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Upper Mustang Trek

Grade : strenuous | Max Altitude : 4200m | Accomodation : 4

Explore ancient kingdom of Lo | Tibetan Buddhist tradition, philosophy | spectacular caves, monasteries and gompas

About Upper Mustang Buddhist Culture Trek

IMA Upper Mustang Trek is an exploration of Buddhist culture, philosophy and tradition of the remotest part of Tibet, the kingdom of Lo, by local operator with intimate living knowledge, local connections and personal experience of Tibetan Buddhist traditions. It is a physically challenging cultural trekking adventure at high altitude trekking along some spectacular village trails.


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  • High altitude,energetic Trek.
  • Metabolic boost to fitness | wellness.
  • Traditional Tibetan Buddhist culture.
  • Ancient Tibetan Buddhist kingdom.
  • Explore Tiji Festival in May.
  • Feeling of Tibetan Plateau.


Spring 2016:

Apr 27 

Autumn 2016:

Sep 28 

  • Description
  • Itinerary
  • Services
  • FAQS
  • Gear
  • Map

About Upper Mustang Buddhist Culture Trek

IMA Upper Mustang Trek is an exploration of Buddhist culture, philosophy and tradition of the remotest part of Tibet, the kingdom of Lo. It is a physically challenging cultural trekking adventure at high altitude ride along some spectacular village trails.

The pace has been designed to prevent the AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness), which can be triggered by excessive exhaustion.

10 days trek at altitude above 3500m offers metabolic benefits to the body allowing improvements of fitness and wellness with powerful visual experience.

Accommodation standard differs along the route. We provide the best lodges possible. In Lower Mustang you will enjoy comfortable lodges with attached bathrooms and hot water. In Upper Mustang there is very comfortable lodge in Lo Manthang. The lodges on the way are basic with only common shower facilities. In remote part, Tangge village, you will experience very basic conditions with bucket wash-up or you may choose a facility of outdoor fountain. Food is generally good and fresh and where we feel that the cook may not deliver, our staff will be at hand to help and deliver a nice meal.

Upper Mustang undergoes development as any other part of Nepal and new lodges and hotels are being build and improved at the cost of lives of locals changing generally for better.

Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu | Transfer

Day 2: Preparation in Kathmandu

Day 3:Drive Kathmandu-Pokhara

Day 4: Jomsom Flight | Trek to Kagbeni

Day 5: Trek to Tsele

Day 6: Trek to Sangmoche

Day 7: Trek to Tsarang

Day 8: Trek to LoManthang

Day 9: Explore Lo Manthang | Gompas and Royal Palace

Day 10:Explore Lo Mantang | Choser Caves

Day 11:Trek to Yara

Day 12: Visit to Yara Gompa and Luri Cave

Day 13: Trek to Tanghe

Day 14: Trek to Tsuksang

Day 15: Trek to Muktinath

Day 16: Explore Muktinath | Temple Complex | Buddhist Monastery | Chhongkhar

Day 17: Trek to Jomsom via Lupra La | Thini

Day 18: Jeep to Pokhara

Day 19: Explore Pokhara

Day 20: Flight to KTM | Farewell Dinner

Day 21: Airport Transfer | Departure

Your adventure price includes:

  • Hotel Kathmandu, Pokhara|Breakfast Included
  • Full Board Lodging in Upper Mustang | twin share basis
  • Lodging (B/L/D) during the trek.
  • Mustang permit fee (U$600)
  • Necessary staff during the trek
  • Porter Service|15kg Luggage Allowance
  • Private Vehicle Transportation
  • Experienced Tibetan Guide with local knowledge|connection
  • Airfare Pokhara-Jomsom
  • Airfare Pokhara-Kathmandu
  • Entry to gompas in Ghar|Lo Mathang|Yara.
  • Staff Lodgings| Salary| Insurance| Equipment
  • Group First Aid Medical Kit
  • Documentation| Office Service| Government Taxes
  • Farewell Dinner in Kathmandu
  • Comprehensive Pre-departure Information| Sound Advice| Guided Preparations

To undertake this adventure one must be fit and enjoy trekking and exploring other cultures. We provide the most comfortable accommodation and the best food available during the trek. Accommodation standard differs along the route and we provide the best lodges possible. In Lower Mustang you will enjoy comfortable lodges with attached bathrooms and hot water. In Upper Mustang there is very comfortable lodge in Lo Manthang but lodges on the way are basic with only common shower facilities and in remote part, Tangge village, you will experience very basic conditions with bucket wash-up or you may choose a facility of outdoor fountain. Food is generally good and fresh and where we feel that the cook may not deliver our staff will be at hand to help and deliver a nice meal.

