Mustang Trek Guide: Upper Mustang vs Lower Mustang Trek

Mustang Trek Guide

Mustang Trek Guide

Mustang is in Nepal is a famous religious and natural travel destination in Nepal. The Mustang area is divided into Lower Mustang and Upper Mustang. Upper Mustang is renowned for trekking and jeep tour, while Lower Mustang is famous for religious terms. Know about Upper Mustang vs Lower Mustang trek tour.

Trek to the Mustang region of Nepal is a rare privilege. Experiencing the genuine mountain people’s lifestyle who lived in the Trans-Himalayan arid region is comparable to no other trek. Mustang’s mysterious and magnificent part in the far north of Nepal is a vast, semi-arid valley with distinct desert-like characteristics. The valley filled with eroded colorful stratified rock formations fringed by snow-capped peaks lies right in the rain shadow of the Himalayas.  

The so-called Mustang Trek in Nepal comprises two valleys, Lower Mustang Trek and Upper Mustang Trek. While the Lower Mustang trek takes you to Muktinath, the holy temple of Buddhists and Hindus in Nepal, Upper Mustang goes beyond that. The Upper Mustang Itinerary procures you beyond Muktinath into the city of Lo Manthang.  

Jomsom Muktinath Trek
Experience Nepal’s diverse landscape and culture as the Jomsom Muktinath Trek take you to the country’s driest terrain and lush rhododendron forests. Jomsom Muktinath Trek lies in the Annapurna region and is a scenic and cultural experience. Feel the strong wind of Jomsom, visit the pilgrimage site in Muktinath, dip in Tatopani’s natural hot Spring, and walk through some of the most spectacular Gurung villages in the Ghorepani-Ghandruk region to experience authentic Nepal through Jomsom Muktinath Trekking.

 Lower Mustang Trek

Mustang’s ancient “Last Forbidden Kingdom” has always been mysterious. Preserving its authentic Tibetan culture, this region remained in its original frame for many years. But Lower Mustang always welcomes a large number of visitors. Earlier, pilgrims traveled for more than a month to get to the holy temple of Muktinath. Nowadays, this trek begins from the Jomsom village and takes you to Kagbeni and eventually to Muktinath before heading back to Marpha and then to Pokhara. You can get a flight from Jeep to Jomsom from Pokhara. This journey can be completed in 2 to 4 days. 

 Lower Mustang is itself filled with pristine beauty. The colorful vegetation, huge barren hills, and well-developed infrastructure make the journey fun and luxurious. And since you don’t need any special permit to enter this region, it’s also cheaper. 

 But the true beauty of Mustang lies deep into the valley, i.e. Upper Mustang.  

 Upper Mustang trek  

Nepal Trekking Package
Nepal Trekking Package, Trekking in Nepal

 The renowned Upper Mustang is the ultimate portal to the mysterious Buddhist kingdom, also called Lo. Mostly isolated and forbidden from the rest of the world, Mustang people evolve within their distinctive culture. In fact, until recent times, Mustang had their king, who the Nepal Government officially recognized. 

 The trek to this part of the country was closed to foreigners until 1992. Even now, Upper Mustang falls under the restricted region and demands a special permit for the trek. As you head north of Kagbeni, you need the restricted region permit that costs $500 per person for ten days. If you want to stay longer, the cost goes to $50/ day. 

 The Upper Mustang trek offers an adventurous itinerary of about two weeks. The spectacular trekking comprises deep ravines, magnificent snow-capped peaks, and the history, culture, and myth that blend perfectly with the local people. The ancient monasteries that appear out of nowhere, the traditional villages built of mud houses, and mysterious cave dwellings high on the cliffs reflect the most exemplary architecture of humankind.   

 Mustang trek difficulty

Thankfully, Mustang is one of the most accessible trekking destinations in Nepal. The Lower Mustang can be traveled in less than two days without the slightest pain in your shanks. At the same time, trekking to Upper Mustang is also relatively easy. The path is mainly leveled (except for some steep ascents). And you can also travel in a Jeep or a Private car in case of difficulty. The total Upper Mustang Trek distance is only about 125 km. The trekkers will walk less than 10 km for 6 hours per day. This means you will have enough time to rest, explore, and interact with the locals. No rush. 

 The maximum elevation is 3820m at Lo Manthang. You will be walking at a very low altitude compared to other classic trekking places in Nepal. Thus, the number of cases of altitude sickness is also standard. 

 Anyone with sound health and determination can quickly achieve this Mustang trek. You can accomplish this journey even with zero experience in the high-altitude tour. But indeed, one solid approach to success is rehearsing- some physical training before the trek is very helpful. 

Accommodation & Meals

Just like all other treks in Nepal, Mustang also offers teahouses on the trekking trail. Nowadays, every comfortable tea house has been built on either path. The Lower region, i.e. Jomsom, has some pretty luxurious hotels and restaurants. But as you move higher, you will notice that the hotels only provide primary facilities and good food. Such family-run tea houses expect them to eat in their hotels. You can get different kinds of meals in a communal eating hall.  

Best time for Mustang trek

 A significant part of the Mustang is its climate condition. While most of Nepal’s trekking destinations are closed during Monsoon (June, July, and May), Mustang is ready to welcome its visitors. This place will instantly come on your radar during the summer months. Thanks to the Upper Mustang for being located in the rain shadow regions of Annapurnas. And the summer months are also relatively quiet- you can have the best tea houses for yourself. 

 The month of May is vibrant in Mustang due to Tiji Festival. The three-day Tiji festival is celebrated on the premises of the Mustang’s palace. The Locals and tourists from far and wide get to Lo Manthang to participate in this festival. 

And the other best season is Spring and Autumn. While Autumn is clear, warm, and stable, Spring offers different kinds of fun. The distinct and colorful vegetation of Spring makes this region even more prodigious.  

 Lastly, there’s winter in Mustang. Winter at such an altitude can be harsh. Significantly, the heavy snowfall might block the path to Upper Mustang. But the winter trek is also fun if the route is clear and you can carry enough warm clothes.  

In the end, 

With the mountain terrain and the rich cultural legacy, Mustang village is the Himalayas ‘ finest treasure. During the Mustang tour, you can explore this striking landscape, deep ravines, rocky cliffs, and majestic snowy peaks. Sounds amazing? Then contact us to book your tour to Mustang today.  

Puru Founder of My Everest Trip

Puru Thapaliya

My name is Puru (Purushottam Thapaliya). Since completing the Government Guide Training from Nepal’s Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation (KEEP and HRA), I have been a specialist in mountain trekking and peak climbing. With specific expertise in the Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan regions, I have now been a trekking guide and tour operator in Nepal, and across the Himalayas, since 2012.