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Upper Mustang Pony Trek

Upper Mustang Pony Trek

The region of Upper Mustang is ideal and popular for horse riding trek. Mustang is located in the central Nepal at the top of the Kaligandaki River which culture and traditions resembles much of the Tibetan community. The entire region of Mustang has an isolated and mystical feeling dominated by endless expansion of yellow and gray rolling hills cut through the wind. Mustang Horse riding trek goes around these parts via several passes, beautiful villages often nested in a green irrigated oasis until reaching the spectacular wall city of Lo-Manthang. The city is home to the King of Mustang with several temple and monasteries. People of Mustang are always curious about new arrivals and you can expect children with scary windblown hair and apple red cheeks greeting and gathering around to see you. The horse riding trek begins after a flight from Pokhara to Jomsom on the upper Kaligandaki River between the two giant peaks of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna. Then you will proceed on a horseback to the wonderful landscapes of eroded conglomerate cliffs colored by natural earth pigments of red, yellow, brown and blue. The trail passes through Tibetan monasteries, villages with distant views of the snow-capped mountains and towards Lo-Manthang. Then ultimately end it back again at Jomsom and fly to Pokhara. 

Trip Highlights

  • Enjoy great mountain panorama of the world’s highest peaks onboard flight to Kathmandu 
  • Board terrific - Kathmandu -Jomsom, Jomsom -Pokhara flights known for mind-blowing sceneries
  • Ride through spectacular terrain along gushing rivers, green countryside, alpine meadows, valleys, glaciers etc.
  • Witness magnificent panorama of the snow-capped peaks like Nilgiri, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and several others 
  • Explore around the walled city of Lo-Manthang with monasteries dating back to thousand years
  • Discover the pre-historic culture at the mysterious caves & temples
  • Explore Pokhara, the most beautiful lake city of the country
  • Witness the tradition and culture of the ethnic people and their society

Outline Itinerary

Day 01 : Arrive Kathmandu

Day 02 : Kathmandu to Pokhara (6 Hour’s drive)

Day 03 : Pokhara to Jomsom & horse ride to Kagbeni (2800m)

Day 04 : Kagbeni to Muktinath (3760m)

Day 05 : Kagbeni to Chele (3100m)

Day 06 : Chele to Syangbochen (3850m)

Day 07 : Syangbochen to Ghemi (3520m)

Day 08 : Ghemi to Drakmar (3820m)

Day 09 : Drakmar to Tsarang (3560m)

Day 10 : Tsarang to Lo Monthang (3840m)

Day 11 : In Lo-Manthang (3840m)

Day 12 : Lo Monthang to Ghemi (3520m)

Day 13 : Ghemi to Samar (3,600m)

Day14 : Samar to Chhusang (2980m)

Day 15 : Chhusang to Jomsom (2743m)

Day 16 : Fly to Pokhara from Jomsom

Day 17 : Pokhara to Kathmandu (25 Minutes Flight)

Day 18 : Transfer to the Airport for your onward destination

What is Included

  • Airport pick up/drop off by private vehicle as per the itinerary.
  • Accommodation in Kathmandu/Pokhara including breakfast.
  • Guided Pokhara city tours inclusive of private vehicle and guide.
  • Necessary permit and monuments entrance fees.
  • Transfers by car/van or tourist bus or flight as per the itinerary.
  • Domestic airport departure tax.
  • One pony with Ponyman for the hiking.
  • Special Trekking Permit (US$ 500 Per Person for 10 Days) If you wish to stay more than 10 days in restricted area, you are subjected to extra charge for extra days (US$ 50 per day / per person)
  • Annapurna conservation permit fee
  • TIMS Fee - Trekkers' Information Management System (Please bring 2 passport size photos for permit)
  • Experienced English speaking guide.
  • All government taxes, VAT and office service charge.

What is Not Included

  • Lunch and Dinner in Kathmandu/Pokhara.
  • Extra night accommodation if needed.
  • Nepal entry visa fee (bring accurate USD cash and two passport photographs for faster service)
  • International airfare and travel insurance.
  • Personal expenses (phone calls, internet, laundry, bar bills, battery recharge, hot shower etc.)
  • Any kind of drinks (tea/coffee, hot chocolate, boiled water, bottle water, cola, beer etc.)
  • Tips for guide, driver and porter.

