Upper Mustang Damodar Kunda Trek - 18 Days

  • Duration 18 Days
  • Difficulty Level Strenuous
  • Destination Nepal
  • Trip Type Lodge Based & Camping Trekking
  • Best Season March - Nov
  • Group Size 16

Highlights

  • Explore the retired trans-Himalayan region, Upper Mustang
  • Enjoy off-beat, adventurous, less-crowded trekking 
  • Get to see diverse landscapes, from lush valleys to arid, barren hills
  • Cross many passes and remote villages 
  • Come across centuries-old monasteries, mani walls, and chortens
  • The trail crosses many passes 
  • Spend the night in Lo Manthang and get to see the lifestyle of the locals, highly influenced by Tibetan culture
  • Explore the holy Damodar Kunda (lake)
  • Enjoy teahouse and camping trek
  • Witness breathtaking views of the Himalayan mountains like Annapurna range, Nilgiri, Tilicho Peak, Bhrikuti Peak, etc

Upper Mustang and Damodar Kunda Trekking explore the restricted area in Nepal that boasts distinct dry arid landscapes, unlike any other trekking region in the Himalayas. It is one of the less-visited treks because of the isolation of the region from the rest of the famous trekking routes and expensive permits. 

Trek to the trans-Himalayan region during Upper Mustang and Damodar Kunda Trek and explore the ancient Tibetan Buddhist cultural heritage.

If you are looking for an adventurous, less-crowded trekking package in Nepal, then Upper Mustang and Damodar Kunda Trek are the ones for you. You trek to the lost forbidden kingdom, Lo Manthang (3,840 m) and the holy Damodar Lake (4,890 m). 

Trekking to Lo Manthang, the upper part of Mustang is itself an excellent venture, and we have combined the holy Damdoar lake in the journey too. So far, Mustang Damodar Kunda Trek is one of our favorite off-the-beaten treks. It's a teahouse and camping trek. We use the teahouse up to Yara and switch to a camping trek from Ghuma Thanthi. 

During the trek, we spend the night in remote settlement areas. The locals are highly influenced by Tibetan Buddhism, and their traditions & culture resembles a lot to Tibetans. Along the trekking route, you will come across ancient monasteries built centuries ago and small stupas, chortens, & mani walls. 

Damodar Kunda

Damodar Kunda (4,890 m) is a holy lake situated at the lap of Damodar Himal in the Upper Mustang region. The lake flows southward through the rain shadow valley at the eastern edge of the Annapurna range. 

This lake has huge religious valleys, and as per the Hindu mythology, taking bath in the lake will free anyone from their sin. During the full moon in August, pilgrims visit this lake, lighting up the festivity in the area. 

Views during Upper Mustang and Damodar Kunda Trek

Mustang Damodar Kunda Camping Trek offers breathtaking views of the Annapurna region. The trek offers gorgeous sceneries of lush valleys and further presents the arid, barren views of the Mustang region. Along the way, we also get to see remarkable views of gorges and sky caves. 

Himalayan mountains like the Annapurna range (8,091 m), Tilicho peak (7,134 m), Nilgiri (7,061 m), Bhrikuti peak (6,476 m), etc, are seen during the Upper Mustang and Damodar Kunda Trek. 

Upper Mustang and Damodar Kunda Trek difficulty

Damodar Kunda Trekking is a difficult trek. This trek is ideal for trekkers with some previous trekking experience. The trekking route is off-beat and requires 6 to 7 hours of walking. You cross many passes on the way to Lo Manthang. There are numerous steep and rugged sections along the way. 

Training 

To prepare for the Damodar Kunda Trek, you can go on short hikes. The Upper Mustang and Damodar Kunda Trek demand stamina and long walking ability. Long walks on rough terrain if possible, then we highly recommend it. Likewise, activities that involve cardio like running, cycling, swimming, etc are also great for preparing for the Mustang Damodar Kunda trek. 

What do we offer?

