Upper Mustang Trek

Trip Facts:

Destination
Nepal
Region
Mustang Nepal
Activities
Trekking
Transportation
Flight / Private Vehicle
Meals
BLD During Trek
Accommodation
Hotel / Teahouse
Best Month
Autumn / spring
Trip Grade
Moderate
Trek Starts / Ends
Kathmandu, Nepal

Overview

Upper Mustang Trek is an exhilarating journey through the remote and ancient kingdom of Mustang, nestled in the Himalayas of Nepal. This Upper Mustang trek offers a unique experience to explore the culturally rich and isolated region, known for its stark desert landscapes, ancient monasteries, and traditional Tibetan villages. With its challenging terrain, breathtaking views, and fascinating cultural insights, the Upper Mustang Trek is a must-do adventure for seasoned trekkers and culture enthusiasts alike.

Brief history and background of Upper Mustang

Upper Mustang is a remote region located in the Himalayas of Nepal, bordering Tibet. Historically, it was part of the Tibetan Empire and later the Kingdom of Lo, a Buddhist kingdom that thrived between the 14th and 17th centuries. In 2008, it was officially declared a restricted area, requiring visitors to obtain a special permit to enter. This has helped to preserve the region's unique culture, traditions, and landscape. The Upper Mustang trek offers visitors a chance to explore this hidden kingdom and experience its fascinating history and culture firsthand.

The best time to go for the Upper Mustang Trek is during the spring season (March to May) and the autumn season (September to November). During these months, the weather is clear, the skies are blue, and the temperature is pleasant. The monsoon season (June to August) should be avoided due to the heavy rainfall, which can make the Mustang trekking trails muddy and slippery, and the winter season (December to February) due to the extreme cold weather and heavy snowfall. However, if you are up for a challenging and unique experience, you can also trek in Upper Mustang during the winter season, where you can witness the stunning snow-capped mountains and a quieter trekking trail.

Upper Mustang is located in the Himalayan rain shadow Annurpurna region, which means it experiences a semi-arid climate with very little rainfall throughout the year. The best time to visit is during the dry seasons of spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November). During these months, the weather is mostly clear with warm days and cool nights, making it ideal for trekking. However, it is important to note that even during the dry season, there can be occasional snowfall or rain, and temperatures can drop significantly at night, so it's important to be prepared for a range of weather conditions. During the winter months (December to February), the Mustang region can be extremely cold with heavy snowfall, and during the monsoon season (June to August), the trails can be slippery and difficult to navigate. Therefore, it is best to avoid trekking in Upper Mustang during these seasons.

Upper Mustang Trek Itinerary

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Your Upper Mustang trek begins with a scenic drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara. The drive takes around 7 hours, during which you'll witness the changing landscapes as you leave the city and venture towards the tranquil lakeside city of Pokhara. Pokhara sits at an elevation of 830 meters (2,723 feet), providing a picturesque backdrop of the Annapurna and Machapuchare mountains.
 

You'll take a short flight from Pokhara to Jomsom, a gateway to the Upper Mustang region. From Jomsom, you'll trek to Kagbeni, a charming village known for its ancient architecture and rich culture. The mustang trek takes around 3 hours, and you'll reach an elevation of 930 meters (9,186 feet).
 

Today's Mustang trek leads you to Chele. The trail takes you through diverse landscapes, including picturesque villages and unique rock formations. As you climb to an elevation of 3,050 meters (10,006 feet), you'll experience the transition from the lower Mustang region to its higher reaches. The trek takes approximately 6 hours.
 

Continuing your Upper Mustang journey, you'll trek to Syangmoche. The trail offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. As you ascend to an elevation of 3,475 meters (11,400 feet), you'll immerse yourself in the rugged beauty of the Annurpurna region. The trek takes about 6 hours.
 

Your Upper Mustang trek today takes you to the village of Ghami. The route offers a mix of gentle and challenging terrains as you make your way to an elevation of 3,500 meters (11,482 feet). The trail winds through unique landscapes and provides glimpses into the local way of life. The trek lasts around 5 hours.
 

Leaving Ghami behind, you'll hike to Charang. The Mustang trek is characterized by its scenic beauty and cultural experiences. You'll reach an elevation of 3,560 meters (11,679 feet) and spend approximately 4 hours on the trail.
 

