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Upper Mustang Trek

19 Days

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Overview

Trekking through Upper Mustang is an incredible experience. Trudging through vast stretches of red hills and steep cliffs, you will be rewarded with not only breathtaking views but also an excellent glimpse into the life and culture in this landscape.

You will be greeted and cheered on by famous mountain peaks like Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri, and more. Not just that, but this trek also takes you to popular passes such as Taklam La, Darjori La, Yanda La, Ghami La, Nyi Pass, and more.

The trek itself will take about 12 days of walking. Additionally, we will drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara and then go to Jomsom via a flight. You will walk through by deep caves that sport shrines with a rich history and even visit Lo Manthang and see the palace of King Lo.

In the villages, you will see the day-to-day lives of people in remote areas and the Tibetan influence in their everyday culture. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, you will feel the fresh wind caressing your face every morning as you set out higher and higher into the trek.

The best season for this trek is during spring, autumn and Monsoon as well due to rain shadow areas. Despite this, rain is generally not a problem in these areas. The weather remains favorable through most of the year so you can navigate these terrains with a sunny outlook, and the snowy peaks at a distance.

With Nepal Social Trek & Expedition, you can rest assured that our trained professionals will guide you in your trails. Whether it is history, culture, or architecture, our guides have packed their rucksacks with stories to ensure that you can truly understand the land you traverse. We also have porters and first aid kits handy so that we can ensure that all you have to do is enjoy your trek and marvel at the beauty around you.

For a trip that combines a spiritual, aesthetic, and historical trekking experience in one, this trek is a perfect choice.

Why You’ll Love Upper Mustang Trek!

  • You will see chortens, gompas, prayer flags, and monasteries, adding a spiritual feel throughout.
  • You will trek to Lo Manthang and witness the rich history in the palace of King Lo.
  • You will get to immerse yourself in the various scattered settlements and first-hand experience the Tibetan influence.
  • Trudge along the vast deserted landscapes and appreciate deep cliffs and red, looming hills.
  • Enjoying the Tiji festival with traditional music and cultural significance (19th – 21st May, 2020) Check with us for future festival dates.
  • The entirety of this trip will include glimpses and views of peaks like Nilgiri, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, and much more.
  • Weather is unlikely to ruin any part of this trip as the region lies in the rainshadow area of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges.

Is Upper Mustang Trek Right For You?

  • You will be walking for 5-7 hours per day for nearly two weeks. You might need some mental and physical preparation to tackle this.
  • Although this is a moderate difficulty terrain, we recommend you maintain some degree of physical fitness prior to this trip.
  • The lodges in the more remote areas, such as Lo Manthang, have the necessary amenities. You will have clean, cozy rooms and hygienic food, but you may need to bring any additional materials on your own.
  • The elevation on this trek crosses 3500m as we will be crossing very high passes. So there is a risk of altitude sickness. If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, you need to seek medical advice before booking this trek. However, we have a comprehensive first aid kit and a trained staff on board to take care of your safety.

Permits Required

The Upper Mustang Trek requires three different types of permit, these are:

  • USD 500 per person for 10 days and USD 50 for every additional day. (Applied to all travelers, including Indian).
  • USD 27 or NPR 3000 for the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) Permit.
  • Trekkers information Management System (TIMS) USD10 or NPR 1000 per person 
  • ACAP fee for travelers from SAARC Nations is NPR 1000 and TIMS NPR 200.
  • ACAP fee for local tourists (Nepali) is NPR 100.

