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Upper Mustang Trek is a trek to the isolated ancient Himalayan Kingdom located at one of the driest valleys of the country. This trek wanders around the rural land which recently opened up to the international tourists.
The trekking trip starts with a one-day sightseeing tour of the historical Kathmandu Valley. The valley offers extraordinary insights into the historical and ancient structures build during the Rana Regime. The following day, you will be driving to the Cherrapunji of Nepal, Pokhara. From there, a flight will take us to the apple capital of Nepal, Jomsom. Don’t forget to try the sweet apples and the apple wine, ‘Marpha‘ in Jomsom.
Get to the major destination of Lo-Manthang on the ninth day of our trip. As the village is considered, ‘The Last Forbidden Kingdom‘, it offers an untouched and untamed view of the Tibetan-influenced culture and values prevalent in the Himalayas of Nepal. Due to the reason of being a separate entity for a long time, the Upper Mustang Trek is possibly the most unique and fascinating place in Nepal.
Along the way, you will also be able to enjoy your time at the sacred temple of Muktinath. The temple is sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists. You will also be able to look at the Kali Gandaki Gorge, which is considered the deepest in the world.
The Upper Mustang Trek is a perfect place for those who want to experience unique culture alongside beautiful scenery. Besides culture, you will also be able to have the natural views of the peaks like Nilgiri, Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, and such other peaks.
Welcome to the land of the Himalayas. You will be welcomed by the high snowcapped peaks. Our company representative will escort you to your hotel. You will be provided with all the detailed information about your program. If you arrive late in the evening, then there is always the other day to provide information about your tour.
Today, you will have a full day sightseeing tour of the Kathmandu Valley. Our trip today consists of the Kathmandu Durbar Square, Swoyambhunath (Monkey temple) and the Patan City (The City of Fine Arts). Kathmandu Durbar Square is a complex of palaces, courtyards, and temples built between the 12th and 18th centuries. The palace used to be the seat of the ancient Malla Kings of Kathmandu. The Great Stupa of Swoyambhunath stands on a hill to the west of Kathmandu. Its name stands for “The Self-created, Self-existent Buddha” also known as the Monkey Temple. Similarly, Patan City is noted for its craftsmen and metal workers. The diversity of the Medieval culture that allowed both Hinduism and Buddhism to flourish has left a rich legacy of impressive sightseeing in this city for all of the visitors both internal and external.
After breakfast, you will be traveling to Pokhara (around 200km) via the Prithvi Highway. It is a 6hrs 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 the Fewa lake. Overnight in a tea house in Pokhara.
This morning, you will have the opportunity to experience, perhaps, the most exhilarating mountain flight in the world (certainly the best in Nepal). The flight will offer stunning views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges. You fly up the valley between the two 8000+ meters giants seemingly within the touching distance of the mountains. Upon reaching Jomsom, the trekking starts with a short trek to Kagbeni, the main gateway to the Upper Mustang. The scenery up here is vastly different to that you experienced at Pokhara and this stark grandeur under the shadow of snow-capped peaks set the tone for your trek. Overnight in a tea house in Kagbeni.
The day starts with a permit check as you leave Kagbeni and head upstream beside the Kaligandaki River. Your first stop is the Tangbe village with its 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 in a tea house in Chele.
After starting your day with a walk to Ekle Bhatti, you climb the Taklam La Pass (3624m/11,923ft) and are greeted with stunning views of the Tilicho Peak, Yakawa Kund, and Damodar Danda. From here, descend to the village of Samar and then further descend steeply to the stream below. A further 3 hours of walking takes you to Syanbochen and along the way, you can experience the landscape of streams and junipers. Junipers are an important factor in the Buddhist culture as the incense is made of such flowers. Overnight in a tea house in Syanbochen.
Trek uphill to the Yamda La (3850m/12,667ft) passing through local villages with Tibetan style architecture, chortens, and tea houses. Cross over the high mountain passes and experience breathtaking views of the barren landscape, 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. Overnight in a tea house in Ghyami.
After breakfast, 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 its abundant fields, willow trees, and houses surrounded by stone walls. The village is famous for its monasteries, Thangkas, and much more. Overnight in a tea house in Charang.
