Upper Dolpo Trekking – 25 Days
Upper Dolpo trekking is a truly isolated corner of Nepal, which lies in the midwestern of Nepal and also known as the district behind the Himalayas. It has become the most charming destination for trekkers in Nepal. Here in this region, the cultural traditions are basically linked with the Tibetan culture. Dolpa region is fully covered with natural beauty, stunning charm and also it provides a good habitat for the snow leopard, blue sheep, goral, Himalayan black beer, etc. Upper Dolpo trekking is a really unforgettable trip for every visitor. Here we can observe a different rain shadow, landscapes with glowing mountain view, amazing flora and fauna, and beautiful birds along with varieties of butterflies. This district is also known as the treasure of medicinal herbs and natural hidden wonders.
The main occupation of this district is agriculture. People of this region live in remote villages of the western highland of Nepal. The lifestyles of this region are closed to an ancient one. These trails take you through the main highlight of Dolpo district “ Shey Phoksundo National Park” and the deepest and beautiful lake “ Shey Phoksundo lake” which is totally free from aquatic life. Those people who walk through Dolpo speak and write about the beauty of this region they love and respect the traditions and people of Dolpa district.
The upper Dolpo trekking is also the meditation center for the Tibetan Lamas, which belongs to the local ethnic community. They belong to the Kagyu sects, who are the followers of Padmasambhava. It shows the trek is full of attractions of the Tibetan Buddhism, Monasteries, Chhortens, Buddhist culture and traditions. The mystical beauties in the Upper Dolpo are similar to the Tibetan customs and traditions. For the culture-loving people, it is a fabulous route to discover the lifestyles of the people in the hidden land of the western part of Nepal.
Upper Dolpo Trekking Highlights
- Deepest Phokosundo Lake, ancient settlement and lifestyles (Yak caravan).
- Cross the several high passes: Nangdalo-La pass (5110m), Chhoila pass (5051m).
- Desert and landscape and striking valleys as Dho, Saldang, Tarakot.
- Stunning Tibetan Buddhists’ and Bon PO Culture.
Upper Dolpo Trek Itinerary
Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu (1300 m)
Day 2: Kathmandu Sightseeing
Day 3: Fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj
Day 4: Fly from Nepalgunj to Jhupal (Dolpo 2320 m) and trek to Dunai (2850 m)
Our upper Dolpo trekking begins. 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 center in Dunai. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 5: Dunai to Ankhe (2660 m)
First, we cross the suspension bridge and head further bypassing the newly built hospital. At the juncture of Thuli Bheri and Suli Ghad, we turn to the north trail. The river bed is the main trail that we follow. Then we cross the grazing meadows and fields of buckwheat and potatoes. Trekking along the riverbank, 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 6: Ankhe to Renje (3104 m)
Through the frantic trail, we head to the River bed and cross the suspension bridges. 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 7: Renje to Phosundo Lake (3600 m)
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 a view of 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 signifies the mystical progress of the villagers. Then we hike a bit more up to the Phoksundo Lake and set a camp on the open ground of its front face. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 8: 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 pleasing scenarios. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 9: Phoksundo Lake to Phoksundo Khola (3507 m)
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 remote 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 (4402 m)
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 colorful monastery across the Kang La Pass. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 11: Cross the Kang La pass (5151 m) and trek to Shey Gompa (4126 m)
It is a technical crossing through the Kang La Pass, which is a physically demanding route that 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 Riverbank. We can see a red-colored 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 (4785 m), and trek to Namduna Gaon (4400 m)
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 (3903 m)
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 indifferent architecture. The village stretches quite long and a good place for agricultural production. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 15: Saldang to Sibu (3942 m)
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 colorful monastery near Sibu village. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 16: Sibuto the foot of the Jeng La (4369 m)
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 are our campsite today. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 17: Cross the Jeng La pass (4845 m), trek to Tokyu Gaon (4240 m)
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 people working in their agricultural fields. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 18: Tokyu Gaon to Dho Tarap (4090 m)
We hike to the Chaiba Gompa before breakfast. The antique monastery has a long history with 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 for 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 (3630 m)
Again, we follow the bank of the Tarap Khola and head through the narrow gorge. Throughout the vicinity, we may see the Himalayan animals like 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 (2550 m)
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 (2281 m)
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 from it. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 22: Tarakot to Dunai (2052 m)
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 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 (2,404 m)
Following the sloppy trail, we begin the trek from Dunai. Above the Bheri River gorge, we leave a tree line behind us and reach the top. The super scenic Juphal can be seen from there 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
Day 25: Departure