• Destination: Nepal
  • Trip Difficulty: Easy
  • Trip Style: Driving & Hiking
  • Transport: Private Vehicle, Local Bus, Flight & Tourist Bus
  • Food: Breakfast, Lunch Dinner on Trek & Breakfast in Cities
  • Accommodation: 3 star Hotel and Basic mountian lodge
  • Group Size: 14
  • Max Elevation: 3840

Highlights:

  • Explore well-known destinations such as Tatopani Hot Springs, Marpha, Jomsom, Kagbeni, Lo Manthang, and Muktinath.
  • Enjoy the breathtaking view of Kaligandaki, the deepest gorge in the world.
  • Stay in pleasant towns surrounded by Chortens, monasteries, gompas, and religious shrines.
  • Drive through the Upper Mustang and Annapurna Conservation Area's restricted area.
  • Explore the Muktinath Temple, its surroundings, and nearby monasteries and gompas.
  • Discover more about the La Pa Tibetan ethnic group and the local Tibetan tribe.
  • Visit numerous historical sites, including the hidden kingdom of Lo Manthang.
  • Beautiful panoramas of mountains like Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri, Tilicho, and Annapurna I.
  • Get a chance to participate in the Tiji Celebration, the most auspicious festival in Upper Mustang.
  • Wander through rhododendron, oak, and pine trees with an opportunity to spot various quirky species.

About Upper Mustang Overland Tour

Experience an exhilarating adventure in the arid western regions of the Annapurna region with the Upper Mustang Overland Tour. Upper Mustang is a magnificent jewel to add to your travel extravaganza. It is nestled in the alpine valley sculpted by the Kaligandaki River.

Travelers esteem Upper Mustang as the most incredible destination to experience Tibetan-Buddhist customs and traditions. The overland tour takes you to the ancient kingdom of Lo-Manthang, which was long a forbidden territory. The people in the region are accustomed to their traditional way of life and are untouched by modern eccentrics! The Upper Mustang District and the restricted part of the Annapurna conservation area cover a large portion of Lo Manthang's stunning ambiance!

The 13 days Upper Mustang Overland Tour allows you to immerse yourself entirely in the history and folklore of the region, its contemporary culture, customs, and ceremonies, which are incredibly rooted in their traditional practices and have been preserved to this day in a stunningly sustainable manner.

This tour is not just for fun; it's also an efficient approach to learning about the locals' way of life. The Thakalis, Gurung, and Tibetan cultures are diverse and constitute living art in and of themselves. In just one visit to the Upper Mustang, we learn about the region's aesthetic perspective and the multifaceted cultural richness of the locals.

With its high cliffs and rock formations around the valley in the rain shadow region, Upper Mustang has spectacular geography unlike any other. The whitewashed dwellings strew around the Kali Gandaki river valley look as though they have gotten frozen in time when you enter the higher altitudes of Mustang.

The overland route makes pit stops at various temples, gompas, Mani walls, and chortens, a significant part of Tibetan Buddhist practice. Another pleasure of the journey is interacting with the local Bon and Lhopa communities. To top it off, the massive Annapurna rage and other Nepalese Himalayas will grace you with their magnificence throughout the journey.

In retrospect, the tour enamors you with breathtaking views of rivers, mountains, streams, woods, old stone monuments, and houses full of magnificent landscapes that perfectly capture the grandeur of Northern Nepal.

Discover the territory beyond the Himalayas lying on the border of the Tibetan Plateau with Outfitter Nepal's 13-day Upper Mustang tour. Explore the intact century-old socio-cultural practices, historically significant archeological sites, and stunning scenery throughout the rain shadow region!

Upper Mustang Overland Tour Itinerary

From Kathmandu, the tour begins with a jeep ride to Pokhara. We will then travel to Jomsom from Pokhara. The administrative center of Mustang, Jomsom, serves as the public face of the region and its tourism. You will take a seat in an overland jeep safari that will take you through many historical and cultural towns in Mustang. The tour then takes you to the Kingdom of Upper Mustang, also known as Lo Manthang. The tour will take you through the several historically significant and culturally significant villages of Mustang. With a full day of exposure to the ancient city's customs, traditions, and way of life, the safari will then take you to Muktinath temple.

