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One of the best monsoon treks in Nepal, the Upper Mustang Trek is a beautiful journey that takes trekkers to the hidden region of Mustang. Also referred to as Nepal's Last Hidden Kingdom, Upper Mustang presents one of the most patently dry terrains in all of Nepal, a drastic contrast to most other famous trekking destinations in the country. Trekking in Upper Mustang is a journey of cultural penchants and untainted traditions that have been in practice for centuries without changing in any drastic way.
A powerful kingdom hundreds of years ago, with its monarch, "The Kingdom of Lo"- as Upper Mustang is also known as was relatively isolated and barred to foreigners for the longest time. Only recently opened for trekking in 1992, Upper Mustang has one of the most well-preserved cultural ambiances in the world, with its Tibetan Buddhist culture still in practice as it was hundreds of years ago due to the region's seclusion.
Upper Mustang is also known as the land of mysticism as it has so much to offer to its visitors in terms of culture that has not been changed due to modernization. Moreover, Mustang's strategic location had also granted the once-independent kingdom control over the ancient trade route between the Himalayas of Nepal and India. This boosted the region's prosperity and made Mustang a beautiful destination filled with a culture that was rich in vibrancy and very opulent.
Flaunting a distinct topography, Upper Mustang presents a dry and arid environment to trek through. Due to the region's location in the rain-shadow zone of the Annapurna and the Dhaulagiri Mountain Ranges, Mustang receives very little rainfall. It makes the Upper Mustang Trek a good option for monsoon trekking.
Vast desert-like terrains filled with loose conglomerates of dunes, Mustang presents trekkers with mesmerizing hues of mountains that seem to change their tincture each day with the movement of the sun, tinting from red and brown to ocher. This is made even more breath-taking when the landscape is a drastic contrast to the towering Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Mountain Ranges that tower over the valleys in shades of glimmering ivory.
Similarly, Mustang is also known for its amazing rock formations caused by the constant wind and sun erosions. Additionally, a collection of more than 50 cave paintings were recently discovered in Mustang in 2007, depicting the life of Lord Buddha, by archeologists.
The Upper Mustang Trek is a perfect amalgamation of cultural, Himalayan, and natural attributes. It is a beautifully distinct trekking experience very different from what the rest of Nepal offers. Presenting its trekkers with many Tibetan Buddhist traditions that manifest in monasteries, Gumbas, chortens, and Stupas scattered throughout the journey, the trek is a brilliant way to experience the Tibetan Buddhist culture in its purest form.
You can enjoy colorful Thanka paintings and many beautiful statues of Gods and Deities and take in an atmosphere elevated with incense-laden monastery halls with prayer wheels embedded in the walls. The Tibetan Buddhist culture and the land's myths and legends are intertwined; the trip presents trekkers with cultural threads weaved into the tapestry of the landscape itself.
Outline ItineraryDay 01: Arrival at Kathmandu (1,300m/4,264 ft.)
Day 02: Sightseeing around Kathmandu Valley and Trek preparation (1,300m/4,264 ft.)
Day 03: Drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara (820m/2,690ft) 6-7 hours
Day 04: Fly to from Pokhara to Jomsom and trek to Kagbeni (2,800m/9,186ft) 2-3 hours
Day 05: Trek from Kaagbeni to Chele (3,050m/10,006ft) 5-6 hours
Day 06: Trek from Chele to Ghiling (3,440m/11,286ft) 5-6 hours
Day 07: Trek from Ghiling to Charang (3,490m/11,450ft) 5-6 hours
Day 08: Trek from Charang to Lo-Manthang (3,730m/12,237ft) 2-3 hours
Day 09: Explore day at Lo-Manthang (3,730m/12,237ft)
Day 10:Trek from Lo-Mangthang to Drakmar (3,810m/12,500ft) 5-6 hours
Day 11: Trek from Drakmar to Ghiling (3,806m/12,484ft) 5-6 hours
Day 12: Trek from Ghiling to Chhuksang (3,050m/10,004ft) 5-6 hours
Day 13: Trek from Chhuksang to Jomsom (2,700m/8,856ft) 6-7 hours
Day 14: Fly from Jomsom to Pokhara (820m/2,690ft) 25 minutes flight
Day 15: Drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu, 7-8 hrs drive
Day 16: Departure day
- 1 hour trekkers massage / Yoga after the trip completion.
- 3 star hotel accommodations in Kathmandu and Pokhara
- A porter and his entire expenses.
- Airport pickup and drop facility.
- All monument entrance fees.
- All necessary paperwork and trekking permits (National Park Permit, TIMS)
- Breakfast,Lunch and dinner during the trek.
