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Mustang Trek – fast paced

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Duration: 17
Minimum Age: Min Age : 12+
Grade: 4 - strenous
Max Elevation: 4,114m
Accomodation: Lodge

North of the massive gorge between Himalayan giants Annapurna and Dhaulagiri, on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau, lies the legendary kingdom of Mustang. Historically it dominated the trade along the ancient route connecting Tibet with Nepal and India. The inhabitants of Mustang (the Lobas) are Buddhist and culturally Tibetan, but as the king allied himself with Jumla rather than Lhasa, the region was eventually absorbed into Nepal.

If you are looking for a trek through alpine scenery, this is not it. Instead, we will be in the great Himalayan rain shadow on a wind-swept desert landscape of implausible gorges, high passes and enormous vistas. This trek goes up and down to Lo Manthang West of the Kali Gandaki river and slightly more faster-paced than our standard twenty-one day Mustang Trek.

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Trip at a glance

Brief Itinerary

Day Description Overnight Altitude
Day 1 Arrival in Kathmandu Kathmandu 1,340m/4,300ft
Day 2 Exploring Kathmandu Kathmandu 1,340m/4,300ft
Day 3 Kathmandu to Pokhara Pokhara 827m/2,713ft
Day 4 Pokhara to Kagbeni Kagbeni 2,808m/9,215ft
Day 5 Kagbeni to Chele Chele 3,032m/9,950ft
Day 6 Chele to Syangbochen Syangbochen 3,627m/11,900ft
Day 7 Syangbochen to Drakmar Drakmar 3,444m/11,300ft
Day 8 Drakmar to Lo Manthang Lo Manthang 3,505m/11,500ft
Day 9 Lo Manthang Lo Manthang 3,505m/11,500ft
Day 10 Lo Manthang to Tsarang Tsarang 3,620m/11,800ft
Day 11 Tsarang to Ghemi Ghemi 3,520m/11,450ft
Day 12 Ghemi to Giling Giling 3,806m/12,400ft
Day 13 Giling to Chele Chele 3,032m/9,950ft
Day 14 Chele to Kagbeni. Drive to Jomsom Jomsom 2,700m/8,850ft
Day 15 Fly Jomsom to Pokhara Pokhara 827m/2,713ft
Day 16 Fly to Kathmandu Kathmandu 1,340m/4,300ft
Day 17 Final departure    
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Detailed Itinerary

Day 1Arrival in Kathmandu

Arrive Kathmandu. You will be met on arrival at the Tribhuwan International Airport. Transfer to Hotel. Day Free. Enjoy welcome dinner. Briefing during dinner. (Dinner)

Day 2Exploring Kathmandu

Full day of sightseeing in Kathmandu. You will be accompanied by our in-house city guide. In the morning, visit Bodhanath, the Stupa of a Million dew drops, to watch monks and devotees circumambulate the largest stupa in the world. Then visit Pashupatinath, Nepal’s most sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva, with its two-tiered golden roof and silver door. Drive to Patan for lunch in the garden of the Patan Museum Café. After lunch, visit the well-maintained Patan Museum storing ancient Nepali artifacts, followed by a tour of Patan Durbar Square. Drive back to Kathmandu. (Breakfast and Lunch)

Day 3Kathmandu - Pokhara (827m/2,713ft)

Board an early flight to Jomsom. The plane navigates up the Kali Gandaki gorge between Annapurna (26,538 feet) and Dhaulagiri (26,788 feet) to the Jomosom airstrip.

Begin your trek up the windy Kali Gandaki valley to its confluence with the Jhog Khola. Kagbeni is the gateway to Upper Mustang and was formed in the 14th century as a checkpoint to control travel. Overnight Camp. (All meals)

Day 4Pokhara to Kagbeni (2,808m/9,215ft.)

Board an early flight to Jomsom. The plane navigates up the Kali Gandaki gorge between Annapurna (26,538 feet) and Dhaulagiri (26,788 feet) to the Jomosom airstrip.

Begin your trek up the windy Kali Gandaki valley to its confluence with the Jhog Khola. Kagbeni is the gateway to Upper Mustang and was formed in the 14th century as a checkpoint to control travel. Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Day 5Kagbeni to Chele (3,032m/9,950ft)

Heading north along the river, snowy Nilgiri (22,431 feet) will dominate the skyline in sharp contrast to the river canyon below. Enter Tange Village, a labyrinth of narrow alleys among whitewashed houses with fields of buckwheat, barley, wheat, and apple trees. Then continue toward Chhuksang along a trail lined with chortens (Buddhist wayside shrines) painted the traditional colors of red, black, and white — colors made from local rocks and minerals. Eventually cross the Kali Gandaki River on a steel footbridge, then climb up to the village of Chele, perched on a ridge above the gorge.

Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Day 6Chele to Syangbochen (3,627m/11,900ft)

Today will begin with an unrelenting climb — the trail often hewn out of the canyon wall — continuing more gently to your lunch stop at the pleasant village of Samar. In the afternoon, navigate over two more ridges (highest pass is about 12,500 feet) to Syangbochen, a small cliff-side settlement with a panoramic view of the Annapurnas.

Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Day 7Syangbochen to Drakmar (3,444m/11,300ft)

Start uphill to another pass of about 12,500 feet. The trail then descends with two drops into small canyons, and then continues with a gentle ascent toward Chyunkar and the Nye La (12,720 feet). From this pass, you’ll have incredible views of the Annapurnas and Nilgiris as well as sweeping views of Mustang. Ghemi Village, built on the edge of a steep cliff, appears in the distance. After lunch, continue to Drakmar with its prominent red-cliffs. These cliffs are home to blue-sheep.

Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Day 8Drakmar to Lo Manthang (3,779m/12,400ft)

Today is a long and strenuous hiking day. So begin early. Soon after leaving camp, climb over Mui La and proceed to Ghar Gompa (Lo Gekhar). Lo Gekhar contains one of the oldest gompas in Nepal (built in the eighth century — even older than Samye in Tibet), a great red-and-white structure surrounded by trees.

Continue ascent to the Marang la pass. Though not very steep, if it is a sunny day, this will be a grueling climb. Then descend through a pasture to the walled city of Lo.

Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Day 9Lo Manthang (3,779m/12,400ft)

Explore the maze of narrow streets winding through approximately 150 houses, and three important gompas built in the early 15th century. These temples (along with those in Tsarang and Lo Gekhar) have been rescued from the ravages of time by the efforts and heart of local people (Lo Gyalpo Jigme Foundation in collaboration with the American Himalayan Foundation) — with stunning results. If you are very fortunate we may get an audience with the king or queen at the four-story palace. The king, Raja Jigme Parbal Bista, although his duties are mostly ceremonial, is well loved and respected throughout the region.Overnight Camp. (All meals)

Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

DAY 10 Lo Manthang to Tsarang (3,505m/11,500ft)

Start uphill to another pass of about 12,500 feet. The trail then descends with two drops into small canyons, and then continues with a gentle ascent toward Chyunkar and the Nye La (12,720 feet). From this pass, you’ll have incredible views of the Annapurnas and Nilgiris as well as sweeping views of Mustang. Ghemi Village, built on the edge of a steep cliff, appears in the distance. After lunch, continue to Drakmar with its prominent red-cliffs. These cliffs are home to blue-sheep.

Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

DAY 11 Tsarang to Ghemi (3,520m/11,250ft)

Today is a short gentle descent to Ghemi.

Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Day 12Ghemi to Giling (3,806m/12,400ft)

Start uphill to another pass of about 12,500 feet. The trail then descends with two drops into small canyons, and then continues with a gentle ascent toward Chyunkar and the Nye La (12,720 feet). From this pass, you’ll have incredible views of the Annapurnas and Nilgiris as well as sweeping views of Mustang. Ghemi Village, built on the edge of a steep cliff, appears in the distance. After lunch, continue to Drakmar with its prominent red-cliffs. These cliffs are home to blue-sheep.

Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

DAY 13 Giling to Chele (3,032m/9,950ft)

Start uphill to another pass of about 12,500 feet. The trail then descends with two drops into small canyons, and then continues with a gentle ascent toward Chyunkar and the Nye La (12,720 feet). From this pass, you’ll have incredible views of the Annapurnas and Nilgiris as well as sweeping views of Mustang. Ghemi Village, built on the edge of a steep cliff, appears in the distance. After lunch, continue to Drakmar with its prominent red-cliffs. These cliffs are home to blue-sheep.

Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

DAY 14Chele to Kagbeni. Drive to Jomsom (2,700m/8,850ft)

Start uphill to another pass of about 12,500 feet. The trail then descends with two drops into small canyons, and then continues with a gentle ascent toward Chyunkar and the Nye La (12,720 feet). From this pass, you’ll have incredible views of the Annapurnas and Nilgiris as well as sweeping views of Mustang. Ghemi Village, built on the edge of a steep cliff, appears in the distance. After lunch, continue to Drakmar with its prominent red-cliffs. These cliffs are home to blue-sheep.

Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Day 15Jomsom to Pokhara

Fly to Pokhara. Day free in Pokhara to explore the lake-side, buy souvenirs or just relax. Alternate activities include hiking to the Peace Stupa and/or visiting the International Mountain Museum.

Overnight Hotel. (Breakfast)

DAY 16Pokhara to Kathmandu

Fly to Kathmandu. Day free in Kathmandu for final shopping and exploring. Farewell dinner.

Overnight Hotel. (Breakfast and Dinner)

DAY 17Final departure

Transfer to airport for final departure (B)

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Detailed Cost Information

Per person price (valid until December 31, 2019)

2 – 4 persons: $2,400 USD per person

5 or more persons: $2,160 USD per person

Single Supplement: $300 USD

Price Includes

All airport transfers; One full days sightseeing in Kathmandu as indicated in the itinerary and entrance fees to monuments; Three nights twin sharing hotel accommodation at Hotel Tibet (3 star) in Kathmandu; Two nights twin sharing hotel accommodation at Big Pillow Inn (2 star) in Pokhara; Airfare: Kathmandu to Pokhara to Jomsom and Jomsom to Pokhara to Kathmandu; Meals as indicated in the itinerary; Lodge trekking as indicated in the itinerary; Boiled water for your bottles two times a day; Use of Steripen to sterilize water; Guide and staff wages; equipment and meals; Guide and staff insurance, Mustang Restricted Area Permit; Annapurna Conservation Area Permit.

Price Excludes

Your international airfare; Nepal Visa, Meals not indicated in the itinerary; Tips and gratuities; Personal equipment (a suggested list will be mailed to you); Travel insurance (Required); Other expenses of a personal nature.

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Map
Trip Gallery

Options

As the name suggests, this is a fast-paced itinerary. So you must be in good shape and willing to hike up to 8 hours on a couple of days. There are many routes in the Upper Mustang area (going into Lo Manthang and returning to Jomsom) and we are happy to customize this itinerary to suit your needs. Another option is a circuit trek going into Luri Gompa which will require a few more strenuous long days of trekking. A more relaxed paced camping trek to Upper Mustang is also possible.

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Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

When is the best time to do the Mustang Trek?

Mustang falls in the rain shadow region of Nepal and hence the standard weather pattern for Nepal does not apply. The area receives very little precipitation but Winter does arrive early (November through February). It is possible to trek in this region in Spring (March through May), Summer/Monsoons (May through September) and early Autumn (October and early November). Expect a big variation in temperature. In these months, day time temperatures can range from the 50’s to the high 70’s (10 to 30 Centigrade) while night-time temperatures dip to the high 20’s and 40’s (0 to 5 Centigrade). While the Upper Mustang region does not receive much rain, it is still very wet in the lower Mustang region in July and August causing flight cancellations due to bad weather and road blockages due to landslides.

How much does the Mustang trek cost?

Unlike most lodge treks in Nepal, an individual CANNOT organize their own trek to Upper Mustang. Your permits have to be procured by a trekking company registered in Nepal. And there must be a minimum of two participants in the group. The Upper Mustang permit is US$500 per person for 10 days. This is the minimum. Add $50 for each extra day.

You can: A) choose a Nepali company or B) choose a western guided trek. If you’re doing Upper Mustang trek with a Nepali outfitter, expect to pay anything between $1,500 – $3,000 with varying inclusions and exclusions. Make sure you understand what is included and what is not included in the package. The best way to choose a Nepali company is to ask for references. Option B would cost above $3,000.

How fit do I need to be to do the Mustang - fast paced trek?

Anyone who is reasonably fit and can hike 10-12 miles a day can sign up for this fast-paced Mustang Trek. Expect substantial elevation gain/loss on a few days and also a couple of long days of up to 7-9 hours. The hike from Drakmar to Lo Manthang would be the longest. What allows for a fast-paced trek is that the elevations reached on this trek does not exceed 14,000ft. That said, the better shape you are in, the more you will enjoy the trek. It is advised that anyone with a pre-existing condition consult their doctor before signing up for a trek.
We rate the fast-paced Upper Mustang Trek a 4 on a scale of 1 (easy) to 5 (challenging).

Can I drink tap water on the trek?

