Upper Mustang Overland Tour
Day 1: Arrival at Tribhuwan International Airport, Kathmandu
Arrive at the airport anytime and be greeted by a representative from Visit View Nepal Treks. They will assist with transfers to your hotel and provide information about your plans and programs. Check into the hotel and enjoy your stay. Overnight stay at the Hotel.
Day 2: Kathmandu Valley Sight Seeing Tour
At around 10am, the sightseeing tour of the Kathmandu Valley will commence, taking you on a journey through the city's cultural heritage sites that have been listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. The tour will take you to some of the most significant cultural landmarks in the city, including the Kathmandu Durbar Square, Swayambhunath Temple, Bouddhanath Stupa, and Pashupatinath Temple.
The Pashupatinath Temple is a sacred temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the most revered religious sites in the city. Visitors may also have the opportunity to witness the cremation rituals of Hindu individuals by the banks of the holy Bagmati River. The Bouddhanath is one of the largest Buddhist mandalas in the country and is a must-see for visitors interested in Buddhism. The Swayambhunath Temple is a stunning stupa situated on top of a hill and is also known as "The Monkey Temple."
The Kathmandu Durbar Square is home to ancient palaces of the Malla kings who once ruled over the city and also features many intricately designed buildings and temples. The square was heavily damaged in the 2015 earthquake, but restoration work is currently underway. The Cultural Heritage Sites of the city provide visitors with a deeper understanding of the country's rich history and religious practices. The prominent Newa architecture of the city presents a unique take on Nepali art and the sculptures and carvings on the buildings and temples showcase Nepal's artistic talent.
Kathmandu city is also known as "The City of Gods and Goddesses," and visiting these culturally and historically significant sites is a great way to get a feel for the country's ambiance. After the tour, you will return to your hotel for an overnight stay. In conclusion, touring the cultural heritage sites of Kathmandu Valley is an enriching and fascinating experience, allowing you to gain a deeper appreciation for the country's rich history and cultural traditions.
Day 3: Kathmandu to Pokhara (910m), Duration: 6 hours
After breakfast, you'll be taken to Pokhara, Nepal's second largest city. The scenic drive offers breathtaking views of terraced farmlands, lush with the planting of rice and barley, and the rush of rivers alongside the road. As you travel through isolated valleys surrounded by towering hills and rugged gorges, the journey from Kathmandu to Pokhara will take approximately 6 hours. Upon arrival, you'll check into a hotel, as there are many options available. In the evening, you can relax with a beautiful boat ride at Fewa Lake. On clear days, the reflection of Mount Machhapuchhre and the Annapurna Range can be seen on the calm water surface. You'll spend the night at the hotel.
Day 4: Pokhara to Kagbeni, Duration: 8 hours
A scenic drive to Kagbeni is the perfect way to start your day. This quaint village is situated in the Kali Gandaki River valley and serves as the entry point to the must-visit region of Mustang. Kagbeni used to be a checkpoint for traders traveling between Nepal and Tibet, and even today, trekkers are required to show their permits to pass through the checkpoint and venture further into Mustang.
As you approach Kagbeni, you will witness the transformation of the landscape from lush green hills to barren, ashy white hills. The village's strong Tibetan cultural influences become more prominent, making you feel like you have stepped into Tibet itself. Designed as a fortress town, Kagbeni was an important hub during the salt trade era.
Upon arrival, take a stroll through the village's cobbled streets lined with prayer wheels and small gompas. Visit the historic "Red Monastery," a giant building built in 1429 and distinguishable by its red-washed walls. The village's solidarity is felt through its dry and grey environment, combined with the highly oxidized hills. After exploring the area, spend the night at a local guesthouse to fully immerse yourself in the charming atmosphere of Kagbeni.
Day 5: Kagbeni to Charang/Tsarang (3500m)
Driving from Kagbeni to Charang (Tsarang) takes you through a landscape of white hills and badlands-like terrain. Tsarang is located south of the walled town of Lo Manthang, the capital of Mustang. The village features several buildings, a monastery, and a Dzong, and is known for its numerous stupa structures. Upon arrival, you'll visit the monastery, where the inner walls are adorned with murals of the Medicine Buddha Mandala. This depiction is a special object of devotion in Mustang and can be found in almost every village temple. You can spend the night at a guesthouse in the area.
Day 6: Charang – Hike to the Luri Cave – return.
From Charang, you will have a hike to the Luri Cave. The Luri Cave is a unique and ancient cave system located in the southeast of Lo Manthang, which has little known history about its origin. The sandstone cliffs and bluffs fluted by wind and weather into fantastical formations, such as serried, tapered pillars or organ pipes, are home to numerous caves, including the inner sanctum of the Luri Gompa. This small Buddhist art jewel is a Cave Monastery, also known as the Sky Cave, and is considered one of the last cave monasteries in Lo Manthang and Tibet. There are no written records about the construction of the Luri Gompa, which is believed to date back to the 13th-14th century and is affiliated with the Kagyu sect of Buddhism.
