Experience of Upper Mustang 4WD Jeep Tour – October 2019 by SANTOSH BLON
Published on: November 19, 2019
This Upper Mustang 4WD Jeep Tour is one of the famous and alternative tour of trekking to all those travelers who have less time but wants to witness the best terrain landscape, snow capped mountains of Nepal and district beyond the Himalayas.
Before Jeep Tour. Oct. 14th, 2019: It was my first day at work and was very happy to work with the best and reliable travel agents of Nepal, Global Holidays Adventure Pvt. Ltd. I was more fortunate when they told me and Raju (another office staff) to go with the 19 Israeli guests on a jeep tour to Lomanthang as an office staff on my first day of office. Our company’s director, Mr. Surya Bdr. Thapa gave us the tour itinerary, told us about our duties and responsibilities and then also reminded for warm hospitality towards the guest. We managed bedding (19 sleeping bags for the guests), some oxygen kits and some camping gases. We met our main guide, Mr. Sange Sherpa at the office and had casual meeting to know each other. Me and Raju were going to Pokhara before a day with the bedding and oxygen kits. So, our company’s another director, Mr. Samsher Parajuli sir, gave us some expenses and we planned accordingly.
Oct. 15th, 2019:Early morning, Raju and I headed towards Pokhara with the bedding and kits. Sange Dai went to pick up the guest at Tribhuwan International Airport and assigned them to Apsara hotel for the overnight at Kathmandu. Our duty at Pokhara was to contact the jeep drivers and manage the jeep at Pokhara Airport and for the trip was to provide service to the guest and take some photographs. The guest arrival to Pokhara Airport was the next day so; we stayed at a hotel near Pokhara Airport.
Day 01: Pokhara to Tatopani (Drive 6 hours, around – 100 Kms.)
Oct. 16th, 2019 (Wednesday).
Woke up at 6 am and called the jeep drivers to team up and meet at the Airport. 6 jeeps were reserved; 3 land cruiser and 3 Prado. Unfortunately, on that day, the president of Nepal was going for some international meeting to Myanmar so; the flight was delayed for some national security concern. So, we (including our 6 jeep drivers) took lunch and again waited for some hours.
After a long wait, the flight finally landed and we met our guest. The guest team also had a team captain, Mr. Ittay Shavit, who managed the jeep in a series of 1, 2,3,4,5 and 6. The 19 guests and Sange Dai sat in the first 5; me and Raju in the 6th. Our 2 guest’s luggage was misplaced during transit so we stayed at the airport while the 5 jeep left Pokhara Airport for Tatopani with the guests and Sange Dai.
Our director, Mr. Samsher Parajuli sir, himself managed to claim the guest luggage at Tribhuwan Airport, ktm and flew Pokhara. We met him and then headed towards Tatopani at 5.15pm. We passed Kande, Kusma, Beni, Ambot and finally reached Galeshwor at 8.30pm where we had some food and again continued the journey. There were several potholes and the road condition was not so good from Galeshwor. We drove along the bank of Kali Gandaki River for 2 hours to reach Tatopani. We went to Old Kamala hotel for our overnight as our company’s reservation. Our guests already had the dinner and were leaving for their bed so we wished goodnight, took our dinner and went to bed.
Day 02: Tatopani to Kagbeni (Drive 6 hours, around – 80 kms.)
Oct. 17th, 2019 (Thursday)
Tatopani in Nepali language means “hot water”. There is a small hot water spring in the village which is famous for trekkers and travelers to dip their body in the hot water, relax and re boost their energy. The name Tatopani was given due to the presence of that hot spring.
The next morning started with a sightseeing walk around the village. We got the first glimpse of Mt. Nilgiri South (6,839 m) from Tatopani with the morning sun rays touching its summit. Our guests went to the hot spring and dipped themselves for sometimes. Dipping body in hot water is very beneficial for our health. It helps in body relaxation as well as improves blood circulation. We also went in and dipped our body.
