28th Jun, 2023
Upper Mustang jeep tour
About Upper Mustang
Upper Mustang is a remote and culturally significant region located in the Himalayas of Nepal. It is situated in the northern part of Nepal, bordering Tibet (China) to the north. It lies in the Mustang District, which is part of the Gandaki Pradesh province of Nepal.
Geographically, the region is characterized by its arid and desert-like landscape, often referred to as the "Forbidden Kingdom" or the "Last Forbidden Kingdom." It is situated at high altitudes, with most parts lying above 3,000 meters (9,800 feet). The region is surrounded by towering peaks, including the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges. Upper Mustang has a rich cultural heritage deeply influenced by Tibetan Buddhism. It was once an independent kingdom that maintained close ties with Tibet. The region's capital, Lo Manthang, served as the seat of the Mustang Kingdom and features a walled city with ancient monasteries, palaces, and traditional mud-brick houses. Until 1992, Upper Mustang was completely closed to foreigners due to its proximity to the Tibetan border and the sensitivity of its cultural heritage. After its opening, it has been accessible to tourists, but entry requires a special permit from the Nepali government, and visitors must be accompanied by a registered guide.
Upper Mustang is a popular destination for trekking enthusiasts. The region offers a unique trekking experience with its distinct landscapes, ancient caves, monasteries, and picturesque villages.
Table of Contents
Major Highlight of Upper Mustang Jeep Tour
The major highlights of an Upper Mustang Jeep tour include:
Upper Mustang is renowned for its stunning landscapes and unique geography. The jeep tour allows you to experience the rugged beauty of the region while traveling through the picturesque valleys, arid desert-like terrain, and crossing rivers and canyons.
The capital of Upper Mustang, Lo Manthang, is a significant highlight of the jeep tour. It is a walled city that preserves the ancient culture and traditions of the region. You can explore the narrow alleys, visit the historical monasteries, and witness the traditional mud-brick houses.
Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries
Upper Mustang is dotted with ancient monasteries that showcase the strong influence of Tibetan Buddhism. These monasteries are adorned with intricate artwork, colorful murals, and precious religious artifacts. You can visit monasteries like Thubchen Gompa, Jampa Gompa, and Chhoser Cave Monastery.
Unique Culture and Lifestyle
Upper Mustang is known for its distinct culture and lifestyle. The local people have preserved their traditional way of life for centuries, and you can witness their unique customs, dress, and rituals. Interacting with the locals provides a fascinating insight into their daily lives and their close ties with Tibetan culture.
Upper Mustang is famous for its ancient cave dwellings carved into the cliffs. These caves served as residences, meditation chambers, and storage areas in the past. Exploring these caves offers a glimpse into the region's rich history and the resilience of its inhabitants.
Forbidden Kingdom Experience
Until its opening to outsiders in the 1990s, Upper Mustang remained a forbidden kingdom, maintaining its isolation and cultural purity. The jeep tour allows you to immerse yourself in the mystical aura of this once-restricted region, discovering its hidden treasures and experiencing a sense of adventure and exploration.
Upper Mustang boasts breathtaking natural beauty. From the dramatic Himalayan peaks in the backdrop to the barren landscapes, deep gorges, and the Kali Gandaki River winding through the valleys, the region offers a visually captivating experience.
Authentic Tibetan Cuisine
During the jeep tour, you can savor authentic Tibetan cuisine, which includes dishes like thukpa (noodle soup), mo: mo (dumplings), and yak-based delicacies. Enjoying local flavors adds a culinary dimension to your exploration of Upper Mustang.
The Upper Mustang Jeep tour provides a convenient way to access and explore this remote region, allowing you to cover a larger area in a shorter time compared to trekking. However, it's important to note that the jeep tour still requires permits and must be arranged through authorized travel agencies to comply with local regulations.
Upper Mustang Jeep Tour Itinerary
Here is a sample itinerary for an Upper Mustang jeep tour starting from arrival to departure date. It can be customized according to your preference and the duration of your trip:
Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu
Arrive in Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal.
Transfer to your hotel and rest or explore the city.
