Upper Mustang Trek is the ancient Himalayan Kingdom which until recently was off limits to western tourists. The area has an isolated and mystical feel to it. Located in the north of the Annapurna Region on the border to Tibet it is a high desert region that features stark treeless landscape under the shadow of high snow-capped peaks dotted with a colorful mosaic of fields.The influence here is Tibetan, with the language, culture and religion closely linked to the Tibetan people. Lo Manthang considered until recently to be The Last Forbidden Kingdom until it was opened to foreigners still considered to be a separate kingdom is possibly the most unique and fascinating place in Nepal. Thousands of years of isolation has kept the culture, lifestyle and heritage of this place unchanged for centuries. Many people consider Upper Mustang to be more authentically Tibetan than Tibet for this very reason. And for tourists, this presents a unique opportunity to experience this ancient history and culture.
Home to some ancient Monasteries and Buddhist sites as well as the famous pilgrimage site of Muktinath (sacred to Hindu’s and Buddhists) Upper Mustang is a deeply spiritual experience. Also, home to the Kali Gandaki Gorge, considered to be the deepest in the world this area will delight not only with it’s cultural and spiritual diversity but It’s stark and stunning natural beauty.
Until 1991 Upper Mustang was a restricted region for outsiders, which led to earning its name as the last forbidden Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal or Mini Tibet of Nepal. Upper Mustang trek takes you to the hidden world of the Buddhist Kingdom of Mustang and therefore is closely tied to the Tibetan culture and traditions. Upper Mustang is the perfect getaway for those who seek solitary and cultural mix; this region is very rich in Tibetan culture and has no. of Buddhist monasteries, rare medieval Buddhists arts, and exotic culture, unbelievable views of Nilgiri, Dhaulagiri, Annapurna and several other peaks. With almost treeless barren landscape and steep rocky trails are some other reasons which differentiate this trek from other.
Day 1: Arrive in Kathmandu (1350m/4429ft)
Day 2: Half day Sightseeing Tour Kathmandu
Day 3: Drive to Pokhara (823m/2,700ft) 6 hrs drive
Day 4: Fly to Jomsom & trek to Kagbeni (2,858m/9,375ft) 3-4 hrs
Day 5: Trek to Chele (3050m/10,004ft) 5-6 hrs
Day 6: Trek to Syanbochen (3475m/11,398ft) 6-7 hrs
Day 7: Trek to Ghaymi (3520m/11,546ft) 5-6 hrs
Day 8: Trek to Charang (3500m/11,480ft) 4-5 hrs
Day 9: Trek to Lo-Mangthang (3700m/12,136ft) 5-6 hrs
Day 10: Exploration of Namgyal Gompa and Tingkhar 4-6 hrs
Day 11: Trek to Drakmar (3810m/12,500ft): 6-7 hrs
Day 12: Trek to Ghiling (3806m/12,484ft) 5-6 hrs
Day 13: Trek to Chhuksang (3050m/10,004ft) 5-6 hrs
Day 14: Trek to Muktinath (3,710m/12,170ft) 7 hrs
Day 15: Trek to Jomsom (2700/8,856ft) 6 hrs
Day 16: Flight back to Pokhara
Day 17: Drive back to Kathmandu 6 hrs
Day 18: Departure from TIA.
You will be welcomed by a Great Nepal Representative at the airport and be transferred to your hotel. Your Great Nepal Representative will explain briefly about the travel itinerary. There will be a welcome dinner tonight where you will enjoy local cuisine and folk dance. Overnight stay in hotel.
Today you will be going for sightseeing around the world heritage sites in the Kathmandu valley including, Kathmandu Durbar square, Bouddhanath Temple and Pashupatinath Temple. Overnight stay at hotel.
After breakfast we will be travelling to Pokhara (around 200km) via the Prithivi Highway. It is a 6hr drive with beautiful scenery all along the way featuring rolling hills, farmland with terraces set beside raging rivers perfect for rafting. You will arrive at Pokhara in the late afternoon where you can wander around the shops at lakeside and enjoy the sunset over Fewa Lane. Overnight at Pokhara.
