Upper Mustang Trekking

Upper Mustang Trek
  • Duration 17 Days
  • Trip Grade Moderate
  • Max. Altitude 3780
  • Trip Start Jomsom
  • Trip End Jomsom

Highlights

  • Holy Temple in  Muktinath 
  •  Annapurna Area most popular airport at Jomsom Airport
  • Green planet with beautifull Landscape Kagbeni Apple Garden
  •  most woldest  Monastery  in mustang ghar Monastery
  •  Beauty of the Nature and culturearl Lomanthang Royal Place
  •  Inside the mountain natural monastery at Chhosher monastery
  • North west side of Mustang Tibetan Border
  •  Specialy mustang local people one of the bigested Tiji Festival in June and July

Upper Mustang Trek is one of the few scenic and cultural destinations situated in the Far northwestern Himalayan region of Nepal which is never to be missed if you are planning an adventure holiday in Nepal. This trek leads you to the hidden landscapes located on the northwest border of Annapurna Conservation Area. Exploring the mystical semi-arid landscape, Upper Mustang restricted trekking lets you have enough space to get close to the Tibetan Buddhist cultural influence, hidden caves, countless vibrant monasteries, and shortens that are rarely found in any other parts of Nepal and the communities. At the same time, the magnetic Himalayan aura and seasonal vegetation ranging from Alpine to highland can attract any trekkers around the world.

Truly a fascinating adventure leads you to the high vast wide and scenic country of Upper Mustang, an extension of the highest South West Tibetan plateau. This trek offers the utmost scenery of snow-capped mountains to high, eroded windswept cliffs and canyons of vivid colors.

Upper Mustang trek was restricted to foreigners till 1980. After the restrictions were lifted partially in 1980, many trekkers and adventure bikers have visited this place to witness its vast treasures of beautiful landscapes, traditional villages of Buddhist and Bon culture with views of Dhaulagiri-Annapurna-Mustang Himal in the background with Damodar Himal range.

Upper Mustang Trekking offers a great view of the Mountain desert, Old Monastery, and the great life experience of being in one of the top-rated travel destinations around the world. Mustang is filled with a majority of Thakali people. The temple of Muktinath, located at the lap of Thorong peak, is one of the famous religious sites in Mustang which thousands of Buddhist and Hindu people from India, Nepal, Myanmar, and Tibet visit every year.  The fossilized Ammonite can be found on the beach of Kaligandaki River, which is of religious importance to Hindus. 
It is a place where, multicast, multicultural, and multilingual people are bounded together and stay together. Upper Mustang has lots of Buddhist monasteries that were built around one thousand years ago. People on the upper mustang used to have their King who used to rule over Mustang. 

The trek to Upper Mustang begins from Jomsom, which is a district headquarters of the Mustang region and a linearly located windy valley beyond the Annapurna ranges. People recall the trail as a historical salt trade route between Nepal and Tibet, running adjacent to the winding and beautiful Kaligandaki river gorge up to Loh-Manthang. Some of the sections of this trekking route merge with the road to Loh-Manthang. Allowed for the trekkers since 1992 A.D. The hidden jewel of the Upper Mustang trekking can be done after affording the hefty special and restricted trekking permit. 

Furthermore, the whitewashed houses with vibrant prayer flags demonstrate the cultural prosperity in Upper Mustang. The houses are built with mud bricks and the lifestyle seems quite nomadic. Besides, their hospitality is amazing with the typical Tibetan cuisines. Just like the enticing landscape, the ever-smiling innocent faces of local people are alluring. Passing through picturesque towns of Chele, Syangbochen, Ghyami, and Tsarang, trekkers cross different sections and high passes like Chogo La Pass (4250 meters), which is the highest pass on this trek. Situated at an altitude of 3700 meters, Loh-Mustang is the ultimate destination, which remained hidden for a long time by the local Kings. Chooser Cave and the antique monasteries make Lo-Manthang and its surroundings impressive.

