UPPER MUSTANG TREK

19 Days

Overview

In many ways, a trek into Upper Mustang is similar to trekking in Tibet, as geographically it is a part of the Tibetan plateau. The district of Mustang was, until 1950, a separate kingdom within the boundaries of Nepal. To trek in Upper Mustang is a rare privilege. Here you will experience a way of life of true mountain people, who for hundreds of years, had very little contact with the rest of Nepal and retained their rich cultural heritage. The last king, the Raja of Mustang, still has his home in the ancient capital known as Lo Manthang.

Upper Mustang was opened to non-Nepali trekkers only in 1992 and even today, access is still highly restricted. To enter Upper Mustang, that is to travel further north of Kagbeni, trekkers need a special trekking permit and must be accompanied by a guide.

Upper Mustang, being in the Himalayan rain shadow, is one of the regions in the country suitable for trekking even during the monsoons. During this time, the upper Kali Gandaki valley is still quite dry with only occasional rainfall.

The Mustang trek is not particularly difficult, the highest point reached being only 3,800 meters, but the conditions at times can be arduous. Mustang is cold in winter and is always windy and dusty through the year. Winter treks are best avoided due to harsh weather.

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.

Itinerary

Arrive in the capital Kathmandu and transfer to the hotel in the center of the lively city. In the evening you will meet for a traditional welcome dinner. Overnight at the hotel.

Kathmandu View Hotel

Early drive on a varied route to Pokhara with a stopover in the idyllic mountain town of Bandipur. The evening is available for your own exploration in Pokhara. Overnight at hotel. (Travel time approx. 7-9 hours).

Overnight: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

In the early morning, you fly in about 20 minutes with a small propeller plane through the deep gorge of Kali Gandaki to the mountain airfield of Jomsom (2720 m). There you will meet the escort team for your trekking tour.

Afterward, you drive with the off-road vehicle through the windiest and dry valley section of the Kali Gandaki and then follow the creek bed on foot to Lupra. The beautiful little place has a Gompa (monastery) that is very worth seeing. Stroll through the alleys of the village and let the atmosphere sink in. Overnight in a simple lodge. (Walking time approx. 1.5 hours, driving time approx. 0.5 hours.

Overnight: Trekking Lodge
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch Dinner

Today your trek starts. After the loads have been distributed among the porters, you will hike through the rarely visited Lupra Valley to Muktinath. On the way, there are magnificent views of the mountain colossus Dhaulagiri (8167 m) and the desert-like high plateau of Mustang. In Muktinath, you will visit the temple complex of what is probably the most important pilgrimage site in the Nepalese Himalayas for Hindus and Buddhists. Overnight in a lodge. (Walking time approx. 4-5h, 1100 m ↑, 150 m ↓).

Overnight: Trekking Lodge
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch Dinner

The route takes you over a beautiful path up to the Gyu-La Pass (4070 m), where you have a breathtaking view of the surrounding peaks. Further downhill you follow the path and walk past Tetang village before reaching Chhusang. Overnight in a simple lodge. (Walking time approx. 5-6h)

Overnight: Trekking Lodge
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

The hike now takes you to Chele (3050 m) and over the two passes Taklam La (approx. 3650 m) and Dajori La (approx. 3750 m) further up to Samar (3660 m). Although the entire upper Mustang area is actually dominated by treeless, barren landscape, Samar surprises with green trees and a very beautiful view of the ice giants of Nilgiri and Annapurna. Overnight stay in a simple lodge. (Walking time approx. 4-5 hours, 880 m↑, 200 m↓).

Overnight: Trekking Lodge
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Today's hike takes us through a steep, bleak landscape that runs alongside a copper-red canyon. As we cross the Taklam La pass (3,624m) and the Darjori La Pass (3,735 m), trekking becomes a little more difficult. En route, we get to enjoy great views of Tilicho, Yaskawa Kang, and Damodar Danda and pass by Ramchung Cave. After a slow descent to several Chortens on a ridge, we'll arrive in the lovely village of Samar. From here we climb a ridge and descend into a massive gorge. Finally, we cross another valley, stream, and walk downhill until we reach Syangbochen.

