Tucked behind the legendary Himalayan peaks of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna, the forbidden kingdom of Lo was isolated for centuries. This region - now called Mustang - is the off-the-beaten-track getaway of your dreams. Our 10-day trek journeys through this remote land, where vast monasteries stand guard over pocket-sized villages and every ridge offers another arresting vista. With two days in the walled city of Lo Manthang, nearly untouched since the 14th century, you'll be one of the few to discover this magnificent, well-preserved gem. Please note: Due to ongoing construction in Upper Mustang, one day of the trek may require a short Jeep ride.
Welcome to Kathmandu! Meet your MT Sobek representative and transfer to your hotel. In the afternoon, your trip guide will hold a short briefing and orientation, including information on trekking and other important information. In the evening we will gather for a welcome dinner.
Enjoy a morning tour of the Pashupatinath Hindu temple complex on the Bagmati River and Bodhnath's enormous Buddhist stupa - the largest in Asia and the center of Tibetan Buddhist culture in the UNESCO-listed Kathmandu Valley. Later in the afternoon, transfer to the airport and fly to Pokhara, a lively town set beside Phewa Lake with fantastic views of the Annapurna Range.
Weather permitting, board an early scenic flight to the small airstrip in Jomsom, the administrative center of the once-isolated Mustang district. Transfer to a Jeep for the drive to Chele, passing medieval-looking villages and the rocky Kali Gandaki River (one of the holiest rivers in Nepal) before entering the forbidden kingdom of Mustang. Enjoy views of the uniquely colored chortens and landscapes of the Upper Mustang, then arrive in Chele, from where your hike begins. Steep climbs reward with stellar village and valley views; gradually descend to camp at oasis-like Samar.
After breakfast, hike to an ancient cave that houses Rhangchung Chorten, hidden away in a deep canyon. Cross two deep ravines and enjoy snowcapped mountain views before arriving at the sacred cave monastery, decorated with khatas (ceremonial scarves), numerous chortens, and other ritual items. From here the trail passes through a wooded area in the narrowing gorge, broadens into a valley, and then climbs to Syangmochen, from where we will drive to Ghemi.
From Ghemi, follow the trail across the valley, across a suspension bridge over the Dhakmar Chu River, then past the most impressive and longest stretch of mani wall (boulders inscribed with carved Buddhist prayers) in Upper Mustang. Descend to the secluded village of Dhakmar, situated under magnificent red sandstone cliffs dotted with cave openings. Climb up a rocky gully to Muila pass and your first view of famous Ghar Gompa, an eighth-century monastery.
Depart Ghar Gompa and, after crossing several valleys, reach the Chago La pass - at 14,038', it's the highest pass on the trek. After a long, gradual descent, you finally get your first view of the walled city of Lo Manthang in the distance, set amongst fields and poplar trees. From here, a steady downhill leads you to camp.
Rest your legs and tour Lo Manthang, starting with its two 15th-century monasteries, Thubchen Gompa and Champa Gompa. Atmospheric with burning incense, flickering yak-butter lamps, Buddhist murals, intricate mandalas, and chanting monks, entering these buildings - so remote they've been untouched by modernity for centuries - is a sensorial and spiritual experience. A team of conservation architects has gently restored both monasteries with funding provided by the American Himalayan Foundation. Also here, visit the monastic school at Choede Gompa, the only monastery in Lo Manthang that houses monks.
Leaving Lo Manthang, the trail leads south towards Charang, climbs a pass overlooking Lo Manthang, and then heads down toward the Kali Gandaki Gorge. The final section of the dry, dusty trail drops sharply to the village of Dhi, marked by a patchwork of fertile fields and trees. After a well-deserved break at Dhi, hike up to the village of Yara. Just before reaching Yara, behold an incredible series of 300-foot-high, wind-scoured cliffs resembling giant organ pipes. The cliffs are dotted with numerous cave openings - one of Upper Mustang's most spectacular sights!
Take an excursion from Yara to Luri Gompa, one of the world's few remaining cave monasteries. Luri is also the most important in Upper Mustang, as it is one of the only monasteries in the region belonging to the Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery comprises a series of interconnected chapels covering various levels, all carved out of the cliff. The inner room contains a large chorten painted with deities. Kashmiri-style paintings of exquisite flowers, deities, and various figures of Indian origin adorn the dome-shaped roof and the west wall.
