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Home > Trekking > Upper Dolpo Trek

Upper Dolpo Trek

Season: May-June and September Location: Nepal (Western Region) Altitude 5,460 m Difficulty level Strenuous****
Trip Fact

Destination : Nepal (Western Region)

Duration      : 28 Days

Style Of Trek : Camping

Accommodations
  • 4 nights in Kathmandu
  • 1 night Nepalgunj
  • 21 days camping
  • 1 night lodge in Jomsom.
Meals
  • Breakfast 27
  • Lunch 22
  • Dinner 22
Total Price
On Request
Activities: Trekking
0 review(s)
Trip code: FTUD
Trip Details
About Upper Dolpo Trek

Upper Dolpo preserves one of the last remnants of traditional Tibetan culture. It is one of the remotest and least exposed areas of Nepal, it offers opportunities to explore territory which is not much frequented by the travelers. Also it is one of the highest inhabited places on earth, with scattered fortress like villages and monasteries nestling amongst mountains of stark, ascetic beauty. Upper Dolpo trek is a walk through the wild west of Nepal, it is hard, need to cross high passes and susceptible to heavy snows most of the time of the year. But this remote and rugged protected area is both scenically and culturally attractive. Exiting to Jomsom through lower Mustang is a good option for those who love to experience more wilderness. This stunning trail goes southeast crossing some high passes and remote villages to Jomsom.

Trip Highlights:

     

    • Completely an off beaten challenging trek
    • Stunning Torquoise Phoksumdo Lake
    • Beautiful and remote villages
    • Crossing of High Passes with spectacular Himalayan Scenery
    • Spectacular landscapes
    • Old monasteries both of Buddhist and Bon Po religion
    • Crystal Holy mountain of the Dolpo region
    • Opportunity to see the pure Tibetan culture and meet the inhabitants living in some of the highest villages in the world.
    • Wildlife

Upon arrival pick up and transfer to your hotel. We will assist you for a check in to your room then after we will meet for briefing of the trip. Also today we will collect Passport, 06 passport size photographs for working out the trek permit.

Overnight at the hotel.

Includes: Transfers on a Private AC vehicle & Accommodation

In the morning after breakfast preparation of the trek then later city guide will pick you up and then takes for a tour of SWAYABUNATH stupa one of the world’s most glorious Buddhist Chaityas said to be 2,000 years old. After we drive 18 km east to an ancient palace of BHAKTAPUR filled with monuments, most terra-cotta with carved wood columns, palaces and temples. We end our day with a visit to Nepal’s most sacred Hindu shrine PASHUPATINATH. We will have some time to do last minute shopping before leaving for the trek.
Overnight at the hotel

Includes: Accommodation, breakfast, sightseeing tour, local guide and entrance fee during the sightseeing tour

Morning free day – afternoon as per the flight timing drive to airport for 45 minutes flights to Nepalgunj, situated in the west Nepal for connecting your flight to Juphel next morning.
Overnight at the hotel.
Includes: Breakfast, transfers to the airport, local guide & accommodation.

Early morning we transfer you to the airport for flight to Juphal (2,320m/7,610ft). The flight will be over the central Himalayas, with views of Manaslu, Annapurna and Dhaulagiri peaks to the north. Upon arrival at Juphal our trekking staffs fix up the gear and start our journey to Dolpo. Today it’s a short 3 hrs walk from the airstrip to our overnight camp at Dunai village (2,030 m). The trek starts with an hour downhill walk through the village below the airstrip, then leading through the terraced fields to the Bheri River and the narrow gorge to camp at Dunai.

Overnight in a camp

Includes: Breakfast, transfer to the airport; trekking crew; porter support, accommodation in a tented camp, breakfast, lunch and dinner

From the camp at Dunai the route crosses the new suspension bridge then turns west following the trail past the hospital. The trail soon begins to climb up the side of the treeless Thulo Bheri valley, where it crests a ridge and then enters the Phoksundo river valley, finally reaching another ridge which is marked by cairns at 2,499m/8,197ft. During the walk excellent view of the Kagmara Peak up the valley can be seen. This wonderful walk leads to a large side canyon, then descending gently on the long downhill slope through the scattered houses and walnut groves to a stream at 2,810m/9,217ft the trail below the stream leads to Dhera, a winter settlement where people from higher villages keep herds of cows and goats, however the route leads the upper trail climbing to Rahagaon, a Thakuri village at 2,900m/9,512ft, where there is a Gompa dedicated to the local god, Mastha, guardians of this village. Trek from here passes through the lower part of Rahagaon and then descends to the village water supply at the Phoksundo khola. Passing through another canyon, the path heads downhill through deep dark forests to a large stream, finally emerging at the entrance to the Shey Phoksundo National Park at B (2,896m/9,499ft) where we will stay for the overnight camp.

