Overview

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

Mustang: Then and Now

Upper Mustang Trek is an exploration of the concealed valleys of upper Mustang in the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal. Interestingly upper Mustang 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 in myths and legends rather than the recorded facts. Even though the upper Mustang is changing it still surprises the visitors with its stunning vista and the stubborn way it clings to its unique culture. Indeed the culture is fighting back, 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.

Trek to upper Mustang - an exploration of the fascinating medieval Himalayan Kingdom.

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 Lo Manthang village has solar electricity nowadays. Decorative style small herb garden of various holy decorations, flapping flags, and of course stacked firewood. There was a time when certain families needed to supply firewood for the royal family. Sky burial and polyandry remain to 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 demon, it is said 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 have later build the stone prayer wall. Thus the longest prayer wall in Nepal, on top of the demon’s intestines.

Upper Mustang Trek - The Once Forbidden Kingdom

Mustang Trekking in Nepal was officially opened in 1992. Particularly limited numbers of trekkers are only allowed each year. Thus to protect and conserve the local Tibetan tradition and the fragile environment. Mustang trip in Nepal unfolds the fabled forbidden kingdom's vast and arid valleys, eroded canyons, yak caravans. Furthermore the colorful-painted mud-brick houses next to a majestic mountain of Nilgiri, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri ranges.

Surprising this Upper Mustang Trekking is one of the best treks to do even in the monsoon season in Nepal. Hence it lies in the rain shadow, north of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges, completely sheltered from the monsoon. We take return Pokhara Jomsom Pokhara flight to avoid the lower rainy section hike in the Annapurna region. The best advantage of doing this cultural Mustang trek in monsoon time is that the village is full of local people busy at their everyday works. Furthermore, the whole region is in bloom which makes really a fabulous contrast with the wind-eroded hills, red cliffs, and snow-capped mountains in the background – a great vista. Thus upper Mustang trek is once in a lifetime destination to explore the fascinating medieval walled kingdom of Lo Manthang.

Trip in Nutshell

  • Teahouse trekking to Upper Mustang of Lo Manthang
  • 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
  • Medical trained trek guide with 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 getting 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 hours drive.
  • Very relaxing, fabulous scenery with multiple breaks giving you time to stretch and enjoy.
  • Being in Pokhara unlike Kathmandu will definitely 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.

  • 20 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 morning tea 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 & Drinking water
  • Altitude2810 M

Having completed the permit formalities today we enter the restricted area of Upper 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 mountain at the backdrop is dazzling.
  • Witness the different parts of the world, the land of Ammonites (prehistoric stone) with striking views.
  • The stretch of Kali Gandaki river bed gives u 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 small beautiful settlement from where u can overlook the valley with its picturesque setting.
  • AccommodationTea house
  • MealsB, L, D, Tea, Coffee & Drinking water
  • Altitude2920 m

Today’s walk is more into undulating trails with a couple of steep climb and descents. Despite 6 hour walk the tremendous 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 adds up to its magnificence.

  • The initial steep walk through the hill cut trail in one of these tremendous canyons is remarkable.
  • You would witness the sky caves which date back more than 3000 years that were used as human settlements, burial chambers, and now lama hermit retreats.
  • Lunch at the small settlement of Bhena which is now a jeep station but with fabulous scenic beauty.
  • Climb up to the pass before dropping down to Syangboche is remarkable for its unexpected views.
  • Syangboche is a small settlement deep into the valley but has a theatrical setting.
  • AccommodationTea house
  • MealsB, L, D, Tea, Coffee & Drinking water
  • 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 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 which is outstanding.
  • South is still dominated by the soaring peak of Nilgiri, Tilicho and Annapurna.
  • After lunch free afternoon to explore Ghami, the ancient village with time-honored monastery, Chortens and Mani (prayer) walls.
  • AccommodationTea house
  • MealsB, L, D, Tea, Coffee & Drinking water
  • 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 walk from Ghami we see the Longest ancient Mani wall of Mustang.
  • The soaring red cliffs to the west that tells you the legends of Padmasambhava are intriguing.
  • 4 hours walk brings you to the fascinating big village of Tsarang that just looks dramatic.
  • 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 & Drinking water
  • 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 4000 m pass of Lo-La.
  • View of varied historical ruined forts on the high hills is one of the highlights.
  • After lunch exploration into the legendary walled city of Lo.
  • Your group leader will organize various thrilling side excursions.
  • AccommodationTea house
  • MealsB, L, D, Tea, Coffee & Drinking water
  • 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 city itself is absolutely fascinating place 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 built into the side of a soaring cliff.
  • 2500 years old Jhong Sky Cave has more than 44 compartments and gives u the prehistoric settlement of humans.
  • During the afternoon if you are not exhausted you can walk to Thinkar summer palace or explore the extraordinary ancient monasteries inside the walled city itself which is exceptional.
  • AccommodationTea house
  • MealsB, L, D, Tea, Coffee & Drinking water
  • Altitude3800 m

Today we will walk different west terrain which offers you the most beautiful view despite a few steep downhill trials. 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.
  • AccommodationTea house
  • MealsB, L, D, Tea, Coffee & Drinking water
  • 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 & Drinking water
  • 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, this is 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 down to the Chhusang with a great view of Nilgiri and a wide stretch of Kali Gandaki is significant.
  • Chhusang is another pretty old village with an apple orchard, there are too many Nepali and Tibetan songs sung portraying the beauty of Chhusang.
  • AccommodationTea house
  • MealsB, L, D, Tea, Coffee & Drinking water
  • 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 & Drinking water
  • 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 further 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 make sure that you have collected any valuable deposits from the Mountain Monarch security department. Those people traveling by aircraft to the further destination will be transferred to the airport and assisted with check-in procedures.