Then, we returned back to the hotel. We served breakfast to the guests and then ate ours. The accommodation and food services of the hotel was very nice and tasty. After the breakfast, we loaded the guest’s luggage on the jeep and then started the day’s journey to Kagbeni.
After 1 hour drive, we reached this amazing waterfall sliding down from a very high cliff to Kali Gandaki River. This waterfall was named as Rupse fall. Many visitors were taking picture with Rupse Falls. We also captured some photos. We also passed the deepest gorge of the world, The Kali Gandaki Gorge, situated between the Massive Annapurna and Giant Dhaulagiri.
Finally, we reached Ghasa check-post and the police officer checked the vehicle’s documents and license. View of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna ranges can be seen from some part of this place. At about 1.30pm, we reached Kalapani and had our lunch at See You Hotel.
After lunch, we then stopped at a nice forest area where our guest started making coffee with the camping stove and gas. They served it to our whole group. The wind was blowing so hard so we quickly left the place after the refreshing coffee. After driving for an hour, we witness a drastic change in topography. We started seeing various cliffs and terrain landscape. The weather outside the jeep turned much windier; we could hear loud whistle of the wind. We passed the beautiful apple orchards of Marpha village, the Jomsom Airport and scattered human settlements of Jomsom.
Around 5.15pm, we reached Annapurna lodge, Kagbeni. We unloaded the jeep and then assigned the room keys to our guests. We helped in the kitchen and served dinner to our guest. We had our dinner and a small briefing was given to the guests for next day.
Day 03: Visit Muktinath Temple and sightseeing around Kagbeni (Drive 1 hour)
Oct. 18th, 2019 (Friday)
Kagbeni is located at an altitude of 2,800 meters above sea level and is also known as the gateway of Lomanthang. It lies nearby the junction trail to Muktinath. Pilgrims of Hindu religion offer Pinda and perform death rituals of their deceased members at the confluence of two rivers believing that it brings salvation to their departed soul. The beautiful view of Kagbeni and the flowing Kali Gandaki River can be seen on the way to Muktinath.
While I got up, the breakfast was already served by Sange dai and Raju dai. They called me for breakfast and we had it together. Then, as our plan, we took off for Muktinath Temple. The magnificent view of Kagbeni village, Tibetan plateaus and mountains views were the most exciting experience and witnesses along the way till Muktinath. Local people selling apple and its products at the sidewalk of the road can also be seen.
Muktinath is considered as a sacred place for both Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims. It is one of the highest temples of the world situated at an altitude of 3,800 meter. It lies right below the famous Thorong-la pass in Mustang. To Hindu pilgrims, Muktinath is a sacred place of salvation. There are 108 taps and 2 ponds in Muktinath Temple which are believed to be sacred. Hindu people shower in the 108 taps and dip their body into those 2 ponds in belief of having salvation after their death.
Reaching Muktinath, we parked our vehicle at the parking station and started walking towards Muktinath passing small local shops and markets. Mr. Ittay Shavit, the Israeli team leader had already been to Mustang for several times and he knew most of the things about Mustang. He was explaining about most of the things to his friends in Israeli language. Mild Acute mountain sickness symptoms were seen to 2 of our guest but their condition got better after some rest.
We roamed around Muktinath, and then returned to the same parking station for some Israeli coffee break. We returned back to Annapurna lodge and then had our lunch. The remaining part of the day was free to explore Kagbeni.
During dusk, our guests asked if they could make their own Israeli food in the hotel’s kitchen; the hotel owner was friendly and generous, he agreed and also told them to teach him so that he could add it on the hotel’s menu. Our guest made their own Israeli dish named “SAKSUKA” for the dinner. Our guests were looking so happy with the cooking and also with the friendly environment of the hotel. They did some praying and started their dinner. We also tasted it. It was really delicious and a new taste for us. After “SAKSUKA”, short briefing was given to the guest and a warm goodnight wish.
