Upper Dolpo Trek

Duration: 22 Days   |  
  • Destination: Nepal
  • Trip Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Transport: By Air
  • Food: Breakfast + Lunch + Dinner
  • Accommodation: Hotel + Teahouses + Lodges
  • Group Size: Min. 2 pax
  • Max Elevation: 5350m
Upper Dolpo Trek is one of the least ventured Himalayan destinations in the far flung corners of Nepal Far West. One can find complete ambiance within its beautiful scenic landscapes of rolling hills, verdant valley and high snow-capped mountains that includes Kanjibroba, Kagmara as far towards Dhaulagiri range. Upper Dolpo Trekking will be a great wonderful walk within its pristine environment from tall alpine tree lines of firs, pines and Himalaya spruce to desert like terrain.
 
The area around Upper Dolpo which is also well described in the famous Classic novel ‘Snow Leopard’ by Peter Mattessian who explored the region in late 1970’s, one can find more information of this mystical place from the movie Himalaya. The film was nominated for Oscar award as best foreign film in 1998, certainly a picturesque country to experience once in your life time as this adventure leads you to beautiful areas around emerald lake of Phoksundo and then to Crystal Monastery or Shey Gompa.
 
Upper Dolpo covers country’s largest national park with an area of 3,555 sq. kms known as ‘Shey-Phoksundo National Park’ that extends from Dolpo to further west of Mugu districts. The park is enriched with exotic flora and fauna almost extinct in this planet like rare herbs, medicinal plants including elusive snow-leopard and blue sheep with other bird life.
 
Besides its dramatic landscapes and awesome views, the culture of local Dolpo people and its impressive villages is equally captivating to soak into the local culture and age-old heritage of ancient Bon (pre Buddhism) practice with present Buddhism religion.
 
Upper Dolpo Trek begins with scenic super flight to land at Nepal Far South East at Nepalgunj city airport, where air journey continues in smaller plane to reach at Dolpo at Jhupal. From Jhupal, adventure starts heading past nice farm areas towards large town at Dunai, headquarter and administrative place of Dolpo district where walk leads further west to reach at scenic and beautiful Phoksundo Lake near Ringmo village.
 
Enjoying pleasant and scenic time at Phoksundo lake and exploring Ringmo village then walk leads to high Kang-la pass to reach remote and isolated Shey Gompa or Crystal Monastery, located close to nearby interesting crystal mountain embedded with semi-precious stones. At Shey Gompa tour of the monastery enriched with ancient religious scrolls, texts and colourful paintings with fresco, idols of Buddha and famous saint and gurus of both Bon and Buddhism sects.
 
From Shey Gompa return walk leads to cross several high scenic passes with excellent views of surrounding country with snow-capped peaks as route leads past Saldang to reach at large group of villages at Tokyu. Around Tokyu villages enjoy visiting nice and interesting places as walk continues heading into long Dho-Tarap valley which falls on old Trans Himalaya Salt Trade Route of Dolpo to Tibet.
 
Finally, walk comes slowly to an end on reaching historical village of Tarakot and then past Dunai to Jhupal where our walk completes taking a scenic exciting flight to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj, after concluding our marvelous adventure and experience on Upper Dolpo Trek.
 
Related Treks:

Highlights

  • An awesome journey within wildest country of Nepal Far Western Himalaya
  • Explore time forgotten villages and by outside world on hidden areas of Dolpo
  • On elusive and least visited destinations to Shey Gompa the Crystal Monastery
  • Far from town and villages for some days in close harmony of pristine nature
  • One of the longest and enjoyable adventure to scenic and high Upper Dolpo
  • Visit impressive villages interwoven with both ancient Bon and Buddhism religion

Day to Day Itinerary

  • Day 1 Fly to Nepalgunj (150 m) with 55 mins flight then transfer to hotel

    As flight time for Nepalgunj either morning or afternoon time, transfer to Kathmandu domestic airport for scenic flight to reach Nepal Far South West at Nepalgunj, a city of low and warmer temperatures.

    Flying for 55 mins to land at Nepalgunj airport, during air super panorama of Himalayan chain of mountains from Langtang-Ganesh-Manaslu-Annapurna to Dhaulagiri range.

    As place lands at Nepalgunj airport, where short drive takes you respective hotels within Nepalgunj city, of strong Indian culture influence due to its closeness with Indian border of UP (Utter Pradesh), afternoon explore the city and catch glimpse of South Western Nepalese local culture and custom.

