• Duration 14 Days / 13 Nights
  • Price from $1673 / person
  • Difficulty Level Moderate
  • Max Altitude 4200 Meter

Our delightful Upper Mustang trek begin from Jomsom after taking a picturesque flight from Pokhara, leading us to the hidden Shangri-La of the ancient Buddhist kingdom of Mustang, also called Lo. Lo used to be part of the Tibetan empire, and is therefore closely connected to Tibet. Tibetan Buddhism is still being practiced in a very pure form and villages are built in Tibetan style, with white washed houses with firewood tucked on the roofs. Until recently you could only come to Upper Mustang Trek with a fully planned camping trek. However, these days some villagers have opened up small guesthouses/teahouses and you can stay in a guesthouse in each overnight stay. While staying there, you are welcome to sit with them in the kitchen. In Tibetan culture, the kitchen is the center of the house, and built like a kind of living room. So there is no better way to learn a bit about the daily life than spending time in the kitchen!

Not just the culture and tradition but also the landscape is very much related to Tibet. Mustang lies in the rain shadow of the Dhaulagiri and you walk in a complete deserted landscape, surrounded by rocks in all kind of colors and bizarre formations. In this barren landscape the villages with their bright colored fields are like oases. The trail follows the salt caravan route of the old days, during which the people of Mustang traded Tibetan salt with grain from the lowlands of Nepal. The theme of the Upper Mustang trek is the capital of Upper Mustang, Lo Manthang. Lo Manthang is a medieval old town, surrounded by a huge town wall. From the Lo La pass (3950 m) you can see the town shimmering in the distance in the barren landscape. Entering Lo Manthang through the town gate you enter a different world. It is just astonishing to wander through the narrow alleys. On several corners of the street you can find small groups of women spinning wool and discussing the news of the day.

At the end of the afternoon big herds of goats are being let through the city gate and through the narrow alleys, back to their sheds, which are inside the town. In Lo Manthang you can find the palace of the king, a huge 4 story high building. When the king is at home, you can even pay him a visit sometimes. The king doesn’t have any real power anymore, but is of course still highly respected by his people. Besides, there are a few beautiful big monasteries, for example the Thugchen Gompa, built in the 15th century. Or visit the amchi museum and amchi school. An amchi is a traditional Tibetan doctor. There are 2 amchis living in Lo Mangtang, which are also the official doctors of the king. They founded a school to preserve this ancient wisdom. Also interesting is a ride by horse to Chhoser, where you can visit a small monastery and a century old cave dwelling, situated high in the rocks.

History of Mustang

Once Upper Mustang was a self-governing kingdom, though closely related by language and culture to Tibet. From the 1500 AD to the 1700 AD, its strategic location granted Mustang control over the trade between the Himalayas and India. At the end of the 18th century the kingdom was invaded by Nepal. Though still recognized by many Mustang residents, the monarchy ceased to exist on October 7, 2008, by order of the Government of Nepal. The last official and current unofficial king is Jigme Dorje Palbar Bista (born c.1933), who traces his lineage directly back to Ame Pal, the warrior who founded this Buddhist kingdom in A. D 1380. Ame Pal oversaw the founding and building of much of the Lo and Mustang capital of Lo Manthang, a walled city surprisingly little changed in appearance from that time period. In 2007, a shepherd in Mustang discovered a collection of 55 cave paintings depicting the life of the Buddha.

Geography

Mustang is situated in Trans-Himalayan part of Nepal is under rain shadow and is a mountain desert. Many people called it "Mini Tibet" in Nepal. The main hydrographic feature of Mustang is the Kali Gandaki River. The river runs southward towards Nepal Terai, bisecting Mustang. Routes paralleling the river once served as a major trade route between Tibet and India, particularly for salt. Part of the river valley in the southern Mustang District forms by some measures the deepest gorge in the world. Traditional Mustang (the Lo Kingdom) is 53 km north–south at its longest, 60 km east–west at its widest and ranges from a low point of 2750 m above sea level on the Kali Gandaki River just north of Kagbeni to 6700 m at Khamjung Himal, a peak in southeast Mustang.

