• Modified on Mar 5, 2024

The Trekking to Upper Mustang is one of the popular trekkings in the Mustang Region of Nepal. This iconic Upper Mustang trek lies in the shadow of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri and takes you through the remote and rugged region of Upper Mustang, also known as the "Forbidden Kingdom,”. 

Located in the rain shadow area of the Himalayas, the Upper Mustang Trek is an ideal destination for trekkers looking for a challenging venture. This trek offers a great blend of natural beauty and cultural richness. You will pass through beautiful landscapes, deep gorges, alpine deserts, caves, and traditional villages. The trek is also considered a moderate to strenuous trek due to the high altitude you reach through the rugged terrain. However, the stunning landscapes of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges make it all worth it. This trek will take about 10-15 days to complete, depending on the itinerary you choose.

The Upper Mustang Trek in Nepal is not just about the physical challenge, it is also about the cultural experience. The trek takes you through a region that has been isolated from the rest of the world for centuries, and as a result, has managed to preserve its traditional culture and way of life. The local people are friendly and welcoming, and their hospitality is something that will stay with you long after the trek is over. 

The trek is best done in April to November when the weather is most favorable. However, it's best to go with a guided trek, as the routes are not well-marked and can be challenging to navigate. Upper Mustang Trek is a restricted area trek and requires a special permit which can be obtained from the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB).

The Upper Mustang Trek is an adventure of a lifetime, where one can experience the unique blend of natural beauty and cultural richness that is hard to find anywhere else in the world. This trek is a journey through time, where you will pass through ancient villages, traditional culture, and beautiful monasteries that have stood the test of time. It is a journey that will challenge you physically, but will also leave you with a sense of accomplishment and a deeper understanding of the culture and people of Nepal. 

Table of Content

Major Highlights of the Upper Mustang Trek


Jomsom is the starting point for the Upper Mustang and Manang trekking trails. The unique terrain and culture of this trekking route give an interesting look into the lives of Nepali ethnic groups. 

Jomson lies at an altitude of 2800 meters which stretches out over the bank of the Kali Gandaki River Gorge. The Thakali people make up the majority of the area's population. Jomsom serves as the district headquarters for the Mustang area. From Pokhara, the trip to Jomsom can be accomplished by road or flight. Many trekkers take the flight from Pokhara to Jomsom and then trek to Lo-Manthang. Jomsom is home to a Buddhist monastery and a museum. It's a good idea to walk around Jomsom and check out some of the Himalayan markets there. You will be able to find a coffee shop, a department store for shopping, and other amenities. During the ancient period, it was a part of the route that traders used to transport salt across the Himalayas. 

Jomsom is completely protected from precipitation by the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna masses. It rains only occasionally in this region. Jomsom Weather fluctuates all year round. Thus, you can only visit on certain months. 

lomanthang village in mustang

The best time to explore Jomson is in April, when the weather is perfect for trekking and the region's pristine skyline lets you see everything. Other than April, travelers choose October and November to visit Jomsom. These months have perfect weather. During these months, the town will be dry, making exploring simple. Jomsom's altitude is a whooping 8,900 ft (2743m)  above sea level, Jomsom receives a lot of snow during the winter. Some visitors go there in the winter to take in the area's enchanted beauty when it is covered in snow. Jomsom's surrounding mountain ranges and the captivating Kali Gandaki river that runs through it are what gives the city its attractiveness. You can see the river running all over this town.

Lo Manthang

One of the Best Highlights of Trekking in Upper Mustang is Lo Manthang, the capital of the former Kingdom of Mustang. Lo Manthang Trekking takes you to the beautiful towns tucked away in the far north of the Mustang region. Lo Manthang is at a height of 3,800 meters above sea level and is the center of government for either the Mustang district or the Kingdom of Lo. 

The most interesting thing about the town of Lo Manthang is that it has a unique blend of Tibetan Buddhist culture, perfect for those with a short attention span or seeking a weekend vacation. 

