Experiencing Mustang Trek
Experiencing the Mustang trek is one of the main highlights of Nepal’s Adventure treks. The ancient fortified city (also called Lo Manthang) claims to have the best trekking routes. A city belonging to Tibet once upon a time holds great historical significance. The city walls have their own stories to tell. That's probably why the trek is considered to be a historical as well as a mystical adventure. Here we will look at some points about Mustang trek with the following points explained:
- Nepal and Trekking
- Where is Mustang located?
- Places to visit in Mustang trek
- How can you reach Mustang?
- Best time to take Mustang trek.
Nepal and Trekking
For hundreds of years, people from all over the world have visited Nepal for an adventure feat. Nepal is a small landlocked country rich in diversity and culture. Apart from that, it boasts the inclusion of many historical places and holy abodes of gods from different religions. However, the Himalayan range remains the main hot spot for tourists coming to the country. After Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay scaled the Everest, mountaineering has evolved as the main objective for the travelers. Needless to say, Tourism holds the main source of income for the people of Nepal. Since climbing a mountain is not in the cards for everyone, trekking is also a pretty popular sport. The trail leading to the Himalayan ranges is well maintained. Plus hundreds of people are involved in making the trekkers journey a memorable one.
Where is Mustang located?
Mustang is a district in Nepal. It is the ancient Himalayan Kingdom which lies in the northern central part of Nepal, above the Kali Gandaki river. The district is in the Dhaulagiri zone and a part of Gandaki Pradesh in northern Nepal. The headquarters of Mustang is Jomsom, which is a thriving town en route to the Himalayas. Mustang covers an area of 3573 km with a population of more than 13000 Nepalis and Tibetans. The inaccessibility and remoteness of Mustang have preserved the culture of the Tibetans for thousands of years.
Mustang is divided into two sections, Upper and Lower Mustang. Upper Mustang consists of the main fortified city and beyond, where you can travel to the hidden kingdom of Nepal. The terrain is deserted and similar to the likes of Tibetan territories. Lower Mustang has more greenery and numerous holy places to visit. The scenery of the Himalayas is prominent from both the sections of Mustang.
Places to visit in Mustang trek
There are many routes via many villages one can take the trek to Mustang. So, each travel agency has its own itinerary for Mustang. Some may be similar while some may differ. You can let us know if you want to travel to Mustang using a different route than our itinerary. We will see to it that the schedule is adjusted as per your demands if found feasible. You can have a chat with our experts regarding the same.
The first point of contact will be at Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal. We spend 2 days here including the day of your arrival. A day will be utilized to go over and finalize the paperwork required for the trip. While the other day will be a leisure sightseeing tour of Kathmandu. Then we take 6 hours to drive to Pokhara. At Pokhara, we halt for a night at a hotel. The next day we fly to Jomson and trek towards Kagbeni village.
After Kagbeni, we trek towards Chele where we halt for the night. Syanboche village is next on the schedule. After the colorful village of Syanboche, we head towards Ghemi. The next day we leave for Charang, the old capital of Mustang before Lo Manthang. Charang is the 2nd largest village in Mustang. Then we head towards the fortified city of Mustang the next day. After spending an additional day at Lo Manthang, we continue our trek towards Dhamkar.
Next, we head down and make our descent to Syanboche village again. Any area you missed can be covered on this visit. And the next day we move towards Chhusang village passing Samar village on the way. Chhusang is a beautiful village in the Mustang district. We visit Jomsom again after our halt at Chhusang. That is the end of your trekking feat. The next day we fly to Pokhara and rest at the hotel. We can go sightseeing around the beautiful city of Pokhara. The next day we drive back to Kathmandu and after a day of rest and a leisure stroll, your trip comes to an end.
Like we advised earlier, there are many routes going towards Lo-Manthang. This is only one of the ways we can reach the fortified city. If you would like to take a different route, you can have a word with our trekking experts.
How can you reach Mustang?
Now we will iterate how you can reach Mustang, explaining a few of the things you will see en route. Your arrival at Kathmandu is where your journey starts. Once we receive you, our staff will take you to your hotel. You can opt to take a rest there or take a stroll around the city. In the evening, we will have a briefing about the trip. We rest for the night.
The next day is kept aside for finalizing the necessary paperwork for the trip. After which we go sightseeing around the famous places in Kathmandu. It will be a guided tour. You will be taken to visit the most popular and the biggest Hindu temple in Nepal, Pashupatinath temple. After this, we will visit the Boudha Stupa, a sacred place for Buddhists. If time permits, we will visit the Swayambhu Nath that sits atop a hill. In the evening, you can take a leisurely stroll around Thamel. Here the shops are lined with everything you may need on this trip.
After breakfast, we take a drive towards Pokhara, taking the Prithvi Highway. It is about 6 hours drive from the main city. The landscape is beautiful while on the highway. You can see the western Himalayas while you drive on before you reach the valley of Pokhara. On arrival, you can choose to rest or take a stroll around town. You can go boating at the beautiful Phewa Lake or visit the temple there. Pokhara also has an active nightlife with bars and cafes and live music. We rest at our hotel at Pokhara for the night.
A short flight is on the cards today. We make our way to the airport after breakfast. Then take a 20minutes flight to Jomsom. During the flight, you can see the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna range, which is quite spectacular. From Jomsom, we trek towards Kagbeni (2800m). It is a short 3 hours trek, and we trek uphill along Kali Gandaki to reach Kagbeni village. Kagbeni is a quaint yet scenic village, and it is your gateway to Upper Mustang. The view of the majestic Mount Nilgiri is spectacular from the south of Kagbeni. We halt for the night at a local lodge here.