Upper Mustang Trekking concluded is in Muktinath Temple, which is a globally recognized spiritual center. As long as you reach its close destination, Muktinath is a highly recommended destination. In addition, the trek to the Upper Mustang is best from March to July and September to December. However, you can do Trekking in Upper Mustang even in the monsoon, as the Mustang region is located in the Himalayan rain shadow area. Winter becomes extremely chill, and the chill, windy valley becomes a great challenge in the trek. Moderate acclimatization avoids altitude sickness during the journey.

Itinerary
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The Upper Mustang Trek starts from Kagbeni which is historically and culturally important place. The day-to-day itinerary is as follows

  • Day 01 : Kagbeni to Chele, 3050 m, 5-6 hours
  • Day 02 : Chele to Samer, 3290 m, 6 hours
  • Day 03 : Samer to Ghiling , 3600 m, 6 hours
  • Day 04 : Ghiling to Tsarang, 3520 m, 5 hours
  • Day 05 : Tsarang to Lomanthang, 3780 m, 5 hours 
  • Day 06 : hiking around Lomanthang and Chaser
  • Day 07 : Lomanthang to Ghami, 3440 m, 6 hours
  • Day 08 : Ghami to Samer, 3290 m, 5 hours
  • Day 09 :  Samer to Kagbeni, 2950 m, 6 hours 

  • Accommodation3*
  • MealsBreakfast
  • Altitude/Time1,400 m

On arrival by respective airline, our guide and staff will receive you for a short drive to your hotel in the hub of busy Kathmandu, with hotels in a quiet environment. After getting a refreshed in your rooms, our guide will brief about trek with necessary information.
The evening includes group dinner in a nice Nepali restaurant with culture and folk dance of Nepal. 

  • Accommodation3*
  • MealsBreakfast
  • Altitude/Time1,400 m

On our second day, we will start preparing for your trek. One of Our representative will remind you to get all the permits necessary for this trek. You will be reminded to check your trek insurance policy and provide us a copy of it. You will meet your Team leader and other support professionals who will check your trekking gears to make sure they meet the requirements. After a brief introduction with the crew, one of our tour operator will take you to a city tour. You will be visiting 4 heritage sites namely Patan Durbar Square, Swoyambhu (also known as monkey temple among foreigners), Pashupatinath and Mahaboudha Stupa, that hold historical, religious and cultural significances.

  • Accommodation3*
  • MealsBreakfast
  • Altitude/Time820 m

Morning an exciting overland journey to Nepal Mid West at Pokhara on country's most busy And interesting highway with a drive of six hours, on reaching Pokhara transfer to your hotel by Phewa Lakeside, with time for short walks around the lakeside full of good restaurants-shops-and stores with excellent hotels. 

  • AccommodationLocal Teahouse
  • MealsB/L/D
  • Altitude/Time2,807 m

Early morning transfer to Pokhara airport for a scenic short flight to Jomsom of less than 30 minutes with a grand panorama of Dhaulagiri-Tukuche-Nilgiris with Annapurna and Machhapuchare Himal.
After an exciting view airborne reaching at Jomsom, the headquarter of Mustang district located around Kaligandaki River valley.
Herewith time to get organize with refreshment starting our first day walk to Kagbeni towards North West for first overnight at Kagbeni.
An interesting village where you can observe local culture similar to Tibetan traditions way of life, Kagbeni the gateway to Upper Mustang, where all foreign visitors require special permits to enter the forbidden kingdom of Upper Mustang.

  • AccommodationLocal teahouse
  • MealsB/L/D
  • Altitude/Time2,920 m

Morning walk leads into high Upper Mustang with slow uphill and into exposed valley enclosed within colourful eroded canyons and high cliff edge dotted with small caves, as our route leads on the gradual path with glorious views of Nilgiris-Dhaulagiri and Mustang Himal, with short few rests in between and then reaching at the first village of inner Upper Mustang at Chusang often spelled as Tsusang also.
A farm area within a few tree lines of Willow-Juniper and Poplars that surrounds the village, the only species that survive in this harsh arid climate, here with time to enjoy and visit a local village.

