Upper Mustang Trek - 14 Days

Upper Mustang Trek Highlights

  • You will walk back to the history of Lo Manthang after exploring the palace of king Lo.
  • You can walk freely without worrying about the rain as the region lies in the rain shadow area of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges.
  • You will have spiritual feel walking through many Gompas, chortens, flapping prayer flags, caves, rock paintings, and century-old monasteries.
  • You will catch a live glimpse of Tibetan influence on the everyday activities and culture of the locals there.
  • You will be proceeding further on the trip with the enticing views of Nilgiri, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, and other chains of mountains.
  • Breathe the spirituality of the Tibetan like people and monks with their prayer flags, mani walls, and ritual chanting. 
  • You will witness of everyday life and culture of the local people who live closely like their Tibetan neighbour.
Upper Mustang Trek at Glance
Durations days14 days
Max. elevation3770 m / 12369 ft
Trek Start/FinishJomsom/Jomsom
DifficultyModerate
AccommodationTeahouse

Upper Mustang map

upper mustang trek map
Click on the image for the map

The Upper Mustang trek winds its way to the hidden Buddhist world of the Kingdom of Mustang, also known as Lo. This remote trans-Himalayan mountain area borders Tibet and has a distinct Tibetan feel to it, both in its people and culture and in its arid landscape of high cliffs and rocks of unusual formations and colours.

The trek visits Kagbeni, the gateway to Upper Mustang, then on through a stark landscape in the rain shadow of the Dhaulagiri massif to Lo-Manthang, the seat of past Kings of the Kingdom of Lo.

Explore caves, rock paintings, monasteries, and gompa and learn something about the culture of this area. Panoramic views of Nilgiri, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, and others, are very much part of this exciting trip!

Within Lo Manthang itself a visit to Namgyal Gompa and Tingkhar, the last main village in the northwest of the area, as well as the King’s palace, brings a further cultural understanding of the area.

There is also an amchi (traditional Tibetan doctor) museum and school, where visitors can learn about this ancient healing art and how it is being adapted to meet modern-day situations.

A few hours’ walks from Lo Manthang is Gyakar with its famous Gompa. Ghar Gompa is over 1,200 years old, is dedicated to Guru Rinpoche, who travelled these areas at that time.

The Gompa is famous for its rock paintings, and the fact it is believed that if you make a wish here, it will come true. So make a wish at the Ghar Gompa, and hope to return again someday!

The trek is a relatively high altitude (3,000m to 3,800m), which is somehow intensified by the dry air.

While it is no problem for those born at this altitude to travel at speed, visitors will be more leisurely in their hike to avoid any altitude related problems. On average walking takes place from 5 to 7 hours a day and some paths are particularly windy and dusty.

But this trek into the restricted area of Upper Mustang, which in part follows the ancient salt route, is something that will remain in one’s memory forever.

You can send your inquiry via the form below.

Detailed Itinerary

kathmandu to Pokhara by car

Day 01: Drive Kathmandu to Pokhara
Maximum Altitude: 1,400m at Kathmandu/ 830m at Pokhara
Driving Hours: 6-7 hours

After breakfast, we set off early to drive to Pokhara. The road winds its way out of the Kathmandu Valley along the Trishuli River until the point we stop for lunch when the road becomes flatter.

On the way, we can watch rafters tackle the rapid on the river (your next trip perhaps?), and catch glimpses of mountains in the distance. On arrival in Pokhara, there are even more stunning mountains to see. In fact, you cannot escape the gaze of Machhapuchhre (also known as Fishtail) which towers over the city at 6,993m.

After checking into your hotel you have time to explore the lakeside area, boat on Fewa Lake, visit one of the many lakeside bars before dinner or simply relax.

*Note we normally use tourists buses which are to a high standard. But if you would like to hire a private vehicle please let us know.

Breakfast Included
Overnight in Pokhara

Day 02: Fly Pokhara to Jomson Trek Jomson to Kagbeni

Tara Air landing in Jomsom Airport

Maximum Altitude: 2,743 at Jomson
Flying Time: 20 minutes
Trekking Time: 2 – 3 hrs

This morning we get up even earlier to check-in to catch the short flight from Pokhara to Jomson. Sightseeing by plane! This amazing short flight takes through the mountains to the interesting market town for the Mustang area.

Set off through the town, over a small bridge then hit the trail proper to take an easy yet interesting hike to Kagbeni.

This afternoon there is time to explore the small and very unique village of Kagbeni with its walled passages and strange clay effigies decorating the walls.