Our clients find the Upper Mustang trek challenging due to many ups and downs through high passes up to 4200m high. We sleep in Upper Mustang at about 3500m so relative climbs are not too demanding but altitude and 16 days trekking is challenging to most of people spending most of their lives at the office chair. Our pace is comfortable and designed by exercise physiologist to prevent AMS (Acute Mountain sickness) and is scheduled with appropriate acclimatization schedule. Trekking up during the day and sleeping lower forms a perfect acclimatization sequence hence AMS is usually not an issue.

There are 2 hard days in the middle of the tour, where we will have to gain about 1000m.

Our guides are experienced and qualified young local Tibetans from Mustang area familiar with Tibetan Buddhist traditions and spirituality. We provide extensive training to our staff in technical area as well as English, customer relationships and outdoor First Aid. So apart of safety and professionalism you can expect warmth and genuine hospitality of Tibetan culture.

Our staff is young, energetic and experienced in customer relationship, high altitude recognition, prevention and First Aid. The tour is owned and organised by local staff without Kathmandu middle man and is marketed directly to you.

Simply click on SERVICES TAB, where you find all inclusions. If this is insufficient please send us e-mail to info@8mtb.com.

Absolutely not, we employ porters as a part of your package deal to carry your gear from lodge to lodge, most of the time on the jeep.

Absolutely all your food as well as accommodation is included from the time you leave Kathmandu until you arrive to Pokhara. In Kathmandu and Pokhara your breakfast is included and you will bear the cost of any other meals to allow you have a personal choice of restaurant. However if you wish to manage lodging bills yourself please do not select lodging option on the trip cost calculator.

All foreign visitors to Nepal with exception of Indian nationals require Nepali visa. Passport holders of Australia, New Zealand, United States and all European countries are eligible for the visa on arrival. Since spring 2015 Nepali Immigration has introduced computerized automated visa system making arrival Immigration process fast and convenient. For Upper Mustang mountain biking adventure you will need to apply for 4 weeks visa.

Yes our representative will pick you up from the International airport and will transfer you to the hotel. We monitor time of your arrival and we will be there on-time. All you need to do is to collect your luggage, clear customs and proceed to the outside of the terminal. Kathmandu International terminal is very small. Once you outside the building you see your name displayed by our representative, who will transfer to the hotel.

In Kathmandu we use newly build Hotel, which meets earthquake proof building code located in quiet part of Thamel. In Pokhara we use Lakeside Center Hotel. All these hotels are new with high cleaning standards and very good hot water solar shower systems with attached bathrooms and with breakfast included with exception to Pokhara hotel, where we take breakfast in the outside AM/PM Café.

Yes you need -10°C sleeping bag for some lodges in Upper Mustang for personal comfort as the bedding doesn’t include blanket covers. In all hotels in Kathmandu, Pokhara, Bhataour, Muktinath and Marpha accommodation includes great shower and fresh clean bedding.

No specialized gear is required for Upper Mustang Trekking Adventure. We recommend comfortable trekking boots for safety and comfort. The area is semi-desert, but due to climate change you may encounter nonseasonal rainfall and at higher altitude snowfall so you must be prepared. In the desert with clear sky you will experience big temperature difference between day and night and light down jacket will be essential. We recommend purchasing down gear as well as fleece and Gore-Tex jackets from Keamp8848 in Kathmandu. We use their gear as our personal gear for trekking, climbing and biking due to innovative design and high quality manufacturing equivalent to leading western brands but for fraction of the cost. Bear in mind that we will spent a considerable amount of time at high altitude, where perception of cold is more pronounced than at low altitudes.

IMA recommends quality over price for comfort and safety and long term savings. Quality can be expensive but it doesn’t have to be if one selects correct gear from right OEM. Naturally there is budget advantage of buying from quality Nepali OEM and you will pay 25-50% for similar or better designed Nepali gear comparing to leading US or European brands. We use and recommend Keamp8848 for quality, innovative design and the price. Your guide will direct you to Keamp8848 factory showroom in Thamel located only 10 minutes’ walk from your hotel. You should consider purchasing your Gore-Tex trekking jacket, Gore-Tex over pants, Fleece jacket and down jacket in Kathmandu. Another Nepali OEM to consider is Sonam brand, which has comparable pricing to Keamp8848, however quality of fabric is different and it lacks innovative design features of Keamp8848.

