“The Upper Mustang Trek is all about delving into the mysterious world of Mustang’s ancient Buddhist monarchy. It doesn’t get much more remote than this. Mustang has long been shielded from mass tourists due to its inaccessibility, and it is today known as the final bastion of traditional Tibetan culture. Due to its long, rich, and complex history, Upper Mustang trekking is one of the most fascinating sites in the Himalayas.”
Upper Mustang was first inhabited 2000–3000 years ago, according to ancient cave dwellings unearthed around the region. However, for the last 600 years, the Lopas (or Lobas) have lived there, a people that are ethnically and culturally linked to Tibetans. Although Nyingma, Kagyo, and Bon Buddhist sects are also present, the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism is the most prevalent.
The spectacular landscape is colored in shades of ochre, white, and grey, with the same colors gracing monasteries, chortens, and mani walls all across the country. They represent three Bodhisattvas and serve as protectors, as well as bringing chromatic harmony to man-made structures and the natural world.
Historically, the territory was ruled by Tibet’s Ngari province, but in 1380, Ame Pal, a warrior from Western Tibet, established the independent Kingdom of Lo. He erected the walled city of Lo Manthang and the palace at Tsarang in 1440, as well as numerous more forts and towns to accommodate the rising population.
Upper Mustang’s Best Attractions:
For a long time, the secluded and lesser-known Upper Mustang has retained its cultures and traditions. It is culturally and historically significant. Buddhist devotees can be found in Lo’s kingdom. We may see Tibetan influence on culture and traditions because it is close to Tibet and the topography is similar.
If you want to learn about pristine Tibetan and Buddhist traditions and civilizations, Upper Mustang is the place to go. Praying flags and Mani walls adorn the walls of the ancient monasteries. The city was surrounded by beautiful walls, and the red rocks in the background added to the grandeur. The scenery is enhanced by the use of ochre, white, and grey in the surrounding landscapes.
What Should You Bring on to Your Upper Mustang Trek?
When you’re out in the mountains, your gear is your best buddy. In fact, regardless of where you’re going, your gear is essential. Gear can make the difference between life and death in harsh situations. In any case, having the proper equipment might mean the difference between having a nice time and being unhappy.
You’ve purchased your tickets, your Nepali guide is waiting for you, and now you’ve arrived with a too-heavy rucksack, a too-thin jacket, and shoes that will almost certainly cause blisters. What a waste of time. Make the most of your walk by packing the correct gear and spending extra time in the Mustang region. One thing to keep in mind before we begin. We’re on a trek, not a climb.
We’ve put together a basic complete packing list for any Nepal trek, including your hike in the Mustang region:
- Duffel Bag
- Rucksack with Rain Cove Day pack
- Hiking Boots
- Sandals or Shoes
- Hiking Socks
- Trekking Poles
- Inner Socks
- Thermal Base layer
- Fleece Pullover or Jacket
- Light Weight Thermal Tops
- Waterproof Jacket
- Sports Bra for Her
- Hiking Shorts
- Hiking Pants
- Waterproof Pants
What is the best way to get to Upper Mustang?
Pokhara is the most common gateway to Upper Mustang. You can either arrange a 20-minute flight or drive to Jomsom from there. Then it’s a 2-hour trek from Jomsom to Kagbeni, where you’ll present the permissions.
Then, until you reach Lo Manthang, the old kingdom of Lo’s capital, you’ll travel through picturesque villages like Chele, Zhaite, Ghaymi, and Charang. The trek’s main attraction is Lo Manthang, which is located at a height of 3840 meters and is the tour’s highest point. Visit nearby villages such as Yara, Tangge, and Chuksang to learn more about the area.
You also trek to Muktinath, which is 3,800 meters above sea level, and enjoy a tour of the famous Muktinath temple. You must hike from Muktinath to Jomsom to board a flight to Pokhara.
Best Time to Visit Upper Mustang:
Because it falls in rain-shadowed places, Upper Mustang receives very little rainfall. As a result, the best time to travel to Upper Mustang is during the monsoon season.
In addition, the months of March, April, and May are ideal for a trip to Upper Mustang. You can also go there till November. However, we do not advocate visiting Lo Manthang during the other months of the year because most people depart to avoid the cold and snow.
Upper Mustang Trek Difficulty:
The hike across Upper Mustang is moderately arduous. Despite the fact that you will be walking for several days, there are numerous teahouses where you may stop and rest.
The journey is straightforward and requires little effort. Although the trek’s highest point is roughly 3840 meters, you will be able to adjust to the environment and surroundings as you gradually increase the height over the course of 10-15 days.
There will also be certified trekking guides to assist you with each step. As a result, no prior trekking expertise is required to explore Upper Mustang, and any fit beginner hiker can do so.
Traveling to Upper Mustang during Tiji Festival:
People there have their own traditions and celebrate several holidays. Tiji is one of their most important festivals, as it commemorates the triumph of good over evil forces.
Around 500 years ago, the three-day event began. You can observe the historic event if you visit Upper Mustang in mid-May. Dancers in colorful costumes and masks perform to the beat of drums, Buddhist horns, and enchantments of Buddhist chants during the event.
Furthermore, the Thangka painting of Guru Rimpoche is only displayed during this festival. They also celebrate Yartung Mela, popularly known as the Horse Festival, in addition to Tiji.
Things not to forget while packing for an Upper Mustang Trek:
Packing for a trip to Nepal is almost identical to packing for a trip to the United States. Aside from that, we recommend bringing a sleeping bag.
A pair of slippers and a pair of comfy walking boots are also required. Towels, wash kits, and first-aid kits are other items to bring with you to keep your personal hygiene in check. Additionally, using sunscreen, sunglasses, or a sunhat will help you from being sunburned. You’ll also need a torch and power banks to keep your electronic devices charged.
These are a few items that you should not forget to bring with you on your vacation to Upper Mustang. Aside from that, don’t forget to look at the Nepal trekking packing list.
Upper Mustang Trek FAQs:
The Upper Mustang trip is rated as somewhat challenging. This hike is neither as easy nor as demanding as the easy or strenuous level treks. However, like with most treks, you can adjust the difficulty level of the Upper Mustang journey to fit your preferences.
Upper Mustang Trek is 12-15 days depending on the trek route you choose.
Thakali and Newari cuisine, as well as local wines, apples, Tibetan bread, KKhapse, Marpha, dried foods, and beers, are all popular in Mustang. While trekking, people frequently drink native tea with salt.
There are two types of permits required for the Upper Mustang Trek. Your trekking company will take care of all permissions.
When walking or hiking in the Upper Mustang, you may expect to stay in a comfortable hotel in Pokhara and teahouses along the way. Expect a luxury show regardless matter where you stay in Nepal. The lodging is simple, but it’s ideal for individuals who need to rest their legs after hiking or trekking.