Table of Content:
- Introduction about Upper Mustang Region.
- Information abouer Upper Mustang Trek
- Top 7major Attraction of Mustang Region.
- Detailed 16 days Itinerary of Upper Mustang trek.
- Necessary Trekking gears.
Upper Mustang trek directs you towards the trans-Himalayan region of the Northern Nepal bordering with Tibetan Plateau. Upper Mustang trek is a perfect fusion of Tibetan Buddhist culture and the deserted landscapes serving its uniqueness in the Nepalese Himalayas. Upper Mustang is a rain shadow area of Annapurna Range and Dhaulagiri Range, so, it has low or no fertile soil. Upper Mustang trek is a famous trekking destination in Nepal for the adventurous trekkers to experience the cool and semi-arid clime.
Upper Mustang trek is one of the most attractive Annapurna region trekking packages purchased by thousands of trekkers every year. Blended with scenic beauty and wonderful culture, Annapurna region trek tops the list prepared by travelers among adventurous activities in Nepal. You can start Upper Mustang trek either from Beshisahar, Lamjung, the gateway to Annapurna region trek or from Jomsom, Mustang. To start from Beshisahar, you can reach there by bus or private jeep in 6 hours and continue your trekking. Otherwise, you can drive to the lake city Pokhara by bus and fly to Jomsom, the administrative headquarters of Mustang district.
Upper Mustang trek takes you to one of the restricted zones of Nepal having untouched natural beauty and unspoiled culture. One among the most protected regions in the world, Upper Mustang people follow Tibetan Buddhist culture and speak traditional Tibetan languages. To protect the organic culture and tradition including lifestyle of Upper Mustang, Government of Nepal has declared it the restricted zone. You need a special permit and a well-trained guide to experience Upper Mustang trek.
The sparsely populated villages with typical mud-brick houses are decorated with prayer flags, mani walls reflecting Tibetan Buddhist culture tradition. Even though surrounded by barren landscapes with infertile soil, Upper Mustang trek shows you the most enchanting vistas of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges. Mustang Kagbeni trek helps you reach the capital of the ancient Mustang Kingdom, Lo Manthang (3,890m) baring a historical importance. Located in Jomsom to Lo Manthang trekking route, Kagbeni is a small Buddhist village and gateway to the restricted zone of Upper Mustang.
You may be wondering “Why Upper Mustang trek?” while Nepal has many trekking regions offering captivating scenery and pleasant landscapes. Actually, if you are tired of crowd and busy city life and delve in wilderness, Upper Mustang trek is the best option. Trekking to Upper Mustang is a wonderful experience of camping trekking in the isolated areas relishing natural sceneries and tranquility.
To enjoy Upper Mustang trek, you have two options to reach Jomsom, the administrative headquarters of Mustang district. You can fly to the lake city Pokhara from Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu and spend the night after visiting the city. Kathmandu Pokhara flight is an opportunity to enjoy the aerial view of Manaslu region and the alluring landscapes. You can also reach Pokhara by bus or a private jeep along the Prithvi Highway in around five hours from Kathmandu. Kathmandu Pokhara driving lets you observe the outstanding scenery around the Trishuli and Marsyangdi River and trading centers en route.
Top 7 Major Attractions of Upper Mustang Trek:
Upper Mustang trek is off the beaten path trekking to the land of itinerants and extensive feasts and fiestas. Despite being the rain-shadow area, trekking to Upper Mustang is a noble experiences that you ever get in the trans-Himalayan region. Let’s take a quick look at what attracts the adventure-seekers from all around the world to Upper Mustang region:
1) Tiji Festival:
Tiji Festival is a colourful festival reflecting Tibetan Buddhist cultural impacts in Upper Mustang region initiated from the 17th century. ‘Tiji’ is the contracted form of ‘Tempa Chhirim’ meaning ‘Prayer for the World Peace’ in the local dialect. Tiji Festival that generally falls in May second week in the walled city Lo Manthang is celebrated to mark the victory of good over evil.
The senior citizens share two myths related to this grand celebration which bring all the people into a single union. The first myth tells that this festival is observed as a tribute to the son who successfully saved the kingdom from destruction. The second myth says that one of the incarnations of Lord Buddha saved the kingdom from a devil who wanted to destruct by storm and drought. Whatever the reason behind the celebration, Tiji Festival emphasizes on the respectful co-existence of the people of Upper Mustang region. The monks of Choede Monastery organize this fiesta for three days by performing the ritual dance in involvement of the local people.
