Upper Mustang Trek

Upper Mustang Trek
At a Glance
  • Trip Duration16 Days
  • Destination Nepal
  • Trip Grade Moderate
  • An unforgettable journey to the mystical land of Upper Mustang, where time seems to stand still
  • Trek through a rugged, arid landscape, past towering cliffs and rock formations
  • Trek to the last forbidden kingdom, Lo Manthang
  • Discover hidden caves and ancient monasteries adorned with intricate carvings and colorful prayer flags
  • Learn the cultural heritage and beliefs of the locals that are deeply intertwined with Tibetan culture
  • Trek through one of the driest regions of Nepal in the rain shadow of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges
  • Witness the breathtaking tarns-Himalayan landscapes and stunning mountain panoramas of Nilgiri, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, etc
  • A less crowded trekking route that crosses several mountain passes and canyons

"Embark on an unforgettable journey to the mystical land of Upper Mustang, where time seems to stand still, and ancient traditions and culture have been preserved for centuries. Trek through a rugged, arid landscape, past towering cliffs and rock formations, and discover hidden caves and monasteries adorned with intricate carvings and colorful prayer flags. A once-in-a-lifetime experience that will leave you spellbound and yearning for more."

Trekking in the Upper Mustang region is like opening the doors to a mystical realm, a world that was once forbidden and shrouded in mystery. Nestled in the heart of the old Buddhist kingdom of Mustang, also known as Lo, the Upper Mustang trek offers a unique glimpse into a culture that has evolved independently for centuries, heavily influenced by neighboring Tibet.

Thanks to its isolation from the outside world, Mustang has been able to nurture its own unique customs and traditions that are deeply intertwined with Tibetan culture. And the Upper Mustang trek offers an unparalleled opportunity to witness this fusion firsthand.

But the journey isn't just about immersing yourself in a rich cultural experience. It also promises breathtaking views of some of Nepal's most stunning mountain scenery. Trekking through one of the driest regions of Nepal, you'll be rewarded with vistas that will leave you amazed.

All in all, the Upper Mustang trek 16 days is an adventure that offers a perfect blend of culture and nature, a journey that is sure to leave a lasting impression on anyone who embarks on it!

Why you'll love the Upper Mustang trek?

Traversing through the rugged terrain of the Himalayas, the Upper Mustang trek reveals a world that remains hidden from the hustle and bustle of modern life. The journey leads to the Kingdom of Mustang, also known as Lo, an ancient Buddhist realm that exudes a distinctly Tibetan vibe.

As you trek through the arid landscape, you'll be struck by the high cliffs and rocks with their unusual formations and colors, all contributing to the mesmerizing charm of this remote trans-Himalayan mountain area. The journey begins with a scenic flight from Pokhara to Jomsom and a short ascend to Kagbeni, the gateway to Upper Mustang. The trail takes you through a stark & offbeat terrain in the rain shadow of the towering Dhaulagiri massif.

But the real jewel of the trek is Lo-Manthang (3,840 m/12,598 ft), the seat of past Kings of the Kingdom of Lo Manthang. Here, you can explore many caves, rock paintings, monasteries, and gompa, each one steeped in history and culture. Immerse yourself in the local way of life and learn about the unique customs of this region.

And, of course, the Upper Mustang trekking also offers panoramic views of some of the most magnificent mountain ranges in the world, including Nilgiri (7,061 m), Annapurna (8,091 m), Dhaulagiri (8,167 m), and many others. So, whether you're seeking adventure, cultural immersion, or just a chance to soak in the stunning natural beauty of the Himalayas, the Upper Mustang trek has something for everyone.

Upper Mustang- a restricted area in Nepal

Upper Mustang was a restricted area in Nepal due to its close proximity to the border with Tibet and its unique cultural heritage. In the past, Upper Mustang was an independent kingdom that maintained close ties with Tibet.

