Country made at first glance for amazing high mountain hiking and climbing. Nepal is the seat of world’s highest mountain Mount Everest (8848 m), seven other impressive eight-thousands, beautiful green mountains Mahabharat, part of a Small Himalayas, with the incredible number of rice fields on steep slopes, arid Tibetan-looking mountains in the northwest, fascinating historic royal towns in the Kathmandu valley, interesting national parks full of wild animals in subtropical plains of Terai on the border with India and mainly friendly and cheerful people.
To trek in Upper Mustang is a rare privilege. Here you will experience the way of life of true mountain people, who were not much in touch with the rest of Nepal for hundreds of years, and even until recent times had an officially recognized king. In many ways, a trek into Upper Mustang is similar to trekking in Tibet, as geographically it is a part of the Tibetan plateau. The district of Mustang was, until 1950, a separate kingdom within the boundaries of Nepal. The last king, the Raja of Mustang, still has his home in the ancient capital known as Lo Manthang.
Upper Mustang was opened to non-Nepali trekkers only some fifteen years ago and even today, access is still highly restricted. To enter Upper Mustang, that is to travel further north from Kagbeni, trekkers need special trekking permit and must be accompanied by a government-appointed officer. Upper Mustang, being in the Himalayan rain shadow, is one of the regions in the country suitable for trekking even during monsoons. During this time, the upper Kali Gandaki valley is still quite dry with only occasional rainfall. The Mustang trek is not particularly difficult, the highest point reached is only 3,800 meters, but the conditions at times can be arduous. Mustang is cold in winter and is always windy and dusty through the year. Winter treks are best avoided due to harsh weather. There are few accommodation facilities available above Kagbeni, so groups must be fully self-sufficient, especially in fuel. While porters are available in Jomsom it is preferable to use mules to carry the loads up to Mustang. These pack animals are available locally and are more economical, and certainly more environmentally friendly than porters.
Mustang trek requires a minimum of 9 days, starting and ending in Kagbeni. This allows the trek to be completed within the 10-day period that the permit allows. The route generally follows the Kali Gandaki valley but, occasionally climbs high above the valley walls. The settlements are scattered and there is little sign of cultivation between villages. In Mustang, little grows without irrigation, thus the region resembles a desert albeit mountainous, nuclear settlements in fertile areas. Manthang, the old capital, is reached in four days and at least one extra day should be spent here to catch the sights and sound of this unique walled settlement. Ponies are available for hire if you so desire. The return trip can either follow the same route while entering or, as an alternative route, the eastern bank of the Kali Gandaki may be followed.
The Upper Mustang was a restricted demilitarized area until 1992 which makes it one of the most preserved regions in the world, with a majority of the population still speaking traditional Tibetic languages. Tibetan culture has been preserved by the relative isolation of the region from the outside world. The Upper Mustang comprise the northern two-thirds of Mustang District of Dhawalagiri Zone, Nepal. The southern third of the district is called Thak and is the homeland of the Thakali, who speak the Thakali language, and whose culture combines Tibetan and Nepaleseelements. Life in Mustang revolves around tourism, animal husbandry, and trade. Mustang’s status as a kingdom ended in 2008 when its suzerain Kingdom of Nepal became a republic. The influence of the outside world, especially China, is growing and contributing to the rapid change in the lives of Mustang’s people.
After arriving at the Tribhuwan International Airport, Kathmandu, you are welcomed by the team and then you will be transferred to a nearby hotel. We then check-in at the hotel, freshen up and take a rest. You will be provided with dinner also. Overnight in Kathmandu.
After a breakfast, you will leave for a full day sightseeing tour around the Kathmandu valley. You can pay your homage visiting the center of pilgrimage Pashupatinath Temple (for Hindus) and Swyambhunath (for Buddhists). These are very ancient and historical pride of Nepal importantly enlisted in UNESCO World Heritage sites. The biggest Buddhist Stupa at Boudhanath and the fine arts and historical architecture of Kathmandu Durbar Square reflect the uniqueness and diversity in Nepalese culture. On the journey back to the hotel, you can travel around the local areas, gullies and lifestyle. You can perhaps take a relaxed walk through the famous streets like Thamel.
