The long forbidden Kingdom of Mustang has always exuded an air of romance. Mustang is the arid region at the end of the Kali Gandaki, beyond the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges. Lower Mustang is inhabited by people related to the Manangis whilst in northern Mustang (the ancient Kingdom of Lo), language and traditions are almost purely Tibetan.
|Day 1||Flight from Pokhara to Jomsom, Drive to Kagbeni & excursion|
|Day 2||Hike to Thini Village|
|Day 3||Hike to Dakmar, Phalak and back to Kagbeni|
|Day 4||Drive to Muktinath via Jharkot, Hike to Jomsom via Lupra|
Some people have the idea that trekking is all sweat and hard work with no fun. This is far from the truth. The days are designed to be challenging, but not exhauMore...
Some people have the idea that trekking is all sweat and hard work with no fun. This is far from the truth. The days are designed to be challenging, but not exhausting. While you are on the trek, the days begin with breakfast at the tea house where you stay, and you will need to pack up your baggage before breakfast, as porters will set off early. To enjoy the magnificent sun’s rays that strike on mountains, you should be on the trail by around 8 am, stopping for a leisurely lunch around noon. Lunch break is usually about two hours, allowing plenty of time to explore your surroundings or relax. The
Afternoon walk is generally shorter and you usually arrive around 4 pm, leaving time for excursions to nearby sites, nunneries, exploration of the village or simply relaxing with a book and catching up on your diary. Dinner is generally at 7 pm after which you have time to relax.
Your baggage is restricted to 15kgs (7.5 kgs per person). The baggage is carried by porters and is not available to you during the day. Your daypack should contain all that you need during the day. This generally consists of warm clothing, water bottle, camera gear, sunscreen, lip salve etc. Your guide will let you know each evening of any extra items you will need for the following day. If you have a comfortable daypack, your load will only be a few kilograms and hardly noticeable.
No meals are included in tea house treks. In Kathmandu, there is a wide range of restaurants of every style and price range. On the trekking trail, meals are available in teahouses, lodges and bhattis with limited menus. There are a lot of tea houses and lodges in Everest region along the way. Meals are generally simple but filling, but you may wish to stock up on ‘trail munchies’ before leaving Kathmandu.
Accommodation in Kathmandu is on a twin share basis with private facilities. Whilst on the trek, accommodation is in lodges and teahouses and is of a basic standard. Rooms may be twin or multi-share with basic shared toilet facilities. Hot showers are available in some places for a small charge. The tea houses in Lukla and Namche
Bazaar is a higher standard than the others.
Transportation within Kathmandu Valley is by cars, jeeps, Landcruisers, mini buses, and coaches depending on the group size. In the trekking region, transportation is on foot, though in some cases yaks, horses, mules or donkeys are used for carrying baggage. On the Everest trekking route, hiking is the main means of transportation, while your baggage will be carried by porters and/or animals.
The guide is in overall charge of the trek and looking after you. This is the person you should go to with any problems, concerns and questions. All our guides are highly trained in all aspects of trekking, conservation, high altitude medicine, and first-aid and emergency procedures. They are professionals selected for their knowledge and passion for Nepal and its peoples. However, you must remember that they are local guides and their English may be basic and limited to trek-related topics. Porters transport your duffle bags – one porter for every two trekkers.
It is impossible to have a ‘foolproof’ grading system as everyone has different expectations and perceptions of their own fitness level. Remember that no trek in the Himalaya is a stroll, as all involve going up and down in altitude and that altitude affects everyone differently. Regardless of age or fitness, preparation, before you arrive, is essential. Aerobic activity, swimming, cycling or brisk walking is recommended or, at the very least, walk up and down stairs in your trekking boots. Mustang trek is a Grade 3 trek involving maximum altitudes around 4353m and involves days of around 5-6 hours walking.
It is best to bring a mixture of cash and travelers checks in major currencies. In Nepal, you will only be able to exchange Nepalese Rupees back into hard currency on the production of the original receipt of exchange and this cannot be more than 10% of the value of the original amount changed. Ensure you have a mixture of large and small denominations. Everyone’s spending is different, but as a guide, we suggest USD 8 – 10 per meal in Kathmandu and USD 15 – 20 per day whilst trekking in this region (if you drink or smoke this could be higher). Shopping is difficult to predict, but most people buy more than they intended. You should exchange enough money into Nepalese Rupees to last the entire time of your trek before leaving Kathmandu. You can find the money exchange counters near your hotel. There are no exchange facilities in villages along the way.
Tipping is a personal and voluntary matter and tips are not included in the trip price. If you wish to reward the efforts of those who have worked to make your trek the best, then can we suggest the following: USD 4 per day for groups of 8+, USD 5 per day for smaller groups – this will be shared amongst the whole staff, including the porters.
Travel insurance is not included in the trip price. It is essential that you take out comprehensive travel insurance prior to your trek. Your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, medical expenses, emergency evacuation and repatriation (including helicopter evacuation) and personal liability. We also recommend that it covers cancellation, curtailment, loss of luggage and personal effects.
As you will be trekking to altitude, your health condition must be sound. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date information regarding vaccinations, high altitude medication and medications for any reasonably foreseeable illnesses whilst traveling in Nepal. Lukla and Namche Bazaar have small health posts for emergency treatment with limited equipment, health workers and medication. Be aware that some drugs, including anti-malarial, have side effects at altitude. Please discuss this carefully with your doctor. Please be aware that you will be in remote areas and away from medical facilities for some time during this trip. We strongly recommend that you carry a personal first aid kit, as well as sufficient quantities of any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses).
