April 27, 2023
ATM machines are generally not available during the Upper Mustang trek. Therefore, it is important to carry enough Nepali rupees in cash for the duration of the trek. It is recommended to exchange money in Kathmandu or Pokhara before starting the trek. Along the trekking route, there may be some small shops and lodges that accept credit cards, but it is advisable to carry cash as a backup in case the card machine is not working or there is no internet connectivity. It is also important to note that the exchange rate may be lower in remote areas, so it is recommended to exchange money in a major city before starting the trek.
Yes, Online payment is generally not available during the Upper Mustang trek. Due to the remote location and limited infrastructure, there is often no internet connectivity or reliable electricity to support online payment systems. Therefore, it is highly recommended to carry enough cash in Nepali rupees to cover all expenses during the trek. It is also advisable to keep some extra cash as a contingency in case of emergencies or unexpected expenses. While some lodges and shops may accept credit cards, it is important to note that this is not a common practice and the reliability of the card machine may not be guaranteed. It is always best to carry cash as a backup.
The weather in Upper Mustang can vary depending on the time of year. Generally, the best time to trek in Upper Mustang is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) seasons when the weather is relatively stable and dry. During these months, the skies are generally clear, and the temperature is moderate, with daytime temperatures ranging from 10-20°C (50-68°F) and nighttime temperatures dropping to around 0-5°C (32-41°F).
In the summer months (June to August), the weather can be unpredictable, with frequent rain showers and thunderstorms. Trekking during this time can be challenging due to the wet and muddy trails, but it can also offer beautiful scenery with lush greenery and blooming flowers.
In the winter months (December to February), the weather is generally dry, but the temperature can drop to below freezing, especially at higher elevations. Trekking during this time can be challenging due to the cold weather and snow, but it can also offer beautiful snow-capped landscapes.
It is important to check the weather forecast before embarking on the trek and to be prepared for any weather changes by carrying appropriate clothing and gear.
A 7-day Upper Mustang trek itinerary is quite challenging due to the distance and altitude gained during the trek. However, if you are limited on time and physically fit, it is possible to complete the trek in 7 days with the help of a private guide and a support team. Here is a sample itinerary:
Day 1: Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara and then to Jomsom. Trek from Jomsom to Kagbeni (2,858m).
Day 2: Trek from Kagbeni to Chele (3,050m).
Day 3: Trek from Chele to Syanbochen (3,475m).
Day 4: Trek from Syanbochen to Charang (3,500m).
Day 5: Trek from Charang to Lo-Manthang (3,810m).
Day 6: Explore Lo-Manthang and its surrounding areas.
Day 7: Trek from Lo-Manthang to Jomsom (2,720m) and then fly back to Pokhara and Kathmandu.
Note: This itinerary includes flights to and from Jomsom to save time. However, it is important to note that flights are often weather-dependent and may be delayed or cancelled. It is also important to acclimatize properly to avoid altitude sickness, so it is recommended to add a few extra days to the itinerary if possible. It is always advisable to consult with a reputable trekking agency and experienced guide for a customized itinerary that meets your needs and preferences.
The Upper Mustang trek in Nepal is a popular trekking route that takes you through the remote region of Mustang, located in the north-central part of Nepal. The Upper Mustang region is also known as the “Forbidden Kingdom” due to its restricted access until the early 1990s. The trek takes you through a rugged and arid landscape, passing through ancient villages, Buddhist monasteries, and rock formations. The trek offers stunning views of the Himalayas, including Mt. Annapurna, Mt. Dhaulagiri, and Mt. Nilgiri. The Upper Mustang trek is a popular choice for those who want to experience the culture, history, and natural beauty of this remote region of Nepal.
The length of the Upper Mustang trek can vary depending on the itinerary and the trekking agency you choose. However, on average, the trek takes around 10-14 days to complete, including the time needed for acclimatization. The total trekking distance is around 120-170 km (75-105 miles), depending on the route taken. Some trekking itineraries may include rest days, side trips to nearby villages and monasteries, or shorter days of trekking to allow for better acclimatization to the altitude. It’s important to choose an itinerary that suits your fitness level and time constraints.