By jeep, the upper Mustang travels through the Kaligandaki Gorge, the deepest gorge in the world, to reach Kagbeni. We even get to enjoy the natural hot spring at Tatopani, relish every bite of juicy apples at Marpha, and finally enter the ancient kingdom of Lo Manthang. The rocky valley of Lo Manthang winds opposite the hill, from south to north, and toward the Tibetan border.

Road distances from Kathmandu to Pokhara are 200 km, Pokhara to Jomsom is 155 km, and Jomsom to Lomanthang is 60 km. Driving through the mountain range with its many vistas is an excellent experience during the tour. The distances between the destinations may seem high, but we will be touring around for 13 days. So, the everyday distance we cover will be pretty low, and we will spend more time exploring than on the road!

Attractions

The Mystical Jomsom

Jomsom is a tourism hub for culturally rich Mustang. Additionally, it serves as the entry point to the Mustang region. The ethereal views of the Himalayas and the magnificent natural diversity of the Mustang are captivating experiences. Pine trees and illuminating vistas of the hills and mountains beautify the environment. The vast majority of people practice Buddhism in Jomsom. Gumbas and stone temples are plentiful in Jomsom, making your tour experience a spiritual venture.

One of-a-Kind Himalayan Views

You will witness some of the most alluring and mystical views of various Himalayan ranges as soon as the tour departs from Pokhara. With the Chure range and Kaligandaki flowing in between, the Annapurna, Fishtail, Tukuche Peak, Thorung Peak, Annapurna I, Nilgiri, and Dhaulagiri mountains would also be visible. You will see the valley's surrounding towering cliffs and rock formations in the background. Visitors will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, thanks to the Annapurna Conservation Area, to experience the mysterious geographical mysticism of the Mustang region.

Fossilized Shaligram Stones at Kaligandaki River

The presence of Shaligram stones is the most defining characteristic of the Kaligandaki River. The stone is renowned for its uniqueness and beauty, a golden black stone with fossilized spacing inside. Shaligram is believed to be a component of Lord Bishnu and is a significant part of Hindu culture. One of the holiest stones in Hindu mythology, Shaligram is revered as Lord Vishnu. The devotees believe that Shaligram devotion grants you the ability to battle the evil within you and bring about a great deal of inner serenity.

The ancient kingdom of Lo Manthang

Founded in the 1300s, the walled capital of the ancient kingdom of Lo opened for tourists in 1992. This enigmatic location is undiscovered and remains far from accessible to modern tourism. Lo Manthang became a dependent but retained its hereditary kings when the Shahs of Gorkha united Nepal from the smaller kingdoms they had conquered throughout the 18th century. This arrangement persisted as long as Nepal was a monarchy, which it was until 2008. When the republican government took power in Nepal and Jigme Dorje Palbar Bista, the monarch, was stripped of his throne. And Lo Manthang was incorporated into Mustang's Village Development Committee.

The Royal Palace, constructed some 600 years ago, is one of Lo Manthang's most notable features, along with its gompas and tall whitewashed mud-brick walls. Jampa Lhakhang or Jampa Gompa, popularly known as "God House," is one of the gompas in Lo Manthang and is the oldest. It was constructed in the early 15th century. The next one is Thubchen Gompa, erected in the late 15th century and situated southwest of Jampa Gompa. Chodey Gompa is currently the primary gompa, while Choprang Gompa is referred to as the "New Gompa."

In Lo Manthang, a group of at least twelve are set on sheer cliffs at 14,000 feet, north of Annapurna, close to the town, and embellished with ancient Buddhist artwork has just been found. These paintings, believed to date from the 13th century, exhibit the Newari culture's impact. Those paintings include ink-written Tibetan letters, silver and gold, and pre-Christian pottery fragments.

Additionally, archaeologists have uncovered ancient paintings, monuments, stone arts, and manuscripts from the old kingdom, in addition to partially mummified bodies that date back several hundred years. This is the ultimate maneuver to draw in contemporary tourists who want to see and learn about ancient history and culture.

The Unique Festival of Tiji

The Mustang locals strongly regard the Tiji celebration as the most auspicious festival in the Upper Mustang. Tiji is a holiday commemorating the triumph of good over evil. Tiji is observed as a victory of good over evil. According to legend, a demon was causing havoc and destroying the Mustang region by spreading disease, killing innocent people, and stealing the water. To reclaim all the water and prevent Mustang from being extinct, Dorje Jono engaged in battle with this demon and ultimately defeated him. Tiji is commemorated and celebrated with prayer chants and vibrant dances as a reminder of that momentous day.

