Travel during the Grand Tiji Festival In the Upper Mustang Region:
Traveling during the Tiji Festival provides a rare opportunity to witness ancient traditions of the rich Tibetan Buddhist Heritage in the Upper Mustang Region.
Also known as the Tenchi Festival, the Tiji Festival is a grand and auspicious festival celebrated in the Upper Mustang. This annual sacred festival is a three-day-long celebration in the capital of the kingdom of Lo, Lo Manthang. The festival date varies somewhere between the late spring, as it follows the Tibetan Lunar calendar.
The festival showcases the unique Tibetan Buddhist traditions that revolve around the re-enactment of an ancient mythological myth symbolizing the achievement of good over evil. The mythology recounts the story of Dorje Jono, a deity who battles against his demon father to protect the kingdom and its people from destruction.
With elaborate rituals and colorful performances, the festival ends with masked dances on the third day of the festival, which is the main highlight. Known as Chaam, the monks from the Chhyode Gumba monastery perform sacred dances wearing intricately designed masks portraying various deities and demons accompanied by traditional music, chanting, and the rhythmic beating of drums and cymbals.
The local community gathers in the central courtyard of the royal palace in their traditional attire, expresses their devotion, seeks blessings, and prays for peace and prosperity. The festival portrays the vibrant Tibetan Culture and brings the community together, fostering a sense of unity and pride in their heritage and creating a mystical atmosphere.
Accommodation and Facilities During 17 Days of Upper Mustang Trekking In Nepal:
With the roadway all the way to Lo, there are descent teahouses available throughout the trek. Jomsom and Lo Manthang even have decent hotels.
Most of the teahouses have the option of both attached and shared bathrooms with hot and cold showers, being hot showers subject to additional cost. Wi-Fi and electricity are available but might cost you extra. Though charging points are available at your rooms in the teahouse in Jomsom, Kagbeni, other remaining places have a common charging area in the main dining hall. While, Dining hall is usually where the wooden heaters are, and a great place to gather.
Since you are traveling to the rain shadow area, there is a scarcity of drinking water. Usually, hot water will cost you additional, and we highly recommend taking hot water having your own sterilization tablets/ life straw would be ideal.
There are quite a few options for food, and just like other facilities, you will find a comprehensive menu in Jomsom, Kagbeni, and even in Lo. Don't be surprised if you get such options at other places, since the roadway has made it easy. But Dal Bhat with seasonal vegetables, Chatni for lunch and dinner, Tibetan bread with Salt tea for breakfast, and a hot vegetable soup for snack time is the best for your diet while hiking at high altitude.
Overall, you will be served decent facilities with the warm hospitality of the locals during the trek to Upper Mustang.
Who can join this Upper Mustang Trek In 2024/2025:
The Upper Mustang Trek is considered a moderately challenging trek. While it doesn't involve high-altitude technical climbing or extreme physical demands, it presents certain difficulties that trekkers should be prepared for.
The primary challenges of the Upper Mustang Trek include the high altitude, with some sections reaching altitudes above 4,000 meters (13,000 feet). Altitude sickness is a potential concern, so acclimatization is crucial. Trekkers are advised to ascend gradually, take rest days, and stay hydrated to minimize the risk of altitude-related issues.
Another challenge is the remote and rugged terrain, which includes steep ascents and descents, rocky paths, and occasional river crossings. The trail can be dusty and windy, particularly during the dry season. Trekkers should be prepared for long walking hours, typically ranging from 5 to 7 hours a day.
Weather conditions can vary, with cold temperatures in the winter and potentially hot temperatures during the summer months. Trekkers must pack appropriately for these temperature fluctuations.
Accommodations and facilities in Upper Mustang are basic, so trekkers should be prepared for rustic lodging and limited amenities along the route. It's important to have a certain level of physical fitness and endurance to fully enjoy and complete the trek.
Despite these challenges, the unique cultural and natural beauty of the Upper Mustang region makes it a rewarding journey for those who are well-prepared and enthusiastic about exploring this remote and captivating part of Nepal.
Guide & Potters for the Upper Mustang Trekking:
It is compulsory to hire a guide during the Upper Mustang Trekking, and you will be trekking in a Restricted Region where solo travelers are not allowed.
