Upper Mustang Trekking

Upper Mustang Trekking
  • Duration 17 Days
  • Trip Grade Moderate
  • Max. Altitude 3780
  • Trip Start Jomsom
  • Trip End Jomsom
  • Trip Area Trans-Himalayan region
  • Nature of Trip Adventurous and Culturally Immersive Journey

Exploring the Mystical Mustang: A Hidden Kingdom of Nepal

The Upper Mustang Trek is an adventure of a lifetime that takes you to the remote landscapes of the Far Northwestern Himalayan region of Nepal. This trek is a perfect blend of scenic beauty and cultural exploration, as you get to witness the hidden treasures of the semi-arid landscape, vibrant monasteries, ancient caves, and traditional villages of Buddhist and Bon culture that are rarely found in any other parts of Nepal. The trek offers an opportunity to experience the magnetic Himalayan aura, with seasonal vegetation ranging from Alpine to highland that can attract any trekkers around the world.

Upper Mustang Trekking was restricted to foreigners till 1980. After the restrictions were lifted partially in 1980, many trekkers and adventure bikers have visited this place to witness its vast treasures of beautiful landscapes, traditional villages of Buddhist and Bon culture with views of Dhaulagiri-Annapurna-Mustang Himal in the background with Damodar Himal range. The trek to Upper Mustang begins from Jomsom, a district headquarters of the Mustang region and a linearly located windy valley beyond the Annapurna ranges. People recall the trail as a historical salt trade route between Nepal and Tibet, running adjacent to the winding and beautiful Kaligandaki river gorge up to Loh-Manthang.

Upper Mustang is a unique destination that offers a great view of the Mountain desert, Old Monastery, and the great life experience of being in one of the top-rated travel destinations around the world. The Mustang region is filled with a majority of Thakali people. The temple of Muktinath, located at the lap of Thorong peak, is one of the famous religious sites in Mustang which thousands of Buddhist and Hindu people from India, Nepal, Myanmar, and Tibet visit every year. The fossilized Ammonite can be found on the beach of Kaligandaki River, which is of religious importance to Hindus. It is a place where multicultural and multilingual people are bounded together and stay together. Upper Mustang has lots of Buddhist monasteries that were built around one thousand years ago. People in Upper Mustang used to have their King who used to rule over Mustang.

The highlight of the Upper Mustang Trek is the ancient walled city of Lo Manthang, which is the capital of the Mustang region. The city is surrounded by high walls and is home to several ancient monasteries and temples. It is a unique and fascinating place to explore, and it offers a glimpse into the rich history and culture of the region. Along the way, you will also have the opportunity to visit several other interesting sites, such as the Ghar Gompa, which is one of the oldest monasteries in the region, and the Choser Cave, which is believed to have been used by Buddhist monks for meditation.

The Upper Mustang region is a restricted area, and a special permit is required to visit. The permit costs USD 500 per person for the first 10 days and USD 50 per person for each additional day. In addition to the permit, you will also need to be accompanied by a licensed guide at all times. This is a requirement of the permit, and it is designed to help preserve the fragile environment and cultural heritage of the region.

Accommodation on the Upper Mustang Trek is usually in basic tea houses or guesthouses. The facilities are basic but clean, and you can expect a simple but filling meal of traditional Nepalese and Tibetan cuisine. The tea houses are usually run by local families, and staying in them is a great way to support the local economy and learn more about the culture and way of life in the region.

Key Features of Upper Mustang Trekking

  • Muktinath Temple - a worshipped holy site with religious importance for both Hindus and Buddhists
  • Jomsom Airport - a popular starting point for Upper Mustang Treks, offering damn awesome mountain views
  • Kagbeni Apple Garden - A picturesque orchard in Upper Mustang, perfect for a rest stop and locally grown apples.
  • Ghar Monastery -  A stunning cliff-top monastery with breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes.
  • Lo Manthang Royal Palace - A UNESCO World Heritage Site with intricate architecture and rich history.
  • Chhosher Monastery - A natural monastery built into a mountain cliff, accessible only by a challenging trek.
  • Tiji Festival - A vibrant and colorful celebration of Mustang's rich culture and traditions, held annually in June and July.

Why choose Upper Mustang Trekking?

The Upper Mustang region is religiously significant to both Buddhists and Hindus. The Kaligandaki River valley is famous for finding ammonites, also known as "Shaligram," which has a great religious significance to Hindus and is considered the holy offering to Bishnu. Muktinath, an icon of this area, is very important to both Hindus and Buddhists.

The Upper Mustang region is an ancient city with historical and cultural significance. It was used as a base camp for the Khompa revolution against the Chinese government, which was later suppressed with the help of the Nepalese Government. Lo Manthang was the central part of the ancient city, and traders from Tibet and India used the salt trading route that passes through the middle of Loh Manthang for trade. The tradition of sky burial is still practiced in the Upper region, which adds to the cultural significance of this region.

