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Upper Mustang Trek

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Duration

15 Nights/ 16 Days

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Tour Type

Daily Tour

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Group Size

2-15 people

Overview

The Upper Mustang trek is the ultimate gateway to the mysterious world of the old Buddhist kingdom of Mustang, also called Lo. Once forbidden and isolated from the rest of the world for decades, the area was able to evolve within its own distinctive culture and rich traditions closely tied to Tibet. If that’s not enough, this moderate, lesser-known trek passes through one of the driest regions of Nepal so the treeless, barren landscape is often windy in the afternoon, subsiding at night. As everywhere in the Himalayas, this area provides spectacular mountain scenery with dozens of high-altitude peaks including Dhaulagiri and Annapurna I.
 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Trekking in upper Mustang is a rare privilege and you will get chance to explore lifestyle, culture and tradition of true Himalayan people along with the breathtaking view of Himalayan landscapes.
  • Jomsom is popular for apple, strong winds and spectacular Himalayan landscapes.
  • The people who visited Muktinath they got a holy shower from these 108 taps.
  • Kaligandaki River gorge is the deepest canyon in the word.
  • The numberous monasteries, chortens, mahne walls and caves of Upper Mustang are manifestations of rich cultural heritage.

Itinerary

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Day 1: Welcome to Kathmandu
Day 1: Welcome to Kathmandu

Flying into Kathmandu, you'll have views over the valley, the Himalaya, and the terraced fields below. After completing customs, a representative will be waiting to greet you outside the airport and to guide you through the initial culture shock of Kathmandu’s narrow, winding streets to your hotel.

Day 2: Explore Kathmandu
Day 2: Explore Kathmandu

Kathmandu has a special atmosphere during the early morning hours when the city is slowly coming to life yet not too chaotic. It's a great time to walk and explore the streets or have a chai overlooking one of the local courtyards or durbar squares.

After breakfast, there are then a number of ways you can spend your day given the myriad famous sights around the Kathmandu Valley. You can use this as a free day or you can utilize a local English-speaking guide who knows the city well and can explain the history and significance of the sights (along with a private jeep to take you around).

Overnight: Kathmandu
Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3: Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara & Explore Kathmandu
Day 3: Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara & Explore Kathmandu

After breakfast, you'll be picked up and driven by private transfer to the domestic airport for your flight (30 minutes) to Pokhara, Nepal's second-largest city. This is a stunning half-hour flight along the Himalayan range where four of the world’s 14 giant mountains over 26,246 feet (8,000 m) can be seen: Dhaulagiri, Annapurna I, Manaslu, and Shishapangma.

Upon landing, you will be greeted by a driver who will bring you to your hotel. The rest of the day is yours to explore or you can simply to relax by the waters of Lake Phewa. Pokhara has plenty of great cafés, restaurants, funky shops, and yoga studios that cater to expats and adventure travelers. Enjoy the serene pace here however you're inspired to do so.
Meals included: Breakfast
Overnight: Pokhara

Day 4: Fly from Pokhara to Jomsom, Trek to Kagbeni (9,377 feet / 2,858 m)
Day 4: Fly from Pokhara to Jomsom, Trek to Kagbeni (9,377 feet / 2,858 m)

After an early breakfast, you'll be driven to the airport for a spectacular mountain flight to Jomsom, the district headquarters of Mustang. The flight takes you over the Kali Gandaki, the deepest gorge in the world. From the plane, you'll have great views of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna; minutes later, you'll touch down in a totally different environment, the arid valleys of the Himalayan rain shadow.

Start your walk along the Kaligandaki river and prepare for a strong wind in this section of the trek. After a few hours, you will get to a small but beautiful village called Ekle Bhatti, situated along the bank of the river, where you can have an enormous view of Nilgiri Himal—a range of three peaks in the Annapurna massif. This is also an ideal place to stop for tea or lunch.

Continue walking for about an hour to get to Kagbeni. This beautiful medieval village has a lively main square with prayer flags and herds of goats. Wander around the narrow alleyways and explore the village's ancient mud-pack houses.

