The Upper Mustang Trek will take you on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure to a land of untamed beauty and prehistoric culture. You will be immersed in the rich history of this territory, which was once an independent monarchy, as you journey through the breathtaking landscapes of the Mustang region. You'll travel through steep valleys, stunning high-altitude deserts, and beautiful white-washed villages as you discover the world.
But this trek's uniqueness goes beyond its natural splendor. The Lo people, with a distinctive and fascinating culture that has been kept for millennia, live in the Upper Mustang region. You'll have the chance to discover more about their customary way of life, take in vibrant festivals, and explore historic monasteries and caverns.
And don't stress about the logistics; our knowledgeable guides will handle every aspect, freeing you to enjoy the moment. You'll have all you need to enjoy this extraordinary adventure, from cozy accommodation to delectable meals.
Why then wait? Choose a date for your Upper Mustang trek today, and prepare for the adventure of a lifetime!
A spectacular trek through one of Nepal's most isolated and culturally diverse regions, the Upper Mustang Trek will introduce you to the intriguing world of the Mustang region. This 15-day journey will take you through breathtaking desert scenery, challenging mountain routes, and deep into the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.
The trek begins following a lovely drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara, where you will catch a flight to Jomsom. You will go through picturesque towns and steep valleys, passing via Kagbeni, Chhusang, Syanboche, and Ghami before reaching Lo Manthang. This former walled city serves as the administrative center of the old Mustang Kingdom.
You'll get to explore the distinctive culture and traditions of the Mustang people, who have been maintaining their way of life for years, while also being surrounded by stunning vistas of the Himalayan peaks, such as Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, and Nilgiri, during the journey.
These 15 days of Upper Mustang Trek provide a unique adventure through a remote and mystical area that few people can visit. That is a place that everyone should visit.
The detailed 15-day itinerary of the Upper Mustang trek is as follows:
Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu (1,400 m)
Upon arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport, you will be welcomed by our representative and transferred to your hotel in Kathmandu. After a brief rest, you can explore the vibrant streets of Thamel, the tourist hub of Kathmandu, and enjoy the local cuisine.
Day 2: Kathmandu Valley Sightseeing and Trip Preparation
Today, you will have a guided tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Kathmandu Valley, which include the old Kathmandu Durbar Square and the famous Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath, and Boudhanath temples. You will receive a tour briefing and get ready for the trek.
Day 3: Drive to Pokhara (827 m), 6-7 hrs
You will travel to Pokhara, a picturesque lakeside city, after breakfast. The trip takes about 6-7 hours and features stunning rural scenery with stunning glimpses of snow-capped mountains.
Day 4: Fly to Jomsom (2,743 m) and Trek to Kagbeni (2,810 m), 2-3 hrs
We fly early morning to Jomsom, a little community along the Kali Gandaki River. We set off on our journey from Jomsom to Kagbeni, an ancient walled settlement serving as the upper Mustang threshold. The trek offers breathtaking views of the Nilgiri and Dhaulagiri mountains as it follows the Kali Gandaki River.
Day 5: Kagbeni to Chhusang (3,050 m), 5 - 6 hrs
Today, we depart Kagbeni and travel along the Kali Gandaki River over several suspension bridges. We go to Chhusang, where we can explore the neighboring red cliffs and old Tibetan-style homes, after passing via the village of Tangbe, which is renowned for its whitewashed dwellings and winding lanes.
Day 6: Chhusang to Syanbochen (3,475 m), 6 - 7 hrs
Today, a steep ascent leads us to the tiny settlement of Samar, home to an old gompa (monastery) and prayer flags. From Samar, we ascend to the ridge before descending to Syanbochen, traversing through picturesque terrain and viewing snow-capped mountains.
Day 7: Syanbochen to Ghami (3,520 m), 5-6 hrs
The day begins with a challenging ascent, which provides breathtaking views of Mustang's mountains. The village of Ghami, renowned for its historic monastery and red-colored homes, is the next stop on our descent.
Day 8: Ghami to Tsarang (3,620 m), 5-6 hrs
Today's trail is straightforward, and it takes us through several picturesque villages and natural settings with views of snow-capped mountains. We explore the historic stronghold, the red-colored dwellings of the settlement, and the Tsarang Monastery, one of Mustang's oldest and largest monasteries.
