A trek to the exotic lands of Mustang is possible throughout the year. Yet depending on what you expect from the experience determines the best time to visit Mustang, Nepal.
Mustang experiences four distinct seasons. Each has its own perks and offer unique beauty. Hence, you must find the ideal choice between what Mustang has to offer and what you expect.
The region of Mustang has two parts: Upper Mustang and Lower Mustang. Each of the four seasons has variance in the weather conditions and temperatures between the two parts of Mustang. Hence, each season in Mustang delivers a different landscape, nature and trekking experience.
Highlights of Mustang
- No expensive permit needed for treks to Lower Mustang.
- Comfortable lodges and tea houses
The trails around Lower Mustang trek have comfortable tea houses and lodges for accommodation. If you want comfy beds, art on the walls, good quality food and atmospheric buildings, then treks to Lower Mustang are ideal.
- Fossil Hunting For Sea Creature at 3000 Metres
Kali Gandaki river that flows along the trails of your Lower Mustang trek is home to the abundance of Jurassic-era fossils. You can find them on the banks of the river.
These fossils are curly, ridged ammonite fossils. Keep your eyes to the ground on your walks during Lower Mustang trek. You may find fragments of fossils or if you are lucky, you may find whole pieces.
- Apple pie and orchards at Marpha
You can stop by the village of Marpha to roam and explore the green, irrigated orchards. You can indulge in the locally grown apples and apple pie.
- Experience a Different side of Nepali Culture
Lower Mustang is rich in Tibetan Buddhist culture unlike the Hindu majority cities of Kathmandu and Pokhara. You can visit many old monasteries, stupas along the trails. You can see the prayer flags and Mani walls. The local people dress in Tibetan style clothes.
- Trek among a completely different landscape
Unlike the lush green hills and terraced rice fields of other parts of Nepal, Upper Mustang trails will be quite different.
The land is very dry. The only patches of green you’ll see are the irrigated areas of farmland around towns. You can also see numerous meditation caves carved into the rocky sandstone cliffs.
- Amazing Rock Formations
As the region of Upper Mustang receives less rainfall, the erosion of rocks has taken place over the centuries. This has led to some of the most astonishing formations of naturally occurring adroitness.
- Summer Trekking
Unlike most parts of Nepal, Upper Mustang receives no rainfall in summer. Hence, summer treks to Upper Mustang are comfortable, dry and have great visibility.
It is one of the perfect summer treks of Nepal.
- Forbidden Kingdom of Lo
Only opened to foreign trekker in 1992, a trek here takes you back in time. You can explore the well-preserved, ancient monasteries, caves in the region. The locals still practice the same culture and lifestyle that is prevalent for centuries.
Spring is the time when everything comes to life in Mustang. The months of March, April and May are spring season in Mustang.
For nature lovers, spring is the best time to visit Lower Mustang. You can see colourful blooms of the local flowers. Some of the popular flowers of the region like magnolia, rhododendron in Spring.
The forest is fully covered in red, pink, white, yellow flowers. It makes for vibrant pictures and memories. The wildlife of the region also come out of their winter slumber. You can enjoy your walks in the cool temperatures of 18-20 degrees Celsius.
These months are also some of the windiest months of the year. May is the windiest with maximum speeds of 9.3 knots.
After the winter slumber, the villagers return home and nature comes alive.
April and May are great months to cross high passes and climb small peaks in Upper Mustang. Spring is when you meet mountain climbers wishing to climb the high peaks of Nepal. The first half of the trail is full of energy and enthusiasm of climbers, trekkers. The temperatures during spring are generally between 16 and 22 degrees Celsius.
May is the time of the biggest festival of Mustang, ‘Tiji Festival’. There are treks specifically designed around this festival.
The three-day festival takes place on the premises of the former king of Mustang’s palace. The locals from far and wide visit Lo Manthang (Upper Mustang) to participate in the festival.
During the Tiji festival, the monks of Chode monastery perform cultural dances, dramas. It includes Tibetan songs, sword, and masked dances.
You get an up-close look into the culture and tradition of the once-forbidden kingdom of Nepal, Mustang.
Most parts of Nepal experience a wet summer unlike Upper Mustang. June, July and August marks the summer season in Mustang.
Summer is one of the best seasons to visit and trek to Upper Mustang. The day is long, warm and bright with great visibility.
Upper Mustang falls in the rain shadow area of the Annapurna range. Hence, it doesn’t experience a wet summer like most parts of Nepal. You can enjoy pristine weather and trail condition.
With less number of trekkers during this season, you can get your pick of tea houses, rooms to stay at. The temperatures are also at a mild 13-20 degrees Celsius during the day. The summer months have amazing visibility with little to no clouds.
