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Upper Mustang Trek

Trip code
Package name Upper Mustang Trek
Duration 17
Max. elevation 3850 m
Level Moderate
Transportation All ground transportation as per itinerary
Accomodation 3*** Hotel in Kathmandu and Pokhara and Tea House / Lodge during the trek
Starts at Kathmandu
Ends at Kathmandu
Trip route
Cost USD 1,850 per person



Upper Mustang Trek by Himalayan Forever is a delightful trek that circles around the isolated districts of Far Western Nepal. In addition to having desert-like scenery, this place gets recognition for being the most attractive and gorgeous region due to its incredibly enormous walls of canyons. Upper Mustang is one of the most fascinating places to go sightseeing since it is enclosed by tall mud cliffs and filled with thousands of sky caves. It is a forbidden kingdom which extends through Kagbeni village and Jomsom town. 

This area remained a restricted area of Nepal until 1992 but was open to foreign visitors the following year. It was once a part of Tibet before separating into its own kingdom in 1380 AD. It was later overrun by greater Nepal during the Malla era. Although the present day Upper Mustang area is a territorial part of Nepal, people here prefer to remain isolated from the crowd of modern world and politics.   

Furthermore, the forbidden area was once a thriving Trans-Himalayan Trade Route between Tibet/China, Nepal, and India. However, the trade still exists, but on a smaller scale, as yak and mule caravans still carry goods and items across this region. Trekking in the Upper Mustang region is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience as ruler areas here are just breathtaking. The local aesthetic culture is equally impressive and captivating to experience and the warm welcome and gestures shown by the local people here will surely melt your heart.

The Upper Mustang Trek begins with a short flight from Pokhara city to Jomsom town airport which provides breathtaking views from above the clouds. A short walk will lead you to Kagbeni, an aesthetic traditional village rich with Tibetan cultural traditions, and you finally reach the former kingdom of Upper Mustang and Lo-Manthang. Great canyon walls and overnight stays in the charming villages of Chusang, Samar, Ghiling, and Charang are the major highlights of the trek offered by Himalayan Forever Treks. After experiencing the magnificence of Lo-Manthang, we came back to Jomsom town. The following morning, a scenic flight will take you to Pokhara, a city filled with lakes and snow-capped mountains. Finally a drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu will be the end of your magnificent Upper Mustang Trek. 

In addition, the most well-known attraction of this trek is the forbidden walled kingdom of Lo-Manthang. Besides, visitors can enjoy the views of several significant sites that takes them to the mediaeval era of this once-thriving city.

1. A Brief History of Upper Mustang
Upper Mustang holds a storied past, once part of the Tibetan Empire. The region's rich cultural heritage is evident in its ancient monasteries, caves, and unique traditions. The trek offers a glimpse into the historical and cultural tapestry of this secluded Himalayan enclave.

2. How Difficult is the Upper Mustang Trek
The Upper Mustang Trek is moderate in difficulty, suitable for trekkers with a reasonable level of fitness. While not excessively challenging, the trek does involve high altitudes and varying terrains. Trekkers should acclimatize properly and be prepared for the remote and arid landscapes.

3. Upper Mustang Trek Length and Terrain
The main itinerary covers about 100 kilometers, but it's flexible based on your preferences. Each day, we start trekking after breakfast around 8:30 am, with plenty of opportunities to stop, enjoy the views, take photos, or have a cup of tea along the trail. The pace is leisurely, allowing for excellent acclimatization, and we don't reach extreme altitudes. Most days involve 6 or 7 hours of trekking, usually finishing by mid-afternoon.

The terrain consists of well-defined paths that can be sandy or rocky in places. No crampons or technical equipment are needed; it's simply a trek. Mustang is untouched and rich in Tibetan culture, having been isolated until the early 1990s. However, you'll receive a warm and friendly welcome. The valley lies in the Himalayan monsoon shadow, so it's accessible for most of the year, but we recommend avoiding mid-winter and considering visits from March to late November.

This adventure is perfect for those who enjoy hill-walking, trekking, breathtaking scenery, intriguing cultures, and are moderately fit.

4. Accommodation on the Upper Mustang Trek
Throughout our trek, we'll stay in simple yet comfortable lodges managed by local families from Mustang. Each lodge has a communal area with a large stove for warmth and a cozy ambiance. The bedrooms have two beds with mattresses, pillows, and blankets, but they're not heated, so bringing a sleeping bag (3 season is fine) and a pillowcase is recommended.

The lodges usually have gas-powered showers and mostly offer sit-down flush toilets, though some may have squat toilets. Food on the Upper Mustang trek is of high quality, featuring a mix of local Nepali/Tibetan and Western dishes. A popular local meal is dal bhat with rice. Along the trail, you can also find other items, and we'll provide a Nepal price guide for reference.

