This is a trek into the nether world of mystery and history as old as the sun…as you hike into some of the roughest territory on earth, amidst beauty so raw, but yet so divine, you get the feeling of being in Elysium.
This venture is an extension of the Tibetan plateau, with typical Tibetan traditions, Bon (pre-Buddhist) and Buddhist culture. This has been a forbidden area for over a decade, with dramatic landscapes, warm-friendly locals, and the walled city of Loman-thang as it was over a hundred years ago, complemented with grand views of glistening snowcapped peaks standing tall as if in protection to this ancient kingdom.
Study the layout of the land before you tread on it:
Mustang is the old kingdom of Lo. Jomsom is the capital of this old kingdom that has now been reduced to a district, but the original Tibetan style district lies north of Kagbeni and is usually referred to as Upper Mustang.
Mustang has an average elevation of 13,000ft and is located to the north of the mountain giants of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna and is therefore north of the main Himalayan range and geographically is part of the highlands of Tibet. It is a vast high valley, arid and dry, characterized by battered canyons, colorful stratified rock formations and has a vast harsh desert like appearance. One of the most enthralling features of Mustang is literally its thousands of cliff dwellings, some of which look completely unreachable. The most recent assumption is that they may date back to 8-10,000 BC when Mustang was a much greener land and a flourishing kingdom.
Naturally, most of the history is now a matter of legend rather than recorded fact, but it seems clear that Lo was once part of Ngari, part of Tibet and a rather loose collection of feudal domains. It was incorporated into the Tibetan Empire under the most famous of the Tibetan kings Songtsengampo. It was an important means of crossing the Himalaya from Tibet to Nepal, and many of the old salt caravans passed through Mustang. By the turn of the 14 Century, much of Ngari became part of the Malla Empire, whose capital was Sinja in western Nepal. In reality, it became an independent kingdom in its own right, under the rule of Ame Pal, the founder king of Lo in 1380. The present royal family can trace its history 25 generations back to Ame Pal, and the city of Lomanthang, which we will visit, was the centre of their power.
In more recent times till the 1960’s, Mustang was a hub for Tibetan Guerrilla fighters who carried out small operations against the occupying Chinese. The CIA played a role in training the Tibetan Khampas covertly in the USA. With Nixon’s visit to China in the 1970’s, the CIA’s support was withdrawn and the Nepalese government managed to disband these resistance fighters who only fought for their freedom.
Incentive Holidays has planned your Mustang itinerary in a way that it does not skimp in terms of time spent within the kingdom. You get the opportunity to visit the main town, Lo Manthang, and one or two of the villages beyond. Our research indicates that late August /early September would be an excellent time to visit the kingdom, which is not much affected by the monsoon.
Well known, valiant explorers such as Professor David Snellgrove and the Italian scholar Giuseppe Tucci visited Mustang in the 1950’s and it has largely been their gripping tales of a Tibetan like arid region that has fuelled interest in the area.
Recognizing the special nature of this old, tiny kingdom, the Nepalese government has imposed a surcharge for anyone wishing to trek past Kagbeni, the border of Upper Mustang. With legal trekking groups only being allowed in for the first time in March 1992, you would be part of a small fortunate minority to visit this remote outpost of Nepal.
POKHARA VALLEY: The City of Lakes
Pokhara is one of the most unique sub-tropical valley in the Himalaya and probably in the world, where one can marvel the beauty of the Himalayan landscape and its reflection of the Annapurna massif including the towering majestic peak of Mt. Machhapuchare on its beautiful lakes. Pokhara is situated in the mid western part of Nepal. It is linked by the main highway of 200 km by road from Kathmandu, and approximately 20 to 30 minutes by air with sweeping views from space of a whole host of glistening peaks arrayed in spectacular display throughout the mid western Himalaya. This would be an unforgettable flight for a long time.
Mother Nature has certainly blessed this fertile valley with outstanding scenery of stunning mountain landscapes, moderate tropical climate, and the beautiful pristine lakes of Begnas, Rupa and Phewa.
The most awe-inspiring of Pokhara's delightful vistas to view is the outstanding panorama of the Annapurna range which forms its backdrop. The Annapurna massif includes Annapurna I to IV and Annapurna South. Among these high peaks it is the towering wonderfully shaped peak of Mt. Machhapuchre (Fish Tail) which dominates all others in this range. Pokhara with its natural beauty is also a starting point of Nepal's most popular adventure destinations. Most of the trekking and mountaineering expeditions hike off from this remarkable place and it's also an ideal spot for all types of holiday makers. Visiting Nepal without dashing into Pokhara is considered an incomplete holiday for any visitor heading to Nepal. YOUR MUSTANG ODYSSEY COMMENCES FROM THIS LOVELY PARADISE.
