Upper Mustang Trek

Duration: 17 Days / 16 Nights
  • Destination: Nepal
  • Trip Difficulty: Moderate
  • Style: Trekking
  • Transportation: Tourist Bus, Car & Airplane
  • Meals: BLD (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)
  • Accommodation: Lodge to lodge
  • Group Size: Minimum two person
  • Max Altitude: 3840m/12598ft

Highlights of Upper Mustang Trek

  • A scenic flight from Pokhara to Jomsom enjoying the aerial view of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges including distant view of Manaslu region
  • Exploration of the Capital City of the Last Forbidden Kingdom of Lo Manthang
  • Desert beauty and harsh landscapes of the rain shadow area
  • Influence of Tibetan Buddhist culture in the lifestyle of the Mustangese people
  • The 12th or 13th century Buddhist monasteries found at least one in a village
  • Mani walls, prayer flags and wheels, chortens beautifying the villages
  • Magnificent panorama of pristine valleys, bizarre landscapes and snowy peaks of Annapurna region
  • Familiarity with Muktinath Temple, a shrine equally important for both Buddhists and Hindus

Upper Mustang trek takes you around the restricted zone which is famous for its desert-like climate and harsh rock-faced landscapes. Upper Mustang is one of the best tourist destinations of Nepal which can even be visited in summer monsoon. When the lower part of Nepal goes through heavy rainfall and flood, you can explore the rain-shadow area, Upper Mustang. The geography and culture of this northern Himalayan region of Nepal match with that of Tibet rather than with Nepal.

The trek to Upper Mustang gives you an opportunity do something extraordinary without pushing your body to its limits. Simply put, our Upper Mustang trek is a fairly easy excursion to the ‘Last Forbidden Kingdom’ known locally as Lo Manthang. It lies in the remote frontiers of Nepal, which is geographically connected with Tibetan plateau with an average altitude above 3,000m.Tibetan Buddhist culture and tradition have a great influence which is proved by the ancient monasteries and festivals found here.

The small Kingdom of Lo Manthang inhabited mainly by a minority group of Tibetan origin was previously a restricted area (before 1991). Foreigners still need a special permit to embark upon this fascinating journey through incredible landscapes, prehistoric caves and age-old monasteries. A large stretch of land in Upper Mustang region is like desert despite having snow-capped mountains at its northern rim. This is why, it is often referred to as the ‘mountain desert’ of Nepal and the ‘District across the Himalayas’.

The fact that this region receives much less rainfall than other parts of Nepal makes this trek the most preferred trek during monsoon. Do you want to witness the lifestyle, culture and religion of the natives of the harsh and predominantly arid yet innately beautiful terrains? If the reply is ‘yes’, trekking to upper Mustang can quench your thirst to gain lifelong knowledge about such harsh landscapes! Additionally, there are a lot of things this trek has to offer you such bonus stopovers at Jomsom and Muktinath.

If you plan your Upper Mustang Hiking around the second week of May, you can observe Tiji Festival in Lo Manthang. This festival is organized by the monks of Chhode Monastery for three days at the premises of Lo Manthang Palace. The spectacular panorama of the snowcapped peaks of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges are other assets of Upper Mustang Lo Manthang trek. The ancient Buddhist monasteries like Chhode, Tsrang, Jampa, Thubchen, Ghar and Luri are around 800 years old.

You can also visit the Sky Caves, a group of around 10,000 man-made caves close to the Kali Gandaki River. Lo Manthang trek introduces you with these caves dug to mummify the dead bodies as per the culture and tradition. A study about the Sky Caves has shown that they are archeologically important and are about 2,000 -3,000 years old. The manuscripts, Buddhist art, paintings and pottery of the caves have further clarified the report published by the study.

You can find Upper Mustang trek itinerary from 14 days to 26 days differing from one trekking agency to another. Based on your vacation, budget and willingness to travel through the mountain trail, this trekking package can be customized. For customized package of Upper Mustang trek, you can contact Orbit Alpine Adventure via phone call, email or online booking. We have presented a 17-day Upper Mustang trek itinerary in this article for your convenience.

FAQs:

1. What are the permits required for Upper Mustang trek?

To do Upper Mustang Trek, you must have TIMS card, ACAP Permit and Upper Mustang Restricted Area Trekking Permit. To collect these abovementioned permits, you can consult with Orbit Alpine Adventure.