The three-day Tiji celebration typically occurs in the middle of May. The "Choedhe" monastery's monks perform ritual dances during the occasion. Through a series of dancing, the performance depicts significant events. On the first day, the "Tsha Chham" dance describes the persecution of the Ma Tam Ru Ta demon. Similarly, on the second day, the "Nga Chham" depicts the birth of the second son of the demon, Dorjee Sonnu. Likewise, on the final day, the dance represents an attempt to bring the demon back to the Buddha's realm.

The Himalayan Temple of Muktinath

At the height of roughly 3,749 meters, the well-known temple of Lord Muktinath is located 18 kilometers northeast of Jomsom. Muktinath is a highly revered holy site for both Hindus and Buddhists, and it is placed on the foothill of Thorang La Pass. It is one of the oldest temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu and the Vaishnava tradition in Nepal. The temple is well-known among the Hindu devotees as Mukti Kshetra, which translates to "place of salvation."

The ever-burning candle (akhanda diyo) at the temple is seen as a symbol of peace and harmony. It is said that going here at least once in your life will free you from the anguish and misery of this world. It is one of Nepal's eight holiest religious sites.

Traverse the Himalayas by Road

With an overland upper Mustang tour, you can travel a distance that would take days if you were trekking! What makes it extra unique is that you will not miss any famous attractions! The road may be rugged at times after Kagbeni, but, definitely worth it! You will not have to move your leg muscles at all. You can take in the stunning natural scenery of the Himalayas, valleys, gorges, peaks, rivers, and streams. Even better, you'll have the opportunity to tour the long-lost Tibetan Kingdom of Mustang while you journey through the gorges of Annapurna I and Dhaulagiri. The drive to Upper Mustang is risk-free, exciting, and nevertheless worthwhile! During your stay, you'll feel an exhilarating and joyful experience.

Experience Rich and Unique Culture

Mustang region natives have unique lifestyle ideals and expectations of modern life. Similarly, their primary sources of income are trade, tourism, and animal husbandry. Likewise, the majority of Tibetans speak Tibetan and practice Buddhism. The Thakalis are an ethnic group well renowned for their distinctive customs, cuisine, and culture. Thakali cuisine is famous all over Nepal. They have their own unique culture and lifestyle. Experience the culture first had with upper Mustang Overland Tour.

Apple Gardens at Marpha

Marpha is a haven for heritage and modernity, where these two elements co-exist peacefully. The apples of Marpha are pretty famous among frequent Nepal travelers! Several apple orchards are in full bloom during the blooming season, making the village extremely beautiful. These apples are the main ingredients to make the renowned Marpha brandies and jams.

Tatopani Hot Spring

Tatopani has a natural hot spring that is reputed to be therapeutic. It is believed that if you dip yourself in the spring, you will be free of skin diseases. Whether true or not, taking a moment to yourself in a natural spa is a relaxing experience.

Mustang Overland Jeep Tour Cost

For a group of 5 or more visitors, the standard Outfitter Upper Mustang package goes to be about US$ 2350. Likewise, for a small group of travelers between the ranges of 2 to 4, the package costs about US$ 1950. This is the standard package from Outfitter Nepal. We can also help you customize your itinerary for the trip. The cost of the package changes accordingly. Contact us at any time!

Travel Upper Mustang with Outfitter Nepal

We are a dependable and trustworthy tour company with more than two decades of experience in the Himalayan region! You will travel with a group of seasoned experts skilled at guiding tourists in Nepal's Himalayas. From the start of the tour until its conclusion, they will handle all of your necessary duties. Thus, you will get to learn a lot more!

The Upper Mustang Overland Tour is possible at any time of the year. All guests are welcome to explore the enchanted Upper Mustang, and reservations are accepted all year long. With Outfitter Nepal, you can visit the region at any time of the year based on your convenience!

Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrival at Kathmandu Airport and transfer to hotel (1350m)

After you arrive at the international terminal of Kathmandu airport, you can see an Outfitter Nepal representative eagerly waiting for you. The Outfitter staff will pick you up from the airport and transfer you to your hotel.

