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Upper Dolpo Trek - 25 days

Upper Dolpa Trek
  • Overview
  • Cost Details
  • Fitness
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  • Reviews

Introduction 

Dolpo is a remote region of far western Nepal, most of which is now protected by Shey-PhoksundoNational Park. Lying midway between the Tibetan Plateau and the Dhaulagiri Himal is one of the highest inhabited plateau on earth - Dolpo. Geographically a Southern extension of Tibet, it lies within the borders of the kingdom of Nepal. Dolpo has been bypassed by development and by tourism. Although a few anthropologists and geographers had explored the region, the entire district was closed to trekkers until 1989 when the southern part of Dolpo was opened to organized trekking groups.

Trekking in upper Dolpo includes Tibetan style ‘inner Dolpo’ village in Tarap and at Phoksundo lake (Nepal's deepest lake). Much of Dolpo remains culturally and religiously linked with Tibet and the people continue to trade with Tibet andon the ancient ‘grain  for salt' trade routes, but the southern part of  Dolpo is a region of Hindu Influence. 

The landscapes of Dolpo can only be described as stark, although the villages with their irrigated terraces of barley appear as green jewels amid barren craggy hillsides, topped by the high snowbound Himalayan peaks of Kanjiroba and the six summits of the Dhaulagiri range. Once you have trekked in Dolpo other regions pale by comparison. Little wonder that in the whole vastness of the Himalayas, it remains the most treasured trekking region. 

One great opportunity that comes in a lifetime to explore this interesting remote village and lakeshores of the Bon-Po and legendary Gompas (Monestry) situated on the edge of the lake.

TRIP HIGHTLIGHTS

  • Kanjiroba Peak
  • Stunning views of Dhaulagiri range
  • NangdalaPass (5,350m)
  • Shey Gomba and other several Buddhist monastries
  • Nepal’s deepest lake “Shey-PhoksundoLake”

DETAILS ITINERARY

Day 1

Arrival in Kathmandu, transfer to hotel and briefing

After you arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, you will have to go through custom formalities. You will be greeted by our representative who will be anxiously waiting for you with a placard displaying your name in his hand. You will be transferred to the 3-Star category hotel in a private vehicle. Once you get refreshed, you will get briefing regarding the itinerary and you will also be introduced with your crewmembers and other trekkers who are going to join you on the trip. Enjoy welcome dinner in the evening where you can taste authentic Nepali dinner. Stay overnight in a hotel.

Day 2

Kathmandu Sightseeing Tour, Trek preparation and Packing

In the morning after breakfast, we will organize half day sightseeing tour during which you will be taken on memorable UNESCO Heritage Tour. Tour begins with visit to Nepal’s holiest Pashupatinath Temple Complex and takes us through Nepal’s largest Bouddhanath Stupa and 2500 years old Swoyambhunath Stupa. We will return to hotel in the afternoon and time for shopping of any missing items, packing and getting ready for the trip.

Day 3

Flight to Nepalgunj, 45 min flight

We will drive to Tribhuvan Airport, domestic terminal. One and half hour of flight from Kathmandu will take us to Nepalgunj.Located near to southern Nepal- India border, Nepalgunj is an important trade hub. We will explore Nepalgunj town in the evening as the temperature gets hot and during afternoon. Stay overnight in a hotel in Nepalgunj. 

Day 4

Flight to Jupal - trek to Dunai (2,140m), 3 hours

We will reach airport in Nepalgunj early in the morning. 45 minutes of pleasant flight will take us to Juphal. Enjoy the aerial views of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Mountains to the north. Upper Dolpo trek begins at Juphal. Once our crew is ready, with the camping gear, we will take couple of hours of walk to Dunai village. Leaving airstrip, we will follow the descending trail through terraced field to Bheri River. Walking through the gorges, we will reach Dunai. Dunai is a large village and headquarter of Dolpo region. Stay overnight at Dunai. 

Day 5

Trek to Hankhe (2,670m), 5 hours

Leaving Dunai, we will cross thesuspension bridge. The trail heads west. Walking past hospital, we will follow the ascending trail throughThuloBheri valley. Moving further, we will reach Phoksundo River valley. We will climb to the ridge marked by cairns and lower down to the river. The trail continues to Dhera which is a winter settlement. We will climb further to Rahagaon which is a Thakuri village. Walking past canyons, we will enter forested area which will take us to Hankhe. The gate to SheyPhoksundo National Park is located at Hankhe where we will stay overnight.