Demography

The population of the whole Mustang District in 2001 was 14,981, spread between three towns and roughly thirty smaller settlements. The people are either Thakalis, Gurung or, in traditional Mustang, primarily Tibetan. Most of the population of Mustang lives near the Kali Gandaki River, 2800–3900 m above sea level. The tough conditions cause a large winter migration into lower places of Nepal to escape the winter cold. The administrative center of Mustang District is at Jomsom (eight kilometers south of Kagbeni) which has had an airport since 1962 and has become the main tourist entry point since Mustang was opened to western tourism in 1992.

Tourism and Permission

Foreign visitors have been allowed to travel to the region since 1992, but tourism to Upper Mustang is regulated. Foreigners need to obtain a special permit to enter, costing USD 50 per day per person. Most tourists travel by foot over largely the same trade route used in the 15th century. Over a thousand western trekkers now visit each year, with over 2,000 in 2008. August to October is the best months to visit. On August 27, 2010, local youth leaders in Mustang threatened to bar tourists beginning October 1, 2010 due to the refusal of the Nepalese government to provide any of the USD 50 per day fee to the local economy. Visitation, however, continued uninterrupted beyond that date. Mustang is rich in Tibetan Buddhist culture, similar to the area of the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. It is an alternate way to experience the Tibetan culture and scenery to the tours provided by the Chinese government. The Tiji festival in Lo-Manthang is another popular destination for tourists in the area seeking to experience the native culture. The first foreign visitor to Mustang was Toni Hagen, Swiss traveler and geologist, who visited the Kingdom in 1952 during one of his travels across the Himalayas. French Michel Peissel is considered the first westerner to stay in Lo Manthang, during the first authorized exploration of Mustang in 1964.

How to get there?

Most trekkers fly from Pokhara to Jomsom and simply begin their tour. Many airlines fly to Jomsom from Pokhara every day (U$123.00 for one flight) takes approximately 25 minutes to Jomsom. You can enjoy fantastic view of wide range of Annapurna Himalaya while flying. Local buses and sharing jeeps are to Jomsom or even beyond are available from Pokhara. Flight is much comfortable and faster than riding tiring local vehicle in dusty and unsealed road. However it depends on your time frame and interest. If you can allow the time you can start the trek from Nayapul via Ghorepani Poon Hill - Tatopani - Gasa - Kalopani - Larjung - Marpha and Jomsom then to Upper Mustang that will make you physically much fitter and better acclimatized. That will need additional 6-7 days to get to Jomsom.

Itinerary

Upper Mustang Trek Itinerary will be 10 to 16 days long depending on your time frame plus you will have to add transportations days in the duration. From Kagbeni the restricted area of Upper Mustang starts. The trail goes northwards, and brings you in 4 to 6 days to Lo Manthang. You cross pass after pass, which are all between 3,500 and 4,000m. You can return partly by a different way via Dhakmar, crossing 2 passes of around 4,200m. Close to Dhakmar you can find the oldest Tibetan monastery in the world, the Lo Gekar Monastery. The Monastery was built in the 8th century by the famous Tibetan magician Guru Rinpoche. He had to kill a powerful demon first and the blood of the demon has painted the rocks around Dhakmar bright red.

Upper Mustang Circuit or Alternative Route via Yara - Luri Gompa - Muktinath

Most of the trekkers prefer a circuit route than returning the same away back. No problem! You could do this alternative route in west side but there is no lodge or village between Tangge and Tetang. Many trekkers start the day early from Tangge with pack lunch. It takes about some 9-10 hours depending on level of your fitness and stamina you have. Rivers may affect the trail during monsoon time (July – Mid September) as it gets bigger due to snow melt. Mostly at Dhyee, you will have to take the shoes off and cross the river as of our last trek. This route is challenging but any one with trekking and walking passionate can do and the landscape and scenery is just brilliant. Please check with us for more information during your trip booking. 

