Upper Mustang trek offers a spectacular trekking experience in the remote trans-Himalayan mountain region of Nepal.
The Upper Mustang trek is the ultimate gateway to the mysterious world of the old Buddhist kingdom of Mustang, also called Lo. Once forbidden and isolated from the rest of the world for decades, the area was able to evolve within its own distinctive culture and rich traditions closely tied to Tibet.
If that\’s not enough, this moderate, lesser-known trek passes through one of the driest regions of Nepal so the treeless, barren landscape is often windy in the afternoon, subsiding at night. Like everywhere in the Himalayas, this area provides spectacular mountain scenery with dozens of high-altitude peaks including Dhaulagiri and Annapurna I.
-Trek in the remotes trans-Himalayan region of Nepal
-Traverse the solitary trails through the treeless landscapes
-Soak in the magnificent views of Nilgiri, Annapurna, and Dhaulagiri
-Gear up for a unique cultural experience in the Last Forbidden Kingdom
Day 1: Welcome to Kathmandu
Flying into Kathmandu, you\'ll have views over the valley, the Himalayas, and the terraced fields below. After completing customs, a representative will be waiting to greet you outside the airport and guide you through the initial culture shock of Kathmandu’s narrow, winding streets to your hotel.
Once you\'ve settled in, head out and explore the city. Kathmandu Durbar Square is a great place to start your exploration, where you\'ll walk through narrow alleyways teeming with small shops, ancient temples, and local restaurants. If you want to stretch your legs, Swayambhunath, the white stupa rising above the valley, is the perfect spot to catch the sunset over the valley.
In the evening, the tourist hub of Thamel is a good place to grab your first meal, with a variety of restaurants to choose from offering both Western and local Nepali dishes.
Day 2: Permit Preparation and Trek Briefing:
Today is a free day. You can either stay at your hotel and relax or you can explore Kathmandu city on your own. At your request, we can also arrange a full guided sightseeing tour for you.
As for the restricted permit, we will need your original passport to issue the restricted permit. You can hand over your original passport to our office representative at the time of your arrival.
In the evening, you will have a short trek briefing. We will introduce you to your trek guide and hand over your passport at the same time.
Day 3: Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara, Explore Lakeside.
After breakfast, you\'ll be picked up and driven by private transfer to the domestic airport for your flight (30 minutes) to Pokhara, Nepal\'s second-largest city. This is a stunning half-hour flight along with the Himalayan range where four of the world’s 14 giant mountains over 8,000 m can be seen: Dhaulagiri, Annapurna I, Manaslu, and Shishapangma.
Upon landing, a driver will be waiting to bring you to your hotel. The rest of the day is yours to explore or just to relax by the lake. Pokhara has plenty of great cafés, restaurants, funky shops, and yoga studios that cater to ex-pats and adventure travelers.
Day 4: Fly from Pokhara to Jomsom, Trek to Kagbeni (9,377 feet / 2,858 m)
After an early breakfast, you\'ll be driven to the airport for a spectacular mountain flight to Jomsom, the district headquarters of Mustang. The flight takes you over the Kali Gandaki, the deepest gorge in the world. From the plane, you\'ll have great views of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna; minutes later, you\'ll touch down in a totally different environment, the arid valleys of the Himalayan rain shadow.
Start your walk along the Kaligandaki river and prepare for strong wind in this section of the trek. After a few hours, you will get to a small but beautiful village called Ekle Bhatti, situated along the bank of the river, where you can have an enormous view of Nilgiri Himal—a range of three peaks in the Annapurna massif. This is also an ideal place to stop for tea or lunch.
Continue walking for about an hour to get to Kagbeni. This beautiful medieval village has a lively main square with prayer flags and herds of goats. Wander around the narrow alleyways and explore the village\'s ancient mud-pack houses.
Day 5: Trek from Kagbeni to Chele
After breakfast, you\'ll start a trail that follows along the east bank of Kali Gandaki River with great views of the Nilgiri and Tukuche peaks. On the way, you\'ll pass through Buddhist monasteries, traditional Gurung villages, eroded cliffs, barley and buckwheat fields, as well as scenic apple orchards.
You\'ll eventually reach a village called Tangbe and continue to Chhusang, with a series of up and downhill sections. After relaxing and exploring Chhusang village, you\'ll reach a steel bridge over the Kali Gandaki River at the bottom of today\'s ending point. Cross the bridge and then continue a pretty steep climb before you finally arrive in Chele, a village with typical Tibetan-style structures where you\'ll have an opportunity to observe the local culture and lifestyle.
Day 6: Trek from Chele to Syangboche
After breakfast in Chele, you\'ll begin a tough uphill walk to reach Syangboche village via a few passes, accomplishing an impressive difference in elevation. To compensate, the mountain views, including Tilicho, Yakawa Kang, Nilgiri, and Damodar Danda, are beautiful. The morning\'s first destination will be the village of Samar along a narrow path with some sheer drops—a good place to stop for lunch. After this, you\'ll walk for another few hours all the way down to the river and then all the way back again bringing you to Syanboche village for the night.
