The Upper Mustang Heli Tour is a comfortable blend of trekking and a helicopter ride taking place in one of the most isolated regions of Nepal- Upper Mustang. One of the last places on Earth that still has the practice of Tibetan Buddhism in its most unsullied forms, Upper Mustang is a place of many hidden treasures. Presenting one of the most distinguished trekking destinations in all of Nepal, Upper Mustang presents corroded hills and amazing rock formations in the amethyst landscape as opposed to the verdant trekking locations that other regions are famed for. Lying at the rain-shadow zone of the Dhaulagiri and the Annapurna Mountain ranges, the brown of the landscape makes a beautiful contrast to the white glowing ridges of the Himalayas while trekking.
The Upper Mustang Heli Tour presents a fascinating combination of trekking and a helicopter ride that presents a whole new perspective of the region as seen from an aerial view. The many monasteries of the region are treasure houses of many old artifacts and the practice of the Tibetan Buddhist religion by the people there is a great way to experience something that is literally captured in a time-wrap. Trekking in Upper Mustang is like going back in time because of how little to change has occurred in the practice of the religion that started hundreds of years ago. Start the trek with a drive to the lakeside city of Pokhara from Kathmandu and then follow the trekking trail that goes through many ethnic villages of Upper Mustang like Kagbeni, Chuksang, Samar, Geling, Ghami, Tsarang and Lo Manthang.
The presence of many monasteries, chortens and gumbas along the way provide a very religious nuance to the whole region and the villages are brimming with the presentation of the people’s unique and exotic culture. Upper Mustang Heli Tour provides one of the best and most comfortable trekking journeys in the country that combines both the trekking aspect of the journey with a thrilling helicopter ride above the oxidized red cliffs of Mustang’s terrain. The prayer flags, the gumbas and the temples that line the trekking trail at various spots will be your constant companions while trekking and the people going about their day at the remote isolated region in their traditional attire is sure to be one of the most amazing experiences of a lifetime.
The mesmerizing brown landscape of Mustang that resembles the deeper crevasses of the Grand Canyon presents one of the most unique terrains in the world, the rock formations of the place is something that looks like it is from another planet. Furthermore, the cliffs also contain mysterious caves that were dug out thousands of years ago and contained many forgotten Buddhist artifacts of past times. The rich cultural presence of the region is something that truly captures Nepal’s multicultural aspect as there isn’t any place on Earth that is quite like Mustang. The Upper Mustang Heli Tour is a brilliant journey that presents the best aspects of the region with the added thrill of a beautiful and gorgeous helicopter ride over the sandy dunes and rocky cliffs of Mustang.
The journey starts from the Kathmandu valley from where the bus ride of about 5 to 6 hours will take you to the beautiful city of Pokhara. Through this ride travellers can enjoy the scenic views of beautiful river valleys, alongside terraced fields of barley and rice and over green hills blanketed with lush vegetation. When you arrive at the Pokhara valley there you will witness the beautiful lakes, hills and mountain ranges. The travellers will enjoy the evening here and stay here for a night.
The day begins with the fly between the snow capped pinnacles of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri to Jomsom. You can see the beautiful views of beautiful landscapes, canyons and Himalayas. From here the hike starts at Kagbeni and there is a common checkpoint before entering Kagbeni. This checkpoint has been in this place from ages when trading between Nepal and Tibet used to take place.
The trail takes you towards the east bank of the Kali Gandaki River. The travellers have to cross a few edges to Tangbe town. This town is a maze of thin back streets among whitewashed houses, fields of buckwheat, grain, wheat and apple orchards. You can hike to the top of Nilgiri which rules the southern horizon of Kagbeni. After 2 hours of walk you will reach Chusang town. Then, travellers have to cross the stream and keep moving to an immense red piece of combination that has tumbled from the precipices above, shaping a passage through which the Kali Gandaki flows. You have to walk past the Kali gandaki valley and climb steeply up a rough channel to Chele.
Today’s trekking route will take you through the barren path, alongside the side of a terrific gorge to pass a stone cairn at 3540 metres. The path at that point makes a long slow drop to Samar town. You can get the glimpse of Annapurna far toward the south of the region. The travellers have to move up above Samar to an edge and plummet into an enormous canyon. The route proceeds through another valley field, crosses a stream and moves up to an edge at 3800 metres. From here, you have to slowly move towards 3770 metres altitude and plummet into Geling Village.
The trail heads towards Drakmar through beautiful cliffs and green passages. Promptly leaving Ghami the path follows little fall and rising which takes around 45 minutes. You will arrive at the valley of Drakmar. There are a bunch of cliffs that offer views of the over town with vivid hillocks. Here travellers get an opportunity to see blue sheep while climbing the Mui La go at 4170m. Ghar Gompa is the most seasoned religious community of Nepal which was worked before Samey Monastery of Lhasa. This religious community is the Ngyinmapa group where the shrouded sacred writings of Padmasambhava were said to be found. From here travellers follow the Tsarang Khola by means of Lo Ghekar as they reach Tsarang.
The trail ascends steadily until Lo- Gekar, Lo Gekar Gompa is older than Samye Gompa in Tibet. It is in fact, one of the oldest Gompas of the region. After visiting ti Lo Gekar , the hike continues to Mustang trek to Lomanthang. The route to Lomanthang is well defined with some minor climbing. From here, you have to pass the walled city of Lo along with the trail, then take a short descent, cross a stream and climb to the plateau of Lomanthang.
This day is for the travellers to explore the beautiful area of the Lomanthang. The area has remained untouched and unchanged since the 14th century. It consists of about 150 houses and many of them are Lama residents. There are four major temples within the area and one of these, Champa Lhakang, contains a huge clay statue of Buddha as well as elaborated mandalas painted on the walls . The king’s palace is an imposing building in the centre of the area and is occupied by the current King and Queen.
Having explored the exquisite region of Upper Mustang, you will enjoy a helicopter tour on your return trip to Pokhara. The helicopter tour, which begins from Lo Manthang, is one of the major attractions of this entire trip. From the helicopter, you can get remarkable views of the unique landscape of Upper Mustang. As you get near Pokhara, you can also see sights of the mighty Himalayas and serene lakes that the city consists of. You can spend the rest of the day boating in the serene waters of the Phewa Lake, resting and discovering the quaint streets of Pokhara.
It is time to bid farewell to the Pokhara valley and take a bus ride back to the Kathmandu valley. You can enjoy the beautiful landscapes, river valleys and clear sky through the window of the bus before reaching the city.
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