Upper Dolpo Trekking

Upper Dolpo Trekking

  • Destination
  • Region
  • Duration
    25 Days
  • Transportation
  • Max Height
  • Activities
  • Trip Grade
  • Accomodation
    Tea House/Camping
  • Group Size
    Mini. 2 Pax
  • Start / End Point
    Nepalgunj to Nepalgunj
  • Meals
  • Best Season
    Sep-Dec & Mar-May

Trip Overview

Upper Dolpo Trekking, leads to remote hidden pockets of the Far Western Himalayas. Where adventure follows the ancient trail of the Trans Himalaya Salt and Caravan Trade route through high scenic passes. 22 Days Upper Dolpo Trekking, a mesmerizing adventure to experience takes you to the wildest country of Nepal Himalayas. A journey into the wilderness in the harmony of local immense cultures of both Buddhism and ancient Bon cult religions.

Starts with a sweeping flight to Far South West Nepal at Nepalgunj, and then reaches Dolpo on another connecting flight. The adventure begins heading first towards a beautiful location at picturesque Phoksundo Lake and the lovely village of Ringmo. Enjoy a pleasant rest day and exploration the lake and nice cultural Ringmo village, within scenic areas of Phoksundo. The adventure continues toward our next highlight destination at Shey Gompa, famously known as the crystal monastery. The walk leads high above Phoksundo Lake and the valley to cross over Kang-La pass at 5,360 m high. A vantage point for sweeping views of Dolpo’s scenic dramatic landscapes with white peaks of Kagmara, Kanjiboraba Himal range.

A Real Adventure Trekking Trail and Most Beautiful Destination in Nepal

On reaching Shey Gompa, also called Crystal Monastery due to its closeness to Crystal Mountain. Where travelers can get more information from the classic novel Snow-Leopard by the author Peter Matessian of the area. At Shey Gompa, another rest day for an excursion and tour of the old monastery interior enriched with ancient artifacts. Where every 12 years on an auspicious time as per the Buddhist Lunar calendar, a great colorful festival takes place.

From Shey Gompa, the return journey leads to other windswept terrains and farm villages of the Upper Dolpo areas. The walk follows an arid, barren country to Saldang and Namduna Gaon villages, with time to experience local colorful cultures. The adventure continues to cross another high pass over Jeng-La towards the large prosperous village of Tokyu Gaon. Enjoy a tour of Tokyu Gaon one of the most affluent major settlements compromises of ten adjoining villages.

After a great wonderful moment visiting interesting monasteries and interacting with cheerful natives, the walk leads to the longest valley of Dho-Tarap. Following a gradual trail through a number of settlements of Yak and cattle herder to a large village of Tarakot. During the Malla Kingdom regime around the 12-17th century a stronghold of the area. Hence the name Tara Kot means a place with a fortress guarding against intruders during medieval times.

From Tarakot onwards our adventurous treks come to an end taking a ride on a local jeep to Jhupal. As drive leads past Dunai the headquarters town of Dolpo, at Jhupal and Dolpo region for the last overnight. The next morning taking a flight to Nepalgunj and then back to Kathmandu, after a remarkable adventure on Upper Dolpo Trekking.

Highlights of the 22-Day Upper Dolpo Trek:

  • An adventure around the wild west of Nepal into pure wilderness
  • Nepal’s largest National Park Shey-Phoksundo enrich with flora/fauna
  • Trek in the country of elusive snow-leopard and herd of blue sheep.
  • Following the old Trans Himalaya Salt & Caravan route of Nepal /Tibet
  • Across high Kang-La pass to remote Shey Gompa the Crystal Monastery

Short Trek Profile:

Trekking Mode: In local lodges and tented camping.
Trekking Grade: Moderate to Adventurous.
Highest Spot: On top Kang-La 5,360 m & Jeng-La 5,090 m.
Area of Trekking: Nepal Far North West around Karnali Zone.
Trekking Days: 20 Nights and 21 Days with flight both ways.
Total Trip: 24 Nights and 25 Days from arrival to final departure.

Best is the best time to do the trek to Upper Dolpo?

For Upper Dolpo Trek, the best time is from April to October which includes late spring, summer, and autumn seasons. The best and high time is from late spring, most days are clear and fine for pleasant walks and views, and this is the time when wildflowers are in seasonal bloom. Can get cloudy in the afternoon with chances of snow above 3,000 m higher. Cold in the morning and nighttime, longer days full of sunshine.

The other best seasons are from summer till autumn, where most days are crystal clear with blue sky. Chances of snow sometimes on higher altitude above 3,000 m. For interested people can visit during monsoon times of June to August also, longer days with enough sun-light hours and much colder with freezing temperatures around higher altitude with chances of snowfall sometimes. Dolpo region falls within rain shadow where black heavy monsoon clouds are blocked by the high Himalayan range. This is why most areas are dry and barren with less rain and moisture similar to Tibetan landscapes.

