Nepal has countless destinations for trekking and breathtaking views of towering mountains, but the Upper Mustang trek is a completely different experience than any other trekking route. Known as the “Forbidden Kingdom”, Upper Mustang was off-limits for foreigners till 1992, making it the least explored region of the Annapurna Conservation Area. The trek is all about discovering the ancient kingdom of Lo, where trekkers can witness Tibetan culture and tradition, unique landscapes, and century-old monasteries.
The Upper Mustang Trek is a week's worth of trekking in the Himalayas that begins with a scenic flight from Pokhara to Jomsom. Every village in Upper Mustang has road access; however, the route follows the unspoiled trail toward the ancient wall city of Lo Manthang. The trail passes alongside the Kali Gandaki River en route through Muktinath, Tetang, Yara, Tangge, and so on as an alternative Route t avoid the Road.
Lo Manthang, “The Forbidden Kingdom of Lo”, is a remote town in the Annapurna region, near the Tibetan border. The ancient wall city is home to the Royal Palace, monasteries, residents, and Buddhist caves. Yes, all of them are inside the wall. Whereas, trekking in Upper Mustang is restricted and requires a special permit.
On the way to Lo Manthang, you will stop at several significant religious sites. Muktinath Temple, the temple of Salvation. Luri Gumba with the hidden Kabung. The term “Kabung” means the chortens that are believed to emerge naturally with just spiritual force. It is accepted as true, there are seven of them in which only two of them are found.
One of the highlights of the Upper Mustang trek is the extraordinary landscape of the terrain canyon valley. Besides high altitude and arid desert-like terrain, the place is famous for apple farming. Apples found here are absolutely mouth-watering with distinctive flavors.
Plus, the route this trek takes is different from the normal Upper Mustang Trek.
Outline Itinerary of Upper Mustang Trek Avoide the Vehicle Road.
Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu.
Day 02: Sightseeing in Kathmandu and Trek preparation
Day 03: Fly to Pohhara and excursion day.
Day 04: Fly to Jomsom and Trek to Kagbeni.
Day 05: Trek from Kagbeni to Muktinath.
Day 06: Trek from Muktinath to Chhusang via Gyu La (4077m)
Day 07: Trek from Chhusang to Tangge via Pa Pass (4210m).
Day 08: Trek from Tangge to Yara.
Day 09: Rest day at Yara and excursion to Luri Gomba.
Day 10: Trek from Yara to Lo Manthang.
Day 11: Excursion day, visit Jhong Cave, Chhoser.
Day 12: Drive back to Jomsom.
Day 13: Fly to Pokhara from Jomsom.
Day 14: Drive to Kathmandu.
Day 15: Final departure.
Weather in Upper Mustang Trek
The weather in the Upper Mustang trek is different from the rest of Nepal. Located in the rain shadow, the region is almost dry and arid throughout the year, making it the driest place in the country. However, Spring, March to May, and Autumn, September to November, are the best times to visit Upper Mustang, when the weather is mild and dry.
In Winter, from December to February, the temperature drops significantly. At night, the temperature can go below freezing point and days are also cold and dry. In summer, from June to August, the temperature can get up to 25°C. Still, the nights are chilly. It is the monsoon season in Nepal, but it does not face rain as in other parts of Nepal.
Regardless of the diverse weather, the climate of the Upper Mustang is mostly cold and dry due to the high-altitude settlements. So, proper clothes are highly recommended. Extra layers of jackets and inner thermals will always come in handy. Light jackets and windcheaters are very essential for unexpected winds. In the summer and spring seasons, there might be some minor dust storms too.
Permit required for Upper Mustang Trek
Trekking in Upper Mustang does require some permits before hopping into the trail. It is one of the restricted areas of Nepal sharing a border with Tibet. The permits required are mentioned down below:
1. Restricted Area Permit(RAP):
This is a special permit that is required to trek inside a restricted area of Nepal. It can be obtained from the Department of Immigration in Kathmandu as well as from Pokhara too. It cost $500 for 10 days and $50 for each additional day.
2. Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP):
This permit is for trekking inside the Annapurna Conservation Area, while Upper Mustang is inside this conservation area. It is obtained from the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) in Kathmandu or ACAP office in Pokhara. It cost around $24 which is NPR 3,000. It is valid until exit from the conservation area.
3. Trekker Information Management System(TIMS) Card:
It is issued by the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN) associated with the Nepal Tourism Board. It is obtained from the TAAN office both in Kathmandu and Pokhara. It cost around $16 or NPR 2,000 and is required for all trekkers.
It is important to note that a registered travel agency is required to obtain all permits whereas a licensed guide is also mandatory. We are here at your service to obtain all permits and make necessary arrangements for your trek to Upper Mustang.
Go through the Upper Mustang Trek Guide for more information about the best time, trekking route t avoid the road, ancient monasteries, holy sites, caves, and hidden human settlements.