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REGAL TRIP TO THE LAST FORBIDDEN KINGDOM- MUSTANG

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TRIP DURATION:  17 days

TRIP DATE: April 25th - May 12th, 2024

GROUP SIZE: 12 paxs

TRIP COST: $4000/person

TRIP DETAILS:

Mustang lies in the North Western part of Nepal, and is home to thriving Buddhist cultures for more than a thousand years. This regal trek takes you to this vibrant Buddhist land where you will find ample opportunities to revitalize yourself. This trans-Himalayan region has harsh geographical features but is endowed with magnificent, geological, cultural and spiritual landscape. The trek follows along the ancient trail of the Kali Gandaki river valley, once an important cross-roads for trans-Asian trade for centuries, it’s also called a heritage path, treaded by great saints and yogis. Along the trail, you will come upon an oases of villages in the midst of barley, buckwheat, and mustard fields reminiscent of early Tibetan medieval civilization.  As you pass by, catch glimpses of spectacular ancient monasteries and temples majestically built on hillocks overlooking each village. As you enter the restricted area, hundreds of Buddhist caves dot the steep gorge walls rising up from the Kali Gandhaki gorge. The trek ends at the three traditional major towns of Ghami, Tsarang and Lo-monthang. These towns are obscured in legends and tales associated with the arrival of great tantric saint, Padmasambhava and yogi, Ngorchen Kunga Sanpo. The famous walled town and capital city of Mustang, Lo-monthang is the culmination of your journey. Being in the walled town, a religious domain, may make you feel as if all your worldly sufferings momentarily comes to a standstill, as you regain your spiritual comfort.

While in villages and in towns, you will have Thomas Kelly and our local tour guides at your disposal. They will enlighten you on the history, culture and tradition of the region. There are numerous living heritages you will come across in these major towns adorned with exquisite wall paintings, old thankas and manuscripts in silver and gold. To the north of Lo-monthang, you will go on a day trip to Tsoshar, a cave village where monasteries exists in a traditional setting. Your tour guide, Luigi will familiarize you with the rudiments of Tibetan traditional medicines as you meet with local Tibetan doctors, amchis and local artisans and craftsmen.

This is the land of mysticism and spirituality blessed by the great saint and yogi Padmasambhava and successive religious kings of Mustang. Should you want to see for yourself this spiritual land of Shangri-La, come join us on this regal journey to the Land of the Last Forbidden Kingdom.

 

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Exploring the Forbidden Kingdom of Mustang

  • Witnessing the walled city of Lomanthang

  • Witnessing the 15th century Jampa Lhakhang, Thubchen monastery, through the eyes of  Lama Khentse.

  • Visiting the oldest monastery of the region, Lo Gekar dating back to 8th century.

Trip guided by  https://www. thomaslkellyphotos.com   who has deep insight from the reconstruction project in Thubchen, Jampa Lhakhang monastery and conservation of cultural heritage in Upper Mustang.

ACCOMODATIONS:

Kathmandu and Pokhara – 3 star hotels

While on the trek – Using local traditional tea houses

 

WHAT THE PRICE INCLUDES:

  • Breakfast while in Kathmandu and Pokhara

  • All meals during the trek (Jomsom to Jomsom)

  • Accomodation in Pokhara and Kathmandu and during the entire period of the trek

  • Airport transfers

  • Expert bilingual guide

  • Fight Kathmandu/Pokhara/Jomsom/Pokhara/Kathmandu valued at US$499

  • Special permit to Upper Mustang US$550

  • Group medical kit

  • Good quality accommodation in Kathmandu on a twin sharing basis

  • Souvenir Mustang Adventure Trek duffle bag

  • Private transportation

  • All park entrance fees

  • Porters or mules to carry all personal and group equipment

  • Porter's insurance

  • Sightseeing in Kathmandu

  • Site entry fees

  • Trip accompanied by Thomas L. Kelly https://www. thomaslkellyphotos.com 

 

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED:

 

  • Lunch & dinner in Kathmandu and Pokhara

  • Bottled water, aerated & alcoholic drinks

  • Items of a personal nature such as phone calls, laundry, etc.

