The Upper Mustang Trek is a popular trekking route in Nepal, located in the Mustang district in the northwestern part of the country. The region is often referred to as the “last forbidden kingdom” because it was closed to foreign visitors until 1992 and still retains much of its traditional Tibetan culture and architecture. The trek starts from the city of Pokhara and follows the Kali Gandaki River through beautiful landscapes and small villages before reaching the ancient walled city of Lo Manthang. Along the way, trekkers will encounter colorful prayer flags, monasteries, and caves that were once used by Tibetan monks for meditation. It is an incredible journey that takes you through the remote and ancient kingdom of Mustang, located in the Himalayan region of Nepal.
The trek is usually done over 12-16 days and requires a permit to enter the Upper Mustang region, which can only be obtained through a registered trekking agency. The best time to do the trek is from March to November when the weather is relatively dry and the skies are clear. The Upper Mustang Trek is considered a moderate trek and is suitable for anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. However, due to the high altitude and remoteness of the region, it’s important to take proper precautions and acclimatize properly. It’s also recommended to hire a local guide or porter to help navigate the terrain and provide insights into the local culture. The trek is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that combines breathtaking scenery, ancient culture, and unique wildlife, making it one of the most memorable treks in the world.
If you are planning to trek in Upper Mustang, you will need a special permit called the “Upper Mustang Restricted Area Permit.” This permit is required because Upper Mustang is a restricted area and the government of Nepal strictly regulates the number of tourists who visit this region.
To obtain this permit, you must first obtain a TIMS (Trekkers’ Information Management System) card, which can be obtained through a trekking agency or the Nepal Tourism Board in Kathmandu. Then, you will need to apply for the Upper Mustang Restricted Area Permit through a registered trekking agency.
The cost of the permit varies depending on the season, but it usually ranges from USD 500 to USD 1,000 per person. The permit is valid for 10 days and can be extended for an additional fee if you wish to stay longer in the region.
It is important to note that you must travel with a licensed guide and stay in government-approved accommodations while trekking in Upper Mustang.
Solo trekking is not allowed in the Upper Mustang Trek area. As per the regulations set by the Nepalese government, the Upper Mustang region is a restricted area, and travelers are required to obtain a special permit to enter the region. Moreover, trekkers are required to travel with at least one registered guide or porter. This is to ensure the safety and security of travelers and to preserve the cultural and natural heritage of the region. Therefore, if you plan to trek in the Upper Mustang region, it is mandatory to travel with a licensed guide or a trekking agency authorized by the Nepal Government.
Additionally, it is generally recommended to trek with a guide or a porter, especially if you are not an experienced trekker or unfamiliar with the terrain and culture of the region. A guide or porter can help ensure your safety and provide valuable assistance and information throughout the trek.
It’s also important to note that solo trekking in any remote area can be risky due to the lack of immediate assistance in case of an emergency, so it’s crucial to take all necessary precautions and be adequately prepared before embarking on a solo trek.
The Upper Mustang trek is a captivating adventure that takes you deep into the remote and mystical region of Upper Mustang, also known as the “Forbidden Kingdom.” Located in the north-central part of Nepal, bordering Tibet, Upper Mustang is a restricted area that was off-limits to foreigners until 1992. This trek offers a unique opportunity to explore a culturally rich and visually stunning landscape that has remained untouched for centuries.
The Upper Mustang trek allows you to delve into the unique traditions, lifestyle, and architecture of the Tibetan-influenced Mustang people. The region is renowned for its ancient Buddhist monasteries, cave dwellings, and intricate Tibetan-style murals that adorn the walls of these structures. The trek takes you through picturesque villages like Kagbeni, Lo Manthang, and Charang, providing a glimpse into the traditional Mustang way of life.
As you traverse the arid and barren landscapes of Upper Mustang, you’ll encounter dramatic cliffs, deep canyons, and majestic rock formations sculpted by wind and water over time. The landscape bears a resemblance to the Tibetan plateau, with its wide open spaces, high desert plains, and snow-capped peaks in the distance. The journey also involves crossing the Kali Gandaki River, which flows through the world’s deepest gorge, adding to the awe-inspiring natural beauty of the trek.
Apart from the cultural and natural highlights, the Upper Mustang trek offers a sense of solitude and tranquility as it attracts fewer tourists compared to other popular trekking routes in Nepal. This allows you to immerse yourself in the serene surroundings, connecting with the vastness of the Himalayan wilderness.
Upon your arrival at Kathmandu airport, you will be met by our representative who will transfer you to your hotel. You will have the rest of the day to explore the city or rest.
On the second day in Nepal, we will spend the whole day in the Kathmandu Valley. It is because, on this day, we have to take a special permit to enter this route. Without a special trekking permit, you are not allowed to enter in this route because it is one of the restricted areas of Nepal. And on this day, we will explore all around the Kathmandu Valley and take some rest.
Start from Kathmandu and head west towards Kalanki. You will pass through the New Bus Park and Kalanki Chowk. From Kalanki, follow the Prithvi Highway, which leads to Pokhara. You will pass through Naubise. You will cross the Trishuli River and pass through Mugling. From Mugling, the road starts to climb into the hills, and the scenery becomes even more beautiful. You will pass through small towns and villages like Bharatpur, Damauli, and Dumre. Keep driving on the Prithvi Highway until you reach Pokhara. The entire journey takes around 6-7 hours keep driving on the Prithvi Highway until you reach Pokhara.
From Pokhara, we will take a short flight toward Jomsom. It takes almost 25 minutes to reach Jomsom from Pokhara. Once we reach Jomsom, we will slowly move toward Kagbeni. The trail from Jomsom to Kagbeni follows the Kali Gandaki River, which is the deepest gorge in the world. You will walk along the river on a flat and dusty trail. After walking for about an hour, you will reach the village of Ekle Bhatti. From Ekle Bhatti, the trail gradually climbs up to the village of Kagbeni. You will pass through the village of Tangbe and Chhusang before reaching Kagbeni.