Apply Layering Principle while Trekking and Biking

While biking and trekking in any mountainous undulating environment and in particularly at high altitudes where the weather is also a subject to rapid changes one needs to adopt layering principle with clothing to regulate body temperature ensuring that the body temperature stays in comfortable range to prevent excessive sweating followed by rapid cooling. You should start your day with number of layers to feel warm and comfortable and remove layers on the go quickly to prevent unnecessary overheating and sweating.

Take advantage of Merino Wool as a first layer

For layer one garments we recommend Merino Wool from Icebreaker because the company understands climbers and mountaineers needs and utilizes the best quality material. No other company can at this stage (spring 2015) match Icebreaker quality. The quality in extreme conditions is essential for your comfort and safety. Merino wool is the finest wool and it matches cotton with softness and polypropylene with insulation and breathing-ability because it takes moisture away from the body and keeps you dry and warm.

Utilize Merino Moisture Wicking, Insulation and Antibacterial Properties

The process of taking the moisture away from the body is called wicking. Wool and synthetic fabrics are really good wicking materials hence they are very suitable to wear for hard physical activity such as trekking, mountain biking and climbing. Due to its natural nano-tube construction wool has also antibacterial properties, so it stays usable for much longer. It is slightly more expensive then polypropylene so is Himalayan biking, climbing and trekking. Using cotton shirts for high altitude biking, trekking or climbing is a wrong and dangerous approach, which can lead to hypothermia.

We trek 10-20km per day. On driving days we will spend 4-7 hour in a jeep. Distances in Nepal are short however roads are of low standards and traffic moves at much slower pace you are used to.

Nepal is a very safe country to travel even for single tourists, however nature is unpredictable and one should not travel alone in particularly at high altitude. We train our guides in high altitude safety and Mountaineering Outdoor First Aid, so they are capable to respond to any emergency. We promote quality recreational and non-competitive style of adventure with emphasis on safety. Our Upper Mustang trek is an exciting and culturally enriching due to local well educated and well trained staff. With plenty to see and experience we stop to visit local temples, ancient Tibetan Buddhist gompas and monasteries and take photographs at spectacular vistas. We will ensure the pace to prevent AMS and any physical injuries. In a case of accident we carry essential First Aid Kit and your guide will be familiar with its content and application.

The risks during the ride are potential to develop AMS, gastric problems or physical injury. IMA maintains programs and procedures to prevent and avoid all the above. We have appropriately equipped and up-to-dated First Aid Kit and train staff how to use it effectively. We require each group member to have valid Travel Insurance, which allows Medivac. We treat AMS, gastric issues and bleeding and if required we activate emergency evacuation by helicopter. Helicopter evacuation is activated by the guide and is coordinated by our Kathmandu office.

There are some risks associate with natures’ activities such as excessive non-seasonal snowfall or landslide blocking the path and potential earthquake.

Yes, all adventure participants are required to purchase adequate Travel Insurance, which doesn’t exclude helicopter emergency evacuation.

Acute Altitude Sickness (AMS) is the reaction of the body adjusting to decreasing amount of oxygen in the bloodstream. The higher the altitude, the less oxygen is available for the body to carry on normal functions. This is caused by decreased partial pressure of Oxygen, a difference between external and intercellular pressures.

Altitude sickness most commonly occurs from above 2,800 metres (9,200ft) but this is different for everyone - there is simply no way of knowing your own susceptibility prior to being at the altitude thus it is vital you monitor your own health. In principle higher cardiovascular fitness decreases susceptibility to AMS. Symptoms of AMS may be mild and subside/go away after a day's rest, or if it ignored it could lead to serious health issues including death. All biking adventure participants are required to purchase adequate Travel Insurance, which doesn't exclude helicopter emergency evacuation.

Symptoms can appear within 1-2 hours although most often appear 6-10 hours after ascent and generally subside in 1-2 days as the body adjusts to altitude. They may reappear as you continue to go higher. Symptoms of AMS usually occur gradually and can be one or a combination of the following:

  • Headache
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of appetite
  • Disturbed sleep or drowsiness
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid pulse
  • Swelling of hands, feet & face

Symptoms generally associated with more severe Acute Mountain Sickness include:

  • Bluish discoloration of the skin (cyanosis)
  • Chest tightness or congestion
  • Confusion
  • Cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • Decreased consciousness or withdrawal from social interaction
  • Grey or pale complexion
  • Inability to walk in a straight line, or to walk at all
  • Shortness of breath at rest

At high altitude all people will experience some of the above symptoms in a mild form. If the body is unable to adjust to altitude these symptoms will persist and, if they are left untreated, altitude sickness may progress to High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) or High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE). Edema means simply fluid accumulation in your interstitial body tissues. Both HACE and HAPE can be fatal if ignored.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF HAPE (fluid in the lungs)?

