Jomsom Muktinath Trek is an exciting trek in the Annapurna and Mustang regions of Nepal. Jomsom is a great place to start trekkking. The diverse landscapes and cultures to be found along the trekking routes give marvelous insight into the way of life of rural Nepali people. Not to far from Jomson you find Muktinath, the famous pilgrimage site for Buddhists and Hindus. To Hindus, Muktinath is a sacred place of salvation. They believe that bathing in the waters here guarantees salvation after death. The Hindu god, Brahma, is said to have lit the eternal flames that burn at Muktinath. To Buddhists, Muktinath is a place where the great sage guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) came to meditate.
The area is a perfect place to find fossilized ammonites, known locally as Shaligram, which are found all along the upper reaches of Kali Gandaki. This part of Nepal is inhabited by Gurungs and Magars in the lower regions of the Kali Gandaki, Thakalis around Jomsom and people with obvious Tibetan roots, the Lopa, around Muktinath and up to Mustang. Their customs and attire are distinct and this trek is ideal for observing the diversity among the people and their customs. Hinduism dominates the lower parts while as one climbs further up, Tibetan Buddhism predominates. If you happen to be in Muktinath in early September, you are likely to be in time for one of Nepal’s unique festivals, the annual horse race known as Yartung. This is a week of some serious horse racing, Tibetan style, and some equally serious merrymaking. Most of the route along the Jomsom trek has been described as part of the Annapurna circuit and Annapurna foothill treks. The usual starting point is Naya Pul on the Pokhara to Baglung road and from there, via Ghorepani and Tatopani, into the gorge of the Kali Gandaki. Dipping our bodies into the hot spring at Tatopani will also be a pleasing experience.
Between Tatopani and Lete Khola, there is a dramatic change of scenery. Pine forests crowd in on the trail and the villages take on a quite different appearance. The layout of the villages and the design of the houses are unique to this area. The houses are designed to protect the inhabitants from the strong winds that blow up the valley everyday from the late morning onwards. Jomsom is best known for its airport that offers a quick entry or exit to the valley with regular daily flights from Pokhara. The strong winds that blow up the valley prevents flights from taking off from Jomsom after 11 a.m. Jomsom can also be considered a place to use as a base for exploring the upper part of the Kali Gandaki region. There are numerous accommodation options including a new high-class resort complex. An alternative to Jomsom as a base for the trek is the village of Kagbeni which lies a further two-hour walk up the valley. Kagbeni is not as commercialized as Jomsom and certainly much quieter. This is the furthest trekkers are allowed to go towards Upper Mustang without a special permit and an accompanying Environmental Officer.
The 13-day trek begins in Kathmandu with the tour of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Next, we fly to Pokhara, the beautiful Lake City and begin trekking from there. We trek in the beautiful Annapurna region and gradually enter the Mustang region. Our trail passes through quaint villages, cascading waterfalls, lush forests and surprisingly an almost-barren leeward side of the Himalayas. The diverse Nepalese landscape combined with the rich culture of its people makes this trek all the more rewarding. On our Jomsom Muktinath Trek, we also walk on trails along the Kali Gandaki gorge which is the deepest gorge on earth and then visit Muktinath Temple which is an important place of pilgrimage for Hindus and Buddhists alike. Dipping our bodies into the hot spring at Tatopani will also be a pleasing experience. The trek ends with our flight to Pokhara from Jomsom followed by a drive to Kathmandu.
Welcome to Nepal for your great journey with us. We will meet at the Kathmandu, Tribhuvan International Airport and would drive to your hotel. As you get ease and freshen up after your long fight, we humbly request you to visit our office for a briefing about your program. You will have a meeting with your trekking guide and discuss the equipment needed for the trekking and we will process for the trekking permits. If you arrive at night we will have the same discussion in the next day morning after your breakfast.
After a breakfast you will leave for a full day sightseeing tour around the Kathmandu valley. You can pay your homage visiting the center of pilgrimage Pashupatinath Temple (for Hindus) and Swyambhunath (for Buddhists). These are very ancient and historical pride of Nepal importantly enlisted in UNESCO World Heritage sites. The biggest Buddhist Stupa at Boudhanath and the fine arts and historical architecture of Kathmandu Durbar Square reflect the uniqueness and diversity in Nepalese culture. On the journey back to the hotel, you can travel around the local areas, gullies and lifestyle. You can perhaps take a relaxed walk through the famous streets like Thamel.
