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Forbidden Kingdom of Lo Trek

Mustang

4.67 out of 5 (from 15 reviews)

  • 18 Days - US$5,799
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Trip Introduction

The name Mustang is derived from the Tibetan word ‘mun tan’ which translates in Nepali to mean ‘fertile plain’. Tibetan is widely spoken and the traditional culture of Tibet largely remains throughout the region. The 18 day Upper Mustang Trek largely follows an ancient salt trading route between Tibet and India, exploiting the lowest pass through the Himalayas, west of Sikkim in India. On this expedition-style trek, you’ll learn about the Mustang’s status as a forbidden kingdom, which ended in 2008 when its ruling kingdom of Nepal became a republic. We’ll start our trip by exploring the temples and markets of Kathmandu, Nepal’s bustling capital city, before flying to the lakeside city of Pokhara at the foot of the Himalayas and onto the large village of Jomsom to start our journey. Our journey will take us behind the Annapurna ranges, hiking towards the border of Tibet and the beginning of the Tibetan Plateau, passing through the green oasis of Thakali and into a desert plain - a view that will literally stop you in your tracks!

Highlights

  • Follow a traditional donkey train and camp under the stars
  • Explore one of the most interesting cultures and picturesque regions of Nepal
  • Visit some of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in Nepal, amidst a traditional Tibetan culture
  • Watch the landscape unfold from the heights of the Himalayas, to the vast Tibetan Plateau
  • Trek to the mysterious Kali Gandaki caves
Mustang Elevation Profile

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What's included in our Mustang trip?

  • All guiding services
    - Two experienced guides per trip. One of our local Nepalese guides and an experienced Kiwi trip leader as well as a team of local porters.
  • All accommodations
    - Local lodges
    - In the smaller villages we'll camp 'under canvas', with the stars above us and the orchards alongside. 
  • All meals
    - Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Rest assured you'll be well fed and well hydrated.
  • All activities
    - Trekking, trekking permits, Nepalese government royalty fees, Tibetan Centre and Himalayan Mountaineering Museum visits, historical cave exploration and local markets. 
  • All domestic transport
    - Airport transfers
    - Domestic flights to and from Pokhara and Jomsom
    - Jeep travel where necessary.
  • Hiking poles
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Interactive Trip Map

Daily itinerary

Monday — Arrive Kathmandu

Your trip starts in the lively and bustling city of Kathmandu with an explosion to the senses - take a deep breath! You will be met at Kathmandu Airport by a friendly face from Active Adventures Himalayas who will accompany you to our hotel. If you arrive early, you can head out to explore the city’s labyrinth of back street courtyards, colourful market stalls and ancient temples for your first taste of Nepal’s culture and friendly people. This afternoon, your guide will meet you at our hotel and run through what to expect from the days ahead. Tonight, we’ll take you out for dinner at a local restaurant, for your first experience of Nepalese dining - a culinary crossroad between the influences of China, India and Europe, which makes for some really delicious flavour combinations.
Hotel Thamel Eco Resort, Kathmandu (Dinner)
Elevation: Kathmandu - 1400 metres (4600 feet)

Tuesday — Fly to Pokhara, visit Tibetan Centre

After breakfast in Kathmandu, we’ll take a stunning flight west to the adventure capital of Nepal, Pokhara. Nestled beneath the majestic Annapurna mountain range on Phewa Lake, this town is the starting point for many explorers. We will head to the picturesque Pokhara Tibetan Centre for a cup of tea and a tour around the village with our Tibetan friends. It's a very special experience especially before heading into the Mustang region and the Tibetan plateau. After lunch you will have some free time to pick up any last minute supplies before we meet at one of our favourite lakeside restaurants for dinner.
Pokhara Eco Resort, Pokhara (All meals)
Elevation: Pokhara - 830 metres (2720 feet)

Wednesday — Fly to Jomsom, hike to Kagbeni

We take the spectacular 30 minute early morning flight to Jomsom (famous for its apples), where we’ll meet the rest of our trekking crew to begin our expedition. After checking our gear and organising our donkey train, we’ll begin our trek to the pretty village of Kagbeni. On leaving Jomsom, it’s a pleasant walk along the riverbank of the Kali Gandaki. The trail is flat and easy-going, giving you a chance to warm up those hiking muscles gradually. We’ll enjoy magnificent views of huge peaks such as Dhaulagiri, Tukuche and Nilgiri, while to the south, you’ll see the entire Annapurna massif. Kagbeni, with its narrow alleyways and tunnels, irrigation canals, fields of wheat and barley and a beautiful Gompa (the first of many monasteries we will be visiting), gives us an awesome glimpse into what to expect from the Upper Mustang region. We’ll arrive for lunch and stay the first night in a comfortable lodge. Our camp chefs will dish up the first of many delicious meals tonight. Welcome to the gateway of this long forbidden region of Nepal - go and explore the streets of Kagbeni, you never know what you’ll see!
Paradise Lodge, Kagbeni (All meals)
Hiking Distance: 12 kilometres (7.8 miles), 3-4 hours
Elevation: Kagbeni - 2850 metres (9348 feet)

