Upper Mustang Trek

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  • Destination: Nepal
  • Trip Duration: 12 Days
  • Trip Grade: Moderate
  • Trip Type: Restricted Area trekking in Mustang valley
  • Max Altitude: 4000 m to 4500 m
  • Min Pax: 2
  • Trip Style: Tea House Trek/Lodge to Lodge Trek
  • Transportation: Airplanes/ Flights
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Upper Mustang trek is a unique trek in Nepal. The geographical features, the landscape, the people and culture here are unlike any other trekking destination in Nepal.

Trekking to Upper Mustang gives you a feel of trekking in Tibet. Tibet and Upper Mustang are quite close to each other. They share a similar landscape as well as culture. It is also worth noting that until 1992 AD, Upper Mustang region was a restricted demilitarized area. That has helped Mustang preserve its ancient culture. 

Upper Mustang trek has a rich historical significance. It was a part of a Tibetan Kingdom called Gungthang up until the 1830s. The town of Lo Manthang was founded in 1380. It is often referred to as a kingdom within a kingdom. Mustang was essentially separate from Nepal until 1951

In the Tibetan language, “Upper Mustang” refers to “fertile land”. However, Upper Mustang has some of the most barren landscape in Nepal. Mustang is tucked away from the rest of the world, right to the north of the major Himalayan range of Nepal. 

You can view 35 mountains during your trek to Upper Mustang. Most of these mountains are of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges. You will also get to see the deepest gorge in the world- Kali Gandaki Gorge in the Upper Mustang trek. Dhaulagiri and the Annapurna Ranges carve out this gorge. 

You will walk through arid red valleys, canyons, several ridges, mountain passes, deep gorges, devotional prayer flags, and mudbrick houses while trekking to Upper Mustang, You can also experience the centuries-old culture of the mountain people like Thakalis, Tibetan and Gurung of this region

A visit to several monasteries like Nyiphu, Garphu, and Loghekar etc give you a glimpse into the Tibetan Buddhism of this region. You can also go for a hike to a unique blend of the Hindu and Buddhist faith in the holy temple of Muktinath in this trek.

The Upper Mustang Trek is a restricted area trek in Nepal and it is mandatory for you to have a guide for this trek. This trek is highly gratifying as it takes you along some ancient towns, sky caves as well as gives you some stunning views of the mountains. We are a registered trekking company provide the services to get permits with our government registered trekking guide and porters that you are obviously dedicated local guide and porter services team with good staffing in management to providing the best guide porters to during the season.

Best Time for Upper Mustang Trek

Anytime from March to late December is often considered to be the best time for the Upper Mustang trek. June to September marks monsoon in other parts of Nepal. But Upper Mustang is relatively dry in the monsoon. Besides, you can have glimpses of the vegetation of Himalayan arid plateau of Upper Mustang this time. 

If you come to trek to Upper Mustang in May, you would be able to catch the beauty of the celebration of the Tiji festival. This festival lasts for 3 days and is indigenous to Lo Manthang. So the spring season in the month of May gives you the best time to catch this beautiful trek and its unique festival. 

October and November are the most highly recommended months for trekkers to Upper Mustang. If you can prepare for the cold of Mustang in the winters, you will also get a unique opportunity to see the beauty of Upper Mustang in the winter season as well. 

Upper Mustang Trek Difficulty

Upper Mustang is a moderately difficult trek. Each day, you will stay overnight in lodges that are lower in altitude than 3800 m. However, you might cross elevation of 4000 m to 4500 m during some parts of the trek. 

You will walk between five to seven hours while trekking every day for 12 days during your trekking trip. The trekking trails in the Upper Mustang region are well marked. There will be minor uphills and downhills in your trek. You will also ascend and descend through several ridges and mountain passes in your trek.

There are fair teahouses and lodges in the villages you will stay in the Upper Mustang trek. So the accommodation will also be fine. However, they won’t be as sophisticated as in the cities.

Highlights

Main Attractions of the Upper Mustang Trek

• Trek in the unique geography and vegetation of the Mustang region.