The restrictions on travel to Upper Mustang were only lifted in 1992, and even then, access was limited to a small number of trekkers each year. Today, while the area is open to tourists, it remains a protected region, with strict regulations in place to preserve its unique cultural heritage and natural beauty.

The remote and isolated location of the Mustang district has played a significant role in preserving its unique culture, untouched natural beauty, and ancient heritage, including centuries-old monasteries. As you trek through the area, you'll be transported back in time, surrounded by medieval relics and colorful prayer flags fluttering in the wind.

You'll have the opportunity to interact with some of the oldest mountain tribe families in Mustang, hearing their stories and learning about their way of life. You'll also have the chance to explore the royal palace, beautiful old monasteries, the Amchi museum, and even a school in the Upper Mustang, each with its own unique story to tell.

Alternative trekking packages

If you like the Upper Mustang trek, you should also check our other mystical trekking packages in the Himalayas of Nepal, like the Upper Dolpo trek, Nar Phu Valley trek, Kanchenjunga Circuit trek, Limi Valley trek, and the Langtang Gosaikunda trek.

For beginner trekkers, these trekking packages will be the best- Langtang valley trek, Ghorepani Poon hill trek, Helambu trek, Pikey Peak trek, Everest Panorama trek, and Annapurna base camp trek.

Join us on the adventures and magical Upper Mustang trek 2023/2024

Are you ready to embark on an unforgettable journey to the mystical land of Upper Mustang? Join us on our upcoming Upper Mustang trek in 2023/2024, where you can discover the hidden treasures of one of the most remote regions of Nepal.

With our expert guides, you will trek through a rugged, arid landscape, past towering cliffs and rock formations, and discover hidden caves and monasteries adorned with intricate carvings and colorful prayer flags.

This 18-day adventure is packed with excitement and discovery, from the ancient kingdom of Lo Manthang to the breathtaking views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges. You'll get to experience firsthand the timeless beauty and magic of this region.

Contact us today to book your spot on the Upper Mustang trek 2023/2024 departure.

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Upon your arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport, we will be delighted to welcome you and provide a transfer to your hotel for an overnight stay. Take some time to explore the surroundings and join us for a welcome dinner in the late evening. We look forward to meeting you and making your stay in Nepal a memorable one. We will introduce you to your guide and prepare for the trek too.

  • Accommodation:Hotel

To travel to Pokhara from Kathmandu, the bus ride usually takes approximately 7 hours. However, if you prefer a quicker option, you can also take a flight that takes only 30 minutes. Once you arrive in Pokhara, take your time to explore the beautiful city and Lakeside area, known for its stunning natural beauty and adventure activities. We will be staying overnight at a comfortable Hotel around Lakeside Market.

  • Trip Duration:6 hours drive
  • Accommodation:Hotel

The Pokhara to Jomsom flight offers stunning views of the world's deepest gorge and the majestic mountain ranges of Mt. Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, and Fishtail. After landing in Jomsom, we will begin our trek toward Kagbeni. Kagbeni also serves as the checkpoint for entrance to the restricted Upper Mustang trekking.

Along the way, we will be able to enjoy the majestic view of Mt. Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri, and Tukuche Peak. The trail also offers an arid landscape as you gradually ascend through narrow alleys and white-washed houses.

  • Max. Altitude:2,800 m/9,500 ft
  • Trip Duration:25 minutes flight & 4 hours trek
  • Accommodation:Tea house

As we trek up the river valley, we will get to experience the beauty of the high trail & the riverbank trails. The trail widens significantly, revealing an endless stretch of sand. On the west bank of the river, you will come across some caves and the Gompa Kang monastery. Unlike most monasteries in Upper Mustang, Gompa Kang belongs to the Nyingmapa sect.

We will stop for lunch at the picturesque village of Tangbe. The little town is a maze of narrow alleys, white-washed houses, fields of buckwheat and barley, and apple orchards, with the magnificent Nilgiri Peak dominating the southern skyline. After Tangbe, we'll continue trekking towards Chusang village, located at the confluence of the Narshing Khola and the Kali Gandaki.