Thursday — Hike from Kagbeni to Chhusang

Using a combination of high road trails and riverbank pathways, we meander up the valley. We’ll pass cashmere goat herds and small cows moving up the hillsides and marvel at the size of the eroded cliffs and the caves formed by years of weathering. Passing large apple orchards and the wide braided river of the Kali Gandaki, we'll stop for lunch at the village of Tangbe where we come across the first black, white and red Chortens that typify Upper Mustang. Representing three guardians, you’ll see Chortens like these on each side of the Mustang villages. You’ll marvel at yet another lush green town and its labyrinth of narrow alleyways among white-washed houses, fields of buckwheat and barley. Nilgiri Peak continues to dominate the southern skyline. Chhusang village is only about two hours walk beyond Tangbe at the confluence of the Narshing Khola and the Kali Gandaki. When you turn the last corner for the afternoon and take the first glimpse of Chhusang, the view will take your breath away! There are some impressive ruined castle walls on the surrounding cliffs of the village and across the river some spectacular eroded red cliffs above the mouth of inaccessible caves. When you arrive at the first campsite of the trek, nestled in an apple orchard, you’ll find our camp team have set up your tent so you can just relax with a hot drink and get to know your fellow travellers. You’ll be impressed how well we take care of you on the trail.
Camping Bharka Hotel, Chhusang (All meals)
Hiking Distance: 14 kilometres (8.5 miles), 5-6 hours
Elevation: Chhusang - 2930 metres (9610 feet)

Friday — Hike from Chhusang to Samar

Today is a fascinating walk from the beautiful town of Chhusang, further along the Kali Gandaki Valley amidst towering red cliffs. Just before you reach the village of Chele, you’ll cross the Kali Gandaki via a bridge beside a chunk of rock, which has fallen from the cliff side and formed a tunnel for the river to pass through. Above you, you’ll spot a row of ancient meditation caves, some 700 years old! Passing through Chele we climb up a deep valley and alongside a gaping gorge to Dojong La Pass, 3735 metres (12,250 feet), for fabulous vistas. It’s only a short distance down to Samar, a gorgeous leafy village tucked away in the hills of Mustang. Once you’ve settled into camp and had a cup of tea, you might like to visit a lookout point, just a short walk above the village for fantastic views of the Annapurna and Nilgiri range.
Camping Annapurna Lodge, Samar (All meals)
Hiking Distance: 9 kilometres (5.6 miles), 4-5 hours
Elevation: Samar - 3550 metres (11,644 feet)

Saturday — Hike from Samar to Geling

After climbing above Samar and marvelling at the green valley below, we continue over a couple of passes in the morning, before descending along a ridge to Syangboche, a tiny settlement with a few tea shops where we will enjoy lunch. The trail climbs again from Syangboche and we enter another huge valley with views as far as the eye can see. The Tibetan Plateau’s multitude of colours flow and fold as you stand in the winds that have been blowing and shaping this landscape for thousands of years. As you reach the viewpoint, add a stone to the pile on the pass and mutter ‘soso’ - good luck - before sitting down to enjoy the view for a few minutes. The village of Geling stands below, with its extensive fields of barley, lined with tall trees. The twig, straw, mud and pebbled roofs, and the white and ochre-painted houses are dotted though the village, each with their own green grass gardens and buckwheat fields. While here, we’ll pay a worthy visit to a 15th century monastery, painted in the stunning natural ochres of the region.
Camping Kunga Hotel, Geling (All meals)
Hiking Distance: 15 kilometres (9.3 miles), 7 hours
Elevation: Geling - 3550 metres (11,644 feet)

Sunday — Hike from Geling to Dhakmar

This morning we hike the Nyi La Pass (4020 metres, 13,200 feet). Upper Mustang lies on an ancient trade route between Nepal and Tibet, exploiting the lowest pass at 4660 metres (15,300 feet), the Kora La, through the Himalaya. This route remained in use until China’s annexation of Tibet in 1950. Mechanised access to Mustang inside Nepal began with the opening of the airstrip in Jomsom in the 1960s. China eventually decided to revitalise trade in 2001, completing a 20 kilometre (12 mile) road from the Tibetan border to Lo Manthang. Road building from the south was inhibited by difficulties along the Kali Gandaki Gorge to the south, however work started in 2012 to eventually connect the area to the outside world. We descend into Ghami for lunch amongst some of the largest apple orchards in the region. After lunch, we walk out of Ghami up to the stunning Dakmar La Pass, before a short descent amongst some of the most impressive eroded cliffs in the region coloured by blue, purple, yellow, red and brown ochres.
Camping Site, Dhakmar (All meals)
Hiking Distance: 14.3 kilometres (8.9 miles), 6 hours
Elevation: Dhakmar - 3820 metres (12,530 feet)

Monday — Hike from Dhakmar to Lo Manthang

This morning we’ll head up and out of Dhakmar, climbing to the ancient site of the Ghar Gumba and Lo Gekar, one of the oldest monasteries in Mustang. Legend has it when the famous Guru Rinpoche, also known as Padmasambhava arrived here he faced an evil spirit. After a visit to Lo Gekar, we are on the road again climbing up a valley to the highest pass for the trek, Chogo La, at 4230 metres (13,877 feet). Look out for Lammergeyer and Himalayan Griffin soaring above your head, and lower in the fields marmot fussing and scurrying in between burrows set in the hillside. There are often herds of yak high up in the hills as they prefer to graze over 4000 metres (13,123 feet) where it’s cooler. Lying in the rain shadow of the Himalayas is perhaps the last enclave of pristine Tibetan culture. Forbidden and isolated from the rest of the world, Lo Manthang has evolved with its own distinctive culture and tradition, which is rich and unique. Here you’ll have the chance to experience a city largely untouched by modern civilisation. Climb to the rooftop of a building and see homes show off their affluence by placing firewood around the edges of their roofs. For the next two nights we’ll stay at a wonderful lodge in Lo Manthang.
Lotus Guest House, Lo Manthang (All meals)
Hiking Distance: 18 kilometres (11 miles), 8-9 hours
Elevation: Lo Manthang - 3830 metres (12,565 feet)

