Mustang Nepal is one of the best-preserved cultural destinations in all of the Himalayas. Mustang has two parts i.e. the Lower Mustang and the Upper Mustang.
Lower Mustang is famous for the Muktinath temple. Thousands of Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims visit this temple each year. Upper Mustang is famous among national as well as foreign travellers because of the antique culture and the tradition it preserves.
There are various ways to get to Mustang, let us present you with the ways you can get to Mustang in detail to help you decide your best option.
Table of Contents
- How to get to Lower Mustang/Muktinath?
- How to get to Upper Mustang?
How to get to Lower Mustang/Muktinath?
Kathmandu to Pokhara by flight or bus
One of the easiest and most convenient ways to get to Pokhara from Kathmandu is by flight.
Many airlines operate daily flights to Pokhara, which makes it even more accessible. The flight is 25 minutes long and costs $45 per head for Nepalese and Indian citizens and $125 per head for any other nationalities.
But, if you want a more budget-friendly way to travel to Pokhara, there are buses operating daily from Kathmandu to Pokhara. This is not only a budget-friendly way but also a great way to travel with amazing scenery.
The bus ride takes about 6-8 hours to reach Pokhara. It costs around $8-410 for a standard tourist bus with air conditioner. And it costs around $15-$25 for a deluxe bus with wifi and air conditioner which also includes lunch.
Pokhara to Jomsom by flight or bus
Jomsom, the starting point of the Mustang trek is also known as the Dzongsar or New Fort. Situated at an altitude of 2800m it is the administrative headquarter of Mustang.
The airport at Jomsom operates almost daily flights to Pokhara. But the flights are all operated before noon because of the harsh wind thereafter.
The cost of the flight is about $ 114 and it is 20-25 minutes long. On this flight, you will see an amazing view of the Mt Annapurna and Mt Dhaulagiri.
If you want to get to Jomsom by road the local bus is for you. Although you will have to change almost 3 buses to get to Jomsom, the picturesque scenery on the way will make up for all of it.
You will first have to take a bus from Pokhara to Baini which will cost you about $3 and the journey will be about 3-4 hours. Once you reach Baini you will have to get on another bus to get to Ghasa, which will cost you about $4.
And from Ghasa, you will have to get on another bus to get to Jomsom, which will cost you about $4. Another alternative for buses are jeeps, you can hire a jeep to get to Jomsom.
Jomsom to Muktinath by private bus/jeep
Jomsom is around 72 km from Baini and Muktinath is around 21 km, which makes it a total of about 93 km trip from Baini to Muktinath.
Despite the given km, it takes almost all day to get to Muktinath by bus because of the state of the road. But, you can also hire a jeep to get to Muktinath and share the fare with when in a group.
Kathmandu/Pokhara to Lower Mustang/ Muktinath by Helicopter
The easiest and the most convenient way to get to Lower Mustang or Muktinath is by helicopter.
This helicopter ride to Muktinath is spectacular. It offers you panoramic views of the Manaslu Himalayan range and the Annapurna range. You can see deep gorges and enjoy stunning landscape.
It definitely on the costlier side but totally worth it.
Lower Mustang/Muktinath: Trek
Another way to get to the Lower Mustang is to trek to Lower Mustang from Pokhara. Although it is a bit tiring, trekking to the Lower Mustang is an experience on its own. It is famous for not only its unique, wild, dry and barren landscape, but also its greenery, biodiversity, spiritual junction and its culture.
The Lower Mustang trek is a part of the world-famous Annapurna circuit and Upper Mustang trek.
The Major attractions of Lower Mustang trek are beautiful places. Marpha, Jomsom, Kagbeni, Tiri, Jharkot Muktinath and Lupra villages are spectacular. And the Buddhist culture and lifestyle are worth experiencing.
The highest point in this trek is Muktinath situated at 3,710 meters above sea level.
Day 1: Travel from Kathmandu to Pokhara
Maximum Elevation: 820 m/ 2,690 ft
Travel hours: 6-7 hrs by bus, 25 minutes by flight
You can either take a bus to Pokhara and enjoy the view on the ride to Pokhara or take a short flight to Pokhara.
Day 2: Drive to Nayapul and Trek to Tikhedhunga
Elevation: 1540m/5050 ft
Travel hours: 1.5 hours drive, 3-4 hrs trek
After an hour drive from Pokhara, you will reach Nayapul, which is the starting point of your trek.
After a short 15-minute walk along the banks of the Modi Khola, you will reach Birethanti (1,015m) a large village with many shops and teahouses.
From here, the trail continues through the village and follows the north bank of the Burundi Khola.
The trail escalades gradually up the valley to Hille at 1,495m and after a short climb, we reach Tikhedhunga at 1,570m.
You will spend the night here at a guesthouse at Tikhedhunga.
Day 3: Trek to Ghorepani
Elevation: 2,860 m/ 9,385 ft
Trekking hours: 6- 7 Hrs
From Tikhedhunga the trail crosses a stream below a suspension bridge near Tikhedhunga.