After having your breakfast in Kathmandu, we can drive you to the Domestic Airport to take a 25 minutes flight to Pokhara or if you wish to explore Nepal more you can take a Tourist bus to Pokhara about 6-7 hour. The drive includes short stops for lunch and breakfast and guarantees the enjoyment of charming beauty all the way around. In the evening, you can go for a boating trip on Phewa Lake on your own or just walk in the famous lakeside street and enjoy the dinner with the great view.
After having the breakfast morning, your journey for Annapurna Jomsom Muktinath trek begins. Distance is nearly 9.6 km. A car drive for about 1 and half hour through large village Lumle brings you to Nayapul. The trek starts from here, dropping at first on a staircase and then traversing high above the river on a wide stone-paved trail to a large and prosperous town Birethanti. The trail follows the main street of Birethanti, winding through the bamboo forests and past waterfalls with plunge pools appealing you for a refreshing swim. Beyond a pasture used by pony caravans, the trail reaches a small village Sudami, where you can have your lunch. After lunch climb steadily up the side of the valley to reach Hille (1510m) and after a short walking, you will arrive Tikhedunga. Overnight sleep in Tikhedhunga.
The trail crosses the Tikhedunga River on a suspension bridge, then drops and crosses the Bhurungdi Khola on a large bridge at 1520m. The trail ascends on a stone staircase that is said to have more than 3300 steps. The unrelenting staircase continues to the large Magar village of Ulleri (2080m). From Ulleri the trail gently climbs through pastures and cultivated fields. You walk up beside the cascading river through refreshingly cool oak and Rhododendron forest. There is a hut with water and a small campsite about 1 hr. above Ulleri. The trail crosses two sparkling clear streams, a small ridge, and another stream before making a short climb to Nangathanti (2460m). Nangathanti will be our spot for a little rest and lunch. In winter the trail can be covered with snow. From Nangthanti about one hour trek climbs to Ghorepani at 2750m. At the top of the Ghorepani pass, we will have our camping.
Most people rise before dawn the following day to make the early-morning excursion to Poon Hill (3210m), one of the best Himalaya viewpoints in Nepal, provides an unobstructed view of the sunrise over the high Himalayas. The spectacular panorama stretches from Dhaulagiri I (8167m), Annapurna I (8091m) and other small Himalayas as Tukuche, Nilgiri, Annapurna South, Hiuchhuli, Tarke Kang etc. Gangapurna (7454m), Lamjung Himal (6986m) and the Mt. Fishtail (Machhapuchhre 6997m) pour you their beauty. Watching the beautiful sunrise is a defining moment with lots of pleasure and tranquility.
After Sunrise we will return to our camp for breakfast. From Ghorepani, the trail follows downhill the Jomsom route. The trail descends steeply through dense moss-covered rhododendron forest with rich bird life. We pass some small villages and walk alongside the Ghaja Khola. Tatopani is famous for natural hot springs – you can have time for a hot Scrub-up.
From Tatopani, you can follow the road (or even take a jeep) all the way up to Ghasa. A lovely day walks along Kaligandaki riverside, gradually ascending with the transition into subtropical vegetation. Very interesting suspension bridges to be crossed which gives you the exciting sense of trekking. Cross the 120m long bridge as the river roars through a narrow chasm and rejoin the road, which has been blasted out of the steep solid rock walls. The village of Ghasa marks a cultural and ecological milestone. We spend our night here in Ghasa.
The next day trail follows the Kaligandaki River through the narrow gorge, passing through traditional Thakali villages. You can visit the red-roofed Taglung Gompa, on a hillside beside a huge sacred tree. Marpha is the main inhabitants of the ethnic group of Thakalis which has been favorite amongst the trekkers. It has kept its traditional narrow paved alleys and passageways and an extensive drainage system flows under the flagstone-paved street.
An easy and lovely day walking alongside the river to Jomsom, the districts headquarter of Mustang district. The foot trail continues the interesting and picturesque old town and large Dechenling and Tashi Lhankhang Monasteries. Also, you can take interesting footpath via thini, gompa, and syang which requires a bit more time and effort but offers some excellent, little-seen views. From Jomsom, you can have some spectacular snaps of Nigiri, Dhaulagiri and Tukuche peaks.
