Upper Dolpo Trek is a journey that takes you to the most remote area of the Himalayas in the far western region of Nepal. The trek is promising and challenging at the same time. The trail goes through some remote and secluded areas where the infrastructure for tourism is almost nonexistent. However, the glamour of mountains and the wilderness of remote and pristine landscapes are the promising aspects of this journey. Not to forget, the Shey Phoksundo National Park is a conservation area enriched with biodiversity. It is the largest park in Nepal that shelters some rare species of floras, faunas, birds, and butterflies in their natural undisturbed habitat. Phoksundo lake lies inside the periphery of the park and is considered as a heavenly place to be at. The azure lake water amidst the wild mountains, nothing could have been more fascinating.
With this trek, you will be able to explore rural Nepal which is very backward. They even don’t have access to some basic infrastructures without which we aren’t able to sustain in the present world. Maybe this is the reason why Upper Dolpo Trek receives very fewer travelers. It is just countable in numbers. Only a camping trek is possible here for which we will have to carry tents and entire food supplies. Even the permit to this region is expensive and no one is allowed to trek here independently.
Though challenging, Upper Dolpo Trek is definitely worth it. It is a treasure of natural glories and Buddhism religion. As we move deep to the valleys and pass some villages, we will be able to see the influence of the Tibetan Buddhist religion in here. The old Buddhist monasteries, prayer flags, and stupas on the way give you positive vibes of Buddhism. The people residing in this area are very traditional who are unknown about the rest of the world.
So overall, Upper Dolpo Trek is a classic journey that comprises of deep remote valleys, high passes, mountains, remote villages, and Tibetan Buddhism religion. The heavenly beauty of Phoksundo lake, lush landscape of Shey Phoksundo National Park, and the rare biodiversity within the park are the major highlights that make this trek so special.
The first day marks your arrival day in Kathmandu. Clear all the visa requirements and customs clearance if any at the arrival section of the airport. As you come out, you will find a representative from World Alpine Treks waiting for you holding a board with your name. You will then be transferred to your hotel at Kathmandu. The representative will shortly inform you about the plans ahead.
The second day is a day tour just to warm up prior to your trekking journey. Kathmandu is a city enriched with artistic palaces, beautiful monuments, ancient temples and other constructions of historical and cultural importance. No wonder, the city has seven out of ten UNESCO listed world heritage sites. Today, you will be guided to the UNESCO listed heritage sites in Kathmandu. These heritages are perfect examples of rich history, fine culture and architectural treasures of Nepal. At first, you will be taken to Kathmandu Durbar Square. The art, crafts, and carvings in the palaces, temples and other monuments of the durbar square are excellent. After that, you will be escorted to Swayambhunath stupa (Monkey temple), Pashupatinath temple and Boudhanath stupa respectively. (Inclusive of breakfast)
In the early morning, you will be picked up from your hotel and transferred to the domestic terminal of Tribhuwan International Airport for a flight to Nepalgunj. It’s a fifty minutes flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj. Nepalgunj lies in southwestern Nepal close to the Indian border. It is one of the hottest cities in Nepal. as soon as you land in the airport, you can feel the instant heat of the place. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to a hotel in Nepalgunj. Stay in the hotel till evening. In the evening, you can explore the city and visit the Bageshwori temple. Tonight at a hotel in Nepalgunj (Inclusive of breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
Today, we leave Nepalgunj and fly to Juphal. It’s around thirty-five minutes flight from Nepalgunj to Juphal. The flight is an amazing experience above the mountain ridges with astonishing views of snow-clad mountains. Upon arrival, you will notice that you have come to a quaint small village from a busy city. Landing in Juphal will give a remote vibe with fresh cold air and Himalayas. From Juphal, we follow a trail that will lead us to Dunai. We descend down via the farmlands to Thuli Bheri River. From here, we follow the trail to Dunai. Leaving Dunai, we follow a classic route to Dolpo via Sunlight. Today, we enter Shey Phoksundo National Park where our permits will be checked. After verifying permits at the check post in Sulighat we follow the Phoksundor River till we reach Kageni. We further immerse deep into tropical forests to the park and cross some villages on the way to Chhepka. Tonight we stay at Chhepka (Inclusive of breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
From Chhepka, we follow a trail that leads us to the Phoksundo River. We move in the opposite direction of the river to Amchi hospital. We cross bridges over the river twice and continue through the trail. We open up to grassland (Kharka) which is a wonderful location to be at. We are already high above the river. We climb up the trail to Ranchi and then to Sulligad Dovan. We further cross a bridge that lies on the confluence of Phoksundo and Yulong River to the Amchi hospital. Amchi hospital is a popular treatment center that provides medical services to the locals. Today, we set our camps beside the hospital and stay there for the night. (Inclusive of breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