Overnight: Trekking Lodge
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

After breakfast the way goes to Nyila pass (4020m) then downhill to Ghami village which is an ancient big village, we take a lunch break. extraordinary views of the soaring peak of Nilgiri, Tilicho, and Annapurna on the south can be viewed from the pass. After Lunch, we hike to Dhakmar 3820m, stay there overnight at Lodge.

Overnight: Trekking Lodge
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Today we make our final approach to Lo Manthang. Today's route takes us far from the motor road. We start by following the trail along the top of one of Mustangs famous red cliffs to the Dhakmar La (4100m), descending slightly to Lo Gyakar for lunch. At Lo Gyakar we will be visiting the Ghar Gompa (monastery) which is believed to pre-date the first monastery built in Tibet, that being Samaye Monastery built by the Padmashambhava. Following lunch, it's a gradual ascent to cross the Chogo La (4280m) before making a final descent to the ancient walled city of Lo Manthang. Trekking: 7-8 hours

Overnight: Trekking Lodge
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Today, we spend all the day exploring entirely to the capital Lo Manthang. The town, founded in 1440 by the first King of Lo, Amedpal (1388-1447), is surrounded by a 6-metre-high and 725-metre-long wall with massive square towers.You will visit the four-story royal palace (Monkhar) and three monasteries (Jhamba Gompa, Thupchen Lakhang Gompa and Khenpo Chhoede Gompa). The day in the midst of the 180 traditional mud houses of the royal city will be over far too quickly. Overnight stay like the day before.

Overnight: Trekking Lodge
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

After breakfast, there is so much to see in the nearby Chhosar Valley. Chhosar is a small village located near Lo Mathang is famous for its ancient monasteries. Travelling on horses or by private jeep, we can make an excursion to the Jhong cave complex, an amazing structure of interconnected dwellings reached by ladders and thought to be 2500 years old, and to Nyphu Gompa (3760m), carved into the side of a soaring cliff near the village of Garphu (3897m). Alternatively, we can visit the King’s summer palace in Thinggar (4030m) or Mustang’s largest monastery, perched on a hillside above the village of Namgyal (3870m), known as the Monastery of Victory. Or we can climb to a viewpoint on a hill just north of Lo-Manthang for stunning panoramas of the entire valley.

Overnight: Trekking Lodge
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

We will follow the road out of Lo Manthang and before too long onto a ridge top trail towards the village of Yara. Are we traverse the ridge line we will have 360 degree views of the Mustang Valley before we descend down to the beautiful old village of Dhi for lunch. All around Dhi and as we trek onwards to Yara we will be able to see the remnants of the ancient cave settlements of the early peoples that made the cliffs their home. In the afternoon we will walk up to explore the ancient cave monastery that was carved into the cliffs hundreds of years ago before returning to Yara for the night. 6 hours trekking.

Overnight: Trekking Lodge
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Your trekking tour now leads over a wonderful route up to a high plateau above the Kali-Gandaki Valley. A beautiful mountain path takes you to a very steep cliff edge. This is followed by a descent to Dhechyang Khola, which you cross and then climb a tough path to a pass (4060 m). The route now leads over the Serthang ridge before you hike steeply down to your destination for the day in Tangge (3520 m). Overnight stay in a lodge. (Walking time approx. 7h, 800 m↑, 930 m↓).

Overnight: Trekking Lodge
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Today there is a long daily route on the program. After crossing the Tange Khola River, climb a steep path to a pass (4340 m) with beautiful views back into the upper Mustang area. Deep in the valley you can see the village of Tangge, out of the valley Nilgiri, Annapurna and Dhaulagiri. Later you reach Paha (4250 m) high above the Kali Gandaki valley. The wonderful mountain trail leads over several small passes - with excellent mountain views. There are always easy climbs and descents along the Siyarko Tang Danda Mountain ridge. Finally, you descend through rocks and a scree field into the valley of the Naysing Khola to Chhusang (2980 m), which you already know from the way there. Overnight stay in a simple lodge. (Walking time approx. 10h, 950 m↑, 1490 m↓).

Overnight: Trekking Lodge
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

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UPPER MUSTANG TREK