High above the stunning Annapurna Mountains is a place that was long forbidden. The Kingdom of Mustang was closed to the outside world until 1992 when the Government of Nepal began to allow a limited number of trekkers to enter each year. It is a land of Tibetan Buddhism with many monasteries to be discovered across the land. It is land of desert like terrain as the monsoon rains never reach this place. It sits just north of the beautiful Annapurna Mountains who's high snowcapped peaks rise magnificently into the cobalt blue skies. To the north is the plateau of Tibet. And here, an ancient kingdom still stands as well as a walled city.
Mustang has inspired many stories as travelers many centuries ago discovered an advanced civilization. Highly influenced by Tibetan Buddhism, some of the great gurus of this branch of Buddhism has walked, established monasteries and medicated in its many caves. The landscape is one of moonscapes with unusual formations, created by the winds in the region. There are rocks of red, orange, blue and white along with numerous caves that have been used as places of meditation. The mighty Kali Gandaki River begins north of here and flows through this desert like region.
This trek combines ancient culture, temples, monasteries and incredible scenery to make it a really impressive trek. The Mustang region is still a restricted region, so special permits are required to enter. This is done in order to preserve the unique culture of this place.
Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition is pleased to be able to offer this as well as several other treks into the Mustang region. We can obtain all of the special permits, plus create a very enjoyable experience with our highly trained staff. It is advisable to apply early for your permits as only a limited number will be approved by the Government of Nepal each year.
It is an exciting as well as rewarding adventure into a forbidden land!
DAY 1 – Arrival
DAY 2 – Sightseeing of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu Valley
DAY 3 – Travel to Pokhara by First Class Bus – 6 – 7 Hours
DAY 4 – Fly to Jomsom and Trek to Kagbeni (elev. 2800 m) 3 – 4 hours.
DAY 5 – Trek to Tsaile (elev. 3100 m) 5 – 6 hours
DAY 6 – Trek to Ghiling (elev. 3570 m) 6 – 7 hours
DAY 7 – Trek to Tsarang (elev. 3560 m) 6 – 7 hours
DAY 8 – Trek to Lo-Manthang (elev. 3840 m) 4 hours
DAY 9 – Acclimatization as well as exploration of Lo-Manthang
DAY 10 – Trek to Yara (elev. 3900 m) 6 – 7 hours
DAY 11 – Acclimatization Day
DAY 12 – Trek to Tangya (elev. 2980 m) 8 – 9 hours
DAY 13 – Trek to Chhusang (elev. 2980 m) 8 – 9 hours
DAY 14 – Trek to Jomsom (elev. 2720 m) 5 – 6 hours
DAY 15 – Fly to Pokhara, spend day sightseeing
DAY 16 – Return to Kathmandu by 1st class bus, farewell dinner – 6 – 7 hours
DAY 17 – Departure
DAY 1 – Arrival: Arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport where you will be met by your representative of Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition. You will be escorted to your hotel where there are complimentary welcome drinks and a short briefing with plenty of time to relax from your flight.
DAY 2 – Kathmandu: Your day will be spent visiting several of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This is a great day to get a feel of the culture, spirituality and the beauty of the famed Kathmandu Valley. The Valley is larger than the country of Singapore and is known for its temples, shopping and great hospitality.
DAY 3 – Drive to Pokhara (elev. 820 m): The journey today is by 1st Class, Luxury Bus from Kathmandu to Pokhara. While flying will get you there in just 25 minutes, taking the bus is the best way to see the countryside. The trip crosses the pass out of Kathmandu and then down the mountain through beautiful canyons. We will pass waterfalls and fast flowing mountain rivers which are famous as great places to do rafting. There will be many villages the journey will pass through as well as along terraced farms. We will arrive around 2 pm in Pokhara and check into a Three Star Hotel near Lakeside. This will give you an opportunity to explore some of the Lakeside area, which is located on the eastern shore of Phewa Lake. There are great views along the way.
DAY 4 – Flight to Jomsom, Trek to Kagbeni (elev. 2858 m): This morning we rise early to catch a 45 minute flight into the mountains to Jomsom. This is a principal village on the Kali Gandaki River. It has always been a major destination point, being on the ancient trans-Himalayan trail to Tibet. Our trek begins today as we make our way to the windswept village of Kagbeni. We will camp in Kagbeni. Trekking time is 3 – 4 hours, a short day.