In addition to historical and cultural significance, there are many natural attractions to see in Upper Mustang. One must-visit place is Chungsi Cave, which is one of the most religiously and historically important places in the region. This natural cave lies in between many man-made caves and is believed to have been used by Guru Rinpoche for meditation around the 8th century. The Upper Mustang region also boasts many ancient monasteries and caves that are worth exploring.

All in all, Upper Mustang Trekking offers a unique experience that should not be missed. From the natural beauty of the mountain desert landscape to the cultural and religious significance of the region, this trek has something to offer for everyone.

The Cultural Richness of Mustang 

Discovering the Hidden Kingdom of Lo

As you embark on the Upper Mustang trek, you'll be transported to the ancient kingdom of Lo, a place steeped in history and mystique. The walled city of Lo Manthang, with its whitewashed mud-brick houses and the magnificent Royal Palace, exudes a sense of grandeur and timelessness. Explore the narrow alleys, interact with the friendly locals, and witness the preservation of Tibetan culture that has remained intact for centuries.

Immersing in Tibetan Buddhist Traditions

Upper Mustang is deeply influenced by Tibetan Buddhism, and the trek offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in its spiritual traditions. Visit the sacred monasteries and gompas adorned with colorful prayer flags, where monks engage in prayer chants and perform religious rituals. The serenity and spirituality of these places create a truly captivating experience for trekkers.

Exploring Ancient Monasteries and Caves

Upper Mustang is renowned for its ancient monasteries and mystical caves. The famous Chhoser Cave, believed to have been carved by Guru Rinpoche, is a testament to the region's rich religious history. Delve into these hidden caves and marvel at the intricate murals, ancient artifacts, and meditative ambiance they offer. Each cave holds stories waiting to be discovered, transporting you to a time long gone.

The Natural Beauty of Upper Mustang

Marveling at the Himalayan Landscape

One of the highlights of the Upper Mustang trek is the breathtaking Himalayan landscape that unfolds before your eyes. As you traverse the rugged trails, you'll be treated to panoramic views of towering snow-capped peaks, including Nilgiri, Annapurna, and Dhaulagiri. The dramatic play of light and shadow on the majestic mountains creates a mesmerizing spectacle that will leave you in awe.

Journeying through the Rugged Terrain

Upper Mustang's terrain is rugged and diverse, adding an element of adventure to your trekking experience. You'll navigate through deep gorges, cross suspension bridges over roaring rivers, and ascend steep hills. The challenging yet rewarding nature of the trails will test your endurance and provide a sense of accomplishment as you conquer each milestone.

Encountering Unique Flora and Fauna

Despite the dry and desert-like landscape of Upper Mustang, it is home to a surprising variety of flora and fauna. As you trek through the region, you'll come across hardy plants like juniper, wild rose, and edelweiss, which have adapted to the harsh conditions. Keep an eye out for wildlife encounters as well, including the elusive snow leopard, Himalayan blue sheep, and various species of birds in the trekking region.

Best Season to do Upper Mustang Trek 

The Monsoon season, from June to August, is not the preferred time to trek in most of the Himalayan region. However, Upper Mustang lies in the rain shadow, making it an ideal region to trek even during monsoon. The low rainfall makes the trail less slippery, and the weather is still manageable for trekking.

The Autumn season, from September to November, is considered the best time to trek Upper Mustang. The weather is clean and clear, and the visibility is far with less to no haze. The days are bright, and the temperature is low compared to Monsoon and Spring, making this trek more doable. Moreover, the local festivals, including the Tiji festival, fall during this season, adding more cultural value to your trek.

The Winter season, from December to February, is the least preferred time to trek Upper Mustang. The chances of heavy snowfall make it challenging to trek, and most of the local people migrate to the lower regions to avoid the cold and freezing winter. However, with proper pieces of equipment and gear, this trek can provide the adventure of another level, and the place is less crowded during this season.

The Spring season, from March to May, is the peak season to do Upper Mustang Trek. The temperature is warmer compared to Autumn, and the walking days are fine. The views are amazing because of the clear sky and clean weather. The landscapes are great and covered with snow patches, and the trekking trail is filled with lots of wildflowers. Walking along the snowy trails and exploring the unique culture of the region during this time will make your trek more memorable.

Essential Packing List for Upper Mustang Trekking

Clothing and Footwear

  • Layered clothing for varying temperatures
  • Waterproof and windproof jacket
  • Trekking pants and shorts
  • Thermal base layers
  • An Insulated jacket or fleece for colder nights
  • Sturdy and comfortable trekking boots
  • Lightweight and breathable trekking socks
  • Sun hat and sunglasses
  • Gloves and a warm hat for higher altitudes

Trekking Gear and Equipment

  • Backpack (with rain cover)
  • Sleeping bag suitable for cold temperatures
  • Trekking poles for better stability
  • Headlamp with extra batteries
  • Water bottles and water purification tablets
  • Snacks and energy bars for sustenance
  • Trekking map and compass
  • A Durable and waterproof duffel bag for porters to carry your belongings

Personal Items and Medications

  • Valid travel documents, including passport and permits
  • Travel insurance (including coverage for high-altitude trekking)
  • Personal toiletries and a quick-drying towel
  • Sunscreen with high SPF
  • Insect repellent
  • First aid kit with necessary medications (consult with your healthcare provider)

This is not compulsory. The packing list and items can be consulted with the trekking agency before traveling.

