Published On:11 Feb,2019
Lo Manthang is a village in the restricted territory of Upper Mustang that used to be the capital of the Kingdom of Lo. Nepali law requires foreign visitors to purchase a permit (US$500 for 10 days) to enter Upper Mustang, to help preserve the local culture and development in the region. But this does not mean Lo Manthang is inaccessible. Foreign travelers must also travel with a guide. Here are few ways to get to Lo Manthang.
With road expansions throughout Nepal in recent years, the roads to Lo Manthang are now accessible by motorized vehicle. On a heavy-duty motorbike it’s possible to get to Lo Manthang in a matter of days from Jomsom. Bikes like Royal Enfields, Pulsars (over 200cc) and Hartford VRs are popular choices.
Starting from Pokhara, first make your way towards Jomsom, a journey of two days with a stop at Tatopani. From Tatopani, continue to Jomsom or Kagbeni the next day. The checkpoint for Upper Mustang permits is at Kagbeni. From here, ride to Ghami for 6-7 hours, and the next day to Lo Manthang. The roads are not paved, so it’s important to be cautious in this rugged landscape.
To get to Lo Manthang by jeep, From Pokhara you’ll make it to Tato Pani on the first day, and then all the way to Chhusang on the second day, with no need to stop in Jomsom. After a night in Chhusang, you can take a jeep up to Lo Manthang in about 5-6 hours.
#On the way to Tsarang
While trekking to Lo Manthang is slower than the other options, it’s worth it to explore the quiet, empty land.
On day 1, walk to Chele 3050m. from Kagbeni 2810m., which takes 6-7 hours. Before heading out, make sure that you have your permits checked.
# On the way to Chele
On day 2, continue from Chele to Syanbochen 3475m. This trail is very challenging as it’s through mostly dry desert landscape, although local people make the best use of their water sources and turn desert villages into green oases. Being able to walk alongside the Kali Gandaki River is quite thrilling.
On day 3, walk from Syanbochen to the village of Ghami 3520m. 5-6 hours walk.
On day 4 , walk from Ghami to the village of Tsarang 3620m. 5-6 hours walk.
On day 6, walk about 6-7 hours to get to Lo Manthang 3730m.
I suggest spending at least two full days in Lo Manthang before making your way back down. The return trip will take three days, either stopping at the same villages as on the way up, or instead stopping at Gekar, Ghami, Chhusang, and then Kagbeni.
From Lo Manthang you could make a trip further up to Chhoser, which is a 45-60 minute drive, or a 1.5-2 hour walk. Here you can see ancient monasteries that are built inside the mountains. You could also keep going further to the Nepal-China border.
In Lo Manthang, make sure to check out the royal palace and the three monasteries inside the walled city itself. There’s also a local library. If you want greater insight into the local culture, plan this trip in late May and attend the Tiji festival.
# Stupa on the way to Chhoser.
# Muktinath Village 3700m.