The Upper Mustang trek brings you into the hidden world of the old Buddhist kingdom of Mustang, also called Lo. Lo used to be part of the Tibetan empire and is therefore closely tied to Tibet in culture, language and geography.
The regions isolation from the outside world has contributed to a highly preserved Tibetan culture and unspoiled nature. Mustang lies in the rain shadow of the Dhaulagiri massif creating a ruggedly arid land surrounded by rocks in all kind of colors and impressive formations. This barren landscape is dotted with settlements of white washed houses, barley fields and chortens festooned with prayer flags which add a splash of color to the landscape.
The trail follows the ancient salt caravan route through which the people of Mustang traded Tibetan salt for grain from the lowlands. The goal of the Upper Mustang trek is the capital of Upper Mustang, Lo Manthang. From the pass Lo La (3950 m) you can see the walled medieval capital in the distance, the white-washed 6-meter tall wall sticking out in sharp contrast to the barren landscape.
Entering Lo Manthang through the town gate is like stepping into a different world. A world of narrow alley ways, hidden chortens, long walls of beautiful prayer wheels and herds of farming animals sauntering in from the fields in the afternoon to adjourn to their sheds inside the city.
Points of interest in Lo Manthang are the royal palace, a few beautiful monasteries like the Thugchen Gompa built in the 15th century. Or visit the amchi museum and amchi school. An amchi is a traditional Tibetan doctor. There are 2 amchis living in Lo Mangtang, which are also the official doctors of the king. They founded a school to preserve this ancient wisdom. For an excursion outside the city you can hire Tibetan ponies for a ride to Chhoser where you can visit a small monastery and a century old cave dwelling situated high in the rocks.
The most convenient way to get to Upper Mustang is to fly from Pokhara to Jomsom and start the trek from there. The flight is an adventure in itself flying through the deepest gorge in the world, the Kali Gandaki, which runs between the Dhaulagiri and the Nilgiri mountains. You follow the famous Kali Gandaki River upstream, partly walking in the river bed itself, to Kagbeni. From Kagbeni the restricted area of Upper Mustang starts. However, it is worthwhile to pay a visit to the famous pilgrim destination of Muktinath before heading north into Upper Mustang.
From Kagbeni the trek goes norhtwards and leads to Lo Manthang in 4 to 5 days. You cross pass after pass, which are all between 3,500 and 4,000 m. You can return partly by a different way via Dhakmar, crossing 2 passes of around 4,200 m. Close to Dhakmar you can find the oldest Tibetan monastery in the world, the Lo Gekar Monastery. Lo Gekar Monastery was built in the 8th century by the famous Tibetan magician Guru Rinpoche. It is said that he killed a powerful demon and the blood of the demon has painted the rocks around Dhakmar bright red.
Upper Mustang is a restricted area and up till 1992 it was forbidden for foreign visitors to enter the kingdom. Nowadays foreigners are welcome to Upper Mustang for a permit fee of US$ 500 (to be arranged through a trekking agency and valid for 10 days, each additional day costs US$ 50).
These days accommodation in guesthouses is possible along the whole trek. While staying there you are welcome to sit with the owners in the kitchen. In Tibetan culture the kitchen is the center of the house and built like a kind of living room. So there is no better way to learn a bit about the daily life than spending time in the kitchen!
Trekking in Mustang is a great option during the monsoon months (June-August) as the region is in the rain shadow. However, it is best to add a day or two on each side of your itinerary for travel interruptions due to bad weather in the lowlands.
While November is still a nice time to trek in Mustang keep in mind that seasonal migration takes place at this time and many residents from Lo Manthang and surrounding areas will move down to lower altitudes for the winter months. This may cause an inconvenience in restaurants and accommodation availability.
Duration: 15 Days
Max Attitude: 4230 m.
Seasons: March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November
Start Point: Jomsom
End Point: Jomsom
Level of Difficulty: Medium
Group Size: Min. 2 & Max.15
Restricted Area Trekking Permit Upper Mustang, TIMS, ACAP. Issued by Immigration office Kathmandu (www.immi.gov.np).
Day 1: Kathmandu - Pokhara by flight or drive 6-7 hrs
Day 2: Flight Pokhara- Jomsom (2743 m), trek to Kagbeni (2810 m) 3 hrs. Possible round trip day trek from Kagbeni to Muktinath (3800 m) and back (6 hrs).
Day 3: Kagbeni (2810 m) - Chele (3050 m) 6 hrs
Day 4: Chele (3050 m) - Syangmochen (3800 m) 6-7 hrs
Day 5: Syangmochen (3800 m) – Ghami (3,520 m) 5-6 hrs
Day 6 : Ghami (3,520 m) - Tsarang (3,500 m)
Day 7: Tsarang (3560 m) - Lo Manthang (3800 m) 4-5 hrs
Day 8: Lo Manthang (3800 m). Rest day and explore heritage sites.
Day 9: Day hike to Nyiphu and Garphu monasteries/caves and villages in the north of Lo Manthang.
Day 10: Lo Manthang (3800 m) - Dhakmar (3820 m) via Ghar Gumba (Loghekar Monastery) 6 hrs
Day 11: Dhakmar (3820 m) - Ghiling (3570 m) 6 hrs
Day 12: Ghiling (3570 m) - Samar (3550 m) – Chhusang(2900 m) 6 hrs
Day 13: Chhusang (2900 m) - Jomsom (2750 m) 5-6 hrs
Day 14: Flight Jomsom to Pokhara.
Day 15: Pokhara to Kathmandu by flight or drive 6-7 hours.
Important Note: Your safety is of imperative concern while traveling with GHUMNAJAU.COM. Please take care to note that your leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to your safety concerns. Every effort will be made to keep to the above itinerary; however, since this adventure entails travelling in remote mountainous regions, we cannot guarantee that we will not deviate from it. Weather or health condition of a group member, unexpected natural disasters, etc., can all contribute to changes in the itinerary. The trek leader will try to ensure that the trip runs according to plan, but please be prepared to be flexible if required.
21 Oct 2018
03 Nov 2018
04 Nov 2018
17 Nov 2018
06 Mar 2019
20 Mar 2019
25 Mar 2019
08 Apr 2019
15 Apr 2019
29 Apr 2019
02 May 2019
16 May 2019
- 2 Nights accommodation at 3 start hotel in Pokhara.
- 12 Nights accommodation in Teahouse/Lodge during trekking.
- All meals during trek (Breakfast, Lunch, Tea/coffee break & Dinner).
- Breakfast included in Pokhara.
- Internal flight Kathmandu to Pokhara Round trip.
- Internal flight Pokhara- Jomsom–Roundtrip.
- All Travel permits (Upper Mustang Restricted Area permit, ACAP & TIMS)
- English speaking guide & his/her Guide fees. (if requires other language as well)
- Comprehensive first aid kits
- Insurance for the staff
- Mediacal insurance for the client
- All applicable government taxes.
- Accommodation & Meal in Kathmandu.
- Personal expenses
- Health & Rescue Insurance
- International airfare and VISA (On Arrival)
- Gratuities for Staff