DAY 5 – Trek to Tsaile (elev. 3100 m): Today we enter the restricted region of Upper Mustang. We follow the left bank of the Kali Gandaki River. The first Mustang village we come to is Tangbe which has a medieval atmosphere. The trail continues upwards to Chhusang Village. Further up, we pass 16 caves along the Kali Gandaki. We see some of the snowcapped peaks like Mt. Nilgiri Himal as we approach our destination of Tsaile Village where we will spend the night in camp. Trekking time is 5 – 6 hours.
DAY 6 – Trek to Ghiling (elev. 3570 m): We get up early and take a rather unstable local dirt road uphill to reach the plateau. From here, it is an easy ascent to a small pass as we make our way to Samar village. We will have lunch here and then the trail will be up and down as we trek to Chungsi Cave Monastery. This monastery features an incredible feeling of deep spirituality that touches every visitor. There are great mountain views along the way. We will see and visit several monasteries along the way, including one where Guru Padmasambhava meditated in the 8th century. We pass next to Syangmochen village, then climb again to a small pass were we will encounter a very large chhortens along with two smaller gompas with walls that are painted red. We will spend the night in Ghiling village at a local lodge.
DAY 7 – Trek to Tsarang (elev. 3560 m): We begin our trek right after breakfast with an early morning visit to a monastery. Afterwards, we climb to the top of Nyl-La Pass (elev. 4020 m) which marks the entrance to the central Mustang area. Our destination is the village of Tsarang, which features an old palace (5 stories) along with an incredibly large chhortens. In the evening, we will visit Tsarang Gompa. We will spend the night in a local lodge. Trekking time is 6 – 7 hours.
DAY 8 – Trek to Lo-Manthang (elev. 3840 m): Our journey will take us to the ancient capital city of Lo-Manthang. Our journey is one that will afford us great views as well as time to explore interesting old monasteries. We will follow the river to Marang Village. Here we cross it on a suspension bridge and walk our way to Ghar Gompa. This monastery dates back to the time of Guru Padmasambhava, who was the founder of Tibetan Buddhism back in the 8th century. We will cross Chogo-La Pass (elev. 4230 m), the highest point of our trek. The trail to the top is a gentle ascent, and from here, we can see Lo-Manthang in all of its glory. The trail then winds down the mountain. It will take us four hours from the top of the pass to reach Lo-Manthang where we will spend the night. Trekking time is 7 – 8 hours if we take the upper trail. If we skip the high mountain pass and some of the monasteries along the way, we can take the lower road that will get us to Lo-Manthang in 4 – 5 hours.
DAY 9 – Explore Lo-Manthang: We need a day to acclimatize, and we will do this while exploring Lo-Manthang. There is the royal palace, its king, monasteries and narrow streets all within this walled city. We can choose to trek to Namgyal monastery today or hike up to Chhoser village. If we choose to do Chhoser, we will encounter many caves and cave monasteries. We will return to our lodge for the night.
DAY 10 – Trek to Yara (elev. 3900 m): It is a gentle climb upwards from Lo-Manthang to Day-La Pass which will be the last time we can see Lo-Manthang. From here, it is three hours to Dhi Village and then onwards to our lunch spot. We will pass many stone walls toward the end of the day's trek along with seeing many farms. There are many caves along the way. We will spend the night in Yara village.
DAY 11 – Acclimatization Day: The high elevations require us to take our time in order for our bodies to adjust to the higher elevations. Today, we will take a short journey to Luri Cave Monastery, which are actually two monasteries. The older one is the most famous of the cave monasteries in Mustang, and noted for its 15th century construction. It sits at an elevation of 4,005 meters and has great views from it of the Himalayas. Inside of the cave are many old chhortens, statues of various gods and protectors along with a vast collection of Buddhist scriptures. We will explore the monasteries before returning to Yara and our lodge for the night. Hiking time is 4 – 5 hours.
DAY 12 – Trek to Tangya (elev. 3240 m): It is a long day of trekking but a fascinating one. Here we will be finding the unique Saligrames, the black fossils of sea animals from a time when this land was under the sea. The trail starts out with a sharp descent and then becomes relatively flat. We then climb back up, and will take our lunch along the trail. Our goal is Tangya village located on a plateau. The village features several large chhortens. We will spend the night in a local lodge. Trekking time is 6 – 7 hours.
