About Upper Dolpo Trek

Guru Rimpoche, who spread Tibetan Buddhism throughout the Himalayas, discovered this hidden land over 1700 years ago. This land, also called “beyul” or refuge has been inhabited by Tibetan nomads, called Drokpas, for over a thousand years. It has remained isolated, due to its remote location and has only been open for trekking and tourism since 1989. One of the highest inhabited places on earth, Dolpo is also still a stronghold of the pre-Buddhist, Bon Po religion. It is a high, mountainous region of fortified villages, ‘dzongs’ and many high passes.

You pass through many ancient monasteries and highland villages and wonderful natural scenery as you make your way to Phoksundo Lake and the fabled Shey Gompa. You explore alpine meadows and exotic villages in Upper Dolpo which has kept Bhoriya culture alive.

The most interesting factor of this 25 days and 24 nights trek is that you get to witness the cultural difference of the people of different regions, had centuries ago. Dolpo the high mountainous settlement holds the nomads that migrated to the region ages ago. Similarly the people of Mustang also called Lopas also migrated from Tibet almost during the same time. Still the contrast between the people of these two regions in the past and in the recent times is so huge in terms of civilization; it is an interesting discovery.

Trip Highlights

  • World Heritage Site Pashupatinath Temple and Boudhanath Temple.
  • Fine Art and Gallery of Hindu and Buddhist culture in Patan.
  • Adventurous camping trek to Nepal's remote Trans Himalayan area.
  • Superb view of Himal Kanjirowa, Crystal Mountain and much more.
  • Visit of old Dolpo district monasteries.
  • Visit west country remote areas.
  • Observe Unique Tibetan Buddhist culture Discover the wild Himalayan west of Nepal.
  • Crossing Kang La (5350 m) and Jyagla Pass Explore captivating Phoksundo Lake (Nepal's Deepest Lake).
  • Last Minute Shopping and Refreshment in Thamel Kathmandu With Typical Nepali Cuisine.

Itinerary

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Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu and prepare for obtaining necessary permit

This is the very first day in which you have a time to get rid of from Jetlag and prepare yourself for the trek. We introduce you with your TOP OF THE WORLD ADVENTURE guide of the journey and he informs you about everything needed for the trek like equipment, safety measurements etc. A special permit and TIMS permit will be arranged. Now you are ready for the trek technically and mentally

  • Meals: Dinner
  • Accommodation: Kathmandu Hotel
  • Place: Kathmandu
  • Altitude: 1300

You take an hour-long flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj, located in easstern Nepal. The scenic flight over the terraced hillsides and thatched villages of Nepal’s green middle hills takes us to Mahendra Airport in Nepalgunj, the largest city in the youstern Terai. Nepalgunj, set in the steamy plains of southern Nepal, less than ten kilometers from the border of India, is a jumping-off point for many flights and buses into youstern Nepal. Nepalgunj, a town near the Nepal-India border, is also the gateway to Simikot, Humla. The town itself is the popular Terai town that showcases the diverse culture of Nepal. In Nepalgunj, you can visit the local market, mini-zoo and nearby villages. The place is quite hot and tropical region (in summer). Overnight in Nepalgunj.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Nepalgunj Hotel
  • Place: Nepalgunj
  • Altitude: 150

You’ll get up early for our forty-five-minute flight to Juphal (although the exact departure time is determined by the Mahendra airport that morning). Dolpo flights are always scheduled early in the morning. This is because high winds in the Thulo Bheri Valley begin around 10 am, making later flights impossible. You are treated to fantastic views of the great wrinkle of green ridges peppered with small, terraced villages and surrounded by snow-capped peaks from your small plane as you head north towards Juphal, the main airport of the Dolpo (Dolpa) region. And it’s quite an exciting landing on their small landing strip, built right at the top of the village on a small ridge. Once you arrive at Juphal (2500 m), you start out on the short walk from Juphal to Dunai. Juphal and the surrounding villages, built high above the Thuli Bheri River, are a mix of Hindu and Buddhist inhabitants with many ancient animist and shamanistic elements thrown in, an interesting vignette of the middle hills culture of Nepal. Women wear traditional Nepali dress, sarong-like skirts, and adorn themselves with gold nose-rings and earrings and thick, colorful strands of glass beads. The town is beautifully located over the Himalayan foothills, with views of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri peaks to its north. You walk through terraced fields to the Bheri River and its narrow gorge. You continue walking to Dunai, which is the administrative headquarters of the Dolpo region. You explore the small town in the evening and camp there for the night and explore this bustling little hill town for the rest of the afternoon.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Dunai
  • Altitude: 2850

