Trekking and Walking

Upper Mustang Trek

Nepal

Upper Mustang Trek

Durtation: 18 Days

Price: US 2,099 All Inclusive

Upper Mustang Trek is the ultimate off-the-beaten-track gateway to the mysterious Forbidden Kingdom of Mustang called Lo. The journey is a spectacular walking through a striking semi-arid desert with colorful rock formations, deep gorges, and ever-stretching gorgeous scenery.  

For decades, this trans-Himalayan region was restricted and secluded from the rest of the world, but it was able to develop its own distinct culture and rich traditions similar to Tibet. This region, which borders Tibet, has a particular Tibetan flavor to it, both in terms of people and culture, as well as in terms of terrain, and it once had its kingdom, with Lo Manthang as its capital.

The ancient monasteries, traditional villages, and architectural caves aboding high up on the cliffs are the prime highlights of the walled city of Lo Manthang. 

Upper Mustang is rich in mythical and profound legends, strong Buddhist culture, thousands of years of protected historical sites, and open-hearted locals. Even though modernization has had an impact on the area, visitors are nonetheless surprised by its unique culture and traditions. We can feel the spirit of the real mountain people in their natural habitat battling to keep ancient history and culture alive.

This 18 days journey traverses through one of the driest places in Nepal and offers the uniqueness of the treeless terrain, rocky routes, and views of Nilgiri, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, and other peaks. Despite being the driest and receiving the least amount of rainfall, it is alive with life and awe-inspiring grandeur. This vast land is quenched by the majestic mountain rivers that pour from the highlands.

The Upper Mustang Trek here is unlike any other in Nepal, embracing cultural exploration as well as breathtaking landscapes. It is all about delving into the mysterious world of Mustang's ancient Buddhist monarchy. The trip is the ideal blend of culture and trekking, as it was designed to be. In the heart of the forest, far away from the bustling world. Allow the Himalaya to hug you and immerse yourself in the Mustang's magic.

Major attractions of Upper Mustang Trek

  • Explore UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Tibetan-influenced culture and tradition
  • Semi-arid desert with steep ravines and rock shelves bordered by snow-capped peaks
  • An excellent excursion to escape the summer monsoon, lying in the rain shadow
  • View of Annapurna, Nilgiri, and Dhaulagiri 
  • Visit Amchi Museum and Amchi School (traditional medicinal school)
  • Chhoser Cave, four-story structure with 50+ private rooms and a communal kitchen
  • Trek through a barren desert terrain dotted by spires and cliffs
  • Feel the spiritual feeling from the Gompas, chortens, flapping prayer flags, ritual chanting, caves, rock murals, and century-old monasteries there

Upper Mustang Trek Difficulty 

Upper Mustang Trek is considered moderately a difficult one. The trek is, nevertheless, achievable if you are physically healthy and eager to see the trans-Himalayan terrain. It is appropriate for people of all ages, especially families with children and seniors. Most walkers will be able to complete the Upper Mustang journey without any restrictions or limitations. This walk, however, necessitates a respectable level of fitness.

The walk-in Upper Mustang is deemed difficult due to the altitude and arid environment. There are ups and downs on this walk, like on many treks in the Nepal Himalayas. High passes must be traversed, as well as steep descents. In terms of weather, because this hike is in the rain shadow, you can do it virtually any time of year.

The average number of walking hours per day is 6-7. Both novice and experienced trekkers can complete the Upper Mustang trip. However, to complete this expedition, you should have a decent level of fitness. So, put in some extra gym or trekking time before you arrive, like with other treks in Nepal. Work on your cardio as well as your leg muscles. 

AMS during Upper Mustang Trekking 

While trekking to Upper Mustang, altitude is not a concern as you will be constantly below 4,000 m during the trekking period, which means that even if you get symptoms of Altitude Sickness (AS), such as headache, nausea, or vomiting, there is a lower risk of serious altitude consequences.

However, at such a great altitude, you must be cautious about following acclimatization measures. Altitude sickness has the potential to be lethal. Anti-altitude sickness medication, such as Diamox, is beneficial. Also, descending at a lower altitude is the ideal strategy. To take the appropriate measures, one should always seek assistance from the guides or team leaders.

Also, it is always best to consult with the doctors before embarking on a higher altitude trek. 

Best Season for Upper Mustang

A trip to Mustang's unique lands is doable at any time of year. The greatest time to visit Mustang, Nepal, depends on what you want to get out of the trip. Every four distinct seasons in Mustang has its own set of benefits and a distinct aesthetic offering a unique terrain, natural setting, and trekking experience. 