  • Max. Altitude:2,980 m/9,777 ft
  • Trip Duration:5-6 hours
  • Accommodation:Tea house

We can notice a distinct change not only in the topography, but also in the culture, lifestyle, and people as we trek toward Sammar. The settlements become more scattered, smaller, and more basic, reflecting the challenging living conditions in this remote region.

Continuing trekking north, we will come across a massive red chunk of a fallen cliff, forming a tunnel through which the river flows. Crossing a suspension bridge, we trek further out of the valley and ascend steeply up a rocky alley to the village of Chele.

From Chele, we will climb a steep spur and continue ascending along the side of a spectacular

steep canyon to a pass. Beyond the pass, we will descend on a pleasant trail to Samar village.

  • Max. Altitude:3,150 m/10,332 ft
  • Trip Duration:5-6 hours
  • Accommodation:Tea house

After leaving Samar, the trail climbs up to a ridge offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape before descending into a deep gorge. Along the way, we'll pass by a chorten, a Buddhist shrine, and enter a valley filled with juniper trees. Crossing a stream, we will climb up to a pass, which offers panoramic views of the snow-capped peaks.

Further, descending along a ridge, we'll reach the tiny village of Shyangmochen. Nearby is the Rangbyung cave, an important pilgrimage site in Mustang known for its stalagmites shaped like chortens. Continuing on the trail gently ascends to another large valley before finally reaching Geling.

  • Max. Altitude:3,510 m/11,513 ft
  • Trip Duration:5-6 hours
  • Accommodation:Tea house

Starting from Ghilling, the trek gradually ascends through fields and up the valley, passing by the village of Tama Gun and a majestic chorten. The climb becomes more challenging as we make our way toward Nyi La pass (3,840 m). Once we reach the pass, the descent is less strenuous, and after about 30 minutes, we'll reach a trail junction. From here, the right trail takes us directly to Charang.

  • Max. Altitude:3,932 m/12,900 ft
  • Trip Duration:7 hours
  • Accommodation:Tea house

We trek to Lo-Manthang on this day, relishing the views of Nilgiri, Tilicho, Annapurna I, and Bhrikuti Peak. We begin our trek by descending to the Charang Chu Canyon, followed by a steep climb after crossing the river. The trail then ascends gradually to the 3,850 m Lo Pass, famous for its fierce winds and stunning panoramic views of the Lo-Manthang Valley.

As we make our way down to Lo-Manthang, the sight of the walled city surrounded by hills on the Tibetan Border is truly breathtaking. Lo-Manthang is a treasure trove of ancient monasteries, shrines, and palaces, making it an unforgettable destination for anyone seeking adventure and exploration.

  • Max. Altitude:3,840 m/12,598 ft
  • Trip Duration:5 hours
  • Accommodation:Tea house

Today's itinerary involves exploring the surrounding areas of Lo-Manthang. The first stop is Namgyal Gompa, a significant monastery perched on a hilltop. Besides serving as a spiritual center for the locals, it also functions as a court of justice. After visiting Namgyal Gompa, the tour proceeds to Tingkhar, which is the last major village to the northwest of Lo-Manthang. One can take a leisurely stroll back to the hotel while enjoying the serene surroundings.

Alternatively, we can choose to explore the Tall Champa Lhakhang, a revered temple also known as the "God house". The red Thugchen Gompa, Chyodi Gompa, and the Entrance Hall are also popular attractions in Lo Manthang. The four-story king's palace and the panoramic views of the Himalayas add to the town's allure.

  • Accommodation:Tea house

On our return trek from Lo-Manthang, we will be taking a different route than the one we came by. Our trek to Drakmar will take us via Gyakar, where we can visit the Ghar Gompa. This ancient monastery is more than 1,200 years old and is famous for its rock paintings depicting the life of Guru Rinpoche.

According to local legend, if you make a wish at the Ghar Gompa, it will come true. We will have the opportunity to explore the local area and enjoy the stunning views on the way to Dhakmar.

