“HIDDEN KINGDOM” which is commonly known as upper mustang Is certainly an upper part of mustang compromising the northern two-thirds of the mustang district of GandakiProvince. Southern third (lower mustang) of the district iscalledThak which is a homeland of the Thakali language combining Nepali and Tibetan cultures. Mustang has been publicly open to foreign visitors since 1992. However, access to upper mustangisstill highly restricted and requires a separate permit to enter. Geographically being a part of the Tibetan Plateau, the trek to the upper mustang is quite similar to trekking in Tibet.
Trek to the upper mustang is a real privilege. If you want to experience the lifestyle of true mountain people, who for hundreds of years had very little contact with the outside world, yes this place is for you.
Temperature and weather
The temperature in Upper mustang is quite fair and bearable. From March- June the temperature of the upper mustang reachesto16-22 degree Celsius in day time while it can be around-2to-6degree Celsius at night time. From July to September the average temperature here is around 20-33 degree Celsius in the daytime and 0 to -3 degree Celsius at night time. From October to November the temperature is around 12-20 degree Celsius but can fall to-4to -8 degree Celsius at night.
Best season to visit
Generally, the best time to travel to upper mustang is March to early November. Since the temperature is quite bearableyouwill
not have many difficulties traveling. Lying in the rainshadow of the Himalayas makes it great Monsoon trek winter treks are mostly avoided because of its harsh weather. People usually leave the capital to avoid extreme cold and snow.
Accommodation and food
Here, you can get small teahouses throughout the way. Even if they are really small they meet your necessities. These teahouses are run by the local people of mustang. A roomwithtwosingle bed is available. Clean blankets, pillows, and bedsheets are provided. A teahouse costs you around 5-15$ per night.
Foods- being a very popular tourist destination upper mustang has been able to serve very well and varieties of food to their guest. You will have more than enough options for food. Pizzas, pasta, sandwich, noodles, bread, eggs, traditional food and Tibetan foods, potatoes item, soups, drinks, etc. everything is provided on this route. The food price can be around3-6%permeal.
Bus- the bus is always the cheaper yet very entertaining means of travel. Here, you can drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara which will take around 4-5 hours and may cost you 400-600NRS(4-5$).From Pokhara, you can take a ride to Beni which will take around 2 hours. From Beni, you can take a bus to Jomsomwhichwill take around 5-7 hours.
Besides this, there is also a direct bus from
Kathmandu to Muktinath which will cost you around3500-4000
NRS (35-40$) for two-way. You can take a jeep ride from Jomsom to Lo Manthang which takes 3 days.
Airplane- first after landing in Kathmandu you can take another flight to Pokhara. From Pokhara, it is again an easy flight to Jomsom which will only take 30 minutes. FromJomsomyoucantrek or take a jeep ride.
Trek to the upper mustang can be quite expensive. All the trekkers heading towards the upper mustang are strictly required to purchase permits which cost 500$ (50,000 NRS) and are valid for only 10 days. if you are staying more than 10 days you needtoadd50$ per day. Another permit you will require is Annapurna conservation Area permit which will cost you 20$ (2000NRS)per person.
Note- you must always be careful with your permit, this permitisasked during your both way in and way out of upper mustang.
Mobile coverage or cellular reception is available all along the way up to upper mustang so you can talk to anyone at any time. Internet facility is available up to Kagbeni and Lo Manthangso
you can be always updated about the places and directions. Places like Samar, Ghimi, and Ghiling have electricity but are not so reliable, still, you will get enough chance to charge your electronics. However, you need to carry extra batteries and chargers/adapters for your easiness.
Guides are mandatory in this kind of restricted area. Independent guides are not recommended for this treksincetheycannot issue permits directly. It is required to have a reputed travel company issue the permit. If you hire a guide from Kathmandu or Pokhara it will cost you 35$ per day. They know the directions, places, and villages and have good knowledge about food and accommodation. Local porters if hired fromJomsommay charge you around 30$ per day but if you hire your porter from Kathmandu or Pokhara it might cost you 25$ per day.
The average upper mustang trek takes 17/18 days inwhichyourwalking hours will be 6-7. Walking for this many of hourscanbequite challenging, especially for beginners. It is always better to prepare yourself by doing some running, jogging, and light exercises. As for the level of altitude sickness, it dependsonthemaximum height you will be reaching. There are fewplacesyouwant to go like Marang La at 4230m, chooser at 3900m, orLoManthang at 3810m. However, they all are quite highsoit’slikelyto have altitude sickness. You need to take some precautions
like being hydrated throughout the whole journey, avoiding alcoholic beverages for a few days, and walking slowly so that you can adjust to the height.
Travel insurance – travel insurance is a very important part of trekking. You always need travel insurance especially when you are traveling to these kinds of risky, high places. If ever you need to have any medical emergencies your travel insurance will be bearing it for you. It is important to mention all the places and altitudes you will be reaching, so your insurance companysothatyou do not have any problem later
Visa/ passport- it is mandatory for every foreigner to tohavevisaand a valid passport to enter Nepal. Only Indian citizenarenotrequired to have visas for visiting Nepal. You can get your Nepalese visa at Tribhuwan International airport, Kathmandu.