Upper Dolpo trek is one of the fascinating trekking destinations of Nepal for many reasons, Biggest National Park, it is the largest district of Nepal, and yet one of the most sparsely populated. Topographically is interesting as well, it contains the deepest lake of Nepal, lake Phoksundo, which also happens to be the deepest lake of high altitude in the earth. Upper Dolpo trekking region is one of the few districts in Nepal that is behind the Himalayan Mountains, due to which drops rain very few hence most of the hills bare with less vegetation. The barren and majestic hills lend it a rare beauty that is absolutely mesmerizing. Due to the harsh living conditions, few people live and to trek in this area, even today, much of Dolpo is a restricted area for tourist, which contributed to the preservation of the unique culture of Dolpo. To trek in upper Dolpo region need the special permit is required from Nepal government authorized trekking agency and government licensed holder trekking guide. Himalayan Joy Adventure’s itinerary for the upper Dolpo trekking has been designed adequate time to acclimatize at the altitude and exploration.
Upper Dolpo Trek is famous for the deepest Lake Phoksundo.It is the shelter for many rare alpine living beings. Dolpo has been a living library for many researchers who love to explore the beginning of the human civilizations and Tibetan Buddhism. Apart from many other attractions, Shey Phoksundo National Park, the largest national park in Nepal, the Shey PhoksundoLake and its crystal waters, the rocks, forests, snow-capped peaks in its surrounding is one of the world’s natural hidden wonders found in Upper Dolpo region. .A visit to the Phoksundo Gompa – dedicated to the ancient Bonpo religion, local to Dolpo and Tibet, is a memorable experience. Dolpo is still the homeland of Spotted Leopard, Blue Sheep, wolves, and many other varieties of flora and fauna.
The upper Dolpo trek formally begins from Ranjha airport, a small airport on the top of the town of Juphal. Subsequently, from Juphal, we head to Dubai, the district headquarter, along with the banks of Barbung Khola, then we continue to Tarakot, known locally as Dzong for its hilltop fortress. FromTarap Khola we reach the highest point of the trek Numa La (5,190m) and making the excursion around upper Dolpo and having magnificent views of Dhaulagiri to the south and Tibetan ranges Kugung La and Khyung La to the north. Then we descend down to Suli Gad river towards Raha, the entrance of the park and finally to the hamlet of Juphal. The trek passes Dho Tarap, a human settlement at the highest altitude in the world, Shey Gompa, religiously the most important Gompa in Nepal and Lake Phoksundo, the deepest lake of high altitude in the earth. Upper Dolpo is full of herbs and wild animals like Blue sheep, Ghoral, Cheetahs and many other species of wild animals. The forest of Upper Dolpo is home to rare plants like Yarshgumba, Jatamshi, Panch aunle, Chimailo and many others. Every year, during May and June the Shey Phoksundo National park opens its doors to the hunters of Yarshagumba.
Best season to trek in upper Dolpo
Trek to Upper Dolpo area, March to September is a best time to trek but after September, it starts dropping snows heavily and trekking is potential only with well equipment. From November, it is completely impossible. The best time is from March to May, as this area is rain shadow. Himalayan Joy Adventure always operates the trek in Upper Dolpo region according to guests’ time enclose and at ease. As concerning value of time, our itinerary range is maximum 18 to 25 days but, all Himalayan Joy Adventure’s itineraries are trailer made so it is more flexible as well. This trek ends at Juphal same place where starts the trek.
A Himalayan Joy Adventure representative will greet you at the Tribhuwan International Airport upon your arrival and provide transportation to your hotel. After checking into your room and refreshing, our HJA representative will describe the details regarding your Upper Dolpo trek. Then, you can visit the tourist hub in Thamel. There are many places to shop for trekking gear and souvenirs. In the evening, Himalayan Joy Adventure will host a welcome dinner at the typical Nepali restaurant with a Nepali cultural dance. After dinner, you will be dropped off at your hotel. Overnight in Kathmandu. Includes: Dinner.