The Luri Gompa stands out against the sand and bone-colored sandstone pillars with its mud-brick superstructure perched on a ledge, 100 meters high on a cliff. To access the cave, one has to climb a winding footpath to a door in a lower cave and then ascend a notched log to the Gompa itself. The treasures of the Gompa are hidden in its inner chambers, which are hollowed-out or enlarged rooms with smooth walls. Natural light trickles in through a small window, making the space look ethereal and breathtaking.
The hike from Charang to the Luri Cave is a unique experience that will take you through the crumbling landscape, where you will witness the beauty of the sandstone cliffs and bluffs. After exploring the cave and the Luri Gompa, you will return to Tsarang for an overnight stay at a guesthouse.
Day 7: Charang to Lo Manthang (3600m/13 km)
Travel to the heart of the Mustang Kingdom and experience the rich cultural heritage of Lo Manthang. The journey from Tsarang to Lo Manthang takes you through a scenic landscape of unique badlands-like terrain dotted with corroded hills. The village of Lo Manthang is a gem that offers a glimpse into the ancient Tibetan Buddhist culture, one of the best preserved traditions in the world. Home to the ethnic Lhoba and Bon people, Lo Manthang is known for its tall white-washed mud brick walls, gompas, and the Raja's Palace - a nine-cornered, five-story structure built in the 1400s.
Take a walking tour of Lo Manthang and explore its many sites of interest. Visit the Jampa Lhakhang, also known as the Jampa Gompa, the oldest of the four major temples in the village, built in the early 15th century. The Thubchen Gompa, a huge red assembly hall and gompa located southwest of the Jampa Gompa, is another must-see destination. The Chodey Gompa, now the main city gompa, and the Choprang Gompa, popularly known as the "New Gompa", are also worth visiting.
Recently, a series of at least twelve caves have been discovered near the village of Annapurna, decorated with ancient Buddhist paintings and located at an elevation of 14,000 feet. These caves offer a unique and fascinating insight into the ancient culture and tradition of the region. After a day of exploring, spend the night at a cozy guesthouse and prepare for more adventures in the Mustang Kingdom.
Day 8: Lo Manthang – Explore the Chosar Cave and the Chosar Village – Return to Charang.
The Chosar Village is a charming destination that can be reached by either walking or driving from Lo Manthang. The trail to Chosar passes through dry gullies and an ancient ruined fortress, offering stunning views of the surrounding hills and mountains. The village itself is made up of stone walls and white hills, and is home to the picturesque Nyphu Gompa, built into the rock face. The valley surrounding Chosar was once a major trading point between Tibet and Lhasa and is dotted with the remains of old fortresses. Visitors to Chosar can also explore the nearby Chosar Caves, which are sure to captivate those interested in history and natural beauty. After a day of exploring, visitors will return to Charang, where you can spend the night at a local guesthouse.
Day 9: Charang – Hike to Ghar Gompa – Return to Charang
Today, we embark on a journey to the historic Ghar Gompa, located about three hours away from Charang. This is the oldest monastery in Mustang and dates back to the 8th century, built by Guru Rinpoche, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism. Ghar Gompa is said to be the site of Guru Rinpoche's mythical battle with the ogress Balmo. The monastery is adorned with magnificent paintings depicting tales and legends of gods and demons. The entrance is guarded by the Four Guardian Kings, and the inside is filled with beautifully painted stones and statues of Guru Rinpoche, Palden Lhamo on horseback, and Vajrapani. Visitors will also find Tsa Tsa carvings and prayer wheels surrounding the gompa. After exploring the historic site, we will return to Charang and spend the night in a guesthouse.
Day 10: Charang to Chhusang
A drive from Charang to Chhusang offers a scenic journey through a desert-like terrain dotted with colorful hills. Chhusang is a small village located between Tangbe and Chele, at the junction of the Narsingha River and the Kali Gandaki. The village is surrounded by towering cliffs in shades of red, orange and silver, some of which contain cave dwellings. Chhusang is made up of three hamlets and is home to an active farming community that uses the Narsingha River for irrigation. Despite its isolation, Chhusang has a rich culture influenced by Tibetan and Nepali heritage.
In recent years, life in Chhusang has begun to modernize, but it still remains peaceful and serene. The only way to reach the village was once by foot, and goods were transported by pony or yak caravans. Today, visitors can explore the village and see amazing rock formations. An overnight stay at a guesthouse offers the opportunity to fully immerse in the slow pace of life in Chhusang, where tradition and culture thrive.
