A lot of people know Upper Mustang as a place to visit someday. However little is known that Upper Mustang is also called the Kingdom of Lo. It is one of the remote and also isolated regions of Nepal. Interestingly this feature makes Upper Mustang so special. There are the top 10 best reasons to trek Upper Mustang though. Visiting the upper Mustang is like deep diving into the actual essence of soul searching and traveling.
From the plateaus to the barren land and also the culture and tradition that is present in the Upper Mustang region it is a must-visit. Right before jumping into why you should visit Upper Mustang, there are some points to consider. As Upper Mustang is a restricted area, you would need a special permit from the Department of Immigration. There are two permits that are needed.
Upper Mustang Restricted Area Permit
Annapurna Conservation Area Permit
Talking about the cost of the permit, it is US $500 for 10 days and not nights for each person. With an added day in the Upper Mustang area, each person will have to pay $50 each day. The starting point is Kagbeni and it ends at Kagbeni village.
Similarly, the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit is Rs 2260 for foreigners while Rs 226 for tourists from the SAARC nation. Travelers tend to underestimate the permit and get into trouble. Meanwhile, we will be looking into the 10 best reasons to trek Upper Mustang at this point.
Local Tribes and Unique Culture
It doesn’t matter whether you are doing the Upper Mustang Trek or trek to any place, the biggest reason is to know the local people and also the culture they live through.
When you go into the deep dives of Upper Mustang, the local lifestyle and culture can easily make you fall in love. Most of the culture present in Upper Mustang is Tibetian as it lies on the border. Loba is the ethnic group of the place.
The culture started in the 8th century which is the key. The four major festivals present in the place are Gine, Gensu, Gelling, and Nayuene. You have to visit the place to experience these festivals.
Tall Mountains and picturesque landscapes
Nepal is the country with the tallest mountains in the world. 10 of the world’s tallest mountains lie in Nepal which is the key. When you go through the Jomsom Lower Mustang or the Kagbeni area, there are mountains in view.
Nilgiri (7,061 m), Dhaulagiri (8167 m), Annapurna range, etc are easily visible which makes the stay pretty positive. Along with that, the trekker can have the delight to watch Tukuche (6.920 m), Tilicho (7,134 m), and Chulu West (6,419 m) which provides picturesque magnificence.
Ancient monasteries and caves
Another enthralling aspect of the trek, Upper Mustang is about the monastery, the culture, and the caves that remain in the place. When you talk about culture, Tibetian culture and tradition have built some brilliant monasteries. Ghar Gompa is the oldest monastery in the world which is present in Upper Mustang.
Other monasteries present are Gekar Monastery, Tsarang Monastery, Ghami Monastery, Ghiling Monastery, etc. The Chortens and the gompas in the place can make you fall in love.
Talking about the scary caves, Upper Mustang is also home to plenty of caves. With 2000-year-old caves present you can have beautiful and abstract paintings done in the caves. Choser Cave, Luri Cave, and Gonpa-Kang are some of the famous ones.
Forbidden Kingdom of Lo Manthang
Out of all the reasons, the top one remains to enjoy the forbidden kingdom of Lo Manthang. The area of Upper Mustang is better known as the Last Forbidden Kingdom. Interestingly the place was open after 1992 for travelers. In the 50s Upper Mustang was the separate kingdom that preceded the boundaries of Nepal.
Lo Manthang lies at a height of 3840m and the last king of the place ruled from the same area. The final and exotic point for Upper Mustang is Lo Manthang. Myth, stories, and also the legend of the place keep the value of Upper Mustang alive.
Tiji and Yartung Festivals
The more ancient the place, the better the culture and the traditions present there. Talking about Upper Mustang is lived by the festivals and also the people of the place. Tiji is one of the famous festivals that is celebrated. It refers to Tempa Chirim which is the supplication for world peace. Tiji festival takes place in the month of May for three days.
