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Upper Mustang Trek - The Last Forbidden Kingdom Of Nepal

Upper Mustang Trek - The Last Forbidden Kingdom Of Nepal

Trip Facts:

Destination
Nepal
Group Size
Max People: 02-12
Region
Mustang
Trip Duration
15 Days
Activities
Trekking
Culture
Tibetan
Meals
B/B in KTM & Pokhara full board (B/L/D) during trekking
Accommodation
Hotel / Lodge
Max Elevation
3.810m
Best Month
Spring / Autumn
Trip Grade
Medium
Trek Starts / Ends
Kathmandu
Transportation
Private/Local Vehicle / Flight

Overview

The Upper Mustang Trek offers a unique adventure into the once-forbidden kingdom of Mustang, Nepal. Known as the former Kingdom of Lo, Mustang derives its name from the Tibetan "mun tan," meaning "fertile plain." This remote area, rich in traditional Tibetan culture, has become an exciting travel destination. Despite Mustang's status as a kingdom ending in 2008 when Nepal became a republic, it still preserves the last authentic remnants of Tibetan culture. The region's windswept mountains and ancient trade routes, particularly those used for salt in the 15th century, offer a glimpse into a bygone era. The landscape features dramatic terrain, including one of the world’s deepest gorges in the southern Mustang District, which spans from the Kali Gandaki River at 2,750 meters to Khamjung Himal at 6,700 meters.

Nestled beyond the Himalayas, Upper Mustang is a land of unique natural beauty and profound cultural significance. The trek to Upper Mustang is an adventurous journey into the mystical and restricted area of Nepal, specifically Lo Manthang, the lost kingdom of Mustang. Over 17 days, this trek transports you back in time, amidst a barren yet mesmerizing landscape. Surrounded by glistening snow-capped Himalayan mountains and arid hills, Upper Mustang stands out as one of the most stunning places in Nepal. The region's isolation has preserved its artistic monasteries, white-washed houses, green meadows, and fields of barley and wheat, creating a heartwarming scene enhanced by the bright smiles of the locals in their unique attire.

The trek follows ancient trade routes between Nepal and Tibet, offering views of naturally carved sandstone pillars and discontinuous moraine terraces. The trail is predominantly treeless and barren, with strong winds adding to the trek's challenges. As you approach Lo Manthang, the capital of Mustang, you will encounter high walls built by the former king to protect his kingdom. This journey is further enriched by panoramic vistas of Nilgiri, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, and other majestic peaks. The region's restricted access and the high cost of permits mean that only a handful of trekkers get to experience this less crowded, exclusive trail.

Your adventure begins in Kathmandu, where you will spend a day touring the city's significant monuments. On the third day, you will drive to Pokhara, followed by an early morning flight to Jomsom, from where the trekking journey starts towards Kagbeni. The trail then takes you through several villages, including Chele, Syangbochen, Ghami, and Charang, ultimately leading you to Lo Manthang. After spending a couple of nights exploring this mystical town, you will trek back to Jomsom, fly to Pokhara, and finally drive back to Kathmandu. This trek, involving 5 to 7 hours of walking each day on dusty and windy trails, offers a profound connection with the timeless beauty and rich history of Upper Mustang.

Mustang Tiji Festival Trek and Jeep Tour 2025 and 2026: 

Join the Himalayan Dream Team for the Mustang Tiji Festival Trekking 2025 and 2026 and Mustang Tiji Festival Jeep Tour in 2025 and 2026. This unique adventure offers a comfortable and exciting way to experience the vibrant Tiji Festival, famous for its colorful masked dances and traditional music. As you travel through ancient villages and stunning landscapes, you'll immerse yourself in the rich culture and breathtaking beauty of the region.

Trip highlights:

  • Visit historic sites like Durbar Square, Swayambhu, Pashupatinath, and Boudhanath.
  • Enjoy the tranquil yet distinctly different atmosphere of the Pokhara Valley.
  • Start your journey with a picturesque flight to Jomsom, the gateway to Mustang.
  • Immerse yourself in the local lifestyle and culture, heavily influenced by Tibetan traditions.
  • Feel the peaceful coexistence of Hindu and Buddhist faiths at the sacred site of Muktinath.
  • Trail through the valley of Kali Gandaki
  • The Kingdom’s main city Lo-manthang (3700m) near Tibetan border
  • Spectacular views of Annapurna, Dhaulagiri & Nilgiri Himal ranges
  • Visit Buddhist monasteries
     

(?) Customized Trip: 

If you're interested in extending your stay in Nepal, consider pre-booking a day's sightseeing tour in the Kathmandu Valley or a multi-day excursion to the Wildlife Safari at Chitwan National Park or Bardiya National Park. Additionally, you can indulge in other exciting activities such as an Everest Base Camp Helicopter Tour, White Water Rafting in the Trishuli River, or visiting the birthplace of Buddha in Lumbini. For more information or to customize your adventure, please don't hesitate to reach out to our office. Let the Himalayan Dream Team make your Nepal experience unforgettable!

