Trip Overview

Join our Upper Mustang trek-17 days trek which offers a spectacular trekking into the remote Trans-Himalayan mountain area with Tibetan influence culture. The high desert region of the Tibetan influence, Kaligandaki, from the Tibetan border south to Kagbeni is generally referred to as Upper Mustang. Explore the thousand years of old monastery, caves, local tribes and scenic beauties of the different landscapes. Make an adventure starting from world’s deepest gorge Kaligandaki Region into world’s highest regions of  Lo-Mangthang Valley that passes through an almost tree-less barren landscape, a steep rocky trail up and down hill and panoramic views of Nilgiri, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and several other peaks. The trek passes through high peaks, passes, glaciers, and alpine valleys. The thousands years of isolation has kept the culture, lifestyle and heritage remain unchanged for centuries and to this date. The houses in Mustang are mostly made from stone and sun baked mud bricks. The city wall and the four storey palace in Lo-Manthang are some of the beautiful architectures of Mustang region. Another attraction in the Mustang region is the Tiji Festival influenced by Tibetan Buddhism, which is timed to coincide with the end of the dry season (late winter/spring). The Mustagi people have their own way of family life, which is quite surprising for many outsiders. All the brothers in the family are married to a single girl, what you may call a practice of polyandry.

The Transhimalayan Mustang Region is also known as the Last Forbidden Kingdom, since the region was restricted for outsiders until Nepal Government announced the opening of the restricted areas in October 1991. The Mustangis or the people of Mustang call themselves Lobas, and they have their own King or Tribe-leader, Jigme Palbar Bista. After Nepal was declared a republic in 2007, the Nepal Government took back the official recognition of the Bista as the Mustangi King. However, the people there still respect him as their King or tribe-leader. Bista also grants audience the visitor upon request.  There is also strict control in obtaining a special permit from the department of immigration to protect their tradition from outside influence as well as to protect their environment. The Upper Mustang trek starts from Jomsom to Kagbeni, the entry point of upper Mustang Region. Follow the banks of Kaligandaki River upstream to get to Lo-Mangthang, the capital of the upper Mustang.

Our 17 days teahouse/lodge Upper Mustang trek is a great adventure trek for those who wish to make a challenging trek along “off the beaten path”  in the Trans-Himalayan Region.  If you are interested in making even more adventurous trek in remotest parts, we recommend you to try our Upper Dolpo & She Gompa Trek -28 days. For the trekkers longing to experience some of the most interesting features of the Annapurna region including  Annapurna Base Camp, Machhapuchhre Base Camp, Poon Hill, etc, our Annapurna Sanctuary Trek-16 days itinerary would an interesting option.

Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive in Kathmandu [1300 m / 4264 ft]

Upon our arrival in the Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu, we will be greeted by a representative from Himalayan Glacier who will drop us off at our hotel. After checking in, we take a rest or visit Himalayan Glacier’s office. We may also stroll in the streets of Thamel, a tourist hub in Kathmandu for some souvenir shopping. In the evening, there will be a welcome dinner hosted by Himalayan Glacier. For dinner, you will be served excellent Nepalese cuisine which will introduce you to the country’s food culture. Overnight in Kathmandu.

Day 02: Kathmandu: Sightseeing and Trek Preparation

Today after breakfast we start a guided tour to several of the most historical and spiritual attractions in Kathmandu. Some of these landmarks include the World Heritage Sites: the historic Durbar Square, the sacred Hindu temple of Pashupati Nath, the famous ‘Monkey Temple’ (Swayambhunath) and Buddhists shrine (Buddha Nath) which is one of the largest Stupas in the world. In the afternoon, there will be a pre-trip discussion where we can meet our trek leader and other team members. Himalayan Glacier Trekking briefs us regarding our trek as well as provides us opportunity to ask any questions we may have regarding our upcoming adventure.

