TREKKING IN MUSTANG –A FORBEDDIEN KINGDOM
|A timeless and breathtaking journey through the Kingdom of Lo which, until recently, a hidden Tibetan Buddhist enclave forbidden to foreigners. Sculpted canyons with wild rock formations, deep gorges, medieval villages, ancient fortresses, palaces and mysterious, ancient cave hermitages, Tibetan Buddhist gompas and soaring snow-peaks characterize this spectacular region, a ‘thumb’ sticking up into the Tibetan plateau. Mustang is a Kingdom tucked away along the deepest river gorge in the world, the Kali Gandaki, a remote and starkly beautiful region, Tibet’s arid high desert bordered by some of the Himalaya’s highest mountains.
Formerly the Kingdom of Lo and a part of the Western Tibetan Kingdom of Ngari, ‘forbidden’ Mustang has lured intrepid travelers to its remote realm for centuries, but only the most adventurous made it to this mountainous and inaccessible bastion of Tibetan Buddhism. People have inhabited this harsh region for thousands of years, some of the early dwellers living or meditating in ancient caves, rich in Buddhist art, which pepper the bizarre rock formations. Mustang became part of the Yarlung Dynasty of central Tibet, later falling under the jurisdiction of the Malla Kingdom of Nepal (Jumla) and in the fifteenth century, the independent Kingdom of Lo was founded, ruling such other remote regions as Dolpo. It was only incorporated into the Kingdom of Nepal in 1951. Soon afterwards, renegade Khampa freedom fighters battling the Chinese used Mustang as a base of operations, and it was closed to all Westerners until 1992. This mythical land north of the 8000 meter peaks Annapurna and Dhaulagiri still requires a special restricted area permit to enter, and numbers are limited, thus helping to preserve its unique heritage.
Arrival at the Tribhuwan Int`l Airport in Kathmandu (1,345m) & transfer to hotel.
Arrival at Kathmandu Int`l airport. Meet, welcome by our official representative & transfer to hotel. Welcome drink followed by tour briefing.
Full day Sight-seeing of Kathmandu
Full day’s sightseeing in Kathmandu valley includes the Hindu temple complex at Pashupatinath (aUNESCO World Heritage Site) & the biggest Buddhist Stupa at Boudhanath. Also visit Monkey Temple the Swyambhunath (2000 years old temple) and visit Patan city of fine arts. Return to the hotel.
Fly/Drive to Pokhara
We take the short but scenic 30 minute flight to Pokhara, enjoying the views of Ganesh, Manaslu and the Annapurnas along the way. We stay overnight in Pokhara.
Fly to Jomsom & Trek to Kagbeni [2780m
We take the spectacular early morning flight to Jomsom (famous for its apples) where we will be met at the tiny airstrip by our trek crew. After some initial preparation of loads, we begin our trek to the pretty village of Kagbeni. Just out of Jomsom we cross a small suspension bridge and then walk along the riverbank of the Kali Gandaki. The trail is flat and quite barren, with craggy rocks and sand littering the trail. This makes it very easy going. We will get magnificent views of huge peaks such as Dhaulagiri, Tukuche and Nilgiri, whilst to the south can be seen the entire Annapurna massif. Kagbeni with its narrow alleyways and tunnels, irrigation canals, fields of wheat and barley and a large red Gompa, give us a preview of scenes that we would come across in Upper Mustang. At the north end of the village is the police check-post. Here we will complete our paperwork before entering this long forbidden region of Nepal
Trek to Chhuksang [2920m]
It is possible to trek right up the river valley, but we use a combination of the high trail and the riverbank pathways. The trail then widens significantly revealing an endless stretch of sand but the path is kept interesting by the passing of mule trains bearing goods from Mustang and Tibet. On the west bank of the river are some caves and Gompa Kang. Unlike most monasteries in Upper Mustang which are of the Sakyapa sect, Gompa Kang is of the Nyingmapa sect. We stop for lunch at the village of Tangbe, where we come across the first black, white and red Chortens that typify Upper Mustang. The little town is a labyrinth of narrow alleys among white washed houses, fields of buck wheat and barley and apple orchards. Nilgiri Peak continues to dominate the southern skyline. Chhuksang village is only about 2hrs walk beyond Tangbe at the confluence of the Narshing Khola and the Kali Gandaki. There are three separate parts to this village and some ruined castle walls on the surrounding cliffs. Across the river from Chhuksang are some spectacular red eroded cliffs above the mouths of some inaccessible caves.
