Lower Mustang Trek: A Place Beyond Himalayas

Destination
Nepal
Activity
Trekking
Accomodation
Hotel/Lodge
Region
Annapurna Region
Distance
80 km
Start / End Point
Pokhara/Pokhara
Duration
6 Nights 7 Days
Max. Altitude
3760 m | 12336 ft
Meals Included
Breakfast
Group Size
2-50
Nature of Trek
Lodge to Lodge trekking
Best Season
Spring(March - June) | Autumn( September - December)
Trip Code
LMT-ACAP
Activity Per Day
5 - 6 hrs Trekking
Transporation
Jeep
Grade
Moderate

Overview

Lower Mustang is located in the southern part of the Mustang District inside Gandaki province, often overshadowed by its restricted counterpart, Upper Mustang. Even though Lower Mustang is more accessible than Upper Mustang, it stands as a hidden gem waiting to be explored as a captivating region where natural wonders and cultural treasures intertwine.

Lower Mustang Trip Highlights
    • Rainshadow desert landscape amidst Himalayan peaks
    • Jomsom: Apple orchards, windy weather, gateway to Upper Mustang
    • Cultural diversity: Thakali, Magar, Tibetan, and Bon communities
    • Ancient monasteries: Muktinath Temple's religious significance
    • Adventure-filled trekking: Annapurna Circuit, varied terrains
    • Natural wonders: Kali Gandaki River, Tatopani hot springs
    • Historic trade route influences architecture, lifestyle, and heritage blending adventure and culture.

Trekkers Information for Lower Mustang Trek:

    lower mustang trek total trekkers Information

    Getting to Lower Mustang and Away:

    The first section of the Lower Mustang trek starts with a scenic Jeep drive along the Bhupi Sherchan Highway, and you can see the world's longest suspension footbridge during this section. The drive takes approximately 5-6 hours, and you pass through notable cities like Kushma, Baglung, and Beni. Eventually, we arrive at the picturesque village of Kalopani, which is situated at an elevation of  2350m, and you can witness many fluttering monastery flags here. We start our trek from this enchanting village and adventure into the Himalayas.

    During the final phase of the trek, we return from Poonhill via Jeep, a scenic drive along the Prithvi highway. Enjoy the scenic seti-river and mountain views along the way, and it takes nearly 2 hours to drive.
    The easier but costlier transportation method for the Lower Mustang Trekking adventure is via plane, and it also requires a separate itinerary, so if you wish to change your itinerary so that it matches the flight to Jomsom, feel free to reach us, we are always flexible.

    Best Time to Trek Lower Mustang Nepal :

    Like most treks in Nepal, the best season for the Lower Mustang Trek is Spring( March-May) and Autumn(September to November). The weather during the spring season is ideal as there is less to no rainfall, and the clear sky offers more scenic views. While the Autumn season before a new one as the monsoon rain washes some of the trails. Even though the lower Mustang area beyond the Himalayas is known to be rainshadow, the trails up to Tatopani experience rainfall.  

    The Monsoon season is also ideal for trekking in this region, the rainfall won't reach Jomsom and Mustang as they lie beyond the Himalayas, and the clouds rarely pass the Himalayan range of over 7000 - 8000 m so it is also known as the rainshadow region of Nepal. So, you can have a perfect vacation if you trek Lower Mustang even during the Monsoon.
    While winter brings cold weather on the trail, some people opt for the Lower Mustang trek Nepal during this season for snowfall. From Jomsom to Muktinath, this region experiences snowfall during the winter season, and the views of the Himalayas, like Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri, look otherworldly, entirely covered in snow.
     

Why you will love the Lower Mustang Trek?

Lower Mustang Trek takes you through the high-altitude desert and passes in and out of the vast valley of Kali Gandaki; the Kali Gandaki runs through the deepest gorge in the world, also known as Kali Gandaki Gorge. Additionally, the lower Mustang is also known for its diverse landscapes, ranging from fertile river valleys where the world's tastiest apples are found to the cold desert where nothing can be cultivated.

Moreover, the Lower Mustang trek also offers a blend of cultural exploration, natural beauty, and rare geography, making this region a must-trek destination. The region is inhabited by the people of Magar, Tibetan, and Thakali ethnicities, and the Lumbra Valley is covered with Bon inhabitants, which isn't touched by any external religion. The Lumbra is also home to what is considered the last Bon monastery, so you can indulge in the unique cultural richness and warm hospitality.

Lower Mustang Trek also offers you a visit to Kagbeni, which hosts the ancient Kag Chode Thupten Samphei Ling Monastery, which reflects the Tibetan Buddhist influence in the region. Furthermore, the lower Mustang is famous for Saligram, a black stone that, when broken, opens and reveals the fossilized remains of the prehistoric ammonites that lived here more than 140 million years ago. There is a belief among Hindus that "God Bishnu resides in the Stone", and it holds spiritual power even if it is broken.

Lower Mustang Trekking Permit Cost:

Unlike the Upper Mustang region, which needs a separate permit of 500$, the Lower Mustang region doesn't need a separate permit for you to trek. The permit needed for Lower Mustang is the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP), which costs $30 per person. From April 2023, the Trekkers Information Management System(TIMS) card, which costs 20$ per person, is also required for Lower Mustang Trek.

One of the main reasons Lower Mustang Trek is the best alternative to the 'restricted' Upper Mustang Trek is because of affordable permit costs.

Note: Since April 2023, Guides are mandatory during your trek to Lower and Upper Mustang.

