Overview

  • Duration: 16 Days
  • Diffculty: Moderate Plus 
  • Best Time: March - Nov
  • Max. Altitude: 3850 m

Mustang Trek - Then and Now

Upper Mustang Trek explores the concealed valleys of the restricted region of Mustang in the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal. This Mustang trek unfolds the mystery of the walled kingdom of Upper Mustang. Interestingly this region is nestled between Tibet and the Himalayas - a place different from the rest of the world, once forbidden by the Buddhist Kingdom in Nepal. The walled city of Lomanthang used to be a part of the Tibetan kingdom of Gungthang until the 1830s. The early history of Lomanthang is embellished with myths and legends rather than recorded facts. Even though it is changing, it still surprises visitors with its stunning vista and the stubborn way it clings to its unique culture. Indeed the culture is fighting back, and crumbing artworks are being restored. Crumbing monasteries have been rebuilt and refilled with the sound of bald children in robes studying the ancient Buddhist ways.

There are around 275 houses in Lo Mangthang, having four castes. The royal castle, the everyday folk, the blacksmiths, and the butchers and millers. The whole of Lo Manthang village has solar electricity nowadays. Decorative style small herb garden of various holy decorations, flapping flags, and stacked firewood. There was a time when certain families needed to supply firewood for the royal family. Sky burial and polyandry remain in practice in this upper mustang region.

It is believed that Guru Rinpoche had fought with demons among the Mustang's snow-capped mountain, desert canyons, and grassland. Once Guru Rinpoche killed the monster, he scattered the demon's body parts across the Mustang valley. Consequently, its blood formed the towering red cliffs, and its intestines tumbled near Ghami, where people later built the stone prayer wall. Thus the longest prayer wall in Nepal on top of the demon's intestines is still on display.

Upper Mustang Trek- The Once Forbidden Kingdom

Upper Mustang Trek in Nepal was officially opened in 1992. However, minimal numbers of trekkers are only allowed each year. Thus protecting and conserving the local Tibetan tradition and the fragile environment of Mustang in Nepal. It unfolds the fabled forbidden kingdom's vast and arid valleys, eroded canyons, yak caravans, and of course, the mysteries of hidden sky caves in Mustang bewilder the visitors. Furthermore, the colorful-painted mud-brick houses are next to the majestic mountains of Nilgiri, Annapurna, and Dhaulagiri ranges.

Surprisingly, Mustang Trekking is one of the best treks to do, even during the monsoon season in Nepal. Hence it lies in the rain shadow, north of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges, completely sheltered from the monsoon. We take the return Pokhara Jomsom Pokhara flight to avoid the lower rainy section hike in the Annapurna region. The best advantage of doing this cultural and restricted region trek during monsoon time is that the village is full of local people busy with everyday work. Furthermore, the whole region is in bloom, contrasting with the wind-eroded hills, red cliffs, and snow-capped mountains in the background – an incredible vista. Thus the trekking experience to the medieval walled kingdom of Lo Manthang in Nepal is a once-in-a-lifetime destination.

Trek booking open in Spring, Fall, or Monsoon in 2023 and 2024

Being on the lee wind side of the Annapurna Himalayan range, it won't rain much in the northern Mustang region is one of the best trekking destinations even in the Monsoon season in Nepal. Of course, Spring or Fall is the ideal time to go for the Mustang trek. We have our set group departure trip dates for 2023 and 2024 to join it. With a group of family and friends, we can customize the trip dates and itinerary at a reasonable trek cost based on your time duration and requirements.

Trip in Nutshell

  • Teahouse trekking on the entire journey to Mustang trip
  • Cultural trek to Tibetan wall kingdom of Mustang
  • Lee wind side of Annapurna range, trekking is monsoon is fine
  • Explore the unique culture, monasteries, and palaces
  • Trek safety with supplementary Oxygen and medical box
  • Full board meals and drinking water on the trek
  • Medically trained trek guide with a comprehensive first aid kit
  • Pokhara Jomsom Pokhara flight and trek permits.
  • Special trek permits and trek crew support

Itinerary

Soon you land at Kathmandu airport your group leader will be there to greet you and transfer you to the hotel.

