Upper Mustang, 15 days trek/ 4nights Kathmandu total 19 days
Level ; Moderate-difficult (max. altitude 4,320 m)
Best months: March-Nov; this is a good trek to plan in the monsoon
The restricted area of Upper Mustang looks like Tibet, and its people live like Tibetans. The landscape here has the lunar quality of the trans-Himalaya, with no trees, dramatic ochre cliffs, biting blue skies, and fierce winds that pick up during the day. The distinctive buildings with their grey, white, ochre and yellow stripes (all natural rock pigments) are a legacy of the Sakya school of Buddhism practised here, and the packed earth, sun-baked bricks, and large boulders are brought together to form remarkably sophisticated structures such as the walled capital city of Lo Manthang with its high palace. Upper Mustang has always had a considerable amount of autonomy, even as it has at various points accepted the suzerainity of Tibet and Nepal. The Lobas, as inhabitants of this area (locally known as 'Lo') are called, have for centuries been successul, urbane international traders. Upper Mustang is also notable for having some of the largest Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in Nepal, which house exceptional artwork. And finally, Upper Mustang is hisorically interesting for another reason too - the fearsome Khampa warriors from Tibet, many trained and armed by the CIA, chose this area as the staging post for their activities against the Chinese in Tibet in the 1960s.
NB: This trek differs from number 3 above in that we walk faster and have different stops - this means that you need a cheaper 10-day permit for this restricted area, rather than the 13-day one required for the longer Upper Mustang trek.
Day 01. You will be picked up by our representative from airport and transfer to the hotel.
Day 02. Free day in Kathmandu, night at hotel.
Day 03 On the bus from Kathmanu to Pokhara.
Day 04 A spectacular early morning flight to Jomosom (2,713 m), Kagbeni (2,804 m).
Day 05 Chele (3,100 m).
Day 06 to Gelung (3,570 m).
Day 07 Tsarang (3,560 m). Here are willow trees, buckwheat fields, a gomba, stone-covered paths and a massive dzong, or fortess.
Day 08 A ridge walk complete with cairns through spectacular high-altitude desert scenery brings you to the stunning plateau of Lo Manthang (3,900 m). Find the only entrance to the city, a gate set into the wall that surrounds it.
Day 09 and
Day 10 Day tripping and rest are scheduled for these days. There are falling-down wood and stone temples with stunning frescoes and thangka, active monasteries with regular prayers. There are fine horses and the apsos and mastiffs the king of Lo breeds. There is the town itself, with its intricate system of canals running under the walls and through the fields, and its distinctive houses - the ground floor used for storage and stables, the first floor for kitchen, living, and sleeping spaces, and the roof, accessible by a notched log, for the storage of firewood and juniper branches for incense. The villages around Lo Manthang can be easily visited on horseback; you can see the king's summer palace, a large monastery perched commandingly atop a windsept ridge, and the centuries-old, still-active trade route into Tibet, part of which is now being made into a full-fledged road. Make sure to dismount in front of the city gate, though - only the king may ride a horse within the walls of Lo Manthang.
Return option A:
Day 9: Ghami (3,510 m).
Day 10: Samar (3,620 m).
Day 11: Chhuksang (2,980 m).
Day 12: A shorter day than you are accustomed to by now brings you back to the border between Upper and Lower Mustang, Kagbeni (2,804 m), where are winding packed mud passages, traditional passages, the stone paths that run through it, and the notable gomba that looks down on the whole village.
Day 13: Climb down to Eklaibhatti, .
Day 14: Take the heart-stopping flight out of Jomoson to Pokhara, for a day and night spent relaxing by the lake.
Day 15: On the bus to Kathmandu.
Return Option B:
Day 11 Walk off the beaten path to Surkhang (3,700 m) through more wondrous high-altitude desert landscape - all blue, ochre, yellow and grey.
Day 12: The back route to Tange (3,510 m) runs parallel to the main trail, but feels so much rather away, and you and nature commune alone.
Day 13 Follow the blissfully lonely path to Tetang (3,100 m), an oasis-like village east of Chhuksang.
Day 14 This long, uninhabited trail over a high pass provides a spectacular view of the Kali Gandaki Valley, Watch out for a shale and scree slope, as well as a lovely high meadow. Crossing a steel suspension bridge to enter Muktinath (3,800 m), the willow and poplar trees will appear like balm to your eyes after all the desert landscape, as will the shady grove in which the temple is set.
Day 15 Walk past the lovely orchards and ruined fort at Jharkot, and then continue walking along the valley floor with occasional scrambles up to avoid fording the cold water, and ever-strengthening gusts of wind to reach Jomosom (2,713 m), the major transit point that has an airport, banks, a museum, and an army encampment.
Day 16 Take the heart-stopping flight out of Jomoson to Pokhara, for a day and night spent relaxing by the lake.
Day 17 On the bus to Kathmandu.
Day 18: Free day in kathmandu for shopping.
Day 19 Transfert to the airport or own destination.
Cost on your request
Cost quoted in itineraries includes:
Ł Airport-hotel transfer at arrival and departure
Ł Domestic land and air transport as described in itinerary Pokhara-Jomsom-Pokhara US $ 160 per person
Ł Four nights 2 stars accommodation in Kathmandu with breakfast Hotel UTSE or Similar.
All trekking and conservation area and national park permit fees, also the permit fees for the Restricted Areas of Upper Dolpo (US$500/ 10 days)
For Camping or Tented Trek
Ł All meals, camping gear (except sleeping bags) such as tents, kitchen equipment etc, salaries and insurance for guides, sherpas, cooks, porters (who will carry 15 kilos of personal belongings per person) etc during tented treks.
Ł Re-confirmation of flight
Cost quoted does not include:
Ł Your international flight into and out of Nepal
Ł Travel insurance
Ł Domestic and international airport taxes
Ł Lunch, dinner, drinks in Kathmandu (US$6-15 per day)
Ł Tips, souvenirs or other shopping