Trail riders riding up the Himalayas on horseback

The Lost Kingdom of Mustang

Embark on a extraordinary riding adventure in Mustang, an ancient forbidden Kingdom in Nepal. This beautiful and wild region was only open to foreigners in 1992 - it is remote and still relatively unspoiled. From the Kali Gandaki valley, nestled between the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri massifs, explore this remote part of the world on horseback. This is a slightly modified version from our other trip, that focuses on the Tiji Festival. This trip takes you further off the beaten track and is for experienced riders looking for a more interesting equestrian experience.
Book now Print the details for this ride
Trail Riding
20 days (11 on horseback)
From £2,500
  • Horses and Nepalese temples
    Discover the Lost Kingdom of Mustang on horseback
  • Nepalese ponies during a riding holiday in Nepal
    You ride small, sturdy Nepalese ponies
  • Riders riding through a village in Nepal
    Horseback adventures in Nepal
  • Riders on horseback in the Himalayas
    A contemplative trail ride, mostly at a walk, with some trots and canters
  • Riders in front of a temple in the Mustang area of Nepal
    Enjoy an immersive cultural experience
  • Nepalese horses having a drink, Mustang
    Your riding companions on this horseback adventure!
  • Rider on top of the Himalayas in Nepal
    Fantastic views - even better seen on horseback!

Itinerary

Highlights

- A real expedition: your belongings are carried by pack mules, with limited impact on the environment
- Enjoy the unbelievable scenery of the colourful mountains, under the mighty peaks of the Himalayas
- Sturdy Himalayan ponies, descending from the Przewalski's horse
- This itinerary varies slightly from our other trip to Mustang and follows the east bank of the Kali Gandaki river, where there are no jeep tracks and which is more remote.
  • Day 1 1 : EUROPE - KATHMANDU

    Depart from Europe on your international flight to Kathmandu. It is likely this will be a connecting flight (UK flights usually connect in Doha).
  • Day 2 2 : KATHMANDU

    You will be met at Katmandu airport and transferred to your hotel. Meet your fellow travellers and your guides for your first briefing. The rest of the day is spent at your leisure: Kathmandu is a fascinating city, very different from our western cities - a flurry of sounds, smells and colours. You meet in the evening for dinner in one of the many restaurants available in the city.
  • Day 3 3 : KATHMANDU - POKHARA

    Bus transfer to Pokhara, catching your first glimpse of the Nepalese lifestyle. The town is situated at the foot of the famous Annapurna mountain range: if the visibility is good, you will have the chance to marvel at the beauty of its peaks. Night at the hotel.

    Meals today are not included (lunch in a small cafe en-route, and Pokhara will offer many options for dinner).
  • Day 4 4 : POKHARA - JOMSOM (2720m) - Approx. 10 hours driving

    Get ready for a long day in the jeep that will take you to Jomsom. You first drive through Beni, before driving up the Kali Gandaki gorge, separating the Annapurna from the Dhaulagiri (standing at an impressive 8167m). By some measures the Kali Gandaki gorge is the deepest canyon in the world. The area becomes more and more arid as you get closer to Jomsom (2900 m). There is time to settle in the lodge and take a stroll through town.

    Please note: we have decided to organise this transfer by road rather than plane, due to the unreliability of the local companies that are currently blacklisted by the EC.
  • Day 5 5 : JOMSON - CHHUSANG (2980m) - 6 hours riding

    It is now time to meet the horses and the local team, before heading out on the trail. The track follows the bed of the Kali Gandaki, taking you through the arid, almost lunar, landscape. It is relatively flat and you should make good time to Kagbeni, where you will stop for lunch. Kagbeni is a typical stone village, known for its fortifications, and the break is just long enough that you can stroll the narrow streets and visit its monastery. Kagbeni is also the getaway into Mustang.

    You set out on horseback again, riding up the Kali Gandaki gorges before reaching the stunning town of Tangbe, a beautiful typical village with a maze of alleys and passageways. After an other hour on horseback, you get to Chhusang, a village development committee surrounded by stunning red and orange cliffs.
  • Day 6 6 : CHHUSANG - SYANGBOCHE (3800m) - 6 hours riding

    The track leads you away from the river and into the village of Chele. You are now deep in the upper Mustang. The influence from nearby Tibet is very strong, and you will find spiritual paintings on the walls. The track becomes steeper, built into the cliff wall, and dominates the Ghyakar Khola gorge.

