Upper Mustang Trek

Duration: 18 Days   |   Based on 2 Reviews
  • Destination: Nepal
  • Trip Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trip Style: Trekking
  • Transport: Aeroplane / Tourist Bus
  • Food: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation: Hotel And Guest House
  • Group Size: 2+
  • Max Elevation: 3,840 m

Upper Mustang Trekking is a less crowed hiking area in the Annapurna region. If you are interested in Mountain people and their way of life, the Bon culture, the Khamba history then surely the Upper Mustang trek is the place that you have to visit.

Upper mustang trek is an alternative similar to the Tibetan plateau. It was officially opened in 1992. Particularly limited numbers of trekkers are allowed every year. The capital city is called Lo Manthang at an altitude of 3,840 m. The royalty fee 500 USD is collected from every trekker for the improvement of education, health, and sanitation of local people. Upper Mustang trekking is a Himalayan rain shadow region and the best time of the year from May to September. The rest of the month is cold and harassed weather. The accommodation is well maintained nowadays and served good food. The occupations of locals are husbandry work and harvest some potatoes, wheat, Barley and Horse keeping. Mustang Treks require a minimum of 10 days from Kagbeni until return back to Kagbeni or Muktinath.

Lo Manthang, the old capital, is reached in four days and at least one extra day should be spent here to soak in the sights and sounds of this unique walled settlement. Ponies are available for hire if you so desire. The return trip can either follow the same route as the one you took to enter or take an alternative route along the eastern bank of the Kali Gandaki which Global Adventure Trekking suggests in the itinerary.

Lo Manthang trek starts after taking the short Mountain flight to Jomsom from Pokhara in the morning. Trek through the Kaligandaki-the Holy river where you may find Saligram and fossil along the river bank. Till Kagbeni follow the popular Annapurna Circuit trek and take a left turn from Kagbeni for the Lo Manthang trek. The road service is extended towards Tibet border so Global Adventure is the one who finds the different trek routes to go and back. 

Highlights

  • Trek through trans Himalayan region of Upper Mustang
  • Visit the palace of Lo Manthang and Chumig Gyatsa (Muktinath)
  • Visit the Thakail town of Kagbeni and Jomsom
  • Learn about the culture of Thakali, Bon and Khambas and Tibetan tribes
  • Spectacular views of Annapurna, Dhaulagiri Himalayan ranges

Outline Itinerary

Open All Days Close All Days
Day 01: Arrivals and transfer to hotel.

Welcome assistance by GAT representative at the Tribhuvan International Airport and transfer to hotel in Kathmandu, rest at the hotel and briefing about the trip

  • No Meals
  • Hotel
  • 1450 m

After breakfast, we will start the Kathmandu Sightseeing tour. Kathmandu Durbar Square-The historical square Monkey temple-The combination of Hinduism and Buddhism mythology Pashupatinath Temple-The oldest and biggest only one Shiva Temple in South Asia Buddhanath Stupa-The holy place of Tibetan Buddhism. And return back to Kathmandu and trip briefing

  • Breakfast
  • Hotel

Assist by guide to transfer from Hotel to Tourist Bus Departure place at 06:00 hrs and about 6 hours journey toward Pokhara where overnight accommodation with BB Plan is arranged.

  • Breakfast
  • Hotel
  • 820 m

Our guide assists you to transfer for Pokhara Airport to fly for Jomsom. This scenic adventurous flight takes about 20-25 minutes passing through the world’s deepest George presenting spectacular mountain views of Mt. Dhaulagiri, Annapurna Ranges and Fishtail with several famous peaks within the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri area from its both sides. The airstrip is in Jomsom, the main village in the Kali Gandaki valley. Jomsom is the beginning point of our trek. After landing here we start our trek toward Kagbeni which takes about 3-4 hours walk. Kagbeni is also the checkpoint for entrance to restricted Upper Mustang Trekking. We can enjoy the majestic view of Mt. Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri and Tukuche peak while walking the trail in the opposite direction. Your overnight accommodation is set here in Tea house

