Upper Mustang and Upper Dolpo, two high mountain desert and one trail to bridge them. This will be an extraordinary trekking journey in the Nepal Himalayas, i.e. Mustang to Dolpo Traverse Trek. Hardly you will find information about this trip on the Internet. Trails are not marked and challenging during inhospitable mountain environment. It is even harder to have a precise trekking map. You can buy the Great Himalayan Trail Map for the field references. We do have online zoom able trek map, however, it didn’t completely covers the trekking trail from Upper Mustang to Upper Dolpo.
You won’t find any settlement in between these wild sections of Dolpo and Mustang. Camping can’t be avoided and also, the number of high alpine series of mountain pass. The trek can be either started from Dolpo side or Mustang side. There is no such significant difference on the basis of direction. Starting from Mustang is recommended. It might be comparatively easy than its alternative. We will be starting our journey starting from the Dolpo. We have a good support crew in Dolpo.
Upper Dolpo Ghami Lo Manthang Upper Mustang Traverse Trek Itinerary
Kathmandu to Nepalgunj flight [165 m]
We flew pass western Himalayan range from Kathmandu, either via Buddha Air or Yeti Air. Both of them are considered as pioneer in the domestic sector of Nepal. Nepalgunj is relatively hotter than Kathmandu and close Indian Border. You will find the influence of Indian Culture.
Nepalgunj to Jhupal flight and trek to Sangta [2520 m]
Early morning you will fly from Nepalgunj to Jhupal. Jhupal is tiny airstrips in Dolpo. Small aircrafts are used for the flight because of mountain airport and small runway. You will pass next to the Mount Dhaulagiri on your right. Meet the crew their and start journey to Sangta. Pass through little villages, enter Shey Phoksundo National Park and stay overnight.
Sangta to Rheji Gau [2940 m]
A camp before the Lake, Rheji Gau is around seven hours walk from Sangta. The trail is tranquil inside the national park. You will pass through a woody section and encounters several small streams along the way. The trail is fairly gentle with minor up and down.
Rheji Gau to Ringmo, Phoksundo Lake [3600 m]
Push yourself for next six to seven hours on the trail and you will witness the jaw dropping beauty of Phoksundo Lake. At an elevation of 3600 m from sea level, Lake is in the shape of capital Y, English alphabet. Pass through the village of Ringmo you will camp next to the turquoise colored lake.
Acclimatization day in Phoksundo [3600 m]
Before you continue a long journey toward the upper section of Dolpo, here is one day allocated for the rest. Just walk nearby the lakes and explore the village of Ringmo. Also Bon Gompa and Bon Culture are major highlights of Dolpo. Evening again camp next to the lake.
Ringmo, Phoksundo Lake to Sallaghari [3630 m]
The trail passes next to the bank of Phoksundo Lake. After an average of three hours walk from camp you will follow the descending trail toward the edge of the lake. And ahead, you will follow gently paced trail to Sallaghari.
Sallaghari to Kang La Base Camp [4717 m]
Often known as Kang La, local name of your today’s campsite is Nangdalo. The trail is mostly uphill. Lunch will be served at the appropriate place. Beautiful view of snowcapped peaks will accompany your trip. You will be crossing your first high pass tomorrow. Start pretty early in the morning!
Kang La Base Camp to Shey Gompa [4343 m]
Kang La Pass at an elevation of 5350 m from sea level is the highest point you had gained until the 8th day of your trip. Early start is needed, recommended before 5 o’clock in the morning. Steep up and you will reach the top. Have a legendary cup of tea and then start rapid descent to the Shey Gompa. Crystal Mountain is visible from Shey Gompa. It is considered as the brother of Mount Kailash.
Shey Gompa to Namgong Gompa [4360 m]
Explore the monastery of Shey and continue your journey further north of Dolpo. Trail today, mostly pass through flat terrain. There are almost no elevation differences in comparing to Shey Gompa. Namgong Gompa is also considered as one of the oldest monasteries in Nepal.