    You make your way through a first mountain pass at Chele (3600m), before reaching Simir for lunch. The afternoon sees you cross two other passes, at Bhena La (3800m) and Yamdo La (3850m). After a long day in the saddle, you reach the small village of Syanboche where you will spend the night.

    Please note that there will be approximately 1h on foot, walking with the horses, at around 3500 m.
  • Day 7 7 : SYANGBOCHE - NYI LA (4010) - TSARANG (3560m) - 6 hours riding

    Your day starts with the crossing of the Syanboche pass (3850m). A steep ascension will take you to Nyi La (4010m), where you will be blessed with fantastic views across the Annapurna mountain range. After crossing the Ghami La pass (3770m), you ride into Ghami, a small village nestled between patches of green and colourful cliffs. In the afternoon, you ride across arid land up to the Tsarang La (3870m) before reaching the village of Tsarang, known to be the King of Mustang's summer quarters. You may visit the local monastery if you wish.
  • Day 8 8 : TSARANG - LO MANTHANG (3810m) - 4 hours riding

    This morning, you ride across astonishing scenery, in a flurry of greys and yellows. Troglodyte dwellings and chorten (spiritual structures containing relics) make their appearance. You ride across a pass at 3850m before you finally discover Lo Manthang, the fortified capital of the ancient Kingdom of Lo. In the afternoon, you take a break from the riding to explore the old city and some of its monasteries.

    Tonight, you settle in Lo Manthang where you will stay for the next three nights (foreigners are not allowed to stay the night in the villages up north). Some riders might struggle with the physical demands of the trek and the altitude, and you will have the opportunity to stay behind for a day if you wish to rest.
  • Day 9 9 : LO MANTHANG - SAM DZONG (4150m) - LO MANTHANG (3810m) - 8 hours riding

    Today is a long one in the saddle. You start out from Lo Manthang, riding east towards the border with Tibet. You ride across Sam Dzongest, where the water is saturated with the salt that used to be an economical blessing: now, lacking drinkable water, its people will soon be forced to move.

    You explore magnificent scenery: today you get to enjoy the wildest, purest views of your trail ride. The natural beauty of this region is stunning. Ride down to Choser caves and Jong caves with a visit of Nimphu monastery.

    Back to Lo Manthang for the night.

    Please note that today there will be approximately 2 hours on foot at 4150m, with uphill and downhill slopes.
  • Day 10 10 : LO MANTHANG - YARA (3650m) - 6 hours riding

    You ride back across the pass above Lo Manthang. Your ride take you through another, smaller pass before you ride back to the village of Dhi, on the banks of the Mustang Khola. You reach the other side of the river and discover the lunar landscapes of the area, dotted with fairy chimneys. Today's destination is the small hamlet of Yara, known for its cave dwellings carved inside the cliff sides.

    Overnight in Yara.
  • Day 11 11 : YARA - LURI GUMBA (4000m) - YARA - 5 hours riding

    Enjoy something different today with a spot of sightseeing: you will explore the Luri Gompa monastery, dating back to the 15th century. Visit the Luri caves and its frescoes, before riding back to Yara where you are spending your second night.
  • Day 12 12 : YARA - TANGGE (3240m) - 6 hours riding

    Ride down alongside the Dhee river until you find a suitable crossing. Once safely across the water, you will ride to a high mountain pass located at 3860m. After around 5-6 hours on horseback, you reach Tangge, a remote village known for its chortens (or stupa, Buddhist monuments) and its gompa (Buddhist ecclesiastical fortifications).
  • Day 13 13 : TANGGE - PAHA LA (4230m) - CHHUSANG (2980m) - 7 hours riding + 2 walking

    A long day in the saddle awaits today. You start by crossing a small river before a sharp ascent that leads to the Paha La pass at an altitue of 4230m. The path then takes you across a breathtaking ridge that you will follow all the way down to Tetang.

    Please note today you will be asked to lead your horse on foot downhill for around two hours at the end of the day.
  • Day 14 14 : CHHUSANG - GYU LA (4077m) - MUKTINAH (3760m) - 5 hours riding

    From Chhusang, the path takes you to the very last pass of the trail ride, at Gyu La (4077m), with splendid views over the Annapurna and the Dhaulagiri. You then finally ride downhill for your last night in Mustang, at Muktinah. The town is a famous place of pilgrimage, and there is time in the afternoon to explore the temple and see its many fountains.

