Upper Mustang Trek

A Unique Culture and Isolated Landscaperatingbased on 4 reviews
  • Duration17 Days
  • Difficulty Level Moderate
  • Activity Trekking/Hiking
  • Max. Altitude 4280 m.
  • Group Size 2-20
  • Best Season March to May and September to November
Group Discount Prices
  
2 paxUS$1645
3 - 6 paxUS$1545
7 - 10 paxUS$1495
11 - 15 paxUS$1445
16 - 20 paxUS$1395
Highlights
  • An amazing and well-preserved Tibetan culture
  • Kali Gandaki gorge
  • Spectacular views of the Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri sub-ranges
  • Highly unique alpine desert escape with close geographic ties to Tibet
  • The 10,000 Sky Caves carved into the cliffs of the region
  • The valley's numerous monasteries, stupas, chortens, and Mani walls.

The forbidden Buddhist kingdom of Lo, known in modern times as Mustang, remains one of the last true bulwarks of traditional Tibetan culture, hidden away in its secluded and highly protected barriers on Nepal's northern border. Formerly an outlying province of Tibet itself, Mustang's entire culture, language, and philosophical outlook on life revolve around the ancient ties to its near-mythical neighbor — even its geography reflects that of the Tibetan steppe which both share.

Caught in the formidable rain shadow cast by the Himalayan ranges, chiefly the Annapurna massif and Dhaulagiri, the Mustang region is an arid land of stark earthen colors and rugged canyons, with distant snow-capped mountains offering a tantalizing promise of life-giving waters that rarely touch the parched high-altitude plateau other than through the precious resource of the Kali Gandaki River. Other than basic subsistence agriculture, the Lopa inhabitants of the valley have traditionally herded yak and in times gone by prospered through trade with Tibet. Despite the harsh conditions wildlife abounds in the region, with animals such as musk deer, Tibetan wild ass, Tibetan gazelle, and even the legendary snow leopard thriving in the area.

Unlike the majority of treks in Nepal the journey into Upper Mustang Trek offers a rare glimpse into a regional capital of historic and cultural interest that's as magnificent in its isolation as it is appealing to the camera lens. Lo Manthang was long the royal stronghold, and while the monarchy has been abolished the sturdy palace still remains behind the town's medieval walls, though much of it sustained considerable damage during the 2015 earthquake. To enter the gates and narrow winding streets is to feel as if one is stepping through a window in time to an era from centuries ago, like some latter-day Marco Polo stumbling in through the mountain wilderness to find a remote outpost of humanity defying description or belief. Housed within the tall whitewashed walls are four monasteries of significance, the Gompas of Jampa Lhakchang, Thubchen, Chodey, and Choprang. Nearby Chhoser is not only home to another notable monastery but has seen significant discoveries of major archeological importance made in the Sky Caves carved into the cliffs above the village for burial purposes. The cave paintings, illuminated Buddhist manuscripts, sculptures and numerous artifacts being found are slowly bringing international attention to the region.

The journey to Upper Mustang Trek typically starts with a flight from Pokhara to Jomsom, the popular trekking hub that's both a start and end point for several treks in the area, and leads from there northward through the stunning Kali Gandaki Gorge, the world's deepest. Kagbeni serves as the checkpoint for entry into the heavily restricted Upper Mustang Trek(where you must have a licensed guide and Special Trekking Permits), and over the ensuing days, numerous passes lead through the arid landscape and its vividly striated bands of color toward Lo Manthang, where we pause for a day to take in all that the centuries-old outpost of Tibetan civilization has to offer. The trek back to Dhakmar pauses at the 8th-century monastery of Lo Gekar, then continues across the windswept plateau past the foothills of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri to the sacred pilgrimage destination of Muktinath. From there the trail heads back to Jomsom, a well-earned rest, and the return flight to Pokhara.

Upper Mustang Trek not only serves as an extraordinary adventure to a remote part of Nepal that's scenically distinct from the rest of the country, but also as a window to a highly preserved culture that seems a throwback to long-distant days in Tibet — at times it would hardly surprise to turn a corner and see the Potola itself perched high on a nearby hilltop. It's ready and waiting for you to explore, and the staff of Nepal Trekking Experts is on hand to help organize your trip to this fascinating region.

Itinerary
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  • Max. Altitude:1400m/4593ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast
  • Accommodation:2/3 star hotel

Welcome at the airport and transfer to the hotel.

  • Max. Altitude:1400m/4593ft
  • Meals:Breakfast
  • Accommodation:2/3 star hotel

Free day for final trekking preparation and enjoy with the cultural diversity of Kathmandu.

