Upper Mustang - a forbidden kingdom until the 1990s is an ancient kingdom located in the Dhaulagiri rainshadow region. This pristine and restricted region lies along the deepest river gorge. Trekking to Upper Mustang lets travelers experience the trans-Himalaya region. And also witness Tibetan Buddhist culture and tradition. There are some restricted valleys like Lo Manthang and centuries old monasteries.
This trek to Lo Manthang and other villages of Upper Mustang is once in a lifetime journey. It’s perfect for those who loves to explore medieval Buddhist culture and arts. This region has conserved its culture and has not let outside world distract their tradition.
There are various routes to Upper Mustang. You can fly to Jomsom and begin your trek to Upper Mustang. Or you can follow Kali Gandaki Valley trekking route or expand your Poon Hill trek through Tatopani and Jomsom to Upper Mustang.
In this 18 Days Upper Mustang Trek with Himalayan Joy Adventure, you arrive at the Kathmandu on the first day. After sightseeing Kathmandu on the second day, you will drive to Pokhara on the third day. The next day, you fly to Jomsom and trek to Kagbeni - the gateway to Upper Mustang.
As you enter into restricted Upper Mustang Region, the four days trek through uphill and downhill rocky trail takes you to Lo Manthang. You cross numerous passes, rivers and villages in the barren landscape. You stay in the beautiful villages of Chele, Syangboche, and Tsarang in each night. Then you finally reach the capital of forbidden Mustang Kingdom - Lo Manthang.
After spending two days exploring Lo Manthang and areas in its vicinity, you begin descending down. You again join the trail that you used a few days ago at Ghami. From there, you retrace back through same path crossing villages of Syangboche and Chhuksang to arrive at Muktinath on the day 14.
After visiting the holy temple of Muktinath, you walk to Jomsom through Jharkot and Khingar Valley and the Kali Gandaki River. The next day follows with a flight to Pokhara. After spending a lively evening there, you drive back to Kathmandu and depart to your country on the day 18.
Upper Mustang Trekking permit is an expensive permit compared to other trekking regions of Nepal. As this is the restricted region, you have to pay USD 500 per person to enter Upper Mustang. Furthermore, there is the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) that costs USD 20.
Individual trekkers are also not allowed to enter into Upper Mustang. Himalayan Joy Adventure will help you to acquire your trekking permit to Upper Mustang. Also, a guide and/or porter must accompany you during your trek.
Upper Mustang is recommended to visit between February to November. Since the region is located in the rain shadow of the Himalayas, you can visit Upper Mustang in monsoon season as well. Monsoon prevails from June to August making it the dead season for trekking to most parts of Nepal.
Avoid going there in the winter( December and January) . The climate is harshly cold and even the locals of Lo-Manthang leave their place and come to warmer places to avoid the cold.
If you want to witness some festivals and lively environment, you can visit Upper Mustang in the second or third week of May. This is the time when Lo Manthang celebrates Tiji Festival. Monks perform dance and commemorate Buddha incarnation.
Upper Mustang Trek is once in a lifetime experience. You spend nearly two weeks in the semi-desert region of Mustang. You meet innocent and hospitable people, stay in villages full of stone structures, and spend your days hiking in the secluded regions.
The scenic views of unique landscapes combine with magnificent mountain peaks make the trek further memorable. And the pristine Lo Manthang and areas in its vicinity give the sense of forbidden towns. So, if you are interested, visit Upper Mustang now.
Himalayan Joy Adventure representative will pick you up from the Tribhuvan International Airport terminal. Then you will travel with him to a star hotel. On the way, you can introduce and have some talks. Then, you can rest in your hotel room or explore this beautiful city of Kathmandu.
In the evening, our team will host you a welcome dinner and make you comfortable with your stay in Kathmandu. You can enjoy a typical Nepali food and then cultural dance in a typical Nepali Restaurant.
Altitude: 1350 m
It’s the day 02. You will sightsee some major UNESCO-listed heritages of Kathmandu. The major heritages include Swayambhunath, Pashupati, and Boudhanath. After sightseeing, we will return you back to your hotel. You will have some free time to prepare yourself for the trek.
Altitude: 1350 m
In the morning, you will catch a tourist bus to Pokhara. The 6 hours drive through beautiful countrysides is sure to make the start of your Upper Mustang Trek an enjoyable one. You will travel along the famous Trishuli River and stop at Kurintar for the lunch. Then, you will continue your journey to Pokhara.
After reaching Pokhara, you can spend the rest of the day sightseeing Pokhara. In the evening, make sure to experience the lively environment at the Lakeside.
Overnight stay in Pokhara.
Altitude: 827 m
Travel Hours: 6 hours
Distance: 200 km
In the early morning, you will fly to Jomsom. The 20-minute scenic flight rewards you with majestic views of Dhaulagiri Mountain, Annapurna massif, Fishtail Mountain and dozens of other mountains of Himalayas.
After landing at Jomsom, you will have breakfast and meet your porters and helpers. Then you will complete your trekking permit paperwork and then begin your trek by trekking to the famous village of Kagbeni. Kagbeni has Kag Choden monastery and is a gateway to Upper Mustang. It takes about 3 hours to reach Kagbeni from Jomsom.
