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Upper Dolpo Trekking

Trip Level
Moderate Strenuous
Destination
Nepal
Max Altitude
4480 meter
Trip Duration
24 Days

Overview

Dolpo was first opened for trekking in 1989, but only relative a few tourists have visited and witnessed the astonishing, rugged landscape with jaw-dropping beauty and villages following an ageless way of life. The region is south of the Tibetan frontier and the cultural of Dolpo is strongly influenced by Tibetan Buddhism and Bon rituals practices that precede it. The people of Dolpo and Tibet have strong commercial ties as well with the region part of an ancient, Trans Himalayan trade route.

Treks in Dolpo are often divided into the Upper and lower sections of the district. Most people venture from Lower Dolpo into Upper Dolpo a restricted area that requires special permits. Adventurous trekkers can arrive to dolpo district from the south by way of remote territory of the newly promoted region of the Guerrilla Trek and Yarsa Trails. However, most journeys in dolpo begin with a flight to Jhupal, the gateway to Dolpo trekking. Flights to Jhupal typically arrive via Nepalgunj, a bustling hub city in the lowland plains.

The main attraction of trekking in Upper Dolpo. Highlights include Ringmo village set along the sparkling waters Phoksundo lake with nearby waterfalls. A high pass continues from Ringmo with thrilling mountains views to crystal Mountain and its associated monastery, Shey Gomba. This is the ultimate destination of the Upper Dolpo Trek and most people spent at least and extra day here with an optional daylong  Kora (circumambulation) of crystal Mountain. The name of Shey monastery has been shortened from her Re Drugda, which means crystal Mountain of the Dragon’s Roar.

Trekker often combine Dolpo Trekking with the Kali Gandaki Valley of the Annapurna Circuit by heading over a remote pass connecting the two regions and desending to the mountain airport at Jomsom, administrative headquaters of Mustang district. From Jomsom scheduled flights are available back to Kathmandu or follow the west side of the Annapurna circuit trek out through more scenic Himalayan lanscape and enjoy a rejuvenating dip in a natural hot springs along the way.

Outline Itinerary

  • Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu (1350m), hotel transfer

  • Day 02: Optional sightseeing in Kathmandu/ trekking preparation

  • Day 03: Flight to Nepalgunj (150m) and hotel transfer

  • Day 04: Flight to Juphal (2475m)

  • Day 05: Trek to Chhepka(2838m)6 hrs

  • Day 06: Trek to Palam(3820m) 6-7 hrs

  • Day 07: Trek to Phoksundo Lake(3620m) 4 hrs

  • Day 08: Rest at Phoksundo Lake

  • Day 09: Trek to Salla Ghari (3640m)5-6 hrs

  • Day 10: Trek to Lar Tsa (4120m) 6 hrs

  • Day 11: Trek to Shey Gompa(4320m)7-8 hrs

  • Day 12: Rest Day - Shey Gompa

  • Day 13: Trek to Namgung (4430m) 6 hrs

  • Day 14: Trek to Saldang (4046m) 3 hrs

  • Day 15: Trek to Sibu (4000m)6 hrs

  • Day 16: Trek to foot of the Jengla(4480m) 4-5 hrs

  • Day 17: Trek to Tokyo Gaon (4240m) 6-7 hrs

  • Day 18: Trek to Dho Tarap (4200m) 2-3 hrs

  • Day 19: Trek to Serkam (3623m) 7 hrs

  • Day 20: Trek to Tarakot (2280m) 4-5 hrs

  • Day 21: Trek to Dunai (2109m) 4-5 hrs

  • Day 22: Trek to Juphal (2404m) 3-4 hrs

  • Day 23: Flight to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj

  • Day 24: Departure to your destination

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu (1350m), hotel transfer
You will be warm welcomed at airport by our office representative and then you will transfer to hotel. Our staff will give brief explanation about the program. Evening dinner with cultural show and trip briefing.

Day 02: Optional sightseeing in Kathmandu/ trekking prepairation
You will have option for sightseeing to UNESCO world heritage sites or doing preparation for next adventure.

Day 03: Flight to Nepalgunj (150m) and hotel transfer
We will take afternoon flight to Nepaljung and transfer to hotel.

Day 04: Flight to Juphal (2475m)
Juphal, just in 35 minute flight from Nepalgunj with beautiful views of snowcapped mountain. Juphal is a small mountain village, where we can breathe cold and fresh air than that of Nepalgunj. We will stay there because we have to arrange porters and equipments for the all days.