On the following day, you 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. Then after reaching a ridge which is marked by claims at 2,499m which offers grand view of the Kagmara Peak up the valley. You pass through walnut groves at 2,810m, Dhera, a winter settlement where people from higher villages keep herds of cows and goats, hoyouver you take the upper trail climbing to Rahagaon, a Thakuri village at 2,900m where there is a Gompa dedicated to the local god, Mastha, guardians of this village. Trek leads to a canyon and then heading downhill through deep dark forests, finally reaching at Chhekpa. Overnight in Chhekpa

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Chhepka
  • Altitude: 2838

Today, you have a very ascending and descending trail along a wooded riverbank and climbs on a steep trail through the forested riverbed. 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. You 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. The trail becomes a collection of rocks and sticks that form a dyke along the river bank, trek continues upstream to a bridge near Sulighat. You continue trekking until you reach Jharna where you spend the night.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Jharna
  • Altitude: 3110

Continuing your journey from Jharna, you walk along the valley floor to the confluence of the Phoksundo and Pungmo rivers. After crossing a bridge, you walk on the western bank of the Pungmo Khola. The trail passes through a cedar forest before reaching Palam village. The houses here are almost buried in the sandy soil. From here you trek up to a ridge, at an altitude of around 3,350 m and enjoy distant views of Phoksundo Lake and a spectacular waterfall, one of the highest waterfall in Nepal. After a brief stop here with the great views, 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. The entrance station for Shey-Phoksundo National Park is at the south end of the village. After your park entrance ticket is examined, you may be subjected to a baggage inspection-ostensibly for drugs and stolen art objects. It’s very peculiar formality in this remote locale. Overnight at Phoksundo Lake.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Phoksunda
  • Altitude: 3733

Today will be your first day for acclimatization. It is a well-deserved rest day for acclimatization at Phoksundo Lake. During the day you can embark on a short hike to the village of Ringmo. Tibetan Buddhist Monastery located here is worth visiting. During your short walks, you also get a chance to get acquainted with the local culture. This unsteady trail suspended on a gangway of wood supported on pegs driven into crevices in the rocks, signals the remoteness of the area you are about to enter. 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.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Phoksundo
  • Altitude: 3733

Your 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 you 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 you 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.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Phoksundo Khola
  • Altitude: 3611.5 m

You need to walk a bit more hours today as you have to follow a trail that leads you 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, you walk towards the north-east. A long climb brings you to a sheep meadow where your trail veers up a steep ravine. A hard climb to the top brings you to yet another valley where you can see the Kang-La pass. You set up your camp near the pass in a place that Peter Matthiessen christened ‘Snowfields Camp’. During our trek today you also get to admire the views of Chhamlang peak 6 (6739m) and peak 7 (6105m). Overnight at camp.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Phoksundo Bhanjyang
  • Altitude: 3910 m

On the following day, you begin your trek to the fabled Shey Gompa and neighboring ‘Crystal Mountain’ (which takes its name from the veins of quartz that traverse its base), the most sacred peak in Dolpo which Dolpo pilgrims circumambulate each July or August, during the full moon, before the yearly grain harvest. The sacred mountain is known as the Kailash of Dolpo; the mythology behind it describes a Tibetan Buddhist lama who battles the fierce local mountain spirit on a snow-lion, perhaps the same lama who founded Shey Gompa.

