August 5 – August 18, 2019
14 days in Nepal
Trekking Grade: Intermediate
This is a trek takes us along the Kali Gandaki Valley to the ancient Himalayan Kingdom of Mustang. Mustang is the Kingdom of Lo, which was its own sovereign nation until it joined Nepal in 2008. The area has less than 20,000 inhabitants scattered in small villages but is slowly being influenced by Nepal and China.
The Kingdom of Mustang lies in the rain shadow formed by the Annapurna & Nilgiri Himalayas and gets very little rain which fortunately, makes the area ideal for trekking even in the mid monsoon while the other areas of Nepal remain unsuitable for trekking due to heavy monsoon rains.
This trek follows the banks of Kali Gandaki River which leads to Lo Manthang, the capital of Mustang. Originally founded by Ame Pal as the Buddhist Kingdom of Lo in 1380, it has been an integral part of Himalayan trade routes and Buddhist philosophy for centuries. Often confused with the mythical land of Shangra-La, this area has been isolated until recently.
Known to its inhabitants as Lo, Mustang was only opened to trekkers in 1992 and remains one of the more remote areas of the Himalaya. Serving as a travel corridor between Tibet, China, Nepal, and India for centuries, this area has a unique cultural history. Our trek along the valley bottom is nearly identical to that used by traders in the 15th century. We will explore the traditional architecture, language, culture, and traditions which are almost purely Tibetan in this once-upon-a-time forbidden kingdom.
Day 1 • Arrive Kathmandu
Day 2 • Flight to Pokhara
Day 3 • Flight to Jomsom and trek to Kagbeni
Day 4 • Trek to Chhuksang
Day 5 • Trek to Samar
Day 6 • Trek to Geling
Day 7 • Trek to Ghami
Day 8 • Trek to Charang
Day 9 • Trek to Lo Manthang
Day 10 • Explore Lo Mangthang
Day 11 • Drive to Jomsom
Day 12 • Flight to Pokhara
Day 13 • Flight to Kathmandu
Day 14 • Depart Kathmandu
Trek begins and ends in Kathmandu, Nepal
Arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport, Nepal (KTM). A Mountain Gurus representative will transfer you our hotel in Thamel. Our trek begins in the historic city of Kathmandu, known for its fascinating Nepalese culture and ancient temples. The hotel is located near the popular Thamel district jammed with restaurants and shops selling Nepali handicrafts. In the late afternoon we will have a trek orientation followed by our welcome dinner. (D)
After checking into our hotel we explore the local shops and bazaars of Pokhara, visit the lakeshore of the Phewa Tal and gaze towards the remarkable peaks of the Annapurna Range. (B)
We take the spectacular early morning flight to Jomsom, famous for its apple orchards and the gateway into Upper Mustang. Crossing a suspension bridge, we walk along the Kali Gandaki river to Kagbeni. We will get magnificent views of Dhaulagiri, Tukuche, Nilgiri, and the entire Annapurna massif. Kagbeni with its narrow alleyways and tunnels, irrigation canals, fields, and a large red Gompa, give us a preview of Upper Mustang. Here we will check in at a local outpost and enter the Kingdom of Lo. (B, L, D)
Today we use a combination of ancient trails and pathways which has been used by traders from Tibet to Nepal for centuries. Along the river are caves and Gompa Kang monastery, hme to the Nyingmapa sect of Buddhists. We stop for lunch at the village of Tangbe, where we come across the first black, white, and red chortens, or holy shrines, that typify Upper Mustang. From here we continue to Chhuksang village at the confluence of the Narshing Khola and the Kali Gandaki rivers. (B, L, D)
As the topography changes so does the population density and location of local settlements. Due to lack of rain and fertile soil, cultivation is limited to sheltered plots of land. Agriculture here is limited to small patches of green in the surrounding arid landscape. From here the Kali Gandaki river becomes impassable by foot and we leave the valley floor for higher ground to the village of Chele. From Chele we climb a steep spur and then continue ascending along the side of a steep canyon before descending into Samar. This village has been a stopping point for traders and caravans for years. (B, L, D)
After leaving Samar we enter a broad valley with juniper trees to Shyangmochen, a tiny settlement with a few tea shops. Nearby is Rangbyung, a cave containing one of the holiest places in Mustang. The trail climbs gently from Shyangmochen and we enter another huge valley before descending to Geling, with its extensive fields of barley. Like in all settlements of Mustang, the white and ochre-painted houses in Geling are constructed using mud and stones. The roofs are made of twigs, straw and a mixture of mud and pebbles. (B, L, D)
From Geling, we follow the valley bottom, passing above the settlement of Tama Gun. We then begin ascending to the Nyi La pass at 12,600 ft. We then descend to Ghami, a large white-washed village sheltered by overhanging cliffs. (B, L, D)
