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Upper Mustang Trek – the journey of colours and inspiration

Nepal Nepal

Trekking Map

This trek takes you into the hidden and mystical worlds of the ancient Buddhist kingdom of Mustang. With barren valleys, glowing rock formations and cave dwellings, the Upper Mustang Trek is a specialty among the hikes in Nepal.

It is considered to be one of the best trekking tours that can be done in Nepal even in the monsoon season (June to September). The region lies in the rain shadow north of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Mountains, almost completely protected from the monsoons. The Kingdom of Mustang was only opened for trekking in 1992. Only a limited number of trekkers are allowed to explore the hidden valleys of Upper Mustang each year. The aim is to protect and preserve the local Tibetan tradition and the fragile environment. The advantage of this cultural hike during the monsoon season is that the villages are full of locals who are busy with their daily chores. In addition, the entire region is blooming, creating a fabulous contrast to the wind-eroded hills, red cliffs and snow-capped mountains in the background – a magnificent sight.

Although the upper Mustang region is also slowly changing, it continues to surprise visitors with its breath-taking views and the tenacity to cling to its unique culture. The Upper Mustang hike is a unique destination to explore the fascinating medieval kingdom with its walled main town Lo Manthang.

This beginner’s lodge trek is an ideal tour if you want to experience pristine Tibetan culture up close in a little-visited area.

Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu – Briefing, equipment check and welcome dinner
Arrival in Kathmandu. You will be picked up at the airport and driven to your hotel. In the afternoon we will explain the details of the trip with you, and in the evening you are invited to dinner with your guide. Overnight in Hotel Tibet or similar category (D).

Day 2: Kathmandu sightseeing and preparation for trekking
After breakfast we will experience the three most important sanctuaries in the Kathmandu Valley: Swayambunath, Pashupatinath and the Boudanath Stupa. With the Swayambunath Stupa we visit one of the two most important Buddhist stupas. Impressively located on a hill, there is an impressive view over the Kathmandu Valley and, in clear weather, of the snow-covered ice giants of the Himalayas. We continue to the Pashupatinath Temple, which is located in the northeast of the city and is one of the most important Hindu pilgrimage sites. The sacred Bagmati River divides the temple complex into two large areas. On the right bank are cremation sites and the impressive Pashupathinath Temple, which non-Hindus are not allowed to enter. From here, after a short drive, we will reach the Boudanath Stupa. At 40 meters, the Buddhist stupa is the largest religious building of its kind in the entire valley and a main sanctuary for the numerous Buddhist pilgrims. Overnight in Hotel Tibet or comparable category, (B).

Day 3: Drive to Pokhara (800m) – about 6 to 7 hours drive
We drive to Pokhara early in the morning. The trip allows you to get an idea of the life and the picturesque villages of the Nepalese outside the big cities. We reach Pokhara in the afternoon; the rest of the day is at your leisure. Overnight at Hotel Mount Kailash or similar category, (B).

Day 4: Morning flight to Jomsom (2,713m), Trek to Kagbeni (2,810m)
The short morning flight takes you to Jomsom (2713m). There the trek starts through an almost treeless barren landscape that is haunted by strong afternoon winds. On the way we visit the village of Thini, the Sakya and Hutsaptemga monastery and the village of Syang. The view goes back over the river bed of the Kali Gandaki and the fascinating ice giants of Annapurna, Nilgiri and Dhaulaghiri. In the middle of Kagbeni runs the ethnological border of Lower Mustang, in which the Thakali tribe lives, and the Upper Mustang, which is influenced by Tibetan Buddhism. All around this charming village there are fields of corn, barley and potatoes, surrounded by two- and three-story buildings with white walls and flat roofs, where firewood and hay are dried in the sun for the winter. The appearance of the village already gives evidence of this cultural boundary. While the south of Kagbeni is dominated by more modern buildings, in which we find many of the newer trekking and pilgrim accommodations, the north of the place is characterized by the historical centre with mainly traditional Tibetan houses. We visit the historically significant “Red House” with its colossal statue of Maitreya Buddha and the local monastery. The strategic location of the place on the trade route between Tibet and India and the local routes around the Annapurna gave the place great importance in earlier times. Overnight at tea house lodge, (B|L|D).