2) Walled City-Lo Manthang
The walled City-Lo Manthang is the capital of the ancient kingdom Lo (‘Mustang’ in local dialect) inviting thousands of tourists. As soon as you enter into the city premises, you feel as you were in a ‘Disney Land’, quite distinct from other parts. Even after the abolition of Monarchy in Nepal, the king of Mustang is highly regarded by the local people. With a four-storey palace, Lo Manthang is fenced by the walls in order to protect from the enemies. You can also visit the 15th –century Thugchen Gompa including other small monasteries in this historically important city.
3) Hidden Kingdom in the trans-Himalayan Land:
Upper Mustang is known as the Last Forbidden Kingdom in the trans-Himalayan region of Nepal keeping the Tibetan Buddhist culture intact. Upper Mustang was restricted by the Government of Nepal for foreign trekkers until 1992 due to some strategical problems. The ancient trade route between Tibet and India, Mustang region lies between Dolpo region and beautiful Manang district. As it receives low or no rainfall at all, you can experience this wonder land throughout the year.
4) Tibetan Buddhism:
Upper Mustang trek leads you to the Nepalese land bordering with Tibetan Plateau following Tibetan Buddhism as the major religion. You can find from pocket-sized to large ancient monasteries including Choede Monastery and Thugchen Gompa which are Buddhist Cultural Heritage sites. Prayer flags swirling on the rooftops of the houses, mani walls, chorten and prayer walls; these all reflect Tibetan Buddhism. Tiji Festival is one of the living example of the following of Tibetan Buddhism in Upper Mustang region.
5) Muktinath Temple: A Sacred Place for both Hindus and Buddhists
Muktinath Temple at an elevation of 3,710m is a sacred place and pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Buddhists. Thousands of Hindus and Buddhist pilgrims from India, Tibet and Nepal go for Jomsom Muktinath trek for worshipping Muktinath Temple. Muktinath trek offers you with amazing view of 108-waterspouts symbolizing salvation after death and a natural flame that never goes out.
6) Glorious Natural Beauty:
Although Upper Mustang region lies in the rain shadow of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges, it has an incredible natural beauty. The desert-like plateau, steep ridges, moraine valleys and barren terrain justify the glorious natural beauty of Upper Mustang. The mesmerizing outlooks of the sacred Himalayas like Nilgiri, Annapurna and Dhaulagiri and other snowy peaks enliven this place. Upper Mustang trek offers you with the view of the phenomenal wasteland and wonderful scenery in the trans-Himalayan region.
7) Manmade Sky Caves:
About 10,000 manmade caves dug in the steep walls near the Kali Gandaki River, popularly known as ‘Sky Caves’ are other attractions. Some researches by the archeologists show that the people made these caves to mummify the dead bodies as a religious ritual. The art and artifacts, Buddhist paintings, sculptures and manuscripts discovered from the Sky Caves show that these are about 2000-3000 years old. The Sky Caves, often compared with ‘Pyramids of Egypt’ are very important sites built in between 12th and 14th century for archeological studies. If thorough scientific studies are done, the human history will get a new dimension regarding Buddhist culture and tradition.
You can take a Pokhara Jomsom flight to reach Jomsom witnessing the mesmerizing view snow-clad peaks of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri range. Similarly, you can use Pokhara Jomsom off-road journey by leaving Beni, an alternative station to start Upper Dolpo region trek, to reach Jomsom. You find a variety of customized Upper Mustang trek packages at different cost advertised by different trekking agencies in Nepal. Nevertheless, we offer you Upper Mustang trek from 12 days to 16 days detail itinerary for your comfort.
Upper Mustang Trek 16 Day to Day Itinerary:
Day 01: Reception in Kathmandu
The representative of our trekking agency will reach the Tribhuvan International Airport to receive you on the arrival day to Kathmandu. S/he will take you to the hotel for your accommodation that day and night. In the evening, the guide will give you a detailed information about the trekking package you have booked. You will get to manage the trekking gears and other necessary preparation for the trekking.
