Upper Dolpo Trek

Trip Highlights

  • Views of Dhaulagiri and the Tibetan peaks.
  • Stunning Tibetan Buddhists’ and Bon PO Culture.
  • Thrilling high passes: Kang La, Saldang La and others.
  • Desert and landscape and striking valleys as: Dho, Saldang, Tarakot.
  • Breathtaking gorges and colorful monasteries.
  • Kathmandu sightseeing.

The Upper Dolpo resembles the mysterious and spiritual aura in the hidden valleys of western Nepal. The area is famous for the rare found animals as snow leopard and blue sheep. It is located beyond the Dhaulagiri Himalayas rain shadow area, which is also one of the most remote and isolated areas of Nepal. Trekking in Upper Dolpo get ahead of various technical high passes and the steep trail through the forest with the sceneries of the waterfalls.

Upper Dolpo Trekking commences via Juphal after a short flight from Nepalgunj. Due to the heavy snowfalls, most of the time it remains restricted, which needs to see the perfect seasons as autumn to discover this mystical valley, populated by the Tibetan Buddhists and Bon PO doctrine. The nomadic pattern of life has been a major form of lifestyles and they have different settlements, who go on changing according to the weather. The trail of the Upper Dolpo trek goes through the Phoksundo National Park, covering the striking valleys, monasteries and landscape. Phoksundo Lake, Tarakot village, Kangla Pass, Shey Gompa, Saldand La Pass, Jeng La pass, Dho Tarap and various places are the highlights of this trek in the Himalayas. A special trekking permit is required to discover this mystical part of Nepal, full of unique culture, social lifestyles and monasteries. Brilliant mountain sceneries and barren landscape offer the awesome impression of the journey.  

Mountain Delights Treks and Expedition is a leading trekking operator in the isolated valleys and off-the beaten trail in Nepal. We offer excellent camping service and perfect trekking arrangement in the Upper Dolpo region along with lower part with full safety measures and acclimatization. Please, contact us for more information.

Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu (1350m).

Welcome to Nepal. Representative of Mountain Delights Treks and Expedition receives you at the Tribhuvan international airport, Kathmandu. Then you transfer to the hotel. After a short rest, we take you to the Thamel tour (about 30 minutes) to show you the shopping centre, bank and ATM, restaurants and money changers. Then, in the hotel a brief introduction about the upcoming itinerary is given. If you have a late flight, we do it on the following day.  Overnight at hotel.

Day 02:  City culture Sightseeing.

Pashupatinath Temple:It is a Hindu temple devoted to Lord Shiva, located beside the Bagmati River. It is one of the most significant temples for the Hindu devotes around the world and the UNESCO site. The golden pagoda style temple is richly carved with silver doors. On the day of Shivaratri, a big fair is held around the month of February/March.

 Boudhanath Stupa: One of the biggest Stupas in the world, is located on the east in Kathmandu. It stands with four pairs of eyes in the four prime direction, keeping watch for virtuous behaviour and human success. King Man Deva at the advice of the Goddess Mani Jogini had built this remarkable Stupa. The Stupa resembles the Mahayana philosophy.

Day 03: Fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj.

We drive to the domestic airport as our flight schedule and take a scenic flight to the western Nepal. It is situated near the border of Nepal and India. Around the evening time, we stroll around and see the local market. Overnight at hotel.

Day 04: Fly from Nepalgunj to Jhupal (Dolpo 2320m) and trek to Dunai (2850m): 2-3 hrs walk

We fly early in the morning from Nepalgunj to Juphal of Dolpo for 45 minutes. Annapurna and Dhaulagiri range come to our eyesight and we reach to Juphal. The team for the trekking greet and arrange all the luggage and required food supply. The journey begins from here to the mountain region through the rain shadow area. We walk above the Bheri River gradually through the easy trail. Then we continue the trek to the district centre in Dunai. Overnight at tented camp.

Day 05: Dunai to Ankhe (2660m). 5-6 hrs

First we cross the suspension bridge and head further by passing the newly built hospital. At the juncture of Thuli BHeri and Suli Ghad we turn to the north trail. The river bed is our main trail that we follow. Then we cross the grazing meadows and fields of buckwheat and potatoes. Trekking along the river bank, we reach to Hanke village, which is the gateway to hike at the Phoksundo National Park. Passing through the Parela, Rahagaon and eventually we reach to Ankhe. Overnight at tented camp. 

