Are you a travel enthusiast looking to explore the breathtaking Mustang region in Nepal? If so, you’re in the right place! Here, we’ll guide you through everything you need to know about getting to Lower Mustang from Kathmandu, like breaking down the steps of the journey, and discussing the altitude, climate, and challenges. It is important to plan your trip carefully and be prepared for the rugged terrain and challenging conditions.

To get to Lower Mustang in Nepal, you will need to fly to Kathmandu and then travel to Pokhara. From Pokhara, you can fly to Jomsom, which is the gateway to Lower Mustang. From Jomsom, you can either hire a jeep or start a trek to Lower Mustang, which takes around 5-6 days through rugged and mountainous terrain.

Navigating the Terrains of Mustang

Lower Mustang, located between the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain regions of Nepal, is famous for its unique landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history. To make your travel to Mustang easy, first, you have to be familiar with the map itself. This will provide you with an overview of the region and its proximity to other popular destinations in Nepal, such as Pokhara and Jomsom. This unique terrain of Mustang has received widespread popularity and reviews in leading travel portals such as tripadvisor.

Modes of Transportation to Lower Mustang

motorbike in front of mountain range

There are several ways to reach Mustang, each offering its own unique experience. Here is a short guide to getting Lower Mustang from Kathmandu:

  • Fly to Kathmandu: The first step is to fly to Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal. Kathmandu has the only airport that is served by several international and domestic airlines and is the gateway to the rest of the country.

  • Travel to Pokhara: From Kathmandu, you can take a bus or hire a private vehicle to travel to Pokhara. You can also take a flight Kathmandu to Pokhara acoording to the flight shcedules. The drive of Kathmandu Pokhara takes around 6-7 hours by road whereas it takes 30-35 mins by air.

  • Fly to Jomsom: From Pokhara, you can either fly to Jomsom which takes around 30 mins or travel by road through local bus, private jeep or motorbikes. Jomsom is a small town located at an altitude of 2,715 meters and is the starting point for the treks to Mustang.

  • Trek or hire a Jeep to Mustang: From Jomsom, you can either hire a jeep or start a trek to Mustang. It takes around 5-6 days of trekking and goes through rugged and mountainous terrain. It is strongly recommended to hire a local guide who is familiar with the region and can provide assistance with the local people and languages across the area. Alternatively hiring a jeep to Lower Mustang takes around 2-3 days depending on the route.

By Road

To reach Mustang by road, the starting point of the journey will be either Kathmandu or Pokhara. From Kathmandu, you can take a bus or hire a private vehicle. The duration of the drive from Pokhara to Jomsom normally takes around 6-8 hrs. However, in the rainy season the drive can take about 10-12 hours. If you are driving from Kathmandu, it will take you an additional 6-8 hrs to drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara. From Pokhara, you can make your way to Jomsom. The drive to Jomsom can be bumpy and strenuous because of paved and unpaved roads. It is important to choose the right vehicle according to your comfort level and your budget. You can get additional details in this article here about Driving to Mustang – Vehicles, Difficulty and Season.

By Flight

The quickest way to reach Lower Mustang is by flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara, and then Pokhara to Jomsom. Jomsom also known as the gateway to Lower Mustang takes around 20-30 mins from Pokhara by air. Several airlines operate daily flights between Kathmandu and Jomsom. It is advised to have a flexible schedule since he flight schedules in this region are highly dependent on the weather conditions. It is not uncommon for flights in this region to be delayed or postponed due to unpredictable weather in Jomsom. From Jomsom, you can hire a local guide and trek to Lower Mustang or hire a jeep to travel to the region. 

By Trekking

Trekking to Lower Mustang is itself an unforgettable experience. The classic Annapurna Circuit Trek or the shorter Jomsom- Muktinath trek are the popular trek routes. The trail offers stunning views of the Annnapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges and traverses diverse terrains, including lush forests, arid landscapes and traditional villages.

