Mustang - the forbidden kingdom of Lo
The wind dies slowly after dusk, and the fiery stars that shine on countries as yet unshrouded by the filth of man appear in the blue-black firmament above, and I go to sleep in the rushing of the water.
Peter Matthiessen's Mustang Diary
12-14 days from US$ 1599 per person fully inclusive
Full-Service tented trekking from US$ 2499
The last independent Himalayan kingdom to yield to the modern world, Mustang still retains its king and a degree of autonomy from Nepal. With vistas more like the canyonlands of America's Southwest, this is a completely different face of Nepal. Mustang is on the Tibetan Plateau, north of the Himalayas; in a different time as well as place.
Two flights, one to Pokhara and another, crack-of-dawn departure to Jomsom bring you high into the mountains. The great Kali Gandaki river flows south from the Tibetan Plateau, across the himalayas, and south into Nepal and ultimately the Ganges. The river was here before the mountains - it's fierce monsoon-fed flows cut the mountains as they rose. The river valley is our highway into Mustang.
This is still a restricted area - permits are expensive and difficult, and a government liason officer accompanies every group. In return, you enter a pristine land, where sign of humans are rare and nature is supreme.
Trip Highlights Include...
Painted Monasteries, hermit caves, and spirit catchers
Lo Monthang, the fortress monastery city, home of the king
Serene Buddhas of gold and walls of hand-engraved prayers
Maybe a Yeti?
All transportation, permits, fees & taxes.
Sample itinerary in 12 days
Day 1 Fly Pokhara to Jomsom. From Jomsom, trek two hours north to the ancient fortified town of Kagbeni. Overnight tented camp. If your flight is early enough you can go up to Muktinath and then back down to Kagbeni.
Day 2 Pass the restricted area checkpoint, and you are in Mustang! From Kagbeni the trail follows the west bank of the KaLi Gangaki river to Chhumpa. On the way we will see the ancient caves standing high on the eastern bank of the river.
Day 3 The culture changes from the Manangi culture to the Tibetan culture of Lo from here. It's a much shorter day on the map, but more challenging, over the Chungsi La to the enlightenment caves at Chungsi.
Day 4 Trek up to Syanboche near the road, and then over three passes and descend. Press on to the small village at an elevation of 3800m, Jhaite.
Day 5 Take a Khampa trail away from the road for several hours. Then we cross the Ghemi La at 4060m and descend to Gheme at 3510m. Here the road diverges east, and we go due north to Dhakmar or Ghar Gumba.
Day 6 An early start from Ghar Gumba, the trail climbs up steeply to Ghogo La and Pagga. A gentle descent will lead us to the plateau of Lo Manthang, 3840 m.
There are four major temples in Lo - Jampa Lhakhang a three storey temple, Thubchen Gompa, a huge assembly hall near the center of the city, Chodey Gompa, founded by the Mustang King in 1710, the main temple of the city and the Choprang Gompa, which is popularly known as the "New Gompa". We'll also visit the Raja's Palace and also the town with various coffee shops and restaurants.
Day 7 Day trip to Tingkhar and Chosar Valleys, the latter on the main ancient trade route, and both full of ruins and new and old monasteries.TBA onsite.
Day 8 On the way back to Kagbeni, we can slightly change our route. This time instead of following the road south to Charang, we turn south-east on Khampa trails to Dhigaon.
Day 9 To Tangge today, either by the longer route that takes in Luri Gomba or more directly south by Khampa trails.
Day 10 A long day, climbing almost 1000 m to Paha, then along the ridge of Siyarko Tangk Danda (danda means hill). This is a dry route normally, but in summer is be green and lovely.
Day 11 Walk out with some stretches near the road. Firstly we arrive at Tangbe from Tetang and then to Kagbeni to exit Mustang. Overnight stay at Jomsom.
Day 12 Fly Jomsom to Pokhara