Exploring the Forbidden Kingdom- Upper Mustang in Nepal
The Upper Mustang Trek takes you through this stunning region. Offers a glimpse into a way of life that has been the same for centuries. The trek follows ancient trade routes through a barren, windswept landscape of eroded canyons, red cliffs, and soaring peaks.
You’ll pass through walled medieval towns and visit centuries-old monasteries, all while surrounded by breathtaking views of the Himalayas.
Upper Mustang, also popular in the “Forbidden Kingdom,” is a remote and rugged region of northern Nepal. It lies in the rain shadow of the Himalayas. This means that it receives very little rainfall, creating a desert-like landscape that is unique to the region.
The area was closed to foreigners until 1992 and still requires a special permit to visit. As a result, it has retained much of its traditional Tibetan culture and remains relatively untouched by modern development.
Trek to the forbidden kingdom
The trek typically takes around 10-14 days and requires a moderate level of fitness due to the altitude. It ranges from 2,800 meters to 4,200 meters.
Along the way, you’ll have the chance to experience the unique culture and hospitality of the local people, who still practice traditional trades such as weaving, pottery, and farming. Overall, the Upper Mustang Trek is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that offers a rare glimpse into an ancient and fascinating culture.
Nepal is a paradise for trekkers and hikers from around the world. The country has a range of treks, from easy walks to challenging expeditions, with stunning scenery and unique cultural experiences. Among the many trekking routes in Nepal, Upper Mustang Trek is one of the most fascinating and sought-after routes.
The trek to Upper Mustang takes you to a hidden and remote part of Nepal. You can experience the fascinating Tibetan culture., the walled city of Lo Manthang, and the forbidden kingdom. This blog will provide you with an in-depth guide to the Upper Mustang Trek.
About Upper Mustang Trek
The Upper Mustang Trek takes you through the forbidden kingdom of Mustang. It was opened to tourists in 1992. Mustang is a rain shadow area, which means that it receives little or no rainfall throughout the year.
As a result, the region has a unique landscape, with barren hills, deep gorges, and red rock formations. The trek also takes you through the Kali Gandaki River valley, which is the deepest gorge in the world.
Upper Mustang Trek Itinerary
The Upper Mustang Trek itinerary usually takes around 12 days, starting from Kathmandu. The trek starts with a flight to Pokhara and then to Jomsom, which is the starting point of the trek.
The trek takes you through Kagbeni, Chele, Syangboche, Charang, Lo Manthang, and Ghami, before ending in Jomsom. You will have to cross the La Pass, which is at an altitude of 3,800 meters, on the way.
Things you need to know before the upper mustang trek
Before embarking on the Upper Mustang Trek, there are a few things that you should keep in mind:
The Upper Mustang region is a restricted area. All trekkers should obtain a special permit from the Nepalese government. These permits can be expensive and difficult to obtain, so it’s important to plan ahead.
The cost of the trekking permit for the Upper Mustang is relatively comparatively higher than other trekking routes in Nepal. The government of Nepal has set the permit fee at $500 per person.
In addition to the ACAP permit fee of $20. You will also have to pay a fee of $50 per person per day for a minimum of 10 days. The permit fees are used to maintain the infrastructure of the region and to promote tourism.
Altitude sickness is a common problem that trekkers face in Nepal. As you climb higher, the air pressure decreases, which makes it difficult for your body to get enough oxygen.
This can lead to altitude sickness, which can be fatal if not treated in time. To avoid altitude sickness, it is important to acclimatize properly, drink plenty of water, and take it slow.
The trek reaches elevations of over 4,000 meters, which means that altitude sickness can be a concern. It’s important to acclimatize properly and take steps to avoid altitude sickness.
The Upper Mustang region is located in the rain shadow of the Himalayas. That makes it generally dry and arid. However, weather can still be unpredictable. So, the trekkers should be prepared for sudden changes in temperature and weather conditions.
The Upper Mustang region is home to a unique blend of Tibetan and Nepalese cultures. It is important to be respectful of local customs and traditions. This includes dressing modestly, asking permission before taking photos, and being mindful of local taboos.
The Upper Mustang Trek is a circuit trek. This means that you will start and end the trek in the same place. This is different from point-to-point treks, where you start at one point and end at another. Circuit treks in Nepal are popular among trekkers, as they offer a variety of scenery and terrain.
The Upper Mustang Trek is a moderate trek. So, it is suitable for trekkers of all levels of experience. However, it is important to have some trekking experience, as you will be walking for around 6-7 hours a day. You will also have to carry your own backpack, which will include your personal belongings, sleeping bag, and other essentials.