After breakfast, our city guide will take you to various historical places and world heritage listed sites. These will include Pashupatinath (One of the greatest Hindu temples in Asia), Boudhanath stupa (Buddhist stupa), Swayabhunath (Buddhist stupa, also known as the Monkey Temple) and Kathmandu Durbar Square (home of the living goddess Kumari)). After sightseeing, you will be dropped at your hotel with time to prepare for your trek. Overnight in Kathmandu. Includes: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
Early in the morning drive to the domestic flight terminal, Kathmandu, then you will fly one hour to Nepalgunj airport. Nepalgunj is a city and the gateway of Dolpa,Simkot, Humla. Includes: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
After our breakfast we will take a 45 minutes flight to Ranjha Airport in Juphal. Juphal is a beautiful town located in Himalayan foothills where from we can see Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountains. Our Upper Dolpo trek starts here through the terraced fields following the Bheri River. Finally, we will reach in Dunai and explore the small town. Overnight in DunaiIncludes: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
We leave Dunai and cross a suspension bridge and turn to the west following a trail past a hospital. The trail ascends up the side of the treeless, Thulo Bheri valley before entering Phoksundo river valley. During the walk we get to the view of Kagmara Peak up the valley. We pass through walnut groves, Dhera and Rahagaun villages, walk down dense jungles and finally reach Ankhe. Overnight in Ankhe.
Our trail ascends and descends along a wooded riverbank and climbs on a steep trail. The ups and downs can be a bit monotonous, but there are several streams sideways the way that offer a chance to cool off. The trail eventually leaves the forests and passes through a grassy slope high above the river. We trek downhill on a trail surrounded by lush forests before reaching a cliff followed by a dizzying drop on a wobbly stone staircase to the river bank. We continue trekking until we reach Sulighat where we spend the night in tent.
We continue our journey along the valley floor to the confluence of the Phoksundo and Pungmo rivers. After crossing a bridge, we walk on the western bank of the Pungmo Khola. The trail passes through a cedar forest before reaching Palam village. From here we trek up to a ridge and enjoy distant views of Phoksundo Lake and a spectacular waterfall, one of the highest in Nepal. Next, our trail descends through birch forests to the upper reaches of the Phoksundo Khola, and then to the picturesque Ringmo village with its mud plastered chortens and mani walls. From here it is a short walk to the shores of the Phoksundo Lake.
Overnight in Tent Camp. Includes: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
Today will be a well-deserved rest day for acclimatization at Phoksundo Lake. During the day we can board on a short hike to the village of Ringmo and it’s Tibetan Buddhist Monastery. During our short walks, we also get a chance to get acquainted with the local culture. The Dolpo people wear homespun clothing that is sometimes dyed a maroon color and they favor Tibetan-style somba or dhocha (boots with upturned toes) for foot wear. Both men and women often wear religious amulets and strings of coral, amber and turquoise.
