Mustang – The Hidden Kingdom Trek

Trip Overview

A fabulous trek to the remote semi-independent Kingdom of Upper Mustang located north of Annapurna on the border with Tibet. Upper Mustang is at an average altitude of 4,000m; it is geologically and culturally part of the Tibetan plateau. The valleys are arid and dry with colourful rock formations containing many cave dwellings high up in the cliffs. The first trekking parties were allowed into Upper Mustang in 1992. There are still very few people (about 700 trekkers each year) visiting Upper Mustang. As a result it is one of the few places left where one can see undisturbed Tibetan culture.

Mustang is a remote semi-independent Tibetan Kingdom with a walled capital called Lo Manthang. Upper Mustang was once part of Tibet and was used by the salt caravans crossing the Himalaya into Nepal. It became an independent kingdom in 1380 and the current Royal family can trace their lineage back to this time. In the 1960s Mustang was a strong hold for Tibetan Khampa guerrillas fighting the occupying Chinese forces. The CIA supported these fighters and secretly trained some of them in the U.S.

After a scenic mountain flight from Pokhara to Jomsom beside the Kali Gandaki River, we hike for just 2 days from Kagbeni to Geling, then transfer directly to the fairy-tale walled city Lo Manthang. Here we will be spending a day, exploring amongst its brightly painted houses and secret alleyways. This approach avoids protracted walking on, or within sight of, the jeep track, whilst still allowing us to see all of Mustang’s important villages, chortens and distinctive scenery. However, the best is still to come, as we walk out from Lo Manthang on the east side of the Kali Gandaki River. This 6 days trek takes us into the most interesting part of Mustang, where very little has changed almost since time began. Crossing passes up to 4,200m and visiting a succession of remote settlements, such as Dhi, Tange and Tetang, we head southwards towards the looming presence of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Himal. Finally arriving at the colourful pilgrimage site of Muktinath, on the Annapurna Circuit route. We will take a jeep down to Jomsom to complete one of the best trekking adventures in Nepal.

Important Note: Your safety is of paramount concern whilst travelling with Griffon Travels. Please note that your leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Every effort will be made to keep to the above itinerary as planned; however, as this is adventure travel in a remote mountain region, we cannot guarantee it! Weather conditions, health condition of a member, unexpected natural disasters, etc, can all contribute to changes in the itinerary. The leader will try to ensure that the trip runs according to plan, but please be prepared to be flexible if required.

Day to Day Activity

Day 01: Arrive Kathmandu.
Day 02:
Drive to Pokhara
Day 03: Fly to Jomsom, trek from Kagbeni to Chele
Day 04: Trek from Chele to Geling
Day 05: Drive to Lo Manthang
Day 06: Explore in Lo Manthang,
Day 07: Trek to Yara Village,
Day 08: Day hike to Luri Gompa
Day 09: Trek to Tange
Day 10: Trek to Pha
Day 11: Trek to Tetang
Day 12: Trek to Muktinath, drive to Jomsom
Day 13: Fly via Pokhara to Kathmandu
Day 14: Sightseeing in Kathmandu
Day 15: Depart Kathmandu.

Note: Whilst on trek all meals are included. In Kathmandu & Pokhara accommodation is Bed & Breakfast.


Trip Highlight

» A fabulous trek in the hidden kingdom of Mustang in Nepal
» Walk out to Muktinath via the east side of the Kali Gandaki River
» Unique and dramatic Himalayan landscapes
» Visit the walled ancient capital city of Lo Manthang
» Dramatically changing scenery of the Annapurnas and Dhaulagiri

  • Day 01. Arrive in Kathmandu,
    Check in to your Hotel (Yak and Yeti) right in the centre of the town, just off Thamel.  It’s an easy location to get to all the important sights in Kathmandu valley.
    Overnight 4-Star Hotel, Meals included: breakfast

