Upper Mustang Trekking
Mustang , formerly Kingdom of Lo, is a remote and isolated region of the Nepalese Himalayas. The Upper Mustang was a restricted demilitarized area until 1992 which makes it one of the most preserved regions in the world, with a majority of the population still speaking traditional Tibetic Language .
To trek in Upper Mustang is a rare privilege. Here you will experience the way of life of true mountain people, who were not much in touch with the rest of Nepal for hundreds of years, and even until recent times had an officially recognized king. Upper Mustang was opened to non-Nepali trekkers only some fifteen years ago and even today, access is still highly restricted. To enter Upper Mustang, that is to travel further north from Kagbeni, trekkers need special trekking permit and must be accompanied by a government appointed officer.
Upper Mustang, being in the Himalayan rain shadow, is one of the regions in the country suitable for trekking even during monsoons.The Mustang trek is not particularly difficult, the highest point reached being only 3,800 meters, but the conditions at times can be arduous. Mustang is cold in winter and is always windy and dusty through the year. Winter treks are best avoided due to harsh weather.
Today’s trek begins with a steep climb as we follow the trail westwards and when we see Ghyakar on the opposite side of a deep canyon the trail turns right, following the gorge. Running high up above the path is gouged out of the rock and descends in an almost sheer drop for more than 100 meters. After about one hour we are on a pass offering a good view towards Samar, the Kali Gandaki valley and snow-capped peaks in the distance. After Samar we cross a side-valley, descending to its base and crossing over a creek, before we trek all the way up again on the other side. About two hours from Samar is a red painted cave monastery, which looks as if it has been stuck on to the vertical wall. This is Rangchyung chorten, one of the most sacred places in Mustang. The name means ‘the chorten that formed itself’, because inside are two large stalagmites in a chorten-like formation. Two famous Buddhist teachers, Padmasambhava and Atisha stayed in this cave centuries ago. There are prayer flags on the ceiling and pilgrims have left small clay figures inside.
The trail goes through a forest of small trees and green bushes which are able to survive in the narrow gorge because the high vertical walls keep them cool and sufficiently moist. Soon the valley broadens out and we can see walls built in front of caves which are temporary homes for the herders whose animals graze here. Sometimes it is possible to see the rare blue mountain sheep in this area. The walk to Shyangboche can seem never-ending. It is fairly easy, but a constant climb with the destination nowhere in sight, until, finally, a cluster of houses appears. It is much colder in Shyangboche, the overnight halt for us today.
Day 07 :
Within 15 minutes of the start of today’s trek we have already negotiated the first of today’s three high passes, Yanda La, and passed a distinctive red chorten painted with Buddhism’s eight auspicious symbols. A terraced valley with groups of yellowish trees appears and above the village of Ghelung are two red Gompas. Unlike other villages in Mustang, where the houses are built close together and look fortress-like, Ghelung is spread out wide on a patch of green grass and gives the impression of being a fairly affluent little community. Rising above the village are barren, brown hills and we can see the Nyi La pass straight ahead. The path descends gradually towards the Ghami La pass and on the way we see a rundown, deserted village downstream. By now the landscape is even more rugged – a deep riverbed has snaked its way down from the red cliffs and immediately ahead are hills which have the outline and colour of enormous sand-dunes. Another broad valley comes in from the left-hand side and in its centre is Ghami, Mustang’s third largest town, which is high above the river and surrounded by fields. We will end our jorney for the day here in Ghami .
Day 08 :
Outside Ghami we see what is Mustang’s longest Mani wall – approximately 1000m long and decorated with simple carvings, blending in well with the surrounding scenery. There is also a group of chortens standing in front of the red wall which forms the end of the valley. Again, the architecture here is like an organic extension of nature. According to legend when the famous Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) came to the area and fought and destroyed a demon, its intestines landed at the site where the Mani wall stands, its lungs near the red cliffs behind and its heart at the spot where Mustang’s oldest monastery, Lo Gekar, was built. A steady climb takes us up a 3820m pass, after which a lunar-looking desert stretches to the horizon. There is no sign of vegetation or human life here, only barren hill after barren hill with the same distinctively creepy beauty. The first indication of human presence we see next is the Tsarang chorten – the large red-painted Stupa is in the middle of the landscape and further down the monastery and the palace of Tsarang can be distinguished in the fields. A broad road leads to Tsarang, Mustang’s second town, with around 1000 inhabitants.
Day 09 :
Today’s trekking begins on flat terrain and the view, apart from a chorten and a few caves, is unrelieved barrenness. After crossing a pass and waking through two rocks forming a natural gate we have finally arrived at Lo Manthang. The best part is that you can go for trekking in Mustang to visit old kingdom and monastery. Royal palace of Lo Manthang, old monasteries built in the early 15th century are the major attraction to explore in wall city of Mustang. Ngonga Chode, Dragkar-Thegchen Ling monastery, Jampa gonpa, Thupchen gonpa are the four major monasteries inside the former Kingdom of Lo . Exploring these old monuments is one of the intresting place to visit in Mustang . We will be staying here at Upper Mustang for the next day as well so you can get to know their culture and enjoy the magneficiant view .
Day 10 :
On day 10 as well we will be staying at Upper mustang . We will be visiting various monasteries , old monuments and site seeing .
Day 11 :
Our return route is on the same side of the Kali Gandaki, because the eastern part is even less inhabited, more strenuous for walking and drinking water can be hard to find. Gradually we say goodbye to the Lo Manthang plain (sometimes known as ‘The Plain of Prayers’) and after about two hours there is no sign at all that such a gem of a city is concealed in one of those rocky valleys. In front of us the mass of the Himalayas reappears and we negotiate the highest pass, Lugri La (4200m).