Flight time: 20 minutes
Trekking time: 3 hours (7.1 miles / 11.4 km)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight: Kagbeni

Day 5: Trek from Kagbeni to Chele
Day 5: Trek from Kagbeni to Chele

After breakfast, you'll start a trail which follows along the east bank of Kali Gandaki River with great views of the Nilgiri and Tukuche peaks. On the way, you'll pass through Buddhist monasteries, traditional Gurung villages, eroded cliffs, barley and buckwheat fields, as well as scenic apple orchards.

You'll eventually reach a village called Tangbe and continue to Chhusang, with a series of up and downhill sections. After relaxing and exploring Chhusang village, you'll reach a steel bridge over the Kali Gandaki River at the bottom of today's ending point. Cross the bridge and then continue a pretty steep climb before you finally arrive in Chele, a village with typical Tibetan-style structures where you'll have an opportunity to observe local culture and lifestyle.

Trekking time: 6-7 hours
Trekking distance: 9.5 miles (15.3 km)
Overnight: Chele (10,006 feet / 3,050 m)
Accommodation: Teahouse

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Trek from Chele to Syangboche
Day 6: Trek from Chele to Syangboche

After breakfast in Chele, you'll begin a tough uphill walk to reach Syangboche village via a few passes, accomplishing an impressive difference in elevation. To compensate, the mountain views, including Tilicho, Yakawa Kang, Nilgiri, and Damodar Danda, are beautiful. The morning's first destination will be the village of Samar along a narrow path with some sheer drops—a good place to stop for lunch. After this, you'll walk for another few hours all the way down to the river and then all the way back again bringing you to Syanboche village for the night.

Trekking time: 6-7 hours
Trekking distance: 7.1 miles (11.5 km)
Overnight: Syanboche (11,400 feet / 3,475 m)
Accommodation: Teahouse
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Trek from Syanboche to Charang
Day 7: Trek from Syanboche to Charang

Today after breakfast, you'll start a gentle uphill climb to Yamda La passing some Tibetan style villages and traditional houses, eventually arriving to Nyi La pass—also the highest point of the trip. After leaving the village of Jaite, you'll have a moderate climb up to the Nyi La and a gradual descent down the other side until you arrive at Ghami passing mani walls and experiencing a change in scenery typical in this part of the Upper Mustang. This is an interesting village and a good place to stop for lunch.


From here, the route turns into a series of switchbacks, which you'll need to ascend until you reach the Tsarang La. Once at the top of the pass, it is a gentle descent down through yet more splendid scenery, followed by a flat and enjoyable trail until you reach the village of Charang for the night. Once settled in your teahouse, explore the village and its impressive monastery and former Royal Palace.

Trekking time: 7-8 hours
Overnight: Charang (11,482 feet / 3500 m)
Accommodation: Teahouse

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Trek from Charang to Lo-Manthang
Day 8: Trek from Charang to Lo-Manthang

After breakfast in Charang, you'll begin a half-day trek that begins by walking down to the river and then straight back up again. This is where the Tholung Valley begins and where you'll get your first views of Lo-Manthang village as you make your way to the Lo La.

From here, there is a tricky descent along a heavily sanded path that takes you right to the entrance of the walled village. The scenery from in Lo-Manthang is spectacular and the rest of the afternoon can be spent relaxing and taking in the views, or exploring four major temples that each charge a small entry fee. Other highlights include people-watching and wandering through the back streets of the former capital of the Kingdom of Lo.

Trekking time: 5-6 hours
Trekking distance: 6.8 miles (11 km)
Overnight: Lo-Manthang (12,336 feet / 3760 m)
Accommodation: Teahouse

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Lo-Manthang Exploration Day
Day 9: Lo-Manthang Exploration Day

Today, you'll have a full day to relax and explore this fascinating village. There is the raja's former palace, several monasteries, and panoramic views of the Himalayas, as well as villagers to meet and learn about the local lifestyle and Tibetan culture.

If you're feeling energetic, there is a half-day excursion north of Lo-Manthang to the village of Garphu, which has an interesting gompa (monastery) in a picturesque setting. It is a fairly easy hike that gets you close to the Tibetan border with more fantastic views of the mountains. The day can also be extended to include a tougher trek to Tingkhar, which is the site of the raja’s summer palace, and also Namgyal gompa.