    Day 02. Drive to Pokhara
    We drive westwards over the Chandra pass from where the Chinese built Prithivi highway snakes to Naubise and continues following the Trisuli river to Mugling. We will take a right turn to Pokhara, which is in a beautiful valley and overlooked by Machhapuchhare - one of the most distinctive mountains of the western Nepal Himalaya. On a clear day you’ll get good views of Dhaulagiri 1, plus a number of different peaks in the Annapurna range. If you wish to pass an hour or so this afternoon, you may hire a rowing boat to go around Barahi temple in Phewa Lake.
    Overnight Simple Hotel, Meals included: breakfast

    Day 03. Fly to Jomsom and trek from Kagbeni to Chele
    We will take an early morning scenic flight to Jomsom.  At first, we fly over rolling hills and then drop down into the Kali Gandaki gorge, in between the snow-capped peaks, of the Annapurna massifs.  There are splendid views of Dhaulagiri Himal from the left of the plane, before we come into land on the recently resurfaced runway at Jomsom (2713m) – the administrative centre of Mustang district. Your leader may have some formalities to attend to in Jomsom.  These would be associated with our permissions to travel into Mustang, whilst we have a quick look around. Strictly speaking, Jomsom (and several of the villages further south) are within the area known as Mustang. However, the restricted area of Mustang does not begin until we get to Kagbeni. Using jeeps, for the next stage of our journey, the road takes us through the main part of the village, on the other side of the Kali Gandaki, then along the river bed.  We pass the tea houses at Eklebati, where the main trail from Annapurna Circuit trek reaches the valley floor. Arriving at Kagbeni, with its prominent red Monastery, we can look back to the Nilgiri, a striking peak at the western end of the Annapurnas and to Dhaulagiri (8167m) on the right. Here, we meet our support crew of porters or pony-men and, after showing our passes at the police check-post, we set out on foot into Mustang. Our route drops down again onto the river bed and then, as we climb to cross a spur, we have our first views of the village of Tangbe ahead.

    The Mustang villages are particularly picturesque. The houses are usually painted white, orange, yellow or grey and quite often striped in these colours. The pigment for this paint is locally derived from naturally occurring minerals. Below the village there are well-tended fields and orchards. At this relatively low altitude, the Mustang villagers are able to grow quite a wide range of crops - as well as superb apples. Soon after leaving Tangbe, we come within sight of the next village, Chukksang, which nestles in a bend of the Kali Gandaki, opposite an imposing red cliff. A feature of the landscape in this area is the visually interestingly eroded cliffs, which often include large numbers of man-made caves. These were principally used as places of retreat by monks, and some of them are in very inaccessible locations – even 100 metres up an apparently featureless cliff face. Leaving Chukksang, we can see the next village and our overnight stop, Chele (3100m), on a bluff above the river. Crossing the broad flood plain and then a steel bridge, we climb up to Chele, where we make camp. Here, each of the colourful houses is topped with piles of brushwood, which are displayed as a sign of wealth. There are also Buddhist symbols in the form of Chortens in the centre of the village.
    Overnight Camp, Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

    Day 04. Trek from Chele to Geling
    We begin today by climbing up a steep ridge above Chele, to reach a pathway that is cut into the side of a yellow cliff. Across the deep gorge on the left side of the path is another village - Gyagar.  As we gain height, we can look back to the towering wall of the Annapurna Massif, with the central summit of Annapurna1 clearly discernible. Cresting a rise at an altitude of 3600m, we traverse around to the small settlement of Samar. The former importance of this route through Mustang into Tibet is clearly shown by the existence of wayside hostelries and pack-animal enclosures in each of the villages and these are particularly noticeable in Samar. Looking eastwards we can see a number of snow-capped peaks that lie to the north of the Thorung La, including Bhrikuti (6724m) with its prominent sinuous snow ridge. Shortly after leaving the lovely village of Samar we cross 2 deep gullies and then climb to a prayer-flagged col. Passing a couple of isolated inns, we reach a second, higher pass, at 3900m, from where we will see a broad panorama of the northern part of Mustang, with its bright blue, orange and white colourings of rock. Looking back, we can still see the Annapurnas, Peak Tilicho and Nilgiri North.

