Mustang Trekking Nepal

mustang trekking Nepal

Upper Mustang consists of two distinet regions: the south region with five villages inhabited by people related to the Managis; and the northern region (the ancient kingdom of Lo), where the langusge, culture and traditions are almost purely Tibetan, the capital of Lo is named manthang, which translates from the Tibetan as ‘plain of aspiration’ many texts refer to the capital as Lo Manthang, but this is not strictly correct, Other texts spell the name of the kingdom as Lho, but this is a transliteration of the Tibetan word for ‘south’ and is also incorrect. Thus the portion of the upper Mustang district north of Samar is Lo and its capital is Mustang the king of Lo is the Lo Gyelbu, though I use the Nepanli term raja here. To avoid total confusion with existing Maps and texts, I also refer to the capital of Lo as ‘Lo Manthang’

In common usage, the name Mustang refrs to the arid, Tibet-like region, known to its inhabitants as Lo, at the northern end of the Kali Gandaki, Mustang is probably a Nepali mispronunciation of the name of the capital of Lo, the city of Manthang, the name is pronounced ‘moo-stang’ and has nothing to do with either the automabile or the horse with a similar name . Officially, Mustang is the name of the district along the kali Gandaki from the Tibetan border south to Ghasa. The capital of the Mustang district is Jomsom; the restricted area of Tibetan influence is north of Kagbeni, and is generally referred to as upper Mustang.

Luxury Mustang Trekking


Nepal’s Remote and Seldom Seen Wild West Mustang
Total Days :
19 days trip 13 days trek 5 night hotel
Trek cost :
US$ 1900
Grade :
Moderate – Difficulty
Max. Elevation :


There are many complex issues relating to the development of upper Mustang and the procedures under which trekkers are alowed to visit the area. I have not attempted to address these in detail here Change and development will come to Lo regardless of the degree of protection that is extended.

Despite their isolation, the people of Lo are worldly, well travelled and resourcefull they are essentially Tibetans and are skil ful tranders, travellers and merchants. One hopes that they can retain their traditions under an influx of tourists, but they are by no means a primitive tribe that must be protected from outside influence.

The Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), the international aid organisation CARE and the American Himalayan Foundation are involved in development, cultural preservation and enviromental activities in upper Mustang.

History of Mustang
Mustang has a long, rich and complex history that mskes it one of the most interesting place in Nepal.

The early history of Lo is Shrounded in legend. Myth and mystery,

But there are records of events in Lo as early as the 8th century. It is quite likely that the Tibetan poet Milarepa, who lived from 1040 to 1123, visited Lo. Upper Mustang was once part of Ngari, a name for far western Tibet.

Ngari was not a true political entity, but rathere a loose collection of feudal domains that also included parts of Dolpo.

By the 14th Century, much of Ngari, as well as most of what today is western Nepal, was part of the Malla empire governed from the capital at Sinja, near Jumla.

It is generally belived that Ame Pal (Ama-dpal in Tibetan ) founded Lo in 1380 and was its first king. The Ancestry of the present Mustang Raja can be traced 25 generations back to Ame Pal. Ame Pal, or perhaps his father, conquered a large part of the territory in the upper Kali Gandaki and was responsible for the development of the city of Lo Manthang and many gompas.

To the west, the Malla empire declined and split into numberous petty hill states. By the 18th century, Jumla had consolidated and reasserted its power. In an effort to develop their domain as a trading centre and to obtain Tibetan goods, the rulers of Jumla turned their attention eastward.

In the mid-18th century they assumed control over Lo, from which they extracted as annual tribute.

When he ascended the throne in 1762, prithvi Narayan Shah began to conslidate what is present-day nepal. At the time of his death, the kingdom extended from Gorkha eastward to the borders of Sikkim. His descendants directed their efforts westward and by 1789, Jumla had been annexed.

The Gorkha armies never actually entered Lo; they recognised the rule of the Mustang Raja. Although Mustang became par of Nepal, the raja retained his title and Lo retained a certain amount of autonomy.

Lo maintained its status as a separate principality until 1951. After the Rana rulers were overthrown and king Tribhuvan reestablished the rule of the Shah monarchs on 15 february 1951, Lo was more closely consolidated into Nepal.

The raja was given the honorary rank of colonel in the Nepal army.

During the 1960s, after the Dalai lama had fled to India and Chiness armies established control over Tibet, Mustang was a centre for guerrilla operations against the Chinese.

The soldiers were the Khampas, Tibet’s most fearsome warriors, who were backed by the CIA (some Khampas were secretly trained in the USA). At the height of the fighting there were at least 6000khampas in Mustang and neighbouring border areas. The CIA’s support ended in the early 1970s when the USA, under Kissinger and Nixon, Initiated new and Better relations with the Chinese.

The government of Nepal was pressed to take action against the guerrillas and, making use of internal divisions within the Khampa ledereship, a bit of treachery and the Dalai Lama’s taped advice for his citizens to lay down their arms, it managed to disband the resistance without committing to action the 10,000 Nepali troops that had been sent to the area.

Though Mustang was closed, the vovernment allowed a few researchers into the area.

Toni hagen included Mustang in his survey of the entire kindom of Nepal, and the Italian scholar Giuseppe Tucci visited in the autumn of 1952. Professor David Snellgrove travelled to the gegion in 1956 but did not visit Lo Manthang. Longtime Nepal resident Barbara Adams travelled to Mustang during the autumn of 1963.

The most complete description of the area is Mustang, the Forbidden Kingdom, written by Michel Peissel, who spent several months in the area in the spring of 1964, Dr Harka Bahadur Gurung also visited and wrote about upper Mustang in October 1973. A number of groups legally travelled to upper Mustang during the 1980s by obtaining permission to climb Bhrikuti (6364), south-east of Lo Manthang.

Other than a few special royal guests, the first legal trekkers were allowed into Mustang in March 1992 upon payment of a high fee for a special trekking permit.

Only camping trek allowed
Completely closed to foreign trekkers until 1991, Mustang is an ancient Himalayan Kingdom. Inside the walled city of Lo Manthang are some of the largest Tibetan Buddhist gompas in Nepal. A difficult trek because of high altitude, exposed terrain and continual Strong winds.

Full description will be sent by mail or e-mail upon request.


Day 01 : Arrive in kathmandu.
Day 02 : Briefing and In Kathmandu, sightseeing Kathmandu Valley
Day 03 : Drive to Pokhara over night at hotel.
Day 04 : Fly to Jomsom early in the morning trek to kagbeni.
Day 17 : Fly back to pokhara/kathmandu
Day 18 : Free day
Day 19 : Departure day.

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