  • Full Board
  • Guest House
  • 2800 m

After the formalities of showing your restricted area trekking permit in Kagbeni, we start our trekking early because in Mustang there is the heavy wind which gets up later in the day, blowing dust and sand around. In the route, we can see Nilgiri glowing orange in the first rays of the sun. We take the western route, following the east bank of the river until we reach the end of a broad valley Chuksang, where we cross the Kali Gandaki. After Kagbeni, the trail climbs up, giving us a good view of the village, the valley, and Nilgiri. At first, the path follows the river closely and later it leads eastwards to flat dry, desert-like land. Here the scenery is amazing and very characteristic of Mustang with red sandstone pillars and rock formations with fantastic forms and colors, formed by thousands of years of erosion. The first main village we reach, Tangbe, has red and whitewashed houses and on the other side of the river from here are caves, perched high in a vertical wall, which were believed as habitations in previous times. Chaile appears as a small white dot at the end of the canyon. The trail towards here descends gradually to the river-bed – this area is well-known for its fossils. The wide valley ends abruptly at a vertical cliff and a bridge crosses the Kali Gandaki, which flows through a natural tunnel in the cliff. The valley narrows further north and a steep trail leads us up to Chaile, which is a small town with good views towards the Himalayan ranges. Tea house accommodation is set here in Chaile.

  • Full Board
  • Guest House
  • 3050m

Today’s trek begins with a steep climb as we follow the trail westwards and when we see Ghyakar on the opposite side of a deep canyon the trail turns right, following the gorge. Running high up above the path is gouged out of the rock and descends in an almost sheer drop for more than 100 meters. After about one hour we are on a pass offering a good view towards Samar, the Kali Gandaki valley and snow-capped peaks in the distance. After Samar we cross a side-valley, descending to its base and crossing over a creek before we trek all the way up again on the other side. About two hours from Samar is a red painted cave monastery, which looks as if it has been stuck on to the vertical wall. This is Rangchyung Chorten, one of the most sacred places in Mustang. The name means ‘the Chorten that formed itself’, because inside are two large stalagmites in a Chorten-like formation. Two famous Buddhist teachers, Padmasambhava and Atisha stayed in this cave centuries ago. There are prayer flags on the ceiling and pilgrims have left small clay figures inside.

The trail goes through a forest of small trees and green bushes which are able to survive in the narrow gorge because the high vertical walls keep them cool and sufficiently moist. Soon the valley broadens out and we can see walls built in front of caves which are temporary homes for the herders whose animals graze here. Sometimes it is possible to see the rare blue mountain sheep in this area. The walk to Shyangboche can seem never-ending. It is fairly easy, but a constant climb with the destination nowhere in sight, until, finally, a cluster of houses appears. It is much colder in Shyangboche, 

  • Full Board
  • Guest House
  • 3920 mm

Within 15 minutes of the start of today’s trek, we have already negotiated the first of today’s three high passes, Yanda La, and passed a distinctive red Chorten painted with Buddhism’s eight auspicious symbols. A terraced valley with groups of yellowish trees appears and above the village of Ghelung are two red Gompas. Unlike other villages in Mustang, where the houses are built close together and look fortress-like, Ghelung is spread out wide on a patch of green grass and gives the impression of being a fairly affluent little community. Rising above the village are barren, brown hills and we can see the Nyi La pass straight ahead. The path descends gradually towards the Ghami La pass and on the way, we see a rundown, deserted village downstream. By now the landscape is even more rugged – a deep riverbed has snaked its way down from the red cliffs and immediately ahead are hills which have the outline and color of enormous sand-dunes. Another broad valley comes in from the left-hand side and in its center is Ghami, Mustang’s third-largest town, which is high above the river and surrounded by fields

  • Full Board
  • Guest House
  • 3490 m

Outside Ghami we see what is Mustang’s longest Mani wall – approximately 1000m long and decorated with simple carvings, blending in well with the surrounding scenery. There is also a group of Chortens standing in front of the red wall which forms the end of the valley. Again, the architecture here is like an organic extension of nature. According to legend when the famous Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) came to the area and fought and destroyed a demon, its intestines landed at the site where the Mani wall stands, its lungs near the red cliffs behind and its heart at the spot where Mustang’s oldest monastery, Lo Gekar, was built. A steady climb takes us up a 3820m pass, after which a lunar-looking desert stretches to the horizon. There is no sign of vegetation or human life here, only barren hill after barren hill with the same distinctively creepy beauty. The first indication of human presence we see next is the Tsarang Chorten – the large red-painted Stupa is in the middle of the landscape and further down the monastery and the palace of Tsarang can be distinguished in the fields. A broad road leads to Tsarang, Mustang’s second town, with around 1000 inhabitants

  • Full Board
  • Guest House
  • 3560 m

 Today’s trekking begins on flat terrain and the view, apart from a Chorten and a few caves is unrelieved barrenness. After crossing a pass and waking through two rocks forming a natural gate we have finally arrived at Lo Manthang.