Upper Mustang Trek - The Last Forbidden Kingdom Of Nepal Itinerary

Details Outline

Himalayan Dream Team will pick you up at the international airport in kathmandu for your transfer to the hotel. As a welcome you will have a typical Nepalese dinner with some of the staff members. Learn about momo's and Dal bhat and do not forget to try our typical Nepalese drink with great mood of cheers.

Food
Dinner
Accomodation
Hotel
Highest Altitude
1335 m

Start your day with a delightful breakfast at the hotel before embarking on a tour of Kathmandu’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Swayambhunath (Monkey Temple): Our first stop is the ancient Swayambhunath Stupa, perched on a hilltop, offering breathtaking panoramic views of Kathmandu. This sacred site is a beautiful symbol of faith for both Buddhists and Hindus.

Pashupatinath Temple: Next, we visit Pashupatinath, Nepal’s most sacred Hindu temple and cremation site. Here, you can witness and photograph traditional Hindu rituals along the Bagmati River, immersing yourself in the local spiritual life.

Kathmandu Durbar Square: After a delicious lunch, we head to Kathmandu Durbar Square, a historic site showcasing stunning Newari architecture. Enjoy a photo session with locals in traditional attire or Hindu holy men (Sadhus), perfect for capturing unique and memorable portraits.

Vegetable and Spice Markets: End the day with a visit to the bustling vegetable and spice markets. Capture dynamic street photography of vibrant colors, energetic atmosphere, and diverse faces, providing a glimpse into everyday life in Kathmandu.

Food
Breakfast
Accomodation
Hotel
Highest Altitude
1335 m
Walking Hours
5/6 hrs

After breakfast you will drive by tourist bus to Nepal's most enchanting city, Pokhara (200km). On the route we will see more of the amazing countryside of Nepal that offers greeneries, rivers, villages, farms and beautiful mountain sceneries. In the afternoon, we will arrive. The city is famous for its magnificent views of Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, Machhapuchhare, the five peaks of Annapurna. It is the starting point for all the adventurous trekkings. Pokhara is also called the city of lakes and has numerous beautiful lakes. You can explore the most accessible and beautiful of it, Fewa Lake during the afternoon -also by taking a boat. Explore, relax and dine by this tranquil Lake Fewa. You can even do some shopping during evening hours in the colorful streets alongside the lake.

Food
Breakfast
Accomodation
Hotel
Highest Altitude
822 m
Walking Hours
6/7hrs

In the early morning, we drive to the domestic airport and embark on a scenic flight across the Himalayas to Jomsom, the district headquarters of the Mustang Region. Here, we commence our journey either on foot or by vehicle, as this is the starting point of the Upper Mustang Trek and where you'll also meet the rest of the trekking staff. Along our initial easy trail, we are greeted by the breathtaking peaks of Nilgiri, Dhaulagiri, Tukuche Peak, and Dhampus until we reach Kagbeni, a typical Tibetan village marking the entry point to Upper Mustang.

Food
Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner
Accomodation
Lodge
Highest Altitude
2804 m

Our journey starts with the usual permit check up and then we are really off onwards to the riverbank of Kaligandaki. During this walk we will stop at scenic picturesque places along the sandy and windy trails. First we reach the village of Tangbe with its narrow alleys amongst white washed houses, fields of buckwheat, barley, wheat and apple orchards. From there we trek forward to Chhusang and after crossing the river head up till we see the huge red chunk of conglomerate , that once broke from the cliff above, and now forming a tunnel through which the Kaligandaki flows. We head on over small ridges to arrive in Chele.