Lower Mustang Tour Package

There are many tour companies that offer packages for trekking in Mustang Nepal. A typical tour package will usually include the following elements:

  1. A Well planned itinerary: A well planned itinerary should cover key attractions, allowing enough time and days for acclimatization, exploration and relaxation. It should be flexible enough to suit individual preference and time constraints.

  2. Permits and fees: Most tour packages will include the necessary permits and fees for trekking in Lower Mustang, such as the special Nepal trekking permit and local area permit known including ACAP and TIMS card.

  3. Accommodation and meals: Tour packages often include accommodation in local lodges or guest houses during the trek. These may be basic facilities with shared bathrooms, but they offer a unique opportunity to experience local life and culture. Also meals should be provided at the accommodation or at designated meal stops during the trek.

  4. Transportation: Tour packages typically include transportation to and from the trekking trail-head, as well as local transportation during the trek.

  5. Guide and porter services: Tour packages usually include the services of a local experienced guide who can provide valuable knowledge and assistance during the trek. A knowledgeable guide can help navigate the trails, provide insight into local culture and history and ensure the safety of the group. Porters can assist with carrying luggage making the trek more comfortable for travelers.

  6. Insurance: It is recommended to purchase travel insurance for your trip to Mustang, and many tour packages include insurance coverage.

  7. Cultural activities: Some tour packages may include cultural activities, such as visits to local monasteries or participation in traditional festivals.

It is important to carefully research and compare different tour packages before making a decision, to ensure that you choose a reputable company that meets your needs and budget.

Best Time to Visit Lower Mustang

The best time to visit Lower Mustang is during the spring ( March to May) and autumn ( September to November) seasons. During these periods, the weather is stable with clear skies and optimal trekking conditions. The visibility during this season is excellent making it ideal for sightseeing. The daytime temperatures are generally pleasant, while the nighttime is soothing and cooler. For a detailed post on when the best time to visit Mustang, you can follow the link Best time to visit Mustang. It also contains the number of tourists or trekkers who had visited Mustang in the previous years. 

Lower Mustang Permit Cost

Foreigners as well as Nepalese are required to obtain a special permit from Nepal Tourism Board in Kathmandu or Pokhara. The cost of the permits is $20 per person for a 10 day trek, and it can be extended for an additional fee if required. This permit cost is separate from the ACAP fees and TIMS card. To visit Lower Mustang one must have these two permits:

Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) is required for all trekkers trekking in Annapurna Region. This permit costs around NPR 3000 for foreigners and NPR 1000 for SAARC nationals.

Trekker’s Information Management System (TIMS) Card is necessary for trekking all over Nepal. This permit costs around NPR 2000 for the individual trekkers and NPR 1000 for trekkers traveling in groups.  

Altitude, Climate and Challenges: Preparing for Your Adventure

Due to the landscapes and location of Lower Mustang, the climate is relatively dry and arid with varying temperature depending on the season. The altitude of Lower Mustang ranges from approximately 2,800 to 3,900 meters above sea level. The climate is relatively mild compared to the higher altitude Upper Mustang. 

Despite the moderate climate, there are some challenges to be considered when traveling to Lower Mustang, including altitude sickness, unpredictable weather and rough terrain. Be prepared for these challenges by packing appropriate gear and acclimatizing properly and staying hydrated.

Places to visit Lower Mustang

  1. Jomsom: The capital city of Lower Mustang, located at an elevation of around 2700 meter above the sea level. It is a popular starting point for treks in the region, and is known for its stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
  2. Marpha: Marpha is a small village in Nepal’s Mustang District, known for its apple orchards, apple brandy and traditional stone houses. It is a popular stop for trekkers on the Annapurna Circuit and Jomsom- Muktinath Trek, and offers a chance to taste local products and experience local culture. 