Our trail begins with a steep trail littered with slate towards the pass. You experience a quite strenuous climb to the top of the pass. Our effort to the top of Kang-la pass leads us to get an excellent views of the large valley dissected by a gushing river, views of the snow-peaks Shey Shikkar and Kang Chunne, both just over 6000 meters, before descending steeply down to the wide valley floor. After a steep rough climb to a crest at 5010 m and another at 4860 m, you begin the descent to the Tar valley. Soon after the route reaches grassy slopes, a side trail leads to Tsakang, a Gompa said to be 800 years that is perched dramatically on the side of a cliff. Next, you 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. You also pass through meadows where you see grazing yaks, hundreds of sheep and domestic mountain goat (Chyangra). You then pass a long, ancient Mani wall and finally spot Shey Gompa and the neighboring village of Shey, a tiny hamlet of eight or so inhabitants. A red Chorten marks the entrance to Shey, where you stay for the next one night.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Shey Gompa
  • Altitude: 4500

Today is another well-earned rest day for acclimatization. You will spend the day hiking around Shey village which is famous for its ancient pre-Buddhist culture, the Bon Po. This Tibetan village is surrounded by a flat-roofed stone houses, mani walls and impressive chortens surrounded by juniper and larch forests. Shey Gompa was built in 1655 and the monastery is noted for its giant copper with gilded gold statue of a seated Shakyamuni Buddha. 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. To the east of the Gompa is the 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. The Gompa itself is not large, and there are no artifacts or paintings of note inside. Although the building is said to be 800 years old, the wall paintings are relatively recent, probably done in 1970s. The statues on the altar are of Guru Rinpoche, Sakyamuni and Milarepa. The Gompa also houses an ancient Tibetan scroll that describes the myth of Crystal Mountain and Shey Gompa. According to the inscription, there is a holy lake in a crater among the mountains that surrounds Shey. When a pilgrim makes nine circumambulations of this lake the water turns milky. A sip of this milk and the pilgrim can see Mt Kailash in the distance. The ones, who don’t need a day of rest, can try to find this lake. In Dolpo the ancient Tibetan way of life combines animism with the teaching of Buddha. Overnight in Shey Gompa.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Shey Gompa
  • Altitude: 4500

Commencing the trek from Shey Gompa, you 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 you visit Namgung monastery. The red stone monastery is built against the backdrop of a cliff on the north wall of a gorge. Overnight in Namduna Gaun.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Namduna Gaun
  • Altitude: 4800

Leaving the village, you climb up a steep slope and begin a long transverse along dusty barren mountains. After 3-4 hours of hard climb, you start to see Saldang Village below you 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.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Saldang
  • Altitude: 3620

Your trail moves towards northern side from Saldang. You walk further along the Nagon Khola (river) on a wild and barren terrain. With few ups and downs you begin your walk on a fairly gradual path. On the way, you pass through Marang and Ki villages. Next, you 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.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Yangze Gompa
  • Altitude: 4960

Commencing trek from Yangze, there are two trails that connect to Sibu. In order to save time you will retrace your footprints back towards the path of Saldang village. The trail will be much easier and shorter than the other route. From Saldang, you 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. Your journey continues further down the river for another two hours to camp near a small settlement of Khoma Gaun.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Khoma gaun
  • Altitude: 4257

Leaving Khoma Gaun, you walk along the Nam Khong Khola for a while and then pass the caravans with yaks that are moving towards the Tibetan border. After turning east and walking for a while, you arrive at a confluence of two small streams. Then, the steep trail ascends to a grazing area below the Jeng La pass (4,900m/16,072ft). Jeng La pass is a beautiful meadow where you will set our camp and stay for overnight.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Chagaun
  • Altitude: 4720

Early in the morning, you get up and set forth on today’s trek. After walking about for two long hours you reach to the top of the Jeng La pass from where you get remarkable views of the north face of the Dhaualgiri massif. From here you descend on a rough trail to the Tarap Valley, a fascinating valley with vast plains in high mountains that extends tyounty kilometers along Tarap Chu River. You camp close to the monastery at Tokyu.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Jeng-la Phedi
  • Altitude: 4900