Spring (March, April, May)

In Mustang, spring is when everything comes to life when fresh plants emerge and flowers flourish. As you walk to Mustang, you will be surrounded by the enormous splendor of nature. This is an excellent time to explore both lower and upper Mustang, as the weather will be warmer and the rivers in the lower parts will be brimming with snowmelt.

If you want to traverse high passes or go climbing in Upper Mustang, this is the finest time of year. The Tiji Festival takes place in Lo-Manthang in the middle of May. This three-day celebration is a compelling reason to visit in May.

Summer (June, July, August)

Upper Mustang is located in the Annapurna range's rain shadow. As a result, summer trips to Upper Mustang are pleasant, dry, and well-lit. The weather is perfect, and the trails are in excellent condition with long, warm, and sunny days, and stunning visibility. Upper Mustang's rivers and fauna are at their peak during the summer. 

Though you may encounter damp weather in Lower Mustang in summer/monsoon, making your trails muddy and slippery, Mustang's natural beauty gets enhanced by the little rainfall.

In conclusion, Upper Mustang Trek is one of Nepal's most beautiful summer treks.

Autumn (September, October, November) 

Autumn is one of the best and busiest times of year to trek to the Mustang in Nepal. During the autumn months, you may need to book things ahead of time. 

The weather in Mustang is usually dry and cold in the autumn with clearer skies, and you will be able to see different mountain ranges along the paths. 

Winter (December, January, February)

With heavy snowfall, the winter in Mustang is one of the coldest of all seasons. For your protection, some of the high passes and small peak climbs may stay blocked. This is the greatest time to visit Mustang for trekkers who want solitude and tough treks and searching for a more intimate Upper Mustang trek experience.

The hiking pathways are snow-covered and many Mustang residents retreat to a lower altitude during this season due to harsh cold. To make a successful winter trek to Upper Mustang, you should have the proper equipment, gear, and clothing.

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Detailed Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive Kathmandu (1350m)

30 min private drive

Arrive at Kathmandu after a scenic flight over the mountains. Meet the representative of Adventure Mission Nepal Treks & Expedition (AMN) and transfer to Hotel.

BB

Hotel

Day 2

Kathmandu tour & trek preparation

1 Hour

You can spend this day exploring some of the World heritage sites in Kathmandu valley for some time and prepare for the trek in the afternoon.

Breakfast

Hotel

Day 3

Drive to Pokhara (200m)

6-7 hrs drive

After breakfast we will take a scenic bus drive of 7 hours to reach Pokhara. Walk around the lake side and explore Pokhara city on your own. Sitting at hotel balcony you can have an excellent view of the mountains as they are only 28 Kms away from Pokhara city, which lies at an altitude of 900m.

Breakfast

Hotel

Day 4

Fly to Jomsom (2700m) & trek to Kagbeni (2810m)

30 mins flight & 4 hrs trek

We will fly to Jomsom early in the morning to avoid the wind in the afternoon. After landing at the Jomsom airport we will start trekking to Kagbeni following the Kali Gandaki River. The trail goes along the back of the Kaligandaki River, is flat and has a very rough terrain. We will see the mountains Nilgiri, Dhaulagiri, Thorang peak and many more from the trail, in the backdrop. After two hours of walk in the flat land along the bank of Kaligandaki, we reach Kagbeni.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Local teahouse/lodge

Day 5

Trek to Chuksang (2900m)

3-4 Hrs

After breakfast we will leave lower Mustang and enter Upper Mustang. After walking for some time we can see the Gompa Kang and numerous caves in the west. At Tangbe we will get a good opportunity to stretch our legs and try our stamina as we climb up to 3060m. 

