Humanity has always been fascinated with what is considered forbidden. Things that are hidden just beg to be investigated by human nature. While there are very few such kingdoms in the world today, the kingdom of Lo-Manthang in the Upper Mustang region is just one of those. We are pleased to be able to give you the experience of visiting this restricted place in Nepal.
Upper Mustang is located on the Tibetan plains just south of the Tibetan border. It was only opened to the outside world to visit in 1991, and then on a limited basis. Because of its unique culture, the number of visitors is restricted. Fortunately, your representative at Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition is pleased to be able to put together such a trip for you.
This area can be a hostile place with its wind-swept plains on the Tibetan plateau. It receives very little rain each year as it is just north of where the summer monsoon rains stop their northward advancement. Yet for thousands of years, this land has supported not just life, but also a very unique and well developed culture. Even 500 years ago, travelers marveled about the incredible culture of the Kingdom of Mustang.
Lo-Manthang, the walled capital city of the Mustang region dates back to the 15th century. The city is on the ancient trail to Tibet where salt and gold was traded. Its remoteness preserved its unique culture where Tibetan Buddhism mixes with the ancient Bön religion of Tibet. There are incredible monasteries as well as a royal palace.
This is high altitude desert country as you climb in and out of deep valleys along the Kali Gandaki River. The villages are isolated as well as ancient, with their white-walled houses and hilltop monasteries. This is an excellent trek during the monsoon season. The rains do not fall here, and the sun almost always is shining. There are wonderful views of the great snowcapped peaks of the high Himalayas.
Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition is pleased to be able to offer you the opportunity to trek in this forbidden and restricted area. Only a limited number of permits are given to visitors in order to preserve the local culture. We are pleased to have the connections in order to get you the opportunity to visit Upper Mustang. It is advisable to book your trip early in order to get you one of these limited permits.
DAY 1 – Arrival in Kathmandu, Transfer to your Hotel
DAY 2 – Sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley
DAY 3 – Drive to Pokhara (elev. 820 m). 6 – 7 hours by luxury bus.
DAY 4 – Fly to Jomsom (elev. 2720 m), 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) via Ranchung Cave Monastery. 6 – 7 hours.
DAY 7 – Trek to Dhakmar (elev. 3450 m) 5 – 6 hours.
DAY 8 – Trek to Lo-Manthang (elev. 3840 m) via Ghar Gompa & Marang-La Pass. 7 – 8 hours.
DAY 9 – Explore Chhuser Village for Cave Monastery and Dzong.
DAY 10 – Trek to Tsarang (elev. 3560 m) 3 – 4 hours.
DAY 11 – Trek to Syangmochen (elev. 3500 m) 6 - 7 hours
DAY 12 – Trek to Chhusang (elev. 2980 m) 5 – 6 hours
DAY 13 – Trek to Jomsom (elev. 2720 m) 6 – 7 hours
DAY 14 – Fly to Pokhara (elev. 820 m), ½ day Sightseeing in Pokhara with Guide
DAY 15 – Return to Kathmandu by Luxury Bus – 6 – 7 Hours
DAY 16 – 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): Today is a great bus excursion to the beautiful lakeside city of Pokhara. This trip is by luxury bus as we make our way through canyons and alongside of raging mountain rivers. There is incredible mountain scenery along with terraced farms and quaint villages along the way. The trip to Pokhara is around six hours and we will arrive around 2 in the afternoon. Once we check into our Three Star Hotel, you are free to explore around Lakeside, which is a lovely area along the eastern shores of Phewa Lake. From Pokhara are incredible views of the Annapurna Mountains, which feel so close that it seems like they may fall on you! There are also wonderful shopping possibilities at Lakeside.
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. 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 train 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 a local lodge. Trekking time is 5 – 6 hours.