Day 9: Tsarang to Lo-Manthang (3,810 m), 3-4 hrs
Today, we arrive in Lo-Manthang, the walled capital of Upper Mustang. The walk travels through stunning scenery with vistas of snow-capped mountains and historic settlements. We can tour the historic monasteries, the royal palace, and the winding lanes in Lo-Manthang.
Day 10: Explore Lo Manthang
We will tour Lo-Manthang, a stunning walled city, today. We will go to the former king of Mustang's palace from the 15th century, a stunning specimen of Mustang architecture. We'll also stop by several monasteries, including the Thubchen Gompa, one of the Lo-oldest. Manthang's: We can take a quick trip to the surrounding caves and monasteries in the afternoon or check out the neighborhood markets.
Day 11: Drive to Muktinath (3,800 m), 5-6 hrs drive
On this day, we will travel to Muktinath, a well-known Hindu, and Buddhist pilgrimage site. The journey through the stunning scenery of the Muktinath temple, where it's said that everybody who enters will be salvaged.
Day 12: Muktinath to Jomsom (2,743 m), 5-6 hrs
We will trek back to Jomsom after breakfast, passing through the lovely settlement of Kagbeni. We will experience spectacular vistas of the Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri mountain ranges during the route. One of the oldest monasteries in the area, the Kagbeni monastery, will also be on our itinerary. Jomsom will be our home for the night.
Day 13: Fly to Pokhara (827 m), 15 min flight
Today, we will take a short flight from Jomsom to Pokhara. Upon arrival in Pokhara, we can relax and explore the beautiful lakeside town. We can visit the famous Phewa Lake and the Peace Pagoda or enjoy the local cuisine in one of the many restaurants in the town.
Day 14: Drive to Kathmandu (1,400 m), 6-7 hours
After breakfast, we'll depart from Pokhara, a lakeside city, and take a beautiful trip back to Kathmandu. The Himalayan scenery will be seen as we travel past terraced farms and little communities. You will be taken to your accommodation after arriving in Kathmandu. The rest of the day can be spent relaxing at your hotel or touring the city.
Day 15: Departure day
Your Upper Mustang Trek comes to an end today. A representative from our company will drop you off at the airport for your departure flight. We hope you had an incredible time exploring the unique landscapes and cultural riches of Upper Mustang, and we look forward to seeing you again for your next adventure in Nepal!
a. Spring Season (March to May):
The perfect season to plan a visit to Upper Mustang would be from March to May, which marks the arrival of spring. This time of the year offers the most comfortable weather conditions, allowing travelers to explore the region fully.
During spring, the temperatures are moderate, and the clear skies provide excellent visibility for taking in the spectacular mountain ranges and breathtaking landscapes of Upper Mustang. It is also an ideal time to witness the famous Tiji festival of Mustang, which takes place in May, adding an extra charm to the trip.
Spring presents a fantastic opportunity to experience the best of Upper Mustang, with pleasant weather, stunning scenery, and cultural festivities.
b. Summer Season (June to August):
The summer season, also known as the monsoon months, presents another ideal time to plan a visit to Upper Mustang in Nepal. Due to its location behind the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri massif of the Himalayas, Mustang is a rain-shadow area, meaning that it receives significantly less rainfall than other parts of Nepal during the monsoon season. This allows travelers to enjoy the region's stunning views and landscapes without being hindered by the weather.
Therefore, visiting Upper Mustang during the summer is highly recommended, as the weather remains stable and suitable for trekking. In addition, August is a great month to experience the unique Yartung festival in Lo-Manthang, which includes archery, songs, dances, and horse riding, making it an ideal time to immerse oneself in the local culture and traditions.
Overall, the summer season presents a fantastic opportunity to explore the wonders of Upper Mustang, with comfortable weather, beautiful scenery, and cultural celebrations to be enjoyed.
c. Autumn season (September to November):
The enchanting kingdom of Lo, also known as Upper Mustang, beckons to be explored during the picturesque autumn season. With ideal weather conditions and excellent visibility, the region presents the perfect opportunity for trekking enthusiasts to indulge in a thrilling and unforgettable adventure.
