Upper Dolpo Trek
Upper Dolpo Trek
The Upper Dolpo Trek route is a rugged and unspoiled region near Nepal's Tibetan border. The Dolpo region is located between the Dhaulagiri ranges and the Tibetan plateau. The entire region was inaccessible to trekkers until the opening of Dolpo to organized trekking groups in 1989. The west portion of the district is home to the Shey Phoksundo National Park, the largest in Nepal. Our Upper Dolpo Trekking journey starts in Kathmandu with tours of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. We travel to Nepalgunj and then to Juphal from where we start our trek in the Dolpo area that Peter Matthiessen's book. The Snow Leopard made popular for. Nepal's first English subtitled film on Dolpo, The Caravan was also a major hit and was nominated for the Oscar Award in the category of the best foreign-language picture. Trekking in the Dolpo region of Nepal helps you to witness the grandeur of the rugged, lovely valleys, fascinating areas, small villages, giant mountains and greenery pine trees, rhododendron, oaks, etc. The Upper Dolpo Trek's key highlights are an ancient beautiful forest, captivating Shey Phoksundo lake, remote Ringmo settlements, and centuries-old Buddhist monasteries known as Shey Gompa. Owing to the heavy snowfall the winter seasons are stopped for this journey. It is possible to do this Upper Dolpo Trek during the summer and monsoon season.
Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu (1,300m) and transferred to hotel
Upon your arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu, our company representative will meet and welcome you to Nepal and then you'll be transferred to your confirmed hotel. Once you finish the check-in procedure, you can rest & relax at the hotel. Later you will be accompained by the office staff for a short tour of Thamel to make you familiar with some good restaurants, ATMs, money changer and other necessary places you might need during your stay in Thamel.
Day 2: Sightseeing in Kathmandu heritage site
The very next morning, after breakfast you will leave for a full day sightseeing tour around Kathmandu valley. You can visit the sacred Pashupatinath Temple and Swyambhunath, very ancient and essentially enlisted in UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The biggest Buddhist Stupa at Boudhanath and the fine arts and historical architecture of Kathmandu Durbar Square reflecting the ancient Nepalese culture which is the highlights of our guided tour. A visit to Patan City will enchant you with its famous fine arts and historical architecture. On return to your hotel, you will have time to explore the local area, have dinner and perhaps take a leisurely stroll through the famous streets. Finally, day ends with a Authentic Nepalese Dinner in Nepali Cultural Restaurant.
Day 3: Fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj (150 m/ 490 ft)
After our short excursion in Kathmandu, we take an hour-long flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj, located in Western Nepal. Nepalgunj, a town near the Nepal-India border, is also the gateway to Simikot, Humla. The town itself is an interesting Terai town that showcases the diverse culture of Nepal. In Nepalgunj, we visit the local market, mini-zoo and nearby villages. Overnight in Nepalgunj. 1 hour flight.
Day 4: Fly from Nepalgunj to Juphal (2,475m / 8,118ft) and trek to Dunai (2,140m / 7,019ft)
In the early morning, you will travel to Juphal Airport from Nepalgunj. You fly over amazing landscapes witnessing Dhaulagiri and Annapurna ranges. Juphal Airport is the only airport in Dolpa. It was also the only place to depend on for Dolpo locals to connect to other parts of Nepal. Recently, road track to Dhadang is opened. This has given Dolpo people a glimpse of hope that they will have alternative transport options as well. After you land at Juphal, you will trek for 2-3 hours to reach Dunai. Dunai is the district headquarter of Dolpo based at 2000 meters on the bank of Thuli Bheri River. You will stay in a teahouse in Dunai.
Day 5: Trek from Dunai to Ankhe (2,896m/9,499ft)
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. 5-6 hours trek.
Day 6: Trek from Ankhe to Sulighat (2,282m)
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. 5-6 hours trek.
Day 7: Trek from Sulighat to Phoksundo Lake (3,611m/11,849ft)
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 at Phoksundo Lake. 4-5 hours trek.
Day 8: Acclimatization and rest 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 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 at Phoksundo Lake.
