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Mustang Trek in Nepal – A Medley of Natural and Cultural Aspects

by Yasir Asif
Upper Mustang trek

Mustang Trek offers a medley of cultural and natural aspects. This off-the-beaten-path trek in a region that never sees rain reveals an ancient kingdom of isolated villages, stark mountain views and unique culture.

The trek starts from Jomsom, a large town beside the Kali Gandaki River, and follows various valleys with small villages along the way. The trek then leads into the Upper Mustang, which requires a Restricted Area Permit costing $500 per person for 10 days.

Monsoon Season

The monsoon season in Nepal falls during the months of June, July, and August. Despite being in the rain shadow area, Mustang still experiences rainfall during this time, which can make the trails wet and slippery. However, this does not interfere with the trekking experience in any way.

During this season, the buckwheat fields are in full bloom and offer a stunning backdrop against the jagged cliffs of the mountains. This is also the best time to try out local cuisine that offers a unique blend of Tibetan and Nepalese dishes.

However, it is important to note that the air quality during this period can be quite bad as dust particles are stirred up by jeeps and motorbikes traveling along the rugged dirt roads. Hence, it is recommended to carry proper face masks and a pair of hiking boots. Moreover, the temperatures can drop significantly during nighttime. Hence, it is important to bring warm layers and fleeces.

Spring Season

The spring season at Mustang offers good weather, clear skies, and beautiful mountain views. It’s also the best time to see wildflowers and attend the Tiji Festival in Lo Manthang.

While most of the country experiences heavy rainfall and landslides during the monsoon season, Upper Mustang stays dry. This is because it’s in the rain shadow region of Nepal Himalaya. This makes the trek safe and comfortable during this season.

Autumn is one of the most popular seasons for trekking in Nepal. It provides ideal conditions for trekking with clear views of the mountains and buckwheat fields in full bloom. Autumn is also a great time to experience the Thubchen Tsechu festival in Lo Manthang.

It’s not recommended to visit the Upper Mustang during winter because of extreme snowfalls. Most locals leave the area for Pokhara and Kathmandu during the winter. Only a few people stay at the hidden valley during this time to take care of livestock and villages.

Autumn Season

During this season, the forests of Upper Mustang are filled with red, orange and yellow colored leaves which create stunning landscapes. This makes for a unique and beautiful trekking experience. The clear skies also allow trekkers to view the mountain peaks in all their glory. This is also the time of year when the Tiji Festival is celebrated which allows trekkers to witness the rich culture and traditions of the local people.

September, October and November are considered the peak seasons for the Mustang Trek. Therefore, it is a good idea to book your trip well in advance as the lodges and tea houses tend to fill up at this time. Also, it is advisable to pack warm clothing as the temperature can drop quite suddenly. Nonetheless, trekking during this season is still enjoyable as the climate is not too hot or too cold. It is an ideal balance.

Winter Season

During the winter season at Mustang, you will be able to see snow on the peaks of the mountains and witness the villagers taking care of their animals in the villages. You can also trek at this time if you are willing to face the challenge of extreme weather and cold temperature. But it is necessary to be well prepared with the right kind of equipment, gears and clothes.

The best month for the Mustang trek during the winter season is January and February. However, you will be able to witness the beauty of the place during the other months too if you are properly prepared for the winter trekking adventure.

Spring is another good time to do the Mustang trek as the weather is cool and the buckwheat fields are in bloom. This is a great opportunity for nature lovers and the Tiji Festival also falls during this season. The only downside is that the trails are crowded with trekkers at this time.

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