Itinerary

Mustang Jeep Adventure and Trek Itinerary

Note: If you are coming from the USA, and depending on your flight schedule, you will most likely need to leave the USA two days before the scheduled arrival date in Kathmandu to arrive on time. Depending on your flight schedule, you will likely arrive back in the USA on the day after your flight leaves from Kathmandu.

Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu (4,500 ft)

Arrive Kathmandu by noon. You’ll be picked up at the airport and checked into your hotel.  Before our Welcome Dinner this evening, we will have an orientation briefing.

Day 2:  Kathmandu Sightseeing and Gear Check

After breakfast, we’ll begin our exploration of Kathmandu. While modern by Nepalese standards, Kathmandu is a sacred city to Hindus and Buddhists.  Our tour includes three World Heritage Sights — 3,000-year-old Swayambhu (monkey temple), the Hindu temple and cremation site Pashupati, and the great Stupa of Boudnath. Following our tour, we will complete a thorough gear check.

Day 3:  Fly to Pokhara (2,700 ft)

This morning, we will be transferred to the airport for the scenic flight to Pokhara.  After checking into our hotel, we have the rest of the day to explore this popular tourist hub and second largest city in Nepal.  Pokhara is the gateway to the Annapurna region and is surrounded by natural beauty.  Our hotel is close to the beautiful Phewa Lake and the bustling Lakeside district.

Day 4: Pokhara to Kalopani  (8,200 ft)

After breakfast, we will pick up and start our drive North.  If the weather is clear, we will make a stop at Sarangkot just outside of Pokhara for a stunning panoramic view of peaks in the Annapurna Range.  Once back on the road, we will follow the Kali Gandaki river and travel through some small villages and lush forest.   We will spend the night in Kalopani, which translates as “black water” in Nepali because it is near there that the river narrows and turns a darker color as it flows south.

Day 5: Kalopani to Kagbeni (9,199 ft)

Today we will continue our drive north towards Mustang through local villages, passing through and exploring the apple farming village of Marpha.  Marpha is quaint village with typical Thakali architecture and is a favorite stop on the Annapurna trekking circuit.   Taking a slight but worthwhile detour, our next stop will be a visit to the  holy temple complex of Muktinath, which is not only a revered Hindu site but also very sacred to Buddhist pilgrims. It is one of the oldest temples in Nepal dedicated to the God Vishnu and the location is known by the Hindus a place of salvation.  It is believed that taking showers at the 108 water taps and taking holy bath in the ponds there will wash off all of one’s sins.  Leaving Muktinath, we will drive to Kagbeni, where we will spend the night.  Kagbeni was once an important center of trade. The large gates at the entrances of the village and the low doorways and tunnel-like alleyways make for an interesting walk around town.

Day 6: Drive to Ghami Village  (11,545 ft)

This morning, before leaving Kagbeni, we will spend some time exploring the Red Monastery, which dates from the early 15th century.  Once we leave town, a short drive brings us to the village of Tetang. Tetang is a medieval village with narrow alleys and high-walled houses, many of which are uninhabited. We can take a walk around the town and visit the monastery, which is said to be one of the oldest in Mustang. A trail above town provides wonderful views of the dramatic sandstone cliffs and rock chimneys typical of the region.  Continuing on from Tetang , we will make a stop at the Mentsi Lhakang shrine cave in Chuksang, which contains some Buddhist icons and ancient wall paintings. Access to the sanctuary is gained by climbing two rustic (but secure!) ladders.  Our day ends in the village of  Ghami, where we will check into our hotel and have time to visit the Ghami gompa (monastery), possibly meet some of the resident monks and explore the traditional village.

Day 7: Ghami to Lo-Manthang (12,500 ft)

Today is a spectacular day of landscape and Tibetan culture. We will pass through the small village of Dhakmar and have time to photograph the towering red sandstone cliffs and pillars there. From Dhakmar, we will continue to Lo Geckar (also called Ghar Gompa), which is believed to be the oldest monastery in Mustang (8th century). The monastery complex is large and beautifully situated. It’s surrounded by prayer wheels and chortens and is a perfect place to take some time to learn more about the Tibetan Buddhist culture and customs of the region.  The day’s final destination is the spectacular walled capital city of Lo Manthang, where we will spend two nights.  We will have time this afternoon to walk around and explore this extraordinary city.  We will see the palace of the former king  and, today or tomorrow, we will tour Lo’s important 15th century monasteries, which contain wall paintings [and frescoes], some of which have been restored with the help of the American Himalayan Foundation. We will also have an opportunity to visit the Choede Gompa, which is the only monastery school in Mustang. We’ll have some free time to browse through some of the painting studios and souvenir shops in town and/or soak up the scene at one of several coffee shops.