Includes: Trekking crew; porter support, tented camp, breakfast, lunch and dinner

The trail from the camp ascends a little bit and then drop downs along the forested riverbed, then it again climbs up steeply to about 2,900m. The trail goes up and down for quite a bit which makes it bit monotonous, but there are several streams along the way that offer a chance to cool off. The trail eventually leaves the forests and traverses a grassy slope high above the river. After a while the trail once again drops down steeply into forest until it reaches a cliff, whereby a dizzying drop on a wobbly stone staircase to the river bank has to be undertaken. You can almost look down between your toes to see the fast-flowing river below. After reaching the river at 2,950m, the trail becomes a collection of rocks and sticks that form a dyke along the river bank. It’s hard to imagine how the local people bring their yaks and cows along this trail, but they do. We will have a lunch break at Renje after we will continue our journey to Boarding for a camp. The walk is along the Phoksundo it is a gradual up and then goes to a flat portion.

Overnight in a Camp.
Includes: Trekking crew; porter support, tented camp, breakfast, lunch and dinner

Our trek continues up and down along the valley floor to the confluence of the Phoksundo and Pungmo Kholas. After crossing to the western side of the Phoksundo Khola on a wooden bridge, then the path follows the west bank of the Pungmo Khola which leads all the way to Phoksundo Lake 3,500m/11,480ft near Ringmo village. This is Bonpo country, where people practice a shamanistic-influenced religion that predates Tibetan Buddhism.

The Lake is surreally spectacular. It is 4.8 km long, 1.8 km wide and said to be 650 m deep, making it Nepal’s deepest Lake.

Includes: Trekking crew; porter support, tented camp, breakfast, lunch and dinner

Trek today becomes more interesting and challenging as it climbs towards more remote region of Dolpo. Trail continues to the western end of Phuksundo Lake as it contours on a rocky ledge along the 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 the walk leads through the valley, crossing the river, avoiding the occasional boggy marsh underfoot and then coming on the bank of the river for an overnight stay.

Includes: Trekking crew; porter support, tented camp, breakfast, lunch and dinner

Our trek continues after a breakfast, today we take the trail which follow the main valley for another hour to Kang Gopa, a pretty camp site in a grove birch trees at 3,710 m . Then we climb steeply from Kang Gopa and stay on the grassy ridge. We then make another long climb up the ridge past a few groves of birch trees. On the way you will have some great views of Shey Shikar (6,139 m) and Kang Chunne (6,443 m) dominating the skyline to the west. After reaching the top at 4,200 m the trail drops down gently on a rocky path to Lar Tsa. We will be setting up the camp just beside the river at 4,120 m.

Includes: Trekking crew; porter support, tented camp, breakfast, lunch and dinner

After breakfast we continue our journey by taking the trail which goes up the valley with sporadic juniper and azalea before crossing the river on a bridge. Then the trail climbs to the top of a scree slope at 4,490 m, than continues way up a grassy ridge to a crest at 4,640 m. After, it drops down to Snowfields Camp which is just beside the river. The camp is at the foot of the pass that will lead us to Inner Dolpo. Name Snowfields Camp was used by Peter Mathiesson in his book “Snow Leopard”.

Includes: Trekking crew; porter support, tented camp, breakfast, lunch and dinner

Today we start the day by crossing the river then continue up in the grassy slopes towards Kang La Pass. It will take around 3 hours to reach the pass by following the trail climbing up the steep hill littered with slate. From the pass you can get a spectacular panoramic view of Tibetan mountains in the north and huge massif of Dhaulagiri in the east. We then descend down steeply on the soft scree trails towards the valley floor which then winds up along the banks of the river crossing and re-crossing it many times. There are mud caves lining the hills overlooking the river and we pass through meadows where hairy yaks, hundreds of sheep and domestic mountain goat (Chengra) can be found grazing as well near the odd nomadic hut of the herders. A red chorten heralds our arrival at Shey Gompa 4,500m/14,760ft where a quaint wooden, log bridge leads up to our destination at Shey Gompa compound for our overnight camp. Shey is located at a river confluence under Crystal Mountain which is regarded as a holiest mountain by the people of Dolpo.

