The Forbidden Kingdom of Upper Mustang

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20 Days
Mar-May, Sep-Nov
Adventurous
4210m
Overview
  • Extension of Tibetan plateau, typical Tibetan traditions and Buddhist Culture
  • Forbidden Kingdom till the last decade, dramatic landscapes, warm-friendly locals
  • Walled city of Loman-thang ,as it was for hundred years ago, grand views of the snow capped peaks

Introduction:
Mustang has an average elevation of 13,000 ft and is located to the north of the mountain giants of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna and is therefore north of the main Himalayan range and Geographically is part of the highlands of Tibet. It is a vast high valley, arid and dry, characterized by eroded canyons, colorful stratified rock formations and has a barren, desert like appearance.

One of the most fascinating features of Mustang are literally thousands of cliff dwellings, some of which look completely inaccessible . The most recent theory is that they may date 8-10000 BC when Mustang was a much greener land.

Outline Itinerary:

Day 01:

Arrival in Kathmandu

Day 02:

Kathmandu Sightseeing

Day 03:

Drive to Pokhara

Day 04:

Pokhara fly to Jomsom & bike to Kagbeni (2810m)

Day 05:

Kagbeni to Muktinath (2760m)

Day 06:

Muktinath to Chele (3050m)

Day 07:

Chele to Zaite (3800m)

Day 08:

Zaite to Charang (3560m)

Day 09:

Charang to Lo-Manthang (3810m)

Day 10-11:

Lo-Manthang rest and exploration day (3810m)

Day 12:

Lo-Manthang to Yara (3520m)

Day 13:

Yara to Tange

Day 14:

Tange to Chussang (2920m)

Day 15:

Chussang to Marpha (2743m)

Day 16:

Marpha to Tatopani ( 1190 m)

Day 17:

Tatopani to Pokhara ( 800m )

Day 18:

Free day in Pokhara

Day 19:

Pokhara to Kathmandu

Day 20:

Departure

Itinerary

DAY 01:

ARRIVAL IN KATHMANDU

 

Touchdown in the Himalayan Capital. We will collect you from the airport and you will get you first dose of the hectic streets of Kathmandu as we drive to the Hotel. Take some time to check the bikes, chill out and recover from your flight.

   

DAY 02:

KATHMANDU SIGHTSEEING

 

A lazy start to the day and a stroll down to Kathmandu Durbar Square. If you are up to it we can go for an afternoon ride exploring some of the single tracks and trails in the North of the Kathmandu Valley.

   

DAY 03:

DRIVE TO POKHARA

 

Depart early from the Hotel in Kathmandu. Leave behind the valley and drive down along the Trisuli River and into the tropical lowlands to Pokhara. In Pokhara take the afternoon to rest and explore the tranquil lake side, or perhaps an afternoon ride around the edge of the lake.

   

DAY 04:

POKHARA FLY TO JOMSOM & BIKE TO KAGBENI (2810M)

 

Wake up for sunrise and hopefully catch a glimpse of the mountains before we head to the airport. It’s about a 22 min flight to Jomsom, above the Pokhara valley and deep into the heart of the Himalaya, take a peek out of the window for fantastic views of  Dhaulagiri and beyond. The flight is simply breathtaking as the plane’s wingtips almost touch the snow capped peaks, fly right between the Himalayan giants and you feel your adventure has really begun as the small plane banks left and touches down in Jomsom. In Jomsom, we have breakfast and spend some time getting the bikes ready for the journey. From Jomsom we cycle along the Upper section of the Kali Gandaki River to Kagbeni. It’s a mostly flat and steady ride of about 2 hours. Kagbeni is a delightful Buddhist village, a great place to explore in your free time. Get yourself lost amongst the cobbled lanes and willow trees along the crystal clear mountain streams. Stay overnight in the lovely Red House one of the oldest and best tea houses in the region.

   

DAY 05: 

KAGBENI TO MUKTINATH (2760M)

 

A day for uphill! Leaving behind the warm hospitality of Red House we peddle up hill on a jeep trail. We leave the valley far below, there are great views of Kagbeni and into the restricted region of Upper Mustang. It’s important to ride slow as this is part of our acclimatization for the trip. We take the left side of the steep gorge, avoiding the jeep traffic that ferries pilgrims to the Holy Temple at Muktinath. We arrive in a tiny Buddhist Settlement of Jhong, a good place to rest and eat an early lunch. Spend some time exploring the cliff top Monastery and soaking up the views of Jharkot and Muktinath across the gorge. The last climb is gentle and crosses a short section of single track to reach to Muktinath. Muktinath is a very holy place and many Hindu Pilgrims come here every year to visit the Shiva Temple, bath in the 108 icy cold water fountains and see the “Fire on Water”. Stay overnight in Muktinath.

