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How to get to Upper Mustang in Nepal?

Venturing to Mustang: Your Options for Transportation

So, how does one journey to the captivating “Kingdom of Mustang”? There are various ways to reach this mystical land, each offering its own unique experience.

By Road: Driving through Scenic Landscapes

A roadway connects Kathmandu, the bustling capital city of Nepal, to the secluded kingdom of Mustang. However, many travelers opt for alternate means of transportation to enjoy a more convenient and picturesque journey. The drive can be divided into 3 days. Day 1: Kathmandu to Pokhara (Approx. 200 km, 6-7 hours) Day 2: Pokhara to Jomsom (Approx. 160 km, 8-9 hours) Day 3: Jomsom to Kagbeni to Lo Manthang (Approx. 72 km, 6-8 hours) If you wish to find out more on the topic, it is covered in detail in this article about Kathmandu to Mustang, and other forms of travel are also covered.

By Air: An Aerial Adventure to the Heart of the Mountains

The most popular choice among tourists is air travel. Frequent flights operate between Kathmandu and Pokhara, making it easy to embark on this exhilarating trip. From Pokhara, you can catch a connecting flight to Jomsom, the gateway to Upper Mustang. From Jomsom, you have the option to take a jeep or start on a trek to Lo Manthang.

Trekking to Lo Manthang: Embrace the Spirit of Adventure

Once you reach Jomsom, the adventure truly begins. Trekking enthusiasts can embark on a 5-day itinerary to Lo Manthang, the ancient walled city and the cultural center of Mustang. This journey will immerse you in the natural beauty and rich heritage of the region. The outline of the trek are mentioned below. Day 1: Jomsom to Kagbeni (Approx. 12 km, 4-5 hours) Day 2: Kagbeni to Chele (Approx. 15 km, 6-7 hours) Day 3: Chele to Syanbochen (Approx. 17 km, 6-7 hours) Day 4: Syanbochen to Ghemi (Approx. 12 km, 5-6 hours) Day 5: Ghemi to Tsarang (Approx. 12 km, 5-6 hours) Day 6: Tsarang to Lo Manthang (Approx. 11 km, 4-5 hours) Whichever option you choose, the travel experience to Upper Mustang provides an unparalleled opportunity to delve into the heart of Mustang’s natural beauty and cultural wonders, leaving you with a profound appreciation for this enchanting corner of Nepal.
A remote destination filled with breathtaking backdrops, unique blue and red mountains, treks and rides like no other, and rich and hidden culture with monasteries and rare paintings hidden from the world! The Last Lost Kingdom of Mustang was known as a remote, untouched and almost forgotten region of Nepal. However, travel and tourism to Mustang has elevated by folds in the last few years – A land that is home to ancient monasteries, wild animals, spectacular mountain views and an amazingly rich culture. The true Tibetan culture is on the verge of extinction in the Tibetan Plateau. Now, it’s disappearing in Mustang. One of the last places on earth where it still exists. This has resulted in Mustang developing as one of the most treasured destinations in the world. And the Mustang travel industry has grown in popularity over the last few years.

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Tibetan Arts and Paintings

Learn about ancient tibetan masterpieces found in monasteries

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One of a kind Red & Blue mountains and other landscapes.

Celebrate all over the mustang
Festivals, Culture and Traditions

Ancient Yartung Festival, Tiji Festivals unique to Mustang.

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One of a kind Red & Blue mountains and other landscapes.

Adventure | natural Beauty | Trekking
Places, Destinations and Attractions

One of a kind Red & Blue mountains and other landscapes.

King of Mustang in Public


History and Culture

Upper Mustang, in Nepal is a remote and isolated region in the rainshadow of the Himalayas and offers a rare glimpse into a world largely untouched by modernization. In this section, we delve deeper into the rich history and vibrant culture that make Upper Mustang a truly enchanting travel and tours destination.

The Ancient Kingdom of Lo: A Realm Lost in Time 

Founded in the 14th century by the warrior Ame Pal, the Kingdom of Lo was a crucial cultural and trade hub, connecting Tibet and Nepal along the ancient salt trade routes[reference link]. Its strategic location and strong connections to the powerful Tibetan empire helped the kingdom prosper for centuries.

Time-Honored Architecture: A Testament to Resilience 

Upper Mustang’s architectural heritage is a testament to the region’s resilience in the face of a harsh and unforgiving environment. Traditional structures, built from sun-dried mud bricks and adorned with colorful woodcarvings, showcase the resourcefulness and ingenuity of the local people. [reference link].

