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4402

Upper Dolpo Trek

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  • 28 Days
  • Difficulty : Moderate
  • Destination : Nepal
  • Max Altitude : 5360m
  • Activity: Trekking
  • Best Season : Spring & Autumn

Highlights

  • Scenic views of snow-capped mountains including Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Mt Api, Mt Saipal, etc.
  • Exploring turquoise Phoksundo Lake and the Shey-Phoksundo National Park
  • Exploration of culture, heritage, and lifestyle of Tibetan Buddhists villages and ancient Bon culture and tradition
  • Spotting rare and endangered wildlife species including Musk deer, Snow leopard, and others
  • Passing through pristine waterfalls, streams, and riverbeds
  • Majestic view of Kanjirowa and Crystal Mountain Range (Ribo Drugta)
  • Location of the Oscar-nominated movie “Himalayas” and inspiration for the book “The Himalayan Leopard”
  • Observing people looking for Yarchagumba, a precious herb used as medicines
  • Exploring Shey-Gompa (4500m) via Kang-La Pass at 5,360m (the highest point of this trek)
  • Passing through nomadic tribes and settlements
  • Visit monasteries, stupas, and gompas like Shey Gompa, Yangze Gompa, Bon Gompa, Namgung Monastery, and others

Overview of Upper Dolpo Trek

Upper Dolpo Trek standing amid the rugged natural landscapes of Dolpa in all its beauty, and experiencing its remoteness you cannot help but feel that this is Shangri-la a region with an aura of mysticism about it. Dolpa also called “Ba Yul” or the hidden valley has fascinating villages, and is still a land of mystery, scenery, and peace.

Isolated and secluded from the outside world by spiraling high mountain passes and restricted entry, mysterious Dolpo has long fascinated and frustrated travelers. Shey Phoksundo National Park, Lake Phoksundo, and Shey Gompa are the prime attractions of this region. The newly-promoted circuit encompasses the prime attractions and also offers to encompass the prime attractions and also offers other uniquely Dolpa experiences.

For the most part, we see numerous Buddhist gompas and monasteries along trails. Tibetan-influenced culture, tradition, and lifestyle will enchant you. Trekkers need to stay overnight at a tented camp as tea houses are not available in most parts of the trek. One of the prime highlights of this trek is a chance to meet nomadic tribes and people.

Irrespective, the expected beauty of picturesque sceneries, The Himalayas, natural scenes, and cultural position make this Upper Dolpo region truly exciting and interesting. So if you are interested, Adventure Walkway is ready to welcome you to visit the mysterious land of Upper Dolpo.

Seasons in Upper Dolpo

The seasons influence the trekking in Nepal. The best time for trekking to Upper Dolpo is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) seasons. The summer season coincides with monsoon which brings heavy rainfall. While in winter, there is heavy snowfall. Let’s take a look at the different seasons in the Upper Dolpo:

Spring (March to May)

Spring falls in the pre-monsoon season in Nepal. It lies in the March to May months and is the best season for Upper Dolpo Trek. The weather is clear with warm temperatures. The clear weather provides the best views of Upper Dolpo. The trail is in good condition. There is a low chance of rainfall. Since the season is post-winter, trekkers can witness the best view of the snow-capped mountains.

During early spring, the trail can still have remnants of snow. It can also make it difficult to trek and cross some passes. Hence, it is not recommended for trekkers to start the journey during early spring. Late March to May are ideal months for Upper Dolpo Trek.

Summer (June to August)

As we mentioned before, summer coincides with the monsoon season in Nepal. It brings heavy rainfall throughout the country. However, Upper Dolpo falls in the rain-shadow locations. It means that there are no rainfalls in the region. As a result, the Upper Dolpo route is accessible even during the summer season.

Moreover, the high passe routes of the region are also snow-free.

The luscious green vegetation further makes the trek a memorable experience. The trails are safe. However, the drawback of traveling in summer is that there can be heavy rainfall in the lower regions. There are also high chances of the flights getting canceled.