You will then ascend a steep stone staircase (which has about 3300 steps) to a Magar village of Ulleri at 2080m. Above the village, the trail continues uphill through pastures and cultivated fields.
The trail then crosses two sparkling streams before making a short, final climb to Nangethanti where you will stop for lunch.
From Nangethanti you will climb to Ghorepani at 2850m.
On this trail you will see the spectacular panoramic view of Dhaulagiri I (8167m), Nilgiri (6940m) Annapurna I (8091m) Hiunchuli (6441m) and more.
Day 4: Hike up to Poon Hill and Trek to Tatopani
Elevation: 3210m /10529 ft , 1,200m / 3,940 ft
Trekking hours: 7-8 hrs
You will have an early morning and hike to Poon Hill (3,210m/10529ft). From here you will see a superb view of the sunrise and a panoramic view of the Himalaya, including Mt. Dhaulagiri, Annapurna South, Fishtail, and others.
After hiking Poon Hill, you will come back to Ghorepani, eat breakfast, and continue trekking to Tatopani.
At Tatopani, you can take a dip in the natural hot springs there and relieve your exhaustion.
Day 5: Trek to Ghasa
Elevation: 1,190 m/3,900 ft
Trekking hours: 5-7 hrs
Walking along the Kali Gandaki riverside with Mt. Dhaulagiri on one side and Annapurna on the other is jaw-dropping.
You will cross the Bhalu Khola on a high suspension bridge before arriving at Dana (1450m).
Around 30 minutes from Dana you will see a very high waterfall: Rupse Chhahara (which translates as “beautiful waterfall”).
From there you will continue the trek through the steepest and narrowest part of the Kali Gandaki valley.
You will cross the river again on a 120m long bridge to the east side. You will then reach Ghasa, an ethnic Thakali village.
Day 6: Trek to Tukuche
Elevation: 2,510 m/8,550 ft
Trekking hours: 5hrs
Tukuche is a scenic village with surrounding orchards. The trail follows the Kali Gandaki River. It passes through a narrow gorge before reaching the Thakali traditional villages.
You will cross the gorge and river numerous times today via long suspension bridges, which make for great photo opportunities.
We will pass through a couple of villages (e.g. Lete, Kalopani and Kokkethathi) on the way before we finally reach Tukuche.
Day 7: Trek to Kagbeni
Elevation: 2,900 m/9,500 ft
Trekking hours: 5 hrs
It will be an easy trek today, where you will first see the village of Khobang, which has narrow alleyways and tunnels connecting houses.
The trail then continues to Marpha, which is famous for apples. You will continue your trek for another 2 hours before reaching the final destination at Jomsom.
Day 8: Trek to Muktinath
Elevation: 3,855 m/12,635ft
Trekking hours: 4 hrs
Today you will do the 1000 meter ascend to Muktinath which is an important pilgrimage place for both Hindu and the Buddhist.
You will first cross Khingar (3400m) and then Jharkot (3500m), which is an impressive fortress-like village.
You will then trek to Ranipauwa, the first part of Muktinath where you will spend the night.
You can then explore the area and see the eternal flame burning from the natural gas next to the holy spring. and visit the Muktinath temple also known as the salvation temple.
Day 9: Trek to Jomsom
Elevation: 2,720 m/8,915 ft
Trekking hours: 4 hrs
Today the trek takes you down the valley, pass Ekle Bhatti village and walk along the Kali Gandaki River to reach Jomsom.
Day 10: Early morning flight to Kathmandu/Pokhara or bus back to Pokhara/Kathmandu
How to get to Upper Mustang?
There are various ways you can get to Upper Mustang, here are some of the most popular ways to get to Upper Mustang:
Upper Mustang by Jeep
One of the ways to get to Upper Mustang is by jeep. It is an easier, faster and a more convenient way to travel to Upper Mustang, compared to trekking.
It is ideal for those who are time-bound. Because this way you can get more time to explore the exact location.
The Jeep ride to Upper Mustang starts from Pokhara and takes you to the remote area of Nepal and almost to the border of Tibet.
Although the condition to Mustang is not in condition, you will still enjoy the ride. Because of the spectacular views that surround you on your way to Mustang.
Upper Mustang Jeep itinerary
Day 1: Drive from Kathmandu – Pokhara, 7 hours.
Day 2: Drive from Pokhara – Beni – Tatopani, 5-6 hrs(2600m) by jeep.
Day 3: Drive from Tatopani to Kagbeni, 5-6 hrs(2900m) by jeep.
Day 4: Drive from Kagbeni to Ghami Village, 6 hrs(3510m) by jeep.
Day 5: Drive from Ghami to Lo Manthang (3840m) by jeep.
Day 6: Explore Lo-Manthang (3840m).
Day 7: Drive from Lo Manthang to Chuksung Village, 6 hrs (2980m) by jeep.
Day 8: Drive from Chhuksang to Kalopani, 4 hrs(2530m) by jeep.
Day 9: Drive from Kalopani to Pokhara, 5-6 hrs (840m) by jeep.
Day 10: Drive back to Kathmandu, 7 hrs (1340m).
Upper Mustang by Helicopter
A helicopter ride is the quickest way to get to the forbidden Kingdom of Mustang, Lo Manthang.
