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10 Reasons to do the Upper Mustang Trek

Trekking Nepal: Safety Tips and Trek Recommendations
Mountain Sherpa Admin
Jul 20, 2021
Nepal, the land of the Himalayas has been recognized as a top travel destination in the world, and you will probably agree if you have visited Nepal and if you haven't then we assume it is in your bucket list. The sublime beauty of Nepal from lowland to the top of the world offers adventure galore from sightseeing in the centuries-old medieval cities to the base camp of the world's tallest mountain and top of the world. The fluttering prayer flags, and prayer wheels, beautiful rivers, and waterfalls, enchanting culture, and lifestyle, lofty mountains and hills, stunning landscapes and iconic trails, and everything Nepal has to offer has captivated thousands of travelers. The legendary trekking trails of Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Base Camp trek sung thousands of stories of intrepid and avid travelers and adventurers. That said, we cannot simply overlook some of the phenomenal trekking trails that lies in the remote part of Nepal that offers trekking experience for a lifetime. We are talking about Upper Mustang Trek, a remarkable journey to the isolated Himalayas of Nepal.
Upper Mustang, the forbidden Kingdom of Nepal offers astounding Trekking experience in the remote and isolated region of Nepal. Formerly Kingdom of Lo, Mustang is famous for its a whitewashed house, ancient monasteries, chortens, and mani walls. Also known as hidden gems of Nepal, Upper Mustang Trek is a beautiful journey to the highly preserved territory of Nepal; until 1992 it was restricted area, no foreign footsteps were to be discovered. Howbeit, trekkers, requires a special permit: Upper Mustang Restricted Area Permit,  issued by the Department of Immigration (DoI) to enter in Upper Mustang. It cost US $500 per person for 10 days and US $50 for each day extended. This has, in a way, led to the importance of Mustang region as a culturally significant hidden Kingdom of Nepal.  The relative isolation from the modern world has let Upper Mustang introduce its highly preserved culture and treasure, and admittedly, this has allured thousands of travelers from around the world.  The stunning landscape, treeless- desert-like areas, enigmatic history, and Tibetan culture are significant highlights of Upper Mustang. Adding to this, here are 10 reasons why you should do Upper Mustang Trek:

1. Warm hospitality of Thakalis & Gurung communities

One of the perks of trekking to Upper Mustang is the people and their culture. Thakalis and Gurung people dominate Mustang region. These two indigenous groups have an enticing lifestyle and culture that intrigues anyone traveling to this beautiful and exotic land of Mustang. Particularly the warm hospitality of Thakalis and Gurung people garnered with generosity is second to none.  Allegedly known for their good company and fun nature, Gurung and Thakalis can turn into your friend far from home. Well, it is also a great opportunity to immerse into their enticing culture while you are in Upper Mustang for your adventure.

2. Ecological diversity

Upper Mustang in the immediate vicinity of  Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA) is rich in biodiversity. The trans-Himalayan biodiversity of Upper Mustang preserves some of the endangered wildlife. The Upper Mustang Biodiversity Conservation Project implemented in 2000 has been preserving flora and fauna of Upper Mustang through a realistic conservation management plan. It is estimated that Upper Mustang is home to more than 300 terrestrial plant species, 200 bird species including some of the elusive wildlife. It is annotated that the trans-Himalayan zone of Upper Mustang is extremely rich in flora and fauna.

3. Caves

Upper Mustang houses some of the mysterious cave in its exotic landscape. It is annotated that there are more than ten thousands of caves, some human-made and some natural caves. The caves are 2000 years olds adorned with beautiful and abstract paintings and sculptures and hold historical significance. Exploring these mysterious caves is an adventure in itself.

4. Ancient chortens, monasteries

Upper Mustang is treasure-house of centuries-old monasteries and chortens. It is home to Ghar Gompa, one of the oldest Tibetan monastery in the world. Gekar Monasteries, Tsarang Monastery, Ghami Monastery, Ghiling Monastery,  Choser Cave, Luri Cave, Gonpa-Kang, are some of the fabled monasteries and Gompas in Upper Mustang. The historical monasteries, chortens, and gompas in Upper Mustang contribute to the spiritual journey rather than adventure. These monasteries flanked atop the hill or across the region deserves homage as they reflect thousands years old history and culture.

5. Intact Tibetan Buddhism

Your quest to trek to Upper Mustang will let you immerse into the Tibetan Buddhism.  This untouched exotic region of Nepal is highly influenced by Tibetan culture, and Buddhism practiced long back that remains intact in Mustang. Upper Mustang is also known as the old Buddhist kingdom of Mustang and semi-independent Tibetan kingdom. It is a unique privilege to relish the chance to witness the matchless and intact Buddhism in Mustang.

6. Breathtaking landscape

One of the distinct highlights of Upper Mustang Trek is the breathtaking and stunning landscape ranging from treeless landscape to windswept valleys. The charming valley flaunts impressive rock formations. The deep canyons, eroded cliffs, Moraine, windswept valleys, and tree-less landscape possess unrivaled scenery along the trekking trail of Upper Mustang. The unique landscape of the Upper Mustang has allured thousands of tourist every year.

7. Tashi Kabum: A cave temple in Upper Mustang

Upper Mustang is home to copious caves. It is believed that ancient troglodytes lived in the caves long back, dated to 3000 years back. Tashi Kabum is one of the antique caves in Mustang located 50 meters above the Puyon Khola. It is challenging to reach Tashi Kabum; you literally have to crawl to reach this cave, and it involves a steep scramble. Adorned with beautiful wall paintings, and chortens,  Tasim Kabum has religious, cultural, and historical significance. 

8. Tiji Festival

The most popular and colorful festival of Upper Mustang is Tiji Festival celebrated to remark the victory of good over evil. Tiji Festival encompasses sacred and folk dances and songs and is observed and glorified every year for three days. This unique festival is considered an auspicious celebration; the celebration of the victory of Dorjee Sonnu over Man Tam Ru. Tiji Festival preserves several myths. People gather in one place in Lo Manthang and performs a ritual dance in colorful attire and masks. The phenomenal performance at this festival is a wonderful and unique experience as this festival divulge the intact Tibetan Buddhism.

9. Kingdom of Lo Manthang

Upper Mustang is also Known as the Kingdom of Lo Manthang. Lo Manthang is the capital of Upper Mustang. The four-storey royal palace and Thugchen Gompa in Lo Manthang are two major attraction of Lo Manthang in Upper Mustang. Lo Manthang is exquisitely embellished with Wall and also called as the walled capital of Upper Mustang. Lo Manthang is enriched with Tibetan culture and tradition. There are series of cave, ancient gompas like  Jampa Gompa,  Thubchen Gompa, Choprang Gompa, and several others. The relative isolation of Lo Manthang from the outside world has rewarded Lo Manthang as the hidden Tibetan Kingdom in Nepal. 

10. Majestic mountain

Upper Mustang Trek is blessed with picturesque mountains. The delightful trek to Upper Mustang offers you with magnificent vistas of some of the world's highest peaks like Dhaulagiri, Annapurna including Nilgiri and surrounding Himalayas. The backdrop of the majestic mountains in its unrivaled bestowal in the foothill of Upper Mustang are breathtaking. 

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