If you like you can hike up the nearby hill to get a good view up the Kali Gandaki River to Upper Mustang and map out the zig zag trail that leads over the opposite hill to Dolpo.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner included.
Overnight in Kagbeni

Day 03: Kagbeni to Chele

Red Monastry Kagbeni
Red Monastry Kagbeni

Maximum altitude: 3,050m at Chele
Trekking hours: 7 hrs

After breakfast, we set off to enter Upper Mustang! The trail takes us along the Kali Gandaki River where the wind will challenge us as it whistles up the valley gorge. At Tangbe Village we notice how the houses are white-washed, set among fields of buckwheat and barley. Apple orchards also dot the landscape. Following a ridge, we reach the village of Chele.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner included.
Overnight at Chele

Day 04: Chele to Syangboche

Syangboche upper mustang

Maximum altitude: 3,735m at Darjori La pass
Trekking hours: 6 hrs

Today the hiking becomes a bit harder as we cross the Taklam La pass (3,624m) and the Darjori La pass (3,735m). But there are amazing mountain views and intriguing caves along the way to keep our minds off our hard-working legs. The trail descends into Samar Village from where we walk to a ridge and down another steep trail on to Syanboche.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner included
Overnight Syanboche

Day 05: Syangboche to Ghami

upper dolpo to ghami

Maximum altitude: 4,010m at the Nyi Pass
Trekking hours: 5 hrs

Today there is another big pass, the Yamada La, to cross (3,850m) as well as chortens and interesting villages with their barley fields to peek at. Trekking through forests we then have another pass to cross. Nyi Pass is 4,010m but from here we descend down to Ghami where we spend the night. Ghami is a large village for this area and is beautifully located and surrounded by fields.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner included
Overnight at Ghami

Day 06: Ghami to Charang

Charang upper mustang trek.

Maximum altitude: 3,870m at Charang La Pass
Trekking hours: 4 hrs

Today’s trek starts off over rough and sometimes slippery ground as we descend to a suspension bridge over the Ghami Khola. The trail takes us passed mani walls (stone-built walls with Tibetan mantras carved into the stones) and over the Charang La Pass (3,870m).

At the top of the Charang Chu canyon lies the village of Charang. This village also has a fortress and red gompa to the east of it. There is plenty of time to explore after lunch!

Breakfast, lunch, dinner included
Overnight at Charang

Day 07: Charang to Lo Manthang

Lo manthang upper mustang

Maximum altitude: 3,560m at Charang
Trekking hours: 5 hrs

Dropping down into a canyon we cross a river and ascend to the Lo La pass (3,950m). From the pass we get our first look at the historic and beautiful village of Lo Manthang.

This walled village is the traditional home to the King of Lo and is still the scene of many interesting and colourful Buddhist festivals. The surrounding mountains – Nilgiri, Tilicho, Annapurna I and Bhrikuti Peak at to the atmosphere of the place.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner included
Overnight at Lo Manthang

Day 08: Day trip to Chooser Cave

Chooser Cave Upper Mustang

Maximum altitude: 3,770m at Chhoser Caves
Trekking hours: 3 hrs

Today we get to explore some of the mysteries of Upper Mustang. A short trek to the area of Chhoser is the beginning of a day you will not forget! Here we find what is known as the Jhong Caves or even Sky Caves.

What these are five-storey high caves built into the side of cliffs. Researchers are still puzzling as to who built these caves and why. It is assumed they were used as burial chambers, hiding places, places of meditation and later, monasteries.

But no one really knows the origins of these amazing caves. We can explore some of these caves, taking a packed lunch with us so we can enjoy the atmosphere of the caves, lunar-like landscape and mountains while relaxing also. Then we head back to Lo Manthang were we overnight again.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner included
Overnight at Lo Manthang

Day 09: Lo Mangthang to Drakmar

Drakmar redcliff Upper mustang

Maximum altitude: 3,880m at Drakmar
Trekking hours: 6 – 7 hrs

Today is a longer trekking day but as usual, there is plenty of interesting things to see on the way! Gyakar Village is home to the century-old Ghar Gompa which has stunning rock paintings. Here you must make a wish, as is tradition. We have time to explore the gompa before heading on to Drakmar.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Overnight at Drakmar

Day 10: Drakmar to Ghiling

Ghiling Upper Mustang

Maximum altitude: 3,860m at Ghiling
Trekking hours: 5 – 6 hrs

There are normally very strong winds on this part of the trail so we start early in the morning to descend through a dry plateau and some agricultural fields to reach the village of Ghiling. Although a challenging and tiring day because of the wind, we get great views of Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri to compensate.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Overnight at Ghiling

Day 11: Ghiling to Chuksang

Chuksang Upper Mustang

Maximum altitude: 3,860m at Ghiling/ 3,050m at Chuksang
Trekking hours: 5 – 6 hrs

Today we pass through small villages, have time to observe how the local people live and take in the mountain views.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Overnight at Chuksang