To trek to Upper Mustang, you will need to obtain a special trekking permit. It is issued by the government of Nepal. The permit costs around $500 per person. And you will also have to pay an additional fee of $50 per person per day for a minimum of 10 days.
You will also need to obtain a permit from the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), as the Upper Mustang region falls under the ACAP.
In addition to the permit costs, you will also have to pay for your personal expenses, such as food, accommodation, and transportation. The cost of food and accommodation on the trek is relatively high, as everything has to be brought in from outside.
You can expect to pay around $20-25 per day for food and accommodation. You will also have to rent a sleeping bag, which costs around $2-3 per day.
What will you come across in the Upper Mustang trek?
During the Upper Mustang Trek, you’ll come across a variety of incredible sights. Along with the experiences that are unique to this remote and rugged region of Nepal. The following are some of the trek’s highlights:
Upper Mustang is home to several ancient monasteries, some of which date back to the 8th century. You’ll have the opportunity to visit these monasteries and learn about the local Buddhist culture.
The Upper Mustang region is home to a unique culture that is influenced by Tibetan traditions. The people of Mustang are called Loba, and they have their own language, customs, and traditions.
The region is also famous for its beautiful monasteries, Chortens, and prayer flags. The walled city of Lo Manthang is the highlight of the trek.
It is a well-preserved medieval town that has retained its traditional architecture and culture. The local people still practice traditional trades such as weaving, pottery, and farming. And they are popular for their warm hospitality.
One of the challenges of trekking in Nepal is the lack of hot showers. Most guesthouses and teahouses do not have hot showers. And you will have to take a cold shower or wash with a bucket of hot water.
However, some guesthouses in the Upper Mustang region have installed solar-powered showers, which provide hot water. You can expect to pay a little extra for a hot shower. But it is worth it after a long day of trekking.
The walled city of Lo Manthang is the highlight of the Upper Mustang Trek. The city is surrounded by high walls. These hills were built to protect the town from invaders.
Inside the walls, you will find narrow alleys, beautiful courtyards, and ancient palaces. The city is also home to the King’s Palace, which is the residence of the former king of Mustang.
As you trek through Upper Mustang, you’ll come across several walled medieval towns. This includes Lo Manthang, the former capital of the Kingdom of Mustang. These towns are full of narrow alleys, whitewashed mud-brick buildings, and traditional Tibetan-style architecture.
Rain Shadow Area
The Upper Mustang region is a rain shadow area. It means that it receives little or no rainfall throughout the year. The region lies in the Himalayan rain shadow. It is formed by the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges.
As a result, the region has a unique landscape, with barren hills, deep gorges, and red rock formations. This has created a unique desert-like landscape of eroded canyons, red cliffs, and soaring peaks
Throughout the trek, breathtaking views of the Himalayas will be all around. That includes several peaks that are over 8,000 meters tall, such as Annapurna and Dhaulagiri.
Do I need a special permit to trek in Upper Mustang?
Yes, all trekkers should obtain a special permit from the Nepalese government to enter the Upper Mustang region. The permit costs USD 500 per person for the first 10 days and USD 50 per person per day thereafter.
What is the highest elevation while on the trek?
The highest point on the Upper Mustang Trek is the Lo La Pass. It stands at an altitude of 3,950 meters above sea level.
What is the best time of year to trek in the Upper Mustang?
The best time to trek in Upper Mustang is from March to November. At this time, the weather is generally dry and mild. During the winter months, the region can become very cold and snowy, making trekking difficult.
Is it possible to do the Upper Mustang Trek as a circuit trek?
Yes, it is possible to do the Upper Mustang Trek as a circuit trek. This involves trekking in from Jomsom and trekking out via the Kali Gandaki Valley. This route takes around 16-18 days to complete.
What level of physical fitness do we require for the Upper Mustang Trek?
The Upper Mustang Trek is a moderate trek that requires a good level of physical fitness. Trekkers should prepare for long days of walking and should be comfortable hiking for 5-6 hours per day. In order to prevent altitude sickness, appropriate acclimatization is also crucial.
The Upper Mustang Trek is a unique and fascinating trek. It takes you through the hidden and remote parts of Nepal. The trek offers a unique cultural experience, with a glimpse into Tibetan culture.
Along with the walled city of Lo Manthang. However, the trek can be challenging, with high altitude and long walking days. It is important to prepare well and acclimatize properly to avoid altitude sickness.
The permit costs for the trek are also relatively high. But the fees are used to maintain the infrastructure of the region and to promote tourism. Overall, the Upper Mustang Trek is a must-do trek for anyone who wants to experience the hidden and remote parts of Nepal.