This area is the driest part of Mustang, and much of our energy will be spent negotiating the loose, dry soil. However, the magnificent views of the surrounding countryside will put us at ease. Finally, we come to Charang, a large spread-out village at the top of the Charang Chu canyon. At the eastern end of the village are a huge dzong, or fortresses, and a red gompa which houses an excellent collection of statues and thangkas (B, L, D)
We will spend part of the morning exploring the interesting village of Charang and its large monastery, before setting out for Lo Manthang. The trail broadens and eventually we get our first view of the walled city of Lo Manthang. The city has only one entrance, so we circumnavigate the city before reaching the main gate on the north-east corner. (B, L, D)
Today we explore the fascinating city of Lo Manthang. The city contains about 150 houses, as well as residences for its many lamas. There are four major temples within the city and one of these, Champa Lhakang, contains a huge clay statue of Buddha as well as elaborates mandalas painted on the walls. The king’s palace is an imposing building in the center of the city and is occupied by the current King and Queen. Although his duties are largely ceremonial, the King is respected by the people. Throughout the kingdom, the villagers continue to seek his advice regarding many issues. (B, L, D)
After Breakfast, we will drive to Jomsom via a canyon road. (B, L, D)
We take a spectacular early morning flight along the Kali Gandaki gorge to Pokhara and transfer to our hotel. (B)
After saying farewell to our Nepalese staff we depart Pokhara on an early morning flight. We spend the afternoon resting and exploring the Thamel District. (B)
Transport to Tribhuvan International Airport for flights home. (B)
Mountain Gurus makes every effort to uphold the scheduled itinerary, although our guides are given discretion to adapt the itinerary for reasons beyond our control or due to the needs of the group. Meal schedule: (B) Breakfast (L) Lunch (D) Dinner
Rates are quoted based on double sharing hotel accommodations while in Kathmandu, Pokhara and lodges during the trek. Single room fees apply.
$1000.00 deposit includes reservation fee, due with application.
Balance due 120 days prior to departure
A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your trip will be sent to you in the PreClimb information upon reservation.
Begins and ends in Kathmandu, Nepal
Passport must have six months or more validity remaining at the time of entry. American citizens may obtain a visa prior to travel or upon arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. 30 day multiple-entry visa ($40), or 90 day multiple-entry visa ($100)
Health & Immunizations:
Immunizations are not required for entry into Nepal
Flight Travel Information:
Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM), Kathmandu, Nepal
Itineraries reflect the date and time you will need to arrive in country for a program. Mountain Gurus programs begin and end in the countries destination city. When booking your flight, you will need to account for travel time and crossing the international dateline if needed. It is easiest to give your booking agent the day and time you will need to arrive.
Meals and Food:
All meals are provided as per meal schedule. See itinerary.
A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your program will be sent to you in the pre-departure packet upon reservation. For your safety and comfort, it is extremely important that you adhere strictly to the equipment list.
Trekking Grade: Intermediate
The trek requires 5-7 hours hiking per day carrying a 20 lbs. pack, utilizing porter and yak support for personal gear.
Prior to the expedition we recommend running, hiking local peaks, backpacking and trekking to gain strength and stamina for the climb.
Here’s a suggested progression of treks before attempting the Mustang Explorer.
This trek requires 6-8 hours of hiking per day with a small day pack. Elevation gains of 2000-3000 feet per day. Strong hiking skills and excellent physical conditioning are required.
Our trek is led by a professional American mountain guide with experience leading international mountaineering expeditions. They will be assisted by a staff of highly experienced Nepalese guides and porters.
The best time to trek is in the pre-monsoon Spring season, March-April-May and the post-monsoon Fall season, October-November. Nepal experiences the monsoon (heavy rains and snow) from June to September. Winter is very cold in the high mountains (December-February).
During the trek you will only carry the gear you’ll use for each day. Porters will carry all your extra clothing items and overnight gear. At no point will you carry camping gear or equipment for overnight. Daypacks should not weigh more than 15-20 lbs. for your comfort.