Upper Mustang Trekking

Duration: 17 Days
At a Glance
  • Duration 17 Days
  • Trip Grade Moderate
  • Destination Nepal
  • Start/End Kathmandu/Kathmandu
  • Group Size 2-14
  • Max. Altitude 3800m

Highlights

  • Trek in the arid river valley and trans-Himalayan rain shadow area
  • Explore the hidden ancient Buddhist kingdom of Lo Manthang, artistic monasteries, and unique rock formations
  • Follow a less crowded, off-the-beaten trail in one of the restricted areas in Nepal
  • Trek near the Tibetan border and witness the Tibet-like landscape
  • Cross various passes and walk along cliff sides, canyons, caves
  • Travel back in time and learn about the true mountain lifestyle
  • Observe the rich cultural heritage of the natives and their values
  • Come across various mani walls, stupas, chortens, and colorful prayer flags while trekking
  • Enjoy intimate encounters with the locals and hear their stories
  • The trail unfolds stunning views of the Himalayan mountains like Annapurna, Nilgiri, Dhaulagiri, etc
  • Visit Namgyal Gompa, Tingkhar, Ghar Gompa, Amchi Museum, and the royal palace

Upper Mustang Trek Overview

"Upper Mustang is an arid river valley and a trans-Himalayan rain shadow area. Trekking in the upper Mustang lets you explore the hidden ancient Buddhist kingdom of Lo Manthang, caves, artistic monasteries, and passes."

Situated at the northern end of Kali Gandaki, near the famous Annapurna Circuit trail, the Upper Mustang trek presents an undisturbed Tibetan Buddhist cultural heritage and an adventurous trekking experience. Upper Mustang is a restricted area in Nepal, opened to foreign travelers in 1992. Unlike other trekking routes in the Himalayas, Upper Mustang trekking is less crowded and only visited by a handful of trekkers every year.

The Upper Mustang is closely located to the Tibetan border, and the terrain somewhat resembles Tibet, too. Lo-Manthang is the major city in Upper Mustang or also called the capital. For thousands of years, this place has had its separate kingdom in Nepal. Today, Upper Mustang is famously known as the Lost Forbidden Kingdom.

After the region got opened to foreign travelers, many people from all around the world explored the excellence of Upper Mustang and its ancient monasteries & caves. Still, Upper Mustang remains one of the least visited trekking routes in the Himalayas. And that's thanks to the Nepal government's strict laws and expensive permits over the region.

Upper Mustang Trek is a very different trekking package. The trekking experience and the views are out of this world. This less crowded, off-the-beaten trail is perfect for trekkers looking for challenges in the Himalayas. You can join our Upper Mustang trek in the monsoon/fall season.

Major attractions of Upper Mustang Trek

Learn about the true mountain lifestyle & rich cultural heritage of the natives

Even though Upper Mustang has become more accessible, the region is pretty disconnected from the rest of Nepal. The political and geographical isolation of the area has well preserved the rich cultural heritage, values, centuries-old monasteries, nature, and lifestyle of the locals. Therefore, trekking to Upper Mustang is more like going back hundreds of years from the present.

Nothing can beat the hospitality of the natives along the trail and their warm welcome. Colorful prayer flags, mani walls, chortens, stupas, and medieval relics are scattered throughout the trekking route. You can see locals riding horseback and spending most of their day chit-chatting & chanting their beads. And that for sure is not what you get to see in any other trekking famous routes or even in today's society.

The Upper Mustang trekking lets you have intimate encounters with one of the oldest Himalayan tribes who are resisting endlessly to preserve their beliefs and history. The legends and myths shared by the locals will enhance your adventurous journey, and their connection with the mountains will astound you.

Mountain views & landscapes- Upper Mustang

Upper Mustang boasts very distinct arid landscapes. The trail unfolds breathtaking mountain views of Annapurna (8,091 m), Nilgiri (7,061 m), and Dhaulagiri (8,167 m). The mysterious caves, carvings, and fluttering prayer flags add more color to the shades of all browns. All the passes you cross along the Upper Mustang trail will let you behold mesmerizing sceneries that will stay in your memory forever.

