Things you should know before Upper Mustang Trek
Upper Mustang is a traveler’s paradise and offers you a memory of a lifetime. But you must prepare yourself well enough before you take the journey to the Himalayas of the Upper Mustang.
Therefore, these are some general overviews of the things you should know before your trek:
- First and foremost, make sure to secure Upper Mustang permits before beginning your journey.
- As the trek is physically demanding, ensure your health is in good condition.
- Pack all the trekking essentials for a comfortable trekking experience.
- Prepare for unpredictable weather and altitude sickness in the Himalayas.
- You will come across unique cultural experiences and experience pristine nature at its best in the high altitude of Upper Mustang, at around 3,870 m (12,697 ft).
- Lastly, make sure to pick a trusted trek organizer and licensed guide for the journey.
Requirements for obtaining the Upper Mustang Trekking Permits?
There are certain formalities regarding the requirement of documents and rules to obtain permits for Upper Mustang and They are;
- The group should have at least two trekkers.
- The permits for Upper Mustang must be obtained through the registered local trekking agency.
- A special permit for less than 10 days cannot be issued.
- Original passport with a valid visa for at least 6 months.
- Photocopy of both passport and visas
- Two printed passport-sized photographs
- Money is US$ for foreigners; however, Indians can pay in Nepalese currency equivalent to US$.
Essential Upper Mustang Trekking Permits
Restricted Area Permit
Trekking to this region without the RAP. The territory above Kagbeni village is considered the Upper Mustang region, where you will find the RAP check post. Trekkers must show the Upper Mustang Trekking permits and other documents while entering and leaving this region.
It is issued by the Immigration Office of the Government of Nepal, either in Kathmandu or Pokhara. Remember, it can be acquired only through the registered local trekking agency in Nepal.
Upper Mustang Restricted Area Permit Cost: US$ 500 per person for 10 days, then US$ 50 per person for each extra day.
Annapurna Conservation Area Project Permit (ACAP)
The Annapurna Conservation Area includes Upper Mustang. So, without a valid permit for the Annapurna Conservation Area, you can't enter this region. Once ACAP is issued, trekkers can stay in the ACAP area as long as they wish because there is no restriction on the length of time for this permit.
It is issued by the Nepal Tourism Board office located in Kathmandu and the ACAP counter in Pokhara. Well, to provide you with hassle-free trekking, we at Himalayan Recreations will obtain and manage all the permits required for Upper Mustang.
- ACAP cost for foreigners: US$ 27 or NPR 3000
- ACAP cost for SAARC nation: NPR 1,000
- ACAP cost for local tourists: NPR 200
TIMS (Trekker’s Information Management System) Card
The TIMS card provides information about the trekker’s safety during the trek and helps track their movement. This is also one of the mandatory permits for your journey through the trails of the Upper Mustang.
The TIMS card can be purchased via the Nepal Tourism Board headquarters in Kathmandu or Pokhara or from TIMS counters located in trekking zones for a fee, however, you must go through a trekking agency. However, if you plan to reach Jomsom via flight and return via flight, you will not require the TIMS card. But it is mandatory for all those who plan to explore the region via ground.
These are the three essential Upper Mustang Trekking Permits needed to explore the magical Upper Mustang area. You must make sure you are in the hands of a trusted and authorized trekking agency to obtain these permits. It is also suggested that you obtain these permits before starting your trip.
Upper Mustang Permits Fees and Costs for 2024 and 2025
|Types of Permits
| Permit fees
|1. Restricted Area Permit
$500 for the first 10 days (An additional $50 for each extra day)
2. Annapurna Conservation Area Permit
|NPR 3000 (Around $25)
|3. TIMS Card
|Group hikers pay $10, while individual trekkers pay $20.
Although this is the most recent information, the costs are subject to change. As a result, it is preferable to stay informed about the charges through your trekking agency in advance.
How hard is the Upper Mustang Trek?
The trek to the Himalayan regions is challenging. Same with the Upper Mustang trek. This trek is moderately difficult, passing through several terrains with frequent ups and downs at constant high altitudes. Besides, several factors are causing the trek to be more strenuous. So, we will discuss some of the difficulties of the Upper Mustang Trek.
