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The ‘Upper Mustang Trek’ is situated north of Annapurna and at an average altitude of 4,000m is geographically and culturally part of the Tibetan plateau. The valleys are barren and dry with colourful rock formations containing many cave dwellings high up in the cliffs, making this region an intense area of study for archaeologists.
The view of striking houses with the warm & friendly local folks gives us immense satisfaction on this trip. The Upper Mustang trek area is blessed with fantastic landscapes that warm the heart. The District of Upper Mustang sees very little rainfall in a whole year. This is why this district is also known as the ‘desert of Nepal’.
Rocky Mountains with views of snowcapped peaks in the backdrops amaze us throughout the Upper Mustang Trek. Since the trekking route of the upper mustang is pretty challenging, this route is known to be the classic route of salt trading from Tibet to Nepal in ancient times…
DAY 01: Kathmandu, (1,360 m).
Our office reps will be on standby with our vehicle to receive you at Tribhuvan International airport, Kathmandu and our signboard will be displaying Rupakot Holidays outside the airport terminal. You will be then transferred to your respective hotel. This will be your first overnight in the ancient valley of temples (probably the most in the world) in the capital city of ancient Kathmandu
Meals included: 1 welcome dinner.
Day 02: Orientation and Sightseeing around Kathmandu valley.
Kathmandu is the traditional soul of Nepal and has been a well known destination for tourists ever since Nepal opened its borders to visitors. The city is a neat combination of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism and Western influence in the Valley. There will be a half day guided tour to the famous and biggest Hindu shrine of Pashupatinath, the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal Boudhanath, the 15th century Palace of 55 windows and Swoyambhunath.
The rest of our time in Kathmandu is free for further exploration and some last-minute shopping in Thamel area near by your hotel. Your first Overnight at your hotel in the valley of cows that roam free, you probably won’t see this in any other city in the world.
Meals included: 1 breakfast.
DAY 03: FLY TO POKHARA – 30 mins flight.
After your first night in Kathmandu, you will be well informed about the program related to your trip & any trek equipments that you may have forgotten & may need. As per the flight schedule, we transfer to the domestic airport for our flight to Pokhara. This half hour scenic flight brings us to the stunning Pokhara Valley. On arrival at Pokhara, we hang around and enjoy ourselves by Pokhara’s cream of all lakes, the lakeside; this is where your hotel will also be based, close to the lake. You can do some window shopping, make any last minute arrangements that you may have forgotten for your trek and get all prepared for your flight to Jomsom and your odyssey which will also start tomorrow. Have an early supper and get to be for an Overnight in this gem of a town, or a small city.
Day 04: FLY JOMSOM & trek to Kagbeni (2,810 m),3 - 4 hrs walk - O/N teahouse lodge.
After b/fast, we drive to the airport and hop our flight to Jomsom. We touch down at Jomsom in 20-30 minutes & From Jomsom, we begin our trek; the trail leads on to the Kaligandaki plains in the rainy season. The road diverts to the right bank of the river plain, & the walk is pleasant with few ups and downs most of the way to a place called Ekali Bhatti (lonely inn) where there are three or four tea-houses at present. Earlier, it used to be the only tea-house in the area when it got its namesake, ‘Ekali –Bhatti’. From here, the path splits into two ways, the one higher up leads to Muktinath & the other route takes us to upper Mustang and Tibet via Kagbeni.
Our trail leads past Eklai-bhatti towards North West, & the walking gets much easier on a gradual winding route as the road widens & you walk further on the river bed towards the windswept village of Kagbeni for the overnight. The famous film ‘Caravan’ was shot in this area some years ago.
DAY 05: TREK TO CHUKSANG. (2,920m) approx. 6 hrs walk.
After we hike out of Kagbeni village, the walk is uphill for half an hour as we leave the Kali-Gandaki River behind for a while. The path leads to the harsh barren countryside all the way with occasional stops, passing through a few small villages; as the walk progresses, arriving at the village of Tangbe, another hour of good walk brings us to our overnight stop at the Chusang line with a few trees amidst the red earth surroundings. Chusang lies at the confluence of the Narsang stream and the Kali Gandaki River.
DAY 06: TREK TO SAMAR. (3,290 m) approx. 6 - 7 hrs walk.
Today’s walk leads first to Chele village after crossing the stream through broken canyons and ruined 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 us to Chele village. From Chele village the walk gets steeper for an hour up to 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 brings us to Samar for the overnight stop.
DAY 07: TREK TO GHILING. (3,600 m) approx. 6 - 7 hrs walk.
Today we walk through Samar leading Shyangmochen, a small settlement with few tea shops at 3,710m. After a good break here, the trek continues to a gentle climb onto a pass at 3,770m entering towards a huge valley, from here taking the right downhill path, we head towards our overnight stop at Geling with its large fields of barley on the outskirts of the village.
DAY 08: TREK TSARANG (3,520 m) approx. 6 - 7 hrs walk.
From Geling, the walk continues along a climb across the head of the valley to the Nyi La pass at 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 an hour brings us to a junction; the right path leads directly to Tsarang. From here, the final climb of the day brings us to a 3,600m pass, after the last pass a gentle descent leads to our overnight halt at Tsarang, 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. This is an interesting area to camp out in
DAY 09: Trek to LO MANTHANG (3,780m) the capital of Mustang - approx. 4 - 5 hrs walk.
Today's walk takes us to our destination at Lo Manthang, where 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 diverts north with a 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, where a grand view of the large walled village of Lo Manthang can be seen from this top. From here; a short climb on the plateau leads us to the southern wall of Lo Manthang village. As this is the only entrance to the village from the northeast corner, one has to circumbulate the wall to the main entrance gate sometimes. This is where we crash out for the night
DAY 10: A day for Rest & some local excursions of LO MANTHANG.