We offer the best Upper Mustang and Damodar Kund Trek itinerary and cost. Our experienced crew have extensive knowledge about the trail, so you can expect a very informative and smooth venture. Likewise, our team members are very friendly and helpful.

You'll have a hassle-free Upper Mustang and Damodar Kunda Trek with us. Moreover, our transparent policy and no hidden charges with an easy booking system make it easier for travelers to do the booking. 

Also check out our- Upper Dolpo Trek and Manaslu Circuit Trek. 

Itinerary

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We schedule the pickup time as per your flight landing time on your arrival day. Our airport representatives will assist you in check-in in the hotel and leave you to freshen up. 

  • AccommodationHotel
  • Maximum Altitude1,310 m

Meet our tour guide in your hotel lobby. He or she will take you on a guided city tour. You'll visit historical sites such as Boudhnath Stupa, Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu Durbar Square, and the famous Monkey Temple. We then prepare for the trek with the trek guide. There will be a short briefing session followed by final packing.

  • AccommodationHotel
  • MealsBreakfast
  • Maximum Altitude1,310 m

The flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara is short. Upon landing, we escort you to the hotel. Enjoy the rest of the day in the city of lakes and explore around the city. Visit the Phewa Lake and explore the Lakeside Market.

  • AccommodationHotel
  • MealsBreakfast
  • Maximum Altitude820 m

After breakfast, we drive to the airport and take an early flight to Jomsom. From here, we use a local jeep and drive to Chhuksang. The drive offers phenomenal mountain landscapes. As the roads are not well made, the drive will be a little tiring.

  • AccommodationLodge
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude2,980 m

Our trek begins from Chhuksang. We trek following a riverbank. On the way, we can see sky caves among the cliff walls. A steep ascent leads us to Chele village, and we continue ascending to Chotare Lopcha pass (3,625 m). The views from this place are wonderful. We then walk on a winding path to Samar village.

  • AccommodationLodge
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude3,660 m

From Samar, we descend and cross a stream. The trail then ascends to Samar La (4,000 m) pass. From the top, the views of Lapcha pass, Lhakpa pass, and the Ghiling village are mind blowing. From here, we pass by Chyangsi Cave and reach Ghiling village.

  • AccommodationLodge
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude3,510 m

We leave Ghiling early in the morning and begin trekking, crossing several passes like Ghami La and Nhi La. Further, we walk alongside stone walls and reach the fields of Dhakmar village. On the way, we pass by many stupas and chortens. Dhakmar village offers beautiful mountain views.

  • AccommodationLodge
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude3,740 m

The trekking route ascends further to Tsarang village. We cross alpine meadows and pass by the Ghar Gompa. This monastery is more than 1200 years old. We then cross Chongo La pass and descend to Gekar. Walking through farming fields, we reach Tsarang. The trail then continues passing by numerous chortens and mani walls to Lo Manthang. 

First, we cross a steel bridge and pass by Marang village. From here, ascend to Lo La pass enjoying splendid views of Tilicho peak, Nilgiri, and Bhrikuti peak. From the Lo La pass, the route descends to our last destination of the day, Lo Manthang.

  • AccommodationLodge
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude3,700 m

We spend an extra day in Lo Manthang and take this time to explore the village and nearby areas. We hike to Garphu and Nyapu gompas. And then we explore some caves and follow the trading route to Lhasa. We get to see numerous ruins of forts.

  • AccommodationLodge
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude3,700 m

The trail from Lo Manthang descends to Tsarang. We gradually walk ascending and descending by many chortens and mani walls. The trail offers superb views of the snow-capped mountains.

  • AccommodationLodge
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude3,560 m

From Tsarang, we ascend on a ridge, relishing the scenery. Further, we descend on a steep dusty narrow path. The trail opens up to a wide plateau and drops along a rocky gully to Dhi village. From here, we cross a suspension bridge over the Kaligandaki river and steeply ascend to Yara village.

