BlogUpper Mustang Tour: 4WD Drive vs Trekking
24 Aug 2023 adminadmin
Are you someone who loves to travel and is on the lookout for an exciting new adventure? Well, look no further than the appealing region of Upper Mustang in Nepal. This hidden gem is nestled amidst the stunning Himalayas and offers a perfect blend of breathtaking landscapes, rich culture, and thrilling exploration opportunities.
As you gear up for this journey, you’ll face two important decisions. Firstly, you’ll need to choose between two ways to explore the Upper Mustang tour: using a 4WD drive or trekking. Secondly, you’ll need to decide how to get to Jomsom from Pokhara: by taking a flight or by driving. Let’s guide you through these choices to make sure your adventure is unforgettable.
Nestled in the majestic Himalayas of Nepal, Upper Mustang is often lovingly called ‘Little Tibet’ because the lifestyle, culture, and geography are similar to the highest degree. Tibetan Buddhism, mesmerizing art, and historical bonds make the two regions identical too. With its desert-like landscapes, ancient caves, and old monasteries, Upper Mustang offers a truly exceptional adventure. The region used to be closed until 1992, giving it a special feel that makes exploring its unique blend of Nepali and Tibetan influences even more exciting.
Which is better for Upper Mustang Tour? 4WD Drive or Trekking
Are you excited about the idea of exploring the Upper Mustang Tour? Are you trying to decide between going on a 4WD drive or a trekking adventure? Let’s break down the advantages and things to consider for each option.
First of all, choosing between a 4WD drive and trekking comes down to what you prefer. It’s influenced by how much time you have and how physically fit you are. It’s also about what you’re looking forward to experiencing during your tour to Upper Mustang.
Let’s take a closer look at both choices and figure out which one might be the best fit for you.
Upper Mustang Tour with 4WD Drive
You are planning for the Upper Mustang Trek but have limited time. Perhaps your physical fitness isn’t at its peak, or you’re keen to immerse yourself without the demanding challenges of trekking. Choosing a 4WD drive allows you to quickly discover the amazing sights of the region, making the most of your limited time and enjoying a relaxed pace.
Advantages of a 4WD Drive
Using a 4WD drive comes with several benefits. It ensures timely arrival at your destination and allows you to complete the tour in fewer days compared to trekking. Here are its advantages:
Efficiency and Speed
The efficiency and speed of a 4WD drive make it a great choice for those who want to maximize their limited time while traveling. With a 4WD drive, you can cover distances quickly, allowing you to see and experience more within the available timeframe.
Accessibility is a key advantage of a 4WD drive, especially for those who can’t trek due to physical limitations. It opens up the wonders of Upper Mustang to everyone, ensuring that nobody misses out on the experience.
Comfort and Safety
When you’re driving through the tough terrain of Upper Mustang, a 4WD vehicle brings comfort and safety by giving you a smoother ride and protecting you from unpredictable weather conditions.
The sparse villages in Upper Mustang become easily accessible with a 4WD drive, ensuring you’re always close to the region’s core culture. This mode of transport bridges the gap and lets you experience the local way of life without hassle.
Roads suitable for a drive
Most of the roads in Upper Mustang are rough and ideal for a 4WD drive. Traveling in a 4WD offers comfort and peace of mind, allowing you to move swiftly and confidently through these challenging terrains, saving time along the way.
Considerations for a 4WD drive
While there are indeed several benefits, there are also a few important factors that need careful consideration. These include:
Although a 4WD drive provides wide views of the landscape, it might not offer the same close connection that trekking does. Trekking allows you to immerse yourself in the details of the surroundings and engage more closely with the environment.
Engaging with local communities and truly immersing in the culture might not be as deep with a 4WD drive compared to trekking. Trekking provides more opportunities to interact with locals, visit their homes, and experience their way of life up close.
Upper Mustang Tour with Trekking
For those with a fondness for physical challenges, a deep appreciation for nature, and a desire to be fully immersed in the local culture, trekking is the ideal choice. Trekking isn’t just about being physically strong; it’s also about experiencing the beauty of nature and connecting with local culture. It gives you amazing moments with nature and lets you discover the local way of life that you’ll remember for a long time.
Advantages of Trekking
Trekking brings numerous advantages: a close connection to nature and an authentic experience of local culture. Some advantages are as follows:
Trekking lets you experience Upper Mustang’s breathtaking landscapes up close, giving you the chance to appreciate every detail of its beauty. Walking through these landscapes allows you to truly immerse yourself in the natural wonders of the region and enjoy the scenery to the fullest.
Trekking provides a unique chance to connect with local communities, explore monasteries, and become part of daily life, offering a real taste of the local culture. Engaging with locals and participating in their traditions allows you to fully immerse yourself in the essence of Upper Mustang’s cultural richness.
Trekking brings personal fulfillment through the physical challenges it presents, nurturing growth, and a sense of achievement. Overcoming these challenges while surrounded by the stunning landscapes of Upper Mustang can boost your confidence and leave you with a deep sense of accomplishment, making the journey even more meaningful.
