Lo Manthang - the hidden Tibetan Kingdom in Nepal

  • Hemanta Budhathoki
  • Last Updated on Jun 21, 2024

Table of Contents

Lo Manthang (3,800m) is an isolated Tibetan settlement that was founded in 1380 and Capital ancient city of Upper Mustang. It is 90 kilometers from Jomsom. The city was one of the kingdoms when Nepal was in a monarchy system. The village is covered by the wall so that Lo Manthang is also called a walled city of Upper Mustang. The area is inhabited by an estimated 900 Lhobas peoples. Further to Korala is about 20 kilometers which are Tibetan boarder. Local peoples are still trading goods via this route from Tibet. Formally this immigration is not yet open.

Lo-manthang culturally rich as Tibetan origin. The area is mostly held by ethnic group Lhobas, which cultures are similar as Tibetan. About twelve caves discovered near Lo Manthang village which is ancient Buddhist paintings and set in sheer cliffs at 14,000 feet. Silver and gold painting contains in Tibetan script shows dates of the 13th century. Most of the paintings are in Newari influence. Decorative caves are rich in art and painting depicting various forms of Buddha. Many Buddhist Stupas found inside the caves. 
                                                                           Wheat and barley field, mud-brick local houses and desert land in Upper Mustang

Tourists reach Lo Manthang and Upper Mustang area to explore ancient Buddhist cultures, thousand years old monasteries, cultures, peoples, and beautiful scenery. The area is beautiful as high altitude desert with a pocket of green. All the local houses are built out of mud brick. Area of Upper Mustang and Lo Manthang is restricted. Special permits from the department of immigration of Nepal have to obtain for foreigners other than Nepali. Only Nepal Trekking Companies are allowed to obtain Upper Mustang restricted area permit. Individually obtaining this permit is not possible. The cost of the permit is a minimum of USD 500 per person, that valid for 10 days. USD 50 per day per person additional cost if stay more than 10 days inside the area. Tourists cannot issue a permit of this area as individually, only registered trekking company allows issuing restricted area permits of Upper Mustang.
                                           Plateau landscape and ruins valley, Lo Manthang village of Upper Mustang     

How to reach Lo Manthang
Reach Lo Manthang by trekking
: it is 17 days standard itinerary including arrival and departure days, trekking, stay in Kathmandu for preparation, and Pokhara. The real trekking days are 11 and it starts from Jomsom after flying from Pokhara. Explore on the way ad stay extra days in Lo Manthang for exploring more. It also ends at Jomsom and flies back to Pokhara. Nepal Highland Treks can offer you Upper Mustang Trek packages.  

Lo Manthang by 4wheel Jeep: Upper Mustang is connected now with the road from Beni via Jomsom and Kagbeni. Entirely build a road is rough and it is up to Nepal Tibet boarder, further 20 kilometers from Lo Manthang. It is totally about 450 kilometers to reach Lo Manthang from Kathmandu. This can be easy 13 days program that is including Kathmandu to Kathmandu and including your arrival departure days. Upper Mustang Driving tour also can customize like fly till Jomsom airport and start the drive from there. 

                                                      4wheel Jeep and road to Lo Manthang Upper Mustang

In another option, peoples can reach Lo Manthang by Motorbike or by cycle. The most popular motorcycle tour now in Nepal is Upper Mustang Riding. About 10 days of riding tour plan is one of the best in the Himalaya. Ridding Upper Mustang considers one the adventure ride. You can come with your motorcycles or hire it from Nepal Highland Treks. The best motorcycle for this route is Honda CRF, another motorcycle which is suitable and available in Nepal is Himalayan Royal Enfield. Cycling tour to Upper Mustang is long days plan and also one the adventure route.     

                                                         Himalayan View near from Lo Manthang of Upper Mustang  

Hemanta Budhathoki

Hemanta Budhathoki

Hemanta Budhathoki is team leader of Nepal Highland Trekking and travel company. 

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