• Enjoy the views of 35 including Annapurna and Dhaulagiri range

• The trip to the ancient kingdom of Lo Manthang 

• Visit various monasteries and temples like Muktinath, Nyiphu Gompa, Garphu Gompa etc.,

• Experience the unique culture of the people in Mustang

• Exploration of the sky caves in Mustang

• A 25-minute scenic flight to Pokhara to Jomsom and back

• Cross various mountain passes along the way

• Walled palace of the king of Lo Manthang

Day to day itinerary:

  • Day 1:Kathmandu to Pokhara (820m) 6-7 hrs drive
  • Day 2:Flight Pokhara- Jomsom (2743 m), trek to Kagbeni (2810 m) 3 hrs. Possible roundtrip day trek from Kagbeni to Muktinath (3720 m) and back (6 hrs).
  • Day 3:Kagbeni (2810 m) - Chele (3050 m) 6 hrs
  • Day 4:Chele (3050 m) - Syangmochen (3800 m) 7-8 hrs
  • Day 5:Syangmochen (3800 m) - Tsarang (3560 m) 7 hrs
  • Day 6:Tsarang (3560 m) - Lo Manthang (3800 m) 4-5 hrs
  • Day 7:Lo Manthang (3800 m). Rest day and explore heritage sites
  • Day 8:Day hike to Nyiphu and Garphu monasteries/caves and villages in the north of Lo Manthang
  • Day 9:9 Lo Manthang (3800 m) - Dhakmar (3820 m) via Ghar Gumba (Loghekar Monastery) 6 hrs
  • Day 10:Dhakmar (3820 m) - Ghiling (3570 m) 6 hrs
  • Day 11:Ghiling (3570 m) - Samar (3550 m) 6 hrs
  • Day 12:Samar (3550 m) - Kagbeni (2810 m) 6-7 hrs
  • Day 13:Kagbeni (2810 m) - Jomsom (2750 m) 3 hrs
  • Day 14:From Jomsom fly to Kathmandu via Pokhara.

Detail Itinerary

  • Day 1Kathmandu to Pokhara (820m) 6-7 hrs drive
    On the first day of your trip, you go Pokhara on a bus or by flight. You will have your breakfast in your hotel and head out on a 6-7 journey on a bus from Kathmandu to Pokhara. From the bus, you can observe beautiful, scenic hills that lie quite close to Trisuli and Marsyangdi River. The bus ride also offers you your first sights of Ganesh Himal and the Manaslu peak.
    There are various things you can enjoy in Pokhara. You can feel a wonderful touristic vibe in this valley. You can go for a pleasant stroll around the lakeside or head out for boating in the various lakes in Pokhara. You can also go for a pleasant visit to the various caves like Bat Cave, Mahendra Cave or Gupteshwor Mahadev cave.
  • Day 2Flight Pokhara- Jomsom (2743 m), trek to Kagbeni (2810 m) 3 hrs. Possible roundtrip day trek from Kagbeni to Muktinath (3720 m) and back (6 hrs).
    You will head out from Pokhara to Jomsom on a 20-minute flight. The flight from Pokhara will head North-West. It takes you between the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges. So you will be able to catch wonderful views of magnificent hills and towering mountains from your flight.
    After getting off the flight, you will start your journey from Jomsom to Kagbeni. The trek takes you uphill for approximately 3 hours. This trail takes you alongside Kali Gandaki before reaching Kagbeni. Kagbeni is regarded as the gateway to Upper Mustang. Today’s trek from Jomsom to Kagbeni is 3 hours long.

