Upper Mustang Overland Tour is a leisurely alternative to exploring the ancient forbidden Kingdom of Upper Mustang on a jeep in a short time. The seven days Upper Mustang Overland Tour begins from the capital city of Kathmandu and heads northwest to Lo Manthang, the capital city of Upper Mustang. It has been a popular trekking destination since it was opened to foreigners in 1992. Due to recent road development and vehicle accessibility, it has been a popular overland tour destination.
Upper Mustang boasts majestic geography like no other, with the high cliffs, rock formations surrounding the valley in the arid land of the rain shadow area. As you enter the upper region of Mustang, the white-washed houses scattered across the Kali Gandaki river valley look like they are stuck in time. The overland tour stops at different chortens, gompas, mani walls, and temples significant to the Tibetan Buddhist religion. Interacting with the ethnic Bon and Lhopa people is another highlight of the trek. Throughout the tour, views of the Annapurna Massif and surrounding mountain range will be prominent.
The tour begins with a scenic flight or drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara city in the west, from where you will board a flight to Jomsom, the hub of the Mustang region. From Jomsom, the overland jeep drive navigates through different villages before reaching Lo Manthang, the capital city of Upper Mustang. After a full day of exploring the ancient city to witness its culture, traditions, and lifestyle, the drive heads to Muktinath temple, another highlight of the trip. After a short stop for exploring and puja in the temple, the drive continues to Jomsom for a flight back to Pokhara city then to Kathmandu.
This Upper Mustang Overland Tour is regarded to be an easier and the shortest Upper Mustang itinerary. You can experience the beauty of the mystical place without having to stress yourself with a long trek. This tour is best for those individuals or families with limited time, physical physique, and enough budget to spend with luxury.
|Day 1||Drive from Kathmandu (1,400m/4,592ft) to Pokhara (800m/2,625ft) - 6 to 7 Hours, 200 km/ Optional: Flight – 35 minutes|
|Day 2||Flight from Pokhara to Jomsom (2,700m/8,856ft) - 25 minutes, drive to Ghami (3,520m/11,546ft) - about 5 to 6 hours|
|Day 3||Drive from Ghami or Chhusang to Lo Manthang (3,730m/12,235ft) – 5 to 6 hours|
|Day 4||Explore Lo Manthang|
|Day 5||Drive from Lo Manthang to Muktinath (3,800m/12,464ft) – 6 to 7 hours, drive to Jomsom (2,700m/8,856ft)|
|Day 6||Flight from Jomsom to Pokhara (800m/2,635ft) - 25 minutes|
|Day 7||Drive from Pokhara (800m/2,625ft) to Kathmandu (1,400m/4,592ft) – 6 to 7 hours, 200 km/Optional: Flight (35 minutes)|
After having breakfast in the morning, you will take a long drive to the city of lakes, Pokhara. It is situated in the western region of Nepal, around 200km west of Kathmandu. The drive will take you alongside the Trishuli river on the first half of the tour along the Prithvi Highway. Most of the road is blacktopped, so the ride is smooth with only a few bumpy turns. You will stop midway for lunch, snacks, and also for bathroom breaks. The views of hills and mountains become more clear as you arrive near Pokhara city.
Upon reaching the city, you will be transferred to the nearby hotel in Baidam, near the Phewa Lakeside. You can discuss with your guide about the tour and prepare your backpack accordingly. In the evening, you can head out to enjoy the lakeside views while having dinner in a fancy restaurant.
Optionally, if you prefer ease and comfort, you can even opt for a 35 minutes flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara. In that case, you will have more time to explore the city, visit different places.
Overnight stay at Pokhara.
Take a flight in the morning from Pokhara Airport to Jomsom Domestic Airport in Mustang, which will take about 25 minutes. Jomsom is the commercial and tourist hub of the mystical Mustang region due to the accessibility of an airport and decent roads. After landing at Jomsom, you will take a drive to Ghami Village.
You are likely to witness trekkers and locals walking along the dusty road. The drive will take you through Kagbeni village at the entrance of the lower Mustang region. From there, the dirt roads will take you to the Chele check post at the opening of the Upper Mustang region. Passing by Samar and Syangboche villages in the Kali Gandaki river valley, you will finally reach Ghami.