Itinerary
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The Upper Mustang Trek starts from Kagbeni which is historically and culturally important place. The day-to-day itinerary is as follows

  • Accommodation3*
  • MealsBreakfast
  • Altitude/Time1,400 m

On arrival by respective airline, our guide and staff will receive you for a short drive to your hotel in the hub of busy Kathmandu, with hotels in a quiet environment. After getting refreshed in your rooms, our guide will brief about trek with necessary information.
The evening includes group dinner in a nice Nepali restaurant with culture and folk dance of Nepal. 

  • Accommodation3*
  • MealsBreakfast
  • Altitude/Time1,400 m

On our second day, we will start preparing for your trek. One of Our representative will remind you to get all the permits necessary for this trek. You will be reminded to check your trek insurance policy and provide us a copy of it. You will meet your Team leader and other support professionals who will check your trekking gears to make sure they meet the requirements. After a brief introduction with the crew, one of our tour operator will take you to a city tour. You will be visiting 4 heritage sites namely Patan Durbar Square, Swoyambhu (also known as monkey temple among foreigners), Pashupatinath and Mahaboudha Stupa, that hold historical, religious and cultural significances.

  • Accommodation3*
  • MealsBreakfast
  • Altitude/Time820 m

Morning an exciting overland journey to Nepal Mid West at Pokhara on country's most busy And interesting highway with a drive of six hours, on reaching Pokhara transfer to your hotel by Phewa Lakeside, with time for short walks around the lakeside full of good restaurants-shops-and stores with excellent hotels. 

  • AccommodationLocal Teahouse
  • MealsB/L/D
  • Altitude/Time2,807 m

Early morning transfer to Pokhara airport for a scenic short flight to Jomsom of less than 30 minutes with a grand panorama of Dhaulagiri-Tukuche-Nilgiris with Annapurna and Machhapuchare Himal.
After an exciting view airborne reaching at Jomsom, the headquarter of Mustang district located around Kaligandaki River valley.
Herewith time to get organize with refreshment starting our first day walk to Kagbeni towards North West for first overnight at Kagbeni.
An interesting village where you can observe local culture similar to Tibetan traditions way of life, Kagbeni the gateway to Upper Mustang, where all foreign visitors require special permits to enter the forbidden kingdom of Upper Mustang.

  • AccommodationLocal teahouse
  • MealsB/L/D
  • Altitude/Time2,920 m

Morning walk leads into high Upper Mustang with slow uphill and into exposed valley enclosed within colourful eroded canyons and high cliff edge dotted with small caves, as our route leads on the gradual path with glorious views of Nilgiris-Dhaulagiri and Mustang Himal, with short few rests in between and then reaching at the first village of inner Upper Mustang at Chusang often spelled as Tsusang also.
A farm area within a few tree lines of Willow-Juniper and Poplars that surrounds the village, the only species that survive in this harsh arid climate, here with time to enjoy and visit a local village.

  • AccommodationLocal teahouse
  • MealsB/L/D
  • Altitude/Time3,209 m

From Chusang village, the walk lead to cross a stream past broken and eroded canyons which look like ruined castle walls within high surrounding cliffs, as the walk led past Chusang with views of colourful and brilliant red eroded cliffs above mouths of inaccessible caves. After a steady walk of one hour, reaching Chele / Tshele village for short brief stops and observing village old traditional life. From Chele, village walk gets steeper for an hour with a climb to a ridge of above 3,130 m high with grand views of Gyagar across a huge canyon. The trek continues with a slow climb on this windswept terrain till a small scenic pass is reached at 3,540 m. From here a gradual descent leads to Samar for an overnight stop in a nice local lodge or guest house.

  • AccommodationLocal teahouse
  • MealsB/L/D
  • Altitude/Time3,600 m

The Walk today starts with a short climb above Samar village to reach a ridge top, and then downhill heading towards a large gorge past a prayer Chorten of red, black, yellow and white colour. The adventure continues to reach another scenic valley with sparse vegetation of juniper trees, after crossing a stream, the walk leads uphill to a ridge at above 3,800 m high, and then climb over to another pass, from here our route descends to Shyangmochen. This is a small settlement with few small tea shops at above 3,710 m high, after a nice and pleasant break continue with a gentle climb over a pass at 3,770 m to enter a huge valley on a downhill path towards our overnight stop at Gelling with its large fields of barley that surround this pretty village.