Leaving Amchi hospital, we join a direct trail that leads us to Phoksundo Lake. We climb up through the forests of cedar to Palam. It is a winter settlement that is often used by the people residing in Ringmo village. From here, the trail descends down to an elevation of 3300 meters and again climbs up to a ridge at an elevation of 3780 meters. Here, we come across the highest waterfall in Nepal. Further, we walk ahead and continue to the picturesque village of Ringmo. A little walk from the village brings you to a bridge. We cross the bridge and walk until we reach the Phoksundo lake. Tonight, we set our camps near the lake (Inclusive of breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
Phoksundo Lake is a heavenly place to be at. The picturesque location and the amazing views of mountains in the serenity of the lake water is indeed a mesmerizing experience. Today, we spend our day exploring the Ringmo village and periphery area around the lake. There is a gompa in the village that nestles on the ridge of the lake. It dates back to a history of 900 meters. We explore the gompa and drop down to Phoksundo Lake. For the rest of the day, we spend some quality time along the side of Phoksundo Lake. Tonight, we stay at our camps near the lake (Inclusive of breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
Today, we leave the lake and climb up along a narrow trail to a cliff that stands straight above the lake. This is one of the beautiful sections of the trail that goes up with astonishing views of Phoksundo Lake below and mountains in the backdrop. The trail has been filmed in the movie Caravan and has been described in different pieces of writings by different writers. From the cliff, we drop down along a beautiful forested area to a campsite at Chunemba. Tonight we stay at tented camps in Chunemba (Inclusive of breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
From Chunemba, we ascend up steep for around three hours to Snowfields Camp that lies at an elevation of 4400 meters. The trail for the day is narrow with high rock walls on both sides. On the way, we cross some small streams a couple of times. We come out of the main valley to enter a gorge. Finally, we come to the foot of a pass known as Snowfield's camp. The name of the camp was given by Peter Mathieson in his book Snow Leopard. Tomorrow, you will be headed to the heart of inner Dolpo. Tonight we stay at tented camps in Snowfields camp (Inclusive of breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
Leaving the camp, we head towards Shey gompa today. It’s a long and strenuous day walk that goes for around two and a half hours along a dusty path to Kang La at an elevation of 5350 meters. The pass is locally known as Ngadra La. The trail to pass is adorned with prayer flags, cairns, and chortens that add to the glory of the place. From the pass, we make a steep descent down for around forty-five minutes and then walk through a flat section for around three hours to Shey gompa.
Shey Gompa is a sacred place that holds high value amongst the Buddhist pilgrims. There is a peak nearby called Crystal Mountain which too has a holy value. Each year, this place receives a lot of pilgrims who circumambulate the gompa and the mountain. The gompa dates back to the 11th century and is located just below the crystal peak at a confluence of two rivers. The gompa is popular for its dramatic location. As per mythology, it is said that the gompa was built by a Tibetan Buddhist who flew to this place on a flying snow lion. This mystic place is a spiritual hub of the Dolpo region. Tonight, we stay at Shey Gompa (Inclusive of breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
Today, we spend our time in Shey Gompa. We visit the monastery and walk to Crystal Mountain. We even explore the Shey gompa village. Shey gompa is an old monastery that was built in 1655. The monastery has a giant statue of seated Shakyamuni Buddha made up of copper and gold. There is a Crystal mountain that lies east to the gompa. The mountain is enriched with many varieties of marine fossils. Tonight, we stay at Shey Gompa (Inclusive of breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
Today, we leave Shey gompa and start climbing up towards the Shey La pass. It is around two hours hike up from the gompa. As we cross the pass, we will be rewarded with some amazing views of Mustang to the east, Crystal Mountain to the west and Tibet to the north. We descend down from the pass walk for around two hours until we reach Namgung. Tonight, we stay at Namgung (Inclusive of breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
Early in the morning, we visit a monastery in Namgung. There is an old monastery in a flank of a cliff in Namgung. After visiting Namgung Gompa on the cliff, we drop down to Namga Khola and walk along the river. We pass some summer pastures on the walk to Saldang. Saldang is a beautiful village on the trail with dry terrain. The village is surrounded by hills on all sides. You can be the prevalence of the Amchi tradition and Buddhism religion in this village. Today, we stay at Saldang for the night (Inclusive of breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
