Pre Trip Days: Fly to Kathmandu, Nepal. Remember, people in the Americas 'lose' one day crossing the international date line. You must arrive in Kathmandu no later than November 8, 2014 [or November 8, 2015]. If you arrive early or depart late, we can arrange transfers, accommodations and additional Nepal services with many custom options throughout the region to enhance your stay before or after your trek!
Ask us questions before you finalize your plans!
Day 1: Kathmandu Arrival. Our staff will meet you upon arrival at the airport to transfer you to our hotel. Optional easy afternoon sightseeing and time to settle in. (Dinner)
Day 2: In Kathmandu. As our staff obtains our restricted area permit from the Department of Immigration, enjoy a day of sightseeing with our knowledgeable guide in Kathmandu — visiting older neighborhoods of the city with distinctive palaces and Hindu and Buddhist temples. (Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 3: Kathmandu to Pokhara. An all day scenic drive takes us to Pokahara. After settling in at the lodge, enjoy the stunning panorama and strolling Fewa Lake's shore. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 4: Pokhara via Jomsom to Kagbeni. Our flight to Jomsom is before 9:00 AM. Depending on exact flight time, breakfast could be in Pokhara or in Jomsom. The short flight by a small, 15–passenger aircraft, flies through Kaligandaki Gorge between two of the tallest mountains on earth, Mount Annapurna and Mount Dhaulagiri, both above 26,000 feet.
Upon landing at Jomsom, you'll meet our porter staff, adjust your daypack and then begin the hike to Kagbeni. The trail to Kagbeni is mostly flat along the Kaligandaki river basin, which we follow on and off during the trek. Kagbeni is an important village with interesting architecture. With a village monastery and several tourist lodges, it's the junction where trekkers diverge to explore upper Mustang in the north and Annapurna Circuit to the east. Trekking time 3 hours, sleeping elevation 9,216 feet. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 5: After check–in at the restricted area's checkpoint, our trek ascends a short hill on the trail with moderate ups and downs, leaving the river bed far below. Tangbe Village is our lunch spot where a new community apple orchard is being cultivated. After lunch, the trail continues short ups and downs to reach Chhusang Village located back at the Kaligandaki River. The river crossing after Chhusang leads us to Chaile Village after a short up hill climb. Trekking time 7 hours, sleeping elevation 10,000 feet. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 6: Chaile via Samar, Chungsi Cave to Syangmochen. From Chaile our trek heads west, climbing a hill with both steep and gradual sections across from scenic Gyagar Village. As we climb higher, the views are more spectacular with Nilgiri (23,160 feet), Tilicho (23,400 feet), Thorong Peak (20,152 feet), Yakwa Kang (21,260 feet) and other peaks. The Annapurna range fills the horizon above the beautiful panorama of nearby Mustang.
After about two hours of continuous climbing, we arrive at a pass marked with prayer flags and rock piles — offerings by Nepalis to the mountain spirits. From the pass, it's a short walk to the village of Samar where we will have an early lunch.
From Samar, we trek down to cross a stream and soon, cross a second stream before climbing to another pass which has no name. From here, it's steep downhill into another canyon. At its bottom, we pause to explore the 8th century meditation cave of Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava), who established Buddhism in Tibet. The cave, Chungsi Rangjyon (self emanated), contains small stupas, paintings and status of Guru Rinpoche and Buddha. From the cave it's a gradual uphill as we pass out of the canyon to reach Syangmochen, where we spend the night. Trekking time 8 hours, sleeping elevation 12,857 feet. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 7: Syangmochen via Ghami to Charang. From Syangmochen we begin our day with a short climb to Syangmochen La Pass (12,628 feet) before the trail descends to Tama Gaon Village. We take the left trail from the junction at Tama Gaon and hike upwards once more to reach Jaite To Nyila Pass. This pass is the southern boundary of Lo or Mustang itself. From Nyila, we walk downhill to Ghami for lunch. Leaving Ghami, the trail passes the areas longest and oldest Mani Prayer Wall and ascends to a final pass and then downhill near Charang Village for the night. Trekking time 8 hours, sleeping elevation 11,676 feet. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 8: Charang to Lomanthang. Charang Village has one of the largest Buddhist monasteries in the area as well as the winter palace of the king of Mustang. Before breakfast we will visit Charang Monastery and after, trek gently on to Lomanthang to the north. In about four hours, we reach Dye La Pass. Here the fortified palace and village of Lomanthang appear from the high, dry landscape of the Tibetan plateau. From Dye La Pass it's under one hour to reach Lomanthang. Trekking time 5 hours, sleeping elevation 12,496 feet. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 9: Optional horse trip to Caves of Jhong, old monasteries and Chhosar. Nepal's government restricts tourists for overnight stays beyond Lomanthang. Today you have an option for a rest day exploring the surrounding region or we can ride horses (optional, additional cost) to visit the old cave village of Jhong at Chhosar. It takes about two hours by horseback to reach Jhong — a cave complex five stories high with more than 40 rooms where entire villages flourished 2000 years ago. Two old Buddhist sites are also nearby. We can explore them as well and still return to Lomanthang by late afternoon. