With the extension of the dirt road, Upper Mustang has been a popular jeep tour destination. Jeep tour or 4WD driving tour of Upper Mustang saves your travel days but allows more time to visit highlights of the trans-Himalayan region. The tour is done with licensed, knowledgeable and experienced guides and drivers. It is a combination of road trip with excursions and cultural immersion experiences. There are several side hikes, village tours, archaeological sites and monasteries to visit. The driving tour is just an alternate to Mustang trek. Tourists can still stay and eat in local teahouses and visit all the places of the once forbidden kingdom.The Upper Mustang driving tour could be customized for as less as 6 days. However, we recommend the longer tour to enjoy the fast-changing landscape, Himalayan scenery and the ethnicity. You can combine this driving tour with visits to Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha and Chitwan national park.
Day 01: Arrive Kathmandu, pick up and transfer to Hotel.Our represent will be at the airport as per your flights details given earlier. Drive to the hotel and rest. In the evening, briefing about the trip.
Day 02: Drive to Pokhara – 200 km / 6 hrsWe drive west of Kathmandu to Pokhara through the lush mountain valleys. The road winds along scenic valley basin dominated by farming terraces and charming villages connected by suspension bridges. Closer to Pokhara, we will see snow peaks of Annapurna and Manaslu range in the backdrop.
Day 03: Drive to Kalopani – 190 km / 8 hrsEnjoy the scrumptious breakfast with in vicinity of Phewa lake and the Himalayas. After breakfast, we set out on our journey to Mustang. We first drive west to the town of Beni and then head upstream Kali Gandaki river. The Kali Gandaki valley at this point becomes the world’s deepest gorge, wedged between Dhaulagiri (8,167 m) and Annapurna I (8,091 m). Kalopani is the most scenic village situated with the view of both Himalayan giants.
Day 04: Drive to Tsarang. 120 km / 6 hrs. Explore Tsarang.We are literally in trans-Himalayan region. The landscape changes from lush green to arid, windy valley after Kalopani village. Kaligandaki snakes along the wide and far reaching valley that have been eroded in thousands of years. The villages of Tukuche and Marpha, we pass by are popular for Apple orchard and the brandy. From Kagbeni, we register our permits and literally enter the restricted area of Upper Mustang. These were the dwellings of ‘Khampa warriors’ who were fighting against Chinese in 1960es. Elders from the village still recall their memories. On the way, you can visit Chungsi cave believed to be meditated by Guru Rinpoche (Padmashambhava). Tsarang is one of the historically and culturally important village in Upper Mustang. The village have some ancient stupa, palace and monastery with murals. It is believed that the monastery used to host ceremony with up to 10,000 monks it its hay days.
Day 05: Hike to Ghar Gompa and drive to Lo Manthang, the walled city.Short hike to Ghar Gompa, allows you to explore and see the farm, pastures and the monastic life off the main village of Mustang. Ghar Gompa is believed to the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery established by Guru Rinpoche even before the ‘Samye monastery’ in Tibet. Its rustic ancient appearance with mystic painting and sculptures is rarely seen elsewhere. Later drive to Lo Manthang and check in local lodge. Later walk around the Michelle Paisel’s ‘Lost Tibetan Kingdom’. The place has less changed since then.
Day 06: Explore the higher reaches of Lo Manthang.Visit Namgyal gompa, sky caves of Chhoser and the Garphu gompa. Honeycomb caves of Mustang dating back to over 3,000 years have been subject of excavation for archaeologists from around the world. These caves have been used for burial, meditation and also for living. Some of them are still being used in Chhoser and nearby villages.
Day 07: Drive back down to larjung village. Explore the Ghhursanbo cave and the water in the higher reaches of the village and enjoy the view of snow peak.
Day 08: Drive back to Pokhara.
Day 09: Drive back to Kathmandu.
Day 10: Drive to the airport for final departure.
Upper mustang tour allows travelers to cover wide distance in hours which would otherwise take days of trekking and without missing the beautiful landscape, Himalayan scenery and the cultural experience. Experience the dramatic change in landscape from lush Himalayan foothills to windswept valleys in yellow, orange and brown. Traverse the Himalayas through the gorge wedged between two 8,000 m peaks of Annapurna I and Dhaulagiri and discover the lost Tibetan kingdom of Mustang. However the road is mostly unpaved although most sections are graveled and maintained. The road is winding and vertiginous at points. Driving tour of Upper Mustang is adventurous yet rewarding.
Mustang Jeep Tour w/ us:
Lonely planet has listed Mustang trek in third position under its list of 'Best in Travel 2013'. The extensive road expansion will soon change its essence. So this is last chance to see Mustang.
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