AMS (acute mountain sickness) is a serious issue. It is the result of the failure of the body to adapt to high altitude and can affect anyone, regardless of age or fitness. It usually occurs above 1,800 meters and the likelihood of being affected increases as you ascend. The way to reduce the effects of altitude is to ascend slowly, 300 meters per day above 3,000 meters until you have acclimatized. Poor acclimatization results in headache, nausea, sleeplessness, difficulty breathing and swelling of fingers and glands. The only cure for AMS is to descend to a lower altitude and your guide’s decision on this matter is final. The probability of AMS on this particular the trek is high, as this trail passes through altitudes above 3,800 meters. Although our routes are carefully planned to allow for proper acclimatization you may feel some effects of altitude for the first few days or at higher altitudes. An acclimatization day in Namche is included in the itinerary. Breathlessness, lethargy and mild headaches are not uncommon and generally decrease as your body adjusts. Maintaining adequate fluid intake is essential. Please advise your guide if you feel more severe symptoms and do not medicate yourself without discussing it with them first.
Variation of climate is directly proportional to the altitude. For this trekking, the trekking route passes through altitudes between 2,600m up to 3,800m. Between 2,700m and 3,000m a cool temperate climate prevails, and between 3,500m and 4,100m summers are cool and winters are very cold. Above 4,100m a cold, alpine climate prevails. There is a variation of altitude in this trekking region. You should expect cool summer and very cold winter. Changing global weather patterns have had their effect on the Himalayan climate and mountain weather is notoriously changeable. Always be prepared for a change in conditions and note that if severe or dangerous weather conditions occur your guide’s decision on any course of action is final.
Trekking permits are required for this trek and will be obtained by Royal Mountain Travel. For the entry to the Everest region, an Everest Conservation Area permit should be obtained. A Trekking Information Management System (TIMS) permit is essential for the records of the Nepal Tourism Board. Full name, nationality, Home address, passport number, sex, date of birth and 2 photographs for each permit are needed.
Below are our recommended lists of items that you need to have in your backpack. But please do check with your escort during the Group Meeting or first dinner about the items. Sometimes based on recent climate, they may add or remove a couple of items from the list.
Flight from Pokhara to Jomsom, Drive to Kagbeni & excursion
Flights from Pokhara to Jomsom leave early in the morning, to avoid the high winds that pick up throughout the day. The flight is a short 30 minutes but it is spectacular, as you fly up the Kali Gandaki Gorge to the ‘other side’ of the Himalayas. The landscape changes from the lush greenery of the Pokhara area to the barren, rocky terrain of Mustang.
After arrival in Jomsom, transfer by jeep to Kagbeni. This atmospheric medieval town is a perfect base for explorations in Lower Mustang. There are many excellent short hikes to do in the area, from the local monasteries scattered around to riverside walks and ascents to ruined villages and meditation caves. Over the next few days, you will get the chance to explore several of these areas. Hikes in Lower Mustang are best started early in the morning, to avoid the cold winds that whip through by about 11 am.
From Kagbeni, take your first of these short hikes, and then rest for a leisurely lunch. Later in the afternoon, once you’ve rested and the winds have died, stroll around the pretty town. Spin the prayer wheels tucked in the narrow alleys, watch the local people do their daily chores, and admire the views of the monastery, river and mountains.
Hike to Thini Village
After a good night’s sleep you should be ready for your next hike in the local area, to Thini Village. The culture in Lower Mustang is interesting and quite different from elsewhere in Nepal. The people are primarily Gurung, and practice a Tibetan form of Buddhism. This is obvious in the architecture, religious buildings, and the local dress.
After lunch and a rest, visit the monastery in Kagbeni, where the lamas will give you a talk about Buddhism, and the way it is practiced in this area. This is your chance to ask questions about what you’ve been observing in Lower Mustang.
Hike to Dakmar, Phalak and back to Kagbeni
This morning, begin with a hike to the villages of Dakmar and Phalak, and then back to Kagbeni. In the afternoon, learn how to make momos, the steamed Tibetan-style dumplings that are popular throughout Nepal. They look deceptively simple, as they are quite fiddly to make! But after this class you will have a new skill to take home with you—a long-lasting souvenir
Drive to Muktinath via Jharkot, Hike to Jomsom via Lupra
Start today with a drive to Muktinath, a pilgrimage site high on the mountain that is sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists. The Muktinath Temple is the source of holy fire and water, so be sure to receive blessings at this auspicious site. Despite being in a remote area in the Himalayas, a near-constant stream of pilgrims come from around Nepal and India to this auspicious site. En route to Muktinath you can stop at Jharkot, a fort village with some ramshackle but picturesque old buildings and beautiful mountain and valley views.
After visiting Muktinath, hike towards Jomsom via Lupra. This is a fascinating village as it is one of the last remaining places where the ancient, pre-Buddhist Bon religion is practiced. Look out for evidence of this in the colourful string ornaments placed outside houses, designed to keep the devil away. Enjoy a packed lunch in Lupra, then continue on towards Jomsom, taking a jeep the final section.
Overnight in Jomsom, where you can enjoy some final views of the nearby mountains, and go souvenir shopping in the small local shops. Be ready for an early morning departure back to Pokhara, as the flights in that direction also leave early.