Very often, we hear people saying “If traveling was free, you’d never find me anywhere.” But trust me, traveling in Nepal, even if you have to pay for it, is priceless!
Basically, the Mustang region in Nepal has two parts: the Lower and Upper Mustang. Trekking to these two different places will cost you different amounts. Traveling to these places will give you different experiences. These two places differ from each other in altitude, in vegetation, weather, climate, and in socio-economic aspects.
The Upper Mustang trek costs around USD 1,595 whereas, the Lower Mustang trek will cost you around USD 1165. This is the total package cost that includes and excludes several services and facilities. (we will discuss them later)
Cost of Transportation on Manaslu Trek
Let us discuss on the transportation cost while you travel from Kathmandu to upper or lower Mustang. The cost of transportation on your trek depends on the place from where you begin, where you reach, and on the trekking destination.
Upper Mustang Trek
The cost of transportation during Upper Mustang trek is same as of lower mustang up to Jomsom. Now, traveling from Pokhara to Kagbeni on a bus or a jeep will cost you USD 30 to 40 per person.
If you travel to Jomsom by some means and take a local bus from Jomsom to Kagbeni, it will cost you USD 6 to 10 one way.
Lower Mustang Trek
From Kathmandu, we will travel to Pokhara. There are several ways to reach Pokhara. Taking a bus to Pokhara will cost you USD 6 to USD 30. This price differs based on whether you travel on a local bus, deluxe, or tourist buses. The price variation is because of the services that the buses provide.
If you want to take a flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara, it will cost you around USD 100 to 120. The price differs in different seasons and also depends on the time you book your flight.
From Pokhara, you will travel to Jomsom. In fact, there are many options to drive or to trek starting at various places. So, for those who want to drive from Pokhara to Nayapul, Private car or jeep will cost you USD 10. If you travel on a local bus, the cost decreases to USD 1.5 to 3.
Traveling from Pokhara to Jomsom is also possible in different ways. If you want to fly from Pokhara to Jomsom, the flights will cost you USD 110 to 120 one way. You can also take a private Jeep to Jomsom which will cost you USD 10.
Permit Costs on Mustang Trek
You should acquire several permits before you can trek to the Mustang region. For trekking in the lower and upper mustang, permits like TIMS and ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Permit) are common. Since the Upper Mustang trek passes through some restricted regions, you need a restricted area permit to trek there. The trek permits and their costs for the two treks are given below. Have a look,
Lower Mustang Trek
TIMS Card (Trekking Information Management System)
There are three different kinds of TIMS.
- Blue colored (trekking with a guide): USD 10
- Green colored (solo trekkers): USD 20
- Red-colored (SAARC Nationals): USD 3
Annapurna Conservation Area Project Permit (ACAP)
- For Nepalese: USD 1
- For SAARC Nationals: USD 10
- Others: USD 27
Upper Mustang Trek
The cost of ACAP for Upper Mustang trek is same as of lower Mustang.
Restricted Area Permit (RAP)
- For first 10 days on the trek: USD 500
- For additional days: an additional USD 50 per person per day
Cost of Guides and Porters on Mustang Trek
We always say, taking guides and porters while trekking in Nepal is beneficial over trekking alone. For lower Mustang trek, taking a guide and/or a guide is a choice. However, trekking with a licensed and an experienced guide or a porter is a compulsion during Upper Mustang trek.
Cost of Hiring Guides and Porters on Lower Mustang Trek
If you are thinking of hiring a guide, s/he will charge you USD 25 to 30 per day. This cost includes the cost of their food, cost, and transportation. If you are taking a porter, they will charge you USD 20 to 25 per day. This will again include all their expenses on the trek.
There are some porters who can communicate with you, will help carry your load, and will help you find places for accommodation and food. They are the porter-guides. They will charge you USD 35 per day. They will carry up to 15 kg weight. (a porter carries up to 20 kgs)
Cost of Hiring Hiring Guides and Porters on Upper Mustang Trek
Upper Mustang is one of the restricted trekking areas in Nepal. Here, you must trek with a guide and/or a porter. Hiring a guide for Upper Mustang trek will cost you USD 30 to 35 per day. A porter will charge you USD 25 to 30 per day. And if you are going with a porter-guide, they will charge you USD 35 per day.
This cost includes the accommodation, food, and transportation costs of the guides and porters.
How Much is the Accommodation Cost on Mustang Trek?
Mustang is a popular teahouse trek route in Nepal. During both the lower and upper Mustang treks, you will find teahouses and lodges where you can stay overnights. The cost of accommodation differs with different seasons and with altitude. Let’s have a look at how much accommodation costs during,
Lower Mustang Trek
In general, the teahouses provide rooms on a twin sharing basis. You’ll have to share a single room with your trekking partner. The cost will become USD 1 to 6 per night per person if you get the room on a twin sharing basis.
But in case you want a single room, it will cost you USD 3 to 6 per night per person. Please bear in mind that in peak seasons, they will not agree on providing you a single room.
Upper Mustang Trek
The cost of accommodation adds with altitude. This means the cost of accommodation in upper Mustang will be more than in lower Mustang. A twin-shared room will cost you around USD 10 to 15 per night per person. For a single room, you should pay USD 10 to 20 per night per person.