Besides, it's always best to have one that will help you show you the proper route, educate you about the place, and make arrangements according to your needs and for your safety and security. The guide also acts as your mediator to remove the cultural and language barrier while traveling.
While hiring a potter will allow you to hike freely and comfortably. Not to forget that since you will be trekking in the dry & low vegetation region, travelers tend to catch out of breath pretty quickly. So having a pottery carry your loads will surely make your trip more leisurely.
Safety and Security During Upper Mustang Trek:
Friendly and helpful community, a guide by your side - it's all safe to travel to Upper Mustang. Also, since you are traveling to the Restricted Region, the region is guarded by friendly local officials.
The route is well connected by the roadways, so you can also opt for a vehicle, just in case you need to. Make sure you have your personal medication and travel insurance, and you are good to go on a mystical journey to Upper Mustang.
Best Time To Do Upper Mustang Trek:
The Upper Mustang Trek welcomes adventurers throughout the year, with each season offering its unique appeal. Autumn (September to November) and spring (March to May) are the prime trekking periods, featuring pleasant weather with clear skies and comfortable temperatures. These seasons present the most popular and picturesque times to explore the region.
Winter (December to February) is an excellent choice for those who relish tranquility and don't mind the cold. The trails are quieter, and though temperatures can drop significantly, the crisp air and clear skies provide a serene setting with exceptional visibility of the majestic mountains.
Surprisingly, even summer (June to August), typically marked as the monsoon season in Nepal, can be a surprisingly positive choice for the Upper Mustang Trek. Unlike other areas experiencing heavy rainfall and landslides, Upper Mustang lies in the rain shadow, offering dry conditions that are ideal for trekking. The summer trek here can be a unique and less crowded experience for intrepid explorers who seek the extraordinary.
The Upper Mustang Region offers a range of trekking experiences throughout the year, but the most suitable times to explore its wonders are during the spring and autumn seasons.
Spring (March, April, and May): Spring is a superb time for the Upper Mustang Trek, especially for nature enthusiasts. During this season, the landscape comes alive with vibrant green vegetation, blooming rhododendrons, and fragrant junipers. The air is filled with the sweet scent of flowers and aromatic medicinal herbs. The weather is generally warm, with temperatures ranging from 15-23 degrees, making it comfortable for trekking. Longer daylight hours in spring allow for extended exploration, and you can delve deeper into the wilderness.
Autumn (September, October, and November): Autumn is another fantastic season for the Upper Mustang Trek. The clear, azure skies offer breathtaking views of the mountains, hills, and picturesque landscapes. This season is also marked by Hindu festivals like Dashain and Tihar, adding cultural richness to your journey. The daytime temperatures are moderate, ranging between 10-15 degrees, creating perfect conditions for trekking during the day.
Monsoon (June to August): While many regions experience heavy rainfall, landslides, and muddy trails during the monsoon season, Upper Mustang stands as an exception. This unique area, located in the rain shadow of the Himalayas, receives minimal precipitation throughout the year. The absence of heavy rainfall and its relatively dry conditions make Upper Mustang a suitable destination for trekking even during the monsoon season, providing a distinctive and less crowded experience.
Winter (December to February): While the Upper Mustang region may not be as frequented during the winter months, it still offers a unique and serene trekking experience. With the right preparations, this season can be quite enjoyable for adventurers looking for quieter trails. The temperatures in winter can drop significantly, ranging from 0 to 10 degrees during the day, and even colder at night. However, the clear skies and crisp air provide excellent visibility for enjoying the mountain vistas. The absence of rainfall and the tranquil ambiance create a peaceful trekking environment. If you're prepared for the cold and excited to explore the region without the crowds, winter can be an ideal time for the Upper Mustang Trek.
Why 17 Days Upper Mustang Trek Is the Perfect Choice For Trekkers?
The 17 Days Upper Mustang Trek stands out as the perfect choice for trekkers for several compelling reasons:
Cultural Richness: The Upper Mustang is a treasure trove of Tibetan culture and traditions. The region's isolation from the modern world has preserved its ancient way of life, making it a living museum of Tibetan Buddhist heritage. Trekkers can immerse themselves in the vibrant local culture, exploring monasteries, interacting with the friendly locals, and witnessing unique festivals.
