Upper Mustang Trek: A Journey into the Hidden Kingdom of Nepal

Upper Mustang Trek: A Journey into the Hidden Kingdom of Nepal
Photo by Chandan Chaurasia / Unsplash

The Upper Mustang Trek is a unique journey that takes you to the hidden and semi-independent kingdom of Nepal, nestled along the Tibetan border. This region, also known as Lo, is a treasure trove of ancient Buddhist monasteries, colorful rock formations, and hundreds of caves. The trek offers an unparalleled opportunity to explore a region that was off-limits to outsiders until 1992 and still retains its unique Tibetan Buddhist culture.

The Trekking Experience

The Upper Mustang Trek, organized by Himalayan Leisure, Inc., is a 12-day adventure that begins and ends in Kathmandu. The journey takes you through the Himalayan cold desert, offering magnificent views of the Himalayan peaks. The trek is not just about the physical journey; it's about immersing yourself in a culture that has remained largely untouched by modernity.

The trek starts with a drive to Pokhara, followed by a flight to Jomsom. From Jomsom, you trek to Kagbeni, Chele, Geling, Charang, and finally to Lo Manthang, the capital of the Upper Mustang. After a day of rest and exploration in Lo Manthang, you trek back to Jomsom via Dhakmar, Syanboche, and Chhusang.

The Highlights of the Trek

One of the highlights of the trek is the visit to Lo Manthang. This walled city, which was once the capital of the Kingdom of Lo, is home to some of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in the world. The city's whitewashed walls, narrow alleys, and ancient monasteries transport you back in time.

The trek also takes you through the rain shadow of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountains, making it an ideal monsoon destination. The region's unique geography results in a landscape that is starkly different from the lush greenery typically associated with Nepal.

What's Included

The package includes transfers from Kathmandu to Pokhara and back, domestic flights from Pokhara to Jomsom and back, accommodation in Pokhara and during the trek, all meals during the trek, a professional English-speaking trekking guide, and all necessary trekking permits. The package also includes a complimentary welcome or farewell dinner in Kathmandu.

Preparing for the Trek

The Upper Mustang Trek is a moderate to difficult trek that requires a reasonable level of fitness. It is recommended to pack waterproof jackets, warm fleece jackets, good boots, sleeping bags, a comfortable day pack, lightweight gloves, sun hats/scarfs, sunglasses with UV protection, t-shirts, hiking shorts, lightweight cotton long pants, and water bottles.

A Journey of a Lifetime

The Upper Mustang Trek is more than just a trek; it's a journey into a hidden kingdom that has preserved its unique culture and traditions for centuries. Whether you're a seasoned trekker or a beginner, this trek offers an unparalleled opportunity to explore a region that is as beautiful as it is culturally rich.

Top Activities to Do During the Upper Mustang Trek

The Upper Mustang Trek is not just about the trek itself; it's about the experiences you have along the way. Here are some of the top activities you can do during this trek:

1. Explore Ancient Monasteries

Upper Mustang is home to some of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in the world. Don't miss the opportunity to visit these ancient monasteries and learn about their history and significance.

2. Visit the Sky Caves

The region is known for its hundreds of man-made caves dug into the sides of cliffs. Some of these caves are believed to be over 2,000 years old. Exploring these fascinating sky caves is a must-do activity.

3. Experience Tibetan Buddhist Culture

Upper Mustang is one of the last places in the world where Tibetan Buddhist culture is still practiced in its traditional form. Take the time to interact with the locals and learn about their unique culture and way of life.

4. Enjoy the Scenery

The trek offers breathtaking views of the Himalayan peaks and the unique landscape of the Upper Mustang region. Don't forget to take a moment to stop and enjoy the scenery.

5. Visit the Walled City of Lo Manthang

Lo Manthang, the capital of the Upper Mustang, is a walled city that transports you back in time. Explore the city's narrow alleys, ancient monasteries, and the royal palace.

6. Try Local Cuisine

Nepalese cuisine is as diverse as its culture. Don't miss the opportunity to try local dishes like Thukpa (Tibetan noodle soup), Tsampa (roasted barley flour), and Tibetan tea.

7. Photography

With its stunning landscapes, ancient monasteries, and vibrant local life, the Upper Mustang Trek offers plenty of photography opportunities. Capture the beauty of the region, the charm of the villages, and the thrill of the trek.

Remember, the Upper Mustang Trek is about more than just the trek. It's about the journey, the experiences, and the memories you create along the way.