Best Seasons for the Tour
The best seasons for an Upper Mustang 4wd Jeep tour are spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November).
During spring, the weather is mild and pleasant with clear skies, and the temperature starts to rise as the snow melts. The landscape is lush and green with blooming wildflowers, making it a perfect time for nature enthusiasts and photographers.
Similarly, in the autumn season, the weather is clear, dry, and stable, providing excellent visibility of the surrounding mountains and landscapes. The temperature is comfortable during the day, and the nights are cool. The fall foliage of the deciduous trees creates a magnificent sight that is perfect for nature lovers.
The monsoon season (June to August) should be avoided as the roads are prone to landslides, and the trekking trails become muddy and slippery. The winter season (December to February) is also not recommended as the temperature drops to freezing, and the roads are covered with snow, making it difficult to navigate.
Guesthouses and lodges: You can find guesthouses and lodges along the way in Upper Mustang. They offer basic accommodation with shared bathrooms, but they are clean and comfortable.
Homestays: Some villages in Upper Mustang offer homestays where you can stay with a local family. This can be a great way to experience the local culture and lifestyle.
Tented camps: Some tour companies offer tented camps in remote locations where there are no guesthouses or lodges. These camps offer basic facilities like sleeping tents, dining tents, and bathroom tents.
Tea houses: In some areas of Upper Mustang, you can find tea houses which are small local eateries that also offer basic accommodation.
It's important to note that the accommodations in Upper Mustang are basic and may not have all the amenities you are used to. It's a good idea to bring a sleeping bag and warm clothes, as temperatures can get cold at night. Additionally, it's recommended to book your accommodations in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons.
Permits Required for Upper Mustang 4WD Jeep Tour
If you are planning to go on a 4WD Jeep tour in Upper Mustang, you will need to obtain a few permits before your trip. Here are the permits that you will need:
Mustang Restricted Area Permit (RAP): This permit is required for all foreign nationals visiting Upper Mustang. It costs USD 500 per person for the first 10 days and an additional USD 50 per person per day for every extra day. You can obtain the RAP from the Department of Immigration in Kathmandu or from the ACAP office in Pokhara.
Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP): This permit is required for all visitors to the Annapurna Conservation Area, which includes Upper Mustang. It costs NPR 3,000 (about USD 30) per person and can be obtained from the ACAP office in Pokhara or in Kathmandu.
TIMS Card: The Trekker's Information Management System (TIMS) card is a registration card that is required for all trekkers and travelers in Nepal. It costs USD 20 per person and can be obtained from the Nepal Tourism Board in Kathmandu or from the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN) in Pokhara.
4WD Vehicle Permit: If you are planning to travel to Upper Mustang in a 4WD vehicle, you will need to obtain a 4WD vehicle permit from the District Traffic Office in Pokhara. The permit costs NPR 2,000 (about USD 20).
Things to carry during the Tour
Warm clothing: Upper Mustang is a cold and windy place, especially during the winter months. Carry warm jackets, fleece, hats, gloves, and socks to keep you warm.
Sun protection: Despite the cold weather, the sun can still be quite strong at high altitudes. Carry sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun's rays.
Water and snacks: Carry plenty of water and snacks to keep you hydrated and energized during the journey. It's important to stay hydrated, especially at high altitudes.
Camera and extra batteries: Upper Mustang is a beautiful place, and you'll want to capture the stunning scenery on camera. Carry extra batteries and memory cards for your camera.
Cash: ATMs are not easily available in Upper Mustang, so carry enough cash to cover your expenses.
Maps and guidebooks: Carry maps and guidebooks to help you navigate the area and learn about the culture and history of Upper Mustang.
Travel documents: Don't forget to carry your travel documents, including your passport, visas, and permits. Upper Mustang is a restricted area, and you'll need a special permit to enter.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is Upper Mustang?
Upper Mustang is a remote and isolated region of the Nepalese Himalayas, situated in the north-central part of Nepal. It was once an independent kingdom and has its own distinctive culture and language.
Q: What is a 4wd Jeep tour?
A 4wd Jeep tour is a guided tour of a destination that is taken in a four-wheel-drive Jeep or SUV. These tours are designed for those who want to explore remote areas and go off-road, and they offer a comfortable and safe way to experience the beauty of the landscape.
Q: What is the best time to visit Upper Mustang?
The best time to visit Upper Mustang is from March to November. During this time, the weather is generally good, and the skies are clear, making it easier to see the stunning mountain scenery. However, the monsoon season (June-August) can make travel difficult due to the heavy rains and landslides.
Q: Do I need a permit to visit Upper Mustang?
Yes, a special permit is required to visit Upper Mustang. The permit is issued by the Nepalese government and costs around $500 per person. It is only valid for a limited time and must be obtained through a registered travel agency.
Q: What is the duration of the Upper Mustang 4wd Jeep tour?
The duration of the Upper Mustang 4wd Jeep tour can vary, but most tours last around 10 days. This allows enough time to explore the region and see all of its highlights, including the walled city of Lo Manthang and the ancient monasteries.
Q: What kind of accommodation is available in Upper Mustang?
Accommodation in Upper Mustang is basic and limited, with most options being simple guesthouses and lodges. However, some of these guesthouses do offer modern amenities like hot showers and Wi-Fi.
Q: Is it safe to travel to Upper Mustang?
Yes, it is generally safe to travel to Upper Mustang, but it is important to follow the advice of your guide and be aware of the risks associated with high-altitude trekking. The terrain can be challenging, and the weather can be unpredictable, so it is important to be prepared and take appropriate precautions.
Q: What should I pack for the Upper Mustang 4wd Jeep tour?
You should pack warm clothing, including a down jacket, hat, and gloves, as the temperature can drop significantly at night. Comfortable hiking shoes are also essential, as well as a good quality backpack, sunscreen, and a water bottle. It is also a good idea to bring some snacks and cash, as there are limited atm.