  • Tips to the staffs at the end of the trek

  • International flights

  • Airport and departure taxes

  • Visa

  • Travel Insurance

  • Monastery entrance fees

  • Entrance fee for the festival

    

* Please allow US$50 for monastery visits and donations in Upper Mustang

 

ITINERARY:

 

DAY 1 : 25th April -> Arrive to Kathmandu


You will be met by your staffs at the airport and transferred to the Manaslu hotel.
Remainder of the afternoon at leisure. A pre-trek briefing will be given around 5pm.

Meals: Nil

 

DAY 2 : 26th April -> Sightseeing in Kathmandu


This morning a sightseeing tour takes in the key attractions in and around
Kathmandu. We will visit Pashupatinath and Boudhanath, returning to the hotel by
2pm. In the afternoon you may have time to explore Durbar Square, Patan,
Swayambhunath or Bhaktapur, and the lesser-known towns that dot the valley on foot,
or trishaw. The area has an amazing range of fascinating highlights, whatever your
interest. Excellent bookshops, extensive markets, and novelty and handicraft shops
contrast with fantastic centres of cultural and spiritual significance - Kathmandu has
more World Heritage sites than any other city in the world.

Meals: B

 

DAY 3 : 27th April -> Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara


This morning we take a fight to Pokhara, Nepal’s second largest town. Overnight
accommodation is at Hotel Kings in Lake side.

Alititude: 5,655’

 

DAY 4 : 28th April -> Fly to Jomsom (2713m), trek to Kagbeni (2810m)


This morning we take a spectacular fight tracing the Kali Ghandaki underneath the
massive bulk of Dhaulagiri to Jomsom. Here we will meet our trekking crew, riding
horses and make last minute preparations. A half day walk brings us to Kagbeni, an
impressive village that is our gateway to Upper Mustang. To pass beyond this point
we have a special Mustang permit. We will meet our crew will prepare for
tomorrow’s crossing into Mustang.


Meals: B,L,D | Walk approx.3hrs or 2 hours of horse ride.

DAY 5 : 29th April -> Kagbeni to Chele (3030m)


An early start sees us trekking along level ground for and hour or two before the road
starts to climb and we gain views of the river. In places the trail is narrow, steep,
sandy and mostly loose gravel. We follow the east bank of the river over a series of
small ridges. In this area the locals villagers search the riverbeds for the coal black
rocks which carry the nautilus shaped fossils which are found for sale throughout the
Annapurnas. Approaching Tangbe we encounter the distinctive black, red and white
chortens that typify upper Mustang. The town of white washed houses contains an
intriguing pattern of alleyways and is surrounded by fields of wheat, barley and
buckwheat, nterspersed with small apple orchards. The river bed narrows near Chele
and we cross a metal bridge before a steep climb up a rocky gully to Chele where the
Tibetan culture of Lo is evident in the architecture and decoration of the
houses.


Meals: B,L,D | Walk approx. 6hrs. or option of riding the horse.

 

DAY 6 : 30th April -> Chele to Geiling (3440m)


A more challenging day ahead with the crossing of three passes. We cross a long
suspension bridge hanging over the canyon which is used to access the village of
Ghyakar, and climb on a dusty
trail to the first pass, Taklam La
(3624m) and then
Dajori La
(3735m). Stopping for a well earned rest and lunch at the tea house of
Bhena. In the afternoon we descend and climb twice to cross two streams before a
climb to the next pass which is the Yamda La
(3920m). From the pass, we can see
Shyangbochen in the distance. We descend on switchbacks, traverse a ridge and then
make a final climb to Shyangbochen. The surrounding countryside is picturesque and
you may choose to wander around with a camera or just relax under the juniper trees.

Meals: B,L,D | Walk approx. 6-7hrs or option of riding the horse

 

DAY 7 : 1st May -> Geiling to Tsarang (3490m)


We begin the day with a steep climb followed by a gradual descent. We pass a
beautifully painted chorten surrounded by at rocks with Tibetan prayers carved on
them, and from this point it is mostly downhill towards Ghemi. After lunch at Ghemi,
which has the longest Mani Walls in Mustang, we descend to Ghami Khola, cross a
bridge and pass by a hospital. Avenues of poplar trees and fields of barley mark our
trail as we head toward Tsarang La (pass). At 3850m this is the highest point of the
trek thus far and the southern boundary of Lo. After the pass, it is downhill until you
reach Tsarang, the second largest town in Upper Mustang and a former capital. Here
we visit the Tsarang gompa, Tsarang nunnery and the abandoned king’s summer
palace. This palace was built in 1378AD and once boasted the greatest library in
Mustang.