Trekking offers flexible exploration along the route, allowing trekkers to freely discover and spend quality time at various spots. Unlike a 4WD drive, which has limitations, trekking lets you delve deeper into the surroundings, pause to appreciate the sights and engage with the environment at your own pace.
Considerations for Trekking
Here are a few things to consider when it comes to trekking:
Time and Fitness
Trekking takes more time and needs a reasonable level of fitness. Depending on the route, the journey’s length can differ. Being physically prepared is important for enjoying the trek and completing it comfortably.
Altitude and Health
Trekking at high altitudes requires getting used to the elevation and taking care of your health. It’s important to give your body time to acclimate to the altitude and to prioritize your well-being to fully enjoy the journey.
Limited Trekking Trail
Rough roads make up about 70% of the routes, with some trail roads connecting to the main path. Trekking on these roads demands good physical fitness. However, the limited availability of a dedicated trail road for trekking might be a bit disappointing for those seeking a more adventurous experience.
The weather can be unpredictable, causing floods and landslides during the monsoon at the tour’s starting point. To have a pleasant experience, trekkers should stay informed about the weather conditions before setting out on the journey. This ensures safety and a more enjoyable trekking adventure.
Journey to Jomsom from Pokhara: Flight or Drive?
When embarking on the Upper Mustang tour, your journey begins in Jomsom. You have two options to reach Jomsom: either by taking a flight or driving.
Option I: Flight to Jomsom from Pokhara
Opting for a flight is the quickest route to Jomsom, taking around 18-20 minutes. Most flights to Jomsom operate in the morning. From Jomsom, you can opt for a 4WD drive or trekking to commence the Upper Mustang Tour.
- 4WD Drive Option: With a 4WD drive, you can continue your Upper Mustang tour on the same day, saving time.
- Trekking Option: Alternatively, you can take a flight to Jomsom and then start your Upper Mustang trekking adventure.
Note: The flight option might be more expensive than traveling by road, but it’s worth it because it saves time and lets you finish the tour on shorter days. Our recommendation is to go for the flight option for your convenience.
Option II: Drive to Jomsom from Pokhara
Driving to Jomsom is also a good option for your Upper Mustang Tour. The journey takes around 10-12 hours depending on the road conditions. It’s a long drive, but you’ll see amazing sights along the way. Plus, it’s more affordable than flying. So, if you’re on a tight budget, this is a good choice. Once you’re in Jomsom, you can continue your Upper Mustang tour the next day either by 4WD drive or trekking.
- 4WD Drive Choice: Opting for a 4WD drive lets you proceed with your Upper Mustang tour efficiently, making it ideal if you’re limited on time.
- Trekking Choice: On the other hand, you can embark on an adventurous trekking journey that offers a unique experience, showcasing landscapes distinct from the well-known Annapurna and Everest regions.
As you get ready for this exciting journey, keep in mind that your decisions should match what you like, how fit you are, and how much time you have. Whether you pick a 4WD drive or trekking to explore Upper Mustang, or you go by flight or drive to Jomsom, each choice will give you a different adventure. No matter which way you go, be open to the adventure ahead and get ready to uncover the amazing things waiting for you in Upper Mustang’s magical landscape.
Upper mustang Special permit fee: USD 500 per person for all foreigners including SAARC countries.
Suggested (Sample) Itinerary for 4WD Jeep Tour from Jomsom:
Day 01: Fly to Jomsom (2745m) from Pokhara, visit Dhumba Lake and drive to Marpha (2730m)
Day 02: Drive to Muktinath (3750m) via Kagbeni (2855m) and continue to Chhusang
Day 03: Drive to Lo Manthang (3820m)
Day 04: Lo Manthang sightseeing including Chhoser Cave, Korola border
Day 05: Drive to Jomsom
Day 06: Fly to Pokhara and then Kathmandu.
Suggested (Sample) Itinerary for Trekking from Jomsom:
Day 01: Fly to Jomsom and trek to Kagbeni (2800m)
Day 02: Trek to Chele (3050m)
Day 03: Trek to Syangbochen (3800m)
Day 04: Trek to Ghami (3520m)
Day 05: Trek to Charang (3560m)
Day 06: Trek to Lo-Manthang (3840m)
Day 07: Exploring Lo-Manthang
Day 08: Trek to Dhamkar (3820m)
Day 09: Descend to Syangbochen
Day 10: Trek to Chhusang (2980m)
Day 11: Trek Jomsom (2720m)
Day 12: Flight to Pokhara and then Kathmandu.
There are very few Luxury hotels / resorts in Mustang:
- Shinta Mani Mustang A Bensley Collection at Jomsom (Marpha), Mustang
- Royal Mustang Resort at Lo-manthang, Upper Mustang
- Hotel OM’s Home at Jomsom, Marpha, Puthan, Mustang
- Lo Mustang Himalayan Resort at Muktinath, Mustang
- Mustang Panorama Inn at Muktinath, Mustang
- Hotel Natural Spring at Tatopani, Myangdi