Day 02: Flight to Pokhara
Today, you will fly to the lake city Pokhara which is one of the most important tourist destinations in Nepal. You will visit the major sites of Pokhara like Phewa Lake, Begnas Lake, Devi’s fall and Tal Barahi Temple in the day time. And you will spend the night at a hotel booked as per your budget paid to the trekking agency.
Day 03: Flight to Jomsom and Trek to Kagbeni
This is a very interesting day as today you are going to catch a Pokhara Jomsom flight which is enthralling experience. The in-flight close vistas of Annapurna Massif and Dhaulagiri Massif and distant view of snowy peaks of Manaslu region is really breathtaking. From Jomsom, you will trek to Kagbeni, a small Buddhist village and gateway to Upper Mustang trek. You will spend the night at a teahouse and wait for the most memorable journey to the restricted zone of Upper Mustang.
Day 04: Trek to Chuksang
On this day, you will formally begin trekking to Upper Mustang by following the trail along the Mustang valley. The meeting with the herd of yaks and sheep carrying loads on the way will really help you forget the tiredness of the walking. You will go past the village Tangbe which is decorated with prayer flags, mani walls and chorten indicating Tibetan Buddhist culture. A few caves, Buddhist monasteries and the lovely sight of the landscapes will accompany you along the trip. Finally, you will reach Chuksang village which is situated at the junction of the Narshing Khola and the Kali Gandaki River. The eye-catching outlooks of the Nilgiri Peak encourage you to increase the speed of you walking en route Chuksang village.
Day 05: Trek to Samar
While ascending upwards, you will find a huge change in topography quite distinct from the ones you have already come across. The sparsely populated human settlement areas, settlers and their lifestyle, culture and tradition are completely new to experience. The most striking feature of this part of trail is agricultural land with low or no fertility for crops production. The soil of this region has low or no fertility as Upper Mustang region lies in the rain shadow area. On the way, you will have to go through a rustic village of Chele surrounded by rocky hills and dry caves. You will reach Sammer, a hill station located in a poplar orchard at the end of the day. You will spend the night here by a rare view of the herds of yaks and sheep, the ‘Himalayan Goods Carriers’.
Day 06: Trek to Ghilling
The trekking trail today ascends a little uphill and then descends downhill into a valley covered with juniper forests. You will cross Shyangmochen village, which is a small traditional marketplace with few tea shops to serve the passers-by. Rangbyung Cave in the shape of chorten and considered as a holy place of Mustang will of course pealses you. By crossing a valley full of barley plantation, you will reach Ghilling for the night station. The houses are made up of stones and mud painted with white and brown muddy substances and roofed with straw. Your stay here is going to be very joyful due to the classic view of the village as if in the canvas.
Day 07: Trek to Tsarang
You will begin your journey upwards by following the trail that goes past Tamagaun, a small typical Himalayan village having unique settings. The trail further ascends to Nyi La (3,840m), one of the passes en route to Upper Mustang trek. By crossing Nyi La, you will descend into a junction of two ways: one on your left and the other on the right. Follow the right trail to reach Tsarang village where you will take a rest tonight. The majestic sight of the rugged Himalayan countrysides and mountains will enrich your trekking to Tsarang. Here, you can visit a huge dzong (fortress) and a red gompa decorated with collection of Buddhist statues and thanka paintings.
Day 08: Trek to Lo Manthang
Today is one of the most memorable days of your Upper Mustang trek because you are going to reach Lo Manthang. Lo Manthang is a historically important site in Nepal as it used to be the capital of the ancient Mustang Kingdom. Lo Manthang trek shows you the glimpses of Nilgiri, Tilicho, Annapurna I and Brikuti Peak all the way welcoming you. Lo Manthang trek will ascend you to a windy pass, Lo Pass (3,850m) which unleashes the enchanting view of Lo Manthang valley. Lo Manthang is a ancient city circumscribed by a stone and mud walls in order to protect it from the enemies. However, nowadays the same walled city serves as a historical site with a classic view to the trekkers. You will spend the night at a teahouse by enjoying the local organic cuisines with the best hospitality.
Day 09: Acclimatization Day in Lo Manthang
Today, you will stay around Lo Manthang for acclimatization so that you can accomplish the remaining part of Upper Mustang trek. To make the acclimatization day quite unforgettable, you can visit to Namgyal Gompa, situated on a small hilltop. Namgyal Gompa is a local monastery which also serves as the local court if any conflicts come among the villagers. Then, you can make a short hike to Tinker, the last village of Lo Manthang Kingdom bordering to Tibetan Plateau. You can experience horseback riding to visit Tinkar, the summer palace of Mustangese king.