Autumn (September to November)

As September begins, the monsoon season ends. September to November is also the best time for Upper Dolpo Trek. The autumn season is considered the best time for trekking across Nepal. The crisp air and the excellent visibility make the trek experience enjoyable. The surroundings and the mountains also look brilliant in this season.

Another reason to take Upper Dolpo Trek during autumn is because of the festive atmosphere. It is also the harvest season. However, as the season enters late November, it starts to snow at higher elevations of Upper Dolpo.

Winter (December to February)

As the season enters winter, the temperature starts to get cold. The temperature especially starts to drop at higher elevations during nighttime. Similarly, it also snows heavily blocking the passes and trails. The trail also becomes dangerous due to the snowfall. Therefore, winter is not the best season for Upper Dolpo Trek. It is not extremely dangerous and not recommended.

Itinerary

Day 1Kathmandu Arrival

On the first day of this exciting journey, you will land in the capital of Nepal, a city of temples, Kathmandu. Upon your arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport, the representative of Adventure Walkway will be there to welcome you and assist in your transfer to the pre-booked hotel in Kathmandu. After you are settled and refreshed, we’ll meet for a briefing and short rundown about the trip. During the evening, you’ll be invited for a Welcome dinner of typical Nepali cuisine as our warm welcome and overnight stay and rest at the hotel before the challenging journey that tomorrow brings.

Day 2Kathmandu Sightseeing and Trip preparation Day

Kathmandu is an ancient city full of unique arts and artifacts, one day is not enough to cover the whole city. After Breakfast at the hotel in Kathmandu, we will take you for a cultural sightseeing tour of Kathmandu Valley which includes Kathmandu Durbar Square, Monkey Temple, Pashupatinath Temple, and Boudhanath Stupa and your tour will include visits to UNESCO declared world heritage sites as you get to see thrilling historic monuments where the echoes of royal conspiracies & tragedy still ring in the corridors of these ancient symbols of a once-upon-a-time thrilling history that still lives on to this day. In the evening you will meet your trek leader and have a briefing on the whole course of the trip and you will have some time to shop for your trekking gear if you need it.

Day 3Fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj (150 m/490 ft) 1 hr

Our out-of-valley journey starts today. We take a short flight to the south side enjoying the view of great Himalayan vistas to Nepalgunj. We explore the city for the remaining day. Overnight in Hotel. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 4Fly from Nepalgunj to Juphal and trek to Dunai

Our day starts with a warm breakfast at Nepalgunj. We then head towards the domestic airport to catch the flight to Juphal. The flight duration is approximately 35 minutes. Our official trek starts from Juphal. The walking trail is pretty easy today, neither too uphill nor too downhill. We walk beside the Thuli Bheri River and reach Dunai. Dunai is the headquarter of Dolpa District and gateway to the Upper Dolpo Trekking region. If we have time, we will hike up to Bon Gompa, an ancient monastery.

Day 5Trek from Dunai to Ankhe

We start our day with a warm breakfast in Dunai and start walking following the trail of shaded lush green forests and extensive streams. We pass through various monasteries and small villages before reaching Ankhe. Overnight at lodge (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 6Trek from Ankhe to Sulighat

Today we leave Ankhe behind and move forward to Sulighat. The trail towards the Sulighat moves along the embankment of the river, up and down through forests over the grassy slopes. Before reaching the Sulighat, we descend a bit in a stone-paved staircase. Overnight at lodge (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 7Trek from Sulighat to Phoksundo Lake

We start our day with a warm breakfast in Sulighat. We follow the trail passing Phoksundo and Pungmo rivers and lush green forests. We then climb to the ridge and catch the first glimpse of Phoksundo Lake. We will also see one of the highest waterfalls in Nepal. We then walk downhill through the steep forest before reaching the Ringmo village by the edge of Phoksundo Lake. Overnight at Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 8Rest Day at Phoksundo Lake

Today is the rest day and we acclimatize to the elevation at 3,612m. We explore the Phoksundo lake and nearby places and Ringmo village. Overnight at Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 9Trek from Phoksundo Lake to Phoksundo Khola