Day 6

Trek to Rechi (2,940m), 5 hours

Leaving Hankhe early in the morning, we will walk along the left bank of river to Raktang village. We will cross Hankhe River and choose the ascending path to Chhepka. From Chhepka, we will cross Suli River and pass through landslide area. After crossing river at few points, we will enter the dense forest. Climbing further, we will reach to the lush green meadow area. After following the straight path for brief moment, we will lower down to River from where we will continue our walk to Rechi. Stay overnight at Rechi.

Day 7

Trek to Phoksundo Lake (3,641m), 5 hours

After an early morning breakfast, we will take an easy walk to Sumdovillage. The path beyond Sumdo is little bit challenging as we need to climb the slope. Leaving Suligad River, we will climb to the top of ridge. Enjoy the views of 300 m waterfall and Phoksundo Lake from the ridge. We will lower down through birch forest toPhoksundoRiver. Moving further, we will reach the pretty village of Ringmo. Brief walk from Ringmo will take us to Phoksundo Lake. Stay overnight at Phoksundo Lake.

Day 8

Explorations to PhoksundoLake - Rest day

Phoksundo is the deepest and second largest lake of Nepal. This is rest day. We will explore around Phoksundo Lake. We will also take short trek to Ringmo village where we will visit local Tibetan Buddhist Monastery. Stay overnight at Phoksundo Lake.

Day 9

Trek to PhoksundoKhola (3,630m), 5 hours

We will walk along the edge of Phoksundo Lake and walk through rocky ledge along western edge. We will then walk through Devil’s trail which is named for its extreme remoteness where the path is stretched on pegs passing through crevasses. Passing through the green meadow, we will reach to the floodplain of PhoksundoKhola. We will cross the river and prepare our camp at the edge of Phoksundo River for overnight stay. 

Day 10

Trek to PhoksundoBhanjyang (4,717m), 5 hours

After an early morning tea, we will take an hour long walk through glacial valley.We will arrive at the meeting point of PhoksundoKholawith small tributary river. Crossing the old wooden bridge, we will lead north east from the valley. Stick close to your guide and follow his instructions carefully as there is no definite path. We will follow the raised path through the meadow from where we can see Kang-La pass. Stay overnight at PhoksundoBhanjyang

Day 11

Trek to SHEY GOMPA (4,160m) via NangdalaPass (5,350m), 6 hours

From PhoksundoBhanjyang, we will follow the scenic path to Sallaghari and then walk along TukKyaska River. Crossing the bridge over river, we will walk along wide valley to Nangdala High Camp. From Nangdala High Camp, the path ascends uphill to Nangdala Pass. Enjoy the views of Crystal Mountain and SheyShikhar.We will lower down from top of Nangdala Pass to valley. Walking along the valley, we will reach SheyGompa. Stay overnight at Sheygompa.

Day 12

SHEY GOMPA - Rest & Explorations day

This is rest day. We will explore around SheyGompa.SheyGompa is believed to be 800 years old monastery. Shey Festival is observed at SheyGompa. Visit Kagyupa gompato know about the local culture. Locals practice different culture than the people from nearby region. The culture in this region is different from culture in neighbouring areas. We can also visit the local hermitage at Tsakang. SheyGompa exists in one of the most sacred valleys in Dolpo. We can also find blue sheep and snow leopard in this area. You are not allowed to kill any animals in and around SheyGompa.

Day 13

Trek to NamgungGaon (4,530m) via Sela La Pass (5,094m), 6 hours

Leaving SheyGompa, we will walk along SephuKhola. The trail takes us through barren land to the top of Shey La Pass. Enjoy the views of Mustang to the East while we can get panoramic view of Tibet in North. Towards west, we can get views of Kanjirowa, Crystal Mountain and other surrounding peaks and mountains. We will reach NamgungGaon which is 2 hrs far from SeleLa Pass (5095m). Namgung is a nomadic settlement. Stay overnight at NamgungGaon.  

