Upper Mustang Trek

14 Days

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  • Take a historic trip to the last forbidden kingdom of Lo-Manthang in Upper Mustang.
  • Visit the peculiar Chhoser Caves that look mystic and alien-like with strange formations and multiple chambers.
  • Entice yourself trekking through the unique and arid landscapes on the rain-shadow of the Himalayas.
  • See the intricate monasteries, chhortens, prayer flags, and religious walls.
  • Have inspiring views of Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri, and other peaks of the Himalayan range.
In this program from High Venture Plus, you will venture deep into the forbidden kingdom of Lo-Manthang in Upper Mustang. You will be trekking in the dry and remote landscapes near the border of Tibet. Located at an altitude of 4,000 meters, Lo-Manthang is the last forbidden kingdom of Nepal. Here, a ceremonial king and queen reside at the center of the town. This medieval town was once a center-point of an old trading route with Tibet. Today, it’s a protected area that can be traveled with a special permit from the Nepalese government. The surrounding high wall has only one opening that acts as an entrance and exit point to this walled town.
The rugged but beautiful landscape is full of breathtaking views of giant mountain peaks. You will see Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri, and other lesser-known peaks against a desert-like landscape. The rain-shadow of The Himalayas is indeed an interesting geographical feature for the purpose of trekking. We invite you for a mystical and memorable trip to this far-flung location on the planet. 

Route Map

Upper Mustang Trek Route Map

Itinerary

  • Traveling to Pokhara by bus is an exciting trip. We will pick you up from the hotel and drive to the bus stand. The seven-hour drive to Pokhara is a scenic journey through winding hilly roads. You can spend the rest of the day relaxing in the lake town of Pokhara. Stay overnight in a hotel.
  • After breakfast, we will head to the airport and take a short flight to Jomsom. Here we will begin the 10 km trek which takes around four to five hours with plenty of stops. This beautiful and scenic trek is the beginning of your Upper Mustang trip. Trekking along mostly easy and flat trail, you will cross old villages, monasteries, and barren landscapes. We will be walking through the Kali-Gandaki river valley with incredible views of the mountains. Reaching Kagbeni later in the afternoon, we’ll check into a lodge and spend time around this village.
  • Starting from Kagbeni after breakfast, we will head too Chele today. The six hour trek will bring us to Upper Mustang region at the end of the day. We’ll trek through Kali-Gandaki river valley with deep-dark water and strange-looking caves. Once we arrive at the village of Tangble, we will cross farms of wheat and barley. Enjoying the views of Mt. Nilgiri, we will continue on to the village of Chuksang. A brief rest here, and we’ll head to Chele along the river again, where we’ll stay tonight.
  • Starting along the easy trail from Chele, we’ll go through gradual ups and downs with scenic views of Mt. Nilgiri. The barren landscape continues throughout the day, but we’ll see some time-worn villages, chhortens, and farmlands. Take plenty of breaks and enjoy the surroundings. During mid-day We’ll get on an ascending trail until we come to a small stream. Cross it, and head on the ascending trail lined with chhortens. A little further through a pass, we’ll come to the village of Syangmoche. Here, we’ll check into a lodge, unpack and go to bed early.
  • Starting from the hamlet of Syangmoche, we’ll come to a cave of stalagmites. Shaped as tiny chhortens, these are considered holy in this part of the world. Trekking along the ascending trail, we’ll come to large valley on the road to Gheling. We’ll pass the farms and unique stone-houses, and trek past Gheling. Along the road is an impressive chhorten, past which, is the challenging pass of Nyi-La Pass. From the pass we’ll have good views of the valley below and then descend to the village of Ghami. It’s a big village with mostly white-painted houses near overhanging cliffs. Check into a lodge for the overnight stay.
  • Leaving behind Ghami after breakfast, we will begin on the trail to Drakmar. The gentle descents and ascents of the trail are lined by cliffs and farmlands. The colorful hills are spectacular in this region, where we might even spot some wildlife. Along the route we’ll come to Ghar Gompa, the oldest monastery of Nepal, belonging to the Ngyinmapa sect. Past the monastery, we’ll trek to Charang river. Follow the river to arrive at the village of Charang for the overnight stay.
  • After a leisurely breakfast, we’ll leave Charang and its monastery behind. Today we’ll be reaching the medieval walled town of Lo-Manthang. The trail goes through a gentle ascent above the valley. A solitary chhorten awaits you in solitude. Take a break here and past this chhorten, you’ll be officially entering the region of Lo-Manthang. A little further, the walled town comes into view. Once upon a time this place used to be at the direct trading route with Tibet. Today it’s a preserved town with its own unique culture and traditions, and even the dialect. The walls have one and the same opening serving both as an entrance as well as an exit. Get into this fantastic town and check into a lodge for a wonderful stay at Lo Manthang.
  • It’s a day of rest at Lo Manthang. Exploring around town you’ll see that it has houses, temples and monasteries, and lamasery. If you visit the temple of Champa Lhakang, you’ll see a large statue of The Buddha made out of clay. The intricate walls and murals are impressive and quite beyond expectation. Near the center of Lo Manthang, you’ll even see the home of the ceremonial king and queen. After a busy morning, you’ll go to see Chhoser Caves in the afternoon. You can take a horse or a jeep, but we recommend taking the horse with guides. The caves are wonderful and seem to exhibit a mystic aura, that almost looks like an other-worldly structure. Return to Lo Manthang later in the afternoon and check back into your lodge.
  • After a wonderful stay at this historic location, it’s time to return. Starting after breakfast, we’ll begin the gentle ascent. If you like, you can have one last photo of the walled kingdom before crossing the pass of Chogo-La. From here, descend to Charang Khola and on to Ghar Gompa. Take a short break here and continue on the barren landscapes to arrive at the village of Drakmar. Check into a lodge with scenic views, where you’ll stay tonight.
  • Starting after breakfast, we will head towards Ghiling today. The walking distance is above six hours with rests along the way. Today it’s all about walking on a barren landscape that seems to stretch for miles and miles. On top of it all, you won’t have hamlet or village in sight. So, we’ll be eating packed lunch along the way. Add to that a perpetually windy route, and you’ll have a clear picture of how the trek is going to be today. We’ll arrive at Ghiling late in the afternoon. It’s a little village where we’ll stay tonight.
  • It’s another day of trek along the barren landscape. Walking for over five hours, you will come to the village of Chuksang. Unlike yesterday you’ll have excellent views of the mountains to keep you company. The snow-capped peaks that you’ll see from several points in the trek, are indeed beautiful and pristine against a dessert-like terrain. Take stops along the way, have lunch, snap some photos, and before you know it, you’ll have arrived at the village of Chuksang for the night.
  • Start after breakfast from Chuksang. It’s a long day of walking today with around seven hours of trekking along the unspoiled terrain. You’ll cross several villages, farms, and sparse woods. Once you arrive at Kagbeni, you’ll have to declare your exit status at a government checkpoint because Upper Mustang is a forbidden area and you’ll have to get a special permit at the beginning of the trek. Take a rest and have lunch. From Kagbeni, you can continue trekking to Jomsom, but recommend you take a jeep. The ride will bring respite to your muscles. At Jomsom, hop into a hotel.
  • After a quick breakfast, go to the airport and board a flight to Pokhara. As it gets extremely windy in the afternoon, all flights to Jomsom happen in morning. Once you arrive at Pokhara, spend the rest of the day relaxing or as you please.
  • At the end of this program, you can hire a private car or van, or take the bus to Kathmandu. It’s a seven-hour drive to the capital. Reaching Kathmandu, you will spend the night in a hotel.