We start our day with a warm breakfast in Ringmo village and art tracing through the narrow gorge then after crossing a bridge and climbing and walking uphill steep up to the cliff from where the trail goes downhill. We walk alongside the Sishul Khola and climb on the top of the rim from where we finally drop down to the flat where we set for today’s shelter at Phoksundo Khola. Overnight at Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 10Trek to Phoksundo Bhanjyang

We start our day with a warm breakfast in Phoksundo Khola. There is no path as such, so it is necessary to climb over the rocks and sarsens and cross a stream that rushes down the steep valley. A long climb brings us to a sheep meadow where the trail veers up a sheer gorge. A hard climb to the top brings us to yet another valley where one can see the Kang-La, the pass which will lead towards Shey Gompa the next day. Overnight at Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 11Trek to Shey Gompa via Kang-La pass

We start our day with a warm breakfast in Phoksundo Bhanjyang. Our walk is steep towards the pass. Kang-La Pass is at an altitude of 5,360 meters from where you can have an excellent view of deserted valleys, Crystal Mountain, and a U-shaped canyon towards Shey-Gompa. As we walk through the settlements, we will see small huts, a red Buddhist shrine welcomes you to Shey Gompa. Overnight at Shey Gompa (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 12Rest day at Shey Gompa Explore the Crystal Monastery

We spend the entire day exploring the periphery of Shey-Gompa. Shey Gompa is one of the most popular monasteries in Upper Dolpo. Hundreds of Buddhist devotees from all around the world visit Shey Gompa yearly. To the east of Shey Gompa lies Crystal Mountain (Ribo Drugta). Locals gather and circumambulate this mountain every year before harvesting their crops. It is a delightful sight to witness. Overnight on Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 13Trek from Shey Gompa to Namduna Gaun via Saldang La

After a rest day, we again start walking. We start our day with a warm breakfast. Our trail today passes through a lush green forest and rocky ravine. We then descend to the Namduna Gaun. If we reach early and have time then we will visit Namgung monastery, which is on the northern side of Namduna Gaun. Overnight at lodge (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 14Trek from Namduna to Saldang

We start our day with a warm breakfast in Namduna Gaun. Then we leave Namduna Gaun behind and start moving toward Saldang. The walk is through barren hills. Our walk is short today, only for 4-5 hours. After the walk, we reach Saldang. Saldang is the largest village of inner Dolpo. We can see terraced fields in this village. Saldang is home to more than 600 people. Overnight at lodge (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 15Trek from Saldang to Yangze Gompa

We leave Saldang behind and move further towards Yangzee .gh We follow the Nang Chu river on our trail to tiling and Lurigaon village. Upon reaching the Yangze Gompa, we can explore the Bon-Po monastery, Panzang river, and many more artifacts present in the region. Overnight at tea house (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 16Trek from Yangze to Sibu

We start our day with a warm breakfast. We leave Yangze Gompa behind as we start walking towards our today’s destination, Sibu. We kindle our path to Saldang village. And then hike for almost 3-4 hours by Nam Khong River before reaching Sibu. Overnight at Sibu (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 17Trek from Sibu to Jeng-la Phedi

After having our breakfast in Sibu, we follow the Nam Khong River. We see caravans of yak herds. We walk uphill on a steep pathway before arriving Jeng-La Phedi. Overnight at Tea house (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 18Trek from Jeng-la to Tokyu Gaon via Jeng la Pass

We start early today as we have to climb the top of Jeng La Pass (5110m) which takes about 2-3 hours from Jeng La. We see the amazing view of the Dhaulagiri massif from the top. From the Pass, we descend towards Tarap Chu valley and follow a stream to Tokyu Village. We can explore the Tokyu village and Tokyu monastery. Overnight at Tea House (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 19Trek from Tokyu Gaun to Dho Tarap

After having breakfast, we leave Tokyu gaun behind and move toward Dho Tarap. We see many cultivated villages, gompas, and chortens on the way to Dho Tarap. Upon reaching the village, we will explore the surroundings. Overnight at tea house (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 20Rest Day at Dho Tarap and Exploration

