Trek the Upper Mustang Trail

Trek back in time to the remote ancient Buddhist kingdom of Upper Mustang, rich in Buddhist and Tibetan culture, and a unique desert environment. 12 days.

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REF: 08975

Trek the Upper Mustang Trail

Trek back in time to the remote ancient Buddhist kingdom of Upper Mustang, rich in Buddhist and Tibetan culture, and a unique desert environment. 12 days.

There are still many places in Nepal which are not open to foreign trekkers and until recently, Upper Mustang was one of them. The region offers a unique environment as a high altitude desert located in the rain shadow of the Himalayas, inhabited mostly by practising Tibetan Buddhists. This trek offers a rare insight into the rich culture and unique scenery of the area, as well as the chance to visit the ancient city of Lo-Manthang. Step back into the Last Kingdom of Mustang with an adventure that includes:

  • 11 days of hiking through the high altitude desert
  • 11 nights of accommodation in local teahouses and hotels
  • 2 nights of accommodation in Kathmandu
  • 2 nights of accommodation in Pokhara
  • Flights between Pokhara and Jomsom
  • Local, professional English-speaking guides
  • Assistant leader on 4:1 basis
  • Porter on 2:1 basis
  • All meals during the trek
  • Welcome and farewell dinner in Kathmandu
  • Permits and entrance fees
  • Tourist Bus to/from Kathmandu to Pokhara
  • Airport transfers

Perfect for: Those looking for a high-altitude trek with cultural heritage that you can’t find just anywhere.

What to Expect

Day 1: Arrival and overnight in Kathmandu

Once you arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM), your host will pick you up via private vehicle and drop you at your hotel. After checking in, you will have a 5:00 pm pre-departure meeting with the guides to run through the final plans and arrangements for the upcoming trek.

You’ll finish your first day with a team dinner to get to know everyone before you head to Pokhara tomorrow!

Day 2: Kathmandu - Pokhara

You will catch the 7:00 am tourist bus for a scenic ride to Pokhara. Here, you’ll be driven for 7 hours through the swirling hills, river and landscapes, with glorious views of Himalayas hanging in the North.

Once you reach in Pokhara, you’ll be taken to the hotel, where you can spend the night relaxing by the lakeside and soaking up the ambience.

Day 3: Pokhara - Jomsom - Kagbeni

Your second day will begin with a short flight over to Jomsom, the hub of the Annapurna region. Here, you’ll have an easy day of hiking as you find your feet along the fossil-strewn banks of the Kali Gandaki.

3 hours of hiking

Day 4: Kagbeni - Chele

Today’s trek will see you on the bank of the Kali Gandaki, occasionally wading through water as you climb and descend through the valley. Your hike will finish with a short climb into the agricultural village of Chele where you will spend the night in local teahouses.

5 hours of hiking

Day 5: Chele – Geling

As you enter day 4 of the trek, you will ascend over the mountain passes of Chele La, almost 4000m above sea level and continue onto the village of Samar, a once-Khampa stronghold which battled the Chinese forces to preserve their own land.

Once above the Samar ridge, you will trek down into gorges and up again along passes, some exceeding 4000m, before you reach Geling, where you will spend your overnight.

5 hours of hiking

Day 6: Geling - Tsarang

Today, you will descend to the Qumona Khola, where you will pass a spectacular series of mani walls before reaching the plains.

Your overnight is just a climb away from you, as you reach the Tsarang-La, a mountain pass at 3870m. This can be a tough climb but offers amazing views of the surrounding desert hills.

4 hours of hiking

Day 7: Tsarang – Lo Manthang

Once you have descended the gorge of Tsarang Khola, you will reach the Lo-La pass (3900m) which offers you the first view of your destination.

Once you’ve crossed the valley, you will reach the castle of Lo Manthang (3810m) in the walled capital of the Kingdom of Lo. Here, you will spend your overnight.

As you will be trekking at high altitudes, your guide will take the walking at a slower, more leisurely pace and the days of hiking will be slightly shorter.

4 hours of hiking

Day 8: Acclimatisation and Exploration in Lo Manthang

Today, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the village as your body adapts to the thinner air.

There are 3 monasteries here you can visit; Thubchen Gompa - the biggest monastery in Upper Mustang, Jampa Lakhang Gompa - famous for the 3-stores high statue of Maitreya Buddha and its mandala paintings, and Chode Gompa- the only monastery in Upper Mustang where monks are residing.

Day 9: Lo Manthang - Ghami

Due to high winds and dust in the region, you’ll need to set off early to avoid any risk of getting caught in a dust storm.