  • AccommodationLocal teahouse
  • MealsB/L/D
  • Altitude/Time3,209 m

From Chusang village, the walk lead to cross a stream past broken and eroded canyons which look like ruined castle walls within high surrounding cliffs, as the walk led past Chusang with views of colourful and brilliant red eroded cliffs above mouths of inaccessible caves. After a steady walk of one hour, reaching Chele / Tshele village for short brief stops and observing village old traditional life. From Chele, village walk gets steeper for an hour with a climb to a ridge of above 3,130 m high with grand views of Gyagar across a huge canyon. The trek continues with a slow climb on this windswept terrain till a small scenic pass is reached at 3,540 m. From here a gradual descent leads to Samar for an overnight stop in a nice local lodge or guest house.

  • AccommodationLocal teahouse
  • MealsB/L/D
  • Altitude/Time3,600 m

The Walk today starts with a short climb above Samar village to reach a ridge top, and then downhill heading towards a large gorge past a prayer Chorten of red, black, yellow and white colour. The adventure continues to reach another scenic valley with sparse vegetation of juniper trees, after crossing a stream, the walk leads uphill to a ridge at above 3,800 m high, and then climb over to another pass, from here our route descends to Shyangmochen. This is a small settlement with few small tea shops at above 3,710 m high, after a nice and pleasant break continue with a gentle climb over a pass at 3,770 m to enter a huge valley on a downhill path towards our overnight stop at Gelling with its large fields of barley that surround this pretty village.

  • AccommodationLocal teahouse
  • MealsB/L/D
  • Altitude/Time3,520 m

After a wonderful and pleasant overnight in Ghiling, the morning begins with a gradual slow climb past crop fields within the centre of the valley, the walk leads below Tama Gung settlements and continue with a long climb across the head of a valley above Nyi La pass 3,950 m.
The top rewards you with a stunning panorama of Mustang terrain with white snow-capped peaks, and this is the highest point of the adventure and the southern boundary of Lo. 
From here a gradual downhill brings to a junction; the right path leads directly to Tsarang while the left leads to Ghami village, one of the main majors of Lo region. 
Our route leads below within blue, grey and red cliffs across a valley to cross a steel bridge over Tangmarchu River, the path climbs past to a long and magnificent stretch of Mani (prayer) wall, probably the longest series of prayer wall in the whole Himalayan region. 
From here with last and final climb of the day above 3,600 m high pass, from here a gentle descent leads to Tsarang or Charang for an overnight halt, an interesting village with a maze of fields, willow trees and a huge five-story high of white-colored Dzong and a Monastery known as Gompa situated on the edge of the Kali Gandaki gorge, around Tsarang with its own community electricity system.

  • AccommodationLocal teahouse
  • MealsB/L/D
  • Altitude/Time3,780 m

Today toward our final and most awaited main highlight destination to Lo Manthang, the morning starts with a short downhill to cross Charangchu River, and then with a steep climb to a ridge passing Tholung valley. 
Here our trail diverts towards the north with a gradual climb to reach a large Chhorten, which marks the boundary between Tsarang and Lo, the climb follows a stream and then reaching a great wide windswept valley.
As the walk finally reaches on the top 3,850 m high pass offers a grand view of walled village of Lo Mananthang, taking a short descend towards a stream that outlines the walled village, from here a short climb leads you to the southern wall of Lo Manthang village. 
The one and only entrance to the village from the North-East corner, so one has to walk around the wall to reach the main entrance gate sometimes.
On entering the former forbidden kingdom of Lo Manthang, transfer into a local lodge and guest houses with time to browse around its alley and narrow streets with shops and stores. 

  • AccommodationLocal teahouse
  • MealsB/L/D
  • Altitude/Time3,780 m

Rest day at Lo-Manthang, once the capital of Lo (Mustang district), one of the largest village with more than 150 houses includes the number of resident for a priest, monks, and lamas, houses are closely packed with palace and monasteries located in the bottom section around vertical part of L shaped houses. 
The Mustang raja's palace stands an imposing 4 story building in the center of the city. It is the home of the former Raja (king), Jigme Parbal Bista, and the Rani (queen), who is from the noble family of Lhasa and Shigatse in Tibet. 

  • AccommodationLocal teahouse
  • MealsB/L/D
  • Altitude/Time3,440 m

With exciting and enjoyable time in Lo-Manthang, depart from this mystical and legendry kingdom starting with descending and few short climbs all the way to Ghami.

