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Also known as the Kingdom of Lo, Upper Mustang was a hidden area from the outside world until 1992 AD. Although foreigners are now allowed to visit the area, they require special, expensive entry permits from the government of Nepal.
The fees for the Upper Mustang entry permits are 500 USD and are valid for 10 days. After 10 days, trekkers should pay an extra 50 USD per day for the trekking adventure inside the region.
The territory above Kagbeni Village is called the Upper Mustang region in Nepal. Thus, officials will check your permit at the entry and exit points of Kagbeni.
Likewise, the area below Kagbeni falls inside the Annapurna Conservation Area. Henceforth, you also have to get an ACAP permit while trekking in the Upper Mustang.
Hence, all the required Upper Mustang Trek permits include the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) and the Restricted Area Permit (RAP).
Likewise, all trekking adventures inside Nepal, except in the Everest region, require TIMS permits from the government of Nepal. But when you have restricted area permits for the region you are traveling to, you don’t need to get TIMS.
However, if you choose to continue your trek to Ghorepani, Annapurna Circuit Treks, and so on, you must get a TIMS permit besides other upper Mustang entry permits.
Upper Mustang Entry Permits, Validity, Required Documents, and Costs
ACAP and TIMS are common permits to trek through the Annapurna Region in Nepal. But, for visiting Upper Mustang, one should also get a restricted area permit from the Tourism Board under the name of a government-registered trekking agency.
Upper Mustang Restricted Area Permit
Foreigners require a special Restricted Area Permit for Upper Mustang, also called a RAP. You can’t apply for the special permit independently. There have to be at least two people in the group.
Also, you cannot get the permit on your own, or through the guides you hire. RAP can only be obtained through a government-registered trekking company like Heaven Himalaya.
If you are alone, you can apply for the permit only when you find someone to accompany you. Although every person gets an individual Upper Mustang permit, it has to be applied for in a group of at least two.
With the permits, travelers also need a licensed mountain guide to join them. Note that visitors cannot enter the area without a licensed guide.
A copy of the passport (valid for at least 6 months), a valid Nepalese visa, two passport-sized photos, and a filled-in form from the Immigration Department
Where and how do I get it?
Upper Mustang entry permits can be obtained only in Kathmandu and Pokhara. Only registered agencies can apply for the permit.
First, the agency will fill out an online form on the immigration website and print a copy. With a copy of the online form, a copy of the client’s passport, and 500 USD per person, they will have to go to the Department of Immigration to apply for the restricted permit.
Finally, the immigration department will issue an entry license with the itinerary, dates of entry, and exit printed on it.
The agency has to fill out a form and submit a series of company registration documents to the Department of Immigration. Also, the agency should have an approval certificate for foreign currency from the Nepal Rastra Bank.
Then, after verifying the details with the officials, they get access to the online portal of the Immigration Department of Nepal, where they can apply for the permits.
The cost of the restricted area permit is 500 USD per person for the first 10 days and 50 USD per person for each day thereafter.
Locations included in the restricted area permit:
- Wards 1 to 5 of the Lo Manthang Rural Municipality
- Lo-Ghekar Damodarkunda Rural Municipality (Ward Nos. 1 to 5)
- Ward 3 of the Baragung Muktichetra Rural Municipality (the only Satang Village in Ward 5)
Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) for Upper Mustang
Every trek route that passes through the protected land of the Annapurna Conservation Area requires an ACAP license to enter and exit the area. So, we have to get an ACA permit for the Upper Mustang too.
Where and how to get it?
You can get the ACAP permit for the Upper Mustang at the Nepal Tourism Board Service Center in Damside, Pokhara, or the Nepal Tourism Board Office in Bhrikuti Mandab, Kathmandu. After you visit the location, they will give you a form to fill out. Some details it requires are:
- Full Name of the Trekker
- Passport Number
- Date of Birth
- Permanent Address (home location)
- Contact location in Nepal (can be a hotel, Travel Agency, Friends, or any)
- Name of the route you are going to trek (i.e. Upper Mustang Route)
- Trek Entry Point (If you don’t know the entry points, ask someone there. For Upper Mustang, the entry point is Kagbeni.)
- Trek End Point (Kagbeni)
- No of Days
- Name of the Trekking Agency – Heaven Himalaya (Optional)
- Guide Name–Optional
It just takes about 10 to 15 minutes to get all the procedures done and finally get an entry license.
A filled form that has your details, visa, itinerary, passport-size photo, and a copy of your passport (valid for at least 6 months).
RAP Permit Fees
The cost of an Upper Mustang ACAP permit for foreigners is NRs 3000 per person (roughly 30 USD) when applied independently. But, if you are a part of the group, the ACAP permit fee is NRs 2000 per person.
For SAARC nationals, the ACAP entry permit fee is NRs 1000. Likewise, the permit is free of cost for children below 10 years.
They only accept Nepalese currency, so you need to have cash on hand when applying for the permit. When you are traveling with a trekking agency, they will arrange these for you.
Permits for Filming or Making Documentaries
To shoot a film or documentary in Upper Mustang, you require a special permit. The Nepal Ministry of Information and Communication issues such permits and the cost depends on the type of gadgets and technologies to be used while filming.
FAQs on getting trekking permits for Upper Mustang
How can I get a permit for the Upper Mustang if I am a solo traveler?
If you are a solo traveler, book your trip with a trekking company like us. Tell them the departure dates a few months earlier. They will then look for your companion and accommodate you in the group. Also, if you don’t have anyone but want to trek all alone, you can buy an extra ghost permit by paying another 500 USD. But remember, a trekking guide is mandatory.
Do I need a TIM card for the upper Mustang?
No, you don’t need a TIMS card if you have a restricted area permit with you. But, if you are stretching your trek to other areas after finishing the Upper Mustang Trek, then get one.
In the end,
In brief, to issue entry permits for getting into the Upper Mustang, you require a copy of your passport, Nepalese visa, itinerary details, two passport-sized photos, and roughly about 530 USD for both RAP and ACAP permits. Remember, you can’t travel alone or without a guide.
If you are traveling with an agency, you don’t have to worry about it at all. They will arrange everything before you come to Nepal.
Although the grant to enter is expensive, the place is worth visiting. The great Lo Manthang, monasteries, Tibetan culture, real mountain people, Mani walls, and waterfalls, are countless reasons to visit Upper Mustang. If you are planning a visit to this outstanding location then, read our Upper Mustang Travel guide too.
Do you still have queries about how to get entry permits for Upper Mustang? You can contact us.