The Upper Dolpo to Upper Mustang trek takes in two remote areas which until relatively recently were closed to outsiders. These areas are unlike any other in Nepal, and can be compared in landscape and culture to Tibet or Ladakh in India. Indeed Dolpo lies between the Tibetan Plateau and the Dhaulagiri mountain ranges. This is a long (almost one month) and challenging trek. With most days spent at altitudes over 4,000m and some high passes over 5,000m a great deal of stamina and fitness is needed to complete this trek. It combines all the main points of Dolpo trekking, such as Phoksundo Lake; Shey Monastery; the Crystal Mountain; the Bon Po religion, and rare wildlife, such as the snow leopard, with the monasteries, stupas, people and history of the Forbidden Kingdom of Mustang.
Both areas are unforgiving and yet people have lived there for centuries, trading goods along ancient salt trails, working what little fertile land there is by planting potatoes and barley and being self-sufficient. Mustang only officially became part of Nepal in the 1950s and until a few years back had its own king. Mustang is part of the recent turbulent history of Tibet: freedom fighters set up camps in Mustang from which to attack the Chinese troops.
Starting in Dolpo, this trek passes through forests and remote villages to reach the clear, blue waters of Phoksundo Lake within the first few days. This lake was made famous, as indeed the whole of Dolpo was, in the Eric Valli film ‘Himalaya’. Shey Gompa is another famous landmark, and is often referred to as the spiritual heart of Dolpo. Situated at the base of the Crystal Mountain, it and the mountain attract hundreds of pilgrims each year.
Within Upper Mustang, Lo-Manthang is the walled capital of the Kingdom of Lo. Although no longer the official king (his throne was lost when Nepal became a Republic in 2008), King, or Gyelpo Jigme Dorje Palbar Bista, still commands the respect and regard of the locals. It is in Lo-Manthang that the famous 3 day Tiji Festival is held every May or June. It is also in Mustang that the ‘sky caves’ or the Jhong Cave is found. Some 50 m up a cliff face, the Jhong Cave is thought to be over 800 years old. The Jhong Cave, which has five stories and 144 rooms, housed priceless wall paintings, centuries-old Tibetan Buddhist doctrine books, and human remains. It seems that there are hundreds of such caves in Upper Mustang, which appear to be dwellings of an ancient civilization. Set with the backdrop of the Annapurna mountains, Upper Mustang is a little explored yet unique place.
This trek is definitely something special, especially for those who are interested in fascinating anthropology, mountain wildlife, and stunning scenery and who have a taste for adventure and the necessary time and fitness level.
|Day 1||Kathmandu to Nepalgunj (Flight)||150 m||1 hr|
|Day 2||Nepalgunj to Jhupal (Flight) to Dunai||2850 m||3 hr|
|Day 3||Dunai to Ankhe||2896 m||5 - 6 hr|
|Day 4||Ankhe to Renje||3104 m||7 hr|
|Day 5||Renje to Phoksundo Lake||3612 m||7 hr|
|Day 6||Phoksundo Lake to Chunemba||3639 m||5 hr|
|Day 7||Chunemba to Snowfield Camp||4400 m||7 hr|
|Day 8||Snowfield Camp to Shey Gompa||4310 m||6 hr|
|Day 9||Shey Gompa to Nam Gaun Gompa||4360 m||5 - 6 hr|
|Day 10||Namgaun Gompa to Marang||4350 m||7 hr|
|Day 11||Marang to Dora Sumna||3670 m||6 - 7 hr|
|Day 12||Dora Sumna to Misha Gaun||4200 m||5 hr|
|Day 13||Misha Gaun to Shimen Gaun||3850 m||6 hr|
|Day 14||Shimen Gaun to Tinje||4110 m||7 hr|
|Day 15||Tinje to Rapka||4535 m||5 hr|
|Day 16||Rapka to Charka||4302 m||6 - 7 hr|
|Day 17||Charka to Tulsi Khola||4935 m||5 - 6 hr|
|Day 18||Tulsi Khola to Nakhkem Khola||5066 m||4 - 5 hr|
|Day 19||Nakhkem Khola to Kharka||5445 m||5 - 6 hr|
|Day 20||Kharka to Ghami Phedi||3680 m||8 - 9 hr|
|Day 21||Ghami Phedi to Ghami||3520 m||4 hr|
|Day 22||Ghami to Marang||3540 m||5 - 6 hr|
|Day 23||Marang to Lo Manthang||3810 m||6 hr|
|Day 24||Acclimatization Day||3810 m||3 - 4 hr|
|Day 25||Lo Manthang to Yara Gaun||3900 m||7 hr|
|Day 26||Yara Gaun to Tange||3240 m||6 hr|
|Day 27||JTange to Tetang||3040 m||7 - 8 hr|
|Day 28||Tetang to Muktinath||3700 m||8 hr|
|Day 29||Muktinath to Jomsom||2710 m||5 - 6 hr|
|Day 30||Jomsom to Pokhara (Flight) to Kathmandu (Flight)||1380 m||25 min|