Nepali tap water is NOT safe to drink. Even if you see the locals drinking water straight from the tap, never drink water before boiling or sterilizing. Bring water purifying tablets or other water purifiers. At higher elevations during the coldest times of year the water will freeze, so you’ll need to buy boiled water from teahouses. If you plan to use a STERIPEN, bring wide mouth water bottles. You would need at least 2 one-liter water bottles for the trek. Even if you plan to bring a hydration pack, bring 1 one-liter water to sterilize the water before pouring into your hydration pack.

Crystal Mountain Treks will provide you with a Steripen to use on the trek for no charge.

What kind of food should I expect?

Meals on the Mustang trek start out being quite varied especially at the beginning of the trek in Jomsom and Kagbeni. But it becomes sparser as you ascend to the Lo Manthang. In general, expect porridge (Oatmeal), toast, eggs (any style), muesli, hash browns, sausages etc for breakfast. And sandwich, pizzas, momos, noodles (dry and with soup), rolls, fried rice, Indian bread with vegetables etc for lunch and dinner. And expect Nepali dal-bhat (rice-lentils with vegetables and/or meat) at all the lodges.
Ours is an OPEN menu. Meaning we allow our clients to order anything from the lodge menu besides bottled beverages, specialty coffee and packaged snacks. We also don’t limit the number of items per meal as long as you aren’t wasteful. When choosing your trekking company, ask if meals are fixed or if you are only allowed to order one item from the menu. If this isn’t the case, costs can add up over 15/16 days.

What kind of gear do I need for the trek?

Layering is key. And it’s always recommended to trek with good branded gear. A good pair of hiking boots that’s been broken in is very important. Good top and bottom base layers, a mid layer (fleece or capilene), and an outer layer (Gore-tex or other material). If you tend to get cold quickly, bring a down parka especially for the evening at the lodge. On most days, you’d be hiking in a convertible hiking pant that can be converted into shorts and one or two top layers.

if you’re trekking with Crystal Mountain Treks, we provide a sleeping bag (rated to 0 degree F or -17 degree C), duffel bags, down jacket and Steripen for water purification to our clients for no charge.

It is possible to buy cheap and relatively functional gear in Kathmandu – convertible pants, down jackets, fleece, Gore-tex jackets. But remember, you get what you pay for. Wool gloves, hats, socks are available too.

There are quite a few branded stores too. North Face, Moutain Hardwear, Marmot and Sherpa. If you’re coming from Australia or Europe, items in these shops are probably cheaper than back home. But if you’re coming from the US, it’s better to buy branded gear at home.

How should I prepare for the trek?

The more physically fit you are, the more you will enjoy the trip. There are three aspects to training for any trek. 1) Cardiovascular Training will make your body more efficient in using oxygen. Running, walking, swimming or biking, or any combination of these are great for cardiovascular conditioning. 2) Strength Training by either using free weights or machines at the gym will build hiking strength. Walking stairs, especially with a pack will simulate the hiking environment. We also recommend practicing squats. Trekkers will encounter low hanging obstacles to duck under, and many toilets are at ground level, which requires a low squat.
3) Endurance Training is where you build endurance in the months leading up to your trek, slowly increase your length of training sessions. By the time you are 2 weeks from the scheduled trek date you should be able to ascend 3,000 ft. in a 3-4 hour period.

In the end, the more your training simulates a trek, the better off you will be. So hiking 4-5 hours outdoors, uphill and downhill, about once or twice a week in addition to other cardio vascular training at the gym or at home will greatly benefit and prepare you for the trek.

Is there mobile signal on the trek? Wi-fi?

Most of the places on the Mustang trek route now have cell coverage. You can also buy a Sim card with 5GB or 10GB data for under $25: do this in Kathmandu.

Are there ATM's in Mustang?

Only in Jomsom. Bring cash for expenses en route.

1 Review
Sort By:RatingDate

Josianne Robb

Family Traveller

We chose Crystal Mountain Treks to help us coordinate our first trek in Nepal.
My teenage sons and I wanted to be off the beaten track for 2 weeks, and the team delivered. In fact, they exceeded our expectations.
We absolutely loved Mustang – the landscape is simply breathtaking and its people, warm and welcoming.
There were very few tourists, in fact, very few people. Our guide and porters were kind, jovial, knowledgeable and made sure we had a holiday to remember. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Crystal Mountain Treks and would use this company again for our next trek in Nepal.

April 5, 2018