Upper Mustang Trek Itinerary

  • Sep 4, 2019
  • Marvel Adventure
  • 171
Upper Mustang is a magnificent trekking region located Far Wild West corners of Nepal Himalaya beyond great range of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountains within ancient Trans-Himalaya Salt and Caravan route of Nepal to Tibet.
 
Upper Mustang Trek truly inspires visitors overlooking its great beautiful landscapes with marvelous scenery throughout the walks to reach once and former walled kingdom of Lo-Manthang.
 
In early days till last past three decades ruled by monarchy known as Raja (king) of Mustang which stood as a forbidden kingdom, the area of Upper Mustang was opened for visitors since last 1980’s.

Table of Contents

Upper Mustang Trek Overview

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Upper Mustang still remains as one of the restricted region around Nepal Himalaya where trekkers and adventurer requires special permit to enter into beautiful areas of Upper Mustang.

The region of Upper Mustang is enriched with culture and religion called Bon, an ancient sect of pre Buddhism which is slowly disappearing around South Western Tibet and in Nepal mountainous region.
 
Where trekkers can visit and explore the old Bon religion and culture of age-old heritage that still in Upper Mustang among the local people called themselves as Lobos, the people of southern Tibet.
 
Villages around Upper Mustang are impressive and interesting where you will encounter many beautiful religious monuments of Stupa, long rows of prayer wheels with Yak and goat skulls hanging around courtyard and main gates.
 
An amazing place to visit and experience where walks leads into large and high canyon with eroded high cliffs with views of snow-clad peaks that makes the country a mystical and picturesque place. 
 
Upper Mustang Trek starts from lovely city at Pokhara, a place of natural beauty and most renowned touristic city of Nepal. A short flight from here takes you to land at Jomsom.
 
Jomsom is a large town and headquarter of whole Mustang area located on the main strategic point of Trans Himalaya Salt Trade Route to Tibet which is home to Thakali, the tribe of Kaligandaki Valley.
 
From Jomsom, head towards windswept dry areas of Kaligandaki River valley to reach the entry point of Upper Mustang at Kagbeni village. Kagbeni is an interesting place where houses are similar to Tibetan traditional design and culture.
 
Once you enter into restricted area of Upper Mustang, enjoy fabulous scenery of eroded large canyon and towering cliffs that changes its colors along with sunlight hours.
 
As walk progress heading past nice villages of Tshele / Chele, Syangbochen and Ghami with Tsarang / Charang to reach inside former walled kingdom of Lo-Manthang. As you enter there, it takes you into medvial era town or a large village with time to explore around places of great interest.
 
At one time it was part of Southern Tibet and it became an independent kingdom in its own right, under the regime of Ame Pal, the founder monarch and king of Lo in 1,380 A.D. Where former and present royal family can trace the history 25 generations back to Ame Pal within once a city of Lo Manthang, visit its fort like palace and important monasteries.
 
Around Lo-Manthang, one can visit its major attractions such as Namgyal Gompa, Champa Lakhang (God House), the Red Thubchen Gompa, Chyodi Gompa and the great Entrance Hall. However, entry fees should be paid to visit these historic places.
 

Upper Mustang Trek Highlights

  • Sweeping scenic short flight to and from Pokhara-Jomsom-Pokhara
  • Amazing country Upper Mustang adorned with fascinating ancient cultures
  • Walk around dramatic landscapes of canyon and high cliffs with snow peaks
  • Adventure to former forbidden walled kingdom of Lo-Manthang of great interest
  • Scenic area within extension of world largest and highest Tibetan plateau
  • Explore impressive villages adorned with nice colorful prayer monuments

 

Upper Mustang Trek Outline Itinerary

Day 01: Fly / drive to Pokhara from Kathmandu - 06 hrs. (30 mins by air) and transfer to hotel.

Day 02: Fly to Jomsom (2,715 m) and trek to Kagbeni (2,858 m) -04 hrs.

Day 03: Trek to Tshele / Chele (3,050 m) - 05 hrs.

Day 04: Trek to Syangbochen (3,475 m) - 05 hrs.

Day 05: Trek to Ghaymi (3,520m) - 06 hrs.

Day 06: Trek to Tsarang / Charang (3,500 m) - 05 hrs.

Day 07: Trek to Lo-Manthang (3,700 m) - 05 hrs.

Day 08: At Lo - Manthang for local exploration.

Day 09: Trek to Dhakmar (3,810 m) - 05 hrs.

Day 10: Trek to Ghiling (3,806m) - 06 hrs.

Day 11: Trek to Chusang / Tsusang (3,050m) - 05 hrs.

Day 12: Trek to Jomsom (2,715 m) - 06 hrs.

Day 13: Fly back to Pokhara

Day 14: Drive or fly back to Kathmandu and Transfer to hotel.