Tuesday — Explore Chhosur Valley

Today we’ll be taking a 4X4 jeep ride 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) further towards the Tibetan border to one of the most impressive cave monasteries Mustang has to offer. Jhong cave is 4 stories high and we can clamber and climb through all the small portals in the cave, to one of 40 secret meditation rooms and hidden storage chambers. It is here that Khampa warriors sought refuge while they fought the Chinese many years ago, sometimes living 5 years in these caves. In the afternoon, you might like to visit the four major gompas of Lo Manthang. The Jampa Gompa, the oldest, built in the early 15th Century and known as the ‘God house’, has some of the most impressive painted mandala walls of any monastery in Nepal and a huge Juniper pine posted entrance.
Lotus Guest House, Lo Manthang (All meals)
Hiking Distance: 15km Jeep, 2 km hike (1.2 miles), 3 hours return
Elevation: Lo Manthang - 3830 metres (12,560 feet)

Wednesday — Hike from Lo Manthang to Dhi

We’ll ascend out of the Lo Manthang valley and head south along the Thulung Khola farewelling the last forbidden kingdom as we cross the Day-La pass. Heading back towards Charang, we’ll cross the Thulung Khola and climb over Dhi pass at 4100 meters (13,451 feet). A spectacular trail with views of Dhaulagiri, we’ll traverse the ridgeline before descending down to Dhi village set low in the valley. After another delicious lunch, you can spend the afternoon relaxing with a good book or soaking up the views.
Camping Hira Lodge, Dhi (All meals)
Hiking Distance: 13 kilometres (8.1 miles), 4-5 hours
Elevation: Dhi - 3420 metres (11,220 feet)

Thursday — Hike from Dhi to Luri Gumba Cave return

Today we take a very special side trip not often experienced by foreigners. You’ll have the option to hire a horse from our team of porters today, or if you wish to stay with your feet planted firmly on the ground, that’s fine too. We’ll follow the Puyon Khola, a tributary of the Kali Gandaki. If conditions are suitable we’ll make some creek crossings (keep an eye out for Ammonite fossils) and head up to the village of Yara and onto the famous Cave Gompas of Luri Gumba. According to local legend there are seven (or nine) cave temples containing ‘chortens’ in this part of Upper Mustang. The detail and decoration of this site is magnificent, with earthen and ochre coloured artwork unique to Mustang.
Camping Hira Lodge, Dhi (All meals)
Hiking Distance: 20 kilometres (12.4 miles) 8-9 hours return
Elevation: Dhi - 3420 metres (11,220 feet)

Friday — Hike from Dhi to Ghami

We begin the day with a lovely river-side walk next to the Kali Gandaki before a bit of a climb for lunch at Charang, the second largest settlement in Mustang. From here you’ll be able to spot the palace and monastery of Charang. A feast for the eyes, each element by itself is already extraordinary; the massive, natural coloured chorten, the huge ruin of the old fort, the differently striped Gompa and the wind-swept plateau surrounded by hills. After lunch we will return to Ghami along the longest Mani Wall in Mustang over the Choya La Pass. Watch out for goat herds as they graze in the pastures beside the pass.
Camping Lo Ghami Guesthouse, Ghami (All meals)
Hiking Distance: 20 kilometres (12.4 miles), 7-8 hours
Elevation: Ghami - 3550 metres (11,644 feet)

Saturday — Hike from Ghami to Samar via Ranchung Cave

Returning over a couple of passes, we make our way back to Syangboche for lunch on a mixture of road and hillside paths. The views of Mustang are ever changing and returning to this place you’ll recognise how different it looks just to walk the opposite way. We’ll visit Ranchung Cave, considered one of the most holy places in the entire Mustang region. Nobody lives here these days, however it’s often visited by local monks and lamas to meditate and by pundits passing through on pilgrimages to India from Tibet. There are no elaborate statues or paintings displayed, nevertheless the atmosphere is very solemn and signs of past visitors include prayer flags hung to the ceiling and small clay figures left behind by pilgrims. There’s a climb and descent after Ranchung Cave to one of the best lookout points in the wider valley, where you’ll greet the Annapurna Range again as it looms above the dry dusty landscape of Mustang.
Camping Annapurna Lodge, Samar (All meals)
Hiking Distance: 24 kilometres (14.9 miles), 9-10 hours
Elevation: Samar - 3550 metres (11,644 feet)

Sunday — Hike from Samar to Chhusang, jeep to Jomsom

Returning to the wide braided river valley of the Kali Gandaki, you will feel nostalgic to walk out of Mustang as you say farewell to the amazing culture and people that you have been privileged to meet. Have one last sweet and crunchy Mustang apple as you pass by Tangbe. It’s been a big walk with many ‘Nepali Flat’ undulations. But you have made it, and the treat of the jeep at Chhusang awaits your tired legs. Once back to Jomsom, we’ll celebrate tonight and farewell our camp cooks and porters for the fantastic effort they have made on the trip.
Tilicho Hotel, Jomsom (All meals)
Hiking Distance: 9 kilometres (5.6 miles), 3 hours, jeep 2.5 hours
Elevation: Jomsom - 2720 metres (8923 feet)

Monday — Fly to Pokhara

We will catch an early flight back to Pokhara and the beautiful shores of Lake Phewa. After lunch at a café, we will make a trip to the Himalayan Mountaineering Museum where you can learn about other cultures and mountains of Nepal. Maybe you’ll like to treat yourself to a massage this afternoon too! Tonight we will meet for a relaxed dinner at our favourite restaurant, Silk Road.
Pokhara Eco Resort, Pokhara (All meals)
Elevation: Pokhara - 830 metres (2720 feet)