We don't arrange hotels in Kathmandu due to the wide range available, but we're happy to offer recommendations or make bookings if needed. However, we do arrange accommodation in Pokhara and Jomsom on a twin room basis.

5. Is Trekking Guide and Agency Mandatory for Upper Mustang?
While it's not mandatory, hiring a guide and trekking agency enhances the Upper Mustang experience. Navigating the restricted region requires compliance with regulations, and local guides provide valuable insights into the culture and history. Agencies ensure logistics are well-managed in this remote terrain.

6. Upper Mustang Trek – Permits & Requirements
Permits are essential for the Upper Mustang Trek. Trekkers need the Upper Mustang Restricted Area Permit and the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP). These permits regulate access to the restricted region and contribute to conservation efforts.

7. Best Season for Upper Mustang Trek
The best season for the Upper Mustang Trek is during the post-monsoon (autumn) and pre-monsoon (spring) seasons, from March to June and September to November. During these periods, the weather is stable, skies are clear, and the landscapes come alive with color.

8. Why is the Upper Mustang Trek More Expensive?
The Upper Mustang Trek is more expensive due to its restricted status. The limited number of trekkers allowed, the necessity for special permits, and the remote logistics contribute to the overall cost. However, the unique cultural and historical experiences make it a worthwhile investment.

9. Why the Upper Mustang Region is Restricted?
Upper Mustang is restricted to preserve its unique culture, historical sites, and fragile ecosystem. The region's isolation has helped maintain its authenticity, and restrictions ensure sustainable tourism that minimizes environmental impact.

10. Is a Private Trek of the Upper Mustang Possible?
Yes! Our team is based in Nepal year-round, and we organize many private or customized treks and climbs across the country. The only requirement for a private trek of the Upper Mustang is that we need a minimum of two people.

Feel free to check out our various blogs about treks in Nepal and explore the 'More Information' section on this page. Both tabs will answer any questions you may have! We also have a lot of useful information available on our Nepal page.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1 : Arrival in Kathmandu 1,320 m and transfer to hotel.

On arrival at Kathmandu, Nepal International Airport our guide and staff will receive you with traditional welcome. After knowing the staff of Himalayan Forever Treks, a short drive to your hotels. Located in the heart of a city within an exciting Thamel area, an interesting place where most good hotels and restaurants situated. Reaching at the hotel, check your lovely rooms, after getting refreshed join in for group briefing. Provided by your guide or Group Leader, offers useful and important information of the trek, hotels and local lodge. 

Day 2 : In Kathmandu with sightseeing tour and trek preparation.

Morning after breakfast, our city and cultural guide receives you at the hotel for exciting tour. The drive leads in the heart of Kathmandu city, where interesting historical Durbar Square / Palace Courtyard located. The right spot to observe Nepalese cultures. Tour of ancient monuments listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites, next tour takes you to old Swayambhunath Stupa of more than 2,600 years history.  A Buddhist monument situated on a hillock west of Kathmandu city outskirt, the famous landmark of the country.

1. Kathmandu Durbar Square:

Nestled within the bustling streets of the Kathmandu Valley, Kathmandu Durbar Square stands as a living museum of Nepal's royal history. As the former royal palace, this UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts an array of palaces, courtyards, and intricately carved temples. The architecture reflects a harmonious blend of Hindu and Nepalese artistry, with pagoda-style structures, ornate windows, and detailed wooden carvings that showcase the country's cultural diversity. Visitors can explore the Hanuman Dhoka Palace, Kumari Ghar (the Living Goddess's residence), and numerous shrines that bear witness to the city's royal past. The vibrant atmosphere, with street vendors, local artisans, and traditional performances, immerses visitors in the authentic charm of Kathmandu.

2. Pashupatinath Temple:

A short distance from Kathmandu Durbar Square, Pashupatinath Temple emerges as one of the most sacred Hindu shrines globally, nestled along the banks of the Bagmati River. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this UNESCO-listed site draws pilgrims and tourists alike with its spiritual aura and stunning architecture. The temple complex encompasses a series of shrines, ghats, and courtyards, each contributing to the religious ambiance. The main temple, adorned with silver and gold, features intricate carvings that narrate Hindu mythology. Visitors can witness the solemnity of cremation ceremonies along the riverbank, a profound experience that underscores the cycle of life and death in Hindu tradition.

3. Boudhanath Stupa:

A beacon of Buddhism in Kathmandu, the Boudhanath Stupa is an imposing structure that commands attention with its colossal mandala. As one of the largest stupas in the world, it serves as a focal point for Tibetan Buddhism in Nepal. The stupa's whitewashed dome is adorned with prayer flags, while the all-seeing eyes of the Buddha gaze serenely in all four cardinal directions. Pilgrims and visitors alike circumambulate the stupa, spinning prayer wheels and chanting mantras, creating a rhythmic and meditative atmosphere. The surrounding area is dotted with monasteries, shops selling traditional Tibetan artifacts, and rooftop cafes that offer panoramic views of the stupa and its vibrant surroundings.