Day 7: Trek from Syanboche to Charang
Today after breakfast, you\'ll start a gentle uphill climb to Yamda La passing some Tibetan-style villages and traditional houses, eventually arriving at Nyi La pass—also the highest point of the trip. After leaving the village of Jaite, you\'ll have a moderate climb up to the Nyi La and a gradual descent down the other side until you arrive at Ghami passing mani walls and experiencing a change in scenery typical in this part of the Upper Mustang. This is an interesting village and a good place to stop for lunch.
From here, the route turns into a series of switchbacks, which you\'ll need to ascend until you reach the Tsarang La. Once at the top of the pass, it is a gentle descent down through yet more splendid scenery, followed by a flat and enjoyable trail until you reach the village of Charang for the night. Once settled in your teahouse, explore the village and its impressive monastery and former Royal Palace.
Day 8: Trek from Charang to Lo-Manthang
After breakfast in Charang, you\'ll begin a half-day trek that begins by walking down to the river and then straight back up again. This is where the Tholung Valley begins and where you\'ll get your first views of Lo-Manthang village as you make your way to the Lo La.
From here, there is a tricky descent along a heavily sanded path that takes you right to the entrance of the walled village. The scenery in Lo-Manthang is spectacular and the rest of the afternoon can be spent relaxing and taking in the views, or exploring four major temples that each charge a small entry fee. Other highlights include people-watching and wandering through the back streets of the former capital of the Kingdom of Lo.
Day 9: Lo-Manthang Exploration Day
Today, you\'ll have a full day to relax and explore this fascinating village. There is the raja\'s former palace, several monasteries, and panoramic views of the Himalayas, as well as villagers to meet and learn about the local lifestyle and Tibetan culture.
If you\'re feeling energetic, there is a half-day excursion north of Lo-Manthang to the village of Garphu, which has an interesting gompa (monastery) in a picturesque setting. It is a fairly easy hike that gets you close to the Tibetan border with more fantastic views of the mountains. The day can also be extended to include a tougher trek to Tingkhar, which is the site of the raja’s summer palace, and also Namgyal Gompa.
Day 10: Trek from Lo-Manthang to Ghar Gompa
Today, after breakfast in Lo-Manthang, you\'ll want to start the trek as early as possible since this section of the trail is known for being windy and dusty. That being said, this easy trail is almost all the way downhill to the centuries-old Ghar Gompa, a beautiful monastery in this region near the village of Gyakar, where you\'ll stay the night. This is a large singular building reached by steps from a courtyard surrounded by the monks living quarters where you can part in traditional Buddhist ceremonies. You\'ll also have great vistas of both Marang and Charang villages, as well as a panoramic view of Drakmar\'s red cliffs.
Day 11: Trek from Ghar Gompa to Ghiling
Today, after breakfast in Ghar Gompa, you\'ll have another easy trekking day as you continue to descend the valley toward Ghiling for your overnight stay. The conditions will likely be windy and dusty during the day so you can explore the village in the evening.
Day 12: Trek from Ghiling to Samar
After breakfast in Ghiling, you\'ll start the trek with a slow climb with beautiful mountain views in every direction. The second part of the trek to Samar is a more challenging series of ups and downs, and you\'ll notice that the village can be seen in the distance. It looks easier to get here than it is, but you\'ll have plenty of time in the afternoon to relax upon arrival.
Day 13: Trek from Samar to Muktinath
After breakfast in Samar, you\'ll begin one of the toughest days of the trip. This is a steep uphill climb to the pass followed by a descent to reach Muktinath village for the night. Muktinath is known for its cold springs, ancient fossils, and holy shrine—a sacred place for both Hindus and Buddhists. In a temple called Jwala Mai nearby, you can view two tiny blue flames that burn incessantly from a hole that also emits water, believed to be burned by God.
Day 14: Trek from Muktinath to Jomsom
After breakfast at your teahouse, pay a visit to Muktinath Temple, an important place of worship for Nepalese Buddhists and Hindus. You will have the opportunity to visit the main temple and its surrounding area before you hit the trail.
From here, begin your trek back to Jomsom along an easy route that heads straight downhill. While you retrace your steps, you\'ll be able to enjoy good views of Mt. Dhaulagiri. Pass through Jarkot where you can visit one more monastery, and take in the views of snow-capped mountains and ancient caves. Admire the signs of rich Tibetan culture and keep an eye out for Mustang people who will come out and sell handicrafts to pilgrims.
Day 15: Fly from Jomsom to Pokhara
Fly from Jomsom to Pokhara (853 m / 25-minute flight)
Flight · Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Included
After an early breakfast in Jomsom, you\'ll be transferred to the local airstrip to catch your return flight to Pokhara.
Day 16: Pokhara to Kathmandu
Fly from Pokhara to Kathmandu
Flight · 45 minutes · Breakfast Included
After breakfast, you may have time to do more sightseeing, relax, or check out one of Pokhara\'s coffee shops. About 1.5 hours before your flight, you\'ll be picked up from your hotel and taken to the domestic airport to catch your flight back to Kathmandu.
Day 17: Transfer to Kathmandu Int. Airport (KTM), Departure