Leaving the monastery, we have a short but steep walk down the yellow canyon to Tamar, seeing fields in the southern and western part of the valley and large red vertical cliffs in the North West. After our time in such very barren landscape with little in the way of color contrasts, the combination of red rock, blue sky, green grass and white yaks seems very intense!
Above the village are numerous caves, but their entrances are only accessible to rock climbers. At the entrance to the canyon is an unusual looking chorten – the top looks like a bush because of the hundreds of prayer flags woven into it. Around the chorten are hundreds of erected stones.
With Nilgiri visible again, we walk past more caves on our way south and then there is a gradual hill climb bringing us above Ghami, where we can see the town, the long Mani wall and the pass we climbed five days ago! There are two more passes to cross and splendid views of the Annapurna range. Next we reach Jamyung, at the fork between Ghelung and Shyangboche. We can detour to Ghelung, with two Gompas built above the village and a small but fine monastery. Later we rejoin the regular trekking path to Shyangboche.
Day 13 :
The direct trail to Samar runs high above the canyons and with each side valley we cross, the Annapurna range appears closer and closer. Parts of this section of the trek are quite tough-going, because of the gorges, but the compensation is the brilliant views of Tilicho and Nilgiri. As the mountains start to appear higher and higher and the vegetation increases there is also a great contrast with the walls of ice. Such subtle variations in color after the ‘moonscape’ bleakness are a refreshing change. We cross two deep valleys before taking a lunch break at Samar and then the second part of the day is a relatively easy downhill walk. When Gyakar appears, the route becomes more spectacular, running high above the gorge. We can take a break in Chaile and then we arrive at the riverbed of the Kali Gandaki region –and reach Chuksang. Although we are on the same route we hiked along a few days earlier, it will probably feel like much longer ago, the sense of time seems to change when trekking! Soon we are at Tetang’s mani wall and beautiful chorten, which has two of the auspicious symbols painted on each side.
Day 14 :
After an early start we have a good view of the village of Tetang, which consists of two separate settlements surrounded by high walls and from a distance looks like a large fort. The ascent to a plateau is steep and the trail here can be rather difficult to locate. There is an easy walk over a plain, after which comes about three hours of steep walking uphill, with the narrow trail getting precipitous at times, with loose black gravel. After ascending high in the valley the trail makes a right turn and the pass becomes visible above. At the pass, the mountains seem amazingly close, with Thorung, although the lowest peak, looking particularly impressive, having large glaciers clinging to its steep flanks. Tilicho is covered by snow with indented glaciers, while the summit of Annapurna further back does not actually seem as high as its 8000m +. Even Nilgiri’s almost sheer north face is also covered by glaciers.
It is a moderate walk down to Muktinath, with stunning views of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna. Their summits are only 34km apart, which accounts for the tremendous depth of the Kali Gandaki valley. Getting to Muktinath involves crossing another valley, which takes some time. The sporadic houses start to become more numerous as we get nearer Muktinath. There are 108 springs which have their source in or around Muktinath and bathing here is believed to bring good luck. Many people also collect the spring water in bottles to take home to relatives. Also at Muktinath is the legendary flame coming out of a rock, around which a Buddhist temple has been created.
Day 15 :
As we begin the final day’s hiking, Dhaulagiri glows orange and the yellow in the early morning sun. Today we take a side trip to the Bon Punt soling monastery in Lubra, before returning to Jomsom for the flight back to Pokhara. The trail is rather sporadic. From a small hill the views of Muktinath are good and it is plain that much of the valley is used for agriculture. We soon reach the Panga Khola valley and the track follows the course of the river, but high upstream. We have to cross the river and walk downstream on the other side, which seems like a major detour but is necessitated by the steep cliffs further down.
After a steep ascent and descent we come to an area of pine forest – a surprising change of scenery! We are high above the river again and must cross two bigger side-valleys on the way downstream. Eventually we come to some fenced-in fields and a garden with apple trees, near Lubra’s village school. The settlement of Lubra consists of about 20 houses near a bend in the river and was founded in connection with the establishment of the Bon Punt soling monastery in the 12th century. This is one of the very few Bon monasteries remaining in Nepal. Bon was the predominant religion in Tibet before the spread of Buddhism and is also called the fifth tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. In the monastery are pictures of four Lokapalas and Buddha Shakyamuni. Bags of masks hang from the ceiling. It is still the tradition today that the head member of Lubra’s nine major families automatically becomes a priest.
After Lubra, the trail leads to the Kali Gandaki and we have to leap across the river Panga a couple of times! At the confluence of the two rivers we join the caravan of tourists going to Jomsom.
Day 16 :
We take early morning 20min flight from Jomsom to Pokhara; we transfer you to the Hotel there . The day we give you chance for exploring the beautiful valley Pokhara with its Natural and cultural beauty.
Day 17 :
After having breakfast your trip starts by drive back from Pokhara to Katmandu by tourist Coach about 6 hours driving (or take a short 30 minute flight) and overnight is arranged in Kathmandu.You will be staying in Hotel around Thamel . You can have a relaxing time to cure all the tiredness from the trip .
Day 18 :
Departure . We will drop you at the airport.
tour reservation form
Please complete the form below to reach us...
- Annapurna Base Camp Trekking Nepal
- Annapurna Circuit Trekking Nepal
- Annapurna Round & Base Camp Trekking
- Annapurna Sanctuary Trekking
- Arun Valley Makalu Trekking Nepal
- Dhaulagiri Round Trekking Nepal
- Dolpa Trekking & Expedition Nepal
- Everest Base Camp Trekking Nepal
- Everest Classic Trekking Nepal
- Everest Kalapattar Trekking Nepal