Follow a trodden trail in the northern part of Nepal that leads to the last forbidden kingdom, Lo Manthang (3,810 m). The Upper Mustang trek is an adventurous journey to Lo Manthang, an ancient Buddhist kingdom that was forbidden and isolated from the rest of the world till 1992. This trek explores the trans-Himalayan region in the rain shadow of Mt. Dhaulagiri (8,167 m) and Mt. Annapurna (8,091 m).
Unlike the famous treks- Everest base camp and Annapurna circuit, the Upper Mustang trek in Nepal presents arid landscapes, medieval relics, centuries-old monasteries, sky caves, deep gorges, and Tibetan Buddhist cultural heritage. As the region was long protected, the natives have evolved within their own distinctive culture and beliefs.
Upper Mustang is the driest region in Nepal and therefore offers extraordinary landscapes. The views lean toward barren hills, impressive rock formations, vast meadows, barely fields, and canyons. It is much more brown and gray than hundreds of shades of green. Snow-capped mountains like Nilgiri (7,061 m), Annapurna (8,091 m), Dhaulagiri (8,167 m), Hiunchuli (6,441 m), Fishtail (6,993 m), and many others are seen during the trek.
Upper Mustang has a long-lost connection to Tibet. If we have to turn the pages and go way back in time, then it is believed that Lo was once part of the Ngari area of Tibet and became part of the Malla empire of Nepal by the 14th century. Given this link, the locals have a huge resemblance to Tibetan culture, language, and norms. Lopas and Thakalis are the early settlers of the Mustang region.
The locals along the Upper Mustang trek route are very humble and welcoming. Both geographically and culturally, the Upper Mustang trek will leave you in awe. Once the Upper Mustang got opened to the rest of the world, the Nepal government made it a restricted area to preserve the natural wonders and the rich Tibetan Buddhism culture.
Today, trekking to Upper Mustang is a rare privilege that only a handful of travelers get. No solo travelers are allowed to enter Upper Mustang by themselves or with an independant guide. You can only do the Upper Mustang trekking with a registered local Nepali trekking company like us.
Upper Mustang trek itinerary brief
The 16 days Upper Mustang trek starts from Kathmandu. You drive to Pokhara and take a short flight to Jomsom (2,720 m), the trailhead. Following the arid Kali Gandaki valley, you will ascend to Kagbeni (2,847 m) and walk through Chuksang village before reaching Chele (3,050 m). The trail goes through the steep canyon to Ekle Bhatti and crosses Taklam La (3,625 m) & Samar village on the way to Syanbochen (3,050 m).
From Syanboche, cross two major passes, Yamda La (3,845 m) and Nyi La (4,015 m), to reach Ghami (3,520 m). The trail further descends to Ghami Khola and crosses a suspension bridge climb to Charang La pass (3,700 m). The Charang village (3,505 m) is situated at the top of Charang Chu canyon. The next day, ascend to Lo La pass (3,950 m) and walk past a series of mani walls to Lo Manthang (3,810 m).
We’ll spend a couple of nights in Lo Manthang. On the way back, stop at a 100 years old monastery called Ghar gompa in Gyakar village. Trekking through Drakmar retraces the trail back to Jomsom, where the trek ends. You will then commute to Kathmandu and fly back to your home.
The Upper Mustang trek is moderately challenging. This trek best fits trekkers who have previous trekking experience and can walk six hours a day. The mountainous, offbeat terrain crosses a series of passes above 3,500 meters before reaching Lo Manthang. The trekkers have to be fit to complete the Upper Mustang trek. The trail constantly ascends and descends, demanding the travelers have stamina and strength to keep going.
If we take the famous trekking routes of Nepal into consideration, the Upper Mustang trek 16 days has relatively less altitude gain. The highest village you will reach during the trek is Lo Manthang, at 3,810 meters. Likewise, the trail crosses the Nyi La pass at 4,015 meters. However, the isolation of the region and the harsh dry environment make the trail difficult.
The steep uphill climbs are tough, and there are many rocky narrow foothill sections that will surely increase your heartbeat. The accommodation and meals facility along the Upper Mustang trail is not that great, so you will be testing your endurance to survive in less and unfamiliar options.
Altitude Sickness (Acute Mountain Sickness)
The risk of altitude sickness makes the Upper Mustang trek a little tricky. Thankfully, this trek does not see a drastic change in elevation or go beyond 4,500 meters, so the chances are quite minimal. In case you get symptoms of altitude sickness, our mountain guide will give you first aid and take preventive measures into action. You have to understand we cannot promise a complete altitude sickness risk-free venture. However, we'll do our best to avoid it during the trek.
Be aware of symptoms like headaches, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, difficulty in breathing, and insomnia. These are early indications that your body is not acclimatized, and you may get acute mountain sickness. Inform your guide if you see these symptoms or feel any discomfort on the way. Keep yourself hydrated and maintain your pace.
To prepare for the Upper Mustang trek 16 days, we recommend you do regular walks and if possible, add a backpack weighing 5 kg. Have at least 3 to 4 weeks on hand to prepare yourself physically and pack. You can do day hikes around your city. Involve cardio activities like running, swimming, cycling, etc, to build your stamina. Do not wear a brand new pair of trekking boots in the mountains. Instead, buy it a few weeks ago and get used to it.
Upper Mustang trek 2023 booking
Only a handful of permits are issued every year for Upper Mustang trekking. If you wish to do this magical trek, then book through our site. Our Upper Mustang trek 2023 bookings are open. Our travel consultants will help you with the booking process and other obligations.
We have the best Upper Mustang trek price in the market that will not make a hole in your pocket. For more information, you can contact us anytime. Likewise, you can also customize the Upper Mustang trek itinerary with us.
Here are some other restricted area treks in Nepal- Manaslu circuit trek, Upper Dolpo trek, Makalu base camp trek, and Kanchenjunga circuit trek.