Day 04: Kagbeni to Charang
Oct. 19th, 2019 (Saturday)
This was the day to leave lower mustang and drive to Upper Mustang. Sange Dai went to check-in the permit for restricted area “Upper Mustang” with the guest document while we serve the breakfast and loaded the jeep. After breakfast, we left Kagbeni.
We stopped our vehicle and glanced at the beautiful village of Kagbeni where two rivers, the Muktinath River links with the Kali Gandaki. We were surrounded by the great plateaus and cliffs which was a very great experience for all of us. The desert-like Tibetan landscape and beautiful Mustang Himal just above them were looking more alluring and exciting.
We passed Chhusang where we checked-in our vehicle and our guest experienced a walk across the suspension bridge and got back; some with nervous and some with happy faces. We stopped at the bank of the Kali Gandaki facing the giant cliffs and a beautiful waterfall across Kali Gandaki for a coffee break. We enjoyed the chilling atmosphere of the Kali Gandaki River and the great plateau right above us.
After coffee, we headed towards Syangmoche passing Chele, Ghyagar and Samar. We had our lunch at Syangmoche and our guest had a very great time learning Carrom Board with our driver dai. DK dai, one of our jeep member, pot all carroms in one turn. All the guests were shocked with his carom skills and asked him to teach them.
Then we headed to Charang for our night stay. It was just an hour from Syangmoche. There was limited capacity for room with attached bathroom so our company had managed to place the guest into 2 different hotels; Damodarkunda logde and Doma hotel, so that they all could get room with an attached bathroom.
We assigned the rooms to our guest. We helped in the kitchen to prepare dinner and then served it to our guest. Wished a warm goodnight to them and all of them returned to their assigned hotels/rooms.
Day 05: Charang to Lomanthang (Drive 1 hour)
Oct. 20th, 2019 (Sunday)
The morning started with a hot tea and nice breakfast. Then, we hike up to an old Buddhist Monastery of Charang. We took the jeep from there and decided to enter “Ghar Gumba” (3,939 m.) and took a short coffee break there. Lo-Ghyekar (ghar Gompa) is an ancient monastery ageing from 8th century. It is famous for ancient handicrafts on a slate. Group of chortens are linked with praying flags in Ghar Gumba which looks more beautiful.
Then, we again continued our journey to Lomanthang. After about 30 minutes of drive, we reached Lomanthang view point, Dhal La (3,961 m). We saw first glimpse of the hidden forbidden kingdom, Lomanthang which was surrounded by some green and brown trees, the grand canyon of the Tibetan landscape and mountains behind them.
We decided to hike up to the village of Lomanthang. We walked for some time and entered a big gate which says “Welcome To Lomanthang”. Our reservation was at Hotel Peace Palace so we checked in, had our lunch and assigned the rooms to our guest. It was a free sightseeing day around Lomanthang; we visited the ancient durbar (kingdom) of Lo and some monasteries there. Sange Sherpa Dai went to ACAP office for ticket and permit check-in.
During dinner, we helped in the kitchen and served the dinner to our guest. Our hotel owner didi was also so kind and of good hospitality. The hotel as well as its rooms was nice and comfortable. After having dinner, short briefing was given and we went to our room for the night.
Day 06: Exploration around Lomanthang.
Oct. 21st, 2019 (Monday)
Today’s exploration was up to Chhoser village. We planned to visit some monasteries and cave around Chhoser. So, we had our breakfast and then started the sightseeing. We drove around 30 minutes and reached mysterious Shija Jhong Cave which was made by the ancient Tibetan people to get rid of threat from wars and also was a burial chamber back at the ancient period. It is still a mystery to be so sure about the reason to make such cave. We wandered around and inside the cave; then hiked down for a coffee break. We were surrounded by the great Tibetan plateaus and cliff with a spectacular far mountain views having refreshing coffee.
