Those ardent trekkers have not completed the world trekking circuit if they have not hiked in Mustang, Nepal.The astonishing feat of this trek is all about pure, desolate, rugged terrain, mostly devoid of vegetation on a high plateau. It is a mixture of history and culture; it once housed a vital trade route between India and Tibet.
Those who love hostile conditions on treks—this is one especially for you. It is cold and windy. The ethnic groups that you will sample along the Mustang trek are the Thakalis, Gurungs, and Tibetans, as this area still houses the medieval capital city of this area, Lo Manthang. You are retracing a part of history with this trek and how people did trade in the good old days.
The Trek in Mustang
The trek begins in earnest, after having reached Kagbeni from Jomsom and Pokhara. The first stop of the trek is Chhuksang via the Kali Gandaki River bed route, over boulders, you get to view the broken castles and caves in the nearby hills. The following day’s stop is at Samar after having got the pleasure of stealing sights of some Gompas and Nilgiri peak. From there, it is the hike onto Geling where you can see Gompas house historical tangkas (religious paintings). Then we trek onto Tramar where the cliffs take on a hue of white, red and grey. Then we hit Tsarang and Lhomantang where we spend two day basking in the historical city and understanding how life was back then.
It is our return journey from here, back via another route. We hike back via Dhie, Yara, Tange, Tetang and Muktinath and finally back to Jomsom each being a part of historical usage back in the salt and silk trade periods.
The hike is a calling in itself; more historical in nature where we get to feel how the denizens of the area helped to keep commerce and trade alive by retaining civilization in such hostile places on earth and adapting to it. On the other hand, the trek is not as arduous as the other ones in Nepal as the terrain is mostly straight not reaching an elevation of more than 3500 metres along the trek to Mustang.
1. Day One – Arrival at Kathmandu (1400m)
You will be met at Tribhuwan International Airport by a representative of Green Lotus Trekking holding a welcome placard and token for your overnight stay at a hotel in Kathmandu and to freshen up. Prior to dinner a briefing will be held. You could spend the rest of the day resting or wandering around the city of Kathmandu sightseeing.
2. Day Two – Drive to Pokhara (823m) – (Approx 6 hour’s drive)
We set off for Pokhara, the bustling tourist lakeside city, at 7am through the countryside of Nepal, which will give you a firsthand glimpse of what you are about to encounter in the mid-hills of the country before you actually get to the arid lands of Mustang. The remaining half of the day, you could explore the bounties of the city. O/N stay at the lodge.
3. Day Three – Flight to Jomsom and trek to Kagbeni (2858m) – (Approx 4 hour’s trek)
The first hour of the day is taken by your flight to Jomson, giving you a taste of the higher Himalayas. On touchdown, you will be met by the porters and guides and your trek begins in earnest to your first stop, Kagbeni, which lies at the confluence of two rivers, Kak Khola and Mustang Khola. Khola in Nepali means “large stream.” O/N stay at the lodge.
4. Day Four – Kagbeni (2810) -to Muktinath (3720m) and return to Kagebeni 6 hrs
Acclimatization day with a side trip to Muktinath.
5. Day Five – To Chele (3050m) – (Approx 7 hour’s trek)
The day’s trek begins with a check for the special permit and then we continue along the banks of the Kali Gandaki River, passing through scenic flora and fauna. The trail goes up and down hills till it reaches the village of Tangbe. From here, we trek towards Chhusang and, after crossing the river, it becomes an amalgamation of red chucks of fallen rocks, forming tunnels with the river flowing through them. We eventually get to the village of Chele. O/N stay at the lodge.
6. Day Six – To Syanbochen (3475m) – (Approx 7 hour’s trek)
In today’s trek, we first get to Eklo Bhatti and then climb to Taklam La Pass (3624m) via plateaus and narrow stretches, getting wonderful glimpses of Tilicho Peak, Yakawa Kang, and Damodar Danda. We further go down to the village of Samar, where the trails begin to climb to a ridge and descend steeply to a stream. After another three hours of hiking, we arrive at Syanbochen. O/N stay at the Lodge.