  • Max. Altitude:3810 m/12,500 ft
  • Trip Duration:6-7 hours
  • Accommodation:Tea house

As we continue the trek, we will cross several small streams and waterfalls, which add to the natural beauty of the region. The trail takes us through the village of Samar and continues toward the village of Shyangbochen. The village offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, including Nilgiri, Annapurna, and Dhaulagiri. The trekking trail passes through the Syanbochen monastery, which is another highlight of the day.

  • Max. Altitude:3,475 m/11,398 ft
  • Trip Duration:6-7 hours
  • Accommodation:Tea house

As we continue descending from Syanbochen, we will cross several small picturesque villages and Chungsi Cave, where you can witness the unique architecture of the houses and the lifestyle of the locals. The trekking trail takes us through the beautiful landscapes of high cliffs and rock formations. We will trek past ancient monasteries, prayer flags, and chortens, which reflect the rich cultural traditions and beliefs of the locals.

  • Max. Altitude:2,980 m/9,777 ft
  • Trip Duration:5-6 hours
  • Accommodation:Tea house

From Chhusang, the trekking trail follows the Kali Gandaki river, passing through several small villages, including Tangbe, which is famous for its white-washed houses and narrow alleys. We will cross several suspension bridges over the Kali Gandaki river and walk through the arid and barren landscapes of the Mustang region. Passing by the village of Kagbeni, the trail leads to Jharkot (3,550 m) and continues to Muktinath.

  • Max. Altitude:3,762 m/12,343 ft
  • Trip Duration:5-6 hours
  • Accommodation:Tea house

In the morning, we set out to visit the Muktinath Temple, a sacred site revered by both Hindus and Buddhists alike. According to Hindu beliefs, the region is known as "Muktikhsetra," which means the region of liberation or salvation. After exploring the temple, we will continue trekking toward Jomsom village. The trail goes along the Kali Gandaki Gorge and small villages.

  • Max. Altitude:2,743 m/8,999 ft
  • Trip Duration:5-6 hours
  • Accommodation:Tea house

Our journey from Jomsom to Kathmandu began with an early morning 20-minute flight to Pokhara. The flight offered stunning views of the snow-capped peaks of the Annapurna range and the lush green valleys below. After arriving in Pokhara, we will board our next flight to Kathmandu. Upon landing in Kathmandu, our team will drop you at the hotel. We will meet you in the late evening for farewell dinner, until then, rest and shop.

  • Max. Altitude:1,400 m/4,600 ft
  • Trip Duration:45 minutes total flight time
  • Accommodation:Hotel

Our team will transfer you to the airport for your return flight. We will ensure that you have a smooth and hassle-free departure. We hope that you take back fond memories of your time here and cherish them for years to come.

    Trip Map
    Upper Mustang Trek map
    Useful Information

    Upper Mustang trek price

    The cost of the Upper Mustang trek can vary depending on various factors, such as the duration of the trek, the number of people in the group, the season of the trek, and the level of service and accommodation required.

    On average, the cost of the Upper Mustang trek can range from USD 1,500 to USD 3,000 per person for a 10-14 day trek. This cost generally includes permits, guide and porter fees, accommodation, meals, transportation, and taxes.

    Can I do the Upper Mustang trek solo?

    No, solo trekking is not allowed in Upper Mustang. The government of Nepal requires all trekkers to obtain a special permit and be accompanied by a licensed guide. The permit fee for Upper Mustang is also relatively high compared to other treks in Nepal. Additionally, the region is remote and has limited infrastructure, so having a guide with local knowledge and experience is essential for safety and logistical reasons.

    Upper Mustang trek difficulty

    The Upper Mustang trek is an adventurous journey that requires a good level of fitness and preparation. The high altitude and dry atmosphere of the region make it a challenging trek, but the stunning mountain scenery and unique cultural experiences are worth the effort. With the right training and preparation, you can conquer this trek.

