The Kingdom Of Mustang - 18 Days

Extension of Tibetan plateau, typical Tibetan traditions, Bon (pre-buddhist) and Buddhist culture, forbidden area till the last decade, dramatic landscapes, warm-friendly locals, walled city of Loman-thang, as it was for hundred years ago, grand views of the snow capped peaks

Mustang is the old kingdom of Lo. Actually the capital of the Mustang district is Jomsom, but the real 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 eroded canyons, colorful stratified rock formations and has a barren, desert like appearance.

One of the most fascinating features of Mustang are literally thousands of cliff dwellings, some of which look completely inaccessible. The most recent theory is that they may date 8-10,000 BC when Mustang was a much greener land.

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 14C much of Ngari became part of the Malla empire, whose capital was Sinja in western Nepal. Really, 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 in the 1960’s Mustang became the centre for Tibetan Guerrilla fighters who carried out small operations against the occupying Chinese. They were assisted by the CIA and the Tibetan Khampas were secretly trained in America. With Nixon’s visit to China in the 1970’s, the CIA’s support was withdrawn and the Nepalese managed to disband these resistance fighters.

We have given considerable thought to our Mustang itinerary and it does not skimp in terms of time spent within the kingdom. It does give you 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, intrepid explorers such as Professor David Snellgrove and the Italian scholar Guiseppi Tucci visited Mustang in the 1950’s and it has largely been their tales of a Tibetan like arrid region that has fuelled interest in the area.

Recognizing the special nature of this old, tiny kingdom, the Nepalese have 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 privileged minority to visit this remote outpost of Nepal.

Itinerary

Day 1
ARRIVE IN KATHMANDU

On arrival at Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport you will be received by our staff and will escort you to the Hotel, our guide will give you a brief orientation of the Hotel, Kathmandu, Trekking, do’s and don’t and other related information that you might require while in Nepal.

Day 2
IN KATHMANDU.

After your first night in Kathmandu, you will be well informed on arrival about the time for your half day guided sightseeing tour in Kathmandu at places of interest.

Day 3
FLY TO POKHARA

As per the flight schedule, transfer to the domestic airport for the flight to Pokhara. Half hour scenic flight brings to the stunning Pokhara Valley, on arrival at Pokhara transfer to the 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 are magnificent views of Mt. Machhapuchare the famous fishtail peak. With time in the late afternoon or evening to have a look around the town which is situated on the mid-west Nepal. Here it is quite hot and tropical in character.

Day 4
FLY TO JOMSOM (2,713m) and begin Trek to Kagbeni (2,810 m) 3-4 hrs walks.

From Jomsom, the trail leads on the Kali-Gandaki plains in the rainy season the road diverts to the right bank of the river plain, the walk is pleasant with few ups and down most of the way to the place of Ekali Bhatti (lonely inn) where there is three or four tea-houses at present, it used to be one tea-house when its got its name Ekali -Bhatti. From here the path splits into two ways the higher up leads to Muktinath well the other one leads you to upper Mustang and Tibet via Kagbeni. Our trail leads past Eklai-bhatti towards North West, the walking gets much easier on the gradual winding route as the road widens as you walk further on the river bed towards the windswept village of Kagbeni for the overnight.

Day 5
TREK TO CHUSSANG. (2,920m) approx. 6 hrs walk.

After leaving the Kagbeni village, the walk is uphill for half an hour leaving the Kali-Gandaki River behind for a while. The path leads to harsh barren countryside all the way with occasional stop, passing through few small villages as the walk progress coming to the village Tangbe, another hour of good walk brings you to the overnight stop at Chusang line up with few trees amidst the red earth surrounding. Chusang lies at the confluence of the Narsang stream and the Kali Gandaki River.

Day 6
TREK TO SAMAR. (3,290m) approx. 6-7 hrs walks.

Todays walk leads first to Chele village after crossing the stream through the broken canyons and ruin 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 you to Chele village.
From Chele village the walk gets steeper for an hour upto 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 leads you to Samar for the overnight stop.

Day 7
TREK TO GHILING.(3,600m) approx. 6-7 hrs walk.

The walk today leads to a short climb above Samar village to a ridge, with a downhill leading to a large gorge past a chorten painted red, black, yellow and white-all the colours are made from local rocks. The journey continues into another valley with juniper trees, after crossing the stream the walk follows uphill path to a ridge at 3,800m, 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 to a pass at 3,770m entering towards a huge valley, from here taking the right downhill path towards our overnight stop at Geling with its large fields of barley on the outskirt of the village.

Day 8
TREK TSARANG (3,520m) approx. 6-7 hrs walk.

From Geling, the route climbs gradually through the fields up the centre of the valley, passing below the Tama Gung settlements, the walk continues a long climb across the head of the valley to the Nyi La pass 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 hour brings to junction; the right path leads direct to Tsarang while the left leads to Ghami village one of the main major of 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 climbs past to the long and magnificent stretch of Mani wall, probably the longest one in Nepal.

From here the final climb of the day brings to a 3,600m pass, after the last pass a gentle descent leads to the overnight halt at Charang, 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.