  • Max. Altitude:822m/2697ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:2/3 star hotel

Kathmandu to Pokhara by tourist bus. Time for sightseeing around Pokhara and its beautiful setting by Phewa Lake.

  • Max. Altitude:2858m/9377ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea house

An early flight to Jomsom gives us our first taste of the magnificent mountain scenery that awaits us on this incredible journey through the long-hidden kingdom of Mustang. After our landing, we head out through the astonishing Kali Gandaki Gorge and follow the river north until we reach the village of Ekle Bhatti, with Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri, and Tukuche keeping us company on our hike. We finish the easy day with our arrival at Kagbeni, the traditional gateway to the Mustang region, with plenty of time to wander the village and explore its temples and monasteries.

  • Max. Altitude:3050m/10007ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea house

Our day begins by checking in at the conservation area's office to have our permits checked, after which we head to Mustang and walk by the Kali Gandaki to the quaint village of Tangbe, with its white-washed walls and unique red, white, and black chortens. The scenic trail takes us through the region's famous apple orchards and onward to the day's final destination of Chele.

  • Max. Altitude:3475m/11401ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea house

A series of scenic passes, including the highest, Taklam La (3624m) provides us with an undulating passage towards the pretty villages of Samar and Syanbochen, with the peaks of Tilicho, Nilgiri, and Yakawa Kang standing tall over the valley.  We pass by the Chungsi cave along the way, long reputed to have been a place of meditation for the legendary Guru Rinpoche.

  • Max. Altitude:3520m/11549ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea house

The pass of Yamda La (3850m) greets us soon after our morning departure, and a series of villages and chortens mark our passage through the scenic and culturally rich and diverse valley, culminating in our climb over Nyi La pass (4010m) to round out our day before arriving at Ghami and its dramatic setting.

  • Max. Altitude:3500m/11483ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea house

Our journey continues across a suspension bridge and climbs steeply along the trail towards a panoramic ridge top, after which we continue on a path by the Ghaymi Khola and a long series of fascinating Mani walls that mark our passage. The day finishes with our arrival at Charang, a historic village renowned for its imposing gompa and venerable palace.

  • Max. Altitude:3700m/12139ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea house

We exit Charang and steadily climb to a ridge that presents us with our first views of the magical capital and former royal residence of Lo-Manthang, and as we descend towards the village a chorten greets us as a marker seemingly highlighting our passage into a distant time and place. The white-washed walls greet us from afar as we climb the plateau and approach the solitary entrance and enter within to find our accommodation for the night.

  • Max. Altitude:3700m/12139ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea house

If one day on a journey of numerous highlights could be cited as the standout, this could possibly be the one. Walking through Lo-Manthang feels like a time portal has opened up and whisked us back through the centuries, leaving us wandering upon mysterious gompas and down myriad laneways lined with prayer wheels, stupas, and chortens, the overwhelming feeling of an ancient Buddhist culture alive and well and greeting you with every step. At the village's heart lies the palace, modest by European standards yet exuding its own aura and sense of place in this mystical cultural outpost.

  • Max. Altitude:3810m/12500ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea house

 Leaving behind the legendary village we depart through the solitary entrance to Lo Gekar and on to Ghar Gompa, glancing back towards Lo-Manthang one last time from the top of a ridge before heading down to the monastery. From there we make our way to Drakmar for the night.

  • Max. Altitude:3806m/12487ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea house

Our journey moves on through the semi-arid wilderness, passing numerous caves en route, with mani walls marking our passage as we head back towards the south. A climb takes us steadily upwards at day's end to Ghiling, with ample time left over to explore the village before bedding down for the night.

  • Max. Altitude:3050m/10007ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea house

The day's hike offers up fine views of the Himalayas as we trek downhill over a rolling landscape of hamlets and picturesque scenery, the entire region exuding its Tibetan influences and culture. By mid-afternoon, we arrive at Chhuksang in plenty of time to explore the village at our leisure.

  • Max. Altitude:2743m/8999ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea house

The final day on the trail returns us towards the familiar sight of Tangbe, with Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri fare welling us in the background. From Tangbe we make our way to Kagbeni and the last stretch to Jomsom, the regional Mecca of trekking. After we've checked into our accommodation we'll be able to relax, put our feet up, and look back on our journey in wonder — and perhaps a sense of disbelief at the mystery and old-world perspectives gave us on the trek through Mustang.

  • Max. Altitude:822m/2697ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast
  • Accommodation:2/3 star hotel

We take an early morning flight back to Pokhara and explore the picturesque city. It's a free day to sit back and enjoy all that the city and its beautiful lakeside setting have to offer.