  • Pick up from the International Airport.
  • Transfer to the hotel by your Group Leader.
  • Trek briefing and equipment distribution.
  • Arriving early allows you time to explore Kathmandu.
  • Welcome dinner and get to know each other.
  • AccommodationHotel
  • MealsWelcome Dinner
  • Altitude1340 m

Visit Boudhanath Stupa and Pashupatinath. Flying or the other Today, after the cultural tour in Kathmandu we drive to Pokhara for an overnight stay at the hotel; Pokhara is the second biggest city in Nepal.

  • We explore the sights and sounds of world heritage sites in Ktm in the morning, and later in the day, we drive to Pokhara
  • 6 hour's drive.
  • Very relaxing, with fabulous scenery with multiple breaks giving you time to stretch and enjoy.
  • Being in Pokhara, unlike Kathmandu, will add more excitement to your anticipation.
  • AccommodationHotel
  • MealsBreakfast
  • Altitude900 m

A short morning flight to Jomsom, the district headquarters of Mustang, through the world’s deepest Kali Gandaki Gorge with the glorious view of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri is exceptional.

  • Twenty minutes of breathtaking flight to the windy valley of Jomsom is unbelievable.
  • Great view with dozens of Himalayan giants poking into the sky.
  • Witness the Kali Gandaki river, which dates back to 80 million old, flowings from Tibetan Plateau.
  • After the morning tea, we walk to Kagbeni, the gateway of Upper Mustang, through the ancient salt trade trail is unique.
  • Easy walk, lunch at Kagbeni itself – and after lunch, excursion around the antique village of Kagbeni, which is not to be missed.
  • AccommodationTea house
  • MealsB, L, D, Tea, Coffee
  • Altitude2810 M

Having completed the permit formalities today, we enter the restricted area of Mustang. As said to be the desert of Nepal, the valley widens with barren and arid surroundings with green villages in the middle that appears more like a simply incredible mirage.

  • Walking on the extended trail with Kagbeni and Nilgiri mountains as the backdrop is dazzling.
  • Witness the different parts of the world, the land of Ammonites (prehistoric stone), with striking views.
  • The stretch of the Kali Gandaki river bed gives us the ancient history of its existence.
  • The dramatic setting of the landscape with canyons and wind-eroded hills is phenomenal.
  •  Lunch at Tangbe or Chhusang, another ancient village.
  •  Chele is a beautiful small settlement from where you can overlook the valley with its picturesque setting.
  • AccommodationTea house
  • MealsB, L, D, Tea, Coffee
  • Altitude2920 m

Today's walk is more into undulating trails with steep climbs and descents. However, despite 6 hour's walk, the fantastic canyons with their unusual color that opens out are extraordinary. In this bizarre, the farming fields with rich red buckwheat and brilliant green and the south view offering you a panorama of Nilgiri, Annapurna, Tilicho Peak, and YakawaKang add up to its magnificence.

  • The initial steep walk through the hill-cut trail in one of these fantastic canyons is remarkable.
  • You would witness the sky caves dating back more than 3000 years, used as human settlements, burial chambers, and now lama hermit retreats.
  • Lunch at the small settlement of Bhena, which is now a jeep station with fabulous scenic beauty.
  • Climbing up to the pass before dropping down to Syangboche is remarkable for its incredible views.
  • Syangboche is a small settlement deep into the valley but has a theatrical setting.
  • AccommodationTea house
  • MealsB, L, D, Tea, Coffee
  • Altitude3800 m

From Syangboche, we climb gently to a small pass of 3,800 m/12,467 ft with extraordinary views of mountains and deep valleys into the wind-eroded canyons. Today’s walk is effortless, with few short climbs in between, but the beautiful scenery alongside would hardly allow us to realize the passing away of time and arrive at Ghami for lunch.

