Mustang Region Mustang is one of the most remote kingdoms on earth. Sheltered by Himalayan giants like Dhaulagiri and Annapurna, Mustang region occupies the southern fringes of the Tibetan plateau, a high and desolate country long isolated from the outside world. This region is one of the few places in the world that until only recently was inaccessible to outsiders.
This isolation has helped maintain a way of life almost unchanged for centuries. Even now, a special restricted area permit is required and a government Liaison Officer accompanies the trek. Our trek begins with a flight from Pokhara to Jomosom and follows the course of the Kali Gandaki, a majestic and fast flowing river that has carved a deep gorge through the high Himalayas in its rush to the plains. Climbing up a steep canyon, we hike a few more days to the walled capital city of Lo Manthang, virtually untouched since the 14th century.
The Upper Mustang comprise the northern two-thirds of Mustang District of Dhawalagiri Zone, Nepal. The southern third of the district is called Thak and is the homeland of the Thakali, who speak the Thakali language, and whose culture combines Tibetan and Nepalese elements. Life in Mustang revolves around tourism, animal husbandry and trade.
Mustang’s status as a kingdom ended in 2008 when its suzerain Kingdom of Nepal became a republic. The influence of the outside world, especially China, is growing and contributing to rapid change in the lives of Mustang’s people.
Upper Mustang has a transhimalayan climate which is cool and semi-arid with precipitation in the range of 250–400 mm. It is in the rain shadow of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges.
The main hydrographic feature of Mustang is the Gandaki River. The river runs southward towards Nepal Terai, bisecting Mustang. Routes paralleling the river once served as a major trade route between Tibet and India, especially for salt. Part of the river valley in the southern Mustang District forms the Kali Gandaki Gorge, by some measures the deepest gorge in the world.
Traditional Mustang (the Lo Kingdom) is 53 km north–south at its longest, 60 km east–west at its widest and ranges from a low point of 2,750 m above sea level on the Kali Gandaki River just north of Kagbeni to 6,700 m at Khamjung Himal, a peak in southeast Mustang.