Revealing the Hidden Treasures of the Upper Mustang Trek

Upper Mustang Trek

A journey to the Himalayan Kingdom Lo is known as the Upper Mustang Trek. This trans-Himalayan barren land is kind of the desert of Nepal because this is a nacked and dry land. Mustang lies between the two world’s highest mountain peaks Mt. Dhaulagiri (8167m)and Mt. Annapurna first (8091m). And this area is the border with Tibet and this area used to be the salt trade route in the history of Nepal.

Lomanthang is the last kingdom of Nepal and there is still a king and royal palace standing in the walled city of Lomanthang. The unique landscapes and vivid Buddhist culture and religion are the facts that this region is a natural and cultural heritage in the Himalayas. The best part of the Upper Mustang Trek is that the elevation is just around 4000m and everyone can do this trek.

Upper Mustang Trek
The ancient Buddhist Monastery at Tsarang Village – Upper Mustang Nepal

In every village there are monasteries and those monasteries belong to different sects of Buddhism. In Buddhism, there are four different sects – Ningmapa, Sakyapa, Gelugpa, and Karmapa (Kaggupa), and in Mustang these all sects practice peacefully. Even the Bon religion is popular in some parts of the upper mustang.

The outstanding views of the gigantic peaks Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, and Nilgiri will make your journey to Mustang, naturally unforgettable. On the other hand, the Buddhist stupas and Monasteries along the way to Lomanthang and back will show the cultural richness of the Upper Mustang region.

The Mustangi people and their unique language and traditions are another attraction of the Upper Mustang Trek. Compound-style houses, clay roofs, and drying woods on that roofs are something different you are going to see. Those woods on the roofs are for the winter season because during the winter season there will be a lot of snow.

Upper Mustang Trek Cost.

Upper Mustang Trek
Beautiful Kagbeni Village – The entry point of the Upper Mustang Trek

Upper Mustang Trek is one of the most costly treks in Nepal because the special permit cost $500 per person. If you want to spend more days in this region you have to add $50 more per day and person. To do this trek requires a minimum of 2 people in a group, otherwise, you can not issue a permit for a single person.

An additional $30 for will coat for the Annapurna Conservation Area permit. A government license holder guide is mandatory for restricted area trekking so that, to do Upper Mustang Trek need to have a guide with you. The guide will charge a minimum of $30 per day so it’s another cost you have to manage. If you are hiring a porter and that will be another cost and their transportation cost will add to your total budget. 

Accommodation in Upper Mustang is not as expensive as in Kathmandu and Pokhara; even not like Jomsom and Muktinath. Here a room will cost around $5/8 per night but you have to eat in the same hotel you staying in. If you don’t eat then the room will be very expensive it may charge 4000 to 5000 rupees. To calculate all prices in one it will be very expensive trekking.

Upper Mustang Trek itinerary

Welcome to Lomanthang
Trekkers are taking photos with the welcome signal at Lomanthang Upper Mustang Nepal

There are various types of itineraries we can follow during the Upper Mustang Trek. Such as jeep and bike trip itinerary because there is road access to Lomanthang and Tibet border. And there is the possibility to walk on the upper side of the upper mustang to do the Mustang Terila Pass Trek. This is the standard Mustang Trekking Itinerary which normally most trekkers choose.

Day 1 Fly to Jomsom and trek to Kagbeni
Day 2 Kagbeni to Chaile
Day 3 Chaile to Syangbochen
Day 4 Syangbochen to Tsarang
Day 5 Tsarang to Lomanthang and explore monasteries.
Day 6 Visit Chhoser village and explore Cave and Monastery
Day 7 Lomanthang to Dhakmar
Day 8 Dhakmar to Syangbochen
Day 9 Syangbochen to Chhusang
Day 10 Chhusang to Muktinath
Day 11 Muktinath to Jomsom
Day 12 Jomsom to Pokhara fly or drive back.

This itinerary is based on what I did, it can be changed as your wish and places to visit. If you have a longer holiday you can add Yara, Ghara, and Luri Gumba and trek via Tangbe to Chhusang. To do this you need to add two more days and also you can visit more places in the Upper Mustang.

Best time to do Upper Mustang Trek

Walking to destination

Upper Mustang is that region where all season is good for a trek. However, I do not recommend the winter season to do this trek because during winter there will be lots of snow. Except for winter other three seasons are good to do Mustang Trek.

