How many hours do we have to walk per day during the trek?
Normally, we walk 4-7 and even sometimes 8 hours for a trek in the mountain per day. For your Upper Mustang Trek, the walking hours range between 5-8 including a lunch break for around an hour in the afternoon. The walk will, mostly, be above 3000m from the sea level and the landscapes will be completely arid surrounded by alluring mountain peaks. The walk also takes you through historical forts and beautiful local settlements.
What are the major attractions to be explored on the trek?
There are so many attractions to explore in Upper Mustang Trek. These attractions include Kagbeni village, an ancient village carrying the age-old traditional and historical legacy, sacred Hindu and Buddhist sites, Muktinath Temple, Choser Cave, Luri Gumpa, and other Monasteries. Most importantly, Kaligandaki River Gorge will be one of the most striking attractions to explore. At the same time, Lo-manthang, the historical Himalayan city with forts and traditional settlements, is another considerable highlight to discover.
How difficult is Upper Mustang Trek?
Upper Mustang Trek is graded as a moderate adventure in Annapurna/ Mustang region. This trek is very similar to Annapurna Base Camp Trek while talking of the level of difficulty. Lo Manthang ( 3840 meters / 12598 feet) is the highest elevation you get to followed by the holy Muktinath Temple located at 3750m beginning with 2743m which is Jomsom. Actually, there is no threat of getting altitude sickness while trekking below 4000m high sea level. However, still, there are a few cases of altitude sickness during this trek. In conclusion, the people who have basic skills of trekking and a moderate level of physical fitness and stamina can win over Upper Mustang Trek.
What is the best season to explore this trek?
Autumn (Sep-Nov), definitely, Autumn will be the finest season of the year to be on this trek and explore the highlights of it. Why Autumn? This may be the question. To put the answer simply, the weather condition will completely be favoring you to make your trekking rip memorable and safe without any hurdles and weather extremes. If people fail to do Upper Mustang Trek, then, they also choose to do it in Spring/ Fall ( Mar-May). Spring/Fall is relatively hotter than Autumn, otherwise, trekkers will have a magnificent time during Spring as well. So, we recommend Autumn to Spring for exploring Upper Mustang.
Where will I stay and what will I eat during Upper Mustang Trek?
Trekkers will be using normal teahouses/guesthouses for overnight stays. Actually, it’s very hard to find luxury accommodation on the trail to and from Upper Mustang. So, set your mind that you are going to use very basic accommodation in the local teahouses run by the locals. However, the beds will be very neat and clean which will make your stay beautiful. Also, you may have shared the accommodation with other people because the accommodation will be on sharing basis.
The meals you are having will be provided by the local teahouse. They have certain items of foods mentioned on the menu and you will ask them to prepare them for you. The food items will freshly be cooked and served. Basically, the local ingredients are used to prepare the food so that the food items will be authentic taste, and hygienic to consume. The meat items, bread, vegetable curries, Nepali Daal (Lentils, Rice) Bhat, soups, egg items, dumplings, pizza, and other continental items are the most common item of foods to be enjoyed by the trekkers on the Upper Mustang Trekking Trail. You will see a quotation, “ Dal Bhat Power, 24 hours” on the way to Upper Mustang.
Do I need a guide or I can do it by myself?
Taking a guide while doing Upper Mustang Trek is mandatory since it is a restricted area of trekking and the Nepal government has a rule not to let anyone go on a trekking trip without a guide. Regarding the border security threat ( Upper Mustang Trekking Trail is bordering Tibet), you must take a guide with your while venturing on this trek because if any border issue occurs, it should commonly be shared by both countries. If you are planning your Upper Mustang Trek on your own without a guide, it is not possible. Have a guide and obtain a special area permit, then only you can undertake this trek.
Why is Upper Mustang restricted?
Upper Mustang is one of the restricted areas of Nepal for trekkers since the trekking trail or some territory of the region is shared by both Nepal and Tibet and there is always some threat of occurring unwanted activities. In order to prevent these unwanted activities at the border, the government of Nepal has declared Upper Mustang a restricted area where only a certain number of tourists can go with a special area trekking permit. The other reason why Upper Mustang Region has been declared a restricted area is due to environmental concerns. Permitting only a certain number of trekkers to enter the area, the government and local people preserve ecological balance which doesn’t let them spoil the environment.
What is the difference between Upper Mustang and Lower Mustang?
Both Upper and Lower Mustang Trek begin from Jomsom after a short but spectacular flight from Pokhara. Both Upper and Lower Mustang are incredible to explore. The difference between Upper Mustang and Lower Mustang is: in Lower Mustang Trek, we go up to Muktinath Temple but in Upper Mustang Trek, we also go to the highest of Mustang region that is Lo-Manthang. Actually, Lo-Manthang opens up wider and more incredible landscapes and mountain panoramas which are mostly entertained by the trekkers.
Is Upper Mustang permit expensive?
Since trekkers have to collect extra special area permits along with Trekking Information Management System( TIMS Card) and Annapurna Conservation Area Permit) ACAP, Upper Mustang Permit tends to be more expensive than other non-restricted area trekking trips. But, the permit fee is the same as other restricted area trekking like Manaslu Circuit Trek. Actually, the special area permit costs USD100 per individual per week from Sep-Nov and will be charged USD 15 per day per individual if the duration exceeds and USD75 from Aug- Dec, and an extra day cost USD 10 per individual. You can apply for these permits online or can ask your local travel partner to manage them for you before the departure on the trekking route.
Is it mandatory to give tips to the guide and porter?
Giving tips is a voluntary act. Moreover, the degree of satisfaction determines whether to give tips or not. Initially, do not panic that you must give tips to your guide and porter. It is not necessary and important to worry about tips beforehand. Let it be there and you will decide at the end of the trek. If you want, give some extra help. Otherwise, just forget it. However, tips are always expected and it’s natural too.