Tuesday — Free day in Pokhara

Today you can choose to have a well-earned rest in the lakeside town of Pokhara, or enjoy another exciting day in Nepal’s adventure capital! Your guides will be able to offer suggestions and help you organise activities. Today is all yours to relax and explore. This evening you might like to try some of Pokhara’s restaurants where local lake fish is a speciality, or you might like to try one of our favourites, like Moondance.
Pokhara Eco Resort, Pokhara (Breakfast)
Elevation: Pokhara - 830 metres (2720 feet)

Wednesday — Return to Kathmandu, visit Patan Durbar Square

This morning we’ll farewell the Himalayas in Pokhara and take a short flight back to Kathmandu. For those who are keen this afternoon, we’ll head an hour or two south to the city of Lalitpur, otherwise known as Patan, and thought to be one of the oldest Buddhist cities in the world. Patan lies in the southern region of the Kathmandu Valley across the Bagmati River, and is home to Patan Durbar Square, one of three Durbar Squares in Kathmandu and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Around the three courtyards here, there are an array of impressive temples (including the Ancient Royal Palace), religious shrines and historical places, all with exquisite carvings and a beautiful display of ancient Newari architecture. Today is also a great opportunity to find a bargain amongst Kathmandu’s many markets. Tonight we’ll meet at a local restaurant for our final dinner together to celebrate our achievements and adventures in the Himalayas.
Hotel Thamel Eco Resort, Kathmandu (All meals)
Elevation: Kathmandu - 1400 metres (4600 feet)

Thursday — Return home

Today is the final day of your Himalayas trekking trip. If you have extra time after your trip, we’re happy to make suggestions on how to make the most of it. On the other hand, if you’re on your way home today, we’ll send you back refreshed and invigorated from the great hiking and adventures you’ve had with us in Nepal! (Breakfast)

Activity Key - zoom in to see activity detail

Hiking Biking Kayaking Boating Flying

Itinerary

Monday — Arrive Kathmandu

Your trip starts in the lively and bustling city of Kathmandu with an explosion to the senses - take a deep breath! You will be met at Kathmandu Airport by a friendly face from Active Adventures Himalayas who will accompany you to our hotel. If you arrive early, you can head out to explore the city’s labyrinth of back street courtyards, colourful market stalls and ancient temples for your first taste of Nepal’s culture and friendly people. This afternoon, your guide will meet you at our hotel and run through what to expect from the days ahead. Tonight, we’ll take you out for dinner at a local restaurant, for your first experience of Nepalese dining - a culinary crossroad between the influences of China, India and Europe, which makes for some really delicious flavour combinations.
Hotel Thamel Eco Resort, Kathmandu (Dinner)
Elevation: Kathmandu - 1400 metres (4600 feet)

Tuesday — Fly to Pokhara, visit Tibetan Centre

After breakfast in Kathmandu, we’ll take a stunning flight west to the adventure capital of Nepal, Pokhara. Nestled beneath the majestic Annapurna mountain range on Phewa Lake, this town is the starting point for many explorers. We will head to the picturesque Pokhara Tibetan Centre for a cup of tea and a tour around the village with our Tibetan friends. It's a very special experience especially before heading into the Mustang region and the Tibetan plateau. After lunch you will have some free time to pick up any last minute supplies before we meet at one of our favourite lakeside restaurants for dinner.
Pokhara Eco Resort, Pokhara (All meals)
Elevation: Pokhara - 830 metres (2720 feet)

Wednesday — Fly to Jomsom, hike to Kagbeni

We take the spectacular 30 minute early morning flight to Jomsom (famous for its apples), where we’ll meet the rest of our trekking crew to begin our expedition. After checking our gear and organising our donkey train, we’ll begin our trek to the pretty village of Kagbeni. On leaving Jomsom, it’s a pleasant walk along the riverbank of the Kali Gandaki. The trail is flat and easy-going, giving you a chance to warm up those hiking muscles gradually. We’ll enjoy magnificent views of huge peaks such as Dhaulagiri, Tukuche and Nilgiri, while to the south, you’ll see the entire Annapurna massif. Kagbeni, with its narrow alleyways and tunnels, irrigation canals, fields of wheat and barley and a beautiful Gompa (the first of many monasteries we will be visiting), gives us an awesome glimpse into what to expect from the Upper Mustang region. We’ll arrive for lunch and stay the first night in a comfortable lodge. Our camp chefs will dish up the first of many delicious meals tonight. Welcome to the gateway of this long forbidden region of Nepal - go and explore the streets of Kagbeni, you never know what you’ll see!
Paradise Lodge, Kagbeni (All meals)
Hiking Distance: 12 kilometres (7.8 miles), 3-4 hours
Elevation: Kagbeni - 2850 metres (9348 feet)

Thursday — Hike from Kagbeni to Chhusang

Using a combination of high road trails and riverbank pathways, we meander up the valley. We’ll pass cashmere goat herds and small cows moving up the hillsides and marvel at the size of the eroded cliffs and the caves formed by years of weathering. Passing large apple orchards and the wide braided river of the Kali Gandaki, we'll stop for lunch at the village of Tangbe where we come across the first black, white and red Chortens that typify Upper Mustang. Representing three guardians, you’ll see Chortens like these on each side of the Mustang villages. You’ll marvel at yet another lush green town and its labyrinth of narrow alleyways among white-washed houses, fields of buckwheat and barley. Nilgiri Peak continues to dominate the southern skyline. Chhusang village is only about two hours walk beyond Tangbe at the confluence of the Narshing Khola and the Kali Gandaki. When you turn the last corner for the afternoon and take the first glimpse of Chhusang, the view will take your breath away! There are some impressive ruined castle walls on the surrounding cliffs of the village and across the river some spectacular eroded red cliffs above the mouth of inaccessible caves. When you arrive at the first campsite of the trek, nestled in an apple orchard, you’ll find our camp team have set up your tent so you can just relax with a hot drink and get to know your fellow travellers. You’ll be impressed how well we take care of you on the trail.
Camping Bharka Hotel, Chhusang (All meals)
Hiking Distance: 14 kilometres (8.5 miles), 5-6 hours
Elevation: Chhusang - 2930 metres (9610 feet)