Day 11: Chhusang to Muktinath
Driving to Muktinath is an exciting journey filled with light vegetation and scenic views along the way. One of the highlights of this journey is the visit to the Jarkot Monastery. Upon reaching Muktinath, you will be awed by the temple which is considered sacred by both Hindus and Buddhists. The temple is located in the Muktinath Valley at an altitude of 3,710 meters and is at the foot of the Thorung La mountain pass. Muktinath means "the Place of Liberation or Moksha" in Hindu. The temple has a Vaishnava origin but is also revered by Tibetan Buddhists as it is one of the 24 Tantric places of Dakinis, goddesses known as "Sky Dancers". The temple contains a human-sized golden statue of Lord Vishnu, bronze images of BhooDevi, the Goddess Saraswoti, and the princess Janaki, as well as statues of Garuda. Additionally, the temple has a wall of 108 faucets that spout ice-cold water from the Kali Gandaki River. To experience the beauty of Muktinath, you can opt for an overnight stay at the guesthouse in Muktinath.
Day 12: Muktinath to Pokhara, Duration: 8 hours.
Leaving the rocky hills behind, we embark on a drive back to Pokhara from Muktinath. The road winds through changing terrains, showcasing fascinating landscapes with layered moulds and rice plantations. The blue sky highlights the contrasting colors of the land, creating a melancholic feel. The journey ends with an overnight stay at a hotel in Pokhara.
Day 13: Pokhara to Kathmandu
The drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu is a scenic experience with stunning views of hills, serpentine rivers and small villages along the way. The road winds through picturesque landscapes, offering a glimpse of the charming destinations left behind as you make your way to the capital. An overnight stay at a hotel in Kathmandu is the perfect end to the journey.
Day 14: Farewell
Approximately three hours before your scheduled flight, you will be dropped off at the airport by one of Visit View Nepal Treks representatives from where you will depart.
- All ground transportation by private AC vehicle including airport transfer.
- Full board meals with tea/coffee (breakfast, lunch, dinner) during the trek
- Best available twin sharing lodge to lodge accommodation during the trek. We provide attached bathroom wherever possible.
- Down jacket, four seasonal sleeping bag, Visit View Nepal Treks duffel bag, t-shirt, and trekking map (down jacket and sleeping bag are to be returned after trip completion)
- An experienced English-speaking trek guide including his salary, insurance, equipment, flight, food and lodging.
- A comprehensive medical kit
- All necessary paper work and permits (ACAP, Special trekking permit) please bring 3 passport size photos for permit
- All government and local taxes
What's not included
- Meals not specified in the 'Meal Inclusions' in the itinerary'
- International airfare
- Nepal entry visa
- Travel insurance
- Hot shower during the trek
- Personal trekking equipment’s
- Cold drinks, water, snacks and other personal expenses.
- WiFi internet/phone call
- Horse/Pony during the trek.
- Tips and gratuities for trekking staff and drivers
The former kingdom of Lo in Upper Mustang is a fascinating region that is steeped in traditional Tibetan Buddhist culture, one of the purest forms of Tibetan Buddhism in the world that dates back centuries. The Upper Mustang Overland Tour is a new and exciting way to explore this mystical region without the need for strenuous trekking or hiking. This tour is ideal for those who want to see the best of Upper Mustang in the quickest and most comfortable way possible.
The tour starts with a beautiful and enriching Kathmandu City Tour before moving on to Pokhara, the adventure capital of the country. From there, you will embark on a journey through the region in a luxurious jeep, taking in the stunning valleys, rich ethnic villages, and isolated settlements along the way. The journey will take you through areas dotted with petrified mounds of limestone and ash-white hills, decorated with red houses and chortens that are adorned with prayer flags.
As you travel through the region, you will visit some of the most beautiful and diverse monasteries and Gompas in different settings, immersing yourself in the history, culture, and customs of the region. You will see the artistic and religious beauty of the Buddhist culture up close as you move from village to village and from one site to the next. The tour will take you to the ethereal Ghar Gompa, the ancient village surroundings, the holy Muktinath Temple, and the mystical Luri Caves, situated on the desert-like terrain that consists of towering rock formations.
Upper Mustang Overland Tour
You will visit monasteries where ancient tantric practices and shamanistic rituals were performed in ancient times and see the barren ridges, deep canyons, eroded cliffs, and moraine valleys that make Mustang so appealing. The Upper Mustang Overland Tour captures all the beautiful elements of Mustang and presents them in a comfortable and gracious way. The journey is sure to leave you spell-bound and will provide you with an unforgettable experience.
So why not join us on this wonderful adventure tour of one of the most outstanding and religious regions in the country? Let yourself be captivated by Mustang’s sheltered tranquility and pious Tibetan culture in the best way possible. Whether you are a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor, the Upper Mustang Overland Tour will provide you with an unforgettable experience that will stay with you for a lifetime.