NOMADIC
ADVENTURES

UPPER MUSTANG  TREK

Mustang lies behind the High Himalayas in the northern part of western Nepal.  It is an arid river valley that runs north-south off the upper corner of the Annapurna Circuit. 

Upper Mustang Trek

everest base camp trek profile

Due to its inaccessibility, Mustang has long been protected from mass tourism and is now known as the last bastion of traditional Tibetan culture. It is a dry arid region of spectacular red cliffs and an endless variety of grey rolling hills. The district of Mustang was, till 1950, a separate kingdom inside the boundaries of Nepal. The remaining king, the Raja of Mustang, still resides in the historical capital recognized as Lo Manthang. In common usage, the name Mustang refers to the arid Tibet-like region at the northern end of the Kali Gandaki (known to its inhabitants as Lo).  

In May the Tiji Festival is held. Many trekkers like to combine their adventure with this traditional festival. The three-day festival takes place on the premises of the former king of Mustang’s palace. The locals from far and wide visit Lo Manthang (Upper Mustang) to participate in the festival. Tiji is a fascinating annual three-day festival consisting of Tibetan rituals that celebrate the myth of a son who had to save the Mustang kingdom from destruction. The festival is indigenous to Lo-Manthang, Upper Mustang. "Tiji" the name is an abbreviation of the word "Tempa Chirim" which means "Prayer for World Peace".

The regions isolation from the outside world has contributed to a highly preserved Tibetan culture and unspoiled nature. Mustang lies in the rain shadow of the Dhaulagiri massif creating a ruggedly arid land surrounded by rocks in all kind of colors and impressive formations. This barren landscape is dotted with settlements of white washed houses, barley fields and chortens festooned with prayer flags which add a splash of color to the landscape.

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best time to climb

The hike can be done throughout the year, however, Autumn (Sep - Nov) is often considered to be the best season for hiking in Nepal with a great climate and several festivals. although it is a little colder than Spring, the skies tend to be much clearer. Spring, (March - May) is the next favourite and also main summit season for Mt Everest. During spring time, the Khumbu valley erupts with beautiful rhododendron flowers. June to August is monsoon season so the route is quiet. During November and December it is cold but again, some travelers find it worth visiting during this period, as there are fewer tourists. 

travel insurance

The cost of a medical evacuation from the mountain is expensive, which is why adequate travel insurance  is required on all climbs booked through us. Adequate, means you must be covered for 1) Trekking or hiking – this may sound strange, but many insurance list that as an exclusion. 
2) Altitude up to 6,000 meters. Most travel insurance providers do not include this under their standard cover and often limit it to 3500m or less. 
3) Sprains strains and physiotherapy – yes, many insurers exclude this; though ironically, this is what you will most likely need cover for. 
4) Personal accident – this is the horrible part of insurance. Yes, you need to be covered in the case of death. We are often told by clients – “if anything happens to me, just leave me there.” It is not that simple. 

https://www.nomadicadventures.co.za/Travel-Insurance.html

Upper Mustang Trek Overview

Day-1: Arrive Kathmandu 
Day-2: Guided Sightseeing 
Day-3: Kathmandu to Pokhara 
Day 03- Drive to Pokhara (900 meters) 7 hours
Day 04- Morning flight to Jomsom and drive to Chele (3050 meters)
Day 05- Trek to Geling (3500 meters) 
Day 06- Trek to Charang (3620meters) 
Day 07- Trek to Lo Manthang (3840 meters)  
Day 08- Visit Namgyal Gompa and Tingkhar.
Day 09. Trek to Dhi (3410 meters) 
Day 10. Trek to Tange (3370 meters).
Day 11. Trek to Tetang/ Chusang (3022 meters). 
Day 12. Trek to Jomsom (2713meters). 
Day 13. Morning flight to Pokhara and same day Sightseeing around Pokhara. 
Day 14. Fly back to Kathmandu (1338meters). 
Day 15. Transfer to international airport for your final departure. 
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TREK TO UPPER MUSTANG REGION itinerary

Day-1: Arrive Kathmandu

Arrival and transfer to Hotel.

Day-2: Guided Sightseeing

Guided sightseeing around Kathmandu valley.

Day-3: Kathmandu to Pokhara

Drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara. Pokhara is the gateway to the Annapurna region. Hotel Overnight.

Day 03- Drive to Pokhara (900 meters) 7 hours.