Overnight: Lo-Manthang (12,336 feet / 3,760 m)
Accommodation: Teahouse

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Trek from Lo-Manthang to Ghar Gompa
Day 10: Trek from Lo-Manthang to Ghar Gompa

Today, after breakfast in Lo-Manthang, you'll want to start the trek as early as possible since this section of trail is known for being windy and dusty. That being said, this easy trail is almost all the way downhill to the centuries-old Ghar Gompa, a beautiful monastery in this region near the village of Gyakar, and where you'll stay the night. This is a large singular building reached by steps from a courtyard surrounded by the monks living quarters where you can part in traditional Buddhist ceremonies. You'll also have great vistas of both Marang and Charang villages, as well as a panoramic view of Drakmar's red cliffs.

Trekking time: 4-5 hours
Overnight: Ghar Gompa (12,933 feet / 3,942 m)
Accommodation: Teahouse

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Trek from Ghar Gompa to Ghiling
Day 11: Trek from Ghar Gompa to Ghiling

Today, after breakfast in Ghar Gompa, you'll have another easy trekking day as you continue to descend the valley toward Ghiling for your overnight stay. The conditions will likely be windy and dusty during day so you can explore the village in the evening.

Trekking time: 5-6 hours
Overnight: Ghiling (12,486 feet / 3806 m)
Accommodation: Teahouse

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 12: Trek from Ghiling to Samar
Day 12: Trek from Ghiling to Samar

After breakfast in Ghiling, you'll start the trek with a slow climb with beautiful mountain views in every direction. The second part of the trek to Samar is a more challenging series of ups and downs, and you'll notice that the village can be seen in the distance. It looks easier to get here than it is, but you'll have plenty of time in the afternoon to relax upon arrival.

Trekking time: 5-6 hours
Overnight: Samar (12,139 feet / 3700 m)
Accommodation: Teahouse
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 13: Trek from Samar to Muktinath
Day 13: Trek from Samar to Muktinath

After breakfast in Samar, you'll begin one of the toughest days of the trip. This is a steep uphill climb to the pass followed by a descent to reach Muktinath village for the night. Muktinath is known for its cold springs, ancient fossils, and holy shrine—a sacred place for both Hindus and Buddhists. In a temple called Jwala Mai nearby, you can view two tiny blue flames that burn incessantly from a hole that also emits water, believed to be burned by God.

Trekking time: 6-7 hours
Overnight: Muktinath (12,467 feet / 3,800 m)
Accommodation: Teahouse
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Trek from Muktinath to Jomsom (8,910 feet / 2,715 m)
Day 14: Trek from Muktinath to Jomsom (8,910 feet / 2,715 m)

After breakfast at your teahouse, pay a visit to Muktinath Temple, an important place of worship for Nepalese Buddhists and Hindus. You will have the opportunity to visit the main temple and its surrounding area before you hit the trail.

From here, begin your trek back to Jomsom along an easy route that heads straight downhill. While you retrace your steps, you'll be able to enjoy good views of Mt. Dhaulagiri. Pass through Jarkot where you can visit one more monastery, and take in the views of snow-capped mountains and ancient caves. Admire the signs of rich Tibetan culture and keep an eye out for Mustang people who will come out and sell handicrafts to pilgrims.

Trekking time: 5-6 hours (9.3 miles / 15 km)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight: Jomsom

Day 15: Fly from Jomsom to Kathmandu via Pokhara
Day 15: Fly from Jomsom to Kathmandu via Pokhara

After an early breakfast in Jomsom, you'll be transferred to the local airstrip to catch your return flight to Pokhara. From here, you'll catch a connecting flight to Kathmandu.

Once you arrive, you'll be transferred to your hotel in the capital city. Spend the rest of the day on your own, perhaps exploring the streets on foot, bicycle, or rickshaw, and seeing anything you may have missed at the beginning of your trip.
Overnight: Kathmandu

Day 16: Depart Kathmandu
Day 16: Depart Kathmandu

It's time to say farewell to Nepal. Enjoy your last moments in Kathmandu with breakfast in a café, a final stroll through the narrow alleys and temples, and some souvenir shopping. A driver will be waiting for you at your hotel to take you to the airport for your return flight home. It's best to be at the airport at least two hours prior to departure.
Meals included: Breakfast

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