Nepal Mustang Trek
Mustang is an old buddhist kingdom, high in the Himalayas, near the border with Tibet. It is a perfect destination for trekking in the summer months, although jeeptours are also possible. Our classic Mustang-trek can be extended with some exciting days to the remote Luri Gompa.
Price: as from € 1700 depending on group size and type of accommodation
Mustang is an old buddhist kingdom that lies behind the Annapurna range on the border with Tibet. Untill the early ’90s foreigners were not allowed to visit this area. Gradually the Nepalese authorities gave permission to enter this region for trekking groups and those who went up to Lo Manthang came back with amazing stories about a land where time has stood still and where the natural beauty was unrivalled.
The landscapes of Mustang are amongst the most spectacular in the Himalayas: wide river valleys, rockformations with continuously changing colours, green barley fiels and whitewashed villages where people still live the way their ancestors did. The towering peaks of Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri dominate the valleys and up north one can see the snowcapped mountains that are the border with Tibet.
A summer trekking destination
In recent years Mustang became a popular summer destination for trekkers. As it is barely affected by the summer monsoon, it is one of the only places in Nepal where one could go trekking from June till September. In the early days Mustang could only be visited on a full camping trek, carrying all the equipment and food with you, making it expensive to organise. Nowadays basic lodges have come up all over Mustang which makes it a lot more easier for small groups and couples to trek in Mustang on their own.
Still it is quite expensive compared to other trekking regions. Permits to enter cost more than 500 USD and most people take at least two domestic flights to reach the airstrip of Jomsom, the normal starting point for a Mustangtrek.
Mustang with Explore the Himalaya
We were one of the first agencies to offer lodgetrekkings in the area. We still think it is the best way to meet the people and to support the local economy.
We mainly operate trekking tours but as there is a road leading all the way to Lo Manthang we can also offer jeeptours for those who have limited time. The last couple of years also biking tours to Lo Manthang became more and more popular.
Please contact us with your ideas and suggestions.
Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu
We will pick you up at the international airport for your transfer to the hotel. After a short introductory meeting we go for a city walk through the narrow alleys of Old Kathmandu. In the evening you can try out some of the typical Nepalese dishes during a welcome diner with our local guides.
Day 02: Sightseeing in Kathmandu valley
After breakfast we will take you along some of the most remarkable sights of Kathmandu.
We start with Pashupatinath, a large hindu templecomplex that attracts pilgrims from allover the Subcontinent. The place is also known as the Nepalese Varanasi: cremations take place on the river banks of the holy Bagmati-river. You can observe them from the opposite side of the river.
Our next stop is Bodnath. This iconic whitewashed stupa is the center of the Tibetan community that lives in exile in Kathmandu. We stroll around the giant stupa and visit some of the nearby temples. The rooftopterraces around the square are a perfect place for lunch.
‘Monkey time’ in the afternoon. You visit the second big stupa of Kathmandu: Swayambunath. Popularly known as the Monkey Temple because a bunch of monkeys freely roams around the site, trying to steal everything they can. From the topfloor you have a nice view on the city of Kathmandu.
We end the day walking back to Thamel, the tourist mekka, with its shops, bars and restaurants.
Day 03: Drive / Fly to Pokhara
By air or by private car/minibus you travel to Pokhara, the second city of Nepal. If you go by air you will have a nice 45 minute flight along the Himalayas with views of Manaslu and Ganesh Himal. By road you will see more of the amazing countryside of Nepal with big rivers, green valleys, roadside villages and distant mountainpeaks.
Upon arrival in Pokhara, we transfer you to the hotel near the Fewa Lake. Pokhara is probably the most relax town in Nepal. The skyline is dominated by the white peaks of Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Manaslu and Machhapuchhare.
It is lower than Kathmandu (and warmer). Being the main hub for trekking in the Annapurnas, it is a nice place to spent some time before or after a trekking.
If time permits you can go on the lake by boat to visit a small hindu temple or even walk up to the Peace Pagoda on the opposite side of the lake.