You’ll head back on a different route, via Gyakar to see the Ghar Gompa. This is one of the oldest gompas in the region, older than the oldest gompa of Tibet, and sacred to Buddhist monks. Once you’ve seen enough, you can venture onwards until you reach Ghami for your overnight.

5 hours of hiking

Day 10: Ghami - Syanboche

It’s another early start to explore the area before the wind and dust in the afternoon. You will have a short day of hiking before reaching Syanboche (3800m).

4 hours of hiking

Day 11: Syanboch - Chhuksang

The day will begin with a climb up to Yamdo La (4010m), a great place for a photo opportunity over the valleys. Onwards from here, you’ll cross several villages where you will be able to experience some of the cultures before ending the day in Chhuksang (2980).

5 hours of hiking

Day 12: Chhuksang - Muktinath

Today, you will reach Muktinath, a sacred place for both Hindus and Buddhists. The central temple is considered one of the most sacred temple of God Vishnu and sacred water flow into it from 108 pipes. Due to the harsh weather conditions, access to this area is notoriously difficult which makes you one of the very lucky few to see it.

5 hours of hiking

Day 13: Muktinath - Jomsom

Once you’ve fully immersed yourself in the spiritual ambience of Muktinath you’ll set off again as you climb to a scenic viewpoint, where you’ll be able to see Kagbeni, Upper Mustang and Jomsom, along with Dhaulagiri. After a well-deserved break and a few snaps, your guide will take you back to Jomsom where you will spend the night.

4 hours of hiking

Day 14: Jomsom - Pokhara

It’s just a short 25-minute flight early from Jomsom before you are back in beautiful Pokhara. The rest of the day will be free for whatever you please. From shopping to kayaking to bungee jumping, the tranquil lakeside town is the perfect place for some downtime.

Day 15: Pokhara - Kathmandu

From Pokhara, it’s a 7-hour bus ride back to Kathmandu. Spend some leisure time reflecting on the trip in your hotel or head out to explore the city.

7 hours of driving

Day 16: Last day in Kathmandu

Enjoy a well deserved lie and breakfast in at your hotel. You can spend your last day exploring the city or take the transfer back to the airport, and back to reality.

Note: The actual itinerary and the duration of the activities are subject to change due to group abilities and preferences, weather conditions and forecasts, road conditions, etc.

Accommodation

You’ll stay at a series of small, local guest houses known as Tea Houses. They’re pretty bare bones, and perhaps not spotless, but it’s part of the experience. There are dorm rooms, shared toilets and common areas. There’s no heating, so you need a sleeping bag. Wifi is often available for a small cost, and many places offer hot showers.

In Kathmandu, you’ll stay at the centrally situated Kathmandu Resort Hotel. The en-suite rooms offer air-conditioning, satellite television and wifi. Should you wish to treat yourself to a more comfortable place in Kathmandu, just let your host know and they will upgrade you to stay at the renown Kathmandu Guest House. The hotel is located in the heart of Thamel, close to the shopping centres and the heritage sites. The en-suite rooms offer air-conditioning, satellite television, 24/7 room service, and a balcony to look over the city.

Dates & Prices

Please note: Flights are NOT included and must be purchased separately.

Optional Extras

Make your life easy. Once you have reserved your space, your host can help you arrange the extras you’ll need. Here are some guide prices which can be confirmed with you during booking.

Upgrade to KGH Hotel in Kathmandu - Deluxe Room Payable Before Departure
Upgrade to KGH Hotel in Kathmandu £55.00
Full Day of Sightseeing in Kathmandu Payable Before Departure
Full Day of Sightseeing in Kathmandu £65.00
Additional Night in Kathmandu Payable Before Departure
Additional Night in Kathmandu £25.00

Trip Photos

Location

View map

Kathmandu is famed for its World Heritage sights which include the holiest Hindu temples and one of the largest Buddhist Stupas in the world. Despite the 2015 earthquake which brought devastation to parts of the city, the heart of Kathmandu is as intoxicating and exciting as ever.

Mustang is a largely isolated part of the Himalayas. The Upper Mustang was a restricted area until 1992 safeguarding it from much change. Tibetic languages are the most common around here with Tibetan culture well preserved.

Start point?
You’ll arrive in Kathmandu, a city famed for its historical sights and bustling city centre.Your host will pick you up from the Tribhuvan International Aiport (KTM) at any time of the day to be transferred to your hotel.

Finish point?
Your host can either drop you off at your hotel in Kathmandu or transfer you back to the airport.

Getting there and away?
Kathmandu is accessible via the Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM). Book whichever flight suits you best. Your host will contact you before you leave to check your arrival and departure plans.