After a breakfast, your journey for Pokhara will begin, also known as The Lake City owing to a large number of lakes in the city. Upon our arrival in Pokhara, we are rewarded with magnificent views of the Himalayas including Dhaulagiri (8,167m/26,794ft), Manaslu (8,156m/26,759ft), Machhapuchhre (6,993m/22,943ft), the five peaks of Annapurna and others. We then check-in to our hotel and take a rest. We enjoy boating in the Fewa Lake and enjoy the dinner with the great view. Overnight in Pokhara.
On the 4th day, you will have the early morning flight to Jomsom which is famous for its apples, strong winds, and the landscape. We begin our trek on an open trail alongside a beautiful valley. We pass through Eaklibatti village before reaching Jomsom which is ideally located at the bank of two rivers. The village is beautiful with flat-roofed houses and also has ruins of an old fortress.Here you will be provided with Lunch and Dinner. Overnight in Kagbeni.
We get our permits checked then begin our trek on a trail alongside the Kali Gandaki River. We walk on sand amidst strong winds before ascending on a hill. We reach the Tangbe Village and admire its narrow alleyways, white-washed houses, barley and buckwheat fields, and apple orchards. We continue our walk and pass another village and cross a river on our way. Next, we walk on a ridge before reaching Chele Village. Overnight in Chele.
Our trek from today will be a little hard compared to what we experienced before. Our walk today involves crossing two passes, Taklam La pass (3,624m) and Dajori La pass (3,735). On our way, we enjoy great views of Tilicho, Yakawa Kang, and Damodar Danda and pass by Ramchung Cave. We descend further and reach Samar Village. From here we walk on a trail above the village and reach a ridge. Next, we descend on a steep trail to a stream and continue our trek to Syanboche. Overnight in Syanboche.
We ascend to the Yamda La pass at 3,850m. On the way, we pass by a few teahouses, chortens and beautiful villages. We trek through poplar forests and barley fields and reach Nyi Pass at 4,010m. From here, we descend to Ghami which is one of the biggest villages in the Lo region. The village is beautiful with fields surrounding the entire village. Overnight in Ghami.
Our trek today begins with a descent through a rough and often slippery trail. We then cross a suspension bridge over the Ghami Khola and begin ascending. The pathway is beautiful with mani walls along the trail. Next, we cross the Tsarang La Pass at 3870m and reach Tsarang village. The village lies atop the Charang Chu canyon with a huge fortress and a red gompa towards its east. Overnight in Tsarang.
We begin our trek by descending to a canyon and cross a river before beginning our uphill trek to Lo La pass which at 3950m. From the top of the pass, we can admire the beautiful Lo Manthang village. From the pass, we descend to Lo Manthang which is a beautiful walled village. From here the views of the Himalayas including Nilgiri, Tilicho, and Annapurna I, Bhrikuti Peak as well as Damodar Kunda (pond) is quite good. Overnight in Lo-Manthang.
Lo Manthang is a walled town of the remote Upper Mustang region of Nepal. We spend the day touring three major gompas of the town namely Jhampa, Thupchen, and Chhoeda. All of these gompas have undergone expert restoration over the last two decades. We can also trek to Tingkhar which is a beautiful village located north-west of Lo-Mangthang. Overnight in Lo Manthang.
We trek on a different route when returning from Lo-Manthang. Our trail passes through Gyakar village which houses a century old Ghar Gompa with beautiful rock paintings. According to a local legend, anyone who makes a wish at the Gompa will have it fulfilled. We explore the Gompa and continue our trek to Drakmar for an overnight stay.
We start our trek early to avoid strong winds and descend for the most part of the trek. Our trail passes through a dry plateau and fields before reaching Ghiling. The walk can be relatively difficult as we are most likely to experience strong winds on our face. Ghiling is mostly dry, but we still get good views of Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri mountains. We can tour the village around the evening. Overnight in Ghiling.
