Mustang Overland Adventure
NEPAL- UPPER Mustang Self drive tour
Upper Mustang driving 4 x 4 off road adventure is filled with views of natural beauty, rich culture of Nepali and Tibetain influence. Upper Mustang is also known as little Tibet with its high land on the Tibetain plateau and same religion and similar culture.
The drive has stunning valleys, spectacular mountain views and ethnic culture of Nepal. The ultimate destination is Lo-Manthang., capital of Mustang region. The route leads to traveling across high desert landscape , barren ridges, deep canyons (deepest canyon in the world), eroded cliffs and moraine valleys. The drive takes you to 4000m passes of arid desert and icy cold waters.
Day 01: Arrive Kathmandu Overnight at hotel in Kathmandu.
Day 02: Kathmandu - Pokhra by flight ( 30 Minutes).
Your vehicles will be positioned in Pokhra. You can do some familiarization drives around getting used to the traffic conditions here and you have the options to experience Paragliding in Pokhara, Boat ride on Phewa Lake and visit of International Mountain Museum.
Overnight at hotel in Pokhara.
Day 03: Drive Pokhra - Thasang ( 1800 M) About 155 km appx. 6 hours drive.
(Pokhra to Beni 90km paved road)
The Tiny mountain village could be a contender for most spectacular location with vehicle accessibility in Nepal. The village is perched high above the Kali Gandaki valley floor. Right above the village the imposing bulk of Dhaulagiri rises to 8167m and you have completely uninterrupted views of this Himalayan giant including its mind blowing icefall. Across the broad kali Gandaki valley are the south peaks of the Nilgiris reaching over 6800m, as well as the 8091 m Annapurna 1 summit that geographically forms the other side of the Kali Gandaki valley. So you have an eagle’s nest view of the deepest valley in the world.
Day 04: Thasang (1800m) - Jomsom (2720 m) - Kagbeni (2810 mdr) - Muktinath (3710 M) -Kagbeni drive ( Appx 60km About 5 Hrs drive)
Altitude 2810m, Driving time approx. 5 hrs.
Today everything changes! Back down to the valley floor and onto the stony jeep track, which now rises less acutely up towards Jomsom. Pretty soon the trees start to disappear and as you approach Jomsom virtually all vegetation disappears abruptly, marking the furthest extent of the Himalayan rain shadow. On your right the sharp peak of Nilgiri South is more spectacular than ever before and you have now crossed through the Himalayas. The arid landscape of the Mustang region is stretched out before you in the form of the upper reaches of the Kali Gandaki. Not only has the landscape changed, the culture has changed too and the villages from now on have a distinctly Tibetan flavour to them. An hour or so beyond Jomsom, your overnight halt tonight is in Kagbeni. Typical of villages in the Mustang region in terms of architecture, along with Tibetan buddhist monuments and symbols, Kagbeni is where Upper Mustang begins and to venture further special permits are required.
Day 05: Kagbeni (2810m) - Lo Manthang (3840m) Distance about 90km (About 8 hours)
Your journey into Upper Mustang begins properly today. After the permits are checked at the police post in Kagbeni, the jeep track today pretty much skirts the side of the Kali Gandaki River Valley.
Along the way you can take a halt and explore the small village of Thangbe and see how their carefully tended terraced fields are irrigated in a landscape that is otherwise dry and barren wilderness
After crossing the Kali Gandaki the jeep track now climbs away from the valley and there are a couple of high passes (approx 4000m) to cross before dropping down into Charang.
Charang itself is the second largest village (Lo Manthang the largest village) of the Upper Mustang area and is worthy of some on foot exploration. To give the legs a good stretch, you could take a hike up to the fascinating GharGompa. Like many Buddhist monasteries, GharGompa sits atop a hill and affords some good views of the Mustang region.
Up and over over another mountain pass of around 4000m and then a slight descent and in around 2 hours you've arrived at the fabled city of Lo Manthang. It is somewhat small for a city. It is a large village really of less than 200 homes and around 875 people.
Day 06: Explore Lo Manthang area.
There are quite a few options today. You can drive to Khangchuling cave, Jhong cave, NYFU monastery, Chhonup Village, Nymgyal Village and Tingkar village and back to Lo – Monthang.
One option is to take a two hour round trip hike to visit the Namgyal Monastery. Or, if you're feeling strong then a six hour round trip walk will enable you to visit some ancient caves (circa 4100m). Alternatively you can visit these caves by jeep if you don't fancy the walk. Another short walk of around 2 hours is up to the ruins of a fortress, from where there are splendid panoramic views over Lo Manthang and on clear days the snowy peaks of the Annapurnas may be seen. You can also stay local and head out into the surrounding farm lands and villages.
Day 07: Lo Manthang - Jomsom drive (About 9 Hours, Distance 110km) Overnight at hotel in Jomsom.
Drive to Jomsom from Lo Manthang in one day. This would make it a long and endurance test.
Heading back along the side of the Kali Gandaki Valley the mighty Himalayan peaks get closer and closer. Nligiri South Peak becomes even more impressive and the bulk of Dhaualgiri comes into view.
Your driving tour ends today at Jomsom.
Day08. Jomsom to Annapurna Base Camp visit by Helicopter and fly to Kathmandu.
Helicopters will be arranged today to fly towards Kathmandu. The flights are all thrilling and we can make a stop at the Annapurna base camp before heading back to Kathmandu.
Day 09. In Kathmandu.
You have your rest day at Kathmandu the ancient city with many monasteries, old cities and temples. You can explore the Boudhanath stupa and the Baktapur city. Have time to do some souvenir shopping and later in the night have a farewell dinner.
Day 10. Departure
Airport transfers and departure.
Hotels envisaged on the tour.
Kathmandu. The Dwarikas Hotel www.dwarikas .com
Pokhara, Pavillion Himalaya https://www.pavilionshotels.com/himalayas/
Lo Manthang : Royal Mustang Resort
All hotels on double occupancy
Meals Full Board.
All sightseeing where applicable.
Special permit fees to Lo Manthang, ACAP and TIMS fees. (Require 4 passport size photos for permit process from Kathmandu from Immigration office).
Domestic Flights Kathmandu to Pokhra.
Helicopter transfers and sightseeing while coming from Jhomsom to Kathmandu with halt at Annapurna base camp.
All airport transfers.
Local Guide/Tour Leader and support staff entire tour.
Back up support jeep throughout tour.
Does not include:
Bar and Beverages in Hotels
Hotel extras like spa, laundry, telephone calls etc.
Tips to crew.
Personal Travel Insurance that includes helicopter evacuation and medical expenses in case of accidents, force majeure and any emergencies that may arise while on tour.
All International flights.
Self drive vehicle hire, positioning, vehicle permits if foreign vehicles, fuel positioning, extra drivers.
Please note: the tour involves driving through unfamiliar terrain, highly subject to unpredictable weather and road conditions, things might not go as planned hence a flexible attitude is essential.
Best Time for this Tour. April, May, Oct.