The Hidden Kingdom of mustang

The Mustang trek is offers a spectacular trekking into a remote Himalayan mountain area with Tibetan influence culture. We start with a spectacular mountain flight along the Kali Gandaki Valley to Jomosom. From here we trek to Kagbeni, the gateway to Upper Mustang. We trek past ancient monasteries through a barren mountainous landscape with panoramic views of Niligiri, Annapurna and Dhaulagiri. Eventually we reach the capital of Mustang, Lo Manthang. We have time to explore this fascinating place Thousands years of isolation has kept the culture, lifestyle and heritage unchanged for centuries. The houses are mostly made from stone and sun baked mud bricks. The city wall and the four storey palace in Lo Manthang are still spectacular. On the May 2015 departure we will spend time at the Tiji Festival, which is a Tibetan Buddhist festival held once a year at the end of the dry season. We will spend a whole day at the festival watching the spectacular masked dances performed by monks.

Detailed Itinerary

  • Day 1:  Arrive in Kathmandu (1300 m)
    Upon your arrival in the Kathmandu airport you will be transferred to the hotel in Kathmandu.

     

    Day 2:  Kathmandu: Sightseeing and Trek Preparation
    Today after breakfast there will be a full trip briefing  and we start a guided tour to two of the most historical and spiritual attractions in Kathmandu - the sacred Hindu temple of Pashupatinath and the Buddhist shrine at Bodnath. In the afternoon, there will be some free time for further exploration.

     

    Day 3: Fly Pokhara
    This morning we fly to the lakeside town of Pokhara which is 30 minutes flight from Kathmandu. We stay at Hotel. After lunch we will row across the lake and hike up to the Buddhist Peace Pagoda which overlooks the lake. We can take afternoon tea at a hotel above the stupa and we return to Pokhara by road.

     

    Day 4:  Fly to Jomosom (2,713m) and trek to Kagbeni (2,858m)
    After an early breakfast we transfer to the airport for an early morning flight to Jomsom, a super scenic flight of 20 minutes over the mountains with views of 8,000ers such as Annapurna & Dhaulagiri. Jomosom is the district headquarters of Mustang and is now a large town. In ancient times it was a major trading village on the Kali Gandaki River, linking the age old Trans-Himalayan salt trade route to Tibet. From Jomosom we head north along the Kali Gandaki River (it can get very windy and dusty in the afternoon) for about 3 hrs to Ekkle Bhatti, where we stop for a tea break or lunch depending on the time. From here it’s another hours easy walk to Kagbeni, which lies at the confluence of two rivers. Kagbeni is an ancient and interesting windswept village with mud brick houses and tiny paved alleyways. Looking back we can see the pointed peaks of Niligiri and across the valley we can see the bulk of Dhaulagiri. We have time in the afternoon to explore the village.
    Overnight lodge.
    3-4 hrs walking. Height gain 2713m to 2858m – almost level walking with very gradual uphill – gain 145m

     

    Day 5:  Kagbeni (2858m) to Chele (3050m)
    We enter Mustang proper today and will have our special permit checked. The trail follows the Kali Gandaki River upstream. The trail undulates on sandy trails and the first village we reach Tangbe with its narrow alleyways and white washed houses and fields of buckwheat, barley and apple orchards. From Tangbe we trek to Chhusang and after crossing the river we head up to the huge red chunk of conglomerate that has fallen from the cliff above, forming a tunnel through which the Kali Gandaki flows. The eroded conglomerate includes large numbers of man made caves, which were used as places of retreat by monks. We head on to small ridge and finally come to Chele, situated on a bluff above the river.
    Overnight at teahouse.
    5-6 hrs walking. Height gain 2858m to 3050m – gradual uphill height gain 192m

     

    Day 6:  Chele to Shyangbochen (3475m)
    Today, we start our trek again with a climb to the Taklam La Pass (3,624m/11,923 ft). As we gain height we can look back to the towering wall of the Annapurna massif, with the central summit of Annapurna 1 clearly visible. From the pass we traverse round to the small settlement of Samar. Looking east we can see a number of snow capped peaks that lie to the north of the Thorong La, including Brikuti (6724m) with its prominent snow ridge. Leaving Samar we cross two deep gullies and climb to a col. We climb even higher to 3,900m from where we have a great view of the northern part of Mustang, noteable for its orange and blue and white coloration of rocks. Behind us we can see Annapurna, Tilicho and Niligiri peaks. We continue round to a viewpoint and on to Shyangbochen.  Along the way we can find sheltered resting spots near cool streams and juniper trees. Locals use the dried leaves of juniper as incense. Look out for a cave known as Ramchung Cave.
    Overnight at teahouse.
    6-7 hrs walking. Height gain 3050m to 3624m and up to 3900m and descend to 3475m.

