Normally, Jomsom to Lo Manthang is a popular trekking itinerary in Upper Mustang. After this many people want to trek, upper mustang during the Tiji festival. The itinerary is slightly different than general ones. It is a three day long festival. This is all about chasing the demon from the sacred land of Lo Manthang. To know more story about Tiji, click here. Also, you can check amazing photograph of Tiji Festival from The Guardian Blog. Normally it happens in the month of May. It is entirely based on Tibetan Calendar. Every year we organize, fix departure trip for Tiji Festival. To check date and availability of the upcoming Tiji Festival, click here. During the festival cultural influences will dominate nature and terrain. Locals from several other villages of Upper Mustang gather in Lo Manthang. Manage your holiday after consulting with us regarding the date of Tiji Festival. This is the best time for Upper Mustang Trek.
Very similar to another, your trek will start from Kagbeni. There are a multiple options to reach Kagbeni. Either a short flight from Pokhara to Jomsom and trek to Kagbeni or drive from Pokhara to Kagbeni. Local jeep is frequently available from Jomsom to Kagbeni. However, for Tiji, as a group we will use options of flight from Pokhara to Jomsom. Here we will talk about the day to day itinerary from Kagbeni to Kagbeni.
Kagbeni to Chele [3050m/10004ft] | 5-6 Hrs
You have to leave the medieval village of Kagbeni in the morning. Most probably you will be staying in the Red House Lodge. By the time you are having a breakfast guide will already register your permits. Expect not to wait at the checking point for registration. After some up and down toward north you will reach the village of Tangbe. It is the first village in Upper Mustang. The houses are mostly white washed as they look. They are very similar to each other. Also to cope with strong wind they are attached with each other, resulting on a narrow alley within the village. Leave field of buckwheat, barley and wheat behind and trek ahead toward Chele. Spend your first night in the land of the last forbidden kingdom.
Chele to Syangboche [3475m/11398ft] | 6-7 Hrs
Similar to the previous day, you will be starting your journey after breakfast. From Eklo Bhatti, you have to climb to the top of Taklam La Pass. Congratulation you made to the top of 3624 m from sea level. Witness the beauty of Tilicho Peak, Damodar Danda and Bhrikuti Peak. Soon after, little descent from the top you will be in the village of Samar. It is also a very medieval village. Lunch will be served here. Now prepare yourself for another three hours of walk. Along the way you will pass by the shadow of the juniper tree. Locals used dried juniper as an incense for any auspicious work. Also during every morning and evening prayers. Ramchung Cave lies along the trail to Syangboche.
Syangboche to Ghaymi [3520m/11546ft] | 5-6 Hrs
Today it is considerably little tough. You need to traverse through two successive passes. The first part of the trail passes through a few teahouses and chorten. The first pass is Yamda La at 3850 m from sea level. After this approach to Nyi La is little long uphill. Today you will scale elevation of 4010 m at the top of the Nyi La Pass. Always expect to descend from the top of any pass. The Ghaymi is the biggest village on the lap of Nyi La. It is the third largest village of entire Upper Mustang. Now, you are properly acclimatized after making summit of 4010 m. The game is surrounded by large fields. It is mostly barren. Hardly people cultivate potato and barley here.
Ghaymi to Charang [3500m/11480ft] | 4-5 Hrs
You won’t be facing tough up and down today. It is a very gentle trail from Ghaymi to Charang. Very long Mani Wall is along the trail. Mani Wall is piles of stones carved with Buddhist Prayers. Make sure you will walk past right from Mani Wall. The guide will also aware you about this. After complete end of the Mani Wall trail will head east toward Charang. This is the prettiest villages on Upper Mustang. Normally huge chorten herald arrival of a local village. There is also a big red Gompa. Be happy you are now one day away to witness beauty of Lo Manthang and participate in the festival of Tiji. Walk around the village late afternoon and take some photo!
