The professional photographer will join as a Photography instructor as your guide along with professional tour guide. The every evening will be brief and teach to all about how to take better photographs, special talk about travel photography and every next evening will briefly review, comment on the selected picture for enhance to take quality pictures. The least collection of selected pictures can be perfect for tell-a-story about journey at end of the project to the world throughout this exciting 18 days tour.
In Mustang you will be trekking along paths which have remained unchanged for centuries, whilst being able to capture on camera this relatively unexplored part of the globe. An experienced and award winning photographer discuss or conduct a workshop on photography every evening throughout the tour. You will receive expert photographic tuition throughout ensuring you capture stunning images.
We trek north trekking to the walled capital, Lo Manthang, following an ancient trade route. We will be crossing windswept passes and travel through villages little changed by the twenty first century. The landscape of Upper Mustang is indescribably beautiful. We will witness eroded cliffs, red-walled monasteries and snow-capped peaks, bathed in hues of orange and red rocks. This trek is perfect for the more adventurous photographer reaching altitudes of just over 4000m, with scenery that is unique, with ancient settlements and sights of interest along the way and friendly, welcoming local people. Take your photography to the next level. Immerse yourself in the culture and the vibrancy of Kathmandu and share in this unparalleled trip to Mustang – you be will be among the very few that have!
Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu
Day 02: Sightseeing in Kathmandu
Day 03: Fly to Pokhara
Day 04: Fly to Jomsom
Day 05: Trek to Dhakmar
Day 06: Trek to Syangboche via Chungsi Cave
Day 07: Trek to Chaile
Day 08: Trek to Ghar Gumba
Day 09: Trek to Lo Manthang via Nomad camp
Day 10 & 11: Explore Monasteries of Lo Manthang
Day 12: Trek to Dhi via Tsarang
Day 13: Trek to Ghami
Day 14: Trek to Tsrang
Day 15: Fly to Pokhara
Day 16: Kathmandu
Day 17: Depart Kathmandu
Met & transferred to hotel Arrive Kathmandu. Flying into Kathmandu along the northern border of Nepal on a clear day is in itself an unforgettable experience, with the entire Nepalese Himalaya sprawling out below you. After customs, you will pass out of the restricted area and into the passenger pick-up area outside the building. Here you will be met and our team will be waiting to welcome you to Nepal. After transferring to your hotel, you will be given a chance to catch your breath, meet other members of the group and be given an introductory briefing before our welcome dinner at an authentic Nepali restaurant. Overnight hotel.
This ancient, partially ruined citadel town provides us with a taste of scenes to come in Upper Mustang, with its narrow alleyways and tunnels, irrigation canals, green fields of barley and its massive, newly-restored brick-red 800 year old SAYKA GOMPA. Spending a night at KAGBENI provides the opportunity to enjoy the fantastic late afternoon views down the valley to the NILGIRI peaks which glow pink as the sun sets. Overnight at KAGBENI Camp.
A day for sightseeing and photography. Three major towns are located in the valley, KATHMANDU, PATAN and BHAKTAPUR, each having a great artistic and architectural tradition. Kathmandu is the capital and the largest city in the country. Patan, the second largest is separated from Kathmandu by a river. Bhaktapur, the third largest, is towards the eastern end of the valley and its relative isolation is reflected in its slower pace and more distinctly mediaeval atmosphere. In the valley the landscape is dramatically sculpted by the contours of the paddy fields. The towns and villages are alive with the colours of farm produce, ranging from pyramids of golden grain to the vivid reds of chilli peppers laid out on mats to dry in the sun. In the streets and towns there is a constant bustle of activity, especially in the bazaars and markets where the farmers sell their vegetables and fruit. During our time in Kathmandu we will visit and photograph the main Buddhist and Hindu sights of the Kathmandu Valley. This includes the Buddhist shrine of SWAYAMBHU, (set on a hill top overlooking the city) and the massive BUDDHIST STUPA (temple) at BODHNATH, the religious centre for Nepal’s large population of Tibetans. Here are a number of thriving monasteries and many small shops selling Tibetan artefacts. We will also visit the Durbar (palace) squares of Kathmandu and PATAN and the magnificent Hindu temples of BHAKTAPUR. Overnight hotel.
After breakfast we will fly to POKHARA, 198 kilometres west of KATHMANDU. This short and scenic flight offers spectacular mountain views. We will be flying high above great rivers flowing down towards the foothills and the TERAI lowlands from the Himalaya and Tibet, over terraced hillsides behind which rise the mighty Himalayan mountains of GANESH, LANGTANG, MANASLU and the Annapurna range. When we arrive at POKHARA we will be transferred to our hotel and have the afternoon to explore with our cameras before dinner. Overnight Hotel.