As the morning walk leads outside the walled Lo-Manthang village, our route leads to a steady climb to a pass offering the last glimpse of Lo-Manthang, walk from here on is more or less on gradual with downhill slopes most of the way to Ghami village for an overnight stop, Ghami another important village of Upper Mustang region

  • AccommodationLocal teahouse
  • MealsB/L/D
  • Altitude/Time3,209 m

Trek today follows on the same route towards Nyi La, climb to the ridge and then contouring upwards and then reaching the road coming from Tsarang. From the top of the ridge, a steep descend to Gelling Valley. The trail continues bypassing Gelling to a lone teahouse and then a gentle downhill to a small settlement of Tama Gung. A steep switchbacks trail leads to a stream; the trail climbs to a large painted Chhorten and then on a straightforward route to our overnight stop at Samar.

  • AccommodationLocal teahouse
  • MealsB/L/D
  • Altitude/Time2,807 m

Our route from Samar leads on a downhill trail in the same direction for a few hours past Chele village to reach at Mustang Khola, from here walk leads on the gradual path in between great canyons and eroded high cliffs to reach back at Kagbeni for last overnight within Upper Mustang.

  • AccommodationStandard
  • MealsB/L/D
  • Altitude/Time2,715 m

From Kagbeni our last day of the great adventure on Upper Mustang Trek, as morning leads on the same route to Jomsom with easy gradual downhill reaching back at Kaligandaki river valley, walking on vast windswept Kaligandaki river valley to reach Jomsom, headquarter town of Mustang region with a small airstrip above Kaligandaki River. 
An afternoon with time for a walk around Jomsom town, home of Thakali people within Kaligandaki River valley famous for apple orchards and garden as well as delicious apples and products like cider, brandy, and juice a delightful town for walks around the street with shops and stores. 

  • Accommodation3*
  • MealsBreakfast
  • Altitude/Time820 m

With a morning scenic flight to Pokhara, our trek ends. At Pokhara, after resting some moment at your accommodation, we will start exploring the city of lakes. 

  • Accommodation3*
  • MealsBreakfast
  • Altitude/Time1,400 m

Morning an early drive back to Kathmandu on a luxury bus through interesting highway with the exciting journey as drive leads through rural farm villages and towns with views of mountains after six-hour drive ending at Kathmandu, then transfer to your respective hotels.

  • Accommodation-
  • Meals-
  • Altitude/Time-

You will be transferred to the Kathmandu airport to catch your returning flight.

Not satisfied with this regular itinerary?

Are you interested on planning custom trip? Feel free to contact us.

Map & Altitude Graph
Upper Mustang Trekking map
Cost Details
What's Included
  • All the government and company service charges
  • Airport pick up and drop off by a private vehicle
  • 3 Nights hotel in Kathmandu at 3-star category hotel with breakfast in twin sharing basis
  • Kathmandu Valley sightseeing (Private vehicle and English-speaking guide)
  • Kathmandu to Pokhara and Pokhara to Kathmandu transport by a tourist bus
  • 2 Nights hotel in Pokhara at 3-star category hotel with breakfast in twin sharing basis
  • Jomsom-Pokhara flight
  • ACAP (Annapurna Conversation Area Permit) and TIMS Cards
  • An experienced English-speaking guide and his all expenses including insurance during the trekking
  • Porter (1 porter for 2 trekkers and carries 15kgs to 20 kg) and their all expenses including insurance
  • Food (Breakfasts, lunches and Dinners, Full board basis during the trekking with 3 complimentary tea/coffee)
  • Teahouse accommodation during the trekking in twin sharing basis
  • Trekking route map
  • Complimentary sleeping bags and down jackets
  • First aid kit
What's Excluded
  • International airfare
  • Travel Insurance
  • Nepal visa fee
  • Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu and Pokhara except complimentary dinners
  • Personal expenses (Wi-Fi, bar bills, laundries, electricity charges for the gadgets, hot shower, hot water etc)
  • Tipping for guide(s), porter (s), driver(s)
  • Anything does not include in the inclusion list.
Useful Info

Why choose Upper Mustang Trekking?