Details on Upper Mustang Restricted Area Permits
Permits are mandatory: All travelers must have three essential permits to explore the Upper Mustang region, i.e. RAP, ACAP, and TIMS Card.
Limited validity: Each permit has a specific validity time. RAP has a validity of 10 days (about 1 and a half weeks) and can be extended with the payment of an additional fee. On the other hand, the validity of the ACAP and TIMS Card are throughout the duration of your trek.
Non-transferable: The permits are non-transferable, which means that once they are issued under your name, no other travelers can use them. Therefore, all travelers must have their own permits issued under their name to enter Upper Mustang.
Remember to keep your permits on hand during the trek. You'll need to show them at various checkpoints, so it's essential to carry them with you at all times for a hassle-free journey.
It's crucial to note that trekking in the region requires proper permits. Ensuring you have the necessary paperwork is not just a formality; it's a legal requirement. Attempting to enter the area without the proper permits is against the law and can result in serious consequences. So, make sure you have all the required documents before embarking on your trekking adventure. If you are found passing through the trail without the Upper Mustang permits, the authority will take certain legal action or may make you pay a fine.
Upper Mustang: Drive vs. Trek—which is better?
The choice between driving and trekking in Upper Mustang depends on personal preferences, time and the experience you seek.
Cultural Experience: Trekking allows for a more immersive cultural experience as you can interact with locals, visit villages, and witness the unique traditions of the region.
Scenic Views: Walking through the landscapes provides a more intimate connection with the surroundings, allowing you to appreciate the scenic beauty at a slower pace.
Physical Challenge: Trekking can be physically challenging, offering a sense of accomplishment as you navigate the trails and high-altitude terrain.
Time Efficiency: Driving is generally quicker than trekking, which can be advantageous if you have limited time.
Comfort: Driving is less physically demanding, providing a more comfortable option for those who may not be up for an extended trek.
Accessibility: Some areas of Upper Mustang may be accessible only by vehicle, allowing you to explore regions that might be challenging on foot.
Ultimately, the "better" option depends on your preferences, available time, and the type of experience you desire. Some people opt for a combination of driving to certain points and trekking in specific areas to get the best of both worlds.
Can I do the Upper Mustang Trek Solo?
No, solo trekking is not allowed in the Upper Mustang. It is mandatory to have a minimum of two trekkers (including a guide) for the trek. No, you will not be able to obtain the trekking permit on your own. You must travel with an authorized trekking organization. If you don’t have a group with you, you can request the trekking agency to pair you up with a group or with a guide.
Upper Mustang Trekking Permits Terms and Conditions:
We have listed down the terms, conditions, and considerations set out for acquiring the Upper Mustang Trekking Permit:
- A permit fee is not necessary for children under the age of 10 years, so it is free.
- The permit is non-refundable, non-transferable, valid for single entry only, and valid for individual trekkers only.
- Entry permits are only issued in Kathmandu and Pokhara, not along the trekking trail.
- When entering the Annapurna Conservation Area, follow the regulations of the National Park and Wildlife Conservation Act, 2029 B.S. (1973).
- You are to carry the entry permits throughout the trek and show them at the checkpoint as and where they are asked for by the concerned officials.
- Both the permit costs are inclusive of value-added tax (VAT) and other government taxes.
- Permit holders are only permitted to enter the conservation area and restricted region.
The Upper Mustang region of Nepal is a one-of-a-kind and secluded place with a fascinating culture. It offers trekkers an unforgettable experience. The trekking cost in Upper Mustang varies depending on several factors. Such as the duration of your trek, your choice of accommodation, and your mode of transportation. However, the permit fee for Upper Mustang is fixed and can be relatively expensive for foreign nationals.
The cost of trekking in the Upper Mustang can be more expensive. But it is worth it for the unique cultural and natural heritage that the region offers. Trekking in Upper Mustang is an experience that you will never forget, whether you are a foreign national or a Nepalese citizen.
The Upper Mustang Trekking Permit requires you to hire a trusted professional trekking agency based in Nepal to apply for the special restricted area permit. Companies like Himalayan Recreation are experts in planning and organizing trips in Upper Mustang and getting you access to the required two permits promptly and easily. As a result, please contact Himalayan Recreation to embark on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
Some popular trips in Annapurna: