The Upper Mustang trek is in an ancient Buddhist kingdom in Nepal. It is a forbidden region behind the high Annapurna mountains. This high mountain desert region is similar to the Tibetan land, so you might have the Tibetan feel while visiting the upper Mustang.
Mustang had a separate king when Nepal was a kingdom but belonged to Nepal. There is still a palace in Lomanthang. The trek goes through a historical village, Kagbeni, a gateway to the upper Mustang. Distinct types of landscape and colorful hills florid the region.
Historical caves, wall paintings, and Buddhist monuments pass some ancient lifestyles and cultures of Mustang. Besides religion, culture, and outstanding landscapes, panoramic views of Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Tilicho peak, Tukuche peak, Nilgiri, and other high mountains are other attractions of the Mustang trek.
Upper Mustang is a restricted region, so you must have a special trekking permit to enter. Lomantang is the last destination of the Mustang trekking. You walk through Chele, Syangbochen, Ghami, and Tsarang before reaching Lomantang. When you get there, you can visit three old monasteries existing since the 13th/14th century in Lo Manthang in the afternoon. A Four-story Jong cave in Chhoser village provides the Mustang people’s ancient history and lifestyle on the exploration day from Lo Manthang.
On your return, visit Ghar Gompa on the way to Dhakmar. Constructed in the twelve century, dedicated to Guru Rinpoche, who visited the region. The strong belief is if you wish anything from this Gompa, it comes true. You only can see the Annapurna I from this upper trail to Dhakmar during this Mustang trek.
Upper Mustang Jeep Tour
4-wheel drive to upper Mustang
There is road access to Lomangtang and even further to the Tibetan border. If you do not have enough time, can’t walk at a high altitude, or don’t want to trek through dusty trails, you can book a jeep tour to the upper Mustang.
The jeep tour to the upper Mustang is a luxury mountain trip, so you can explore everything that the trekkers do during the trip. The 14-day Mustang trek itinerary can finish in a 5-days jeep tour. So, it may save you time, stamina, and budget.
The upper Mustang jeep tour begins from Pokhara and goes to Kagbeni on the first day. After spending a night in Kagbeni, you drive to Lomanthang on the second day. Then, you visit Chhoser on the exploration day from Lo village and back to Dhakmar via Ghar Gompa. You can visit caves on the cliffside of colorful hi in Dhakmar. The fourth-day drive is back to Tatopani from Dhakmar, and the 5th day to Pokhara.
Upper Mustang Jeep Tour Itinerary
Day 01: Drive from Pokhara to Kagbeni (2,800m) 7-8 hrs
Day 02: Drive from Kagbeni to Lomanthang (3,840m) 5 hrs
Day 03: Drive to Chhoser (4,784m) for 30 minutes and drive back to Dhakmar (3,820m) for 4 hrs
Day 04: Drive from Dhakmar to Tatopani (1,190m) 6 hrs
Day 05: Drive from Tatopani to Pokhara (8,20m) 5 hrs
Best Time to Trek to Upper Mustang
September to December and March to May are the best timing for the Mustang trek. These months usually have clear views of the mountains. Winter is cold, but you can do this with warm equipment. The Mustang is a rain shadow region, so it is doable also in the monsoon season. But, it may affect the Jomsom flight of the summer rain and clouds. Trekking to the upper Mustang in the summer needs around 3-weeks.
Trek Cost for Upper Mustang
The upper Mustang is more expensive than the other regular trek in Nepal. A restricted area permit makes it costly for the trip. At least two trekkers must be in a group for the upper Mustang.
We also organize the Mustang trek for a single person, but the cost goes high because of permit sharing. 2-4 people cost 2,400 USD per person for the Mustang trek. If you have a bigger group with more than 5-trekkers, the cost reduces from the main package cost.
We usually arrange the trekking to the upper Mustang with all-inclusive in the mountain. Also, the package covers a full-day city tour in Kathmandu and accommodation in the city. Hire a guide and porter and pay yourself for the cheaper food for the Mustang trek.
Trekking Itinerary to Upper Mustang
The Mustang trekking itinerary depends on the route and direction that you are following. Start walking from Nayapul and Beni and fly out from Jomsom after Lomanthang is a long Itinerary. Both-way flight to/from Jomsom is a short Mustang trekking itinerary.
Alternatively, you can start walking from Kagbeni to Lomanthang and trek back to Kagbeni again. You can drive back from Kagbeni to Pokhara in one day. It is a 12-day upper Mustang itinerary if you use both ways driving to/ from Kagbeni. The road is bumpy with lots of landslides if rainfall, so taking the driving route during the monsoon to Mustang is no good.
Our regular Mustang trek itinerary is for 14 days, but you find it for 19 days from your home to home. The Mustang journey begins with a flight to Jomsom from Pokhara and treks to the Kagbeni on the first day. Then, it goes to Lomanthang via Chele, Syangbochen, Ghami and Tsusang. You have an exploration day in Lo village to visit the Jhong cave and monasteries. On your return, you take the upper route via Ghar Gompa to Dhakmar. You can fly out from Jomsom after your trek if you have a short holiday for Mustang. Otherwise, you can walk a few more days down to Beni or Nayapul.
Upper Mustang for Nepali
Most Nepali travelers to the upper Mustang are for a jeep tour. It is very cheap to travel Mustang for Nepali. The internal visitors do not need a special permit for the Mustang. Rather than doing a trek, all Nepalese visitors drive in a jeep or a bike tour to the upper Mustang.
