Trekking in Nepal
Tourism Licence No: 1948/072

Trekking the Upper Mustang

Thursday, April 12th, 2018 at 12:00am

The Upper Mustang Region is suitable for trekking even in the monsoon season, as the Upper Kali Gandaki valley is still quite dry.
This is not a difficult Trek; the highest point is only 3,800 meters. This area is windy and dusty throughout the year, the winters can be harsh and best to avoid.

If you intend to do this trek, know that hotels are few and far between. You must be self-sufficient, especially in fuel. It is more practical and economical to use mules to carry the loads.
It will take a minimum of 9 days to complete this trek. The route is usually along the Kali Gandaki valley, occasionally it climbs higher.
trekking the upper mustang
You will find scattered settlements, very barren, in Mustang, little grows without irrigation. The area resembles a mountainous desert. Lo Manthang, is reached in 4 days approximately. It is recommended that you spend a day exploring this fascinating walled settlement. It is colorful, festive, cobblestoned courtyards. It looks almost medieval.
You may find accommodations in the local tea houses, or you may spend the night with a local resident. Things that you may want to consider before you embark on this journey is supplies, such as hand sanitizers, toilet paper or a reasonable facsimile. Good eye protection, from the sun and the wind.


Nestled in the country of Nepal, lies one of the 4 districts in the Dhawalagiri Zone. The Upper Mustang. Once an independent kingdom, Mustang was closely linked by language and culture to Tibet.
This fertile plain, is situated in a remote region of the Nepalese Himalayas, formerly known as the Kingdom of Lo. The main population here still speak the Tibetic languages, and the Tibetan culture has been preserved, due to the isolated nature of this area, sheltered from the outside world. In 2008, Mustangs state as a Kingdom came to an end. This Kingdom of Nepal became a republic. The Monarchy ceases to exist on October 7, 2008, by the order of the Government of Nepal. The last King was Jigme Dorje Palbar Bista.
The outside influences of the world, and especially China have contributed to the progressive changes in the area, and the everyday life of the Mustang population. The main entry point into Mustang is at Jomsom, here the airport was built in 1962.
This area has gained popularity with world tourism, and tourists have been granted permission to enter since 1992 But tourism into Upper Mustang is regulated, by requiring foreigners to obtain a permit to enter at a cost of USD $50.00 per person, per day. August and October are the peak visiting months, and must be accompanied by government appointed officer This area is traditionally Buddhist, and many tourists are attracted by the sheer wild and unimaginable scenery.

Upper Mustang sky caves

Mustang Caves OR Sky Caves of Nepal, are some 10,000 manmade caves, that were dug into sides of valleys near The Kali Gandaki River. Over the years, several archeologists have discovered partially mummified human bodies, and skeletons. These are believed to be 2000 to 3000 years old. These caves were also rich with valuable Buddhist paintings, sculptures, manuscripts and numerous artifacts. The reason and purpose behind the caves is still not known, and is still being investigated. It is a matter of mystery to the researcher for identifying the person who built the caves.

Mustang Trekking Permit
Foreigners need to acquire a special permit to enter into this restricted and preserved area of the country. You need to issue a Mustang Restricted Permit from Kathmandu which is the capital city of Nepal. To enter into this restricted land, you need to spend USD 500 per person for the special permit which is valid only for first 10 days. For every extra day you spend there, you will be charged an additional cost of USD 50 per person per day. The cost for the special permit in the Upper Mustang is comparatively expensive than other trekking areas. While issuing the permit, you need to provide all sorts of your identity and relevant information like name, age, sex, profession, the origin of the country, family members, VISA status, passport number, marital status, etc.
Besides the special permit, trekkers wishing to reach Upper Mustang need to issue another permit named ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Project) permit. This permit is too issued in Kathmandu by Nepal Government which is applicable for one-time entry and exit. ACAP permit costs USD 20 and is compulsory for Upper Mustang trekkers as they must pass through the conserved Annapurna region.

Mustang Trek Cost
Before moving to any destination, budget and cost are the major factors to be considered. In an average, the cost incurred in Upper Mustang Trek is USD 1700 to USD 2200 per person for the period of two weeks. You need to disburse cash on several headings like issuing a special permit, ACAP permit, food and accommodation charges, porter/ guide cost, insurance cost, visiting fees for monasteries and also the cost for charging electronic gadgets.
During the journey, if you are willing to hire a guide and porter for more comfort, you need to disburse an extra volume of cash. Experienced and local guides and traveler are easily available on the route and you need to pay USD 22 to 32 per day for each guide/porter. This amount includes the cost of food and accommodation and insurance fees of each guide or porter you hire. The cost is minimized if you are an independent trekker and need not any guide or porter to assist you. But this may increase several challenges and you may go through many problems and obstacles.

Route and Map
Upper Mustang Trek begins from the capital city, Kathmandu (1300 m). Initially, you will move for sightseeing at this cultural city and will be driven to another beautiful city of Nepal, Pokhara (820 m) located west of the Kathmandu. After that, you will take a short flight of 25 minutes to Jomsom (2700 m). As you reach Jomsom you will move for a short trek to Kagbeni (2800 m). Next day we will lean towards to Chele (3050 m) which is around 5 to 6 hours of trek. After Chele we will complete the trek through Syanbochen (3475 m), Ghaymi (3520 m), Charang (3500 m) and finally Lo-Mangthang (3700 m). After discovering the forbidden kingdom of Lo-Mangthang, we will trek towards Drakmar (3810 m), Ghiling (3807 m) and Chhuksang (3050 m). From Chhuksang, we will return back to Jomsom after completing 5 to 6 hours of trek. After reaching Jomsom, you will take a flight to Pokhara which is worthwhile to explore. Finally, we will return back from Pokhara to the capital city, Kathmandu by a luxury tourist bus.