  • MealsBreakfast

Mustang Trekking Itinerary:

Here is the guideline day to day 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 Mustang trek.
  • Accommodation at local teahouse on twin share bed while on Mustang trekking.
  • Upper 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 a personal nature like postage, laundry, a hot shower, internet

Dates & Availability

Mustang Trip Dates

We offer many groups joining trip departure dates for the years 2022 and 2023 to join the trip to Upper Mustang. Here are the Upper Mustang trek departure dates and all-inclusive trip costs.

FAQs

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

    Mustang, the lost Tibetan Kingdom is one of the most astonishing valleys hidden behind the soaring snowy range of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna. This ancient kingdom was opened to the outside world only in 1992 which is still untouched by the outside civilization. A journey to Mustang is a remarkable journey into the 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 Mustang trek. Significantly you also have an option of either taking a horse or a jeep in any part of the trek in case if it's required.

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

  • A minimum of 2 trekkers is compulsory for any restricted area in Nepal for issuing the special permits. A company and a local staff are a must and in no way you can organize an upper Mustang trek through an independent guide or a porter. Special permits cost $500 per trekker for 10 days that’s the minimum number of days you can have as the permit validity and $50 per day if you wish to have a couple of more day's extension. 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.

  • Usually not more than 5 / 6 hours excluding lunch on this Upper Mustang Trekking. However, it also depends on your pace though we allow you enough time to set up your own pace to make everyday more entertaining. We usually start early so that you could 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 to upper Mustang trek when the view of an exceptional landscape, gorges, and the soaring mountain is at its best state. Tiji or Tenchi Festival which is celebrated during the month of May happens to be one of the principal and most colorful festivals for the people of Upper Mustang. 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 upper Mustang as there are chances of snowfall with the temperature dropping far as - 25 ° C and significantly very few people stay back in the valley to watch over the property and their cattle. Yet very few people still do winter trekking to upper Mustang with adequate winter types of equipment and carrying their own supplies.

  • Yes, you can absolutely to this upper Mustang trek in monsoon time. As the Upper mustang region is on lee wind side / beyond the Himalayas, it won’t rain much there so doing the upper Mustang trek in Monsoon June, July, August, and September are fine. This one one of the few trekking routes well even in monsoon time in Nepal.

  • 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 to 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 offering you necessary information and assistance. Reputed companies are there to provide you with quality service at a very competitive price and are there to guarantee your safety which I suppose is the biggest concern.

  • This Mustang trekking is more than a moderate trek not because of altitude but for the reason of the undulating valley trail that has been fashioned by series of streams along the way. Nevertheless, someone with very weak ankles or knee, heart, or lung problems are 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 prior to your travel to Nepal to make out 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 Mustang trek because of the high-velocity wind in the valley of mustang most of the time Hydropower is cut off to get away with any uncertainty. Some have solar charging facility which may not be very reliable. So it is always wise to carry some extra batteries or the 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, availability of hot showers may be on and off in the upper Mustang tea houses.

  • Mountain Monarch provides you with a very 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 provide you with a Duffle bag to fit all your gears in and a very warm fleece liner that goes 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 2 metal or plastic Nalgene bottles so that you can have enough to last the duration of the day. Besides you can use the hot bottles at night as a hot pack in your sleeping bag and can still drink it 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 Upper Mustang in Nepal. We ensure you that there would be hardly any evacuations or any health catastrophe 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 back up for just in any case.

  • Since Upper Mustang started tea house trekking only a few years ago, the accommodation can be pretty basic except for a few villages. However, we use the family-oriented lodges with twin bed sharing rooms with clean common toilets and occasional rooms with attach toilet bathrooms. Despite being relatively basic and electricity problem lodges in upper Mustang are at their best offering you with the comfort experience and its typical local environment. You have a variety of choices for the food and basically, Mountain Monarch sends a cook to assist the lodge owner in preparing a variety of western food. So far there have not been any complaints whatsoever in regards to food and accommodation provided by us.

  • Base on your time duration and physical fitness this upper Mustang trek can be customized. Mountain Monarch has always been unbeaten in customizing trek for the clients as per their requirements. We also organize pony trek, jeep luxury safari, or semi jeep safari with walking and driving options to Upper Mustang trek.

Customer Reviews

  • R
    Rick Creamer 5.0United StatesPublished August 10, 2016

    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 in all respects. We made the trek post-2015 earthquake without incident. We had absolute confidence for our well being during the entire trip. The people we met were both interesting and as enthused as we were with the adventure. If you are looking for a challenge that is beyond the ordinary then Mountain Monarch is an excellent choice. Namaste!

  • M
    Michael Ace 5.0AustraliaPublished November 12, 2014

    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 amazing 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 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 2 you get to keep). Unbelievable Great trekking cost, eliminating the huge “middle man” profits.

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