Spectacular Landscape: The trek takes you through a captivating desert landscape, which is a striking contrast to the lush greenery found in other parts of Nepal. The barren cliffs, unusual rock formations, and stunning canyons create a dramatic backdrop for your journey.
Historical Wonders: Upper Mustang is often referred to as the "Forbidden Kingdom" and is rich in historical wonders. Exploring the walled city of Lo-Manthang, with its narrow alleys, ancient palaces, and monasteries, offers a glimpse into the region's remarkable history.
Breathtaking Mountain Views: The trek offers panoramic views of majestic peaks, including the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges. The stunning vistas of mountains like Nilgiri, Thorung Peak, and others add to the trek's allure.
Off-the-Beaten-Path: Upper Mustang remains less frequented by tourists, ensuring a sense of remoteness and tranquility. Trekkers can enjoy a peaceful and less crowded experience in this unique region, far from the bustling tourist trails.
Unique Geographical Features: The region's unique geological formations, including chortens (Buddhist stupas) and intricate Mani walls, create a spiritual ambiance throughout the journey. The diverse landscapes, from rocky terrains to yak pastures and glacial gorges, offer a wide range of natural beauty to explore.
Year-Round Trekking: The Upper Mustang Trek can be undertaken throughout the year, with each season offering its own charm. Whether you prefer the vibrant colors of spring, the clear skies of autumn, the tranquility of winter, or the unique experience of summer in the rain shadow, there's a perfect time for every trekker.
Adventure with Comfort: While the trek may present challenges in terms of altitude and terrain, it is accessible to trekkers with a moderate level of physical fitness. Trekkers can choose the level of comfort they desire by opting for teahouse accommodations, making the adventure suitable for a wide range of individuals.
How To Prepare 17 Days Upper Mustang Trek
Preparing for the 17 Days Upper Mustang Trek involves careful planning and a few essential steps to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey:
Acquire Necessary Permits: Obtain the required permits for the trek, which typically include the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) and the Special Restricted Area Permit for the Upper Mustang. Ensure all documentation is in order before setting out.
Physical Fitness: Prepare yourself physically with regular cardiovascular and strength training exercises. Stamina and endurance are key for the long hours of walking and the varying terrain.
Mental Preparedness: Be mentally ready for the challenges that come with trekking in remote and high-altitude regions. A positive attitude and mental resilience will help you overcome difficulties.
Clothing and Gear: Pack appropriate clothing for the season of your trek, including layers to accommodate temperature fluctuations. Ensure you have sturdy, comfortable hiking boots, a good quality backpack, and essential gear like trekking poles, a sleeping bag, and a down jacket.
Altitude Acclimatization: The trek reaches high altitudes, so take it slow and allow time for proper acclimatization. Acclimatization days are built into the itinerary; use them wisely.
Health Precautions: Consult a healthcare professional for vaccinations and health checks. Carry a basic medical kit and medications for common ailments like altitude sickness, gastrointestinal issues, and pain relief.
Travel Insurance: Purchase comprehensive travel insurance that covers trekking in Nepal, including medical evacuation in case of emergencies.
Budget and Costs: Set a budget for your trek, including permits, accommodations, food, and other expenses. It's advisable to carry some local currency (Nepalese Rupees) for convenience.
Cultural Sensitivity: Learn about local customs and traditions, and show respect for the culture and environment. Dress modestly and seek permission before taking photos, especially on religious sites.
Trekking Company or Guide: Consider hiring a reputable trekking agency or guide with experience in the region. You can contact Mount Glory Treks And Expedition Pvt.Ltd as we can provide valuable insights, arrange logistics, and enhance your overall experience. Our knowledgeable guides and expert support will ensure your Upper Mustang Trek is safe and unforgettable.
Itinerary and Route: Plan your trek according to your preferences and time availability. Research the available routes, considering factors like teahouse availability and scenic highlights.
Communication: Inform your family or friends about your travel plans and keep them updated on your progress. Mobile network coverage is limited in some areas.
Environmental Responsibility: Follow the principles of Leave No Trace by carrying out all trash and minimizing your environmental impact during the trek.