Outline Itinerary:

Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu 1,320 m and transfer to hotel.
Day 02: In Kathmandu for trek preparation and fly to Nepalgunj.
Day 03: Fly to Jhupal 2,475 m then drive to Dunai 2,140 m – 02 hrs.
Day 04: Trek to Chhepka 2,838 m – 06 hrs.
Day 05: Trek to Samdua village 2,960m -06 hrs.
Day 06: Trek to Phoksundo Lake 3,630 m – 06 hours.
Day 07: Rest day at Phoksundo Lake for local excursion.
Day 08: Trek to Phoksundo-Khola 3,640 m- 05 hrs.
Day 09: Trek to Phoksundo Bhanjyang – 07 hrs.
Day 10: Trek to Shey Gompa 4,500 m via Kang-La 5,360 m -06 hrs.
Day 11:  Rest day at Shey Gompa the crystal monastery.
Day 12: Trek to Namduna Gaon 4,800 m via Saldang La 5,200 m.
Day 13: Trek to Saldang 3,620 m -05 hours.
Day 14: Trek to Yangze Gompa 4,960 m – 05 hrs.
Day 15: Trek to Sibu 4,560 m – 07 hrs.
Day 16: Trek to Jeng-La Phedi 4,900 m -06 hrs.
Day 17: Trek to Tokyu Gaon 4,209 m via Jeng-La and Khanger – 06 hrs.
Day 18: Trek to Dho Tarap 3, 944 m- 05 hrs.
Day 19: Trek to Ghyamgar 3,759 m – 07 hrs.
Day 20: Trek to Tarap Khola 3,652 via Chyugar 3,440 m – 06 hours.
Day 21: Trek to Tarakot 2,540 m – 06 hrs.
Day 22: Trek to Dunai – 05 hrs then drive to Jhupal – 02 hr jeep ride.
Day 23: Fly to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj and transfer to the hotel.
Day 24: In Kathmandu free day at leisure.
Day 25: Depart Kathmandu for international flight homeward bound.

Details Itinerary

On arrival at Kathmandu-Nepal international airport, received by our guide for a short transfer to your hotel in the center of the city. The briefing provides by our guide regarding the hotel, treks, and local lodges. The evening group welcomes dinner in a typical Nepali restaurant as an introduction to local foods with cultural folk programs.

Morning free in Kathmandu for trek preparation, after a leisure morning having rest and packing for the trek. Afternoon transfer to Kathmandu domestic airport for flight to Nepalgunj city airport. Located Nepal Far South West around low warm sub-tropical climate. During the flight of 50 minutes enjoy super views of the Himalayan range, on reaching at Nepalgunj airport transfer to a nice hotel close to the city with time to browse around the streets of Nepalgunj.

From Nepalgunj having an early breakfast transfer to Nepalgunj airport for a short flight to Dolpo at Jhupal with a small airstrip. A swift short scenic flight of 40 minutes landed at Jhupal. Where you will be received by our trekking and camping crews and then board in a jeep or four-wheel drive. A short drive of a few hours to the major town at Dunai, headquarters and administrative town of Dolpo district. On reaching at Dunai transfer into a local lodge for an overnight stop, with time to explore the mountain town and witness the culture of both Hindu and Buddhist religions.

Spending first overnight in Dolpo at Dunai, start the morning walk after a simple breakfast, from here onwards in tented camp all meals cooked and served by our camping cook and staff. Walk follows through the main bazaar of Dunai and then cross over a bridge above Thulo Bheri River. As climb leads to a high ridge leading to Phoksundo River, as you face Kagmara peak. From the high hill downhill past farm villages with nice crops and fruit terraces of walnut trees. Then reaching at Dhera, a small settlement of yak herders, as the walk continues with a short climb reaching at Raha-Gaon. A village mostly populated by Hindu Thakuri Malla mid-hills tribes of Dolpo and Western Nepal. From Raha-Gaon head downhill within a forested area towards our overnight camp at Chepka, a small farm village.

After the first overnight in a tented camp, with full great services of camping staff and cook, enjoying a hearty breakfast. Start the adventure by heading close to the village of Ankhe. As climb starts to a high hill and then downhill into forested reaching a riverbank. Another climb after leaving the forest for a while and then back within a tree line after a short climb uphill and downhill reaching a small bridge at Ryajik village. From here the route leads further towards a small place of Samdua for an overnight camp which is close to the entrance of Phoksundo National Park.