Today is the rest day and we will spend the day exploring Dho Tarap. One of the most important and unique gompas present in the Dolpo region lies here, Ribo Bhumpa Gompa. This gompa has a Chorten which is believed to have been constructed upon the remains of a demon killed by Guru Rinpoche. There are many paintings in this Gompa which represent the Bonpo and Nyingma traditions, although the Gompa itself belongs to Nyingma. Overnight at Dho Tarap (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 21Trek from Dho Tarap to Tarap Khola (Kamakharka)

After spending two nights in Dho Tarap, it’s time to leave Dho Tarap behind and move towards Tarap Khola. We descend towards a wide valley which then follows to a gorge. Our trail today is through the juniper bush and wildflowers. We might as well see the herds of blue sheep. We then reach Kamakharkha, which is our final stop for the day.

Day 22Trek from Tarap Khola to Khanigaon

We start our day with a warm breakfast and continue walking down the gorge of the Tarap River. Today is one of the most exciting days of our trek. We will walk through a narrow deep gorge. The bridges in most of the paths are either washed away or damaged.

Day 23Trek from Khanigaun to Tarakot

We start your day trek following a trail to Lalberi village. We pass through a forest, descend to a gorge then trek alongside the river. We reach Tarakot after a total of 4-5 hours of walk from Khanigaun. Tarakot is a small town that once used to be a fortress. It used to be the capital of the Tichorung Kingdom and was a popular trading point. Although it has lost the energy it used to have, it still has the charm to attract travelers.

Day 24Trek from Tarakot to Dunai

After breakfast, our walk continues beside the Bheri River in the incredible gorge with pine trees and an inventive path built about seven meters above the river. Dunai is the district headquarter of Dolpo. There are about 2700 residents. We can find schools, campuses, bank branches, and other infrastructures of development in Dunai. We have completed the circuit of the Dolpo trek.

Day 25Trek from Dunai to Juphal

We retrace our way back to Juphal after having our breakfast. We reach Juphal 2-3 hours from Dunai. The 3 weeks long strenuous walking finally comes to end on Juphal.

Day 26Fly from Juphal to Nepalgunj to Kathmandu

Our trek has officially come to an end. With heavy heart, we leave for Nepalgunj from Juphal with the earliest flight available. From Nepalgunj, we catch another flight to Kathmandu. After freshening up, you can take a stroll around the Thamel. Overnight at the hotel. (Breakfast and Lunch)

Day 27Leisure day in Kathmandu

In the evening, we will enjoy the farewell dinner and talk about our experiences of the trek. Overnight at the hotel. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 28Final Departure

The trip ends, and our Airport Representative will drop you at the Tribhuvan International Airport for your final flight departure from Nepal.

Price Includes

  • Pick-up & Drop from the airport on the day of your arrival & Departure
  • 3 Night Tourist Standard Hotel in Kathmandu
  • The Government Register's English-Speaking Guide
  • If the group size exceeds 6 people, an assistance guide will be provided.
  • One porter for two clients
  • In trekking trails, accommodation is on a twin-sharing basis
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner are included.
  • Trekking map
  • Trekking Permit & TIMS Card
  • Restricted Area Permit
  • Transportation as per itinerary
  • Staff salaries, insurance, meals, accommodations, equipment, transportation, etc.
  • Arrangements for emergency rescue services (Please make sure you have medical insurance from your country)
  • The agency service charge and the government tax/VAT
  • The certificate of achievement towards the Trip

Price Excludes

  • The cost of international airfare
  • Visa fees for Nepal
  • All drinks During the Trip (Tea, Coffee, Cola, Beer, Mineral Water)
  • Personal Costs
  • Smoke
  • Insurance for travel
  • If more than the 3-night hotel in Kathmandu
  • Kathmandu meals
  • Hot shower during the trekking
  • Batteries and cameras that are chargeable during the trek
  • Natural or political disturbances beyond our control result in additional costs.
  • The Extra cost of any case early return from the trip.
  • Tips for Trekking Staff