Day 14

Trek to Saldang (3,770m), 5 hours

We will visit local monastery of Namgungbefore crossingNamgaKhola. Walking through the summer settlement area, we will lower down to Saldang which is a pretty tiny village with barren land. Enjoy the views of surrounding hills. Amchi tradition is practiced at Saldang. Saldang is the administrative centre of Dolpo. It is also the largest village in inner Dolpo premises. Stay overnight at Dolpo. 

Day 15

Trek to Sugugaon (3,840m), 5 hours

Heading north from Saldang, we will follow the Nang Chu Riverthrough barren land. Passing through tiny villages at Tiling and Lurigaon, we will reach Yangze. Crossing the Panzang River, we will visit ancient Bon-Po Monastery. We will return to Saldang village and walk along river before taking gradual ascend through terraced fields toChaiba monastery. The trail continues further to Namdo village. We will walk along left shore of Nam Khong River to Namdo monastery and reach towards SuguGaon where we will stay overnight.

Day 16

Trek to JyantlaPhedi (4,700m), 5 hours

Leaving SuguGaon, we will walk along Nam KhongRiver. We will encounter yaks loaded with goods on our way. These yaks are for trade with neighbouring Tibetans. We will head east and make it to the meeting place of two small rivers from where we will take a sharp climb to the base of Jeng La Pass/ Jyantla Pass (4,900m) which is known as JyantlaPhedi. Stay overnight at JyantlaPhedi.

Day 17

Trek to Tokyu (4,209m) via JyantlaPass (5,220m), 6 hours

Couple of hours of difficult climb from JyantlaPhedi will take us to the top of Jyantla Pass. Enjoy the unobstructed views of surrounding mountains including stunning Dhaualgiri Mountain. Lower down through the rugged terrain to Tarap valley. We will walk through the green valley down to Tarap Chu. TarapValley stretches twenty kilo meters along the river. VisitTokyu monastery (4,200m) which is sacred to the Chaiba sect. Stay overnight at Tokyu village. 

Day 18

Trek to DhoTarap (3,944m), 5 hours

After an early morning tea, we will head east and lower down fromplain land of Tarap Chu to the meadow area. Vegetation has distinct this area from other areas in Inner Dolpo. Both Bon Po and Chaiba sects live in harmony in this region. We will descend to DhoTarap village which is protected by stone walls. We will explore the village and stay overnight at DhoTarap.

Day 19

Trek to Chhyugar (3,440m), 4 hours

Leaving DhoTarap, we will pass through tiny villages of Clumaga and Kakar and pass along chorten. We will walk past Bon-Po and Choba settlementsand visit Guru BumbaGompa that is located above village. Leaving Dho, we will walk along TarapRiver for couple of hours during which we will cross bridge and pass through gorges. Climbing uphill from the riverbed, we will reach Lahaniwhich marks the end of the gorge. We will move further to Chhyugarwhere we will stay overnight. 

Day 20

Trek to KhaniGaon (2,950m)

After an early morning tea, we will leave our camp at Chhyugar and move through steep slopes, we will meet with locals from Dolpowho are taking their cattle to lower pasture area. We will walk through narrow river valley. The path is difficult. At some points, there are no trace of path. So, stick to your guide and follow his instructions. Difficult walk along stone slabs will take us to our campsite at Khanigaon that is located beside TarapKhola. Stay overnight at Khanigaon. 

Day 21

Trek to Dunai (2,140m)

Leaving our camp at Khanigaon, we will head towardsLalberi village. The trail stretches further through forest area and drops down to gorge. We will follow the river to Tarakot (2,537m) which is an old fortress town. Tarakotused to be tha capital of Dolpo before Gorkha dynasty. SandulGompais located 8 km east of Tarakot. We will climb a steep hill and walk past tiny villages that is located to the opposite side ofTarakot. Walking past chortens, we will walk along Bheri River through gorge to Dunai. Stay overnight in Dunai. Do not forget to taste local brew. 

Day 22

Trek to Juphal (2,475m)

This is the last day of Upper Dolpo Trek. We will retrace the route back to Juphal via Bheri River. Three hours of trek will be enough to take us to Juphal where small airstrip is located. We will stay overnight at Juphal. 

Day 23

Flight to KTM via Nepalgunj

We will return to Kathmandu on this day. We will take 35 minutes of scenic flight to Nepalgunj. Fly high over Himalayaswith breath-taking views of Annapurna Mountain and Dhaulagiri Mountain. We will take the connecting flight to Kathmandu. You will be transferred to hotel. Stay overnight at hotel in Kathmandu. 