    Lunch is taken at a newly restored inn. Generally speaking, when we use the facilities of the traditional inns on this trip, it is our cook crew who takes over the kitchen and provide for us the same excellent food that they would produce at a regular lunch stop on trek. It must be emphasized that the inns in Mustang are not like the lodges that are found on the popular trekking trails in Nepal. Having previously catered for the trade between Nepal and Tibet, these lodges are rather more authentic. After lunch, we contour around to a viewpoint, where we can look down on the village of Geling and from where we can also see the next pass, the Nyi La. We descend to camp at Geling (3570m) which has a pretty patchwork of barley fields.
    Overnight Camp, Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

    Day 05. Drive to Lo Manthang
    We drive to Lo Manthang (3840m) today, rather than to continue walking. Whilst driving along this part of the route we will still have time to see the typical villages such as Ghami and Charang on the way. We will also stop at the high points on the route, the Nyi La (4020m) and the Chinji La to admire the far-reaching views. At Ghami, for example, there is by far the most spectacular inn that we have seen yet, which includes a monastic cell and sometimes a small contingent of monks. Then, crossing a tributary below Ghami, we can look across to one of the longest continuous prayer walls in Nepal. Over 400m long and more than 2m high, it is brightly painted in orange, yellow, blue-grey and white stripes. The backdrop for this super Mani wall is a mountainside with its extraordinary colours which mirror those of the wall. At Charang, we stop off to see the large fortress-monastery. Then, shortly after leaving the village, we reach the huge Sungda Chorten that marks the boundary of the innermost part of Mustang, which is known as the Kingdom of Lo. At this point, snow-capped peaks on the north western margin of Mustang now come into view and we also get our first views across the wide and quite level depression - known as the Plain of Aspiration. In the centre of this high plain lies the remote city of Lo Manthang, a 200m square enclosure, surrounded by 10m high walls. These contain around 150 private dwellings and a number of monasteries, as well as the raja's palace.  Beyond Lo Manthang itself, a number of other settlements are visible, stretching off towards the Tibetan Border. We camp in a compound outside the walls of the town.
    Overnight Camp, Meals included: breakfast, lunch, linner

    Day 06. Explore Lo Manthang
    We have extra day today to look around the heart of the walled ancient capital city of Lo Manthang and the surrounding area. There is one main gate that gives access to the interior of Lo Manthang, and the best way to get a look at the town is to climb up onto the roof of one of the inns. From the narrow streets of the town it is difficult to get a clear impression of the layout. The raja's palace is a four-storey building of mud and timber construction. Just to the north of the town there is a prominent hill that is capped by a ruined fort. From the highest point of this hill it is possible to look across Lo Manthang and back all the way to the Annapurnas - a fantastic perspective. Namgyal Monastery, which is an hour's walk to the north-west of Lo Manthang, is another option for those who want to stretch their legs. We spend a second night at our camp outside the city walls.
    Overnight Camp, Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

    Day 07. Trek to Yara Village
    We begin our second part of the exciting 6-day journey from Lo Manthang, with a hike across open plains. This is followed by a gradual ascent to the Dhi La (4100m), from there we will be able to look across the valley of the upper Kali Gandaki River and southwards towards the Himalayas. It is a steep descent to the river bed and the village of Dhi, with its patchwork of fields leading down to the river’s edge, and its old monastery. Then, after lunch, we cross the river and ascend eastwards beside a tributary stream, before climbing away from the valley to reach our camp at Yara Village (3760m).
    Overnight Camp, Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

