Upper Mustang Travel Guide

  • Upendra Dawadi
  • Last Updated on Jul 11, 2024

Table of Contents

Welcome to the Forbidden Kingdom of Lo! This guide provides essential information for trekking in the Upper Mustang. Unlike other trekking areas in Nepal, you cannot trek here without a guide and must be with a Nepal-registered trekking company. Attempting to trek alone will result in being turned back at the entry point, as the area is regulated for the safety of trekkers and the preservation of its unique culture and landscapes. Your trekking company will handle all necessary paperwork, including permits, and ensure your guide and porters know the high-altitude, dry environment. Make sure your insurance is up to date and covers high-altitude trekking. In this guide, you will find details on what to expect when trekking in Upper Mustang, including the sights, experiences, and cultural encounters. It also includes a packing list, information on food and accommodation, a brief history of the area and its people, and an overview of the weather and land conditions. We hope you find this guide useful and look forward to welcoming you to the Forbidden Kingdom.

Permit for Upper Mustang Trek

  • ACAP Permit: Required for entering the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) area. It costs $23 per person and is valid for the entire trek duration.
  • RAP Permit: Required for entering Upper Mustang from Kagbeni onwards. It costs $500 per person for 10 days. Each additional day costs $50. No TIMS card is needed for the Upper Mustang.

Obtaining Permits:

  • For Lower Mustang: TIMS and ACAP permits can be obtained by trekkers at the Nepal Tourism Board in Kathmandu or the Tourist Office in Pokhara.
  • For Upper Mustang: Individual trekkers cannot obtain the RAP permit themselves. It must be acquired through a Nepal-registered trekking company. Solo trekkers need to find a group or pay for a ghost RAP permit, costing $1,000 in total.

Necessary Documents for Permit:

  • Valid passport (at least six months remaining)
  • Current Nepal visa
  • Two passport-sized photographs

The trekking company will handle the permit process. To enter Upper Mustang, a group of at least two trekkers is required. If trekking alone, an additional fee for the ghost RAP permit applies.

Permit Costs:

  • RAP Permit: $500 per person for 10 days, $50 per additional day
  • ACAP Permit: $23 per person
  • TIMS: $15 per Person

For an unforgettable journey through Upper Mustang, ensure your paperwork is in order, and travel with a registered trekking company. We look forward to welcoming you to the Forbidden Kingdom.

Best Time to Visit Upper Mustang

Upper Mustang is a remote region of Nepal that borders Tibet. The culture and way of life here are very similar to Tibet. The beautiful land has many high rocky cliffs, caves, and monasteries. The best time to explore Nepal is in autumn and spring. Similarly, summer is the best time to visit the Upper Mustang. Winter is not good for trekking, as people in high-altitude areas usually migrate to cities during this season.

Spring Time – March, April and May

Spring, particularly April and May, is ideal for visiting Upper Mustang. The weather is warmer, The temperature ranges from 6-22°C,  rivers are full due to snow melt and a clear sky makes it great for trekking in lower Mustang during springtime. It's a good time for high passes and climbing. Don't miss the Tiji Festival in May at Lo-Manthang. One of the biggest and most vibrant events, the Tiji Festival Upper Mustang lasts three days in the middle of May every year. According to the Tibetan calendar, the Tiji festival is celebrated at Lo Manthang.

Monsoon Time – June to August

Trekking in Upper Mustang during the summer provides ample daylight hours, allowing for extended exploration of its stunning landscapes and cultural treasures. The region experiences minimal rainfall, ensuring clear skies and favourable conditions throughout the trekking season.

Autumn – September, October and November

Autumn is the time with the bluest skies and clearest mountain views. Afternoons can be windy though so be prepared! In general, temperatures range from 12 to 20 degrees Celsius. Autumn is considered main trekking season in Nepal.

Upper Mustang Trek Cost

The cost of trekking in Upper Mustang varies widely depending on service requirements and the trekking company chosen. Expect prices to range from $1500 to $3000 per person for a trekking package. Trekking in the Upper Mustang incurs higher costs due to restricted area permit fees mandated by the Government of Nepal. These fees are essential for maintaining the area's cultural integrity and environmental preservation efforts. Upper Mustang, nestled within the Annapurna region, diverges from its surroundings with a distinctive Tibetan-influenced culture and restricted accessibility near the Tibetan border. Despite its higher costs, this area rewards visitors with a wealth of cultural heritage and awe-inspiring landscapes. Renowned for its unique and less-travelled paths. Everyone travelling in the Annapurna Conservation Area needs a permit. It is Valid for a single entry.

  • ACAP:  Cost NRS 3000 and Equivalent: 23$
  • Restricted Area Permit :Cost: $500 per person for 10 days | $50 per person per day for each additional day
  • Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS) : 15$ per person.

Transport to Upper Mustang

Getting to Upper Mustang offers options depending on your budget and time constraints. The journey can be adventurous yet slower, or faster but more costly. Here's a typical route:

  • Kathmandu to Pokhara: Travel by road (about 6-7 hours) or take a short flight (about 25 minutes).
  • Pokhara to Jomsom: Fly from Pokhara to Jomsom (about 20 minutes), or take a jeep ride (about 10-11 hours). Flights can be unstable due to weather conditions.
  • Jomsom to Upper Mustang: From Jomsom, it's a short trek or a quick jeep ride to the starting point of the Upper Mustang trek.

Flights offer speed but can be unpredictable, while jeep rides are longer but more stable and budget-friendly. Choose based on your preferences for time, adventure, and comfort.

Porters and Guides

Hiring a porter for your trek in the Upper Mustang can be beneficial, especially if you prefer to enjoy the surroundings without carrying heavy loads, or if you have mobility considerations. Porters, while they may not speak English fluently. It's important to view hiring a porter not as laziness but as a means to support local Nepali families and communities. They can carry up to 20kg, but it's advisable to limit their load to less than 18kg. Porters are insured, and the cost typically ranges from $20 to $25 per day, covering their food and necessary expenses. For trekking in the Upper Mustang, guides are now mandatory due to new regulations. Having a guide is crucial in emergencies and ensures your safety. Guides are knowledgeable about the routes, local culture, and customs, providing valuable support throughout your trek.

Food and Accommodation

During your trek in Upper Mustang, you will be provided with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Depending on the season, you can also enjoy seasonal fruits, and each meal typically includes one hot drink like tea or coffee. The menu options are somewhat limited but include popular dishes such as dal bhat (rice and lentils), pasta, Tibetan bread, thukpa (noodle soup), momo (dumplings), and chowmein (stir-fried noodles). When trekking in Upper Mustang, you have two main options for accommodation: Teahouses or Camping.

Teahouses: These are local lodges along the trekking route where you will stay overnight. Teahouse availability can be limited, especially during festivals and trekking seasons, so booking in advance is recommended.

Camping: Alternatively, you can choose to camp along the trekking route. This provides more flexibility. It's a great option for those seeking a more immersive wilderness experience.


In conclusion, trekking in Upper Mustang offers a unique and enriching experience, characterized by its Tibetan-influenced culture, breathtaking landscapes, and the allure of a restricted region. While costs vary depending on service levels and trekking companies, the journey promises to be a memorable adventure amidst the rugged beauty of this hidden gem in Nepal.


Upendra Dawadi

Upendra Dawadi

Mr. Dawadi is in the field of Nepalese Tourism for more than a decade. He is an expert travel planner and a good listener. Also, he is considered as a best suggestion provider amongst various routes in the destination and many more other visiting.

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