   

DAY 06:

MUKTINATH TO CHELE(3050M)

 

Today we enter the restricted region of Upper Mustang. It’s an uphill stretch from Muktinath through Chhyonggur and up to the Gyu La Pass at 4077 meters to the pass is 80% rideable and single track. Here there are 180 degree panoramic views of the snow capped mountains. A short section of steep downhill and we follow an undulating ridge trail down to Tetang at 3040 meters, more than a 1000 meter descent on suburb single track. Pass an ancient Mani Wall and cycle on down to Chhusang. From here there is a slight climb and river crossing to reach Chele on the opposite river bank where the river passes through a rock tunnel. Stay overnight in Chele.

   

DAY 07: 

CHELE TO ZAITE (3800m)

 

A short but hard day of riding, leaving behind the river bed we climb in to the hills. Four passes lay between us and Syanboche, so yeah there will be a few ups and downs today as we cross Taklam La 3624 meters, Dajori La 3735 meters, Bhena La 3860 meters and finally Yamda La at 3860 meters. Halt below Syangboche La on the Syangboche River. This days riding consists of mixed jeep track, single track and steep downhill with some sections of carrying and pushing (Maximum half an hour).

   

DAY 08:

ZATIE TO CHARANG (3560m)

 

On Leaving Syangboche, there is a short climb to Syangboche La before undulating jeep track makes for an easy ride through the open valley scenery and Barley fields to Ghiling. From here we climb up to Nyi La at 4010 meters this climb is ridable jeep track. From this pass there are inspiring views of Mustang, Annapurna and Nilgiri. The ride is a welcome change from the days of climbing and crossing passes. The scenery opens up and there are fields of mustard and barley in the right season which makes for lush pockets of greenery. It is also one of the most scenic days with the ever changing colours of the landscape form yellow and brown to red, grey and blue as the sun moves across the Himalayan sky. From the pass till Ghami is nice single track downhill and then back onto jeep track. This is a beautiful section of the ride and defiantly a day to get your camera out! In the village you can visit the friendly monks in the Gompa and explore the beautiful village. In Charang, you can find the greatest library in Lo and the 400 year old Gulpa Sect Monastery.

   

DAY 09: 

CHARANG TO LO-MANTHANG (3810M)

 

From Tsarang we have to cross Lo La Pass at 3810 meters, just before Lo- Mantang. This pass is also known as “Windy Pass” and from here you can view the walled city of Lo-Manthang, your first tantalizing view of this kingdom lost in time and your penultimate destination. In June and July, the time when the crops are almost ready to harvest makes for the most dramatic scenery. The barren brown landscape is scattered with fields of vibrant green and gold rolling with the wind under the vivid blue sky of the Himalaya, a truly memorable scene. The ride is easy if a bit of a long climb, about 25 km total riding distance. You will enjoy the open jeep track trail and should arrive in Lo-Manthang by lunch time, which gives us the afternoon to rest and soak up the atmosphere of this surreal place.

   

DAY 10/11:

LO-MANTHANG REST AND EXPLORATION DAY (3810M)

 

Lo-Manthang is perhaps one of the most interesting places in the Himalaya and a couple of days spent here sightseeing is well worth it. Visit the Royal Palace where you have the privilege of having tea or perhaps dinner with the King of Lo himself, what an experience! In the afternoon there are three interesting Monasteries to visit, one of them is over 900 years old and displays some of the most beautiful Thangka paintings found in Nepal the intricate details and vivid colours of these paintings is a stark contrast to the wide open spaces of the region. One day there is also the option to ride up to Garphu. Follow the upper reaches Kali Gandaki River, crossing over several of its tributaries. Here you will find Ghom a cave tunneling into the mountainside which is the historical site of a Monastery and the cave of one thousand windows. The beautiful scenery and isolated Tibetan culture make this day trip a worthy experience. The way back from Ghom is beautiful single track through traditional villages. This truly is a place to lose yourself in the history, rustic architecture and mind blowing landscapes, one could easily roll back in time 100 years or more here.