  • AccommodationLocal teahouse
  • MealsB/L/D
  • Altitude/Time3,520 m

After a wonderful and pleasant overnight in Ghiling, the morning begins with a gradual slow climb past crop fields within the centre of the valley, the walk leads below Tama Gung settlements and continue with a long climb across the head of a valley above Nyi La pass 3,950 m.
The top rewards you with a stunning panorama of Mustang terrain with white snow-capped peaks, and this is the highest point of the adventure and the southern boundary of Lo. 
From here a gradual downhill brings to a junction; the right path leads directly to Tsarang while the left leads to Ghami village, one of the main majors of Lo region. 
Our route leads below within blue, grey and red cliffs across a valley to cross a steel bridge over Tangmarchu River, the path climbs past to a long and magnificent stretch of Mani (prayer) wall, probably the longest series of prayer wall in the whole Himalayan region. 
From here with last and final climb of the day above 3,600 m high pass, from here a gentle descent leads to Tsarang or Charang for an overnight halt, an interesting village with a maze of fields, willow trees and a huge five-story high of white-colored Dzong and a Monastery known as Gompa situated on the edge of the Kali Gandaki gorge, around Tsarang with its own community electricity system.

  • AccommodationLocal teahouse
  • MealsB/L/D
  • Altitude/Time3,780 m

Today toward our final and most awaited main highlight destination to Lo Manthang, the morning starts with a short downhill to cross Charangchu River, and then with a steep climb to a ridge passing Tholung valley. 
Here our trail diverts towards the north with a gradual climb to reach a large Chhorten, which marks the boundary between Tsarang and Lo, the climb follows a stream and then reaching a great wide windswept valley.
As the walk finally reaches on the top 3,850 m high pass offers a grand view of walled village of Lo Mananthang, taking a short descend towards a stream that outlines the walled village, from here a short climb leads you to the southern wall of Lo Manthang village. 
The one and only entrance to the village from the North-East corner, so one has to walk around the wall to reach the main entrance gate sometimes.
On entering the former forbidden kingdom of Lo Manthang, transfer into a local lodge and guest houses with time to browse around its alley and narrow streets with shops and stores. 

  • AccommodationLocal teahouse
  • MealsB/L/D
  • Altitude/Time3,780 m

Rest day at Lo-Manthang, once the capital of Lo (Mustang district), one of the largest village with more than 150 houses includes the number of resident for a priest, monks, and lamas, houses are closely packed with palace and monasteries located in the bottom section around vertical part of L shaped houses. 
The Mustang raja's palace stands an imposing 4 story building in the center of the city. It is the home of the former Raja (king), Jigme Parbal Bista, and the Rani (queen), who is from the noble family of Lhasa and Shigatse in Tibet. 

  • AccommodationLocal teahouse
  • MealsB/L/D
  • Altitude/Time3,440 m

With exciting and enjoyable time in Lo-Manthang, depart from this mystical and legendry kingdom starting with descending and few short climbs all the way to Ghami.

As the morning walk leads outside the walled Lo-Manthang village, our route leads to a steady climb to a pass offering the last glimpse of Lo-Manthang, walk from here on is more or less on gradual with downhill slopes most of the way to Ghami village for an overnight stop, Ghami another important village of Upper Mustang region

  • AccommodationLocal teahouse
  • MealsB/L/D
  • Altitude/Time3,209 m

Trek today follows on the same route towards Nyi La, climb to the ridge and then contouring upwards and then reaching the road coming from Tsarang. From the top of the ridge, a steep descend to Gelling Valley. The trail continues bypassing Gelling to a lone teahouse and then a gentle downhill to a small settlement of Tama Gung. A steep switchbacks trail leads to a stream; the trail climbs to a large painted Chhorten and then on a straightforward route to our overnight stop at Samar.

  • AccommodationLocal teahouse
  • MealsB/L/D
  • Altitude/Time2,807 m

Our route from Samar leads on a downhill trail in the same direction for a few hours past Chele village to reach at Mustang Khola, from here walk leads on the gradual path in between great canyons and eroded high cliffs to reach back at Kagbeni for last overnight within Upper Mustang.

  • AccommodationStandard
  • MealsB/L/D
  • Altitude/Time2,715 m

From Kagbeni our last day of the great adventure on Upper Mustang Trek, as morning leads on the same route to Jomsom with easy gradual downhill reaching back at Kaligandaki river valley, walking on vast windswept Kaligandaki river valley to reach Jomsom, headquarter town of Mustang region with a small airstrip above Kaligandaki River. 
An afternoon with time for a walk around Jomsom town, home of Thakali people within Kaligandaki River valley famous for apple orchards and garden as well as delicious apples and products like cider, brandy, and juice a delightful town for walks around the street with shops and stores. 

  • Accommodation3*
  • MealsBreakfast
  • Altitude/Time820 m

With a morning scenic flight to Pokhara, our trek ends. At Pokhara, after resting some moment at your accommodation, we will start exploring the city of lakes. 