  • Endless colorful gullies to the north, east, and west are outstanding.
  • The soaring peak of Nilgiri, Tilicho, and Annapurna still dominates the South.
  • After lunch, free afternoon to explore Ghami, the ancient village with a time-honored monastery, Chortens, and Mani (prayer) walls.
  • AccommodationTea house
  • MealsB, L, D, Tea, Coffee
  • Altitude3520 m

This short trek to Tsarang takes us into the 'Land of Chortens". This trail marks the history and legend of the Indian saint Padmasambhava (750-810 AD), the founder of Tibetan Buddhism who created a fusion of Buddhism with the original Shamanistic religion of Tibet called Bon – whose influence upon Indian Buddhism makes Tibetan Buddhism so fascinating.

  • Half an hour from Ghami, we see the Longest ancient Mani wall of Mustang.
  • The soaring red cliffs to the west that tell you Padmasambhava's legends are intriguing.
  • Four hour's walk brings you to the picturesque, fascinating big village of Tsarang.
  • After lunch, visits the ancient Monastery and the white palace of Tsarang, which is their heritage.
  • Self-exploration around maze-like Tsarang is worth it.
  • AccommodationTea house
  • MealsB, L, D, Tea, Coffee
  • Altitude3560 m

Finally, we get to the plateau of Lo Monthang, ‘The Capital city and the Plain of Aspiration’ of Mustang. The fabled walled city of Lo, the kingdom with a single entrance, is a welcome sight! The king, “Lo Gyelbu,” named Jigme Palbar Bista, still resides at his four-storied palace inside the walled city of Lo Manthang.

  • Fascinating solitary ancient Chorten in the middle of the road after an hour and a half walk from Tsarang.
  • The spectacular view of Lo Manthang, the valley of Thinkar, and Chhosar from the 4000 m pass of Lo-La.
  • View of various historically ruined forts on the high hills is one of the highlights.
  • After lunch, an exploration into the legendary walled city of Lo.
  • Your group leader will organize various thrilling side excursions.
  • AccommodationTea house
  • MealsB, L, D, Tea, Coffee
  • Altitude3800 m

Lo Manthang, the capital city of Mustang, contains about 150 houses and has some of the largest and finest Tibetan Buddhism Gompas in Nepal. The town is absolutely fascinating, with four major ancient Monasteries, which are impressive, and an enormous 14th-century palace imposing a 4-story building in the center of the city.

After breakfast, your leader will organize a jeep for the Chhosar excursion.

What u see in Chhosar:-

  • Nympho Cave monastery was built into the side of a soaring cliff.
  • Two thousand five hundred years old Jhong Mustang Sky Cave has more than 44 compartments and gives you the prehistoric settlement of humans.
  • During the afternoon, if you are not exhausted, you can walk to Thinkar summer palace or explore the unique ancient monasteries inside the walled city, which is exceptional.
  • AccommodationTea house
  • MealsB, L, D, Tea, Coffee
  • Altitude3800 m

Today we will walk different west terrain which offers you the most beautiful view despite a few steep downhill trials. Then, we visit the world’s oldest Tibetan monastery, Ghar Gompa, built around the 7th century by the incarnated monk Padmasambhava.

  • We take a different trail that leads us to the world’s oldest monastery, Ghar Gompa.
  • The views of the landscape and the mountain in the south are mesmerizing.
  • Lunch at a 7th-century monastery is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
  • The walk to Dhakmar is thrilling, with different trails high above the canyons and eroded hills.
  • Dhakmar, a land of red cliffs, is one of its kind where overnight is worth it.
  • AccommodationTea house
  • MealsB, L, D, Tea, Coffee
  • Altitude3800 m

We trace back to the village of Syanboche, where on the way back, you have ample opportunity to look back into the missed-out views.