What's Included?

  • For accommodation in Kathmandu, the Hotel will be a 3 star Hotel and the room will be on twin sharing basis which includes breakfast. The package for Kathmandu’s hotel is for 2 nights.
  • Similarly, for accommodation in Pokhara, the Hotel will be a 3 star Hotel where the room will be on twin sharing basis, 2 nights.
  • Permit to Conservation Area / national park
  • Trekkers’ Information Management Systems (TIMS) card.
  • We further make arrangements of the best teahouses or lodge as far as possible in twin sharing basis throughout the trek journey.
  • Regarding the guide, we provide you with a professional very helpful and friendly trekking guide who can speak fluently in English.
  • The other assistant will also be provided if you are going in a group of two or more where the package will include their food, dally payment, transportation, and accommodation, along with covering up their insurance.
  • A down jacket, duffle bag and a sleeping bag will also be provided during the trek.
  • For transportation, we have roadways where we arrange tourist bus for solo travellers and private vehicle for group.
  • A T-shirt, trekking map and a certificate of achievement after completion of the trek will also be provided.
  • We also provide you with first aid kit.
  • The package also includes all the official and governmental charges.

What's not Included?

  • Visa arrangements and charges to Nepal (Obtain airport 15 days $25 – 30 days $ 40 -90 days $ 100 )
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner and seasonal fruit will be provided during the trekking. ( About 250- 300 $ entire trekking )
  • All kinds of soft and hard drinks.
  • National and International plane fares.
  • Luggage charges (especially if they go excessive)
  • Travel insurance ( 30 $)
  • For extra accommodation in Kathmandu (if it exceeds more days than mentioned in the itinerary) whatever the cause might be early arrival, late departure or early return from the trek.
  • Along with accommodation, the same condition applies for food as well. You need to pay on your own for Breakfast, lunch and dinner for extra days even if it will be after returning back from the trek earlier than the mentioned date.
  • Personal expenses like phone recharge, laundry, hot shower, bottled water, extra porters, extra snacks, etc.Tips for guides and porters are also excluded as it is not a compulsion but it is expected that you tip them.

