Upper Mustang lies in a trans-Himalayan region and is the former Kingdom of Lo. The historical region opened to tourists as recent as 1992. Lying close to Tibet in the north, Upper Mustang remains historically, culturally, and geographically close to Tibet. The region is marked as a restricted region for its sensitive cultural, archaeological, and historical riches.
It lies in the northern corridor of the Annapurna massif, which completely restricts the rain clouds from entering the region. Lying in the trans-Himalayan region, Upper Mustang enjoys touristic season throughout the year. Dominated by the mesmerizing view of Annapurna I (8091m) and Dhaulagiri peak (8167m), the scenery looks fantastic.
Upper Mustang Trek Grading
Upper Mustang Trekking is a remarkable journey into the Himalayas. There is a tremendous amount of undulating trail with ample passes ranging from 3,500 meters to 4,200 meters. Prior experience of trekking and sound physical fitness comes handy during this trek. Visiting Lo Manthang, Muktinath Temple, a Mukti Kshetra, and Jhong Cave remains the major highlights of the trek.
Is flying to Jomsom dangerous? Is there any alternative?
Although the flight from Pokhara to Jomsom is a trans-Himalayan flight, it poses less or no risk to passengers. Nepal’s aviation follows a strict modus operandi when it comes to the safety of both passengers and the crew. During bad weather conditions such as chances of rainfall or high-velocity wind, the flight delays until the weather stabilized. One must prepare to face delays or cancellations (in rare cases) when flying into or out of the remote Himalayan regions such as Jomsom, Lukla, Dolpa, etc.
As an alternative, tourists can take a road journey to Jomsom. A 155km long road journey begins at Pokhara and goes all the way through Beni, Tatopani, Kali Gandaki Gorge, and Marpha to Jomsom in Mustang.
Group size and permits for Upper Mustang Trek
Trekking in Restricted Regions requires a minimum of 2 trekkers. The special permit is generally shared between two trekkers. A maximum of 30 people can embark as a group in the trek to Upper Mustang. Trek Guide and crew must accompany trekkers in this trek. Due to the strict policy maintained by the Nepal Government, individual trekkers are strictly prohibited in the Upper Mustang region.
Special permit to enter Upper Mustang costs USD500 per trekker for the first ten days. One can trek inside the region for a minimum of ten days. Each additional day in the region costs USD50. Besides the special permit, one also needs to obtain the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) permit. ACAP permit costs USD20 per person.
How many hours of walking a day at Mustang Trek?
Upper Mustang Trekking classifies as a moderate to arduous trek. The standard itinerary requires a five to six-hour-long trek excluding lunch. It also depends on the overall fitness and speed of the trekker. The trek offers enough rest, acclimatization, and sightseeing to keep it entertaining. The trek begins early so that trekkers can reach the day’s destination on time before nightfall.
Is it doable in winter? What's the perfect time to Trek Upper Mustang?
The best time to trek to the region begins from March and lasts until November. One can enjoy the spectacular sceneries of the exceptional mountains and gorges.
Winter trekking is not recommended for Upper Mustang as there are chances of thick snowfall with the temperature dropping as below as -25°C. Most high passes remain inaccessible during the winter season. One must purchase necessary winter gear and equipment for winter trekking in Upper Mustang.
Tiji Festival is one of the most sought-after events in Mustang celebrated every year during May. The festival sees a large influx of both locals and tourists in the walled city of Lo Manthang.
Can we do this trek in the Monsoon season?
Upper Mustang is a trans-Himalayan region, which makes it accessible throughout the year. The region remains easily accessible during monsoon. Monsoon in Nepal lasts from July until September. Upper Mustang region lies on lee wind side / beyond the Himalayas. Hence, the region rarely sees monsoon clouds. It is one of the few trekking routes that remain accessible even during monsoon.
Why always opt for a reputed company with a professional leader for Upper Mustang Trekking?