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 10: Free day in Lomanthang. Today we'll explore the fortified capital town of old Lo Kingdom. The village is noted for its tall white-washed walls, gompas and the Royal Palace, a nine-corner, five-story structure built about 1400 AD. Lo was an independent principality of Himalaya long before it assimilated into modern Nepal. The royal family of Mustang received special honors until 2008 when Nepal declared itself a republic. We tour the village and its three important monasteries which contain ancient frescos painted in natural color — the American Himalayan Foundation helped restore these ancient paintings. The Annapurna Conservation Area Project visitor center is also worth a visit. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 11: Lomanthang via Lo Gekar to Dhakmar. Once we leave Lomanthang we take the trail towards Marang La (13,874 feet) and Lo Gekar. This area is the highest on our trek and offers a beautiful panoramic view of the Annapurna Range, Saribung Peak and the Damodar section of Annapurna Himalaya. Damodar is one of the last frontiers close to the Tibetan border — its rugged landscape and ancient culture are unique. From the pass it's long gradual descent to Lo Gekar Monastery, the oldest Buddhist monastery in the entire Himalaya (including Tibet). It was build by Guru Rinpoche in the 8th century. We relish a simple lunch at the monastery restaurant and continue our trek to Dhakmar via another pass of Mu La (13,677 feet). Trekking time 8 hours, Sleeping elevation 12,529 feet. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 12: Dhakmar via Ghami and Syangmochen to Samar. After a short hillside ramble, we descend to Ghami where we join the trail we had trekked days earlier. From Ghami we trace back to Syangmochen to pass the fork heading to Chungsi Cave and take the right trail up to a pass and then down to reach Samar. Trekking time 8 hours, sleeping elevation 12,004 feet. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 13: Samar via Chhusang to Kagbeni. Today is our final day trekking in the restricted zone. We continue downhill to Chaile and then with moderate ups and downs passing the villages of Chhusang and Tangbe to arrive at Tibet-influenced Kagbeni, located in the valley of the Kali Gandaki — one of three rivers which cross the Himalaya. The Kali Gandaki was one of the major trade routes between Tibet and India. Traders brought salt from Tibet and barley, spices and clothes from India. Following the Chinese invasion of Tibet, trade abruptly ended and formerly prosperous villages faded into obscurity. Trekking time 8 hours, sleeping elevation 9,216 feet. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 14: Kagbeni via Lupra to Jomsom. Most trekkers return straight to Jomsom but we will make a detour to visit Lupra Village — hidden in a canyon off of the main trail. This special village is unique as it's the only Bon Po Village to survive Mustang. Bon Po pre-dates Buddhism and is one of the oldest religions in the world. After lunch at Lupra, we trek back to Jomsom. Trekking time 5 hours, sleeping elevation 8,921 feet. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 15: Jomsom to Pokhara. Our return flight is scheduled before 9:00 AM. Pokhara is the third largest city in Nepal and has one of the highest precipitation rates in the country (average 131 inches per year). Even inside the city, there is a measurable difference in rainfall between the south and the north — the northern part, situated at the foothills, receives a higher rainfall! One of the more unusual items found locally are fossilized Saligrams (Ammonites) which are a reminder that this area was once the sea floor about 140 to 165 million years ago! On return to our Pokhara hotel, the rest of the day is at leisure to rest and enjoy. (Breakfast)
Day 16: Pokhara to Kathmandu. Our short flight returns us to Kathmandu. Once back at our hotel, you'll have time to shop and explore our Kathmandu neighborhood. (Breakfast)
Day 17: Depart Kathmandu. Free time will depend on your departure flight time. We'll provide an airport transfer for your flight home today. (Breakfast)
PostTrip Departure: Return travel home. Those in the Americas may arrive home the same day with the reverse travel across the International Date Line.
Important Note: This is meant only as a guide to what our days will be like. Changes may be made as we go along. These depend upon local conditions, our acclimatization and safety. Sturdy vehicles are provided to and from trailheads. Provided trail times and elevations are approximate. It should be noted that this is a demanding, high–altitude trek. Good health, a high level of fitness and a positive attitude are the best tools to appreciate the trek. This kind of travel is not best for those prone to car sickness or afraid of heights. All of the areas visited are remote and there are no reliable sources of medical care outside of Kathmandu.
Travel Details: If you make your own arrangements, note that you must arrive in Kathmandu, Nepal no later than November 8, 2014 [or November 8, 2015] and that you may not depart earlier than November 24, 2014 [or November 22, 2015]. There is internet access at the guest houses in Kathmandu and Pokhara. Ask us about booking a room should you have an overnight stopover, wish to arrive early or stay for extra days at the end. We can arrange additional nights at any of our hotels or guest houses (comfortable deluxe rooms, attached bathrooms, wifi, room service, laundry service, a free safe-deposit box and ample luggage storage) for you as well as arrange add–on excursions throughout the region. Airport pickup for early arrivals or late departures can also be arranged upon request.
We recommend that you purchase travel insurance which includes coverage for trip cancelation as well as our required emergency medical evacuation coverage, prices can start as low as $50USD. Please see our Policy section for complete information on our trip cancellations policies. Payment for additional services not specified in the itinerary may be required at the time the service is booked or received.