Overnight in Tent Camp.Includes: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
Our trail moves around the top western end of the Phoksundo Lake as it contours on a rocky ledge along the lake’s western bank. This unsteady trail suspended on a gangway of wood supported on pegs driven into crevasse in the rocks, signals the remoteness of the area we are about to enter. At the westernmost edge of the lake the path leads through a lush meadow that opens up into the flood plain of the Phoksundo Khola. Then we walk through the valley, crossing the river and avoiding the occasional boggy marsh underfoot and then coming on the bank of the river to the overnight camp. Overnight in tent. Includes: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
For an hour or so we walk on a trail that leads us along the level path through a glacial valley which heads due north. At the confluence of the Phoksundo Khola and another mountain stream, there is an old wooden bridge. From here, we walk towards the north-east. A long climb brings us to a sheep meadow where our trail veers up a steep ravine. A hard climb to the top brings us to yet another valley where we can see the Kang-La pass. We set up our camp near the pass in a place that Peter Matthiessen christened 'Snowfields Camp'. During our trek today we also get to admire the views of Chhamlang peak 6 (6739m) and peak 7 (6105m). Overnight in Tent Camp Includes: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
Trek to Namdo, a small village, the trail passes through mild inclines and declines. After a couple of hours walking stop at Namdo for lunch. Trek continues to Rhakyo takes about 5hours. This part of the trail is also the trade route to China and various caravans of yaks, horses and mules can be spotted. Overnight in Tent Camp
Includes: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
Shey Gompa was built in 1655 and the monastery is noted for its giant copper with gilded gold statue of a seated Shakyamuni Buddha. To the east of the gompa is Crystal Mountain which is one of the strangest mountains, as its contorted cliffs are laced with quartz and embedded with a rich variety of marine fossils. Today is another well-earned rest day for acclimatization. We spend the day hiking around Shey village which is famous for its ancient pre-Buddhist culture, the Bon Po. In Dolpo the ancient Tibetan way of life combines animism with the teaching of Buddha. Overnight in Shey Gompa.Overnight in Tent Camp
Includes: Breakfast, Paked Lunch and Dinner.
We begin the day by following a pleasant trail amidst juniper trees which descends into a grey, stony canyon. Then the path begins to zigzag over bare rocks and coarse eroded soil until it eventually brings us to the top of Saldang-la pass. The subsequent descent towards the north is long and tiring but grazing yaks and sheep, and nomadic tents made from yak hair is a comforting sight. In Namduna Gaun we visit
Namgung monastery. The red stone monstery is built against the backdrop of a cliff on the north wall of a gorge. Overnight in Tent CampIncludes: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
We leave the village and climb up a slope and begin a long walk along dusty barren mountains. After 3-4 hours of hard climb, we begin to see Saldang Village below us on a plateau high above the Namga Khola stream. It has a picturesque appearance. Saldang is the largest village of the inner Dolpo area. The village stretches for nearly two kilometers on an open slope and consists of five villages having about eighty well-built houses with nearly six hundred people. It is a prosperous village not only agriculturally but also for its strategic location on a trade route to Tibet.Overnight in Tent Camp Includes: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
From Saldang, we walk further north along the Nagon Khola (river) on a wild and barren terrain. We begin our walk on a fairly gradual path with few ups and downs. On the way, we pass through Marang and Ki villages. Next, we cross a tributary of Panzang River and walk towards the east and cross the river again before reaching Yangze gompa which houses an old Bon-Po Monastery Overnight in Tent Camp Includes: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
From Yangze, there are two trails that connect to Sibu. To save time we will retrace the path back towards Saldang village, which will be much easier and shorter than the other route. From Saldang we walk along a river and pass through terraced fields, stupas, chortens, heaps of mani stones and a Chaiba monastery, then pass through the Namdo village, which is also prosperous, with about sixty houses having nearly 400 inhabitants. It stretches for more than 5 km on the high slopes to the left of Nam Khong Khola. The Namdo monastery is located near the river bed. Our journey continues further down the river for another two hours to camp near a small settlement of Sibu. Overnight in Tent Camp Includes: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
We walk along the Nam Khong Khola for a while and pass by caravans with yaks that are moving towards the Tibetan border. After turning east and walking for a while, we arrive at a confluence of two small streams. Next, the steep trail ascends to a grazing area below the Jeng La pass (4,900m/16,072ft). Our camp will be set up in this beautiful meadow. Includes: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
We get up early in the morning and set forth on today’s trek. It will take us two long hours to reach the top of the Jeng La pass from where we get remarkable views of the north face of the Dhaualgiri massif. From
here we descend on a rough trail to the Tarap Valley, a fascinating valley with vast plains in high mountains that extends twenty kilometers along Tarap Chu river. We camp close to the monastery at Tokyu. Overnight in tent camp. Includes: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
We trek downhill on a plain valley with patches of lush grass on both sides of the river which is completely different from other parts of inner Dolpo. There is also a marsh which is a common feature in the Desert Mountains of Tibet and the Ladakh Himalaya. Both the Bon Po and Buddhist sects are practiced in the valley. After a short trek, we reach Dho Tarap. Stay overnight in tent. Includes : Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
We spend today resting and strolling in the village of Dho Tarap which is surrounded by an irregular stone wall. Our walks will help us get acquainted with the local culture of the area. At Dho, about 40 houses are divided into three clusters and built in a haphazard way inhabited by few Tibetans and mostly Magars who are a hill tribe of Nepal. While here, we can visit a Buddhist Gompa which is closest to our campsite
or we could embark upon a 40-minute walk and visit a Bon Po Gompa.