Today's destination is the historic and culturally rich village of Lo Manthang. The Mustang trek trail takes you to an elevation of 3,770 meters (12,368 feet), and the journey lasts around 5 hours. As you arrive in Lo Manthang, you'll be greeted by its ancient monasteries, palaces, and traditional architecture in Upper Mustang.
 

You'll spend the day exploring the area around Lo Manthang. A highlight of the day is a visit to the Chhoser Cave, where you can delve into the Mustang region's rich history and culture. This excursion lasts approximately 6 hours.
 

Leaving Lo Manthang, you'll trek to Dhakmar. The Mustang trail takes you through rugged terrain and offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. You'll reach an elevation of 3,800 meters (12,467 feet) after about 7 hours of trekking.
 

Your journey continues to Ghiling. The Upper Mustang trek takes you through diverse landscapes, and you'll have the chance to interact with local communities. As you ascend to an elevation of 3,860 meters (12,664 feet), you'll spend around 6 hours on the trail.
 

Today, you'll trek to Chuksang. The trail leads you to an elevation of 3,050 meters (10,050 feet) and offers unique glimpses into the local way of life. The trek takes about 6 hours.
 

Leaving Chuksang, you'll trek back to Jomsom. The Upper Mustang journey takes you through the dramatic landscapes of the region. As you descend to an elevation of 2,715 meters (8,907 feet), you'll spend approximately 5 hours on the trail.
 

You'll take a short flight from Jomsom back to Pokhara, providing you with stunning aerial views of the landscape. The flight takes around 15 minutes, and you'll return to Pokhara's relaxed atmosphere.
 

Your Upper Mustang journey concludes with a scenic drive from Pokhara back to Kathmandu. Reflect on the incredible landscapes, cultural experiences, and memories you've gathered during your expedition through the captivating Annapurna region.

Not satisfied with this itinerary?

If the above itinerary does not meet your needs, we can design individualized travel plans based on your preference and specification.

FAQs

Upper Mustang Trek is a popular trekking route in Nepal that takes you to the hidden kingdom of Mustang, an ancient and culturally rich region in the Himalayas.

The duration of the Upper Mustang trek depends on the route you choose and your pace, but it usually takes around 10-14 days.

The best time to go on Upper Mustang Trek is from March to May and from September to November when the weather is dry and the skies are clear.

Yes, Upper Mustang Trek is generally considered safe, but it's important to follow safety guidelines and choose a reputable trekking agency.

Yes, you need a special permit to enter the restricted area of Upper Mustang, which can be obtained through a trekking agency registered in Nepal.

Upper Mustang Trek is considered a moderate to challenging trek, as it involves long days of hiking and high altitude.

The best route for Upper Mustang Trek depends on your preferences and time available, but the popular routes include Jomsom to Lo Manthang and Upper Mustang Circuit Trek.

No, it's not allowed to do Upper Mustang Trek without a guide, as it's a restricted area and requires a permit.

The accommodation during Upper Mustang Trek is basic tea houses which provide a simple bed and meals.

The food during Upper Mustang Trek is mainly local Nepalese cuisine, such as dal bhat, momos, and noodles, as well as some international dishes.

You should pack warm and comfortable clothes, sturdy hiking boots, a sleeping bag, a water bottle, a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.

Mustang Trek takes you to the northern region of Mustang, which is a restricted area, while Lower Mustang Trek is in the southern part and is a more popular and accessible trekking route.

Traveller Useful Information

Upper Mustang offers a variety of trekking routes, each with its unique features and challenges. The most popular route is the "Jomsom to Lo Manthang Trek," which takes you through the beautiful Kali Gandaki Valley, past ancient Buddhist monasteries, and across high-altitude deserts. Another popular route is the "Upper Mustang Loop Trek," which starts and ends in Jomsom and takes you to remote villages and settlements, including the ancient city of Lo Manthang. The "Tiji Festival Trek" is a unique Mustang trek that takes place during the annual Tiji festival, which celebrates the victory of good over evil. This trek provides a chance to witness the colorful cultural traditions of the local people.

Upper Mustang offers a variety of trekking routes in Upper Mustang, both popular and off-the-beaten-path. The most popular trekking route is the Jomsom to Lo Manthang trek, which takes around 10-12 days and offers stunning views of the Himalayas and the Tibetan plateau. Another popular route is the Upper Mustang Circuit Trek, which takes around 17-21 days and is ideal for those seeking a more challenging trekking experience.