 

Upper Mustang Trek Day by Day Detailed Itinerary

 

Day 01: Fly / drive to Pokhara from Kathmandu -06 hrs. (30 mins by air) and Transfer to hotel.

 
Morning scenic drive takes about 6 hours to reach popular tourist city at Pokhara during overland views of snowcapped mountains of Mt. Annapurna-Manaslu and Mt. Dhaulagiri with the famous beautiful peak of Machhapuchare the ‘Fish Tail’.
 
On arrival at Pokhara, transfer to respective hotels by the serene Phewa lake, with time to browse around its nice area of the lake full of shops, stores, hotels and international standard restaurants.
 
(Flying option: scenic flight of 30 minutes to Pokhara from Kathmandu)
 
Day 02: Fly to Jomsom (2,715m) and trek to Kagbeni (2,858 m) - 04 hrs.
 
Early morning transfer to Pokhara airport for short scenic flight of less than half hour of 22 mins to land at Jomsom airport. After refreshing break, start trekking to reach at Kagbeni.
 
Jomsom is a large town and headquarter of whole Mustang district populated by indigenous Thakali, the tribes of Kaligandaki River valley interwoven with strong Buddhism religion and traditions.
 
Walk leads on wide Kaligandaki River valley to reach at Kagbeni village and interesting place where you can observe the houses and way of life similar to Tibetans, which is also the entry and exit point of Upper Mustang.
 
Day 03: Trek to Tshele / Chele (3,050 m) - 05 hrs.
 
After Kagbeni village, start walk to enter Upper Mustang area on old Trans-Himalayan Salt and Caravan trade route of Nepal to Tibet.
 
Morning walk follows Kali Gandaki River upstream past cultivated terraced farm fields to reach Tiri-Gaon village facing views of natural eroded landscapes of high red cliff and large canyon as trek reach at Tshele or Chele.
 
Walk leads past Tangbe, Tsusang (Chusang) villages crossing small bridge to Tshele / Chele through broken walls and cliffs, to get across a river with uphill walk for short while to Chele village for overnight stop.
 
Day 04: Trek to Syangbochen (3,475 m) - 05 hrs.
 
From Tshele village climb to a ridge at 3,130m, offers views of Gyagar across a huge canyon. Walk continues with a slow climb on arid and windswept country to a pass at 3,540m. After the top descend to Samar, then reaching a large gorge past Chorten (religious monuments).
 
Journey continues into another valley with juniper trees, crossing stream to follows uphill trail reaching a ridge at 3,800m, as walk climbs over to another pass. From here downhill to Syangbochen for overnight stop, a small settlement with few tea shops at 3,710m.
 
Day 05: Trek to Ghaymi (3,520 m) - 06 hrs.
 
With overnight at Syangbochen, morning route climbs through farm fields past Tama Gung settlements. Walk continues uphill to the top of Nyi La pass at 3,950 m, the highest point of the adventure.
 
The pass marks the southern boundary of Lo. From here half hour descend takes you to Ghami village, one of the major village of Lo regions for overnight stop.
 
Day 06: Trek to Tsarang / Charang (3,500 m) - 05 hrs.
 
After Ghaymi, continue walk with slow climb to reach 3,770 m high pass as it enters a huge valley. From here walk downhill to Geling, a place with large field of barley on the outskirt of village.
 
Walk drops to a valley and cross a steel bridge over Tangmarchu River, as it climbs past to long rows of Mani (prayer) wall, probably the longest in Nepal. From here final climb to 3,600 m pass, with gentle descend to overnight stop at Tsarang / Charang. It is an interesting village with row of fields, willow trees and huge five storey white Dzong and a Red Gompa located on the edge of Kali Gandaki gorge.
 
Day 07: Trek to Lo-Manthang (3,700 m) - 05 hrs.
 
Today walk leads at Lo-Manthang which starts with short descend to cross Charang-chu River and then steep climb to a ridge past Tholung valley.
 
As route diverts north with gradual uphill walks to reach a large Chorten which separates the area between Charang (Tsarang) and Lo, climb to a stream and then at wide windswept terrain to reach a ridge at above 3,850m which offers view towards former walled kingdom of Lo-Manthang.
 
A short walk downhill to a stream which outlines Lo-Manthang village, from here a short climb on a plateau leads to southern wall of Lo-Manthang, the main and only entrance into Lo-Manthang.
 
Day 08: At Lo - Manthang for local exploration
 
It is a free and spare day at Lo-Manthang for leisure walk and to explore around its historical and cultural sites. One can visit its old four major monasteries / Gompa of Lo-Manthang namely Namgyal Gompa, Champa Lakhang (God House), the Red Thubchen Gompa, Chyodi Gompa and the great Entrance Hall.
 
Tour around main attractions of Lo-Manthang including visit of Late King Jigme’s palace, if it opens for outsiders.
 
Day 09: Trek to Dhakmar (3,810 m) - 05 hrs.
 
After wonderful moment at Lo-Manthang, return walk leads back on the same route for few hours with gradual walk up to Marang village.
 