Day 02: Pokhara - Jomsom - Kagbeni (2,858m/9,375ft) 3-4 hrs.
Day 03: Kagbeni - Chele (3050m/10,004ft) 5-6 hours walk.
Day 04: Chele - Syanbochen (3475m/11,398ft): 6-7 hours walk.
Day 05: Syanbochen - Ghami (3520m/11,546ft) 5-6 hours walk.
Day 06: Ghami - Charang (3500m/11,480f) 4-5 hours walk.
Day 07: Charang - Lo Manthang (3700m/12,136ft) 5-6 hours walk.
Day 08: Explore Lo Manthang or visit to Chhoser Valley
Day 09: Trek to Yara (3600m), 6 hours. After Luri Gompa excursion if you feel fine. 
Day 10: Trek to Tangge (3300m), 6-7 hours.
Day 11: Trek to Tetang (3310m), around 9 hours. Pack lunch required for this day.
Day 12: Trek to Muktinath (3800m), 8-9 hours walk. 
Day 13: Trek to Jomsom (2700m)
Day 14: Fly to Pokhara. 

Permit and Trip Cost

As per state law; except Nepalese national anyone entering to Upper Mustang must have restricted area trekking permit that can be attained through an authorized registered local trekking agency in Kathmandu Nepal. Upper Mustang permit costs USD 500 per person valid for 10 days; each additional day costs USD 50 extra. Plus you will need ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Project) Permit which cost NPR 3000 (about USD 30 ) per person. And visitors must trek with a government registered trekking guide. Wilderness Excursion offers special Upper Mustang Tour Package 2017 for our valued clients. For further detail please kindly e-mail us and send your requirements.

Your Financial Protection

Wilderness Excursion realizes that financial security is a consideration when choosing a trekking company who to book a holiday property through. We hold a License with the Authority to operate adventure activities under the supervision by Nepal Government. We are a fully bonded Adventure operator authorized by the Nepal Government, Tourism and Civil Aviation Department, Nepal Tourism Board, Industry Department, Company Registration Office, Nepal National Bank and the Taxation Office. We are also affiliated with several prestigious regulating bodies such as NATTA, NMA, TAAN, and KEEP with whom we have a bond. We know that the last thing you want to worry about when you’re planning your trip of a lifetime is whether your money is in safe hands. As a leading Adventure provider it’s our job to make sure your finances are secure, so when you book with us you can be confident that we do just that. To ensure that you have complete peace of mind Wilderness Excursion is an authorized adventure travel agency. Please kindly check our legal documents if any doubt. Upper Mustang Trek group join 2020 and 2021 available. 

Highlights

  • Formerly lost kingdom of Lo Manthang, is a remote and isolated region of the Himalayas
  • Mustang was ban to visit until 1992 for the foreigners and after that opened as restricted area. 
  • Experience the way of life of true mountain people, who lived there for hundreds of year. 
  • Tibetan like culture, language and ancient Buddhist monasteries and monuments. 
  • The breath stopping view of barren landscape and stunning view of Himalayan giants.
  • All inclusive package with internal flights and guided to trek Upper Mustang – the hidden paradise. 

Itinerary

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We intent to keep to the day by day itinerary detailed as following, even though there might be some flexibility because of local situations or other issues beyond our control.  If this is the case the trek leader will do everything possible to work out the changes to the itinerary in order to minimize your inconvenience.  

Drive to Pokhara - city of the beautiful lakes by tourist bust and we will see more of countryside of Nepal that offers greeneries, rivers, villages, farms and beautiful mountain sceneries during the drive. Afternoon, we reach Pokhara. Pokhara offers magnificent views of Annapurna Himalayan Range. We can explore the most accessible and beautiful, Phewa Lake during the afternoon and can enjoy boating as well. Explore, relax and dine by tranquil Lake Phewa. Overnight in Pokhara.

After breakfast take the flight to Jomsom, a scenic flight of 20 minutes over the mountains with views of 8,000ers such as Annapurna I and Dhaulagiri, brings you at Jomsom, the district headquarter of Mustang. This is a large town, headquarter of the Mustang region; it is also a major village on the Kaligandaki area linking the age old Trans-Himalayan Salt Trade route to Tibet. From Jomsom onwards it is very windy in the afternoon, Continue on the gradual path on the Kali Gandaki river bed for about 3 hours and finally reaching at Ekley-bhatti village. After good stop here an hour of easy walk takes us to Kagbeni, which is an interesting windswept villages situated on the main age old Trans-himalayan salt trade route to Tibet via Upper Mustang area. In Kagbeni a major tributary, Kak Khola, coming from Muktinath, meets Mustang Khola, and from there the river is called the Kali Gandaki. 

