The Upper Mustang Trek is a unique and restricted trekking experience in the Mustang region of Nepal. The region, also known as the "Last Forbidden Kingdom," remained closed to foreigners until 1992. Here are key points to consider when planning the Upper Mustang Trek:
Permit Requirements: Upper Mustang is a restricted area, and trekkers need special permits to enter. You'll need both the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) and the Restricted Area Permit (RAP) for Upper Mustang. These permits are usually obtained through a registered trekking agency.
Duration: The standard duration for the Upper Mustang Trek is around 10 to 14 days, depending on the specific itinerary and starting/ending points. The trek often begins and ends in Jomsom, which is accessible by flight from Pokhara.
Best Time to Trek: The best time for the Upper Mustang Trek is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November). The weather is generally clear and stable during these months.
Altitude and Acclimatization: While the highest point of the trek, Lo Manthang, is not extremely high compared to some other treks in Nepal, acclimatization is still important. The gradual ascent helps in acclimatization, and the trek includes visits to culturally significant sites.
Cultural Highlights: The Upper Mustang region has a distinct Tibetan Buddhist culture and is known for its ancient monasteries, chortens, and unique architecture. The walled city of Lo Manthang is a cultural highlight with its palace and vibrant festivals.
Landscape: The trek takes you through the arid landscapes of the Mustang region, featuring unique rock formations and desert-like terrain. The Kali Gandaki River gorge, the world's deepest gorge, is also a notable natural feature.
Accommodation: Tea houses along the trail provide accommodation and meals. The facilities may not be as luxurious as in other trekking regions, but they offer a comfortable and authentic experience.