  3. Kagbeni: Kagbeni is a village located in Mustang District in the Dhaulagiri zone of Nepal. The ancient village is situated at an altitude of 2,858 meters above sea level and is located on the banks of Kali Gandaki and Jhong River. It is also the starting point for trekking in the Upper Mustang region and is known for its ancient Buddhist monasteries and the Kagbeni Temple. The village is surrounded by the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges and offers stunning views of the landscapes.

  4. Muktinath: It is one of the sacred sites for both Hindus and Buddhists, Muktinath is home to the famous Muktinath Temple and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The temple is located at an elevation of 3,800 meters and is known for its 108 brass sprouts where worshippers perform bath rituals.

  5. Tatopani: Tatopani is a small village located in the Lower Mustang region of Nepal. It is known for its natural hot springs and is a popular stop for trekkers on the Annapurna Circuit and Jomsom- Muktinath Trek. The village is also home to a number of traditional Tibetan-style houses and monasteries, and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

  6. Tukuche: Tukuche is the largest Thakali village in Mustang District, known for its rich culture and tradition. Located at an elevation of around 2,700 meters above sea level, Tukuche is one of the popular stops for trekkers on the Annapurna Circuit and Jomsom-Muktinath Trek. From its ancient monasteries and traditional Tibetan-style houses to its delicious local cuisine, Tukuche is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking to experience the beauty and culture of Nepal.

  7. Tiri Village: Also known as a colorful village, Tiri is a small village in Nepal’s Lower Mustang region. It is a popular stop for trekkers on the Annapurna Circuit and Jomsom-Muktinath Trek, and is home to several ancient monasteries and temples. The colorful houses and rich cultural heritage make Tiri a unique and charming destination for anyone exploring the Lower Mustang region.

  8. Lubra: It is a small village also known as the “Village of Bon Religion”, home to several ancient Bon Monasteries and temples. it is popular stop for trekkers on the Annapurna Circuit and Jomson-Muktinath Trek.

Preparing for Trekking in Lower Mustang, Nepal

This trek is a popular trekking route in Mustang that offers a stunning diverse landscape, ranging from lush forests and terraced fields to arid, desert-like terrain. The trek typically takes 10-12 days depending on your pace and trek route. It is a moderately challenging trek which follows the ancient route between Nepal and Tibet, passing through traditional villages, monasteries and sacred sites along the way.

Trekking in Lower Mustang can be a unique and rewarding experience. Here are some steps you can follow to include trekking in your trip to Lower Mustang:

  1. Choose a trekking route: Lower Mustang is home to several popular trekking routes, including the Annapurna Circuit, Jomsom-Muktinath Trek, and the Upper Mustang Trek. Choose a route that fits your interests and physical abilities.

  2. Obtain the necessary permits: Planning a trip to Lower Mustang requires a special permit, which can be obtained from the Department of Immigration in Kathmandu or Pokhara. You will also need to hire a registered trekking agency to arrange the permit and other necessary logistics.

  3. Pack wisely: Make sure to bring all necessary gear and clothing for the trip, including sturdy hiking boots, warm layers, rain gear, and a first aid kit.

  4. Hire a guide and porter: It is highly recommended to hire a local guide and porter for your trek. Not only will they provide valuable knowledge and assistance during the tours, but they also help to support the local community.

  5. Acclimatize and stay hydrated: Lower Mustang is at a high altitude, so it’s important to take time to acclimatize and stay hydrated during the entire trip.

  6. Respect local culture and traditions:  It is home to a unique culture and tradition, and it is important to respect the local way of life during your visit.

  7. Have fun and enjoy the tours: Trekking in Lower Mustang can be a challenging but rewarding experience. Take the time to enjoy the stunning views and immerse yourself in the local culture.