 

Day 03: Kathmandu to Pokhara [823m/2,700ft]: 6 hrs drive

Early morning at around 7 am, we set off for Pokhara on a tourist bus. Enroute we will see more of countryside of Nepal that offers greeneries, rivers, villages, farms and beautiful mountain sceneries. Afternoon, we reach Pokhara. Pokhara offers magnificent views of Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, Machhapuchhare, five peaks of Annapurna and others. Pokhara is city of lakes and has numerous beautiful lakes. We can explore the most accessible and beautiful, Fewa Lake during the afternoon -enjoy boating too. Explore, relax and dine by tranquil Lake Fewa. You can even do some shopping during evening hours. Overnight in Pokhara.

 

Day 04: Fly to Jomsom & trek to Kagbeni [2,858m/9,375ft]: 3-4 hrs

After an early breakfast transfer to the airport for a morning flight to Jomsom, a super scenic flight of 20 minutes over the mountains with views of 8,000ers such as Annapurna & Dhaulagiri, brings you at Jomsom, the district headquarter of Mustang. This is a large town, headquarter of the Mustang region; it is also a major village on the Kaligandaki area linking the age old Trans-Himalayan Salt Trade route to Tibet. From Jomsom onwards it is very windy in the afternoon, Continue 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 takes us to Kagbeni, which lies at the bank of two rivers. Kagbeni is an interesting windswept villages situated on the main age old Trans-himalayan salt trade route to Tibet via Upper Mustang area. In Kagbeni a major tributory, Kak Khola, coming from Muktinath, meets Mustang Khola, and from there the river is called the Kali Gandaki.

Day 05: Kagbeni to chele [3050m/10,004ft]: 5-6 hrs

Our journey starts with a special permit check up and onwards to the riverbank of Kaligandaki up stream. During the walk we have scenic picturesque place to stop through the sandy and windy trails. This trails follows the up and downhill. Firstly we reach Tangbe village with narrow alleys amongst white washed houses, fields of buckwheat, barley, wheat and apple orchards. From there we trek forward to Chhusang and after crossing the river head up to the huge red chunk of conglomerate that has fallen from the cliff above, forming a tunnel through which the Kaligandaki follows. We head on to small ridges reach at Chele village.

Day 06: Chele to Syanbochen [3475m/11,398ft]: 6-7 hrs

Today, we start our trek again and walk further to Eklo Bhatti. We climb to Taklam La Pass (3,624m/11,923 ft) through plateaus and narrow stretches with views of Tilicho Peak, Yakawa Kang and Damodar Danda. Further descend a little to the village of Samar. Climb the trail that goes above Samar village to the ridge then descending steeply to a stream. Another 3 hrs similar walk takes us to Syanbochen.  On the way, we relax along the surrounding of cool streams and juniper trees. Locals use the dried leaves of junipers as incenses to invite deities and start any auspicious work.  We also pass by a cave famously known as Ramchung Cave.

Day 07: Syanbochen to Ghaymi [3520m/11,546ft]: 5-6 hrs

After breakfast we trek uphill to the Yamda La (3,850m /12,667ft) passing a few teahouses, chortens and local villages which is like Tibetan style of houses with open Varanda. We cross mountain passes, and an avenue of poplar trees and fields of Barley. The climb to Nyi Pass (4,010m/13,193ft) would be a little longer. Descend to our overnight stop at Ghaymi. the third largest village in the Lo region, Ghayami is surrounded by large fields most of which are barren.

Day 08: Ghaymi to Charang [3500m/11,480ft]: 4-5 hrs

Start the trek after breakfast with a pleasant walk.  After crossing Ghaymi Khola, the trail climbs to a plateau and passes beside a very long Mani wall, a sacred stone wall made by the followers Buddhism.  From the end of the wall the trail heads east to the village of Charang with a maze of fields, willow trees and houses separated by stone walls at the top of the Tsarang Chu canyon.  There is also a huge white dzong and red Gompa to get to our teahouse for tonight’s stop.