Trek Info

Here are some of the Trekking accessories that you require for the easy and convenient journey-

In general you will need four sleeping bags (we could provide you one for the trek), a duffel or a trekking bag of 70-80 liters (we can provide one), down jacket (this too we can provide one if needed for the trek) and a normal travel bag of 25-30 liters.

For clothing, you will require the following-

Upper body- For this-shirts, waterproof jacket, fleece jacket or pullover, water proof jacketare needed. Wind proof jacket are optional but preferred. For T-shirts, baggy cotton T-shirts are the best especially for warm days in lower altitudes. Moreover, we recommend synthetic T-shirts as they quickly absorb the moisture. Then, for the waterproof jacket, we recommend you to have nylon which is light.

Lower body- For this, you need hiking shorts, trekking pants, soft shell and hard shell pants, cotton pants or jeans. For hiking shorts, buy the fabric which dries quickly. For trekking pants, go for the ones which have zipper in the middle of the knees so that you can take off the bottom part when necessary. Forsoft shell pants, buy a synthetic fiber. Then, for hard shell, buy a waterproof one. Full zipper from top to bottom is preferred for both soft and hard shell pants. For extra wearable, have a pair of jeans or cotton pants.

Inner wears- Regarding inner wears, you need lightweight underwear which is preferably made up of synthetic. For women, own synthetic sports bras. You could also have swimsuit if you would like to.

Footwear- For this, you need a trekking boot, gaiters and sandals. For Trekking boots, get a hard sole lug-cleated boots for good performance for every kind of landscape. We then recommend you to have a pair as it helps keep your feet dry quickly and keeping dust, rocks and snow out of your shoes. We also suggest you to have a pair of sandals as it helps while you are in the lodge. Then, for socks, you require 4 pairs of synthetic and 3 pairs of woolen socks.

Hand wears- The hand essentials are gloves, mittens and hand warmers. For warm weather, buy synthetic or thin woolen gloves. For cold weather, buy a woolen or fleece gloves. While for mittens, Gore-Tex mittens are the best. Regarding hand warmers, it’s completely your choice whether you want to have or not.

Face protection- For protecting the face against the snowfalls, heavy wind, direct sun, etc. we recommend you to have a cap or a hat, a synthetic woolen hat, a lightweightedbalaclava, glacier glasses having 100% UV protected lens with side shields and hard-sided storage, headlamp, ear muffs, neck warmer, etc. Ear muffs and neck warmers are not necessary but are up to your choice.

First Aid Kit- Though the trekking guides will be carrying a first aid kit box, we suggest you to have one as well. So, for this, you will need to have basic emergency equipment. You can discuss with us regarding what all to take along with you.

Personal care- The personal care products that you will require while trekking are tooth brush, tooth paste (biodegradable is preferred), towel, soap, hand wash, sanitizers, wet wipes, deodorants, crèmes, etc. along with your other needs.

Miscellaneous but important- These include valid passport, passport size photos, airline ticket (and its copy), luggage locks, thick garbage bags, water bottle, small bag for travel documents, passport, wallet/purse, etc., pocket knife, sunscreen lotion (SPF 40 recommended) and lip balm of at least SPF 20.

Extras- The extras include trekking poles, snacks, books, games, chargers, binoculars, batteries, camera, guide book, extra glasses (if you wear), notebook/pen, sleeping bag liner, hydration bladder with drinking tube, pee bottle for men and pee funnel for women, thermos, etc.

Note- Tight fitting clothes especially made out of fabrics like lycra, especially to women can be offensive to the local villagers. So, make sure that you pack something to wear on top of them if you want to pack them.