The best time of year to do the Upper Mustang trek is during the spring and autumn seasons, which fall between March to May and September to November respectively. During these seasons, the weather is generally clear and dry, with mild temperatures and less chance of rain or snow. The spring season brings blooming flowers and lush green landscapes, while the autumn season offers clear skies, stunning mountain views, and colorful landscapes. However, trekking during the winter season (December to February) is also possible, but it can be very cold and snowy, and the trek may require additional preparation and equipment. Similarly, trekking during the monsoon season (June to August) is not recommended due to heavy rain and high chance of landslides.
The Upper Mustang trek is considered to be a moderate to challenging trek, depending on your fitness level and experience. The trek involves walking on rugged terrain, crossing high mountain passes, and walking at high altitudes. The maximum altitude reached during the trek is around 4,200 meters (13,780 feet), which can cause altitude sickness for some trekkers. Therefore, it’s important to have a good level of physical fitness, endurance, and stamina to complete the trek. It’s also recommended to acclimatize properly, stay hydrated, and follow a balanced diet to prevent altitude sickness. While the trek is challenging, it’s also very rewarding, offering stunning views of the Himalayas, cultural insights, and unique landscapes.
The maximum altitude reached during the Upper Mustang trek is around 4,200 meters (13,780 feet) at the Kora La Pass, which is the highest point of the trek. However, most of the trek is spent walking at elevations between 2,800 to 3,800 meters (9,186 to 12,467 feet), with a gradual ascent to the highest point. The altitude gain is gradual, which allows for proper acclimatization, and most trekking itineraries include rest days and gradual ascent to minimize the risk of altitude sickness. However, it’s important to be aware of the symptoms of altitude sickness and take necessary precautions to prevent it.
To do the Upper Mustang trek, you need to obtain a few permits before starting the trek. The permits required for the Upper Mustang trek are:
You can obtain these permits through a registered trekking agency in Kathmandu or through the Nepal Tourism Board in Kathmandu. It’s important to have all the necessary permits with you during the trek, as you may be asked to show them at various checkpoints along the way.
The cost of the Upper Mustang trek can vary depending on the trekking agency, the itinerary, the season, and the services included in the package. The permit cost for the Upper Mustang trek is USD 500 per person for a 10-day trek, which is considerably higher than other trekking regions in Nepal due to the restricted area permit. In addition to the permit cost, the cost of the trekking package usually includes accommodation, meals, transportation, guide and porter fees, trekking gear, and insurance.
On average, the cost of the Upper Mustang trek can range from USD 1,500 to USD 2,500 per person, depending on the package and services included. However, it’s important to choose a reputable trekking agency and package that suits your budget and requirements. It’s also recommended to factor in additional costs for flights to and from Kathmandu, visa fees, and personal expenses such as snacks, drinks, and souvenirs.
The weather during the Upper Mustang trek can vary depending on the season. During the spring months (March to May), the weather is usually mild with occasional rainfall. The temperatures can range from 5°C to 20°C during the day, and drop to around 0°C at night. During the summer months (June to August), the temperatures can be quite warm, ranging from 10°C to 25°C during the day. However, this is also the monsoon season, with heavy rainfall and cloudy skies. The autumn months (September to November) are generally considered the best time to trek in Upper Mustang, with clear skies, comfortable temperatures ranging from 10°C to 20°C during the day, and colder nights with temperatures dropping to -5°C to -10°C. The winter months (December to February) are cold, with temperatures ranging from -5°C to 10°C during the day and below freezing temperatures at night. It is also dry and windy during the winter, with occasional snowfall. It’s important to pack appropriate clothing and gear for the season in which you plan to trek in Upper Mustang.
