Upper Mustang Trekking Guide

Upper Mustang Trekking Guide

Upper Mustang is a magical tourist destination unlike other places in Nepal. It is a popular destination in Nepal for both pilgrimage and trekking. Its allure has come from the century’s old history of the Lo Kingdom, exotic Himalayan culture, ever-changing landscape, and magnificent views of gigantic mountains like Nilgiri ((7061m), Dhaulagiri (8,167 m), and Annapurna ranges.

Upper Mustang was an isolated Kingdom founded by Ama Pal, the first king of Lo in 1380 AD. Its capital is Lo-Manthang where the king’s palace still lies there. The last King of Mustang, Jigme Palbar Bista passed away on Friday (December 16th, 2016) at the age of 86. In 2008 Lo King lost his royal title when Nepal became a republic country after the centuries-old monarchy. Still, the royal family members are still staying there. The current prince owned his resort called Ama-Pal Resort.

Learning from our experiences of organizing a variety of trips such as trekking, overland jeep tour, peak climbing expedition, and volunteering in mustang, Himalayan Wander Walkers have come to blogging this Upper Mustang Travel Guide to help you have the best trip possible. We tried our best to provide every detail regarding the itinerary, cost, difficulties, food, lodging, required documents, and safety measures. 

Are you currently planning your trek or trip to Upper Mustang? If your answer is 'YES' then you are reading the right travel guide. 

When you have read this Upper Mustang travel guide then we can say that you are already prepared 80 % to experience the historical place of Lo-Kingdom.

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Required Trekking Permits for Upper Mustang and it's cost

Every traveler who wants to visit Upper Mustang except Nepalese citizens must need permits to enter its territory.  The most expensive restricted permit for Upper Mustang cost USD 500 per person for the first week and then USD 50 per day for additional days. This permit is issued from the Department of Nepal Immigration in Kathmandu only through a registered trekking office like Himalayan Wander Walkers (HWW). Beside special permit of Mustang you also need TIMs and ACAP permits which cost NPR 2000 and NPR 3000 respectively. For SARC nation it will cost NPR 1000 for ACAP and NPR 600 for TIMS card.

Monastery and Caves Entrance fee in Mustang

One of the reasons to visit Upper Mustang are centuries old Monasteries and Sky caves.  Almost every villages in Mustang have monasteries. Among them most popular are given below with their respective entrance fee.  

S.No Name of Monasteries and Cave Entrance Fee
1 Ghar Gompa (Lo Gyakar Monastery) NPR 250
2 Thupchen, Jampa and Choede gompas NPR 1000
3 Chosar Caves and Monasteries  NPR 1000
4 Luri Gompa (Ghara) NPR 500
5 Tashi Kabum Stupa (Yara) NPR 250
6 Charang Monastery  NPR 200
7 Charang King’s Palace NPR 200
8 Ghiling Monastery  NPR 200
9 Chungshi Rangjung Cave Free Entrance

 

How to reach Lo-Manthang, Mustang?

Headquarter of Mustang district is Jomsom from where your trek or tour to Mustang start. There are two ways to reach Jomsom from Pokhara either by overland drive via Beni and Ghasa or direct flight to Jomsom from Pokhara. From these two options, taking a flight is the best way where you safe some energies and time for your trip. Like in Monsoon season Bus is better because mostly flights get cancelled due to the weather issues.  Himalayan Wander Walkers always recommend flight between Pokhara and Jomsom to avoid hectic long drive in dusty and bumpy road. We keep stand by four wheeler at Pokhara airport incase if the flight get cancelled and to safe the time for our guests. Many companies still run the trek in same old itineraries but Himalayan Wander Walkers had brought changes in Upper Mustang Trek because of the new Korala Highway construction. In our itinerary you will take a jeep to Chhusang village from Jomsom visiting Lupra (only Bon village in Mustang) and Kagbeni. Then Next morning you will again take a 40 minutes jeep and then start very first day trek from Samar village to Chungshi Rangjung cave monastery and overnight at Sangmochen. Our itinerary is made in such a way to avoid dusty newly built roads and to visit maximum places as possible within the limited time that you have in Upper Mustang. Most of our Upper Mustang Trek end from the eastern part of Mustang via Yara, Ghara and Tangye villages