Day 01 : Arrive Kathmandu

After your arrival at the airport in Kathmandu you will be greeted by one of our representatives who will later transfer you to the hotel. After hotel check in you can decide whether you would like to have a relaxing rest at the hotel or hang around the streets of Kathmandu (If you have leisure time). You will be briefed about our next day’s travel plan by our company representative. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 02 : Kathmandu to Pokhara (6 Hour’s drive)

We are all set to set off to the magical city of Pokhara today. We will either board a flight or drive to Pokhara in a private vehicle. The flight to Pokhara offers a great view of Himalayan range and mystical landscape of Nepal. If we drive to Pokhara we will have a great opportunity to discover the beautiful rivers, green forests, hills and magnificent Himalayas. It will take us approximately five hours to reach Pokhara by a private vehicle. Upon reaching Pokhara our representative will escort you to the hotel where you stay for the night. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 03 : Pokhara to Jomsom & horse ride to Kagbeni (2800m)

Early in the morning, fly to Jomsom from Pokhara over the Kali Gandaki Valley where the valley has been the primary trade route between Tibetan high plains and lowlands of India for centuries. The valley floor is dominated by the walls of the two gigantic world’s highest mountains, Dhaulagiri & Annapurna. Upon landing at small village of Jomsom, hire horses and proceeds towards Kagbeni via Chhanche Lhumba or Ekle Bhatti following the river to Kagbeni. Overnight at Lodge.

Day 04 : Kagbeni to Muktinath (3760m)

Today visit Muktinath which is the significant pilgrimage both of Hindus and Buddhists. A temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu is located here including a Buddhist monastery. After visiting Muktinath, ride back to Kagbeni downwards. You can explore around Kagbeni during the evening. Overnight at Lodge.

Day 05 : Kagbeni to Chele (3100m)

This day, the trail enters Mustang region itself. After finishing the necessary procedures for entering the national park the ride begins going up the valley at times on riverbed or alongside river terraces. Pass along the Tangbe village where you might encounter interested local children. From here, witness great view of Mt. Nilgiri towards the northern skyline. Riding further will reach Chhusang with it’s high cliffs and cave dwellings across the valley. At closer distance from Chhusang, the trail leaves the Kali Gandaki Valley then climbs steeply up to Chele. Overnight at Lodge.

Day 06 : Chele to Syangbochen (3850m)

The trail ascends a long slope to Taklam La pass (3736m) and proceeds to ‘Cliff Road’, a very steep trail cut into the side of the valley wall. Horses function well in these terrains and it’s only our fear which enable us to dismount and walk the steepest sections. The ride passes through some Chortens after the pass and into the treeless dry land and towards Samar. After Samar, a large gorge is encountered then you will have to climb to enter another village. After descending will reach Syangboche. Overnight at Lodge.

Day 07 : Syangbochen to Ghemi (3520m)

First the trail gently climbs to a small pass with great views of surrounding mountains and valleys then descends to Tama Khola and traverse above the Ghiling town with lush barley fields. Another short ascend to Nyi La (4010m) opens up to the views of Mustang and peaks like Niligiri & Annapurna. Passing over the high hills will reach Ghemi La from where downwards is the village of Ghemi. Overnight at Lodge.

Day 08 : Ghemi to Drakmar (3820m)

The trail crosses a narrow bridge over the Ghemi Khola and climbs a long slope to reach Drakmar Khola. As it approaches the Drakmar village, the hills will have terrific coloration and the scene quite impressive. Beautiful pink and orange cliffs stand above green and lush meadows and many ancient caves abound in this region. Climb up to investigate the closet caves to witness how the long lost inhabitants must have lived here. Drakmar village is small and surrounded by fields beautifully pink in color with it’s buckwheat blooms. This is the photographer’s Mecca with cliffs, fields and village houses in perfect harmony. Overnight at Lodge.

Day 09 : Drakmar to Tsarang (3560m)

Today involves crossing the highest pass with a long climb up to the Mui La (4170m) then descend into Lo Gekar and Ghar Gompa or monastery. It’s believed that this site was identified by the Buddhist saint ‘Padmasambhava’ (Guru Rinpoche) and is said to be the first Buddhist monastery in the world. Explore the monastery and feel privileged to enter this anciceint monastery and learn more about Buddhism. After lunch, ride towards Charang. Overnight at Lodge.

Day 10 : Tsarang to Lo Monthang (3840m)

Early in the morning, visit the old fort where the armory with all the battle regalia of the 5th century King has been kept. Amongst the weapons is a dried up human hand! As the story goes, the builder of the Charang monastery had his hand chopped off by the king after he had completed the job so he wouldn’t build another like it!

Then by the mid-morning, proceed towards Lo-Manthang. The horses will have a good sweat going on after a long haul out from the river valley. The trail at this point is virtually a road and we enjoy a solid canter. Finally the trail reaches at it’s top and looking down is a large and open valley with green fields and isolated villages. The largest village is the high walled Lo-Manthang, our ultimate destination and home to the King of Mustang. The city of Lo-Manthang has a medieval environment with houses, monasteries, shops inside the 5 km high walls, and centre is the king’s palace.  Overnight at Lodge.

