Overnight destination – Ghami (Elevation 3490m)
Estimated walking time 4 hours
Thankfully our 3rd days walk was a shorter affair than the day before as we were both feeling a bit tired !! Only 2 La’s to cross but again both around the 4,000m mark so we visited the old and beautiful Monastery of Gelling before setting off.
We didn’t pass through any other villages so took a late lunch in Ghami when we arrived. Another day of stunning scenery complemented by blue skies !! (Accommodation and food also available in Ghami)
Overnight destination – Lo Manthang (Elevation 3730m)
Estimated walking time 8 hours
Today we were walking to Lo Manthang, but via Ghar Gompa which is the oldest Monastery in Mustang and indeed one of the highest Monasteries in the world at around 4,000 With the exception of Pasang, our guide, our “Team” went directly to Lo Manthang and we took a packed lunch with us.
The walk was fantastic, fairly gentle at first passing through the village of Marang, where we again left some pens at the local government school, Then a bit steeper as we approached Ghar Gompa, After visiting this Beautiful Monastery we continued crossing our highest La at 4.320m before dropping down into the ancient capital of Mustang, Lo Manthang (Food and accommodation as well as some small shops in Lo Manthang )
The first and probably most important thing to write about is the costs involved in Trekking in Upper Mustang as this is what puts a lot of people off going there !!
By far the biggest expense is the trekking permit which currently costs $700 for 10 days, and should you so choose to extend this, you can do for an additional $70 per day for up to a total of 4 days. Making 14 days in total.
However as long as you plan your trip well there is no need for these extra days as 10 days is sufficient time to trek in to Lo Manthang, spend a full day there to se the sights and then trek out again.
The next biggest cost is the support team, you have several choices of which way to organise this, The easiest is to join an organised trip, however this wasn’t my preferred choice as I wanted to trek with one friend, trek at our own pace, choose our own route, plan our own nightly halts and stops and eat what and when we anted to eat. So this is what we did.
We picked our dates that we wanted to trek, organised our own support team and had them meet us in Kagbeni on a specified date and walked in independently to meet them. We Trekked for the 10 days in Upper Mustang with this team then after the trek, again walked out independently.
For us this worked well, although as there was only two of us in our “Group” and we had a staff of seven Nepali’s looking after us (Guide, Cook, Cooks Boy, and four porters) this wasn’t necessarily the cheapest option.
A third possibility is that it is now just about possible to trek in independently as there is now basic accommodation available in most of the villages that you are likely to stay in. You would in all probability have to take a guide with you as the maps and guide book still aren’t as good as they might be, you would also be advised to take in some food with you as what is available is what the locals are eating – To survive on Dhal Baht is doable but hardly ideal. It also might well be advisable to take a light weight tent with you as if there is no accommodation available it would be better to have a plan “B”
The choice is yours, Much will depend on your own personal wishes / expectations and your budget as well as the time you have available – The most important thing is that you pick well and then enjoy your time in Upper Mustang as it really is a Unique place.
Once you have decided that you are going to trek in Upper Mustang, The Most Important thing is to pick a good and Reliable Agent to organise your Trek.
The temptation is often to go for the cheapest option, But as you have already splashed out $700 for your trekking permit, Therefore in my opinion it makes No Sense to save a few $$ and cut corners and then spoil your trip.
Several agents advertise on the internet, I would check out these agents, check there itinery and come up with your own chosen route / plan.
This is Exactly what I did, Then I contacted Nirmal at Himalayan Magic Adventures, Told him Exactly what I wanted and asked him for a price.
This he did, The price that he gave me included the ANCAP fee (You still need to pay this regardless as to whether you walk in all the way or fly to Jomsom and then walk to Kagbeni) The Mustang Trekking Permit fee ($700), And the complete fee for hiring the team, Guide, Cook, Cooks Boy and 4 porters (This price also included their expenses for getting from Kathmandu to Kagbeni and returning), All the Food for the trip and our accommodation (Tented (sometimes we had the option of staying inside a house, when this was possible and we took the option we paid the difference between the camping fee and the room charge, usually around $3 / $5 total))
The only other expense we had, Kagbeni to Kagbeni was our Tips for the team – We were Very Pleased with all our team so we gave them as much as we could afford.
The Entire trip worked Very well and I have No hesitation of recommending Nirmal at HMA to organise your trip.
Contact details are
Himalayan Magic Adventures
G.P.O. Box 7112
Telephone 977 1 4 26 25 24
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Overnight destination – Chele (Elevation 3050m)
Estimated walking time 6 hours
So you have arrived at kagbeni and are starting your trek, If you have broken the route down as we did then you will have an easy day to break you in.