All Nepalese travelers to Lomanthang can not ride motorbikes, and some might not be interested in driving off-road in the Himalayas. We offer all transportation from Kathmandu to Lomantang and the Tibetan border to Nepali. We arrange a tourist bus from Kathmandu to Pokhara and a 4-wheel drive jeep to the Mustang. It is a group tour, so we collect people to operate the trips to the Mustang.
Permit Cost for Upper Mustang
Trekkers need to take two different permits for the Mustang trek. Annapurna conservation area entry tickets and restricted area entry tickets are essential entry documents for the upper Mustang. The limited license can issue from the Nepal immigration office in Kathmandu and Pokhara. On the other hand, the Annapurna conservation one can obtain from the national trust for nature conservation office in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
Nepalese visitors do not need a special permit, but other travelers must have one. It costs 500 USD per person for the first-10 days for all foreigners. An additional 50 USD per day will add after the 10th day. It is the same fare for all national visitors except Nepali. But, the Annapurna conservation entry permit has a variation price. It costs 3,000 NPR for all trekkers besides south Asian travelers. Visitors from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Srilanka, and Maldives cost just 1,000 NPR.
Mustang Trek Attraction
Kaligandaki Valley and Gorge
The Kali Gandaki valley is a Himalayan valley between two massive mountain ranges, Annapurna and Dhaulagiri. It is a windy valley, so a big wind blows in the afternoon every day. But, if the day is cloudy, there won’t be a strong wind. Walking through the Kaligandaki river bank in this valley, you can collect some Saligrama (fossil).
The Kali Gandaki river gorge (Andha Galchi) is the world’s deepest gorge between Ghasa and Dana villages. This deep Galchi divides Dhaulagiri (8,167m) between the west and the Annapurna I (8,091m) in the east. Because of the measurement of these two giant peaks from the bottom, it is the world’s deepest canyon.
The Kagbeni is an ancient and beautiful village in the Mustang district. Located at 2,800m, it is the gateway to the upper Mustang. Made in 1429, Kag Chode Thupten Samphel Ling Monastery in the place is a highlighted thing to visit.
It is a holy place for the Hindus. There are many Hindus from different regions of Nepal for a ritual ceremony for their lost parents. Kagbeni divides the trail to Muktinath and Lomantang.
Off-Genre Landscapes and Colourful Hills
Nepal mostly has greenery lands, but you can see different landscapes on the Mustang trekking. Except for some barley and oat farm, it is hard to find green grassland. So, The Mustang is composed of the high Himalayan desert lands.
The colorful hills give you a feeling of being in the off universe from the Mustang region. There are hundreds of caves on the sides of these hills. The locals underwent the caves for religious and safety purposes.
Experiencing the Religion and Culture of Mustang
Visiting ancient historic Monasteries in the upper Mustang may offer you peace and prosperity. You will have a fateful time learning about religion and culture from these religious sites in Mustang. You can also learn about the second mini kingdom of Nepal by visiting the palace in Lomantang. The polyandry marriage system and sky burial death ritual are strange experiences for Mustang visitors. The Tiji is a fateful festival celebrated in May yearly in Lo Manthang.
The Jong (Zhong cave) is a sky cave in the Chhoser village. This 5-story cavern has more than 40 different rooms. You can visit this during the exploration day from Lomanthang. Man made it, but there is no proof of who had it.
According to the legend, the villagers hid in this to protect themselves from the enemy. From its windows, you can see a beautiful glimpse of Chhoser village, monasteries, and mountains.
Accommodation, Food, and Drinks in Upper Mustang
The trekking trail to the upper Mustang is well-organized, so getting accommodation during the trek is not difficult. Most of the lodges have attached bathrooms in the camps. Because of not flooded trekkers, you can easily find accommodation during the tour.
You can have food from a menu in the guesthouses where you stay. So, you don’t have to take the local dishes on the trek. You can buy bottled mineral water everywhere along the way. Also, you can drink tap water using the purification methods if you would like to.
Internet, Phone, and Battery Charging
There have been no wi-fi services for internet users til now, but they will have them soon. You can take a SIM card with internet data for the upper Mustang region. There is just a signal for the NTC mobile in the upper Mustang region, so be sure if you are buying the NTC or NCELL card. You can also call your family and relatives through this SIM from the upper Mustang.
You can charge your phone, camera, and other gadgets during the trek, and it’s mostly free. Most of the places have proper electricity in the upper Mustang route.
Trekking Equipment for the Upper Mustang
Trekking equipment plays a vital role in successful Himalayan travel. The Mustang is a cold and windy region, so having the essential gear to stay protected from these things is good. You might not need to pack rain gear for the Mustang. As you hear, it is a rain shadow region. Of course, It doesn’t rain in the higher territory, but it does in the lower areas. So, check some essential gear for the Mustang that you should not forget to pack here:
- Sun hat
- Warm hat
- Thermal layers
- Few long and short trekking shirts
- Long and short hiking trousers
- Fleece jacket
- Wind stopper
- Down jacket
- Few pairs of trekking socks
- Rain gear
- Rukshak or duffel bag
- Head torch
- Sun lotion
- Lip balm
- Good quality hiking boots
- Sport shoes
- Water sandals
- Warm gloves
- Windproof trouser
Collaborate with Frolic Adventure for the Upper Mustang Journey
Frolic Adventure operates this trek from Kathmandu. We are an authorized local trekking organizer in Nepal. Remember us for your amazing Mustang trip so we manage the Mustang tour with reliable cost and securely. A minimum of 2 travelers must be in a group to travel Mustang. We make bookings even for individuals and manage group permits for the upper Mustang. You can directly book the trip from our departure dates or offer your dates by contacting us.