FAQs

The ideal time to trek in Nepal whether it is either in Autumn- from September to November or in Spring- from March to May. These two seasons are considered to be the best time due to good weather and moderate temperate suitable for trekking.
In regard to the difficulty of trekking in Nepal, it depends upon the mountain range. Not all the trekking routes are that difficult to climb but there are places where you can find trekking most challenging as well.
In order to be fit for trekking, you need to start walking more and possibly go for hiking or even short distance trekking before you trek for long distance like this. You can go for hiking in your own place nearby before coming to Nepal as well.
The documents that you will require for trekking in Nepal will be your passport which should be valid at least till next 6 months, a copy of your insurance, 2 or more passport sized photographs, flight tickets of course along with emergency contact number in case of any emergency.
Yes, travel insurance is necessary and while getting the insurance, make sure that the company covers the altitude that you are trekking at. And the other thing, it is even better if you get the insurance from your own country.
For altitude sickness, as it is quite common problems in higher altitude, we provide you with some of the guideline regarding what you can do at your own level if it is not much. But if the sickness continues to get worse then you should immediately get down to lower region. In case of emergency, our guides will take care of it as they are well trained with using first aid and have basic knowledge of physical injuries or some other problems. But if the injury, altitude sickness or any other problem arises then the rescue team will be contacted. For this reason, you insurance helps a lot.
Yes, you need to have a trekking guide if you are a new trekker as you may not know about so many things like mountaineering or altitude sickness or even about the topography, weather, etc. And most importantly you will be able to know about the place that you are travelling; the exact location and can also have a company. But if you have travelled and especially trekked a lot of places in Nepal trekked earlier as well for many times and think you don’t need a guide then you may proceed. But for this also, make sure that you have the permission from the local and government authorities as trekking guide is mostly compulsory in many parts of the Himalayan region.
This however is not a compulsion in many of the trekking routes but it is better if you take a porter along with you as you can enjoy your travelling experience without having to carry a lot of loads- your backpack. And the other reason the local people will get a work to earn for their daily requirements and as the people in High Himalayas don’t have riches and live a simple normal life, it will perhaps be a great help.
The permits that you need for the trek will be done by our company and need not worry about it. But however, for your information, you will need to have a TIMS (Trekkers’ Information Management System) card- this is a basic permit for trekking in Nepal along with the necessary permits of where exactly you are trekking if needed. You can also have FIT (Free Individual Trekker) if you are a solo trekker. But this is not valid for the restricted areas where you cannot go forward for solo trekking. The other necessities will be Valid passport with at least six month remaining before it expire, a valid Nepal visa, e-copy of passport sized photo. The other necessities will be done by the company itself.
Yes, you can solo trek or travel in Nepal. However, for trekking in higher altitudes where the regions are known as Restricted Areas, there you are not allowed to go alone as you will have to buy at least two permits. But the interesting thing is that in most of the areas you also need to carry a guide along with you. So, if you can manage to trek with your guide paying for his permit and being with him throughout the trek, then you possibly might be able to trek in that way. Otherwise, you can get along with someone who also wants to trek solo and go together instead.
The foods are usually served in the teahouses which will be plain but good and hygienic as they cook the vegetables nicely. They even soak iodine in water before cooking the vegetables so that you can get good and healthy food. Whereas if you are camping then you can get local foods that you can cook it. Since in higher altitudes, you won’t find refrigerators and frequent power cut; you will have to be vegetarian during the trek even if you are not. Then, regarding water facilities, bottled water is available up to the most of the Base Camp itself which will cost around US$1-4. But however, you should not drink water from the tap or streams.
For souvenirs, you can get good hand knitted woolen goods, hats, cashmere shawls, pashminas, Buddhist memorabilia, carved masks, puppets, wood carvings, jewelry, etc. as these are the things which are frequently bought by the tourists. You can get the souvenirs mostly at Thamel area when you are in Kathmandu. So, for all of the extra expenses including souvenirs, food and drinks other than what the Hotel/ Teahouse provides you, or perhaps some clothing or equipment for yourself then we recommend you to have around US$200-350 along with you. Besides that, you can withdraw money from ATMs while in Kathmandu as well.
Yes, you can buy trekking equipment in Kathmandu and it may even cost a little less amount but the quality of the product can’t be guaranteed. So, for this reason, we recommend you to bring the very necessary equipment like the trekking shoes along with you. But for other additional needs, you can buy it in Kathmandu itself.
You need to carry warm as well as cool clothing as there might be hotter in some of the places along the way or even in Kathmandu during summer season. Then, you have to have a sleeping bag as you might need it at times if the teahouses are unavailable or so in some places. The other things we recommend are small portion of snacks like chocolate bars, water proof wearable, cap, lotion, sunglasses, hand sanitizers, water bottle, first aid kit, etc. along with your daily necessities.
We don’t think you will need Ice axe or Crampons during trekking even in the Himalayas as the trails are marked nicely until and unless you go to trekking in the winter. Then, you will need them as there will be much more snowfall and will also be easy for you while trekking. In other season, instead of Crampons, we recommend you to have Micro spikes as they are not heavy and you can carry it easily. Plus, Micro spikes are comparatively less expensive as well. And regarding the Ice axe, we will provide you with one if it is really necessary though it’s not that necessary, as we will know more about the size and shape along with light weighted one.

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