    Please note that today there will be approximately 30 minutes on foot at 3500m, going uphill.
  • Day 15 15 : MUKTINAH - JOMSOM (2720m) - 5 hours riding

    Set out on horseback towards Jomsom, that you will remember from the first days of the trek. En route you will see many smaller villages, such as Jharjot and Lupra. Lupra especially is a high place of the Bön culture, that is prior to the development of Buddhism. You reach the Kali Gandaki and follow it to Jomsom.
  • Day 16 16 : JOMSOM - POKHARA - Approx. 10h drive

    You trade the horses for a jeep that will bring you to Pokhara (approx. 10 hours drive). In the evening you can relax or take a walk around Phewa Lake or the busy streets of Pokhara.

    Dinner is not included and to your own account. Night in a hotel.
  • Day 17 17 : POKHARA - KATHMANDU

    Drive back to Kathmandu. Free afternoon and meals to your own account.
    Night in a hotel.
  • Day 18 18: KATHMANDU

    Today, we have organised a few visits to see the highlights of the city, with a local guide. Free afternoon and meals to your own account.
    Night in a hotel.
  • Day 19 19: KATHMANDU - EUROPE

    Transfer to the airport to meet your flight.
  • Day 20 20: ARRIVAL IN EUROPE

    Back in Europe.

Dates & prices

Price details

- Flights to your destination (international/domestic) are not included, but can be booked on request - please contact us for rates. 

- Rates are per person, based on two riders sharing a twin or double room.

- Groups are composed of a minimum of 4 international riders and a maximum of 8 riders, plus guides. 

- Please note: the ride will also confirm for 3 riders on payment of a supplement of c. €565/£490/$570 per person. Once the group has reached 4 people, we will remove this supplement from your invoice and refund you if you have already paid it.

- There is a single supplement of c. £135 per person if you end up in a single room (for Kathmandu and Pokhara only - no single rooms during the ride). This is refunded if we later find a sharer for you.

- The permit to access Mustang is not included in the price and is US$500. It can be paid on arrival or we can invoice it before you leave. A visa is also required to enter Nepal and can be obtained at the airport.

- The rider weight limit is 90kg/14st1lb
Please Note
The itinerary may be modified at anytime for security reasons, meteorological or events beyond our control such as blocked roads, rivers in flood, drought, strikes and local holidays. Equus Journeys, our local partners and their local guides will always strive to find the best solution and will alter the itinerary as needed.
The names of the hotels and accommodation are given for information only and depending on availability, they may be modified without notice and replaced by another of a similar standard.

Price includes

Support Team

1 English-speaking horse guide
A team of muleteers

Logistics

1 horse equipped with saddle and bridle per rider
Pack mules

Inland transport

Airport transfers
Return bus transfer from Kathmandu and Pokhara
Private jeep transfer between Pokhara and Jomsom

Accommodation

Double rooms in a standard hotel in Kathmandu/Pokhara
Simple guesthouses during the trail

Meals

Full board from lunch on Day 4 to lunch on Day 15
Tea, coffee and snacks included. Mineral water is not included.

Additional equipment

Hyperbaric chamber

Price doesn't include

Meals

Meals on Days 1-2-3-17-18 and 19 if necessary, dinner on day 16
Beverages (including mineral water) and personal extras

Transport

Visa fees and permit into Mustang
International flights

Extras

Tips to the local team (approx. £30-40, left to your discretion)
Park, museum and other site entry fees
  • Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    08/04/2023 27/04/2023 £2,500 €2,944 $2,925 Open Book now

Equestrian info

Horses

You will ride Himalayan ponies (mares/geldings only), descending from the Przewalski's horse originating from Mongolia. These horses are sure footed and well used to the rocky paths and high altitude. They are well behaved and easy to ride.

Minimum riding ability

Minimum riding ability

You need to be a capable rider who is used to riding outdoors and fit enough for some long hours in the saddle. You are riding in a very remote location across rugged terrain and must be prepared for steep ascents and descents and be able to adjust your seat accordingly. It is preferable that you already have an experience of long trail rides.

Rider weight limit: 90kg/14st1lb

Pace

The paths are dry, dusty and rocky, and you will be riding across deep passes and gorges. Some hills can be rather steep. There are a few moments where you ride close to the cliffs, so this is not suitable to anyone suffering from vertigo. Please remember than on a few occasions, you will be asked to dismount and lead you horse on foot.
This is not a fast trail: main pace is the walk but there are some trots and canters when suitable.