This morning you will have the opportunity to experience perhaps the most exhilarating mountain flight in the world (certainly the best in Nepal), with stunning views of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges. We fly up the valley between two 8000+m giants seemingly within touching distance of the mountains. Upon reaching Jomsom our trekking starts with a short trek to Kagbeni, the main gateway to Upper Mustang. The scenery up here is vastly different to that which we experienced at Pokhara and this stark grandeur under the shadow of snow capped peaks sets the tone for our trek. Overnight at Kagbeni.
The day starts with a permit check as we leave Kagbeni and head upstream beside the Kaligandaki River. Our first stop is Tangbe village with it’s narrow roads through white washed stone houses, fields of buckwheat and barley and apple orchards. With Nilgiri Peak on our right it’s around 2 hours to Chhusang village before we leave the Kali Gandaki Valley and the track climbs steeply up a rocky gully to Chele. Overnight at Chele.
After starting our day with a walk to Eklo Bhatti we climb the Taklam La Pass (3624m/11,923ft) and are greeted with stunning views of Tilicho Peak, Yakawa Kand and Damodar Danda. From here we descend to the village of Samar and then descending steeply to the stream below. A further 3 hours of walking takes us to Syanbochen and along the way we can experience the landscape of streams and juniper which is an important ingredient for incense in the local Buddhist culture.
Today we trek uphill to the Yamda La (3850m/12,667ft) passing through local villages with Tibetan style architecture, chortens and tea houses. We cross over mountain passes and experience breathtaking views of the barren land, naked hills and rugged terrain that is a feature of Mustang. The fields of barley and avenue of poplar trees on our way is a stark contrast to the rugged browns and rocky hillsides.
After breakfast we start with a pleasant walk crossing the Ghami Khola before climbing to a plateau where the trail passes a very long Mani wall (a wall of stones printed with Buddhist Mantras). From here the track heads east to the village of Charang which is characterized by it’s abundant fields, willow trees and houses surrounded by stone walls. The village is famous for it’s monasteries, Thankas and much more. Overnight at Charang.
The trek to Lo-Manthang offers us magnificent views of Nilgiri, Tilcho, Annapurna 1 and Bhrikuti Peak. We begin by descending the Charang Chu Canyon before climbing steepy and ascending the windy pass of Lo from where we have a magnificent view of the Lo-Manthang Valley and the walled city of Lo-Manthang on the Tibetan border. Overnight in Lo-Manthang.
Today we explore the area around Lo-Manthang starting with a 2 hour trek to Namgyal Gompa. Situated on the hilltop it is an important monastery for the local community and the local court. The trek then continues until Tingkhar village before returning back to Lo-Manthang. Overnight in Lo-Manthang.
From Lo-Manthang the trail climbs steadily up a ridge to 4070m and continues climbing to Chogo La situated at 4210m which is the highest point on the trek. The trail then crosses the Charang River and reaches Ghar Gompa, a 1200 year old monastery with Guru Rinpoche as the primary focus. According to local legend anyone who makes a wish at Ghar Gompa will have that wish fulfilled. From here it’s just a short walk to Drakmar. Overnight at Drakmar.
This morning we head to Ghiling where we have the afternoon to explore the area. Overnight at Ghiling.
It’s an easy day walking with wonderful Himalayan scenery to enjoy today. As we head to Chhusang Village and there are two ways to reach there. An alternative route passes through Samar Village and the Ranchung Cave which takes 30-minutes longer than the original trail. Overnight stay at Chhuksang.
It’s a special day today as we trek to one of the most sacred pilgrimage places for Hindu’s and Buddhists, Muktinath Temple. This route is also very popular for the abundance “Saligram”. Overnight at Muktinath.