Day 11 : In Lo-Manthang (3840m)

After breakfast, climb on to our horses and proceed towards the gentle slopes of the very green meadows high above the town. After 1 & half hour arrive at some large yak-wool tents surrounded by hundreds of yaks. The tent inhabitants would have just finished milking the yaks and are about to make the coveted yak butter. Afterwards, return back to Lo-Manthang. Overnight at Lodge.

Day 12 : Lo Monthang to Ghemi (3520m)

Time to leave Lo-Manthang, retrace the route to Charang for lunch then explore the new territory over the Charang La back to Ghemi. The horses will walk down the hill to the world’s longest Mani Wall opposite Ghemi. It’s a wonderful photographic opportunity here with the changing light and backdrop of the Dhakmar cliffs and long before, cross the river into Ghemi again. Overnight at Lodge.

Day 13 : Ghemi to Samar (3,600m)

Ride towards Syangboche for lunch and drop down into the Syangboche Khola with it’s steep and narrow gorge. Right turn will reach the Bhena la, an ancient cave perched on the hillside and apparently the place where Guru Rinpoche ‘Padmasambhava’ meditated to achieve enlightenment. At present, here lives a monk and he will graciously show us around the cave and explain about the history of the cave and all the statutes. A huge stalagmite stands inside the cave which looks unnatural in the setting of the conglomerate rock of the cave. Then ride down descending into the valley again and go for a big climb out of the valley to come out of the Bhena La. After a short descend will reach Samar for the night. Overnight at Lodge.

Day14 : Samar to Chhusang (2980m)

The trial descends to the Kali Gandaki Valley and towards Chhusang for a late lunch. We can wander around the riverbed in the afternoon looking for ‘Saligrams’- black rocks when split reveal nautilus fossils inside. After all it will be a pleasant afternoon stroll before retiring for the evening. Overnight at Lodge.

Day 15 : Chhusang to Jomsom (2743m)

Today head towards Jomsom en-route completing the formalities at the Annapurna Conservation Committee Office and arriving at Ekle Bhatti for lunch. We will be asked to fill up a questionnaire about our experiences in the restricted region of Mustang and share our adventure. Now the horses sense that they are back home so we quickly cover the route down to Jomsom. Overnight at Lodge.

Day 16 : Fly to Pokhara from Jomsom

Early in the morning, fly the scenic air-route the beautiful lakeside town of Pokhara. The rest of the time is free to explore Pokhara. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 17 : Pokhara to Kathmandu (25 Minutes Flight)

After a brisk sightseeing in Pokhara during morning hours, you will have to pack your bags to leave for Kathmandu. For the return trip, you will be fly back to Kathmandu. The day will give you the last chance to add up to your shopping list. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 18 : Transfer to the Airport for your onward destination

As per your flight timings, you will be escorted by one of the representatives of Breakfree Adventures to the international terminal at the Tribhuvan International Airport approximately three hours before your flight schedule from your hotel in Kathmandu. A day to bid farewell to the glorious country situated in the South Asia. While waiting for your flight, you can make plans to venture other destinations of the majestic country in near future.

We hope you had a lovely time with us. Breakfree Adventures would be obliged to be your travel partner during your next adventure in Nepal. Have a safe flight back home!

We will provide you with comprehensive information on the every trek and tour we arrange. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require more information or have any questions, we are more than happy to assist you in anyway.

When to go:
February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October & November are the best seasons for the Upper Mustang Pony Trek. The weather is sunny and warm offering outstanding views but the nights are cold and can fall to freezing in higher elevations. Trekking in summer/monsoon (June, July) is also good for Upper Mustang Pony Trek. The trekking routes are crowded during spring and autumn but during monsoon and winter the routes are not packed and you could enjoy rather best of nature.

Travel Insurance:
Travel insurance is highly recommended and is in fact compulsory should you be going trekking, rafting, paragliding etc. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for personal injury, medical expenses, repatriation expenses, helicopter rescue, loss of luggage, etc. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Please check with your insurance company that adventure activities and trekking above 3000m are covered in your policy, as some companies do not cover such things. You must carry proof of insurance (e.g. your insurance certificate) with you on the holiday; if you cannot provide this at the start of the holiday, you will be required to take out a suitable policy at that time.