Lower Mustang Trek Can also be merged with:
 

       1.Upper Mustang Trek:

The Upper Mustang region is located in the Himalayas of Nepal, and beckons explorers with its mystique and charm, also captives adventurers and culture enthusiasts alike. This remote and secluded region, also known as the "Last Forbidden Kingdom", offers awe-inspiring landscapes, where towering peaks such as Sarebong and Thorong La with Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges and the deep valleys create a dramatic backdrop.
Moreover, the mesmerizing blend of breathtaking landscapes, ancient Buddhist Monasteries, and preserved Tibetan traditions with the arid, windswept terrain makes this region unreal. The Upper Mustang region, adorned with towering cliffs and dramatic canyons,  creates a surreal atmosphere that transports visitors to a different world, full of hidden treasures such as the legendary Lo Manthang, a walled city steeped in history and adorned with intricately designed monasteries.
Furthermore, with the unique amalgamation of natural wonders, cultural richness, and pristine land, Upper Mustang remains an irresistible destination for intrepid travelers seeking unique and unforgettable adventures instead of following the crowds.

       2.Annapurna Circuit Trek:

One of the most popular routes in the Annapurna region is the Annapurna Circuit Trek, and it involves passing through the world's highest trekking pass, the "Thorong La Pass" at an altitude of 5,416 m (17,769 ft). While the Annapurna Circuit Trek is done anti-clockwise, starting from Pokhara to Manang, Manang to Thorong Phedi, and Thorong Phedi to Muktinath via Thorong La pass, we can trek this route clockwise. As we visit Muktinath, we trek towards Thorong Phedi Acclimatize there and then trek to Yak Kharka via Thorong La Pass.
While this itinerary is easily adjustable by adding more days, you need a moderate fitness level for the Thorong La Pass. As the altitude you will be trekking on is more than 5,000m, you must prepare for this trek. Moreover, while the Lower Mustang trek can be enjoyed in the rainy season, trekking the Annapurna Circuit during the rainy season is challenging.
Nonetheless, if you have good physical fitness and can adapt to colder temperatures, you can go for the Annapurna Circuit Trek—an experienced guide supporting your journey. Furthermore, you can trek to the Thorong La Pass and then return to Jomsom and fly back to Pokhara or take the route of Annapurna Circuit Trek and enjoy a new adventure on your way back to Pokhara.

Lower Mustang Trek: A Place Beyond Himalayas Photo

Lower Mustang Trek Itinerary

  1. day 1

    Arrival at Kathmandu Airport

  2. day 2

    Travel from Kathmandu to Pokhara (Travel options: By flight / By bus):

  3. day 3

    Drive from Pokhara to Kalopani

  4. day 4

    Trekking from Kalopani to Marpha Village

  5. day 5

    Trek from Marpha to Lupra Village via Jomsom:

  6. day 6

    Trek from Lupra to Muktinath via Kagbeni and Jharkot:

  7. day 7

    Drive from Muktinath to Tatopani and trek to Sikha Village:

  8. day 8

    Trek from Sikha village to Ghorepani:

  9. day 9

    Trek from Ghorepani to Poonhill and back to Pokhara:

Lower Mustang trek and Altitude Graph

everest base camp trek map

WHAT'S INCLUDED?

    • All ground transfers in private/sharing vehicles, as per availability, for every itinerary.
    • All meals, during the trek. You can choose dishes from the lodge menu which mostly includes options as follows:
      • Breakfast: Cereal, Porridge, rice pudding, egg dish with bread and toast, bread with jam and honey, Pancakes with jam and honey, with tea or coffee.
      • Lunch Items: Dal Bhat (mostly recommended), noodles soup, fried noodles, momo, spaghetti chapati, Spring roll, macron,  sizzlers, swiss rosti, pizza, veg curry with plain rice, Tibetan Momo, Thukpa, Thenthuk, french fry, fry potato, boil potato and much more.
      • Dinner: Mostly same as lunch items but may vary in some hotels.
      • Note: The menu also depends on the Teahouse or Hotel, so the food items may vary.
    • Complete trekking arrangements with the required TIMS for trekkers and Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) permit.
    • Dry fruits along the trek.

    Note: Some items may only be available in some places, so the menu items also depend on the lodges and teahouses.

WHAT'S EXCLUDED?

  • Anything related to International flight airfares, such as Nepal entry visa fees, excess baggage charges, International flight tickets, and so on.
  • All accommodations and meals before the trek, extra night accommodations due to early arrival in Nepal, late departure, or early return from the trek.
  • Personal expenses before the trek, such as (renting sleeping bags, buying trekking shoes, and so on), during the trek (any shopping, boiled water, tea, coffee(if more than 3 times), cold drinks, alcoholic beverages, hot showers, telephone call, Wifi, cell-phone, camera battery recharges and so on).
  • Travel insurance, which covers high-altitude helicopter rescue and evacuation along with medical costs.
  • Tips and gratuities for guides and porters.
  • Additional costs, such as additional days due to delays caused by natural/uncontrollable phenomena such as bad weather, landslides, and change of plans(itinerary modifications) due to safety concerns, illness, and so on.
  • Lastly, all of the costs and expenses that aren't listed in the "What's Included?" section.

Lower Mustang Trek Info

Lower Mustang Trek can be combined with Annapurna Circuit Trek, or you can start the trek itself as Annapurna Circuit Trek and combine to Annapurna Circuit Trek. Lower Mustang Trek can also be easily combined with Upper Mustang Trek easily. Moreover you can also experience the remote region of Dolpa if you combined this trek with Lower Dolpa Trek or Upper Dolpa Trek.

Written by: Mohan Bhandari

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