    Day 08. Day-hike to Luri Gompa
    Today, we will enjoy the luxury of being able to leave our camp set up and anyone who fancies a rest or an easy day can stay at Yara.  Meanwhile, away to the east amongst a range of deeply sculpted hills, there is one of the most amazing monasteries in Nepal, Luri Gompa. This offers an excellent objective for a day-hike, leading across open slopes, dotted with juniper bushes. It takes a couple of hours to reach the lower monastery building and then above that is a hillside formed of eroded pillars and cut by numerous man-made caves.  We will be able to see the red-painted ‘Luri Cave Monastery’ high up on the hillside.  There is a steep final ascent on scree and then through a man-made tunnel to reach the entrance to this Kagyu Pa Buddhist site, which dates from the 13th century.  Inside, there are a couple of accessible chambers with colourful wall paintings. We will have a picnic lunch, before returning to spend a second night in Yara.
    Overnight Camp, Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

    Day 09. Trek to Tange
    Today we change direction and head towards the south. On the eastern side of the Kali Gangaki, we will cross a low col and then drop down into the valley of the Dechyang Khola, another eastern tributary of the main river. Here, the riverbed is strewn with ammonites (fossils) and a few minutes of searching will usually uncover a nice example. Sandals are needed, as we may have to ford the river on more than one occasion today. We then climb up onto the open ridge known as the Sertang Danda and contour around to cross it via an unnamed pass at around 3850m. Dropping down, we will reach the lovely little village of Tange, set beneath a line of eroded terracotta cliffs and above the Tange Khola.  This village consists of about 20 tightly clustered, white-painted houses and a picturesque group of chortens, some large and some small, all painted in stripes of orange, grey and white. Terraced and irrigated fields lie between the village and the river.  We stay at the thriving and not-too-often visited village of Tange (3240m).
    Overnight Camp, Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

    Day 10. Trek to Pha
    This is quite a short day in terms of distance, but there is a fair amount of climbing. It’s the only day when we don’t stop at a village, but rather at a traditional high camping place adjacent to some springs.  We start out by crossing the Tange Khola at a bridge, then head upstream along the river bed for an hour or so, before beginning the long, steep climb to the Lelo La at 4200m. There are great views across a wild landscape to the 8000m peak, Dhaulagiri. We don’t have to descend far from the pass, before we reach the springs at Pha (4100m), a high grazing area and occasional summer-time shepherds settlement.
    Overnight Camp, Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

    Day 11. Trek to Tetang
    From our high camping place, we have a splendid day of walking, contouring around at 4000m elevation, all with fantastic views to the peaks on the western edge of Mustang.  Gradually, we turn back towards the Kali Gandaki and on to the amazing ridge of the Siyarko Danda.  We will follow this amongst typically eroded Mustangi geology, with far-reaching views, as well as breathtaking glimpses into red-ochre gorges.  A final steep descent leads to the irrigated fields of Tetang 3040m - this is yet another beautiful settlement, nestling amongst its terraced fields of barley and potatoes.
    Overnight Camp, Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

    Day 12. Trek to Muktinath, drive to Jomsom
    Our route today starts out through the narrow lanes of Tetang, and then climbs above the village - offering a birds-eye view! Beyond a plateau area, we climb again to reach the Gyu La (4077m), after some 3 hours walking. This is a brilliant viewpoint for the Annapurna peaks, Yakawa Kang, Nilgiri, Dhaulagiri (8167m) and Tukuche Peak. Below us, we can see Muktinath -the second most important Hindu temple in the country then it will take an hour and a half to drop down to this important pilgrimage centre. Arriving in time for a late lunch, we can then spend an hour or two sightseeing amongst Muktinath’s temples, before driving down to our overnight lodge in Jomsom.
    Overnight Guest House, Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

    Day 13. Fly via Pokhara to Kathmandu
    We take the short but exciting internal flight to Pokhara for an onward flight to Kathmandu.  On a clear day we can get good views of the western Nepal Himalaya, of Annapurna massif along with the shapely peak of Machhapuchare (the 'fish tail') are clearly visible from the runway at Pokhara. Afterwards we can see Manaslu, Ganesh Himal and Langtang Range which lies just to the north of Kathmandu valley. The rest of the afternoon is free for individual sightseeing or shopping.
    Overnight 4-Star Hotel, Meals included: breakfast