  • AccommodationLodge
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude3,900 m

The trail ascends to Luri Cave Monastery. We explore this fascinating monastery and follow a barren valley crossing a 5,100-meter pass. The trail soon leads us to Ghuma Thanti for a night's stay.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude4,684 m

From Ghuma Thanthi, the trail continues to ascend and descend. Today, we cross another 5,600 meters high pass to reach Damodar Kunda. The top of the pass offers excellent views.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude4,890 m

We take a rest day at Damodar Kunda and explore this holy lake. We explore the nearby areas and relax.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude4,890 m

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude4,684 m

We retrace the path back to Yara. From here, we take a local jeep and driver to Jomsom. We spend the night in a comfortable teahouse in Jomsom.

  • AccommodationLodge
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude2,743 m

Our last day of the venture flies back to Pokhara from Jomsom. From here, we take another flight back to Kathmandu. The remaining day is free with farewell dinner in the late evening.

  • AccommodationHotel
  • MealsBreakfast & Farewell dinner
  • Maximum Altitude1,310 m

It's your last day in Kathmandu. You will fly back to your home country or your next destination today. Our team will drop you at the airport and bid you our last goodbye.

  • MealsBreakfast

This is our standard and recommended itinerary. If this itinerary doesn’t suit to you, we can customize your trip as per your interest and time-frame. Click here for Tailor-Made program. 

Includes

  • All grounded transportation as per itinerary by private car
  • One expert tour guide for Kathmandu Valley Sightseeing inclusive entrance fees
  • Three nights’ accommodation in Kathmandu inclusive breakfast
  • Three times meal (Breakfast/lunch/dinner) and accommodations during the trekking
  • One highly experience English speaking & friendly trekking guide and required porter including their expenses
  • Mustang trekking special permit fee (Mustang region is in restricted zone, we need a special permit to visit this area)
  • Annapurna conservation fees and Tims card
  • Upper Mustang Trekking map
  • Nepal Gateway Company T-shirt and achievement certificate
  • Local fresh fruit
  • First aid kit
  • Evacuation assist if needed
  • Government taxes and office service charge

Excludes

  • Lunch and Dinner in Kathmandu & Pokhara
  • Your travel insurance
  • Nepal entry visa. You can obtain a visa quickly upon your arrival at Tribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu. A multiple-entry tourist visa suitable for 30 days can be obtained by paying the US $ 50 or equivalent in foreign currency. Similarly, multiple-entry tourist visas for 90 days can be obtained by paying the US $ 135. Please bring two passport-size photos.
  • Your international flight ticket to/from Kathmandu
  • Your personal nature expenses, equipment and medical kit
  • All kinds of hot and cold drinks and alcoholic beverage in trekking
  • Hot shower, internet and phone call unless it is free
  • Tipping to field staffs (Tipping is not mandatory but expected)

Useful Info

Altitude Sickness

Despite a long trek, Upper Mustang and Damodar Kunda trekking see around 4,800 meters rise in elevation only. It's not a low altitude but also not a very high altitude (usually other famous treks go above 5,000 to 5,500 meters). 

Our Upper Mustang and Damodar Kunda trek itinerary lets trekkers rest and get used to the elevation. We do not rush while trekking, so the chances of altitude sickness are quite low. 

Because everybody is different and may react to the change in elevation differently, we cannot guarantee a 100% altitude sickness-free journey. However, we can assure prompt action to symptoms and a safe journey. 

Upper Mustang and Damodar Kunda trekking Permit

To do Upper Mustang and Damodar Kunda trekking, the trekkers need two permits - a restricted area permit for Upper Mustang and ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Project) permit. As Damodar Kunda is located in the Upper Mustang, these two permits are enough. 

Upper Mustang & Damodar Kunda permit cost:

Restricted permit: USD500 per person for the first 10 days and USD 50 per day after that

ACAP permit: USD 20 per person

Best Time to Trek to Upper Mustang & Damodar Kunda

Upper Mustang is a part of the rain shadow area in the Himalayas. Therefore, the region does not receive rainfall in the monsoon season, which makes it a perfect time for the trek. Likewise, spring and autumn are the other two seasons to have wonderful trekking in the Upper Mustang. 

