The name Mustang refers to the arid, Tibet-like region, known to its inhabitants as Lo, at the northern end of the river Kali Gandaki valley. Mustang is probably a Nepali mispronunciation of the name of the capital of Lo, the city of Manthang, the name is pronounced ‘mu-stang’ and has nothing to do with either the automobile or the horse with a similar name . Officially, Mustang is the name of the district along the river kali Gandaki valley from the Tibetan border south to Ghasa.The headquarter of the Mustang district is Jomsom; which is one of the most popular trekking destination amont the trekkers in Annapurna region.
Upper Mustang consists of two destine regions: the south region with five villages inhabited by people related to the Managis; and the northern region (the ancient kingdom of Lo), where the language, culture and traditions are almost purely Tibetan, the capital of Lo is named manthang, which translates from the Tibetan as ‘plain of aspiration’ many texts refer to the capital as Lo Manthang, but this is not strictly correct, Other texts spell the name of the kingdom as Lho, but this is a transliteration of the Tibetan word for ‘south’ and is also incorrect. Thus the portion of the upper Mustang district north of Samar is Lo and its capital is Mustang the king of Lo is the Lo Gyelbu, though I use the Nepali term raja here. To avoid total confusion with existing Maps and texts, there are many complex issues relating to the development of upper Mustang and the procedures under which trekkers are allowed to visit the area.
Day 1: Kathmandu - Pokhara (206km)
Drive 7 hours.
Day 2: Pokhara - Jomosom (2713m) by flight – trek to Kagbeni (2810m) 4 hr.
We walk north through the arid plateau lands that stretch up to Tibet. The trail is quite barren with craggy rocks and sand and is mostly flat, which makes it very easy going. This enjoyable start is at the same time picturesque, with views of big peaks all around such as Dhaulagiri (8167m), Tukuche (6920m) and, in the west, the awesome mountain above Kagbeni--Nilgiri. Over to the south and southwest the entire Annapurna Massif can be seen
Day 3: Kagbeni - Chele (3000m) in 6h 30. (Enter Restricted Area)
The trail climbs up steadily towards the Tibetan plateau. At first, the path follows the river closely, later it leads eastwards to a flat piece of dry and desert-like land. The scenery is amazing with its red sandstone pillars and canyons. Thousands of years of erosion have formed the landscape; rock formations in fantastic forms and colours will be our companion throughout the trip. The small town of Chele is nestled among extensive barley fields that blanket the hillside.
Day 4: Chele - Geling (3500m) in 6h 30.
The climb continues along the side of a spectacular steep canyon to a pass at 3500m with great views of the Himalayan chain, the Nilgiri and Tilicho. From here, it descends on a pleasant trail to Samar (3300m) situated in a grove of poplar trees. This is a major stopping place for horse and mule caravans. Then the trail climbs steadily into a valley filled with juniper trees to reach 3800m. We then descend gently towards Geling.
Day 5: Geling - Tsarang (3500m) in 6h.
The trail climbs gently through fields, and then becomes steeper to reach Nyi La (3840m). This pass is the southern boundary of Lo or Mustang itself. We descend to Tsarang, a large spread-out village inhabited entirely by Lobas. The huge five-storey monastery fortress is perched on the edge of the Kali Gandaki gorge, to the East end of the village. The Gompa houses an excellent collection of statues and Thankas.
Day 6: Tsarang - Lo Manthang (3700m) in 5h.
We climb gently above the valley to round a large chorten visible for miles around, then continue to the final ridge (3850m). Through a prayer flagged notch, a natural portal, lies the ‘plain of inspiration’ beneath our feet. Out in front of us, the red and grey monastery of Namgyal, summer residence of the kings of Mustang. In the centre, surrounded by a ring of rounded hills, each topped by a crumbling fort, stands the amazing walled city of Lo Manthang, the capital of the inner kingdom, and the seat of its great monastic tradition. The prosperity of the city comes mostly from the time of intense commerce with Tibet (salt and wool).
Day 7: Lo Manthang.
We now have two full days to explore the many monasteries, ancient halls and temples of the walled city and the areas around it. The centre of the city is dominated by the three major buildings: the Champa Lhakang, (housing an enormous painted seated Buddha, claimed to be dating back to the early 15th century); the Thugchen Gompa, with its wonderful frescoes; and the Raja’s Palace, the most imposing building in the city, with its solid tapering walls sweeping up to a full four stories. You might even have the occasion to meet Jigme Dorje, the Raja.
Day 8: Lo Manthang - Ghami (3460m) in 6h 30.
For the first part of the return journey to Kagbeni, an alternative route crosses the Tsarang Khola farther westward. Our track meanders through this wide sparse pasture land. Then we reach a greener valley and descend past the isolated settlement of Lo Gekar to the welcome lush green of the trees around Ghar Gompa. Afterwards, we walk up to a small pass and continue over to the lovely green valley of Tramar, where the distinctive red-fluted cliffs return to contrast with the yellow hues of the north. Continuing down through the village fields we reach Ghami, a pretty whitewashed village with a small gompa and a nunnery.
Day 9: Ghami - Samar (3300m) en 6h.
We rejoin our outward journey. We steadily climb up to the Nyi La pass, then go down and cut across Tama Gaon, avoiding descending all the way to Geling.
Day 10: Samar- Chuksang (3050m) in 4h.
A steep descent towards Chele. The trail leads south to join the Kali Gandaki route. We are back amongst green fields.
Day 11: Chuksang - Kagbeni in 5h
The route gets easier. We start with a gentle climb through paddy fields towards the small Karcha La pass and descend through fir tree and rhododendron forests to Tillije.
Day 12: Kagbeni - Jomosom en 4h. (Exit Restricted Area)
A short walk that gives us time for an excursion to Marpha. A welcome or difficult return to civilisation after the unspoilt simplicity of Mustang.
Day 13: Jomsom – Pokhara by flight.
Day 14: Pokhara - Kathmandu by tourist bus.
1. Airport pick up and drop by our private car.
2. Meals on full board (Breakfast, lunch and dinner) (Note: A.P Plan) during the trek.
3. Bothways flight fare & airport tax. (Pokhara - Jomsom - Pokhara)
4. All the necessary ground transportation.
5. An experienced Government licensed holder guide and porter and their food, drinks, insurance, salary, equipments, transportation, local tax etc.
6. All necessary paper works and national park entry permits & TIMS (Trekkers’ Information Management System)
7. All government taxes.
8. All accommodations in lodges/tea houses during the treks.
1. Lunch and dinner at Kathmandu.
2. Laundry, telephone calls, Bar Bills ( Mineral Water, cold drinks, whisky, beer etc),
3. Emergency evacuation if required, donation, tips and all personal nature expenses.