Trek to KAGBENI (2900m) (3 to 4 hours walking) we will be up early for our exciting mountain flight to JOMSOM, the district headquarters of Mustang. The scenic flight offers outstanding views of Mt. MACHHAPUCHHRE (the Fishtail), the Annapurna mountains, DHAULAGIRI, TUKUCHE Peak and NILGIRI. From the airport we have a fantastic panorama of Himalayan peaks including DHAULAGIRI, ANNAPURNA 1 and the NILGIRI mountains. After meeting our trekking crew we will start our trek by heading up the Kali GANDAKI River Valley to KAGBENI. We follow a wide trail along the riverbed surrounded by impressive mountain peaks. KAGBENI is a fortress-like Buddhist village, spectacularly situated on a cliff overlooking the confluence of the KALI GANDAKI and the JHONG KHOLA rivers. The village is the last i in Lower MUSTANG and guards the entrance into UPPER MUSTANG, visible across the KALI GANDAKI riverbed.
From KAGBENI you enter the restricted area of Upper Mustang. The trail makes several ups and downs to arrive at TANGBE VILLAGE (3060m). Walking further and descending you will reach CHHUKSANG VILLAGE (2980m) where there are many beautiful white washed houses and agricultural fields. From CHHUKSANG making more ups and downs along the KALI GANDAKI RIVER, we reach CHELE VILLAGE. Overnight Camp at CHELE.
From Chele the trail climbs up to the CHELE LA (pass) (3630m). After crossing the ridge from CHELE LA the trail enters a large valley and descends to Samar (3620m) where you will have views of the distant ANNAPURNA HIMAL dominated by MT. NILGIRI. The trail climbs up to the BHENA LA (3830m) and to BHENA (3860m). Climbing to another pass, the YAMDO LA (4010m), you will descend steeply following a ridge to SHYANGMOCHE (3800m). Overnight camp. (BLD)
From SHYANGMOCHE we take the trail to MARANG before turning west on an old trail to DHAKMAR. The trail continues with climbs up and down passing through remote areas. You will have opportunities to take pictures of villagers and picturesque landscapes. Finally, you will reach DHAKMAR, which is inhabited by people of Tibetan heritage. Overnight camp.
From DHAKMAR our morning walk will take us to higher elevations on this windswept terrain, heading toward LO-MANTHANG. The walk is on a pleasant trail to reach GHARE GOMPA. After lunch we can explore the monastery, one of the oldest and most important in Mustang. The belief here is that the first hidden scriptures of PADMASAMBHAVA were discovered (he hid his teachings in many different places in the Himalayas, to ensure that they were safe when the times were dangerous for the survival of Buddhism). In the anteroom are tiles depicting Buddha Sakyamuni and Bodhisattwas. The Gonkhang is illuminated by dozens of butter-lamps, which enhance the statues, including images of Padmasambhava and the Yoginis Yeshe Tshogyal and Mandarava. In a small room to the left are more beautiful figures, including a Green Tara. Overnight camp.
You will reach LO MANTHANG a mud-walled ancient village. You will see arid pastures, meet local people and capture stunning images on your camera. This pleasant morning walk follows a gentle path to cross a steel bridge. From here the trail winds up to a ridge top, coming across Chortens and Mani stones in between TSARANG and LHO MANTHANG, offering amazing views of a windswept landscapes and true Tibetan plateau country. There are superb panoramic views of NILGIRI, TILICHO and BHRIKUTI mountains. We climb to the LO LA PASS (3,950 metres) with views of Lo Manthang’s walled city stretching out below. We slowly descend to a stream and follow the trail to the mystical, medieval walled city of LO MANTHANG. Overnight camp.
We have two days to explore LO MANTHANG and the surrounding area. LOMANTHANG is a mystical and highly fabled remote village. It enjoyed its autonomy for some time before being annexed into Greater Nepal. The village is noted for its tall white washed mud brick walls, gompas and the Raja’s or Royal or King’s Palace, a nine-cornered, five story structure built around 1400.There are four major temples: Jampa Lhakhang or Jampa Gompa, the oldest, built in the early 15th century and also known as the “God house”; Thubchen Gompa, a huge, red assembly hall and gompa built in the late 15th century and located just southwest of Jampa Gompa; Chodey Gompa, now the main city gompa; and the Choprang Gompa, which is popularly known as the “New Gompa”. We will also explore the surrounding villages and valleys. Overnight Camp.
After spending a couple of days in the walled city, today we descend towards Dhi. Initially we are retracing our route but then the trail heads east making a steep descent to the tiny VILLAGE OF DHI, situated on the banks of the PHUYUNG KHOLA. Unique villages, picturesque landscapes and spectacular mountain views are some of the major highlights of the day. Overnight Camp.