  • Breathlessness
  • A dry cough, developing to a wet one with blood-tinged discharge or saliva
  • Tightness in the chest & blueness/darkness of face, lips & tongue
  • Low fever up to 38°C/100°F
  • Severe fatigue, progressing to coma

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF HACE (fluid in the brain)?

  • Severe headache symptoms not relieved by painkillers or lying down
  • Confusion, disorientation & drowsiness
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Blurred or double vision/retinal haemorrhage

Certain medical conditions (such as respiratory disease) or medications (such as sleeping pills) can increase the risk of altitude sickness - it is important that you inform your guide of any medical conditions or medications before ascending to altitude. You can help your body to acclimatise and avoid altitude sickness by:

  • Avoiding alcohol, tobacco and substances that can interfere with good delivery of oxygen to the body
  • Eating small, frequent meals high in carbohydrates
  • Drinking plenty of water; the test of sufficient amount of water intake is ability to urinate colourless urine
  • Taking it easy or have a rest. Walk at a slower pace than you would at sea level and avoid over-exertion
  • Climb the mountain gradually and stop for a day or two of rest for every 600m above 2,400m
  • Sleep at a lower altitude when possible
  • Learn how to recognize early symptoms of mountain sickness


Most travellers are able to successfully acclimatise by following the previously mentioned guidelines. However, there are instances where medical treatment is required. Ultimately, the best treatment for AMS is to descend to a lower altitude and rest. Early diagnosis is important. Acute mountain sickness is easier to treat in the early stages.

Our guides have training and experience in AMS symptoms recognition, prevention and treatment. The guide will monitor your all the time for symptoms and will pace you appropriately to minimize your exposure to AMS.

We ask you to cooperate with the guide by reporting any above described symptoms and allow your guide to undertake appropriate and timely action such as take a rest and have a drink or snack, help you to carry your day pack or change a pace, take extra day rest or descent if necessary.

Your Guide will carry some medications in First Aid Kit and may suggest medication such as Ibuprophen, Paracetamol, combination of them or specific AMS medication. Standard and effective medication for prevention of AMS is Acetazolamide (Diamox) and it may be given to help improve breathing and reduce mild symptoms. This drug can cause increased urination. Ensure you drink plenty of fluids and avoid alcohol when taking this drug.

With severe cases of AMS our guide will contact our Kathmandu office and arrange your evacuation by helicopter. Before we accept you on the trek we will require that you purchase health and travel insurance including helicopter rescue and hospitalization.

Upper Mustang Trekking adventure is physiologically hard adventure with over 12 high passes to cross between Kagbeni and Jomsom albeit some only 100m of elevation gain. One day from Tangge to Chhusang it will be some 600m elevation gain. 14 days of trekking with only 3 days of rest in-between is also demanding for most of people. So all of that, requires a good endurance level and the ability to walk on unpaved road uphill. You should be in general very good physical shape to start with. Generally our customers for Upper Mustang Trekking adventure are physically active and many test themselves with occasional city fun runs/walks/bike rides or outdoor hikes. You don’t need to be competitive just to be able to complete run or ride within average event time. If you completed one of the above within last 6 months you are well Pre-qualifying for Upper Mustang Treking adventure.

If you are in a good shape, the only thing you have to do now is 3 month ramp-up before the adventure. You should aim to walk or jog twice per week and trying to get your 5km within 30 minutes, which will mean that you can sustain continuous exercise. The fitter you are the more enjoyable the trek will be and you will also get more benefit out of the adventure.

WHY DO IT?... Part of doing the adventure is the aspect of motivation, and setting your goals and meeting them. The adventure participation will be beneficial to you in all aspects of your personal and professional endeavours. This exercise suggestion is designed for you get fitter and hopefully influence your healthy lifestyle as result of the ride. Please contact us for detailed advice.

The adventure is scheduled during the best weather period in the area. Upper and Lower Mustang areas are semi desert areas with low precipitation, however with dramatic climate change we see disturbance of weather patterns with unusual precipitation and unpredictable cold weather snaps, so you have to be prepared for that with extra warm gear. Please check average temperature and precipitation in Muktinath here. The weather in Muktinath will be typical for Upper Mustang with temperatures slightly lower at night and lower at the high passes. This will make comfortable riding uphill but potentially colder downhill with wind-chill factor. We recommend use of Gore-Tex jacket and Fleece combination.

Absolutely, we welcome individual travellers on our fixed departure but we reserve the right to cancel the departure due to insufficient participation and to offer alternative departure. We require a minimum group of 4 participants. Naturally we will offer group prices for people joining as a group. Our adventure calculator will show you adventure of joining us together with friends.