19 Days Upper Mustang Trek Itinerary

DayItinerary
Altitude (mDuration (hours)
1Arrival in Kathmandu1365N/A
2Free Day in Kathmandu1365N/A
3Kathmandu to Pokhara (Drive)910 5
4Pokhara to Jomsom (Flight) and Jomsom to Kagbeni (Trek)28573-4
5Kagbeni To Chele (Trek)30506
6Chaile to Syangboche (Trek)38006
7Syangboche to Ghami (Trek)34906
8Ghami to Tsarang (Trek)37304-5
9-10Tsarang to Lo Manthang (Trek)38405-6
11Lo Manthang to Ghami (Trek)35204-5
12Ghami to Samar Village (Trek)38065-6
13Samar Village to Syangboche (Trek)38604-5
14Syangboche to Tetang (Trek)29405-6
15Tetang to Muktinath (Trek)37603-4
16Muktinath to Jomsom (Trek)27431-2
17omsom to Pokhara (Flight)91010 mins
18Pokhara to Kathmandu (Flight)136530-45 mins
19Departure Day1365N/A

Important Notes:

  • You might want to carry a universal adapter for your charging needs as we go to more remote places. You can also purchase this in Kathmandu itself.
  • As the weather can be unpredictable, you should pack a down jacket so that you are comfortable even if it gets cold or rains.
  • ATMs and credit card acceptance are scarce in higher altitudes, so remember to have some cash handy for your purchases.
  • You might need to carry some passport size photographs for your permits along the way.

Upper Mustang Trek Itinerary (19 Days)

On your arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport, our representative will pick you up and take you to your hotel. Once you settle in, our staff will brief you on the outline for the trek. In the evening, you will be joining the rest of the group for an introductory welcome dinner. The first night is all about bonding and resting up.

Highlights:

  • Hassle-free airport pick-up.
  • A detailed explanation of the itinerary.
  • Bonding welcome dinner with the full group.

Dinner
Hotel - 3 Stars

While you have your eye on Upper Mustang, you can take this day to soak in all that Kathmandu has to offer. Whether you want to stroll through the historical buildings or visit the many cultural heritages, you are sure to have an eventful day. You can also use this day to prep and purchase any clothing or equipment you may want for this trek.

Highlights:

  • Free day to tour Kathmandu.
  • Vast options of visiting temples like Pashupatinath, Swayambhunath or historic sites like Durbar Squares, and much more.
  • An extra day to shop for any trekking gear you might need.

Breakfast
Hotel - 3 Stars

After a hearty breakfast, we will be arranging your transport and setting off. We will be driving along the Trishuli River, where you can enjoy the rise and fall of the hills as you go. This drive will take about 5-6 hours. 

We will reach your hotel by late afternoon, giving you plenty of time to unwind lakeside. You can grab a drink and enjoy live music, immerse yourself in the nightlife, or take a peaceful walk by the lake. 

Highlights:

  • Relaxing 5-hour drive to Pokhara.
  • Free evening in the beautiful lakeside city.

5 hours
Dinner
Hotel - 3 Stars

We will be catching a flight early morning from Pokhara to Jomsom. The flight will only take 20 minutes, which is bound to feel too short regardless due to the scenic views. Jomsom is a market town. You will find yourself immediately amongst the hustle and bustle of this town.

From here, we will begin our trek along the Kali Gandaki river bed. The soft flowing water will add an excellent soundtrack to your three-hour journey. Once you reach Ekley-Bhatti village, you will stop to get some refreshments. You will then continue to Kagbeni, which will take you about one more hour.

Kagbeni is a delightful village that sits on the bank of two rivers. Kagbeni, known for its walled passages and sweeping landscapes, will be the perfect view for you to recharge too. Once we check in to our hotel/guest house, you have the rest of the day free to roam around this village.

Highlights:

  • The scenic 20-minute flight to Jomsom.
  • Mingling in the market town with the locals.
  • Trekking alongside the Kali Gandaki river.
  • Enjoying the narrow passages and stretched landscapes of Kagbeni.

4 hours
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, we will set off. You can expect Mount Nilgiri to be waiting with the first rays of daylight as we begin our trek. This area is known to be windy, and the wind not only rustles through the valley but will also help keep you cool as you walk.

