Mustang - The Forbidden Kingdom
- A superb trek in the fascinating kingdom of Mustang in Nepal
- Walk out to Muktinath via the east side of the Kali Gandaki River
- Unique and dramatic Himalayan landscapes
- The walled city of Lo Manthang
- Spectacular views of the Annapurnas and Dhaulagiri
North of the Annapurnas and off-limits to travellers until the early ‘90s, the ancient and mysterious kingdom of Mustang is geographically and culturally a part of Tibet. Mustang prospered in the 15th Century, when its strategic location enabled it to dominate the salt trade between Tibet and Nepal. Its distinctive, white-painted villages, Tibetan monasteries and impressive wayside inns, a legacy of hundreds of years of cross-border trading, make Mustang a place apart, unlike anywhere else in Nepal. The landscape is different here, too - eroded clonglomerate cliffs coloured by striking earth pigments in variations of red, yellow, brown and blue, with a backdrop of the distant snow-capped peaks of the Annapurnas and Dhaulagiri. With the gradual encroachment of the jeep road into Mustang, we now have the opportunity to change and improve the way we run this amazing 2-week adventure holiday. After a flight to Jomsom beside the Kali Gandaki River, we hike for just 2 days from Kagbeni to Geling, then transfer directly to the fairy-tale walled city Lo Manthang and spend a day there, exploring amongst its brightly painted houses and secret alleyways. This approach avoids protracted walking on, or within sight of, the jeep track, whilst still allowing us to see all of Mustang's important villages, chortens and distinctive scenery. However, the best is still to come, as we walk-out from Lo Manthang on the east side of the Kali Gandaki River. This 6-day trek takes us into the most interesting part of Mustang, where very little has changed almost since time began. Crossing passes up to 4200 metres and visiting a succession of remote settlements, such as Dhi, Tange and Tetang, we head southwards towards the looming presence of the Annapurna Himal. Finally arriving at the colourful pilgrimage centre of Muktinath, on the Annapurna Circuit, we take a jeep down to Jomsom to complete one of the best trekking adventures in Nepal.
The May departure of this Mustang trek is one day longer and visits the incredible Tiji Festival in Lo-Manthang. See Mustang with Tiji Festival for details.
Is this holiday for you?
This trekking holiday in Mustang offers generally straightforward trekking conditions on good trails. Additionally, the territory of Mustang is not high by Himalayan standards and our 3-day approach to the capital, Lo Manthang (3840m), followed by a rest day there, means no-one should have too much difficulty acclimatising. Thereafter, we trek out through a remote area, on village paths and shepherds' tracks, with some slightly more difficult underfoot conditions. On this second part of the trip, the maximum elevation is at 4200 metres and there is a single overnight camp above 4000 metres. This is not extremely high, but trekking at this altitude does make extra physical demands on the body and it is best to adopt a slower pace than at sea level. On most nights we will camp at a village, both on the walk in to, and on the walk out from, Lo Manthang. We will walk for approximately 6 hours on most days with 1 or 2 possibly extending to 7 hours. If it's your first time trekking at altitude, even a 6-hour day can be quite challenging.