Day 06: Ankhe to Renje (3104m). 6-7 hrs

Through the frantic trail, we head to the River bed and cross the suspension bridges. The the trail we stroll further is narrow and we scramble through the huge hanging rock cliffs. Again, we descend to the River and climb on a steep trail. We have an opportunity to capture the fascinating panoramas in our camera. Gently, we reach to Renje and take a rest. Overnight at tented camp.  

Day 07: Renje to Phosundo Lake (3600m). 6-7 hrs

We begin the trek through the gentle way. It becomes fearing from Sumdo, above the River. A little ahead, we climb up to the curve and get the charming panoramas of the dry landscape, including the cascading waterfall. For the first time, we get the view of the Phoksundo Lake. From there, we climb down steadily through the forest to the Phoksundo Khola, near the Ringmo village. The picturesque Chhortens and Mani walls become visible, which signify the mystical progress of the villagers. Then we hike a bit more up to the Phoksundo Lake and set a camp on an open ground of its front face. Overnight at tented camp.  

Day 08: Explore around the Phoksundo Lake.

This is a huge day to explore around the pristine Phoksundo Lake, surrounded by the Tibetan Buddhist settlements. A wide and large platform on the face of the Lake is also used for the camping ground. We can see the Yak caravans heading to their destinations carrying rack sack behind. Visiting the monasteries and discovering the hidden social practices enchant us.  The hike offers us a special day with the pleasing scenarios. Overnight at tented camp.

Day 09: Phoksundo Lake to Phoksundo Khola (3507m). 5-6 hrs

From the edge of the Lake, we begin to trek. Now, the trail leads us to the isolated parts of the Dolpo to its upper part. What is remotely can be predicted from here as the track climbs up through the steep trail. Again, we trek down steeply to the Phoksundo Khola. Managing the best place for the camp, we stay around somewhere here. Overnight at tented camp.

Day 10: Phoksundo Khola to Phoksundo Bhanjyang (4402m). 5-6 hrs

Frequently, we need to cross the stream today. The flat trail leads us into the remote and glacial valleys through the narrow trail  with the gigantic cliffs and contorted rock formations. We also cross the wooden bridge at the confluence of the glacial stream and Phoksundo Khola. The soft muddy trail makes you yawning and a bit tough to hike further. The trail is more narrow from here to climb down the steep rocky bounders. Passing the grazing meadow we have a sight of the colourful monastery across the Kang La Pass. Overnight at tented camp.

Day 11: Cross the Kang La pass (5151m) and trek to Shey Gompa (4126m) 6-7 hrs

It is a technical crossing through the Kang La Pass, which is physically demanding route prevailed with the soft stone slates. After a gradual ascending for a couple of hours, we reach the top of the hill, which offers the outstanding views of the stunning landscape. The descending is still challenging. We trek down with full attention to the River bank. We can see a red coloured monastery, which is a famous Shey Gompa as we reach there after crossing the wooden bridge. Overnight at tented camp.

Day 12: Rest and exploration day at Shey Gompa.

Shey Gompa has got connected with the mountain which is crystal clear. Many Tibetan Lama comes there to meditate in the tranquil environment. As we have a rest and acclimatization day, we have enough time to explore this historic Gompa and Chaiba community. The monastery was built in the 11th century to teach the animism of Buddha teaching. It is one of the most renowned sites in the Dolpo region. Overnight at tented camp.

Day 13: Cross the Saldang La pass (4785m), and trek to Namduna Gaon (4400m) 5-6 hrs.

Walking through the Juniper forest, we climb up to the rocky canyon. We head forward through the flat trail, but winding a lot. Continue to hike uphill, we cross the challenging Saldang La Pass, which offers us the eye catching Mustang valley and the Tibetan Himalayan chain. Climbing down, we reach to the Namduna village, which has got a monastery belonging to the Karma Pa sect of Buddhism. Local people are laborious and they have increased the agricultural occupation and animal husbandry. Overnight at tented camp.

Day 14: Namduna Gaon to Saldang (3903m). 3-4 hrs

Passing the Namgung monastery, we start to climb uphill. The trail is dusty and the views come of the barren landscape. The traverses make the trail challenging. Then we descend along the steep gorges to a wide and plain terrain at Saldang. It is a wonderful village in the inner Dolpo area, made up of in different architecture. The village stretches quite long and a good place for the agricultural production. Overnight at tented camp.