Day 09: Charang to Lo-Mangthang (3700m/12,136ft): 5-6 hrs

Today, we trek to Lo-Mangthang with a magnificent view of Nilgiri, Tilicho, Annapurna I and Bhrikuti peak. The trail first descends to Charang Chu Canyon and then climbs steeply after crossing the river. Further the trail ascends gently to the 3,850m windy pass of Lo, from where you can see the Lo-Mangthang Valley. While descending to Lo-Mangthang, views of the walled city appear magnificent with its hills on the Tibetan Border. We stay at hotel for the overnight stop.

Day 10: Explore Lo-Mangthang

Today we explore the surrounding areas. Visit Namgyal Gompa and Tingkhar. Namgyal Gompa situated on a hilltop serves as an important monastery of the local community and also as a local court. After visiting Namgyal Gompa continue the tour to Tingkhar,  the last main village to the northwest of Lo-Mangthang and stroll back to hotel. Or you may have another option to visit the Tall Champa Lakhang “God house” the red Thugchen Gompa, Chyodi Gompa and the Entrance Hall which are the main attraction of this town. Another attraction is the four- storey building of the Raja’s palace as well as the surrounding panoramic views of the Himalaya.

Day 11: Lo-Mangthang to Drakmar [3810 m/12,500ft]: 6-7 hrs

While returning from Lo-Mangthan, we take a different route than that we came by. Trek to Drakmar via Gyakar with more than 1200 years old Ghar Gompa with Guru Rinpoche as the primary figure. The Gompa is also famous for its rock paintings. According to the legend, anyone who makes one wish at the Ghar Gompa, their wish is fulfilled. explore the local area.  Likelihood of dusty wind, so suggested to walk in the morning.

 

Day 12: Dhakmar to Ghiling [3806m/12,484ft]: 5-6 hrs

Today, we get back to Ghiling as our journey for our overnight stay after a long walk takes 5-6 hrs. After arrival and lunch enjoy the day exploring the area, but it will be dusty wind in the afternoon, better to walk in evening time.

Day 13: Ghiling to Chhuksang [3050m/10,004ft]: 5-6 hrs

We re-track back to Ghiling for the overnight stop after 5 hrs walk. You will have wonderful scenery during the journey with a Himalayan view. Enjoy your trip and overnight at teahouse.

Day 14: Chhuksang to Jomsom [2700/8,856ft]: 6-7 hrs

Our last day of the day would be a long one.  Better to walk early start as before and trek to Kagbeni. Finishing the upper Mustang trails and we join the normal Annapurna circuit trek. After lunch at Kagbeni will head on to Jomsom for the overnight stop. Or, if you can spare one more day, our guide would take you to Muktinath as well.

Day 15: Fly back to Pokhara

After morning breakfast we check in the airport to fly back to Pokhara. A 30 min dramatic flight to Pokhara between gorge of the two huge mountains Annapurna and Dhaulagiri. On arrival at Pokhara airport guide will transfer to the lakeside hotel. Rest of the time explores the lake and overnight at hotel.

Day 16: Drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu

After breakfast, we start our 200 kilometers drive back to Kathmandu. Better to hold on the left pane of the vehicle to enjoy the sceneries through the route. To celebrate the successful completion of our journey, we will have a farewell dinner in the evening. Overnight in Kathmandu.

Day 17: Fly Home: Farewell Friend

You are saying good bye to the mountains as your journey in Nepal comes to an end today! We hope you enjoyed the tour with us, and are sure you`ll be back in your trip somewhere in the Himalaya again. Approximately 3 hours before your scheduled flight a representative from Himalayan Glacier Trekking will transfer you to the airport. On your way home you’ll have plenty of time to plan your next adventure in the wonderful country of Nepal.