For those looking to explore hidden gems, there are several lesser-known routes in Upper Mustang. The Tiji Festival Trek takes you to the remote village of Lo Manthang during the annual Tiji Festival, a three-day celebration that showcases the local culture and traditions. The Damodar Kunda Trek takes you to the sacred lakes of Damodar Kunda, which are believed to have spiritual significance in Hinduism and Buddhism. Other hidden gem routes include the Nar Phu Valley Trek and the Teri La Pass Trek.

The difficulty level and duration of the Upper Mustang Trek can vary depending on the route and itinerary chosen. Generally, the Mustang trek is considered moderately challenging with some steep uphill climbs and high altitude sections. The duration of the trek can range from 10 to 17 days depending on the route and acclimatization needs. It is important to be in good physical condition and have prior trekking experience for this adventure. It is recommended to consult with us.

Planning a trek to Upper Mustang can be an exciting yet challenging experience. It is essential to have a clear plan in place to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey. Here are some tips to help plan your trek:

Choose the right season: The best time to trek to Upper Mustang is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) seasons. These seasons offer the most favorable weather conditions for trekking.

Get necessary permits: Before starting on the Mustang trek, you need to obtain necessary permits such as the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) and the Upper Mustang Restricted Area Permit (RAP) from the Nepal Tourism Board.

Hire a guide and porter: Hiring a licensed guide and porter can make yourUpper Mustang  trek much easier and comfortable. They can assist you with navigation, provide insights into local culture and history, and carry your heavy luggage.

Pack smartly: Ensure that you carry all the necessary gear such as warm clothing, sturdy hiking boots, a waterproof jacket, and a good quality backpack. Pack light and avoid carrying unnecessary items.

Train and prepare: Trekking to Upper Mustang requires a certain level of physical fitness. It is recommended to train and prepare for the trek by doing regular exercise and hiking.

Plan your itinerary: Plan your itinerary in advance, including the number of days you will spend on the trek and the places you will visit. This will help you to avoid any last-minute changes and ensure that you make the most of your time in Upper Mustang.

When it comes to trekking in Upper Mustang, having a knowledgeable and experienced guide is essential for a safe and enjoyable journey. There are many trekking guide options available, including freelance guides and guides provided by us.

When choosing a guide, be sure to ask about their experience, training, and certification. A good guide should also be able to communicate effectively in English and have good knowledge of first aid.

Additionally, consider the cost of hiring a guide and any other services they offer, such as arranging permits and accommodations. It is best to book your guide in advance to ensure availability and to allow time to communicate any specific requests or concerns you may have.

If you're planning to trek in Upper Mustang, it's important to be aware of the necessary permits and regulations. The Mustang area is a restricted region, and special permits are required for entry. TheUpper Mustang Trek permits are issued by the Department of Immigration in Kathmandu and can only be obtained through authorized trekking agencies.

The two permits required are the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) and the Upper Mustang Restricted Area Permit (RAP). The ACAP is a permit required for all treks in the Annapurna region, including Upper Mustang. The RAP is a special permit required for the Upper Mustang region specifically.

The cost of the permits varies depending on the season and length of the trek. As of May 2023, the cost for the ACAP is NPR 3,000 (approximately USD 25) per person, and the cost for the RAP is USD 500 per person for the first 10 days, with an additional USD 50 per day for each day after that.

It's important to note that solo trekking is not allowed in Upper Mustang, and trekkers must be accompanied by a registered guide. Additionally, there are regulations in place to protect the cultural heritage of the region, including restrictions on the removal of artifacts and souvenirs.

Responsible trekking practices are essential to preserve the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Upper Mustang. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Respect local customs and traditions: Upper Mustang is a culturally rich region, and it's important to respect the local customs and traditions. Dress modestly and remove your shoes before entering temples or monasteries.

Minimize waste and pollution: Carry a reusable water bottle and water purification tablets instead of buying bottled water. Avoid littering and dispose of waste properly.

Support local businesses: Use local accommodations, hire local guides and porters, and buy locally made souvenirs. This helps to support the local economy.

Stay on designated trails: Stay on designated trails to avoid damaging the fragile ecosystem. Avoid shortcuts and don't disturb wildlife.