The helicopter flight starts from Kathmandu – Pokhara – Jomsom – the walled city of Lo Manthang in upper Mustang.
It takes a total of about 5 hours including the 45 minutes stop at Lo Manthang for you to do a quick tour of Lo Manthang.
May, June, August and September are the best months to take the helicopter tour.
Upper Mustang by Trek
Upper Mustang is also known as the Last Forbidden Kingdom. It wasn’t until the 1990s that it welcomed trekkers to enter the region.
It lies in the rain shadow of Mt Dhaulagiri and Mt Annapurna, hence making it possible for trekking even in the monsoon.
Lo Manthang is a whole new world on its own. Its remoteness and isolation from the outer world helped preserve the culture and tradition.
While trekking in the Upper Mustang, you will experience the uniqueness of treeless landscape, rocky trails. And views of Nilgiri, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and the other Himalayas are absolutely blissful.
Upper Mustang is a restricted region and you will need a restricted area permit. It costs $500 for 10 days. You will have to pay additional 50$ for each extra day. Besides that, you need ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Project) permit as well.
You also require to have a guide to trek in Upper Mustang, since it is a restricted region you cannot do solo treks in the region.
Day 1: Drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara (827m/2689ft): 5-6 hours
After breakfast, you will leave for Pokhara via a tourist bus. It takes about 6-7 hours to reach Pokhara. Enjoy views of Mt. Dhaulagiri (8,167m/26,794ft), Manaslu (8,156m/26,759ft), Machhapuchhre (6,993m/22,943ft), the five peaks of Annapurna and others while in Pokhara.
Day 2: Fly to Jomsom (2,700m/8898ft) and trek to Kagbeni (2,810m/9,216ft): 3-4 hours trek
Today you will take an early morning flight to Jomsom since the flights only operate before noon.
From Jomsom, you will follow the famous Kali Gandaki River upstream, partly walking in the riverbed itself, to Kagbeni.
Day 3: Kagbeni to Chele (3,050m/10,004ft): 5-6 hours
After getting your permits checked, you will begin your trek on a trail alongside the Kali Gandaki River. You will cross some villages before reaching the Chele village.
Day 04: Chele to Syanbochen (3,475m/11,398ft): 6-7 hours
Your trek from today will get a little difficult as compared to the days before. You will be crossing two passes i.e. Taklam La pass (3,624m) and Dajori La pass (3,735) before reaching Syanboche.
Day 5: Syanbochen to Ghami (3,520m/11,546ft): 5-6 hours
The trek ascends to the Yamda La pass at 3,850m. Then trek through poplar forests and barley fields and reach Nyi Pass at 4,010m. From here, you will descend to Ghami which is one of the biggest villages in the Lo region.
Day 6: Ghami to Tsarang (3,620m/11,873ft): 5-6 hours
Your trek today begins with a descent through a rough and often slippery trail. You will then cross a suspension bridge over the Ghami Khola and begin ascending. Next, you will cross the Tsarang La Pass at 3870m and reach Tsarang village.
Day 7: Tsarang to Lo-Manthang (3,730m/12,234ft): 3-4 hours
The trek begins by descending to a canyon and crossing a river before beginning the uphill trek to Lo La pass which at 3950m.
From the top of the pass, you can see the beautiful Lo Manthang village. From the pass, you will descend to Lo Manthang, the forbidden kingdom of Mustang.
Day 8: Explore Lo Manthang/ Acclimatization
Today is for you to explore the beautiful lo Manthang.
Day 9: Lo-Mangthang to Drakmar (3810 m/12,500ft): 6-7 hours
On your way back you will follow a different path. The trail passes through Gyakar village which houses a century old Ghar Gompa with beautiful rock paintings. A local legend says anyone who makes a wish at the Gompa will have their wish fulfilled. After exploring the gompa you will continue your trek to Drakmar.
Day 10: Drakmar to Ghiling (3,806m/12,484ft): 5-6 hours
We start our trek early to avoid strong wind and descend for the most part of the trek today. Our trail passes through a dry plateau and fields before reaching Ghiling.
Day 11: Ghiling to Chhuksang (3050m/10,004ft): 5-6 hours
This is the same trail as before while going up to Lo Manthang. On the way to Chhuksang, we can enjoy great views of the Himalayas and small villages we pass en route.
Day 12: Chhuksang to Jomsom (2,700/8,856ft): 6-7 hours
The last day of the trek and a long one. After trekking for a while, you will come to the end of Mustang trekking trails and join the trails of the Annapurna Circuit. stop for lunch at Kagbeni. After lunch, you will continue your trek to Jomsom.
Day 13: Fly back to Pokhara
After days of trekking, you finally return to Pokhara by flight.
Day 14: Drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu
After breakfast, you say goodbye to the beautiful northern skyline of Pokhara and drive towards Kathmandu.
There are various ways to get to Mustang. Choose one that is ideal for you time-wise and budget-wise. Whichever means you plan to choose have their own unique feature.
For further questions and queries please contact us. We are more than happy to help you with your queries.