High in the arid Himalayan valley of Mustang, the picturesque town of Jomsom sways to the rocking wind as it whistles past the cobbled streets. Beyond the majestic Annapurna Himalayas, the windy hamlet serves as the ending point to the classic Annapurna Circuit trail. At an altitude of 2743m, Jomsom lies directly below the holy temple of Muktinath, making it one of the most frequented places. One of the premium 108 temples, the ancient site is considered sacred by both Hindus and Buddhists.
Jomsom lies at a distance of 356 Km from the capital city of Kathmandu and 156 Km if you find yourself in the valley of Pokhara. Regardless of your mode of transport, be it airways or roadways journeying to the stunning town will surely be worth your while.
Pokhara to Jomsom Flight
If you prioritize quick service over cost, flying to Jomsom might be your best bet. A direct flight to Jomsom is available from Pokhara which will take you about 20 to 25 minutes. The one-way journey will cost you anything between USD 116 to USD 125 depending on the carrier you choose. Regular flights depart from Pokhara at scheduled intervals as early as 06:00 AM. Tara Air, Simrik Air and Summit Air are the major carriers that schedule flights almost daily.
Kathmandu to Jomsom Flight
There are no direct flights from Kathmandu to Jomsom. It is essential to transit at the Pokhara airport. The first stretch of the journey will take you to Pokhara and will cost you between USD106 to USD 124 before flying towards Jomsom. A 30-minute flight from Kathmandu will take you to Pokhara and another 20-minutes to Jomsom. While flights from Kathmandu to Pokhara are available throughout the day at regular intervals, the ones heading from Pokhara to Jomsom are available only during the morning. So it is definitely not a good idea to plan to reach Jomsom the same day. With no direct flights from Kathmandu to Jomsom, you will need to book two different trips: one from Kathmandu to Pokhara and second from Pokhara to Jomsom.
The cheapest flight to Pokhara is provided by Buddha Air at USD 106. https://www.buddhaair.com/
Kathmandu to Jomsom by Bus
The bumpy roads of Hilly Nepal may not be to your liking, but we assure you the mesmerizing landscapes surely are. Taking a bus from Kathmandu to Jomsom means you are more likely to spend around 15-16 hours on the road. You can either use the direct bus service from Kathmandu or split the journey into parts. The direct bus service you will cost around USD 20 for a one-way trip to Jomsom. You can find the local bus carriers around Gongabu Bus Park or contact your hotel for more details. The bus usually departs at 02:30 PM from Gongabu Bus Park and many hotels provide you a drop off service for a minimal charge.
Traveling via the local bus will require you to split your itinerary into two days. First, you need to catch a bus heading either for Pokhara or Beni Bazaar. Catching a bus directly to Beni can cost you anything between USD 11 and USD 15 and takes about 8 to 9 hours. Buses depart from Kalanki at 7:00 AM. Another option would be to journey to Pokhara first and then set off for Beni.
With the journey split into two days, you will need to take the night off at Beni before departing for Ghasa. Buses depart as early as 7 AM and will cost you around USD 4 for the 4-hour journey. Taking another bus from Ghasa to Jomsom the final stretch of the trip will take around 4 to 5 hours and cost around USD 5. Note that all the rates are average local rates and may differ during seasons when tourism is at its peak. However, you won’t encounter a significant deviation on the prices above.
Pokhara to Jomsom/Muktinath by Jeep
What better way to enjoy the scenic valley of Annapurna then the comfort of a private vehicle. Introduction of the direct Jeep service from Kathmandu to Muktinath means you can either choose to rent the entire Jeep or go on a sharing basis. You can rent the entire Jeep at around USD 300 to USD 450, which can often be shared by seven people. While most vehicles depart from the Baglung bus park as early as 7 AM, you can set the departure point for your journey or have them pick up directly at the hotel.
Beni to Jomsom
Tracing the banks of Kaligandaki River, the narrow roads leading to Jomsom are fun as long as you don’t stare at the edge for too long. Setting off from Beni the first stretch of the journey will take you to Ghasa before departing for Jomsom. The 4-hour long drive will cost you around USD 5 with buses leaving as early as 7 AM. Catching a bus headed directly for Jomsom means another 4-hour journey costing USD 5. Be advised that even though the buses from Ghasa depart at regular intervals throughout the day, the service comes to a stop around 4 PM.
Kathmandu to Muktinath
With the introduction of the direct bus service from Kathmandu to Muktinath traveling to the holy temple is much more comfortable albeit a bit long. The 15-hour journey removes the complication of having to change buses at regular intervals and costs around USD 20 to USD 25. Daily buses depart from Kathmandu around 2:00 PM from Gongabu and you will be spending the entire night on the bus.
You can also opt for flights from Kathmandu to Jomsom crossing Pokhara en route before making your way to Muktinath. The journey takes around 2 hours and will cost you around USD 4-5. If you are looking for local buses, you will be following an itinerary similar to that of Kathmandu to Jomsom via local bus, save the tail-end of the journey as you ascend from Jomsom to Muktinath.
Kathmandu/Pokhara to Muktinath by Helicopter
For some extra bucks, the helicopter ride to Muktinath is a stunning way of enjoying the mesmerizing Himalayas. Regular helicopter flights are scheduled from both Kathmandu and Pokhara to Muktinath if you ever find yourself short on time. Using Pokhara as a transit spot for refueling the flight touches down at Muktinath within the space of 1.5 hrs. Helicopters usually depart on a sharing basis accommodating a maximum of 5 people and will cost around USD 1500 each. Companies like Simrik Air and Tara air schedule helicopter flights almost daily and the journey begins early at around 6 AM. Be advised that during rainy seasons the unpredictable weather may cause flights to be canceled or delayed. Make sure to get in touch with your carrier during such events.
Jomsom to Muktinath
An ending point of your pilgrimage, the bumpy ride to Muktinath might as well be the final hurdle. Traveling from Jomsom to Muktinath means either taking a local bus or using the local Jeep. Regular buses depart at 9 AM and 2 PM to and from the temple. If you miss one of those buses, you can opt for jeeps on a sharing basis which leaves once it is full. The journey takes around 2 to 3 hours and will cost you around USD 2 to USD 3 if you opt for the local buses. If you decide to reserve the entire Jeep, the cost will increase to a significantly higher amount, i.e., around USD 40 to USD 45.
Author: Subin Adhikari
An avid traveler. I have been writing for as long as I can remember. A spoken word poet, content writer and a musician are the words that seem to describe me.