   

DAY 12:

LO-MANTHANG TO YARA (3520M)

 

Leaving behind Lo-Manthang, cycle over the 4090 meter Pangga Pass, it’s a challenging climb about 75% ride-able on single track, but you get great views from the top. From the pass the road leads gradual up and down to Dhi. The downhill is amazing. Around Dhi you can see some of the most dramatic scenery on offer, where the landscape changes from red to blue and is especially breathtaking around sunset and sunrise. Ride from Dhi and onto Yara. Around Yara there are some interesting village ruins to explore. Following the river to a Gara to the crumbling, rugged landscape above which Luri Gomba sits like a precariously balanced eagles nest amongst terracotta spires at 4000 meters. The small chambers of the monastery are carved into the rock, with incredible paintings adorning the smooth domed ceiling, and along several wall panels. From the Gomba mostly down hill and Technical ride to Yara for over night stay

   

DAY 13:

YARA TO TANGE

 

After Yara we can ride couple of kms and then 20 min. need to carry and push the bike and then rocky and technical trail down to river the Ghechang Khola. Look out for fossils as you push along the river bed, and make sure you are prepared with your sandals to hand ready to do some wading. After crossing the river we follow the trail upward, climbing through arid, open terrain to a pass at 3850m.From the pass we descend to the small but prosperous village of Tasnge Before the camp we have to carry and push couple of section because of water drain and technical rocky.

   

DAY 14:

TANGE TO CHUSSANG(2920M)

 

Today is probably the best and toughest day of bike, but your efforts are amply rewarded with fine biking and incredible views. The day starts with a gentle climb for an hour or so, before crossing the Tage khola. From the far side of the riverbank you climb steeply to the Chacho-La pass at 4210m.Which take around 2 ½ hour to 3 hours. From the top of Pass we can see Panorama mountain views of the high peaks including Dhaulagiri, Annapurna Tilicho, Nilgri and other peak. If you are lucky you may also be able to spot the rare blue sheep sometimes found grazing here. Along the way the route passes the scared place where the ancient art of Sky Burial is carried out. Here you may see the rare Himalayan Vultures soaring in the sky. Cycle on downhill to Chhusang for our overnight stop.

   

DAY 15:

CHHUSANG TO MARPHA (2743M)

 

Today is our last day on upper Mustang .We follow the main trail to Jomsom from Chhusang the ride leads to the arid gradual path passing few scattered temporary settlement and on to Kagbeni, the main longest village after Lo-Manthang where road to upper mustang and lower Mustang joint from here the tail winds to Ekale Bhatti and on the Kali Gandaki river bed till Jomsom reached the headquarter. After biking to Kagbeni , finish the upper Musting and we join the normal trail of Annapurna circuit . After lunch at Ekla Bhatti will head on to Jomsom via Thini village and for the overnight at Marpha. Marpha is the best place in the Himalaya to get fresh apples and renowned locally produced Apply Brandy.

   

DAY 16: 

MARPHA TO TATOPANI ( 1190 M)

 

From the Marpha the trail drops down along the roaring river all the way to tatopani . We pass through the Impressive water fall which is known as Rupse Chhara on the way, We stop a nice place fro lunch at Kalopani where we can see Annapurna I . After lunch most of section is down hill to Tatopani . Tatopani is our resting place for the night, enjoy the therapeutic hot spring and a very cold beer, you deserve it.

   

DAY 17: 

TATOPANI TO POKHARA ( 800M )

 

An easy day ride, 18 kms of mostly down hill jeep trail takes us to the main road and a town called Beni, From here we will transfer for the three hour drive back to Pokhara by support transport. After reaching the top of the pass at Naudada we ride down to Sarangkot and down hill to Pokhara lake side . A fitting end the thrill to last.

   

DAY 18: 

FREE DAY IN POKHARA

 

Welcome back to civilization, the place for hot shower, cold beers and great food. Pokhara is the one of the best chill out capital of Nepal. Take your pick of lazy lake side cafes, strolling around the shops or perhaps some adventure is more to your liking half day rafting trips, paragliding or Para-hawking are other options to fill in your day.

   

DAY 19:

POKHARA TO KATHMANDU

 

Take a midmorning flight from Pokhara along the Himalaya and back to Kathmandu . Your bikes will be transported back on the bus. In the evening we will clean and pack your bikes .

   

DAY 20: 

DEPARTURE

 

We will transfer you to the Airport for your departure home.