Day 15: Saldang to Sibu (3942m). 5-s6 hrs

From Saldang, we catch up the trail down to the River bed across the picturesque terraced fields. While walking, we pass various Chhortens and Mani walls that signify the mystical prowess of the local spiritual people. We reach to another stunning village named Namdo. From there, we descend to the River bed along  the high slopes. We can see another colourful monastery near the Sibu village. Overnight at tented camp.

Day 16: Sibuto the foot of the Jeng La (4369m). 4-5 hrs

The starting section of the trek goes through the easy trail. After walking for a couple of hours, we cross a stream and head through the pleasant trail beside the village. The enticing meadows beyond the village is our campsite today. Overnight at tented camp.

Day 17: Cross the Jeng La pass (4845m), trek to Tokyu Gaon (4240m). 6-7 hrs

From Jeng La, we gently climb towards the Jeng La top at 4845 meters. The striking view of the Dhaulagiri peak glitters far on the horizon with the sunlight. Then we gradually descend to the Tarap valley, which continually leads our trek to the Tarap Chu. Ascending from there, we reach to the Tokyu Gaon, surrounded by the monasteries and Chhortens. We can also see the people working in their agricultural fields. Overnight at tented camp.

Day 18: Tokyu Gaon to Dho Tarap (4090m) - 4.5 hrs

We hike to the Chaiba Gompa before breakfast. The antique monastery has a long history with a wonderful architecture. Then we return to the camp and have breakfast. We walk further through the gentle trail crossing the animal herds and beautiful farming lands. We can see the local people in their unique dress which relates to their religion. Reaching the Dho Tarap, we search a good campsite, near the French school. Both the Bon PO and Tibetan Buddhist people stay around the village. Overnight at tented camp.

Day 19: Dho Tarap to Serkam (3630m). 5-6 hrs

Again, we follow the bank of the Tarap Khola and head through the narrow gorge. Throughout the vicinity, we may see the Himalayan animals as marmots and blue sheep. In winter, the local people descend with their cattle searching the grazing meadows. Then we leave the regular course of the River bed and head through the hill gorges after crossing the newly built suspension bridge and reach Serkam. Overnight at tented camp.

Day 20: Serkam to Khani Gaon (2550m). 5-6 hrs

Following the gorge of the Tarap River, we trek from Serkam. The trails have been made through the steep slopes. We have to deal with the narrow and crumbly path along the day. The suitable meadow at the Khani Gaon becomes our campsite. Overnight at tented camp.

Day 21: Khani Gaon to Tarakot (2281m). 3-4 hrs

We start the trek by crossing the suspension bridge and walk above the stream. Then we trek a bit far from the river sound which eventually climbs down to tough the river bed. Tarakot is our campsite spot today, which is surrounded by the Dzong (fort), which was a capital when Nepal was divided into 22/24 mini estates. Sandul Gompa is located in a bit far distance of it.  Overnight at tented camp.

Day 22: Tarakot to Dunai (2052m). 4-5 hrs

From Tarakot, the trail goes along the wide route and after a bit walk, we walk above the Thuli Bheri River. With an easy walk, we reach to the district headquarter of the Dolpo region of Dunai. It is unbelievable to make a round trip via Upper Dolpo, crossing the breathtaking high passes. Overnight at tented camp.

Day 23: Dunai to Juphal (2,404m) - 3 hrs

Following the sloppy trail, we begin the trek from Dunai. Above the Bheri River gorge, we leave a tree line behind us and reach at the top. The super scenic Juphal can be seen from there at below. This is a pretty rough trail, but the motor road has made it easier. Reaching Juphal, we take rest and walk around gradually. Overnight at tented camp. 

Day 24: Fly to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj.

We leave the Dolpo region today with a scenic flight from Jhupal to Nepalgunj. The long isolated foothill journey ends here with memories. From Nepaljung, we catch our next flight to Kathmandu from there. In Kathmandu, first transfer to the hotel from the airport and you have a leisure time in the evening. Rest yourselves and enjoy. Overnight at hotel.

Day 25: Bhaktapur Sightseeing and the rest of the day free.

