Trekking to upper mustang
The historical Upper Mustang provides a glorious trekking experience in the remote trans-Himalayan region of Nepal to the north of the Annapurna area. It is the best choice to explore the untouched beauty of nature, wilderness of landscapes and isolated Tibetan culture beyond the Himalayas. Trekking in Upper Mustang is a privilege that only a few travelers get every year.
The Upper Mustang Trek provides mystical experience walking back to the history of Lo-Manthang, Ancient capital of former Mustang (locally called Lo). The early history of Lo-manthang is adorned in myths and legends rather than recorded facts. It is a magical place imbibed with a great history.
At the end of the 18th century, it was annexed by Nepal from Tibet consisting majority of the population still speaking Tibetan languages. Mustang is also called the hidden Kingdom of Nepal as the region has its own king to date. However, Mustang's autotomy was abolished in 2008. The king as respected by locals even today resides in the central palace while four major temples form the corners of square walled Lo Manthang.
Upper Mustang was a restricted area until 1992 closely tied by the language and culture of Tibet due to its isolation from the outside world. Thus, it is perfectly called 'a Forbidden land' as one of the most preserved regions in the world.
Upper Mustang trek is analogous to a Tibetan trek geographically on one hand since it lies on Tibetan plateau and on the other hand one can observe Tibetan glimpse into the everyday life of locals there. As a matter of fact, back in days, it used to be the commercial area connected with Tibet and India.
After Kagbeni, you will officially enter Upper Mustang from which the journey towards endless tradition starts. It is the trek to high altitude approximately (3000m-4200m) depending upon your itinerary somehow intensified by dry air and framed by the walls of Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri and other chains of mountains.
Comparatively, the elevation is not high like other famous trekking trails, yet the trail and weather conditions can make journey arduous. Of course, walks to Lo-Manthangare challenging but not very exhausting since the journey is accompanied by the smell of unspoiled nature.
Our eyes capture the beauty of unique landscapes comprising barren ridges, deep canyons, eroded cliffs and Moraine valleys surrounded by rocks of all colors and their impressive formations. Moreover, the windswept view of Kaligandaki valley is an amazing sight to behold.
Stepping into the Lo Manthang is like experiencing a different world. A world of narrow whitewashed streets, storyteller gompas, hidden chortens, flapping prayer flags, caves, rock paintings, century-old monasteries, the herds of animals and clay walled cities untouched by modernization for years.
The treeless landscapes dotted with settlements of whitewashed houses add a splash of color to the landscapes like a painting. Major attractions of Upper Mustang treks have their own values.
Tiji festival is a fascinating annual 3-day festival that celebrates a myth of battles between a Buddhist deity and his demon father to save Mustang from the terrible crisis. The word 'Tiji' means 'Prayer for the World Peace'. It emphasizes on the respectful co-existence of the people. The monks organize this festival by performing ritual masked dances in the involvement of local people. The festival is bound to be one of the most memorable experiences observed in monsoon season.
The Royal palace
The Royal palace is the most visited area of this region which was built in the 14th century. The palace is 4 story’s tall. Here, one could feel the essence of preserved architecture, culture and art.
Thungchen Gompa is a beautiful monastery built in the 15th century. It has a big assembly hall decorated with paintings, statues of Buddha's various avatars, etc creating the spiritual and peaceful environment around it.
The Jampa Monastery
The Jampa Monastery is one of the masterpieces inside the walled city built in the early 14th century that demonstrates Lo Mangthang's rich architectural traditions and sacred art. Inside it is 109 ancient mandalas painted in either gold or silver.
The Dragkar-Thegchen Ling Gompa
The Dragkar-Thegchen Ling Gompa is the most famous and largest monastery inside the wall built during the 13th century wherein Bon po scriptures, Buddhist's arts are exhibited.
Amchi museum and Amchi School
Amchi museum and Amchi School was founded to preserve the ancient wisdom. Here, visitors can learn about ancient healing art. Amchi means a traditional Tibetan doctor. The Amchi museum displays Tibetan Herbal Medicines.
10,000 man-made caves were dug centuries back. Researches have shown that people made these caves to mummify the dead bodies as religious rituals. One of them is the ancient chooser cave, a century-old cave situated high in the rock having 44 separate living rooms decorated with ancient Buddhist paintings.
Muktinath temple is a pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Buddhists located an elevation of 3710m. Every year thousands of pilgrims from Nepal, India and other countries step on this holy land. It offers an amazing view of 108 water sprouts symbolizing the redemption after death and natural flame that never goes out.
A few hours' walks from Lo Mathang lead to Gyakar with its famous Gompa named Ghar Gompa highly dedicated to Guru Rinpoche. It is one of the oldest monasteries said to be built in the 8th century. It is famous for its rock paintings with a myth that any wishes made here come true.
Moreover, Lo Manthang is the socio-cultural center of ethnic Lopapeople, the original inhabitants of Mustang. We can have exclusive experiences of their values, customs, and beliefs. Along with these, we get to taste their food. People are friendly, hardworking and nature-loving. They follow Tibetan Buddhism in a pure form. Their houses are all whitewashed with firewood tucked on the roofs decorated with prayer flags and many walls creating picturesque painted appearance on the faded arid landscapes. It is the best trekking route to experience traditional Bon Po culture and Tibetan Buddhist culture.