Friday — Hike from Chhusang to Samar

Today is a fascinating walk from the beautiful town of Chhusang, further along the Kali Gandaki Valley amidst towering red cliffs. Just before you reach the village of Chele, you’ll cross the Kali Gandaki via a bridge beside a chunk of rock, which has fallen from the cliff side and formed a tunnel for the river to pass through. Above you, you’ll spot a row of ancient meditation caves, some 700 years old! Passing through Chele we climb up a deep valley and alongside a gaping gorge to Dojong La Pass, 3735 metres (12,250 feet), for fabulous vistas. It’s only a short distance down to Samar, a gorgeous leafy village tucked away in the hills of Mustang. Once you’ve settled into camp and had a cup of tea, you might like to visit a lookout point, just a short walk above the village for fantastic views of the Annapurna and Nilgiri range.
Camping Annapurna Lodge, Samar (All meals)
Hiking Distance: 9 kilometres (5.6 miles), 4-5 hours
Elevation: Samar - 3550 metres (11,644 feet)

Saturday — Hike from Samar to Geling

After climbing above Samar and marvelling at the green valley below, we continue over a couple of passes in the morning, before descending along a ridge to Syangboche, a tiny settlement with a few tea shops where we will enjoy lunch. The trail climbs again from Syangboche and we enter another huge valley with views as far as the eye can see. The Tibetan Plateau’s multitude of colours flow and fold as you stand in the winds that have been blowing and shaping this landscape for thousands of years. As you reach the viewpoint, add a stone to the pile on the pass and mutter ‘soso’ - good luck - before sitting down to enjoy the view for a few minutes. The village of Geling stands below, with its extensive fields of barley, lined with tall trees. The twig, straw, mud and pebbled roofs, and the white and ochre-painted houses are dotted though the village, each with their own green grass gardens and buckwheat fields. While here, we’ll pay a worthy visit to a 15th century monastery, painted in the stunning natural ochres of the region.
Camping Kunga Hotel, Geling (All meals)
Hiking Distance: 15 kilometres (9.3 miles), 7 hours
Elevation: Geling - 3550 metres (11,644 feet)

Sunday — Hike from Geling to Dhakmar

This morning we hike the Nyi La Pass (4020 metres, 13,200 feet). Upper Mustang lies on an ancient trade route between Nepal and Tibet, exploiting the lowest pass at 4660 metres (15,300 feet), the Kora La, through the Himalaya. This route remained in use until China’s annexation of Tibet in 1950. Mechanised access to Mustang inside Nepal began with the opening of the airstrip in Jomsom in the 1960s. China eventually decided to revitalise trade in 2001, completing a 20 kilometre (12 mile) road from the Tibetan border to Lo Manthang. Road building from the south was inhibited by difficulties along the Kali Gandaki Gorge to the south, however work started in 2012 to eventually connect the area to the outside world. We descend into Ghami for lunch amongst some of the largest apple orchards in the region. After lunch, we walk out of Ghami up to the stunning Dakmar La Pass, before a short descent amongst some of the most impressive eroded cliffs in the region coloured by blue, purple, yellow, red and brown ochres.
Camping Site, Dhakmar (All meals)
Hiking Distance: 14.3 kilometres (8.9 miles), 6 hours
Elevation: Dhakmar - 3820 metres (12,530 feet)

Monday — Hike from Dhakmar to Lo Manthang

This morning we’ll head up and out of Dhakmar, climbing to the ancient site of the Ghar Gumba and Lo Gekar, one of the oldest monasteries in Mustang. Legend has it when the famous Guru Rinpoche, also known as Padmasambhava arrived here he faced an evil spirit. After a visit to Lo Gekar, we are on the road again climbing up a valley to the highest pass for the trek, Chogo La, at 4230 metres (13,877 feet). Look out for Lammergeyer and Himalayan Griffin soaring above your head, and lower in the fields marmot fussing and scurrying in between burrows set in the hillside. There are often herds of yak high up in the hills as they prefer to graze over 4000 metres (13,123 feet) where it’s cooler. Lying in the rain shadow of the Himalayas is perhaps the last enclave of pristine Tibetan culture. Forbidden and isolated from the rest of the world, Lo Manthang has evolved with its own distinctive culture and tradition, which is rich and unique. Here you’ll have the chance to experience a city largely untouched by modern civilisation. Climb to the rooftop of a building and see homes show off their affluence by placing firewood around the edges of their roofs. For the next two nights we’ll stay at a wonderful lodge in Lo Manthang.
Lotus Guest House, Lo Manthang (All meals)
Hiking Distance: 18 kilometres (11 miles), 8-9 hours
Elevation: Lo Manthang - 3830 metres (12,565 feet)