  • Max. Altitude:1400m/4593ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast

A long day's drive by bus that gives provides numerous scenic opportunities — and thrills — along the way.

    Farewell and drop-off at the airport, or the opportunity to join another of our programs.

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    Note

    The above itinerary is a guideline. If you're not satisfied or have an alternative plan please feel free to discuss it with us.

    Route MapDownload Map
    Upper Mustang Trek map
    What's Included
    Cost Includes
    • Complimentary airport pick up and drop off
    • Complimentary welcome dinner
    • Two-night stay in Kathmandu and Pokhara with Breakfast included (twin share basis)
    • All necessary trekking permits for the Upper Mustang permit Annapurna conservation area permit, TIMS card, etc.
    • All accommodations during the trek
    • Three meals a day during the trek
    • Fresh fruit each day if and when available
    • Complementary duffel bag/agency T-shirt, trekking map, sleeping bag if needed
    • Government-registered and first-aid-trained professional local guide who speaks English
    • First-aid kit
    • Return travel by bus between Kathmandu and Pokhara
    • Return flight between Pokhara and Jomsom
    • Staff insurance, meals, accommodation, equipment, transportation, etc.
    • Rescue arrangements if necessary
    • Agency service charge and government tax/VAT
    • Certificate of achievement
    Cost Excludes
    • International airfare and Nepal visa fee
    • Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu
    • Personal Insurance, personal expenses, loss of property and theft, etc.
    • Sightseeing costs (temples, monasteries entrance fee, etc.)
    • All beverages, snacks, and additional expenses such as laundry, hot showers, battery charging, wifi, etc.
    • Tips to staff
    Dates & Availability
    Start:SaturdayApr 01, 2023
    End:MondayApr 17, 2023
    PriceUS$1645
    StatusGuaranteed
    Start:SaturdayApr 15, 2023
    End:MondayMay 01, 2023
    PriceUS$1645
    StatusGuaranteed

    Note

    Are you satisfied with the fixed departure dates? If not, do not worry! We are more than happy to organize private vs. group joining on any dates you prefer. Let's contact the local experts now.

    Useful Information

    Respect local culture and tradition 

    We should have minimum 2 trekkers to obtain Upper Mustang special permits and explore the surroundings

    Make sure you have personal insurance for high-altitude coverage

    Slow and steady is the best way of hiking in the Himalayas

    Drink more than 3 liters of water per day

    Manage your garbage and save the nature

    Kindly take permission while taking photos & videos of local people.

    Proper trekking gear & first aid kit will be essential

    4Travelers' Reviews
    • TripAdvisor
      rating star

      Look no further. Nepal Trekking Experts is who you want!

      I would like to thank Rajesh and our guide Thakur Dahal for the best experience ever. My daughter and I were first drawn to Nepal Trekking Experts by the very responsive email communications we had with Rajesh regarding the details of preparations and what to expect. We could not have made a better choice. We desired to travel in the Upper Mustang region and as special permits are needed and well as a guide, we had some concerns about the logistics of all that. Our concerns were totally unfounded! Nepal Trekking Experts covered everything seamlessly and even though we made some requests of the company post-trek, they covered us in every detail.

      Our guide Thakur was the absolute best! Having never been on a guided trek before I wondered what our relationship with the guide would be like. Thakur was awesome! He was very knowledgeable about the aspects of our trip which is very different from the usual mountain trek in that so much of what we experienced was social and cultural in nature (plenty of beautiful scenery too!). He was also very attentive to our needs and made sure we had everything we needed from cups of tea to arranging air transport from Pokhara to Kathmandu at the end of our trip. By the end of our journey my daughter and I felt a true friendship with Thakur, not just a client/guide relationship. Thank you so much Thakur!! As I read in another review, “Don't waste your time doing more research -- seriously. If you're doing a trek in Nepal, look no further. Rajesh will answer every question you have and set you up for the adventure of a lifetime.” This is totally true!

      R
      RobMay 25, 2022United States
    • TripAdvisor
      rating star

      The best experience ever!

      We researched more than twenty agencies and ultimately we felt Nepal Trekking Experts is the better option which turned on the reality. Rajesh was the very sharp and professional while communicating through the email and he did not disappoint at all since our arrival to till the departure.

      We had a great time with our guide Mohan. He made sure everybody was doing ok and happy. He adjusted it as per our needs and interest. Overall it was a great experience and we highly recommend you doing Upper Mustang Trek once in a life. Thank you so much for everything guys and we will definitely come back soon!

      A
      Alex SimonMar 25, 2020Australia
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