The Forbidden Kingdom Tour
Mustang is one of Nepal's most mysterious and least known kingdoms. The landscape of Mustang is beautiful, composed of eroded sandstone pillars and layered moraine terraces, which together present a colourful mosaic made up principally of earthen reds, yellows and browns.
It is relatively easy trekking along the permitted route to Lo Manthang, which lies in the very heart of Mustang. The trek to Mustang is through an almost treeless, barren landscape. Strong winds generally howl across the area in the afternoon, generally subsiding at night. Being in the rain shadow of the Himalaya, Mustang has much less rain then the rest of Nepal.
Mustang trek lying in the rain shadow of the Himalayas, is perhaps the last enclave of pristine Tibetan culture. Forbidden & isolated from the rest of the world it was able to develop its own distinctive culture and tradition which is rich & unique.
Lo-Mustang, the capital is a walled city ruled by a religious king. Untouched by the quick pace of modern development, life in Mustang goes on as it has for centuries in an unhurried pace.
As with everywhere in the Himalayas, this area provides spectacular mountain sceneries highlighted by Dhaulagiri at 8167 meters (26,795ft) and Annapurna I at 8091 meters (26,545ft). You will be surrounded by more than 35 mountains over 6000 meters (19,680ft) high. The elevation of the trails rise from 2815 meters (9,233ft) to 3780 meters (12,398ft) above sea level.
Day 1: Kathmandu-Pokhara by coach
It takes about 7 hours to reach Pokhara from Kathmandu in a bus. The road weaves through hills, farms and hilly settlements.
Day 2: Pokhara - Jomsom flight & Trek to Kagbeni, O/N camp
Enter the Restricted Area
A short but exciting flight lands us at Jomsom after we leave Pokhara. Walking along the Kali Gandaki river for about three hours, we reach Kagbeni from Jomsom.
Day 3: Kagbeni - Chele
We start to get into the heart of Mustang region today. After a few ups and downs, we reach Tangbe, a small but bustling town with chortens in different colors, whitewashed buildings, apple orchards and farmlands with barley, wheat and buckwheat. The influence of Tibetan culture begins to be felt itself from here. Onwards from Tangbe, we reach another village called Chuksang, where the Kaligandaki and the Narsing Khola (a small stream) meet. Caves can be seen on the banks of river after Tangbe itself, and a number of strange red sandstone cliffs and caves across the Kali Gandaki from Chuksang. There are remnants of castle in the cliffs around Chuksang. We cross Narsing Khola, head north, and after several ups and downs looking at the mysterious caves and other formations in the cliffs cut by the river, arrive at Chele. The final leg consists of steep ascent. From Chele, the influence of Tibetan culture becomes full-fledged.
Day 4: Chele - Geling
It is long, demanding day. We walk all day through the trans-Himalayan desert region of Nepal that bears striking similarity with Tibetan culture and geography. We move in and out of numerous Kali Gandaki valleys. We cross Chele La Pass (3630m) and Syanmochen La Pass (3850m) en-route, and enjoy the fine scenes of Annapurna and Nilgiri from time to time. Geling is a beautiful village with a large gompa and trademark whitewashed houses as well as big barley fields and poplar trees.
Day 5: Geling - Charang
We walk through barley fields out of Geling and climb to Nyi La (4020m). Nyi La makes the border between lower Mustang and upper Mustang (Lo Manthang). Past the pass, now we enter into Lo Manthang and the first village we encounter after the pass is Ghemi, the third biggest settlement in Manthang. We descend through the village, walking past multicolored cliffs and across Tangmar Khola. Then we climb through one of Nepal’s longest and most beautiful mani walls, reach Choya La (3870m), and reach down gently to Charang. Charang is the second largest settlement of Lo Manthang and also the former capital.
Day 6: Charang - Lo Manthang
We reach the center of attraction today. The principal attraction of the trip, the walled city of Lo Manthang, houses the palace of the erstwhile king of the region, other commoner’s houses as well as temples and monasteries. You find many a fix to enjoy and marvel upon in the capital city of this region.
Day 7: Lo Manthang
There is a lot to keep you engaged for a day in Lo Manthang. There are artistically rich, historically and culturally important four major temples inside the premises of the city. Different kinds and postures of the statues of Buddha and other related deities as well as the elaborate artwork can be seen in Jampa Lakhang built in the 15th century, Thupchen gompa also from the period, Chode gompa from 18th century and the newest Choprang Gompa. Unmistakable in its grandeur and imposing presence is the four story palace of the king at the centre of the city. Out of the city, the two valleys Timkar and Namgyal also showcase richly artistic palaces and gompas.
Day 8: Lo Manthang - Ghami via Gekar
Another day of walk through the typical desert like landscape brings us to Gekar. After walking for about 3 hours from Lo Manthang, we reach Chogo La Pass (4230m) and then descend for about one hour to arrive at lo Gekar where we visit Ghar Gompa, possibly the oldest of the region. Then again we climb to the next pass Mui La (4170m) and go down, marveling at the strange rock formations and mysterious caves. We finally reach the beautiful village Ghami in the evening.
Day 9: Ghami - Samar
We walk through narrow trail until Geling. Onwards from Geling, the trail broadens. We view desert-like landscapes, villages, farm terraces and also Nilgiri Mountain. Samar is a small village that shows the influence of Tibetan culture.
Day 10: Samar - Kagbeni - Exit Restricted Area
Today we walk mostly along the Kali Gandaki River valley and arrive at Kagbeni after a long trek. We see more vegetation on the way.
Day 11: Kagbeni to Jomsom
After walking through the Kali Gandaki river for three hours, we reach Jomsom, the district headquarter of Mustang.
Day 12: Jomsom - Pokhara - Kathmandu flight
We return to Pokhara aboard a domestic flight and then to Kathmandu.
Things to bring:
- Thermal clothing - gloves, socks, jackets
- Warm hat
- Suitable hiking boots
- Sun glasses
- Sun cream
- 3 passport size photographs for the trekking permit.
You need to be healthy and physically fit for this tour. Physical examination is highly recommended.
- You must have a valid insurance policy that covers health, trip cancellation, accidents, emergency evacuation, and damage, theft, or loss of, your personal effects.
- If you have not booked a proper insurance policy yet, get one right now with WorldNomads.
- In an emergency, we will arrange/provide all necessary rescue services (helicopter rescue, medical treatment, aftercare, etc.).
- By using such emergency services, you unconditionally agree to provide us with your travel insurance policy and authorise us to deal directly with your insurance company.
Tour cost includes:
- Domestic flights (including airport tax),
- Required ground transportation
- Food: breakfast, lunch and dinner
- Trekking permits and required entrance tickets
- Required trekking gears (walking pole, sleeping bag, down jacket, etc.)
- Overal expenses for guides and porters, including their wages and insurance.
Tour cost does not include:
- Drinks (bottled water, beverages)
- Hot showers
- Battery charging fees
- Personal expenses, tips and donations.
- Your travel insurance
- Children can participate only if accompanied by their parent(s).
- If they are unable to walk some difficult segments of the trek, they will be carried by the porter. Please note that in such a case, an extra porter may be required.