As Muktinath is one of most important destinations for Hindus pilgrim, we will visit the temple in the morning. There are 108 water spouts inside the temple where pilgrims take a holy bath. From Muktinath we can enjoy magnificent views of Dhaulagiri mountain range. From Muktinath we descend and cross Kaligandaki Valley passing Kagbeni village before we reach Jomsom. Overnight stay at a Jomsom.
An early morning flight to Pokhara leaves the day is free for sightseeing around Pokhara Valley. Pokhara is the adventure capital of Nepal and offers Paragliding and the worlds longest zipline among other things. A visit to the World Peace Pagoda or a boat trip on Phewa Lake is always lovely too. There is a great tourist shopping strip with souvenir shops, café’s and bars at lakeside. Or you can visit the numerous Tibetan Refugee Camps, Devi’s Falls or the Mountaineering Museum. Overnight in Pokhara.
Today we drive back to Kathmandu where you can spend the remainder of the day relaxing or souvenir shopping before our farewell dinner tonight. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Sadly your most memorable journey ends today. A Great Nepal representative will escort you to the airport 3 hours before your scheduled flight. On your way home you have plenty of time to think about your recent adventure and to plan your next wonderful adventure in Nepal.
To enable all expedition members to acclimatize well and hence maximize their chances of success, our expedition programs are prepared with sufficient time for acclimatization. Adaptation to the altitude takes time and there can be no short-cuts, even if supplementary oxygen is used in the final stages. The atmospheric pressure at the base camp is half of that at the sea level. A thorough program of acclimatization is built into the itinerary which consists of regulated height ascents, followed by descents and rests before the final ascent to the summit. This will prevent the climbers to get rid from altitude sickness.
WHAT KIND OF PERSONAL FIRST AID KIT SHOULD I CARRY?
Although our guides carry first aid medical kit, it is better to carry a supply of first aid items for your own personal use according to your health conditions. Here are the list of some general as well as some special medications you may require:
DOES HIGH ALTITUDE EFFECTS AND BENEFITS?
You will be affected by high altitude problems if it is your fist trip at a high altitude.The altitude has some important beneficial effects on the human body and your trips have been designed to enable these. Please familiarize yourself with the information on AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) and understand how to avoid it and read on benefits of high altitude and take advantage of these to improve your body' metabolism.
WHAT IS ACUTE MOUNTAIN SICKNESS? (AMS)
Altitude sickness is the reaction of the body adjusting to decreasing amounts of oxygen. The high altitude slowly decreases the flow of oxygen means the higher you climb, the flow of oxygen is very thin resulting the malfunction of body.
Altitude sickness most commonly occurs from above 2,800 meters (9,200ft) but this is different for everyone - there is simply no way of knowing your own susceptibility prior to being at altitude thus it is vital for you to monitor your own health. AMS occurs when the body is unable to adopt at the higher altitude having less amount of oxygen. At an altitude of 5490m (18000 ft.), the oxygen availability becomes just the half of the availability at sea level. While only a third of oxygen is available at the summit of Mt. Everest. Symptoms may be mild and subside/go away after a day's rest, or if it is ignored it could lead to death.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF AMS?
Symptoms can appear within 1-2 hours although most often appear 6-10 hours after ascent and generally subside in 1-2 days as the body adjusts to altitude. They may reappear as you continue to go higher. Symptoms of AMS usually occur gradually and can be one or a combination of the following:
• Headache: Due to the less amount of oxygen in air, the blood influences the blood vessels to spread wide in order to supply more oxygen to the brain and which cause them to show the early symptom of AMS.
• Dopiness: The trekkers or climbers feel very sleepy but could not.
• Shortness of breath: The breathing pattern changes as the breathing becomes faster and deeper than normal in order to get enough oxygen and rapid pulse
• Loss of appetite and nausea: Despite of physical exercise, the trekkers don’t have an appetite to eat. They will feel as if they want to vomit.
• Pins and Needles: Sensation of a limbs falling asleep.
• Fatigue: Physical pressure while trekking the long hours followed by Insomnia shows the next symptom of AIMS which is fatigue.