Your trekking team will come to your hotel early in the morning at 6:30 am to pick you up and leave around 7.30 am to Pokhara. Overnight at hotel. (Breakfast and Lunch Included)

Day 04- Morning flight to Jomsom and drive to Chele (3050 meters)

Early morning we are flying northwest from Pokhara toward the snow covered peaks of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri. You will enjoy the well-raised massifs of more than 8000 meters, and the deepest gorge on this planet. On arrival to Jomsom you will meet the rest of the trekking staff. From Kathmandu you will have a guide with you then drive by jeep to Chele, the main gate to Upper Mustang. There are numerous traditional Mustang homes, a couple of lodges, and attractive views. Overnight at  lodge. (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

Day 05- Trek to Geling (3500 meters)

The climb continues along steep, treeless, waterless terrain, along the side of the spectacular steep canyon to a pass and cairn of rock. Then the trail makes a long gradual descent to some chortens on a ridge, with a further descent before coming along a pleasant trail to Samar village. We climb above Samar to a ridge, then descend into a large gorge where the trail heads into another valley, crosses a stream and climbs up to a ridge at 3800 meters. The route ascends yet another pass, follows a long barren ridge and then descends to Shyangmochen. From there, there is a gentle climb to a pass at 3770 meters and a final descent to Geling Village.  Ghiling (Geling, Giling) is one of the bigger villages in the region and home to an impressive 15th Century monastery. The village sits at the foot of a rocky mountain, surrounded by agricultural fields (although the water supply in this area is drying up). There are lodges and local homes. Overnight at  lodge. (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

Day 06- Trek to Charang (3620meters)

From Geling village the trail climbs gently up the Nyi La. Nyi La Pass is the second-highest point of the Lo Manthang trek, and overlooks spectacular mountain vistas. After descending, the route crosses a steel bridge of the Tang mar Chu (river), bringing you to a Mani Wall, perhaps the longest and most spectacular Mani walls in Nepal. The afternoon is in perhaps the driest part of Mustang, and much of one's energy is spent negotiating loose, dry soil. Climbing over another pass at 3600meters, the route makes a long gentle descent to Charang village. The huge five-story white Dzong and red Gompa are the main attractions to visit and observe collections of statues and Thankas as well as many large paintings, of seated Buddha's. Overnight at lodge. (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

         

Day 07- Trek to Lo Manthang (3840 meters) 

We will spend part of the morning exploring the interesting village of Tsarang and its large old monastery before setting out for the capital of Mustang, Lo Manthang. This is an opportunity to visit two other villages on your trek. The trail climbs steadily until Lo-Gekar. Lo-Gekar Gompa is older than Samye Gompa in Tibet and one of the oldest Gompa of Nepal. After visiting Lo-Gekar continue trek to Lomanthang. The trail eventually becomes like a wide thoroughfare until you get to see the walled village of Lo Manthang from a ridge at 3849m. A short descent leads onto the 'Plain of Aspiration'. The only entrance to the city is on the north-east corner, so we circumambulate the wall to the gate. Overnight at  lodge. (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

Day 08- Visit Namgyal Gompa and Tingkhar.

It takes around 2 hours to Namgyal Gompa. Namgyal Gompa situates on a hilltop, which serves as an important monastery for the local community, also serving as a local court. After visiting Namgyal Gompa continue the tour to Tingkhar, which is a village of around 40 houses, the last main village to the northwest of Lomanthang. After visiting Namgyal Gompa and Tingkhar return to Lo Manthang. Overnight at Lodge. (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

Day 09. Trek to Dhi (3410 meters)

From Lo-Manthang the trail heads toward Dhi La at 4100 meters and then descends down to Dhi village. The trek from Lo Manthang to Muktinath is harder, but more rewarding and interesting than the west side of the valley. Dhi village is one of the best villages of whole Lo- Manthang and seems more prosperous. Overnight at  lodge. (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

Day 10. Trek to Tange (3370 meters).

From Dhi the trail goes through the river for around 2 hours and crosses a river from Damodar Kunda, one of the sacred lakes, there is no bridge on the river so we need to walk across in bare feet to cross this river. After crossing the river the trail climbs up till high above a pass of 3850meters. The trail goes through a barren area. After the pass the trail descends directly to Tangbe village at an elevation of 3370m. Tangbe is a small village of around 30 houses but most of the houses are attached to each other. It sits on the banks of the mighty Kali Gandaki, with cultivated fields and apple orchards spread out around it. There are some old chortens, narrow cobbled lanes. Overnight at lodge. (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

Day 11. Trek to Tetang/ Chusang (3022 meters).

The trail heads through a steep ridge of hills providing views of the wind carved hills. Tetang village is built between 2 hills to avoid the strong wind that hits the entire Kaligandaki valley. Tetang is the upper village of the Chuksang, which we visit on the first day entering to Mustang from Kagbeni. Overnight at lodge. (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

Day 12. Trek to Jomsom (2713meters).

