Manang, now a remote part Nepal, was an independent country until it dissolved into Nepal just a few decades ago.
The kingdom of Mustang lies in the rain shadow formed by the Annapurna & Nilgiri Himalayas and thus gets very little rain which fortunately, makes the area ideal for trekking even in the mid monsoon while the other areas of Nepal remain unsuitable for trekking due to heavy monsoon rains.
The Trek to this mystique kingdom which requires a special permit begins at the airstrip of Jomsom after flying up early from Pokhara. The trek is rather easy as most of the route goes along the bank of Kali Gandaki River and eventually leads you to Lo Manthang, the capital of Mustang at 3730 meter, which is the highest point on this trip.
You will be seeing picturesque villages, monasteries, unique landscapes with easy access and very few trekkers going to this area are the major highlights of this trip. This is among the very few adventure trips in Nepal which can be done throughout the year.
The region of Mustang lies north of the main Himalayan range in the area known as the trans-Himalaya. A vast high valley, arid and dry, it has a barren desert-like appearance similar to the Tibetan Plateau and is characterized by eroded canyons and colorful stratified rock formations. It was once an important route for crossing the Himalaya between Tibet and Nepal, and many of the old salt caravans passed through Mustang.
Known to its inhabitants as Lo, Mustang was only opened to trekkers in March 1992 and you will be part of a small privileged minority to visit this remote outpost of Nepal. The capital of the Mustang district is actually Jomsom but the Tibetan influenced area north of Kagbeni is known as Upper Mustang. It is this area which we will explore fully, discovering the wonders of the architecture, language, culture and traditions which are almost purely Tibetan in this once-upon-a-time mystical kingdom.
|TRIP STARTS: Kathmandu||TRIP Ends: Kathmandu|
|duration:17 Days||grade:Moderate to fairly challenging||max. altitude:3840m|
|ACCOMODATION:Hotel & camping||transportation:Flights & private car||trip type:FOT|
FOT: Fully Organized Trek or Camping Trek
- Day 1:
Arrival in Kathmandu and transfer to hotel.
- Day 2:
Sightseeing tour of Boudhanath, Pashupatinath & Patan
- Day 3:
Fly to Pokhara
- Day 4:
Fly to Jomsom & Trek to Kagbeni [2780m]
- Day 5:
Trek to Chhuksang [2920m]
- Day 6:
Trek to Samar [3290m]
- Day 7:
Trek to Geling [3440m]
- Day 8:
Trek to Ghami [3460m]
- Day 9:
Trek to Charang [3490m]
- Day 10:
Trek to Lo Manthang [3730m]
- Day 11;
In & around Lo Manthang
- Day 12:
Trek to Lo Gekar
- Day 13:
Trek to Ghami [3460m]
- Day 14:
Trek to Chhuksang [2920m]
- Day 15:
Trek to Jomsom [2710m]
- Day 16:
Fly to Kathmandu via Pokhara
- Day 17:
Day 1:Arrival in Kathmandu and transfer to hotel.
Kathmandu is uniquely located near the Himalayan range, so as you arrive Kathmandu by air, you will get to see spectacular views of snow-capped mountains, along with other exciting terrains that are unique to Nepal.
As you land at Tribhuvan Airport in Kathmandu, you will find one of our office representatives, holding a card with your name on it, ready to receive you. After an introduction, our representative will take you to your hotel in a private vehicle. If you have plenty of time, you may ask our representative to suggest what you can do for the remaining part of the day. They will be happy to advise you.
Day 2:Sightseeing tour of Boudhanath, Pashupatinath & Patan
Kathmandu is the historical and cultural heart of Nepal and has been a popular destination for tourists ever since Nepal opened its doors to visitors. The city presents a wonderful mix of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism and Western influence.
There will be a guided tour to the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal Boudhanath and after that to the most popular Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva- Pashupatinath. We take a tour to Patan or Lalitpur (the City of Artisans), which is 5km away from Kathmandu. We walk through Patan Durbar Square, and delight in the architectural wonders of Malla era. Mahaboudha Temple, Kumbeshwor Temple, Krishna Temple and Golden Temple are the major attractions at the square.