DAY 6 – Trek to Ghiling (elev. 3570 m) via Ranchung Cave Monastery: We leave Tsaile via an old pebble road that leads up the plateau. There we will see a large canyon. We continue on our journey as we head for Ranchung Cave Monastery which features stalactites that resemble Buddhist chhortens. It is said that the famed Guru Rinpoche meditated here. We will pass high pasturelands as the farmers continue in their traditional style of farming. We arrive at Syanmochen where we will see colorfully painted square chhortens as well as two ancient monasteries. We will overnight at a lodge in Ghiling.
DAY 7 – Trek to Drakmar (elev. 3450 m): We begin the long ascent to Nyl-La Pass. Once across the pass, we are now in the center of Mustang, in the central region called Lo. We will descend down a zigzag trail until we arrive at the village of Ghame for lunch. We cross the river over a suspension bridge and then start upwards along a trail with Mani Walls. Along the way are unique and strange rock formations with many shades of color. Our goal is the village of Drakmar where we will spend the night in a local lodge. Trekking time is 5 – 6 hours.
DAY 8 – Trek to Lo-Manthang (elev. 3840 m): We are trekking today to the capital city of Lo-Manthang. Our journey takes us past Ghar Gompa and up to Marang-La Pass. The Gompa at Ghar Gompa is one of the oldest in Mustang. We make our way along grassland and pastures for grazing of mountain livestock until we reach Marang-La Pass where we will get our first glimpse of Lo-Manthang. We will descend to the ancient walled city of Lo-Manthang where we will spend the night. Trekking time is 7 – 8 hours.
DAY 9 – Exploring Chhuser Village Cave Monasteries & Dzong: We leave the ancient walled city for a hike to a cave monastery and explore around Dzong. There will be time today to take in the sights at Lo-Manthang. We will spend the night at our lodge.
DAY 10 – Trek to Tsarang (elev. 3560 m): We will leave the city with our destination being Lo-La Pass, climbing steep sandy slopes where we will have our final view of the ancient capital. There are numerous caves in this location along the rock face of the cliffs. Many of these have (and still are) used for meditation. After lunch, we will reach Tsarang Village where we will explore a five-storey Tsarang Palace and a Gompa that dates back to the 14th century. This Gompa is perched on the edge of the Kali Gandaki gorge. We will spend the night in a local lodge. Trekking time is 3 – 4 hours.
DAY 11 – Trek to Syangmochen (elev. 3500 m): We will pass spectacular Mani walls and chhortens as we make our way toward the village of Syangmochen. We climb up the steep trail to Ghami-La Pass and then to Nyl-La Pass. There is a huge painted chhortens before rejoining the Ghiling Trail near the ridge. Our destination is Syangmochen, where we will spend the night in a local lodge. Trekking time is 6 – 7 hours.
DAY 12 – Trek to Chhusang (elev. 2980 m): We have another pass to cross at Yamdo-La. There are a number of small villages we pass through on the way. We see a big canyon and then encounter a steep downhill descent until we reach the Kali Gandaki River, crossing over on an iron bridge. We will spend the night at Chhusang Village at a local lodge. Trekking time is 5 – 6 hours.
DAY 13 – Trek to Jomsom (elev. 2720 m): We climb upwards today to the village of Tangbe which is a picturesque village in the mountains. This is our last day of trekking as we make our way toward the district village of Jomsom. We will have lunch at Kagbeni and wind up the trail along the Kali Gandaki River until we reach Jomsom where we will spend the night in a local lodge. Trekking time is 6 – 7 hours.
DAY 14 – Fly to Pokhara, ½ Day Sightseeing (elev. 820 m): It is an early morning 45 minute flight back to Pokhara where we will check into a Three Star Hotel. The rest of the day will be sightseeing around Pokhara with your guide. In the evening, enjoy a cultural show with traditional dances and food.
DAY 15 – Drive to Kathmandu: Our return trip to Kathmandu will be by luxury bus as we make our way through canyons and up the hill to Kathmandu. We will spend the night in our Three Star Hotel.
DAY 16 – 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 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 Ten nights, we will stay at local tea houses or local lodges. 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.