Journey To The Forbidden Kingdom: Trekking The Enchanting Upper Mustang Region

Upper Mustang region of Nepal, which is tucked away in the Mountains, is a captivating location for trekkers looking for adventure, scenic beauty, and cultural encounters.

The area, also known as the “Forbidden Kingdom,” was cut off from the outside world until 1992, maintaining its distinct Tibetan culture and providing trekkers with an authentic experience.

Trekking in Upper Mustang is a journey through time, culture, and landscapes, with many highlights along the way. In this article, we will explore the enchanting Upper Mustang region and everything it has to offer.

Getting There

The journey to Upper Mustang begins with a flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara, followed by another flight to Jomsom. Jomsom is the starting point for the trek, which passes through several villages and monasteries before reaching Lo Manthang, the capital of Upper Mustang.

The Trek

The trek to Upper Mustang takes you through a diverse landscape, ranging from lush green valleys to barren deserts, and high mountain passes. Along the way, you will cross several suspension bridges over the Kali Gandaki River, the world’s deepest gorge, and witness the striking contrast between the towering mountains and the vast expanse of the valley.

The historic village of Kagbeni, which is located at the meeting point of two rivers, is one of the trek’s most noteworthy highlights. The village is the gateway to Upper Mustang Trek and has a distinct Tibetan influence, with narrow alleys, white-washed houses, and prayer flags adorning the streets.

As you ascend higher, you will come across several other villages, each with its unique charm and cultural heritage. The settlement of Chele is a prime illustration of the area’s natural beauty, with its red cliffs and twisting trails. The majestic Ghami Monastery and its surroundings are also well-known for the village of Ghami.

The trail also leads to the legendary Lo Manthang, the capital of Upper Mustang. With its whitewashed cottages, small alleys, and historic monasteries, the city is a living museum.

The Royal Palace, a four-story structure constructed in the 15th century and still home to the former monarch and his family, is the main attraction of Lo Manthang.

Culture And Festivals

Upper Mustang is a region steeped in Tibetan culture, and the trek offers an opportunity to immerse yourself in the local way of life. The people of Upper Mustang are warm and hospitable, and you will be greeted with a friendly “Tashi Delek” (hello) at every turn.

Many historic monasteries with diverse histories and significance may be found in the area.One of the oldest and most significant monasteries in the area is the Thubchen Monastery, which is situated in Lo Manthang. The monastery has a striking three-story building, adorned with intricate murals and paintings.

The Tiji Festival, held in Lo Manthang, is one of the most significant cultural events in the region. The festival, which commemorates the triumph of good over evil, is characterised by the execution of customary dances, music, and rituals. The event draws visitors from all over the world and provides a special window into the community’s culture.

Challenges And Precautions

Trekking in Upper Mustang is a challenging and demanding activity, and trekkers need to be adequately prepared. Trekkers must properly acclimatise before starting the trek due to the region’s high altitude and extreme weather conditions.

The trek also involves crossing several high mountain passes, which can be physically demanding and require a good level of fitness. Trekkers need to carry essential gear


The Upper Mustang region of Nepal is a hidden gem that offers a unique and unforgettable trekking experience. From the stunning landscapes to the ancient monasteries and vibrant culture, the region has something to offer for every adventure seeker. Nonetheless, given the difficult terrain and weather conditions, it is imperative to take necessary preparation and measures before beginning the trek. Overall, the trek to the Forbidden Kingdom of Upper Mustang is a journey worth undertaking, providing an immersive experience of the region’s culture, history, and natural beauty.

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