Tuesday — Explore Chhosur Valley

Today we’ll be taking a 4X4 jeep ride 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) further towards the Tibetan border to one of the most impressive cave monasteries Mustang has to offer. Jhong cave is 4 stories high and we can clamber and climb through all the small portals in the cave, to one of 40 secret meditation rooms and hidden storage chambers. It is here that Khampa warriors sought refuge while they fought the Chinese many years ago, sometimes living 5 years in these caves. In the afternoon, you might like to visit the four major gompas of Lo Manthang. The Jampa Gompa, the oldest, built in the early 15th Century and known as the ‘God house’, has some of the most impressive painted mandala walls of any monastery in Nepal and a huge Juniper pine posted entrance.
Lotus Guest House, Lo Manthang (All meals)
Hiking Distance: 15km Jeep, 2 km hike (1.2 miles), 3 hours return
Elevation: Lo Manthang - 3830 metres (12,560 feet)

Wednesday — Hike from Lo Manthang to Dhi

We’ll ascend out of the Lo Manthang valley and head south along the Thulung Khola farewelling the last forbidden kingdom as we cross the Day-La pass. Heading back towards Charang, we’ll cross the Thulung Khola and climb over Dhi pass at 4100 meters (13,451 feet). A spectacular trail with views of Dhaulagiri, we’ll traverse the ridgeline before descending down to Dhi village set low in the valley. After another delicious lunch, you can spend the afternoon relaxing with a good book or soaking up the views.
Camping Hira Lodge, Dhi (All meals)
Hiking Distance: 13 kilometres (8.1 miles), 4-5 hours
Elevation: Dhi - 3420 metres (11,220 feet)

Thursday — Hike from Dhi to Luri Gumba Cave return

Today we take a very special side trip not often experienced by foreigners. You’ll have the option to hire a horse from our team of porters today, or if you wish to stay with your feet planted firmly on the ground, that’s fine too. We’ll follow the Puyon Khola, a tributary of the Kali Gandaki. If conditions are suitable we’ll make some creek crossings (keep an eye out for Ammonite fossils) and head up to the village of Yara and onto the famous Cave Gompas of Luri Gumba. According to local legend there are seven (or nine) cave temples containing ‘chortens’ in this part of Upper Mustang. The detail and decoration of this site is magnificent, with earthen and ochre coloured artwork unique to Mustang.
Camping Hira Lodge, Dhi (All meals)
Hiking Distance: 20 kilometres (12.4 miles) 8-9 hours return
Elevation: Dhi - 3420 metres (11,220 feet)

Friday — Hike from Dhi to Ghami

We begin the day with a lovely river-side walk next to the Kali Gandaki before a bit of a climb for lunch at Charang, the second largest settlement in Mustang. From here you’ll be able to spot the palace and monastery of Charang. A feast for the eyes, each element by itself is already extraordinary; the massive, natural coloured chorten, the huge ruin of the old fort, the differently striped Gompa and the wind-swept plateau surrounded by hills. After lunch we will return to Ghami along the longest Mani Wall in Mustang over the Choya La Pass. Watch out for goat herds as they graze in the pastures beside the pass.
Camping Lo Ghami Guesthouse, Ghami (All meals)
Hiking Distance: 20 kilometres (12.4 miles), 7-8 hours
Elevation: Ghami - 3550 metres (11,644 feet)

Saturday — Hike from Ghami to Samar via Ranchung Cave

Returning over a couple of passes, we make our way back to Syangboche for lunch on a mixture of road and hillside paths. The views of Mustang are ever changing and returning to this place you’ll recognise how different it looks just to walk the opposite way. We’ll visit Ranchung Cave, considered one of the most holy places in the entire Mustang region. Nobody lives here these days, however it’s often visited by local monks and lamas to meditate and by pundits passing through on pilgrimages to India from Tibet. There are no elaborate statues or paintings displayed, nevertheless the atmosphere is very solemn and signs of past visitors include prayer flags hung to the ceiling and small clay figures left behind by pilgrims. There’s a climb and descent after Ranchung Cave to one of the best lookout points in the wider valley, where you’ll greet the Annapurna Range again as it looms above the dry dusty landscape of Mustang.
Camping Annapurna Lodge, Samar (All meals)
Hiking Distance: 24 kilometres (14.9 miles), 9-10 hours
Elevation: Samar - 3550 metres (11,644 feet)

Sunday — Hike from Samar to Chhusang, jeep to Jomsom

Returning to the wide braided river valley of the Kali Gandaki, you will feel nostalgic to walk out of Mustang as you say farewell to the amazing culture and people that you have been privileged to meet. Have one last sweet and crunchy Mustang apple as you pass by Tangbe. It’s been a big walk with many ‘Nepali Flat’ undulations. But you have made it, and the treat of the jeep at Chhusang awaits your tired legs. Once back to Jomsom, we’ll celebrate tonight and farewell our camp cooks and porters for the fantastic effort they have made on the trip.
Tilicho Hotel, Jomsom (All meals)
Hiking Distance: 9 kilometres (5.6 miles), 3 hours, jeep 2.5 hours
Elevation: Jomsom - 2720 metres (8923 feet)

Monday — Fly to Pokhara

We will catch an early flight back to Pokhara and the beautiful shores of Lake Phewa. After lunch at a café, we will make a trip to the Himalayan Mountaineering Museum where you can learn about other cultures and mountains of Nepal. Maybe you’ll like to treat yourself to a massage this afternoon too! Tonight we will meet for a relaxed dinner at our favourite restaurant, Silk Road.
Pokhara Eco Resort, Pokhara (All meals)
Elevation: Pokhara - 830 metres (2720 feet)

