Once you have decided that Upper Mustang is the trek for you, you then have to decide on which “Style” of trekking to choose. This will mainly be dependant on your budget, but also your expectations, fitness levels and experience.
No matter which style of trekking you opt for you need a minimum group size of 2 (You can actually go with a group size of one but you have to pay 2 x $500 Upper Mustang Entrance Fee making this an unrealistic option) you will still have to pay the $500 for the 10 day Upper Mustang Entrance Fee as well as the $30 ANCAP fee and a TIMS
1) My own preferred option is to organise the entire trip yourself, this isn’t the cheapest option, but it is the one that gives you the most flexibility and enables you to get the Very Best out of your trek.
To do this, first you have to pick your agent and get him to organise your support team, Ours consisted of a Guide, Cook, Cooks Boy and 4 Porters, this might seam a bit excessive as there were only two of us in our “Group” but by organising our trek this way we were able to plan the route Exactly as we wanted to walk it, splitting the trek into stages that we thought were manageable, plan our daily stops as well as our night stops and choose our own menu and when we wished to eat.
We took all our own food with us (Upper Mustang tends to be very short of food so it is far better to go in self sufficient) One of our porters was carrying 75k of rice and 5k of dhal and this was just for “Staff” food. Another carried a gas bottle and 2 gas rings as well as some of our food, another carried most of the rest of the food, pots pans and cooking equipment and the final one carried our personal belongings, tent, sleeping bags etc, The Cooks Boy also carried more food and cooking equipment
One way you can cut your expenses down is to do as we did, and that is to have your support team meet you on a given day (The day before you enter Upper Mustang) at Kagbeni, and then after you leave Upper Mustang say good bye to your support team, thus trekking in and out of Kagbeni independently
2) Join a pre organised group, this tends to be a little cheaper than my preferred option of organising the entire trip yourself, but you loose all your flexibility, you tend to walk in and out the same way, you don’t have the option of splitting the stages to suite yourself, nor are you able to dictate the menu to suit your own personal preferences. Also these pre organised groups tend to package Everything up Kathmandu to Kathmandu so you also lose the option of trekking in and out independently to Kagbeni.
There are Many agencies offering pre organised Upper Mustang treks - to find out departure dates and costs Google search “Upper Mustang treks”
3) Your final option is probably the cheapest one and that is to hire a Guide and porter (You can share one porter between 2 trekkers) and where you can stay in the local hotels, these are very simple affairs and not all villages even have them, you would be strongly advised to still bring most of your own food and also a tent to use where no accommodation is available. Sometimes there will be food available, but this is of a poor standard (Rara noodles etc) and you may well even be depriving a local person of the little that is available.
The Best way to organise an Upper Mustang Trek is through a Local Kathmandu Agent – But pick your agent with Great Care as there are Bad ones out there as well as Good ones !!
For my own recommendation of a Trusted and Reliable agent please see the travelogue entitled A Very Important Decision on my Nepal page
But before you contact an agent you will have to decide how you are going to do your trek as you have several options including
1)Fully arranged with flights to Jomsom and trek from there
2)Trek independently to Kagbeni and meet your “Staff” there as you enter Upper Mustang (This is how I did the trek)
Then you have to decide whether you want to have a camping trek (This is what I did as it offers the most flexibility)
Or if you are on a tighter budget you can now just about manage a Tea-Hose Trek, But I would still tale along a tent and some food for when local accommodation and food isn't available
Besides the $500 Upper Mustang Fee you Must be a Minimum Group of Two and take along at least a Guide, Also you have to pay the ANCAP fee, around $30 and have a TIMS card, Around $20