Day 5: Trek to Chele (3,050m), 5-6 hours walk
Our trek begins with a march to Kali Gandaki and then upstream. We hike on sandy and windy paths, framed by picturesque scenery. We follow these up and down the hills, first reaching the village of Tangbe with flat avenues, whitewashed houses, fields of buckwheat, grain, wheat and apple orchards. From there the path continues to Chhusang and after we have passed a river source, we reach a rock fall through whose cave the Kali Gandaki flows. Here we cross the river and climb up to the ridges of Chele. Overnight at tea house lodge, (B|L|D).

Day 6: Trek to Syanbochen (3,475m) and visit the Ramchung Cave, 6-7 hours walk
On our trek we move on and go to Ekla Bhatti. We hike to Taklam La Pass (3,624m) over plateaus with views of Tilicho Summit, Yakawa Kang and Damodar Danda. We continue with a smaller descent to the village of Samar. We climb the path above the village to the ridge and then descend steeply to a river. Another three hours of a similar walk brings us to Syanbochen. On the way we pause by cool streams or under juniper trees. Locals use the dried juniper herb for smoking and asking the gods for assistance in their daily work. A short, worthwhile detour leads us up to the well-known Ramchung Cave, the subsequent path leads us up the valley to our guest house in Syanbochen. Overnight at the Tea House Lodge, (B|L|D).

Day 7: Trek to Charang (3,500m) via Ghami
We hike uphill to Nyi La at 3,950 meters on the southern border of Lo. The descent is gentle, we follow the right path to Charang – a maze of fields, willow trees and houses, separated by stone walls on the flanks of the extensive Tserang Chu Canyon. The large dzong and gompa at the east end of the village is home to a collection of statues, thankas and large murals of seated Buddhas. Tserang is one of the most historically and culturally significant villages in Upper Mustang. This village has some old stupas, a palace and a monastery with wall paintings. Overnight at tea house lodge, (B|L|D).

Day 8: Trek to Lo Manthang (3,770m) via Mui La Pass (4,200m)
We start the day with a descent to cross a river. We then hike steeply to a ridge at 3580 meters. We come to the Tholung valley and follow the paths to the border with Lo, where there is a monument. Across from a river, the path widens to a road that leads to a ridge from where we can see the walls of Lo Manthang, today’s capital of Mustang. Descent to the “level of expectation”. After crossing a river, we climb back up to the Lo Mangthang plateau. The small town consists of around 275 buildings, in which four castes have their home. The whole Lo Manthang community now has solar power. Our attention is drawn to a small herb garden in a decorative style with various decorations, typical are the many colourful flags fluttering noisily in the wind and of large amounts of stacked firewood. There was a time when certain families were required to deliver the firewood to the royal family. Overnight at tea house lodge, (B|L|D).

Day 9: Explore Lo Manthang
Today we want to explore Lo Manthang and its immediate surroundings. Surrounded by seemingly endless mountain panoramas and the northern plateau, which extends as far as the Tibetan border, Lo Manthang has largely retained its original, medieval-looking face. Until a few years ago, the city gate of the defiant fortress walls was still closed in the evening. In addition to a tour of the town with its narrow, angled streets, we visit the Maitreya Lakhang, the Thubchen Lhakhang and the “New Monastery” Shakya Chyodi Gompa. The royal palace, which is still inhabited today, is unfortunately not accessible to visitors. Overnight at tea house lodge, (B|L|D).

Day 10: Trek to Drakmar (3,810 m), 6-7 hours of walking
The trekking route now runs eastwards, along little-used paths, to a pass and then over a ridge into a large lonely valley. We visit the Ghar Gompa, built like a house and legendarily connected by the Padmasambhava with Samye, an influential monastery in Tibet from the 8th century. It is believed to be one of the oldest active gompas in Nepal! Overnight at tea house lodge, (B|L|D).