    You can also go to Muktinath and get back to Kagbeni on a 6 hour round trip. Muktinath is located at an altitude of 3,750 meters. Initially, trekking trail from Kagbeni to Jomsom is a busy one. Along the way, you will come across a wide road that leads you to Jharkot. You will trek uphill to Muktinath for an hour and a half from Jharkot.
    Muktinath is a holy temple of Hindus as well as Buddhists. The temple is located picturesquely with splendid views of various mountains like Dhaulagiri, Tukuche, Tilicho, and Nilgiri. You will track back to Kagbeni after a visit here.
  • Day 3Kagbeni (2810 m) - Chele (3050 m) 6 hrs
    You can enjoy the majestic peak of Nilgiri from Kagbeni in the morning. From different parts of the village, you can get various shades of this mountain. The trek from Kagbeni to Chele will initially take you towards the east bank of Kali Gandaki river. After trekking uphill through plenty of ridges you will reach Tangbe village on the north. This quaint village is full of buckwheat fields and apple trees. There are numerous white-washed mud and stone houses in this village.
    From the picturesque village of Tangbe, you will trek for about half an hour before reaching Chusang village. Following the trail from Chusang, you will cross a river. From there, you will trek an uphill on the north. The trail continues along a red heap of conglomerate, which forms a tunnel that the Kaligandaki follows. Leaving the Kali Gandaki valley, the trail takes you along a rocky gully to Chile. The trek from Kagbeni to Chele(3050 meters) is approximately 6 hours long. The culture also has changed from Manangi to Tibetan in Chele.
  • Day 4Chele (3050 m) - Syangmochen (3800 m) 7-8 hrs
    Today, you will head out to Syangmochen (3800 meters) from Chele. This day’s trek is 7-8 hours long. The trail takes you along a steep barren land. This trail is adjacent to the copper red canyon. After a while, you will make a slow descent before reaching a stupa placed on a ridge. You will trek downhill from this ridge before reaching the wonderful village of Samar.
    From Samar, you will trek uphill to a ridge before descending into a giant gorge. You will trek through a valley that has several fields and streams before coming across a ridge which lies at 3,800m. As you trek further from this ridge, you will come across another pass and a ridge eventually arriving at Syangmochen, where you will spend your night.
  • Day 5Syangmochen (3800 m) - Tsarang (3560 m) 7 hrs
    You will trek for approximately 7 hours in order to reach Tsarang(3560 meters) from Syangmochen. Initially, you will trek uphill to a pass at 3,770. You will then trek a gentle downhill to Gelling village. From Gheling, you will climb up steadily through farm fields to the before coming across a tough ascent to a terrain that leads you to Nyi La pass (3,840m). From Nyi La Pass, you will trudge downhill for close to 30 minutes before reaching a trail junction. The right trail is a route to Tsarang while the left one leads to Ghami.

    You will take the right trail as your destination is Tsarang. Tsarang has some of the most splendid panoramic views of the quaint countryside as well as the Rocky Mountains. Charang is a large village perched beautifully at the top of the Charang Chu Canyon. There’s a big fort located on the east of Tsarang. You can also see red Gompas that have a breathtaking collection of artifacts such as statues and thangkas.
  • Day 6Tsarang (3560 m) - Lo Manthang (3800 m) 4-5 hrs
    On this day, you will go to two other villages as you continue on your trekking trail. Initially, the trail takes you along a steady uphill till you reach Lo-Gekar. Lo-Gekar Gompa is one of the oldest Gompas in Nepal. Its history is older than that of Samye Gompa in Tibet. A short walk of a few meters from Lo-Gekar takes you to 1200 years old Ghar Gompa. Ghar Gompa, which has a Guru Rinpoche as its head, is quite popular for its rock paintings. Legend has it that anyone who makes a wish at Ghar Gompa gets their wishes fulfilled. It takes around 2 and a half hours to get to Ghar Gompa from Charang.

    After spending close to an hour to strolling around Ghar Gompa, you will resume your trek to Lo Manthang. The trail takes you along many level fields with gentle ascents and descents until Lo-Manthang. You will get your first glimpses of the ancient city of Lo from a ridge along the way. From the ridge, you will make a small descent and cross a stream. From there, you will trek up to the plateau of Lo-Manthang. It takes around 4 hours to trek to Lo Manthang from Ghar Gumba.
  • Day 7Lo Manthang (3800 m). Rest day and explore heritage sites
    Today will be a day where you explore the thrilling town of Lo-Manthang. First, you will head out for a 2-hour visit to Namgyal Gompa. Namgyal Gompa is perched on the top of a hill. This gompa is religiously as well as socially important. As this gompa also serves as a local courthouse, there is also some legal importance to this gompa.
    Next, you will head out to explore Tingkhar village. This village has only 40 households and is located to the north of Lo Manthang. Another religious site you will go to is Champa Lhakhang. Here you can see a large Buddha statue as well as ornate Mandalas. You will also go to the outskirts of the King’s walled palace, where the King and Queen of Lo- Manthang reside. You also have the opportunity of visiting this beautiful valley after taking horses on a lease.
  • Day 8Day hike to Nyiphu and Garphu monasteries/caves and villages in the north of Lo Manthang
    Today, you will trek to the north of Lo Manthang. The trail along the way is quite different as you trek through pastures to surreal arid landscapes. As you leave Lo Manthang, you will trek downhill to cross a river. Then you will trek uphill steadily along the road that leads towards Tibet.
    Despite crossing rivers and trekking through winding tracks, the trekking trails are level. You will take a diversion along a dry valley with displays of cave paintings in the Tibetan Buddhist style. As you walk through ancient villages along the way, you will reach the caves. Konchok Ling, ‘discovered’ in 2007, is one of a remarkable series of caves sheltering some fine and extremely old paintings. From there, you will embark to the cave villages of Nyphu and Garphu
  • Day 99 Lo Manthang (3800 m) - Dhakmar (3820 m) via Ghar Gumba (Loghekar Monastery) 6 hrs
    The distance between Lo Manthang to Dhakmar(3820 meters) is 17.2 kilometers / 10.6 miles. It will take you approximately 6 hrs to complete today’s trek. You will walk alongside some high mountains and gorges along the way. You might encounter some uphills and downhills along barren paths before reaching Lo Gekar & Dhakmar. Dhakmar village lies at an altitude of 3820 meters above sea level.