Charang to Lo Manthang [3700m/12136ft] | 5-6 Hrs
Finally, one more pass of Lo at 3850 m and you will be Lo Manthang. Start as early as you can. Today is the first day of Tiji Festival. Top of Lo Pass offers beautiful view of snow capped mountains. Including Annapurna I, 10th highest mountain the world. The pass is often windy. Upon reaching Lo Manthang you can enjoy ritual dances. Also in the courtyard of the king’s palace will be full of mask dancer. Entire locals are dressed on their traditional wears and jewelry. Horse races and tug of war is the major attraction of first day of Tiji Festival. They will also fire gun to threaten the demons. There is a lot more to see in Lo Manthang.
Explore Lo Manthang [3700m/12136ft]
The similar ritual process is carried out in Lo. Beside watching festival there are lots more to explore in Lo Manthang. You can explore Namgyal Gompa. Also side trip to the last village of Tingkhar will be worth. You can also use the pony service in between Lo Manthang and Tingkhar. Visiting ‘God House’ and Chyodi Gompa is also a good idea. As they are major attractions of Lo Manthang. Overnight again in Lo Manthang. Tomorrow is the last day of festival. You will be still in Lo Manthang for one more night tomorrow.
Explore Lo Manthang [3700m/12136ft]
Enjoy the final ceremonies of Tiji Festival. This is a final day of Tiji. Because of large flows of visitor you won’t get a chance to meet with King. However, he will attend the festival. He is the last king of Upper Mustang. Do some side trip. Hike to nearby Tibetan Pass will be a good experience. Or you are trying to stay with Lo and enjoy the chill beer. Mostly beer from China are in use. They are cheap and available easily from the border. Most of the teahouses will be packed during festival time. This is because of large flows of international and domestic tourist as well as local in Lo. Remember this is the most important festival in Upper Mustang.
Lo Manthang to Drakmar [3810m/12500ft] | 6-7 Hrs
Now you will start your return trip to Jomsom. Instead of following the same trail back we like you to make a small circuit. You won’t be going back to Charang today. Instead, you will take left trail and head toward settlement of Drakmar. What about some caves and Gompa? In Gyakar there is one famous monastery. It is named Ghar Gompa and date back twelve hundred years old. It is well known for its famous painting. Also local believe in the supernatural power of the Gompa. Your own wish can be fulfilled, if you make a wish there. There will be strong afternoon wind in Drakmar. Also very dusty. You can walk late afternoon and explore the local area and settlement.
Drakmar to Ghiling [3806m/12484ft] | 5-6 Hrs
Now, you had almost explore most of the beautiful terrain in Upper Mustang. Today’s journey is all about retracing back to Chuksang. Today your lunch and overnight will be in the same place. Start early in the morning. Arrive Ghiling after five to six hours. Enjoy great meals and rest for the day. Later, when wind finishes it works, you can walk around Ghiling.
Ghiling to Chuksang [3050m/10004ft] | 5-6 Hrs
Very similar to the yesterday, today also it is all about the journey of getting back to Jomsom. Along the way besides desert terrain, you will also have of some snow capped Himalaya peak. Take a picture along the way. This is your second last day in Upper Mustang. It’s tenth day and your permit will expire by tomorrow night. Enjoy your presence in the land of the last forbidden kingdom.
Chuksang to Jomsom [2700m/8856ft] | 6-7 Hrs
Today by the lunch time in Kagbeni, you will exit from a restricted area of Upper Mustang. Now you are on the part of an Annapurna Circuit Trail. You will encounter lots of backpackers. Depending on the time of arrival in Kagbeni and lunch you can skip trek to Jomsom. Local jeep is available frequently. You can take a ride. Or if you like to trek it is around another three hour trek. You will also encounter a strong wind there on the way to Jomsom. Sad but true this area is highly commercial. You have to pass by many jeeps. There is a branch of Himalayan Java Coffee in Jomsom. Get a sip of freshly brewed coffee from the himalaya.
At both the start and end of the trek you have to add two extra days. It is about getting from Kathmandu to Pokhara and from Pokhara to Kagbeni. Also vice versa at the end of trek. We need a day in Kathmandu to issue your permits. You can check our frequently asked questions if you have general unanswered queries. Also contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime. For more handful information, go back to our homepage of Upper Mustang Trek Blog.