• Dizziness: A feeling of falling down, it is the early symptoms of AMS.
• Malaise: Malaise is the feeling of being sick which is also one of the symptoms of AMS.
• Swelling of hands, feet & face: Due to the accumulation of fluids, the tissues swell which is also one of the symptoms of AMS.
Symptoms associated with more severe Acute Mountain Sickness includes:
• Cyanosis (alteration of skin color into bluish or purplish)
• Chest tightness or congestion
• Coughing up blood
• Decreased consciousness or withdrawal from social interaction
• Grey or pale complexion
• Inability to walk in a straight line, or to walk at all
• Shortness of breath at rest
At high altitude, all people will experience some of the above symptoms in a mild form. If the body is unable to adjust to altitude these symptoms will persist and if they are left untreated, altitude sickness may progress to High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) or High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE). Edema means simply fluid accumulation in your interstitial body tissues. Both HACE and HAPE can be fatal if ignored.
LIFE THREATENING FORMS OF AMS.
High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE)
If one accumulates of fluid in the lungs and mild fever then, there is a chance of High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE). The filling of fluid in the lungs is Pulmonary Edema. The fluid blocks the passage of fresh oxygen to get into the lungs which causes the shortage of oxygen. Though the exact reason for the HAPE has not been identified, scientists think that pressure of blood vessel around the lungs is directly proportional to the altitude. As a result the smaller blood vessels leak allowing the fluid to escape to the lungs. The treatment for the HAPE victims is to give the oxygen at the rate of 4 liters a minute, using Portable Altitude Chamber (PAC). In case of unavailability of PAC bag or oxygen, one is taken down to the low altitude which is the only way of life-saving. HAPE can also lead to unconsciousness which may also results to death in a short period of time.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF HAPE (fluid in the lungs)?
• A dry cough, developing to a wet one with blood-tinged discharge or saliva
• Tightness in the chest & blueness/darkness of face, lips & tongue
• Low fever up to 38°C/100°F
• Severe fatigue, progressing to coma
High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE)
HACE is the accumulation of fluid in the brain due of the swollen blood vessels to the brain. HACE is also seen within a couple of hours and can send the patient to coma and take his/her life in just few hours likewise to HAPE. The excessive flow of blood to the brain due to the low-level oxygen causes vasodilation which eventually leads to leakage of blood vessels to the brain. A 4 to 8mg of dexamethasone is given as a first dose to those who suffer from such sickness and then 4mg Diamox is given an every six hours gap. Similarly, 2-4 liters/minute oxygen is given and one is taken to down if it is necessary.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF HACE (fluid in the brain)?
• Severe headache symptoms not relieved by painkillers or lying down
• Confusion, disorientation & drowsiness
• Loss of balance or coordination
• Blurred or double vision/retinal hemorrhage
HOW TO PREVENT?
Certain medical conditions (such as respiratory disease) or medications (such as sleeping pills) can increase the risk of altitude sickness - it is important that you inform your guide of any medical conditions or medications before ascending to altitude. You can help your body to acclimatize and avoid altitude sickness by:
• Avoiding alcohol, tobacco and substances that can interfere with good delivery of oxygen to the body or cause dehydration
• Eating small, frequent meals high in carbohydrates
• Drinking plenty of water – the test of sufficient amount of water intake is ability to urinate colorless urine
• Taking it easy or have a rest. Walk at a slower pace than you would at sea level and avoid over-exertion
• Climb the mountain gradually and stop for a day or two of rest for every 600m/2000ft above 2,400m/8000ft
• Climb high but Sleep at a lower altitude if possible
• Learn how to recognize early symptoms of mountain sickness
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT?
Most travelers are able to successfully acclimatize by following the previously mentioned guidelines. However, there are instances where medical treatment is required. Ultimately, the best treatment for acute mountain sickness (AMS) is to descend to a lower altitude and rest. Early diagnosis is important. Acute mountain sickness is easier to treat in the early stages. The guide will monitor you all the time for symptoms and will pace you appropriately to minimize your exposure to AMS.
