Lo Manthang is situated between North- Western Nepal at the altitude of 3781m in Upper Mustang, Nepal. Lo Manthang is surrounded by — Tibet from three sides. It has snowcapped mountains in the east and west. The climate is arid here. It has very few arable lands and most of the soil is composed of a loose conglomerate of rounded pebbles and sand.
Agriculture, animal husbandry, and trade have been the main sources of livelihood in Lo Manthang since ancient times. But now tourism is also becoming a major source of livelihood in Lo Manthang. This village is walled by four sides. Yearly thousands of tourists visit this place to explore Buddhist history, culture, ancient monasteries, majestic landscapes, and more.
Lo Manthang is approx. 90 KM far from Jomsom and nearby 20 KM towards Tibetan Border. You need to obtain special permission to enter upper mustang. Entry permits can be obtained from the Department of Immigration, Nepal
History of Lo Manthang
Talking about the history of Lo Manthang, the early history is correlated to the western province of Ngari in Tibet. It is mentioned in the chronicles of Ladakh of the time of Srong btsan sgam po in the seventh century. Several monuments like Ghami Mane wall (240-meter-long), Dakmar, and Ghar Gonpa of Lo Gekar in Upper Mustang have still enlivened the legendary history of Padmasambhay.
Ghar Gonpa of Lo Gekar is believed to be the monastery built at the same time as Samye Gonpa of Tibet in the eighth century. Likewise, the famous Indian teacher Atisa had visited Lo en route to Tibet in the tenth century. The first King of Lo Manthang was Amadpal, who was born in 1387 A.D. He built the wall around the settlement of Lo Manthang in the second half of the fifteenth century. He also built the four-story palace in 1440 A.D. The oldest monastery in Lo Manthang is Jhyampa, built by Amgon Bzyang po in 1447 A.D. He was the son of Amadpal, born in 1419 A.D. It was later restored by Bsam grub dpal bar in 1663 A.D.
The other most important monastery in Lomanthang is Thubchen. It was built by Tashi Goyan in 1472 A.D. Mustang was under the influence of Jumla in the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. Jumla was annexed to Nepal in 1789 A.D. and Mustang became an integral part of Nepal. But its king is still recognized as a local king. The present king Jigme Palbar Bista is believed to be the 24th descendent of king Amadpal. Father Guissep Maria the Gargano, Kirkpatrick, Hamilton, Smith, Oldfield, Tucci (1952 A.D.), and Snellgrovc (1961A.D.) had written an account of Mustang.
Michael Peissel was perhaps the first person who tried to collect the history of Mustang from culture. Molla in 1964 AD, DR. Harka Gurung has also described Lo Manthang in 1980 AD. But it was D.P Jackson in 1984 AD who analyzed the three-generation before Amadpal and Sixteenth generation after him by different Mollas.
Lo Manthang Entry Permit
Lo Manthang is open for foreigners from 1992 only. Being a historic place, you need to purchase a special permit to enter this region.
Firstly, you need to obtain Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) which costs US $ 20 per person. This is a single-entry permit and there is not any restriction of days in this permit. However, you need to mention the trek starting date and your specific route during the process of getting it. This permit works up to Kagbeni. Kagbeni onwards, you need to get a Restricted Area Permit (RAP).
|Lo Manthang Permit Details||Permit Cost|
|Restricted Area Permit||US $ 500 per person for 10 days
US $ 50 per days after it expires
|Annapurna Conservation Area Permit||US $ 20 per person single entry|
You also can’t travel solo in this restricted area. You need to be at least 2 people to get the permit and take a licensed trekking guide with you during this trek.
Documents Required for Permit:
- Valid Passport must be at least 6 months
- Passport size photo and Scan Copy of Photo
- Original Passport with copy
- The permit cost US $ 500 for 10 days one people
Map of Lo Manthang
Lo Manthang in Video
Hotel in Lo Manthang
There is a limited hotel/teahouse in Lo Manthang. You won’t receive standard hospitality like Kathmandu and Pokhara here. The hotel/Lodge is clean and cozy.
You will get a twin room in many hotels instead of King Size bed in all trek area. Before staying in the hotel, ask for the hot water and other amenities so you don’t need to regret once you get check-in. The room is not expensive, you can get a room on US $ 5 for 2 however the food in the hotel is expensive.
Here is some hotel in Lo Manthang:
- Royal Mustang Resort
- Lotus Holiday Inn
Lo Manthang Palace
The four-story palace was built by Amadpal in 1440 AD. It was constructed by Mud, Stone, and Wood which has nine corners. The palace also consists of a wall painting and Ranjana Painting. The main entrance of the palace is in the east. It is painted white by lime mud. The palace has valuable and important Kanjur, Tanjur, Ashtasahasrika Prajnaparamita, Shtasahasrika Prajnaparamita etc.
The mega earthquake of 25 April 2015 makes a big crack in the building of the Palace which is 600 years old.
How to reach Lo Manthang
Primarily there are three ways to reach Lo Manthang. Trekking to Lo Manthang, 4wd Jeep Ride to Lo Manthang, and Motorbike tour to Lo Manthang.
Trekking to Lo Manthang: You can book a trekking package to Lo Manthang from a government registered trekking agency. The trekking package normally is 17 days long in duration which includes Kathmandu – Lo Manthang – Kathmandu. The 10 days permit will be enough for your trek. If you are interested in this Upper Mustang Trek then, we, Vivaan Adventure Pvt Ltd is glad to offer our services for you.
4wd Jeep Ride to Lo Manthang: Kathmandu to Upper Mustang trip is one of the adventure trips for adventure lovers. You can enjoy the beautiful landscape and mountains during this trip. The total distance from Kathmandu to Lo Manthang is 450 KM. You will travel through bumpy and unpaved roads in this ride. Crossing Kali Gandaki River, passing through different high passes make your drive memorable. We also offer 13 days 4wd Jeep Ride to Upper Mustang. The road construction is going on to join the Beni – Jomsom – Kagbeni – Korala border with China.
Motorbike Tour to Lo Manthang: Now you can reach Upper Mustang by motorbike your are a real adventure seeker. You can bring your own bike or we can assist you to arrange it for this trip. Either it is Dot Bike or a Royal Enfield, you can drive to the barren land. Motorbike to Upper Mustang can be complete in 10 days. During this bike tour, we also provide a mechanic for any kind of assistance on the road.