Kingdom of Lo is an ancient Tibetan Buddhist kingdom. It has always been a part Tibet and it always had a degree of autonomy because it was located at the frontiers of Tibet and it extended up to today’s Tukuche. After Chinese invasion and occupation of Tibet the area of the kingdom has been absorbed by Nepal and initially had high degree of independence and at the same time of isolation from the world outside. Gradually it has been politically absorbed and aligned with Nepal. Current king, a descendent of 600 years old dynasty is still alive but he lost his power in political and economic struggle. Nowadays he is a symbolic figurehead but still excerpts considerable political and cultural influence. The king is very old now in his 80’s but still gives audiences to foreign visitors when he is in Lo Manthang.

Lo Manthang, the ancient capital of the kingdom is indeed interesting and amazing place, where live stands still like centuries ago. It is dominated by monastic Buddhism with people devoted to religious aspect of Buddhism and traditional Tibetan living like nowhere else in Tibet proper, where traditions are disappearing under pressure of modernity. You will visit 3 ancient gompas, walk on city walls and visit Royal palace. If king is in residence we will try to arrange an audience.

Choser is another interesting place to see. Located half way between Lo Manthang and Tibetan border it contains large complex of caves dug in to conglomerate rock. These caves are over 2000 years old and an amazing and mysterious place to visit. These caves were used by Tibetan nomads following summer-winter annual migration from central Tibet. We will ride through number of traditional villages with gompas integrated in case system and painted with Mustang colours. We also visit Choser monastery on the way to Tibetan border.

We will visit Ghar Gompa on the way from Tsrang to Lo Manthang. It will be a long day but it will be worth it the effort. Ghar Gompa is the oldest monastery in Upper Mustang and is of very significant cultural value. It is located on the hill with tremendous views on Upper Mustang and Himalayan range. It contains valuable wall painting on mud wall about 500 years old and exquisitely preserved by dry and cold climate.

Yara is a small village on the way from Lo Manthang to Tangge. It contains an old Gompa and Luri Cave worth visiting. We will stop in Yara for 2 nights to visit Luri Cave. It has been a meditation cave, which was converted in to cave Gompa with a chorten inside of very high significance to Upper Mustang Buddhism but for western visitors the value is in ancient painting on the chorten and the Gompa itself. It is quiet spectacular place located in interesting valley shaped by the creek and wind erosion.

Upper Mustang is an unusual place from visual aspect. It is a high altitude desert with very low precipitation and its mountains consisting of fragile conglomerate rock have been shaped by wind erosion to incredible shapes like curtains, pinnacles and organ pipes. Its mysterious look inspired legends, believes and Tibetan Buddhist traditions of peace and contemplation and the isolation shaped a very peaceful, friendly and approachable culture so rare and unique in todays world.

Complete the booking form on the adventure page, select size of your group, departure date and select services your require and find out price for your group. Simply click on BOOK/INQUIRE button and give us required details. We will send you invoice for the deposit of 25% of the trip value. After paying deposit for the trip we will send you booking confirmation and trip information. The balance is due 2 months prior departure. The deposit as well as the balance may be paid by bank money transfer or by Credit Card via secure PayPal system.

Simply complete BOOKIG/INQUIRE form and specify information you require in the message and we will engage with you by e-mail or if you prefer we will call you at the time convenient to you.

IMA Upper Mustang Trek is scheduled during spring and autumn dry season in rain shadow area, so days will be warm and mornings will be fresh to cold in Upper Mustang, fresh in Kagbeni and Muktinath with mild and warm conditions in Marpha, Pokhara and Kathmandu. The trek is at high altitude where cold perception is more severe than at lower altitude. Refer to Q&A for more information about weather and preparations.

The trek is along village treks and jeep road. We will stop in many places to visit interesting places and hike-up to the vistas. The trek is not competitive; for comfort and safety we recommend light trekking boots with sturdy sole.

Tap on button below to download PDF file.

If this is insufficient please Send Email with all questions you may have.

Please note, that the Gear List is only recommendation and you must choose the quantity of clothing ensuring that it will be sufficient to keep you warm and comfortable without excessive luggage.

Tour Map:

caves near yaraYara monasteryFarmers near ChhusangLuri CaveLo manthang Royal PalaceTibetan horesemanChoser cavesYara MonasteryDhaulagiriLo Mathangchildren in Lo Manthangupper mustang landscapeTanghehorsemanTangbe


Min Group Size : 4

Airport-Hotel Transfers
Hotel KTM/Pokhara
Private Transport
KTM-Pokhara Pokhara-Jomson Flight
Pokhara-KTM Flight

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