Why should you do the Upper Mustang Trek?
Unexplored, rare trekking destination
The Upper Mustang region, known as the Kingdom of Lo by the natives, was restricted as of 1992. This was mainly due to it being near the vicinity of Tibet. However, after its demilitarization, Upper Mustang was open for visitors in 1992. So, the Upper Mustang area is unique and unexplored by foreigners.
Doing the Upper Mustang trek allows you to explore the unique Tibetan culture of the Lo kingdom. Various sects of Buddhism followed as per Tibetan Buddhism are evident here. It is quite unique to see such traditions practiced in Nepal, which also houses Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautam Buddha.
Experience trekking trails without risks of rainfall
The unique geographical location of the Upper Mustang in the Tibetan plateau keeps it in rain shadows. The place never received rainfall and is dry most of the time. It provides you with a unique perspective on the Nepali trekking journey. Tourists avoid most Nepali trekking trails during monsoons due to the weather. But planning and preventing treks during monsoon isn’t necessary for the Upper Mustang treks.
Unique and historical natural structures
The rare and ancient valley of Upper Mustang has many towering canyons. It houses eerie-looking red cliffs that occur due to years of erosion. Upper Mustang shows its history through its fort-like structured white-colored houses. You can find sky-high mountain caves that are centuries old. People used these caves for burials, and human remnants have also been found there.
Such fascinating natural structures and their use by people centuries ago make you question the civilization here. It also gives evidence of how old the place and the kingdom of Lo were
The difficulty level of the Upper Mustang trek
The Upper Mustang trek has a moderate type of trekking route. You have well-separated walking routes, so the hikes will be pretty convenient.
Even the highest altitude of the trek isn’t too unbearable. In our itinerary-based Upper Mustang trek, you only have to reach as high as 4230 meters at Marang La. However, many other routes that go through Teri La pass, Upper Dolpo, Damodar Kundra, etc., are more strenuous. Our route makes the Upper Mustang trek difficulty a lot less severe.
Our trek is also short, with 14 days, including flights and road trips. You do not need extensive physical training or preparation to venture on this trek. You can easily battle Upper Mustang trek difficulty with little effort, even as an amateur.
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Guides and porters
The Upper Mustang trek gets better if you have a professional guide to show you around this unique destination. The place has a unique blend of culture, and its history is quite fascinating. A local professional guide teaching you about the place as you explore will be a great experience.
Moreover, the Upper Mustang trek cannot be done solo; the entry point needs you to get inside in a group. So, traveling the area alone is not an option. If you plan this trip alone, having guides with you would be a great idea.
You can also be accompanied by porters who carry your luggage and simplify your trek. A porter usually carries around 20 to 25 kg of luggage for you.
We at Eco Holidays will manage guides and porters for you independently. You need not fret about hiring them or making extensive plans.
Best time for Upper Mustang trek
The Upper Mustang trek is possible any time of the year. But the trek is mainly performed from the beginning of spring, March, to the beginning of winter, late December. The regular Nepali trekking trails usually are best suited during spring and March. But the Upper Mustang trek has a unique take on this suitability.
The spring and autumn months are the best suitable for trekking trails in Nepal. The temperate weather and clear blue skies aid in its suitability. Naturally, the Upper Mustang trek is highly recommended during spring and autumn. However, the summer or monsoon are equally attractive times for the Upper Mustang trek.
The summer months are the best times to visit Mustang to see the vegetation of the Himalayas. The region stays dry throughout the year, so you do not have to worry about rainfall. The arid Himayalan vegetation in the Tibetan plateau will be a great observation.
Visiting Chhoser, monasteries, and caves during peak monsoon is popular. Horse riding in this season is also very popular.
The winter seasons are considered an off-season for the Upper Mustang trek. The second week of December marks the off-season, and the trails start getting empty. The temperature falls as low as -20 degrees celsius, and most tea houses close.
It is not recommended you do the Upper Mustang trek during winter. But it isn’t impossible to trek in the winter; you need a lot of caution and planning. The winter treks could be challenging but give you a unique experience. Snowfall in the area gives you a very enchanting environment. Views of the landscapes and mountains will be immaculate during winter.
Food and accommodation available during the trek
Local tea houses serve as the primary lodging option in the Upper Mustang trek. In such tea houses, you get twin bedrooms and shared bathrooms. Every tea house has communal dining areas where hikers can gather to eat and socialize.
"Daal bhaat tarkari" is the most popular dish on Nepalese hiking trails. It is a rice, lentils, vegetable curry, and pickles meal. You could also get mo: mo, a dumpling served with achaar(a spicy sauce), a specialty of Nepal. Another typical dish served in Nepalese hotels and tea houses is chowmein. You'll get incredibly hygienic cuisine that provides the energy you need for your hikes.
Permits needed for the Upper Mustang trek
Restricted Area Permits of Upper Mustang
You cannot enter the Upper Mustang area without this permit. The region above Kagbeni marks the Upper Mustang area. In the gateway across Kagbeni lies a checkpoint where trekkers must show their restricted area permit and passport for registration. You must be in a trekking team to pass the checkpoint; individual trekking isn’t allowed in the area.