The most popular time for Upper Mustang trek is during Tiji Festival time. So, if you are going in that time, you should book for your accommodation earlier. Or else, you might have difficulty in finding a place to stay.
Cost of Food and Drinks during upper and lower Mustang trek
Cost of Food
You will have three meals a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. An average meal will cost around USD 5 per person. This makes the per day cost of food on the trail to average around USD 15 to 20 every day. The cost of a meal increases slightly as you ascend altitudes.
The most basic food is Nepali Daal-rice. This meal is a filling meal that comes with Rice, lentil soup, vegetables, and pickle. You can also have Indian, Tibetan as well as the continental dishes at some hotels and teahouses. Having fancy things will cost you more.
Cost of Drinks
You will not have a lot of choices on drinks during upper and lower Mustang treks. Some of the drinks that you can enjoy during your upper and lower mustang trek are as follows:
Bottled water: USD 0.5 to 4
A cup of tea: USD 1.5 to 4
A cup of coffee: USD 2 to 5
A bottle of beer: USD 2 to 5
A bottle of soda: USD 0.5 to 4
Costs of Buying Clothing and Trekking Gears for Mustang Trek
There are a lot of trekkers who do not want to buy all the clothing and trekking gears. To those, do not, you can rent all the trekking equipment and gears at the shops in Thamel.
To trek in upper and lower Mustang, it is really important that you get equipped with adequate clothing, equipment, and gears. What you bring on the trek completely depends on the season that you are trekking in. You can check the packing lists for trekking in Nepal for help.
Buy things that are really necessary. The cost of clothing, equipment, and gears, the cost of buying them varies. The cost depends on what brand you are buying, what quantity, and on several other things.
If you are thinking of renting the trekking gears and clothes, you can rent them at some stores in Thamel. Hiring will save you money. There is no need that you have to buy everything.
Besides all the big costs, there are always costs that do not show. Listed below are some of the miscellaneous costs during upper and lower Mustang trek. Have a look,
Charging Electronic Gadgets
When you are trekking in Nepalese Himalayas, you have to pay for everything. To charge your electronic gadgets at the teahouses, you have to pay for it. In general, full charging your phones and electronic gadgets will cost around USD 5.
Donations and Tipping
You will be visiting several monasteries and gompas en route. You will also trek to the religious pilgrimage sites like Muktinath temple. If you want to donate some amount, you can. Also, your guides and porters also expect for some amount as tips. Tipping is not a compulsion, but after their great hospitality, you will want to give them a certain amount for tips.
You want to take a bucket shower, you can. The teahouses will charge you a certain amount (USD 5) for a shower. You can take a hot or cold shower. But since you are going to really high places, it will be cold. And you will want to go for a hot bucket shower.
You might want to buy some souvenirs for your family, friends, and loved ones. You will see small shops and some local vendors selling the pieces of local arts and architecture. You can buy them on your way back.
How to minimize Upper and Mustang trek cost?
If you are going on a budget trek to upper and lower Mustang, here are some tips that will help you minimize the trek cost:
- Before you book a trip, make sure you compare the prices of some other tour operators.
- Renting some trekking gears is economical over buying them.
- Book your international flights earlier. Booking at the last moment, it will be highly expensive.
Lower Mustang Trek
Day 01: Drive/Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara
Day 02: Pokhara flight to Jomsom (2713m). Trek to Kagbeni (2800m)
Day 03: Trek from Kagbeni to Muktinath (3800m)
Day 04: Trek from Muktinath to Marpha (2680m)
Day 05: Trek from Marpha to Ghasa (2010m)
Day 06: Trek from Ghasa to Tatopani (1190m)
Day 07: Trek from Tatopani to Ghorepani (2855m)
Day 08: Visit Poon Hill (3210m) and trek to Tadapani (2610m)
Day 09: Trek from Tadapani trek to Ghandruk (1940m)
Day 10: Trek from Ghandruk trek to Pothana (1900m)
Day 11: Trek from Pothana to Dhampus Phedi. Drive to Pokhara (850m)
Upper Mustang Trek
Day 01: Drive(5 to 6 hrs) fly (30min) to Pokhara
Day 02: Fly Jomsom from Pokhara and Trek to Kagbeni (2,800m)
Day 03: Trek to Geling (3,570m)
Day 04: Trek to Tsarang (3,560m)
Day 05: Trek to Lo-Manthang (3,840m)
Day 06: Explore around Lo-Manthang (3,840m)
Day 07: Trek to Ghami (3,520m)
Day 08: Trek to Samar (3,540m)
Day 09: Trek to Muktinath (3,600m) and about one hour drive to Jomsom
Day 10: Drive back from Jomsom to Pokhara
Till now, you must have known that the Upper Mustang trek is expensive than the lower Mustang trek. This is because of the added cost for Restricted area permit, due to slightly expensive accommodation, food, and transportation.
Before going on the trek, you might think this trek is quite expensive. But once you fly to Nepal and set off on the amazing trekking trails, you’ll say that trek to Mustang is priceless. There are lots of factors that determine the trekking cost.
So, arrange for the money, build a strong and healthy mindset, and of course the physique. Are you ready to fly to Nepal?
Exciting Nepal is a renowned local trekking agency in Nepal. We organize best treks and tours in Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet. If you have any queries regarding trekking and travelling in Nepal, feel free to contact us.