Permits and required documents during Upper Mustang Trek
Before starting your exciting Upper Mustang Trek, it's important to know about the permits and documents you'll require for a trouble-free and legal trip. Here's a detailed guide to help you.
Upper Mustang Restricted Area Permit (RAP):
For travelers exploring the Upper Mustang, a special Restricted Area Permit (RAP) is an absolute necessity. One cannot apply for this permit independently; it must be processed through a government-registered trekking agency like Heaven Himalaya.
Groups are the key to obtaining the RAP. You must travel with at least one other person to acquire it. Additionally, visitors are required to have a licensed mountain guide accompany them, ensuring both safety and compliance.
Documents required: To secure the RAP, you'll need a copy of your passport (valid for at least six months), a valid Nepalese visa, two passport-sized photos, and a completed form from the Immigration Department.
Application process: Upper Mustang entry permits are only obtainable in Kathmandu and Pokhara through registered trekking agencies. The agency will complete an online form, print a copy, and, accompanied by a copy of the client's passport and the relevant fee (500 USD per person), submit the application to the Department of Immigration. The issued entry license will detail your itinerary and entry/exit dates.
Permit fees: The cost for the restricted area permit is 500 USD per person for the initial 10 days, followed by an additional 50 USD per person for each subsequent day.
Covered locations: The RAP grants access to Wards 1 to 5 of the Lo Manthang Rural Municipality, Lo-Ghekar Damodarkunda Rural Municipality (Ward Nos. 1 to 5), Ward 3 of the Baragung Muktichetra Rural Municipality, and Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) for Upper Mustang.
Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP):
Every trekking route that traverses the protected terrain of the Annapurna Conservation Area requires an ACAP permit. Upper Mustang is no exception, and trekkers must secure an ACAP license.
Application process: Obtain your ACAP permit for the Upper Mustang at the Nepal Tourism Board Service Center in Damside, Pokhara, or the Nepal Tourism Board Office in Bhrikuti Mandab, Kathmandu. The application process involves providing details such as your full name, passport number, date of birth, address, contact information in Nepal, your intended trekking route (e.g., Upper Mustang Route), entry and exit points, the number of days, and the name of your trekking agency (optional).
Required documents: To complete the application, you'll need a filled-out form with personal details, visa information, your itinerary, a passport-sized photo, and a copy of your passport (valid for at least six months).
Permit fees: For independent travelers, the ACAP permit fee for the Upper Mustang is NRs 3000 per person (approximately 30 USD). When traveling in a group, the fee is reduced to NRs 2000 per person. SAARC nationals are charged NRs 1000, while children below 10 years old are exempt from the fee.
Payment: Only Nepalese currency is accepted for the ACAP permit fee, so ensure you have cash available when applying. If you're trekking with a reputable agency, they will facilitate the permit process for you.
Permits for Filming and Documentaries during Upper Mustang Trek
If you plan to film or create a documentary in Upper Mustang, you must obtain a special permit from the Nepal Ministry of Information and Communication. The cost of this permit varies depending on the equipment and technology used during filming.
Upper Mustang Trek - Packing List:
Preparing for the 17 Days Upper Mustang Trek is an exciting adventure, and having the right gear is essential for a comfortable and successful journey. Here's a packing list to ensure you have everything you need:
- Lightweight and moisture-wicking base layers
- Insulating layers (fleece or down jacket)
- Waterproof and windproof outer shell
- Comfortable trekking pants
- Thermal or woolen socks
- Breathable underwear
- Warm hat and gloves
- Sun hat and sunglasses
- Good-quality trekking boots
- Comfortable sandals or sneakers for rest days
- Backpack with a rain cover
- Sleeping bag suitable for cold weather
- A duffel bag or a backpack for porters to carry your extra gear
- Trekking poles
- Headlamp or flashlight with extra batteries
- Reusable water bottles and water purification tablets
- Pocketknife or multitool
- Stuff sacks and plastic bags for organization
- Travel towel
- Earplugs for a good night's sleep
- Large plastic bags to line your duffel bag and keep your clothes dry
Health and Hygiene
- First aid kit with essentials
- Prescription medications
- Water purification method (filter or purification tablets)
- Personal hygiene items (toilet paper, hand sanitizer, wet wipes)
- Sunscreen and lip balm with high SPF
- Insect repellent
- Personal toiletries
- Passport and necessary permits
- Passport-sized photos
- Travel insurance policy
- Emergency contact information
- Camera or smartphone for capturing memories
- Extra memory cards and batteries
- Power bank and charging cables
- International adapter plug (Nepal uses Type C, D, and M plugs)
- Cash (Nepalese Rupees) for small purchases
- Journal and pen
- Reading material or games for downtime
- Lightweight down jacket (for evenings and high altitudes)
- Gaiters (for dusty or snowy trails)
- Hand and foot warmers (especially in winter)
- Multivitamins and electrolyte supplements
Keep in mind that you can buy or rent many items in Kathmandu before beginning your trek. If you choose to rent equipment, be sure to do so from a trustworthy provider and carefully check the gear before taking it. Additionally, remember that Upper Mustang is a restricted region, so obtaining a special permit is essential for your trek. Wishing you a wonderful journey filled with safety and adventure!
