Trip Duration : 16N / 17D
Trekking Code: STE/MUS/02
Trek Grade: Moderate
Season: April-May-September-October. Should you not find the time in these months that are considered the best time of the year for this trip, you can trek in Mustang anytime of the year as this region falls in the rain shadow areas of Nepal. However, this trip is specially done in May because of the ‘Tiji Festival’.
Trek Duration: 12/13 Days on the trail…as you hike through heaven in a secluded spot on mother earth!!!
Starts and ends in: Kathmandu
Accommodation: Hotels & camping
Meals: Provided on the trail
Transportation: A tourist coach & flights
Highest altitude: 3730m at Lo Manthang
Price per Person [Min. 2 PAX required]
Trekking Mustang for the Tiji Festival – 18 days
The vast, harsh landscape of Mustang probably won’t be your first thought when planning a family holiday, but if you enjoy wild open spaces with exceptional mountain landscapes where the shadows of sunset in twilight fall on your face with the smell of adventure, this is the perfect setting for an unforgettable trip. And the extraordinary colorful‘Tiji Festival’ of Upper Mustang which is just so special to witness will be a mega holiday of dramatic proportions… ‘Trekking Mustang for the Tiji Festival’ is a vacation you don’t won’t to miss out for something that may happen only once in a lifetime.
This venture leads you to a kingdom that was once lost to the world; despite being opened for high and wild adventure lovers, Mustang is still veiled in a shroud of mystery and should you be part of the selected few, you will stand to witness the medieval and colorful festival of Tiji that has existed since 8000 BC. This is a festival that will take you back in time…
Known to the local folks as ‘Lo’, Mustang’s border gates only opened to trekkers in March 1992. Highly influenced by Tibetan culture, the area north of Kagbeni is known as Upper Mustang. This high valley, dry like a desert, is much like the Tibetan Plateau and is known for its windswept canyons and colorful shades of rock formations. Mustang was once an ancient trade route for crossing the Himalaya between Tibet and Nepal with many of the old salt caravans hiking through Mustang. It is this aged area we will plod into, exploring the amazing architecture, the language, culture and traditions which are identically Tibetan in this once-upon-a-time supernatural kingdom.
As you get to Lo Manthang, you will witness the ‘Tiji Festival’ one of the most revered and colorful festivals throughout this region. The festival features a three day ritual known as the ‘chasing of demons’. Monks who don frightful masks and colorful costumes relive the story of Dorje Jono who fought against his demon father to prevent the Kingdom of Mustang from falling to pieces. The festival is held annually in spring. Since spring represents the freshness of life, this festival displays hope, revitalization and the confirmation of a good life.
Held in the walled city of Lo Manthang at (3730m), the festival sees a huge throng of people from all over the once independent kingdom of Mustang. Lo Manthang is also home to Mustang’s former King Jigme Dorjee Palbar Bista who lost his royal title in 2008 after Nepal became a republic. But he is still highly regarded by the locals who seek his judgment on all matters related to his people. He and his family still occupy the royal palace situated at the center of the city square. Ex king Bista also grants audience for visitors on request. The government also maintains strict control on obtaining a special permit from the department of immigration to protect the culture of the locals known as‘Lobas’ from outside influence and this also includes protecting their natural environment.
Note: Minimum 2 PAX is required for this trek as it is a restricted area trek.
Arrive in Kathmandu at Tribhuwan International Airport
Free at your own leisure
Drive to Pokhara
Fly to Jomsom (2,713m) and begin trek to Kagbeni (2,810 m) 3-4 hrs walks
Trek to Chele [3050m]
Trek to Geling (Via chungtse Gompa) [3440m]
Trek to Tsarang [3490m]
Trek to Lo-Manthang (via Lho-gekar, Ghar Gompa) [3730m
Lo-Manthang [3730m] – Day hiking - (Start Tiji Festival) 22nd May
Lo-Manthang [3730m] - Tiji Festival 23rd May
Lo-Manthang [3730m] - Tiji Festival Ends 24th May
Trek to Ghami [3460m)
Trek to Samar [3290m]
Trek to Chhuksang [2920m]
Trek to Jomsom [2710m]
Fly to Kathmandu
Transfer to Airport for the International departure
DAY 1: ARRIVE KATHMANDU
On arrival at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport, you will be received by our representative who will escort you to your hotel. After getting refreshed, one of our trek leaders or a senior Sherpa guide will give you a brief orientation of the Hotel, Kathmandu, Trek / Camping, things you should do & ought not to do and other related information that you might require while in Nepal. After this is done, get settled in and it’s your first overnight in the ancient city of temples, probably the most in the world. Breakfast
DAY 2: Free at your own leisure
After your first night in Kathmandu, you will be well informed on arrival about what to do in your next free day.