  • Full Board
  • Guest House
  • 3810m

You may take a day trip to Choser village. Visit the Monastery and Gompa or walk a few hours to the Border side and back.

  • Full Board
  • Guest House
  • 3810 m

We walk up through pastures studded with juniper and have the chance to look back at Lo Manthang. Our return route is on the same side of the Kali Gandaki because the eastern part is even less inhibited, more strenuous for walking and drinking water can be hard to find. Gradually we say goodbye to the Lo Manthang plain (sometimes known as ‘The Plain of Prayers’) and after about two hours there is no sign at all that such a gem of a city is concealed in one of those rocky valleys. In front of us, the mass of the Himalayas reappears and we negotiate the highest pass, Lugri La (4200m).

Leaving the monastery, we have a short but steep walk down the yellow canyon to Tamar, seeing fields in the southern and western part of the valley and large red vertical cliffs in the North West. After our time in such very barren landscape with little in the way of color contrasts, the combination of red rock, blue sky, green grass, and white yaks seems very intense!

Above the village are numerous caves, but their entrances are only accessible to rock climbers. At the entrance to the canyon is an unusual looking Chorten – the top looks like a bush because of the hundreds of prayer flags woven into it. Around the Chorten are hundreds of erected stones.

  • Full Board
  • Guest House
  • 3920 m

With Nilgiri visible again, we walk past more caves on our way south and then there is a gradual hill climb bringing us above Ghami, where we can see the town, the long Mani wall and the pass we climbed five days ago! There are two more passes to cross and splendid views of the Annapurna range. Next, we reach Jamyung, at the fork between Ghelung and Shyangboche. We can detour to Ghelung, with two Gompas built above the village and a small but fine monastery. Later we rejoin the regular trekking path to Shyangboche.

  • Full Board
  • Guest House
  • 3920m

The direct trail to Samar runs high above the canyons and with each side valley we cross, the Annapurna range appears closer and closer. Parts of this section of the trek are quite tough-going, because of the gorges, but the compensation is the brilliant views of Tilicho and Nilgiri. As the mountains start to appear higher and higher and the vegetation increases there is also a great contrast with the walls of ice. Such subtle variations in color after the ‘moonscape’ bleakness are a refreshing change. We cross two deep valleys before taking a lunch break at Samar and then the second part of the day is a relatively easy downhill walk. When Gyakar appears, the route becomes more spectacular, running high above the gorge. We can take a break in Chaile and then we arrive at the riverbed of the Kali Gandaki region –and reach Chuksang. Although we are on the same route we hiked along a few days earlier, it will probably feel like much longer ago, the sense of time seems to change when trekking! Soon we are at Tetang’s mani wall and beautiful Chorten, which has two of the auspicious symbols painted on each side

  • Full Board
  • Guest House

After an early start we have a good view of the village of Tetang, which consists of two separate settlements surrounded by high walls and from a distance looks like a large fort. The ascent to a plateau is steep and the trail here can be rather difficult to locate. There is an easy walk over a plain, after which comes about three hours of steep walking uphill, with the narrow trail getting precipitous at times, with loose black gravel. After ascending high in the valley the trail makes a right turn and the pass becomes visible above. At the pass, the mountains seem amazingly close, with Thorung, although the lowest peak, looking particularly impressive, having large glaciers clinging to its steep flanks. Tilicho is covered by snow with indented glaciers, while the summit of Annapurna further back does not actually seem as high as its 8000m +. Even Nilgiri’s almost sheer north face is also covered by glaciers.