2. How much should I spend for the permits?

You have to pay USD 500 for first 10 days’ permit of Upper Mustang Trekking and then USD 50 per additional day. Immigration Office, Kathmandu issues this permit. To get TIMS, you need to spend USD 10 and it is managed by Orbit Alpine Adventure. For Annapurna Conservation Area Project Permit, you should invest USD 27 and you get it from the entrance of ACAP.

3. Can I do this trek alone?

No, you can’t. Upper Mustang trek contains restricted zone, so you are not allowed to do this trek alone. For enjoying this trek, you must be a group of at least two members with a registered trekking guide and a porter. The trekking guide guides you through the right trail and helps in case of any emergency. Orbit Alpine Adventure is always ready to provide you a highly professional guide to make your trekking a success.

4. How can I book Upper Mustang customized trekking package?

You can book Upper Mustang customized trekking packages by searching on the web. Visit the official website of Orbit Alpine Adventure or reach us via phone call or email to book the package.

5. What are the attractions of this trek?

Upper Mustang trek is the most popular trek in Nepal because of its attractions ranging from nature to culture. You can have a mesmerizing view of the snowy peaks of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges plus Mt. Machhapuchhre, Nilgiri and Tukuche peaks. You can find the perfect influence of Tibetan Buddhist culture in the lifestyle of the people of Lo Manthang. The monasteries built in the 12th or 13th centuries in almost every village reflect the Buddhist culture and tradition in this region. The dry landscapes having parched barren hills, Tibetan Plateaus and housing styles are other attractions for trekkers. The Sky Caves made to mummify the dead bodies around 2,000-3,000 years ago also draw the attention of the travelers in this region. Trekking Upper Mustang in May can show you the most colourful Tiji Festival which is celebrated for three days. The Capital City of the Last Forbidden Kingdom, Lo Manthang is the central historical site showing the ancient art and artifacts. The ethnic villages decorated with the prayer flags, mani walls, chortens and prayer wheels in the desert-like climate are worth visiting. In a nutshell, Upper Mustang is the abode for natural beauty and cultural diversity getting popularity day by day.

6. What type of trekking is this?

Talking about accommodation facilities, Upper Mustang trek is completely a teahouse trekking across the Himalayas. If you want to go on a camping trekking, Orbit Alpine Adventure helps you make the necessary arrangements. Since it is a restricted area, solo trekkers are not allowed in this region without Restricted Area Trekking Permit with extra charges. You must be two in a group supported by a registered guide and porter who can help you find the right trekking trail and in case of hurdles. Although Upper Mustang lies in Himalayan desert climatic region, there are not challenging high passes to cross en route. So, you don’t need any trekking and climbing gears except clothes and other tools for your personal use. It is moderate type of trekking in Nepal visited by thousands of trekkers every year.

7. Is there any risk of altitude sickness during this trek?

It is obvious that if you are travelling to the landscape above 3,000m, there is always possibility of altitude sickness. The highest place to go during Upper Mustang trek is Lo Manthang (3,840m), the Capital of the ancient Himalayan Kingdom. To avoid the altitude sickness or AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness), you must walk slowly as suggested by your guide. For safety measure, you must take some medicines like Acetazolamide and Diamox Oral to prevent altitude sickness.

8. Can I drink water from the local sources while in trekking?

No, you shouldn’t. Since the water of Himalayan region contains high minerals, you may not be able to digest it. If you want to drink such water, you can use medicines to purify the water or strictly filtrated one. We highly recommend you to use water purification method to prevent from health hazards or buy bottle water.

9. How is the landscape in Upper Mustang region?

The landscape of Upper Mustang is completely dry, desert-like and very much similar to that of Tibetan plateau. Since the culture and tradition of this region also match with Tibetan Buddhist culture, it is also called the ‘Mini Tibet’. You can see the desert-like climate and harsh rock-faced landscapes without any greenery.

10. What are the changes made in Annapurna region regarding trekking facilities?

In the past, Upper Mustang trek was completely a camping trekking. But nowadays, the hotels and lodges are set up in a large number to facilitate the trekkers. Similarly, road construction has been rapidly going on and let’s hope within a few years to come, it will be blacktopped. However, the road construction has caused some negative effects like pollution, destruction of trekking trail and disturbance in walking!

Upper Mustang Trek Video

Day to Day Itinerary

OPEN ALL DAYS Outline Itinerary

You will be welcomed by our staff at the airport and then taken to the hotel. The staff will explain briefly about the itinerary and you will be staying at a hotel in Kathmandu the first day.