Includes: Trekking crew; porter support, tented camp, breakfast, lunch and dinner

This is a rest day we can use this day to explore Shey meaning crystal, this monastery is also known as the Crystal Mountain (well described in Peter Matthissen classic novel Snow Leopard). The lama of Shey resides at a red hermitage known as Tsakang gompa which is north of Shey. It is rather a retreat than a monastery. Tsakang had been a meditation centre of many famous lamas from Tibet.

Shey Gompa belong to the Chaiba community, followers of great saint Padmasambhava, known as Guru Ringpoche and Kagyu sects. It was the first Kagyupa monastery and its founder was the lama Tenzing Ra-Pa, built during 11th century. Shey 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. Drutup Yeshe first introduced Buddhism in the Dolpo valley. Hundreds of years ago he came to Dolpo encountering a wild people whose supreme God was a ‘fierce mountain and nature spirit’.

Crystal Mountain is to the east of Shey gompa it is one of the strangest mountain, as its contorted cliffs are laced with quartz and embedded with a rich variety of marine fossils. Shey Gompa stands above the confluence of Kangjunala and Yeju Nala River. Near the confluence there is a group of prayer mills turned by water wheels. Each year people from all over Dolpo region travel great distances to attend the festival at Shey and to complete the circuit of Crystal Mountain. This is an amazing trip to here that certainly makes this trek as special as only few people have ever ventured up to Shey gompa. Overnight in a camp.

Includes: Trekking crew; porter support, tented camp, breakfast, lunch and dinner

Our trek today heads east following Sephu Khola which passes through mani walls, isolated fields and doksas (seasonal settlements for yak herders). After sometime we follow the zig zag trail which goes over bare rocks and coarse eroded soil towards the top of Saldang La 5,200 m. From the top of Saldang La you can get some great views of the Tibetan Mountains in the north, Mustang in the east with Crystal Mountain and Kanjiroba in the west. We then turn north make a long descent to the pastures at Namgung (4415m) for an overnight stay. Namgung consist of a few stone houses and a relatively new gompa.

Like Shey, the Namgung monastery is of the Karma-pa sect. The monastery, a red stone structure, is built against the backdrop of a cliff on the north wall of a gorge. The red and white colors of the gimpy and its stupas are the only color in this stark landscape. The village itself consists of only few stone houses, terraced fields on both sides of the tributary, which flow down to the Nam Khong valley. The economy of the region is based on agriculture, animal husbandry and trading. In Dolpo only one crop a year can be grown and this is mainly barley. In some villages buckwheat, oil seed, potato and radish are also cultivated. Recently the main cliff temple collapsed and the villagers have now built a beautiful new monastery in the village itself. Overnight in a camp.

Includes: Trekking crew; porter support, tented camp, breakfast, lunch and dinner

Today after breakfast we continue our walk through a region similar to Tibet and culturally interesting. We start by traversing high above the Namgung Khola then steep descent to the Saldang village. It is quite a prosperous village not only because of the agriculture but also for its strategic location on a trade route to Tibet.

After the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959, trade with Tibet was virtually stopped. It has been restored to some extent through the barter system by which Tibetan salt reaches mid-Nepal. The Drokpa people from the western plains of Tibet collect salt from the dried lakes north of Tsangpo. Overnight in a camp.

Includes: Trekking crew; porter support, tented camp, breakfast, lunch and dinner

From Saldang the trail follows the river bed, goes through terraced fields, stupas, chortens, heaps of mani stones and a Chaiba monastery, then passing 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 some more hours to camp in the last village in that region. Overnight in the camp.

Includes: Trekking crew; porter support, tented camp, breakfast, lunch and dinner

The trail follows the Nam Khong Khola for a while on the morning coming across caravan of laden yaks that are on their way towards Tibet border. After days of following the same river, finally we part turning east till we arrive at the confluence of two small tributaries, from here our walk leads to a steep climb to the bottom of Jeng la (4,900m/16,072ft), where we stay for the overnight on a nice meadow. Overnight in the camp.