The choice is yours: either you can stroll around the nearby market on your own or you can opt for a half/full day guided sightseeing tour in Kathmandu at places of interest. The cost for this extra tour is not added in the trek cost and you have to pay extra depending on the places you choose to visit. This extra tour gives you deep insights into Nepal’s iconic monuments that have been recognized by UNESCO as world heritage sites. Sansui Treks will give you an orientation on your program & you will also get the opportunity to ask us any questions you may have regarding our upcoming adventure. When this is done, you might find time to shop around the city in the evening time if you need any gears for the trek. Overnight at your hotel.
DAY 3: DRIVE TO POKHARA
After breakfast we drive to Pokhara on a Tourist coach. On arrival at Pokhara, we transfer to your hotel. Pokhara is the second largest township in Nepal and enjoys a beautiful setting beside the large lake of Phewa, Rupa and Begnas. From here we get splendid views of Mt. Machhapuchare, the famous fishtail peak.
We will have time in the late afternoon or evening to have a look around the town and stroll down lakeside with its scintillating restaurants & curio shops selling some of the best handicraft items in the world. Hereabouts, it’s pretty hot and tropical in character. But it could be suitable for you, especially if you hail from a country that’s relatively cold throughout the year i.e. Denmark, England or Alaska. Overnight in the city of lakes – breakfast
DAY 4: FLY TO JOMSOM (2713m) and begin Trek to Kagbeni (2810m) 3-4 hrs walk
From Jomsom, the trail leads on to the Kaligandaki plains in the rainy season. The road diverts to the right bank of the river plain, & the walk is pleasant with few ups and downs most of the way to a place called Ekali Bhatti (lonely inn) where there are three or four tea-houses at present. Earlier, it used to be the only tea-house in the area when it got its namesake, ‘Ekali –Bhatti’. From here, the path splits into two ways, the one higher up leads to Muktinath & the other route takes us to upper Mustang and Tibet via Kagbeni.
Our trail leads past Eklai-bhatti towards North West, & the walking gets much easier on a gradual winding route as the road widens & you walk further on the river bed towards the windswept village of Kagbeni for the overnight. The famous film ‘Caravan’ was shot in this area some years ago. B. L. D
DAY 5: TREK TO CHELE [3050m] - 5-6 hrs
Just before we hit the trail, our special permits are vetted and we proceed onwards to the riverbank of Kaligandaki up stream. During the walk we have scenic picturesque place to stop through the sandy and windy trails. This trails follows the up and downhill. We then reach Tangbe village with narrow alleys amongst white washed houses, fields of buckwheat, barley, wheat and apple orchards. From hereabouts we trek forward to Chhusang and after crossing the river head up to the huge red chunk of rock that has fallen from the cliff above, forming a tunnel through which the Kaligandaki follows. We head on to small ridges to reach the village of Chele for our overnight in lodges – B. L. D
DAY 6: TREK TO GHELING [3440m] – 6-7 hrs hike
The walk today leads to a short climb above Samar village to a ridge, with a downhill hike leading to a large gorge past a chorten painted red, black, yellow and white - all the colors are made from local rocks. The journey continues into another valley with juniper trees, & after crossing the stream, the walk follows an uphill path to a ridge at 3,800m, where the trail climbs over to another pass, & from here the route descends to Shyangmochen, a small settlement with few tea shops at 3,710m. After a good break here, the trek continues to a gentle climb onto a pass at 3,770m entering towards a huge valley, from here taking the right downhill path, we head towards our overnight stop at Geling with its large fields of barley on the outskirts of the village. B. L. D