    The weather in Upper Mustang is favorable for trekking almost year-round, except for the winter when deep snow can make the trails challenging. We recommend working on your cardio and leg muscles before the trek and ensuring that your travel insurance covers high-altitude trekking.

    Upper Mustang trek distance

    The distance of the Upper Mustang trek depends on the route and itinerary chosen by the trekker. The standard route for the Upper Mustang trek is about 90 miles (145 kilometers) long, starting and ending in Jomsom. However, some trekking itineraries can cover a longer distance if additional side trips are included or if the trekker takes a different route.

    Altitude Sickness

    Altitude sickness is a possibility when trekking above 3,000m-3,500m, but with proper acclimatization, it can be easily avoided. The first two days of the trek are completed at lower altitudes, which allows the body to adapt gradually.

    Our experienced guides, each with an average of 7 years of trekking experience, are familiar with the symptoms and treatments of altitude sickness. If you feel unwell at any point during the trek, please inform your guide immediately.

    Accommodation during the Upper Mustang trekking

    Upper Mustang trek is a teahouse trek. They offer a place to sleep, eat, and socialize with other trekkers. The rooms are usually basic and come in either twin or dormitory style, with shared toilets and bathrooms that have either Western or squat-style toilets. Showers usually have cold water, and hot water is available for a fee. Blankets are provided in the sleeping rooms, but bringing your own sleeping bag is recommended.

    The dining area is usually warmed by a stove, and lighting is provided by solar or electricity. Boiled water is typically available for a small charge. Keep in mind that there are no single rooms unless it is off-season and that sharing a room is normal. There is no heating in the sleeping rooms, so be sure to pack appropriate warm clothing or a sleeping bag.

    Meals on the Upper Mustang trek

    On the Upper Mustang trek, you will have the chance to experience the unique flavors of Tibetan cuisine. While the menu may not be as extensive as in more popular trekking areas, the food is still delicious and satisfying.

    For breakfast, you can choose between a spicy Nepali omelet or piping hot porridge with milk. Toast or Tibetan bread with jam or honey is also available, as well as Nepali spiced tea, salty Tibetan tea, or coffee.

    For lunch, you can enjoy dal bhat or thukpa (Tibetan noodles) with Nepali tea or a soft drink. Dinner options include a variety of soups, thukpa, Tibetan bread, momos, fried macaroni with vegetables, pasta, dal bhat, and fried rice.

    For dessert, you can choose from custard, rice pudding, or apple pie (in season). Beer, spirits, tea, coffee, and Tibetan salted tea are also available.

    Best time to do the Upper Mustang trek

    The best time to do the Upper Mustang trek is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) seasons. During these months, the weather is dry and the skies are clear, making for excellent trekking conditions. The temperatures are moderate during the day and can get chilly at night, so warm clothing is essential.

    In addition, the spring season offers the added advantage of beautiful wildflowers in full bloom, while the autumn season offers clear views of the snow-capped mountains. As the Upper Mustang is a rain-shadow area, trekking can be done here even during the monsoon season (June to August).