12 days Upper Mustang Trek is one of the best treks for many reasons. Starting from the headquarter of Mustang, Jomsom up to Tibetian Border, there are a lot of geographical, cultural, and religious things that fascinate any trekkers. Quite opposite to the other half of Annapurna Circuit, this part is a mountain desert with patches of settlements and greenery scattered along the way. From vibrant and colorful prayer flags and beautiful stupas to completely barren rocky lands, from modern Jomsom providing all the facilities to Upper regions with rural lifestyles, one enjoys every bit of this trek. The beautiful and wide Kaligandaki river is the main lifeline of this area. Mustang region is religiously important to Buddhists and Hindus as well. Muktinath, being an icon of this area, is very important to Buddhists and Hindus. Kaligandaki river valley is famous for finding ammonites also called " Shaligram". Shaligram has a great religious significance to Hindus and is considered the holy offering to Bishnu. The Upper Mustang is an ancient city with historical and cultural significance. The region was used as a base camp for the Khompa revolution against the Chinese government, which was later suppressed with the help of the Nepalese Government. Loh Manthang was the center part of the ancient city and traders from Tibet and India used the salt trading route that passes through the middle of Loh Manthang, to trade. 

The tradition of sky burial is still practiced in the Upper region. The dead body is dismembered first and is taken to an elevated place, leaving it as an offering to vultures. One of the must-visit places in Upper Mustang is Chungsi Cave. The cave lies in between many man-made caves. Chung cave is formed naturally and is one of the most religiously and historically important places. Locals believe that Guru Rinpoche used to meditate inside this cave around the 8th century. There are a lot of ancient monasteries and caves in the Upper Mustang. 

Best Season to do Upper Mustang Trek :

Upper Mustang has mountain desert-type weather as it is located in the rain-shadow of the Himalayas. Even in Monsoon, this region suffers low rainfall, making it great to trek in any season. But one should be very careful while trekking in winter, as most of the local people migrate towards the low regions to avoid extreme snow and cold. Apart from the main winter time, this trek can be done throughout the year.

Monsoon Season (June-August): Since, Mustang lies in the rain shadow, this region experience low rainfall even in monsoon which makes it ideal to trek even during monsoon.

Autumn season (September to November): Autumn/ Fall is considered one of the best seasons to trek the Upper Mustang. As the weather is clean and clear, the visibility is far with less to no haze. The days are bright, and the temperature is low compared to Monsoon and Spring, which makes this trek even more doable.

Winter Season (December to February): Winter is the least preferred time to trek Upper Mustang, as there are always chances of heavy snowfall. Days are mostly covered with clouds, but mornings are mostly clear, providing beautiful views. Also, the place is less crowded. Many locals migrate to the lower regions to avoid the cold and freezing winter. However, with proper pieces of equipment and gear, this trek provides the adventure of another level if done in winter.

Spring Season (March to May): Spring is considered the peak season to do Upper Mustang Trek. As the temperature is warmer compared to Autumn, the walking days are fine and the views are amazing because of the clear sky and clean weather. Walking along the snowy trails with lots of wildflowers on the way makes this trek more beautiful. The landscapes are great and covered with snow patches. One of the major festivals of Upper Mustang, Tiji festivals, also falls during this season.

The difficulty level of Upper Mustang Trek: 

Upper Mustang trek is considered moderately difficult because of the terrain. Most of the trekking is below 4000 m, so altitude is not an issue. However, the trails are confusing. One can get easily lost. Since a lot of road constructions are going on, the trekking trail may vanish overnight, so any offline maps or Google Maps might not give you accurate information. Some parts of the trail are tricky as they contain loose gravels, sands, and mud which may cause you to tumble and hurt your leg. So we recommend hiring a professional and experienced guide to do this trek. 

Permits and Costs :

Upper Mustang trek is one of the best trekking destinations in Nepal. The area is known for its ancient history and culture. The region is mostly mountain desert with less or no sign of trees. Since Upper Mustang is still a restricted area, special permits from the Nepalese Government are required. The special permit costs 50 US$ per day. Other permits required are an ACAP permit (25 US$) since some part of the Upper Mustang Trek passes through the Annapurna Circuit trail, and a TIMS permit card (10 US$). So you have to pay 535 US$ for 10 days trek in the Upper Mustang region.