    We require some permits to travel to the upper Mustang. Thus, we will arrange your travel permits today. Likewise, there are plenty of attractions within Kathmandu valley. They are UNESCO enlisted world heritage sites such as the durbar squares in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Lalitpur; Boudhanath Stupa and Swayambhunath Stupa; Pashupatinath Temple, to name a few. We will explore these places or any other place of your choice.

      The drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara takes about 6 to 7 hours. The roadways are brimming with picturesque hills and villages. We follow the highway alongside the Trishuli River and comprehend the difference between Nepali suburbs and village areas. The journey is a beautiful opportunity to discover varying topographical landscapes, agricultural cultivation, and scenic beauty. After we finally reach Pokhara, you can enjoy roaming around the city, have fun or boat in the Phewa Lake. We have an overnight stay at Pokhara.

        We will have our breakfast early in the morning and leave for Tatopani. The journey will take us around 5 hours. From this day, we start moving toward the Himalayan region of Nepal. The trip will present you with beautiful mountain sceneries and a touch of culturally rich Himalayan villages. Within a few hours, we reach Beni. From Beni, it will take us some time to reach Tatopani. As the name prescribes, Tatopani is famous for its natural hot spring. We have an overnight stay at Tatopani. We have an overnight stay at Tatopani.

          We have a scenic drive waiting for us early in the morning. As we drive towards Kagbeni, we can observe a vast difference in the landscape scenario. There is a shift from lush green vegetation to desert-like vegetation. The hills are not as forested anymore, and the soil has a desert-like aura. The drive will be smooth until Kagbeni is on the black-topped roads.

          After a couple of hours, we will finally reach Kagbeni. Kagbeni is a beautiful village beside the Kaligandaki River and is marked as the entrance to Mustang. Likewise, we can explore the village, visit the Red Monastery or enjoy solitude walking around the town.

          We have an overnight stay at Kagbeni.

            The journey from Kagbeni to Ghiling reminisces snowy white hills and rocky terrains. The view is unique, and you will enjoy every moment of it! The drive takes you further up in the Himalayan region. After a couple of hours of drive, we finally rich Ghiling. The rest of the day is for you to enjoy.

              The drive goes further to around 3900m on this day. Charang, also known as Tsarang, is a small village dotted with many ancient stupas, monasteries, and fortresses called “Dzong”. We take the route of Ghar Gumba before reaching Charang.

              You will also explore the village’s monasteries carved with ancient Mandalas. If it interests you, given that we have spare time, we can hike up to Luri cave. The ancient cave is surrounded by sandstone cliffs, meandering with winds forming unique shapes. The journey to the cave is a unique one. We have an overnight stay at Ghar Gumba.

                Lo Manthang is the ancient city capital of the Mustang region. Similarly, today’s journey is the much-awaited one. To add more, the geography of this region is remarkably unique and beautiful. After a couple of hours of rocky drive, we finally reach the gateway to Lo Manthang. You have the rest of the day for you to enjoy or to rest. We have an overnight stay at Lo Manthang.

                  On this day, we explore some attractions in Lo Manthang, including the Lo Manthang Monastery. Lo Manthang is teeming with many Tibetan Monasteries and a reminiscence of its Tibetan heritage. Likewise, the village is famous for its white-washed walls and building structures making the village easy on the eyes. We can visit 15th-century Jampa Gompa, Thubchen Gompa, and Choprang gompa. Similarly, we have many activities packed for the day. We can take this opportunity to hike to Chosar cave as well. On this day, we reach as high as 4600m. We have an overnight stay at Lo Manthang.

                    We swiftly drive early in the morning to Marpha. We descend to the altitude of 2650m. Thus, you will not feel as uneasy as you did on the previous nights. The journey takes you towards greener vegetation. Likewise, Marpha is a beautiful village surrounded by steep mountains.

                    Similarly, Marpha apples are extremely popular among travelers. You can also check some apple orchards. After all, Marpha’s orchards are beloved! After a couple of hours of descending drive, we finally reach Marpha. Similarly, you can also visit the famous temple of Muktinath at Kagbeni! While we follow the Upper Mustang, reaching Muktinath temple takes a detour route. However, we can still make it to the temple if we have enough time.

                    We have an overnight stay at Marpha.