Namgong to Marang [4350 m]
Don’t get confused about the name Marang. Similar to Upper Mustang, Dolpo also has a place named Marang. Pass through Karang and Sibuk and some other interesting villages. The trail is very gentle with similar elevation level. Tomorrow you will be descending slightly down toward lower elevations.
Marang to Dora Sumna [3670 m]
Today trail is gently down from Marang to Dora Sumna. You will loose the elevation of 680 m today. The trail passes through the famous Sungjer Gompa. Similar to Upper Mustang, Dolpo has also had a place named Luri Gau. Today you will pass through Luri Gau on the way to Dora Sumna.
Dora Sumna to Misha Gau [4200 m]
Trail today is a mix of up and down. The first part of the trail leads uphill toward the Yanjer Gompa. It is one of the wealthiest among the monasteries in Dolpo. It is at an elevation of 4600 m from sea level. Onward from Yanjer Gompa trail is mostly downhill, though gentle pace.
Misha Gau to Shimen Gau [3850 m]
Another tough day with high pass of 5030 m! You will camp close to Shimen Gau, at an elevation of 3850 m, in a place named Chanpola Goth. Start early in the morning from Misha Gau then steep up all the way to top of the Musi La Pass at 5030 m. After short break and lunch in appropriate place you will descend all the way to Shimen Gau for overnight.
Shimengaon to Tinje [4110 m]
Spectacular beauty of Tinje Village can’t be best described in word. It is located on the widespread valley. Not just the valley, local culture, traditions and housing are scenic and unmatched with other terrain. The trail is gently placed up the hill. Total elevation gained will be less than 300 m.
Tinje to Rapka [4535 m]
You are now slowly moving closer toward the mustang. The trail is mostly uphill though gentle. Total elevation gained will be around 400 meters. Lunch will be served in the appropriate place. Enjoy the spectacular view along the way and prepare yourself for more upcoming adventure and wilderness.
Rapka to Charka [4302 m]
Few people also traverse toward Kagbeni from Charka. However, we will be heading further north and enter Mustang from Ghami Village. Trail encompasses Charka Pass, often known as Mola Pass at an elevation of 5030 m. There is Bon Gompa on the way to Charka.
Charka to Tulsi Khola [4935 m]
You will camp near river bank. The name of the river is Tulsi. It had a great significance in Hindu Culture. We are now very close to territory of The Last Forbidden Kingdom of Lo. Follow some up and down and set the camp next to Tulsi Riverbank.
Tulsi Khola to Nakhkem Khola [5066 m]
Almost flat trail to Nakhkem Khola from Tulsi Khola, you will have a short camp today. This is in the final preparation for traversing to the Mustang. Within few days you will trek through the highest point of the trek. Just wait one more day.
Nakhkem Khola to Kharka [5445 m]
From Nakhkem Khola you will have to hike toward Kharka Camp. At the elevation of 5445 m from sea level trail to Kharka is very scenic. There are a few lakes and incredible view of Dhaulagiri Himalayan Ranges. Remember this a final night in Dolpo.
Kharka to Ghami Fedi [3680 m]
Start early in the morning. Cross Ghami La Pass at 5694 m. The trail is strenuous, but the view is spectacular. From the top of the pass terrain of Upper Mustang comes into your sight. They are very similar with Dolpo. Literally culture is somehow different in Dolpo and Mustang. It will be a good taste!
Ghami Fedi to Ghami [3520 m]
Back to civilization! Few more up and down, then you will find yourself in the beautiful settlement of the Ghami. You will be crossing Ghami River several times on your way to game. You are now very close to The final settlement of the Last Forbidden Kingdom of Lo.
Ghami to Marang [3540 m]
Tsarang or often spell as Charang has been probably the most beautiful village in Mustang. There is a big red chorten which heralds the arrival of Tsarang. But for some different experience than others, we will hike to a neighbor village named Marang. It is another small village on the right of Tsarang.