  • AccommodationTea house
  • MealsB, L, D, Tea, Coffee
  • Altitude3800 m

We again trace back our trail towards the south. We start early today to visit the Chungsi Cave Monastery, which is one of the most attractive among all cave monasteries of Mustang where the Saint Padmasamvaba meditated around the 7th century. But be prepared for all the steep ascent.

  • Early trek to visit the legendary Chungsi Cave Monastery built on the side of the vertical canyon wall, where Padmasambhava meditated with a vision to bring Buddhism to Tibet.
  • We have lunch at a pretty village of Samar famous for its poplar grove.
  • Descending the Chhusang with a great view of Nilgiri and a vast stretch of Kali Gandaki is significant.
  • Chhusang is another pretty old village with an apple orchard, and there are too many Nepali and Tibetan songs portraying the beauty of Chhusang.
  • AccommodationTea house
  • MealsB, L, D, Tea, Coffee
  • Altitude3040 m

We again trace back our trail towards the south. 

  • We retrace our way to Chuhusang, and once again, the stunning Nilgiri peak rises from the Kali Gandaki, the deepest gorge in the world.
  • We exit from the restricted area of Mustang and stay overnight in Jomsom via Kagbeni.
  • AccommodationTea house
  • MealsB, L, D, Tea, Coffee
  • Altitude2700 m

We take an early morning flight from Jomsom to Pokhara – a fantastic way to round off the trek, flying right along the Kali Gandaki Gorge between the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges. Catch other flights to Kathmandu. Overnight stay at Hotel.

  • AccommodationHotel
  • MealsBreakfast
  • Altitude920 m

Today we take the scenic drive back to Kathmandu, which takes around 6 hrs. There is an option to have a flight to Kathmandu from Pokhara at an added extra cost as required.

  • AccommodationHotel
  • MealsBreakfast
  • Altitude1340 m

It is time to fly back home, keeping all the exhilarating experiences of Nepal in mind. Please ensure you have collected any valuable deposits from the Mountain Monarch security department. Those people traveling by aircraft to the other destination will be transferred to the airport and assisted with check-in procedures.

  • MealsBreakfast

Mustang Trip Itinerary:

Here are the day-to-day guideline details Upper Mustang Trek itinerary:

What's Included
  • Arrival and Departure transfers on both domestic and international flights.
  • Standard hotel accommodation in Kathmandu and Pokhara on a twin share with breakfast.
  • Welcome dinner with the Ethno-cultural program as listed in the itinerary.
  • Half-day guided city tour with entrance fees as listed in the itinerary.
  • Private transportation to and from the starting and endpoints of the trek
  • Jomsom Pokhara Jomsom domestic flights and airport tax as listed in the itinerary.
  • Full board meals while on a walk.
  • Accommodation at local teahouse on twin share bed while trekking.
  • Restricted region Mustang special trekking Permit
  • Free use of quality trekking gear - sleeping bag, fleece liner, down jacket on Mustang trek.
  • Professional local trekking group leader trained in Wilderness First Aid and comprehensive first aid kit.
  • Trekking guides and other support staff with required gear and proper insurance
  • Complimentary Mountain Monarch T-shirts, Trek Duffle bag, and trip map
  • TIMS trekking permit and Annapurna conservation entry permit.
What's Excluded
  • Nepal entry Visa fees.
  • International Airfare.
  • Your travel insurance of any kind while on a Mustang trip.
  • Drinks and main meals in cities.
  • Horse ride and jeep drive as required
  • Tips and Items of personal nature like postage, laundry, a hot shower, internet and drinking water, etc.

Dates & Availability

Mustang Trip Dates

We offer many groups joining trip departure dates for the years 2023 and 2024 to join this trip. Here are the Upper Mustang trek departure dates and all-inclusive trip costs.

FAQs

  • Q1. About Mustang and trip grading? Can anyone join?