Ghami is known predominantly for its white-washed mud and stone houses. Traverse through the narrow alleyways along the street and interact with the locals to understand their religion and culture.
Overnight stay in Ghami.
After sipping some butter tea or coffee early in the morning along with traditional breakfast, you will take a drive to Lo Manthang, further above Ghami. On the way, you will pass by the Ghami river, Charang river, and the Dokpolo river. You will also be crossing the pass of Tsarang La at the altitude of 3870m. Along the way, you will be greeted by the up-close views of Annapurna I, Tilicho, Nilgiri, and other mountain ranges. As you reach near the famed walled city, you will witness the longest mani wall of Upper Mustang.
Welcome to the capital of the Upper Mustang Kingdom, Lo Manthang. The ancient and aesthetic white-washed houses will welcome you in the arid land. After taking some rest, you can head out to explore Lo by traversing around the streets.
Overnight stay at Lo Manthang
This is an exploration day set aside to witness what Lo Manthang has to offer. After breakfast, you can plan to visit some monasteries and temples of significance, as time permits. Lo Manthang depicts an accurate picture of the great Tibetan Buddhist culture and traditions. Hiking on foot is the best way to explore the nooks and crannies of this majestic city built between the dry terrain. Occupied mainly by the ethnic Lhoba and Bon tribe, Lo is heavily a Buddist locality.
To understand the history of the ancient kingdom, you can visit the five-storied King’s Palace, built during the 1400s, making it the oldest structure in the city. The ceremonial king and queen currently reside with their family in the palace and attend auspicious festivals like Tiji.
Further, you can also visit the Champa Lhakang, a significant Buddhist temple with a giant Buddha statue with walls painted with Mandala. From there, you can take a hike to the Namgyal Gompa, another religious monastery and a local courthouse, for legal disposition. In the Monastic Museum, you can also interact with the young student monks studying at the Tsechen Shedrubling Monastery School.
Overnight stay at Lo Manthang.
After exploring Lo Manthang, you will finally bid farewell to the mystical land of Upper Mustang and drive off to a religiously significant Muktinath temple. This is one of the biggest highlights of the trek apart from the visit to Lo Manthang. The drive today will take you on a dirt road mostly downhill.
You will make a detour to Muktinath temple, where you will witness decent hotels and shops along the way. The temple, although small, has a vibrant aura that keeps your spirit at peace. There are many spring taps and two small ponds, the water of which is said to cleanse the soul of any sins committed. Hence, you might observe many Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims taking a bath there.
After your brief stop at Muktinath, you will drive back to Jomsom. Along the road, you will witness views of the Nilgiri and Dhaulagiri mountains popping up now and then. You can witness the locals walking their cattle after day-long grazing. This is the final glimpse of the dusty, ancient city that seems far from the hustle and bustle of city life.
After reaching Jomsom, you can enjoy some local apple booze, dance to the rhythm of the local songs, and listen to folktales.
Overnight stay at Jomsom.
Wake up before dawn to catch the morning sun shining over the horizon. After having breakfast, bid farewell to the lovely locals and head to the domestic airport. Your flight to Pokhara will be short and amazing, as you are offered a bird’s eye view of the Annapurna Massif and the surrounding mountain range.
After reaching Pokhara, relax at your hotel, then head out to explore the city. Depending upon your arrival time, you can visit the Mahendra Cave, Bat cave, Davis Falls, and even the International Mountain Museum. Pokhara is also known for its nightlife, so if you are a party animal, the lively pubs and clubs surrounding the Phewa Lakeside are for you.
Overnight stay at Pokhara.
From Pokhara, you will be heading to Kathmandu city after early morning breakfast. The drive will take you back to the Prithvi Highway, then along the Trishuli river, finally to Kathmandu, with a couple of stops on the way.
Besides the overland drive, you also have the option to return by flight. It is easy and takes only about 35 minutes, which means that you can spend the rest of the day exploring Kathmandu. Depending upon your departure time, you can visit the Kathmandu Durbar Square near Thamel and explore the ancient palace and museum. You can also opt to shop for souvenirs in the streets of Thamel and try the local Nepali cuisine.
Overnight stay at Kathmandu.
Note: This standard Upper Mustang Overland Tour does not include the arrival at Kathmandu and Departure from Kathmandu. Including the arrival and final departure, the overland tour would be a total of 9 days.