Foreigners need to obtain special permission to enter the region costing US$ 500 per person for 10 days. If longer is needed, an additional US$ 50 is charged per day. Also, visitors entering ACAP(Annapurna Conservation Area Project) permit costing around US$ 30 per head for a single entry. Since it is the restricted trekking area individual trekkers cannot obtain RAP permits themselves. Only registered trekking companies in Nepal can make RAP permits. The minimum group size of people to get the permit is two.
Upper Mustang Trek region lies in the Himalayan rain shadow, it receives less to almost no rainfall during the monsoon season. This makes the region suitable for trekking even during this time of year. Likewise, winter comes with extreme cold that can be harsh on the trekkers. However, the best season to trek is September to October during which one can enjoy excellent weather and magnificent mountain views.
While trekking in this region, one should prepare themselves to walk 6-7 hours on a daily basis. Visitors with a moderate level of fitness can easily complete this track without more trouble. Generally, it takes 4 days to walk from Kagbeni to Lo Mathang and the same for return staying each night in a small fortified village around a monastery surrounded with Tibetan atmosphere. The best planning would be allocating 2 days of time to explore much of Lo Manthang.
Accommodation facilities are not so developed in Upper Mustang, of course, to keep the region preserved. Available accommodations are of moderate standards. Tea houses are available along the entire treks but are of small size. Electricity facility is available to some extent having solar power as their back up. The Internet is available up to Kagbeni and Lo Manthang with small pay. However, visitors enjoy the true Himalayan lifestyle than the internet.
Upper Mustang trek's trail follows the ancient salt trade route between Nepal and Tibet. Porters are available to carry necessities of trekkers. Also, one can hire mules to carry load which is more economical as well as environment-friendly. The best way to explore Lo-Manthang and places on its vanity is to take horses with drivers.
There are two popular trekking routes around Upper Mustang. The most popular is the standard route straight up and down from Kagbeni to Lo-Manthang and the second one where you follow a much wider route down the eastern side of Kaligandaki.
All the routes offer dramatic arid landscapes with fantastic colorful strata laid out on high cliffs with unique rock formations. Beneath these mountains lie rivers, salt waters, apple orchards, barley farms, unique Buddhist buildings, and whitewashed villages. However, tougher eastern routes provide more beautiful sceneries than western routes in the cost of long walking days. Also, camping is necessary due to a lack of accommodation since the route is less densely populated.
Upper Mustang Trek is worth spending time, money and energy. Living far away from the hustle of big cities and modernization, people here are known for their warmest heart and hospitality. One will witness the pattern of epic lifestyle passing from generation to generation. The land untouched by modern colors of livings makes the experiences unusual for the visitors. Thus, two weeks of this ultimate trek route promises to be a once in a lifetime experience.
Thus, we say "Heaven is a myth and Nepal is real". Yes, we say it proudly.
Other Restricted Region Trekkings:
Guide and Potter
Taxes and Entrance Fees
The given itineraries are temporary. We are ready to operate according to your interested itineraries also. Please, let us know about your desired route plan too.
Arrival in Nepal
After your arrival itinerary in Nepal, Good Vibe Adventure welcomes you at the entry point or at the airport and takes you to the hotel. We also explain to you in short about the programs.
Private Tourist vehicle to airport drops and pick up/ round flight trip KTM-Pokhara-Jomsom-Pokhara-KTM.
Food/ Water and Accommodation on Upper Mustang trekking
We provide Standard breakfast in Kathmandu. During the trekking, we provide breakfast and dinner at the lodge and lunch on the trekking trail. We recommend you to bring water purification pills, but you have options of buying bottled water or boiled water as well.
We offer 2-3 star Hotel Accommodation in Kathmandu but it can be customized according to your request. And best available lodge in the trekking. Lodges with basic facilities are available in upper Mustang trekking
Luggage on Upper Mustang trekking
During the trekking, your bag pack will be carried by the porter and you can use your belongings at your desired time. You can just carry a day pack with a water bottle, camera, sun-screen, spare jacket, etc. Except for the necessary things, you can deposit your belongings to the hotels' locker.
Communication, Electricity and Battery Charge on Upper Mustang trekking
Despite some areas, there is network coverage of mobile phones in almost the places. The landline phones are also available for communication. Electricity or solar powers are available for the mobile charge. It is better to have a spare battery.
It is better to consult with your doctor before going to the upper Mustang trekking. Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)/ High Altitude Sickness can occur during the trekking so proper acclimatization is needed. Please, take your required medicine with you.
Insurance helps you to get a quick rescue and medical expenses. It is an expensive operation from the higher altitude in the helicopter. It cuts your economic burden if some accidents happen. Insurance should be done by you.
Best Trekking season for the upper Mustang trekking
Autumn and spring are the best seasons for Upper Mustang Trekking. Days are warm and nights are chilling. Mornings are usually clear and fine weather. It can be Windy around the afternoon.
Booking and Payment procedure
20% payment should be paid in advance while you book the trip. It should include Passport copy and flight detail. The rest of the 80% payment is payable at your arrival in Nepal. You can pay by your credit card and deposit into the bank account of Good Vibe Adventure from your country and can pay cash after your arrival.
In addition to upper Mustang trekking, we can also extend the trip to jungle safari, Lumbini Tour, Nepal Tour, Rafting along with tour activities in Tibet and Bhutan. Please, let us know earlier if you want to extend your trip either inside Nepal or outside of it according to your time management.