Lo manthang village in mustang

In addition to its unique beauty, which is similar to that of Tibet, you can stop at Buddhist monasteries and Hindu temples that have been standing for hundreds of years. The Dhaulagiri and Annapurna mountains may be seen well from Lo Manthang. There are several old Buddhist monasteries that can be visited and looked at because they have been meticulously preserved. Each monastery has a different story about how it got started, and these stories still have a big impact on history and religion. The royal palace, which is located inside the walled city, is still encouraged to be visited.

Muktinath Temple

Muktinath Temple, a holy temple located at a height of 3800 meters, is worshiped by both Buddhists and Hindus in Nepal. Hindus think that this is where Lord Bishnu found deliverance from the curse of Brinda. 

Muktinath is of enormous significance to spiritual people in South Asia because "Mukti '' denotes salvation, Nirvana, and "Nath" represents God of the Master. At a height of seven feet, the pagoda-style Muktinath Temple has 108 stone holy taps. From these 108 taps, pilgrims to Muktinath receive a heavenly shower.  

Muktinath temple

Muktinath attracts thousands of tourists each year as one of the most well-known religious destinations in the world. Most people who visit Muktinath are from other countries and are going to or coming from the Annapurna Circuit Trek. The path that leads to Muktinath is also liked by members of the riding community at all times of the year.

Kali Gandaki River Gorge

A trip across the Kali Gandaki valley is almost like going to the deepest gorge in the world. The Kali Gandaki River Gorge is known as the world's deepest gorge between the world's two tallest mountains, Dhaulagiri (8167 m) and Annapurna (809 m). 

The distance between the peaks, as seen from above, is only 30 kilometers. The world's deepest gorge is between Mount Dhaulagiri and Mount Annapurna, 5647 meters below Dhaulagiri and 5517 meters below Annapurna. 

The main attraction of Kali Gandaki River Gorge is the famous Luri Gompa which lies in the remote part of Mustang, about 100 meters up on sheer rock cliffs. You can see beautiful landscapes up close, like mountains, typical villages, lush green woods, a dry desert, a deep gorge, and high altitude. 

The other main draw of the Kali Gandaki Valley is the difference between the historic salt trade route to Tibet, which includes a trip via the Kali Gandaki Valley. The Magar, Gurung, and Thakali people are the most common residents of the Kali Gandaki corridor. Visitors have the chance to learn about the traditions and cultural history of the villages in the Annapurna trekking zone.

As the trail takes you through the Kali Gandaki Gorge, with its beautiful scenery, clean villages, and stunning views of the huge Himalayan peaks, the sense of adventure grows. Driving through Kusma, Beni, and Tatopani, the Kali Gandaki Valley Trek begins in Pokhara. Following a visit to a natural hot spring, the main journey begins towards the Upper Mustang, Nepal.

Kagbeni Village

Kagbeni is a beautiful Nepalese village situated in the Kali Gandaki River basin. The gateway to Upper Mustang, Kagbeni, is 3,700 meters. Kagbeni is an oasis in Mustang's parched environment.

The Kali Gandaki river flows peacefully through the landscape. Kagbeni, far from the Sprint City and Dance Festival, awaits with its strong beauty. The mysterious Luri monastery is one of the best places to achieve siddhi through meditation. Make your trip to Kangbenii one you'll never forget. 

The blue, white, red, green, and yellow colored Tibetan Prayer Flag flaps in the wind as chhortens and prayer wheels light up the barren land of Kagbeni. Kagbeni was hard to reach before. The distance between Kagebeni to Upper Mustang is around 45-50 KM whereas Jomsom is three to four hours away from Kagbeni. Tens and thousands of people visit Kagbeni on the route to Muktinath. 

Kagbeni village in mustang

Kagbeni is a small village, but its natural beauty, culture, tradition, and landscape have won over people worldwide. Some historic monasteries are worth visiting. The main jobs were farming, taking care of animals, trading, picking apples, and making apple brandy and wine.

Luri Gompa 

The amazing Luri Gompa trip in Mustang lets you see the natural, cultural, and geographical diversity of the Himalayan Kali Gandaki valley. One of the important cultural legacies of upper Mustang Nepal is luri gompa. It is connected to the Tibetan Buddhist Nyingma Kargyupa Sect. 

