Some say that Nepal is not a good place to trek in monsoon season. However, those who say that don't know about the forbidden kingdom of Mustang which rarely sees any rain during the summer months.
Mustang is one of the last of the forbidden kingdoms on earth, complete with its own king and walled capital city near the Tibetan border. Once an independent kingdom, it is a part of the Federal Republic of Nepal. When you travel there, it feels like a continent away. The Mustang area is a restricted area, requiring special trekking permits ($700 for 10 days). This is done to preserve the uniqueness of the local culture and heritage. The mystique of the kingdom is only enhanced as you will see few foreigners while encountering the culture of the local population.
The trek starts at the airport in Jomsom, and then follows an easy trail along the Kali Gandaki River, which features the world's deepest gorge. The highest elevation is at the Mustang capital city of Lo-Manthang (3,810 m). This is a 17 day trip (10 days in the restricted area) which is known for its isolation, moonlike landscapes and unique formations. There are monasteries that are over 1000 years’ old, local tribal groups that have been untouched by outside civilization. This is a land strongly influenced by Tibetan culture as you see yaks and high mountain animals.
The adventure takes you past sacred temples, high passes with incredible overlooks as you get a feeling of being somewhere forbidden. The allure of the region is powerful, as each bend in the trail offers something new to discover. There are some unusual customs. The locals here still practice polyandry, and they have some very colorful festivals that you can come and partake in.
Mustang is called the Forbidden Kingdom in the World. It was closed to the outside world until 1991. The local people call themselves Lobas and their tribal leader was titled a king by the Kingdom of Nepal until 2007 when the new democratic government revoked that honor. Still, the people of Mustang recognize their tribal leader as their king as well as continuing their unique culture, religion and ethnic practices.
Upper Mustang Trek is one of those must see places and is especially ideal to visit during the summer monsoon months. The mountains of the Annapurna Range do not allow much moisture to pass this far north, making it the ideal place to visit in the summer months. Asia Buddhist Tours and Treks would be happy to discuss with you a trek into the Forbidden Kingdom. We have a published itinerary, or can put together one that accommodates your schedule with much more ease and flexibility. Call or write us today!
Day 1- Arrival in Kathmandu
Day 2- Drive to Pokhara
Day 3- Fly to Jomsom, trek to Kagbeni (elev. 2858 m)
Day 4 – Trek to Chele (elev. 3050 m)
Day 5 – Trek to Syangboche (elev. 3475 m)
Day 6 – Trek to Ghyami (elev. 3520 m)
Day 7 – Trek to Charang (elev. 3500 m)
Day 8 – Trek to Lo-Manthang (3700 m)
Day 9 – Explore the capital city of Lo-Manthang
Day 10– Trek to Drakmar (elev. 3810 m)
Day 11– Trek to Ghiling (elev. 3806 m)
Day 12– Trek to Chhuksang (elev. 3050 m)
Day 13– Trek to Jomsom (elev. 2700m)
Day 14– Fly to Pokhara
Day 15– Drive to Kathmandu
Day 16– Departure
DAY 1 – Arrival in Kathmandu: Arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport where you will be met by your representative of Asia Buddhist Tours and Treks. 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 – Drive to Pokhara :) 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 Deluxe Hotel, you are free to explore around Lakeside, which is a lovely area nestled on 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 3 – Fly 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 village of Kagbeni. Trekking time is 3 – 4 hours, a short day.
DAY 4 – Trek to Chele (elev. 3050 m): We enter Upper Mustang region today, and here our permit will be checked as we pass the entry point. There will be great views of the mountains as we make our way upward in elevation. We are following for a ways along the Kali Gandaki River which is well below us. Our destination is the windswept village of Chele where we will spend the night. Trekking time is 5 – 6 hours.