     

    Day 7:  Shyangbochen to Ghemi (3520m)
    After breakfast we trek uphill to the Yamda La (3,850m) passing a few teahouses, chortens and local villages with Tibetan style of houses. From the pass we descend to an avenue of poplar trees and fields of barley. We then climb the Nyi Pass (4,010m), with fantastic views across Mustang. We then descend to our overnight stop at Ghemi, the third largest village in the region. Ghemi is surrounded by large fields. Look out for the most spectacular inn which includes a monastic cell and usually a contingent of monks.
    Overnight at teahouse.
    5-6 hrs walking. Height – climb 3520m to 3850m, descend a little and climb to 4010m and descend to 3520m

     

    Day 8:  Ghemi to Tsarang (3500m)
    Today’s walk starts with a pleasant trek across the Ghemi Khola. Across the valley is one of the longest prayer walls in Nepal, 400 meters long and over 2 meters high. It’s painted in orange, white, yellow and blue grey stripes and the backdrops are the wonderful colored hills of Mustang. From here we climb to a plateau and pass beside a very long ‘Mani’ (prayer) wall, a sacred stone wall made by the followers Buddhism.  From the end of the wall the trail heads east to the village of Tsarang with its maze of fields, willow trees and houses separated by stone walls at the top of the Tsarang Chu canyon.  There will be time this afternoon to visit the spectacular fortress monastery in the village.
    Overnight at teahouse.
    4-5 hrs walking. Height – undulating easy walk 3520m to 3500m.

     

    Day 9:  TSarang to Lo Manthang (3700m)
    Today, we trek to Lo Manthang with magnificent views of Nilgiri, Tilicho, Annapurna I and Bhrikuti peaks. Shortly after leaving Tsarang we reach the huge Sungda Chorten, known as the pass of Lo at 3850m, the boundary of Inner Mustang, known as the Kingdom of Lo. At this point, snow capped peaks towards Tibet come into view and we get our first views across a wide and level depression of  the Lo Manthang Valley. While descending to Lo Manthang, views of the walled city appear magnificent with the backdrop of mountains on the Tibetan Border. The town is surrounded by a 200 metre wall 10 meters high and contains about 150 houses including the Raja’s palace.
    Overnight at lodge.
    5-6 hrs walking. Height – climb from 3500m to 3850m and descend to 3700m.

     

    Day 10:  Explore Lo Manthang
    Today we explore the fascinating walled city and the surrounding areas. Just north of the town is a hill capped by a ruined fort. From the highest point we can look across Lo Manthang and back all the way to the spectacular Annapurnas in the distance. Namgyal Gompa is an hours walk from the city  - an important monastery of the local community it also serves as the local court. For those who want a leg stretch we can continue to Tingkhar,  the last village to the northwest of Lo Manthang. The four storeyed Raja’s palace in Lo is also not to be missed and has great panoramic views of the Himalaya.
    On the departure ex Kathmandu 2015 we will spend today at the Tiji festival, the most important festival in Mustang. Called the ‘Chasing of the Demons’ the monks perform spectacular masked dances.
    Overnight at lodge.

     

    Day 11:  Lo Manthang to Yara (3760m)
    We walk back a different way and start by hiking across open plains and then climbing gradually to the Dhi La (4100m), with views across the upper Kali Gandaki and south to the Himlaya. From here, we descend steeply to the bed of the upper Kali Gandaki and the village of Dhi, with its old monastery. In the afternoon we cross the river and ascend to Yara Village (3760m).
    Overnight at teahouse.
    5-6 hours walking. Height 3700m up to 4100m and down to approx 3600m and up to 3760m.

     

    Day 12: Yara to Tangge (3240m)
    Heading south now, we cross a col and descend into another of the eastern tributaries of the Kali Gandaki, the Dechyang Khola. Look out for ammonites (fossils) in the riverbed. We then climb up to cross the Sertang Danda and an unnamed 3850m pass. We overnight at the thriving and not-too-often visited village of Tangge (3240m), set beneath terracotta cliffs.
    Overnight at teahouse.
    5/5.5hours walking. Height 3760m up to 3850m and down to 3240m

     

    Day13: Tangge to Chukksang (3040m)
    Probably the longest walk of the holiday, as we cross the Tangge Khola and head upstream on the riverbed for an hour or so before the long climb to the
    Lelo La at 4200m. There are great views across a wild landscape to Dhaulagiri, as we pass the summer shepherds settlement of Pa (4100m) and contour at around 4000m with magnificent views across to the peaks on the western edge of Mustang. We are now on the Siyarko Danda ridge which we follow, with its far reaching viewsninto the red and ochre gorges typical of Mustang. A steep descent brings us to Chukksang, a beautiful village nestled amongst fields of barley and potatoes beside the Kali Gandaki River.
    Overnight at teahouse
    7/7.5 hours walking. Height – 3240m up to 4200m, down to 4000m, round and down to 3040m.

     

    Day 14: Chukksang to Jomosom
    Today, we hike up through Tetang, with a great view of the surrounding area, to the Gyu La (4077m) for amazing views of the Annapurnas, Dhaulagiri, Niligiri, Tukuche and Thorong peaks, then drop down easily to the pilgrimage centre of Muktinath in time for a late lunch. We have an hour or two for sightseeing amongst the temples, before driving down to our overnight lodge in Jomsom.
    Overnight lodge.
    4.5 hours walking. Height 3040m up to 4077m  and down to 3800m at Muktinath.

     

    Day 15: Fly back to Pokhara
    After morning breakfast we check in the airport to fly back to Pokhara. A 30 min dramatic flight to Pokhara between gorge of the two huge mountains Annapurna and Dhaulagiri. On arrival at Pokhara airport you will be transferred  to Hotel. The rest of day is free in Pokhara.
    Overnight at hotel in Pokhara

     

    Day 16: Fly back to Kathmandu from Pokhara.

     

    Day 17:  Trip Finish
    After  breakfast, depart transfer to airport.

Date & Price

Includes & Excludes

Trip Notes

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

Duration: 17 Days
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