March to the first week of December are the best months for trekking. If you wish to see the arid Himalayan landscape, then we recommend trekking from June to September. These months have a pleasant climate and stable weather. The bright, clear sky and stunning views make the venture phenomenal.

After the first week of December, the temperature begins to fall below -20°C. The locals drop down to lower altitudes with their cattle to spend the winter. We do not advise trekking in winter in the Upper Mustang. 

Best time to visit Mustang to celebrate the Tiji festival

If you have heard about the Tiji festival and wish to see it, then trek in May. To not miss the best parts, check the date of the Tiji festival and book your trek accordingly. This festival is celebrated according to the Tibetan lunar calendar. The monks fixed the date. 

You can get in touch with us to book the trek at the right time. We can tailor-make the itinerary for you that will cover all the three days of the festival in Lo Manthang. 

Last Minute Booking

Book this trek at the last minute with us and get to enjoy trekking in the Upper Mustang without any worries. Our team will handle and arrange all the things for the journey. Send us your inquiry for more information. Do know that to book any trek at the last minute, you have to send us the full package cost. 

Travel Tips 

Accommodation: You stay overnight in teahouses during this trek. The tea houses are simple and good enough to spend the night. Do not expect any extra services like other trekking routes. We book you the best available twin-shared rooms along the trekking route.

Food: Nepali and Tibetan dishes are mainly found for meals. The meals are served as per the menu of the teahouses. Do carry some snacks to last while trekking. 

ATM: If you are thinking of withdrawing cash on the trail, then drop this thought and get it in Kathmandu to use while trekking. The Upper Mustang trek route has no ATM.

Charging: Charging facilities are provided in the tea houses. You have to pay a little extra money for the service. Carry a solar charger or spare batteries. 

Luggage: All the trekkers have a 10-kgs weight limit to pack their trekking essentials in the duffel bag. These bags are carried by our porters. You can carry a daypack on you. 

Personal Expenses: Apart from the package cost, you'll need additional money for your travel insurance, international flights, tipping, shopping, etc. Similarly, you should also budget USD 15 for each day on a trek to use services like internet, charging & hot shower not covered in the package cost. 

Travel Insurance: We advise travel insurance to our guests. If a medical emergency occurs, we need to air evacuate you to the nearby hospital, and without travel insurance, it's tough to provide a prompt response. 

FAQs

  • Q1. How to visit Damodar Kunda?

    You can trek to Damodar Kunda. From Kathmandu, drive or fly to Pokhara and take another short flight to Jomsom. From here, you begin trekking toward Damodar Kunda. Another great way to reach Damodar Kunda is by helicopter. You can fly to Damodar Kunda and return on the same day.

  • Damodar Kunda is situated in Upper Mustang at 4,890 m. The lake is located at the Damodar Himal (6,706 m) and flows southward via the rain shadow valley on the easter edge of the Annapurna range.

  • To reach Upper Mustang, you have to fly to Jomsom from Pokhara and trek all the way up to Lo Manthang. Or, you can also do an overland tour or rent a bike to travel in the Upper Mustang.

  • Due to the region's proximity to Tibet, Upper Mustang is a restricted area. It has an open border with Tibet, and to reduce the illegal activities, the Nepal government has declared Upper Mustang a restricted area.

  • Upper Mustang is famous for its arid landscapes, the lost forbidden kingdom, and the ancient trade route. The region boasts Tibet-like terrain and sceneries. Moreover, one can trek in the upper Mustang even in the rainy season.

  • If you have previous trekking experience, then you can do the Upper Mustang and Damodar Kunda trekking. This trek is for fit individuals who can work 6 to 7 hours a day on off-beat trails.

  • No, you cannot do the Upper Mustang and Damodar Kunda trek alone because it is a restricted area in Nepal. And as per the rules of the government, only trekkers in a group of at least people are allowed to trek in Upper Mustang, and that too has to be done with a registered Nepali trekking company.

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