Altitude: 2,810 m
Travel and Walking Hours: 25 minutes flight, 3-4 hours walk
Distance: 11.4 km
The next day, you begin the trek by walking right up the river valley combining your high trail and pathways on the bank of the Kali Gandaki. The trail gradually begins to widen. You may also meet trains of mules carrying gods from Mustang and Tibet during the trek.
After passing through several caves and Kang monastery, you find your lunch spot - the village of Tangbe. This small settlement has several chortens and whitewashed houses built closely. There are buckwheat and barley fields and apple orchards. Nilgiri is seen towering on the southern skyline.
After your lunch, you trek further to cross the Kali Gandaki River and the uphill climb begins. The steep and rocky climb has the village of Chele waiting for you at the top.
Overnight stay in Chele.
Altitude: 3,050 m
Walking Hours: 5-6 hours
Distance: 15.3 km
Today, you walk for about 6-7 hours. As you start your trek, you will have to cross a steep path and move up through the steep canyon. The trail takes you to a pass from where the descent begins. You make your way down through the pleasant trail to Samar.
You then make your way across the village to a ridge. Then once again, you begin moving down into a huge gorge. The gorge welcomes you to a valley full of juniper trees. You then cross a river and do a final ascent of the day to a pass. Then, the downward walk brings you to a small hamlet of Syangboche.
Overnight stay in Syangboche.
Walking Hours: 6-7 hrs
Distance: 11.5 km
In the beginning, you will have a short climb to a pass before climbing down with amazing views of Kali Gandaki gorge. There are several routes. But, you will choose a trail that passes through small settlements of Tamagaon and Chhunggar. This trail connects with the traditional route at Jhaite.
Passing another pass with a long and pleasant downward trail takes you to Ghami - the lunch stop. Rest your tired legs and fill your stomach with a warm meal. About 250 meters long prayer wall is the highlight of this village.
After the meal, you will descend to cross a river and then walk upward to Tsarang La Pass. From there, it’s only downhill through a pleasant trail leading you to Tsarang. Tsarang is a silent village with mountains on all its sides.
Walking Hours: 7-8 hours
Walking Hours: 3-4 hours
Distance: 11 km
The day 08 begins. After your morning breakfast, you begin the 11 kilometers walk that will take you about 4 to 5 hours. Most parts of the trail are wide and open and go gradually up. Walking in this remote and pristine reason is sure to turn into pleasant and unforgettable moments. Majestic views of the Himalayas including Dhaulagiri and Annapurna is just going to make this trek more pleasant.
You approach Lo Manthang by a beautiful red and white painted Sungda Chorten. Lo Manthang - the capital of former Kingdom Lo is a walled town that houses ethnic Lobhas. Lo remained a kingdom until 2008 when Nepal began its republican government.
Altitude: 3700 m
Walking Hours: 3-4 hours
Distance: 4 km
Today, you have a couple of options available. You can hike or take a horse ride to Chhosar. In the beginning, the trail slightly drops down to the river. After crossing the river, you begin ascending up for a while before walking on a flat trail leading to Chhosar. Chhosar has a popular cave and monasteries as well. After spending some hours exploring Chhosar, you can retrace back to Lo-Manthang.
Overnight stay in Lo-Manthang
Altitude: 3750 m
Lo-Manthang is the major attraction of Upper Mustang. Lying somewhere about 50 kilometers from Tibetan border, it still remains the major salt and cloth trading route between Nepal and Tibet. As it used to be hundreds of years ago, mules still bring goods from Tibet.
The major attracting feature of this isolated settlement is the 6-meter wall. There are towers in each corner and within those enclosed walls lies the compact settlement of Lo-Manthang. There are many attractions within those walls. The major attractions are King’s palace, Thubchen Monastery, Jampa Monastery, museum, Thangka painting places are more. About 900 Lobhas live in this inner city.
This unique settlement has no comparison to any other parts of the world. Those Lobhas do not migrate and marry within their community. They practice the Bonpo form of Tibetan Buddhism.
The city remained restricted to visitors until 1990s. Although the city is opened to visitors, only about 1000 visitors can explore this enclosed city per year. The permit is limited to trekking agencies and rules are strictly applied.
Altitude: 3820 m
Walking Hours: 6-7 hours
Distance: 17 km
After spending two days in the amazing medieval city of Lo-Manthang, it’s time to ascend further up to Chogo La (4,230m). The views are amazing from the pass.
After that, you will walk through the trail that drops down to Lo Gekar. Ghar Gompa of Lo Nyingma sect - a unique monastery is the attraction of Lo Gekar. Then a lovely trail takes you to Muila Bhanjyang rewarding you with a majestic view of surrounding landscapes. Then, you will trudge down to a beautiful village of Dhakmar.
Altitude: 3,800 m
Walking Hours: 6 hours
It’s the twelfth day of your Upper Mustang Trek. You will begin the trek and trek down to Ghami Village. From here, it’s the same trail that you had walked while ascending up. Now, retracing back through the same path, you will walk uphill to Nya La Pass and trek down to Jhaite for lunch. After your lunch, you will continue to trek until you reach Shyangbochen.
