Cave city of Upper Mustang was a mystery for westerners for a long time. It was open for foreigner from 1992 only. Before that it was completely closed. Trekkers were not allowed to trek with or without the guide before 1992. Until 2008, it was a separate kingdom. Trek to Lo Manthang from Kagbeni is controlled by Nepal Immigration. The Last Forbidden Kingdom has not been explored at its best yet. Centuries old cave, monasteries and chorten are color of Lo Manthang. Seven hundred years old king’s palace in Lo is a major attraction. More than ten thousand of caves are already explored. No one is yet sure, but chances are high that there are several other such unexplored caves in Upper Mustang.
Few exploration teams were already in action. They had collected prehistoric ruins from the cave. Sky caves of upper mustang are still a challenge for modern archaeology. Some caves are almost one hundred and sixty feet high from the kaligandaki river valley. Explorers now need a harness and climbing gear to approach cave entrance. How come people built such cave before, decorate them from inside? To protect all these prehistoric elements of Upper Mustang, hiring a guide is mandatory. Freelance trekkers are not under control of anyone. They might end on damaging or modifying the historic monuments. The number of tourists in a year is limited. This is just for preserving the culture and history of Lo Manthang. For this permit cost was set very high. It was USD 500 Per Person for the first ten days. In order to protect cultural and historical monuments in Upper Mustang was the reason why you cannot trek without a guide.
Free Tibet is a major issue of China. Government of People Republic of China is very sensitive about activities happening nearby the border. Especially for protest or demonstration again Chinese Government. In comparing to Indian Border, it is very complicated and serious issued. Kali Gandaki River Valley is a prehistoric trans Himalayas salt trading route. Starting from Kagbeni, trail end on Tibetan Border. With the low land of 3800 m, this is a very easy pass to Tibet. In order to control this easy access to China, trekking guide is mandatory.
- At least two trekkers
- Accompanied by an authorized trekking guide
To know more about permit cost see our Upper Mustang Permit Section. Permit cost after earthquake as well. Nepal is a backpackers heaven. It is world renowned for its famous trekking trails. You can trek up to one hundred and fifty days in Nepal. Yes, it is one hundred and fifty days, the great Himalaya trail. Upper Mustang is the closest part of the west of the great Himalaya trail route. You can’t trek Upper Mustang on your own without a guide. Browse our homepage for other general information about trekking in Upper Mustang.