Upper Mustang Trek is one of the few scenic and cultural destinations situated in the Far northwestern Himalayan region of Nepal which is never to be missed if you are planning an adventure holiday in Nepal. This trek leads you to the hidden landscapes located on the northwest border of Annapurna Conservation Area. Exploring the mystical semi-arid landscape, Upper Mustang restricted trekking lets you have enough space to get close to the Tibetan Buddhist cultural influence, hidden caves, countless vibrant monasteries, and shortens that are rarely found in any other parts of Nepal and the communities. At the same time, the magnetic Himalayan aura and seasonal vegetation ranging from Alpine to highland can attract any trekkers around the world.
Truly a fascinating adventure leads you to the high vast wide and scenic country of Upper Mustang, an extension of the highest South West Tibetan plateau. This trek offers the utmost scenery of snow-capped mountains to high, eroded windswept cliffs and canyons of vivid colors.
Upper Mustang trek 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.
Upper Mustang Trekking 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. Mustang 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, multicast, 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 on the upper mustang used to have their King who used to rule over Mustang.
The trek to Upper Mustang begins from Jomsom, which is 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. Some of the sections of this trekking route merge with the road to Loh-Manthang. Allowed for the trekkers since 1992 A.D. The hidden jewel of the Upper Mustang trekking can be done after affording the hefty special and restricted trekking permit.
About the Mustang
Kali Gandaki River valley, which is known for its spectacular views of the Himalayas. You will pass through several small villages along the way, each with their own unique culture and history.The highlight of the 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 trek ends back in Jomsom, where you can take a flight back to Pokhara. 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. The best time to trek in Upper Mustang is from March to November, with the months of April and October being the most popular. During this time, the weather is generally dry and clear, and the temperatures are mild, making it perfect for trekking. In the winter months (December to February), the temperatures can drop significantly, and the trek is not recommended due to the risk of snow and ice on the trails. The Upper Mustang Trek is a unique and fascinating trek that offers a glimpse into the rich history and culture of the Mustang region. It is a great option for those looking for a cultural experience in a remote and hidden kingdom of Nepal.
Why choose Upper Mustang Trekking
12 days Upper Mustang Trek is one of the best treks for many reasons. Starting from the headquarter of Mustang, Jomsom up to Tibetian Border, there are a lot of geographical, cultural, and religious things that fascinate any trekkers. Quite opposite to the other half of Annapurna Circuit, this part is a mountain desert with patches of settlements and greenery scattered along the way. From vibrant and colorful prayer flags and beautiful stupas to completely barren rocky lands, from modern Jomsom providing all the facilities to Upper regions with rural lifestyles, one enjoys every bit of this trek. The beautiful and wide Kaligandaki river is the main lifeline of this area. Mustang region is religiously important to Buddhists and Hindus as well. Muktinath, being an icon of this area, is very important to Buddhists and Hindus. Kaligandaki river valley is famous for finding ammonites also called " Shaligram". Shaligram has a great religious significance to Hindus and is considered the holy offering to Bishnu. The Upper Mustang is an ancient city with historical and cultural significance. The region 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. Loh Manthang was the center part of the ancient city and traders from Tibet and India used the salt trading route that passes through the middle of Loh Manthang, to trade.
The tradition of sky burial is still practiced in the Upper region. The dead body is dismembered first and is taken to an elevated place, leaving it as an offering to vultures. One of the must-visit places in Upper Mustang is Chungsi Cave. The cave lies in between many man-made caves. Chung cave is formed naturally and is one of the most religiously and historically important places. Locals believe that Guru Rinpoche used to meditate inside this cave around the 8th century. There are a lot of ancient monasteries and caves in the Upper Mustang.
Best Season to do Upper Mustang Trek
Upper Mustang has mountain desert-type weather as it is located in the rain-shadow of the Himalayas. Even in Monsoon, this region suffers low rainfall, making it great to trek in any season. But one should be very careful while trekking in winter, as most of the local people migrate towards the low regions to avoid extreme snow and cold. Apart from the main winter time, this trek can be done throughout the year.
Monsoon Season (June-August): Since, Mustang lies in the rain shadow, this region experience low rainfall even in monsoon which makes it ideal to trek even during monsoon.
Autumn season (September to November): Autumn/ Fall is considered one of the best seasons to trek the Upper Mustang. As the weather is clean and clear, the visibility is far with less to no haze. The days are bright, and the temperature is low compared to Monsoon and Spring, which makes this trek even more doable.
Winter Season (December to February): Winter is the least preferred time to trek Upper Mustang, as there are always chances of heavy snowfall. Days are mostly covered with clouds, but mornings are mostly clear, providing beautiful views. Also, the place is less crowded. Many locals migrate to the lower regions to avoid the cold and freezing winter. However, with proper pieces of equipment and gear, this trek provides the adventure of another level if done in winter.
Spring Season (March to May): Spring is considered the peak season to do Upper Mustang Trek. As the temperature is warmer compared to Autumn, the walking days are fine and the views are amazing because of the clear sky and clean weather. Walking along the snowy trails with lots of wildflowers on the way makes this trek more beautiful. The landscapes are great and covered with snow patches. One of the major festivals of Upper Mustang, Tiji festivals, also falls during this season.