Travel guides for Upper Mustang, Lo-Manthang – Written by Local Expert

Travel guides for Upper Mustang, Lo-Manthang – Written by Local Expert

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 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 who passed away on Friday (December 16th, 2016) at the age of 86. Since 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 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 details regarding itinerary, cost, difficulties, food, lodging, required documents, and safety measures. 

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

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Required Trekking Permits for Upper Mustang and it's cost

Every travelers who wants to visit Upper Mustang except Nepalese citizen must need permits to enter its territory.  The most expensive restricted permit for Upper Mustang cost USD 500 per person for first week and then USD 50 per day for additional days. This permits is issued from the Department of Nepal Immigration in Kathmandu only through a registered trekking office 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 Purpose to visit Mustang. Some they 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 that if you return via the challenging but road-less eastern route of Tangye and Paa to Chhusang.

Why you must visit Upper Mustang?

A perfect destination for adventure seekers where you will experience a package of experience in lifetime. Upper Mustang is favorite destination for many travelers within and beyond Nepal. Travelling to Upper Mustang is more about 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 for trekking, there are much more things to do in this majestic place depending on your interest and time availability. That 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 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 with 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 above 7 topics here : Reasons to Visit Upper Mustang

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.

Conclusion

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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