 

Includes / Excludes

The price includes following services:

 1.  Accommodation sharing twin room at Hotel in Kathmandu for 3 nights on Bed & Breakfast basis.

 2.  Accommodation sharing twin room at Hotel in Pokhara for 3 nights on full board basis with jungle activities.

 3.  Airport transfers in Kathmandu & Pokhara.

 4.  Guided sightseeing tour as per itinerary with applicable entrance fees.

 5.  Guest House accommodation as per itinerary during biking in Mustang on full board basis.

 6.  Support Vehicle where necessary.

 7.  All applicable Special Permit (US$ 500 each) and Conservation Fees.

 8.  Service of Nepali Mountain Biking Guide with his wages, food and accommodation.

 9.  Transportation Kathmandu / Pokhara by private vehicle.

 10. Internal flight Pokhara / Jomsom and Pokhara / Kathmandu with applicable airport taxes.

 

However our price does not include followings:

 1.  International flights to / from Kathmandu.

 2.  Nepal entry visa fees.

 3.  Lunch and dinner while in Kathmandu Hotel.

 4.  Travel, Medical and Personal insurance.

 5.  Expenses of personal nature, i.e. tipping, laundry, bottled drinks, bar bills etc.

 6.  Any expense for early returning member due sickness, injury or any other reason. No refund will be entertained for any unused service.

 7.  Extra expense occurred due to unexpected circumstances like cancellation of internal flights, floods, strike etc.

 8.  Personal clothing and biking gear.

 9.  Hiring charge of Mountain Bike (if hire from us cost US$ 25 per day – Kathmandu to Kathmandu)

 

Extensions

If you are not tied up with time limitations, or have more time before or after your main trip with us, you can join / take following extension trips to make your holiday even interesting. According to extra time you have, you can choose a visit to National Parks for jungle safari viewing rare animals, migrant birds and exotic reptiles or enjoy the whitewater rafting or take a cultural tour of Kathmandu, Pokhara, Nagarkot or even make a quick visit to neighboring countries of Tibet – Roof of the world, India – The country of wonders, Bhutan – The Dragon Kingdom.

We can add these extensions before or after your holiday according to the flights that you have booked / can book. Beside these, if you even want just stay in Kathmandu for relax or any independent activities, we can book extra nights at the Hotel. You can book these extensions together with your main trip booking.

 

Chitwan National Park

It is one of the oldest and popular National Parks in Nepal recognized by UNESCO as a World Natural Site. More than 500 Asian one-horned rhinoceros and some 100 nocturnal Royal Bengal Tigers have made their home in this dense forest. There are an estimated 50 species of mammals, over 526 species of birds, 49 amphibians and reptiles and 150 species of butterflies.

The park is spread over an area of 932 sq kms and located in the lowlands of Nepal. The forest cover is predominantly Sal, interspersed with tall grasslands, small hills, ox-bow lakes and flood plains.

Standard Packages are of 2 nights and 3 nights. Chitwan can be reached both by surface and air.

 

Bardia National Park

The park provides excellent habitat for endangered animals like the rhinoceros, wild elephant, tiger, fresh water Dolphin and many other species of mammals along with over 200 species of birds.

Standard Packages are of 2 nights and 3 nights. Bardia can be reached both by surface and air but since it will be too far to drive from Kathmandu, we offer the packages by air only.

 

Kathmandu

It is a treasure trove of ancient art and architecture that lie hidden in the labyrinth of manmade structures. The ancient pagoda temples and Buddhist stupas stand majestically above the rest of the landmarks. The Palace squares fascinate visitors with its exquisite woodwork and carving. You can extend your holiday from 1-3 days visiting these sites.

 

Pokhara

Pokhara is most popular tourist destination after Kathmandu, not because of its easy accessibility but because of its scenic beauty and proximity to many Himalayas. Rarely does a tourist miss a trip to this beautiful valley of lakes and mountain views. Ekai Kawaguchi who was the earliest visitor of this district, was awed by its beauty. The Annapurna range of the Himalayas dominates the landscape around Pokhara and many of treks and expeditions start from here. Around Pokhara one can go boating on lakes, bird watching, paragliding, fishing, ultralight flying or even pony trek besides regular treks. Pokhara can be reached by air as well as surface.

 

Nagarkot

Nagarkot is one of the most popular hill resorts on the fringe of the Kathmandu valley. With an elevation of 2,195m, is 32 kms away from Kathmandu offers a panoramic view of the valley and is described by the visitors as a place whose beauty endures year round. The extraordinary view of the Himalayan peaks from Dhaulagiri to Kanchenjunga is stupendous. Sunrise view from here is truly magnificent. An array of luxury resorts has made this place enjoyable for all kinds of tourists.

 

Tibet

Tour in Tibet offers a fabulous journey with awesome beautiful picturesque landscape and its colorful people and their culture, tranquil lakes, numerous high passes with stunning views of the mountains. Enriched by the ancient most lavishly decorated monasteries and temples with chanting saffron colored monks, ever smiling faces of people and their typical lifestyle all contributes to this trip a memory of your lifetime. A land so rich in culture, tradition and steeped in religion with its unique landscape, casts an enchanted spell that holds you in thrill and excitement. A journey of a life time, at the roof of the world with exciting adventure on route, and breathe-taking views of range of snow capped mountains. This is truly a stunning trip starting with a panoramic drive or flight over the gigantic Himalayas, a tour of great historical cities of Lhasa, Gyantse and Shigatse in the comfort of the spacious land cruiser and standard Hotels that Tibet has to offer.

