A Trekker’s Guide to Upper Mustang

Upper Mustang

The Upper Mustang is the land of wonder and phenomenal landscapes of Nepal. This phenomenon land used to be the last isolated Himalayan Kingdom, and still exists the ceremonial King and that king is the second ceremonial King of Nepal. Upper Mustang used to be forbidden for foreign tourists till 1990 and was very unknown to the outside world. Since it’s open to international visitors each year thousand of trekkers trek there.

Upper Mustang has completely different landscapes than other trekking regions. In the other trekking region like the Everest region, Annapurna region, Langtang region, and Manalsu region. These trekking trails have almost the same types of landscapes and mountain views. On the other hand, in Upper Mustang there are very distinct landscapes and mountain vistas. So that this region has been one of the most popular trekking trails in Nepal.

Trekking to the Lomanthang is not just walking to the Himalayas, it’s all about experiencing nature and culture, at the same time. In the mighty land, there are not many populations compared to other regions. The reason behind this might be the high Himalayas environment and very tough life. And the main thing is this land is the trans-Himalayan land located between two gigantic peaks Mt. Annapurna first and Mt. Dhaulagiri.

However, nowadays there is road access all the way to Lomanthang and Tibet border. And that road is considered the highway to connect with Pokhara, Kathmandu, and then India too. That is why they there are getting modernization and losing the real traditional identity of the Mustang.

Why upper mustang trek is so popular?

Magical Land Mustang

The upper mustang trek was opened in 1992 for foreign tourists. Toni Hagen was the first westerner to visit this religious land and he was a Swiss explorer and geologist. And then the first western person to sleep in the Lo Manthang was the French man Michel Pesseil and that was the first authorized exploration of the Upper Mustang in 1964. Since then every year thousands of foreign trekkers do Upper Mustang Trek in Nepal.

However, still, this land is a restricted trekking region and it requires a special permit to enter. There are various reasons why Upper Mustang Trek is so popular in Nepal. The first and unique one is this trek is not possible to do without a special permit. And this permit will cost USD 500 per person and this will valid only for 10 days. Also, the upper mustang trek is not allowed without a license holder trekking guide.

The amazing landscapes with various saves, and colors, with an elevation of around 4000 meters above sea level makes the upper mustang very special. People who love Nepal, the mountains of Nepal, and a passion for trekking in Nepal will cherish this distinct geography. These various types of landscapes of the mustang are another reasons why Upper Mustang Trek is so popular among trekkers.

The ancient culture and traditions of the Upper Mustang are a combination of Tibetan and Nepali. So culture and tradition are some things trekkers love to witness in mustang. Similarly, the Buddhist religion in the valley is spectacular, and there exist all four different sects of Buddhism. The beautiful nature, fusion culture, and Himalayan Buddhism are the facts that make the Upper Mustang Trek; one of the best trekking in Nepal.

Upper Mustang Trek Itineraries

Upper Mustang

Nowadays upper mustang trek can do in different styles such as camping, tea house, walk, Jeep, or Bike. You can choose the Mustang Trek Itinerary which is suitable for you. The classic Mustang Trek itinerary is still the most likely one among trekkers. The classic upper mustang trekking itinerary

Day 1  Kathmandu to Pokhara (Can travel by air or land)
Day 2 Pokhara to Jomsom and trek to Kagbeni (Can travel by air and land) the best option is by air.
Day 3 Kagbeni to Chaile (the first day inside the Upper Mustang)
Day 4 Chaile to Syangbochen
Day 5 Syangbochen to Tsarang
Day 6 Tsarang to Lomanthang and explore the Lomanthang village
Day 7 Lomanthang to Chhoser Village and trek back to Lomanthang
Day 8 Lomanthang to Dhakmar
Day 9 Dhakmar to Syangbochen
Day 10 Syangbochen to Chhusang
Day 11 Chhusang to Muktinath
Day 12 Muktinath to Jomsom.

Jeep or Bike Tour Itinerary to Mustang Trek

Because of the road construction in Mustang, there is the possibility to do Mustang Trek on a bike or jeep. If you want then this is the itinerary for you.

Day 1 Pokhara to Tatopani (Natural Hot Spring)
Day 2 Tatopani to Kagbeni
Day 3 Kagbeni to Syangbochen
Day 4 Syangboche to Lomanthang
Day 5 Explore Chhoser Village and China border
Day 6  Lomanthang to Samar
Day 7 Samar to Marpha via Muktinath
Day 8 Marpha to Pokhara

Extended version of Upper Mustang Trek Itinerary

This itinerary is for those who want to explore more places in Upper Mustang and the age-old Luri Gumba. This itinerary is a bit tough and harder and similarly so beautiful too.