Trek to Samar [3290m]
There is a distinct change here, not only in the topography, but also in the culture, lifestyle and people, and the settlements become more scattered, smaller and more basic. The people of Lo or Mustang practice agriculture. But due to lack of rain and fertile soil, cultivation is limited to sheltered plots of land. This spots the brown landscape with patches of green. Continuing north, we reach the river. A steel bridge spans the river just in front of a tunnel and north from here the Kali Gandaki becomes impassable by foot. The trek now leaves the valley and climbs steeply up a rocky gully to the village of Chele. Watch out for the ferocious Tibetan mastiffs here, which are chained to many of the houses. From Chele you climb a steep spur and then continue ascending along the side of a spectacular steep canyon to a pass. Beyond the pass we descend on a pleasant trail to Samar, situated in a grove of poplar trees. This is a major place to stop for horse and mule caravans.
Trek to Geling [3440m]
We climb above Samar to a ridge and then descend into a large gorge past a Chorten before entering another valley filled with juniper trees. We then cross a stream and after climbing to a pass, we descend along a ridge to Shyangmochen, a tiny settlement with a few tea shops. Nearby is Rangbyung, a cave containing stalagmites which have formed in the shape of Chorten and 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
Trek to Ghami [3460m]
From Geling, the trail climbs gently through fields, up the center of the valley, passing above the settlement of Tama Gun and an imposing Chorten. We then begin a taxing climb across the head of the valley to the Nyi La [3840m]. The descent from the pass is quite gentle and about half an hour further on we come to a trail junction; the right trail is the direct route to Charang, the left trail leads to Ghami. Ghami is a large white-washed village sheltered by overhanging cliffs.
Trek to Charang [3490m]
Today’s walk is through perhaps the driest part of Mustang, and much of our energy will be spent negotiating the loose, dry soil. However, the magnificent views of the countryside, from the gentle contours of the north to the rugged mountains in the east and west, more than compensates for the hard climb. 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 [fortress] and a red gompa which houses an excellent collection of statues and thangkas.
Trek to Lo Manthang [3730m]
We will spend part of the morning exploring the interesting village of Charang and its large monastery, before setting out for Lo Manthang. We climb gently above the valley to a large isolated Chorten that marks the boundary between Charang and Lo Manthang. The trail then broadens and eventually we get our first view of the walled city of Lo Manthang. The city has only one entrance so we circumambulate the wall to the gate on the north-east corner.
In & around Lo Manthang
Today, you are free to 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. It is possible to hire horses to visit these valleys, but this short tour will incur extra costs.
Trek to Lo Gekar
We begin our return journey from Lo Manthang, taking the upper highland route. This highland route offers dramatic views of Lo Manthang and the Charang Valley, with snow clad peaks in the background. Just past the settlement of Lo Gekar, we reach the oldest monastery in Mustang, the Ghare Gompa.
Trek to Ghami [3460m]
We continue our journey on the highland route, crossing alpine meadows before dropping down a steep eroded gully to Dhakmar for lunch. After lunch, we walk through the pretty valley, climb to a ridge and descend from there back to Ghami.
Trek to Chhuksang [2920m]
Now we must retrace our route back over the Nyi La to Chhuksang.
Trek to Jomsom [2710m]
It’s a long and sad final day, passing back through Kagbeni to Jomsom where we end our trek. It’s now time for us to take a nice hot shower. In the evening, we celebrate with the Sherpas and porters, whom we have come to know so well over the last 2 weeks.
Fly to Kathmandu via Pokhara
We take a spectacular early morning flight along the Kali Gandaki gorge to Pokhara and catch a connecting flight back to Kathmandu.
Transfer to the airport for your final departure
After breakfast, drive back to airport for final departure. Our airport representative will drop you to Airport with “sweet memory” of Nepal.
Tour ends… Sweet memories remain!
Meals: Breakfast Only
|Per Person on Twin Sharing in US$||Suppliment|
|1||2-3||4-6||7-9||10-14||15 & ABOVE||Single Room||Half Board||Full Board|
Scenic Nepal Tour (06 D/05 N)- KTM-Chitwan Park / Pokhara
|Pax Travelling||Vehicle Type|
|2 – 3 ADULTS||Toyota / Ford Figo / Tata Indica / Nissan Car|
|4 – 10 ADULTS||Toyota Hi–Ace 13 Seated With Roof For Baggage.|
|11–14 ADULTS||Toyota Or Nissan Jumbo Hi–Ace 16 Seated With Roof For Baggage.|
|15–21 ADULTS||Japanese Costar Bus -24 Seated|
|22–30 ADULTS||Deluxe Tata Mini Bus -35 Seated|
|31–35 ADULTS||Deluxe Coach -40 Seater|
|LUXURY (5**)||Soaltee /
Hyatt Regency/ Radisson / Annapurna / similar
|PREMIUM (5*)||Yak & Yeti/Radisson/Similar|
|DELUXE (4*)||Shangrila / Royal Singi / Tibet / similar|
|STANDARD (3*)||Manang / Amadablam / Moonlight/ similar|
|MEDIUM ( 2*)||Thamel / Heritage / The Nana Hotels–non A/c rooms/ similar|
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