Day 2: Kathmandu Sightseeing and Permit Preparation
Explore the cultural and historical landmarks of Kathmandu,
such as Kathmandu, Durbar Square,
Swayambhunath Stupa (Monkey Temple), and Pashupatinath Temple.
Prepare the necessary permits for the Upper Mustang region.
Day 3: Kathmandu to Pokhara
Drive or fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara, a scenic lakeside city.
Explore the beautiful Phewa Lake and enjoy the tranquil ambiance of Pokhara.
Day 4: Pokhara to Jomsom and Kagbeni
Take an early morning flight from Pokhara to Jomsom, the
starting point of the Upper Mustang region.
Drive from Jomsom to Kagbeni, a charming village situated
at the confluence of the Kali Gandaki and Mustang rivers.
Visit the ancient Kagbeni monastery and explore the village.
Day 5: Kagbeni to Chele
Drive from Kagbeni to Chele, ascending through the Kali Gandaki Gorge.
Enjoy the breathtaking views of Nilgiri and other mountains along the way.
Overnight stay in Chele.
Day 6: Chele to Ghami
Drive from Chele to Ghami, passing through the beautiful
settlements of Samar and Bhena.
Explore the Ghami village and visit the Ghami Monastery.
Day 7: Ghami to Lo Manthang
Drive from Ghami to Lo Manthang, the capital of Upper Mustang.
Enter the walled city and explore the ancient monasteries,
palaces, and narrow alleys.
Visit the King's Palace and enjoy the panoramic views of
the surrounding landscapes.
Day 8: Explore Lo Manthang
Spend a day exploring the cultural treasures of Lo Manthang.
Visit the monasteries of Jampa Gompa, Thubchen Gompa,
And Chhoser Cave Monastery.
Immerse yourself in the local lifestyle and interact
With the friendly inhabitants.
Day 9: Lo Manthang to Ghami
Drive back from Lo Manthang to Ghami, retracing your route.
Enjoy the scenic landscapes and capture any missed photo opportunities.
Overnight stay in Ghami.
Day 10: Ghami to Jomsom
Drive from Ghami to Jomsom, enjoying the final views of the
Upper Mustang region.
Reach Jomsom and relax or explore the town.
Day 11: Jomsom to Pokhara
Fly from Jomsom to Pokhara.
Spend the day at leisure in Pokhara, indulging in activities like boating
On Phewa Lake or visiting the International Mountain Museum.
Day 12: Pokhara to Kathmandu
Drive or fly from Pokhara back to Kathmandu.
Rest and explore the city or engage in some last-minute shopping
Day 13: Departure from Kathmandu
Depart from Kathmandu with beautiful memories of your
Upper Mustang jeep tour.
Important factor need to be consider during jeep tour to Upper Mustang
Permits and Regulations
Obtain the necessary permits for Upper Mustang, such as the Restricted Area Permit and Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP). These permits must be arranged in advance through a registered trekking agency in Nepal.
Transportation and Drivers
Ensure that the jeep you are using for the tour is in good condition and suitable for the rugged terrain of Upper Mustang. The drivers should be experienced in navigating mountainous and off-road routes.
Upper Mustang is located at high altitudes, so it's important to acclimatize properly. Ascend gradually, take breaks, and stay hydrated. Consult with a doctor if you have any pre-existing health conditions or concerns.
Weather and Season
Consider the weather and season for your tour. The best time to visit Upper Mustang is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) when the weather is generally favorable. Avoid the monsoon season (June to August) due to heavy rainfall.
Clothing and Gear
Pack appropriate clothing and gear for the changing weather and altitudes. Layered clothing, sturdy shoes, rain gear, hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen are essential. Be prepared for cold temperatures, especially in the mornings and evenings.
Accommodation and Facilities
Upper Mustang has limited accommodation options, mostly basic teahouses or guesthouses. Facilities may be basic, so be prepared for rustic conditions. Carry a sleeping bag and toiletries for your comfort.
Health and Safety
Prioritize your health and safety during the tour. Carry a basic first-aid kit, medications, and insect repellent. Drink only bottled or purified water. Follow proper hygiene practices to avoid illness.
