A remote citadel of Tibetan culture cracks open the gate : Nestled high on the Tibetan plateau in the northern reaches of Nepal, the ancient Himalayan kingdom of Mustang is a bastion of traditional Tibetan culture, preserved for centuries by its remoteness.

Now, a new 183-mile road linking the region to China as well as the gleaming but debt-saddled and increasingly contentious international airport in Pokhara, will give travelers easier access to sites like well-preserved medieval fortress of Lo Manthang in in Upper Mustang, which was restricted area for tourists until the early 1990s.

While budget-friendly hotels abound, the new, luxury Shinta Mani Mustang makes Nepal's new trekking rules, which requires hikers to use a local licensed guide or porter, easier to follow by offering a range of tours with certified guides. [Nora Walsh]


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