    Upper Mustang trek tips

    • Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is a must when trekking in Upper Mustang or anywhere in Nepal. We highly recommend that you purchase travel insurance that covers emergency medical evacuation, trip cancellation, and loss of luggage or personal belongings. Please ensure that you carry a copy of your insurance policy with you during the trek.
    • Passport & Visa: Your passport should have at least six months of validity from the date of entry into Nepal. You can obtain a visa on arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu or other entry points in Nepal. The visa fee varies depending on the length of your stay, with options ranging from 15 days to 90 days. You will need to provide a passport-sized photo and the visa fee in USD cash.
    • Trek Group: We have both group and private trekking options for the Upper Mustang trek. You can trek in a group with your loved ones or join one of our fixed Upper Mustang trek 2023/2024 departure dates. Regardless of the size of your group, we will always provide an experienced guide to ensure your safety and enjoyment.
    • Luggage: We offer a 10 kg weight limit for a duffel bag and a 5 kg backpack weight limit for each trekker. If you have any additional luggage, you can store it free of cost in your hotel's locker room.
    • Charging & Internet: Typically, you can expect to pay around $2 to $3 to charge your phone or camera. The cost can quickly add up if you take lots of photos or have multiple devices. To avoid this expense, we recommend carrying a power bank or a small solar charger. Likewise, paid Wifi is available in a handful of villages. We advise you to buy a tourist sim with data for the journey.
    • Tips: In Nepal, it is customary to tip your trekking crew, including the guide and porter. Typically, tips for the trekking crew are given as a group and depend on the group’s satisfaction. The recommended amount is $8-$12 per day, which will be split amongst the entire crew. Tipping is not mandatory, but it is a great way to show your appreciation.
    • Personal Expenses: We recommend carrying between USD 10 to USD 15 per day on the trek to cover extra expenses such as hot showers and charging batteries. You may also want to treat yourself to the occasional soft drink or beer along the way. There is no ATM on the trail, so withdraw enough money in Kathmandu or Pokhara to use during the trek.
    • The Upper Mustang trek is considered moderately difficult, with the main challenges being the high altitude and the rugged terrain. The trek crosses several high mountain passes, which can be strenuous. However, the stunning landscapes and unique cultural experiences make it a rewarding and unforgettable adventure.

    • The length of the Upper Mustang trek can vary depending on the starting and ending points. Generally, the trek takes around 10 to 16 days to complete, covering a distance of approximately 120 kilometers. However, you can choose to extend or shorten their trek based on your preferences and physical abilities.

    • The Upper Mustang trek price varies depending on various factors, such as the duration of the trek, mode of transportation, accommodation, permits, and guide fees. On average, a trek to Upper Mustang can cost anywhere between USD 1,500 to USD 2,500 per person.

    • The best time to visit Upper Mustang is from March to May and from September to November. During these months, the weather is generally dry, with clear skies and comfortable temperatures. Likewise, you can also do this trek in the monsoon (June to August).

    • Upper Mustang is relatively expensive due to its remote location, limited accessibility, and restricted area permit. The permit alone cost USD 500 for 10 days, which is significantly higher than other trekking regions in Nepal. Additionally, the cost of transportation, accommodation, and food in Upper Mustang is higher due to its remote location and limited availability of resources.

    • Upper Mustang is a restricted area due to its location near the Tibetan border and its historical and cultural significance. In the past, Upper Mustang was also a strategic trade route between Nepal and Tibet. To preserve the unique cultural and natural resources of the region, the Nepalese government has restricted the number of visitors and implemented a special permit system for foreigners.

    • Upper Mustang is famous for its unique cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and remote location. The region has a distinct Tibetan Buddhist culture and architecture that is well-preserved due to its restricted access.

    • Yes, hiring a guide is mandatory for trekking in Upper Mustang. The Nepalese government requires all foreign visitors to be accompanied by a licensed guide and obtain a special permit to enter the region.

    • It is recommended to dress in layers while trekking in Mustang, as the weather can be unpredictable, and temperatures can fluctuate throughout the day. Trekkers should wear a comfortable and breathable base layer, a warm mid-layer, and a waterproof and windproof outer layer.

    • Yes, there is snowfall in Upper Mustang during the winter months of December to February. The region experiences a cold and dry climate, and the temperatures can drop below freezing at night.

    • Lower Mustang and Upper Mustang are two distinct regions in Nepal that differ in terms of geography, culture, and accessibility. Lower Mustang is a subtropical region located at a lower elevation and is easily accessible by road. Upper Mustang, on the other hand, is a high-altitude desert region that is located in the rain shadow of the Himalayas. It is a restricted area that requires a special permit.

    • Yes, Upper Mustang is generally safe for trekking, as it is a well-established trekking destination with well-defined trails and experienced guides. The region is also known for its friendly and welcoming local population.

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