Tangbe is a labyrinth of narrow alleyways; here you will find the typical Mustang chortens painted in black white and red. After 1 hour of further walking we reach the village of Chuksang, where there is majority of Thakali people but they live in harmony with the Bhotias and Gurungs.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Local teahouse/lodge

Day 6

Trek to Samar (3150m)

4-5 hrs trek

The walk from Chuksang to Samar lasts for around 4-5 hours and the day is not very tiring so you can take frequent breaks to interact with the villagers and take pictures. Villages become more scattered as you enter deeper into the region, life becomes more basic and the landscape more arid. You leave the valley today and climb steeply up to Chele home to a number of ferocious Tibetan Mastiffs, thankfully chained to the village houses. You continue up on the side of a steep canyon to a pass after which you then descend on a pleasant trail to Samar, situated in a grove of Poplar trees.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Local lodges/ tented camp

Day 7

Trek to Geling (3510m)

5-6 hrs trek

We will start to ascend from Samar and in half an hour we reach a ridge which leading into a gorge and another valley full of juniper trees. We continue walking and cross the small river and reach the base of the Shyangmochen, a tiny settlement with a few local facilities. Near Shyangmochen is the Rangbyung which has stalagmites which look like small chortens, making it one of the most sacred places in whole Mustang. Climbing up is over for today as we gently get down to Geling, which has small population living in small mud houses. At the end of the day we should have walked around 5 hours.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tented Camp

Day 8

Trek to Ghami (3490m)

5-6 hrs trek

We start a 5 hours walk to Ghami after breakfast. The walking duration seems short but is has lots of climbs making it difficult to catch pace. The climb begins steadily to the centre of the valley and then around to the head of the valley, to the Nyi La passes (3840m). After crossing the pass we, as previous day we will gently start walking down to reach Ghami, a large white-washed village sheltered by the overhanging cliffs.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tented camp/ local house

Day 9

Trek to Charang (3620m)

5-6 Hrs trek

The walk today is the hardest in the entire trip so make sure you have enough water and some power bars to Support you as we walk past the driest place in the Mustang area. The walk might be tiring and 5 hours might seem as long as 10 but still you can feel fresh with the view of the high mountains in the backdrops.

At mid afternoon we will reach Charang, where at the eastern end a huge Dzong (fortress) and red gompa home to a great collection of statues and thankas can be seen.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tented camp/ local house

Day 10

Trek to Lo Manthang (3840m)

3-4 Hrs trek

You can explore Charang for sometime as we don’t have a long walk today; it just lasts for 3 hours. We can have a leisurely breakfast, may be a lazy morning as well and then leave Charang and head up the valley to the boundary between Charang and Lo, the trail here broadens and soon you will catch sight of Lo Manthang, with only one entrance you will walk round to the North East corner to get in.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tented camp/ local lodges

Day 11

Explore Lo Manthang

3-4 Hrs

There are no rigid facts but it is said that this city was already in existence before 1390 and Ama Pal, was the person responsible for constructing this beautiful town in the cold desert. The last king of Lo Manthang was Jigme Dorje Palbar Bista (born c. 1933), and was the 25th King of Mustang from the Bista Dynasty. 

The people of Lo Manthangare known as Lhobas. The village is noted for its tall white washed mud brick walls, gompas and the Raja's or Royal or King's Palace, a nine-cornered, five story structures built around 1400. 

There are four major temples: Jampa Lhakhang or Jampa Gompa, the oldest, built in the early 15th century and also known as the "God house"; Thubten Gompa, a huge, red assembly hall and gompa built in the late 15th century and located just southwest of Jampa Gompa; Chodey Gompa, now the main city gompa; and the Choprang Gompa, which is popularly known as the "New Gompa". 

The Government opened access for tourist to this area after 1992, but still the tourism to Upper Mustang remains limited.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tented camp/ local lodges

Day 12

Trek back to Ghami (3490m)

3-4 Hrs

Today we start the second leg of the journey to get back to Jomsom. We take the same way back to Ghami. There are few alternate routes but very short ending up at the main trail in short span of time. Overnight stay at Ghami.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tented camp/ local lodges

Day 13

Ghami to Chuksang (2900m)

6-7 Hrs trek

We will reach Chuksang after crossing the Kaligandaki and walking past some desert like land area. After walking for around 6 hours we reach Chuksang for overnight stay.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tented camp/ local lodges

Day 14

Chuksang to Muktinath (3795m)

5-6 Hrs

We start walking towards Muktinath today. You will travel through some pretty scenery today, apple orchards, agricultural fields and pretty villages. At the end of the day we can make a brief visit to the temple of Muktinath which is worshiped by Hindus as Lord Vishnu and By Buddhists as Avalokteshowrs. 

This temple premise has 108 stone spouts from where holy water comes throughout the day.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Local teahouse/lodge

Day 15

Trek to Jomsom

3-4 Hrs

After the short descend in the morning you will find yourself in Jharkot and Khingar, where there are beautiful monasteries which give you the opportunity to witness the interrelation and similarity of Tibet to this area. The view of Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri is splendid throughout the trail. 