Sacred Traditions: Preserving the Spirit  

The people of Upper Mustang are devoutly Buddhist with their faith deeply ingrained in every aspect of daily life. Ancient monasteries, chortens, and mani walls (stone walls with Buddhist inscriptions) are scattered throughout the landscape, serving as constant reminders of the region’s spiritual heritage. It is one of the last places where Tibetan Buddhism is practiced and preserved.

Celebrations of Life: The Festivals 

Like in many other famous places in Nepal, festivals play a vital role in the cultural life of Upper Mustang, offering a chance for communities to come together and celebrate their shared heritage. The annual Tiji Festival, held in Lo Manthang, is a three-day spectacle featuring elaborate masked dances, traditional music, and ancient rituals that date back centuries. 


The Wonders of Lo Manthang: Must-Visit Attractions

Upper Mustang is a treasure trove of natural and cultural wonders that captivate the hearts of visitors from Nepal and around the world. In this section, we highlight some of the most awe-inspiring attractions you simply cannot miss during your visit to this enchanting region.

Lo Manthang: The Walled City 

Lo Manthang, the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Lo, is a prime destination for history and culture enthusiasts. This walled city is filled with:

  • Narrow alleys and hidden courtyards
  • Sacred temples such as Thugchen Gompa and Champa Lhakhang
  • The Royal Palace, a symbol of the region’s royal past

Exploring Lo Manthang offers a unique glimpse into the vibrant culture and time-honored architecture of Upper Mustang of Nepal.

Chhoser Cave: A Glimpse into the Past

The Chhoser Cave is an intricate labyrinth of man-made sky caves also known as Mustang caves carved into towering sandstone cliffs. A visit to these fascinating caves allows you to:

  • Discover ancient dwellings and storage facilities
  • Gain unique insight into the lives of Mustang’s early inhabitants
  • Marvel at the craftsmanship and ingenuity of the locals of nearby villages.

Kali Gandaki Gorge: Nature’s Marvel

Carved by the powerful Kali Gandaki River, the Kali Gandaki Gorge is one of the deepest canyons in the world. This geological marvel offers:

  • Striking rock formations
  • Vibrant flora and fauna
  • Captivating views of the surrounding Himalayas

Exploring the Kali Gandaki Gorge allows you to witness the breathtaking beauty of the Mustang region’s diverse landscape.

Ancient Monasteries: Spiritual Sanctuaries

Upper Mustang is home to numerous ancient monasteries – an integral part of the region, which serve as spiritual sanctuaries for the region’s devoutly Buddhist population. Some of the most notable monasteries include:

  • Thubchen Gompa, which features stunning 15th-century murals
  • Champa Lhakhang, known for its ancient Buddhist artwork
  • Namgyal Gompa, perched on a hilltop with panoramic views of the surrounding valleys

A visit to these sacred spaces offers a deeper understanding of Upper Mustang’s spiritual heritage and the enduring faith of its people.

By including these must-visit attractions in your itinerary, you can truly experience the unparalleled beauty and rich cultural heritage that Upper Mustang has to offer.

horse riding in Yartung festival in Mustang

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Trekking in Mustang: Routes, Seasons, and Tips

Trekking is one of the most popular ways to explore the Mustang region for both Nepalese and International Travelers. In this section, we outline some of the most popular routes and the best seasons for trekking in this enchanting region, as well as essential tips for a successful Mustang trekking experience.

The Classic Lo-Manthang Trek

This 14-day trek takes you through the heart of Upper Mustang, offering unrivaled views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges. Key highlights include the walled city of Lo Manthang and the sacred Muktinath Temple. The best time for this trek is during the dry season, from March to November.

The Annapurna Circuit with Mustang Extension

The Annapurna Circuit is a classic trek that circles the Annapurna massif, and the Mustang extension adds a thrilling adventure into the remote Mustang region. This 20-day journey showcases the diverse landscapes of Nepal, from lush forests to arid plateaus. The ideal time for this trek is from October to early December and March to May.

The Lower Mustang Trek

For those short on time or seeking a less strenuous trek, the Lower Mustang Trek offers a glimpse into the region’s beauty and culture. This 7-10 day trek takes you through picturesque villages, terraced fields, and apple orchards, with a backdrop of snow-capped mountains. The best months to undertake this trek are from March to May and October to November.

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We have selected these mentions of Mustang Region on topics that range from travel and lifestyle to culture, tradition, history, travel and tourism, business, and technology. As a website committed to raising awareness about the beautiful travel destination, we are proud that Mustang, Nepal is featured by local and international media outlets around the world. Mustang Nepal is always looking for ways to inspire others through not just our own articles and stories but also articles written by other websites, blogs and publications.
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Mustang Mentions

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Mustang is famous in Nepal for its unique, barren landscapes, centuries-old monasteries, and rich Tibetan-influenced cultural heritage. The region offers visitors a glimpse into the preserved traditions and customs of the local population, making it a fascinating destination for hiking and cultural enthusiasts alike.