  • Accommodation3*
  • MealsBreakfast
  • Altitude/Time1,400 m

Morning an early drive back to Kathmandu on a luxury bus through interesting highway with the exciting journey as drive leads through rural farm villages and towns with views of mountains after six-hour drive ending at Kathmandu, then transfer to your respective hotels.

  • Accommodation-
  • Meals-
  • Altitude/Time-

You will be transferred to the Kathmandu airport to catch your returning flight.

Not satisfied with this regular itinerary?

Are you interested on planning custom trip? Feel free to contact us.

Map & Altitude Graph
Upper Mustang Trekking map
Cost Details
What's Included
  • All the government and company service charges
  • Airport pick up and drop off by a private vehicle
  • 3 Nights hotel in Kathmandu at 3-star category hotel with breakfast in twin sharing basis
  • Kathmandu Valley sightseeing (Private vehicle and English-speaking guide)
  • Kathmandu to Pokhara and Pokhara to Kathmandu transport by a tourist bus
  • 2 Nights hotel in Pokhara at 3-star category hotel with breakfast in twin sharing basis
  • Jomsom-Pokhara flight
  • ACAP (Annapurna Conversation Area Permit) and TIMS Cards
  • An experienced English-speaking guide and his all expenses including insurance during the trekking
  • Porter (1 porter for 2 trekkers and carries 15kgs to 20 kg) and their all expenses including insurance
  • Food (Breakfasts, lunches and Dinners, Full board basis during the trekking with 3 complimentary tea/coffee)
  • Teahouse accommodation during the trekking in twin sharing basis
  • Trekking route map
  • Complimentary sleeping bags and down jackets
  • First aid kit
What's Excluded
  • International airfare
  • Travel Insurance
  • Nepal visa fee
  • Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu and Pokhara except complimentary dinners
  • Personal expenses (Wi-Fi, bar bills, laundries, electricity charges for the gadgets, hot shower, hot water etc)
  • Tipping for guide(s), porter (s), driver(s)
  • Anything does not include in the inclusion list.
Dates & Price
Limited Seats Available
StartSaturdayMar 02, 2024
EndMondayMar 18, 2024
StatusAvailable
FromUS $1550
 
Limited Seats Available
StartWednesdayMar 13, 2024
EndFridayMar 29, 2024
StatusAvailable
FromUS $1550
 
Limited Seats Available
StartMondayMar 18, 2024
EndWednesdayApr 03, 2024
StatusAvailable
FromUS $1550
 
Limited Seats Available
StartSaturdayMar 23, 2024
EndMondayApr 08, 2024
StatusAvailable
FromUS $1550
 
Limited Seats Available
StartSundayMar 31, 2024
EndTuesdayApr 16, 2024
StatusAvailable
FromUS $1550
 
Useful Info

17 Days Upper Mustang Trek Difficulty 

The Upper Mustang Trek is of moderately difficult standard. It will be neither as comfortable as the easy trek routes nor as stressful and dangerous as strenuous trekking routes. However, you may be able to alter the Upper Mustang trek like other treks and make it suitable for yourself.

Any standard cannot define the hardness of a trek. Everyone is unique, so the level must be personalized based on their ability.

Remoteness

Because of the growing Upper Mustang trek popularity, this place is no longer as isolated as before.

It opened for foreign trekkers only in 1992, preserving its genuine traditions and everyday life. However, there are more services for trekkers and travelers than in the past years.

Upper Mustang Trek now has a tea house trek. In other words, this implies that after one day of your hike, you will sleep in comfortable beds at tea houses. They have rooms on a sharing basis, which are clean and healthy. However, you can pay more and stay in a single room. In addition, some of these villages have eateries and drinking stalls on the roadside.

However, do not expect luxurious lodges and posh hotels, as most tea houses only offer basic amenities like hot meals, nice beds, toilets, and hot bucket showers.

Others prefer camping as part of their teahouse treks, but it is a much harsher option.

Duration of the Trek 

The typical walk in Upper Mustang is 17-18 days on average. In fact, you will walk at an average of 6/7 hours each day for seventeen consecutive days. Typically, this period includes 2 -3 days of acclimatizing or rest days.

This is a must for beginners and novice trekkers. Walking for that long time prepares your body to acclimate to the area safely. The adventure duration is 15-17 days but may be shortened for professional trekkers and those who fancy challenges to 12-14 days

Mustang Region Terrain

The Upper Mustang terrain is considered moderate difficulty compared to most trekking destinations of Nepal. These are well-marked walking trails. Similarly, there will be a series of climbs and descents daily. There is an ancient salt trading trail that traders once used, and it traverses the trans-Himalayas.

On this walk, you will bypass major roads, following narrow passes between mountains. Several colonies comprise white-washed homes, mani stones, fields full of barley, and many prayer-fluttering prayer flags. Don't forget, there are also huge fields with animals.

It is not the same as walking on straight roads in the towns, which is moderate terrain. It is also good to have some trek-specific training in addition to your normal physical activities, making navigating the trails easier for you.