You'll be trekking in the trans-Himalayan Mountain region. The region has high cliffs and unique rock formations. You'll see many unexplored caves and rock paintings. Namgyal Gompa, Tingkhar, Ghar Gompa, Amchi Museum, and the royal palace will bring a more profound understanding of the area. And the most fascinating part of the trek is the ancient trade routes.

The Tiji Festival

Tiji festival is the major celebration of the year for the locals of Upper Mustang, celebrated sumptuously for three days by the locals. The festival takes place between May & June as per their calendar. For your information, the Upper Mustang trek is possible in the monsoon season. Once you leave the lower elevation, you'll enter the rain shadow area, which means little to no rainfall in the monsoon season.

The festival is embellished by myths and legends rather than facts and records. During the three days of rituals, many dancing ceremonies took place to chase away the devil from the region. We have a very special trekking package called Tiji Festival Trek, which is crafted to let people from around the world experience this once-in-a-lifetime event in Upper Mustang.

Itinerary

Here, we have offered the detailed itinerary for the Upper Mustang Trekking for 17 Days. The 17-day itinerary for the Upper Mustang Trek is a guideline itinerary that is fit for most trekkers. However, if the offered itinerary is not suitable for you and you are looking for a customized program with some side trips or need a shorter or a longer program, please feel free to write us with your requirements, We at Outfitter Himalaya are always happy to offer you the trip and itinerary as per your need.

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Meet our representative near the terminal gate at Kathmandu's international airport. They will escort you to the hotel in a private vehicle. They will help you in check-in and inform you about the day program.

  • AccommodationHotel
  • Max. Altitude1345

Today, we take you on a guided city tour. You'll visit famous historical sites like Boudhnath Stupa and the Swayambhunath. Both of these stupas have huge religious importance to Buddhists. We then visit Kathmandu Durbar Square and the Pashupatinath Temple.

First of all, Pashupatinath temple is a significant pilgrimage site in Nepal that is visited by thousands of pilgrims every year. Likewise, Kathmandu Durbar Square used to be the royal residence. You explore the palace, shrines, museums, and courtyards.

In the late afternoon, we work on our permits and meet with the trek guide. Later, we do pack and shopping.

  • MealsB
  • AccommodationHotel
  • Max. Altitude1345

We take a morning drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara. The drive follows a well-made road and offers great landscapes, so the ride will be comfortable and scenic. Upon reaching Pokhara, we check in at the hotel and later explore the bustling Lakeside Market.

  • MealsB
  • AccommodationHotel
  • Max. Altitude830

After early morning breakfast, we drive to the domestic airport and fly to Jomsom. The flight offers spectacular scenery of green hills and mountains like Annapurna & Dhaulagiri. Once we land at Jomsom airport, our porters join us, and we begin trekking towards Kagbeni. The trail gradually ascends from Jomsom to Kagbeni, offering gorgeous scenery.

  • MealsB, L, D
  • AccommodationGuest House
  • Max. Altitude2810

The trail to Chele offers majestic views of Tukuche and Nilgiri. Walking along the side of the valley and riverbed, we reach Kalobhir. From here, the trail ascends to Tangbe, and following a narrow path, we pass by whitewashed hours and apple orchards. The next village is Chhusang, and from here, we walk alongside the Kaligandaki River. Further, the trail descends and crosses a bridge before reaching Chele.

  • MealsB, L, D
  • AccommodationGuest House
  • Max. Altitude3050

Chele onwards, we walk on an uphill route and pass by Samar. The trail crosses Taklam La (3,624 m), and the Dajori La (3,736 m) passes. We take a short lunch break at Samar and descend to a river. From here, the trail ascends and takes us to Syangbochen.

  • MealsB, L, D
  • AccommodationGuest House
  • Max. Altitude3475

We follow the traditional route, enjoying breathtaking landscapes and clear blue skies. The trail has Nyi La pass today with phenomenal views of Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, and other snow-capped mountains. We pass by barley and buckwheat fields. Along the way, we also pass by sky caves and stupas before we cross Ghami La and descend to Ghami village.