The trek to Lo-Manthang offers you the magnificent views of Nilgiri, Tilcho, Annapurna I, and the Bhrikuti Peak. Begin by descending through the Charang Chu Canyon before climbing steeply and ascending the windy pass of Lo from where you will have a magnificent view of the walled city of Lo-Manthang on the Tibetan border. Overnight in a tea house in Lo-Manthang.
Today, you will explore the area around Lo-Manthang starting with a 2 hours 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 to Tingkhar village before returning back to Lo-Manthang. Overnight in a tea house in Lo-Manthang.
From Lo-Manthang, the trail climbs steadily up a ridge to 4070m and continues climbing to Chogo La situated at 4210m, the highest point on the trek. The trail then crosses the Charang River and reaches Ghar Gompa, a 1200-years’ old monastery with Guru Rinpoche as the primary focus. According to the 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 in a tea house in Drakmar.
This morning, you will head to Ghiling where you will have the entire afternoon to explore the area. The trek today is easy as the hike contains full downhill and flat trails. Also, enjoy the views of the diverse wildlife. Overnight in a tea house in Ghiling.
It’s an easy day walking with wonderful Himalayan scenery to enjoy today. As you head to the Chhusang Village, you will come across two ways to reach there. An alternative route passes through Samar Village and the Ranchung Cave which takes 30-minutes longer than the original trails. Overnight in a tea house in Chhuksang.
It’s a special day today as you trek to one of the most sacred pilgrimage places for Hindus and Buddhists, the Muktinath Temple. This route is also very popular for the abundant “Saligram”. Overnight in a tea house in Muktinath.
As Muktinath is one of the most important destinations for the Hindus pilgrims, you will visit the temple in the morning. There are 108 waterspouts inside the temple where pilgrims take a holy bath. From Muktinath, you can enjoy magnificent views of the Dhaulagiri mountain range. Descend and cross the Kaligandaki Valley passing the Kagbeni village before we reach Jomsom. Overnight in a tea house in Jomsom.
An early morning flight to Pokhara leaves for sightseeing around Pokhara Valley. Pokhara is the adventure capital of Nepal and offers Paragliding and the world’s longest zipline among other things. A visit to the World Peace Pagoda or a boat trip on the Fewa Lake is always lovely too. There is a great tourist shopping strip with souvenir shops, cafés, and bars at the lakeside. Or, you can also visit the numerous Tibetan Refugee Camps, David’s Falls, or the Mountaineering Museum during your time at the lake city. Overnight in a hotel in Pokhara.
Today you will drive back to Kathmandu where you can spend the remainder of the day relaxing or souvenir shopping before the farewell dinner tonight. Overnight in a hotel in Kathmandu.
Sadly, your most memorable journey comes to an end today. A Great Nepal representative will guide you to the airport some 3 hours before the flight. Have a safe journey ahead.
You will be staying in 3 star hotels (as mentioned in itinerary) while you are in Kathmandu and Pokhara. While visiting the rural areas, especially high altitudes, you will be staying in teahouses. It is important to note that teahouses are small lodges run by locals and are a very popular type of accommodation in high altitudes and rural areas. They tend to be quite on the cheaper side and only offer limited services.It is important to be open-minded and not expect all the services you get in city areas. The rooms are typically small with twin beds, clean blanket, pillow and bed sheet. Normally people tend to carry their own sleeping bags for sanitary reasons. The only area, that is usually heated is the dining area, so be ready to face some cold night. Toilets in teahouses are typical squat-style and are very small but clean. Likewise, hot water is not available, but you can easily get some for a small fee. If you have any other questions related to accommodation, food, and other details during your visit to Nepal, you can always contact our operators who are available 24X7 at your service.
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
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:
– Antiseptic cream (Betadine)
– Sunblock SPF 30+
– Throat lozenges
– Painkillers and anti-inflammatory such as Aspirin, Paracetamol, Ibuprofen etc.
– Band-aids, bandage, compression bandage and ‘Second Skin’ for blisters
– Re-hydration salts. (Trioral, Electrobin, Oral Rehydrating Salt)
– Dextrose glucose tablets
– Water treatment tablets
– Your prescription medications
– Antibiotics for longer climbing and expedition style trips
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
– 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
– Severe headache symptoms not relieved by painkillers or lying down
– Confusion, disorientation & drowsiness
– Loss of balance or coordination
– Blurred or double vision/retinal hemorrhage
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
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.
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.
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.
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.