Nepal Government has made it mandatory for the trekkers to book Upper Mustang trips with only national and licensed trek agencies. Booking with a local, reputed company makes the entire trek a hassle-free experience in terms of issuing permits, and booking hotels, flights, and transportation. A reputed company like Alpine Eco Trek is more likely to assist you in the time of crisis by liaising with local government bodies and appropriate agencies. Booking your trip with reputed companies assures quality service at a very competitive price.
Do I need to do the necessary groundwork for Upper Mustang Trekking?
Upper Mustang Trek is a moderate trek because of the undulating valley trail that gets fashioned by series of streams along the way. The trekkers with weak ankles or knees and heart or lung problems must seek obligatory physician’s advice before embarking on the trek. Alpine Eco Trek’s itinerary makes every challenging trek a less exhausting experience. As for the preparation for the trek, trekkers can indulge in different cardio workouts and endurance building exercises.
Is there any way to customize Upper Mustang Trekking?
The trek itinerary is customizable as per the convenience of the trekker. One can choose to customize the trip according to time in hand, the level of fitness, and the budget. At Alpine Eco Trek, we make sure that you are comfortable with the itinerary. We also provide alternative options like pony trek along with trekking in Upper Mustang.
In Mustang Trek, what about charging facilities and hot showers?
There is a limited supply of hydroelectricity in most parts of Upper Mustang. The electronic device charging privilege isn't available around the Mustang trek. The high-velocity wind in the Mustang valley often cuts off the hydropower. Many teahouses have solar charging facilities as an alternative. However, it may not be a reliable source of energy. The trekkers must carry extra batteries or fully charged power banks along the trek.
A hot shower facility is available in lodges by solar energy, fire chimney, or liquid petroleum gas. Most lodges equipped with solar panels offer hot shower at a cheaper price, but it may not be available throughout the trek.
What if I am very slow in a group?
It doesn’t pose any problem. Other than the group leader, each person in the group gets an assistant guide. The group is generally classified into lots, and each lot gets an assistance guide. The group leader takes responsibility for the slow group. Nevertheless, the group leader will counsel everyone in the group throughout the trek.
Accommodation during Upper Mustang Trek
Since the Upper Mustang trail began offering teahouse trekking only a few years ago, the accommodation provided in this trek can be pretty basic except in some villages. Alpine Eco Trek liaises with the family-oriented lodges with twin bed sharing facilities with common toilets or occasional rooms with attached toilets.
Despite being relatively basic with limited hydroelectricity supply, Upper Mustang Trek offers an overall comfortable experience. The trekkers can enjoy a variety of choices of meals ranging from local, national, to international cuisines. Alpine Eco Trek assigns an experienced chef to assist the lodge owner in preparing a variety of western meals for the clients.
Drinking water facility in Upper Mustang Trek
Alpine Eco Trek strongly opposes the use of plastic mineral water bottles in the trek for various environmental concerns. The staff will ensure to provide appropriately boiled water every morning and evening to the trekkers. The trekkers should bring at least two metal or plastic Nalgene bottles to keep water safe for drinking throughout the day. One can use warm water bottles as a hot pack inside the sleeping bag during the night.
Alpine Eco Trek suggests you bring a warm sleeping-bag and feather duvet jackets designed for high-altitude trekking. A warm fleece liner goes into the sleeping bag to keep trekkers warm and cozy at night. The trekker must purchase or rent necessary trek gear and equipment such as trek boots, walking stick, warm clothes, glasses, gloves, etc. We provide a duffle bag to help keep all the gears and equipment in a safe place.
Travel insurance for Upper Mustang Trek
Alpine Eco Trek strongly recommends trekkers to obtain an all-inclusive travel insurance policy covering each aspect of adventure travel. There would be hardly any evacuations or any health catastrophe in this trek. The trek guide has the necessary experience in first-aid and other medical emergencies. They have ample knowledge in dealing with any life-threatening situation. As a precaution, the trekkers must obtain insurance before embarking on the trek.
Upper Mustang trek is customizable according to the client’s interest. One can choose to customize the trip according to time in hand, the level of fitness, and the budget. Alpine Eco Trek assures ease in customizing treks for the clients. As an alternative, trekkers can choose to indulge in pony trek, jeep luxury safari, or semi jeep safari with walking in Upper Mustang.