  • MealsB, L, D
  • AccommodationGuest House
  • Max. Altitude3520

Today, we'll be passing by the driest part of Tsarang. The walk is a little tough today. However, the gorgeous views compensate for our hard walk. From Ghami, we ascend on an offbeat route to Tsarang village. It's a widespread town with approximately 1000 inhabitants.

  • MealsB, L, D
  • AccommodationGuest House
  • Max. Altitude3870

From Tsarang onwards, we ascend to Lo La pass. It's a steep uphill walk. From the pass, we descend towards Lo Manthang, the last forbidden kingdom in the north. Along the way, we pass by many chortens, stupas, and mani walls.

  • MealsB, L, D
  • AccommodationGuest House
  • Max. Altitude3730

We are going to spend an acclimatization day in Lo Manthang. This city dates back to the 1390s and has about 150 houses. We'll explore gompas, mani walls, and the royal palace. Some of the major monasteries are Jampa Gompa, Chodey Gompa, Thubchen Gompa, and Choprang Gompa. Jama Gompa is the oldest monastery in the region, and for locals, it's God's hours.

  • MealsB, L, D
  • AccommodationGuest House
  • Max. Altitude3730

Leaving Lo-Manthang, we trek south towards Kagbeni. This time, we'll follow a different route as we descend to Ghami. The trail passes by Dhakmar. On the way, we get to explore the Ghar monastery. This monastery is hundreds of years old and very famous.

  • MealsB, L, D
  • AccommodationGuest House
  • Max. Altitude3810

From Dhakmar, we keep walking until Ghami arrives. From Ghami, we gradually ascend to Chemi La, and after that, cross Yiy La passes. As the trail is rugged, we'll be extra careful today. Further, a steep descent will take us to Ghiling.

  • MealsB, L, D
  • AccommodationGuest House
  • Max. Altitude3800

We continue trekking towards Syangbochen. From here, the trail goes to Samar, a Tibetan-style village with gompas, terraced fields, prayer wheels, and mani walls. Further, the trail follows a downhill route to Chuksang.

  • MealsB, L, D
  • AccommodationGuest House
  • Max. Altitude3050

Walking along the bank of Kali Gandaki, you pass by lovely apple orchards and white-washed houses to reach Kagebni. The route from Kagbeni to Jomson is the same as before. The views are fantastic. From Kagbeni, we descend to Eklebhatti and keep walking through small settlement areas to Jomsom. We'll have a lot of time in Jomsom to relax and enjoy the gorgeous mountain panorama.

  • MealsB, L, D
  • AccommodationGuest House
  • Max. Altitude2650

After breakfast, take an early morning flight to Pokhara. The flight is delightful and offers snow-capped mountain views. In Pokhara, we'll have a full day to explore the tourist sites. You can take a Pokhara day tour to visit Davis Falls, Mahendra Cave, Gupteshwor Cave, etc. In the evening, make sure to catch the sunset at the tranquil Phewa Lake.

  • MealsB, L
  • AccommodationHotel
  • Max. Altitude830

We’ll drive in a comfortable tourist bus from Pokhara to Kathmandu. The drive is fantastic. You'll witness beautiful landscapes of green hills, rivers, and waterfalls on the way. Upon reaching Kathmandu, we drop you at the hotel. In the late evening, we gather in the designated restaurant for a farewell dinner.

  • MealsB
  • AccommodationHotel
  • Max. Altitude1375

We transfer you to the international airport as per your flight departure time. Our airport representatives will take care of it. We hope to see you soon again.

  • MealsB

Is the offered itinerary not suitable for you?

Looking for a customized itinerary? Reach out to our experts.