DAY 7: TREK TSARANG (3520m) approx. 6-7 hrs hike
From Geling, the route climbs gradually through the fields up the centre of the valley, passing below the Tama Gung settlements, the walk continues along a climb across the head of the valley to the Nyi La pass at 3,950m, the highest point of this trek. The pass itself happens to be the southern boundary of Lo. From here a gradual descend for half an hour brings us to a junction; the right path leads direct to Tsarang while the left goes to Ghami village, one of the main areas of the Lo region. Our route drops below the blue, grey and red cliffs across the valley to a steel bridge across the Tangmarchu River, the path then climbs past to the long and magnificent stretch of a Mani wall, probably the longest one in Nepal. From here, the final climb of the day brings us to a 3,600m pass, after the last pass a gentle descent leads to our overnight halt at Tsarang, an interesting village with a maze of fields, willow trees and a huge five storey white Dzong and a red gompa perched on the edge of the Kali Gandaki gorge. Tsarang has its own electricity system. This is an interesting area to camp out in, but we stay in a teahouse lodge – B. L. D
DAY 8: TREK TO LOMANTHANG (via Lho-gekar, Ghar Gompa) [3730m] – 4-5 hrs hike
We will spend part of the morning exploring the interesting village of Tsarang and its large monastery, before setting out for Lo Manthang. We climb gently above the valley to a large isolated Chorten that marks the boundary between Tsarang and Lo Manthang. The trail then broadens and eventually we get our first view of the walled city of Lo Manthang. The city has only one entrance so we circumambulate the wall to the gate on the north-east corner. We begin our return journey from Lo Manthang, taking the upper highland route. This highland route offers dramatic views of Lo Manthang and the Tsarang Valley, with snow clad peaks in the background. Just past the settlement of Lo Gekar, we reach the oldest monastery in Mustang, the Ghar Gompa – this monastery has a rich history. Overnight in teahouse lodges – B. L. D
DAY 9: LO-MANTHANG [3730m] – DAY HIKING – [Tiji Festival starts] - 11th May 2018
Today, we are free to explore the fascinating city of Lo Manthang. The city contains about 150 houses, as well as residences for its many lamas. There are four major temples within the city and one of these, Champa Lhakang, contains a huge clay statue of Buddha as well as elaborates mandalas painted on the walls. Lo Manthang is also home to Mustang's former King Jigme Dorjee Palbar Bista who lost his royal title in 2008 after Nepal became a republic. The king's palace is an imposing building in the center of the city and is occupied by the ex-King. He is still respected by the people. Today also marks the commencement of the Tiji Festival.The festival commences like this: Early in the afternoon, horns resound announcing the arrival of two twelve-foot copper dunchens, with their elephantine blurting, followed by two double-reeled horns, all accompanied by beating drum and clanging cymbals. Next, an ancient and enormous Thanka three stories high is unrolled down the entire south wall of the square. The Thanka portrayed is Padma Sambhava or (Guru Rimpoche) who brought this ceremony to Tibet in the 8th century."