Leaving Kagbeni you follow the Mustang Khola (Re-Named kali Gandaki), sometimes following the river along the bottom of the gorge and sometimes on paths above it, Passing through nice Tibetan villages like Tangbe, We lunched at Chhuksang where there is a small lodge (Our lunch was provided by our cook) and then a short walk to our overnight halt of Chele (Accommodation and food also available)
Overnight destination – Lo Manthang (Elevation 3730m)
Estimated walking time 0 hours
We had planned a rest day in Lo Manthang and were Pleased that we had, first of all we had a lay in, followed by a good leisurely breakfast then we set off with Pasang to visit 2 of the 3 Monasteries, we had taken along Khata’s so we could leave these in the monasteries that we visited, This was an interesting experience as when we explained what we wanted to do, the monks would take the Khata from us, put some rice in one end and tie it in place and hand the Khata back to us to throw up to our chosen manifestation.
After visiting these 2 monasteries we then wandered around the ancient city before heading back for a late lunch, Then we went to the 3rd monastery and again left Khata’s, here there was a feast going on so that was also very interesting. The rest of the day was spent relaxing as again we had a long day planned for tomorrow !! (Food and accommodation as well as some small shops in Lo Manthang)
Overnight destination – Dhi (Elevation 3300m)
Estimated walking time 5 1/2 hours
This was going to be another day where we didn’t pass through any villages en-route, we decided not to bother a with packed lunch but with hind sight it would have been better if we had as the walk took us longer than expected, mainly because on this day we left the main path and walked down a very minor trail which was very narrow and often with horrendous drops of to the side, to make matters worse we were also often walking in very loose sand so we had to be careful !!
Never-the-Less it was a wonderful days walking with exceptional scenery and we eventually arrived safe and sound at the small settlement of Dhi, back on the banks of the Mustang Khola (Limited Food and accommodation available in Dhi)
Overnight destination – Tsarang (Elevation 3620m)
Estimated walking time 4 ½ hours
Anther fairly short day, Again only 2 La’s to cross but again both in excess of 4,000m.
No villages en-route so again a late lunch in Tsarang on arrival. More Beautiful scenery, However it had snowed in the night at Ghami so the start of the day wasn’t quite as pleasant as we had been used to, Never-the-less the weather improved as the day went on and by the time we entered Tsarang mid afternoon we had blue skies once more.
After our lunch we had a couple of hours to explore Tsarang, including the magnificent monastery and the old palace – a Really Beautiful village (Food and accommodation as well as a small shop in Tsarang)
Overnight destination – Tangge (Elevation 3300m)
Estimated walking time 6 hours
Yet another day where we didn’t pass through any villages en-route, and again we decided not to bother a with packed lunch but with hind sight it would have been better if we had as the walk took us longer than expected.
There was a choice of two routes, one the main path which was a high level route crossing the mountains on the east bank of the Mustang Khola and the second route which actually followed the river, we opted for this, the second route as we thought that it would be easier as well as more interesting. Interesting it was, but it also involved wading across the Mustang Khola four times and then wading the Tangge Khola once !! Never-the-Less we still enjoyed our day although wading the rivers was a Cold Experience !!
The scenery was breath-taking, the sandstone cliffs along the river gorges were just awesome !! (Limited Food and accommodation available in Tangge )
Overnight destination –Chhuksang (Elevation 2950m)
Estimated walking time 10 1/2 hours
The penultimate day of our upper Mustang trek and the one that turned out to be the hardest of all with our final three La’s to cross to the village Chhuksang, This took us over 10 1/2 hours walking so it was dusk when we arrived !! However the path was bye and large good (One point it was a bit hairy where we had to cross the site of an avalanche that had only left the narrowest of ledges to cross with the usual horrific drop off !!) and the views were again Awesome.
Luckily ANCAP had built a shelter at a place called Ba Ha where there was a water supply of sorts, the boys had gone ahead and prepared a welcome lunch for us here. Then it was a long day crossing the Siyarko Tangk Danda ridge before finally dropping back down to the Mustang Khola and the village of Chhuksang arriving just before dark (Food and accommodation available in Chhuksang)
Overnight destination – Geling (Elevation 3510m)
Estimated walking time 9 hours
The 2nd day is a much longer and more strenuous day, You leave the Mustang Khola and have a total of 5 La’s (passes) to cross, all of them being over 4.000m, however the path is good and you pass through more interesting villages, Samar and Syangboche being the main ones. We took lunch, again provided by our chef in a small hamlet en-route and arrived at Geling tired but fulfilled after an excellent days walking (Accommodation and food also available in Geling)
Overnight destination – kagbeni (Elevation 2800m)
Estimated walking time 4 ½ hours
Our last day was a simple walk back down the Mustang Khola, a reverse of the morning of the 1st day. We were both sad that our Upper Mustang Trek was at a close but both agreed that it had been an Awesome trek and well worth all the money that we had spent to achieve it.
The staff had been Excellent, the cook Exceptional. I can recommend both our team and Nirmal at HMA who organised this trek for us.
The following tips are deigned to give you an idea of the practicalities of Trekking in Upper Mustang, Costs, Time-Scales, Accommodation choices and the different ways of getting to kagbeni, the start point of the trek.