Day 11: Trek to Ghelling (3,806m), 4-5 hours walk
Descent to Ghami at 3,440 meters, to Sama Gaun and back to Ghiling. Our hike to the overnight location takes 4-5 hours. After arrival and lunch we enjoy the day and explore the surroundings. Overnight at tea house lodge, (B|L|D).

Day 12: Trek to Chhuksang (3,050m), on the way visit the Chungsi cave and the village of Gumbakang, 5-6 hours walk
In the morning ascent to Chungsi Cave. This is on the way to the upper Mustang between Sumer and the village of Syangboche. Ranchung Chungsi Cave is a popular Buddhist pilgrimage site in Mustang. It is believed that Guru Ringpoche meditated in this cave around the 8th century. Ranchung Cave is not an artificial cave, but a natural one among thousands of manmade sky caves in Mustang. There are many naturally formed deities on the walls of the cave that will amaze you. After the visit, we continue to hike to Chuksang. Overnight at the Tea House Lodge, (B|L|D).

Day 13: Trek to Jomsom (2,700m), 6-7 hours of walking
Our last walk will probably be a little longer. We start earlier to reach Kagbeni for lunch and will continue to hike to Jomsom for overnight. Overnight at tea house lodge, (B|L|D).

Day 14: Flight to Pokhara and sightseeing
In the early morning we take the flight to Pokhara. There we will be picked up at the airport and driven to the hotel. After checking in at the hotel, we go to Phewa Lake and are rowed by boat to the Barahi Temple, which is located on an island in the lake. Overnight in the hotel, (B).

Day 15: Flight to Kathmandu – rest of the day free time
Flight to Kathmandu, pickup and transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day can be used as free time . Overnight in Hotel Tibet or similar category in Kathmandu, (B).

Day 16: Free day – Optionally visit the ancient royal city of Bhaktapur
The day is at your disposal, which you can spend relaxing, sightseeing or shopping in Thamel. Optionally, you can also visit the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage City of Bhaktapur. Overnight in Hotel Tibet or similar category, (B).

Day 17: Flight back home
Farewell and transfer to Kathmandu Airport for the flight back home, (B).

We reserve the right to change the program due to special events, force majeure or weather reasons.

F = Breakfast | M = Lunch | A = Dinner

Trip Start Dates:

German guided tour
English guided tour

This trekking tour can also be booked for individual travelers (one person alone) at an additional cost or at the same price for a group at dates other than shown here.

Duration: 17 days
Costs: € 2.149 per person
Group size: min. 2 Persons(all the tour dates are guaranteed with a minimum group size of only two persons)
€ 200 for single room/ tent supplement

What’s included:

  • Airport transfers in Nepal
  • All relevant surface transfer (with private vehicles)
  • All hotel accommodation with breakfast
  • All meals on trek (B,L,D)
  • All internal flights (with Tara Air, Yeti Air, Summit Air, Sita Air or Buddha Air), inclusive Airport Taxes and 15kg free luggage
  • Sightseeing with entrance fees, guide and vehicle
  • Permit, National Park Entrance/Conservation Fees
  • Guide and porters
  • 12 kg free luggage on trekking tours, carried by porter
  • Quality service and trek equipment
  • Oxymeter

Not Included:

  • International flights
  • Additional tours and meals that are not mentioned
  • Beverages
  • Personal bills
  • Visas
  • Excess baggage charge (beyond 15 Kg each)
  • Insurance (for cancellation, accident, health, emergency evacuation and loss, theft of or damage to baggage and personal effects)
  • Tips

Visa
Your visa can be issued on arrival at a counter at Kathmandu airport. Visa costs on arriving in Kathmandu amount to US $ 50 (stay of up to 30 days) and US $ 125 (stay of up to 90 days).
The fees can also be paid in euros, which are converted by the bank at the airport in accordance with the dollar exchange rate. Two passport size photographs must be provided for the visa. At the time of the trip your passport must be valid for at least a further six months and have at least one blank page.