Map & Altitude Graph

Upper Mustang Trekking map

Inclusions

  • Airport Transfers
  • Three nights’ hotel in Kathmandu with breakfast
  • Sightseeing tour in Kathmandu
  • Two nights hotel in Pokhara with breakfast
  • 11 nights’ accommodation lodges/tea houses
  • Meals (16 breakfast, 12 lunches, and 12 dinners)
  • Conservation entry permits, special trekking permits, and TIMS permit
  • Ground transportation from Kathmandu - Pokhara - Kathmandu by tourist bus
  • A guide and porters (1 porter for two trekkers)
  • Flight from Pokhara to Jomsom and Jomsom to Pokhara
  • Arrangement of emergency helicopter service, which will be paid by your travel insurance company
  • Sleeping bag, down jackets if necessary

Exclusions

  • Nepal entry visa fee
  • Travel insurance (compulsory)
  • Meals, not stated in the itinerary
  • Your personnel expenses and entrance on a tour of Kathmandu on day 2
  • All the alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks
  • Sweet things like chocolate
  • International airfare
  • Tips for the guide, porter & driver
  • Anything not mentioned in the included section

Essential Info

Upper Mustang trek difficulty

The Upper Mustang trek does not gain elevation like the famous EBC Trek or Annapurna Circuit Trek. The maximum altitude you touch on this trek is 4,010 m. So, the trekkers usually do not suffer hugely because of elevation, however, the terrain is on the offbeat side. Physical fitness and good health matter a lot to complete the trek and enjoy it to the fullest.

The trail crosses many passes and has numerous steep sections. You'll be walking mostly on rough paths. The basic tourist infrastructure is not adequate. The accommodation is very simple, and the food menu is limited. Other modern facilities are scarce too. Overall, endurance and determination are also needed to reach Lo Manthang (3,840 m), the final destination of the trek.

For trekkers who want to skip strenuous walking, we have a luxury jeep ride alternative to Upper Mustang. The ride of course will be a little bumpy, but you get to explore Upper Mustang without walking for 5-6 hours a day. For information, we kindly request you to contact us.

Upper Mustang Trek preparation

Upper Mustang trekking has a lot to do with mental preparation than physical. No doubt, you will need a certain level of physical fitness to join this trek and even a previous trekking experience. At the same time, your endurance and mental preparation are equally essential. For physical fitness, you can do short hikes or treks. Likewise, you can hit the gym to strengthen your core and do cardio to increase your stamina.

To prepare your mind for the trek, you have to understand the limits this adventurous venture brings with it. There'll be times when you are living without any modern facilities and eating authentic Nepali/Tibetan dishes. You will not get any better snack options in the tea shops either. So, you have to be self-reliant and adequately prepared.

Carry your favorite snacks and bars to munch while trekking. Do not forget small things like spare batteries, a Nepali sim card to use the internet, Nepali cash, etc.

Permits for Upper Mustang Trek

You need some permits to do upper Mustang trekking, which are Annapurna conservation area entry, TIMS (Trekkers information management system) permit, and a apecial trekking permit from the government. We apply and get all these permits for you once you book the trek.

Best Time to do Upper Mustang Trek

The upper Mustang trek is available and doable throughout the year. However, the autumn season (from mid-September till mid-December), and spring season (from the beginning of March until the end of May) is the best time.

The Upper Mustang is located behind the Himalayas, and this area is a rain shadow area, the month of Jun, July & August are also good times for the upper Mustang trek.

Fitness Required for Upper Mustang Trek

You need to have a moderate level of fitness with daily trekking from between 3 hours to 8 hours to do Upper Mustang Trekking. You reach an altitude of 3809m on this trek so, you need to be physically fit, and healthy, and need to have a strong stamina/desire to complete the trekking adventure. If you have previous trekking experience, that would be beneficial.
If you have any concerns about your health, please consult your healthcare provider before booking the Upper Mustang trek.

Accommodation on Upper Mustang Trek

We provide 3-star a hotel for three nights in Kathmandu & 2 nights in Pokhara and simple lodge/teahouse accommodation for the rest of the nights on the upper Mustang trek. The rooms are basic, normally just a bed with a pillow and blankets on trek lodge/guest house, and note that some of them are very basic, and a sense of adventure is necessary.