The trail starts by crossing the Kali Gandaki River via a suspension bridge. Once you cross the river, you will see a trail on your left-hand side that leads to Tangbe village. After about an hour of walking from Tangbe, you will reach the village of Chele. After Chele, the trail gets steeper and the terrain becomes more rugged. You will need to climb several steep hills before reaching Chhusang. Once you reach Chhusang, you can explore the village and take in the stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
Start by heading east out of Chhusang, following the trail that leads to the Kali Gandaki River. Cross the river using the suspension bridge and continue on the trail on the other side. Along the way, you will have a great view of the surrounding mountains, including Dhaulagiri and Tukuche. Follow the trail as it winds its way through the valley, passing through several small villages along the way. Continue on the trail as it heads north towards Somare.
From Samar, continue on the trail towards the east, which will take you through a series of small streams and hills. After walking for another 2-3 hours, you will reach the village of Chungsi. From Chungsi, continue on the trail towards the east, which will take you through more beautiful landscapes and traditional villages. After walking for another 2-3 hours, you will reach Gheling, a beautiful village with traditional Tibetan-style houses and a stunning monastery.
The trail will lead you across several small streams and rivers. The trail will then start to ascend towards a small ridge, which offers some stunning views of the surrounding mountains and landscapes. After crossing the ridge, the trail will start to descend again towards Tsarang. The trail can be steep in some places, and there may be loose rocks and gravel.
Leave Tsarang and head towards the village of Charang. The path is relatively easy and follows the Kali Gandaki River for some time. After crossing a suspension bridge, the trail starts to ascend gradually toward the Lo La Pass. Enjoy the beautiful views of the mountains and the Mustang Valley from the top of the pass. Descend from the pass towards the village of Lo-Manthang. The trail is steep and rocky, so be careful while walking down.
Taking a rest day in Lo-Manthang can be a great way to recharge and relax during your trek. On this day, we can take a stroll around town and admire the architecture and traditional Nepalese culture. We also visit Royal Palace in Lo-Manthang is an impressive structure that dates back to the 15th century. It is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting the town. Lo-Manthang is surrounded by stunning landscapes and mountain views. Take some time to sit back and enjoy the view during your rest day.
The trek begins at Lo-Manthang, a historic walled city in Upper Mustang, and follows a well-defined trail towards the south. The trail passes through several small villages and offers breathtaking views of the Mustang Valley and the surrounding mountains. After walking for about 2 hours, you will reach the village of Dhigaon. The village is home to a beautiful ancient monastery called the Dhigaon Gompa. From Dhigaon, the trail continues to descend gently for another 1.5 hours until you reach the village of Dhamkar.
From Dhamkar, you’ll follow a well-defined trail that gradually ascends towards Syangboche. The trail offers stunning views of the Mustang Valley, with its unique landscapes, traditional villages, and ancient Buddhist monasteries. As you trek toward Syangboche, you’ll pass through several small villages, including Ghar Gompa and Samar. The trail also takes you through a beautiful forest of juniper and pine trees. After trekking for about 4-5 hours, you’ll reach Syangboche.
From here, you’ll start walking towards the north, following the Kali Gandaki River. After about an hour of walking, you’ll reach the Ghami Khola, a small river that you’ll need to cross. After crossing the Ghami Khola, you’ll start climbing up towards Yamda La. The climb is steep and can be challenging, but the views from the top are spectacular. From Yamda La, you’ll start descending towards Samar. From Samar, you’ll continue walking towards the north, following the Kali Gandaki River. After about an hour, you’ll reach Chhusang.
Cross the river using the suspension bridge and head north. Follow the path along the river for about 2-3 kilometers until you reach a small village called Tangbe. From Tangbe, continue north along the river for another 3-4 kilometers until you reach a junction with a signpost pointing towards Kagbeni. The path will lead you uphill, with a steep climb for about half an hour, until you reach a plateau. From here, you’ll be able to see the village of Kagbeni in the distance. Follow the path downhill for about 1-2 kilometers until you reach the outskirts of Kagbeni.
The trek offers spectacular views of the mountains, the river, and the surrounding landscape. After walking for about an hour from Kagbeni, you will come across a suspension bridge. Cross the bridge and continue along the trail. You will pass through several small villages, including Tangbe, Chhusang, and Samar. From Samar, the trail climbs up to a ridge and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. You will also pass through the village of Ghiling, which is famous for its apple orchards. After crossing the ridge, the trail descends to Jomsom.
From Jomsom, we will take a short flight toward Pokhara which takes almost 25 minutes to reach. Once you arrive in Pokhara, you will find a range of accommodation options, restaurants, and activities to enjoy. The city is known for its stunning natural beauty, including the famous Phewa Lake, and is a popular destination for adventure sports such as paragliding and trekking.
To drive back from Pokhara to Kathmandu, you will need to follow the Prithvi Highway. Continue driving on the Prithvi Highway for about 126 km until you reach Mugling. This is the point where the Narayangadh-Mugling road connects with the Prithvi Highway. Once you reach Mugling, you will need to take a left turn and cross the bridge over the Trishuli River. After crossing the bridge, continue driving on the Prithvi Highway for another 25 km until you reach the town of Naubise. At Naubise, you will need to take a right turn towards Thankot. From Thankot, continue driving toward Kathmandu until you reach your destination.
This will be your last day in Nepal and on this day at the hotel lobby, there will be a guide who is with you in the trekking period. From the hotel, you will drive toward the international airport and see you take off from Nepal and also hope that you will give a chance to serve you again.