Upper Mustang trek is a fascinating journey to the once ancient kingdom of Lo-Manthang. This trek offers you the sight of unique blend of the Tibetan culture and the deserted landscapes.
The Upper Mustang trek itinerary takes you through the copper red parched valleys, eroded canyon and deep gorges. You will find the trails decorated with colorful prayer flags, mani walls and mudbrick houses.
The remoteness and inaccessibility of Mustang have preserved the distinct Tibetan Buddhist Culture.
It remains flourishing as it did many years ago. Mustang could be an excellent place to experience untouched Tibetan Buddhist culture. You can see its impact in arts, language, and architecture of Upper Mustang.
There are different itineraries for Upper Mustang Trek. Allow us to take you briefly through two itineraries at a glance.
Outline of 14- Day Upper Mustang Trek Itinerary
Day 01- Drive to Pokhara (900m)
Day 02- Fly to Jomsom and trek to Kagbeni (2,800m)
Day 03- Trek to Chele (3,050m)
Day 04- Trek to Syangboche (3,800m)
Day 05- Trek to Ghami (3,520m)
Day 06- Trek to Charang (3,560m)
Day 07- Trek to Lo-Manthang (3,840m)
Day 08- Exploration of Lo-Manthang
Day 09- Trek to Dhamkar (3,820m)
Day 10- Trek down to Syangboche
Day 11- Trek to Chhusang (2,980m)
Day 12- Trek to Jomsom (2,720m)
Day 13- Fly to Pokhara and rest
Day 14- Drive back to Kathmandu
Detailed 17-Day Upper Mustang Trek Itinerary
Day 01- Arrival in Kathmandu
You will land in Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu. We will receive you and drive you to your hotel. Depending on the availability and the number of people arriving, either a deluxe tourist bus or private car will pick you up.
From here, once you have checked in, you have a few options. Resting in your room and spending some alone time. Exploring the vibrant and exciting city on your own or with a guide.
Taking a relaxing massage, spa or hanging out at beautiful, cosy cafes near your hotel.
Day 02- Sightseeing Tour in Kathmandu and Trip Meeting
After a delicious breakfast, your sightseeing tour of the ancient city begins. A licenced and professional tour guide will be at your service along with a comfortable private vehicle.
The day begins with a visit to the biggest Hindu temple of Nepal, Pashupatinath.
Pashupatinath Temple: It is one of the most sacred Hindu temples. Pashupatinath gives you an uncensored look into the Hindu rituals of life, death and reincarnation. You can see open-air cremation of bodies and evening aarti (worship with fire).
From here, you will visit Boudha Stupa.
Boudha Stupa: It is the biggest Buddhist Stupa of Nepal. You can shop around or explore the many monasteries and temple on the premises. You can enjoy the gentle chanting of mantras and spinning of prayer wheels.
Depending on the time, you will stop for lunch in one of these beautiful places.
Swayambhu Stupa: This 5th-century stupa is one of the oldest and sits atop a hill. This ancient stupa also offers panoramic views of Kathmandu valley.
The day ends with an evening in the quaint Kathmandu Durbar Square.
Kathmandu Durbar Square: This was the home of Nepal’s kings till the late 19th century. In addition to the king’s palace, this square houses many Hindu and Buddhists temples as well.
At dinner, there will be a short brief on the trek to come. You can opt to do some shopping in Thamel after your dinner. This can include renting and buying any equipment or gear you do not have or need replacing.
Thamel: Thamel is a tourist hub lined with shops. You can get almost anything you need for your trek here. It is the perfect place to sip coffee, grab a beer or listen to live music and watch the shoppers pass by.
Day 03- Drive to Pokhara
After breakfast, you will head to Pokhara via Prithvi Highway. The bus ride will be around 6-7 hours long. You can enjoy the views of the western Himalayas on the way. The beautiful and a tad-tiring bus ride takes you to the beautiful valley of Pokhara. Pokhara is the gateway to some of the highest and beautiful mountains of Nepal.
On arrival, you will check in to the local hotel. Once here, you can choose from different activities:
- Relax in the hotel after the long bus journey.
- Explore the beautiful lake city in the night. The evening and nightlife of Pokhara is quite happening with local bars, cafes and live music.
- Boating in the beautiful Phewa Lake. Visit the temple on the lake.
You will spend the night here at the local Hotel.
Day 04- Fly to Jomsom and Trek to Kagbeni
Duration: 3 hours trek
After breakfast, we head to Pokhara airport (less than 20 minutes) and fly to Jomsom.
Jomsom is the district headquarter of Mustang.
The short 20 minutes flight has great views on clear days. You can enjoy beautiful views of the lofty hills and mountains during your flight. Close view of both Dhaulagiri and Annapurna from the flight is spectacular.
Jomsom is where your actual trek of foot begins. After checking out from the airport, you will start your 3 hours trek. You will trek uphill alongside Kali Gandaki river to reach Kagbeni.