  • Meals: Welcome Dinner
  • Accommodation: Three Star Hotel
  • Place: Kathmandu
  • Altitude: 1,350m/4,429ft

On the second day we will be visiting around the Kathmandu Valley exploring the beautiful monuments, world heritages, temples and other sites. The tourist area of Thamel is also quite popular among the tourists. Overnight stay at a hotel.

  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Accommodation: Three Star Hotel
  • Place: Kathmandu
  • Altitude: 1,350m/4,429ft

On the third day, you will be traveling to Pokhara (around 200km) via Prithivi Highway. The bus will depart at 7 AM in the morning. It will be a 6-hr drive with beautiful scenery all along the way. You will arrive at Pokhara in the late afternoon. Overnight stay at a hotel.

  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Accommodation: Three Star Hotel
  • Place: Pokhara
  • Altitude: 910m/2,986ft
  • Time: 6 Hrs

The real itinerary will take place on the fourth day when you will board a flight to Jomsom from Pokhara Airport. The flight itself promises to be an exciting prospect as the aircraft flies along the sky with beautiful views of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges. After reaching Jomsom, the trek formally starts with a short trekking to Kagbeni, the main gateway to Upper Mustang. Kagbeni is situated at an altitude of (2,800m). Overnight stay at a guesthouse.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Kagbeni
  • Altitude: 2,800m/9m186ft
  • Time: from Jomsom 2 Hrs

The trail leads up towards the east bank of the Kaligandaki River and a couple of hours trek leads to Tangbe village. The village is a combination of narrow alleys with white houses, buckwheat and barley fields intercepted with the apple orchards. The Nilgiri peak, which dominates the southern skyline of Kagbeni, will accompany you through the trek with a majestic view. After Tangbe, around two hours of trek leads to Chhusang village. The trek will now leave the Kali Gandaki Valley and climbs steeply up a rocky gully to Chele. Overnight stay at a guesthouse.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Chele
  • Altitude: 3,110m/10,203ft
  • Time: -5/6 Hrs

The trekking trail now becomes steeper with increasing altitude. It, however, offers some of the spectacular views along the way of the barren land, naked hills, rugged terrain and the enchanting ambience of Mustang and the adjoining regions. The Annapurna mountain range, still dominated by Nilgiri, is also visible far to the South. Further trek up the Samar village and then a gradual descend leads to Shyangboche. The final destination for day six is the Ghiling Village where you will stay overnight at a guesthouse.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Ghiling
  • Altitude: 3,500m/11,483ft
  • Time: 5/6 Hrs

From Ghiling village, the trail climbs gently up to an interesting pass NYI La and descends below the blue, gray and red cliffs. Climbing over another pass at 3,600 meters, the route makes a long and gentle descent to Charang village. The village has several Tibetan Monasteries which are the source of attraction to the Buddhist tourists. The village is also popular for traditional Thankas as well as other kinds of paintings. Overnight stay at a guesthouse.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Charang
  • Altitude: 3,620m/11,877ft
  • Time: 4 Hrs

Trek to Lo-Manthang also brings along with the opportunity to visit two other villages on the way. Lo-Gekar Gompa is older than Samye Gompa in Tibet and is considered one of the oldest Gompas of Nepal. Trek from Lo-Gekar to Lo-Manthang is mild with some minor climbing. Lo-Manthang, also considered as the Kingdom of Upper Mustang, the destination for day eight where you will be staying overnight at a guesthouse.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Lo Manthang
  • Altitude: 3,840m/12,598ft
  • Time: 3 Hrs

It takes around 2 hours trek to reach Namgyal Gompa from Lo-Manthang. Namgyal Gompa is located atop a small hill which serves as an important monastery for the local community. The trek then continues until Tingkhar village which comprises around 40 houses. After visiting Namgyal Gompa and Tingkhar, you will again return to Lo-Manthang. Overnight stay at a guesthouse.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Lo Manthang NamgyalGompa and Tingkhar
  • Altitude: 3,840m/12,598ft
  • Time: 5/6 Hrs

From Lo-Manthang the trail climbs steadily up a ridge at 4,070m and continues climbing to the Chogo La until 4,210m, the highest point on the trek. The trail then makes a short, steep descent and crosses the Charang River and reaches to Ghar Gompa, a small monastery. After climbing another ridge, crossing a valley and then a gradual descend leads you to Drakmar, destination for overnight stay at a guesthouse.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Drakmar
  • Altitude: 3,820m/12,533ft
  • Time: 6/7 Hrs