Trip Duration : 17N / 18D
Trekking Code: STE/MUS/01
Trek Grade: Moderate
Season: April-May-September-October. Should you not find the time in these months that are considered the best time of the year for this trip, you can trek in Mustang anytime of the year as this region falls in the rain shadow areas of Nepal.
Trek Duration: 12/13 Days on the trail…as you hike through heaven in a secluded spot on mother earth!!!
Trip starts and ends in: Kathmandu
Accommodation: Hotels & camping
Meals: Provided on the trail
Transportation: A tourist coach & flights
Highest altitude: 3520m at Tsarang
Day 1 : Arrive in Kathamndu at Tribhuwan International Airport
Day 2 : Free at your own leisure
Day 3 : Drive to Pokhara
Day 4 : Fly to Jomsom (2,713m) And begin trek to Kagbeni (2,810 M) 3-4 Hrs Walks
Day 5 : Trek to Chussang. (2,920m) Approx. 6 Hrs Walk - O/N Camp
Day 6 : Trek to Samar. (3,290m) Approx. 6-7 Hrs Walk - O/N Camp
Day 7 : Trek to Ghiling. (3,600m) Approx. 6-7 Hrs Walk - O/N Camp
Day 8 : Trek to Tsarang (3,520m) Approx. 6-7 Hrs Walk. O/N Camp
Day 9 : Trek to Lo Manthang (3,780m) The capital of Mustang. Approx. 4-5 Hrs Walk. O/N Camp
Day 10 : Rest day for local excursion of Lo Manthang. O/N Camp
Day 11 : Trek to Ghami 3,440m Approx. 6-7 Hrs. O/N Camp
Day 12 : Trek to Samar. 4-5 Hrs - O/N Camp
Day 13 : Trek to Yak Kharka. Approx. 3,845m - 5-6 Hrs - O/N Camp
Day 14 : Trek to Muktinath. (3,710m) Approx. 4 Hrs Walk - O/N Camp
Day 15 : Trek to Jomsom 3-4 Hrs. O/N Camp
Day 16 : Fly from Jomsom to Kathmandu via Pokhara
Day 17 : In Kathmandu
Day 18 : Final departure
DAY 1: ARRIVE KATHMANDU
On arrival at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport, you will be received by our representative who will escort you to your hotel. After getting refreshed, one of our trek leaders or a senior Sherpa guide will give you a brief orientation of the Hotel, Kathmandu, Trek / Camping, things you should do & ought not to do and other related information that you might require while in Nepal. After this is done, get settled in and it’s your first overnight in the abode of the gods.
DAY 2: FREE AT YOUR OWN LEISURE
After your first night in Kathmandu, you will be well informed on arrival about what to do in your next free day.
The choice is yours: either you can stroll around the nearby market on your own or you can opt for a half/full day guided sightseeing tour in Kathmandu at places of interest. The cost for this extra tour is not added in the trek cost and you have to pay extra depending on the places you choose to visit. This extra tour gives you deep insights into Nepal’s iconic monuments that have been recognized by UNESCO as world heritage sites. Sansui Treks will give you an orientation on your program & you will also get the opportunity to ask us any questions you may have regarding our upcoming adventure. When this is done, you might find time to shop around the city in the evening time if you need any gears for the trek. Overnight at your hotel
DAY 3: DRIVE TO POKHARA
After breakfast we transfer to Pokhara on a Tourist coach. On arrival at Pokhara, we transfer to your hotel. Pokhara is the second largest township in Nepal and enjoys a beautiful setting beside the large lake of Phewa, Rupa and Begnas. From here we get splendid views of Mt. Machhapuchare, the famous fishtail peak. We will have time in the late afternoon or evening to have a look around the town & stroll down lakeside with its scintillating restaurants & curio shops selling some of the best handicraft items in the world. Hereabouts, it’s pretty hot and tropical in character. But it could be suitable for you, especially if you hail from a country that’s relatively cold throughout the year i.e. Denmark, England or Alaska. Overnight in the city of lakes
DAY 4: FLY TO JOMSOM (2713m) and begin Trek to Kagbeni (2810m) 3-4 hrs walk
From Jomsom, the trail leads on to the Kaligandaki plains in the rainy season. The road diverts to the right bank of the river plain, & the walk is pleasant with few ups and downs most of the way to a place called Ekali Bhatti (lonely inn) where there are three or four tea-houses at present. Earlier, it used to be the only tea-house in the area when it got its namesake, ‘Ekali –Bhatti’. From here, the path splits into two ways, the one higher up leads to Muktinath & the other route takes us to upper Mustang and Tibet via Kagbeni.