Cooperating with the guide and reporting if any of the above-described symptoms are seen allows your guide to undertaking appropriate and timely action to minimize your exposure to AMS. Sufficient time for acclimatization (After 3000 meters) is also another method to minimize AMS. Following precautions can be done in order to get rid of AMS:
• Don’t ascent up rapidly.
• Never use alcohol, sleeping pills and smoking.
• Drink more fluid 3-4 liters a day, clean boiled water / tea / coffee / soup / juice etc.
• Climb high and sleep low.
• Don’t go trekking alone, take guide/porter.
• Follow the advice from your guide, hotel, local people, guidebook.
• Descent if mild symptoms rapidly getting worse.
• Never leave or descent sick person along.
• Avoid getting cold.
• Take an easy and comfortable trekking route even if it is longer.
• Sleep more than normal.
Your Guide will carry some medications in First Aid Kit and may suggest for medication such as Ibuprofen, Paracetamol, combination of them or specific AMS medication. Standard and effective medication for prevention of AMS is Acetazolamide (Diamox) and it may be given to help improve breathing and reduce mild symptoms. This drug can cause increased urination. Ensure you drink plenty of fluids and avoid alcohol when taking this drug.
With severe cases of AMS, our guide will contact our office in Kathmandu and arrange your evacuation by helicopter. Before we accept you on the trek we will require that you purchase health and travel insurance including helicopter rescue and hospitalization.
HOW DO WE HANDLE DURING THE CASE OF EMERGENCY?
You never know when the unexpected situation comes and put you in hearse condition. So such cases you will be rescued by Helicopter. You are entirely liable for all the expenses incurred in evacuation. So, before coming to Nepal,please make your travel insurance. Ask your guide to arrange a runner to the nearest communication point and inform office about requirement of a helicopter. For evacuation, we require the name of the sick person and the exact location from where helicopter can airlift you. You should not leave the place after calling Helicopter for evacuation though you are feeling better than before.
HOW TO GET SAFE DRINKING WATER?
On the trek, there is a facility of purchasing safe drinking water in teahouses.It is better if you carry the water purifying pills on your own. On camping trek, the water will be treated with Potassium permanganate or Iodine. On the trail, water from the streams is safe to drink, but better not to use it directly for drinking.
DO WE BE SECURE DURING OUR JOURNEY?
Security and a safe journey is our core objective of trekking. Our guide holds licenses issued by the Nepal Government and our staffs are local, honest, kind and genuine. But we also insist you to take care of your own personal belongings. If you are on ‘camping trek’ please take your main bag inside the tent once you reach campsite and put all bags and belongings in the middle of the tent when you feel sleepy. Your guide assigns a Sherpa on turn wise basis to guard the campsite throughout the night. If you are on ‘Tea house arrangement, never leave your baggage unattended and keep your lodge room locked when you go out.
IS YOUR COMPANY GOVERNMENTALLY RECOGNISED?
Our company is not only governmentally recognize but also affiliated with several other national and international agencies related to tourism. Our Managing Director Mr. Surya Bahadur Ghimire has already performed Media and press coordinator role being the Executive Member for two years (2015-2017) in TAAN (TREKKING AGENCIES ASSOCIATION OF NEPAL), which is only an umbrella organization of all trekking agencies’ in Nepal.
Why is Tipping essential?
There are several reasons why you should tip in Nepal. It is quite the same as for what you tip in restaurants. They live in remote areas that are far from proper health and education facilities. Tipping them will additionally encourage them to manage good and nutritive food to eat, warm and comfortable clothes to wear or other necessary basic requirements to maintain their livelihood in a comfortable way. A small gesture of gratitude will do no harm to you but actually changes the lives of many people for a long time in many reasons. Our company has its fund collected from the same percentage of profit and sometimes from the tips of our guests which will directly be invested for uplifting the economic condition of guides, porters and other staffs of office. It’s nothing more than the way to add smiles on those laborious faces.