We have our breakfast in the morning and continue towards the east of the Kali Gandaki river. On this day we travel towards Chele (3050m). The total duration of the trek is 7 hours. We trek through many ridges till we reach Tangbe. It is a picturesque village with a labyrinth of narrow alleys and whitewashed stone houses. The village also has many buckwheat fields and apple trees in the locality. We have our lunch there and continue towards Chhusang village. We cross the dwindling waters of Kali Gandaki, and climb up the huge red conglomerate. After crossing the Kali Gandaki valley we travel uphill to Tiche Chele. Here we halt for the night.
Next, we trek towards Syanboche (3800m). The trek falls along with a steep barren land alongside the copper-red canyon. This is one of the elements that makes Mustang famous. As we make our way downhill, we reach the beautiful village of Samar. We have our lunch here surrounded by beautiful sceneries. While exiting the village of Samar, we pass by 4 colored Chortens. The trekking trail takes us up and downhill till we reach Syanboche. We pass a few beautiful and less populated villages before we reach our resting place. We spend the night at Syanboche. The total duration of the trek is around 5 hours.
After breakfast, we head towards Ghemi (3500m). We trek through curving terrains crossing 2 passes. We start from Syanboche pass (3850m), from where the view of Upper Mustang is spectacular. After this view, we head downhill towards Gelling passing several chortens on the way. We then ascend and cross the Nyi La pass (4020m). Following your ascent to Nyi La pass, we descend and come to a junction. We continue our descent until we finally reach Ghemi. We halt for the night here. The total trek duration is 5 hours.
Charang (3560m) is next on the list. You will pass one of the longest mani walls of Mustang (1000 ft) as you make your way out of the village. Then we hike uphill over a pass at 3820m from where you can catch a glimpse of Mustang. Mustang looks like a desert with no vegetation and barren hills from here. You come across the palace and monastery of Tsarang, which is a delightful sight. Charang is the 2nd largest village of Mustang and was the capital of Mustang before Lo Manthang. We spend our night at one for the lodges here.
Today is the day we trek (for about 4 hours) towards Lo-Manthang(3840m). We start the trek from the lodge via the Tsering Thupten Monastery. Then we cross the Cherang river which separates Cherang from Lo. we need to cross the Lo Pass before we reach Lo-Manthang. Lo Manthang was the capital of the forbidden kingdom of Mustang. The palace of the King still stands impressive than ever and the descendants of the kings also living there. The biggest festival of Mustang, the ‘Tiji Festival’ takes place once every year in Lo-Manthang. We rest for the night here.
After breakfast, we have the whole day for sightseeing. The main attraction at Mustang is the Mustang King’s Palace. The five-story palace still houses the King of Mustang and his family. We can also visit the Namgyal Gumba, situated atop a hill. It serves as a rural courthouse for the people in the location. The Jampa Lhakhang is also a favored site and a house for a large Budha statue and wall paintings. We can also take the Chosar excursion where you can explore the Nyphu Cave Monastery and the Jhong Sky cave. The cave is 2500 years old and has more than 44 compartments. We rest for the night before we depart this historical place.
In the morning, we continue our journey towards Dhamkar (3820m). We take the upper highland trail which gives you splendid views of both Lo-Manthang and Charang Valley with mountains in the backdrop. You also come across Ghar Gumba, an old monastery. Further forward we cross the Dhi Pass (4100m) till we reach the village of Dhamkar. We halt for the night here. The total trekking duration is 7-8 hours.
After breakfast, we head back towards Syanboche (3800m). If there was any area you missed, you can cover for that on this trip. You can also visit the Rangchyung Chorten, one of the most sacred places in Mustang. We halt for the night here. The next day we head towards Chhusang (2980m). Here as well, you can cover for the places you could not make it on your first visit to Chhusang. We halt at Samar village for lunch again. Thereafter we descend to Tetang. This village that lies between two hills is well known for the strong fierce wind that blows in Kali Gandaki valley. We spend the night at Chhusang after about 5hours trek.
We retrace our way back to Jomsom (2720m). We will follow the trail to Jharkot and explore the Jharkot monastery. On our way downhill, we come across splendid views of Nilgiri and the wide stretch of Kali Gandaki valley. We make our way back from the Upper Mustang area and reach Kagbeni. After lunch, we head towards the current capital of Mustang, Jomsom. The total trek duration is 6 hours. We halt for the night here.
We have reached the end of the Mustang trek. We take an early flight to Pokhara, amidst the spectacular view we came across before. Once you reach Pokhara, you have the full day ahead to explore the city. Pokhara is the gateway to many beautiful places. You can choose from many options to spend the remaining part of the day at Pokhara. We halt for the night here. The next day we take the drive back to Kathmandu along the same highway we came from. Upon reaching Kathmandu, you can stroll around the city so rich in culture. If you feel necessary, you can do some shopping as well. We will spend the night at the hotel in Kathmandu, thus it ends, your wonderful trip to Mustang.
Best time to take Mustang trek.
A trek to Mustang can be taken throughout the year. However, the best season to take the trip is still Spring and Autumn seasons. During these seasons the views are clear and the roads are dry. The weather also favors the trekkers at those seasons of the year. But if you are looking to avoid crowds during the two seasons, then summers is also not a bad choice. Unlike many parts of the Himalayan region, Upper Mustang is not prone to getting rainfall during summer. In fact, the climate is warm and dry during the summer.
Winter is also a good time to visit Mustang. That is if you are accustomed to the cold and don't mind camping in tents. The only concern is that many tea houses may remain closed due to the cold. Consequently, most passes in the region may also close during peak winters due to the extreme cold in the region.