At high afternoon, in howling wind and blowing dust, eleven lamas in maroon and gold, wearing high red hats, come out from the palace and take their places along the wall beneath the thanka, with Tashi Tenzing on the elevated seat just in the center. The masked dancers start the portrayal of the Tiji myth and then Dorje Jono repels the demon through the power of his magical dancing. As the dances end, Dorje Jono kills the demon, after which his people are relieved of their plague of misfortunes, water becomes plentiful once more, and the balance and harmony of existence are restored. A fascinating dance that stirs your imaginations and emotions – after an interesting day, we bunk out in our teahouse lodges – B. L. D
DAY 10: LO-MANTHANG [3730m] - Tiji Festival - 12th May 2018
On the second day of the Tiji festival, we get to see Tibetan women in their traditional clothing and colorful dazzling jewelry, monks in their robes and dancers in elaborate costumes. The King of Mustang "wears a whole crown of tiny river pearls set off by dozens of large red coralline tones interspersed with matched ornaments of turquoise’. The costumes and masks, the twelve-foot horns, the gold cups of wheat, the butter cakes, amid the snow peaks with the strong winds; the dust and the sunshine, the snow leopard, snow pigeons, saligrams, and the dying glaciers with the desert ruins, the drunks and rajas and foreigners, with yelling dogs and hovering yaks, all combine to make this second day of the ‘Tiji Festival a truly heady experience of great proportions – overnight in our teahouse lodges – B. L. D
DAY 11: LO-MANTHANG [3730m] – [Tiji Festival Ends] - 13th May 2018
On the third day, Tiji concludes with the ceremonial destruction of the evil remains, represented by some long black yak hair and red torma cakes minced to a dark red gory. The demons red remnants are set out on an old tiger skin, whereon they are attacked by bows and arrows, slings, and the old muskets. The poor devil’s remains are over turned upon the ground, each time to a wild cannonade from the old muzzle-loaders in a thunderous wave of cheers and smoke…and this concludes one experience that giddily displays the conquering of good over evil, a festival we are unlikely to forget in a hurry. Our imaginations will sure run wild tonight as we get set for our overnight in teahouse lodges – B. L. D
DAY 12: Trek to GHAMI [3460m] – approx - 6-7 hrs hike
Today's walk is more of a descent with a few short climbs all the way to Ghami, once outside the walled Lo Manthang village-town the path leads to a steady climb to a pass which offers the last glimpse of Lo Manthang, & the walk from here on is more or less gradual on the downhill slopes most of the way to Ghami village. Ghami is another important village in this once upon-a-time thriving region. Overnight in our lodges – B. L. D
DAY 13: Trek to SAMAR. 4-5 hrs hike
The trek today follows a straight route to the Nyi La, with a climb to the ridge and then contouring upwards and encountering the road from Tsarang. From the top of the ridge a steep descend awaits us all the way to Geling Valley. The trail continues bypassing Geling to a lone teahouse and then a gentle downhill to a small settlement of Tama Gung. A steep switchback trail leads to a stream, and the trail climbs to a large painted chorten. From hereon, it is a straightforward route to our overnight camp at Samar. We finally settle for a well earned rest at historical Samar – B. L. D
DAY 14: TREK TO CHHUKSANG [3050m] - 5-6 hrs
We retrace our steps back to Chukksang for our overnight stop after something like a 5 hrs hike. We relish lovely scenery during the journey with great Himalayan views. After enjoying our trip we crash out overnight at our teahouse – B. L. D
DAY 15: Trek to JOMSOM - 3-4 hrs hike
From Chukksang onwards, it will be one of the most pleasant walks as we loose altitude day by day. The trek follows an easy descent towards the Kaligandaki River Valley passing through the old village of Jharkot after an hour or more of this good walk. On reaching the river bed at Ekale-bhatti, we reach a small settlement with about 3-4 teahouses, where we can take a breather for some time. From here onwards, it can get very windy in the afternoon time, as our walk follows a gentle trail for another two hours till the large town village of Jomsom is reached for our overnight camp. Jomsom, a large village town is the headquarters of the Mustang region with a small airstrip just above by the river Kaligandaki. Here, we will have sufficient time to celebrate with the local apple products like cider, brandy and pure apple juice. This area from Kagbeni to Larjung is famous for its delicious apples and its by-products. A few swigs of the apple brandy could set our moods on a high after a wonderful memorable trip we just completed. We bunk out at Jomsom on a wonderful high. B. L. D
DAY 16: Fly from JOMSOM to KATHMANDU via POKHARA
The flight times to Pokhara are generally scheduled for the morning normally because of the powerful winds in the afternoons. Sometimes, the flight time can be delayed due to bad weather and other reasons beyond our control. As we get hold of the boarding pass depending on our flight time, we make our way to the terminal for a security check. This scenic flight from Jomsom takes about 25 minutes to Pokhara, a panoramic view of the snowcapped peaks can be seen from the plane. From Pokhara, a half hour flight will bring us back to Kathmandu. We also have the option of driving down to Kathmandu through a highly scenic highway, it’s a 6-7 hours drive. Arriving at Kathmandu’s domestic terminal, our office rep will be on standby to receive and escort you back to your Hotel. Overnight at your hotel in Kathmandu – breakfast
DAY 17: Transfer to Airport for your International departure to that lovely place we call ‘home’ – Sayonara Amigos!