Day 9
Trek to LO MANTHANG (3,780m) the capital of Mustang approx. 4-5 hrs walk.

Today’s walk leads to our destination at Lo Manthang, 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 divert north with 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 a grand view of the walled large village of Lo Mananthang can be seen from this top. A short descent brings you to the stream that outlines the walled village, form here a short climb on the plateau leads you to the southern wall of Lo Manthang village.

The only entrance to the village is from the northeast corner, so one has to circumbulate the wall to the main entrance gate sometimes.

Day 10
Rest day for local excursion of LO MANTHANG.

This large village contains about 150 houses plus number of resident 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 chorten 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 call themselves Lobas, people from Lo, they are very much Tibetan and practice a practical culture economy. Before strong trade with Tibet was disrupted, 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 an imposing 4 storey building in the centre of the city. It is the home of the present raja, Jigme Parbal Bista, and the rani (queen), who is from the noble family of Lhasa.

Day 11
Trek to GHAMI 3,440m approx. 6-7 hrs.

Today’s walks is more of a descend with few short climb all the way to Ghami, once outside the walled Lo Manthang village-town the path leads to a steady climb to the pass offering 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 of this region.

Day 12
Trek to SAMAR. 4-5 hrs.

The trek today follows the 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 you 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 switchbacks trail leads to a stream; the trail climbs to a large painted chorten. From here it is straightforward route to the overnight camp at Samar.

Day 13
Trek to YAK KHARKA. Approx. 3,845m. 5-6 hrs.

Our route from Samar diverts to the less known area by the 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 upon the time of our arrival and the availability of clean water we camp before the pass on the nice grassy field.

Day 14
Trek to MUKTINATH. (3,710m) approx. 4 hrs.

After being 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 Thorang-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 is on the downhill slope most of the way to Muktinath on much wider trail overlooking superb views of the Mt. Nilgiri and Tukuche peak in the far eastern and the plain of Kali Gandaki Valley, coming closer to Muktinath after 2-3 hours of walk, crossing the stream in the gorge then its uphill walk 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 the 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.

From Muktinath onwards will be one of the most pleasant walk as you will loose altitude day by day. The trek follows an easy descends 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 Ekalebhatti a small settlement with 3-4 teahouses.
From here onwards can get very windy in the afternoon time, the walk follows the gentle trail for another two hours till the large town village of Jomsom is reached for the overnight stop. Jomsom, a large village town is the headquarter of the Mustang region with a small airstrip just above by the river Kaligandaki. Here you will have ample time to celebrate with the local apple products like cider, brandy and juice this area from Kagbeni to Larjung is famous for its delicious apple and its product.

Day 16
Fly from JOMSOM to KATHMANDU via POKHARA.

The flight time to Pokhara, are schedule for morning normally because of the wind in the afternoon, sometime the flight time can be delayed due to bad weather and other reason beyond our command. Depending upon the flight time make way to the terminal for security check, this scenic flight from Jomsom takes about 25 minutes to Pokhara, a panoramic view of the snow capped peaks can be seen from the plane.

From Pokhara 1/2 hour flight will bring you to Kathmandu, arriving at Kathmandu domestic terminal, our staff will receive and escort you back to the Hotel.

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.

Day 18
Transfer to Airport for the International departure.

Today as per your international flight time, keep your confirmed air ticket, and your passport handy. Our Office staff will tansfer you to the airport for your final departure from this amazing country, Nepal.

Incursions

  • All Arrival and Departure Transfer as per the Itinerary.
  • Twin Sharing Accommodation at 3-4 star standard Hotel in Kathmandu and at Pokhara on Bed / Breakfast basis. (Single Supplement on request)
  • Domestic Airfare: Kathmandu-Pokhara-Jomsom-Pokhara-Kathmandu.
  • Full board Trekking / camping with individual kitchen unit of cook-kitchen staff-Sherpa Guides and Porters or Mules.
  • Applicable Trekking, special permit for Upper Mustang and Conservation Fees.
  • Half day guided tour at places of interest in Kathmandu.

Excursions

  • Nepal entry visa-Personal Travel / Medical Insurance.
  • Expenses of Personal Nature, meals in Kathmandu and at Pokhara.
  • Personal Trekking Gear, sleeping bags-down jackets and kit or duffel bags.
  • Emergency Evacuation by any means of Transport and personal medical kit.
  • Early return from the trek due to personal / medical problem.

  • US$ 1,650 per person in the group of minimum 2-5 pax.
  • US$ 1,535 per person in the group of minimum 6-9 pax.
  • US$ 1,420 per person in the group of minimum10-15 pax.
  • Single supplement: US 180 per person extra in rooms and tents if required.
  • Upper Mustang Special Fees: US$ 500 per person.

Please contact us over WhatsApp to discuss for group offer.

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The Kingdom Of Mustang
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From $2,650.00 $2,350.00
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Trip Facts

  • Camping
  • Moderate / Vigorous
  • 12 - 13 days.
  • 17 -18 days.
  • 3845m at Yak Kharka
  • From April to May & September to October
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