As said by his holiness Dalai lama, Mustang is amongst few places that still preserves unsoiled Tibetan culture that dates back to 1500 years. This is a result of historical relationship with Tibet which is continued till today. Upper Mustang trek is where history meets today – you will see medieval Asia meeting the 21st century at this very trek in Nepal.
Upper Mustang lies in the north west of Annapurna religion and is extended on to the Tibetan plateau. The majority of land that traverses in Upper Mustang trek is arid, as a result of rain shadows caused by the soaring mountains in the Annapurna. The mud and stone houses, separated by narrow alleys and decorated by traditional murals is starkly striking. The villages which preserves the culture and tradition that dates back to over 1500 years is even more captivating. People’s lives revolving around the folklores, stories of the witches and black magic is truly out of this world and out of practice.
Every tiny bit of Upper Mustang Trek is unique in its own was. This was a Kingdom in Kingdom of Nepal until the abolition of Kingdom of Nepal in 2008. Despite the abolishment, the former king of Mustang still remains there and in his palace, with his family and entertains the tourists. The festival witnessed in Upper Mustang is extraordinary and very unexpected that you will dare not to believe your eyes. The festival of Tiji is ancient ritual that dates back to Guru Rinpoche – the man who is believed to bring Tantric buddhism to Tibet. The festival is celebrated usually in the month of may and for 3 days. They perform 53 different magical dances in different attires. Likewise the other festival of Yartung takes place at the time of Harvest and waves off summer. The inhabitants thank the lord for the harvest of the season by drinking, dancing, horse racing and archery.
Upper Mustang trek is amongst some vacation that may be easy on the legs but difficult on the memories. It will make you not want to stop exploring the region even after having spent over two weeks with the people and the nature.
You could be already in Kathmandu or you may be arriving on this very day and whatever it is we welcome you to Nepal! Thank you for choosing Upper Mustang Lo Manthang trek with budget trekking. On this first day we transfer you to your hotel/hostel. You will not do much except observing the ambiance around you and get acquainted with the country. Meal Plan N/A
This is an important day because today is the day when you will meet with your guide. The guide or one of our team members will brief you about the trek about more or less everything you need to know. After briefing we would thoroughly go through the trekking gear that we have. Furthermore, if there is anything that is not according to the trekking standard we will do last minute shopping of the trekking gears. On the other hand one of our backend office staff will get busy preparing required permits and logistics. Meal plan - N/A
We board tourist bus from tourist bus park in Thamel by 6:45 and leave the station at 7:00am. The bus takes around 7 hours from Kathmandu to Pokhara after multiple breaks in between. Overnight in Pokhara! Meal plan N/A
This is another long day on Bus. We may board a straight bus to Jomsom or break it up in Beni, it depends on availability of the bus. The bus ride would take around 7-9 hours. Overnight in Jomsom. Meal plan B, L, D.
From Jomsom we board 4 wheeler to Kagbeni. The jeep ride is to avoid walking on the jeep track crowded by vehicles carrying pilgrims to Muktinath. We immediately get our permits checked and move towards our destination. The first day of walk takes 5-6 hours and covers 430 meters in ascend and 150 meters in descend. Keep your eyes open for countless chortens painted with beautiful murals, sea of buckwheat field, the beautiful view of Nilgiri. Above all, observe the transition of culture from Thakali to Gurungs. Overnight in Chele. Meal plan B, L, D.
The rest of the trek from Chele to Lo Manthang is walking on high altitude deserted country. We gain over 1000 meters in altitude and lose 500 meters in descent in around 7-8 hours of walk. The climb is not rigorous rather slow and gradual. We make in and out of valleys and small settlements and cross around 2 passes. Overnight in Gheling. Meal plan B, L, D.
Another day on beautiful rain shadows of Annapurna where Nilgiri still dominates the view in the south. We walk for 6 - 7 hours on this day and ascent around 890 meters as well as descent around 800 + meters. Today we cross 2 passes and several beautiful villages. Watch out for extensive field of Ghemi which is barren due to irrigation problems. The longest mani walls past Tangmar Chu as well as the 14th century Dzong which now is a gompa in Tsarang is worth stopping for watch. Overnight in Tsarang. Meal plan B, L, D.
We descend around 150 meters immediately out of Tsarang. We walk for around 4-5 hours and cover around 500 meters in ascent and 200 meters in descent. Interesting thing about today’s walk is we cross few streams to reach our final destination. Overnight in Lo Manthang. Meal plan B, L, D.
Lo Manthang is the biggest village in upper Mustang and carries a history of over 1500 years on its back. There are 5 temples alone in the city namely Jampa Lhakhang, Thubchen Gompa, Choden Gompa, Cho Prang Gompa and Tsechhen Shedrub Ling Monastic school, which is worth watching. We would watch all the temples if open and then go visit the former King of Mustang in his own palace. Overnight in Lo Manthang. Meal plan B, L, D.
Once we are doing exploring the temples and the village we on this day do a small side trip to the Zong cave. Zhong cave. We spend entire day in Zhong kha exploring the hand dug cave by the Tibetan exiles. Overnight in Lo Manthang.
On our way back we take a different route that we did not on our way north. We cover over 700 meters in ascent and 700 meters in descent in around 7 hours of trek. On this very day we trek to the highest point of the trek and that is of Chogo la (4325m). You will as well see 2 important villages that we missed on our way up. One of the villages houses the oldest gompa in the Mustang region namely Ghar Gompa. Overnight in Drakmar.
Another day on the beautiful trail for around 7 hours covering 600 + meters in ascent and descend. We make past through beautiful apple orchards and one of the passes Nyi la (4020m). We walk through beautiful chorten, mani walls, gompas and canyons before we call it a night in Shyagmochen.
We descend around 1100 meters by tracing back on the same trail that we took on our way up. We would trek for around 7-8 hours on today’s day.
We descend around 70 meters in total in around 5 hours. We need to reach Kagbeni by today as it is the 10th day and we have to get our permits checked out to avoid paying additional penalties.
We walk on jeep track and on the banks of Kaligandaki river before we leave the river behind to reach our final destination. Its easy downhill and uphill walk of around 3-4 hours. After a long trek we take one of the much needed break in the most happening town Jomsom. Jomsom is famous for apple from around and apple brandy. Overnight in Jomsom.
We board a bus from Mustang all the way to Beni. Walking on the road which is overwhelmed by motor vehicle is not very rewarding as well as time consuming. The first bus takes us to Beni and further we board a bus to Pokhara. Overnight in Pokhara.
Final day of our Journey and we board a very comfortable bus back to the capital city. The bus ride takes around 7 hours with multiple breaks. We transfer you back to your hotel/hostel once we reach to Kathmandu and hence our Upper Mustang Lo Manthang trek comes to end.