Upper Mustang Trek
Upper Mustang Trek
Upper Mustang Trek

Upper Mustang Trek

Trek the Untamed Beauty of Upper Mustang
Duration14 Days
Trip GradeModerate
CountryNepal
Maximum Altitude3809 M
Group Size1 to 12
StartsKathmandu/Pokhara
EndsPokhara/Kathmandu
ActivitiesTrekking/Hiking/Tour
Best TimeMarch to Dec

Upper Mustang Trekking Highlights

  • A scenic flight from Pokhara to Jomsom
  • The aerial view of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges including a distant view of the Manaslu region
  • The walled city; the Capital City of the Last Forbidden Kingdom of Lo Manthang
  • Desert-like but beautiful the harsh landscapes of the rain shadow area
  • The lifestyle of the Mustangese people is highly influenced by Tibetan Buddhist culture
  • Buddhist monasteries found at least one in a village including the 1200-year-old Ghar Gompa
  • Mani walls, prayer flags, and wheels, chortens
  • Panorama of picturesque valleys, bizarre landscapes, and snowy peaks of the Annapurna region
  • Muktinath Temple, a shrine equally important for both Buddhists and Hindus

Upper Mustang Trek Overview

Upper Mustang Trek is a unique adventure experience in the Himalayas of Nepal. It is a challenging journey that takes trekkers through the remote and untouched Mustang region to explore its ancient cultural and natural wonders.

Upper Mustang Trekking begins in Kathmandu with a scenic flight to Jomsom, the gateway to the Mustang region. From there, trekkers traverse the Kali Gandaki River valley to the ancient kingdom of Lo Manthang. Along the way, trekkers pass through picturesque villages, monasteries, and stunning landscapes of snowcapped peaks, deep canyons, and rolling hills.

The Mustang region is renowned for its unique culture and landscapes. Trekkers can explore the ancient monasteries, villages, and forts that are fine throughout the region. They will also have the opportunity to meet the local people and learn about their culture and beliefs.

In addition to cultural exploration, trekkers can enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities. These include mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, and camping. The stunning views of the Himalayas will make the Nepal trek even more memorable.

Mustang Trekking is an adventure that will last a lifetime. With its spectacular landscapes and rich cultural heritage, the Mustang region is an amazing destination that is perfect for trekkers of all levels.

Upper Mustang Trek is one of the restricted areas of trekking in Nepal. It lies in the famous Mustang district that is known as “the districts across the Himalayas.” It is called so because of its proximity to the Tibetan Plateau. Although it lies in Nepalese territory, it is culturally and geographically influenced by Tibet.

Mustang Trek is famous for its desert-like climate and harsh rock-faced landscapes. It can even be visited in the summer monsoon. Because it is a rain shadow area of Annapurna (8,091 m) and Dhaulagiri (8,167 m) Massifs. When the remaining parts of Nepal trekking experience heavy rainfall and flooding, you can explore the Upper Mustang.

Upper Mustang Trek is a fairly easy excursion to the ‘Last Forbidden Kingdom’ of Lo Manthang. It shares its border with the Tibetan plateau and has an average altitude above 3,000 m.  The ancient monasteries and festivals found here are testimonials of Tibetan Buddhist culture and tradition.

The Last Shangri-La of the Northern Himalayas, is populated mainly by a minority group of Tibetan origin. It was previously a restricted area until 1990 to protect the uniqueness of biodiversity, culture, and tradition. Therefore, foreigners still need a special permit to embark through incredible landscapes, prehistoric caves, and age-old monasteries. A large part in the Upper Mustang region is like a desert even though there are snow-capped mountains at its northern edge. That is why, it is known as the ‘mountain desert’ of Nepal located across the Himalayas.

Do you want to experience different geographical and socio-cultural diversity from the rest of the other regions of Nepal? If ‘yes’, the Upper Mustang trek can quench your thirst to gain lifelong knowledge about such harsh realities! Moreover, there are a lot of things this trek has to offer you like the bonus stopovers at Jomsom and Muktinath.

Major Attractions of  Mustang Trek

The Upper Mustang trek is famous for its natural and cultural attractions. You can have a breathtaking view of the snowy peaks of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges. Moreover, Mt. Machhapuchhre (6,693 m), Nilgiri and Tukuche peaks are other beauties of this trek.