It is a moderate walk down to Muktinath, with stunning views of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna. Their summits are only 34km apart, which accounts for the tremendous depth of the Kali Gandaki valley. Getting to Muktinath involves crossing another valley, which takes some time. The sporadic houses start to become more numerous as we get nearer Muktinath. There are 108 springs which have their source in or around Muktinath and bathing here is believed to bring good luck. Many people also collect spring water in bottles to take home to relatives. Also at Muktinath is the legendary flame coming out of a rock, around which a Buddhist temple has been created 

  • Full Board
  • Guest House

As we begin the final day’s hiking, Dhaulagiri glows orange and the yellow in the early morning sun. Today we take a side trip to the Bon Punt soling monastery in Lubra, before returning to Jomsom for the flight back to Pokhara. The trail is rather sporadic. From a small hill the views of Muktinath are good and it is plain that much of the valley is used for agriculture. We soon reach the Panga Khola valley and the track follows the course of the river, but high upstream. We have to cross the river and walk downstream on the other side, which seems like a major detour but is necessitated by the steep cliffs further down.

After a steep ascent and descent, we come to an area of pine forest – a surprising change of scenery! We are high above the river again and must cross two bigger side-valleys on the way downstream. Eventually, we come to some fenced-in fields and a garden with apple trees, near Lubra’s village school. The settlement of Lubra consists of about 20 houses near a bend in the river and was founded in connection with the establishment of the Bon Punt soling monastery in the 12th century. This is one of the very few Bon monasteries remaining in Nepal. Bon was the predominant religion in Tibet before the spread of Buddhism and is also called the fifth tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. In the monastery are pictures of four Lokapalas and Buddha Shakyamuni. Bags of masks hang from the ceiling. It is still the tradition today that the head member of Lubra’s nine major families automatically becomes a priest.

After Lubra, the trail leads to the Kali Gandaki and we have to leap across the river Panga a couple of times! At the confluence of the two rivers, we join the caravan of tourists going to Jomsom. You can take the normal route to Jomsom as well.

  • Full Board
  • Guest House

We take early morning 20min flight from Jomsom to Pokhara; we transfer you to the hotel is Bed and Breakfast Plan. The day we give you a chance for exploring the beautiful valley Pokhara with its Natural and cultural beauty.

  • Breakfast
  • Hotel

After having breakfast your trip starts by a drive back from Pokhara to Katmandu by tourist Coach about 6 hours driving (or take a short 30 minute flight) and overnight is arranged in Kathmandu as per agreed category with BB Plan. At evening GAT invites you to join in a farewell dinner in a typical Nepalese cultural restaurant

  • Breakfast+Dinner
  • Hotel

Approximately 3-4 hours before your scheduled flight a representative from GAT will take you to the airport. 

  • Breakfast

What's included

  • Airport pick up and drop off services
  • Kathmandu Guided sightseeing tour as per itinerary
  • TIMS-Card (Trekker Information Management System)
  • Upper Mustang Restricted Area permit fees
  • Annapurna Conservation Area Entry Permit.
  • Kathmandu to Pokhara and back by Tourist coach
  • 12-night lodge/T- House Accommodation during the trek with full board meals.
  • Two-night accommodation in Pokhara with breakfast (Twin sharing)
  • Three-night accommodation in Kathmandu including breakfast
  • Experienced English Speaking Trek leader (Gov. License Holder)
  • Porters 1 for each 2 clients
  • Pokhara-Jomsom-Pokhara flight tickets
  • Company guarantee for Gov”t Rescue Services
  • Insurance of Nepalese Staff.
  • Company services charge and local Tax
  • Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu and Pokhara
  • Travel insurance which covers emergency high-altitude rescue and evacuation
  • Nepal Visa, International airfare and airport departure tax
  • Porter can be arranged if required with additional cost
  • Alcoholic, hot and cold drinks, Internet, Laundry, and Telephone call.
  • Personal trekking equipment (it can be rent in Kathmandu/Pokhara)
  • Tips for trekking staff and driver (Tipping is expected.)
  • Any other expenses that are not mentioned in the Price Include section
  • Early arrival, late departure, early return back from the trek than scheduled itinerary, the cost of hotel, Lunch and dinner will be on your own.
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Useful Info

  • The itinerary is changeable and modifiable as per needs and time frame of trekkers.
  • Please bring 2 passport size photographs for your trekking permit.
  • Nepal entry visa; you can obtain the visa easily upon your arrival at Tribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu (Tourist Visa with Multiple Entries for 15 days can be obtained by paying USD 30 or equivalent foreign currency. Similarly, Tourist Visa with Multiple Entries for 30 days and 90 days can be obtained by paying USD 50 and 130 respectively. Please bring 2 copies of passport size photos. You can apply for Nepal entry visa online as well.

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