Upper Mustang Trek is one of the remote and isolated trails in Nepal. It is located in the north-central part of Nepal, bordering Tibet. The Upper Mustang Trek opened in 1992 for foreigners, and since then it has been a popular trekking destination in the Annapurna region. Trek to Upper Mustang takes you to the hidden kingdom of Lomanthang. This trek offers an opportunity to witness the lifestyle of local people, explore the ancient monasteries and witness a breathtaking view of the Himalayas.
The monarchs rule the Upper Mustang until 2008 when Nepal was declared a republic. Lower Mustang were opened for tourism in the 1970s, but Upper Mustang was not opened to tourists. To protect and preserve the Tibetan Buddhist and Thakali cultures the Upper Mustang was restricted to tourists.
Upper Mustang trek highlights
- Remote and Isolated
- Stunning Landscape
- Unique Culture
- Ancient Monasteries
- Breathtaking Views
Best time to Visit Upper Mustang
The best to visit Upper Mustang is September, October, November and March, April, and May. During this time the weather will be suitable and the skies will be clear, making the good condition for trekking. You can also trek from June to August but be prepared for heavy rainfall and possible landslides.
Permit for Upper Mustang
Upper Mustang is a restricted area so tourists need a special permit to visit Upper Mustang. Compare to other trekking the fees for Upper Mustang are high. As of 2023, it cost $500 for 10 days. Per day it cost $50. The permit can be obtained from a registered trekking agency.
Difficulty of trek
Upper Mustang trek moderate level trek in the Annapurna region. It is an isolated and distant trek, the trek is not difficult. The treks are smooth in legs. The trail is wide and wide enough to vehicles to pass on. Only some part of the trail goes through a narrow path. It is also known as a high mountain trek, so the difficulty level remains.
Journey to Upper Mustang On bike
As you ride, you will encounter many villages on the way. You can stop at this village and interact with local people, who are welcoming and hospitable. You can also visit temples and monasteries which are rich in culture and tradition.
Getting the right bike
Choosing the right bike is essential, you need a bike that can handle rugged terrain and altitude. 250cc or higher dirt bike is recommended and make sure it is in good condition.
Things to remember while biking Upper Mustang
- Plan your route
- Understand the terrain
- Check the weather
- Carry essential supplies
- Appropriate gears
- Precaution for altitude sickness
Upper Mustang Trek Itinerary
Day 1. Kathmandu to Pokhara (950m)
On this day, early in the morning, we will drive to Pokhara which will take around 6-7 hours on a scenic route. On the way to Pokhara, you will witness the scenery of snow-capped mountains, green hills, and villages. Pokhara is the gateway to start the trek to Mustang. We will stay overnight at Pokhara.
Day 2. Fly to Jomsom (2713m) and trek to Kagbeni (2898m)
Early in the morning after breakfast, we will fly to Jomsom which is a 25-minute flight from Pokhara. We will start our trek from Jomsom to Kagbeni. The trail follows the Kali Gandaki River, we will head to Kagbeni in the morning. During day time the wind blows high in this area. After reaching Kagbeni in the morning we will explore the village, culture, and people.
Day 3. Kagbeni to Chele (3050m)
On this day, the trail continues uphill and downhill until we reach Tangbe village. After 2 hours of hike, we will reach Chuusang village, we will cross the river to some large red rocks that have fallen from a cliff above. After 18 km of walking, we will reach Chele. We will stay a night at a local tea house.
Day 4. Chele to Syanbochen (3840m)
After breakfast, we will continue to hike towards Ekle Bhatti, from there we hike upward to Taklam La Pass (3625m) and Dajori La (3735m) through narrow highland ground enjoying Tilicho Peak, Nilgiri, Yakawa Kang, and Damodar Dada. We will hike for 3 hours crossing the Bhena La (3860m) and Yamda La (3850m) to Syanbochen. Today we will hike around 8 km. We will stay overnight at Syanbochen.
Day 5. Syanbochen to Ghaymi (3850m)
The trails lead us uphill to Syanbochen crossing Tibetan-style houses. We will be crossing Nyi Pass (4010m) and Ghami La (3765m) with an amazing landscape view. After crossing the passes we will descend to Ghaymi and stay overnight at Ghaymi
Day 6. Ghaymi to Charang (3506m)
Today’s trail is easy, we will hike for 4 to 5 hours till we reach Charang. Up and downhill of 11km we will reach Charang and stay overnight at Charang.
Day 7. Charang to Lo-Mangthang (3810m)
After 5 to 6 hours of hiking, we will reach to Lo-Mangthang with an amazing view of mountains like Nilgiri, Tilicho, Brikuti, and Annapurna I. Before reaching our destination the trail descended up to Chu Canyon and climb uphill crossing the river. We will ascend to Lo La(3950m), and from Lo La we can see Lo-Mangthang Valley. We have time left so we will explore the Tibetan-like place and stay overnight at Lo-Mangthang.
Day 8. Lo-Mangthang to Kora La (4660m)
Today we will explore Lo-Mangthang, we will explore Namgyal Gomba which is an important monastery to local people. After that, we will hike to Tingkhar, a village with around 40 houses, and also the last village of Lo-Mangthang
The distance between Lo-Mangthang to Kora la Pass is 20 km you can hire a bike which takes 45 min to 1 hour to reach Kora la Pass.
Day 9. Side trip to Muktinath
The road condition to Muktinath is rough from Beni. Beni is 9 hours from Kathmandu and 3 hours from Pokhara. It will around 7 hours to reach Muktinath from Beni via Galeswor, Kobang, Marpha, Jomsom, and Kagbeni.
Muktinath is situated at an elevation of 3800m. Autumn and spring is the best season to visit Muktinath. You will encounter greeny if you travel in June in the monsoon, the road may be blocked and the weather may not be suitable to fly to Jomsom