The Upper Mustang trek is a captivating journey through the remote and mystical Mustang region of Nepal. This unique trek takes you to the hidden kingdom of Mustang, a restricted area that preserves its ancient Tibetan culture and stunning landscapes.
The trek is typically for 17 days, immersing you in a world of breathtaking beauty and cultural wonders. As you traverse the arid and desert-like terrain, you’ll encounter dramatic canyons, vibrant rock formations, and towering cliffs, creating a surreal atmosphere. The highlight of the trek is reaching Lo Manthang, the capital of Mustang, where you’ll be greeted by the sight of the ancient walled city and its intricate monasteries.
The cultural richness of Upper Mustang is evident as you pass through traditional villages, interacting with the friendly locals and witnessing their centuries-old Buddhist practices. The region’s isolation has helped preserve its unique heritage, making it a treasure trove for history enthusiasts and spiritual seekers alike.
With its moderate difficulty level, the Upper Mustang trek requires proper acclimatization and physical fitness. The best times to embark on this adventure are during the spring and autumn seasons when the weather is stable, offering clear views of the majestic Himalayan peaks.
While the facilities along the trail are relatively basic compared to more popular trekking regions, the experience of exploring the untouched beauty of Upper Mustang is unparalleled. It is a journey that transports you to a different time and place, leaving you with memories of a lifetime.
The Upper Mustang Trek is generally considered to have a moderate difficulty level. Consider the following when assessing the trek’s difficulty:
Altitude: While Upper Mustang does not reach extremely high altitudes compared to other treks in Nepal, the maximum elevation you’ll reach is around 3,840 meters (12,598 feet) at Lo Manthang. Acclimatization is essential to avoid altitude-related issues, and it’s recommended to take your time, ascend gradually, and allow for rest days to adjust to the altitude.
Terrain: The terrain of Upper Mustang is mostly rugged and arid, with rocky trails, steep ascents, and descents. There may be sections with loose gravel or narrow paths, requiring careful footing. The terrain can be physically demanding, especially on longer trekking days.
Weather: The weather conditions can also influence the difficulty of the trek. While the spring and autumn seasons are generally favorable for trekking in Upper Mustang, you might encounter strong winds, temperature fluctuations, and occasional rain or snowfall. Being prepared with appropriate clothing and gear is crucial.
Length and duration: The Upper Mustang trek typically takes around 10 to 14 days, depending on your itinerary and pace. The length of the trek requires a certain level of stamina and endurance to walk for several hours each day. Adequate physical fitness, including cardiovascular and leg strength, is beneficial.
Remote location: Upper Mustang is a remote region, and facilities along the trail may be more basic compared to other popular trekking areas in Nepal. The availability of amenities such as food, accommodation, and medical services might be limited, requiring self-sufficiency and proper preparation.
The cost of the Upper Mustang Trek can vary depending on several factors, including the duration of the trek, the services included the size of your group, and the season in which you undertake the trek. Here are some cost considerations for the Upper Mustang Trek:
Permits: Upper Mustang is a restricted area, and you need to obtain special permits to trek there. The cost of these permits can vary but generally includes the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) and the Restricted Area Permit (RAP). As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, the cost of the permits was approximately USD 500 per person for the first ten days, with an additional USD 50 per person for each additional day.
Trekking Agency Fees: Hiring a registered trekking agency in Nepal is mandatory for organizing the Upper Mustang Trek. The agency will assist you with obtaining permits, provide a guide and support staff, and arrange transportation, accommodation, and meals during the trek. The agency fees can vary based on the level of services provided.
Transportation: The Upper Mustang Trek usually starts with a flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara, followed by a drive or another flight to Jomsom, the starting point of the trek. The cost of these flights or transportation arrangements should be factored into your budget.
Accommodation and Meals: Along the trekking route, you’ll find teahouses and basic lodges for accommodation. The cost of accommodation and meals will vary depending on the standard of the teahouse and the remoteness of the location. The cost of meals can increase as you go higher into the restricted area.
Miscellaneous Expenses: Other expenses to consider include travel insurance, equipment rentals or purchases, additional snacks or drinks, tips for guides and support staff, and any additional activities or side trips you may choose to undertake.
When preparing for the Upper Mustang Trek, it’s essential to pack wisely to ensure you have the necessary items for a comfortable and safe trekking experience. Here’s a packing list to consider:
It’s important to pack light and prioritize essentials while considering the weight restrictions for domestic flights and the limited space in your backpack. Layering your clothing is crucial to adapt to changing temperatures throughout the trek. Also, remember to check the weather forecast before packing to ensure you are adequately prepared for the conditions.
The best time to visit Upper Mustang is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) seasons. These periods offer the most favorable weather conditions for trekking and exploring the region:
Spring (March to May): During spring, the weather in Upper Mustang is generally mild and stable. The temperatures start to rise, and the landscapes come alive with blooming flowers and lush greenery. The skies are usually clear, giving you great views of the mountains.
Autumn (September to November): Autumn is considered the peak season for trekking in Upper Mustang. The weather is generally dry and stable, with clear skies and comfortable temperatures. The autumn colors add a vibrant touch to the already stunning landscapes, and the views of the Himalayan peaks are breathtaking.
Both spring and autumn provide a great balance between favorable weather conditions and stunning natural beauty, making them ideal for trekking and exploring the cultural wonders of Upper Mustang. It’s advisable to book your permits and accommodations in advance, especially if you plan to trek during the peak autumn season.
The hidden gem of Upper Mustang is undoubtedly the ancient walled city of Lo Manthang. Tucked away in the heart of the Mustang region, Lo Manthang is a mystical and culturally significant destination that showcases the rich heritage of the region.
Lo Manthang is renowned for its preserved Tibetan-influenced architecture, with intricately designed monasteries, palaces, and narrow alleys. The city is surrounded by a 600-year-old wall, adding to its historical charm. Inside the walls, you’ll discover the King’s Palace, a majestic structure that has been home to the Mustang Royal Family for generations.
Exploring the monasteries of Lo Manthang is a captivating experience, as they house ancient Buddhist artifacts, murals, and scriptures. The Jampa Gompa, Thubchen Gompa, and Chodey Gompa are some of the notable monastic sites that provide insight into the spiritual traditions of the region.
Beyond the cultural treasures, the breathtaking landscapes surrounding Lo Manthang are awe-inspiring. The arid and rugged terrain, with its unique rock formations and deep canyons, creates a surreal atmosphere that feels like stepping into another world.
Lo Manthang truly captures the essence of the Upper Mustang region, offering a glimpse into a bygone era and a cultural tapestry that remains relatively untouched. It is a hidden gem that rewards those who venture to explore its mystical wonders.
Start Dates are your arrival date in Nepal and End Dates are the returning date from Nepal.
The set departure dates listed are specially quoted and specified for group joining option. Let us know if the set departure dates are not suitable for you- another dates which are suitable for you can certainly be added by us.