Prepare to be awed by a view that quite literally feels out of this world. You will see the red sandstone pillars and rock formations that Mustang is known for. The first village that you will pass will be Tangbe. Here you will see sprawling fields of buckwheat and barley along with lines of whitewashed houses. This area is also known for its apple orchards.

We will be following the western route and walking along the riverbank. As you trek up the valley, you will reach a vertical cliff, where we will cross the Kali Gandaki river. You can expect a great view of the valley and the Nilgiri mountain.

The trail will become steeper and lead you up to Chele. Chele is a small town and offers an excellent view of the Himalayas. This leg of the trek will take you about 6 hours.

Highlights:

  • Beautiful views of Mount Nilgiri.
  • Red sandstone pillars in stark contrast with the desert landscape.
  • Rows and rows of whitewashed houses.
  • Walking by fields of buckwheat and barley.

6 hours
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Post breakfast, you will follow a steep trail towards the west. You will be following the path heading towards the opposite of a deep canyon, which will take you to the Ghyakar viewpoint.

The landscape surrounding you stretches to miles flaunting barren and eerie beauty. The canyon ahead shows a vertical drop of over 100 meters. Around you, the scene is so quiet that you will almost feel one with your breathing as you trudge along. After an hour of walking, you will be able to marvel at magnificent snow-capped peaks at a distance.

About two hours after you cross Samar village, you will come across the Rangchyung Chorten. It is a red painted cave monastery that is also one of the most sacred places in Mustang. The highlight of this monastery is that it looks as if it is hanging on to the vertical wall.

The name itself means ‘the chorten that formed itself.’ If you venture inside, you will see lines of prayer flags that decorate the ceiling. Inside, two large stalagmites form a Buddhist shrine.

On this day, you can expect to be trekking for about 6 hours. It does get a little more strenuous as you cross the Taklam La pass (3624m) and the Darjori La pass (3735m). However, the trail takes you past a breathtaking gorge and beautiful greenery, which will help make this trek much smoother.

Highlights:

  • A mesmerizing view of the valley from Ghyakar viewpoint.
  • One of the most sacred places in Mustang: Rangchyung Chorten monastery
  • Crossing two famous passes: Taklam La pass (3624m) and Darjori La pass (3735m).
  • Vertical cliffs and barren desert-scapes.

Special Notes:

  • Well-paced 6-hour trek with plenty of rests.
  • Slow ascent to passes that are above 3500m.
  • Gorgeous views of the Himalayas during the rest stops.

6 hours
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This day’s trek will take you through three high passes and about 6 hours of walking. The first one is Yanda La (3850m), which is marked by a distinctive red Chorten that flaunts the eight auspicious symbols of Buddhism. This pass is also marked by barley fields and the surrounding small villages. The next pass is Nyi Pass (4010m). 

Once you pass through here, you will find a gradual descent that leads you towards Ghami La pass. Here, you will be trekking alongside a downstream and notice that the landscape has gotten quite rugged. The red cliffs and sand-dunes stretch across the broad valley as you reach Ghami.

Highlights:

  • Trekking through three high passes: Yanda La (3850m), Nyi Pass (4010m), Ghami La pass.
  • Rugged landscapes and small villages.

Special Notes:

  • Only 3-4 hours of walking to prevent altitude sickness.
  • Excellent sand-dunes and red cliff views to marvel at as you acclimatize.

6 hours
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

As you head off on this day’s trek, you will first have to pass a suspension bridge over the Ghami river. As you trudge on, you will pass gorgeous mani (stone-built) walls full of Tibetan mantra engravings. There are also many shrines, and the color red dominates the architecture. This day’s trek will take you about 4-5 hours.

The trail will lead you upwards to a pass at 3820m. You will see a barren landscape far into the horizon with no plant life or human. It is a powerful scene that is bound to evoke a feeling of extraterrestrial beauty. As you trek on, you will reach Tsarang Chorten. This red stupa stands alone, welcoming you down the trail to the town of Tsarang with only 1000 inhabitants.