- Company duffel bag, t-shirt, and trekking map.
- Down jackets and sleeping bags (provided upon request).
- First aid medical kit
- Fresh seasonal fruits after the dinner (while on the trek).
- Full day guided city tour in Kathmandu (Day 2) by a private vehicle.
- Insurance of guide and porter.
- Kathmandu-Pokhara-Kathmandu flight tickets
- Lodge expenses during the trek.
- Pokhara-Jomsom-Pokhara flight tickets
- Upper mustang special permit
- Welcome and farewell dinner at one of the finest Nepalese Restaurant with traditional ethnic music and dance.
- Airfare for international flights.
- Cost for additional trips.
- Current Hotel Taxes and Service Charges
- Extra night accommodations in case of early arrival, late departure, and early return from the trip(due to any reason) than the scheduled itinerary
- Meals in the city except for breakfast and other mentioned special dinner.
- Nepal arrival visa.
- Personal expenses (phone calls, laundry, bar bills, battery recharge, extra porters, bottle or boiled water, shower, etc.)
- Services not specifically stated in the itinerary
- Tipping to staffs (as an appreciation).
- Travel insurance which covers emergency rescue and evacuation.
- Day 1
- Day 2
- Day 3
- Day 4
- Day 5
- Day 6
- Day 7
- Day 8
- Day 9
- Day 10
- Day 11
- Day 12
- Day 13
- Day 14
- Day 15
- Day 16
Arrival in Kathmandu (1,300m/4,264 ft)
You may arrive in Kathmandu at any time. Upon your arrival, you will be greeted by one of our airport representatives who will help you get transferred to your Hotel. There are no planned activities for the day, so you may check into your Hotel and relax. Overnight stay at the Hotel in Kathmandu.
Kathmandu valley sightseeing tour and trek preparation
This day is reserved for a sightseeing tour of Kathmandu city's World Heritage Sites. You will visit the holy Hindu temple of Pashupatinath, the Bouddhanath shrine, the Swayambhunath Stupa, and the Kathmandu Durbar Square. Each of the sites holds revered religious and historical significance and presents amazing artwork and architectural ingenuity. Each of the sites is built in a traditional style and is crafted with beautiful woodwork, stone masonry, and metal molds. They provide deep insight into the historical and religious context of Nepal. After the tour, you will then be dropped back at your hotel where you can prepare for tomorrow's trekking trip. Overnight stay at the Hotel in Kathmandu.
Drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara (820m/2,690ft), 6-7 hours’ drive
Today, you will be transferred to Pokhara- the tourist hub of Nepal. Pokhara is a beautiful city situated beside the pristine Phewa Lake. Upon arriving in Pokhara, you can enjoy good views of the Annapurna Peaks like the Machhapuchhre Himal and the Dhaulagiri Peak among others. You can also enjoy a leisurely boat ride on the lake if you wish. Overnight stay at the Hotel in Pokhara.
Fly from Pokhara to Jomsom and trek to Kagbeni (2,800m/9,186ft) 2-3 hours
Today, you will have a short flight from Pokhara to Jomsom- the headquarters of Mustang. Famous for its Shaligrams- fossilized black shells believed to be the natural reincarnation of Lord Vishnu, Jomsom is a beautiful village located by the banks of the Kali Gandaki. From Jomsom, you will then trek to Kagbeni- also known as "the Gateway to Upper Mustang". A special permit is needed to trek into Kagbeni. The settlement has many ruins, remnants of the ancient prosperous kingdom that it once was. Trekking through rice fields that are planted in the foothills of massive eroding cliffs, you will arrive at Kagbeni. Here, you can see traditional houses built with mud and stacked with stones. Kagbeni was an important trading point in ancient times where traders from Lo Manthang, Manang, and Dolpo would exchange textiles, meat, and salt. Overnight stay at the guesthouse at Kagbeni.
Trek from Kagbeni to Chele (3,050m/10,006ft) 5-6 hours
Today, you will trek from Kagbeni to the village of Chele. The trekking trail follows the banks of the Kali Gandaki River. You can also enjoy amazing views of the Nilgiri and Tukuche Mountain Peaks along the way. Coruscating through the Kali Gandaki River Valley, you will hike to Kalobhir. Further from Kalobhir, you will come across the Sky Caves- recently discovered in 2007. Perched hundreds of meters above the ground inside rock caverns, the Sky Caves were also featured in the National Geographic. The trekking trail then passes through an apple orchard. Ethnic villages like Tengbe, Gumbakang, and Chhusang are also located along the journey. Finally, you will reach Chele. Overnight stay at the guesthouse at Chele.
