descending to a canyon and crossing a river. Breathtaking views of Lo Manthang Village from atop the pass.
• Descend to Lo Manthang- a beautiful medieval village from where you can enjoy the views of Mt. Nilgiri, Tilicho peak, Bhrikuti peak and Annapurna I, and Damodar Kunda (pond). Overnight in Lo-Manthang.
Explore ‘the last forbidden kingdom of Nepal’ at its core today, Lo Manthang.
Highlights of day 10
• Touring Lo Manthang-the royal palace, three significant gompas namely Jhampa, Thugchen, and Chhoeda. Trek to tingkhar, a beautiful village to the north-west of Lo Manthang.
• Explore the history of Lo Manthang dating back to 1380 when Ame Pal ruled the region and build most of its still standing structures. Upper Mustang was a dependent kingdom under Nepali monarchy till 2008 when the monarchy was overruled in favor of the republican government. The royals of Mustang still reside in Lo Manthang.
• Overnight and dinner in Lo Manthang.
We are returning from Lo-Manthang but via a different route.
Highlights of Day 11
• Visit Gyakar village that hosts the Ghar Gompa, a century-old gompa with beautiful rock paintings where people make wishes believing they come true.
• Visit Lo Gekar Monastery nearby Dhakmar; it is said to be one of the oldest Tibetan monasteries in the world, believed to be built by Guru Rinpoche, a famous Buddhist master.
• Overnight in Dhakmar.
An early start as strong winds makes it difficult to trek afternoon.
Highlights of Day 12
• Trek through a dry plateau and fields with strong winds trying their best to sway you until you reach Ghiling.
• Tour Ghiling-views of Nilgiri and Dhaulagiri mountains and beautiful landscape. Overnight in Ghiling.
Last day in the restricted Upper Mustang region. We trek through flat and try plateau with views of hills, farm animals, occasional houses and hauntingly serene landscape. Overnight in Chhuksang.
Long day to end the trekking.
Highlights of Day 14
• Last day for actual trekking, walk to the end of Mustang trails and join the trail leading to Annapurna circuit, we are not venturing there though.
• Lunch at Kagbeni, the beautiful medieval village on the banks of Kagbeni River.
• Trek to Jomsom for the overnight stay.
Enjoy the 20-30 minutes long scenic early morning mountain flight from Jomsom to Pokhara, views of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountains as well the Kali Gandaki Gorge. Once we are in Pokhara, you can stroll around and spend some relaxing time outdoors, or rest in your hotel Overnight in Pokhara.
Back on the Prithvi Highway again.
Highlights of Day 16
• Drive alongside Trishuli riverbank with views of Nepalese villages, terraced hills, forested hills, and display of local lifestyle.
• Souvenir shopping and farewell dinner in Kathmandu. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Adventure Club Trek will manage a farewell drive to the international airport for your final flight departure. Meeting you and serving you was a wonderful experience over the weeks. We are sure you enjoyed a wonderful holiday in beautiful Nepal. We hope you will remember us in the years ahead.
Adventure club organized a fantastic trip for me to the Mustang area between Annapurna and Tibet . The whole trip was flawless for such a complicated place to visit. They organized permits, guides, equipment, transport and ensured the three of us were looked after at all times. It's a pretty challenging hike... 11 days of up and down but incredibly fulfilling and no danger of altitude sickness as we never went higher than 4000 meters. The trip was truly amazing and I know that I'll be using Adventure club for my next visit to trek Nepal.
It was really undiscribable to see the different landscape and the different colours of the rocks and somethime we could see the mountins of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri. Mustang has a hint of Tibet and the people are very friendly. Also there are only a few of tourist and in the lodges we could stay in the kitchen together with the family, this was really an adventure. With our guide and the porters we feeld us like a family. The trekking was perfect organized and sure that wasn't our last trip in Nepal booked by Adventer Club Treks.
Johanna & Margit from Tirol / Austria / Europe
Flight delays in Jomsom
Our primary modes of transports from the airstrip at Jomsom are the Twin Otter planes. Even though the flights are fairly dependable, they can be cancelled or delayed due to unpredictable weather conditions in the Himalaya and/or other technical issues.In cases of such delays, Adventure Club Trek will arrange road transportation to ensure you are on schedule for your international flight. The expenses for the road transport will be managed from the compensation received from the flight ticket after deducting charges for cancelation. Therefore, there will be no refund of the Jomsom to Pokhara flight in case we take the road back to Pokhara.
Note: Your safety is of the utmost concern whilst you are traveling with Adventure Club Trek. We will make every effort possible to follow the original itinerary but we reserve the right to change that itinerary if a segment of it becomes a safety issue. Certain mountain regions are remote, natural disasters can happen, weather conditions can decline and there can be illness or an injury. To avoid dangerous situations we may occasionally have to make changes to the itinerary to ensure everyone’s safety. That having been said, Adventure Club Trek will strive to provide you with the best possible trekking experience and to keep your safety our number one priority. We thank you for your understanding.
Prior to all the treks and expeditions, Adventure Club Trek hosts a pre-trip meeting in Kathmandu. The primary purpose of the meeting is to provide an opportunity for individuals to ask questions about the forthcoming trek and to introduce other team members. The meeting covers topics as diverse as personal equipment and acclimatization and usually involves a hike and some skills training. Pre-trip meeting is very important in order to have a better preparation of the trekking.
The quoted costs are per person but don't include International flights if you are a single person and want to be in a group you can join our fixed departure schedule if the schedule dates are not suitable for you, please contact us, and we will be happy to customize our trips to suit your needs. If any individuals/group don't want to join our other group, we can comply with your wishes and requirements. We are ground operators Himalayan destinations and can arrange your trip to suit your dates and choices.