We leave behind the riverbed and climb over hills and small passes providing even more spectacular views of the Mustang Valley and the snowcapped Annapurna and NIGIRI MOUNTAINS. Today is one of the most scenic days of the trek with the landscape changing colours form yellow and browns to reds, greys and blues as the sun moves across the Himalayan sky. GHAMI VILLAGE is our overnight stop and here we can visit the local Gompa and its friendly monks. Overnight Camp. (BLD)
The last day in the restricted area of Upper Mustang is a gentle scenic walk passing through several typical villages before reaching TSRANG. Here we meet our transportation for the drive to JOMSOM. The drive takes us south on the east bank of the KALI GANDAKI, passing villages and all the time accompanied by magnificent views. We will stop several times along the way but soon we arrive in JOMSOM. We will check in at our trekkers lodge and the afternoon is free to wash and explore the town. In the evening we will celebrate our achievements of trekking through Forbidden Mustang with our trekking crew. Overnight Lodge.
We’ll fly from the airstrip at Jomsom to Pokhara and continue or journey to Kathmandu. The afternoon is free for your last-minute shopping or cultural visits. We’ll gather in the evening for our festive farewell dinner celebrating our journey. Overnight at the Hotel Shangri-La.
Today we visit Tekanpur village and school in Kavre district. (4 h jeep drive return). Enjoy the local village life and hospitality of the Tamang inhabitants of my hometown! Transfer to Shangri-La hotel. Farewell dinner at Third Eye Restaurant, Thamel.
Day 17: Depart Kathmandu
The trek is a non – technical, graded as a medium to hard trek and suitable for anyone in good physical shape who likes to hike over mountain trails and camp out. You should be in good physical shape for this trip and feel comfortable hiking 10 km to 20 km per day on a trail while carrying a day pack of about ten pounds. The trek crosses many passes, the highest at about 3 885 m, and should be considered moderately strenuous. The trek does not go to extremely high altitude, most hiking is between 2700 m and 4 000 m, but the dust and unrelenting afternoon winds can make the trek less pleasant than other Nepal treks. On some days altitude gains and losses of up to 750 m can be expected. At least one rest day is planned. Strengthen your knee muscles and prepare for steep descents.
A program of cardiovascular conditioning such as running, swimming, biking or aerobics is essential, but try to supplement your exercise with hiking on steep hills or running up and down steps. The more you can condition by closely simulating the activities of trekking, the better off you will be. While the trip is rated as moderate, good conditioning is essential to your enjoyment of the trek. Remember that, the latitude of Nepal is between 26? and 30?N so it will warm at the lower elevations (short and T-shirt) while nights will be cool. Daytime temperatures will be between 10 ?C to 20 ?C at lower elevations and between 0?C to 5 ?C at our highest elevations. Temperatures at night will generally be cool – mostly between 0?C to 5?C with our highest camps having below freezing 0? C night time temperatures. Your sleeping bag should be rated to – 20 degrees. Since we are in the rain shadow of the Himalayas, we can expect the weather to be generally sunny, although an occasional storm could occur. This is high desert country.
The pace on the trek will be leisurely and unregimented. You are encouraged to walk by yourself or in small groups. Take time to visit local houses and temples, share a cup of tea or rakshi with our porters and the locals in the many chiyaa houses. Pursue interests in photography, bird-watching and botany, and sample the culture of the area you are traveling through. The trip will emphasize cultural interaction with both our staff and local villagers. Our guides, besides making sure we do not get lost, also pitch and take down the tents and are responsible for supervising the porters and evening camps. We will have one guide in front, one in the rear and for full trips, and one who floats throughout the group. They will be under the direction of the head guide or Sirdar. Personal gear will be carried by porters. Porters can carry two members’ duffel bags. Since their combined load is 25 kg that means that your duffel cannot exceed twelve kilos. Tents are provided and are carried separately. We use roomy 2- person tents and you will be expected to share your tent with one other person.
This trip will be led by one of our senior guides who speaks good English. We are sure to have a variety of ethnic groups on our staff, but primarily Tamangs, Rais, Sherpas and Bramins. Our kitchen staff is truly amazing. They are well trained in multicuisine tastes and standards of hygiene. A typical day may see you being offered lemon tea and cookies when you awake, juice and tomato omelet for breakfast, stir-fried vegetables and salami for lunch, tea and cookies when you arrive at the evenings campsite, and fresh lentil soup and Tibetan momo for dinner. Our cooks have even been known to bake cakes over a double boiler arrangement. Our kitchen crew cooks on kerosene stoves instead of using wood so as not to add to Nepal’s growing deforestation problem. We try to offer you a good mix of native dishes as well as western style dishes. We do not bring tables on the trek. We all eat either sitting on the ground or on the camp stools around a big kitchen tarp, and we have a dining tent that can be pitched in case of rain, snow or cold. In an attempt to minimize the amount of fuel we use, we provide one large bucket of hot water every afternoon for washing when we are camping at cold high elevations. We do not routinely provide hot water to each tent as this wastes too much fuel. A toilet tent is set up at each camp around a pit toilet.
This is not a tour where everything can be planned in advance to run like clockwork. You probably won’t experience exactly what is written in the daily itinerary. Often adjustments must be made in the field. We want you to participate in the trip with the clear understanding that things can go wrong. Adventure travel does involve certain risks both emotional and physical. One has to be flexible when traveling in Nepal and have a cheerful attitude.