Leave no trace: Pack out all your garbage, including biodegradable waste like food scraps. Don't leave anything behind except your footprints.

By following these practices, you can help preserve the beauty and cultural heritage of Upper Mustang for future generations.

Here are some tips and recommendations to help you make the most of your Upper Mustang trek:

Start preparing early: As with any Mustang trek, it's important to start preparing early. This includes physical fitness, gear preparation, and booking permits and accommodations.

Pack appropriately: Make sure to pack warm and comfortable clothing suitable for the weather and altitude. Don't forget to bring a good pair of trekking shoes, sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat.

Stay hydrated: Staying hydrated is essential at high altitudes. Make sure to carry enough water or water purification tablets.

Follow responsible trekking practices: Respect the local culture, environment, and wildlife. Practice the Leave No Trace principles, and avoid littering or damaging the natural environment.

Hire a local guide or porter: Hiring a local guide or porter not only supports the local economy but also ensures a safer and more enjoyable trekking experience.

Be flexible: Weather conditions can change rapidly at high altitudes, so it's important to be flexible with your itinerary and have contingency plans.

Take proper precautions for altitude sickness: Altitude sickness can be a serious issue at higher altitudes. Make sure to acclimatize properly, take it slow, and know the symptoms of altitude sickness.

Enjoy the journey: Finally, remember to enjoy the journey and take in the beautiful scenery and unique culture of Upper Mustang trek. 

Some essential items to pack for the Upper Mustang trek are:

Trekking boots with good ankle support

Warm and waterproof clothing layers (fleece jackets, windbreakers, raincoats, etc.)

Comfortable trekking pants and shorts

Sunhat, sunglasses, and sunscreen lotion

Thermal base layers

Sleeping bag and a comfortable pillow

Water bottles and a water purification system

Trekking poles for stability and support

First-aid kit with essential medicines

Snacks and energy bars

Portable charger and spare batteries

Personal hygiene items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, wet wipes, etc.

Camera and binoculars

Headlamp or flashlight with extra batteries

Insect repellent. 

When trekking in Upper Mustang, it's important to take necessary health and safety precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey. Here are some tips:

  • Get a comprehensive travel insurance policy that covers emergency medical expenses, evacuation, and trip cancellation.
  • Consult with your doctor before the trip and get any necessary vaccinations and medications.
  • Carry a first-aid kit with essential items such as bandages, antiseptic cream, pain relievers, and altitude sickness medication.
  • Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated to avoid altitude sickness.
  • Take necessary precautions to protect yourself from the sun, including wearing sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.
  • Follow safe trekking practices such as staying on designated trails, traveling in groups, and respecting local customs and culture.
  • If you feel unwell or experience any medical issues during the trek, notify your guide or trekking company immediately.

While trekking in Upper Mustang, it's important to be respectful of the local culture and customs. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Dress modestly, covering your shoulders and knees.
  • Ask for permission before taking photos of locals or their homes.
  • Remove your shoes before entering temples, monasteries, or people's homes.
  • Do not touch or disturb religious artifacts or symbols.
  • Avoid pointing your feet towards religious objects or people.
  • Do not display affection in public.
  • Respect the local environment by disposing of waste properly and not disturbing wildlife.

By following these cultural etiquette practices, you can show respect for the local people and their way of life.

There are several alternative trekking routes in the Upper Mustang region that offer a unique and off-the-beaten-path experience for trekkers. One such route is the Upper Dolpo to Upper Mustang Trek, which takes trekkers from the remote Upper Dolpo region to the Upper Mustang region via the Shey Phoksundo National Park. Upper Mustang trek offers stunning mountain views, passes through traditional villages and ancient monasteries, and allows trekkers to experience the unique culture and lifestyle of the local people. The trek usually takes around 22-25 days to complete and requires a special permit, as it involves crossing multiple high passes and remote areas.

Client Reviews

Travel Freak from Italy

Italy

Definitely Coming back again !!!

22nd July, 2023

Still remember the amazing trip to Upper Mustang some months ago ! The views were spectacular. Would like to thank the Magnificent Himalayan Treks for making my journey wholesome and memorable. Our guide Sanket, was super helpful and guided me through the trip ! I am definitely coming back again to recreate these wonderful memories !

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