Day 04: Fly to Jomsom – trek to Kagbeni
A scenic flight between some of the highest mountains in the world brings you the the airstrip of Jomsom.
From here we start our trek to Kagbeni (2850m), an easy 4 hour walk to stretch the legs. Kagbeni is a typical Tibetan village that is the Gateway to Upper Mustang.
Day 05: Trek to Chele
Our Mustangpermits are checked and we continue the trek along the Kali Gandaki river to the small village of Tangbe. Tangbe is surrounded by green fields of barley and buckwheat, and apple orchards. We trek onwards to Chhusang, crossing the river several times and end the day with a last climb to Chele (3050m).
Day 06: Trek to Syanbochen
Treeless and dry terrain brings us through a deep canyon and up to a small pass at 3450m. Then we make a long descent and a final climb to Samar. To the south we have beautiful views of the Annapurna range. Another gorge brings you in a valley with juniper trees and small streams where we climb up to a ridge of about 3800m. We visit Rangchum Cave and finally arrive inSyanbochen (3475m) after about 7 hours trekking.
Day 07: Trek to Ghami
Two passes today: the Yamda La (3850m) and the Nyi La (4010m). After the second pass it is a gentle walk down to the Tibetan village of Ghami (3520m), sheltered by overhanging cliffs. The barren countryside offers one of the most spectacular sights in Mustang.
Day 08: Trek to Tsarang
Along mani walls we make a gentle descent for about 4 hours to the large village of Tsarang (3500m). The village is famous for its red gompa that houses many statues and paintings of Buddha. It is a real maze of small alleys, fields and stone walls. Every evening large herds of sheep and goat come back to the village, a special experience.
Day 09: Trek to Lo Manthang
A day full of magnificent views on Nilgiri, Tilicho, Annapurna I and Bhrikuti brings us in about 6 hours to Lo Manthang, the capital of Mustang (3700m). We first descend through the Charang Chu Canyon and then climb to a windy pass at 3800m from where you can see the Lo Manthang-valley with the snowcapped mountains of Tibet in the background.
Day 10: Explore around Lo Mangthang
We stay one day in Lo Manthang to visit the small city and to make a walk to some nice villages in the surroundings. In the western valley we go to Tingkhar for beautiful views of the Himalayas. We will also visit Kimling and Phuwa, and try to meet the Old King of Mustang who still resides in his palace.
In the eastern valley part we walk up to Chosar with his typical gompa on the way of the main trading trail to Lhasa.
Day 11: Trek to Dhakmar
We start our way back to Jomsom along a different trail which leads us to the more than 1200 years old Ghar Gompa,dedicated to Guru Rinpoche who brought buddhism into Tibet. After passing the village of Le Ghokar we end up in Dhakmar(3810m) for overnight in a small mountainlodge.
Day 12: Trek to Samar
After crossing once again the Nyi La (4010m) we see Ghilling in the far distance. We take a different route however and go to Samar (3520m) via Shyanboche and Beni.
Day 13: Trek to Tetang
Adventure is almost coming to an end, but we saved one of the nicest places for the last part of the trek. In about 6 hours we walk to the small fortified village of Tetang.
Day 14: Trek to Muktinath
After crossing a last pass we leave the Forbidden Kingdom and descend to the Muktinath, a famous pilgrimage site for hindus and buddhists, at the foot of the Thorung La.
Day 15: Trek to Jomsom
A last day of trekking, back to Jomsom, easy walking to stretch the legs.
Day 16: Fly to Pokhara
Fly back to Pokhara in the morning (30 minutes). The rest of the day can be spend along the lake, relaxing and enjoying the memories of this astonishing trek.
Day 17: Kathmandu
Fly (40 minutes) or drive to Kathmandu (200km). Upon arrival transfer to our hotel. Enjoy a free afternoon to have some drinks, go shopping in Thamel or make a last visit to medieval Kathmandu.
Day 18: Fly home
Transfer to the airport for your flight back home.
Visa and formalities Nepal
For entering Nepal you need a valid pasport and a visum.