Tacking ability and participation

There is no support vehicle(*) and all your belongings will be carried by pack mules. Please remember to pack lightly!

* On some dates we may be able to organise support by jeep, but this is not frequent and should not be relied on.

Trip conditions and Requested experience

You need to be physically fit. On occasions you will need to dismount and lead your horse - about 15% of the time: 1 to 2 hours every day. You need to be prepared to accept sometimes unfavourable weather conditions - it can be cold at altitude and it may rain.
This ride takes place in a mountainous environment between 3,000m and 4,200m. The altitude is increased gradually to help you acclimatise but you must respect the advice of your guide. You should speak to your doctor before joining the trip particularly if you have any medical conditions relating to your heart, blood pressure or respiratory system. You should prepare for the holiday by increasing your endurance training - fast walking, jogging, cycling, swimming etc.

Previous experience of adventurous travel or long trail rides is recommended.

Visiting a new country offers the opportunity to meet other cultures with different mentalities, therefore it is important to accept these differences and respect the local way of life.

Equestrian equipment

Tibetan saddles, with blankets fitted over the saddle.
Saddlebags are not provided, and we would strongly advise you to bring your own to pack extra layers and water during the day.
We recommend our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit.

Travel info

Comfort

Standard hotel (double rooms) with en-suite bathroom in Kathmandu and Pokhara.

During the ride, you stay in simple guesthouses (tea houses) in the villages. Some guesthouses will charge extra to use shower facilities (150-500 rupees). You will need to bring your sleeping bag (see packing list below)

Meals

The food is simple, with picnic lunches and hot meals in the evenings.
Beverages are not included and mineral water can be purchased in the villages.

Water:
Take care not to drink water from unknown sources. You can refill your bottles using boiled water (or bring water purification tablets).

Climate

The best time to visit this area is in the months of February, March, April, and May or November, to avoid the monsoon months. Please remember that the weather is always changeable at high altitude, and the winds can be strong.

Guide and local team

English speaking Nepalese guide, accompanied by a team of muleteers and staff.

Tips

Tips are customary in Nepal: it is common to tip your team (guide, driver, cook...) and the staff in hotels and restaurants. Some guides may offer to collect the money and look after the distribution. You should count about £40-45 per rider for the week, although this is of course left to your discretion.
Please remember that the lifestyle in Nepal is very different to that of Europe. Please do not tip too generously, as this can disrupt the local economy. Do not give money to children either.

Packing list

During the ride, the maximum weight allowance is 15kg per rider (remember your belongings are carried by pack mules). You can leave some of your belongings in Kathmandu or Pokhara to be picked up on your way back.

Please pack in accordance with local religious and traditional cultures - it is important to keep your shoulders and knees covered when meeting the local people. Please do not wear shorts or strappy tops in towns and villages.

Head
- Equus Journeys strongly recommend that you wear a riding helmet and that you take your own to ensure a correct fit. There are many lightweight options available nowadays.
- Sunhat for when not riding
- Sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana
- Warm hat for cold nights

Upper body
- Thermals (long or short sleeved)
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun and are an extra layer
- T-shirts
- Lightweight fleece or jumper
- Warm fleece or jumper (and a spare in case one gets wet)
- Warm and waterproof jacket - it can rain and the evenings can be particularly cold

Legs
- Lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- Thermals
- Casual trousers for the evenings, such as jeans or tracksuit bottoms
- Waterproof over trousers
- Lightweight, comfortable trousers for non-riding days

Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend short boots with half chaps but you may wish to take long chaps as an extra layer against inclement weather. Bringing light hiking boots instead of paddock boots is a good idea as there will be periods of walking.
- Trainers or equivalent light shoes for the evenings
- Several pairs of warm, thick socks
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun, cold or rain whilst riding. Waterproof gloves can be particularly useful

Nightwear
- Sleeping bag. The comfort factor should be -10°/15°C.
- Sleeping bag liner - silk, cotton or fleece - adds an extra layer
- Pyjamas or tracksuits or thermals for sleeping in

Other useful items
- Towels - lightweight camping ones will both dry and pack more easily
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- Bumbag for carrying your camera and small items whilst riding
- Headtorch or small torch for moving around camp at night - bring spare batteries and bulbs
- Water bottle (2 litres or 2 x 1 litre)
- Wet Wipes or equivalent (for when washing facilities aren't available)
- Toilet paper and a lighter to burn it with
- Small plastic bags for rubbish
- Ear plugs (for light sleepers)

Medical kit
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent, preferably containing deet
- Any medication you regularly take
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc...
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Eye drops
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrhoea medication
- Re-hydration sachets
- Water purification tablets
- Antiseptic wipes
- Handwash gel
You may wish to ask your doctor for some specific medication for travelling at High Altitudes. We recommend that you discuss this directly with your doctor who is best placed to advise on your personal medical history.