Meals and Accommodation:
In Kathmandu, we normally use 3 stars hotel with breakfast but can upgrade upon request. During the Upper Mustang Pony Trek, we provide the best available guest house which is called Tea house (lodge). Tea Houses are more like hotels, with hot showers, western food, and private rooms (twin sharing). Some guesthouses are basic with shared washing and toilet facilities. If you are travelling in a group, you will share a room with someone else of the same gender from your group. If you prefer a single room, you may indicate your preference on request and pay a supplement. Keep in mind that there are several places which do not allow single accommodations during peak season, but we will try our best to accommodate your preferences if possible. In this arrangement overnight halts with dinner and breakfast will be in Tea-houses (Lodges) and lunches in local restaurants en-route. Furthermore as you will be staying in locally owned lodges you will be benefiting and interacting with the local community. It will give you a true feel for the Nepalese people and their lives.

We provide quality food in sufficient quantities (breakfast, lunch and dinner) from guesthouses chosen from a menu. While Upper Mustang Pony Trek by Helicopter your guide will help with menu selection and ensure that you get the best value meals possible. Although the food is usually plentiful and delicious, you should be aware that the menu is not normally extensive due to the extreme locations. Most teahouses offer a variety of rice and noodle dishes, as well as soup and seasonal vegetables. A variety of cereals, bread and egg dishes are generally available for breakfast. There will also be plenty of snacks available such as biscuits, chocolate and soft drinks and in some areas you will find fresh fruit in season. You can buy bottled mineral water from local lodges and shops en route or you can also ask your guide to fill your water bottle with boiled water and treat with water purification pills.

Fitness and Experience Required:
Our 18 days Upper Mustang Pony Trek is moderate trek suitable for passionate walkers who have ability to walk at least 5-7 hours a day with a light day pack. Walking in higher altitude is physically demanding than walking in the lower altitudes; however, if you are in excellent health with average physical fitness and have positive attitude, self confidence and strong determination, you can accomplish the 18 days Upper Mustang Pony Trek successfully. Exercising and jogging regularly for some weeks prior of the trip is good idea to enhance your strength and stability. Past hiking experience would be an asset but no technical skill is required for this trip. Participants with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart, lung, and blood disease should inform us before booking the trek.

The Trekking Group:
For the Upper Mustang Pony Trek, there will be one Guide, assistant Guide (8 trekkers: 1 assistant guide) and porters for luggage carrying (2 trekkers: 1 porter). This arrangement ensures that should anybody in the group is sick; the trip can still go ahead as planned. We can run the Upper Mustang Pony Trek for group of any size, but generally have a maximum of sixteen people, as we’ve found this to be the optimum size for a successful trip. However, if you’d like to make a group booking for more than twelve people together, we can arrange this too.

Trekking Guides and Staff:
The most significant thing that makes your Upper Mustang Pony Trek successful, enjoyable and memorable is the expert, experienced, courteous and helpful trek and Guide and the crew members who have ability of operating your days in the mountain smoothly. Your trip will be led by the best and most professional Guide. All of our Trekking Guides are carefully selected on the basis of their appropriate experience, Guiding skills and personal aptitude. With an objective of sustaining local communities Breakfree Adventures employs staffs who have plenty of knowledgeable about culture, flora and fauna, geography, and history of Nepal. Trekking Guide of Breakfree Adventures are also trained with following trainings to make them educated on potential medical issues during their trek, biodiversity and environmental issues, English language, etc:

  • Intensive Wilderness First Aid - KEEP (Kathmandu Environmental Educational Project)
  • Trekking Guide Training - Nepal Governments Ministry of Tourism & Civil Aviation department of Hotel Management and Tourism Training Centre of Nepal
  • Eco Trekking Workshop and Adventure Meet TAAN (Trekking Agents Association of Nepal)
  • English Language - KEEP(Kathmandu environment education project)
  • Conservation and Biodiversity TAAN
  • Rock, Ice Climbing and Mountaineering (Climbing leaders) Nepal Mountaineering Association

Our Trekking Guides obviously speak English sufficient enough to communicate but please consider this is not our mother language. The guides and porters know the routes and locality like the back of their hand, they practice the local culture themselves and they are extremely passionate about their country and its cultural aspects.

Climate and Weather:
The climate of Nepal is as varied as its geography. The low-lying Terai has a sub-tropical monsoonal climate. The Himalayan foothills, where most of our treks take place, are best in the cool dry season from September to May. The traditional trekking season in Nepal is late September to December, with October and November generally recognized as having the best weather. Spring is also a popular time of year with warmer weather and the advantage of seeing spring flowers and rhododendrons in bloom. The visibility is good and days are pleasantly warm, although nights can be cold, and snow is possible above 3,000 meters.

