Upper Mustang is suitable for Driving tour more than Trekking

  • Hemanta Budhathoki
  • Last Updated on Jun 21, 2024

Table of Contents

Upper Mustang is the Himalayan rain shadow of Nepal, is one of the regions in the country suitable to visit even during the monsoons. During raining season, the upper Kali Gandaki valley is still quite dry with only occasional rainfall. Now Upper Mustang is with road access from Beni up to Tibet borer through Lomanthang. More than trekking, Upper Mustang is now suitable for driving tours. Upper Mustang Jeep tour and Upper Mustang Motorcycle tour is much comfortable to experience a way of life of true mountain people, who for hundreds of years, had very little contact with the rest of Nepal and retained their rich cultural heritage. The best time to take part in the Upper Mustang driving tour is from March to May and the month of October November. Road of the lower part of the mustang is disturbed from the rain in a raining season which may be difficult to cross Rivers, during winter will not be the access of higher part of Mustang due to icefall on the roadside. The highest altitude reaching the Upper Mustang region is 4,600 miters (Kora La pass) but highest sleeping altitude is 3,800 miter Lomanthang. The entire road condition up to now is gravel, rocky, tippy, and bumpy.  

Lomathang - the capital of Upper Mustang 

Upper Mustang is suitable for the driving tour: Driving with 4wheel drive is required. Upper Mustang is still restricted area and obtaining special permits through registered Nepalese trekking companies is compulsory. Travelling with registered trekking guide is another compulsory regulation from Nepal government. There should be at least 2 people and need to pay a minimum 500 USD per person only for the permit. The region passes the Annapurna conservation area and has to obtain the Annapurna conservation area permit too. 10 days plan is suitable from Kathmandu to Upper Mustang and back to Kathmandu. There is customizing possible in itinerary. Add Muktinath temple to visit, add another day around Lomanthang to explore more including reaching up to Kora La pass and some of the ancient caves, monasteries.  

A general itinerary of Upper Mustang Jeep driving tour
Day 01: Start driving from Kathmandu and reach Pokhara
Day 02: Drive from Pokhara to Kalopani
Day 03: Drive from Kalopani to Kagbeni visa Muktinath temple
Day 04: Drive from Kagbeni to Ghami
Day 05: Drive from Ghami to Lomangthang, capital of Upper Mustang
Day 06: Day on Lomanthang to explore around
Day 07: Drive back to Kagbeni
Day 08: Drive back to Tatopani
Day 09: Drive back to Pokhara or further drive to Bandipur (Typical Newari village)
Day 10: Drive back to Kathmandu

Option itinerary starts from Jomsom Kathmandu to Jomsom by flight
Day 01: From Kathmandu drive or fly to Pokhara
Day 02: Fly to Jomsom airport and start driving to Kagbeni after visiting Muktinath
Day 03: Drive to Ghami
Day 04: Drive to Lomanthang
Day 05: Day around Lomanthang
Day 06: Drive back to Jomsom
Day 07: Drive back to Tatopani
Day 08: Drive back to Pokhara of further
Day 09: Drive back to Kathmandu

Suitable 4wheel jeep for Upper Mustang driving tour 

Upper Mustang Motorcycle tour is another much suitable tour. The suitable itinerary is for 9 days. Motorcycling through Lower mustang to reach Upper Mustang valley. Kathmandu Pokhara Beni explores the longest suspension bridge in Kushma as well as the highest natural bungee place. Stay relax in comfortable local tea houses. Motor Biking along the dusty gravel road in the barren treeless landscape of the Tibetan Plateau, small settlements of people approaching the ancient Tibetan culture and lifestyles, all in the backyard of Mount Annapurna, Nilgiri and Dhaulagiri massif. Riding through the world’s deepest gorge Kaligandaki valley the ancient salt trading route between Nepal and Tibet all the way to Muktinath temple.

Lo Manthang, the old capital, is reached in four days of motorcycling and at least one extra day should be spent here to soak in the sights and sounds of this unique walled settlement, oldest caves, and typical villages. Another day stop at Lomanthang gets chance to reach the Karo La border between Nepal and Tibet.

Memorial Chorten in Upper Mustang 

A general itinerary of Upper Mustang Motor Biking
Day 01: Ride to Pokhara from Kathmandu
Day 02: Ride to Kalopani
Day 03: Ride to Ghami
Day 04: Ride to Lomanthang
Day 05: Day in Lomanthang
(Adding another day in Lomanthang get the change to reach Karo La and visit ancient monasteries on the way)
Day 06: Ride back to Kagbeni
Day 07: Ride back to Tatopani
Day 08: Ride back to Pokhara or further to Bandipur
Day 09: Ride back to Kathmandu  

Facilities in Upper Mustang
Accommodation facilities in the entire Upper Mustang are in local tea houses. Every small village is a facility of tea houses with neat and clean guest house types of rooms with attached toilets with their own restaurants and local bar. Kalopani, Tatopani, Kagbeni villages have deluxe accommodation comparing upper parts of Upper Mustang. This region was running with lots of different Nepal trekking packages.  

Expected expenses
Because of restricted area permit cost (USD 500 per person), the Upper Mustang driving tour becomes an expensive tour comparing other tours in Nepal. You can expect about USD 2000 per person for Jeep driving including 4wheel jeep, guide, all the permits, accommodation with all the foods and drinking water, hot drinks. Motorcycling tour is expected about 2,700 USD per person including Motorbike on hire, its fuel, backup transportation, Guide, Mechanic, accommodation in local tea houses, all the foods with hot drinks, drinking water, all permits. Tour cost for both driving tour also depends on group size. You can take benefit to join our fixed departure dates which make your tour cost less.

Internet facilities in the Upper Mustang region are almost available in every place although local WIFI and internet disturb time to time due to weather conditions. The mobile connection of NTC and Ncell is performing well almost in the entire region.  

Nepal Highland Treks is a registered trekking company based in Nepal and able to organize the Upper Mustang Driving tour and Upper Mustang motorbiking tour. Email us in [email protected] for more details.

Hemanta Budhathoki

Hemanta Budhathoki

Hemanta Budhathoki is team leader of Nepal Highland Trekking and travel company. 

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