Known as a “mystique valley”, Upper Mustang is the perfect destination to those who love to experience the native way of life of true mountain people, who were not much in touch with the rest of the world for hundreds of years, and even until present times had an officially recognized king. It was opened to foreigners only some sixteen years ago and even today, access to this area is still highly restricted. Also known as a “Mini Tibet of Nepal”, Upper Mustang has unspoilt highly preserved Tibetan culture.
Despite being in the Himalayas, the terrain is a mixture of snow-capped mountains and desert lands, hence also described as “Mountain Desert". This last forbidden kingdom represents remote trans- Himalayan mountain region of Nepal. The local government has very strict policies and expensive fees to limit the entry of the outside world to this secret kingdom. So, this place is not much known to many tourists and very much less travelled.
While on this trail to Upper Mustang, one can explore uniqueness of tree-less landscape, rocky trails and views of Nilgiri, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and other Himalayas. Most of the tourists travels by foot over largely the same trade route used in the 15th century.
It unfolds the fabled forbidden kingdom’s vast and arid valleys, eroded canyons, yak caravans, colorful painted mud brick houses on the back dropped of majestic mountain of Nilgiri, Tukche, Annapurna and Dhaulagiri.This trek is a incredibly satisfying one for those who want to experience the hospitality and warmth of the locals living in this remote region.
The Buddhist culture of the region is similar to the area of the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China. Upper Mustang is one of those few places in the planet that has survived a very close-niche life.The region receives very little rainfall making it dry and parched, similar to the bordering Tibetan Plateau. You enter a world of narrow alley ways, hidden chortens, long walls of beautiful prayer wheels and herds of farming animals sauntering in from the fields in the afternoon to adjourn to their sheds inside the city.
The fabulous ancient Tibetan Buddhist shrines such as Stupas, Chhortens, Kaanis, Prayers walls, centuries old monasteries will make your journey unforgettable.The settlements in this area are scattered and there is little sign of cultivation between villages. In Mustang, vegetation grows without irrigation, thus the region resembles a desert albeit mountainous, nuclear settlements in fertile areas.This barren landscape dotted with settlements of white washed houses, barley fields and chortens festooned with prayer flags adds a splash of color to the landscape.
The Lo Manthang is the capital of Upper Mustang and lies in the remote Himalaya desert behind the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna mountain ranges. It is an old traditional Tibetan Village, with rare medieval Buddhist arts and exotic culture.The main attractions of LoManthang are the royal palace, a few beautiful monasteries like the ThugchenGompa built in the 15th century and the amchi museum oramchi school.
The Tiji festival in Lo-Manthang is another popular activity for tourists in the area seeking to experience the native culture. Upper Mustang trek is one of the most expensive trek in Nepal. Foreigners need to obtain a special permit to enter, costing US $ 50per day per person.
After landing at the Tribhuwan International Airport, you will be picked up by our representative who will drop you off at the hotel. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Morning at 7am leaves from Kathmandu to Pokhara by Tourist bus.The journey is 6-7 hours long but pleasant with nice views of green hills and rivers flowing below. If you want, we can also arrange a 25 minutes Kathmandu to Pokhara Flight which will cost you extra. Overnight at Pokhara.
The scenic flight from Kathmandu to Jomsom takes only 20 minutes. We then set out to make it at Kagbeni by lunch. The highlights of the journey includes spectacular views of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri, the deepest gorge in the world- the Kali Gandaki Gorge, and Kagbeni- the gateway to Upper Mustang. Overnight at Kagbeni.
On today’s journey we walk through a restricted area of Upper Mustang but we will have the permits. The highlights include the Kagbeni and Nilgiri Mountain in the background, and the arid desert like mountainous landscape. Overnight at Chele.
Today’s highlight include the 3000 year old sky caves, magnificent canyons, beautiful farming fields and the panoramic views of Nilgiri, Annapurna, Tilicho Peak, and YakawaKang. The trek starts with a steep climb through a hill cut trail on one of the canyons. Then we make it to Bhena, from where we ascent a pass and descend to the tiny Syangboche village. Overnight in Syangboche
Today’s highlight is crossing a small pass at 3800 meters. The view there includes mouthwatering vistas of great views of the deep valleys, canyons and giant mountains. Also, the trek is moderate with a few climbs here and there. Overnight in Ghami.
Today’s highlight - the longest ancient mani wall of Mustang. We come close to the mani wall during the first part of the journey as we make our way to the ‘Land of Chortens”. We walk the trail walked by the ancient Indian saint Padmasambhava (750-810 AD), the founder of Tibetan Buddhism. We will make to Tsarang by lunch time. After lunch, you can explore Tsarang - visit the white palace and the ancient monastery at Tasarang. Overnight at Tsarang.
Today’s highlights - an interesting ancient chorten, ruins of ancient forts, and the great views of valley of Thinkar and Chhosar from the Lo-La pass at 4000 meters. As we reach Lo Manthang we enter through a gateway to the forbidden kingdom. Overnight at Lo Manthang.
Today we visit the Nyphu Cave monastery at Chhosar which is built into the side of a high cliff. Next we will explore the the 2500 years old Jhong Sky Cave, and then head to Thinkar summer palace or explore the extraordinary ancient monasteries inside the walled city itself. Overnight at Lo Manthang.
While on way to Dhamkar, we will pay a visit to the Ghar Gompa which is the world’s oldest Tibetan monastery. It was built by the ancient Indian saint Padmasambhava in the 7th century. The trail for today’s journey is moderate with a few steep downhill trails. Overnight at Dhamkar.
As our trip ends we start retracing our steps back to the starting line. However, there are still many great views to look for. Overnight at Syanboche.
Today we head start early to visit Chungsi Cave Monastery which is one of the most beautiful monasteries in all of Mustang. The cave lies lies on the side of a vertical canyon wall. Thus, the trail to the cave is steep and challenging. We stop for lunch at Samar and then head down towards Chusang, a beautiful village with an apple orchard and views of Nilgiri and the Kali Gandaki. Overnight at Chusang.
We head towards Kagbeni and will be exiting the restricted area of Mustang. Overnight at Kagbeni.
Passing through few villages and feasting on delicious apples, we make it to Jomsom where we will also see the traditional back-loom weaving techniques being practiced by the local women. Later we shall have some celebrations as it is the last day in the Himalayas! Overnight at Jomsom.
Now, it’s time to head back to Pokhara to chill and relax. Enjoy a scenic flight flying over and along the Kali Gandaki Gorge between the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges.
Today we drive back to Kathmandu. The journey is 6-7 hours long but pleasant with nice views of green hills and rivers flowing below. If you want, we can also arrange a flight to Kathmandu which will cost you extra. Overnight in Pokhara.
And so time to say bye-bye, but we hope to see you again! Our representative will escort you to the airport three hours before the scheduled flight.