DAY 13 – Trek to Chhusang (elev. 2980 m): It's a longer day, but begins with crossing the river on a suspension bridge. On the other side, we follow along the river for a ways until the trail turns steeply upwards. We cross a small pass and take lunch soon afterwards. There are many great views along this trail as we look down into valleys. We will be able to see Mt. Nilgiri Himal, Dhaulagiri I, Tukuche Peak plus others. We will spend the night in the village of Chhusang at a local lodge. Trekking time is 8 – 9 hours.
DAY 14 – Trek to Jomsom (elev. 2720 m): Today is the final day of trekking as we make our way to the district village of Jomsom. We follow along the Kali Gandaki River as it makes its way downstream. We will take lunch at Kagbeni Village, and then follow a road to Jomsom. We will spend the night in a local lodge. Trekking time is 5 – 6 hours.
DAY 15 – Fly to Pokhara, (elev. 820 m): Today is a short, 45 minute flight in the morning to Pokhara. From here, we can check into our Three Star Hotel where we can get a real hot shower. We will spend the day doing sightseeing in Pokhara, visiting places like the Buddhist Peace Pagoda and Devi's Falls as well as an opportunity to do boating on Phewa Lake.
DAY 16 – Return to Kathmandu: We leave early morning by bus for Kathmandu. We will stay at a Three Star Hotel in Kathmandu. In the evening will be a farewell dinner with cultural dancing.
DAY 17 – Departure: All good things must come to an end, and your trip to Nepal is no exception. Before leaving, why not talk to your representative at Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition about returning to Nepal for your next holiday. The vast majority of people make a return trip to Nepal because they are impressed by not only the beauty, but also the local people. Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition offers trips into neighboring Tibet, Bhutan and India. Be sure to discuss your interests and plans with them today.
Your safety is of paramount importance while traveling with Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition. Please note that your leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Every effort will be made to keep to the above itinerary. However, since this adventure entails travelling in remote mountain regions, we cannot guarantee that we will not be forced to make last minute changes due to weather conditions, health conditions or any member of the group, unexpected natural disasters, etc. The team leader will do everything possible to ensure that the trip runs according to plan. Be prepared for any last minute changes. The Himalayas are big and wild, and worthy of your respect.
THE TREKKING GROUP
For this trek there will be one team leader/guide. We also provide an assistant leader (1 assistant per six trekkers), and Sherpa porters for carrying luggage (usual compliment is one porter for two trekkers). This arrangement ensures that anybody in the group gets sick; the trip can still go ahead as planned. Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition can run this trek for any size group, but the maximum size is 12 people in order to make it a pleasant and enjoyable trip. However, if you would like to have a larger group, Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition can make the appropriate arrangements as well.
All accommodations for The Forbidden Kingdom Upper Mustang Lodge Trek are on twin sharing basis with inclusive trip costs and are chosen based on standard hygiene, standard of service and food, location and more. There are two styles of accommodations during the trip. We will spend three nights in 3-Star Hotels in Kathmandu and two nights in Pokhara. For the remaining nine nights, we will stay at local tea houses or local lodges and two nights at two men camping tent. Some of these places have shared toilets and washing facilities. Solo travelers may share a room with someone of the same sex, or if requested, we can arrange for a private room for an additional fee. However, please understand that in some remote places single rooms might not be feasible, even if the extra fee is paid. These are remote villages that we are dealing with. We at Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition will do all we can to make your trip as pleasant and enjoyable as possible.
During the trek, we can enjoy typical Nepali food, different ethnic cuisines as well as all types of international cuisine (Tibetan, Continental, Italian, Indian, etc.) from pizza and chips to apple pie. We can even enjoy hot chocolates, variety of breads, drinks and snacks. Breakfast will be served from the tea house or lodge menu where we spend our night. Lunch will be served on the way to our destination and usually along the trail. Dinner and breakfast will be served at the tea houses where we will spend the night. Note that at the tea houses and lodges, the food is good, although the menus will be limited. A farewell dinner with cultural show and breakfast will be served in our stay in Kathmandu as well as breakfast served in Pokhara.