Food
Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner
Accomodation
Lodge
Highest Altitude
3050 m
Walking Hours
5/6

Morning after breakfast, we leave the village and climb up the unstable pebble road and will come to a plateau. We keep climbing the gentle slope and enter an area with the big canyons. We follow the trail that cut out of the cliff and after passing the canyons we will reach a small pass. Then, we move to a gentle mountain flank and continue the slightly descent and will reach Samar village surrounded by a poplar grove. We will have our lunch here. After lunch, we descend steeply to a stream, then climb up and descend steeply to another stream, then climb up to a plateau. We keep climbing up the right fork to the Chungsi-La and countering through the amazing canyons until reaching Ranchung Cave whose large stalactites resemble Rangchung (self-arisen; ie not man-made) chhorten. The Buddhist saint Guru Rinpoche is said to have meditated here in 8th century during his traveling in Mustang. Himalayan griffons nest in the surrounding cliffs. After visiting the cave, we climb gradually past pasture to Syangmochen. Again we climb up to a small pass where there is a colorfully painted square chhorten. We will see a large valley of Ghiling spreading out in front of us. We continue descending to the right towards Ghiling, cross a stream and move on along the stone walls in the farm fields. Here is two ancient monasteries and big huge chhortens and we will visit in the evening. 

Food
Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner
Accomodation
Lodge
Highest Altitude
3570 m
Walking Hours
6/7hrs

In the morning after breakfast, we walk through the big village and climb up the gentle slope with shrubberies and will join in mail trail. From here, a long ascent continues to Nyi-La. When we cross over this pass, we will enter the center of the Mustang, which used to be called the Lo Region. We descend the gentle slope and go around the valley ahead towards the left. We will be overlooking Ghami village and we descend steep zigzag slope and will reach the village. We will have our lunch here. After lunch, we leave the village and cross a river using the suspension bridge. We climb onto the terrace and pass along the longest Mani Wall in Mustang. The effect of the erosion on the cliff ahead attracts attention by its strange forms and the varieties of colors such as red, blue, white, etc. it is like a Mandala painted on the cliff. We keep going in level trail passing the big chhortens and cross a stream. Then, we keep walking along the upstream through the terraced fields until reaching Drakmar.

 

Food
Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner
Accomodation
Lodge
Highest Altitude
3450 m
Walking Hours
5/6

Today after breakfast, we leave the village and ascend a steep eroded gully overshadowed and the route cross some alpine meadows. Now will come to a plateau and then, across a valley to a cairn. We climb to a ridge and keep descending until Ghar Gompa. It is also known as Lo Gyaker which means ‘Pure virtue of Lo’. Ghar Gompa means ‘house temple’ and is affiliated with the Nyingma Lineage. This is one of the oldest Gompa in Mustang. After visiting Gompa, the trail steep descends to a wooden bridge and climb up to a plateau. We keep walking along a grassy valley and come to a ridge. We will make our lunch break here. Then, we continue the level trail until reaching Marang-La Pass. This is a high pass in this course. Then, we keep descending a large cairn and come to a small ridge from where first view of Lo-Manthang City. Again we continue crisscrossed with herder’s trail until reaching Lo-Manthang, a medieval ancient Wall City of Mustang.

Food
Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner
Accomodation
lodge
Highest Altitude
3840 m
Walking Hours
6/7 hrs

Today, we will acclimatize and immerse ourselves in the wonders of Lo-Manthang, a historic gem located about 50 kilometers from the Tibetan border. Historically, it served as the central trading hub for salt and textiles between Nepal and Tibet, with mules still used to transport goods from Tibet.

The city is renowned for its impressive 6-meter high wall, which encloses a captivating array of cultural and religious landmarks. The fortified city boasts beautiful towers at each corner, adding to its charm and historical significance.

Key landmarks within Lo-Manthang include the Thubchen Monastery, the King's Palace, a museum, the Jampa Monastery, and traditional Thangka painting workshops. Approximately 900 Lo families reside here, maintaining a close-knit community that follows the Bonpo form of Tibetan Buddhism, marrying within their community and rarely migrating elsewhere.

Remarkably, Lo-Manthang remained closed to outsiders until the 1990s. Even now, access is limited to 1000 visitors per year, with entry permitted only through authorized trekking agencies. After a day of exploration and absorbing the unique culture of Lo-Manthang, we will return to our accommodations for a well-deserved rest.