Day 8: Exploration around Lo Manthang

Today we will drive north of Lo Manthang toward the Tibetan border and visit the area around Chosar – we will explore several different sites, include the spectacular five-story Jhong “sky caves” (accessed by ladders), with more than 40 different chambers inside. We’ll continue to the monastery at Garphu and from there, we can hike to some isolated meditation caves high on a hill above the monastery.  Other chortens, monasteries and shrine caves abound in this region.

Day 9:  Lo Manthang to Tsarang (11,676 ft)

This morning we will really veer off the beaten path and make an excursion to Samdzong, a tiny, isolated village north of Lo Manthang.  It’s  of interest because a team of climbers and archeologists, working for over ten years in the region, discovered dozens of human skeletons and decorative and ritual objects in the caves above town (see the PBS/National Geographic film: Cave People of the Himalaya).   Although these caves are not accessible to us,  Samdzong is a beautiful out of the way place that sees very few visitors and it’s worth the trip if only to get a peek at the villagers’ traditional way of life.   After  Samdzong, we’ll pass back through Lo Manthang on our way down valley to the village of Tsarang, where we will spend the night.  An imposing ancient fortress and monastery sit above the village and we can tour them both.

Day 10:  Tsarang to Syangmochen (12,464 ft)

Today, we will head to the beautiful villages of Dhi, Ghara and Yara.  We will see people farming in fertile Dhi and we can wander the narrow alleys of Yara, surrounded by sculpted sandstone cliffs hundreds of feet high. It’s not uncommon to see women gathered outside spinning yarn or weaving fabric for their traditional striped aprons.   We’ll continue on to Luri Gompa and walk up to the cave shrine there, which is one of the most significant sights in Mustang. The huge chorten inside is nothing short of incredible. It’s worth the short hike up a steep trail to get inside. Afterwards, we’ll head farther down valley to Syangmochen, where, If the weather is clear, we can hike up to a viewpoint on a ridge that offers a spectacular panorama of the Annapurna Range.

Day 11: Syangmochen/Samar to Jomsom (8,921 ft)

This morning, a short drive will bring us to the trailhead for the Chungsi Rangchung Cave, dedicated to Guru Rinpoche, who is thought to have brought Buddhism to Tibet and Nepal. A beautiful walk down into a canyon takes us to the entrance of this cave, where several caretaker monks live in a peaceful setting. We will explore the cave, meet the monks and have time to enjoy the scenery before heading back to our vehicles.

After our hike, we’ll continue on our way and turn off the main road to get to the village of Lubra. Believed to have been established in the 12th century, Lubra is a small village of Bon[1] families who have largely maintained their traditional way of life.  We can wander around the hilly village, check out the terraced crops being grown there and visit the Bon monastery and a government school. We’ll end our day by driving back to Jomsom for the night.

Day 12: Jomsom to Pokhara

This morning, we plan to fly back to Pokhara, where we can spend the remainder of the day enjoying free time in the Lakeside neighborhood with its restaurants, coffee shops, and souvenirs aplenty. The motivated among us can rent a boat for an excursion on Phewa lake.  If flights are cancelled because of bad weather, we will  drive back to Pokhara on this day.

Day 13: Fly to Kathmandu

After breakfast, we will be transferred to the airport for the flight back to Kathmandu.  The rest of the day will be free to relax or get lost in the maze of shops and attractions of the Thamel district.

Day 14: Kathmandu

Free time to tour the city or just relax.  We can assist you in planning your day. Options include excursions by foot or taxi to a local shopping district, or a visit to the temples and sites of Bhaktapur, Patan or Kathmandu Durbar Square.

Day 15: Fly Home

[1] Bon is a religion indigenous to Tibet that pre-dates what is known today as Tibetan Buddhism. It shares many similarities with Tibetan Buddhism.

 

Exceeded expectations on all levels.  Superb!  Fun, challenging, beautiful, adventures…Lots of great climbs and happy times in the mountains.  Both guides were excellent.  I had the utmost confidence in their ability.

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