Kagbeni is the quaint and scenic village and is your gateway to Upper Mustang. The village is by the bank of two rivers. You can see the majestic Mt. Nilgiri towards the south of Kagbeni.
You will spend the night at a local guesthouse in the village.
Day05- Trek to Chele
Duration: 7 hours trek
Today, the trek continues towards the east bank of the Kali Gandaki. You will climb through many ridges and reach north to the Tangbe village. The picturesque Tangbe village is a labyrinth of narrow alleys amid white-washed mud and stone houses. You can also see buckwheat fields and apple trees.
From here, you will continue your hike to Chhusang village. This takes around 2 hours. After this, you will cross the dwindling waters of Kali Gandaki. Then, you will climb up the huge red mass of Conglomerate. This fell from the cliff above and now forms a tunnel through which Kali Gandaki flows.
After crossing the Kali Gandaki Valley, you continue your uphill climb to Tiche Chele.
During these two days, you will witness the transition in culture. From Manangi culture in Jomsom, Kagbeni and proceeding to Tibetan culture.
Overnight at Chele.
Day 06- Trek to Syangboche
Duration: 5 hours 30 min
The trek goes along a steep barren land, alongside the copper red canyon. The copper red landscape makes Mustang unique.
You will hike downhill till you reach the beautiful village Samar. You can stop for lunch here.
On your way out of the village, you will pass by the 4 colored Chortens. The trek continues with uphills and downhills. You will pass the beautiful and sparsely populated villages, through another pass of Yamada La (4010m).
After a final descent, you will reach Syangboche. Here, almost all the tea houses look similar with whitewashed walls, flat roofs and wood stacked neatly around the perimeter of the roof.
You can also see the doors adorned with colorful curtains and religious symbols.
Day 07- Trek to Ghemi
Duration: 5 hours
Today’s trek can push you a little. You will trek through wavy terrains across two different passes. You start your trek with an ascend over the Syangboche Pass at 3850m. From here, you can view the spectacular landscape of Upper Mustang.
You will trek downhill to Gelling. You will pass through different chortens on the way.
From here, you slowly ascent to Jaite and onwards to Nyi La Pass at 4020m. Here you can feel the strong, gusty winds of Mustang along with the fluttering of prayer flags. After this you descent to a trail junction.
After a final descent, you reach Ghemi. This is a little village with a small chorten at its entrance. This is your destination for the day.
Day 08- Trek to Charang
Duration: 4 hours
On the outskirts of Ghemi, you will pass one of the longest mani walls (1000ft) of Mustang.
You will also pass a group of chortens on the way out.
After this, you make your way uphill over a pass (3,820 m). From here Mustang looks like a desert with barren hills, no vegetation or even signs of human life. Yet, you will discover this is not entirely true for Mustang.
The red-painted Charang stupa welcomes you to Charang. Further down, you can see the palace and monastery of Tsarang amid fields. The view is a feast for the eye.
A broad pathway leads you to the 2nd largest village of Mustang, ‘Charang’. Charang was the capital of Mustang before Lo-Manthang.
Day 09- Trek to Lo-Manthang
Duration: 4 .5 hours
You will trek to Lo-Manthang today. It is one of the major highlights of any Upper Mustang Trek.
You start your trek via Tsering Thupten Shedrub Dhargyeling Monastery. This old monastery houses 40-50 monks. You can explore the monastery if you wish to.
From here, you pass the Cherang river which separates Cherang and Lo. After crossing the pass Lo, you will reach Lo-Manthang.
Lo Manthang was the capital city of the forbidden kingdom of Mustang. It still houses King’s impressive palace. The descendants of the kings still reside here to this day.
It is the area where the biggest festival of Mustang- ‘Tiji Festival’ takes place every year. Once here, you can rest for the day or simply hire horses on lease to explore the beautiful valley.
Day 10- Exploration of Lo-Manthang
This beautiful mystical town of Lo-Manthang has a lot to offer. Some of the must-visit places are the Mustang King’s palace: It is a five-story palace where the king of Mustang lives with his family.
Namgyal Gompa: Situated on a hilltop, it holds social, religious and legal importance. It serves as the local courthouse in the village.
Tigkar village: This small village of 40 households is a beautiful and quaint village.
Jampa Lhakhang: House to a large Buddha statue and walls painted with intricate Mandalas.
Chosar excursion: You can explore Nyphu Cave monastery. You can also explore Jhong Sky cave. It is 2500 years old and has more than 44 compartments.
Day 11- Trek to Dhamkar
Duration: 7-8 hours
You will take the upper highland trail to bid farewell to Lo-Manthang. This gives you splendid views of both Lo-Manthang and Charang Valley. You can also see the snow-capped mountains in the background. On the way, you can visit the oldest Tibetan monastery- Ghar Gompa.