Our trail leads past Eklai-bhatti towards North West, & the walking gets much easier on a gradual winding route as the road widens & you walk further on the river bed towards the windswept village of Kagbeni for the overnight. The famous film ‘Caravan’ was shot in this area some years ago.
DAY 5: TREK TO CHUSSANG. (2920m) approx. 6 hrs hike
After we hike out of Kagbeni village, the walk is uphill for half an hour as we leave the Kali-Gandaki River behind for a while. The path leads to harsh barren countryside all the way with occasional stops, passing through a few small villages; as the walk progresses, arriving at the village of Tangbe, another hour of good walk brings us to our overnight stop at the Chusang line with a few trees amidst the red earth surroundings. Chusang lies at the confluence of the Narsang stream and the Kali Gandaki River.
DAY 6: TREK TO SAMAR. (3290m) approx. 6-7 hrs hike
Today’s walk leads first to Chele village after crossing the stream through broken canyons and ruined castle walls on the surrounding cliffs, across the river from Chusang are some spectacular red eroded cliffs above the mouths of inaccessible caves. After crossing the small bridge, an uphill walk for 45 minutes brings us to Chele village. From Chele village the walk gets steeper for an hour up to the ridge at 3,130m, from here you can get a good view of Gyagar across a huge canyon. The trek continues with a slow climb on the windswept terrain till the pass is reached at 3,540m. From here a gradual descent brings us to Samar for the overnight stop.
DAY 7: TREK TO GHILING. (3600m) approx. 6 -7 hrs hike
The walk today leads to a short climb above Samar village to a ridge, with a downhill hike leading to a large gorge past a chorten painted red, black, yellow and white - all the colors are made from local rocks. The journey continues into another valley with juniper trees, & after crossing the stream, the walk follows an uphill path to a ridge at 3,800m, where the trail climbs over to another pass, & from here the route descends to Shyangmochen, a small settlement with few tea shops at 3,710m. After a good break here, the trek continues to a gentle climb onto a pass at 3,770m entering towards a huge valley, from here taking the right downhill path, we head towards our overnight stop at Geling with its large fields of barley on the outskirts of the village.
DAY 8: TREK TSARANG (3520m) approx. 6-7 hrs hike
From Geling, the route climbs gradually through the fields up the centre of the valley, passing below the Tama Gung settlements, the walk continues along a climb across the head of the valley to the Nyi La pass at 3,950m, the highest point of this trek. The pass itself happens to be the southern boundary of Lo. From here a gradual descend for half an hour brings us to a junction; the right path leads direct to Tsarang while the left goes to Ghami village, one of the main areas of the Lo region. Our route drops below the blue, grey and red cliffs across the valley to a steel bridge across the Tangmarchu River, the path then climbs past to the long and magnificent stretch of a Mani wall, probably the longest one in Nepal. From here, the final climb of the day brings us to a 3,600m pass, after the last pass a gentle descent leads to our overnight halt at Tsarang, an interesting village with a maze of fields, willow trees and a huge five storey white Dzong and a red gompa perched on the edge of the Kali Gandaki gorge. Tsarang has its own electricity system. This is an interesting area to camp out in
DAY 9: Trek to LO MANTHANG (3780m) the capital of Mustang - approx. 4-5 hrs hike
Today's walk takes us to our destination at Lo Manthang, where the trek begins with a short descend crossing the Charangchu River with a steep climb on a ridge, then passing through the Tholung valley. The trail diverts north with a gentle climb as the valley ascends to a large chorten, which marks the boundary between Tsarang and Lo, the climb follows to the stream, coming to a great wide windswept landscape, finally reaching the ridge at 3,850m, where a grand view of the large walled village of Lo Manthang can be seen from this top. A short descent brings us to the stream that outlines the walled village, from here; a short climb on the plateau leads us to the southern wall of Lo Manthang village. As this is the only entrance to the village from the northeast corner, one has to circumbulate the wall to the main entrance gate sometimes. This is where we crash out for the night
DAY 10: A day for Rest and some local excursions of LO MANTHANG