From here back to hotel, afternoon at leisure and preparation for the trek to Upper Mustang Trek.

Day 3 : Drive to Pokhara 860m -06 hours on road.

An exciting morning and interesting day, transfer to a private coach or in a regular Tourist Bus for drive to Pokhara. 

Traveling overland is interesting to observe the country’s rural farm life, as the drive leads beyond Kathmandu valley. Facing views of snow peaks along the drive, as the drive reach low warm farm villages and towns. The main highway follows Trisuli River for few hours, then heads west with great views of Manaslu and Annapurna Himalayas. Then finally ending the journey at beautiful city of Pokhara where all good hotels located by the serene Phewa lake side. 

(Options by air to Pokhara from Kathmandu a short half hour flight)

Day 4 : Fly to Jomsom 2,715 and trek to Kagbeni 2, 807 m-04 hrs.

Having early breakfast transfer to Pokhara airport for scenic, short flight to Jomsom. Enjoy the flight in a smaller aircraft Twin Otter or Dornier, facing close views of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Himalayan peaks. As the plane makes landing at Jomsom small airport. Jomsom a large town and headquarters of Mustang district. At the airport received by our trekking staff and guide, after a short refreshing stop at Jomsom. Walk starts heading to Kagbeni for first overnight stop around Mustang area in the comfort of a nice lodge.

From Jomsom, the trail leads on the Kaligandaki plains to Kagbeni on route to Upper Mustang. A fascinating large village of strong Tibetan influence, with time to browse around the exciting places of cultural interest.

Day 5 : Trek to Chussang 2,920 m - 06 hrs.

After a pleasant overnight in Kagbeni an interesting Tibetan style village, walk begins to enter the Upper Mustang. A short climb and then on gradual winding path, as walk heads towards dry country past smaller villages to Tangbe. 

Having short rest, walk continues in between grand canyons and red mud high cliffs to reach Chusang for overnight halt. A nice moderate size village surrounded by few surviving high altitude Populus and Willows trees. Chusang or Tsusang is situated on the confluence of Narsang stream and Kali Gandaki River.

Day 6 : Trek to Samar 3,290 m -06 hrs.

Start the morning heading towards a wild and beautiful country, after first overnight in Upper Mustang at Chusang village. The trail follows to cross a stream amidst broken canyons and windblown red mud walls and towering cliffs.

As walk continues facing super scenery of red eroded cliffs and wide canyon walls, dotted with high inaccessible caves. The trail leads to cross a small bridge, as climb starts for an hour or less to Chele village. Enjoy possible lunch stop.

Afternoon walk leads to steep climb for an hour to a ridge at 3,130 m high.

From the ridge top enjoy grand views of Gyagar village across a huge canyon, head downhill, with another short climb. As the walk follow on a windswept terrain to reach a small pass at 3,540 m. From the top a gradual descent to Samar for the overnight stop.

Day 7 : Trek to Ghiling 3,600 m-06 hrs.

After a pleasant overnight stop in Samar, morning starts with short climb above the village reaching a high ridge. From the top downhill to enter a large gorge past Buddhist monuments of colored Chorten. Painted in red, black, yellow, and white. 

All the colors made from natural rocks found around the soil of Upper Mustang wild country. The journey continues from one valley to another, crossing streams, with climb to a ridge at 3,800 m high. As walk leads down to Shyangmochen, a small settlement with few tea shops. After a pleasant stop, a slow climb to a pass at 3,770 m entering towards a huge valley. The trail then leads downhill to Ghiling for overnight halt, a lovely village with a large farm fields of barley that outlines the village.

Day 8 : Trek to Tsarang 3,520 m-05 hrs.

After a wonderful time staying in Ghiling, morning begins with a gentle climb to a high ridge, amidst a wide valley. Overlooking a Tama Gung village below, the walk continues uphill to cross Nyi La pass 3,950 m. The highest spot of the adventure, which forms the southern boundary of Lo and rest of Mustang areas. 

From the top descent to the junction of Tsarang and Ghami villages, the trail drops below blue, grey and red cliffs. Reaching a steel bridge to cross Tangmarchu River, then encountering the longest stretch of Mani prayer walls. The longest in Nepal, an exciting walk finally reaches Tsarang/ Charang for an overnight stop. An impressive village within maze of barley field surrounded by willow trees. Close to a huge five-storied white Dzong and red painted monastery, situated at the edge of Kali Gandaki River gorge. Charang village runs its own hydro-electricity system from the nearby river, enjoy the overnight in a nice homely environment guest-house.

