Mustang, earlier known as Kingdom of Lo, lies at an altitude of 3,840m in the North-Western part of Nepal. This beautiful, remote, and isolated region was once an independent Tibetan kingdom.
This beautiful region is divided into two parts- Upper mustang and lower Mustang.
Upper Mustang is most popular for adventurous trekking, mountain cycling, rock climbing, caves, old monasteries. Lower Mustang is famous for its natural scenery, apple orchards, rhododendron forests, beautiful valleys.
The different parts of Mustang offer tourists different attractions depending on landscape, culture, cost, accessibility. You can view some of the highest peaks of the world including Annapurna, Nilgiri, Dhaulagiri, Machapuchare, Tukuche.
Along with these, you can view extraordinary landscapes that are unique to this region of Nepal including the cone shaped caves, Kali Gandaki gorge, eroded sandstone pillars, deep canyons.
Mustang lies in the rain shadow area of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges. This region has significantly less rainfall compared to other mountainous regions of Nepal.
Hence, most of the region is relatively barren and is considered the desert region of Nepal.
It experiences a trans-Himalayan climate which is cool and semi-arid.
Interesting Facts about Mustang
- The world’s deepest Gorge- Kali Gandaki Gorge. The black rivers of KaliGandaki are a sight in itself.
- The trek to Mustang takes you through the same trade route used by people from the 15th century.
- Upper Mustang or the Kingdom of Lo, is the last surviving example of Tibetan culture and lifestyle in Nepal. It used to be part of the Tibetan empire and hence is closely related to Tibet. The members of the royal family are still respected and held in high regards by the local people of Mustang.
- The palace of the King of the Kingdom of Lo still exists and is a beautiful 4 storey high building.
Mustang Weather and Temperature
Mustang lies in the Trans- Himalayan region of Nepal.
While trekking to Mustang, you have to consider the weather of lower regions of Nepal like Pokhara, Kathmandu as well.
You can reach Mustang passing through these regions. You can either travel to Mustang on bus or take a flight upto Jomsom and start the trek.
The weather on the treks to Upper Mustang can get quite dusty and windy during the evenings or late afternoon. The temperature also starts dropping when the sun goes down. So, trekkers to this region are strongly recommended to dress in layers and wear windproof jacket and pants.
Mustang, along with the rest of Nepal enjoys 4 distinct seasons: Spring, summer, Autumn and Winter.
The local spring season occurs during the months of March, April and May. It is considered the best months to trek in this region.
The pleasant weather conditions give you a unique opportunity to enjoy and explore the grand landscapes of the region. The months of April and May are great for climbing and navigating through the high passes in the region.
This is also the season when one of the biggest festivals of the region -the Tiji festival takes place. The Mustang-Tiji festival trek provides you the perfect opportunity and timing for this unique and unforgettable experience.
You can get a chance to experience the local culture in all its glory during the season. The festival takes place in Lo-Manthang on the premises of the King’s palace.
The maximum temperature during the months of March, April and May can reach 20 degree celsius(98 degrees Fahrenheit) and drop to negative degrees (below freezing point) during the night. This happens usually at the beginning of March as winter is just leaving the region.
The temperature don’t drop so low during April and May. You will have easy walks around the local villages and settlements area on the trek route.
Summer and Monsoon
The months of June, July and August are considered as summer months in this region.
As this region lies in the rain shadow area, it is perfectly safe and comfortable to trek in this region, unlike some of the other regions where trekking is hampered by heavy rainfall.
During this season, Mustang enjoys warm weather, great local vegetation of the rain-shaded areas of the Himalayan region.
The farmers in the lower region are busy with their harvest of potatoes, wheat, barley. You can also take part in the rice plantation festival in the villages of Kathmandu and Pokhara.
During the day time, the temperatures can reach 30 degree celsius (108 degrees Fahrenheit). However, the evenings and nights are cool with temperatures dropping to 0 degrees celsius. Along with the treks to Mustang, treks to any of the rain shaded areas of Nepal are great if you happen to be in Nepal during this season.
Ganesh Himal Trek, Jomsom-Muktinath trek, Annapurna Circuit trek are some of the other places that are great to trek during this season. All other sightseeings within the city like the historical tour, Kathmandu City tour is still possible.
Unlike some other seasons, you will find less crowds on the trails in the villages and the city giving you more freedom on your treks and travels.
This is one of the favorite season among trekkers to trek in Nepal. The weather during the months of September, October and November is considered ideal for viewing mountain peaks of the Annapurna and Nilgiri ranges at leisure.
As winter approaches, it tends to get cooler, this is absolutely great for traveling. And because it is a dry season, there is no rainfall.
The perfect season to trek to Nepal experiences temperatures of 12 to 20 degrees celsius in the day time. During late evenings and nights, the temperatures can drop to negative degrees. But you will be indoors in the morning and nights, so this should not affect you.
The whole of Upper Mustang goes into hibernation mode during winter i.e. the months of December, January to Mid-February.
The upper Mustang experiences heavy snowfall, most of the people from Upper Mustang descend to lower regions to keep away from chilly winter and hence the villages, tea houses in this region wears a deserted look.
Trek in this region of Mustang during this season would be challenging and will require proper planning, right gears, supplies. And, you should not be a novice trekker to get best out of this trek.
Treks to Lower Mustang or the Jomsom-Muktinath trek is possible with the right equipment, gear, clothing and supplies. It does receive occasional snowfall and you can enjoy winter games in this part of Mustang.
The months of December, January and February experiences maximum temperature of 5 degree celsius dropping to -25 degree celsius during the mornings, evenings and nights.
Some Tips to consider while travelling to Mustang
- Lower Mustang trek is accessible throughout the year and no expensive permits are required to trek in this region.
- Consider having a day or two off during your trek here to explore the beautiful villages in and around Kagbeni, Jomsom, Muktinath.
- Treks to Upper Mustang falls in the restricted category of trekking in Nepal. This means you need special permits, travelling companion and a guide to trek in this region. No solo trekkers are permitted in this region.
- Witness first hand the preserved Buddhist architecture, lifestyle and culture of the local people
- You can opt to go fossil hunting of sea creatures some 3000m high in the mountain regions of Nepal.
Treks to Lower Mustang is possible throughout the year. However, amateur trekkers are discouraged to trek in Upper Mustang during the winter months from mid-December to early March.
As the region lies in the rain-shaded part of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri regions, it is ideal for trekking even during the summer months of Nepal.
If you have any queries regarding to treks in this region or any region within Nepal, feel free to contact us.