This is the last day of the trek. The trail heads through the village of Jharkot where one can visit the many attractions such as the Jharkot monastery, Tibetan herbal medical center and the old fortress of Jharkot which once served as palace. Continuing the trek towards Jomsom one will enjoy the views of the Kaligandaki valley and Kagbeni village. This is the entry point to Mustang. Arrive to Jomsom to celebrate the last day of the trek, with all the trekking staff. Overnight at lodge. (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

Day 13. Morning flight to Pokhara and same day Sightseeing around Pokhara.

Today a 30 minute morning flight takes us from Jomson back to Pokhara. Once we arrive at Pokhara airport, we then drive to hotel. In the afternoon we will have sightseeing tour around Pokhara valley, which covers Fewa Lake, Devis waterfall, Museum, Tibetan refugee settlement and Gupteshower cave. Overnight at hotel.(Breakfast Included)

Day 14. Fly back to Kathmandu (1338meters).

This morning we fly back to Kathmandu. Overnight at a hotel in Kathmandu. (Breakfast Included)

Day 15. Transfer to international airport for your final departure.

Transfer to  Kathmandu International Airport for your final flight departure from Nepal. (Breakfast Included)

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Upper Mustang Frequently Asked Questions

What is highest the upper Mustang village that trekkers reach?

The highest altitude village trekkers reach during the upper Mustang trek is 3500 meters at Lo Manthang, but the highest pass that you reach is Dhi La at 4100m."

How difficult/challenging is this trek?

In general if you are happy walking for 5to 6 hrs a day with a light day pack then you should be fine so long as you are fit in advance. Trekkers should be comfortable with occasional rough terrain, but expect long steep climbs. Some days could include ascents and descents of 500 metres or more. Most walking is done in the morning and afternoons are for relaxing. One thing you can’t train for though is altitude and that can prevent people reaching base camp where there is 50% less oxygen compared to sea level. The secret is to acclimatise well and to do so you need to take a slow pace, a good itinerary, ascend to altitude slowly, rest, eat good food, sleep well and drink plenty of fluid.

What permits are needed for the Upper Mustang Trek?

The major permits needed for the trek are: restricted area permit of US$ 500 per person for the 10 days and ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Permit) of US$ 30 per person. The permits of Upper Mustang trek can be issued at either in Kathmandu or in Pokhara. The documents needed for the permits are; a valid passport with at least of 20 days Nepal visa.

What’s the difference between Everest or Annapurna and Upper Mustang Trek?,

Unlike the terrain at Everest or Annapurna, you get high alpine Himalaya desert plans in the Upper Mustang, There is a lot less vegetation, many small villages and sand stone cliffs and caves.

How many hours per day do you walk for Upper Mustang Trek?

This depends on the itinerary you follows for Upper Mustang Trek. Normally trekkers will hike 8-9 days in total from Jomsom to Jomsom with 1 full day spent in and around the walled city of Lo Manthang. Most days have around 6 to nine hours of trekking. Some are shorter around 4-5 hours while the last day is close on 20km so a lot more time needed

What are the meals like on the trek?

You can choose the food from the menu and it depends on the places. You can also choose local dishes and continental/Chinese dishes. However, food is cooked by the basic local lodges so the variety and flavour differs from one place to the next.

How will the altitude affect me on Mustang trek?

This is a really difficult one to answer directly - "how will I cope with the altitude". To be honest, this is an ' unknown' factor as no-one can predict how your body will cope at altitude. People who have been to altitude many times in the past without problems, may on one climb suddenly develop problems. There are many factors that play a role. The only way to help combat this, is to take all of the necessary precautions, and walk slowly.                  

Where can I get climbing Insurance for Upper Mustang Trek?

If you are going hiking or climbing or trekking then you need extra cover for your activities. Hiking and Climbing have become popular for many adventure seekers looking to add a climb up Kilimanjaro or a trek to Annapurna or even Island Peak to their list of amazing adventures. But any climb to high altitude carries with it a number of risks and having the correct and good trekking insurance is an absolute must. We recommend two different groups depending on which country you reside in. For further details, click here


Is monsoon is the best season for Upper Mustang Trek?"

Upper Mustang is known as a Himalayan High Alpine desert. It lies in the rain shadow of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Himalayan range and as a result get less rainfall even in the Monsoon. So yes, monsoon season June - August is the best season for Upper Mustang Trekking which followed by autumn season of September, October and November.

Are there route variations for this trek?

In Upper Mustang, there are several routes and itineraries. On some you can be driven all the say to Lo- Manthang, on others you can walk. None of the top sights in Lo Manthang that you would get to see while trekking in the upper Mustang in Nepal. This is a magnificent palace. It was built in the 15th century, and it stands five stories tall with nine corners. In addition, there are four gompas within walking distance of this palace.