Day 12: Chuksang to Jomson

Jomsom Airport

Maximum altitude: 3,050m at Chuksang/ 2,715m at Jomson
Trekking hours: 5 – 6 hrs

Today we say goodbye to Upper Mustang and enter the lower regions (or Lower Mustang as it is also called) of the district at Jomson. On this, our final trekking day, we will have lunch at Kagbeni and perhaps this time explore the little monetary and look fondly up the Kali Gandaki gorge to where we have spent the last 10 days – the Kingdom of Lo. Our trek has in fact, rejoined the Annapurna Circuit Trek as we head from Kagbeni to Jomson.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner included
Overnight at Jomson

Day 13: Jomson to Pokhara

Paragliding-pokhara

Maximum altitude: 2,715m at Jomson/ 830m at Pokhara
Flying hours: 20 minutes

Today we rise early to catch the morning flight to Pokhara. The mountains seem to have taken on a new meaning to us now that we have seen them from all angles.

After checking into the hotel in Pokhara you are free to enjoy the city and do a bit of shopping at Lakeside. With its vibrant bars and nightlife perhaps you wish to celebrate the end of your trek with a few drinks and a bit of dancing – Nepali or Western club style! Or simply enjoy the lights over Fewa Lake.

Breakfast included
Overnight in Pokhara

Day 14: Pokhara to Kathmandu

Maximum Altitude: 830m at Pokhara/ 1,400m at Kathmandu
Driving Hours: 6-7 hours

Say goodbye to Fishtail and the Annapurnas as we begin the drive back to Kathmandu. Catch up on your sleep on the way as you will want to join us for an end of trek dinner tonight! Before that you have time to explore Thamel, do some more shopping, revive your body with a massage or sip coffee in one of the many cafes and restaurants in town.

Breakfast included.
Overnight in Kathmandu

Difficulty Level of the Upper Mustang Trek

Due to the altitude and dry atmosphere, there is considered a challenging trek. While you watch the locals whizz past you at speed, you are working hard to catch your breath and wonder ‘why?’

Remember that they were born at altitude and like the Sherpas living in the Khumbu (Everest) Region the Tibetan Buddhist origin locals of Upper Mustang were born to less oxygen content and the dryness of the air.

Like all treks in the Nepal Himalayas, there are ups and downs to challenge you. High passes to cross, and steep descents to negotiate.

But then there are the wonderful mountains and the fact you are in the stunning Kingdom of Lo to compensate you.
As far as weather is concerned, being that this trek is in the rain shadow, you can do this trek almost year-round.

Although we don’t recommend doing it in the winter when the snow is deep and a lot of locals leave for Pokhara or Kathmandu to ride out the winter. What we really mean is you can do this trek in the monsoon (June – September) without fear of rain and muddy trails.

Like all treks in Nepal, we recommend you have a good level of fitness and put in a bit of extra gym or hiking time before you come! Work on both cardio and those leg muscles! And don’t forget to mention high altitude trekking when arranging your travel insurance.

Trekking Permits Required for the Upper Mustang Trek

Due to the fact Upper Mustang lies near the border with Tibet, it is considered a Restricted Area. This means that the cost of the permit to enter the area is high at $500 per person for 10 days, $50 per day thereafter.

This Restricted Area Permit (RAP) runs from when you leave Kagbani (on this trek) to when you re-enter Kagbeni again. Therefore on this Magical Nepal Upper Mustang Trek, you only need the 10 days RAP,

In addition, each trekker needs to pay $20 for the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP). This permit is valid for however long the trek takes.

Upper Mustang Trekking Permit Costs in Brief

Restricted Permit Cost: $500 per person for 10 days. $50 per day if the trek is longer than 10 days (within the Upper Mustang area proper)

ACAP Permit: $20 per person.

** Please note that you cannot do this trek along. You need to be a minimum of two trekkers travelling with an authorized trekking company.

DaysItineraryAltitudeTime
Day 1Kathmandu to Pokhara (Drive)830 m6 - 7 hr
Day 2Pokhara to Jomsom (Flight) to Kagbeni2800 m3 hr
Day 3Kagbeni to Chele3050 m7 hr
Day 4Chele to Syangmoche3475 m6 hr
Day 5Syangmoche to Ghaymi3500 m5 hr
Day 6Ghami to Charang3560 m4 hr
Day 7Charang to Lo Manthang3770 m5 hr
Day 8Day trip to Chhoser Cave3770 m3 hr
Day 9Lo Manthang to Drakmar3800 m6 - 7 hr
Day 10Drakmar to Ghiling3860 m5 - 6 hr
Day 11Ghiling to Chuksang3050 m5 - 6 hr
Day 12Chuksang to Jomsom2715 m5 - 6 hr
Day 13Jomsom to Pokhara (Flight)830 m30 min
Day 14Pokhara to Kathmandu (Drive)1380 m6 - 7 hr