From Saldang, we follow a trail along the river and pass many terraced farmlands, stupas, and chosen on the way. At some points, you will see heaps of mani stones places beautifully. Chiba monastery falls on the trail today. Hence, we visit the monastery and walk to Namdo village. The village consists of around 60 houses with nearly 400 inhabitants. From the village, we walk for around five kilometers to Nam Khong Khola. We visit a monastery in the village and walk ahead to the small settlement area of Sinu. Tonight we stay in Sibu for the night (Inclusive of breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
We follow a trail along the river to the village of Raka. It is the last village that you come across before entering a large valley. Leaving the village, we enter into a valley. Here you have some chance of encountering rare blue sheep and snow leopard. We walk for around two hours until the path traverses away from the river and climbs up to the meadow at an altitude of 4570 meters. The meadow is popular as Lagmo Che. It is a base camp for alimbing up to Jeng La. Tonight; we stay at Lagmo Che (Inclusive of breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
Today, we start our day a bit early. We climb for around two hours to the top of the Jeng La pass. From the pass, we will be blessed with some striking views of Dhaulagiri massif. Beholding the beauty of Dhaulagiri Himal from the pass, we descend down along a rough trail to Tarap valley. It’s a wonderful valley with vast plains in the backdrop of high mountains. Today, we walk up to Tokyu and stay there for the night (Inclusive of breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
After breakfast, we make our way to Dho Tarap. It’s one and a half hours' walk from Tokyu to Dho Tarap. Dho Tarap is a beautiful village in the region. The vividness of player flags and holiness of chortens, mani walls and monasteries is remarkable. Today we spend our day exploring the village. We can see some charming houses and farmlands as we walk through the village. The crops like wheat, barley, and potatoes are seen in the fields of the village. There are various monasteries around the village. We visit some monasteries and spend our time in Dho Tarap. Tonight we stay at Dho Tarap for the night (Inclusive of breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
Early in the morning, we can explore the village of Dho Tarap again if interested. After breakfast, we make our way down along the mani walls and chortens to Tarap Khola. As we move down, we can see some changes in the atmosphere. The surrounding starts getting lush and green. Before reaching Sisaul, we have to climb up to a small pass from where the valley starts getting narrower. We cross the pass and descent down steep to the village of Sisaul. Tonight, we stay at Sisaul (Inclusive of breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
Leaving Sisaul, we climb up a pass and drop down to river valley with huge rocks towering above you on both sides. The trail continues through an easy path for around three to four hours to Nawarpani. From here, we drop down gradually through a path carved out with huge rocks. As we move ahead from Nawarpani, the surrounding starts getting lusher. The aroma of pine forests is just sensational and pleasing. We continue ahead with the trail until we reach Laina Odar. It is our stopping point for the day. Tonight, we stay At Laina Odar (Inclusive of breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
From Laina Odar, we descend down steep along a forested area full of pine and juniper trees to Laisichap. It’s around three hours to walk down to Laisichap. We cross a long suspension bridge over the Thuli Bheri river at Laisichap and drop down the path for forty-five minutes. Finally, we come across flat land with sharp rocks and juniper/ pine trees. In the backdrop, we can see astonishing views of Kang Tokal. Further, we walk until we arrive at the village of Lingdo. It is a small village mostly inhabited by the people of the Magar community. Tonight we stay at Lingdo (Inclusive of breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
Today, we drop down via a rocky landscape similar to that of the European Alps to Dunia. In the path, we can notice slopy rocks dotted with small bushes, juniper and pine trees. We drop down to Thuli bheri river and pass a couple of houses to Dunai. Dunai is headquartered in the Dolpo district. It is a large village in the region with around 2500 people residing there. Half of the population is Hindus while half of them are Buddhist. Tonight, we stay at Dunai (Inclusive of breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
Today, we descend down to Juphal via Sangta and Kageni. The trail runs downhill most of the time. We pass lush forests, villages, and rivers on the way to Juphal. As we traverse out of Shey Phoksundo National Park, we cross a long suspension bridge and descend towards Juphal. Finally, we complete our trekking journey with a night in the place where we had started our trek earlier. Tonight we stay at Juphal (Inclusive of breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
Today, we take a flight to Nepalgunj. From Nepalgunj, we take another flight back to Kathmandu. Upon arrival, you will be dropped at a hotel in Kathmandu. You can relax at the hotel after this two-week-long journey. Tonight at a hotel in Kathmandu (Inclusive of breakfast and lunch)
After twenty-one days long journey, today is a free day in Kathmandu. You have two options for the day you can either explore some unexplored UNESCO listed heritage sites around Kathmandu or go to the shopping malls for shopping. You can also collect some souvenirs for your family and friends back home. (Inclusive of Breakfast)
Before a few hours of your scheduled flight, you will be transferred to the international terminal of Tribhuwan International airport. (Inclusive of Breakfast)