The RAP costs around USD 500 per person for the first ten days. You must pay an additional USD 50 per day once you exceed the 10 days.
Annapurna Conservation Area Permits
The Annapurna Conservation area houses the Upper Mustang region among various trekking trails of Nepal. You ought to obtain this permit to enter the Annapurna conservation area. The Nepal tourism board issues an ACAP permit in Kathmandu or ACAP counter in Pokhara. It costs you just NPR 3000.
Trekker’s Information Management Systems Permits
This permit is not necessarily checked during our trip to Upper Mustang but needs to be kept as a caution. This permit is essential if you must drive to Pokhara from Jomsom.
Cost of Upper Mustang trek
The primary needs of your Upper Mustang trek cost comprise the essential cost. They include the cost of food, accommodation, transportation, guides, porters, permits, etc. These costs are covered within the 14 days Mustang trek package by us. You need not make extensive plans or research about such factors; relax. We at eco holidays Nepal already have a curated package that brings the Upper Mustang trek cost to a reasonable amount of USD 1765 for the 14 days trek.
The daily costs of our package will include guides, porters, and accommodations. However, they do request a small gratuity in exchange for their assistance. For your guides, porters, and service employees at lodges, you can tip about USD 10 per day. With limited resources, it is challenging to accommodate trekkers on remote Tibetan plateaus. Tipping the workers along the way would be a brilliant move.
Again, since we will be in remote locations, the electricity infrastructure there might not be the best. Therefore, you must get a power bank or solar battery charger. For a small fee, electricity is sometimes available at the tea houses we stay in.
There's a chance that WiFi won't work on isolated routes. Even by chance, if you get wifi, the facilities won't be great, so you might need to purchase an internet data packet. Ncell and NTC are the two most often used options. You'll pay about USD 2 for a SIM card. You'll have to pay roughly USD 10 for a data package for the entire journey.
On the remote trails, there are no water heating facilities. If you need hot water or wish to take a warm bath, you can find a bucket of heated water in the firewood. Staff in local tea houses will accommodate such facilities. However, this will incur an additional expense of USD 2 to USD 3.
Additionally, you might wish to purchase presents and mementos for friends and family. You must take money out of your pocket to pay for such.
Essentials for your trip
- Warm, breathable jacket with hood
- Waterproof jacket
- Comfortable trekking pants that are windproof and waterproof
- Comfortable trekking shorts that are windproof and waterproof
- Warm thermal trousers
- A full-sleeved cotton and woolen shirts
- Head scarves
- Hand gloves,
- Waterproof trekking boots
- Cotton and woolen socks
- Comfortable sandals or slippers
Miscellaneous personal items
- UV protected sunglasses
- Duffel bags
- Trekking poles
- Sleeping bags
- Personal first aid kit
- Water purifying tablets
Frequently Asked Questions about the Upper Mustang trek
How hard is the Upper Mustang trek?
The route for the Upper Mustang trip is considered to be moderate. The walks will be very convenient because of the well-spaced walking paths. Even at the trek's highest point is not too uncomfortable. Based on our itinerary, you need to ascend only up to Marang La's elevation of 4,230 meters during the Upper Mustang trek.
How long is the Upper Mustang trek?
The length of the Upper Mustang trek varies based on routes, itinerary, and modes of transportation. The plan we have curated will take 14 days to complete the Upper Mustang trek.
Why is Upper Mustang restricted?
Upper Mustang was restricted due to its proximity to Tibet and militarization. It was also forbidden due to ancient Tibetan practices of preservation of culture and tradition of the place.
How much does the Upper Mustang trekking Permit cost?
The restricted area permit for Upper Mustang costs around USD 500 for foreigners. The amount applies for the first ten days of trekking; an additional USD 50 is charged for additional days.
However, the Annapurna Conservation Area permit, which is also necessary for the Upper Mustang trek, only costs USD 30.
Where does the Upper Mustang trek start and end?
The trip officially starts and ends with a drive or flight from and off to Pokhara. But the hiking part of the journey begins at Jomsom and ends at Jomsom.
What is the highest altitude of the Upper Mustang trek?
At an elevation of 4,230 meters, Marang La will be the highest point of the Upper Mustang trek.
How much does the Upper Mustang trek cost?
The Upper Mustang trek cost will include accommodation, transport costs, guides, porters, permits, food, etc. Factoring all of these, the Upper Mustang trek cost will be around USD $
Can I do the Upper Mustang trek solo?
The restricted area of the Upper Mustang region does not allow solo travelers. So, to be precise, you cannot do the Upper Mustang trek solo. You need to trek this region in a group or accompanied by guides.
If you want to travel alone without friends, you can travel on a package. Trekking packages will, as per requirement, make the team and take you to remote trails of Upper Mustang with their guides.
Can a beginner do this trek?
Yes, a beginner can easily venture on this trek. Although our trekking hours might be lengthier, the less short trekking route and stable weather make this trek very easy.