The terrain during the Upper Mustang trek is varied and rugged. The trail takes you through a mixture of steep, rocky terrain, narrow gorges, and wide valleys. You’ll cross numerous rivers, suspension bridges, and pass through ancient villages, monasteries, and fortresses. The landscape is dry, arid, and desert-like, with towering cliffs and unusual rock formations. The highest point on the trek is the Lo La Pass, which stands at an elevation of 4,850 meters above sea level. The trek requires a good level of physical fitness and stamina due to the altitude gain and varied terrain. It’s important to be prepared for the challenging terrain and pack appropriate gear and equipment.
During the Upper Mustang trek, you’ll find a range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. The most common type of accommodation is teahouses, which are basic lodges that offer simple rooms with shared bathrooms. The teahouses provide bedding, blankets, and a hot shower (for a fee) and meals are usually provided in a communal dining area. Some teahouses may also offer WIFI, charging facilities, and hot water bottles for extra warmth at night.
In addition to teahouses, there are also some guesthouses and small hotels in larger villages, such as Jomsom and Kagbeni, which offer more comfortable and spacious rooms with private bathrooms, hot water, and heating. However, these accommodations are generally more expensive than teahouses.
Camping is another option for those who prefer a more remote and wilderness experience. There are designated camping sites along the trail, and trekking agencies can provide all the necessary camping gear and equipment.
It’s important to note that accommodation options may vary depending on the season and demand, so it’s recommended to book in advance during peak season.
During the Upper Mustang trek, you’ll find a variety of food options that cater to different dietary requirements and preferences. The teahouses along the trail typically offer a menu of local and western dishes, including:
Teahouses also serve a variety of hot and cold drinks, including tea, coffee, hot chocolate, and soft drinks. It’s recommended to bring some snacks such as energy bars, nuts, and dried fruits for the trekking days, and to carry enough water or water purification tablets to stay hydrated. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options are available but may be limited, especially in more remote areas, so it’s best to inform your teahouse in advance of any dietary restrictions.
The starting point of the Upper Mustang trek is usually the town of Jomsom, which is located in the Mustang district of Nepal. To reach Jomsom, there are two main options:
Fly from Pokhara: The quickest and most popular way to reach Jomsom is to take a domestic flight from Pokhara to Jomsom. The flight takes about 20-25 minutes and offers stunning views of the Himalayan range. Flights operate daily, but schedules can be affected by weather conditions, especially during the monsoon season.
Drive from Pokhara: Alternatively, you can take a bus or jeep from Pokhara to Jomsom, which takes about 10-12 hours. The road is rough and often unpaved, so it’s advisable to hire a private jeep or taxi. The drive offers scenic views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges and passes through traditional villages and towns along the way.
Once you reach Jomsom, you can begin the trek and follow the Upper Mustang trail through Kagbeni, Chele, Geling, and other villages towards Lo Manthang. It’s recommended to hire a guide or join a trekking agency to ensure a safe and comfortable trek.
Yes, the Upper Mustang trek is generally considered safe for trekkers. The region is remote and sparsely populated, and crime against tourists is rare. However, like any trekking activity, there are some risks and precautions to be aware of:
Overall, if proper precautions are taken, the Upper Mustang trek can be a safe and enjoyable trekking experience.
The maximum group size for the Upper Mustang trek is regulated by the Nepalese government, and it is limited to 15 people per group. This is to ensure the preservation of the unique culture, environment, and delicate ecology of the Upper Mustang region. The government also requires that all trekkers in Upper Mustang be accompanied by a registered guide, and permits are required for both the trekker and the guide. It’s important to book your trek with a reputable trekking agency that follows the regulations and ensures responsible trekking practices.
There is no official minimum age requirement for the Upper Mustang trek, but it’s recommended that trekkers be at least 12 years old. The trek can be physically demanding, and trekkers should have a certain level of fitness and stamina to complete the trek comfortably. It’s also important to consider the high altitude and remote location of the trek, which may not be suitable for young children. Ultimately, the decision to bring children on the trek should be made by the parents or guardians, in consultation with a medical professional and a reputable trekking agency.
Yes, it is possible to do the Upper Mustang trek solo, but it is recommended to hire a licensed guide for safety and to fully experience the cultural and historical aspects of the region. Additionally, permits are required for the Upper Mustang trek, which are easier to obtain with a registered trekking agency.