Day 05: Trek to Chhepka(2838m)6 hrs
From Juphal, we have to descend through wheat and vegetables field to reach Thuli Bheri River. A big suspension bridge will lead us to the entrance of Shey Phoksando National Park (SPNP), Nepal?s largest National Park with the area of 3,555km/sq. It is comprising the Trans Himalayan ecasy stem and the Tibetan type of floras and faunas. You have to pay 1000NPR, except tourists from SAARC countries. We will follow Suli Khola viewing a part of the Dhaulagiri Range. We have tea while we pass through the village as can stay there. We can enjoy the tea with honey, pure and fresh honey. Then we will trek through the trail surrounded by pine tree line spruce, fir, Juniper and Cyprus and bamboo forest. Really a beautiful time to get close with nature. At the end of the day we will reach Cheep Ka, a small village surrounded by millet and wheat field. Overnight at tented camp.

Day 06: Trek to Palam(3820m) 6-7 hrs
To reach to Palma, we have to pass through beautiful forest, following a river. We have to ascend sometimes and descend sometimes. On the way we can see the local people with their mules as dzopas (cross bread of Yak and Cow). Loaded with thongs to sell. After 4 hrs we will reach Reechi village, leaving behind Reechi we will reach Chumuwar after 2 hrs. There is a Amchi Hospital, an Amchi is a doctor who is educated in traditional Tibetan medicine. You can have treatment from herbs and numerals. Interested person can donate for this Hospital. Overnight at tented camp.

Day 07: Trek to Phoksundo Lake(3620m) 4 hrs
It takes about 4 hrs to reach Phoksundo Lake. We have to climb steep about 2hrs. before reaching the top, we can have the new of Nepal?s highest waterfall, a spectacular waterfall of 107m high knows Phoksundo waterfall as known as sunlight waterfall. Then we will descend from the top to get Ringmo village a small charming village. People residing here practice Bonpo religion, religion related to Buddhism but it is older than Buddhism. The religion was founded by Buddha Lonpa Shanrab Miwo, 18000 years ago. It is believe that Dolpa used to be the centre of Bon Kindom called Zhang. It a big and powerful kingdom in present western and north western Tibet. It is believed that in the century Zhang was defeated by the Buddhist kingdom of Tibet and Bonpo disappeared completely, but still some people practice it. Overnight at tented camp.

Day 08: Rest at Phoksundo Lake
We will rest at Phoksundo Lake and visited nearby villagers inhabited by Bon and Buddhist religion. Overnight at tented camp.

Day 09: Trek to Salla Ghari (3640m)5-6 hrs
This day, we will enter restricted area of Upper Dolpo. We will follow the famous trail where the famous movie called CARAVAN of Eric Valli was casted. This trail is used by peoples of Dolpo and other trade with Tibetans. Ti is really adventurous to pass through the trail. When we reach the top we will have beautiful view of Lane Ringmo, the dark green pine forests and snow capped mountain to the South. We will have to descend first and ascend through a wide valley which will let us to have spectacular view of Kanjirowa Himal (66612m) then we will reach an alpine area with junipers called Thaneba or Lake side camp, a beautiful place of camping. Overnight at tented camp.

Day 10: Trek to Lar Tsa (4120m) 6 hrs
This day we will have Salla Ghari, trekking through between high rock walls on both sides and crossing a couple of streams. We will enter a arrow gorge where will set our camp. We can continue trek but there is possibility of altitude sickness problem. Overnight at tented camp.

Day 11: Trek to Shey Gompa(4320m)7-8 hrs
We will start trek by a long and strenuous climb of about 2 and half hrs over a dusty path to Kang La (5350m), also called as Ngadra La. We have to descend through pass covered with snow which is very steeply and after about 3 hrs we will reach Shey Gompa, a very small village with a couple of houses and the Gompa. It is a 11th century gompa, situated beneath the crystal peak on a small grassy plain, at the confluence of two rivers people believed that it was constructed by a Tibetan Buddhist, who arrived here on the back of flying snow lion. It is also called spiritual heart of Dolpo. Every year many pilgrims visit his gompa to make Kora (clockwise circuit) of crystal peak. Overnight at tented camp.