7. Day Seven – To Ghaymi (3520m) – (Approx 5 hour’s trek)
The day’s trek begins with an ascend uphill to Yamda La (3850m), passing some tea houses, chortens, and local hamlets in the Tibetan style. Then we cross some mountain passes and climb to Nyi Pass (4010m). We slowly descend to Ghayam to spend the night there.
8. Day Eight – To Charang (3500m) – (Approx 5 hour’s trek)
The day’s trek begins with a pleasant walk to Ghaymi Khola, which is crossed, and the trail continues on a plateau lined with mani walls, sacred boulders of Buddhism. This trail ends in the village of Charang through the Tsarang Chu Canyon.
9. Day Nine – To Lo-Mangthang (3700m) – (Approx 6 hours trek)
Today’s trek is to the ancient city of Lo-Mangthang, perched on the plateau of isolation in a world of its own. On the way, we get wonderful views of Nilgiri, Tilicho, Annapurna I, and Bhrikuti Peaks, but first the trail descends to Charang Chu Canyon and ascends steeply after crossing a river. It further ascends gently through a windy pass called Lo, from where you can see the Lo-Mangthang Valley. On ascending, the city built in the Tibetan style comes into view like a mirage. O/N stay at the lodge.
10. Day Ten – Exploration of Lo-Mangthang
Today, we get the chance to explore the treasure trove of the isolated city and the goodies it has to offer. We first begin by visiting the Gompa on the top of the hill that serves as an important monastery and a local court for the folks back in the city. Then it is a tour of Tingkhar, the final village in Nepal before the Tibetan border. If not, then you opt to visit Champa Lakhang, also known as God’s own house. And then there is the Raja’s Palace. If its doors are open for you, it gives wonderful views of the surrounding Himalayas.
11. Day Eleven – To Drakmar (3810m) – (Approx 7 hour’s trek)
Our trek heading home takes us via a new route. We first trek to Drakmar through Gyarkar, which is said to have a 1200 year old Ghar Gompa with a Guru Rinpoche as the main figure and which is famous for its rock paintings. It is believed that if anyone makes a wish here, it is fulfilled.
12. Day Twelve – To Ghilling (3806m) – (Approx 6 hour’s trek)
Today’s trek takes us to Ghiling, which takes 6 hours of walking time. We get there in time to enjoy lunch and explore the windy, dusty area, which is a natural part of a cold desert.
13. Day Thirteen – To Chhuksang (3050m) – (Approx 6 hour’s trek)
Today’s trek returns us to the trail which started in Chhuksang. It is on this hike that you will get wonderful views of the Himalaya Mountains. It is a much more enjoyable and refreshing walk at this period of time.
14. Day Fourteen – To Jomsom (2700m) – (Approx 7 hour’s trek)
Today’s trek, which heads home, first takes us to Kagbeni, where we join the normal Annapurna trail and then head for Jomsom. If you have a day to spare, the guide might take you to Muktinath as well. O/N stay at the lodge.
15. Day Fifteen – Flight to Pokhara (923m)
Today we take a flight to Pokhara, where, after booking into our lodge, we will have ample time to explore the goodies that the famed lakeside city has to offer.
16. Day Sixteen – fly to Kathmandu (1400m)
After breakfast, fly to Kathmandu. Transfer to your hotel and spend the day at leisure, shopping or doing other things.
17. Day Sixteen – Farewell.
The trip concludes – our airport representative will drop you to Kathmandu’s Tribhuwan International Airport for your flight departure from Nepal.
What is the best time of year to trek?
You can find good places to trek somewhere in the Himalayas at anytime of the year. However, for most regions, the best time is from October to May, with October to November having the best weather for trekking. During the autumn, nights are cold in the high Himalaya, but the bright sun makes for a pleasant daytime temperature (20 degrees centigrade to 5 degrees centigrade in the night). Above 3500m, the temperature range goes down to -10 degrees centigrade, and in winter (Dec-Jan), it is about 10 degrees colder.
How fit do I have to be to do a trek?
While you do not need to be super-fit, you need to be fit enough to comfortably walk for 5–6 hours per day in the mountains on reasonable trails. Most of our customers have an interest in walking in the hills or countryside of their homeland and are used to similar daily trips.
What is the typical group size? Will I fit in?