Best time to visit Upper Mustang

Trekking in Upper Mustang

 

Honestly summer is the best time to visit or trek Upper Mustang. But in the summer the problem is Monsoon season where the regular flight between Pokhar and Jomsom gets cancelled and roads are mostly blocked by floods. But once you reach Jomsom there is no weather effects on your trip as Upper Mustang is located in rain shadow area Trek across the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges.  One who is looking for smooth travel in Upper Mustang can plan your trek in the months of April, May, September, October and November. Normally in spring Tiji Festival take place and many travellers plan during that time. Upper Mustang Trek marks as the number one destination to join in summer.

Variation of Upper Mustang Trek

Upper Mustang lies Between Manang and Dolpo districts. So, there are connecting trekking trails to Both Manang and Dolpo. It is all depends on your budgets and time availability. Most of the treks that across the high passes are considered as extreme treks and in addition to that it can be done only by camping with proper equipment and experienced crew members. From eastern part there are two trails had been opened till date that are Saribung Peak to Nar Phu valley and Teri La pass trek to Nar Phu from Tangye village. From the western part of Upper Mustang like Ghami Himal and Kekyab la are popular for connecting trails to Dolpo. All these routes were used by Yak caravan in the past for trade during barter system. 

Recommended Trekking Itineraries for Upper Mustang

Himalayan Wander Walkers had designed different itineraries based on different Purposes to visit Mustang. Some of them are Tiji Festival Trek Itinerary, Yartung Festival Trek itinerary, Classic Upper Mustang Trek and Four Wheel drive to Lo-Manthang itinerary. For trekkers, the most rewarding journey is if you return via the challenging but road-less eastern route of Tangye and Paa to Chhusang. 

If you want us to create a unique Upper Mustang Trekking or Tour itinerary then please fill out this form Customize My Trip and we will customize your trip which meets your all requirement and interests. 

There are 5 Unique itineraries of the Upper Mustang that are designed by Himalayan Wander Walkes. Upper Mustang Trekking Routes and Itineraries. 

Why you must visit Upper Mustang?

A perfect destination for adventure seekers where you will experience a package of experiences in a lifetime. Upper Mustang is a favorite destination for many travelers within and beyond Nepal. Traveling to Upper Mustang is more about the cultural experience than mountains. The best thing that many travelers like about Upper Mustang is because of its flexibility of trip that offers you.  Upper Mustang doesn’t mean only trekking, there are much more things to do in this majestic place depending on your interest and time availability. The best way to experience Upper Mustang is to travel with the local experienced Guide. Are you looking for a unique destination in Nepal to experience a lifetime experience? If your answer is "Yes" then there that place is non-other than the Upper Mustang. Plan your trip well and let us know your doubts. So, you can explore every nook and corner of this incredible place hassle-free.    

  1. Culture and Festivals of Upper Mustang 
  2. Upper Mustang Jeep Tour 
  3. Peak Climbing
  4. Mountain Biking in Upper Mustang
  5. Helicopter Tour to Upper Mustang
  6. Hiking to Nomadic Yak herders
  7. Pony or horse Riding in Upper Mustang

See details for the above 7 topics here: Reasons to Visit Upper Mustang

Beyond all above mentioned reasons, New York Times also listed Upper Mustang as must visit destination in 2024

WIFI-Internet, Cellphone reception and Electricity availability in Upper Mustang

Cellphone reception is available in all villages of Upper Mustang but Wifi and electricity are not reliable in all places. The Wifi facilities are limited and it depends on the consistency of electrcity. 

The power gets cut often and there are limited charging ponits at hotel

 

Regarding internet connectivity, both Wi-Fi and cellphone inernet are widely available in all overnight stop places. We suggest to buy NTC Simcard (Namaste) during your arrrival to Kathamndu which cost between NPR 100-NPR200. The Wifi at hotel is totally depends on the power which often cuts down and it may not work when you are in need of internet. So, havning NTC Simcard is the best option to use internet. Nepal Telecom (NTC) provide 4G intenet services in almost all villages. Before starting your trip, you can buy data (GB) according to your requirment that will be cheaper and feasible to use when in needed. 