Day 24

Free day in KTM

This is rest day. Spend the day as you like. You can go for shopping in Thamel where you can buy souvenir items.Thanka painting, pashmina shawl and Nepali handicrafts are most popular gift items. Upon your interest, we can also arrange for guided sightseeing tour. Farewell dinner will be served in the evening.   

Day 25

Int’l departurefor onward flight to home

We will transfer you to the Airport as per your scheduled flight for your onward destination. Safe journey. We hope to see you soon.

COST INCLUDES

  • Dolpa area special trekking permits
  • Conservation/national park fees and all government taxes
  • 4 (four) nights 3 star hotel accommodation on twin sharing BB basis
  • All internal flights (KTM – Nepalgunj –Juphal – KTM) with departure taxes
  • Trek duffle bag/luggage weight, maximum of 15kg per trekker
  • All airport/hotel/airport transfers by private vehicle
  • An experience Sherpa Trek Guide
  • Support Sherpa staffs
  • Required number of porters to carry member’s trek luggage
  • Cook & Kitchen staffs
  • All camping gears including dinning, kitchen, toilet, shower tents etc
  • All necessary kitchen equipment with tables, chairs etc.
  • High Quality member tents (Single or Double) as required with sleeping mattress.
  • All meals of high quality and hygienic food (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
  • Drinks (tea, coffee, hot chocolate, boiled & treated drinking water)
  • Medical Oxygen with mask set
  • First aid box
  • Porter’s equipment
  • Local staff insurance
  • Half-day world heritage sites tour in Kathmandu
  • Farewell celebration dinner

COST EXCLUDES

  • Medical/personal high risk insurance, (must cover emergency evacuation cost)
  • International flight cost and departure taxes
  • Personal trek gears
  • Major meals in Kathmandu
  • Cost of personal expenses i.e. telephone calls, laundry, Toiletry items etc.
  • Bottle water, soft drinks, beers etc.
  • Tips to the local staff

Fitness:
 

This kind of trek is challenging but doesn’t really require previous trekking and mountaineering experiences and also doesn’t require any technical experience. But if you have any previous experiences would be really helpful. Your fitness is really important for this trek; therefore we strongly suggest preparing yourself in good physical condition. You need to be trained at least for about 3 to 5 months to prepare yourself as strong candidate. You can go to fitness center every morning for about 1.5 hours, do hiking every weekend with increasing weights on your pack, manage some time for cycling for couple of hours for 2 or 3 times a week. However at the high altitude, there might be little symptoms of altitude illness like mild headache, fatigue etc. but take it as normal and just drink enough water (4 – 5 liters) every day.On this trek, youneed to be able to hike 4 – 8 hours over hilly terrain up to 5,500m of altitude with daypack.
 
Experience Requied: 

If you have any previous experiences of similar grade trek would be helpful, but if you don’t have is also not really important matter of issue. This trek will introduce you about high altitude trekking in the Himalayas and also about the local cultures, traditions and local people.
Even if you are around the age of 65 years, you can be a candidate for this trek. 

Published on : June 06, 2017

Our party of six have just returned from a fantastic 19 day trek around the upper Dolpo circuit.  Our Sherpa guides and cooking team, led by the very able Tenzing, provided excellent support.  
This is the third time I have had Dawa and Dream Himalaya Adventures look after logistics on trekking and climbing expeditions. I have become accustomed to the high standards of care, good communication and attention to detail that Dawa continues to provide. 
Other family members and friends of ours have also enjoyed trips to Nepal using services provided by Dream Himalaya Adventures. Dawa and many of the staff have become our good friends. We would recommend Dawa and the team at Dream Himalaya Adventures as your first choice for logistics if you are considering a trek or climb in the Himalayas.

Nick Shearer, Oamaru, New Zealand

Download Trip Info

Trip Info

Trip Code: DHA/UDT-25
Grade:
Best Month of the Year : April, May, October and November
Trekking Duration: 20 days
Hotel Accommodation : 4 nights
Trek Type : Camping
Maximum Elevation : 5,360M.
Average hours of walking per day : 4 - 6 hours
Destination: : Nepal

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