Before a strong trade with Tibet was disrupted by the Chinese government, 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. Residents 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 Mustang raja's palace stands tall as an imposing 4 storey structure in the centre of the city. It is the home of the present raja, Jigme Parbal Bista, and the rani (queen), who is a lady from the noble family of Lhasa. Overnight in camps at Lo Manthang
DAY 11: Trek to GHAMI (3,440m) approx. 6 - 7 hrs walk.
Today's walk is more of a descent with a few short climbs all the way to Ghami, once outside the walled Lo Manthang village-town the path leads to a steady climb to a pass which offers 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 in this once upon-a-time thriving region.
DAY 12: Trek to SAMAR. 4 - 5 hrs walk - O/N Camp.
The trek today follows a 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 us 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 switchback trail leads to a stream, and the trail climbs to a large painted chorten. From hereon, it is a straightforward route to our overnight camp at Samar. We finally settle for a well-earned rest at historical Samar
DAY 13: Trek to YAK KHARKA. (3,845m) – approx 5 - 6 hrs walk.
Our route from Samar diverts to a lesser known area by 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 on the time of our arrival and the availability of clean water, we camp before the pass on a nice lush green, grassy field.
DAY 14: Trek to MUKTINATH. (3,710m) approx. 4 hrs walk.
After spending some time 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 Thorung-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 goes on a downhill slope most of the way to Muktinath on a much wider trail overlooking superb views of the Mt. Nilgiri and Tukuche peak in the far eastern and the plains of the Kali Gandaki Valley. As we get closer to Muktinath after 2-3 hours of hiking, we cross the stream in the gorge & then it's uphill walking 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 our 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 (2,713m) 3 - 4 hrs walk.
From Muktinath onwards, it will be one of the most pleasant walks as we will lose altitude day by day. The trek follows an easy descent 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 Ekale-bhatti, we reach a small settlement with about 3-4 teahouses, where we can take a breather for some time. From here onwards, it can get very windy in the afternoon time, as our walk follows a gentle trail for another two hours until the large town village of Jomsom is reached for our overnight camp. Jomsom, a large village town is the headquarters of the Mustang region with a small airstrip just above by the river Kaligandaki. This area from Kagbeni to Larjung is famous for its delicious apples and its by-products.
DAY 16: Fly from JOMSOM to POKHARA & drive back to KATHMANDU.
The flight times to Pokhara are generally scheduled for the morning normally because of the powerful winds in the afternoons. Sometimes, the flight time can be delayed due to bad weather and other reasons beyond our control. A panoramic view of the snowcapped peaks can be seen from the plane. From Pokhara, a 6-7 hours drive through a really lovely scenic highway where we get to see Nepal’s true rural & colourful landscapes as we view the local folks about their farming chores with cows splattered with vermilion on the foreheads; you get to see all this right from the windows of your tourist bus & it will be wise to take out some great pictures as we cruise down the highway to Kathmandu, our hotel & a much sought after warm & comfortable bed Overnight at your hotel in Kathmandu.
DAY 17: Departure for that special place we know as home.
Today is free to relax and do your own things; perhaps some last minute shopping or pen a few postcards to the loved ones at home, until your departure or to commence any additional trips or activities you may have booked. If you are departing, you’ll be transferred to the international airport in time for your return flight home. Meeting you has been a wonderful experience that Rupakot Holidays will cherish for a long, long time; & on your way home, you’ll be thinking of a trip that will linger in your memories for a whole life which we are sure will become fireside stories to be told to your loved ones on a cold winter night for the generations to come. Sayonara friends, till we meet again one day…
The above program is only a guideline pattern which we provide. Trekking on the Manaslu Circuit can also be done for 19 days & can be tailor-made to suit your specific requirements. Its also vital to note a trekking tour of this type is prone to unpredictable calamities related to mountain weather, local politics, and transportation etc, which will be beyond RH control and as a result, this may require a change in your itinerary. However, it is very unlikely that such circumstances may occur but our effort is to minimize its effect, and RH will not be responsible for any situation developing in delays or changes to your program. In the event of any changes, your senior guide will make the final decision after consulting with the group.
A TH [Teahouse Lodge] is a term used for sleeping in teahouse lodges on the trails. These teahouses are pretty basic but provide all the comforts that you would expect when hiking in remote conditions, they are cosy and warm – you’d like the homely environment. We crash out in single rooms wherever available, but often times we sometimes have to adapt to sleeping out in dormitory type rooms for a night. Generally, it’s just a bed with a pillow and blankets. We accommodate our trek groups in local lodges available each day. Our porters hike ahead of us to book the required rooms for the group (rooms cannot be booked in advance). Please note, that some of them are very basic and a spirit of adventure is the call of the day. It is cheaper to stay in lodges rather than organizing a camping trek.
We have a pool of hotels in Kathmandu under 3 Star categories which we provide to clients in connection with this itinerary unless it is mentioned otherwise or clients have a special choice. You can check on the description of such hotels through our website. Accommodation is never a problem, the choice exclusively yours.
Most of the hotels in Kathmandu and Pokhara have all sorts of cuisine on their menu. During the trek to villages and rural areas, the menus might get shorter but the food won't be any less tasty. Most of the tea houses do have international menus but the local cuisine is something you should not miss as well. Do let them know if you have any allergies or health conditions and food to avoid. Bon appetite!!!
accomodation:Basic Tea House
Max Altitude:3520m at Tsarang where the ancient culture causes your heart to skip a beat…
Meals:Nutritious meals are provided throughout the journey on the trail
Grade:Moderate to fairly challenging
Primary Activities:Trekking in the outback on well marked trails
Transportation:Flights and private car/ tourist coach