Day 9 : Trek to Lo Manthang 3,780 m /12,402 feet -05 hrs.

From Tsarang / Charang, walk today's walk leads to our destination at Lo Manthang. The trek begins with short descend to cross Charangchu River, and then steep climb to a high ridge. Leading to Tholung valley, as our path diverts towards north with gentle up reaching a large Chorten, a Buddhist monument.

Marking the boundary of Tsarang and Lo, as the climb follows to a high ridge at 3,850 m; facing view of the former walled kingdom of Lo-Manthang. From the top a short descent to a stream that outlines the walled Lo-Manthang, a short climb to a plateau. Then enter the old kingdom of Lo-Manthang, at one time a city but it is more size of a town. On reaching inside the former walled kingdom transfer into best available lodge and guest house.

Day 10 : At Lo Manthang rest day with local excursion.

Enjoy the free leisure day exploring the mystical and exciting walled kingdom.Lo-Manthang lined with about 150 houses and several residents of the monks and priest. The houses are closely attached, apart from the palace and monasteries; which is at the bottom section in the vertical part of L-shaped houses. 

The school, health post and police post including Chorten are located outside the walls to the north of the gate. Apart from apparent squalor the people of Lo-Manthang, are prosperous and maintains a strong sense of community.

The inhabitants of Lo-Manthang are known as the Lobas, of strong Tibetan origin, with strong trade-link with Tibet. But since the Chinese annexed Tibet the trade was disrupted. Most salt and wool trade passed through Lo-Manthang to Tibet border and vice-versa, which, brought a substantial amount of economy to the Lobas of Lo-Manthang.

The Mustang king/ Raja's palace stands an imposing four-storied building in the center of Lo-Manthang. It is the home of the present and late Raja, Jigme Parbal Bista, and the Rani (queen), who is from the noble family of Shigatse near Lhasa, Tibet. Tour takes you to visit its famous monasteries of great religious and cultural interest, at Lo-Manthang. A great colorful festival takes place every year called Tiji, held in the month of May as per Buddhism calendar. 

Day 11 : Trek to Drakmar 3, 810 m-05 hrs.

After an amazing and marvelous time enjoying the two overnights in Lo-Manthang. Return journey leads on the same route for few hours, then climb to Marang village. From here the route leads west on an old trail to Drakmar village for overnight stop.

Day 12 : Trek to Ghiling 3,806 m - 06 hrs.

Enjoy the village farm activities at Drakmar, the walk follows to a longest and exciting series of Mani prayer walls. The trail leads to a bridge over Ghami Khola to reach Ghami village, from here few hours walks heading south to Ghiling for overnight stop.

Day 13 : Trek to Chusang / Tsusang 3,050 m - 05 hrs.

On leaving Ghiling and its nice pleasant lodge, morning a gradual climb to Syangboche village. Then climb to a small pass of Yamda-La 3,860 m high, facing views of snow-capped peaks. Overlooking Mt. Dhaulagiri and Nilgiris peaks, from here descent leads to Bhena and Samar village. The walk continues to cross a stream, then reaching Chusang village for overnight stop, after walking past Gyakar and Chele villages. 

Day 14 : Trek to Jomsom 2, 715 m - 06 hours.

From Chusang, our last day walk leads on moderate windswept terrain trails towards Kaligandaki River. After few hours of good walk reaches Kagbeni for possible lunch stop. Afternoon walk leads on a wide Kaligandaki River bank and then finally the trek ends reaching Jomsom town. Enjoy the last overnight around Mustang areas in the comfort of good hotels and lodge. Jomsom and Lower Mustang areas is inhabited by Thakali, practice Buddhism religion and culture.

Day 15 : Fly to Pokhara and transfer to respective hotels.

From Jomsom morning fly to Pokhara, a scenic panoramic flight of less than half hour facing exciting views of rolling hills and snow peaks of Annapurna Himalayas. As the small aircraft lands at Pokhara airport, then transfer to respective hotels by the serene Phewa Lake side, where all good hotels located.

Rest of the day enjoy individual activities, Pokhara an amazing city offers various exciting adventure sports activities. From boating, Paragliding, Ultra-Light flight to Zip Line/ Flyer and much more. 

Day 16 : Drive to Kathmandu and transfer to hotel.

Depart from the hotel in Pokhara, for interesting overland journey back to Kathmandu on the same scenic highway. On reaching the hotel in Kathmandu by late afternoon, rest of day free for individual activities and shopping souvenirs. 

(Option for short flight of half hour to Kathmandu from Pokhara)

Day 17 : International departure for homeward bound.

Last day in Nepal and at Kathmandu, get ready for final departure as per your international flight time. Himalayan Forever Trek guide and staff transfer you to the airport. Bidding farewell to the guide and staff as you depart for homeward bound flight, after a wonderful experience to Upper Mustang Trek.


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