Day 12: Rest Day - Shey Gompa
You can explore around Tsakang Gompa which is at about 457m. It is not really a monastery but a retreat. Tsakang had been a meditation centre of many famous lamas from Tibet. Shey Gompa belongs to the Chaiba community, followers of the Padmasambhava and Kagyu sects. It was the first Kagyupa monastery and its founder was the lama Ten-szin-Ra-Pa. The monastery was built during the 11th century. Shey is famous for its ancient Buddhist culture. In Dolpo the ancient Tibetan way of life combines animism with the teachings of Buddha. Drutup Yeshe introduced Buddhism in the Dolpo valley. Many years ago he came to Dolpo and came across a wild people whose supreme God was a 'fierce mountain spirit'. Crystal mountain is to the west of Shey monastery. It is a very strange mountain indeed. Its contorted cliffs are laced with quartz and embedded with a rich variety of marine fossils. Shey Gompa stands above the confluence of Kangju nala and Yeju nala. Near the confluence there is a group of prayer mills turned by water wheels. Overnight at tented camp.

Day 13: Trek to Namgung (4430m) 6 hrs
To get to Namgung, we have to cross the pass Sheyla which is also called Geln La is about 5000m. While we are through the Glen pass, we can see beautiful view of northern part of Tibetan plateau, which is highest plateau in the world. To the east we can see Mustang. After through pass we have to descend to the pastures of Namgung. Peoples of Namgung heartily welcome us. It is a beautiful place with friendly environment. Overnight at tented camp.

Day 14: Trek to Saldang (4046m) 3 hrs
Our Trek to Saldang starts with climbing a tree slope. We have to ascend to 4700m before going down steep slopes to picturesque village of Saldang, situated on a plateau high above the Nam Khong nala and the biggest villages of lower Dolpo area. The village is prosperous, not only agriculturally but also for its strategic location on a trade route to Tibet. Overnight at tented Camp.

Day 15: Trek to Sibu (4000m)6 hrs
We will leave Saldang village and on way to Sibu we have to pass through terraced fields, Stupas, Chortens mani and a Chaiba monastery. Namdo, the next village contains sixty houses having nearby four hundred in habitants. It streaches 5km on the high slopes to the left of Nam Khong Khola. We will set camp near the small settlement of Sibu, right on the river bank. Overnight at tented camp .

Day 16: Trek to foot of the Jengla(4480m) 4-5 hrs
We will follow the line of the river valley and the trail is easy going initially. But after two hours, we must make another stream before turning into side valley where the rise becomes very sharp. Overnight at tented camp.

Day 17: Trek to Tokyo Gaon (4240m) 6-7 hrs
To reach to Tokyo Gaon we have to cross the Jeng La which is about 4850m. It will take about 2 hrs climb to reach the top of Jeng La. Form the top of the peak we can have good views of Dhaulagiri, beautiful goldy views in the morning then we will descend towards Tarap valley. By the after we will see green valley which leads us by a beautiful trail down. Towards Tarap Chu. Tarap is a spectacular valley with vast plants in high mountains extending to twenty kilometer along the Tarap Chu River. It consist of ten villages with cultivated fields, many Gompas and Chhortens. Overnight at tented camp.

Day 18: Trek to Dho Tarap (4200m) 2-3 hrs
To reach to Dho Tarap we will walk east along the downward lower of Tarap Chu. The trail is easy as it is well travelled. There are many mani walls, we can see but some of the Chhortens are in a bad situation. The Frencch School is just outside the village of Dho Tarap. Dho is surrounded by an irregular stone wall and consist of thirty four houses. Both Bonpo and Buddhist is inhabitant here. We will visit Buddhist Gompa where a Lama lives. He is very happy to show his monastery and might even let you see his private Gompa and the Thankas which he has made himself. Overnight at tented camp.

Day 19: Trek to Serkam (3623m) 7 hrs
The next two days are longish with a choice of several different campsites so the itinerary can be flexible. Your route follows the course of the Tarap Khola, generally downhill. You go through narrow gorges with the river rushing through. One may see blue sheep, marmots, yaks, sheep and goats and perhaps meet people from Dolpo taking their flocks of sheep and goats to lower pastures for the winter. The afternoon brings more undulations in the path when it leaves the immediate course of the river. There is evidence of improvements to the trail where parts of the rock have been blasted out. You will also see the first of the modern steel suspension bridges which have been built to facilitate movement of people and animals. The track is very narrow in places. Overnight at tented camp.

Day 20: Trek to Tarakot (2280m) 4-5 hrs
We leave Khanigoan by the new suspension bridge and then walk alongside the river, sometimes going very high before reaching down to the water again. Some of the going is quite demanding and one bridge, said to have unusable for six years, necessitates crossing on wet stepping-stones.Coming into the broad fertile valley of the Barbung Chu, you walk amongst the various crops of millet, sweet corn, barley, buckwheat, green beans, chillies and marijuana. Your lunch and night stop is high above the river but there is a standpipe for water. Tarakot is an old fortress town known by the local people as Dzong, meaning 'fort'. Before the Gorkha dynasty Tarakot was the capital and had a dzong. The famous Sandul gompa, which lies 8km east of Tarakot and at the junction of Barbung Khola and Tarap Chu, stands on a knoll to the south of Bheri River and at one time supervised collections of tolls for the trading caravans traversing an area called Tichu Rong. As an alternative to camping at Tarakot, you may camp down by the river as there are good cooking facilities there and a clean, locked toilet for trekkers' use. Overnight at tented camp.

