Why is the Upper Mustang Trek a unique journey in Nepal?

When you think of exploring the natural beauty of Nepal, you instantly think of Mustang. The beautiful destination has a special place in the hearts of every adventure and nature enthusiast. You get the best of both worlds when you go to the Upper Mustang trek, where you will get to experience the beautiful landscapes of the Himalayan region while also getting a chance to interact with Buddhist and Tibetan people and their culture during your trek. Upper Mustang is truly a heaven for those who want to go on a two weeks long getaway.

(Trekkers on the way to Upper mustang)

There is a greater part of history hidden in the walls of this amazing trekking destination. Hence, you will get more than just an amazing trekking trip when you are here. Exploration of both Nepalese and Tibetan lifestyle becomes possible, and trekkers can even live moments as one of the locals during their journey. Your trek to Upper Mustang will be nothing like any other treks you make in and out of Nepal. This trek is known for its several unique qualities.

If you want to learn more about why the Upper Mustang trek is a unique journey in Nepal, make sure to read till the end of this article!

What makes the Upper Mustang Trek a unique journey in Nepal?

The Upper Mustang trek is very popular among trekkers throughout the world. If one does not quite have the expertise to trek to challenging locations, he can be confident about completing his Upper Mustang trek without any difficulty, as it is meant for almost every type of trekker. And, for those with expertise in trekking, your Upper Mustang trek is no less than a piece of cake.

The following reasons make the Upper Mustang trek a unique journey in Nepal:

Visiting the forbidden kingdom

The fact that has surprised a lot of trekkers about Upper Mustang is that it had been forbidden and locked away from visitors till the year 1992. It was only after this year that trekkers and visitors discovered the ancient kingdom. There are interesting historical facts associated with the Upper Mustang region. Many stories have gone untold while the locals will guide you through other stories. If you love exploring new places with old stories, you should not miss out on this amazing trekking destination.

Panoramic view

There are simply just so many natural as well as cultural and religious aspects that you can discover during your Upper Mustang trek. The panoramic view includes the beautiful blue sky against stone trails and the reflection of Buddhist culture and traditions in every alley you enter. The natural beauty, including the waterways, rugged roads, valleys, oak forests and the mountains, will leave you stunned in the most delightful way possible. The landscapes are truly meant to be discovered by trekkers of all ages and from every part of the world.

Tibetan Buddhist culture exploration

A majority of people living in the Upper Mustang region are Tibetan Buddhists. Besides the Tibetan Buddhists, there are Thakali and Buddhist Gurung people living in Upper Mustang. The delicious cuisines that you can enjoy during your trek are heavily influenced by Thakali, Gurung, and Tibetan culture. Trekkers can relish on all these food cuisines during their trekking journey. Likewise, there are many other attractive cultural aspects you can explore on your trek, like Mani walls, murals, artifacts, monasteries, the Chhoser cave, etc. You can also immerse yourself into the amazing festivals and celebrations of the Upper Mustang.

Lo Manthang exploration

Lo Manthang is the ancient capital city in Upper Mustang that holds lots of historical facts, making it one of the most interesting factors during your trek. The region is rich in religious areas. Tiji festival is one of the most significant festivals celebrated by Buddhist locals. Trekkers will get a chance to be a part of the joyous festival if they are there in the right month. The kingdom of Mustang looks all the more extravagant and glorious amidst the Himalayas from Lo Manthang. You can also visit the 15th century royal palace when you are here.

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Heartwarming hospitality

The people living in the Upper Mustang region know best how to offer their visitors the most heartwarming hospitality. You will not be disappointed when you try to bond and interact with the locals. Many are even curious as to where you come from and will most definitely try to initiate a conversation with you. The endearing nature of the locals will keep you invested in your trek all the more than you would expect yourself to be. Farmers grow fruits like apples and apricots, which are two of the most famous fruits from Mustang. And, they also grow other crops and vegetables like potatoes, carrots, radishes, etc.

Traditional teahouses

There is barely an ounce of modernity in the make of teahouses in Upper Mustang, meaning you will get the absolute most authentic experience even when you rest or come in for a stay in between your treks. Most of the tea houses reflect the cultural and religious nature of the people and their lifestyle in the area. You can enjoy traditional meals in front of the fireplace with many other trekkers and locals. The traditional and authentic teahouses in itself are an incredible exposure to the uniqueness of Upper Mustang.

Natural discoveries

Anyone with a love for archaeology and natural splendors should go on the journey to Upper Mustang. Trekkers will come through the Kali Gandaki River gorge, which is one of the deepest gorges in the world. Finding fossils and ancient caves or rocks in the region is not surprising. You are literally in for an adventure to a mysterious kingdom and your experience will not only be limited to trekking when you are here.

What are the places you cannot miss during the Upper Mustang Trek?