Traditionally, Bhaktapur is known as Bhadgaon, which is a home of the mediaeval arts and architectures. It is about 13 km east of Kathmandu. The city was believed to have founded in 889 AD in the Lichhavi dynasty. Bhaktapur city is popular as the city of devotees. The centuries old stone sculptures and  wood carving skills are still charming around the Bhaktapur Durbar square. After the tour ends, we take you to the women empowerment project for a visit. The rest day is then for your personal doings that can be used for shopping. Overnight at hotel.

Day 26:  Departure.

At the farewell day, Mountain Delights Treks and Expedition’s representative drops you at the airport for your final departure. Thank you for your wonderful experience with us.

Cost Includes

  • Pick up and drop.
  • Guide and Helpers (porters) assistance, according to the group size.
  • All food (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.)
  • Camp accommodation.
  • Hot drinks (Tea and coffee) 3 times a day.
  • All land and flight transportation.
  • TIMS (Trekking information Management System) card.
  • Phoksundo National Park  entry Permit.
  • Upper Dolpo special trekking permit.
  • All food, drinks, Lodge, salary, Insurance, medical equipments, all transport for the team
  • Hotel with BB plan in Kathmandu.
  • Sightseeing with guide, transport and monument entry fees.
  • Down Jacket, sleeping bag and duffel bag.
  • All government taxes.

Cost Excludes

  • Any bar bills (alcoholic drinks, mineral water, and cold drinks), cigarettes, client’s personal insurance, any kind of unforeseen expenses.
  • Lunch and Dinner in Kathmandu
  • Tips for Guide and Porter (Tips are not compulsory but expected).

What to bring

This list outlines the required things to bring during the trekking hours. There are various selections and brands that you can have your own choice. Those equipments can be bought and hire easily at a reasonable price in Kathmandu.

General

  1. Down sleeping bag (you can borrow with us if required).
  2. Duffel or Rucksack bag  (you can borrow with us if required).
  3. Daypack
  4. Down Jacket (you can borrow with us if required).
  5. Flish liner (you can borrow with us if required).
  6. Walking poles (Walking poles (optional, you can borrow with us if required).
  7. Water bottle with purification tablets.
  8. Hand wash liquids.
  9. Lip guard.
  10. Sun block cream.
  11. Toiletry kit. Be sure to include toilet paper stored in a plastic bag, hand wipes, and liquid hand sanitizer, towel, soap, etc.

Upper Body - Head / Ears / Eyes

  1. Cap and ears covering hat. 
  2. Glacier glasses
  3. Head torch.
  4. Ear-muffs and neck warmer is another piece of gear for extra warmth (optional)

Hand

  1.  Hand gloves (1 light pair and 1 warm pair)

Core Body

  1. T-shirts.
  2. Light and weight thermal tops and warm thermal top.
  3. Light jacket and vest.
  4. Wind and rain jacket.
  5. Shirts and warm shirts.

Lower Body – Legs

  1. Long and short hiking pants.
  2.  Lightweight and warm long underwear.
  3. Rain and windproof trousers and warm trekking trousers.

Feet

  1. Thin and thick socks.
  2. trekking boots, light  shoes and sandle.
  3. Trekking Gaiters.

Medicines and First Aid Kits

(Our guide will carry the first aid kit bag during the trek.  We still recommend you to bring your personal first aid kit as you feel it necessary).

  1. Headache and fever medicine.
  2. Ibuprofen for general aches and pains.
  3. Burnt cream.
  4. Immodium or Pepto bismol capsules for upset stomach and diarrhea.
  5. Diamox (commonly prescribed as Acetazolamide). Please discuss with us before starting to take this medicine.
  6. Antibiotics.
  7. blister treatments such as mole skin, hand plasts band-aids, some waterproof tape, anti-infection ointments, etc.

Miscellaneous

  1. Passport and extra passport photos (2 copies).
  2. Durable wallet / pouch for travel documents, money and passport.
  3. Pocket knife.
  4. bandanas.
  5. Favourite snack foods and energy bars
  6. Paperback books, cards, mp3 player. Avoid players with moving hardware as it may not function. Remember, keep these items light weights
  7. Binoculars.
  8. Camera.

All garments should be kept dry using waterproof stuff sacks or large puncture resistant plastic bags.

1 of 1 review

I Strongly recommend you !
I Strongly recommend you !
Thank you for a wonderful trip, I will definitely be back to try the Everest trek and i strongly recommend you to my friends.
Martin Bystrom, Sweden
September 17, 2015 at 03:42 am

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