Tibetan Buddhist culture, tradition, and lifestyle have influenced the people of Lo Manthang. The 12th or 13th centuries monasteries in almost every village reflect the Buddhist culture and tradition in this region.

The arid landscapes having parched barren hills, Tibetan Plateaus, and housing styles are other attractions. The Sky Caves made around 2,000-3,000 years ago to mummify dead bodies are also something worth visiting. If you do the Upper Mustang trek in May, you can observe the Tiji Festival. It is the most colorful festival, which is celebrated for three days.

The walled city of Lo Manthang is the prime historical site preserving ancient art and artifacts. The Last Forbidden Kingdom, Lo Manthang used to be the Capital City of the hidden kingdom of the Himalayas. The four-story palace of the Mustangese King surrounded by other artistic buildings and shrines are also beautiful.

Additionally, Tinker, the summer palace of the then King is another famous site. You can try riding on horseback to visit this ancient village. It is the last human settlement area of Upper Mustang. From here, you can have the wonderful Lo Manthang Valley and the amazing bizarre landscapes.

The ethnic villages having different housing styles like that of the Igloos are also interesting. The houses have mud roofs to protect the people from freezing temperatures and snowfalls. They are decorated with prayer flags, mane walls, chortens, and prayer wheels. As a whole, the Upper Mustang trek is a trip towards the abode for natural beauty and cultural diversity getting popularity day by day.

The Buddhist Shrines of Mustang Trek

While doing the Upper Mustang trek, you can visit at least a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in every village. Some of them are as old as 1,200 years preserving their uniqueness and religious significance still today. Champu Lakhang (God House), the red Thumchen Gompa, and Chyodi Gompa are the most visited worthy sites. All these monasteries are located in the walled city of Lo Manthang.

The most colorful festival of the Upper Mustang region, Tiji Festival is celebrated in the premises of Chyodi Gompa. The monks perform circle dances in the traditional music by beating the drums in front of the Guru Rinpoche. The native people of the Mustang region gather around to observe the festival and take blessings from the Guru Rinpoche.

Other notable Buddhist shrines of the hidden kingdom of the Himalayas are Ghar Gompa and Namgyal Gompa. Ghar Gompa is 1,200 years old monastery located in Gyankar Village. Here, you can see the thanks and other Buddhist paintings preserved as historical manuscripts. A few kilometers away from the ancient Capital City of Mustang lies Namgyal Gompa. It is situate on a foothill, so, you can see the alluring vista of Lo Manthang Valley including Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Himalayan Ranges.

Historical Caves of Upper Mustang Trek

Upper Mustang trek rewards you with the centuries-old man-made and natural caves found in large numbers. The most notable are the Sky Caves, which is a group of around 10,000 caves made by human beings. The manuscripts and other documents preserved in the cave premises justify that they were built around 2,000 to 3,000 years ago

Located on the bank of the Kali Gandaki River, the Sky Caves are believed to have been built by the then Mustangese people to mummify the dead bodies. If further exploration is made, we can find a new twist in the history of humankind. The next is the Rangchung Cave, which is a network of natural caves on the way to Chhusang from Syanmachen.

Tiji Festival: the Most Significant Cultural Show of  Upper Mustang Trek

Tiji Festival is the greatest and most colorful festival celebrated in Upper Mustang. It is celebrated to mark the victory of virtue over vice. The exact date of the celebration of this festival is fixed according to the Chinese calendar. Generally, if falls in the third week of May. Therefore, to become a part of this fabulous Buddhist celebration, you should plan your Upper Mustang trek at the respective time.

The Mustangese people celebrate this festival to commemorate the legendary figure, Dorje Jono. He is one of the many incarnations of Lord Buddha who came to Earth to protect it from calamities. The myth states that Dorje Jono got victory over the demonic activities' plan to destroy the kingdom through natural catastrophes.

Tiji Festival is celebrated at the premises of Choede Monastery. It is one of the most important Buddhist shrines of the ancient capital of Lo Manthang. It is also known as The Chasing of the Demons Festival. History shows that the Tiji Festival has continuously been celebrated since 500 years back. It further helps to mark the peaceful co-existence of the people of Upper Mustang and the prayer for World Peace.

How difficult is the upper Mustang trek?