Day 9: Trek to Phoksundo Khola
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. 4-5 hours trek.
Day 10: Trek from Phoksundo Khola to Phoksundo Bhanjyang.
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). 6-7 hours trek.
Day 11: Trek from Phoksundo Bhanjyang to Shey Gompa (4,500m/14,760ft) via Kang-La pass (5,360m/17,581ft)
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 goat (Chyangra). After crossing a quaint log bridge we reach the Shey Gompa compound where we will be spending the night. 5-6 hours trek.
Day 12: Acclimatization and rest at Shey Gompa
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.
Day 13: Shey Gompa to Namduna Gaun (4,800m/15,744ft) via Saldang La (5,200m/17,056ft)
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 Namuda Gaun. 6-7 hours trek.
Day 14: Trek from Namduna Gaun to Saldang (3,620m/11,874ft)
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 Saldang. 4-5 hours trek.
Day 15: Trek from Saldang to Yangze Gompa (4,960m/16,267ft)
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 Yangze Gompa. 4-5 hours trek.
Day 16: Trek from Yangze Gompa to Sibu (4,560m/14,957ft)
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. 6-7 hours trek.
Day 17: Trek from Sibu to Jang-la Phedi (4,900m/16,072ft)
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. Overngiht in Jeng la Phedi. 5-6 hours trek.
Day 18: Trek from Jeng-La Phedi to Tokyu Gaon (4,209m/13,809ft)
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. 5 -6 hours trek.
Day 19: Trek from Tokyu to Dho Tarap (4,040m/13,251ft)
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). Overnight in Dho Tarap. 4-5 hours trek.
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 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.Overnight in Dho Tarap.
Day 21: Trek from Dho Tarap to Tarap Khola (KamaKharka) (3,800m/12,464ft)
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. 6-7 hours trek.
Day 22: Trek from Tarap Khola to Khanigaon (3,150m/10,332ft)
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. 4-5 hours trek.
Day 23: Trek from Khanigaon to Tarakot (2,537m/8,321ft)
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. Overnight in Tarakot. 4-5 hours trek.
Day 24: Trek from Tarakot to Dunai (2,140m/7,019ft)
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. Overnight in Dunai. 5-6 hours trek.
Day 25: Trek from Dunai to Jhuphal
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. Overnight in Jhuphal.2-3 hours trek.
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. There is nothing to do but trade emails with travel companions and organize the photos. To celebrate the successful completion of our journey, we will have a farewell dinner hosted by Himalayan Glacier. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 27: Leisure Day in Kathmandu
Leisure day at Kathmandu followed by farewell dinner & celebration. Leisure day at Kathmandu followed by farewell dinner & celebration. You can ask your guide to take you on a sightseeing trip inside Kathmandu Valley. On this day you can go to the various museums around the valley including the Narayanhiti Museum which earlier used to be the residence of the last king of Nepal. You may also go to the hilltop of Nagarkot. After some sightseeing around the world heritage sites in the valley, you will have a farewell dinner and enjoy with your Nepali friends and guide. You might even make plans for extending your stay for Chitwan jungle safari, rafting activities, and more with your guide.
Day 28: Departure
Finally, it’s SEE OFF TIME. There is nothing to do but trade emails with your travel companions and organize your photos. You will be picked from the Hotel by representatives of Wongchhu Peak Promotion staff and dropped at Tribhuvan International Airport 3 hours earlier than your flight time with a hope to see you again. On your way home you'll have plenty of time to plan your next adventure in the wonderful country of Nepal.