Included

  • Local transfers for your international flight x 2 (arrival/ departure)
  • Local transfers for your domestic flights x 4
  • Kathmandu-Pokhara -Kathmandu Drive
  • Pokhara -Jomsom-Pokhara Flight
  • ACAP Permit and TIMS Card
  • Guide for 14 days
  • Porter for 14 days
  • Four nights accommodation in a Kathmandu hotel (Hotel Holy Himalaya or similar)
  • 13 night accommodation in mountain teahouses
  • 14 x set breakfast, 14 x set lunch and 13x set dinner while on trek.
  • Farewell dinner in Kathmandu
  • Staff insurance and necessary ground transport for support staff

Excluded

  • International flight ticket and Nepal Entry Visa
  • Personal travel insurance (Which should include coverage for trekking)
  • Lunches and dinners in Kathmandu, except the farewell dinner
  • Personal gear for trekking (Including any your may wish to hire in Kathmandu), any personal expenses (i.e. soft and alcoholic drinks, snacks etc.)
Expand/Close

FAQs

Is it safe to drink the water in Upper Mustang Trek

No. You cannot drink the water from the tap or streams in Upper Mustang Trek. Mineral water is not available on the trail. It is expensive to buy (perhaps 10 times more than in Kathmandu). You can use a water purifier or SteriPen.

Am I likely to get altitude sickness on my trek?

Be aware. Elevation on this trek will exceed 3,500m. The possibilities of getting altitude sickness generally start at this elevation. But in order to avoid this, as much as possible, we have designed the itinerary in such a way that it will give you enough time to acclimatize..

Am I at risk and how can I avoid altitude sickness?

There is no knowing who will suffer from altitude sickness. It does not follow that the younger and fitter people will not get altitude sickness where the older and less fit will. It is not related to (general) fitness or age. Talk to your doctor at home. There are prescription medications which help avoid the onset of altitude sickness. But above all, go slowly, listen to your body, be aware of any changes, and listen to your guide if he feels you are showing symptoms (which you might not notice).

What happens if there is need for emergency evacuation while I am trekking?

We will collect your travel insurance policies and details before the trek so that in case of an emergency we can coordinate with your insurance company and the helicopter providers for evacuation.

What about simple medical treatment on the trek?

First aid. On every trek we will carry a first aid kit. We also recommend you carry your own. Here is a checklist recommended by Karen Anderson of things you should bring. Vaccinations are not compulsory in Nepal but to be on the safe side we recommend you comply, where possible, with this list provided by again by Karen Anderson (medical doctor in New Zealand and friend and client of Magical Nepal).

Do I need to buy travel insurance before I come to Nepal?

Yes. Magical Nepal only provides insurance for our own staff. We recommend you buy insurance in your country. Note: Insurance should cover you for the altitudes you are trekking at (not all do). We recommend World Nomads.

Will I need to bring my own sleeping bag or not?

Yes, bring your own or you can rent it or buy it in Kathmandu. Renting a sleeping bag in Kathmandu will cost you $1 or $2 per day. To buy a new sleeping bag in Kathmandu expect to pay around $150 to $200 for one of medium quality.

Will I need to use crampons on this trek?

No. The trails are well marked. Unless you go in mid-winter you will not need crampons. Instead of crampons, carry micro spikes which are not technical, lightweight to carry, cheaper and fit any shoe size.

What happens if I forget to bring something with me from home?

If you forget something it might be extremely hard to find here. Please check here for an exhaustive packing list for (general) trekking in Nepal. If you are not a frequent hiker, you can rent most of the trekking gear in Nepal when you arrive.

Will we be using tents and mattresses on the trek?

No. There are teahouses along the trek. We will not need tents or mattresses.

Where can I leave stuff in Kathmandu when I am trekking?

Anything you don’t want to take on the trek with you can be stored at your hotel or in our office. We suggest you ensure your bag is lockable.

Who will be my guide?

We use local guides. On each trek our guides have been to the relevant areas numerous times. All are experienced, knowledgeable, flexible and authorized licensed guides with the Government of Nepal.

Will I need a porter for my trek?

Preferable. If you use a porter it has double benefit: you can fully enjoy your trek without carrying a heavy bag, and its improves the income of the local community.

How much can a porter carry?

20kg. On average a porter can carry 22kg including their own backpack. So, they can carry up to 18kg of your gear and equipment. We provide backpacks for porters.

Are your staff insured in case of accidents etc.?

Yes. At Magical Nepal we make sure all our staff are well insured.

I hear incidents when porters do not have proper shoes etc. Is this true?

At Magical Nepal we ensure all our guides and porters have proper gear, are well equipped and protected. This is for their own wellbeing and for the wellbeing of our clients.

You can send your inquiry via the form below.

You can send your inquiry via the form below.

Trip Facts

  • 3770 m
  • Jomsom/Jomsom
  • Demanding

Planning Trip to Nepal and Need Help?

Get expert advice for your trip to Nepal within 24 hours.
Get Started