    You will also cross Samduling, Marang la 4230 meters & Muila 4170 meters in your way. Marang la, which is also referred to as Chogo la, is the highest altitude you will reach during this trek. You will also cross Ghar Gumba in your trail to Dhamakar. Ghar Gumba lies at an altitude of 3931 meters. Tibetan magician Guru Padmasambhava related to Nyingma sect of Buddhism built this monastery in the 8th century.
  • Day 10Dhakmar (3820 m) - Ghiling (3570 m) 6 hrs
    From today, you will descend to lower altitudes. You will head out to Ghiling (3570 meters) on a 6-hour trekking journey today. Today’s trekking trail will have Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri mountains standing tall in the background. You will come across a mystical gompa called Rachen Gompa on your way down. Rachen Gompa is believed to have grown by itself at the lap of a rocky cave
  • Day 11Ghiling (3570 m) - Samar (3550 m) 6 hrs
    You will descend further this day as you reach Samar (3550 meters) on a 6-hour trekking journey. After crossing a few streams and desert valleys along the way, you will reach Samar, where you will have your overnight stay.
  • Day 12Samar (3550 m) - Kagbeni (2810 m) 6-7 hrs
    You will lose a lot of altitudes this day as you trek down from Samar (3550 meters) to Kagbeni (2810 meters). The trek is quite easy as you mostly trek downhill. After trekking through some arid landscapes with beautiful backdrops of hills, you will reach Kagbeni in approximately 6-7 hours
  • Day 13Kagbeni (2810 m) - Jomsom (2750 m) 3 hrs
    The distance between Kagbeni to Jomsom is around 11.2 kilometers. The trekking trail is quite wide and lies alongside the valley of river Kali Gandaki. You might experience some strong headwinds in the afternoon. You will have some wonderful views of the oasis of Kagbeni as well as that of Nilgiri peak(7 061 m). You will stop in a small village called Ekle Bhatti ideal for a break with tea or lunch. After trekking for 3 hours, you will reach Jomsom (2750 meters).
  • Day 14From Jomsom fly to Kathmandu via Pokhara.
    Today, you will take two flights. First, you will fly from Jomsom to Pokhara. During the flight, you can catch some awesome views of the Annapurna range as well as the Dhaulagiri range. This scenic 20-minute long flight also flies over the deepest gorge in the world- Kali Gandaki gorge. The climate in Pokhara is warmer compared to the climate in the rest of the trekking areas.
    You will take another flight from Pokhara to get to Kathmandu. The length of this flight is 25 minutes. This flight will be your last chance to get a bird’s-eye view of the Annapurna range.
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Trip Note

  • We provide the best and selected hotel in Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Jomsom. 
  •  Check out the hotel in time or leave the message to reception to wake up you in the morning. 
  • Check your Equipment before trip leave 
  • Of course, our guide and porter will make sure the lodges or guest house along trekking but sometimes you have to sleep on the matted floor or local houses in the main trekking season. 
  • Ask your guide or porter before taking the photos 
  • Be careful  when you take the pictures from the river bank or edge of the cliff