The best time to visit Mustang Nepal is September till November or March till May. The weather remains pleasant during these months with good sunshine and cool nights, which makes for perfect conditions for tourists. However, tourists who are also interested in Tibetan culture and want to enjoy the Tiji Festival generally prefer April through May to visit Mustang.

The cost to visit Mustang depends on factors such as transportation, accommodation, permits, and guide services. On average, a 10-14 day organized trek to Upper Mustang can cost between $2,000 to $4,000 per person, including permits, transportation, accommodation, meals, and guide/porter fees.

The people of Mustang, known as the Loba or Lo-pa, have Tibetan origins and share a strong cultural, linguistic, and religious connection with Tibet. They practice Tibetan Buddhism and follow traditional customs and rituals that have remained largely unchanged for centuries.

A trek to Upper Mustang typically takes 10 to 14 days, depending on the chosen route and pace. This duration allows trekkers to fully explore the region’s villages, and landscapes, while also taking into account the time needed for acclimatization and rest.

In Mustang, it’s important to dress in layers, as the temperature can vary significantly between day and night. Clothing should include a moisture-wicking base layer, insulating layers such as fleece or down jackets, and a waterproof and windproof outer layer. Additionally, sturdy hiking boots, sun protection, a hat, and gloves are essential.

The distance between Kathmandu and Mustang is approximately 185 miles (298 kilometers). Travelers can reach Mustang by flying from Kathmandu to Pokhara and then taking a connecting flight to Jomsom, the starting point for most treks in the region.

Yes, Mustang experiences snowfall during the winter months, particularly at higher elevations. Snow can occasionally fall during other seasons, but it’s less common.

Mustang is often referred to as a high-altitude desert due to its arid climate, sparse vegetation, and unique landscape characterized by eroded cliffs and rock formations.

Mustang was once an independent kingdom with restricted access to outsiders. The region was only opened to tourists in 1992, and its isolation has helped preserve its unique culture and traditions, earning it the nickname “The Forbidden Kingdom.”

Yes, Upper Mustang is a restricted area in Nepal, requiring a special trekking permit for foreigners. This helps control the number of visitors and maintain the region’s cultural and environmental integrity.

The Upper Mustang Trek is considered moderately difficult, with some steep ascents and descents, high altitude, and daily walking distances of 4 to 6 hours. However, the trek does not require technical climbing skills, and with proper acclimatization and physical preparation, most trekkers can successfully complete the journey.

The Upper Mustang trek typically covers a distance of approximately 80 miles (130 kilometers) and takes 10 to 14 days to complete, depending on the chosen route and pace. This duration includes acclimatization, exploration of the region’s unique landscapes, monasteries, and villages, and rest days for a more enjoyable experience.

What you need to know before planning your trip

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Essential Travel Tips for a Safe and Memorable Journey

To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, consider these crucial tips when planning your Mustang adventure:

Acquire Necessary Permits

Foreign travelers are required to obtain permits to enter the restricted area of Lo Manthang Mustang. Be sure to apply for a Restricted Area Permit (RAP) and the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) well in advance when you arrive in Nepal. You should be well aware that there are strict boundaries located towards the Tibetan plateau under the People’s Republic of China.

Hire a Reputable Guide and Porter

Hiring an experienced, local guide and porter while trekking in Nepal Mustang, will not only ensure your safety but also enrich your trekking experience. There is not shortage of good English speaking experienced guides wherever you travel in Nepal. From short hiking adventures nearby village to to long trips and tours, you can contact agencies you will find reputable guides anywhere you travel.They will provide valuable insights into the region’s culture, history, and traditions.

Prioritize Altitude Acclimatization

The high altitude of Mustang can pose a risk of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). Plan for proper acclimatization by including rest days and ascending gradually.

Pack Proper Gear and Supplies

Ensure that you have the necessary trekking gear required in Nepal, clothing, and supplies for your journey. Invest in a sturdy pair of trekking boots, layered clothing for varying temperatures, and essential safety items like a first aid kit and water purification tablets.

By following this comprehensive guide, you are well on your way to discovering the unparalleled beauty and rich cultural heritage of the Mustang region in Nepal. Prepare yourself for an adventure of a lifetime as you explore this breathtaking destination, immersing yourself in the wonders of its landscape and the warmth of the locals in and around villages of the region which is a common feel everywhere in Nepal.