From Yara, the trail leads south to Dhechyang Khola, winding steeply uphill before opening to magnificent views of landscape below. Continue downhill into the village of Tangge, a small hamlet whose homes form a fort nestled below cliffs eroded into massive columns. The view of the settlement, with its groups of chortens and mani walls of various shapes and sizes, is simply stunning! Tonight's camp is constructed in a walled compound to protect guests from the dry Mustang winds.
On your way out of Tangge, enjoy an atmospheric walk through town to the trail leading down to the Tangge Khola, where you'll cross a wooden bridge. Hike above the village, then descend to the wide, rocky Yak Khola plain. After another river crossing, ascend steeply as the horizon widens between Charang, Lo Manthang, and Nepal's northern border. From the prayer flag-adorned summit of Pha, revel in your first awe-inspiring view of Dhaulagiri. Tonight, camp near the only water source on this part of the trek.
Today the trail winds uphill, opening to exceptional views of the entire Mustang Valley. Admire them, but then refocus on the trail, which is narrow and, on one side, drops 3,000 feet! Soon the trail veers away from the rim and reveals the extraordinary Kali Gandaki Valley, with myriad peaks surrounding the famous Thorang La pass (17,764'). Begin your descent of a steep, rough trail that leads to Chhuksang where our jeep will be waiting for us. From Chhuksang transfer back to Jomsom enjoying wonderful views of Mt. Nilgiris (23,166'). After many nights of camping, enjoy a night at a cozy guesthouse.
Bid farewell to the Upper Mustang as you fly from Jomsom to Kathmandu via Pokhara. If weather affects your flight (always possible in Nepal), you'll spend another day in Jomsom. Flights in and out of Jomsom are commonly delayed or cancelled due to unpredictable weather. If delayed, all meals at Jomsom are included while you wait. An extra day at the end of the trek ensures connections to your homeward-bound flight. Without delays, spend the day exploring in Kathmandu!
Begin today in Kathmandu Valley with a morning tour of Bhaktapur, an enchanting medieval Nepalese town. A highlight is Durbar Square, with its temples, ancient palace ruins, and exquisite Sun Dhoka - a gilded gate crafted in 1753. This afternoon you're free to roam, relax, or do some last-minute shopping or sightseeing in Kathmandu on your own. In the evening, join the group for a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
After breakfast, transfer from your hotel to the airport and depart Kathmandu on your homeward-bound flight. Please note that most flights require an overnight en route to your destination.
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MT Sobek is a legendary outfitter in Nepal, pioneering unique and exploratory adventures for nearly 50 years.
Our expert MT Sobek Mustang guide Sanjeev Chhetri has been leading treks in the Upper Mustang since 1992.
Trust MT Sobek to seamlessly blend a journey from Kathmandu to Mustang's isolated valleys, paying incredible attention to detail the whole way.
Our expert guides and trip leaders are truly the key to our trips' success. Many are locals who live in-country year-round; others have made it their second home—all are passionate, enthusiastic and endlessly knowledgeable. Meet a few of the guides that might be on your trip.
Strenuous hiking on mountain and valley paths, covering 4.5-10 miles per day on rugged terrain at a maximum elevation of 14,038'.
Nine nights camping, one night at a comfortable guesthouse and four nights at hotels in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
Daytime temperatures: 50°F - 85°F. Night time temperatures 20°F - 35°F. High winds and dust are common. Rain or snow possible.
Your trip leader.
Yes, and you can get a 15-day visa on arrival for $25.
Yes, you will need to bring a medium-weight, down or fiberfill sleeping bag rated from -5°F to 10°F.
It's best not to count on it as coverage is spotty.
Yes. Luggage is restricted to 15 kg/33 lb per person-including checked and hand-carry luggage. It's not possible to pay for overweight luggage.
Make any of our trips a custom adventure or start from scratch. Take two itineraries and match them up to create a unique third. Add extras and extensions and more...if you can imagine it, we can make it happen!
"I just completed the amazing Mystical Mustang trek with the best guides imaginable. Sanjeev Chhetri and Sirish Bhatt provided extraordinary insight into the area."
MT Sobek Guest, Mystical Mustang
"This was the trip of a lifetime! A spectacular, active, and challenging trek combined with great scenery, amazing monasteries, and insight into the changing Buddhist culture of Upper Mustang. I would absolutely recommend MT Sobek!"
MT Sobek Guest, Mystical Mustang