Three new trekking routes identified in Mustang

Upper Mustang landscape, Annapurna conservation area, Nepal

MYAGDI, MARCH 3: Three new trekking routes have been identified in Mustang to increase tourist arrivals and prolong their stay. These routes have been identified by the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) as alternatives to the routes that have been affected by the construction of roads.

The newly identified trekking routes connect Lupra-Muktinath, Thini-Tilichotaal, and Kokhethati-Sirkung-Sauru-Chokhopani-Chimang-Dhumbatal, according to ACAP Ranger Sanjok Thakali. Infrastructure construction, publicity, and promotion for these routes have already begun.

The construction of roads, particularly the Beni-Jomsom and Jomsom-Kagbeni-Muktinath roads, has displaced the old trekking routes and created dust, making it difficult for tourists to trek on the usual paths. As a result, tourists have been demanding routes where they can enjoy nature without any disturbance.

Trekking Guide Hari Nepali from Leyte, Mustang, noted a decrease in the number of foreign tourists visiting Mustang after the construction of roads, although there has been an increase in domestic and Indian tourists.

According to ACAP Jomsom, the percentage of foreign tourists visiting Mustang decreased from 29.12 percent in 2022 to 19.20 percent in 2023. In 2023, a total of 90,365 tourists visited, including 18,166 from third-world countries and 72,190 from SAARC countries, as reported by Pramodraj Regmi, head of ACAP Jomsom.

An entry fee of Rs 1,000 per person has been set for SAARC countries and Rs 3,000 per person for other countries visiting the ACAP area, which includes Lamjung, Kaski, Manang, Mustang, and Myagdi districts of Gandaki province.