    Day 14. Sightseeing in Kathmandu
    This is an important contingency against the possibility of delays to the flight from Jomsom.  Today there is a half day guided tour to visit the old part of Kathmandu Durbar Square in the heart of the old city.  Here is the old Royal palace, with its intricate woodcarving and four fine towers.  There are several Hindu temples to house for different Hindu deities and images including the resident for Kumari, the young girl who is revered as a living Goddess from mid 18th century. You’ll see magnificent examples of Nepali architecture from the medieval period around this Durbar Square.   Leading off away the square, in all directions, are narrow alleys,full of the most amazing variety of shops and stalls. You are free in the afternoon to visit the most important Hindu temple in the valley at Pashupatinath. There is one of the largest Buddhist Stupas in the world at Boudhanath. Alternatively, you may wish to visit the monkey temple at Swayambunath.
    Overnight 4-Star Hotel, Meals included: breakfast

    Day 15. Depart Kathmandu
    The trip ends after breakfast. You’ll be transferred to the airport for your flight back home.

    Meals included: breakfast


Price Includes:

» Accommodation in Kathmandu - Twin share
» Sightseeing in Kathmandu
» Accommodation on the trek– Two person tent
» All meals (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner), snacks, welcome drink, Tea/Coffee on trek
» All land transport as listed in the itinerary
» Domestic flights and applicable taxes.
» Mustang restricted area fee (US$550)
» Porters and/or pack animals to carry personal gear
» Maximum 15 kg luggage allowance while on trek
» Duffle Bag for your gear
» Sleeping Bag and inner liner is available to hire at a cost
» Trek Leader, guides and camping Crew
» Comprehensive medical kit

Price Excludes:

» Personal expenses such as soft drinks, beverage, postage and laundry
» Meals in Kathmandu
» International flights and departure taxes
» Nepalese visa fees
» Travel insurance
» Emergency evacuation
» Tips and gratuities
» Costs arising from unforeseen events outside the control of Griffon Travel

Equipment List

Equipment List:

» Duffel bag

» Passport size photographs (minimum 2)

» Sun hat, Sun glasses, Sunscreen and lip salve with sun protection

» 3-4 season Sleeping bag

» 3 season jacket

» Waterproof synthetic or leather walking boots (worn in)

» Trainers/sandals for the evening

» Warm hat/Gloves

» Several pairs of walking socks

» Tracksuits or thermals for the evening

» Shirts/ t-shirts/ base layers

» Light to mid weight warm trousers

» long shirts or skirt for women

» Day pack

» Head Torch

» Water Bottle (min.1litre) with a wide mouth if using a SteriPEN / Camel Pak

» Scarf/buff

» Towel

» Mid-layer(Fleece)
» Waterproof jacket and trousers

» Plastic bag (bin liners)

» Wind stopper

» Runners/Snickers for camps

» Toilet paper (ideally biodegradable)

» Hand washing gel

» Plug adaptor

» Water treatment

» Biodegradable soap/ shampoo

» Trekking poles

» Small personal First Aid Kit

Latest News
TAAN Pokhara Chapter Explored New Trail
A team of Trekking Agencies'' Association of Nepal (TAAN) Western Regional Association Pokhara has explored a new trekking trail that starts from Kushma of Parbat and ends at Baskharka of Myagdi district.

A 17-member team led by Narayan Sapkota, former president of TAAN Pokhara, started the exploration with a drive to Kushma from Pokhara. From Kushma, the walk started toward Banau (2150 meters) through Ghumti, Bagaicha, Bhatebari, Dhakdhake and Sidhali
Your Guide
01. Hiking
01. Hiking

Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium,totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo invento.

02. Camping
02. Camping

Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium,totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo invento.

We are associated with:
We accept:
Company Info
Griffon Travel is an adventure company in Kathmandu, Nepal, which has been established by experience people from the Himalayas
Address: Minbhawan, Kathmandu, Nepal