Lower Mustang Trek is most sought for alternative of Upper Mustang Trek which is naturally blessed with blend of cultural and geographically diversity. As Jomsom Muktinath trek has been destroyed by road building; we created an awesome off the beaten Lower Mustang trek through pre-Buddhist bon villages and side trip to Dhumba Lake and Dhaulagiri Ice fall also can be added. We take a scenic flight from Pokhara or fly over the world’s deepest gorge Kali Gandaki to Jomsom and trek to Kagbeni then to Muktinath and walk to Lupra and Thini villages toward Kalopani. Muktinath is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for both Hindus and Buddhists and you encounter ascetic sadhus carring trident and more than a blanket on the way. We see people selling saligram along the way to Kali Gandaki, a black stone that, when broken opens reveals the fossilized remains of prehistoric ammonites that lived here more than 140 million years ago,
It is believed that ‘Visnu in Stone’ as a legend god Visnu turned into stone by the beautiful and virtuous Vrinda he seduced her. We trek down to Tatopani through beautiful Thakali village of Marpha(2680m), the place of trekkers favorite, impressive kanis . And there is big Samtenling Gompa at Marpha. You can take healing bathe in the pond of natural hot spring in Tatopani which is 60 degree Celsius hot. You will walk through the Kali Gandaki Valley which was centuries before the primary trade route between the Tibet and India. This Lower Mustang Trek guarantees visitors for a wonderful landscape of natural beauties, great Himalayan scenery and unique tribal culture.
Getting there and out
Easiest and comfortable access is taking flight from Pokhara - the quickest way of getting to Lower Mustang. Usually all the flights are in the morning to escape strong winds that whip through Mustang by the afternoon. It is an amazing Mountain View flight soaring over the world’s deepest gorge Kali Gandaki with Dhaulagiri and Tukuche to the west, and Nilgiri Central and Annapurna to the east.
Alternatively; now Mustang is linked by road to Pokhara. Taking a local bus or private jeep between Pokhara and Jomsom is the ‘adventurous’ choice, but can take more than ten hours along rough and bumpy roads. It is also possible to trek the whole way there from Tatopani, Lower Mustang is located on the classic Annapurna Circuit Trek, so it would be possible to add these day trips on to that much longer trip.
Best time to trek
This part gets less rain making it the best route to hike in Nepal during monsoon whereas most other parts of the country is wet in June, July and August, so this trek can be one of the best trek for those who can allow holiday in rainy season as the area is under the rain shadow. But think that chances of flights getting canceled is high because of bad weather on the south part of the Himalaya, the roads can also be quite unfaithful, as the rain cause them muddy and slippery, and can trigger landslides. Alternatively, spring (March-May) and autumn (September to mid-November) are good times to visit. Bring enough warm clothing if you are trekking in Winter (Dec to early March)
Lower Mustang Trek Permit Cost
While Upper Mustang trek requires an expensive permit of USD 500 for 10 days, this isn't essential if you're trekking in Lower Mustang so this is a best alternative trek to Upper Mustang in term of travelling in budget. For the area you only need a cheaper permit (Rs 3000, or approx. $30 USD for ACAP; and TIMS Car Rs 1000 per person.
Route and Itinerary
Lower Mustang aka Jomsom Muktinath trekking trail is fast changing because of road extension to Tibet boarder of Korala in Upper Mustang that left bad impact in trekking trail. So we Wilderness Excursion have revived this beautiful trekking trail adding some of the isolated beautiful villages with alternative off the trail that rewards travelers by experiencing Tibetan and Thakali typical culture, pre-Buddhist religion, Animism and traditional practices in lower Mustang.
Day 01: Fly from Pokhara to Jomsom (2,720 m) & trek to Kagbeni (2,810 m)
Day 02: Trek to Jharkot village (3,550 m)
Day 03: Day trip to Muktinath & trek to Lupra village (3,668 m)
Day 04: Trek to Phalyak (3,229 m)
Day 05: Trek to Thini village (2,840 m) & Side Hike to Dhumba Tal (2,830 m)
Day 06: Trek to Chimang village (2,850 m)
Day 07: Trek to Kalapani (2,530 m)
Day 08: Trek to Titi village (2,679 m) & Side Hike to Titi Lake
Day 09: Trek to Larjung(2,550 m)
Day 10: Trek to Marpha (2,670 m)
Day 11: Trek to Jomsom (2,720 m) and fly back to PKR
Long and extended itinerary
Day 01: Fly from Pokhara to Jomsom (2,720 m) & Trek to Kagbeni (2,810 m)
Day 02: Trek to Jharkot village (3,550 m)
Day 03: Day trip to Muktinath
Day 04: Trek to Lupra village (3,668 m)
Day 05: Trek to Phalyak (3,229 m)
Day 06: Trek to Thini village (2,840 m) & Side Hike to Dhumba Tal (2,830 m)
Day 07: Trek to Chimang village (2,850 m)
Day 08: Trek to Kalapani (2,530 m)
Day 09: Trek to Titi village (2,679 m) & Side Hike to Titi Lake
Day 10: Trek to Larjung(2,550 m)
Day 11: Rest day at Larjung-Hike to Dhaulagiri Icefall
Day 12: Trek to Marpha (2,670 m)
Day 13: Trek to Jomsom (2,720 m)
Day 14: Fly from Jomsom to Pokhara (837m)
How Difficult is Lower Mustang Trek?
This trekking route is all above 2700 meter from the seas level but the trail is pleasing as the path is criss-crossed by the road so the treks around Jomsom are moderately difficult. The maximum altitude is at Muktinath that is 3710 meters, but all nights are spent below 3000 meters. It is suitable for both first-time and repeat visitors to Nepal, however a reasonable level of fitness and good health is essential and keep in mind that trekking in Himalaya is an adventure!