We pride ourselves on our small group approach to adventure travel. Small groups allow you to share great company without crowding your experience. Our typical groups range in size from 2 up to 8. One of the attractions of such a trip is the chance to meet people with different backgrounds and personalities.
What if the dates for the group treks don’t fit my itinerary?
If this is the case, we can organize a personalized trek for you. Additionally, if you want to spend more time in Kathmandu before or after a trek, we can organize the hotels and quote you a price.
Are your tours guaranteed to run?
If you are a group of two or more, the trip is guaranteed to run.
Do I need to buy special equipment?
Usually, our clients simply bring their existing clothing and equipment and, if necessary, supplement this with some extra items purchased cheaply in Kathmandu.
What gear to bring?
Passport (with photocopies)
Photos for Nepal visa on arrival:
Travel insurance (with photocopies)
flight tickets (photocopies)
Daypack for daily personal items
Light sandals or plimsolls to wear in the lodges
2 pairs of underwear.
2 pairs of walking socks.
2 thick fleece or warm shirts
1 pair thin thermal underwear
Long trousers for walking (or a long skirt for women)
Gloves (it’s cold on the Thorung La, Laurebina Pass and Cho La)
A warm hat which covers your ears (for the Kali Gandaki and Thorung La – it’s windy)
Base ball caps or broad brim hats to keep the sun off (Australian Barmah recommended)
Soap dish and soap
Toothbrush and toothpaste.
Wet wipes or moist towelettes
Hand sanitizing lotion
Moisturizer, Lip balm
Tampons are hard to buy in rural areas.
Ear plugs for light sleepers
Sheet of plastic (use as a poncho if it rains)
1 toilet paper roll. You can buy more on the way.
2 large plastic bags. One for smelly clothes, one for things that must be kept dry.
A small, good quality padlock
Iodine tablets for water purification
Protein bars, chocolate, dried fruits, candies, and snack foods.
Notes: All of the trekking items are available in Kathmandu at nominal prices. However, we suggest you bring hiking boots from your home country if you decide to purchase these items in Kathmandu .
Can I store stuff that I do not use on a trek?
Yes, all hotels provide storage facilities for free.
Do I need travel insurance?
Personal travel insurance is not included in the tour price. It is a condition of booking a tour with Green Lotus Trekking, and your responsibility to ensure the type of tour you are undertaking; the policy must include satisfactory cover for repatriation, high altitudes, trekking and climbing, and helicopter rescue. Please forward your insurance details (e.g. policy number, 24-hour emergency telephone number, and name of insurance company) to Green Lotus Trekking when available.
Do I need a visa to visit Nepal?
Yes. You can apply in your home country through the Nepalese Embassy or Consulate or obtain it at the airport on arrival by paying a fee as below:
Multiple entries for 15 days: $25 USD
Multiple entries for 30 days: $40 USD
Multiple entries within 90 days: US $100
Notes: We suggest you bring the exact change. You also need to bring two passport-size photos.
Tourist Visa Extension
The visa extension fee for 15 days or less is US $ 30 or equivalent convertible currency, and the visa extension fee for more than 15 days is US$ 2 per day.
A tourist visa can be extended for a maximum period of 150 days in a single visa year (January – December).
Gratis (Free) Visa
A gratis visa for 30 days is available only for tourists from SAARC countries.
Indian nationals do not require a visa to enter Nepal.
I am a single traveler. How does this work?
Normally single trekkers have no problems fitting in with a group. Normally single trekkers share rooms or lodges with other trekkers of the same sex, but if we have an odd-number we ensure that a room or lodge is organised accordingly.
How will my booking be processed?
To confirm your booking, we will require a deposit of $250 for treks and $300 for peak climbing, which can be made by bank transfer or online through paypal.com (the leading transaction site). The balance is payable on arrival in Kathmandu with cash or traveler’s cheque. Alternatively, the balance can be paid by bank transfer or PayPal shortly before arriving in Kathmandu.
Besides deposit payment, what other information do I need to forward?
The following details are needed to process your trekking permit, national park permit, flight booking etc.
Year of birth:
Your arrival details (time, date, flight number, airline):
All the above info can be sent electronically via email.
How far do I trek each day?