The guide can also lead you through off-the-beaten tracks if you need more challenges during your upper Mustang hike. Ensure you carry a professional licensed guide with you since this will avoid unnecessary losses and danger.

What Does A Typical Day On Upper Mustang Trek Look Like? 

The day in a typical Upper Mustang Trek is exciting, breathtaking, and an exchange with the common people.

Trekkers usually wake up early in the morning, greeted by the cold atmosphere of the mountains and the view of other mountain ranges. Having eaten well, they begin their journey, walking along the demarcated paths crossing the rocky area.

Trekkers steadily climb the hills and mountains in the first part of the day. The trail passes them through beautiful valleys, dense woods, and deserts, making the scenery versatile. During their journey, they will encounter villagers carrying out their normal duties, such as plowing and grazing.

During the day, trekkers will climb into the high-altitude regions of Mustang. The air gets thinner and turns the landscape into desert land. However, the terrain becomes steeper, and the trail becomes more demanding, though the reward for the effort is the breathtaking panoramic view of the Himalayas.

Trekkers look forward to lunchtime because of the opportunity to warm up in a teahouse or have a snack at a beautiful place. For lunch, traditional Nepali dishes such as dal bhat (rice and lentil soup) or momo (dumplings), rich in energy, are required for the last leg of the day's trek.

The trek continues after lunch, where the trekkers can see further into the Mustang region. There are ancient monasteries where they may visit. The sacred sites are reminiscent of the country's strong roots of Buddhist and Hindu traditions, having elaborate murals, prayer flags, and prayer wheels in spiraling motion.

From around late afternoon, trekkers hike to their final destination of the day to their tea houses of the night. After reaching, one can find comfort at the tea houses or guesthouses in the village. Trekkers can relax, have a warm tea, and socialize with fellow trekkers or friendly locals.

You will have dinner that evening in your teahouse for the night. This enables you to interact with other trekkers and your guide. Kindly order your breakfast ahead of bedtime to enable a quick response during the morning.

Will I Get Altitude Sickness During Upper Mustang Trek? 

You will encounter the highest point during your excursion to Upper Mustang Trek, called Lo Manthang, at 3850 m above sea level. It is one of the longest routes, and I assure you, it will take you up to a perfectly fine altitude. The trek will take you to one of the most doable altitudes. However, mountain sickness may occur when one conquers any height in the Nepal Himalayas, as it sometimes becomes exhausting.

Depending on people's circumstances and how they reached the trail, it could be mild mountain sickness or dangerous. That is why one should trek without mountain sickness in the Nepal Himalayas. Treks one can make in Nepal Himalaya without getting altitude illnesses. Some measures are mentioned below:

  • Drink up to 4-5 litres of water.
  • Do not rush while trekking.
  • Stick to the suggested plan and timetable for that particular day.
  • Ensure you do not eat foods that may affect the work of your digestive system.
  • Drink plenty of soups.
  • Abstain from alcohol throughout trekking days.
  • Your trek leader must be heard.
  • Bringing along Diamox and anti-sickness drugs after the discussion with the doctor is necessary.
  • Keep short intervals between the journey.
  • To avoid getting mountain sickness, these are some tips that will be of help.
  • Follow these suggestions before the trip to Upper Mustang to save your holiday plan from going sour.

Important Notes to Know

Hiring a Guide or Porter

The upper Mustang trek is regarded as one of Nepal's restricted regional trekking options. Therefore, having a registered local licensed trekking guide with you is obligatory for this hike. This could be your local porter, guide, or porter-guide. Moreover, you are free to engage with multiple local trekking staff along with you.

Both guides and porters are good in their respective fields. They will help you have a safe and enjoyable trip in Upper Mustang.

He will guide you about native life, the typical vegetation, and the area's animals. Moreover, a guide can take you to the best tea houses you can lodge and eat at. A guide, too, can give you details of miles, time to walk, and trails to take for a day. Similarly, They usually have up-to-date data about weather and trail conditions. Doing this will give you an idea of what each day on your trek will be like.

Weather in the higher regions, like the Upper Mustang, is usually unstable. Therefore, having a guide who has been there is always helpful.

A licensed and well-experienced guide also knows what to do during emergencies.

During your Mustang hike, a single porter can carry a maximum weight of 25 kg. Therefore, you can carry all the hiking essentials in a backpack. Besides, it helps you concentrate on your walk and the pretty trails without carrying that extra weight. All in all, you may need a guide and a porter to make the Upper Mustang Trek easy.

Accommodations

This is a tea house trek in Upper Mustang. The houses are traditionally made of bricks and mud and mostly painted white. Such tea houses are homely and comprise just a few rooms or so. The newly formed concrete tea hotels in Lo Manthang are multi-storied and can house many trekkers. The rooms usually comprise two single beds and very little furniture.

While the pillows and blankets are provided in most cases, they are not as puffy and warm-hence using a sleeping bag on top and hygiene reasons.