Today, as per your international flight time, keep your confirmed air ticket, and your passport handy. Our office staff will take you to the airport for your final departure from this wonderful country, Nepal. It’s been wonderful knowing you!! We will meet some day again soon.
Please Note: that although we will go the lengths to follow the itinerary given above, at times local trails or unpredictable weather patterns may necessitate slight changes if necessary. The trekking itinerary may also sometimes vary slightly depending on our trekkers' acclimatization rates. This adventure goes into wild territory above the timberline, so we seek to request maximum flexibility if and when required for the success and safety of your trip and your life.
A ‘Camping trek’ is a term used for sleeping in tents. The tents we provide are ‘Two men or couple domes’ or ‘A’ shaped. A foam mattress with insulation underneath is used for sleeping. Clients need to have their own sleeping bag. Bags or cloth packs are used as pillows. It’s a matter of choice, if you want, you bring your own ‘Air pillow’ and freak out anyways, this is adventure in the wild…the rougher it gets the better.
We have a pool of hotels in Kathmandu under 3 Star categories which we provide to clients in connection with this program, unless it is mentioned otherwise or clients have a choice of their own. You can check on the description of such hotels through our website. Accommodation is never a problem, the choice exclusively yours.
At ‘Incentive Holidays’ – its zero tolerance on cutting of cost when it comes down to feeding our trekking guests, because we know how tough it is on the trails; we provide three tasty, bountiful and nutritious meals daily with a variety of local and Western dishes. To start the day, breakfast is ‘king size’ [the first meal of the day] consisting of a choice of porridge, muesli and cereals followed by omelet, fried or scrambled eggs with chapattis or bread. Lunch is generally a selection of salad, cooked vegetable dishes, pasta and traditional breads.
After a lengthy gritty day on the trail, dinner is a hearty 3 course meal - soup, followed by a variety of vegetables, meat, rice and pasta dishes completed with a simple dessert. Tea, coffee and hot chocolate are also provided at all meals. We use as much fresh produce as possible and special diets are regularly catered for. The local trek leaders are able to maintain very tight controls on health and hygiene in the kitchen with respect to general cleanliness and food preparation and also within the group with respect to personal hygiene. This has allowed us to maintain extremely high standards of health over many years of planning treks - and good health is vital to an enjoyable and successful trek and climb. All foods are well cooked and vegetables are treated by potassium permanganate or iodine.
Boiled water is served for drinking. Antiseptic soaps and potassium or iodine treated water are provided for washing. Special dietary requirements can always be catered for. ‘Gluttony is a sin’ but there are no restrictions on the grub we serve to our guests on the mountains; we leave it up to our trekking guests who are the best judge of their own appetites.
- 3N Hotel accommodation on twin sharing basis in BB plan at KTM
- 13N accommodation Normal hotel or lodge / Tented camp during trekking
- One English speaking Trekking guide
- Porter (1Porter for 2Pax)
- 3 meals (Breakfast, Lunch & dinner) everyday during Trekking
- Pokhara- Jomsom-Pokhara-KTM flight ticket
- National park fees
- Special permit for trekking
- Airport pick up and drop
- All ground transfers as per itinerary
- KTM-PKR by tourist coach
- Personal Travel Insurance
- International Air Fare
- Daily Meals (Lunch & Dinner) while staying in Kathmandu
- Tips to Guide & Driver
- Bar Expenses
- Telephone, Laundry and Internet
- Personal Expenses
- Nepal visa fees
- Entrance Fees
Popular Sightseeing places in Kathmandu:
- Kathmandu Durbar Square
- Bhaktapur Durbar Square
- Patan Durbar Square
- Pashupatinath Temple
- Boudhanath Stupa
- Swayambhunath Stupa
Half day sightseeing includes visit two of these places and full day sightseeing includes three of these places inside the ring-road of Kathmandu. Besides the above mentioned places, the charges will apply depending on the distance accordingly.
The best time to visit for a trip of this kind would be in the Spring and Autumn. It is wonderful during this time of the year when an overall beauties of the landscapes found in these trips are so distinct & stunning, due to clear weather pattern & sunny blue skies. Our program could be changed to accommodate individual group choices and preferences in order to give you proper holidays that become signature ventures for a lifetime.