    Mustang, the lost Tibetan Kingdom, is one of the most spectacular valleys hidden behind the soaring snowy range of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna. This ancient kingdom was opened to the outside world only in 1992 and is still untouched by outside civilization. Therefore, a journey to Mustang is a remarkable journey into timeless traditions. Mustang, a source to the world's deepest gorge, Kali Gandaki, is challenging but not laborious. There is a tremendous amount of undulating trails with ample passes ranging from 3500m to 4200m, but the highest sleeping altitude is 3700m, by which time you have sufficient time to acclimatize yourself. Anyone with reasonable fitness can join this trek. Significantly you also can take a horse or a jeep in any part of the trek if required.

  • Nepal air aviation is strict about these small planes flying high into remote mountain airstrips like Jomsom. There are possibilities of flight delays and sometimes cancellations. These isolated mountain airports are momentarily closed whenever there is the slightest weather chaos or high-velocity winds. So there is no need to fear flying to Jomsom. However, there is also an alternative of driving to Jomsom, but that would be more perilous in terms of road situation and time since you will be driving for more than 9 hours, whereas flying is only 18/20 minutes.

  • A minimum of 2 trekkers is compulsory for any restricted area in Nepal for issuing special permits. Therefore, a company and a local staff must do this Mustang trekking as per the government rule. Special permits cost $500 per trekker for ten days. Besides a special permit, you would need an ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Project) permit and TIMS trekking permits. However, with Mountain Monarch, it's all set by the time you arrive in Kathmandu.

  • Around  5 / 6 hours, excluding lunch, on this restricted region trekking to Mustang. However, it also depends on your pace though we allow you enough time to set up your own pace to make every day more entertaining. We usually start early so that you can reach the destination on time, leaving you enough time to explore and enjoy the serenity of the place.

  • March till November is the best time to trek in this restricted region of Mustang in Nepal. This duration offers a great view of an exceptional landscape, gorges, and the soaring mountain at its best state. Tiji or Tenchi Festival, celebrated during May, happens to be one of the primary and most colorful festivals for the region's people. During this time, the capital, the walled city of Lo Manthang would be full of activity, and chances of not finding the rooms may be possible.

    Winter trekking is not recommended for Mustang as there are chances of snowfall with the temperature dropping to - 10 ° C. Very few people stay back in the valley to watch over the property and their cattle. Yet very few people still do winter trekking with adequate winter types of equipment and carry their supplies.

  • Yes, you can go to this Mustang, the restricted region trekking in Nepal in monsoon time. As this region is on the lee wind side / beyond the Himalayas, it won’t rain much there, so trekking in Monsoon June, July, August, and September is OK. This one is among the few best trekking routes, even in Nepal during monsoon time.

  • As per the Nepal government rule, it is mandatory that trekkers need to be affiliated with the trekking company accompanied by the local Nepali staff to do the restricted region trekking like Upper Mustang. Considerably it's hassle-free in terms of issuing permits, hotels, flights, transportation, etc., and someone is always there to cater to you in times of crisis and offer you necessary information and assistance. Reputed companies are there to provide you with quality service at a very competitive price and guarantee your safety which I suppose is the biggest concern.

  • This Mustang hiking is more than a moderate trek not because of altitude but because of the undulating valley trail that a series of streams have fashioned along the way. Nevertheless, someone with fragile ankles or knee, heart, or lung problems is requested to have obligatory doctor's advice. However, Mountain Monarch itineraries are so designed that the walks are challenging but not very exhausting. As for the preparation, doing some Cardio walking before your travel to Nepal to determine how many hours or how much weight you can handle can give you loads of initiative to prepare yourself.

  • The charging privilege for any of your electronic devices may not be possible all the way around because of the high-velocity wind in the valley of mustang most of the time, and Hydropower is cut off to get away with any uncertainty. Moreover, some have solar charging facilities which may not be very reliable. So it is always wise to carry extra batteries or fully charged power bank batteries. As for the hot showers, some are run by solar, fire chimney, or liquid petroleum gas, and for solar showers, days need to have a perfect sun - however, the availability of hot showers may be on and off on your journey to Lo Manthang.

