Mustang is a remote and isolated region in Annapurna that falls within the boundaries of Tibet, nestled in the Himalayas at 13,000 feet. Upper Mustang trekking lies north of Kagbeni which is the north-west part of Nepal and is influenced by Tibetan culture. Mustang was annexed by Nepal in 17 centuries. Lo Manthang is the capital of Mustang. The capital Lo Manthang (3809 m) of the ancient Kingdom of Mustang was attached to Tibet in the 14th century. Since, the Mustang region lies in the Tran-Himalayan part of Nepal, therefore untouched by the outside world or the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Lo Manthang is truly a medieval town with 14th century monasteries still active to preserve this magnificent Trans-Himalayan kingdom.
Vast and barren ridges extend to the northern horizon, making one feel like an insignificant dot on a timeless landscape. Despite remaining an autonomous dynasty throughout the centuries, Lo Manthang is a walled city with predominantly Tibetan origin people. With their unrivalled Buddhist shrines with cliff hanging Monasteries, Thankas print, Mandalas and deities and cave dwelling people. Because of its isolation, the Kingdom of Mustang remains a thriving testament to the Red Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism and is the only surviving continuous Tibetan monarchy. The history of Tibet itself is an imbroglio of warring sects, involving the sublimation and destruction of kingdoms, all incited by the significant doctrinal differences between them.
The landscape of Upper Mustang is indescribably beautiful, eroded cliffs, red-walled monasteries and snow-capped peaks, bathed in hues of orange and red rocks. This stunning area is inhabited by the magnificent snow leopard, the endangered Bharal (blue sheep) and the mythical Yeti.
One famous festival is called ¨Tiji festival¨ (Purification ritual) of Lo Manthang which is also getting popular among the foreigners. The origins of the festival predate Buddhism, born out of an animistic and shamanistic tradition.
Upper Mustang is on an ancient trade route between Nepal and Tibet, exploiting the lowest 4,660 meters (15,300 ft) passes Kora La through the Himalaya west of Sikkim.
Upper Mustang has a Trans Himalayan climate which is cool and semi-arid with precipitation in the range of 250–400 mm. It is in the rain shadow, is one of the regions in the country suitable for trekking during monsoon. During monsoon time, the upper Kali Gandaki valley is still quite dry, with only occasional rainfall.
Trekking in Mustang is still somewhat restricted, requiring special trekking permits. The cost for a trekking permit is US$ 500 for 10 days per person and more than 10 days per day US$ 50 per person. Its requirements a group permit, I mean to issue a permit, requires a minimum of two persons.
Yes, it is possible to guest house or lodge basic trekking in Mustang. There are two trekking routes; the famous is start from Kagbeni to follow Thak Khola north side 4, 5 days to reach Lo Manthang “the headquarters of Mustang”, explore the beautiful landscape, including cave monasteries continues walking 3, 4 days to return to Kagbeni either same way or make circuit to Muktinath. Second trekking route is Saribung pass which is a difficult pass, many days trekking and need well camping preparation. It starts from Kagbeni - Mustang crosses the Sarebung pass to reach Nar-Phu valley and ends your trek in BesiSahar. They have already built a road from Kathmandu to Lo-Manthang. If you have a short time frame, you can drive into Upper Mustang as well.
Here; Asian Hiking Team recommend 14 days upper Mustang trekking from Kathmandu to Kathmandu. The itinerary starts from Kathmandu to Pokhara by tourist bus, next day flight to Jomsom, trek to Mustang and end trek in Kagbeni/Jomsom then drive to Pokhara continues to Kathmandu. It is possible to fly or drive to/from Jomsom. If you have time and interest, you can do one week more days trekking starting from Nayapul. If the given itinerary does not match as your interest, time let us know, we will redesign another itinerary too.
Asian Hiking Team organizes Upper Mustang trekking as full board camping or Guest houses as client’s request. We have guide and permit service as well. Our guides have many years of guiding experience in Mustang region. Our guides are trained in first aid and know how to handle any situation. They know very well how to facilitate a smooth and safe trip, appreciating the beauty and culture of the Mustang. Our porters carry 25 to 30 KG. Their first-hand experience, local knowledge, expertise and humor on treks are invaluable.