Upper Mustang is a mountainous area in the north of Kathmandu in the Mustang District of Nepal. The place is mostly famous among international travelers. Trekking in Upper Mustang is like trekking beyond the high Himalayas. It is a desert-like area with less rainfall. Here, you will experience the authentic life of mountain people who follow different norms and cultures.
People in Upper Mustang follow Tibetan culture. The villages in Upper Mustang had little contact with the rest of the world. They follow their unique traditions and lifestyle. A few years back there used to be a king who ruled the area. The Government of Nepal recognized Jigme Dorji Palbar Bista as the last king of Upper Mustang. Still, the Nepal government has kept Upper Mustang as a restricted area. Hence, Tourists require a special restricted area permit entering the Upper Mustang area.
Upper Mustang is like Tibet, both in cultural and geographical terms. So, we consider Mustang to be a separate kingdom with the border of Nepal. Until 1950, it was a different kingdom inside Nepal. A separate king ruled the district of Mustang. He still has his place in Lo Manthang, which is the capital of Upper Mustang.
Trekking in Upper Mustang, a rare gem to people seeking mystery
Trekking to Upper Mustang carries both an adventurous and a cultural journey. You trek to the high barren hills. The beautiful rays of sun seen in the mountains accompany you throughout the journey. Likewise, you can bless your eyes with the stunning views of high mountains such as Mt. Annapurna, Mt, Nilgiri, Mt. Dhaulagiri, Mt. Machhapuchhre, and many more. Besides having an adventurous journey, you experience the unique blend of Buddhism religion.
The royal palace at Lo Manthang, different monasteries, caves, Amchi Museum, and school in Upper Mustang makes your travel more intruding. Meanwhile, you share a matchless bond with the people, culture in Mustang. The Upper Mustang Trek takes you to ancient times and how things have changed now.
The mysteries of caves will leave you spellbound. You will walk to a different place that is unique and is still untouched by modernization. The Tiji festival that takes in Upper Mustang is another key feature of trekking to the Upper Mustang. The 3-day long festival falls either in May or June. So, if are lucky enough, you can take part in the festival by just adding a few numbers of days to your Mustang visit.
Trekking to Upper Mustang is not so difficult. Also, it does not require prior experience or any special trekking skills. A beginner hiker can experience the region. The highest point reached is 3800 meters. Since Mustang receives little rainfall, you can also visit the area during the monsoon. However, the best time to visit Nepal is during Spring (March-May) and Autumn (September–November).
There are few accommodations in Upper Mustang. You can hire a trekking agency in Nepal like Heaven Himalaya to book guesthouses and to arrange the trip for you. You must walk 6-7 hours a day, so getting a porter to carry your goods is always the best idea.
It takes around 6-8 days from Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, to reach Lo Manthang. The Upper Mustang trip takes around 16-18 days to complete from Kathmandu. You take the same route used while trekking to Lo Manthang to return. However, while you descend from the Upper Mustang, you can take a different route that follows through the Kali Gandaki.