Highlights:

  • Trekking past historic stone-built mani walls.
  • Vast, barren landscape creating a powerful scene.
  • Red chorten at Tsarang Chorten.

5 hours
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After days of uphill climbing, this day will be much easier on your feet. We will be taking you over flat terrain. All along the way, you will witness barren landscapes dotted with the occasional shrine or caves.  

Once we drop down into a canyon, we will be crossing a river. Then begins the ascend to the Lo La pass (3950m/12959 ft). At a distance, you will begin to see glimpses of the Lo Manthang village. As you get closer, you will get to marvel at the unique beauty of this historic village. This leg of the trek will take you about 5-6 hours.

The village is walled in and stands in stark contrast to the desert that surrounds it. Around you, the peaks of Nilgiri, Annapurna I, Tilicho, and Bhrikuti Peak cheer you on your arrival. We, too, will be spending two nights here to admire this village and the true beauty of Upper Mustang.

Highlights:

  • Crossing the high Lo La pass (3950m)
  • Reaching Lo Manthang village and exploring the palace of King Lo.
  • Surrounded by views of Nilgiri, Annapurna I, Ticlicho, and more.
  • Two-night stay to absorb all this beauty.

6 hours
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

With our hearts and camera storage full, we will begin our trek back. This day we will be walking through luscious pastures, and we are sure you will be turning again and again until Lo Manthang disappears behind you. But don’t you worry, the journey ahead promises to be just as stunning.

Our route back will take you through Chorong and reach Lo Gekar. The trail will pick up again as this day’s trek will take you about 4-5 hours of walking. We reach a pass where you will get an excellent view of the valley. This day we will be descending back to Ghami village (3440m).

Highlights:

  • Walking by luscious pastures.
  • Amazing view of the valley ahead.

5 hours
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This day we will be walking along the western side of Kali Gandaki valley. You will find the Himalayas smiling down on you with all their majestic glory as you navigate through the highest pass, the Lugdi La pass (4200m).

You will have a chance to catch your breath and admire the monastery before we walk down to Tamar. Around you, you will see many cliffs with large drops. After so many days of the desert surrounding you, the splash of red cliffs, green vegetation, and the bright blue sky is sure to be a welcome scene.

Right before you reach Samar village, you will see numerous caves. Some of these have shrines and prayer flags, in case you feel like taking a detour to investigate them. This trek will take you about 5-6 hours.

Highlights:

  • Passing the highest point of this trek: Lugdi La pass (4200m).
  • Monasteries, vegetation, and red cliffs to greet you.
  • Passing by numerous caves with shrines and prayer flags.

6 hours
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Familiar views of Nilgiri above and the long mani wall below greet you on this day’s trek. You will be crossing the passes as we did before and reaching Ja Myung. On this day, we will be taking a small detour to Ghelung, where you can see a small but beautiful monastery as well as two Gompas. It will take you about 4-5 hours of walking to reach Syangboche. 

Highlights:

  • Detour to Dhelung, and it’s a beautiful monastery.
  • Walking alongside long mani walls with views of Nilgiri up ahead.

5 hours
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This day’s trek is likely to be a little more strenuous because you will be navigating some gorges along the way. However, the path promises to balance the scales by offering unrivaled views of both Tilicho and Nilgiri. 

You can watch the Annapurna range loom closer and closer as you make your way towards civilization. The green begins to dominate as the vegetation grows, and the descent part should feel relatively easy.

We will, however, have plenty of breaks, so you don’t have to worry about overexerting yourself. We will be entering the riverbed of the Kali Gandaki region to head towards Chuksang. Walking these familiar routes, you are bound to feel a gushing sense of accomplishment, much like the river you will be walking next to.

Once you start seeing red and white chortens in the lap of towering red and brown hills, you know you are almost at Tetang. This trek will take you about 5-6 hours. 