Most tea houses in the route of Upper Mustang Trek have shared bathrooms since only a handful possess attached bathrooms. Similarly,  Squat seats are the most popular ones among them. Ensure you carry your toilet paper and pocket soap, as not every tea house provides them.

The showers are communal, too, as they do not have them attached to the tea house. A hot shower would cost you about two dollars in the Mustang region. Many of them use solar heating, while others also have gas showers.

Moreover, The dining room in a tea house is also a common area where numerous tourists eat together around big tables. There are brightly colored walls, and butter lamps are put on the tables. In some tea houses, there are gas heaters inside the room to remain warm.

Meals During the Treks

You will get three meals daily during your trek, i.e., Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. During your Trekking in Upper Mustang, you will have meal options similar to other trekking locations, except that it has lots of Tibetan/Chinese dishes due to the large population of the Tibetan Buddhist community there. 

In the Mustang area, meals here are less expensive than in cities like Pokhara and Kathmandu.

'Dal Bhat,' comprising of lentil soup rice with vegetable curry, is one of the main Nepali diets, and it has been a traditional dish in the trek. The trekkers never run out of food because they are always hungry. Lunch or dinner costs about USD 4.

Some typical Western breakfast dishes include porridge, pancakes, eggs, jam, or honey. Hence, you can decide to choose the fluffy Tibetan breed. Do not forget to try Thukpa, another specialty in this region.

The region of Mustang is well-known as a source of apple farms, from which many drinks and snacks will be made. You can also sample their popular home-grown apple juice and wine. This is because soft drinks are sold at twice the cost as one finds in the city area since people would have to transport these products to the villages from the lowlands. 

Due to the upper Mustang region's hot and dry climate, you must drink much water. They may range between 3 – 4 liters a day. These are the sources of water that you get from joint taps in these villages along the hike. However, carry a water bottle with a filter flask or water sterilization pills. Nevertheless, mineral water is very expensive; it may cost around 1 US dollar for half a liter of water bought at smaller stores and teahouses.

Availability of Electricity

Major urban towns such as Kathmandu or Pokhara and popular tourist locations like Muktinath have readily available electricity. Yet, the Upper Mustang trail has many power interruptions. Tea houses in most villages, such as Lo Manthang, Jomsom, and Kagbeni, depend on erratic solar energy resources.

Ensure you ask the tea shop owner where to plug your devices so as not to use power during the morning and most of the afternoon. Carry portable solar panels, power banks, and extra camera batteries wherever you can.

Lastly, it would be best to put your phone in airplane mode for the duration because it saves power. Avoid calling while moving.

Internet Connectivity En Route

The internet connection is very shaky and unreliable throughout the walk. It's hard to locate a Wi-Fi facility in tea houses as it falls on an outskirt location. Some teahouses along the way have internet, but US dollars per hour don't work.

The hotels offer relatively decent wi-fi connection to keep your family updated about you and let them view those photographs on social network sites.

You can also get a prepaid local GSM-operated SIM card in Kathmandu or Pokhara as an alternative to an internet connection. You must buy the appropriate data pack to send emails using a GPRS.

Like Wi-Fi, the network is not continuous at high altitudes. Therefore, whenever possible, the internet should be used sparingly.

Permits and Costs 

Upper Mustang trekking is a popular destination in Nepal known for its ancient history and culture. The region is mostly a mountain desert with scattered settlements and greenery.

However, it is a restricted area and special permits from the Nepalese Government are required, including a 50 US$ per day special permit, an ACAPpermit (25 US), and a TIMS permit card (10 US$). With a total cost of 535 US$ for 10-day treks in the Upper Mustang region, it's important to plan and prepare accordingly for this unique and rewarding experience.

Money and Currency

Carrying Nepalese currency (Nepalese Rupees) is recommended during the trek, as credit cards and ATMs are scarce or unavailable along the trekking routes. Carrying enough cash to cover your expenses during the trek is advisable.

Responsible Trekking

As a responsible trekker, respecting the local culture, customs, and environment is essential. Follow designated trekking trails, avoid littering, and discard any non-biodegradable waste. Engage in sustainable practices and support local businesses by purchasing locally-made products and utilizing local services.

Travel Insurance

It is highly recommended to have comprehensive travel insurance that covers high-altitude trekking and emergency medical evacuation. Ensure that your insurance policy provides adequate coverage for the duration and activities of your trek.

So we can say that, Upper Mustang trekking offers a remarkable adventure that combines breathtaking natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and a sense of exploration. This remote region of Nepal, nestled in the mighty Himalayas, captivates trekkers with its rugged landscapes, ancient monasteries, and the charisma of its Tibetan-influenced culture.

From marveling at the snow-capped peaks to traversing the challenging yet rewarding terrain, Upper Mustang presents an unforgettable journey for outdoor enthusiasts and those seeking a unique cultural experience. The region's distinct charm lies in its preserved traditions, where ancient customs and rituals thrive amidst towering mountains and arid valleys.