Upper Mustang Trek is a moderate to difficult trek depending on the route and duration. It is a high-altitude trek that passes through remote villages, passes, and stunning landscapes. Trekking in the Upper Mustang is physically demanding and can involve long days of walking,  with some steep ascents and descents.  The high altitudes can also add to the challenge. It is recommended that trekkers have a good level of fitness and that they are prepared for the challenge.

Alternative Itinerary  for Upper Mustang Trek

Day 1: Arrival in Jomsom & drive to Chele (we would like to start in Chele if possible)

Day 2: Hike from Chele to Sangboche

Day 3: Hike from Sangboche to Dhakmar

Day 4: Hike from Dhakmar to Tsarang

Day 5: Hike from Tsarang to Lo Manthang via Gar Gompa

Day 6: Explore Lo Manthang, perhaps hike to Chhoser

Day 7: Hike from Lo Manthang to Yara

Day 8: Hike from Yara to Tange

Day 9: Hike from Tange to Chusang

Day 10:Hike from Chusang to Ranipauwa

Upper Mustang Trek Price

The Mustang Trek is unique and popular in the Himalayas of Nepal. The Mustang Trek is a high-altitude trek in the remote and off-the-beaten-path region of Mustang. The Mustang Trek price/cost will vary depending on the length, season, and type of trek you choose.

For the classic Upper Mustang Trek, prices typically start from around US$1,500 per person for a 12-day journey. This includes all necessary permits and fees, accommodation, meals, and transportation to and from the starting point. The price may also include a guide, porter, and/or camping gear, depending on the company you book with.

For a longer trek, such as the Upper Mustang Trek, prices will usually start from around US$2,500 per person. This includes all necessary permits and fees, accommodation, meals, and transportation to and from the starting point. Again, the price may also include a guide, porter, and/or camping gear, depending on the company you book with.

Both the classic Mustang Trek and the Upper Mustang Trek are little challenging treks and require a good level of fitness. While they can be done independently, it is recommended to book with a reliable Nepal trekking company as the terrain can be complicated.

Itinerary
Trip PlanExpand All

You have to take a half an hour local flight from Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal to reach to Pokhara. This is a short flight and presents you with scenic beauties. Alternatively, you may opt for a 6hours drive to Pokhara and stay overnight in Pokhara.

 

Meals: BreakfastAccommodation: Deluxe HotelDuration: 30 Minutes flight

You will drive to the airport of Pokhara for catching another short flight of 15 minutes to reach at Jomsom i.e. headquarter of the district Mustang and a region of Thakali people. At this point, you will start your trek across Kali Gandaki valley for reaching to Kagbeni.

 

Max Altitude: 2810 M Meals: B.L.DAccommodation: Tea HouseDuration: 5 Hrs
B=Breakfast L=Lunch D=Dinner

Today, our team will take you for a walk across the riverbed of Kali Gandaki to come across Chhusand and Tangbe veillages. The entire area consists of barren landscapes to remind you of the Tibetan plateau. Later on, you have to cross a suspension bridge for reaching the Chele village and stay overnight there.

 

Max Altitude: 3050 M Meals: B.L.DAccommodation: Tea HouseDuration: 5 Hrs
B=Breakfast L=Lunch D=Dinner

We will cross two passes named Dorje La Pass at 3735meters and Taklam La Pass at 3624meters via Ghiling Vhena to reach at Syangboche from Chele.

 

Max Altitude: 3800 M Meals: B.L.DAccommodation: Tea HouseDuration: 7 hrs
B=Breakfast L=Lunch D=Dinner

We continue with our trek across barren and rugged landscapes to cross Yamda La and Nyi La mountain passes at 3850meters and 4010meters respectively to get spectacular views of Mount Dhaulagiri and Mount Annapurna, while stay overnight in Gheling.

 

Max Altitude: 3770 M Meals: B.L.DAccommodation: Tea HouseDuration: 7 Hrs
B=Breakfast L=Lunch D=Dinner

Today, you will get stunning views of landscapes, cliffs and nearby villages to reach at Ghami

 

Max Altitude: 3520 M Meals: B.L.DAccommodation: Tea HouseDuration: 6 Hrs
B=Breakfast L=Lunch D=Dinner

We will cross Charang La Pass at 3870meters to reach at Charang Village and have an overnight stay there. Specialty of Charang village is that it has mani walls and almost similar type of culture followed by Tibet people.