Departure Date

Mar 27, 2024

Booking Available (28 Days)
$3245

Sep 23, 2024

Booking Available (28 Days)
$3250

Additional Information

Accommodations and Meals in Upper Dolpo
Equipment

The Upper Dolpo Trek route goes through the remote areas of the region. There are not many tea houses and lodges available along the trail. But whatever accommodations are available, they are run by locals and provide only basic facilities. It includes a bed, blanket, pillow, and clean sheets. The rooms are on a twin-shared basis. Likewise, there are shared bathrooms and communal dining spaces. These accommodations can charge trekkers extra for hot showers, charging electronic devices, and internet.

There are also limited amenities available in the region. Phones and internet connectivity also may not work properly in higher elevations. The meals are usually the staple Nepali dish of Dal Bhat. It includes rice, lentil soup, vegetables, pickles, and sometimes include meat. You may find other menu options but there are not many variety of menus available in remote regions.

During the trek, Adventure Walkaway arranges the accommodations and three times meals. The accommodation is on a twin-share basis. Note that the package for Upper Dolpo Trek does not include drinks during the trip, hot showers, charging costs, and other personal expenses.

Aside from physical and mental preparation, proper equipment preparation is also required. The weather at higher elevations is unpredictable. The temperature can also get quite cold. Therefore, trekkers should carry proper clothing and equipment.

Trekkers should carry a down jacket, rainproof/waterproof jacket, trekking pants, long-sleeved shirts, insulating layers, moisture-wicking innerwear, and socks. Scarves, hats, and gloves will also be useful to keep warm from the cold temperature. Proper and comfortable hiking boots are also a must for the trek. As trekkers have to walk on varied terrains, good trekking shoes with good support help you to walk comfortably.

For proper stability during the trek, trekkers will need an adjustable trekking pole. As all the essentials need to be carried in a backpack, a 40 to 50-litre backpack is also a must. It should be comfortable while carrying. Other than this equipment, trekkers will need raincoats, rain gear, a sleeping bag, a headlamp, a battery, and a thermal bottle.

Trekkers can carry other personal items like toiletries, wet wipes, sanitizers, books, or diaries. Female trekkers should carry their supply of menstrual hygiene products. These products’ availability is limited in remote areas.

FAQs

Is Upper Dolpo Trek difficult?

The Upper Dolpo Trek is difficult and physically challenging. The trek route goes through one of the most remote regions of Nepal. The trail is isolated and trekkers have to ascend and descend on rugged terrains. The high elevation also makes the trek difficult. The trek duration is also long; trekkers must be ready to walk 6 to 7 hours daily.

What is the highest point of the Upper Dolpo Trek?

The highest point of the Upper Dolpo Trek is the Kang La Pass. It sits at an elevation of 5,360 meters (17,585 feet) above sea level. Trekkers can get a panoramic view of mountains like the Annapurna ranges, Gangapurna, and other surrounding peaks.

Can I get altitude sickness during the trek?

Since the highest elevation point of the Upper Dolpo Trek is 5,360 meters, there is a high chance of getting altitude sickness. Trekkers often start getting altitude sickness above 3,000 meters. The drop in oxygen level is the reason behind it. So, trekkers are advised to acclimatize properly and be careful about the symptoms of altitude sickness.

Do I need to hire a guide for the Upper Dolpo Trek?

The Upper Dolpo Trek is challenging and takes trekkers into remote areas. Hence, trekkers need to hire a guide for the route. Moreover, the government of Nepal has made it mandatory since 2023 for trekkers to hire a guide for all trekking routes. The guides not only aid in navigation but they act as a bridge for communicating with the locals and trekkers’ safety.

Will the temperature get cold during the Upper Dolpo Trek?

Yes, it can get quite cold during the Upper Dolpo Trek. The season can also influence the temperature. The temperature in the Himalayan region is usually cold all year round. But at higher elevations, it is especially cold during nighttime. During the wintertime, the temperature can reach freezing temperature.

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