Whether you choose the Lo Manthang Circuit, the Jomsom to Lo Manthang route, or a trek during the vibrant Tiji Festival, Upper Mustang offers diverse options to suit different preferences and time constraints. Each trekking route unveils its own wonders, from picturesque villages to hidden monastic caves, offering glimpses into a way of life that has remained unchanged for centuries.

While trekking through the Upper Mustang, being well-prepared and equipped with the necessary permits, proper gear & equipment, and a reasonable fitness level is crucial. Acclimatization and responsible trekking practices ensure a safe and sustainable experience while respecting the local environment and culture.

As you embark on your Upper Mustang trek, you will be rewarded with awe-inspiring vistas and the opportunity to immerse yourself in a unique blend of nature, spirituality, and ancient traditions. The memories and experiences from this extraordinary journey will undoubtedly stay with you forever.

So, lace up your boots, take in the crisp mountain air, and embark on an adventure of a lifetime. Upper Mustang awaits, ready to unveil its treasures and leave an indelible mark on your soul.

FAQs
  • Since Mustang is located in northernmost part of Nepal bordering with Tibet , Most of the people residing here follows Buddhism and some follow Bon religion. You can see a mixed culture of Nepalese and Tibetian lifestyle . The Mustang region is mostly populated by people of Thakali caste. 

  • Mustang District, a part of the Dhaulagiri Zone, which is also known as "Land beyond the Himalayas" is located in the Kali Gandaki valley of the Himalayan region of Western Nepal. Mustang (from the Tibetan Muntan meaning "fertile plain") the traditional region is largely dry and arid. The world’s deepest gorge that goes down three miles vertical between Dhaulagiri and Annapurna mountains runs through this district. It also houses several of the most inspiring historical sites in the country, some of which date back to four thousand BC. The only river that flows through this vast mountain desert is Kaligandaki which is famous for finding ammonite fossils. Ammonites are called "Saligram" according to Hinduism and has a significant religious values.

  • The cost of trekking in Upper Mustang starts from 1500 US$. The cost may go up depending on the type of services you are offered (as per your requests) like the type of accommodation, the type of food, days extension etc.  

  • It takes 17 days to complete the Upper Mustang Trek. However, it depends on the physical ability of trekkers. 

  • Since Upper Mustang is a restricted area, travellers/ trekkers need to obtain a special permit to enter this region. The special permit costs 500 US$ per person. Other permits required for this trek are TIMS and ACAP entry permit.

  • The highest point of Upper Mustang Trek is Choser which is 4,200 m above sea level. 

  • Although the trail is not hard, the environmental conditions may make some trekkers feel uneasy. The absence of tree line, dusty trails and scorching sun rays may make some people feel tired early. The Upper Mustang Trek is graded as moderate. 

  • The best time to do Upper Mustang trek is in between May to October. Though it rains in most part of Nepal during June and July but Upper Mustang experience minimum to no rainfall so except in winter, all times are considered best.

  • Since Upper Mustang Trek route passes through Nepal China trade route, most of the accommodations are standard which offers different types of Nepalese, Chinese and continental food.

  • Trekking in Nepal with a licensed guide is always safe. Mustang region houses a lot of tea houses in short interval of time and the trail is mostly well-marked, so it is safe to trek upper Mustang. 

     

  • Yes, it is mandatory to hire a licensed guide from a Government registered company while trekking in Upper Mustang. The Special permits to Upper Mustang trek are not issued to freelance or individual guide. It is issued for a company. Also, you need to be two persons at least and a licensed guide to visit Upper Mustang. For porter, we highly recommend using them. Walking on a barren, rocky and dusty trail for 6-7 hours a day is sufficient for you to get tired easily, which means you may not be able to enjoy the view. Hiring a porter, you will offload your extra packings so that you can enjoy the view and learn the culture and history of the place without worrying about the tiredness. 

     

  • Trekking in treeless area above 3500 m is always challenging. The low oxygen concentration in the atmosphere is the major factor for Acute Mountain Sickness, or commonly called Altitude Sickness. So there is always a risk of suffering from mild Altitude Sickness. However, in Upper Mustang trek, the elevation gained per day is gradual, so the body can acclimatize automatically while trekking and resting overnight. This does not mean there's no risk at all, but minimum . To avoid altitude sickness ; trek at slow pace, do not carry heavy backpack, take rest often, do not let your body get dehydrated , trek high and sleep at low points, avoid heavy consumption of alcohol, etc.

  • Altitude sickness occurs when a person rapidly ascends to high altitudes, normally above 2,500 m/8,000 ft. Symptoms of altitude sickness can include headaches, dizziness, and shortness of breath. If a person stays at high altitudes for an extended period, they may develop chronic altitude sickness. If they do not get medical help, this can lead to potentially fatal complications or even death .A person can prevent altitude sickness by ascending gradually and allowing the body to acclimatize to new heights. A doctor may prescribe several different medications to treat altitude sickness, or in some cases, recommend oxygen supplementation.However, a person may remedy altitude sickness symptoms most effectively by descending to lower altitudes.

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