From Tarap we descend towards a wide valley which eventually narrows into a gorge. We walk along juniper and wild rose bushes just above the tree line. On our trek we see herds of blue sheep and by the afternoon, we reach the confluence of the Tarap Chu and the Lang Khola, a stream that joins with Tarap River from further east. We will make our camp on a nice meadow also known as Kamakharka and spend the night there in tent. Includes : Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
We continue walking down the gorge of the Tarap River, at times alongside it. During our walk we pass by the local people who will be taking their herds to lower pastures for the winter. This will be one of the most exciting days of this trip as the valley becomes so narrow in a deep gorge that in some places we can jump from one side to another. Sometimes there is no trace of a path and we may have to walk across stone slabs fitted on logs in between the walls which act as a bridge. The gorge also provides unexpected adventure and thrills. At some places, the bridges are either damaged or washed away and we may be forced to cross the icy torrent on foot. Finally, we reach our camping spot beside the Tarap Khola at Khanigaon where we spend the night. Includes : Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
From the camp we follow a trail that takes us to the village of Lalberi. Our trail then passes through a lush forest, descends into another gorge and continues to follow the river again. After reaching Tarakot, we can visit Sandul Gompa which lies about 8 km east of the village at a juncture of Barbung Khola and Tarap Chu. The monastery stands on a hill to the south of Bheri River. Today we camp by the Tarap Chu river about 150 meters below Tarakot, near the police post. Stay overnight in Tent. Includes : Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
We begin our trek on a trail behind the Bheri River before crossing a bridge near the Lawan village. Our trail will continue alongside the big Bheri Rriver ascending until the Byas Gadi. From here the trail moves towards the west on a relatively easy trail. We cross the river again near the Lochakhola Gaon and ascend to Dunai for an overnight stay. Today’s trek will mostly be on a wonderful gorge with pine trees.
From Dunai, we trek along the Bheri River enjoying the beautiful landscape. On the way, we pass through Dhupichaur and Rupgad villages as well as a temple. We continue trekking via Kalagaonda village and Motipur village before reaching the small airstrip.
We take the earliest flight from Jhupal to Nepalgunj. Upon reaching Nepalgunj, we return to Kathmandu on the next available flight. After arriving in Kathmandu, we will be transferred to our hotel.To celebrate the successful completion of our journey, Himalayan Joy Adventure will host the farewell dinner. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Himalayan Joy Adventure will drop at the Tribhuwan International Airport terminal with sufficient time to check in for your flight. We hope that you had an incredible time in Nepal and encourage you to share your experiences with us on Trip Adviser or email. We welcome all feedback and hope that you had an experience of a lifetime with us! Have a safe flight!
Every day the world is facing a big issue of environmental pollution and in Nepal as well. Our field staffs are quite conscious about environmental pollution at any time and we encourage all. We would suggest to our guest to use boiled water or water purification pills than buying a bottle of water, it helps to avoid plastic bottles which can take long time to disappear. During the trek, if possible you can order same items food in a group which minimizes the fuel used and to make the campfire is almost forbidden. We would encourage being a responsible traveller so, just leaving foot-print on the trail and bring out all non-biodegradable which you had. Upper Mustang is one of the protected areas in Nepal.