Tuesday — Free day in Pokhara

Today you can choose to have a well-earned rest in the lakeside town of Pokhara, or enjoy another exciting day in Nepal’s adventure capital! Your guides will be able to offer suggestions and help you organise activities. Today is all yours to relax and explore. This evening you might like to try some of Pokhara’s restaurants where local lake fish is a speciality, or you might like to try one of our favourites, like Moondance.
Pokhara Eco Resort, Pokhara (Breakfast)
Elevation: Pokhara - 830 metres (2720 feet)

Wednesday — Return to Kathmandu, visit Patan Durbar Square

This morning we’ll farewell the Himalayas in Pokhara and take a short flight back to Kathmandu. For those who are keen this afternoon, we’ll head an hour or two south to the city of Lalitpur, otherwise known as Patan, and thought to be one of the oldest Buddhist cities in the world. Patan lies in the southern region of the Kathmandu Valley across the Bagmati River, and is home to Patan Durbar Square, one of three Durbar Squares in Kathmandu and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Around the three courtyards here, there are an array of impressive temples (including the Ancient Royal Palace), religious shrines and historical places, all with exquisite carvings and a beautiful display of ancient Newari architecture. Today is also a great opportunity to find a bargain amongst Kathmandu’s many markets. Tonight we’ll meet at a local restaurant for our final dinner together to celebrate our achievements and adventures in the Himalayas.
Hotel Thamel Eco Resort, Kathmandu (All meals)
Elevation: Kathmandu - 1400 metres (4600 feet)

Thursday — Return home

Today is the final day of your Himalayas trekking trip. If you have extra time after your trip, we’re happy to make suggestions on how to make the most of it. On the other hand, if you’re on your way home today, we’ll send you back refreshed and invigorated from the great hiking and adventures you’ve had with us in Nepal! (Breakfast)

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Dates

Trip Date Price Status  
Aug 20 ’18 – Sep 6 ’18 US$5799 Filling up Check Availability

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Useful Info

No Forced Single Supplement

Most other travel companies charge all solo travellers a single supplement fee. We don't! When it comes to accommodation, our trip fares are based on a twin-share rate, which means we'll match you up with another person of the same gender to share a room with. If there's no one suitable to share with, there's no forced single supplement! Having said that, if you specifically request your own room, you can opt to pay the additional single supplement fee for the hotel nights in Kathmandu and Pokhara.

Trip Start

If you have arranged to stay at the Hotel Thamel Eco Resort, a transfer will meet you at Kathmandu airport (KTM) whenever you fly in, and take you to our hotel. All guests will be staying at the Thamel Eco on the first night of the tour, so if you have made your own arrangements and are already in Kathmandu, make your way to the Thamel Eco to check in sometime that day. Your trip leader and the rest of your group will meet in the lobby of Hotel Thamel Eco Resort at 5pm.

Trip End

You will return to Kathmandu in time for flights departing at any time on Thursday, the last day of your trip.

Recommended Flights

You can fly into Kathmandu at any time on the first day of the trip. On the last day of the trip, you can fly out at any time too. Keep in mind though that flights to and from Pokhara and Jomsom airports are weather dependent and can sometimes be delayed. Therefore you might want to book changeable flights and we recommend giving yourself an extra day in Kathmandu at the end of the trip to make your international connection, just in case we’re in Pokhara or Jomsom for a bit longer than expected.If you want to arrive earlier or leave later, we’re happy to help out booking extra hotel accommodation.

Fitness

This our most adventurous trip in Nepal. We've designed it to suit hiking purists who enjoy remote locations and a real sense of adventure. If you're in good shape, and like to get out and hike regularly, you're likely to enjoy the trip more. Our experienced Active Adventures team can recommend training and preparation tips for you when you book.

A Typical Day Hiking

A typical day in the Himalayas starts early, it’s normal to be up at 6am to pack up your camping equipment, and after a hearty breakfast, be on the trail by about 7:30am to take advantage of the early morning views and clear skies. At around 11am we would stop for lunch, and start walking again from 12pm until we reach camp. Generally you could expect to be hiking from five to eight hours per day, with plenty of time in the afternoon to rest and take in the surroundings. You will be accompanied by an Active Adventures Himalayas trip leader and team of support crew so you can hike at your own pace. Trekking in Nepal is all about taking your time.

Accommodation

Our ‘Mustang’ Expedition-style trek heads toward Tibet following the Kali Gandaki River. We’ll stay in comfortable hotels in the cities and make the most of local lodges while in Kagbeni, Lo Manthang and Jomsom. Lodges are selected for their comfort, cleanliness and style while on the trek. All the lodges and campsites are located in spectacular surroundings with stunning views. In the smaller villages we’ll camp ‘under canvas’ next to charming orchards. Each evening your camp chefs will prepare delicious hot meals for you to enjoy under the stars. Camp facilities include high quality two man dome tents, toilet and thick foam mattresses.

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Reviews

  • Excellent As Always

    “The Mustang Trek takes you through the most amazing scenery in a peaceful and serene environment. Very few tourists/hikers (especially compared to Annapurna Base Camp hike) which is an absolute plus.”
    Preetha Krishnan – Oregon, United StatesJune 2017
  • Awesome trip!