Day 3:Fly to Pokhara
We take the short but scenic 30 minute flight to Pokhara, enjoying the views of Ganesh, Manaslu and the Annapurnas along the way. We stay overnight in Pokhara.
Day 4:Fly to Jomsom & Trek to Kagbeni [2780m]
We take the spectacular early morning flight to Jomsom (famous for its apples) where we will be met at the tiny airstrip by our trek crew. After some initial preparation of loads, we begin our trek to the pretty village of Kagbeni. Just out of Jomsom we cross a small suspension bridge and then walk along the riverbank of the Kali Gandaki. The trail is flat and quite barren, with craggy rocks and sand littering the trail. This makes it very easy going. We will get magnificent views of huge peaks such as Dhaulagiri, Tukuche and Nilgiri, whilst to the south can be seen the entire Annapurna massif. Kagbeni with its narrow alleyways and tunnels, irrigation canals, fields of wheat and barley and a large red Gompa, give us a preview of scenes that we would come across in Upper Mustang. At the north end of the village is the police check-post. Here we will complete our paperwork before entering this long forbidden region of Nepal.
Day 5:Trek to Chhuksang [2920m]
It is possible to trek right up the river valley, but we use a combination of the high trail and the riverbank pathways. The trail then widens significantly revealing an endless stretch of sand but the path is kept interesting by the passing of mule trains bearing goods from Mustang and Tibet. On the west bank of the river are some caves and Gompa Kang. Unlike most monasteries in Upper Mustang which are of the Sakyapa sect, Gompa Kang is of the Nyingmapa sect. We stop for lunch at the village of Tangbe, where we come across the first black, white and red Chortens that typify Upper Mustang. The little town is a labyrinth of narrow alleys among white washed houses, fields of buck wheat and barley and apple orchards. Nilgiri Peak continues to dominate the southern skyline. Chhuksang village is only about 2hrs walk beyond Tangbe at the confluence of the Narshing Khola and the Kali Gandaki. There are three separate parts to this village and some ruined castle walls on the surrounding cliffs. Across the river from Chhuksang are some spectacular red eroded cliffs above the mouths of some inaccessible caves.
Day 6:Trek to Samar [3290m]
There is a distinct change here, not only in the topography, but also in the culture, lifestyle and people, and the settlements become more scattered, smaller and more basic. The people of Lo or Mustang practice agriculture. But due to lack of rain and fertile soil, cultivation is limited to sheltered plots of land. This spots the brown landscape with patches of green. Continuing north, we reach the river. A steel bridge spans the river just in front of a tunnel and north from here the Kali Gandaki becomes impassable by foot. The trek now leaves the valley and climbs steeply up a rocky gully to the village of Chele. Watch out for the ferocious Tibetan mastiffs here, which are chained to many of the houses. From Chele you climb a steep spur and then continue ascending along the side of a spectacular steep canyon to a pass. Beyond the pass we descend on a pleasant trail to Samar, situated in a grove of poplar trees. This is a major place to stop for horse and mule caravans.
Day 7:Trek to Geling [3440m]
We climb above Samar to a ridge and then descend into a large gorge past a Chorten before entering another valley filled with juniper trees. We then cross a stream and after climbing to a pass, we descend along a ridge to Shyangmochen, a tiny settlement with a few tea shops. Nearby is Rangbyung, a cave containing stalagmites which have formed in the shape of Chorten and one of the holiest places in Mustang. The trail climbs gently from Shyangmochen and we enter another huge valley before descending to Geling, with its extensive fields of barley. Like in all settlements of Mustang, the white and ochre-painted houses in Geling are constructed using mud and stones. The roofs are made of twigs, straw and a mixture of mud and pebbles.