You can enjoy the excellent landscape and mountain view at your own pace.
The rivers, wildlife of the area are at their best during summer in Upper Mustang. Summer is a great season to spot the exotic wildlife of the region like Pallas cat, Tibetan wolf.
Lower Mustang does experience a wet summer, unlike Upper Mustang.
The trails will be wet and muddy. Yet the monsoon is nothing like the torrential rainfall experienced in lower regions of Nepal. The rainfalls are short and sparse.
Be prepared with extra days in your trekking journey. You can encounter delays due to weather conditions, road blockage, landslides, mudslides.
The full moon day of August is the annual horse festival. The locals call it the Yarlung Mela. It takes place for 3 days in Lo-Manthang and travels downwards. You can witness the locals showcasing their skills in horse riding, archery.
You can also enjoy and participate in the local, traditional dance. There are also performances of traditional dance, drama and songs. You can witness the locals dressed in their finery enjoying picnics.
This festival also attracts a lot of tourists to this place this season.
Autumn is among best time to visit Mustang, Nepal. September, October, and November are the peak season for treks in Mustang. October is the all-time favorite month for treks in Nepal.
Lower and Upper Mustang
Autumn in Mustang has the clearest skies and amazing visibility of the surrounding landscape and mountain peaks. The weather is more stable. The temperatures across Mustang (Upper and Lower) is a cool 12-20 degrees Celsius.
You may have to book everything in advance during the autumn months. These are the busiest months for treks. Hence, you may not get your preferred rooms, tea houses if you don’t book in advance.
If you have extra days, you can enjoy the locals of Kathmandu, Pokhara celebrating some of their biggest festivals in autumn. Dashain and Tihar. The two of the biggest festivals celebrated with pomp in the lower regions of Nepal.
December, January, and February are winter months in Nepal.
You should have the right equipment, gears, and clothes to have a successful winter trek to Upper Mustang. The temperatures drop to 0-5 degrees Celsius during the day. It further drops during the nights.
Upper Mustang also gets heavy snowfall during the winter months.
Most of the locals migrate to lower altitudes for the winter. Only a handful of villagers stay back to look after the houses and animals.
Make sure to call and book ahead to ensure the tea house you have chosen are open for business. Or opt for camping treks instead. This gives you a more wild and adventurous experience.
Some of the high passes and small peak climb may remain closed for your safety.
Yet, for trekkers looking for an intimate experience of Upper Mustang trek, this is a best time to visit Mustang, Nepal. The number of trekkers of the trails is the least in winter. You can enjoy visits to monasteries, villages in peace and have private tours of different places.
Lower Mustang Treks in winter are beautiful with occasional snowfall. It snows around 1-4 times a month during the winter months. You can enjoy winter games with the locals in the area.
Unlike Upper Mustang, the temperatures are a cool 19-23 degrees Celsius. Most of the tea houses are open.
The tea houses provide extra blankets, warm stoves in the living area to keep warm. Make sure you bring all your winter trekking essentials.
Some Extra Tips
- The highest altitude of Mustang trek is 4230m. Yet the altitude can seem higher due to the arid air of Upper Mustang.
- You can do separate treks to the two regions: treks to Jomsom and treks to Upper Mustang. Else you can do a trek that includes both the regions.
- The best time to trek to Lower Mustang is Spring, autumn, and winter. For Upper Mustang, it is spring, summer, and autumn.
- For treks to Mustang, the weather conditions of Pokhara and Kathmandu is also important. Mustang treks are accessible through Pokhara by flight and road transportation.
- For spring, the best month to do Mustang trek is in April. You can enjoy nature in its full glory along with the energy and enthusiasm of other climbers and trekkers.
- The best month for lower Mustang treks in summer is June. The monsoon has yet to settle in. You can enjoy clear weather and dry trails till mid-June.
- Early September and November in autumn are great for lower and Upper Mustang Treks to avoid crowds and peak season weather.
- For winter, early December treks to Mustang are great. The temperatures are not as low and all the facilities Mustang has to offer is there for you.
- If you want to witness the rich culture and traditions of Mustang then the treks centered around the popular festivals are ideal. This includes Tiji festival trek.
Regardless of what you hear, decide the best time to visit Mustang on your own. Comfort varies from person to person depending on the season they are most likely to enjoy.
Mustang Trek is possible and doable every season of the year. However, the peak seasons for this trek ncludes Autumn ans Spring. Each one of them has something beautiful and unique to offer.
Indeed there is a generalized idea to the best time to visit Mustang, Nepal and you are welcome to explore the beauty of this rugged place.
If you have any further queries or questions regarding Mustang treks or treks anywhere else in Nepal, feel free to contact us.