A popular Lower Mustang trek and tour Itinerary - Nepal Trekking Destination:

Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu, sightseeing in Kathmandu

Day 2: Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara and sightseeing in Pokhara and spend a night in Pokhara

Day 3: Fly from Pokhara to Jomsom (2,700 meters), and trek to Kagbeni (2,810 meters)

Day 4: Trek from Kagbeni to Muktinath (3,710 meters), explore Muktinath and its surroundings

Day 5: Explore Muktinath and trek to Marpha (2,670 meters), overnight in Marpha

Day 6:  Trek from Marpha to Tukuche (2,590 meters) and visit the Dhaulagiri Icefall viewpoint

Day 7:  Trek from Tukuche to Ghasa (2,110 meters) , passing through the Kali Gandaki Gorge

Day 8:  Trek from Ghasa to Tatopani ( 1,190 meters), where you can enjoy the natural hot springs

Day 9: Trek from Tatopani to Ghorepani (2,860 meters), and if desired, hike to Poon Hill (3,210 meters) for the sunrise views

Day 10: Trek from Ghorepani to Nayapul (1,070) meters and drive back to Pokhara

Day 11: Fly or drive to Kathmandu from Pokhara 

Day 12: Departure from Kathmandu

This itinerary can be customized according to your preferences and time constraints. This initial itinerary was drafted with the help of The Explore Nepal team. 

What is the best time to visit Lower Mustang?

The best time to visit Lower Mustang is during the dry and spring season starting from March to May and September to November. During this season the weather is stable and the visibility is excellent with clearer skies.

What is Lower Mustang famous for?

Lower Mustang is an ideal base to start trek or hikes. It is famous for natural scenery, thakali culture and different landscapes. 

Which religious site is in Lower Mustang?

Muktinath is a famous Lord Vishnu temple in Mustang District. The only way to reach Muktinath is by air or trek. You need to arrive at Jomsom then by foot you can travel to Muktinath which is around 18 kms. 

What is Lower Mustang vs Upper Mustang?

Lower Mustang refers to the southern part of the Mustang District, while the Upper Mustang is the northern region. The main difference between the two is the landscapes and climate. Lower Mustang has more lush greenery whereas Upper Mustang features a more aid desert like environment. Muktinath, which is a famous pilgrimage site, falls in Lower Mustang.

Is there Wi-Fi and mobile connectivity in Lower Mustang?

Wi-Fi and mobile connectivity may be available in some teahouses and guesthouses only along the trek, but the quality and speed can be limited. It’s best to plan for periods of limited or no connectivity during your trek.

Do I need a guide to tour and trek in Lower Mustang?

It is best recommended to hire a tour guide especially for first-timers. A knowledgeable guide can help you navigate the trails and provide insight into the local culture and history. The guide will ensure the safety of the travelers throughout their tour.

What kind of accommodation can you expect during the Lower Mustang Trek?

During the Lower Mustang trek, you will generally stay in teahouses or guesthouses. These accommodations offer basic facilities, including shared rooms,communal bathrooms, and meals. It is a good idea to carry a sleeping bag for extra comfort during your stay. 

Do I need travel insurance for the Lower Mustang trek?

Yes, it is highly recommended that you obtain travel insurance for the Lower Mustang Trek. You have to ensure that you policy covers high altitude trekking, emergency evacuation and medical expenses related to altitude sickness or accidents.

What should I pack for trekking in the Lower Mustang?

The essential items to pack for the trekking include a sturdy pair of trekking boots, warm clothing, rain gear, a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, water bottle, a first aid kit, and a flashlight or headlamp. In addition you can bring your camera to capture the stunning scenery of Mustang, nepal.

Is trekking to Lower Mustang suitable for beginners?

Since this trek is considered moderately challenging, it is  suitable for beginners with a reasonable level of fitness and determination. With some steep ascents and descents, it is essential to acclimatize properly and be prepared for the physical demands of the trip. 

Can I combine the Lower Mustang trek with other treks in the Mustang region?

Yes , you can combine this trekking with other treks in the Annapurna region, such as the Annapurna Circuit or the Annapurna Base Camp trek. This allows you to explore more of the diverse landscapes and cultures of the area.