    • Day 2 Morning flight to Jhupal (2,475 m) drive to Dunai (2,140 m) - 03 hrs.

      Morning after early breakfast transfer to Nepalgunj airport for short connecting

      Flight in a smaller plane to land at Jhupal in Dolpo, where our other camping staff

      and porters receives you.

      On reaching Jhupal where short exciting drive leads past farm villages and forest

      areas to reach a large settlement and town at Dunai for overnight in local simple

      lodge.

      Dunai the main center and headquarter of whole Dolpo district with time to

      explore around this interesting town with markets to observe Far West

      Nepalese people traditional customs and interesting cultures.

      • Day 3 Trek to Chepka (2,838 m) - 06 hrs

        Morning walks past Dunai to cross a bridge above Thulo Bheri River and climb to a ridge then reach within Phoksundo River valley facing views of Kagmara peaks.

        From here route descend past farm villages within walnut tree garden and heading close to a stream at Dhera, where short climb takes you at Raha-Gaon village, populate by Thakuri a Hindu indigenous tribe of Nepal Far West, then downhill walk into forested area to reach overnight camp at Chepka a small farm village. 

        • Day 4 Trek to Samdua village (2,960m) -06 hrs

          From Chepka morning with short climb and then descend to a forest near a river, where climb continues on leaving the forest area, and then downhill starts to cross a small bridge at Ryajik village

          Trek further to Samdua for overnight stop which is close to the entrance of Phuksumdo National Park.

          • Day 5 Trek to Phoksundo Lake (3,630 m) - 06 hrs

            Walk today leads to our first highlight of the adventure heading into Phoksundo Lake after Pungmo Khola valley, with descend to reach upper side of Phoksundo Khola.

            Trek continues towards Ringmo, an interesting village of Tibetan origin with mud plastered chhorten and Mani (prayer) walls, from here short walk to Phoksumdo Lake for overnight camp near Phoksumdo Lake

            • Day 6 Rest day at Phoksundo Lake for local excursion

              A rest day, and enjoy views of great beautiful landscapes with peaks of Kagmara, visit nearby Ringmo village of great interest located by the lake side.

              • Day 7 Trek to Phoksundo-Khola (3,750 m) - 05 hrs.

                From here on the trail to Upper Dolpo as walk follows contouring rocky ledge high over a river bank in between unsteady path.

                As walk proceeds at the end of a lake past summer grazing fields of yaks and other cattle, walk into a wide valley to reach at Phoksundo Khola (stream) for overnight camp.

                • Day 8 Trek to Phoksundo Bhanjyang (4,717 m) - 04 hrs

                  Morning walk leads past Phoksundo Khola up on hilly slopes towards north direction, as climb leads to a ridge top enjoy grand views of green wide valley with Kang-La pass in the far distance which is on-route Shey Gompa, and then reaching our overnight camp stop around nice and green summer pasture. 

                  • Day 9 Cross Kang -La (5,350 m) and Trek to Shey Gompa (4,160 m) -06 hrs

                    Morning a steep climb to the top of Kang-la pass, on the highest spot of the adventure to reach Shey Gompa or Crystal Monastery, which is close to Crystal Mountain of shrot distance.

                    From Phoksundo Bhanjyang climb on stone and rocky path to Kang-la pass at above 5,350 m high rewarded with grand views of snow-peaks include as far to Mt. Dhaulagiri.

                    After the top of Kang-la then descend to reach bottom of a hill near a river, then unto a remote isolated area encountering Buddhist prayer monument with Chorten and Mani.

                    From here short walk reaches you to our main goal and highlight at Shey Gompa situated beneath beautiful looking Crystal Mountain, renowned and as well respected as a Holy Mountain close located close to the monastery.

                    • Day 10 Rest day at Shey Gompa around Crystal Monastery

                      Rest day at Shey Gompa in a serene environment, completely out of this world in the harmony of nature visit Shey Monastery also called Crystal Monastery,

                      Shey Gompa a great place which is well described by Peter Matthiessen in his famous classic novel the ‘Snow Leopard’. (Can find in book stores around Kathmandu in Thamel) 

                      • Day 11 Trek to Namgung (4,608 m) via Sela (Gela) La (5,094 m)

                        Journey continues to a wall canyon to reach high at Sela also called as Gela-la at 5,094 m high offers great views of Mt. Dhaulagiri range of peaks, from here downhill walk to Namgung Gaon for overnight stop.