This large village contains about 150 houses plus a number of residents for the lamas, the houses are closely packed, and the palace and monasteries are in the bottom portion in this vertical part of the L shaped houses. The school, health post, police post and several important chortens are located outside the walls to the north of the gate and east of the monastic part of the city. Despite the apparent squalor of Lo Manthang, the village is prosperous and maintains a strong sense of community. Though the people here call themselves Lobas, or so are the people from Lo known, they are very much Tibetan and practice an economically kind of practical culture for their survival due to the harsh terrain. Before a strong trade with Tibet was disrupted by the Chinese government, all of the salt and wool trade on the Kali Gandaki passed through Lo Manthang, and this brought a substantial amount of money to this great village town. The Mustang raja's palace stands tall as an imposing 4 storey structure in the centre of the city. It is the home of the present raja, Jigme Parbal Bista, and the rani (queen), who is a lady from the noble family of Lhasa. Overnight in camps at Lo Manthang
DAY 11: Trek to GHAMI 3440m approx. 6-7 hrs hike
Today's walk is more of a descent with a few short climbs all the way to Ghami, once outside the walled Lo Manthang village-town the path leads to a steady climb to a pass which offers the last glimpse of Lo Manthang, & the walk from here on is more or less gradual on the downhill slopes most of the way to Ghami village. Ghami is another important village in this once upon-a-time thriving region.
DAY 12: Trek to SAMAR. 4-5 hrs hike - O/N Camp
The trek today follows a straight route to the Nyi La, with a climb to the ridge and then contouring upwards and encountering the road from Tsarang. From the top of the ridge a steep descend awaits us all the way to Geling Valley. The trail continues bypassing Geling to a lone teahouse and then a gentle downhill to a small settlement of Tama Gung. A steep switchback trail leads to a stream, and the trail climbs to a large painted chorten. From hereon, it is a straightforward route to our overnight camp at Samar. We finally settle for a well earned rest at historical Samar
DAY 13: Trek to YAK KHARKA. Approx. 3845m - 5-6 hrs hike
Our route from Samar diverts to a lesser known area by westerners, our first portion of the walk leads downhill on the same trail for 2-3 hours through Chele village and then reaching to the Mustang Khola, from here our walk leads uphill for another two hours towards the remote village of Chhomang at 2,940m. Passing through this village our walk climbs further up to the ridge, on leaving the village way down below the walk is more less on the gradual uphill trail, then coming to our overnight camp near the pass at Yak Kharka, depending on the time of our arrival and the availability of clean water, we camp before the pass on a nice lush green, grassy field.
DAY 14: Trek to MUKTINATH. (3710m) approx. 4 hrs hike
After spending some time in the less frequented upper part of Mustang, you'll be seeing more of fellow trekkers coming from the other region of northern Annapurna via Thorung-la and from Kagbeni onwards; the walk from the camp leads to a slow climb for less than an hour towards the pass at 3,970m, after the pass the trek goes on a downhill slope most of the way to Muktinath on a much wider trail overlooking superb views of the Mt. Nilgiri and Tukuche peak in the far eastern and the plains of the Kali Gandaki Valley. As we get closer to Muktinath after 2-3 hours of hiking, we cross the stream in the gorge & then its uphill walking for an hour or so, till we reach the village of Dzong; from here, the path is almost gradual all the way to Muktinath, and the walking gets much easier to the holy place of Muktinath for our overnight camp with ample time to visit the holy premises of Muktinath and its 108 ancient water spouts, believed to be the very source of the Kali-Gandaki River.
DAY 15: Trek to JOMSOM - 3-4 hrs hike
From Muktinath onwards, it will be one of the most pleasant walks as we will loose altitude day by day. The trek follows an easy descent towards the Kaligandaki River Valley passing through the old village of Jharkot after an hour or more of this good walk. On reaching the river bed at Ekale-bhatti, we reach a small settlement with about 3-4 teahouses, where we can take a breather for some time. From here onwards, it can get very windy in the afternoon time, as our walk follows a gentle trail for another two hours till the large town village of Jomsom is reached for our overnight camp. Jomsom, a large village town is the headquarters of the Mustang region with a small airstrip just above by the river Kaligandaki. Here, we will have sufficient time to celebrate with the local apple products like cider, brandy and pure apple juice. This area from Kagbeni to Larjung is famous for its delicious apples and its by-products. A few swigs of the apple brandy could set our moods on a high after a wonderful memorable trip we just completed. We bunk out at Jomsom on a wonderful high.