We will walk past Kagbeni to reach Jomsom along the bank of kali Gandaki River. We can spend some time exploring the headquarter of the mustang district, Jomsom from where the Mountain View is magnificent.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Local teahouse/lodge

Day 16

Fly to Pokhara

30 mins flight

Early morning flight to Pokhara and free day at Pokhara for lunch.

Breakfast

Hotel

Day 17

Drive back to Kathmandu

6-7 Hrs drive

Early Morning Drive back to Kathmandu.

Breakfast & Dinner

Hotel

Day 18

Depart Kathmandu

30 min private drive

You can depart from Kathmandu to your home country or extend the trip and head for another trip within or outside Nepal. 

Breakfast

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Upper Mustang Trek Map

Accommodation

Himalayan Trekkers promises to manage the best, most comfortable and preferred accommodation.

In general we arrange a 3-star hotel with all facilities in cities. If available, you can opt for a more budget-friendly option or upgrade to a more luxurious hotel by paying a little extra.

Although all places during your trek do not have all modern facilities (especially at higher altitudes), we ensure that it is arranged safely and comfortably. Mostly hygienic and safe tea houses / local lodges / home stays are arranged & please feel free to personalize according to your preference.

If your travel schedule includes camping or if you choose to experience it, a correct campsite will be determined in advance and everything will be taken care of. If required, we also provide equipment such as a tent, cookware, etc. Check the equipment lists and equipment lists for more information.

Meals

Breakfast is usually included with your B&B accommodation within the costs. Meals in the city must be paid separately. Often in the cities, you can choose from many different cuisines and varied food services. We can always help you find the right place.

Remote areas don't have that many options, but hygienic and well-prepared food is always served. Moreover, most meals are included in the costs during your trek. We can help you make changes according to your preference and budget, but only if choices are available! Moreover, Himalayan Trekkers also organizes Welcome of Farewell Dinners as a symbol of warm greetings.

Follow the detailed route description or itinerary for more information. We are always there to help you to your heart's content.

Inclusion

Whats Included

Whats Not Included

Gear List

Gears required for the trek vary upon destination and season. Trekking shoes, down jacket, sleeping bag, hiking poles are the essential ones. 

A comprehensive list of gear for all activites is listed on our dedicated page of Complete Gear List For Trekking and Climbing

Trip FAQ'S

Where is Upper Mustang located?

Upper Mustang is located in the Trans Himalayan Region behind the Himalayas. It lies in western Nepal north of Pokhara and covers two-third northern land of the Mustang district. 

How high is Upper Mustang Trek?

Lo Manthang stands at an elevation of 3,800 meters however, some of the high passes during the Upper Mustang Trek lie at 4,000 meters above sea level. 

Can I trek Upper Mustang in winter?

Since Upper Mustang lies in the rain-shadow area of Nepal, it is the best destination for Summer trekking. 

Upper Mustang has amazing weather, clear views, and can be trekked all-round year except for December to March due to harsh winter and no availability of accommodation because the inhabitants migrate to the lower regions during these months. 

So winter may not be your cup of tea!

Is Upper Mustang Trek difficult?

Upper Mustang Trek is considered to be a moderate trek. You may need to hike 5-7 hrs everyday.

What permits do I need to enter Upper Mustang?

Yes, three permits are strictly mandatory for Upper Mustang Trek. Those permits include Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS), and a special permit issued from Nepal Immigration that can be only issued by Government Authorized Trekking Agency like Himalayan Trekkers. 

Is trekking safe to Mustang after Covid-19?

Upper Mustang is one of the least affected areas for Covid-19 in Nepal. So, trekking to Upper Mustang after Covid-19 is very safe. 

Do I need to be vaccinated for this trek?

As per Nepal Government travel policies, it is mandatory to be vaccinated and have negative CPR reports for Upper Mustang Trek. 

Apart from the Covid-19 vaccine, we highly advise trekkers to consult with a medical advisor and your local trek organizer for other medications/vaccines.

Is trekking guide and agency mandatory for Upper Mustang?

Upper Mustang is a very protected and restricted area of Nepal.

So, traveling to Upper Mustang via an authorized trekking agency and with at least one authorized guide and permits are mandatory. 

Can I do solo Upper Mustang Trek?

Solo Upper Mustang Trek is not permitted by the Nepal Government. To trek to Upper Mustang, you will be requiring a group travel permit of at least two.