 

India

The country of wonders, the lively bazaars, ornate architecture and the something puzzling customs of Indians make any visit a refreshing from the western life. Endowed with a backdrop of that can be anything from snow capped mountain to palm-lined beach, Indian rarely fails to delight adventurous travelers. India is considered to be the rich cultural melting pot with its colorful festivals of all the religion and people, blending well with magnificent landscape of historical cities, jungle, valleys, arid desert to high beautiful Himalayan peaks which makes it a traveler’s destination from sand, sea to snow.

 

Bhutan

The Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, commonly known as ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’ is regarded as the last paradise on earth is slowly emerging from centuries of self-imposed isolation. Closed for the outside world until early seventies, Bhutan has adopted the regulated tourism policy for its visitors in this tiny Himalayan Kingdom by allowing to enter limited numbers of tourists every year. Bhutan has retained its religious and cultural values despite of encroachment of modern civilization in the every nook and corner of the world. Unspoiled majestic virgin peaks, unique cultural heritage preserved for many centuries, an architectural style like no others, a land of full of warm hearted and friendly people have made Bhutan a truly unique destination. You will still find its past in present.

 

ACTIVITIES

River Rafting

Rafting is undoubtedly the best way to explore the Arcadian Nepal. It involves excitement, scenic views and challenge. Nepal has numerous fine rivers for rafting, kayaking or canoeing. The most prominent white water rafting regions are the eastern, the mid and the western rivers. Of all these regions, river Trisuli and the Bhotekoshi are the main popular rafting rivers for short trips. The rivers sometimes offer hair raising roller coaster rides. The float down stream is exhilarating and the scenery of the valley gorges between Himalaya and min Himalayan range is equally captivating. So whatever duration or level of excitement you need we have it.

 

Mount Everest Flight

Mountain flight is truly a memorable experience that one should not miss out in Nepal. If you feel you have not seen enough mountains, the mountain flight is the right choice to rejoice with spectacular panoramic mountains’ views. The bird’s eye view of the 6 mighty mountains above 8,000m out of the 14 from a close range is simply unbelievable. The one hour magic flight will make it possible for you to view uninterruptedly all the enchanting beauty of lofty and snowcapped mountains beyond your imagination. Above all is towering figure of Mount Everest amidst cluster of mountains spread all over Nepal and Tibet will mesmerize the onlookers with its astounding charm and grandeur. It is a great personal pride for you to hover above the clouds closer to the highest peak of the world-a-feat to be achieved only through mountain flight.

 

Bungy Jumping

Just imagination of jumping down from a bridge of 160m above a tropical gorge with the Bhote Koshi, one of the Nepal’s wildest rivers raging below is enough to make your heartbeat run faster. It is the thrill of Bungy jumping as it there is no fun for real adventure lover if challenge is not so hard and difficult. It is located within a reach of 4 hours outside Kathmandu and just 19 kms away from the Tibet Border.

The Bungy bridge happens to be the only privately owned bridge in Nepal. It has been specially designed for Bungy Jumping with a 4X safety factors and has a loading factor of 41,500kg or 4.5 tons according to Swiss measurement.

 

Paragliding

Paragliding is relatively new adventure sports in Nepal. Paragliding in this Himalayan country can be a truly wonderful and fulfilling experience for the adventure seekers. You can experience unparalleled scenic grandeur as you share airspace with Himalayan griffin vultures, eagles, kites while floating over the villages, monasteries, temples, lakes and the jungle with a fantastic view of the majestic Himalayas.

The main area for flying in Nepal is the Annapurna region, more specifically the Pokhara valley. This lakeside town is Nepal’s second city, nestled at the foot of the Annapurna Himal. The views commanded from here of 3 of the world’s 8000m peaks, are unsurpassed. At an altitude of 800m ASL the subtropical climate means that year round, it is short and T shirt weather. The micro climate of the valley makes it an ideal area for flying, with far more constant conditions.

 

Ultralight Flight

Ultralight aircraft is being operated from Pokhara. It has an unique blend of both mountain and plateau area. While flying over the Pokhara valley, you will not miss the scenic beauty of both the Himalayas and the most famous lake of Nepal, Phewa Tal. The flight will be a journey through nature. Don’t miss this truly unique experience.

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