Day 8:Trek to Ghami [3460m]
From Geling, the trail climbs gently through fields, up the center of the valley, passing above the settlement of Tama Gun and an imposing Chorten. We then begin a taxing climb across the head of the valley to the Nyi La [3840m]. The descent from the pass is quite gentle and about half an hour further on we come to a trail junction; the right trail is the direct route to Charang, the left trail leads to Ghami. Ghami is a large white-washed village sheltered by overhanging cliffs.
Day 9:Trek to Charang [3490m]
Today’s walk is through perhaps the driest part of Mustang, and much of our energy will be spent negotiating the loose, dry soil. However, the magnificent views of the countryside, from the gentle contours of the north to the rugged mountains in the east and west, more than compensates for the hard climb. Finally, we come to Charang, a large spread-out village at the top of the Charang Chu canyon. At the eastern end of the village are a huge dzong [fortress] and a red gompa which houses an excellent collection of statues and thangkas.
Day 10:Trek to Lo Manthang [3730m]
We will spend part of the morning exploring the interesting village of Charang and its large monastery, before setting out for Lo Manthang. We climb gently above the valley to a large isolated Chorten that marks the boundary between Charang and Lo Manthang. The trail then broadens and eventually we get our first view of the walled city of Lo Manthang. The city has only one entrance so we circumambulate the wall to the gate on the north-east corner.
Day 11;In & around Lo Manthang
Today, you are free to explore the fascinating city of Lo Manthang. The city contains about 150 houses, as well as residences for its many lamas. There are four major temples within the city and one of these, Champa Lhakang, contains a huge clay statue of Buddha as well as elaborates mandalas painted on the walls. The king’s palace is an imposing building in the center of the city and is occupied by the current King and Queen. Although his duties are largely ceremonial, the King is respected by the people. Throughout the kingdom, the villagers continue to seek his advice regarding many issues.
It is possible to hire horses to visit these valleys, but this short tour will incur extra costs.
Day 12:Trek to Lo Gekar
We begin our return journey from Lo Manthang, taking the upper highland route. This highland route offers dramatic views of Lo Manthang and the Charang Valley, with snow clad peaks in the background. Just past the settlement of Lo Gekar, we reach the oldest monastery in Mustang, the Ghare Gompa.
Day 13:Trek to Ghami [3460m]
We continue our journey on the highland route, crossing alpine meadows before dropping down a steep eroded gully to Dhakmar for lunch. After lunch, we walk through the pretty valley, climb to a ridge and descend from there back to Ghami.
Day 14:Trek to Chhuksang [2920m]
Now we must retrace our route back over the Nyi La to Chhuksang.
Day 15:Trek to Jomsom [2710m]
It’s a long and sad final day, passing back through Kagbeni to Jomsom where we end our trek. It’s now time for us to take a nice hot shower. In the evening, we celebrate with the Sherpas and porters, whom we have come to know so well over the last 2 weeks.
Day 16:Fly to Kathmandu via Pokhara
We take a spectacular early morning flight along the Kali Gandaki gorge to Pokhara and catch a connecting flight back to Kathmandu.
Day 17:Depart Kathmandu
This will be your final day in Kathmandu, after breakfast, we will be taking you to Tribhuvan International Airport and bid you farewell. We hope by then, you will have had pleasant and joyful trip with us. If you like you can join our other trips, we will be happy to suggest.
Includes & Excludes
- Airport transfers and escort.
- Fully Catered Camping Trek (FOT).
- 3 + 1 nights’ accommodation at 3 star hotel in Kathmandu and Pokhara on twin sharing with breakfast.
- National park fees.
- Domestic airfare as per the itinerary.
- All guided sightseeing tour in Kathmandu with entry fees.
- Nepal visa – Multiple Entrée 30 days – USD 40 per person .
- International flight & all domestic departure tax (NRS 200 (Subject to change) per person each way).
- Mustang trekking permit (USD 500 per person for the 1st ten days and USD 50 per person per day thereafter).
- Lunch & dinner in Kathmandu .
- Extra baggage charges.
- Personal gears & clothing (available on hire).
- Tips, any expenses incurred in emergency evacuation/road block due to any reason, table.
- drinks, snacks while walking.
- Your insurance.