Altitude: 3,050 m
Walking Hours: 6 hours
On your way to Chhuksang, you will come across Ranchung Chungsi Cave before reaching Samare. This popular cave is a popular Buddhist pilgrimage of Upper Mustang. Guru Rinpoche is said to have meditated in this cave in around 8th century.
After visiting this cave, you continue your journey and cross Taklam La and Dajong La Pass. You then descend down to the river and walk through an uphill trail to finally arrive at Samare for lunch. As the meal reinvigorate your body, you will descend all the way down to arrive at Chhuksang Village.
Overnight stay in Chhuksang.
Altitude: 3,800 m
Walking Hours: 7 hours
Wake up, freshen up and have your morning breakfast. Today, you will trek to the holy region of Muktinath. The trail to Muktinath passes through apple orchards, crops fields, and small and beautiful settlements. After about 6-7 hours of trek, you reach Muktinath.
Muktinath is the holy temple of Hindus and Buddhists. Thousands of Indian and Nepalese pilgrims come to Muktinath every year. The temple premises also has 108 stone taps to take holy baths.
You can then march to the town area of Muktinath.
Overnight stay in Muktinath.
Altitude: 2,743 m
Walking Hours: 6 hours
This is the last trekking day of your 18 days Upper Mustang Trek Package. You trek for 5-6 hours through fields, villages and a newly topped road to finally arrive at Jomsom. The majestic view of Nilgiri and Dhaulagiri will energize you throughout the walk.
In the beginning, you descend down Jharkot and Khingar. You will find several monasteries and chortens. You then walk alongside Kali Gandaki River to rest your backpack at Jomsom. You can explore the town and buy souvenirs as well.
Altitude: 870 m
Travel Hours: 25 minutes
An early morning flight will bring you to Pokhara. After your lunch, you can wander around the town and visit some attractions. Pokhara is the touristic center of Nepal. There are various attractions including Phewa Lake, Devis Falls, World Peace Stupa, museums, and much more. In the evening, make sure you enjoy the time experiencing the lively environment of Lakeside. There are high-end lodges, hotels, restaurants, and clubs at the Lakeside
Altitude: 1,300 m
Travel Hours: 6 hours
Distance: 200 km
You will travel back to Kathmandu by tourist bus. The 6 hours journey is full of scenic views of landscapes. You will travel alongside Trishuli River and pass through several towns and village. You will finally arrive at Kathmandu at the late noon. You will then travel to your hotel and you can spend the free time as you like.
Our team will give you a farewell dinner in a typical Nepali Restaurant in the evening. You can share about the experience you got in your trek to the restricted region of Upper Mustang.
It’s the last day of your trip. We will transfer you to Tribhuwan International Airport terminal with sufficient time to check in for your flight. We hope that you had an incredible time in Nepal and encourage you to share your experiences with us on TripAdvisor or email. We welcome all feedback and hope that you had an experience of a lifetime with us! Have a safe flight!
Nachdem ich Himalayan Joy und Tika Rai schon von meinem Mustang Trek in 2014 kannte habe ich erheut diese Agentur gewählt. Wir waren rundum zufrieden. Tika war wieder der perfekte Begleiter bei einem Trek - es war als kenne er alle Angestellten in den Unterkünften, in denen wir übernachtet haben. Er sorgte dafür, dass wir auf dem Trek immer gutes Essen und schöne Zimmer bekamen. Die perfekte Betreuung von Tika begann mit der Abholung am Flughafen in Kathmandu und endete auch dort wieder. Mustang ist auf jeden Fall auch eine Reise wert. Ich hatte zunächst Bedenken, als ich las, dass es nun eine Straße über Lo Manthang nach Tibet gibt, aber die Grenze nach Tibet ist geschlossen und so passieren nur Jeeps, die Strecke. Man muss zwar damit leben, tagsüber vier bis acht Jeeps zu begegnen aber die atemberaubende Landschaft entschädigt für alles. Und auch die uralten tibetischen Klöster, Heiligtümer und Hölenwohnungen sind etwas, was man gesehen haben muss. Lo Manthang eignent sich auch für einen Tag zum ausspannen und genießen. Alternativ gibt es im Umfeld viele Ziele für einen Tagesausflug. Die Tea Houses sind überraschend gut, wir konnten sogar wider Erwarten fast immer hieß duschen :-) Ich kann den Trek nach Mustang, die Agentur Himalyan Joy und natürlich Tika Rai auf jeden Fall weiterempfehlen. Vielen Dank für den schönen Urlaub.
Every day the world is facing a big issue of environmental pollution and in Nepal as well. Our field staffs are quite conscious about environmental pollution at any time and we encourage to all. We would suggest to our guest to use boiled water or water purification pills than buying a bottle of water, it helps to avoid plastic bottles which can takes long time to disappear. During the trek, if possible you can order same items food in a group which minimizes the fuel used and to make campfire is almost forbidden. We would encourage being a responsible traveler so, just leaving foot-print on the trail and bring out all non-biodegradable which you had. Upper Mustang is one of the protected areas in Nepal.