From here, you will cross one of the last passes, Dhi Pass at 4100m. Onwards you will trek to Dhamkar. Overnight here at a guesthouse.
Day 12- Trek to Syangboche
From Dhamkar, you retrace your way back to Syangboche. You can explore any of the landscapes you missed on the way. You can visit Rangchyung chorten. It is one of the most sacred places in Mustang.
You can see the prayer flags and small clay figures left by pilgrims who visit here.
Day 13- Trek to Chhusang
Duration: 5.5 hours
You will continue your trek back. If you want you can visit some of the attractions you missed on the trek like the Chungsi Cave monastery. We can stop for lunch at Samar village once again.
From here, we make our descent down to Tetang. This upper village of Chuksang lies between two hills. It gives you some escape from the fierce wind that Kali Gandaki valley is known for.
Chusang is yet another beautiful village you will spend the night at.
Day 14- Trek to Jomsom
Duration: 6 hours
You will continue tracing your way back on the trails towards the south. You will follow the trails to the village of Jharkot. And explore Jharkot Monastery, Tibetan Herbal Medicine Center and ancient fortress. This fortress was once a palace.
On the way down, you get great views of Nilgiri and the wide stretch of Kali Gandaki valley. From here on, you leave the restricted region of Upper Mustang and trek to Kagbeni.
You can feast on the delicious Mustang apple and witness the local culture.
This last night is usually followed by a night of dancing, eating and drinking. If you wish to, you can tip your local trekking staff tonight.
Day 15- Fly to Pokhara.
You will catch an early morning flight to Pokhara. It is a fantastic way to finish off your Upper Mustang trek. This flight takes you along the Kali Gandaki Gorge between the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges.
In Pokhara, you can choose to spend the rest of the day in the following ways:
- Booking a massage or spa session to rejuvenate and relax your tiring body and legs.
- Bicycle ride around the city.
- Boating in one of the three lakes- Phewa, Rupa or Begnas Lake.
- Rest day at the guest house.
Day 16- Drive Back to Kathmandu.
After breakfast at the guesthouse, you will take a bus or private car to Kathmandu. The scenic route will keep you refreshed throughout the journey.
In Kathmandu, you can choose to go souvenir shopping for your family and friends back home or just relax.
Day 17- Final Departure
Our representative will take you to the airport and will assist you with procedures there.
Highlights of the Trek
- A Flight to and from Kathmandu-Jomsom with views of some of the highest mountains in the world- Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges.
- Jomsom is a part of the Trans Himalayan salt trading route.
- Kagbeni village is one of the most beautiful medieval villages. It has closely packed mud and brick houses, dark alleys and imposing chortens.
- Kaligandaki River Gorge: The deepest canyon in the world.
- Mysterious sky caves in Mustang is a collection of some 10,000 man-made caves dug into the sides of valleys. The caves lie on the steep valley walls near the Kali Gandaki River.
Artefacts like sculptures, Buddhist paintings and manuscripts inside the cave. It is one of the world’s greatest archaeological mysteries.
Located at the height of 155 ft from the ground and are 2,000 years old. It is still a mystery as to who built them and why? Or even how people climbed into them?
- Tibetan Buddhist Culture
Best Time to Do the Trek
The Upper Mustang trek itinerary fits throughout the year. The best time to do this trek is the local autumn and spring season. These seasons have great visibility, slightly more stable weather conditions and cool temperatures.
But, if you want to avoid the crowds of the peak season, summer treks to Upper Mustang are great. Unlike most parts of Nepal, Upper Mustang doesn’t get rainfall during the local summer. It enjoys warm and dry weather and lively nature during the summer.
Winter is great if you don’t mind cold and camping. However, most of the tea houses in the region will remain closed in winter.
You can truly enjoy a snowy Christmas at Upper Mustang during winter. But most of the high passes of the region may close during the peak winter due to extreme cold weather.
Things to Remember and Tips
- Always choose an itinerary that has enough time to acclimatize to the changing altitudes.
- For those who are short on time and are looking for a challenge, the shorter itineraries are ideal. The 11-14 days Upper Mustang trek are a great example of this. Make sure you have your doctor’s approval and are physically fit to do this.
- Have enough local currency to last you throughout the trip. ATM’s and card machines are far between and are not always reliable.
- Some of the local monasteries, temples do have entrance fees. If interested in these, make sure you have extra money to cover these expenses.
- There are beautiful villages along the way. Have extra days to accommodate them if you desire.
- The Government of Nepal has banned Solo Treks to Upper Mustang. So, it is not possible.
The given itineraries are a few examples of Upper Mustang Trek. Depending on your physical fitness, you can increase or decrease the number of hours in the trek. You can even make changes to the number of trekking days. If you want to customize the trek, do let us know..
For further queries or questions, you may have of Upper Mustang Trek Itinerary or any other trek and tour in Nepal, feel free to contact us.