Start the day in the early morning for an exciting and interesting drive to reach the large town of Beni, headquarter town of the Mygdi district. Located on route to Mustang, Dolpo, and Dhaulagiri circuit trek, the drive continues through many farm villages to reach Ghasa. The entrance point of the Mustang district, from here onwards populated by Thakali the main tribes of the Lower Mustang region.
As drive leads into the world's deepest gorge of Kaligandaki River, situated in between towering peaks of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna Himalayas. A lovely drive into the serene forest of pines and rhododendron as the temperatures get much cooler than reaching a wide Kaligandaki Valley. Stopping at famous and large Jomsom town, the main hub and headquarter of Mustang region. A town with a small airport that flies in and out to Pokhara, check into a nice lodge and hotels with time to browse around this interesting place on a windswept valley.
After a wonderful overnight stop in Jomsom, the morning after a good breakfast an interesting drive on the flat plain of Kaligandaki River to Kagbeni, the door that takes you beyond around Upper Mustang. From here onwards travelers require a special permit to enter the high terrain of Lo, the Upper Mustang.
Kagbeni village and the native of strong Tibetan origin and similar culture of Buddhism religion. Drive continues, as the landscapes change dramatically to harsh and barren country, heading through windswept terrain pastTangbe and Chusang village with few trees of Populus and Willow within a contrast of red earthen surrounding. The journey continues with a few refreshing stops for lunch and rest, then heading over a few passes facing grand views of broken canyons with ruined castles of walls and high towering wind-blown cliffs.
As the drive continues with a few steep ups and descends towardsGeling a village with a large barley field, the journey then climbs to the highest Nyi-La pass at 3, 932 m and 12, 900 feet high. Then reach our overnight stop at Charang, spelled as Tsarang also, after climbing past long series of Mani a prayer wall, one of the longest around Nepal Himalaya.
Charang is a nice and interesting village with a maze of fields, willow trees, and a huge five tiers of white-painted Dzong/fort, with a red Gomba / monastery located on the edge of the Kali Gandaki gorge. The village with its own electricity supply from a nearby stream. Here check into a nice homely style guest house.
Today a short drive of the trip, morning from Charang towards our main destination to enter the former walled kingdom of Lo-Manthang. Drive across Charang-Chu River, with a climb to a ridge then towards Tholung valley, as the route leads straight north to a large Chorten that marks the boundary of Charang and Lo-Manthang.
The journey then leads towards Lo-Manthang entering from the main entrance gate of the walled kingdom. Check into the best lodge available with afternoon free for refreshing rest, and enjoy short walks around the town square close to impressive monasteries, and shops.
This former walled kingdom is often referred to as a city but is a size of a small town with about 150 houses including residents of the monks and lamas/head priests. Houses are closely linked, and the palace's late kings and monasteries, are located on the bottom section, where houses are built in a vertical part of ‘L’ shaped.
School, health post, police post, and several important places are located outside the walls within the north gate, along with the eastern monastic part of the town. The Mustang was ruled by many kings or Raja, the late former kings were Jigme Parbal Bista Raja, the palace stands four-storied building in the middle of the walled kingdom.
Tour takes you to four important monasteries Namgyal Gompa, Champa Lakhang (God House), Red Thubchen Gompa, Chyodi Gompa, and the Great Entrance Hall. A tour of the historical and cultural center is one of the main attractions of Lo-Manthang.
Today is the end of our fantastic journey around the Mustang region, as drive heads on the same dirt and rough tracks downhill past Marpha and Tukuche lovely villages, famous for apples and their products. From here back into tree lines and lush green vegetation as the drive takes you to low warm areas past Tatopani and Beni town.
Then on the good road and the main highway to reach Pokhara, where our exciting adventure and wonderful experience on Mustang Jeep Drive concludes.
The main reason is to preserve and conserve the country's pristine environment and limit the mass flow of visitors. The other reason is it falls close to the frontier of Tibet / China, where few travelers might enter mistakenly.
Most villages and towns like Jomsom, Kagbeni, and Charang, including Lo-Manthang do have nice lodges and guest-houses of simple tourist standards. Serves good meals of variations from Continental, Indian, Chinese to Nepalese popular dish of Dal Bhat (boiled rice with lentil soup and mild veg or meat curry where available). At Jomsom and Kagbeni with many facilities for an enjoyable stay, of best tourist standard lodges and hotels with a large item of food menu.
Best in April to May and September to October, days are much warmer with enough sunlight hours as well for clear views of snow-capped peaks and for a pleasant drive. Cold in the morning and from late afternoon till night time, with chances of snowfall, sometimes can be very windy from mid-afternoon.
On route at Jomsom and Charang including Lo-Manthang, have electricity with hydropower, and some places with personal solar power where guests can charge the gadgets paying some fees at the cost of per hour basis.
Some people might catch a slight headache from the gain of altitude, but it will soon fade after having rest, and drinking enough fluid and water, helps to acclimatize from the symptoms of AMS or altitude sickness. Chances are small, that you get severe AMS, as we have set the itinerary day with enough time on route to Lo-Manthang. Our flexible program itinerary helps and supports proper acclimatization before reaching a higher altitude and crossing passes above 3,500 m high. For serious conditions, the sick person needs to bring down to Jomsom or Pokhara / Kathmandu by any means of fast transport either hiring a local jeep or taking helicopter service to reach the nearest with best medical facilities and hospitals.