Upper Dolpo Trek is one of the most challenging adventures experienced in rural areas of western Nepal. Dolpo region was lately opened to outsiders. Still, Upper Dolpo Trekking is off the beaten path and welcomes fewer visitors compared to other popular trekking regions. Upper Dolpo is the largest district of Nepal on the basis of land; which comprises a geographical structure quite similar to Tibetan highlands. Visit the deepest lake of the world, Shey Phoksundo, get insight into the authentic lifestyle of local inhabitants, and encounter rare floras and faunas along strenuous ascend and descent making this trek one hell of an amazing experience.
We begin our Upper Dolpo Trek as we take a domestic flight to Nepalgunj followed by another flight to Juphal. It is the starting point of the trek from where we start our trekking activity; towards astounding villages, settlements, lakes, waterfalls, ridges, mountains, yak pastures, etc.; all the way to Phoksundo Lake, Shey Gompa, and numerous other settlements. In adventurous passion, we get back to Juphal, Nepalgunj, and fly back to Kathmandu after more than twenty days of trekking in Dolpo.
During our Upper Dolpo Trek, we will be entering the region that seems like it is separated from the rest of the world. Along with the magical views of the Himalayas; the major highlights of this trek lie in its exploring and learning opportunity of local living and lifestyle. And finally, it takes you into the wild. Whereas, passing through a couple of main high passes namely Shey La at 5000 m and Jeng La at 5110 m; really tests your fitness level.
Moreover, this is fully tent camp trekking except in major cities, which is a heavenly experience for adventure lovers. Also while embarking on Upper Dolpo Trekking, trekkers require a special permit. We will be arranging the permits and including their cost in the total trip cost of Upper Dolpo Trek. Regarding the best seasons, the months from May to November are an ideal time to join in.
Upper Dolpo Trek is a long and challenging off-the-beaten-path adventure around remote areas of Nepal. Therefore it requires a high level of physical fitness along with a trekking experience around the Himalayan surroundings. Hence, if you are passionate about experiencing what it is like to trek into the wild then join our Upper Dolpo Trekking for an incredible adventure. For information about this trek or to join this trek, simply drop your inquiry or fill out the Booking form.
If this itinerary doesn’t suit your requirement or if you want to customize it, please feel free to contact us. This trek could be customized as per your required time frame and budget limits.
Day 1 : Arrival day in Kathmandu::
Upon your arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu, you will be welcomed by a representative of Nepal Mountain Trekkers after you complete the formalities at the customs of the airport. You will then be taken to the hotel and our representatives will provide a brief overview of the travel itinerary and overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 2 : Kathmandu valley sightseeing & trek preparation::
Upon your arrival at Kathmandu, you will be preparing for the trek while enjoying sightseeing around Kathmandu Valley. Several monuments, UNESCO enlisted sites including the Basantapur Durbar Square, Pashupatinath Temple, and other temples and Stupas are the places you will visit on the second day and overnight stay at a hotel.
Day 3 : Fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj (1,500m/ 4,900ft): 1 hour flight::
On your third day, you will be taking a flight to Nepalgunj from Kathmandu. Nepalgunj is a vibrant city located in the Mid-Western Region of Nepal. Nepalgunj is nearby the border Indian states of Rupaidiha and also Bahraich. The rest of the day you will sightsee around the local bazaar using a horse cart which might come as a wonderful moment for the foreigners. Bageshowri Temple in Nepalgunj is quite popular and a visit to the Hindu temple in the evening will be a good thing to do in the evening and overnight stay at a hotel.
Day 4 : Fly from Nepalgunj to Juphal (2,320m/7,610ft) & trek to Dunai (2,850m/9,348ft): 2-3 hrs::
A 35-minute flight from Nepalgunj Airport takes you to Juphal on the fourth day. The flight is awesome as the aircraft flies over the mountain ridges, the beautiful valleys, and the majestic-looking mountains. Jhupal Airport is a small airstrip amidst the mountains and the hills. You will also get a first-hand experience of the geographical diversity of Nepal as in an hour or so you will reach a small village amidst the mountains from the hot city of Terai. From Jhupal, you will walk for a few hours until you reach Dunai, the headquarters of the Dolpa district, and overnight stay at a guesthouse.
Day 5 : Dunai to Ankhe (2,896m/9,499ft): 5-6 hours ::
We leave Dunai to 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 and overnight in Ankhe.
Day 6 : Ankhe to Sulighat (3,500m/11,480ft): 5-6 hrs::
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 along 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.
Day 7 : Sulighat to Phoksundo Lake (3,350m/10,988ft): 4-5 hrs::
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 Phoksundo Lake and an overnight stay at Phoksundo Lake.
Day 8 : Rest Day at Phoksundo Lake::
Today will be a well-deserved rest day for acclimatization at Phoksundo Lake. During the day we can embark on a short hike to the village of Ringmo and its 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 footwear. Both men and women often wear religious amulets and strings of coral, amber, and turquoise. Overnight at Phoksundo Lake.
Day 9 : Phoksundo Lake to Phoksundo Khola: 4-5 hrs::
Our trail moves around the top western end of 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.