These visa and passport regulations apply to EU countries, Switzerland and the USA. Other nationals should check with the relevant consular authorities.

Insurance
Travel health insurance (with recovery costs) is essential for your own safety and a precondition for participation in our trips. In the event of an accident in the mountains which requires a helicopter rescue, the helicopter will not take off before the responsibility for the cost is clarified.
The conclusion of travel cancellation insurance is highly recommended. In the case of bargain price flights in particular, changes or cancellations generally can’t be made free of charge. In Nepal complications with the weather or with your health could make it necessary to break off your journey.
We have requested ERGO (Reiseversicherung) to create various service packages for you. You can book travel health insurance at https://www.reiseversicherung.de/vrv/partner/ep-Assistent.html?/data/agent/hagtnr=027256&/data/agent/nagtnr=000000.

Please note: ERGO insurance can be booked by residents of Germany and Austria. Those living in other countries are requested to book their travel insurance through an insurance provider in their own country.

It should be noted that geoDiscovery Tours advises its customers to book their travel insurance via ERGO as a recommendation only, and accepts no responsibility for the contractual content between the customer and the travel insurance provider. Customers can book their travel insurance via ERGO or another provider at their own discretion.

The hotels and lodges booked by us
In Kathmandu and Pokhara the hotels we book are good and correspond to medium-level Western standards. Sanitary facilities are clean and functional; the hotel cuisine is adapted to Western eating habits and the food is safe to enjoy. There may sometimes be power cuts, or no hot water may be available for a while. The hotel staff is generally very friendly and looks after the welfare of guests. The hotels booked by us are as follows:

Kathmandu: Hotel Tibet/Manaslu ***+
Pokhara: Mount Kailash Resort, Lake side retreat ***
Palpa/Tansen: Hotel Srinagar **
Lumbini: Hotel New Crystal ***
Chitwan: Jungle Villa Resort
Nagarkot: Nagarkot Farmhouse

During the trek and in the interior of the country conditions are very varied, and travelers must sometimes expect basic sanitation facilities. For standard treks and tours you will stay overnight in typical “lodges” (teahouses). These usually offer very small single rooms or double rooms (some with no running water and no private shower / toilet).
In general, during the trekking tour you can select what you wish to eat from the menu. However, at altitudes of 4,000 meters it can happen that on some routes the choice of food is not very extensive. Typical Nepalese cuisine is mostly vegetarian, but very tasty, filling and wholesome. Travelers need to be adaptable, however.

Flying in Nepal
The domestic flights booked by us are with Tara Air, Summit Air, Sita Air or Buddha Air.

Tour program
The travel program for all of our recommended tours is carefully planned. It can happen, however, that roads are closed without advance notice or are impassable, that there are waiting times of several hours because of traffic congestion or fuel shortages and that specific tourist attractions are closed for various reasons. Other restrictions such as flight delays or even cancellations due to bad weather, strikes, the health of participants or unfavorable conditions while trekking may also make the implementation of the travel program more difficult or at worst make it impossible. However, our local guides are prepared for such situations and will make every effort to achieve every aspect of the program to your satisfaction. As a result the inconvenience can normally be kept to a reasonable level. Nevertheless, it must be pointed out at this juncture that for the above reasons program changes are possible at any time and cannot be influenced by the organizers. The resulting costs are borne by the traveler. We ask for your understanding.


Trip Details

  • Duration: 17 days
  • Holiday Type: Lodge Trek
  • Best trekking period: May/Jun/Jul/Aug/Sep
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Max Altitude: Mui La 4.200m
  • Group size: Min 2 persons (all the tour dates are guaranteed with a minimum group size of only two persons)
  • Tour guide: English speaking, trained Nepalese mountain guide
  • Difficulty:
  • Fitness:
  • Price: 2.149,00 
  • Single room supplement: 200,00 €
    (only for hotel accommodation, for lodge overnight stays during the trek, especially during the high season, single accommodation is not available)