For extra financial protection against unforeseen circumstances such as erupting Icelandic volcanoes, we recommend you book your flights using a credit card.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are not included in the trip price:

  • International airport tax
  • Drinks
  • Snacks
  • Visa Fee
  • Travel Insurance (incl. Helicopter Evacuation)
  • Tips for guides (optional)
  • Late check out in hotels

This trip will run with a minimum of 2 people and a maximum of 12.

Sure can! A lot of people do, and it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Our adventures are very social in nature and we’ve seen lots of new friendships born out of them. Expect a mix of solo travellers and very small groups, all with a shared appreciation of escaping the city for the great outdoors to try something new and meet new people.

You’ll hike from 3 to 7 hours a day and gradually ascend to 3900m. Your total elevation gain may be quite a bit more as you climb in and out of valleys. The trail is generally rather sandy, though it gets steep in places.

Much of the trek is within the capabilities of people with good fitness. Still, it is important to note that trekking at altitudes above 3000m/10,000ft is more demanding on the body than walking at low elevations.

When you trek in the mountains, there always the risk of getting altitude sickness, regardless of how old, young, fit or unfit you are. The symptoms can vary from one person to the next – from a headache to breathing heavily or numbness in your fingers – and if you find any of these symptoms, you must descend the mountain. Your guide will always be around to help and instruct you to avoid any danger.

Tea houses and small restaurants along the way serve a mix of Nepali and international food. The most popular dish is dal bhat, a spiced mixture of lentils served over rice and topped with vegetable or meat curry. Best of all, there are free refills, so eat as much as you can.

This trip runs in the spring (March, April, May) and fall (September, October, November). In these seasons you can expect warm weather at lower elevations and moderate weather higher up. Skies are generally clear, and the views are fantastic.

No gear is provided. You’ll need to bring all your own equipment (see below). Much hiking gear is available to rent or purchase in Nepal. The guides can help you making a good a choice.

Your host recommends to pack the following:

  • 1 pair rucksack/backpacks
  • 2 pair lightweight trousers
  • Sunglasses
  • 1 small daypack (20-30l)
  • Trainers
  • Money belt
  • Sunhat / warm hat
  • Mosquito repellent
  • 1 Torch / flashlight
  • 1 Swiss army knife
  • 1 Swimming costume
  • 1 pair shorts
  • Underwear (including thermals)
  • Personal medication / first aid kit
  • 1 Washing kit
  • 1 pair of strong walked-in mountain boots
  • 1 four-season sleeping bag (comfortable to -15c)
  • 1 down jacket / All-weather anorak
  • 1 water bottles (1 ltr.)
  • 1 pair waterproof gaiters / over trousers
  • 1 Inner sleeping sheet
  • 1 Medium sized towel
  • 1 Fleece/warm sweater
  • 1 Sweatshirt/light sweater
  • 2 Long sleeve cotton or (polypropylene) shirts
  • Warm waterproof gloves
  • 3 Pair heavy wool sock, 2 pairs light socks
  • Cotton headscarf/bandana
  • Waterproof pack cover
  • Sunblock / lotions
  • Water purifying tablets (if you don’t want to buy bottled water)

Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to November) are the best months for Upper Mustang Trek due to the warmer temperatures, clearer views and to avoid the monsoon season! Although this trip can be taken during winter, the cold weather can be very harsh.

Yes, of course. We work with some of the best leaders in the industry. Every single one of them is government licensed.

In order to ensure guides’ high standard of performance, the host provides them with top-notch in-house training that covers, Leave No Trace (LNT) principles, advanced wilderness first aid, hyperbaric chambers, oxygen system, mountain rescue and incident management.

Yes, of course. Just send any enquiries to the host and they will create a bespoke itinerary that suits your needs. Alternatively, have a look at our shorter itineraries.

Start point?
You’ll arrive in Kathmandu, a city famed for its historical sights and bustling city centre.Your host will pick you up from the Tribhuvan International Aiport (KTM) at any time of the day to be transferred to your hotel.

Finish point?
Your host can either drop you off at your hotel in Kathmandu or transfer you back to the airport.

Getting there and away?
Kathmandu is accessible via the Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM). Book whichever flight suits you best. Your host will contact you before you leave to check your arrival and departure plans.

For extra financial protection against unforeseen circumstances such as erupting Icelandic volcanoes, we recommend you book your flights using a credit card.

We’ve teamed up with the guys at World Nomads to offer insurance designed for adventurous travellers across 140 countries that includes overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. To get yours sorted, click here.

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