In your hold luggage
- Any liquids, such as shampoo, moisturiser, deodorant unless they are less than 100ml and all bottles can fit in a small, clear, plastic ziplock bag. We recommend biodegradable washing products where possible.
- Swiss army knife (or equivalent)

In your hand luggage
- Any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad etc.
- Your riding hat

Our Recommendations
- Please don't take a hard sided suitcase. Your luggage should be soft sided with a capacity of 60-80 litres. We recommend taking a backpack or similar. The luggage limit on the ride is 15kg per person.
- Backpacks cannot be worn whilst riding. We recommend a small bumbag or a coat with pockets so that you can carry small items with you during the day (camera, sunscreen, lipbalm etc)
- We recommend travelling in your boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes in your hand luggage - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!
- We recommend taking a copy of your passport and insurance documents with you in case you lose your originals
- Please take your rubbish home with you. There are no recycling facilities in Tibet, so take your used batteries, aerosols etc back home and dispose of them appropriately. Try to leave excess packaging material at home before travelling
- You may wish to take some photographs or postcards of your home with you to show your hosts. You may also wish to take some crayons, colouring books etc for the children. Be careful not to take card games as these are frowned upon by the adults, who use them for gambling.

Visa & Health

Formalities

To apply for a visa in the United Kingdom you should contact the Embassy of Nepal, 12A, Kensington Palace Gardens, London, W8 4QU (telephone: +20 7229 1594 or 6231 or 5352).

Visas are available on arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport and at some land borders. To obtain a visa upon arrival by air in Nepal you must fill in an application form on arrival and provide a passport photograph. A single-entry visa valid for 15, 30 or 90 days costs US$25, 40 or 100. At Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan Airport the fee is payable in any major currency (some land crossings insist on payment in US dollars), Children under 10 require a visa but are not charged a visa fee. A Nepali visa is valid for entry for three to six months from the date of issue.

Please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/nepal

Addresses of consulates

  • Ambassade du Népal
    45, bis rue des Acacias
    75017 PARIS
    Tél. : 01 46 22 48 67
    Fax : 01 42 27 08 65
    nepalinparis@noos.fr
  • Ambassade du Nepal
    Rue de la Servette 81
    1202 Genève
    Tél. : 022/733 26 00
    Fax : 022/733 27 22
    mission.nepal@bluewin.ch
  • Ambassade du Nepal
    Avenue brugmann 210
    1050 Bruxelles
    Tél. : +32 (0) 2 346 26 58
    Fax : +32 (0) 2 344 13 61
    nepal@pandora.be
  • Ambassade à l'étranger
    Lazimpat BP 452
    Katmandou
    Tél. : +977 (1) 4 412 332
    Fax : +977 (1) 4 418 288

Health

Visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures.

Medical treatment is expensive at western travellers’ clinics in Nepal. Healthcare is poor in most places outside the Kathmandu Valley and Pokhara. It may be difficult to get rapid helicopter evacuation if you fall ill or suffer a serious accident in a remote area of the country. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad, repatriation and evacuation by helicopter (presently costing between £1,000 and £2,000 per flying hour).

There have been confirmed cases of cholera in Kathmandu, Nepalganj city in western Nepal and in Doti, Bajhang and Gorkha districts.

There have been some cases of avian influenza (bird flu) among birds and poultry in parts of the country. The risk to humans is believed to be very low, but as a precaution you should avoid visiting live animal markets, poultry farms and other places where you may come into close contact with birds, and make sure poultry and egg dishes are thoroughly cooked.

Please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/nepal/health

Insurance

It is a condition of your booking with Equus Journeys that you have travel insurance which covers you for the riding activities to be undertaken. Your travel insurance should cover you for medical expenses and repatriation. Your guides will require your travel insurance details before they allow you to ride and may refuse to let you ride if you cannot provide them. You should take your insurance documents with you.