There are major trekking destinations in Upper Mustang that become the highlight of your trek. These places are:

Lo Manthang

(lo manthang)

As mentioned before, Lo Manthang is a place that holds great significance for trekkers from all around the world. It had been a capital to Upper Mustang since the earliest time known. It is also known as the capital of the Kingdom of Lo. To discover more about Lo Manthang and the history of it, you can visit the royal palace.


Jomsom is a gateway to take a peek into the lives of the Nepalese people and their lifestyles in the Himalayan region of the country. Trekkers tend to start their trek from Kathmandu or Pokhara and head towards Jomsom, continuing their trek to Lo Manthang. You can spend a day in a teahouse in Jomsom during your trek. Furthermore, one of the most famous fruits from this region is apples and the apples from the region move from here to all around Nepal, and many times even outside the country.

With a perfect view of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna, photography is also a great way to fully celebrate your moments in Jomsom. This region was famous as a trading spot for traders for a long time. As of now, you will find most of the amenities available to Upper Mustang, like department stores, coffee shops, and eateries here. Since the area has a dense population of Thakali people, you can easily find a restaurant or a traditional eatery where you can enjoy authentic Thakali meals.

Kali Gandaki River flows through the Jomsom city, increasing the natural beauty of the region. This location has been a famous trekking stop for trekkers from all around the world for many years now.


Muktinath temple holds a great significance among Hindu devotees. Most devotees visit the temple from India and Nepal itself. Whatsoever, you will be able to witness the divinity of this temple during your Upper Mustang trek. It is believed that the spot of the temple is exactly where Lord Bishnu was blessed salvation from Brinda’s curse, hence translating to Mukti, which means freedom, and Nath, meaning God. There are 108 taps in this temple which is believed to wash the sins of the devotees once they shower and go through all the taps.


The village of Kagbeni is famous among trekkers, as there is a dense population in this village. You will get a glimpse of Nepali rural life when you are here. Kagbeni village is also the home to the ever mysterious Luri monastery where Buddhist devotees come for a visit almost every day. Additionally, your trials will be filled with colorful prayer flags of different colors, namely red, yellow, and blue.

Chhoser cave

Chhoser cave is an attractive cave built out of a cliff accommodating 40 rooms from within. The cave also facilitates a monastery where devotees visit now and then. This is one of the unique caves with great importance in the history of Upper Mustang. When you are on your trek, make sure to not miss out on this terrific marvel of a creation.

What is the best time to go to the Upper Mustang Trek?

It would be right to say that there is no one best time to go to the Upper Mustang trek. You can go on the trek at literally any time of the year, including monsoon. It has always been deemed that going on a trek to different trekking destinations in any other season besides spring and fall is not suitable. However, Upper Mustang allows trekkers to trek and visit the destination even during monsoon months.

The trails are perfectly fit for trekking and traveling regardless of what month you visit there. It might get a bit too hot for trekkers to trek during summer, but it is mostly all about preferences of the trekker than anything when it comes to Upper Mustang trek. Therefore, this is also a reason why the Upper Mustang trek is one of the unique trekking journeys you can make in Nepal.

What are the permits required for the Upper Mustang trek?

You are likely to need three different types of permit to complete the Upper Mustang trek. These permits are as follows:

Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS) Card:

The Trekkers’ Information Management System card or the TIMS card is required before trekking to almost any trekking destination in Nepal. This card helps the trekkers get necessary details about the trekking destinations, other information about trekkers, and emergency contacts of the trekkers.

You are required to pay a sum of $20 for this permit. Moreover, with the help of a TIMS card, trekkers can get help from the authorities, who will be able to track them in the trekking zones.

Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP):

Annapurna Conservation Area Permit or ACAP is a crucial permit required to trek around the Annapurna Conservation area. Upper Mustang also falls under one of those areas. In order to conserve and protect the biodiversity and the environment of the Annapurna conservation area, this permit is made mandatory for everyone entering the area. This permit has promoted the sustainability of the natural surroundings in all the associated areas. Trekkers should pay $30 for the ACAP permit.

Restricted Area Permit (RAP) for Upper Mustang Trek:

You cannot trek in Upper Mustang without the Restricted Area Permit (RAP). The permit of $500 is applicable for a 10 day’s trek. But you can extend your trekking days by paying more than this amount. This permit is precisely only required for treks to Upper Mustang. And, you can get this permit with the help of your trekking agency by delivering the necessary documents, including copies of your passport and passport size pictures.


Trekking to Upper Mustang is a trek of a lifetime. There are many reasons as to why this trekking journey is so unique and beautiful among all the other trekking journeys in Nepal.

There are several Buddhist monasteries where followers and visitors come every day to offer their prayers in front of the lord. If you love history, you will appreciate finding traces of the bygone time in the walls of the monasteries. Even the modern lifestyle of the people here suggests cultural and religious influence of the place and the ancient history. The landscape views in front of the mountain peaks and the Kali Gandaki river flowing endlessly just makes your trek all the more memorable.


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