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The Forbidden Kingdom of Mustang

Technically on the Tibetan plateau, this once independent kingdom now within the borders of Nepal, has an extremely unique culture and setting. In fact, the Dalai Lama has called the once Forbidden Kingdom of Mustang, the last bastion of living Tibetan Buddhism on the planet. The well-preserved Tibetan Buddhist culture here has prompted many of our alumni to opine that there is more Tibet in Mustang than in today’s Tibet.

Located on the northern side of the Himalayas, Mustang is in the rain shadow, leaving it dry while the rest of the subcontinent is in monsoon from late spring through early fall. Unlike most of the rest of the Himalayas the season here is best from mid-April through the end of September, opening up the possibility of trekking in Nepal in what has traditionally been considered the off-season.

The trekking here is fabulous and considered to be moderate in terms of difficulty and altitude. The views are unique, and when the weather cooperates they are unparalleled. The living Buddhist culture provides ample opportunities to explore ancient monasteries (pre-dating anything in Tibet!) and how they have been integrated into daily life as the centuries have passed down to today.

Prayer flags on the pass.
A group of monks being released from their lessons for the day in Lo Manthang.
Namaste Horse
Women of Ghara
Mustang trail
Tsarang Gompa
Prayer flag and wind on the pass
Tragmar Campsite
Landing in Jomsom, backdropped by Nilgiri
Experiencing the festival in Lo Manthang
Sharing the trail to Lo Manthang with some furry friends
Incense burning
Watching sunrise over the Himalayas with a new "local guide" & friend
Looking out to Tibet from the roof tops in Lo Manthang
Drying Wood on Tsewang's Roof in Tsarang, Mustang
Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: Depart the USA | Day 2: En route | Day 3: Arrive Kathmandu | Day 4: Fly Pokhara | Day 5: Fly Jomsom & begin trek | Day 6: Acclimatization day | Day 7 - 14: On Trek | Day 15: Helicopter from Lo Manthang to Kathmandu | Day 16: City tour of the capital & farwell dinner | Day 17: Depart Nepal | Day 18: Arrive Home

A Note About Mustang

Mustang is an incredibly dynamic and exciting corner of Nepal. It is unique culturally, partially because of the imposed remoteness due to the mountains and because entry was cut off to foreigners until 1992. These factors have all come together to make this small region ripe for exploration.

On top of all of the reasons to go to Mustang, there are now a wide variety of options on how to explore. You can trek, take a helicopter, ride on horseback, try the local jeeps or mix all of these options together and make it a truly custom itinerary.

Come explore this corner of Nepal that the Dalai Lama has called the last bastion of living Tibetan Buddhism!


  • Traditional Tibetan culture
  • Medieval walled capital of Lo Manthang
  • Helicopter through the world's deepest gorge
  • You can trek, take a helicopter, ride on horseback or even try a ride in a local jeep!

Check Out Our Other Sample Nepal Itineraries:

  • Trekking Everest

    • The valley leading to Everest (also called the Khumbu) offers a variety of treks ranging from one week to three, all providing wonderful exposure to the indigenous Sherpa culture and access to the biggest mountains on earth.

  • Trekking Manaslu & Tsum Valleys

    • Nestled into the base of the Himalayas, these valleys are located close to the major hubs of travel in Nepal but are also not frequently visited. With lots of trekking and heli-trekking options, this is area is prime for adventure!

  • Trekking East Nepal

    • Remote, rarely traveled and absolutely beautiful! This corner of the Himalaya boasts fabulous views, tribal villages and unique experiences that can be done in a week or up to a month.

Special Departure: University of Vermont

We've been fortunate to assist in the University of Vermont in their desire to offer their students the best opportunity to explore the world through study abroad. We have partnered with them to create an educationally focused course focusing on learning about and from Mustang. We've enjoyed working with UVM to create this 6-credit summer course exploring the Forbidden Kingdom - check it out!