Respect Local Customs and Culture
Upper Mustang has a unique cultural heritage. Respect local customs, traditions, and religious sites. Dress modestly, seek permission before taking photographs of individuals, and follow the guidance of your local guide.
Practice responsible tourism by minimizing your impact on the environment. Avoid littering, respect wildlife, and support local businesses and communities.
Communication and Connectivity
Mobile network coverage may be limited or absent in some areas of Upper Mustang. Inform your loved ones about your itinerary and keep emergency contact numbers handy.
It's recommended to plan your Upper Mustang jeep tour through a reputable trekking agency or tour operator that specializes in the region. They can provide expert guidance, arrange necessary permits, and ensure a safe and well-organized experience.
Difficulties during Upper Mustang Jeep Tour
The Upper Mustang region in Nepal is a fascinating and unique destination for a jeep tour. While it offers breathtaking landscapes, ancient caves, and rich cultural heritage, there are several difficulties one might encounter during a jeep tour in this region. Here are some of the challenges you might face:
Since, Upper Mustang is situated in the Trans-Himalayan region of Nepal, making it extremely remote and isolated which can pose logistical challenges due to the lack of developed infrastructure than major cities.
It's essential to obtain the necessary permits in advance to enter Upper Mustang restricted area. Acquiring this permit involves paperwork and certain restrictions imposed by the Nepalese government.
The roads in Upper Mustang are often unpaved and rugged, with challenging terrain, including steep inclines, rocky paths, and river crossings. Moreover, the weather can be unpredictable, especially during monsoon season, which can cause landslides and road blockages.
Altitude sickness is also one of the challenging difficulty in Upper mustang jeep tour as it is in high altitudes over 4000 meters. Altitude sickness can affect individuals who are not acclimatized properly, leading to symptoms like headaches, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue. It's crucial to take necessary precautions, such as gradually ascending and allowing time for acclimatization.
Similarly, traveler might have to struggle for accommodation and basic facilities as there is limited option. . It's advisable to carry essential supplies and be prepared for basic living conditions.
Most of the visitor feels difficulties in communicating with the local peoples for the reason that they primarily speak Tibetan Languages like Loke and Thakali, with slight English proficiency.
Individual should alert about restricted access and cultural Sensitivity otherwise you will be responsible for hurting their cultural values. That’s why take permission before step out.
Despite these challenges, a jeep tour in Upper Mustang can be a rewarding and unforgettable experience. It's recommended to plan and prepare well in advance, hire experienced guides or tour operators, and be flexible in adapting to the conditions encountered during the journey.
Frequently Asked Question about Upper Mustang Jeep Tour
How much does it cost for jeep tour to Upper Mustang?
The price for Upper Mustang jeep tour depends upon size of the group, package of the days and the facilities you wanted to get and bumber of travelers. The price will be pennyworth if you are going in group then in solo or duo.
Upper Mustang jeep tour will be completed in average cost of 2000 USD. It is better to take some extra money in Nepali currency for excluding expense.
Do we get guide in jeep tour to upper Mustang?
Driver will guide you throughout the trip. In case he is unknown about it then there will be a professional guide to lead you to Upper Mustang jeep Trek. He will make sure about the travel permit while entering the Upper Mustang.
Do we have to pay for the guide expense?
Don’t worry it will be excluded on your package. That will not be subjected if you want to give money as tips.
What if we are being troublesome due to the weather and the condition of jeep?
No doubt, if the problem is in jeep then we will fix it sooner and compensate some. Otherwise, your expense will be excluded in the package.
In conclusion, the Upper Mustang Jeep Trek is a challenging and rewarding adventure that offers a unique glimpse into the remote and mystical region of Upper Mustang in Nepal. Despite the difficulties and obstacles that one might encounter during the trek, the experience is enriched by the breathtaking landscapes, ancient caves, and rich cultural heritage that define this area.
Overall, the Upper Mustang Jeep Trek is an unforgettable experience that allows adventurers to immerse themselves in a region steeped in history, natural beauty, and cultural heritage. It is an opportunity to witness the timeless traditions and unique landscapes that make Upper Mustang a must-visit destination for those seeking a truly extraordinary journey.