Food
Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner
Accomodation
Lodge
Highest Altitude
3840 m
Walking Hours
3/4 hrs

In the morning after breakfast, we leave the castle village of Lo-Manthang and cross a small stream. Then, we gradually climbing steep sandy slope until Lo-La Pass from where we see the last view of ancient wall city of Lo-Manthang. We keep walking across the wide plain ahead with viewing the numerous caves on the terrace’s rock face. We continue the trail passing the big isolated chhorten that marks the boundary between Lo-Manthang and Tsarang till Tsarang Khola. We cross by an iron bridge and climb up until reaching Tsarang Village. We will have our lunch. After lunch, we visit the huge five-storey white Tsarang Palace (fortified palace) and the 14th century Gompa are perched on the edge of Kaligandaki gorgr at the eastern end of the village

Food
Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner
Accomodation
lodge
Highest Altitude
3560 m
Walking Hours
3/4 hrs

Morning after breakfast, we start our trek from our camp site and exit from the village passing huge chhorten. The trail goes a long gentle ascent until reaching to a ridge and after traverse the route down a rocky gully until reaching in Ghami passing again spectacular Mani Wall in Nepal. We will have our lunch here. After lunch, the trails continue steep up till Ghami-La and again a long gentle ascent brings to us on Nyi-La. Then, we climb down to Tamagaon and continue a steep set of switchbacks down a rocky canyon leads to a stream, then the trail climbs to a huge painted chhorten before rejoining the Ghiling trail near the ridge. We cross the small pass and descend to a Syangmochen.

Food
Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner
Accomodation
lodge
Highest Altitude
3560 m
Walking Hours
3/4 hrs

In the morning after breakfast, we walk short level trail and steep climb up until reaching Yamdo-La. Then, we slightly climb down to Bhena. After passing the hamlets, namely Yamdo and Bhena, a long descent start to Samar crossing small streams. We will have our lunch here. After lunch, we continue the trail passing the big canyons and we reach in Tsaile. After that, we steep descend to the Kaligandaki River and cross by an iron bridge, then continue the trail along the Kaligandaki River until reaching Chhusang and drive to Jomsom.

Food
Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner
Accomodation
lodge
Highest Altitude
2950 m
Walking Hours
5/6 hrs

After breakfast, we head to the airport for our flight back to Pokhara. This 30-minute scenic journey flies between the towering Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountains. Upon landing in Pokhara, our guide will take us to a lakeside hotel. There, we'll relax by the lake and reflect on the incredible memories from our trek.

Food
Breakfast
Accomodation
Hotel
Highest Altitude
822 m

There is a choice between a 25-minute flight to Kathmandu or, we start our 200 kilometers drive by tourist bus back to Kathmandu. In both cases you can enjoy the scenery, but from the car you will witness the beauty of Nepali nature far more better when you drive along the Trisuli river. On arrival in Kathmandu, you will be transferred to your hotel. 

Food
Breakfast
Accomodation
Hotel
Highest Altitude
1335 m
Walking Hours
6/7 hrs

After breakfast or lunch, depending on your flight time, we will transfer you to the international airport or if you leave by evening, you can put your luggage at the Hotel and enjoy the city one final day

 

Food
Breakfast
Highest Altitude
1335 m

Not satisfied with this itinerary?

If the above itinerary does not meet your needs, we can design individualized travel plans based on your preference and specification.

Service Included on Trip Cost

Cost Includes

  • Arrival and transfer to and from the international and domestic airports in Kathmandu and Pokhara
  • Authentic Nepali-style welcome dinner upon arrival in Kathmandu
  • Hotel accommodation with bed and breakfast provided in Kathmandu and Pokhara
  • All standard meals during the trek (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner), including seasonal fruits
  • Experienced, first-aid trained, government-licensed, English-speaking trekking guide
  • Permits for Annapurna Conservation Area (ACAP) and Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS)
  • Restricted Area Permit (RAP) at a cost of US $500 per person
  • Porters during the trek for luggage carrying (1 porter for every 2 clients)
  • Wages, accommodation, meals, gear, insurance, and medications for all staff
  • Round-trip airfare between Pokhara and Jomsom, including airport departure taxes at Jomsom airport
  • All administrative expenses and government taxes
  • Local transport as per the program

Cost Excludes

  • International flights
  • Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu and Pokhara
  • Nepal entry visa, easily acquired upon arrival at the airport in Kathmandu (USD 50 for a 30-day visa)
  • All beverages
  • Entrance fees for any monasteries visited during trekking
  • Personal trekking equipment, travel and medical insurance, helicopter rescue, and personal expenses
  • Tips for staff (guide/porter and driver)
  • Any other expenses not mentioned in the inclusive section above

 

Upper Mustang Trek - The Last Forbidden Kingdom Of Nepal Altitude Profile

Route Map

route map

FAQs

What is the Upper Mustang Trek?