DAY 16: Fly from JOMSOM to KATHMANDU via POKHARA
The flight times to Pokhara are generally scheduled for the morning normally because of the powerful winds in the afternoons. Sometimes, the flight time can be delayed due to bad weather and other reasons beyond our control. As we get hold of the boarding pass depending on our flight time, we make our way to the terminal for a security check. This scenic flight from Jomsom takes about 25 minutes to Pokhara, a panoramic view of the snowcapped peaks can be seen from the plane. From Pokhara, a 1/2 hour flight will bring us back to Kathmandu. Arriving at Kathmandu’s domestic terminal, our office rep will be on standby to receive and escort you back to your Hotel. Overnight at your hotel in Kathmandu
DAY 17: In Kathmandu
A free day in Kathmandu, please inform our staff if you would like to go on another short tour in and around Kathmandu Valley or for a scenic mountain flight. Going on a jungle safari is another unique option. This is a totally different landscape that can give you some extraordinary thrills. Don’t worry about the cost because our prices are pocket friendly. We have already thought this out because we know how much you’ve spent already. Remember, holidays like this come only once in a lifetime.
DAY 18: Transfer to Airport for your International departure to that lovely place we call ‘home’ – Adios Amigos!
Today, as per your international flight time, keep your confirmed air ticket, and your passport handy. Our office staff will take you to the airport for your final departure from this wonderful country, Nepal. It’s been wonderful knowing you!! We will meet some day again soon.
Please Note: The above itinerary should be taken only as a guide line; it could change due to weather, damaged trails culminating from landslides or any other unforeseen environmental conditions. In case of trek Itinerary alteration or if it needs to be re-routed to another area, your Group Leader or Sherpa Guide will take the final decision after consulting the group. Other than this, this trip will operate accordingly as mentioned in the itinerary.
A ‘Camping trek’ is a term used for sleeping in tents. The tents we provide are ‘Two men or couple domes’ or ‘A’ shaped. A foam mattress with insulation underneath is used for sleeping. Clients need to have their own sleeping bag. Bags or cloth packs are used as pillows. It’s a matter of choice, if you want, you bring your own ‘Air pillow’ and freak out anyways, this is adventure in the wild…the rougher it gets the better.
We have a pool of hotels in Kathmandu under 3 Star categories which we provide to clients in connection with this program, unless it is mentioned otherwise or clients have a choice of their own. You can check on the description of such hotels through our website. Accommodation is never a problem, the choice exclusively yours.
At ‘Incentive Holidays’ – its zero tolerance on cutting of cost when it comes down to feeding our trekking guests, because we know how tough it is on the trails; we provide three tasty, bountiful and nutritious meals daily with a variety of local and Western dishes. To start the day, breakfast is ‘king size’ [the first meal of the day] consisting of a choice of porridge, muesli and cereals followed by omelet, fried or scrambled eggs with chapattis or bread. Lunch is generally a selection of salad, cooked vegetable dishes, pasta and traditional breads.
After a lengthy gritty day on the trail, dinner is a hearty 3 course meal - soup, followed by a variety of vegetables, meat, rice and pasta dishes completed with a simple dessert. Tea, coffee and hot chocolate are also provided at all meals. We use as much fresh produce as possible and special diets are regularly catered for. The local trek leaders are able to maintain very tight controls on health and hygiene in the kitchen with respect to general cleanliness and food preparation and also within the group with respect to personal hygiene. This has allowed us to maintain extremely high standards of health over many years of planning treks - and good health is vital to an enjoyable and successful trek and climb. All foods are well cooked and vegetables are treated by potassium permanganate or iodine.
Boiled water is served for drinking. Antiseptic soaps and potassium or iodine treated water are provided for washing. Special dietary requirements can always be catered for. ‘Gluttony is a sin’ but there are no restrictions on the grub we serve to our guests on the mountains; we leave it up to our trekking guests who are the best judge of their own appetites.
Popular Sightseeing places in Kathmandu:
Half day sightseeing includes visit two of these places and full day sightseeing includes three of these places inside the ring-road of Kathmandu. Besides the above mentioned places, the charges will apply depending on the distance accordingly.
The best time to visit for a trip of this kind would be in the Spring and Autumn. It is wonderful during this time of the year when an overall beauties of the landscapes found in these trips are so distinct & stunning, due to clear weather pattern & sunny blue skies. Our program could be changed to accommodate individual group choices and preferences in order to give you proper holidays that become signature ventures for a lifetime.