                        • Day 12 Trek to Saldang (3,770 m) - 05 hours.

                          After a marvelous time then walk leads on dusty trail within windswept terrain heading with steep climb to reach at overnight camp and stop at nice village of Saldang.

                          An impressive and large village of the region situated on high side of a huge plateau like of Far South Western Tibet. 

                          • Day 13 Trek to Cha-Gaon (4,910 m) - 05 hrs.

                            Morning walk follows Nang Chu River with short ups and down past Sugu-Gaon and Dechen Lapran a cattle herder settlement

                            Head to overnight camp at Chagoan village with old Rapa Gompa of pre Buddhist and ancient Bon-Pa culture.

                            • Day 14 Trek to Dachu Khola Camp at (4,700 m) - 06 hrs

                              Morning walk heading south to Tarap valley around Tokyu and Dho Tarap village, then reaching at Dachu Khola and beyond, crossing river through farm fields, and then into Yak herder areas for overnight camp.

                              • Day 15 Cross Jyanta-La at (5,220 m) and walk to Phedi (4,900 m) - 06 hrs

                                From this pleasant camp morning walk follows a river for some time on route encountering yaks and mules laden with caravan heading on route to Tibet.

                                Trade with Tibet exists since past hundreds of years on this ancient Trans Himalayan Salt and Caravan Trade Route between the two countries of Nepal Far West and Tibet.

                                From the base at Jyanta-la Pass where walk leads to a steep climb to reach on top of the pass along with views of massive mountain range, and then descend to the base of the pass on route to Tokyu village.

                                • Day 16 Trek to Tokyu Gaon (4,209 m) via Jeng La (5,090m) -06 hrs

                                  After steep tough climb today an easy walk to reach a large village of Tokyu Gaon for overnight, an interesting and impressive village within inner Dolpo area the place around consists of more than ten villages with nice tended farm fields having few old monasteries. 

                                  • Day 17 Trek to Dho Tarap (3, 944 m) - 05 hrs

                                    After Tokyu Gaon, on downhill trail towards Tarap Chu as walk leads on a broad green valley past scenic wide valley coming across Sheppard’s and cattle herders settlements where Yaks and Sheep graze around this lovely valley, as walk continues to our overnight camp at Dho Tarap, another interesting village with mix tribes of Tibetans origin as well Magar of western mid hills.

                                    • Day 18 Trek to Ghyamgar (3,759 m) - 07 hrs

                                      Morning descend to Tarap valley, the largest and longest valley of Dolpo area covers nearly 20 k.m of distance, stretches from Tarap Chu River to join Thuli Bheri River near Tarakot village.

                                      Walk heads to Langa with beautiful cascading waterfalls then on south route to Sisaul a small place of Kesila to reach our overnight camp at Ghyamgar.

                                      • Day 19 Trek to Tarap Khola (3,652 m) via Chhyugar (3,440 m) - 06 hrs

                                        From this nice camp site morning starts within a nice valley of Tarap to enter into a narrow gorge with some vegetation of juniper and wild rose bushes.

                                        Walk leads towards a place called Tol-Tol with large overhanging cave where walk continues to reach at the confluence of River Tarap Chu and Lang Khola, overnight camp by the river.

                                        • Day 20 Trek to Tarakot (2,540 m) - 06 hrs

                                          Morning walk begins heading into small wooded area, following a river all the way at Tarakot, one of the large and interesting village of inner Dolpo with an old history as a fort village guarding on this old Trans Himalaya Salt Trade Route, a place with well maintained terraced farm fields.

                                          At Tarakot village visit its old Sandul Gomba (monastery) located on the junction of Barbung Khola and Tarap Chu River where for overnight camp is set.

                                          • Day 21 Trek to Dunai - 05 hrs then drive to Jhupal - 02 hr jeep ride

                                            After Tarakot, last day walk to Dunai then taking a short drive to reach the end of our adventure at Jhupal for last overnight stop and flight back to Kathmandu.

                                            Morning walk on a wide trail with short climb with downhill towards Thuli Bheri River valley to reach Dunai, on reaching at Dunai taking a jeep drive to Jhupal to catch our next morning flight to Nepalgunj.