On the other end, the Yartung festival is representative of the herald of summer. The ideals of Tibetian-influenced Buddhists are highly visible at this time. The full moon of August is the right time to visit the place for the Yarlung festival. A horse race is one of the biggest attractions of the festival. Interestingly both men and women participate in horse racing which makes it very exciting.
Perfect Place to Trek Around the Year
Nepal is a country with a variety of cultural traditions and also weather patterns. As a result of that, you need to be careful when you set a trek date. For Upper Mustang to be so famous, it is the availability of the trek.
A trekker can make plans for any season of the year. Whether it be the best autumn season or the painful winter season, Upper Mustang is open for everyone and at any time which is the key.
You have to understand the fact that the weather can be very cold at night due to the presence of tall mountains. Proper clothes and great company can help you to plan and understand the trek all around the year.
When someone says, Mustang the first image is all about the barren lands and the wind that blows. Well, that is not all. The place has been laced with biodiversity which makes it wonderful. Upper Mustang is covered by the Annapurna Conservation Area.
There is a variety of flora and fauna which is present in the place which makes it very special. Endangered animals like Himalayan Yak and Snow Leopard are present in the place.
Along with this, there is the presence of 300 plant species to go with 200 species of birds. Without it makes the place is the home to elusive wildlife and rare experiences.
Damodar Kunda and Muktinath Temple
If you are trekking the Upper Mustang and are willing to wash away all of your sins, Damodar Kunda is the place to dive in. It lies at an altitude of 4890 m which is pretty high. Damodar Kunda is the holy place for all Hindus and people who dive into feeling holy and pure. There is the belief that human beings should visit the Damodar Kunda at least once in their lifetime.
Saligram (fossils) along with the stunning lake around it is the highlight of the place. Right below the place at 3800 m, you will also find the Muktinath Temple. Mustang is known for what Muktinath Temple tends to provide. Without a doubt, it is one of the highest temples in the world. The beauty and also religious value carried by Muktinath will make the visit worth every penny.
Historic Salt Trade Route and Ease of Trek
Historically the trade route for the Nepalese and the Tibetian market was the salt trade route. A lot of the trade used to happen from the same place. Going into the deeps of Upper Mustang, you will be able to walk the same route. Without a doubt, you will be part of history. There are plenty of shrines, monasteries, prayer flags, and landmarks along the route. More than that the ease of the trek is the key.
The biggest positive for the Upper Mustang trek is the ease of the trek. You will need to walk 6 hours a day and there are no issues of altitude sickness. Meanwhile, the whole trip will last below the altitude of 4000 m which is easier for almost everyone who comes to trek through. Upper Mustang might be rough and ragged but there is human civilization in every landmark.
Exciting Adventure Sports Available
The Upper Mustang trek is one to enjoy and look forward to. More than trekking to the place you can enjoy the adventure sport that can come along. Yes, you heard us right. The mountain biking experience that comes through the barren trails of Mustang tends to look the way to go for the pro riders. We don’t suggest that newbies try that with lesser experience.
The bike ride will start from Jomsom and it will pass through Kali Gandaki, Muktinath and it will end through the forbidden kingdom of Lo Manthang. What addresses your ride is the wind blowing up and down.
Meanwhile, the apple orchards at Marpha and the bath at Tatopani can easily make you feel the vibe of the place. Most of the squads love to do the bike ride which is an exhilarating sport for sure.
For tourists around the world or even Nepal, there are plenty of people who love to do the Mustang or the Upper Mustang trek. Such is the hype and essence of the trek that you can enjoy the excellence. More than what the place offers to the tourist, it is about the people, their culture, festivals, and also the historical importance the place tends to carry.
Not only the place but the ease to trek the Lo manthang circuit makes it the go-to for a lot of people. You can do the trek all around the year which keeps the value and essence of the place intact.
If the readers have a week or two of the time, then they can easily make it into the Upper Mustang. You can always visit the forbidden kingdom and tick your bucket list to visit the exotic Mustang. So what is holding you back?