  • Mountain Monarch provides a warm sleeping bag and feather duvet jackets which people have used even while climbing peaks which is the mother of all warm clothing. We also offer a Duffle bag to fit all your gear in and a hot fleece liner into your sleeping bag to keep you warm and cozy during night chill.

  • We very strongly oppose the use of plastic mineral water bottles for environmental concerns. Instead, our staff will supply you with appropriately boiled water every morning and evening. We suggest you bring at least two metal or plastic Nalgene bottles to have enough to last the day. Besides, you can use the hot bottles at night as a hot pack in your sleeping bag and still drink them during the day when it's still warm.

  • We strongly suggest you have an all-inclusive travel insurance policy covering all the aspects of your adventure on your hiking holiday to the Mustang in Nepal. We assure you that there will be hardly any evacuations or health catastrophes as your leader is medically trained and has ample knowledge to deal with any life-threatening situation. But it's always wise to have insurance as your backup for just in any case.

  • Since the restricted region of Mustang started tea house trekking only a few years ago, the accommodation can be pretty basic. However, we use family-oriented lodges with twin beds, sharing rooms with clean common toilets, and occasional rooms with attached toilet bathrooms. Despite being relatively basic we offer you a comfortable experience and its typical local environment. In addition, you have a variety of choices for the food from the teahouses.

  • This restricted region trek can be customized based on your time duration and physical fitness. Mountain Monarch has always been unbeaten in customizing treks to climb for our valued guests per their requirements. 

Customer Reviews

  • R
    Rick Creamer 5.0United StatesAugust 10, 2016logo

    Challenging trek enjoyable

    Pradip and his staff did an excellent job of making a challenging trek enjoyable, educational, and a lifetime experience. The trekking was well-planned, and our guide and porter reliable and helpful. We made the trek post-2015 earthquake without incident. We had absolute confidence in our well-being during the entire trip. The people we met were both exciting and as enthused as we were with the adventure. Mountain Monarch is an excellent choice if you are looking for a challenge beyond the ordinary. Namaste!

  • M
    Michael Ace 5.0AustraliaNovember 12, 2014logo

    Trustworthy Fantastic Local company

    Trustworthy Fantastic Local company – exceeded all expectations!!. Mountain Monarch Trekking & Climbing Company operating out of Kathmandu, is definitely the leading company offering SAFE & RESPONSIBLE trekking throughout the Himalayas. This year alone, I have been associated with this company twice.

    Once in July for the difficult trek into the Kingdom of Mustang for the unique TIJI festival, which is limited in numbers of foreigners allowed into this special Tibetan area & then recently in Sept/Oct for the adventure of a lifetime trek up to Everest Base Camp. This can be a difficult & arduous trek up to 5500m, but Mountain Monarch can encourage & ensure ALL of their clients can make this trek.


    One of the few companies that carry a Gamaw Bag and Oxygen for quick oxygen resuscitation & all Sherpas are highly trained in High Altitude Recognition & Medicine. Much of the big-ticket equipment items are catered for with this company at NO extra cost, Puff Jackets, Sleeping Bag & Polar Tec Inner liner, Trekking Poles, Waterproof Trek bag for the porters to carry with all your gear & great training T Shirt (the last two you get to keep). Unbelievable Great trekking cost, eliminating the vast “middleman” profits.

  • D
    Dorren Hedges 5.0New ZealandJuly 05, 2014logo

    Well organised Mustang trip

    Our trip to Mustang was well organized, and we were looked after from when we arrived until we left. Had a good variety of transport, e.g., horse, jeep, and hiking. The accommodation and food were excellent, and the scenery was amazing. Well worth going to the Tiji Festival. We were there from the start to the end.

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