The trail now descends passing the stone walls and fields of Drakmar. Descending further down, you will reach to Jaite (3,820m) and Chhung-Kah. The trail then reaches to Tama Village (3,710m) and continues descending until Syangmochen. Overnight stay at a guesthouse.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Syangmachen
  • Altitude: 3,800m/12,467ft
  • Time: 5/6 Hrs

From Syangmochen, the trail descends continually. The destination for day twelve is Chhusang Village and there are two ways to reach Chhusang. An alternative route passes along the Samar Village and the Ranchung Cave which takes 30-minutes longer than the original trail. Overnight stay at a guesthouse.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Chhusang
  • Altitude: 2,980m/9,777ft
  • Time: 6 Hrs

Day thirteen is special for it takes us to one of the hallowed and sacred pilgrimage destination for Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims, the Muktinath Temple. The Hindu shrine of Muktinath and other red-painted Buddhist Monasteries offer a majestic view. The trail to Muktinath is attractive as it entails crossing small streams, passing suspension bridges and walking through several villages. This route is also very popular for the availability of fossil stone “Saligram”. Overnight stay at a guesthouse.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Muktinath
  • Altitude: 3,800m/12,467ft
  • Time: 7 Hrs

As Muktinath is one of most important destinations for Hindus pilgrims, we will visit the temple in the morning. For Hindu pilgrims, Muktinath is more commonly known as “Muktikhsetra” or the region of liberation/salvation. There are 108 water spouts inside the temple premises where people take holy bath. Muktinath also offers magnificent views of Dhaulagiri mountain range. Downhill trek will now begin from Muktinath, as we come across Kaligandaki Valley and Kagbeni village along the way. The last day of the trek will be celebrated in Jomsom along with all the trekking staffs. Overnight stay at a guesthouse.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Jomsom
  • Altitude: 2,700m/8,858ft
  • Time: 6 Hrs

Upon arrival at Pokhara, the day is free for sightseeing around Pokhara Valley. Wonderful lakes, caves, temples and the night life around Lakeside is enough to keep tourists interested in this lake town. Overnight stay at a hotel, inclusive of breakfast.

  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Accommodation: Three Star Hotel
  • Place: Pokhara
  • Time: 18 Mins

Today you will drive back to Kathmandu and stay overnight at a hotel, inclusive of breakfast.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Farewell Dinner
  • Accommodation: Three Star Hotel
  • Place: Kathmandu
  • Time: 6 Hrs

On this day you will return to your country via the Airport in Kathmandu.

  • Meals: Breakfast

Cost Details

  •  Airport pick up on your arrival and drop at the end of your trip free of cost
  •  Annapurna Conservation Area Project permit TIMS (Trekkers Information Management System)
  •  Restricted area permit (issue for 2 person or above only)
  •  All needed ground transportation by tourist bus, Public vehicles or flight (on your request)
  •  Domestic flight from Pokhara to Jomsom and back to Pokhara
  •  Trekking maps and complete free trekking information before going to trek.
  •  Welcome and farewell dinner in typical Nepali restaurant at the beginning and end of treks and tour in Kathmandu
  •  Accommodation in tea-house/lodge during the trek
  •  3 star hotel or similar in Kathmandu and Pokhara as per itinerary
  •  An experience English speaking licensed holder trekking guide
  •  Strong potter for carrying your luggage (1 potter for 2 person)
  •  First aid kit box (carried by your trekking guide or leader)
  •  Salary, insurance, food, accommodation for guide and potters
  •  Down jacket, sleeping bag, trekking poles and if needed more trekking gears here is available on hair. All local tax and paper work will done by Orbit Alpine Adventure

 

     

  •  Your international flight ticket to Nepal and return back
  •  Nepal entry visa
  •  Horse riding tour in Lo Manthang
  •  All kind of drinks (Tea, coffee, hot water, bottle water), bar bills (alcoholic beverage) and desert
  •  Hot shower, WIFI, all kind of battery charges in trekking region.
  •  Tips to guides, potters and drivers
  •  All kind of personal shopping
  •  Extra night accommodation and meals because of early arrival, late departure and early return from trekking (due to any reason than the   scheduled itinerary) in Kathmandu and Pokhara
  •  Your travel insurance (it is compulsory to take and adventure trip) for emergency evacuation and hospital