Leaving Tokyu, you trek downhill on a plain valley. The trail is surrounded 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, you reach Dho Tarap. Overnight in Dho Tarap

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Dho Tarap
  • Altitude: 4040

On the nineteenth day, you will take rest and stroll 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 being here, you can visit a Buddhist Gompa which is closest to our campsite or you could embark upon a 40-minute walk and visit a Bon Po Gompa. Overnight in Dho Tarap

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Dho Tarap
  • Altitude: 4040

Leaving Tarap, our trail descends towards a wide valley which eventually narrows into a gorge. You walk along juniper and wild rose bushes just above the tree line. On your trek you will be able to see herds of blue sheep and by the afternoon, you reach the confluence of the Tarap Chu and the Lang Khola, a stream that joins with Tarap River from further east. You will make our camp on a nice meadow also known as Kamakharka and spend the night

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Tarap Khola
  • Altitude: 3800

From Tarap Khola, you continue walking down the gorge of the Tarap River, at times alongside it. During our walk you 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 you can jump from one side to another. Sometimes there is no trace of a path and you 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 you may be forced to cross the icy torrent on foot. Finally, you reach our camping spot beside the Khanigaon, where you spend the night.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Khanigaun
  • Altitude: 3150

Leaving Khanigaon, you follow a trail that takes us to the village of Lalberi. Our trail then descends into another gorge and continues to follow the river again passing through a lush forest. After reaching Tarakot, you 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 you camp by the Tarap Chu River about 150 meters below Tarakot, near the police post. Overnight in Tarakot.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Tarakot
  • Altitude: 2537

Commencing our trek from Tarakot you pass 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. You cross the river again near the Lochakhola Gaun and ascend to Dunai for an overnight stay. Today’s trek will mostly be on a wonderful gorge with pine trees. Overnight in Dunai.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Dunai
  • Altitude: 2140

At the very last day of your trek, you walk along the Bheri River enjoying the beautiful landscape. On the way, you pass through Dhupichaur and Rupgad villages as youll as a temple. You continue trekking via Kalagaonda village and Motipur village before reaching the small airstrip. Overnight in Juphal.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Teahouse
  • Place: Juphal
  • Altitude: 2499

Early in the morning you wake up and transfer to airport to take the earliest flight from Jhupal to Nepalgunj. Upon reaching Nepalgunj, you fly back to Kathmandu. Overnight in Kathmandu.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Kathmandu Hotel
  • Place: Kathmandu
  • Altitude: 1300

Today After having breakfast, you will visit the Kathmandu Valley in Private Vehicle. You will have Lunch and visit UNESCO Heritage site in Kathmandu Valley like Kathmandu Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Pashupatinath, Bouddhanath Temple, Swyambhunath (Monkey Temple), etc. Our professional English-speaking guide will explain about the history, culture, etc. about the places you visited. At the same time you can visit to thamel shop for some last minutes shopping. Overnight stay at Kathmandu Hotel.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Kathmandu Hotel
  • Place: Kathmandu
  • Altitude: 1300

Today, last day of Trekking in Nepal of Top of the World Adventure, and here we are done with our 27 days of journey in Nepal. And then as per your flight timings our staff of ‘Top Of The World Adventure’ transfer you to Kathmandu airport for your international departure.

  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Place: Kathmandu Airport
  • Altitude: 1300

Cost Details

Cost Includes

  • Arrival and departure by private vehicle
  • Kathmandu hotel with Breakfast
  • Kathmandu Sightseeing with English-speaking Tour Guide
  • Kathmandu-Nepaljung-Kathmandu flight fares
  • Nepaljung-Jhuphal-Nepaljung flight fares
  • Shey-Phoksundo National Park permit
  • All necessary permits 
  • TIMS
  • Trekking guide (Food, accommodation, salary, insurance)
  • Porter
  • Teahouse Accomodation in Mountain
  • All meals (Breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  • First aid tool box

Cost Excludes:

  • Bar bills
  • Visa fee
  • International flight fare
  • Travels insurance
  • Trekking equipment 
  • Tips