Includes: Trekking crew; porter support, tented camp, breakfast, lunch and dinner

Morning trek leads to two hours climb towards the top of the Jeng La (5,090m/16,695ft). An excellent view of snow ranges emerges to the south. The north face of the Dhaualgiri massif shines in the morning light. After a wonderful moment here at the pass, our walk leads to descend on the rough path towards Tarap valley. By afternoon we come to the green valley which leads us on the pleasant track down towards Tarap Chu. Tarap is a fascinating valley with vast plains in high mountains. It extends twenty kilometers along the river. Tarap Chu is having ten villages with its cultivated fields and many gompas, chortens of both sects. In this valley both Bon Po and Chaiba sects reside together in harmony. After a short trek on this beautiful valley we come to Dho Tarap (4,040m/13,251ft) for the overnight in a camp.

Includes: Trekking crew; porter support, tented camp, breakfast, lunch and dinner

Today explore and rest in DHO before heading towards Jomsom.

Dho meaning ‘the lower end of the valley’ stands at a junction of two valleys. This village consists of several clusters of closely packed stone houses and corrals, surrounded by fields of ‘naked’ barley (uwa). In summer the broad valley beyond is carpeted with fields of barley and buckwheat. In the autumn after the harvest, women in gaily-striped homespun fabric, and wearing strange metal head-gear, are seen at work threshing in low-walled compounds. The Dho is inhabited by few Tibetans, but mostly by Magars. Having lived there for generations, they speak Tibetan and wear Tibetan dresses.

Overnight in a Camp

Includes: Trekking crew; porter support, tented camp, breakfast, lunch and dinner

Today we start a long trek by taking a trail which leaves the village in an easterly direction, immediately entering the steep defile of the Doto Chhu beneath towering limestone cliffs. The path is not that difficult to follow – indeed it is visible all the way to the pass from the Num La some 20 km (13 miles) to the northwest. Early on you pass two small gompas, one Bon and one Nyingma-pa, both of which are worth seeing. Our journey continues by climbing the steep screes immediately above to cross the Chharkula Bhanjyang and spending the night high in the upper reaches of Keheng Khola. Overnight in a Camp.

Includes: Trekking crew; porter support, tented camp, breakfast, lunch and dinner

Today the trail is not that steep and after a gentle climb stays above 5000 m for more than 5 km before descending to Chharkabot. Ascend some of the small hills either side of the trail along this stretch for sensational views of the Mukut and Dhaulagiri Himalaya. Overnight in the Camp.

Chharkabot , the highest village in the Barbung Khola valley is undoubtedly one of the highlights of this trek. Remote, mediaeval and thoroughly exotic, this fortified cluster of ancient stone houses sits spectacularly poised atop a cliff above the rushing Barbung Khola, set against a panoramic backdrop of bleak, snow-capped peaks. Outlandish whitewashed chortens, decorated with terracotta and ochre panels, bear the icons of Buddhist faith and stand in vibrant contrast to the desolate surrounding country. On flat roofs piled with brushwood and in dusty yards, women weave their distinctive narrow strips of darks, striped woolen cloth for bankets and shawls on primitive back-strap looms. Huge mastiffs lie chained in the midday sun while eagles and vultures soar overhead.

Includes: Trekking crew; porter support, tented camp, breakfast, lunch and dinner

After breakfast we cross Chharka Tulsi Khola on a metal box girder bridge and then at river confluence cross on a suspension bridge to follow left bank of Thanjang Khola. The trail contours high above the river following a number of undulating ridges, after crossing a landslip zone we then descend to a grassy area. We then continue walking up the valley where the gorge narrows and after two hours you reach doksa at Norbulung, if we time we might consider continuing for a further hour up to Molum Sumna in order to shorten tomorrow’s walk.

Overnight camping.