 

FAQs
  • Since Mustang is located in northernmost part of Nepal bordering with Tibet , Most of the people residing here follows Buddhism and some follow Bon religion. You can see a mixed culture of Nepalese and Tibetian lifestyle . The Mustang region is mostly populated by people of Thakali caste. 

  • Mustang District, a part of the Dhaulagiri Zone, which is also known as "Land beyond the Himalayas" is located in the Kali Gandaki valley of the Himalayan region of Western Nepal. Mustang (from the Tibetan Muntan meaning "fertile plain") the traditional region is largely dry and arid. The world’s deepest gorge that goes down three miles vertical between Dhaulagiri and Annapurna mountains runs through this district. It also houses several of the most inspiring historical sites in the country, some of which date back to four thousand BC. The only river that flows through this vast mountain desert is Kaligandaki which is famous for finding ammonite fossils. Ammonites are called "Saligram" according to Hinduism and has a significant religious values.

  • The cost of trekking in Upper Mustang starts from 1500 US$. The cost may go up depending on the type of services you are offered (as per your requests) like the type of accommodation, the type of food, days extension etc.  

  • It takes 17 days to complete the Upper Mustang Trek. However, it depends on the physical ability of trekkers. 

  • Since Upper Mustang is a restricted area, travellers/ trekkers need to obtain a special permit to enter this region. The special permit costs 500 US$ per person. Other permits required for this trek are TIMS and ACAP entry permit.

  • The highest point of Upper Mustang Trek is Choser which is 4,200 m above sea level. 

  • Although the trail is not hard, the environmental conditions may make some trekkers feel uneasy. The absence of tree line, dusty trails and scorching sun rays may make some people feel tired early. The Upper Mustang Trek is graded as moderate. 

  • The best time to do Upper Mustang trek is in between May to October. Though it rains in most part of Nepal during June and July but Upper Mustang experience minimum to no rainfall so except in winter, all times are considered best.

  • Since Upper Mustang Trek route passes through Nepal China trade route, most of the accommodations are standard which offers different types of Nepalese, Chinese and continental food.

  • Trekking in Nepal with a licensed guide is always safe. Mustang region houses a lot of tea houses in short interval of time and the trail is mostly well-marked, so it is safe to trek upper Mustang. 

     

  • Yes, it is mandatory to hire a licensed guide from a Government registered company while trekking in Upper Mustang. The Special permits to Upper Mustang trek are not issued to freelance or individual guide. It is issued for a company. Also, you need to be two persons at least and a licensed guide to visit Upper Mustang. For porter, we highly recommend using them. Walking on a barren, rocky and dusty trail for 6-7 hours a day is sufficient for you to get tired easily, which means you may not be able to enjoy the view. Hiring a porter, you will offload your extra packings so that you can enjoy the view and learn the culture and history of the place without worrying about the tiredness. 

     

  • Trekking in treeless area above 3500 m is always challenging. The low oxygen concentration in the atmosphere is the major factor for Acute Mountain Sickness, or commonly called Altitude Sickness. So there is always a risk of suffering from mild Altitude Sickness. However, in Upper Mustang trek, the elevation gained per day is gradual, so the body can acclimatize automatically while trekking and resting overnight. This does not mean there's no risk at all, but minimum . To avoid altitude sickness ; trek at slow pace, do not carry heavy backpack, take rest often, do not let your body get dehydrated , trek high and sleep at low points, avoid heavy consumption of alcohol, etc.

  • Altitude sickness occurs when a person rapidly ascends to high altitudes, normally above 2,500 m/8,000 ft. Symptoms of altitude sickness can include headaches, dizziness, and shortness of breath. If a person stays at high altitudes for an extended period, they may develop chronic altitude sickness. If they do not get medical help, this can lead to potentially fatal complications or even death .A person can prevent altitude sickness by ascending gradually and allowing the body to acclimatize to new heights. A doctor may prescribe several different medications to treat altitude sickness, or in some cases, recommend oxygen supplementation.However, a person may remedy altitude sickness symptoms most effectively by descending to lower altitudes.

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