 

Max Altitude: 3560 M Meals: B.L.DAccommodation: Tea HouseDuration: 7 Hrs
B=Breakfast L=Lunch D=Dinner

Finally, today will reach at Lo-Manthang, known as the forbidden kingdom consists of many white washed walls and renowed palaces. Here, you will view old monasteries and get glimpse of Tibetan Buddhism.

 

Max Altitude: 3809 M Meals: B.L.DAccommodation: Tea HouseDuration: 7 Hrs
B=Breakfast L=Lunch D=Dinner

You require taking rest and have relaxed in the Lo Manthang region to acclimatize yourself with the high altitude and weather. You may make a visit across the entire walled city and view a large number of beautiful monasteries.

 

Max Altitude: 3809 M Meals: B.L.DAccommodation: Tea House
B=Breakfast L=Lunch D=Dinner

Our team will take back to Ghami by following the same route that you followed before.

 

Meals: B.L.DAccommodation: Tea HouseDuration: 8 hrs
B=Breakfast L=Lunch D=Dinner

Our downhill trek will continue to reach to Chele and stay overnight there.

Meals: B.L.DAccommodation: Tea HouseDuration: 8 hrs
B=Breakfast L=Lunch D=Dinner

On the last day of your trek, you will go back to Jomdom across the Kali Gandaki River Bank. You may explore the entire area in Jomsom and enjoy views of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna mountain peaks.

 

Meals: B.L.DAccommodation: Tea houseDuration: 8 Hrs
B=Breakfast L=Lunch D=Dinner

We will drive back to Jomsom and take a local flight to reach Pokhara and stay overnight in Pokhara.

 

Meals: BAccommodation: Deluxe HotelDuration: 25 Minutes flight
Meals: BreakfastAccommodation: Deluxe HotelDuration: 7 Hrs
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Cost Details
Included
  • Airport pick-up and drop off service ,
  • Trekking Guide
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner & accommodation during the trekking
  • Sleeping bags, down jackets, duffel bags and trekking sticks if required,
  • Trekking permit of National park & Restricted area permit
  • TIMS(Trekking Information Management System )
  • Insurance and equipment for the trekking staffs
  • First aid kit
  • Farewell dinner in Kathmandu with cultural program in typical Traditional Nepali resturant
Excluded
  • Personal expenses
  • Drinks, beverages, hot shower,
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips for Guide and porter (trekking staff)
  • Meals & hotel accommodation in Kathmandu (with out iteniry)
Add-ons & Options

Coming soon 

FAQs

To do Upper Mustang Trek, you must have the following permits

TIMS card,

ACAP Permit and

Upper Mustang Restricted Area Trekking Permit. To collect these

The cost of Upper Mustang Trek permit is USD 500 for first 10 days and then USD 50 per extra day. This permit is issued by Immigration Office, Kathmandu. TIMS card needs USD 10 and it is managed by the trekking agency. And Annapurna Conservation Area Project Permit costs USD 27 and you get it from the office of ACAP.

No, you can’t. Upper Mustang trek is a restricted area trekking in Nepal, so one can’t do this trek alone. For this trek, there must be two members in a group accompanied by a registered trekking guide and a porter. The trekking guide takes you along the right trail and helps in case of any emergency.

When you are travelling through the landscapes above 2,500m, there is always chance for altitude sickness. Lo Manthang (3,840m), the Capital of the ancient Himalayan Kingdom is the highest place to spend the night. Although there are three high passes above 3,800m, you spend the limited time over there. However, you can avoid the altitude sickness or AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) if you follow some precautions. You must walk slowly by taking enough rest. You should have enough drinking water and hygienic food including sound sleep. For safety measure, you should pack some medicines like Acetazolamide and Diamox Oral in your backpack. As soon as you feel any symptom of such problem, you should share it with the guide. He can help you get rid of this as he is habituated to walking in the high altitude palce.

Upper Mustang Trek is more expensive than other treks because it requires a special permit from the government of Nepal. This permit is very expensive and can cost up to $500 for a 10day trek. Additionally, this trek is in a very remote and isolated area, so it requires a lot of logistics and planning, which can also add to the cost. Finally, accommodation and food in this region are also more expensive than in other parts of Nepal.

Was one of my life time memory to explore the nature and culture of Nepal

Nov 2020 • Family

It was my daughter's dream to explore the Himalayas of Nepal....with some struggle me n my wife manage to plan a holiday and went through Google...

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Ferdinand B - India
22 Jan, 2020
F
20 years of Adventure
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