You will typically walk 4–9 miles (5-8 hours) each day. Some days may be rest days for impromptu exploration. In high and steep areas, you may move more slowly. Most people begin to feel the effects of high altitude over about 2000 meters, and your trekking pace is always adjusted to permit safe acclimatization. Our treks follow established trails used by local people. You will probably carry only a light daypack.
How flexible is the trekking day?
You can hike at your own pace, stopping when you wish. There is ample time to cover the necessary hiking distance each day with lots of stops. If you are on a private trek, you may wish to take more or fewer days to cover a given distance, or add in rest days. If you like to hike fast, your guide will be concerned that you acclimatize to high altitude effectively. You may wish to reach camp at a measured pace, but take a side hike after arriving at camp. Your guide is always interested in learning about your personal interests and accommodating those interests as the trip permits.
What is altitude sickness?
Altitude sickness, often known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), is a particularly important medical consideration while trekking in Nepal. Altitude sickness means the effect of altitude on those who ascend too rapidly to elevations above 3000 meters. The initial symptoms of AMS are as follows:
Loss of appetite
Insomnia or sleeplessness
Dizziness, light headaches, confusion,
Disorientation, drunken gait
Weakness, fatigue, lassitude, heavy legs, slight swelling of hands and face.
Breathlessness and breathing irregularly
Reduced urine output
These symptoms are to be taken very seriously. In the event of the appearance of any of the above symptoms, any further ascent should be reconsidered; otherwise more serious problems can occur, which can cause death, sometimes within a few hours. The only cure for altitude sickness is to descend to lower elevations immediately. Acclimatization by ascending to no more than 300 to 500 meters per day above 3000 meters and the proper amount of rest are the best methods for prevention of AMS.
Will I be able to deal with the high altitude?
Our itineraries are designed so that our clients ascend at a sensible and safe rate. The effects of altitude are felt by everyone, even the Sherpas, but most people find that gentle acclimatization allows them to reach their high point without any problems.
What are teahouse and camping treks?
Accommodation: There are a number of lodges along the popular trekking routes in the Annapurna, Everest, and Langtang regions. These lodges are called “Tea House Lodges” and are managed by local people. Private rooms, dormitories, toilets, shower rooms with hot and cold water, and one attached restaurant are among the basic requirements for overnight accommodation at these lodges.The quality of food offered might vary from lodge to lodge, but most serve simple and hygienic meals. The teahouse trek provides you an opportunity to feel the warm hospitality of friendly Nepali hosts. The money you spend goes to the local community.
In a typical camping trip, each pair of trekkers will sleep in a spacious mountain tent with a durable rain fly and full insect netting. The tent is fitted with foam mattresses. When your campsite is near villages or lodges, you may be invited to sleep in the lodges or homes of local people.
What are the typical foods on the treks?
Breakfast options include oatmeal,French toast,Chapatti, Tibetan bread, eggs, pancakes, muesli, and for lunch or dinner you can have sandwiches, soups, momo (dumplings), macaroni dishes, pizzas, noodles, steak, dal bhat (rice, lentils, veg platter), pasta, etc.
What is your guide like?
Our trekking guides are carefully selected for their ability and are generally from Sherpa, Tamang, Gurung, Magar, and other communities from remote mountain villages. Each guide is trained in eco-friendly trekking methods and safety measures. They help to maintain your health and your happiness as well as the crew members. Our guides are committed to making sure that all our trekkers have an enjoyable trek, come back safe and are overwhelmed by their experience. Your guide will be a friend and companion, who takes pleasure in showing you his country’s specialties and, perhaps, meeting his home and family too.
What about the Porters?
The majority of the fees our clients pay go directly into the community where you trek.
How much should I tip the guides and porters?
Tipping is at your discretion and always appreciated. A good rule of thumb is anywhere from $2–5 dollars per day for the guide and $1.5–3 dollars per day per porter. The total amount can then be divided among the group.
What is your Kathmandu contact address in case my family needs to contact me in an emergency?
Please have them contact us at any of the following numbers:
+977-98510-32108 or 9841-250248 for cell phone. 977-1-400-50379 (landline) (office hours) 77-1-400-5037 or 444-5475. We check email frequently throughout the day, so you could also write to our email: firstname.lastname@example.org if it’s not urgent.