What is Included
  • All airport/hotel transfers
  • Three nights in Kathmandu, two nights in Pokhara with breakfast
  • Welcome and farewell dinners
  • All accommodation and meals during the trek
  • A full day sightseeing tour in Kathmandu valley including tour guide and entrance fees
  • Domestic flights (Pokhara-Jomsom-Pokhara) and airport departure taxes
  • Kathmandu-Pokhara-Kathmandu transport via Tourist bus
  • An experienced English-speaking trek leader (trekking guide), assistant trek leader (4 trekkers: 1 assistant guide) and Sherpa porters to carry luggage (2 trekkers:1 porter) including their salary, insurance, equipment, flight, food and lodging
  • Down jacket, four seasonal sleeping bag, and trekking map (down jacket and sleeping bag are to be returned after trip completion)
  • A comprehensive medical kit
  • All necessary paper work and permits (ACAP and Upper Mustang special trekking permit)
What is not Included
  • Nepal Visa fee(bring accurate USD cash and two passport photographs)
  • International airfare to and from Kathmandu
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Extra night accommodation/s in Kathmandu because of early arrival, late departure, early return from the mountain(due to any reason) than the scheduled itinerary
  • Lunch and evening meals in Kathmandu(and also in the case you return early from the mountain than the scheduled itinerary)
  • Travel and rescue insurance
  • Personal expenses (phone calls, laundry, bar bills, battery recharge, extra porters, bottle or boiled water, shower etc)
  • Tips for guides and porters
Others

For the Upper Mustang Trek, there will be one leader, assistant leader (4 trekkers:1 assistant guide) and Sherpa porters for luggage carrying (2 trekkers:1 porter) This arrangement ensures that should any body in the group is sick, the trip can still go ahead as planned. We can run the Upper Mustang trek for group of any size, but generally include a maximum of twelve people in a group as we have found this to be the optimum size for a successful trip. However, if you would like to make a group booking for more than twelve people together, we can arrange this too.

Accommodations

Accommodations are included in the trip cost and HG Trekking has chosen. We will be staying at  Hotel Moonlight in Kathmandu, Mt. Kailash Resort in Pokhara and teahouses during the trek. We try to maintain standard comfort in every matter based on the enforceable conditions such as weather calamities. All hotel accommodations & teahouse is based on twin share. If you are a solo traveler, you will share a room with someone else of same sex of your group. If you prefer a single room, you may indicate your preference and get single rooms on request by paying single supplement USD 390.

Meals

During your Upper Mustang Trek, you can enjoy typical Nepali food, different ethnic cuisines as well as all types of international cuisine (Tibetan, Continental, Italian, Indian, etc.). You can even enjoy hot chocolates, variety of breads, variety of drinks, and snacks. Breakfast of a day will be provided from the teahouse/lodge menu where you spent your night. Lunch will be served on the way to destination, dinner and breakfast in the teahouse where you will spend the night. A welcome dinner, a farewell dinner and breakfasts will be provided during your stay in Kathmandu.

Safety

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website’s safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.

We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you’ll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it’s deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid’s operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it’s being implemented in the field:

TRAINING FOR A TREK
Before deciding whether or not you want to travel on this trip, please have a read of the training for a trek document.

INTERNAL FLIGHTS:
There have been a number of recent air accidents in Nepal. We only use airlines that have passed strict safety audits for internal flights on this trip, including Buddha Air, Yeti Air & Tara Air. EU clients please see our safety page for important information regarding internal flights in Nepal.

PERSONAL SAFETY – NEPAL:
Pick-pocketing and bag-snatching are common, particularly in airports and on buses. Take care when walking around at night. Avoid walking on your own and don’t carry large sums of cash. Keep valuables in a hotel safe if possible. Bars and restaurants now close at midnight as part of a government crackdown on illegal activities. Foreigners remaining in bars and clubs after hours have been detained by the police.

FESTIVALS:
Travelling in India and Nepal whilst the Holi festival is on (a lunar festival but generally held in March every year), can at times be dangerous – a lot of locals participate in consumption of intoxicating substances. The day has been associated with physical violence and danger. Your leader will be advising you and your group on what places to avoid on this day and it may even be necessary for us to alter your itinerary for the day to avoid putting you or our group leader in high risk situation.

TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!

SEAT BELTS:
Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.

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