DAY 5 – Trek to Syangboche (elev. 3475 m): We will be climbing to our first mountain pass of Taklam-La Pass. From on top, we are entering the Tibetan Plateau and will have a great view of Tlicho Lake, the famed mountain lake of the Annapurna Mountains. The trail will start to go downhill steeply as we make our way to the village of Syangboche. We will stay in a local lodge overnight. Trekking time is 6 – 7 hours
DAY 6 – Trek to Ghyami (elev. 3520 m): It is a day of climbing to mountain passes. Our first pass is Yamda-La Pass (elev. 3850 m); the second one is Nyi Pass (4010 m). There are great views along the way as we make our way upwards. Our goal is Ghyami Village where we will spend the night. Trekking time is 5 – 6 hours.
DAY 7 –. Trek to Charang (elev. 3500 m): We start our day with a pleasant, easy walk until we cross the Ghyami Khola River. Here we start climbing up the plateau, following along a long Mani Wall. There are fewer villages along the way. Our goal is the village of Charang where we will spend the night in a local hotel. Trekking time is around 6 – 7 hours.
DAY 8 – Trek to Lo-Manthang (3700 m): Today we reach our destination: The capital city of the Ancient Kingdom of Mustang. Along the way there will be stunning views of Mt. Nilgiri, Annapurna I (10th highest mountain in the world), Tlicho and Bhrikuti Peak. We will descend to the Charang Chu Canyon and then climb upwards to the Pass of Lo. From here we can look down on the beautiful Lo-Manthang Valley. We will spend our night in the forbidden capital city. Trekking time is 6 – 7 hours.
DAY 9 – Explore the capital city of Lo-Manthang: Today is a day of exploration as you discover for yourself the ancient walled city of Lo-Manthang. Outside of the city, explore Namgyal Gompa and Tingkhar. These monasteries are located on the hilltop, affording a beautiful view of the valley and city below. We will spend the day enjoying the culture, sights and scenery of the area, spending one more night in the Forbidden City.
DAY 10 – Trek to Drakmar (elev. 3810 m): We will be returning to Jomsom by a different trail, with this one taking us to the village of Drakmar. At Gyakar, we will encounter a 1200 year old monastery: Ghar Gompa, which was established by Guru Rinpoche. The area is famous for its rock paintings. We will stay at a local hotel in Drakmar. Trekking time is 6 – 7 hours.
DAY 11 – Trek to Ghiling (elev. 3806 m): We have a shorter day today because the afternoon winds bring a lots of dust in this region. We will trek in the early morning and if need be, in the evening. Our destination is the village of Ghiling where we will spend the night in a local lodge. Trekking time is 5 – 6 hours.
DAY 12 – Trek to Chhuksang (elev. 3050 m): Today is one of the amazing views of the Himalayas. On this day, you will see what many claim to be the best day of viewing the mountains, especially the Annapurna Range to the south. At Chhuksang, we will stay in a local lodge. Trekking time is 5 – 6 hours.
DAY 13 –Trek to Jomsom (elev. 2700m): This is our last day of trekking as we make our way to the district village of Jomsom. It is a 7 – 8 hours walk as we leave the Mustang circuit and join up with the Annapurna Circuit at Kagbeni. We will take lunch at Kagbeni and then make our way to Jomsom where we will spend the night in a hotel.
DAY 14 – Fly to Pokhara: We will fly early morning to Pokhara and check into a Deluxe Hotel. Today you can explore all of the sights in the city and the surrounding area. Go boating on Phewa Lake, climb up to the beautiful overlook of the mountains and lake at the Buddhist Peace Pagoda, explore some ancient temples or see the incredible Devi's Falls. Your guide will lead you along the way.
DAY 15 – Drive to Kathmandu: We return via tourist bus to Kathmandu. In the evening, enjoy a farewell dinner organized by the staff of Asia Buddhist Tours and Treks with local foods.
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 Asia Buddhist Tours and Treks 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 natural beauty, but also the local people. Asia Buddhist Tours and Treks offers trips into neighboring Tibet, Bhutan and India. Be sure to discuss your interests and plans with them today.
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