In Upper Mustang, the forbidden kingdom of Lo, there is a remote monastery called Luri Gompa that is two kilometers from the town of Yara. The entire monastery complex is stunning and secure thanks to its natural sandstone pillars. You can access the single entrance to Luri Gumba through an uphill walking path. The cave monastery has two chambers. As early as the 14th century, there were many paintings on the walls and ceiling of this monastery. 

Luri Gompa

One of the upper Mustang cave monasteries in Nepal's trans-Himalayas is the Buddhist monastery known as Luri Gumba. Inside the gompa are chortens, statues of Buddhist deities, and mandala paintings. During this trip, people can learn about the Himalayan culture and customs of this mysterious and remote area.

Chhoser Cave and Monasteries

The Jhong Cave in Chhoser represents one of the most spectacular caves in upper Mustang, Nepal. Chhoser Cave in the upper Mustang is a beautiful cave with five stories constructed into a cliff. Inside the cave, there are more than 40 separate rooms. Trekkers must ascend some steep stairs in order to visit this cave. There are numerous ladders to climb within the cave to reach different levels. 

The breathtaking scenery of Chhoser Valley can be seen from the window of Jhong Cave. This place has a magical look because of its beautiful landscape, remote villages, and thousands of cave systems. It takes two hours to walk to this cave from Lo Manthang, Nepal, and it takes two hours. One of the most mysterious caves in Upper Mustang is the five-story Cave of Chhoser. 

Western trekkers regularly make an average of 1,000 annual visits, up from almost 2,000 in 2008. The Best Time to visit Chhoser Cave for visitors is August and October. Local youth organizations in Mustang announced a ban on tourists as of October 1, 2010, saying that the Nepalese government would not contribute any of the $50 daily fee to the neighborhood economy. 

Statue of buddha in Mustang


Why is the Upper Mustang Restricted?

Previously, the region experienced a massive influx of tourists, which had a bad influence on the ecosystem and locals. So, The Upper Mustang as well as the whole Mustang region was restricted for many years until 1992. The main reason to restrict the region was to protect and preserve the unique culture and local way of life of the region. 

How to reach the Upper Mustang?

You can easily take a flight to Pokhara, followed by a scenic 6-8 hour drive to Jomsom, the gateway to Lo Manthang, this route provides a direct path to your destination. Alternatively, for a seamlessly organized experience, you can consider following the well-crafted itinerary detailed below. Following the itinerary ensures a smooth and enjoyable journey, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the unique charms of the Upper Mustang.

  • Day 1:Arrival in Kathmandu and Transfer to Hotel
  • Day 2:Kathmandu Day Tours and Welcome Dinner
  • Day 3:Drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara 
  • Day 4:Fly to Jomsom and Trek to Kagbeni (2,858 m)
  • Day 5:Trek to Chele Village (3,050 m)
  • Day 6:Trek to Chele to Geling (3,570 m)
  • Day 7:Trek from Gelling to Charang Village (3,520 m)
  • Day 8:Trek from Charang Village to Lo-Manthang (3,840 m)
  • Day 9:Excursion of Namgyal & Tingkar Gompa (3,900 m )
  • Day 10:Trek to Drakmar (3,810 m )
  • Day 11:Trek to Shyangmochen (3,800 m )
  • Day 12:Trek to Chhusang (3,050 m)
  • Day 13:Trek to Muktinath Village (3,800 m)
  • Day 14:Trek back to Jomsom (2,720 m)
  • Day 15:Fly back to Pokhara
  • Day 16:Fly back to Kathmandu
  • Day 17:Final Departure
Ashmita Thapa

Ashmita Thapa

Ashmita is a content writer at Footprint Adventure with a really positive outlook on life. She is dedicated to exploration, and enjoys going on hikes and treks. She is delighted to travel  and explore the beauty of Nepal with Footprint Adventure. She genuinely believes in promoting her native country in whatever manner she can, with the goal of making the biggest possible contribution to the travel and tourism sector.

Ashmita adds that she is extremely appreciative of Footprint Adventure for offering her the opportunity to learn more about travel and tourism. She would also like to grow here with more dedication and effort for the company. She also values the chance to meet new people, explore various regions and cultures, and broaden her knowledge about travel and tourism in Nepal.

"Self-improvement comes through change. Push yourself to the places you've never been before"