Day 21: Trek to Dunai (2109m) 4-5 hrs
The trail is mostly down and fairly firm underfoot. Walking beside the Bheri River you use the ingenious path built twenty feet above the river. All too soon you have reached the village of Dunai and the camp site you used before. You will now have completed the circuit and can mark the occasion with a celebration party! Overnight at tented camp.

Day 22: Trek to Juphal (2404m) 3-4 hrs
You now retrace your steps to Juphal. Initially the way is flat but the final hour up to your destination seems steeper than you remember on Day One! Camp overnight in the grounds of one of the lodges. Overnight at tented camp.

Day 23: Flight to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj
Early morning flight to Nepalganj and make connecting flight to Kathmandu. We will transfer to hotel in Kathmandu. Evening farewell dinner.

Day 24: Departure to your destination
We will be free till departure. Our representative will drop you to Kathmandu airport for your onward flight.

Cost Details

  • Arrival and departure transfer to/from Kathmandu airport
  • Kathmandu-Nepalgunj-Juphal-Nepalgunj-Kathmandu) including airport tax
  • All the necessary paper work such as national park entry fees, special trekking permit for Upper Dolpo
  • High quality tents and  camping equipments (Sleeping tent/ Dining tent / Kitchen tent / Toilet tent / mattress and Kitchen untensils )
  • Full board meals (B.L.D.) during the trekking period with hot tea and coffee
  • All the trekking crews (guide, sherpa, porter, helper, cook) salary / accommodation / food and Insurance
  • Hotel in Kathmandu on B/B plan and Guest house in Nepalgunj.
  • Supported staffs and camping ransfer by bus from / to Nepalgunj and by plane from / to Nepalgunj to Juphal
  • All the government taxes and company service charge
  • Nepal visa fee
  • International airfare to/from Kathmandu.
  • Alcoholic beverages, bottle mineral water, soft drinks and snack foods
  • Any personal medical or evacuation expenses
  • Riding horse along the trek
  • Extra cost on natural disaster and unforseen circumistances
  • Any personal expenses
  • Extra night hotel Nepalgunj due to bad weather and earlier back to Kathmandu
  • Helicopter charter and all accommodation on flight cancellation due to bad weather
  • Tips to trekking crews

Equipments Checklist

Clothing
    Warm jacket or down jacket
    Water and windproof jacket, poncho or umbrella
    Long sleeved synthetic fleece
    Thermal underwear
    Hat, pair of gloves and scarf
    Comfortable hiking trousers (loose fitting)
    Shorts and trousers, or skirt
    2 pairs of warm wool-blend socks
    2 pairs of running socks or liner socks
    Proper hiking boots
    Running shoes and flip-flops
    T-shirts

During winter season, additional clothings may include:
    The outer jacket should be warm, down jacket is highly recommended during winter season
    Bring a pair of warm winter trousers, in addition to the hiking trousers
    Bring at least one windproof layer of clothes, helping to reduce any chill factor influence.
    Snow gaitors

Trekking Gear
    Pair of polarizing sun-glasses (to be comfortable and to avoid potential snow-blindness)
    Backpack and backpack cover (against rain and dust)
    Map of the trekking area
    Head torch, or small torch, plus spare batteries
    Sleeping bag and silk liner
    Water bottles

Miscellaneous
    Toiletries
    A small light weight and quick drying towel
    Bar of soap
    Sunscreen (at least SPF +20)
    Earplugs
    Insect repellants (for lower elevations)
    First aid kid
    Water purification tables or a water filter
    Some Diamox pills against potential altitude sickness (if going beyond 4,000 m elevations)
    Toilet paper

Optional items
    Camera, battery etc
    Altimeter
    Compass
    Binoculars
    Books/magazines
    Trekking poles
    GPS unit
    Padlocks for guest house rooms and bags
    Sewing/repair kit
    Pocket knife
    Candles (for lodges)
    Dairy or notebook plus pencil/pen

Camping

    Tent
    Stove and fuel
    Cooking, eating and drinking utensils
    Sleeping mat
    Food and water (for the very remote trekking areas)

Map

map

Departure Dates

No fixed departures.