Day 1 Kathmandu to Pokhara (Can travel by air or land)
Day 2 Pokhara to Jomsom and trek to Kagbeni (Can travel by air and land) the best option is by air.
Day 3 Kagbeni to Chaile (the first day inside the Upper Mustang)
Day 4 Chaile to Syangbochen
Day 5 Syangbochen to Dhakmar
Day 6 Dhakmar to Lomanthang via Ghar Gumpa
Day 7 Lomanthang to Chhoser Village and trek back to Lomanthang
Day 8 Lomanthang to Yara
Day 9 Explore the Luri Gumpa and back to Yara
Day 10 Yara to Tangbe
Day 11 Tangbe to Chhusang
Day 12 Chhusang to Muktinath
Day 13 Muktinath to Jomsom via Lubra Village
Day 14  Jomsom to Pokhara by flight or by Jeep

Mustang Tiji Festival Itinerary

The Mustang Tiji Festival is one of the oldest festival celebrations in the Mustang region. This is an annual three days celebration that takes place in the Lomanthang. Tiji festival trek is very popular and important to the local people as well as famous among the international tourists too. That is why each year number of foreign visitors observe this festive.

Day 1 Kathmandu to Pokhara (by land or by air)
Day 2 Pokhara to Jomsom and trek to Kagbeni (Can travel by air and land) the best option is by air.
Day 3 Kagbeni to Chaile (the first day inside the Upper Mustang)
Day 4 Chaile to Syangbochen
Day 5 Syangbochen to Tsarang
Day 6 Tsarang to Lomanthang and observe the first day
Day 7 Observe the second day of the Tiji Festival
Day 8 Observe the third and final day of the Tiji Festival
Day 9 Lamanthang to Dhakmar
Day 10 Dhakmar to Syangbochen
Day 11 Syangbochen to Chhusang
Day 12 Chhusang to Kagbeni
Day 13 Kagbeni to Jomsom
Day 14 Jomsom to Pokhara

Best time to explore Upper Mustang

Upper Mustang

Well, Nepal is that land in the universe where all types of weather and temperature can find. A plain region Tarai, where more than 40-degree temperature and then on the top of Everest more than – 40 degrees temperature will find. Such various temperatures and weather only can find in Nepal.

On the other hand, Upper Mustang lies between two world’s highest peaks Mt. Dhaulagiri and Mt. Annapurna. So this trans-Himalayan territory is recognized as the Himalayan region; exploring this place means need to have a perfect plan. Nepal has four different seasons – Spring, Autumn, Summer, and Winter.

Spring season for Mustang Trek

The spring season – March, April, and May

This season is the best trekking season in Nepal; because during this season the weather will be nice and clear and the temperature will be perfect to do Upper Mustang Trek.

Autumn Season for Mustang Trek

Autumn season – September, October, and November

This season is another best seasons to do trekking in Nepal. And also this season is very best for Upper Mustang Trek. During the Autumn season, the weather will be extraordinarily nice and the climate will be suitable for hiking in the Himalayas.

Summer season for Mustang Trek

Summer season – June, July, August

Normally, the summer season is not a good time to do trekking in Nepal. But Upper Mustang is one of the best summer season treks in Nepal. During this season, in Lomanthang there will celebration Tiji Festival so this is another beauty of doing Mustang Trek in the summer season.

But the winter season is not a good time to do the Upper Mustang because during this season there will be very cold and lots of snow.  So that there will be no tourists on the trek during the winter season.

Upper Mustang Trek Cost

Marpha Village

Trekking to Upper Mustang is one of the most expensive mountain activities in Nepal. Because to do this trek required a special permit and this cost USD 500 for 10 days. And need a minimum of 2 people in the group to issue this special permit. Also need the Annapurna Conservation Area permit and which costs USD 30 per person.

A license-holder trekking guide is mandatory and a professional trekking guide will charge a per day a minimum of USD 30 and a maximum of USD 150. So if you take a guide for 10 days that will cost a minimum of $300 and transportation is another factor that determines the cost of Upper Mustang Trek.

Adding all these costs to a trip is very expensive than other trekking routes in Nepal.

How to get Upper Mustang

Upper Mustang

To go to Mustang there are two types of transportation available one is by road and one is by air. First, by road, there is public transportation available from Kathmandu to Jomsom or Pokhara to Jomsom. Because of the quite good road condition, you can take your private vehicle too. And you can get down as your wishes place. If you want to fly to Jomsom the only option is from Pokhara. So first need to fly or drive to Pokhara then fly early in the Jomsom. Normally, a flight to Jomsom from Pokhara operates in the morning first hour. Because in the afternoon there will be big wind and difficult to take off and land in Jomsom.

Upper Mustang Trek Permit

In Nepal, there are two types of trekking trails – normal trekking trails and restricted trekking trails. Normal trekking trails are open for individual trekkers as well. On the other hand, restricted trekking areas are only open to organized treks and group trekkers. And Upper Mustang region is one of the restricted trekking areas so that to do Upper Mustang requires a special permit. Alongside the special permit need to get an ACAP permit as well. The special permit will cost USD 500 per person and need a minimum of 2 people to issue the permit. Also, that special permit only issues by registered trekking companies from Nepal.

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