    “Being that this was my first trek ever, I really picked a great one. Mel and Arjun were great guides and very attentive to the trekkers making sure we were well hydrated at all times and that we ate well to fuel ourselves for this demanding trek. The trek was challenging considering the high altitude and the steep gradients we encountered but Arjun and Mel kept us at a slow and steady pace so that completing the trek was attainable. At no point did I feel our safety was compromised because Mel and Arjun kept a close eye on us. They both have a great sense of humor and that kept our spirits light. The ancient monasteries and other sites they brought us to rendered me speechless. Experiencing the Himalayas including observing the people's day-to-day life is unforgettable.”
    Donna Kong – Hawaii, United StatesSeptember 2016
  • Mustang - a true Active Adventure

    “The Mustang region of Nepal is such an amazing part of the world, and trekking in this region really is for experienced trekkers seeking a real adventure in a spectacularly remote area.”
    Duck Thomas – , New ZealandNovember 2015
  • Trekking Nepal's Mustang - Challenge and Discovery

    “As far as treks go, this Active trek is unparalleled. Twelve days of stunning scenery, challenging climbs, wonderful food and good company. And throughout, meeting and greeting some of the most friendly people on Earth. Some days took us up to 4000 m, views of green valleys and buckwheat fields fed by glacial rivers, villages and towns, each with its own monastery, and citizens carrying on their everyday tasks of living. It was a trek of challenge, beauty and culture. I would love to go back.”
    Alan Moore – Nova Scotia, CanadaSeptember 2015
  • “It really was a fantastic trip. Everything was well organised and on schedule. I thought this trip was very top notch and special having local guides and porters. It made it that we were privileged of some information other tours would not get.”
    Christine Turlet – British Columbia, CanadaOctober 2014
  • “One of the best trips ever”
    Alan Cantor – New Hampshire, United StatesSeptember 2016
  • Mustang August 2015

    “Awesome adventure, but not for novice or intermediate trekkers. High altitude and elevation gains and losses daily are a real challenge. Trip very well supported, however and traveling in the region is like going back in time with tiny villages, beautiful people and magnificent views.”
    Sandy Martyn – California, United StatesOctober 2015
  • Mustang Trip

    “The group and the guide were terrific as were the porters and the Nepali guides. The scenery was amazing and I especially enjoyed learning more about the Buddhist culture in this area. The hiking was very challenging.”
    Allie McDonald – California, United StatesOctober 2015
  • Upper Mustang - Nepal

    “Best trek I have been on, well organised, great food (3 chefs) and awesome guides, porters. The remote villages, mountains, the people, the chant/music of the Monks will remain in my memory for a long time.”
    Helen Bourk – Victoria, AustraliaOctober 2014
  • Time Travel

    “Once you leave the tea house in Jomsom, headed for the Upper Mustang, you enter a different world. You slowly begin to travel back in time to an agrarian existence, almost devoid of modern intrusion. Were it not for the occasional motorcycle or jeep, you would swear your group has entered a time warp. Gone is the cacophony of Kathmandu and the hustle of Pokhara, replaced by a silent and very peaceful countryside. The overwhelming vastness of the landscape is occasionally broken up by a small settlement. Don't look for the sporadic modern conveniences of the EBC or ABC trips. You are in the lost kingdom and what a fine place to be!”
    Jeff DuPilka – Arizona, United StatesOctober 2014
  • Stellar trip to Mustang:)

    “This was just an amazingly awesome experience. I've wanted to know what the Tibetan plateau was like, and now I really know. Not just from pictures, but the experience of being there. The absolute vastness of the place... the remoteness... the rich and vibrant local culture... the ups and downs of the land, and the magnificent colors in the rocks and hills... the hours of trekking and joys of camping to "just be"... I loved it all! My only regret... It could have been longer!”
    Corinne Cook – British Columbia, CanadaSeptember 2014
  • Mustang - The Trek of Treks

    “Personally, the Mustang Trek was as much a pilgrimage as it was a trek. At 71 with several recent operations, I knew this was going to be a most interesting adventure; I was not disappointed. I was the slowest and at times it took all my focus and effort, and the moral support of the Active Team to take the next step up the mountain. But the journey was worth it and the reward of seeing and experiencing the land and people of the Mustang was priceless. But what was just as meaningful was the camaraderie and support of the Active Team, (DK, Mel, Sudip, Gokel, Gangi, the porters, cooks, and the pack animal drivers. In essence we all became one large extended family. I cannot say enough regarding the forethought and sincere care and concern the Active Team, showed to each of us. Every effort was made, with no detail spared to make this Trek both safe and memorable; from the first morning tea to our impromptu concerts in the evening. Because the Active Team made the effort to sincerely connect with the people in the many Mustang villages and monastaries we visited, the Nepali and Tibetan people were especially friendly and open. We were able to see and experience historic, cultural and artistic events that one could only have read and dreamed about. I could write more, but better yet, I encourage anyone with a thirst for going to distant places; to a land so uniquely beautiful, where the people are sincerely friendly, and guided by the most amazing Team to please check out Active's next trek to the Mustang... if you go, I know it will be as it has a been for me the Trek of Treks.”
    Jim Chambers – California, United StatesSeptember 2014

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Why travel with Active Adventures?

Legendary Kiwi Hospitality

Above all, we aim to be amazing hosts. We're proud of our kiwi roots, and our professional, warm and relaxed style of running trips around the world is unforgettable.

Expert LOCAL Guides & Trip Leaders

We're VERY picky about who we select to work in our team, and we have people from all over the world lining up to guide our trips. So we get to hire the absolute BEST in the business.

Everything is Included

As soon as you get off the plane, we've got all the details of your vacation covered – top notch meals, comfortable transport & accommodation, amazing guides and INCREDIBLE service.

A Sense of Achievement

Whether you’re new to adventure travel, or you’ve never travelled in a group before, you’ll find yourself arriving home positively different from when you left.

Small Groups

With our small groups (no more than 14), you'll get to know our team, your fellow travellers, and have the flexibility and freedom to do as much (or as little!) as you like.

Diverse Experiences

It's all about getting there under your own steam – on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike. What better way is there to experience mind blowing scenery? If it's your first time, no worries – our expert guides have got you covered.

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