We arrive at Kagbeni. Kagbeni still feels like a medieval village, with its closely packed mud houses and dark tunnels. Situated at an auspicious river confluence, it is also the gateway to Upper Mustang.
Get an early start from Kagbeni to avoid the winds that amazingly whistle up the valley after midday. Gradually ascends to Muktinath, most important pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Buddhists. As you enter the walled complex, lined by Tibetan style prayer wheels, you pass first the Gompa Sambha (monastery) and then a Lord Shiva Temple ringed by four shrines. The focal point of the complex is the pool and its 108 brass water pouts, cast in the shape of cow’s heads, which pours forth sacred water. Hindu Pilgrimages bathe in the frigid water. This a central place to show the religious tolerance among Nepalese.
A short walk to the left is the Buddhist Marme Lhakhang, whose center is the image is of Tibetan Buddhist sage Guru Rinpoche, here holding a Hindu style trident.
From Muktinath to Jomsom, we see people from Mustang who comes to sell handicrafts to pilgrims. Among them, merchandise is the highly revered mollusk fossil called Shaligram. We will pass some ancient caves and view the impressive white snow-capped mountains. We transit at the significant town Kagbeni. Enjoying the plateau few more hours walking takes us to Jomsom.
We take our next flight back to Pokhara and spent a day here. You’re free here to feel the moderate climate and sceneries of this Magic land or Dream Land of Nepal. you can relax, take a time to visit the lake or boating in the lake by yourself.
Take a flight or drive by tourist bus/Private car to Kathmandu. In the evening you can have your last night in Nepal enjoying the Nepali cultural dinner show, taking some beautiful snaps and making up your mind about the returning journey. You can have greetings exchanging with friends and with all Nepalese people.
We will take you to the International Airport for your convenience. Wish you a happy journey in the traditional and cultural way of us Nepalese and Good-Bye with a hope to see you again.
- Pick-up or Drop-off service from and to Airport(in our own vehicle)
- Transportation to and from!!
- Food all along the trip(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and a cup of coffee or tea) and accommodations during the trip in hotels with family environment
- Transportation, food, accommodation and insurance of Guide during the trip
- Down jacket, all-season sleeping bag, duffel bag and trekking map(in case if you don’t have your own. Down jacket, sleeping bag and duffel bag must be returned after completion of the trip)
- First Aid Medical Kit(Your guide will carry the Medical Kit but we also advise to bring yourself for your own use, as far as possible)
- All the required permits and paperwork
- International Airfare
- Visa Charges
- Hotel Expenses(In Kathmandu, some packages do include hotel expenses)
- Your travel and medical insurance
- Personal Expenses such as shopping, bar bills, hot shower, telephone, laundry, titbits etc
- Food and accommodations in Kathmandu
- Services not mentioned or not promised by the agent/agency
- Emergency expenses such as expenses on chartered helicopter.
Jomsom Muktinath trekking is not more difficult trekking route. So any fit person can do this trek, even if you do not have any previous experience. You should be aware of what to expect and mentally prepare for it. Then, as long as you will to, you can.
On average, you walk about 4 to 6 hours per day. One or two days can be as less as 3hrs and one or two days can be as long as 7hrs.
The highest altitude reached is 3,800m/12,464 ft.
Yes, you can charge batteries in route. Charger should be brought. There are hot shower facilities as well. You may have to pay certain amount for both ($1-$2). Negotiate. Also, hot water facility could be free at lower elevation.
No. There are no ATMs on this trek route. You will have to draw enough cash in Kathmandu. There are a number of ATMs in these cities. Everything is paid in Nepali rupees. So money should be exchanged before the start of the trek.
Yes. Internet can be accessed in most places. Sometimes, there might be some technical problems. Internet in Nepal is not as fast as you are used to and at times you can just lose connection.
Not really. It depends on you. If you want, Jomsom Muktinath trekking can be done independently. You could hire a guide and a porter by yourself instead of going through an agency or not hire a guide at all. Although, not having a guide can be a little problematic during off season. It really depends on you. Is it your first time in Nepal? How confident are you of being able to find your way around? How pressed on time are you? If you go through an agency, it will be costlier but everything will be planned. You will only have to come, trek and return.
For this region, pay for guides range from $20 to $30 per day and porters take $15 to $25 per day.