From here turn right to the west on an old path to reach at Dhakmar village. Around this area afternoon can be very windy with dust. So starting early in the morning is highly suggested.
 
Day 10: Trek to Ghiling (3,806 m) - 06 hrs.
 
Leaving Dhakmar where walk follows along longest and interesting series of Mani walls (Sacred-Holy prayer stone wall built by locals and Buddhist pilgrims). Then cross a bridge of Ghami Khola to reach Ghami village. A few hours walk from here brings you at Ghiling for overnight stop with time to visit Geling monastery and water powered prayer wheel.
 
Day 11: Trek to Chusang / Tsusang (3,050 m) - 05 hrs.
 
Morning walk leads to a gradual climb to Syangboche village and then reaching a small pass of Yamda La at 3,860 m with views of snow peaks and of Mustang beautiful landscapes, then downhill leads past villages of Bhena and Samar.
 
Walk follows a stream that leads all the way to Tsusang village for overnight stop after walking past Gyakar and Chele villages.
 
Day 12: Trek to Jomsom (2,715 m) - 06 hrs.
 
After Chusang/ Tsusang walking on easier and moderate path all the way, a big drop of 1,200 m to reach Kaligandaki River valley. The walk leads to Kagbeni and Ekale bhatti then back at Jomsom town in afternoon with free to explore around Jomsom.
 
Day 13: Fly back to Pokhara
 
A short walk in the morning takes you to Jomsom airport. A scenic flight from Jomsom with majestic views of massive Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountains brings you back to the beautiful Pokhara city.
 
Day 14: Drive or fly back to Kathmandu - 06 hrs.
 
Morning drive takes you back at Kathmandu, after a fabulous adventure on Upper Mustang Trek. Or you can even take a scenic flight of around 30 minutes from Pokhara to Kathmandu.
 

Tiji Festival

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One of the most special things about Upper Mustang and within Lo-Manthang is its great colorful festival known as Tiji. An interesting event for the auspicious Tiji festival falls around April/May or first week of June as per the Tibetan Buddhist Calendar.
 
During Tiji Festival, visitors can observe priests and monks chasing Demons from Lo Manthang. As they hold human skull-tops laced with streamers, lamas chants religious mantra and prayers then perform glorious masked dance performance.
 
The colorful masked demons wave wooden swords at anxious viewers and to His Eminence Late 'Chogye Trichen Rinpoche' who lived from 1919 to 2007. He was the head of Tsharpa branch of Sakyapa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism sects, who graced many Tiji celebrations within his holy presence.
 
Chogye Trichen Rinpoche has also played a major role in keeping alive the Sakyapa religious sects of Buddhism tradition in and around high country of Upper Mustang at Lo Manthang.
 

Upper Mustang Trek Difficulty

Upper Mustang Trek at present is not as difficult as it was some decades ago. The only difficulty is walking on steep high hills and passes around high altitude areas of Upper Mustang.

Upper Mustang can be reached on drive also, where high altitude range to reach makes some difficultly if one is not aware of its high elevation that rises slowly on each day walks.
 
Walking slowly and steadily with stops to catch breather, eating well and consuming much fluids helps to overcome difficulty against the altitude of above 3,000m high. 
 
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Upper Mustang Trek Permit

Like other few high areas of Nepal Himalaya, Upper Mustang also falls within the restricted areas. As such visitors require special entry permits for Upper Mustang.

Besides the special permit, ACAP fee is also required. Mustang region has been conserved and protected by Annapurna Conservation Area Project since it was opened for trekkers.
 

Best time for Upper Mustang Trek

Upper Mustang Trek can be visited nearly all months of the year except from November to March, the late autumn / fall and winter times. The most preferable and best time is from April to May and September and October months.
 
One can trek and visit in the monsoon season of wet months, as Upper Mustang like Tibet falls within rain-shadow area where heavy dark monsoon rain clouds are blocked by massive Himalaya range of mountains.
 
April to May offers pleasant walk for views with longest sunlight hours due to spring times. September to October after post monsoon period is also favorable with much greenery from the moisture where days are short from sunlight due to autumn.
 
Normally, it is cold in the morning and night times but with nice day from 9 a.m. till 4 p.m. From November, the local migrates to lower warm area escaping from freezing cold of winter.
 
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Conclusion

All in all it is marvelous to enjoy experiencing walks and adventuring around Upper Mustang. The travelers and trekkers will be fascinated with amazing views of arid and barren windswept landscapes with great contrast to white snow- capped peaks.

Upper Mustang is also regarded as one of world’s best photogenic areas to capture its marvelous scenery along with cheerful faces of children and villagers.
 
Marvel Adventure conducts Upper Mustang Trek with a very well-designed itinerary, professional guides and all the necessary arrangements. We can also customize the itinerary according to your choice and preference. Feel free to contact us for any query regarding the trek.

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