                      On this day, we drive downwards towards Sarangkot. Now, we are closer to the hilly region. The journey from Marpha to Sarangkot is exceptionally delightful. You can enjoy the picturesque blue skies and tantalizing lush green vegetation. We reach Sarangkot after some time. Sarangkot is a popular paragliding spot that caters to local and international visitors. If it interests you, have a go at paragliding! We have an overnight stay at Sarangkot.

                        We finally head back towards Kathmandu, retracing our steps from a few days ago. This time, with a lot of memories, we can cherish forever. After reaching Kathmandu, you are transferred back to your hotel. You can take some rest for the remainder of the day.

                          An Outfitter staff will drop you at the international terminal of Kathmandu airport. You can travel back home or to any destination of your choice. We hope you had a great time with us!

                            Useful Information

                            Concerns for Altitude Sickness

                            For the Upper Mustang Overland tour, we traverse between the altitudes of 800m to 4500m. Although we will be traveling via a car which means we do not need any physical rigor, there still might be some chances of catching altitude sickness. A little bit of precaution does not cause any harm. The tour generally does not need an extra acclimatization day. However, if required, we can allocate a separate day for acclimatization. Similarly, the Outfitter Nepal itinerary package for touring the Upper Mustang has great overnight stays at varying altitudes, making the tour comfortable. We do not advise travelers to make a big altitude jump because it increases the chances of catching altitude sickness.

                            Fitness Level

                            This tour involves little to minimal hiking. Thus, you do not have to follow a strict exercise regime to accomplish the travel. However, as you travel to a new country with varying altitudes, you must take care of your health.

                            Food and Accommodation

                            It might come up as a surprise, but the Upper Mustang has excellent food and accommodation with fantastic hospitality. The restaurants offer a variety of cuisines such as Continental, Indian, American, and Thai, among many others. Food items such as sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, noodles, and dumplings are readily available. We also recommend you try Nepali cuisine, Dal Bhat. It is a rice dish with veggies and lentil soup, providing you with a balanced diet!

                            Similarly, the accommodation is also excellent until Kagbeni. The teahouses after Kagbeni are still of standard quality, with attached washrooms. Likewise, WI-FI services are readily available in most tea houses. There are warm dining halls with a traditional heater to cozy up during cold.

                            Necessary Permits

                            You require three permits for your travel to Upper Mustang.

                            Restricted Area Permit: US$ 500 per person, valid for up to 10 days. You must pay an additional US$50 each day if your stay is longer.

                            Annapurna Conservation Area Permit: US$30 per person

                            TIMS Card: US$ 10 per person

                            Packing for Upper Mustang

                            • T-shirts
                            • Trousers
                            • Down Jacket
                            • Fleece Jacket
                            • Thermals
                            • Undergarments
                            • Socks
                            • Glovers
                            • Hat
                            • Leg warmers
                            • Hand sanitizers
                            • Sunscreen above SPF 50++
                            • Lip Balm
                            • Moisturizer
                            • Trekking Poles (in case hiking is involved)

                            Best time to Visit Upper Mustang

                            You can travel to Upper Mustang at any time of the year. The region still has a favorite season. Unlike its other Himalayan trekking counterparts, the best time to travel to Upper Mustang is from June to September during the Monsoon season. Other than that, the autumnal months of October, November, and December are also popular among travelers.

                            Alternative Itinerary for Upper Mustang Overland Tour

                            This alternative route involves some flights to reduce the duration of the overall journey. You can enquire with us to know more about the alternative itinerary.

                            Day 1: Flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara (800m)

                            Day 2: Flight from Pokhara to Jomsom (2700m)

                            Day 3: Drive from Ghami to Lo Manthang (3810m)

                            Day 4: Explore Lo Manthang (4660m)

                            Day 5: Drive from Lo Manthang to Muktinath to Jomsom (2700m)

                            Day 6: Flight from Jomsom to Pokhara (800m)

                            Day 7: Flight from Pokhara to Kathmandu (1350m)

                            More Upper Mustang Travel Attractions

                            Experience Rich and Unique Culture

                            Mustang region natives have unique lifestyle ideals and expectations of modern life. Similarly, their primary sources of income are trade, tourism, and animal husbandry. Likewise, the majority of Tibetans speak Tibetan and practice Buddhism. The Thakalis are an ethnic group well renowned for their distinctive customs, cuisine, and culture. Thakali cuisine is famous all over Nepal. They have their own unique culture and lifestyle. Experience the culture first had with upper Mustang Overland Tour.