                                            • Day 22 Morning flight to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj and transfer to hotels

                                              After a great adventure around Upper Dolpo where short walk leads at Jhupal airstrip, and then board in a small aircraft for scenic short flight to Nepalgunj city.

                                              At Nepalgunj with time to get refreshed in hotels before connecting flight back to Kathmandu, on reach at Kathmandu airport transfer back to your respective hotels.

                                              What to Expect

                                              • Two nighs hotel at Nepalgunj
                                              • Round trip flight fare (Kathmandu - Nepalgunj - Juphal - Nepalgunj - Kathmandu)
                                              • Standard meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) during the trek
                                              • Government license holder guide
                                              • Strong and helpful porter with proper equipments (1 porter for 2 people)
                                              • Salary, food, accommodation and insurance for guide and porters
                                              • Tea house/lodge accommodation during the trek
                                              • Special Upper Dolpo Trekking Permit
                                              • Comprehensive first aid kit
                                              • Government taxes and official expenses
                                              • International airfare and taxes
                                              • Nepal entry visa fee
                                              • Your Travel Insurance (compulsory)
                                              • Lunch and dinner whilst in Kathmandu
                                              • Entrance fee in the heritage sites during city tour.
                                              • All the expenses of personal nature
                                              • Any kind of drinks and desserts during the trek
                                              • Tips to guide and porter (Tipping is expected)

                                              Useful Information

                                              1. Insurance
                                              Travel insurance is mandatory for all clients undertaking any trip. It should provide adequate security for the full duration of the tour to cover personal injury, medical expenses, repatriation expenses, helicopter rescue and loss of luggage. Make sure that your insurance policy covers up to 2500-5000 meters of altitude.
                                               
                                              2. Packing List
                                              • Sunglasses
                                              • Sun-Cream and Lip Balm with high SPF
                                              • Hat/Cap
                                              • T-shirt, Vests and Shirt
                                              • Fleece/Sweater
                                              • Fleece Jacket
                                              • Down Jacket
                                              • Waterproof Jacket and Trousers
                                              • Warm Gloves
                                              • Hiking Boots
                                              • 3-4 pairs of socks
                                              • Day pack (30-40 liters)
                                              • Torch light
                                              • Water bottle (Minimum 2 liters)
                                              • Small Hand Towel
                                              • Sleeping Bag for up to -15 Degree Celsius
                                              3. Guide and Porter 
                                               
                                              We provide experienced, knowledgeable and honest guide with good communication skills in English language to make your trip wonderful. The guide will provide all the information about the mountains, different histories, cultures, traditions and many more. We will provide 1 porter for 2 people. The porters are helpful as well as strong and will carry a maximum of 25 kgs combined. After giving the best services along with the hard works up in the mountains, guides and porters expect some tips from your side. Tipping culture is very common in tourism sector.
                                               
                                              4. Altitude Sickness
                                               
                                              Altitude sickness, also known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), is a pathological effect of high altitude on humans, caused by acute exposure to low partial pressure of oxygen at high altitude. It commonly occurs above 3000 meters. It presents as a collection of nonspecific symptoms, acquired at high altitude or in low air pressure, resembling a case of "flu, carbon monoxide poisoning, or a hangover". However, most people can ascend to 3000 meters without difficulty.
                                               
                                              Primary Symptoms of Altitude Sickness:
                                              • Lack of appetite, nausea, or vomiting
                                              • Fatigue or weakness
                                              • Dizziness or lightheadedness
                                              • Swelling of hands, feet, and face
                                              • Insomnia
                                              • Shortness of breath upon exertion
                                              • Nosebleed
                                              • Persistent rapid pulse
                                              • Drowsiness
                                              • General malaise
                                              Prevention:
                                               
                                              Ascending slowly is the best way to avoid altitude sickness. Avoiding strenuous activity such as skiing, hiking, etc. in the first 24 hours at high altitude reduces the symptoms of AMS. Alcohol and sleeping pills are respiratory depressants, and thus slow down the acclimatization process and should be avoided. Alcohol also tends to cause dehydration and exacerbates AMS. Thus, Marvel Adventure strictly suggests avoiding alcohol consumption in the first 24–48 hours at a higher altitude.
                                               
                                              Guides and porters from Marvel Adventure are very much familiar with this problem due to their experience. All of them are trained with basic medical trainings and hence they definitely can help you.

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