- Airport pickups and drops in a private vehicle
- Hotel accommodation in Kathmandu with breakfast on sharing basis
- Teahouse accommodation during the trek
- All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) during the trek
- All ground transportation on a comfortable private vehicle as per the itinerary
- Domestic flights (Kathmandu- Nepalgunj -Jhupal round trip)
- Guided city tour in Kathmandu by private vehicle
- Entrance fees for sightseeing/monument visits as per the itinerary
- An experienced, English-speaking and government-licensed trek leader and assistant trek leader (4 trekkers: 1 assistant guide)
- Porter service (2 trekkers: 1 porter)
- Staff costs including their salary, insurance, equipment, domestic airfare, food and accommodation
- Wongchhu Peak Promotion trekking duffel bag, cap and trekking map
- All necessary paperwork and trekking permits (National Park Permit, TIMS)
- Medical kit (carried by your trek leader)
- All government and local taxes
- Daily Dispatches on: www.wppnepal.com
- Welcome and Farewell dinner
- Meals in Kathmandu (except welcome and farewell dinner)
- Extra night accommodations in Kathmandu because of early arrival, late departure, early return from mountain (due to any reason) than the scheduled itinerary If required to change from airplane to helicopter flight to/from Lukla (i.e. weather) , additional costs will be shared by clients.
- Beverages and alcoholic drinks on trek - Personal trekking equipment
- All personal expenses, including Nepal Visa (for country entrance)
- Personal medical and evacuation insurance
- All other additional charges for additional services, including recommended TIP.
- Additional tips for tour guide, others as one sees fit.
- Personal purchase
1.0 Travel Documents
- Valid passport
- Credit/Debit card
- Passport size photo (6 pieces)
- Insurance paper and contact address
- Family contact number
2.0 Upper Body Wear
- Thermal Top Base Layer (2 Pcs)
- Fleece Jacket (1 Pcs)
- Gore-Tex Jacket (1 Pcs)
- Down Jacket (1 Pcs)
- Cotton T-Shirt (2 Pcs)
3.0 Lower Body Wear
- Thermal Bottom Base Layer (2 Pcs)
- Fleece Trouser (1pcs)
- Gore-Tex Pant (1 pcs)
- Mid Weight Pants (1Pcs)
- Light Weight Quick Dry Trekking Pants (2-3 Pairs)
- Gaiters for trekking boots
- Sun Cap
- Fleece Hat/ Warm Hat (1-2 Pcs)
- Neck Gaiter (2 Pcs)
- Thin fleece gloves
- Wind stopper/screen tap gloves
- Normal Socks (2-3 Pairs)
- Trekking Shoes (Gore-Tex)
- Slipper (1 Pair)
7.0 Sleeping Bags
- Sleeping bag -20°c to -30°c for Base camp
- Down Sleeping Bag -40°c for extreme comfort
- Thermarests Mattress (Cell foam)
- Sleeping bag Liner
- Inflatable Pillow
8.0 Trekking Equipment
- Power Bank
- Pee Bottle
- Altimeter watch
- Pocket Knife
- Walking Stick/Trekking Pole
- Satellite Phone with credit
- Headlight 500-700Lumens
- Spare Tape Slings/240cm
- Unlock Carabiner
- Lock Carabiner
9.0 Bag packs
- Rucksacks 35 L -50 L
10.0 Sun stuff
- Banana Boat/ Nivea Sun Cream (-20 Spf)
- Lip Guard -20 (Spf)
- Sun Glasses (Uv Protection)
11.0 Toiletries (Personal)
- Toilet Paper / Wet Tissue
- Garbage Bag
12.0 Eating & Drinkings
- 1 ltr. Water Bottle
- 1/1.5ltr. Thermos Mug (Opt.)
- Spoon / Fork (opt.)
- Bowl (opt.)
13.0 Medical / First Aid
- Brufen / Ibuprofens
- Handy Plaster
- Crack Bandage
- Tincture Iodine
- Ondem Cetirizine Electrolyte Minil 10mg (Palpitation, anxiety)
- Codopar (Headache & chest pain) Salbetol 4mg (Breathless)
- Azithromycin 500mg (chronic tonsillitis, fever, nose, throat infection-must take 5 days)
- Flupen 250mg (prevent wound infection)
- Allegra 120/180mg (Allergic tonsil)
- Menstrual Products
- Nail cutter
- Umbrella /Raincoat
- Hot water bag
- Trails Maps
- GPS Tracker (Recommended)
- Hand & Toe Warmer
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