How Difficult is Upper Mustang Trek?
Upper Mustang Trek is considered as a trek with a difficulty grade moderate and you need to come out of your comfort zone to achieve this adventurous trek. But the fact is, no standards can define the real difficulty of the trek. Upper Mustang is ranked as a moderate grade trek and is not easy as performing trek in the cities areas. You need to walk hours on the diverse topographical land taking you up and down over the mountains. Considering the walking time, altitude, terrain structure, and remoteness of the place, this preserved land is remarked with moderate trekking difficulty.

Season and Weather - When to Trek Upper Mustang?
As suggested by the experienced trekkers and local guides, the best season for having Upper Mustang trek is in between March to November. During these periods, the weather is bearable and the climatic conditions offer the best scenic views. In this lifetime memorable trek, you have to pass through the Kaligandaki Valley with cool wind striking your body. Located at the high altitude, the weather remains cold throughout the year and hence you must be well prepared to stay against the cool wind and cold temperature. The time before the monsoon and just after the monsoon offers you the best views of red rocky challenging mountains with wonderful desert looks. Also, the skies are clear during those periods.

What are the Essential Equipment/Gears?
Trekking in the Mustang region is not as simple as trekking in normal valleys. The region is beyond the Himalayan ranges occupied with challenging red mountains with challenging cold winds. The essential equipment/gears required during the trek are Navigation (Map, Compass, etc.), Sunglasses/Sunscreens, First-aid supplies, extra food and clothing, headlamp or flashlight, emergency shelter and emergency shelter (lighter, waterproof matches, candles). It is impossible to carry this adventurous trek without carrying this essential equipment. You can buy these required gears at Kathmandu easily at a reasonable price. Quality and durable products are highly preferred as there is no place to buy the trekking gears in this trekking region. These equipment helps to carry out your journey comfortable and helps you during an emergency.

Where do You Purchase Equipment?
Every trekker thinks about the place/shop to purchase equipment which is essential during their journey. The North Face, Yak, Red Fox and Sherpa are the best supplier from where you can get all sorts of essential equipment/gears. All these shops are located in the Kathmandu, capital city. Especially, the trekking gear supplier is located at Durbar Marga and on the way of Tridevi Sadak at Thamel. These suppliers are known for supplying quality, durable, reasonable and comfort equipment manufactured from several parts of the world. Some other renowned equipment sellers are Everest Hard Wear, Sonam, Mountain Hard Wear, Mammut and Salewa who are supplying qualitative and durable trekking equipment.

Upper Mustang Trekking Medical Advice
One must be careful and concerned about his own personal health issue during your trek. Trekkers are advised to carry extra clothing to prevent you from suffering the cold. Make sure that you are physically healthy and is able to bear several natural challenges. Although our experienced guides and representative will be there to assist you during the emergency, you need to carry various first aid tools including medicines, bandages, sanitizers, wound healer and Dettol. You must be aware of the altitude that may bring challenges during your journey. Also, we suggest you carry emergency shelter, headlight, water proof matches or lighters, extra food and various medicines that may be useful in case of emergency.
Do not doubt on asking if any emergency or problems arise during the trek. Our representative will be there to help and handle your problems during the Upper Mustang Trek.

Food and Accommodation
Despite being one of the rural areas of Nepal, services of food and accommodation are available on this preserved land beyond the Himalayas. There are several guest house and lodges to serve the tourist who visits there. Because of high transportation cost and less dense population, you cannot buy everywhere and the cost is relevantly higher than that of cities area.
You must carry extra food during the trek as no shops are available on the remote trekking trails. You can carry chocolates, nutritional diets, mineral water, etc. so that you won’t feel hungry and energy less. It is suggested to buy these extra foods in Kathmandu where you will get varieties of choices and brands at a reasonable cost. The lodges and guest house are designed for the comfort and convenience of the tourist serving local and international food items.

Can I go alone or should I hire a guide?
Trekkers are generally categorized into two distinct group i.e. individual trekkers and trekkers who hire a professional guide. Upper Mustang can be explored in any way but it is suggested to hire a guide as per the advice of experienced trekkers. Hiring a professional and experienced guide can help you explore the cultural aspects of the region and can be your life saver in case of emergency. He is well known to the trekking routes, obstacles and remedies during the problem which will be beneficial to us during the journey. Hence, it is suggested to hire a guide during your trip to Upper Mustang.

Mustang Trekking Reviews
Based on the reviews and opinions of trekkers, guides and travel agencies, Upper Mustang Trek is ranked as excellent trekking destination around the world. A survey made by TripAdvisor shows that, out of 419 reviews, 386 people ranked it as excellent, 30 ranked as very good, 1 as average, 1 as poor and 1 as terrible. Considering reviews, we can conclude that Upper Mustang is one of the best rated trekking destination around the world.
Our CORE TREK is glad to organize this trek in Nepal to make your trekking interesting and lifetime memorable.


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