Our journey starts with a special permit checkup and onwards to the riverbank of Kaligandaki up stream. During the walk we have scenic picturesque place to stop through the sandy and windy trails. This trails follows the up and downhill. Firstly we reach Tengbe village with narrow alleys amongst white washed houses, fields of buckwheat, barley, wheat and apple orchards. From there we trek forward to Chhusang and after crossing the river head up to the huge red chunk of conglomerate that has fallen from the cliff above, forming a tunnel through which the Kaligandaki follows. We head on to small ridges reach at Chele village. 

Today, we climb to Taklam La Pass (3,624m/11,923 ft) through plateaus and narrow stretches with views of Tilicho Peak, Yakawa Kang and Damodar Danda. Further descend a little to the village of Samar. Climb the trail that goes above Samar village to the ridge then descending steeply to a stream. Another 3 hrs similar walk takes us to Syanbochen. On the way, we relax along the surrounding of cool streams and juniper trees. Locals use the dried leaves of junipers as incenses to invite deities and start any auspicious work. We also pass by a cave famously known as Ramchung Cave. 

After breakfast we trek uphill to the Yamda La (3,850m /12,667ft) passing a few teahouses, chortens and local villages which is like Tibetan style of houses with open Varanda. We cross mountain passes, and an avenue of poplar trees and fields of Barley. The climb to Nyi Pass (4,010m/13,193ft) would be a little longer. Descend to our overnight stop at Ghami, the third largest village in the Lo region, Ghami is surrounded by large fields most of which are barren. 

Start the trek after breakfast with a pleasant walk. After crossing Ghami Khola, the trail climbs to a plateau and passes beside a very long Mani wall, a sacred stone wall made by the followers Buddhism. From the end of the wall the trail heads east to the village of Charang with a maze of fields, willow trees and houses separated by stone walls at the top of the Tsarang Chu canyon. There is also a huge white Dzong and red Gompa to get to our teahouse for tonight's stop. 

Today, we trek to Lo Manthang with a magnificent view of Nilgiri, Tilicho, Annapurna I and Bhrikuti peak. The trail first descends to Charang Chu Canyon and then climbs steeply after crossing the river. Further the trail ascends gently to the 3,850m windy pass of Lo, from where you can see the Lo Mangthang Valley. While descending to Lo Manthang, views of the walled city appear magnificent with its hills on the Tibetan Border. We stay at hotel for the overnight stop. 

Visit Namgyal Gompa and Tingkhar. Namgyal Gompa situated on a hilltop serves as an important monastery of the local community and also as a local court. After visiting Namgyal Gompa continue the tour to Tingkhar, the last main village to the northwest of Lo-Mangthang and stroll back to hotel. Or you may have another option to visit the Tall Champa Lakhang "God house" the red Thugchen Gompa, Chyodi Gompa and the Entrance Hall which are the main attraction of this town. Another attraction is the four-storey building of the Raja's palace as well as the surrounding panoramic views of the Himalaya. 

While returning from Lo-Mangthan, we take a different route than that we came by. Trek to Drakmar via Gyakar with more than 1200 years old Ghar Gompa with Guru Rinpoche as the primary figure. The Gompa is also famous for its rock paintings. According to the legend, anyone who makes one wish at the Ghar Gompa, their wish is fulfilled. Explore the local area. Likelihood of dusty wind, so suggested to walk in the morning. 

Today, we get back to Ghiling as our journey for our overnight stay after a long walk takes 5-6 hrs. After arrival and lunch enjoy the day exploring the area, but it will be dusty wind in the afternoon, better to walk in evening time. 

Ghiling to Chhuksang [3050m/10,004ft]: 5-6 hours walk. We re-track back to Chhuksang for the overnight stop after 5 housrs walk. You will have wonderful scenery during the journey with a Himalayan view. Enjoy your trip and overnight at teahouse. 