Why Travel Insurance is Required During The 17 Days Upper Mustang Trek
Travel insurance is a crucial requirement for the 17-day Upper Mustang Trek for several reasons. Firstly, the Upper Mustang region is remote, and medical facilities are limited. Travel insurance provides financial protection in case of accidents, injuries, or health issues, ensuring you can access necessary medical treatment and, if necessary, be evacuated to a more equipped medical facility.
Secondly, travel insurance covers unexpected events such as trip cancellations, delays, or interruptions due to unforeseen circumstances like weather conditions, transportation issues, or personal emergencies. It safeguards your investment in the trek, including permits, flights, and accommodations.
Additionally, in the high-altitude and challenging terrain of Upper Mustang, there's a greater risk of accidents or altitude-related health problems. Travel insurance with adequate coverage for high-altitude trekking ensures you receive proper care if you encounter altitude sickness or other mountain-related issues.
Furthermore, travel insurance offers protection against loss or theft of personal belongings and baggage, giving you peace of mind during the trek.
In summary, travel insurance is essential for the Upper Mustang trek because it provides financial security, covers unexpected events, safeguards against altitude-related risks, and protects your belongings. It ensures a safer and more worry-free adventure in this stunning but remote Himalayan region.
Altitude Sickness During Upper Mustang Trek, Symptoms, and How To Prevent
Altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), is a common concern when trekking in high-altitude regions like Upper Mustang. It occurs when the body doesn't receive enough oxygen due to lower air pressure at higher altitudes. Recognizing the symptoms and knowing how to prevent altitude sickness is essential for a safe trek.
Symptoms of Altitude Sickness
- Headache: A persistent, throbbing headache is a common early sign of AMS.
- Dizziness and Lightheadedness: Feeling unsteady or dizzy.
- Nausea and Vomiting: An upset stomach and vomiting can occur.
- Fatigue: An unexplained and excessive tiredness.
- Shortness of Breath: Breathing difficulties, especially during physical activity.
- Loss of Appetite: A decreased desire to eat.
- Sleep Disturbances: Difficulty sleeping or frequent waking during the night.
- Rapid Heartbeat: A racing or irregular heart rate.
Preventing Altitude Sickness:
- Gradual Ascent: Acclimatize properly by ascending gradually. Allow your body time to adjust to the altitude.
- Hydration: Stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, but avoid alcohol and caffeine.
- Medication: Consider medications like acetazolamide (Diamox) to help prevent AMS. Consult a doctor before use.
- Rest: Get sufficient rest and sleep to aid in acclimatization.
- Balanced Diet: Consume a balanced diet with carbohydrates and avoid heavy, greasy foods.
- Avoid Alcohol and Smoking: These can exacerbate AMS symptoms.
- Descend if Necessary: If symptoms worsen, descend to a lower altitude immediately.
Altitude sickness can affect anyone, regardless of age or fitness level. Therefore, it's crucial to recognize the symptoms, take preventive measures, and be prepared to descend if symptoms become severe. When trekking in high-altitude areas like Upper Mustang, safety should be a top priority, and proper acclimatization is key to an enjoyable and risk-free adventure.