Marang to Lo Manthang [3810 m]
One smaller pass of Lo and you will be in Lo Manthang. From the top you can witness the beauty of Nilgiri, Tilicho, Bhrikuti and Annapurna I. Expect pass to be windy most of the time. All you need now is to descend to capital of upper mustang. There is so much to see in this beautiful village of Lo Manthang. You will be spending two nights here. Today you can just walk around this medieval village.
Excursion day in Lo Manthang
In the morning you can start with a trip to Namgyal Gompa. It is a very important monastery for locals. Tingkhar, a village on the last edge of Nepal can be a perfect escape from Lo. You can also use the pony service. If you don’t want to go far then just explore a few of the important attractions of Lo. Explore God House and other major Gompa. King’s palace shouldn’t be missed as well. After earthquake palace had developed some cracks and king family was shifted on the tent. This is a very unique building and it is more than seven hundred years old
Lo Manthang to Yara Gau [3900 m]
Trek back to top of the pass again. This is the final view of Lo Manthang. Take some picture and start descending down. After a while you will leave a main trail of Jomsom Lo Manthang Trek. Continue to the village of Dhi. Further east we will continue passing the Kaligandaki River. There is short yet steep climb up. It is very famous for some of its caves. Along the way you will have views of amazing caves. After a long walk you will find a place to stay for overnight in Yara Village.
Yara Gau to Tange [3240 m]
Comparatively it will be longer trail. It is steeply on certain portions as well. After a long walk you will encounter a river originated from Damodar Kunda. Collect some of black fossil. There are many of them! You will have a lunch here. After lunch it is up and down. There are several chorten in the village of Tange. The name of this village very similar to Tangbe, isn’t it? It is less commercialize. Enjoy local things late afternoon.
Tange to Tetang [3040 m]
You have to leave this beautiful village. Cross the bridge and follow route along the river way. It is steep uphill. Until you find shelter house, you will be trekking uphill. There is availability of water as well. Lunch will be served here. Before reaching village of Tetang, you have to make it to top of small pass. Nilgiri looks very close now. Also the view of Dhaulagiri I is unmatched. Descend to the village of Tetang. Your final overnight in upper mustang. Tomorrow you will merge with the famous Annapurna Circuit Trail.
Tetang to Muktinath [3700 m]
Are you ready? It is all the way up until you can view Muktinath. There is a small main wall in the village before you start your uphill. It is only up and down. From the top, with a view of magnificent Himalayas you will descend down to the town of Rani Pauwa. Most people make mistakes as it is a village of Rani Pauwa not Muktinath. It is only a temple. The trail is busier now. Hundred of thousands of trekkers every year trek round Annapurna trek. There are a few things to see inside the premises of Muktinath. It is a melting pot of Hindu and Buddhist. You can pay visit to the temple the next morning. Just enjoy now.
Muktinath to Jomsom [2700 m]
You can take a jeep directly to Jomsom. But listen to us explore the village of Jharkot. It is way more medieval than Kagbeni. You can spend some time exploring around the inner alley of the village. There is a big chorten on the middle of the village. If you still want to trek then you can trek down to Jomsom. Skip Kagbeni, just direct to Jomsom. Jomsom is district headquarter. Best thing is trying Himalayan Java Coffee. Also, you can buy souvenirs at Jomsom.
Jomsom to Pokhara and Pokhara to Kathmandu Flight [1300 m]
Early morning Tara Air will pick you up from the airstrip of Jomsom. It will be in between 7:00 o’clock to 8:00 o’clock. From Pokhara a connecting flight will transfer the crew back to Kathmandu. Congratulation! You just accomplished one of the toughest sections of GHT High Route.
Here depending on the time and availability, itinerary can be slightly changed as you go. There won’t be problem for accommodation and food, as we will fully depend on tent and our kitchen crew. Camp can be set on the suitable place when needed. The guide will be carrying a satellite phone. You need to have a good travel insurance covering medical evacuation in case of emergency!