Visa can be easily obtained in Thribuvan Airport Kathmandu upon arrival. You just need 1 pasportsize picture, 1 visaform and some cash. Visa come for 15 days or 30 days.
Best Travel Period for Nepal
The best season for trekking and travelling in Nepal is from October to May*, depending of course of the altitude you’re on. For lower treks in the foothills of the Annapurna and in the Kathmandu-valley you can easily come for a Christmas holiday e.g. without having too cold. Higher up in the mountains the months of December to February can be really cold with temperatures dropping under -10°C -15°C at night.
October – November is the ‘classic’ main season for travelling in Nepal and on most trails you’re likely to meet other groups and people from different nationalities. The weather is fairly good with blue skies, lots of sun and mild temperatures. Normally you also get good views of the mountains.
Although winter really starts in December, it is a pleasant month to travel around in Nepal. In recent years the temperatures didn’t drop too low and there are less tourists than in October.
March and April are also very nice months for trekking and travelling in Nepal. Temperatures are rising, people are working on the fields planting new crops, nature is awakening after a long winter.
Some areas in Nepal like Dolpo and Mustang who are behind the main Himalayan range have a different season: they can be visited best between May and October.
What to bring to Nepal ?
For most of the classic trekkings and trips in Nepal you do not need any special equipment.
When you book a trip with us we provide you with an specific equipment list for your tour.
If you go on a cultural tour or only go for dayhikes in the lower hills, you can just wear light normal clothing as you would wear for a dayhike at home.
Following items however are essential if you go trekking in the mountains.
- Good sturdy walking boots, preferably waterproof
- Trekking trousers
- Warm Fleece and windstopper
- Thermal underwear for chilly nights and cold days
- Sleeping bag ( type depending on the type of trek – can be rented)
- Gloves /scarf / hat
- Daypack (40-50 liters)
- Sunglasses and sunscreen lotion
- Torch or headtorch
What’s included in your Nepal trip ?
As we work completely on a tailormade basis, we can offer you the full package or a basic trip with lots of personal freedom.
As most travellers however don’t have the time to organise everything themselves, most of our clients go for a full package.
All our Nepaltrips normally include:
- All airporttransfers in Kathmandu (international or domestic)
- Meet and greet by our local partners
- Welcome diner in Kathmandu
- Hotelnights with breakfast (as per your program)
- All transportation in a private vehicle with experienced driver
- Domestic flights (if in the program)
- Local cultural guide for sightseeing
- Full board (3 meals a day) while on trekking
- All necessary paperwork: TIMS, trekkingpermits, parktaxes
- Local trekking guide and enough porters for the luggage
- Insurance for guides and porters
- All necessary taxes
- 24/7 assistance of our local partner in Nepal
Every reasonably fit traveller can make this trekking through Mustang. It is best to do some exercise however before you come to Nepal. Walking times are between 5 and 8 hours a day, mostly on hilly terrain and with some mountainpasses of 4000m and higher.
You will start this trek on more than 2800m. For most people a lot higher than where they normally live. You need to give your body the time to adapt to the altitude. The first days of the trek are not that heavy so normally most people adapt quite well.
As you travel with a private guide and not in a group, there is no pressure on you: if you feel like walking on your own slow, but steady pace, you can just do it. After all, it is supposed to be a holiday to enjoy the majestic beauty of the mountains.
MountainFlights to / from Jomsom
Sometimes flights to/from Jomsom are delayed or even suspended due to weather conditions. Please allow some spare days in your travel schedule and don’t book your international flights on the same day or the next day as your domestic flights. Best is to take at least one spare day in Kathmandu (two is better). As we have good contacts we local airlines, we will try to put you on a next flight, but weather is unpredictable.
Sometimes helicopters are chartered on a shared basis by trekkers who are stuck in Jomsom. This will come at an extra charge.
Another option is to take a local jeep from Jomsom to Pokhara which will take at least 10-12 hours of rough driving, depending on weather and road conditions.