Here is a list of some essential equipment needed for the Upper Mustang trek:
It is essential to pack light and carry only the necessary items to ensure a comfortable and safe trek.
During the Upper Mustang trek, you will carry a small daypack with your essentials, such as water, snacks, camera, sunscreen, and extra layers. The weight limit for the daypack should not exceed 5-6 kilograms (11-13 pounds) as you will be trekking in high altitude and carrying a heavy load can be challenging.
The rest of your luggage can be carried by porters or pack animals, with a limit of 15-20 kilograms (33-44 pounds) per person, depending on the trekking agency. It is essential to pack only the necessary items and avoid carrying unnecessary weight during the trek.
The Upper Mustang region is located in the Trans-Himalayan zone and has a unique and harsh environment. The area is sparsely vegetated, and the wildlife is adapted to survive in these conditions. Some of the wildlife that can be seen during the Upper Mustang trek includes:
It is important to note that the chances of seeing these animals are slim, as they tend to be elusive and are found in remote areas. However, the stunning landscapes of Upper Mustang and the unique culture and history of the region make the trek a memorable experience.
The Upper Mustang region has a unique landscape with arid, desert-like terrain, and the flora found here is adapted to the harsh environment. Some of the flora that can be seen during the Upper Mustang trek includes:
The vegetation is sparse and scattered, and most of the plants are adapted to survive in the harsh, arid climate of the region. The flora is an essential part of the landscape and adds to the beauty and diversity of the trek.
The Upper Mustang region has a rich cultural history and is home to several ancient Buddhist monasteries, caves, and other cultural sites. Some of the cultural sites that can be visited during the Upper Mustang trek include:
The cultural sites of Upper Mustang are a testament to the rich cultural heritage of the region, and visiting them provides insight into the unique traditions and history of the area.
The Upper Mustang region has a rich and fascinating history that dates back over a thousand years. The region was once an independent kingdom, and it was strategically located on the trade route between Tibet and India. The area was also an important center of Buddhism, and many monasteries were established here.
In the 15th century, the king of Mustang, Ame Pal, united the various smaller kingdoms in the region and established the Kingdom of Lo. The kingdom remained independent for many years, and the rulers of Lo maintained close ties with Tibet.
During the 18th century, the kingdom came under the influence of the Gurkhas, and in the mid-19th century, it became a vassal state of Nepal. The Nepalese government imposed several restrictions on the region, which limited travel and trade. However, these restrictions helped preserve the unique culture and traditions of the area.
In 1992, the Nepalese government opened the Upper Mustang region to trekkers, and since then, it has become a popular trekking destination. Today, the region remains an important center of Buddhism, and many ancient monasteries and cultural sites can be found here. The history and culture of the region are an integral part of the Upper Mustang trekking experience.
Like any high-altitude trek, there are certain health risks associated with the Upper Mustang trek. Some of the common health risks include:
It is recommended to consult a doctor before embarking on the trek and to carry necessary medication and first aid kit. Proper preparation and precautions can help minimize the risks associated with the trek.
The Upper Mustang trek involves walking long distances at high altitudes, and it is essential to be physically prepared for the trek. Here are some training tips that can help prepare for the trek:
It is essential to start training at least 3-4 months before the trek and to consult a doctor before starting any new exercise regimen. Proper training and preparation can help make the trek a memorable and enjoyable experience.
The Upper Mustang region is a remote area of Nepal, and the trek involves walking on rugged terrain. There are no motorable roads in the Upper Mustang region, and the only means of transportation is by foot or by riding a horse or a mule.
During the trek, it is common to hire porters and pack animals to carry the luggage and supplies. Some trekking companies also offer the option of hiring a jeep to travel to the start of the trek in Jomsom or to return from Lo Manthang after completing the trek. However, the jeep ride is limited to certain sections of the trek, and the majority of the trek involves walking on foot or riding on a horse or a mule.
It is important to note that the use of pack animals can have an impact on the environment and the local community. It is recommended to hire porters and pack animals from the local community and to ensure that they are treated ethically and with respect.