Our last day of the day would be a long one. Better to walk early start as before and trek to Kagbeni. Finishing the upper Mustang trails and we join the normal Annapurna circuit trek. After lunch at Kagbeni will head on to Jomsom for the overnight stop. Or, if you can spare one more day, our guide would take you to Muktinath as well. 

After morning breakfast we check in the airport to fly back to Pokhara. A 30 min dramatic flight to Pokhara between gorge of the two huge mountains Annapurna and Dhaulagiri. On arrival at Pokhara airport guide will transfer to the lakeside hotel. Rest of the time explores the lake and overnight at hotel. 

After breakfast, we start our 200 kilometers drive back to Kathmandu. Better to hold on the left pane of the vehicle to enjoy the sceneries through the route. To celebrate the successful completion of our journey. Overnight in Kathmandu. 

Customized Trip

What's Included

  • Registered English speaking local trekking guide.
  • 1 Sharing Sherpa porter between 2 travelers to carry your main pack.
  • 2 nights deluxe room in one of the best budget hotel in Pokhara on double occupancy basis.
  • Jomsom round flights with airport taxes..
  • Kathmandu - Pokhara - Kathmandu by tourist coach. 
  • Teahouse or trekking lodge accommodation on twin/double sharing basis in trekking.
  • Daily 3 Times meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner during the trekking.
  • Tea, coffee, cookies and seasonal fresh fruits during the trekking.
  • Upper Mustang Restricted Area Permit (USD 500.00 per person for 10 days).
  • ACAP Permit and Airport taxes of domestic flights.
  • Equipment, meals and accommodation of your guide and porters.
  • Guide and porters fee with all their expenses.
  • All government tax, vat, and Office Service charges.

What's Excluded

  • Transfers, accommodation, meals and guided sightseeing in Kathmandu
  • Meals in Pokhara except two breakfasts.
  • Bar bills and beverages like coke, fanta, sprite, mineral water.
  • Personal nature expenses, toiletries, hot shower, laundry, internet and phone calls.
  • Personal travel insurance and rescue operation charge in case of emergency.
  • Expenses of extra adventure, extra permit fees if the trip is extended.
  • Advance deposit transfer service charge.
  • Additional fees to visit monasteries in Lo Manthang and Chhoser (NPR 1000/1000 per person)
  • Gratitude and tips for your guide and porters.

Availabilities

Wilderness Excursion (P) Ltd is a local tour operator so we guaranty small private groups departures any dates that suits your date and time.
Start Date End Date Status Note Price  
July 18, 2020 July 31, 2020 Available US$1673
July 31, 2020 August 13, 2020 Available US$1673

FAQs

Trekking to Upper Mustang Trek has difficulty level of moderate, if you follow regular classic trekking route of the Upper Mustang. This is not a comfortable and easy walk as you bear in mind that Nepal trek in the Himalaya involves ups and down however mustang trek is easy regular trekkers and mild difficult for moderate fit body trekkers. If you choose alternative route via west side to end the trek at Muktinath then it is challenging and there is road access to Upper Mustang, jeep rides are available in varies places just in case. No road access in western side and it has real hiking mountain trail.  

Unfortunately the answer is “no”. Visitor travelling to Upper Mustang should buy minimum 10 days permit that cost USD 500 per head even though they are just doing one week trek. eg. It would cost just USD 350 for 7 days and USD 250 for 5 days trip if they provide per day basis permit. Trekking Agents Association of Nepal (TAAN) is trying to convince the government of Nepal to change the permit regulation so that people visiting Upper Mustang less than 10 days would be cheaper permit cost. 

It is the same cost USD 500 per head for first 10 Days and after that USD 50 extra per day per person for Indian nationals as well. So it is same rate for foreigners including SAARC (South Asian Association of Regional Corporation) nationals. 

The best time to trek to Upper Mustang is in July, August and September to see the vegetation of Himalayan arid plateau. Second best time to trek there is March to Mid June. Mustang is under the rain shadow, so when it is monsoon (Mid June to August) in Nepal; trekking to Mustang is good time. And it is possible to trek Mustang between all around the year except winter (Dec to February) as your trek may be affected by snowfall. 

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