Day 10 : Phoksundo Khola to Phoksundo Bhanjyang: 6-7 hours ::
For an hour or so we walk on a trail that leads us along the level path through a glacial valley that heads due north. At the convergence of the Phoksundo Khola and another mountain stream, there is an old wooden bridge. From here, we walk towards the northeast. 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. During our trek today, we also get to admire the views of Chhamlang Peak 6 (6739m) and Peak 7 (6105m).
Day 11 : Phoksundo Bhanjyang to Shey Gompa (4,500m/14,760ft) via Kang-La Pass (5,360m/17,581ft): 5-6 hours ::
In the morning, we ascend on a steep trail littered with slate towards the pass. The climb to the top of the pass is quite strenuous. From the top of Kang-la Pass, we get excellent views of the large valley dissected by a gushing river. We descend to the valley floor on a steep trail. Next, we walk on a meandering trail along the banks of a river, crossing and re-crossing it several times. There are mud caves lining the hills overlooking the river. We also pass through meadows where we see grazing yaks, hundreds of sheep, and domestic mountain goats (Chyangra). After crossing a quaint log bridge we reach the Shey Gompa compound where we will be spending the night.
Day 12 : Rest day at Shey Gompa the crystal monastery::
Shey Gompa was built in 1655 and the monastery is noted for its giant copper with a 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 rooted 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 and overnight in Shey Gompa.
Day 13 : Shey Gompa to Namduna Gaun (4,800m/15,744ft) via Saldang La (5,200m/17,056ft): 6-7 hours ::
Today, you start by following a pleasant track amidst juniper, which ascends to a grey, stony canyon. This begins to zigzag over bare rocks and coarse eroded soil until it eventually brings you to a flat spot, suitable for a brew or lunch if the weather is fine. Then we continue very steeply up for 20 minutes before traversing to the top of the 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 are a comforting sight. In Namduna Gaun we visit Namgung monastery. The red stone monastery is built against the backdrop of a cliff on the north wall of a gorge and overnight in Namuda Gaun.
Day 14 : Namduna Gaun to Saldang (3,620m/ 11,874ft): 4-5 hours ::
Leaving Namduna we start climbing. Further on it begins a long thrilling traverse along some dusty barren mountains. Looking down into the valley bottom it is very evident that the people have made the best use of the fertile valley as one sees the neatly terraced fields showing bright patches of green and ripening crops. You ascend before going down steep slopes to the picturesque village of Salding, situated on a plateau high above the Nam Khong nala and the biggest village of the inner Dolpo area. After 3-4 hours of hard climbing, 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 in the inner Dolpo area and overnight in Saldang.
Day 15 : Saldang to Yangze Gompa (4,960m/16,267ft): 4-5 hours ::
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 a few ups and downs. On the way, we pass through Marang and Ki villages. Next, we cross a tributary of the Panzang River and walk towards the east and cross the river again before reaching Yangze Gompa which houses an old Bon-Po Monastery, and overnight in Yangze Gompa.
Day 16 : Yangze Gompa to Sibu (4,560m/14,957ft): 6-7 hours::
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.
Day 17 : Sibu to Jeng-la Phedi (4,900m/16,072ft): 5-6 hours ::
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 and overnight in Jeng la Phedi.
Day 18 : Jeng-la Phedi to Tokyu Gaon (4209m/13809ft) via Jeng La pass (5,090m/16,695ft): 5-6 hours ::
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 Dhaulagiri 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 the Tarap Chu River. We camp close to the monastery at Tokyu.
Day 19 : Tokyu to Dho Tarap (4,040m/13,251ft): 4-5 hours ::
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 Himalayas. Both the Bon Po and Buddhist sects are practiced in the valley. After a short trek, we reach Dho Tarap and overnight in Dho Tarap.
Day 20 : Rest Day at Dho Tarap ::
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 a 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 and overnight in Dho Tarap.
Day 21 : Dho Tarap to Tarap Khola (Kamakharka) (3,800m/12,464ft): 6-7 hours ::
From Tarap we descend towards a wide valley that eventually narrows into a gorge. We walk along with 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 the Tarap River from further east. We will make our camp on a nice meadow also known as Kamakharka and spend the night.
Day 22 : Tarap Khola to Khanigaon (3,150m/10,332ft): 4-5 hours ::
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. In 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.
Day 23 : Khanigaon to Tarakot (2,537m/8,321ft): 4-5 hours ::
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 the Bheri River. Today we camp by the Tarap Chu River and overnight in Tarakot.
Day 24 : Tarakot to Dunai (2,140m/7,019ft): 5-6 hours ::
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 River 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 and overnight in Dunai.
Day 25 : Dunai to Jhuphal: 2-3 hours ::
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 and overnight in Jhuphal.
Day 26 : Fly from Jhuphal to Nepalgunj and then to Kathmandu::
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 and overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 27 : Departure Day::
Your Upper Dolpo Trek comes to an end today. In this trek full of diverse natural beauty, adventure, and architectural excellence, we hope that you created some wonderful memories. Today our representative from Nepal Mountain Trekkers will escort you to the airport and we bid you farewell. We hope you enjoyed your visit here to Nepal with us.
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