The level of mobile network coverage during the Upper Mustang trek can be sporadic and unreliable. While there may be mobile signal available in some areas, it is not guaranteed to be available consistently throughout the trek due to the remote and high terrain of the region. Additionally, weather conditions may also affect the availability of mobile signal. It is advisable to check with your mobile service provider beforehand and consider carrying a satellite phone or other means of communication in case of emergency.
The level of internet connectivity during the Upper Mustang trek is generally very limited. While some lodges and guesthouses may offer Wi-Fi, the signal strength and reliability can vary greatly. In some cases, Wi-Fi may not be available at all, especially in more remote areas. It is also important to note that due to the high altitude and challenging terrain, internet connectivity may not be a priority for local residents and businesses. It is advisable to be prepared for limited or no internet connectivity during the trek and to plan accordingly.
There are several emergency services available during the Upper Mustang trek.
Horses or mules can be arranged to evacuate injured or sick trekkers to the nearest settlement or health post.
In case of serious emergencies, helicopters can be called upon for rescue and evacuation. However, it is important to note that helicopter rescue is weather dependent and may not always be possible.
Trekkers can also hire porters or guides who can assist in the event of an emergency and help to evacuate the injured or sick to a nearby health facility.
It is important to have travel insurance that covers emergency medical evacuation and to be familiar with the emergency services available in the area before embarking on the trek. It is also recommended to carry a personal first aid kit and any necessary medications for pre-existing conditions.
During the Upper Mustang trek, there are various souvenirs that can be purchased from local shops and markets. Some popular souvenirs include:
It is important to note that many of these souvenirs are handmade by local artisans and may vary in quality and authenticity. It is advisable to buy from reputable shops and to negotiate prices before making a purchase.
The typical itinerary for the Upper Mustang trek is as follows:
Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu
Day 2: Sightseeing in Kathmandu
Day 3: Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara
Day 4: Fly from Pokhara to Jomsom and trek to Kagbeni (2,858m)
Day 5: Trek from Kagbeni to Chele (3,050m)
Day 6: Trek from Chele to Syanbochen (3,475m)
Day 7: Trek from Syanbochen to Ghami (3,520m)
Day 8: Trek from Ghami to Charang (3,500m)
Day 9: Trek from Charang to Lo-Manthang (3,810m)
Day 10-11: Exploration of Lo-Manthang and surrounding areas
Day 12: Trek from Lo-Manthang to Drakmar (3,810m)
Day 13: Trek from Drakmar to Ghiling (3,806m)
Day 14: Trek from Ghiling to Chhuksang (3,050m)
Day 15: Trek from Chhuksang to Jomsom (2,720m)
Day 16: Fly from Jomsom to Pokhara
Day 17: Fly from Pokhara to Kathmandu
Day 18: Departure from Kathmandu
This itinerary is subject to change based on weather conditions, group size, and other factors. It is important to consult with a reputable trekking agency and experienced trekking guide for a customized itinerary that meets your needs and preferences.
The Upper Mustang trek in Nepal is a unique adventure that takes you through a mystical kingdom in the Himalayan Mountains. Known for its ancient monasteries, unique landscapes, and rich cultural heritage, this area remains largely untouched by modernization and tourism, providing a rare opportunity to experience a traditional way of life.
The trek starts from Jomsom, a small town located on the banks of the Kali Gandaki river, and follows the Kali Gandaki Valley to the walled city of Lo Manthang, the capital of Upper Mustang. Along the way, you’ll encounter stunning views of the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna mountain ranges, cross suspension bridges over the Kali Gandaki river, and visit ancient caves and monasteries.
The people of Upper Mustang are ethnically Tibetan and have a rich cultural heritage, with traditions that have been passed down for generations. The trek provides an opportunity to learn about their unique customs and way of life. The area is also known for its distinctive architecture, with houses built from mud bricks and decorated with intricate woodcarvings.
Overall, the Upper Mustang trek is a must-do for those seeking a unique and culturally rich adventure in the Himalayas.