Himalayan weather can be unpredictable where nights are generally cooler and days warmer. It’s a bit colder during the winter season (Jan to Feb) but days can be quite warm and lovely if the sun is shining. You can expect a bit of snow in the months of January/February and December. Expect the unexpected! The temperature could be as high as 20 deg C to -15 deg C low.

Safety and Security:
Security and safety are a high priority of our company however there are risks associated with adventure travel that you should consider before booking. Our trip operators constantly monitor their areas of operation and will cancel or re-route a trip if they feel a destination is unsafe. The decision to travel to a particular country or region is a personnel one.

Responsible Travel
Breakfree Adventures is a leading trekking and travel agency with dedicated travel Professionals who are well trained to give you the best of what Nepal has to offer. Our professional team follows a social philosophy that accepts responsibility for the local people and the environment in which we work. We respect the natural environment and the culture of our country, and we help travellers from around the world discover the natural beauty and cultural treasures of Nepal. We know that responsible travel tries to minimize the impact of tourism on the environment and maximize employment and income-generating opportunities for local communities. The whole of Nepal, including those living in remote rural areas that have very few other opportunities for development, benefits from sustainable tourism.

Breakfree Adventures is passionate about preserving the environment. As responsible tour guides in Nepal, we strive to maintain a symbiotic relationship with the local communities through which we travel. While trekking to different destinations, we choose environmentally- friendly lodges that respect the needs of their staff members. We take care of our staff as well as our valued clients. During our treks and other trips, we follow a zero garbage policy (“pack in, pack out”) and leave nothing behind in the campsites. We always welcome your feedback and comments regarding responsible travel, so please send an e-mail to let us know what you think.

What do we mean by trekking?
Trekking is an enjoyable and accessible adventure. In an area like the Annapurna Region this activity will blow your mind. It generally involves days on foot and multi-day walks through parks and wilderness areas. The Annapurna region mainly consists of teahouse treks. The terrain can often be steep, and we will likely encounter cold weather and possibly snow at higher altitudes above 3 700m.
 
Is trekking an activity for me?
If you love spending time in the outdoors and going to magnificent places offering spectacular views, then trekking is most certainly for you. It fills the gap between luxury travel and tented tours at a price that makes sense to most people.
 
Do I need prior trekking experience before setting out here?
No previous trekking experience is needed but it will certainly help. Anyone with decent fitness and good stamina should be able to cope with the trekking days and higher elevations. Hiking experience anywhere in the world is recommended for maximum enjoyment, but certainly not needed.
 
What permits are required for my trek?
This will depend on your specific trek but all regions have some form of permit system. Some trekking areas require a special permit for the trekking activity and other areas may only require permits to enter conservation areas or national parks. Often it is a combination of both.  Nearly all trekking areas require a Trekking Information Management System TIMS card.  As part of your package we obtain all permits on your behalf.
 
What is the average walking time per day?
On average you will walk about 5 to 8 hours daily. Distances vary and will depend on trail conditions, weather conditions and the fitness of the group.
 
What is meant by teahouse trekking?
Teahouse trekking refers to the type of accommodation that is so unique to these mountain treks. Lodging and meals are mostly at teahouses operated by local people and on a full-board basis.
 
Where do we get our drinking water from?
Bottled water is available in many places on the more established trekking routes but this will be for your own account. Most villages have a clean and reliable water source and we will utilise locally purified water mostly. The teahouses can supply you with boiled water at a small fee. You are encouraged to carry your own purification tablets or drops for your own peace of mind.
 
How much can a porter carry?
This will often depend on the trekking route and maximum altitude gain. On average for trekking in the Annapurna Region every porter carries between 15 and 30kg. A camping porter carries up to 40kg. For our packages we normally assign one porter for every two travellers. What this means to you is that on the trek you will be allowed 15kg luggage. This is strictly enforced to ensure the wellbeing of our porter crew. 
 
Should I tip my guides and porters?
Yes please do! This is not mandatory but widely accepted as for anywhere else in the world. Tipping is customary and always appreciated in Nepal and on our treks. 

Important Note

If the above itinerary does not meet your needs, we can design individualized travel plans based on your preferences.

Trip Facts

Destination: Nepal

Duration: 18 Day(s)

Trip Grade: Moderate

Activities: Sightseeing, Horse riding

Best Season: March to November

Transportation: Private vehicles, Tourist Bus & Flights

Accommodation: Hotel/resort in Kathmandu & Pokhara, Lodges in trek

Meals: Breakfast in Kathmandu & Pokhara, Fulboard in trek

Trip Type: Pony Trek

Group size: Minimum 2 Person

Starts/Ends: Jomsom

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