Then we headed towards a nearby monastery which was named as Lowo Nyiphug Namdrol Norbuling Monastic School which was attached with a cliff. We entered the monastery and meet the abbot of the monastery. He told us that the school is run by several funds and it also provides hostel service to its student. During winter season, all of them migrate to Pokhara and other places and again come to study after cold ends.
Our entire guest looked so happy and relieved that they made it up to their last destination of the tour though some of them were having slight AMS symptoms.
After that, we returned Lomanthang and had our lunch. The remaining part of the day was free and some went for walk around Lomanthang and some went to their room. 3 of our guest bought some Mandala’s painting from a handicraft shop. We had some coffee with our guest at one of the coffee shop of Lomanthang. If you are travelling Lomanthang, you’ll get surprised by the Barista coffee-maker in such remote place. Also don’t forget to taste Mongolian salty tea (Shu Chiya).
At night, we served and had our dinner. Overnight at Hotel Peace Palace.
Day 07: Lomanthang to Jomsom
Oct. 22nd, 2019 (Tuesday)
It was the day to return from Lomanthang. So, all of us woke up and had our breakfast. Then, we counted the luggage, bedding and loaded them to the jeep. We checked out from the hotel and retraced the road up to Jomsom. On the way, we stopped to capture some good picture and had our lunch at Samar.
After lunch, we continued our journey and took a short coffee break at the same bank of Kali Gandaki River where we rested the day before. We then checked out the permits at Kagbeni and reached Jomsom at dusk. We checked in at Hotel Majesty’s new building as reserved by the company. We assigned the rooms and also bought some apples for the guest.
We took a shower and went around Jomsom bajar. Jomsom is a commercial and little developed than other places of Muktinath; maybe because of the Jomsom Airport. Banks and other financial offices as well as other governmental centers are also available. Apple orchards can also be seen around Jomsom. Mustang is very famous for Apple and apple products. Local apple brandy named “Marpha” is also very famous. We did some shopping and then returned our hotel.
Our guest and Sange Dai were flying to Pokhara and then back to Ktm tomorrow. I and Raju were supposed to drive up to Pokhara with the beddings. Sange Dai fixed the flight tickets for the next morning to Pokhara. It was difficult to fly all 19 guest’s luggages in a single flight but he managed to fly all luggage in different flight in safe and convenient way. Some guests were told to keep their luggage at the room’s door in the morning so that we could send them on the early flight and claim later at the Pokhara Airport. We had our dinner and then went to bed.
Day 08: Fly Jomsom to Pokhara
Oct. 23rd, 2019 (Wednesday)
When we woke up, most of the luggages were out of the guest room as requested by Sange Dai. So, we woke up and then rushed the luggages to the airport. They weighed and placed them for the departure.
The flight departure was at 7:15 am so we went to the hotel for our breakfast. We had a small farewell program where we thanked our guest and wished for their safe flight. The guest also told us about their great experience to Nepal and thanked us for the safe and amazing tour. Then, all of us headed toward the airport with the remaining luggage.
We entered the airport and got notice that the luggage we left in the morning already landed and are in baggage claim section at Pokhara Airport. So, we weighed the remaining luggage and placed them for departure. Then after the flight arrived, they took off for Pokhara while we drove back to Pokhara with the beddings and other supplies.
Global Holidays Adventure is ranked in #1 position for Upper Mustang 4WD jeep tour with the best quality of travel services in healthy price and warm hospitality to its guests along with other adventure tourism. It has been organizing this type of tour since a long time and has best hotel contacts and incredible team members. Comfortable and versatile 4WD jeeps with experienced drivers of Nepal are provided. You can also do a self-drive, but you have to mention it during the booking procedure along with your driving license and they will manage the service and follow up your queries.
Story By: SANTOSH BLON
GLobal Holidays Adventure pvt.Ltd