Trek from Chele to Ghiling (3,440m/11,286ft) 5-6 hours
From Chele, you will climb through steep terrain with strong winds and high eroding cliffs that present amazing cobble formation. Hiking into a steep canyon, you will pass the gorge and slow descent down to some Stupas located on the canyon ridge towards the village of Samar. From here, the trail continues towards Ghiling. Overnight stay at the guesthouse at Ghiling.
Trek from Ghiling to Charang (3,490m/11,450ft) 5-6 hours
From Ghiling, you will make your way to Charang today, passing by two low-mountain passes. Along the way, you will come across a huge five-story Dzong and also a Red Gompa that houses interesting collections of Buddhist statues and Thanka paintings. Charang is a small settlement that has few traditional houses painted in crimson red. You will see many Mani stones here, carved with prayers and colorful prayer flags perched atop the Mani walls. Overnight stay at the guesthouse at Tsarang.
Trek from Charang to Lo-Manthang (3,730m/12,237ft) 2-3 hours
From Charang, you will trek through the arid landscape, passing by flat desert dunes with occasional cacti and shrubbery succulents growing hereabout. The trek is filled with a peaceful ambiance broken only by the occasional peal of bells upon mule caravans. The amazing rock formations on cliffs and boulders along the way are quite charismatic. The serrated rocks rise into the air and present unique lopsided swivels caused by decades of erosion. Overnight stay at the guesthouse at Lo Manthang.
Explore day at Lo-Manthang (3,730m/12,237ft)
This day is reserved for exploring. Lo Manthang is one of the most historic sites of Mustang. It was constructed by its first King- Ame Pal. Giant walls were constructed to surround the village to protect it from bandits. This led to Lo Manthang being the only walled city of Nepal for the longest time. Much of the whitewashed walls still stand today. The village is also known for its King's Palace- a nine-cornered, five-storied building constructed during the 1400s. It houses many Ranjana inscriptions. Likewise, you can also visit the village's four major temples- the Jampa Kakhang, the Thubchen Gompa, the Chodey Gompa, and the Choprang Gompa. You can also pay a visit to the Nyiphu and Garphu Cave Monasteries at Chhosar. Overnight stay at the guesthouse at Lo Manthang.
Trek from Lo-Manthang to Drakmar (3,810m/12,500ft) 5-6 hours
From Lo Manthang, you will trek to Drakmar today, hiking through the arid landscape with towering cliffs. These cliffs are believed to be formed by the splattering of a demon's blood slain by Guru Rinpoche. Along the way, you will also pass by the Lo Gekar Monastery- an important site of the Lo Tso Dun (the ethnic Loba people of the region). The monastery dates back to the 8th century. It was built by Guru Rinpoche after he defeated a Dakini (Demon), cut off its body into many different parts, and buried its heart upon the hill where the monastery is located. Along the way, you will also encounter a Mani stone wall carved with Buddhist mantras. It is the longest Mani wall in the world, believed to be built atop the remains of the slain dakini's intestines. Finally, you will reach Drakmar. Overnight stay at the guesthouse at Drakmar.
Trek from Drakmar to Ghiling (3,806m/12,484ft) 5-6 hours
From Drakmar, you will hike back south, following the same trekking path towards Ghiling. Along the way, you can see majestic views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Peaks. Overnight stay at the guesthouse at Ghiling.
Trek from Ghiling to Chhusang (3,050m/10,004ft) 5-6 hours
From Ghiling, you will trace your way towards Chhusang. The trek is leisurely with strong afternoon winds flowing through the valley. The dry landscape almost looks alien-like because of the parched and desiccated rocks. The ethnic people believe that these rocks were carved by giants. Overnight stay at the guesthouse at Chhusang.
Trek from Chhusang to Jomsom (2,700m/8,856ft) 6-7 hours
From Chhusang, you will trek back to Kagbeni, following the same pathway. You will pass by yak caravans and can also see local people dressed up in traditional attire. Small pockets of amiable lands are used for agriculture and you will pass through green farm clusters along the way. From Kagbeni, you will make your way back to Jomsom, trekking on the familiar path that you used at the beginning of the trekking journey. Overnight stay at the guesthouse at Jomsom.
Fly from Jomsom to Pokhara (820m/2,690ft) 25 minutes flight
From Jomsom, you will catch a flight back to Pokhara. You can spend the rest of the day in Pokhara relaxing or enjoying the city's attractions. Overnight stay at the Hotel in Pokhara.
Drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu, 7-8 hrs drive
You will bid the Annapurna Mountains goodbye for the last time and drive back to Kathmandu. Overnight stay at the Hotel in Kathmandu.
Approximately three hours before your scheduled flight, you will be taken to the airport for your departure.
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