Spring season- March, April, and May

The Spring season is the king of the seasons so to do the mustang trek this season is the best time. During this season weather will be clear and you can have the best mountain view and surroundings. The temperature of the region will be excellent and therefore not be hot or cold.

Autumn season – September, October, and November.

The Autumn season is the festive season in Nepal and during this season weather will be great and the temperature will be positive. During this season you can do any trek in Nepal.

Summer season – June, July, and August

The summer season is rainy season and wet but Upper Mustang is the place where you can do a trek. Mustang is a barren land and no rain there. So that you can accomplish trekking to Upper Mustang during this period too.

Tiji Festival in Lomanthang

Upper Mustang Trek
The Monk Performing during the Tiji Festival

Tiji festival is an annual celebration that takes place during the summer season between May and June. At the walled city of Lomanthang Upper Mustang. This festival celebrates protecting the area from bad spirits. As the legend, there was a bad devil who was giving huge problems to the local people. And a holy man came and he killed the demon and protect the area.

During this festival, Monks will perform a traditional dance dedicated to demons and Dorje Saman. Dorje Saman is the man who killed that bad devil to save the region from a devastated catastrophic. This celebration will celebrate for three days and many people from the nearby village travel to Lomanthang. And foreigners tourists also witness this grand festival

For foreigners, they have to pay for entrance and even for a camera too. But they can use the same ticket to visit monasteries in Lomanthang. In Lomanthang 3 huge monasteries and preserving the Buddhist religion in Upper Mustang.

Require trekking gear for this trek.

Beautiful Landscapes

To do a trek always better to have good quality trekking equipment; because without good gear, there might be many problems. Also buying good quality trekking items is a long time investment because they will only use when we do the trek.

  • A good quality Rucksack Bag with a waterproof back cover.
  • Raincoat or Umbrella
  • Shirts, trousers, shorts, Quick dry T-shirts, jumpers and jackets, hats and gloves.
  • Comfortable Hiking Boots
  • Trekking poles
  • Sleeping bag
  • Water bottles should be hard plastic (Nalgene) or metal ones.
  • Toilet paper, towel, personal small first aid kit
  • Sunglasses, buff,  and sunhat
  • Head torch, camera, spare battery, power bank
  • Extra Nepalese rupees
  • Extra energy bars (Snickers, Marsh, Kitkat, etc)

If you are not able to buy such trekking gear in your home country then you can buy in Thamel or Pokhara. It depends on where you start the Upper Mustang Trip. For Nepali trekkers just go to Thamel there are so many trekking gear shops where you can purchase needed trekking equipment.

Meals and accommodation during Upper Mustang Trek

Beautiful Stupa
A traditional Buddhist stupa along the way to Lomanthang from Tsarang

As with other trekking trails in Nepal, the Upper Mustang trekking region is also full of guesthouses and those guesthouses offer basic types of accommodation. Nowadays most hotels offer attached toilets but most of the toilets are not western toilets. So it might be a problem for many western trekkers.

All the hotels offer basic food and even they have a menu, from the menu you can select the items that you want to eat. But the test of the food is not the same as in the cities. So the best food during Upper Mustang Trek might be Dal Bhat and Momo. If you are looking for good coffee and bakery items then Lomanthang there are some coffee shops for that.

How to get Upper Mustang?

To get Upper Mustang first need to go to Pokhara. To go to Pokhara there are two ways to fly or drive. From Pokhara again need to drive or fly to Jomsom to start the trekking to Upper Mustang. Jomsom is the starting and ending point of the magnificent journey. Even there is a direct bus service from Kathmandu to Jomsom or Muktinath. Also, the same way back. That is why there are two sources to get in Upper Mustang fly or drive. If you drive first drive to Pokhara, then Beni, Tatopani, Ghansa, Marpha, and then Jomsom. If fly, fly to Pokhara and then fly to Jomsom.

Neended Upper Muustang Trek Permit?

Upper Mustang is a restricted trekking area in Nepal. To do trekking in those restricted areas need a special trekking permit. Which is only issued by government-registered trekking companies from Nepal. And also need an ACAP permit for Annapurna Conservation Area because Mustang Trek is inside the ACAP.

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