Electricity came into working in whole Upper Mustang since 2022. The Dalome Rural Municipality was connected by power before 2022 whereas Lo Manthang Rural Municipality was covered by solar power only. Now a day the electricity is accessible in all villages in Mustang but power gets cut often and not reliable. Thus we (Himalayan Wander Walkers) recommend you to bring a power bank and spare batteries to charge your gadgets.

As compared to other treks in Nepal, Mustang provides better services in term of accommodation and cellphone network. 

Top Trekking Tips for Mustang

To get the best out of the Mustang trek, consider the following practical  tips.

  1. Always hire a local experienced guide to make your trip a memoreable one which will cherish forever.
  2. Charter a jeep from Jomsom to Cheli or Samar and start hiking from there to avoid the road traffic on the first stretch of the route.
  3. Consider arranging a horse and guide in Jomsom to carry your bags, as an environmentally sustainable alternative to travelling by jeep.
  4. Use teahouses instead of camping – there are guesthouses in Chele, Samar, Syangboche, Ghemi, Tsirang, Lo Manthang, Choser, Yara, Tangye and Chusang. You only really need to camp if heading off the beaten track on the wild trek to Damodar or over the Teri-La pass to the Nar-Phu region.
  5. Adventurous hikers can return from Lo Manthang via the roadless eastern side of the valley, on a high and exposed trail via the charming villages of Dhi, Tangye and Tetang. The wind-sculptured cliff caves of Yara village are a highlight of the trek, and from here you can day-trip to the stunning Buddhist murals of Luri Gompa.

Recommended Books about Upper Mustang

You might be looking for books about Upper Mustang to know in depth of it's culture, history, lifestyle, people and landscape.  To aid travelers in exploring this enchanting area, several authors have penned insightful books that not only serve as travel guides but also delve into the region's history, culture, and natural beauty.

Below listed books provide a wealth of knowledge and inspiration for travelers to Upper Mustang. They offer practical tips for navigating the challenging terrain, insights into the local customs and traditions, and a deeper appreciation for the region's historical and cultural significance. Whether you're an adventurer, a cultural enthusiast, or a nature lover, these works will enhance your journey through one of the most captivating regions of Nepal.

Recommended Books for Upper Mustang;

  1. Mustang: A Lost Tibetan Kingdom – Michel Peissel
  2. East of Lo Monthang – Peter Matthiessen
  3. Journey to Mustang – Giuseppe Tucci
  4. Horses Like Lightning – Sienna Craig
  5. Earth Door Sky Door: Paintings of Mustang – Robert Powell
  6. Himalayan Pilgrimage – David Snellgrove
  7. A Short History of Mustang – Roberto Vitali
  8. Mustang Bhot in Fragments – Manjushree Thapa
  9. Himalayan Doctors & Healing Herbs – Lo-Kunphen Mensikhang
  10. Wonders of Lo: The Artistic Heritage of Mustang – Erberto Lo Bue
  11. Last Forbidden Kingdom – Clara Marullo
  12. Mustang: The Untrodden Trails – Paulo Grobel
  13. Mustang, Paradise Found – Dinesh Shrestha & Mark Wittaker
  14. A Blessing for the Land: The Architecture, Art and History of a Buddhist Convent in Mustang – Ramble, Harrison & Luczanits
  15. Secrets of the Sky Caves – Sandra K. Athans
  16. Sky Caves of Nepal (National Geographic Documentary on Mustang – 3 Parts)

Reviews of Upper Mustang Treks and Tours organized by Himalayan Wander Walkers

Read more review here

Conclusion of Upper Mustang Travel Guide

Travelers from all over the world comes to visit Upper Mustang for the cultural attraction and the spectacular landscape. The place is blessed with a large number of centuries back Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries, Chorten (Stupa), and numerous pilgrimage sites. Lo-Gekar monastery (Ghar Gonpa) in Upper mustang is considered as the first monastery of Tibet built by a great Tantric Master of 8th century Guru Padma Sambava who contributed his whole life flourishing Buddhism in Tibet. Another fascinating site is the ancient walled city of Lo-Manthang where the people still reside in the walled city portraying the live tradition and culture of the century back livelihood.

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