Includes: Trekking crew; porter support, tented camp, breakfast, lunch and dinner

Today is a hard day as we will be crossing two pass. From here we walk to a crest at 5,130 m and make a long traverse across meadows to the foot of the Sangda La, then a long, steep final climb to the pass at 5,460 m. The views from this col are outstanding, and certainly make the effort required to reach it worthwhile. Beyond the Mukut Himal to the south Tukche Peak, Dhaulagiri I and Dhaulagiri II are clearly visible, while to the east the distinct notch of the Thorung La can be seen north of Dhamphus Peak. Beyond this col the trail drops into a beautiful hidden valley before ascending to a second pass with views across the upper Chalung Khola towards the Khamjung Himal and Brikhuti in Mustang. From here descend steeply through shale towards and camp at Sangda Phedi (4,880 m). We will camp here for tonight.
Includes: Trekking crew; porter support, tented camp, breakfast, lunch and dinner

After breakfast we start trekking to our next destination crossing Bheri river on a small bridge and then trek along the right-hand bank for a bit. We leave the river and go down slowly to Jhyanse where we have to cross the cold river. Continue our hike towards Sangtha to the east, we cross another small stream, the Dhundok Khola, feeding from the Sadachhe Himal to our right. Dhampus Peak (6012m) is the southwestern most peak in this massif, and moving east from there is the Sechi Lek (5981m), Tashikang (6386m) and Tasartse (6343m). After sometime we will reach Sangda. We will set a camp here for the night.

Includes: Trekking crew; porter support, tented camp, breakfast, lunch and dinner

Today the trail goes up crosses many ridges until we finally reach the ‘pass’ at about 4500 meters. From the top we can get a wonderful vista, looking out to snow-capped peaks and down to Mustang’s patch-work of trails and villages far below. Kagbeni, Jharkot, Muktinath, Thorung Peak, the Thorung La, Niligiri, Dhaulagiri and the Kali Gandaki are all visible, an awe-inspiring site! We then continue our trek descending down steeply into the Kali Gandaki Valley crossing the monastery cave and taking the southern route to the small village of Phalyak. Overnight in a camp.
Includes: Trekking crew; porter support, tented camp, breakfast, lunch and dinner

In the morning you can get the wonderful view of sunrise on Nilgiri and Dhaulagiri. We have our breakfast and then we start climbing a ridge above Phalyak and then head directly south down a steep, sandy trail towards Jomsom, the district headquarters of Mustang. Overnight in a lodge.
Includes: Trekking crew; porter support, tented camp, breakfast, lunch and dinner

We will take an early morning flight to Kathmandu via Pokhara. Our assistant will pick you up and transfer you to your hotel. Rest of the day free for independent activities.
Overnight at the Hotel.
Includes: Breakfast, Guide, airport transfer to Hotel, accommodation.

This is kept as a layover day in case of any problem. Overnight at the hotel.
Includes: Breakfast & Hotel Accommodation

Transfer to the airport for flight back home.
Includes: Breakfast and airport transfer

  • 04 nights twin sharing accommodation in a medium class hotel in Kathmandu on BB basis.
  • 01 day sightseeing tour with Local English speaking guide, entrance fee and private transportation.
  • 01 night twin sharing accommodation in Nepalgunj on BB basis.
  • 22 nights/23 days Upper Dolpo program with the support of trekking crew, mules, two men tent, dinning tent, kitchen tent, toilet tent; sleeping mattress; Meals – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner; kitchen utensils and hot water bag above 4000 m if required.
  • Basic First Aid kit
  • Duffel bag
  • Gamo bag
  • Satellite phone
  • Insurance of the staff
  • Arrival/departure transfers
  • Nepali visa which can be obtained upon arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu. 30 Days visa fee @ US $ 40.- net cash with valid passport which has validity of minimum of 6 months on the day of departure after the trip,  you will also need to have a passport size color photograph.  For online visa application log on to  http://www.online.nepalimmigration.gov.np/
  • Special Trekking Permit fee US $ 500.- per person for 10 days in the Upper Dolpo and US $ 10 per person for Lower Dolpo.
  • TIM’s card charge US $ 10.- net per person (Subject to change without any prior notice)
  • Conservation permit US $ 34.- net per person (Subject to change without any prior notice)
  • Airfare KTM/NEPALGUNJ/JUPHEL(DOLPO)/JOMSOM/KATHMANDU US $ 568.- net per person (subject to change without any prior notice
  • Personal trekking gears i.e. sleeping bag, clothes, shoes
  • Personal medication
  • Personal Insurance covering health, accident, loss of baggage, cancellation of tour in the last minute due to some personal reasons, helicopter rescue in case of emergency evacuation
  • Any extra cost involved in case of natural disaster, flight cancellation, political turmoil, sickness and any other matters
  • Expenses of personal nature i.e. internet, telephone call, laundry etc
  • Meals i.e. Lunch and Dinner in Kathmandu and Nepalgunj
  • Any other matter not mentioned in our include box

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