You have other option to do for acclimatization in Lo Manthang that you can visit the centuries old monasteries there. You can visit Champu Lakhang (God House), the red Thumchen Gompa, Chyodi Gompa and the Entrance Hall as the major attractions. You can explore the four-floor-palace of the Mustangese King to witness the superb sights of the surrounding.
Day 10: Trek to Dhakmar
Lo Manthang to Dhakmar trekking has a few routes, however, you will follow the trail that passes along Gyakar. The interesting site at Gyakar for making your trekking more memorable is a 1200-year-old Ghar Gompa where you can meet Guru Rimpoche. You can talk to Guru Rimpoche to get more interesting facts about Ghar Gompa and its historical background. Famous for its rock paintings, Ghar Gompa is believed to be a holy place which fulfills every wish you make in the Gompa premises. As it is one of the windiest places in Upper Mustang, you need to begin the trekking early in the morning while exploring the local areas. Another noble experience to have today is the crossing of Chogo La Pass (4,210), one of the significant passes in Upper Mustang. The night station for the night is Dhakmar
Day 11: Trek to Syangboche
The trekking trail today descends through the cultivated fields of Dhakmar and the typically traditional stone walls. The further goes past a cliff along two classic villages: Chung Ka and Tamagaun replicating Buddhist culture and tradition. Your journey ends at Syangboche village toady.
Day 12: Trek to Chuksang
There are two ways: one long the banks of a stream and the other along the Rangchung Cave. You can follow either of the ways according to your choice and comfort. You will reach Chuksang by enjoying the beautiful scenery on the way for night station.
Day 13: Trek to Muktinath
Chuksang Muktinath trek passes along a river valley, then goes past the rustic villages of Jomsom valley. On the way, you can enjoy Shaligram (holy stones in Hindu mythology) which is found only in the Kali Gandaki River Valley. The trail further ascends to Gyu La Pass (4,077m) displaying you the thrilling panorama of Annapurna Massif, Dhaulagiri Massif and Tukuche Peak.
Day 14: Trek to Jomsom
Muktinath Temple is a holy place for both Hindus and Buddhists, so, don’t forget to visit this temple before you begin your journey today. You will follow the trekking trail that goes along Jharkot village, one of the villages of Upper Mustang in rustic setting. You spend the night at a hotel in Jomsom, the district headquarters facilitating you almost all modern amenities. If you want, you can celebrate the successful completion of Upper Mustang trek here in Jomsom with your fellow travelers.
Day 15: Flight back to Kathmandu via Pokhara
Today, you are going to leave Mustang region and returning Kathmandu for the night stay. You can catch Muktinath Pokhara flight and then Pokhara Kathmandu flight which takes little time. Alternatively, you can catch a bus or private jeep to Pokhara and then reach Kathmandu which is a long drive along Prithvi Highway.
Day 16: Departure or New Package
The 16th day is the concluding day of your Upper Mustang trek 16 days itinerary offered by A1 Excursion Adventure. So, the representative from A1 Excursion will accompany you up to the Tribhuvan International Airport for bidding you farewell. Nevertheless, if you have still some more time to spend in Kathmandu, we’d like to help you make the right plan to make your stay memorable. You can talk to us about it without any hesitation as quality service to the guests are our motto.
Necessary Trekking Gears:
- Duffel or Rucksack bag (Provided)
- Down Sleeping bag (Provided)
- Down Jacket (Provided)
- Hiking pants
- Waterproof & Windproof jacket
- Rain coat or Umbrella
- Full-sleeves shirts
- Jumper or Fleece jacket
- Pair of T-shirts
- Trekking Boots (water proof is better)
- Sandal, Toilet paper
- Cotton thick socks (2 pair), Woolen socks to wear with boots
- Sun-hat & fleece hat
- Sun block for lips
- Sun lotion
- Goggles or Sunglasses
- Thermal long underwear sets
- Insulated pants
- Trekking poles
- Wind breaker pants
- Water bottle
- Flash light or Head light, Batteries
- Swiss army Knife
- Personal Dry Towel
- Personal toiletries and medication which should be labeled
- Snow leg Gaiters