The Upper Mustang Trek explores the former Kingdom of Lo, offering a stark desert landscape, deep canyons, and an ancient Tibetan culture largely preserved due to its historical isolation.

This trek is considered moderate. It doesn’t involve high altitudes as most of the trek is below 4,000 meters, but the terrain can be rough and windy.

You need a special Restricted Area Permit for Upper Mustang, which is more expensive than typical trekking permits, and an Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP).

Typically, the trek takes about 10 to 14 days, depending on the specific route and stops you choose to make.

The best time to visit Upper Mustang is from March to early November, with peak times during the dry and stable weather months of May, June, and September.

No, independent trekking is not allowed in Upper Mustang. You must be part of an organized group with a registered guide.

Key highlights include the walled city of Lo Manthang, ancient monasteries like Lo Gekar and Thubchen, stunning views of Nilgiri and Dhaulagiri, and the Tiji Festival in May.

Accommodations are generally basic teahouses. Facilities are simpler compared to popular treks in the Annapurna or Everest regions.

The food on the trek is mostly simple Tibetan and Nepalese fare, including items like dal bhat (lentils and rice), Tibetan bread, and noodles.

Pack for varied weather conditions: warm layers, a good quality sleeping bag, sturdy boots, a windbreaker, a sun hat, sunscreen, and a water purification system.

The cost varies significantly based on the number of days, the group size, and whether you hire porters. Expect to spend anywhere from $100 to $200 per day due to the higher permit costs.

Respect local customs by dressing modestly, removing shoes before entering monasteries, and not photographing people without permission.

The trek involves moderate elevation gain, with Lo Manthang located at around 3,800 meters above sea level.

Engage in regular cardiovascular training like running, cycling, and hiking. Practice hiking on uneven terrain to prepare for the trek’s demands.

While the risk is lower than other high-altitude treks in Nepal, mild altitude sickness is possible. It’s important to acclimatize properly and stay hydrated.

Client Reviews

Perfect organisation of our trekking to Upper Mustang.

Belgium

Bart

star star star star star

23rd April, 2024

Perfect organisation of our trekking to Upper Mustang. Many thanks for Indira for making our experience possible. We had the best mountain guide Om with 3 marvellous porters Hera, Teak and Tom who helped us to finish the trekking. I would advise them to everybody. Namaste.

Mgrands

Belgium

Very well planned trekkings with good, helpfull guides through a beautiful country with lovely people.

star star star star star

23rd April, 2024

Starting in KTM-Thamel (nice accomodation and cultural activities). Very well planned trekkings with good, helpfull guides through a beautiful country with lovely people. Overnight accomodation was quite allright, and very good on the Mustang trekking.

Sanne B

Belgium

An adventure in Mustang

star star star star star

23rd April, 2024

We went with Indira's dream team to Mustang. It was an adventurous jeepttrek trough beautiful landscapes and long forgotten villages. The culture we met was wonderfull.
Our guide and driver knew lot about the region an did their best to show us as much as possible.
Also in the kathmandu-valley we had an amazing guide and driver who knew a lot about the history and culture the Newari.

Thank you himalayan dreamteam!

Silva T

Thailand

Wonderful trip to Upper Mustang

star star star star star

24th April, 2024

Himalayan Dream Team organised a perfect trekking to Upper Mustang for us. Super friendly staff, and a super committed crew. They were so helpful! Helping us with everything - from arranging our meals and drinks to helping us cross steep slopes and wild rivers. As our head porter said: "We are family now", and that's exactly how it felt. A big heartfelt thanks to Indira, Om, Thakur and the rest of the crew.

Heidi Kesteloot

Heidi Kesteloot

Belgium

Unforgettable Upper Mustang trip 2023

star star star star star

24th April, 2024

Last year, we embarked on an unforgettable Upper Mustang trip organized by the Belgium agency My Himalaya in collaboration with Himalayan Dream Team Treks and Tours in Nepal. The trip was impeccably organized, and we were delighted with the attentive care provided by our guide, Mr. Hem Loppa, and Khem Thapa. Their expertise and dedication ensured our journey was both safe and enriching. We are grateful for the exceptional experience and look forward to our next adventure with you.

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