Meals: B,L,D | Walk approx.  7hrs. Option of riding the horse.

 

DAY 8 : 2nd May -> Tsarang to Yara (3650m)


We follow the main trail for approximately 2 hours, before turning right and heading
downhill for another 2 hours to reach our lunch camp at Dhi. After lunch we cross a
suspension bridge which is above the Kali Gandaki River. We arrive in Surkhang and
then Yara village. This is a unique area where we find ancient caves set into stone
walls.

Meals: B,L,D | Walk approx. 7-8 hrs. Option of riding the horse

DAY 9 : 3rd May -> Yara to Luri Gompa (4005m)


From Yara, it is a short trek to Luri Gompa which is built into the rock. There are two
monasteries; one is situated below Luri cave monastery accessed by a steep climb.
This is an old and famous cave monastery in the Mustang region, constructed in the
15th Century. It is situated at an elevation of 4005m. Inside the caves, we can see a
big chorten and many images and statues of protectors and deities. There is also a

highly sacred religious text however access to this is not permitted. After witnessing
the monastery, we will trek down to Dhi village.

Meals: B,L,D | Walk approx. 2hrs.  Option of riding the horse and overnight at Dhi village (3390m)

DAY 10 : 4th May -> Dhi village to Lomanthang – (3840m)


Today we will start early as the major part of the trail is a steep uphill. You can ride
the horse partly but most of the uphill, you will be trekking. After reaching Da-lha
(the pass before Lomanthang) you will have a spectacular view of Lomanthang and
surrounding villages north. In the afternoon we will explore the city of Lomanthang
and see the preparation for the Teji Festival done in the monastery of Thubchen.

Meals: B, L, D | Option of riding the horse

 

DAY 11 : 5th May -> Lomanthang 


Today is the first day of the Teji Festival. The festival starts in the afternoon at
around 1-2 pm. In the morning, we will have a day hike to Choser and visit the caves
and the monasteries. In the afternoon, we will witness the great festival of Teji.

Meals: B,L,D | Hike or option of riding the horse

 

DAY 12 : 6th May -> Lomanthang


Today is the second day of the Teji festival. The king of Mustang will also come to
witness the festival along with the village heads and nobles. The festival will start in
the afternoon. So in the morning after breakfast, we will go on a short hike to see the
nomadic people and the yaks.

Meals: B,L,D | Option of riding the horse

 

DAY 13 : 7th May -> Lomanthang 


Today is the final day of the Teji festival. We will use the morning to explore and visit
the monasteries within the walled city. The monastery of Thubcen and Jampa
Lhakhang houses one of the most beautiful wall paintings of the region. Both the
monasteries have been renovated with the support of American Himalayan
Foundation and Lo Gyalpo Jigme Foundation.
Meet locals and explore the town. Later in the afternoon, we will witness the final day
of the Teji festival.

Meals: B,L,D

DAY 14 : 8th May -> Lomnathang to Tsarang via Lo Gekar monastery


You could almost ride the horse all the way to Lo Gekar monastery, the oldest
monastery of the region dating back to 8th century. The monastery has the finest
statue of Guru Rinpoche and is one the most revered monastery by the people of
Mustang.

Meals: B,L,D | Hike or option of riding the horse (7-8 hours)

 

DAY 15 : 9th May -> Tsarang to Jomsom


Today, we will drive back to Jomsom on private SUV. It will take around 4-5 hours.
Meals:  B,L,D


DAY 16 : 10th May -> Jomsom/Pokhara/Kathmandu


We will fly early to Pokhara today and then fly to Kathmandu the same day. Transfer
to hotel.

Meals: B

DAY 17: 11th May -> Kathmandu


Today you will have a leisurely day – shopping – farewell dinner
Meals: B,D

 

DAY 18 : 12th May -> International departure


Meals: B

To book your place, please email at : thomaslkellyphoto@gmail.com today.

Your Hosts:

Thomas L. Kelly

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Tsewang Bista

Carroll Dunham

Sri Raj Gurung

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