We begin our trek after breakfast. We walk on the same trail as before going up to Lo Manthang. On the way to Chhuksang, we can enjoy great views of the Himalayas and small villages we pass en route. Overnight in Chhuksang.
Today is the last day of our trek and it is a long one. After trekking for a while, we come to an end of our Mustang trails and join the trails of the Annapurna circuit. We stop for lunch at Kagbeni. After lunch, we continue our trek to Jomsom for an overnight stay.
We take an early morning flight to Pokhara. The airplane passes through a gorge between Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountains making the flight itself an amazing experience. After arriving in Pokhara, we can spend the rest of the day at leisure. Overnight in Pokhara.
After breakfast, we say goodbye to the beautiful northern skyline of Pokhara and drive towards Kathmandu. This will be a journey along river banks with wonderful views of terraced hills and the rural Nepalese lifestyle. After reaching Kathmandu, we take a rest or do some souvenir shopping. To celebrate the successful completion of our journey, we will have a farewell dinner in the evening. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Our Upper Mustang Trek in Nepal comes to an end today! A representative from Himalayan Glacier will take us to the airport approximately three hours before the scheduled flight. On our flight back home, we take with us amazing memories of our Lo Manthang trip and Nepal.
- The Trip Cost Includes
- • Pick-up or Drop-off service from and to Airport(in our own vehicle)
- • Transportation to and from!!
- • Food all along the trip(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and a cup of coffee or tea) and accommodations during the trip in hotels with a family environment
- • Transportation, food, accommodation, and insurance of Guide during the trip
- • Down jacket, all-season sleeping bag, duffel bag and trekking map(in case if you don’t have your own. Down jacket, sleeping bag and duffel bag must be returned after completion of the trip)
- • First Aid Medical Kit(Your guide will carry the Medical Kit but we also advise to bring yourself for your own use, as far as possible)
- • All the required permits and paperwork
- • International Airfare
- • Visa Charges
- • Hotel Expenses(In Kathmandu, some packages do include hotel expenses)
- • Your travel and medical insurance
- • Personal Expenses such as shopping, bar bills, hot shower, telephone, laundry, titbits etc
- • Food and accommodations in Kathmandu
- • Services not mentioned or not promised by the agent/agency
- • Emergency expenses such as expenses on the chartered helicopter.
Upper Mustang is a Grade B or a moderately difficult trekking route. So any fit person can do this trek, even if you do not have any previous experience. You should be aware of what to expect and mentally prepare for it. Then, as long as you will too, you can.
On average, you walk about 4 to 6 hours per day. One or two days can be as less as 3hrs and one or two days can be as long as 7hrs.
The highest altitude reached is nearly 4,130m/13,545ft. This is the elevation of Annapurna Base Camp. Upper Mustang is the highest we will climb in this trek.
Yes, you can charge batteries in route. The charger should be brought. There are hot shower facilities as well. You may have to pay a certain amount for both ($1-$2). Negotiate. Also, hot water facility could be free at a lower elevation.
No. There are no ATMs on this trek route. You will have to draw enough cash from Kathmandu. There are a number of ATMs in these cities. Everything is paid in Nepali rupees. So money should be exchanged before the start of the trek.
Yes. The Internet can be accessed in most places. Sometimes, there might be some technical problems. Internet in Nepal is not as fast as you are used to and at times you can just lose connection.
Not really. It depends on you. If you want, Upper Mustang trekking can be done independently. You could hire a guide and a porter by yourself instead of going through an agency or not hire a guide at all. Although, not having a guide can be a little problematic during the offseason. It really depends on you. Is it your first time in Nepal? How confident are you of being able to find your way around? How pressed on time are you? If you go through an agency, it will be costlier but everything will be planned. You will only have to come, trek and return.
For this region, pay for guides range from $20 to $30 per day and porters take $15 to $25 per day.