The hotel we provide:

  • Hotel in Kathmandu: Hotel Moonlight: 3 nights
  • Hotel in Pokhara: Hotel Splendid view: 2 nights
  • Hotel on Trek Routes: Simple Mountain lodge: 11 nights

Notes:

  • Accommodation is on double/twin share, and a single room is available in Kathmandu and Pokhara hotels.
  • There is luxury 4 - 5-star hotels available in Kathmandu & Pokhara so, let us know if you want to upgrade the hotel in Kathmandu.

Extra nights in Kathmandu for pre and post the Upper Mustang Trek

If you want to arrive in Nepal or stay later than the scheduled dates of upper Mustang trekking in Nepal, extra nights hotels is available including breakfast and transfers. Let us know if you need any extra nights, we then book the extra nights as per your requirements.

Meals & Drinks on Upper Mustang Trek

We provide a total of 40 meals (16 breakfast, 12 lunch, and 12 dinners) on the upper Mustang trek, and these meals are provided in hotels/lodges. You have breakfast and dinner at the Lodge stay overnights and lunch at the available Lodge along the trail.

You have a wide variety of Nepali and Western meals on trails and drinks such as coffee, tea, milk, soft drinks, and beer) as well. However, these drinks are not included in the cost. So you can buy them yourself at the available lodge/guest house.

We advise you to bring water purification pills/medicine while coming for the upper Mustang trek since you get normal water for free and use the medicine and drink, or you can simply buy bottled/boiled water.

Transportation on Upper Mustang Trek

We provide private transport for airport transfers and tours in Kathmandu, and the tourist bus from Kathmandu-Pokhara-Kathmandu. And domestic flights from Pokhara to Jomsom and Jomsom to Pokhara.

However, there is an option to drive by private car/van from Kathmandu to Pokhara and Pokhara to Return or short domestic flights from Kathmandu to Pokhara and return. Let us know if you want to upgrade your transport to private drive or domestic flights.

Travel Insurance for Upper Mustang Trek

You need to have a travel insurance policy for the upper mustang trek in Nepal. We do everything to transfer you to the nearest hospital in case of any serious Sickness, or injury on the Trek. And, you will be entirely liable for all the expenses incurred in the evacuation/rescue. So, please make sure that these expenses are covered by your insurance policy.

Solo trekking in Upper Mustang

Solo travelers cannot do the Upper Mustang trek as it is a government-controlled area for trekking, and you need to have special trekking permits from the government. And, there should be a minimum of 2 people to apply for these special permits.

However, we have fixed some dates for the small group trek for the upper mustang, and we may have some people already booked, and you are welcome to join us on these dates. Let us know when you are planning for the trek then we see if you can join our fixed group trek.

Shorten the Upper Mustang Trek

It is possible to shorten the Upper Mustang Trekking. We have 12 days trek included in this 18-days package of upper Mustang trek. However, if you have limited time, then we can customize the itinerary and make it shorter.

The given itinerary for the upper Mustang trek is for the fixed departure group trek. And, if you want to shorten, then you have to do private trekking. Let us know if you want the shorter version of the Upper Mustang Trek.

Extra tours/activities on Upper Mustang Trek

You can add a mountain flight tour on the morning of the second day, and Trisuli River Rafting for 3 hours on day three while driving to Pokhara, and these activities do not need any extra days.

Furthermore, if you have some extra days, then you can add on Chitwan Jungle Safari Tour from Pokhara, or if you want to extend your holidays in other countries, then you can add Tibet Lhasa Tour in Tibet or Bhutan Tour in Bhutan.

Combine Upper Mustang Trek with Annapurna Trail

The upper mustang trek is already a part of the Annapurna Conservation Area. However, if you have more days and want to join the Annapurna circuit trekking trail, you can join it and trek further down to Tatopani from Jomsom and trek to Pokhara through Ghorepani Poon Hill and further extend to ABC.

Jomsom Flight on Upper Mustang Trek

There is always a chance to be canceled the flight from Pokhara to Jomsom and Jomsom to Pokhara. The good thing now is that there is road access to reach Jomsom from Pokhara.

So, if you have extra days after the trekking, then we can wait the next days to take a flight when the flight gets canceled or take a jeep drive the same day from Pokhara to Jomsom, and the same idea applies when returning from Jomsom.

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