As the monsoon subsides, the fresh air and lush greenery create a scenic vista perfect for hikers exploring the breathtaking Himalayan landscapes. The autumn season boasts of clear skies, mild temperatures, and an overall comfortable climate, making it an ideal time to embark on a memorable tour of the Upper Mustang.
It is no surprise that autumn is a busy season for tourism in Nepal, as travelers worldwide flock to this destination to soak in its beauty and charm. The hustle and bustle of the season add to the vibrancy and energy of the place, creating a unique and exhilarating atmosphere that will leave a lasting impression.
In essence, autumn is the perfect season to immerse oneself in the captivating allure of Upper Mustang; with its magnificent vistas, pleasant weather, and cultural experiences, it promises to be an adventure of a lifetime.
d. Winter Season (December to February):
The Upper Mustang trek is not recommended during winter as it can be dangerous and challenging due to extreme weather conditions and heavy snowfall. The local people also migrate to other regions during this season, leaving the area completely deserted. It is minimally possible to undertake any tours or treks during this time, and it is advised to plan a visit during other seasons when the weather is more favorable and safe.
There are a few permits that you must obtain in advance of your journey if you plan to take the Upper Mustang Trek. This is because Upper Mustang is a restricted area, and that entry requires special authorization.
TIMS (Trekkers' Information Management System) cards are a prerequisite for all hikers in Nepal; thus, you will first require one. The Nepal Tourism Board is responsible for issuing TIMS cards.
You will now require a special permit called the Restricted Area Permit and the TIMS card (RAP). The RAP is only available from an authorized trekking company in Nepal and is given by the Department of Immigration in Kathmandu.
It's vital to remember that these permits must be carried at all times during the hike because they are severely enforced. The permits will be inspected at several checkpoints along the trail, and anyone who cannot present the required paperwork risks fines or expulsion.
The permission costs might seem excessive, but they go toward preserving the Mustang region and its distinctive cultural legacy. When planned through a recognized trekking organization, obtaining the required permits is an easy process that guarantees your journey is ethical and legal.
The Upper Mustang trek is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that takes visitors through an ancient country with breathtaking vistas, a rich history, and unusual traditions. Upper Mustang trek is exclusive and only available during specific seasons, which increases its allure. It also requires special authorization. The route travels more than 120 kilometers, including various landscapes and difficult mountain climbs. Trekkers are treated to breathtaking vistas of snow-capped mountains, vast canyons, and desolate landscapes along the journey, and they can also get a taste of the local customs and culture of the Upper Mustang region.
The Upper Mustang trek is an experience that visitors will remember for the rest of their lives, whether touring the historic monasteries, participating in the Tiji celebration, or just admiring the Himalayas. This trek is an excellent option for anyone looking for an unforgettable experience in the heart of the Himalayas with the proper planning, permits, and guidance.
1. Do I need a permit to trek in Upper Mustang?
Yes, a special permit is required to trek in the Upper Mustang, which is a restricted area permit as the Upper Mustang falls under the restricted region of Nepal.
2. What is the best time of year to do the Upper Mustang trek?
The best time to trek in Upper Mustang is during the spring season (March to May) and autumn season (September to November), as the weather and visibility are at their best during these times.
3. How many days are required to complete the Upper Mustang trek?
It typically takes 10-15 days to complete the Upper Mustang trek, depending on the itinerary and route chosen.
4. Is the Upper Mustang trek challenging?
The Upper Mustang trek is considered moderate, suitable for most people with a moderate fitness level. However, some sections of the trail can be challenging due to the high altitude and steep climbs.
5. What is the accommodation like during the Upper Mustang trek?
Accommodation during the Upper Mustang trek is basic and ranges from teahouses to lodges. Most teahouses offer basic facilities like a bed, blanket, and shared bathroom.
6. Can I use credit cards or ATMs in Upper Mustang?
Credit cards and ATMs are not readily available in Upper Mustang. Carrying enough cash for the trek and exchanging it beforehand in Kathmandu or Pokhara is recommended.
7. What is the maximum altitude of the Upper Mustang Trek?
The maximum altitude of the Upper Mustang trek is 3,810 meters at Lo Manthang.