Highlights:

  • Views of the Annapurna range drawing closer.
  • Walking by the Kali Gandaki region.
  • Red and white chortens to welcome your return.

6 hours
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Early morning, we will head out to navigate a plateau. This plateau is quite steep but offers an excellent view of the settlements below. You can expect about three hours of uphill climbing, and the trail promises you an authentic trekking experience. The trail is lined with loose black gravel and gets narrow, high, and low, providing both challenge and thrill.

Once you arrive at the pass, the mountains loom close. You can even draw out the large glaciers and the sunlight reflecting off the white snow. From here, you are sure to barely notice the walk to Muktinath as you will be busy trying to capture the views of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna. As you start passing by houses, you can tell that the holy destination is close by. 

Highlights:

  • Loose black gravel to trudge over for authentic trekking experience.
  • Large glaciers are visible at a distance.
  • Reaching one of the holiest destinations: Muktinath.

4 hours
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Teahouse

Instead of taking our original route back, we will be mixing things up and taking a detour to Bon Punt, a Shaolin monastery in Lubra. The settlement around this area is scattered and only consists of about twenty odd houses. 

Here, you can first-hand see a monastery built in the 12th century, which is also one of the few remaining such monasteries. Flaunting a simple yet rich architecture, this will be a day well spent as you immerse yourself in this traditional atmosphere. From here, we will join the trail again and cross the river Panga to reach Jomsom. 

Highlights:

  • Visiting the Bon Punt Shaolin Monastery built in the 12th century.
  • Enjoying the traditional atmosphere.
  • Reaching the bustling city of Jomsom.

2 hours
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We will be flying you to Pokhara, where you have the remainder of the day off for a well-earned rest day. This lake town has quite a lot to offer, and we are sure it is the perfect place for you to celebrate your successful trek. 

Highlights:

  • Scenic 30-45 minute flight to Pokhara.
  • Free day to explore this lakeside town.

10 minutes
Breakfast
Hotel - 3 Stars

After a hearty breakfast, we will be leaving the hotel to catch a flight back to the capital city. Here, you have a full free afternoon to travel or simply rest. We have planned a delicious dinner and a cultural show for your evening. 

Highlights:

  • Free afternoon to travel or rest.
  • Farewell dinner and a cultural show.

45 minutes
Breakfast, Dinner

Our representative will be taking you to the airport. Bidding you a safe journey, a suitcase full of memories, and hoping to see you again.

Upper Mustang Trek Cost

The Cost Include(s)

  • Private Arrival & Departure transfers on both international and domestic flights,
  • Assistance for the trekking gears and the shopping for the trekking equipment if required,
  • Welcome dinner in Kathmandu.
  • Mustang Special Permit ( USD 500 P.P) ACAP Trek permit and TIMS.
  • Full board meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) during trekking,
  • 3 Star Hotel Accommodation in Kathmandu and Pokhara on B/B basis,
  • Accommodation in teahouse/lodge during trekking,
  • Domestic flight Pokhara- Jomsom-Pokhara.
  • All private overland transports included in the itinerary.
  • Nepal Social Treks Gears – sleeping bag, duffel bag for the use during the trip,
  • Professional local guide with extensive experience,
  • First Aid Kit Comprehensive,
  • Necessary Porters to carry all personal gear and group equipment (1 porter per 2 trekkers),
  • Insurance for all staff including porters,
  • Assistance to evacuation incase of any kind of emergency
  • Upper Mustang Trekking map
  • Nepal government tax and Service fees.

The Cost Exclude(s)

  • Any bottled drinks other than tea and coffee.
  • Personal insurance if any evacuation is needed during trekking or climbing.
  • Lunches and dinners in Kathmandu outside of the welcome dinner.
  • Any personal gear for trekking.
  • International airfare and airport taxes, excess baggage charges,
  • Valid Travel Insurance with Medical evacuation in case of emergency,
  • Nepal entry visa fees
  • Any tips or gratuities for the staff.

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