The boundary of Shey Phoksundo National Park, which is also the largest park in Nepal covers 3,555 sq. km. Extends near to Dhaulagiri Himalaya and Mustang district in the east, as well Jumla and Mugu in the west.
Morning walk starts heading towards our first main destination and highlight at Phoksundo Lake. As the walk leads past Pungmo Khola stream and the valley with downhill reaching into pine and birch tree woods and then reaching on the upper side of Phoksundo Khola. After a few short stops walk continues to Ringmo village, an interesting settlement with inhabitants of the Dolpa people of Tibetan origin.
A nice village with mud-plastered Chorten and Mani (prayer) walls with a small monastery, the Dolpo native practice Buddhism and an ancient cult called Bon, worship of nature and mountain spirits.
Either overnight at Ringmo village or further to camp close to Phoksundo Lake for overnight.

A perfect place for a rest day to support acclimatization, where interested people can take a short hike and explore the Ringmo village or around the pristine Ringmo / Phoksundo Lake. As well enjoy the grand views of Kagmara snow peaks and their scenic surrounding.

From Phoksundo Lake, the adventure leads to our next destination at Shey Gompa heading towards the Upper Dolpo area. The morning walk leads to contour over a rocky ledge above the riverbank, walk on the unsteady path towards the western rim of the Phoksundo Lake, then reach to a nice grazing area at Phoksundo Khola for overnight camp.

The morning starts on a pleasant trail towards a glaciated valley heading north from Phoksundo Khola / stream and then reaching to a high slope around another pleasant grazing area. On reaching the top of a hill facing views Phoksundo valley and of Kang-La pass. Finally ending the day walks reaching our overnight camp on a nice field.

Finally, the adventure leads towards the Upper Dolpo area, as the morning walk leads towards Shey Gompa. The climb starts to steep uphill on rocks and stone scree then finally reaching on top Kang-La pass which is at the height of 5,360 m, the highest point of the adventure. Enjoy the super panorama of surrounding valleys and snow-mountains as far towards Mt. Dhaulagiri range. From the top of Kang-La downhill as trail winds along the river and then on a green marsh, wet meadow coming across herds of yaks, sheep’s, goats and nomadic huts. Slowly the day ends on reaching a Buddhist monument called Chorten the welcome sign before reaching at Shey Gompa. Setting the camp close to stunning Crystal Mountain, which is also a holy mountain and patron God of Dolpa.

Another rest day around this wild surroundings far from human civilization an interesting and mystical place. Enjoy a tour of Shey Monastery known as Crystal Monastery due to its near location of Crystal Mountain, a strange and magnificent peak embedded with quartz, crystals, and semi-precious stones.

After an enjoyable rest at Shey Gompa and visiting its interior with ancient treasures of valuable arts and idols of Buddha and famous gurus.
The morning begins on a nice path lined with juniper trees, and then downhill towards a canyon and high eroded cliffs, as walk follows windswept terrain then climb high over Saldang-la pass. Enjoy the view of surrounding dramatic landscapes and then on the downhill to Namduna Gaon for overnight camp next to the village.
Herewith time to visit an old Tibetan Buddhism monastery of Karmapa sects, witness the farm growing only barley, buckwheat’s, mustard, potatoes, and radish are also cultivated.

Today’s walk leads to another interesting village at Saldang, as the morning walk starts with a climb over a rocky slope on a windswept terrain. After a few hours of a tough climb then reach at Saldang, situated above on a high plateau one of the largest and main villages of the Upper Dolpo area. At Saldang with five flourishing villages spread-out out nearby, the locals engaged in farming as well sell their products and trades with Tibetan, as the border to Tibet is within a few days’ walks.

From Saldang heading south around the desolate country of windswept arid terrain as a walk follows Nang Chu River all the way around this uniquely scenic area.
Walkthrough Tiling and Luri-Gaon within a small cattle herder temporary settlement then finally ending the day at on reaching at Yangze for overnight halt.
One of the few villages around Upper Dolpo with a monastery of Bonpa sect of pre-Buddhist religion. Which started earlier before Buddhism was introduced in Tibet. Buddhism started only from the 6th Century onwards in Tibet and spread to Nepal and other North-Eastern India as well in Bhutan.

A long day walks today as walk leads on the trail that leads to Saldang village, our route follows further down south, as walk follows a river and into terraced fields with series of stupas and Chorten with a monastery on reaching a nice large village of Namdo, with more than sixty houses. With time here visit the monastery and continue walking for another few hours downhill to a river and into a small Yak herder settlement at Sibu for overnight camp.

After a pleasant overnight camp at Sibu within the isolated corner of Upper Dolpo, as morning heads towards the inner and lower Dolpo area. Walk follows Nam Khong Khola / stream for an hour or more, as you encounter yaks laden caravan on route to Tibetan border for trades and bartering. This region falls within the old Trans Himalayan Trade Route of Nepal and Tibet. The trade across the border still exists as it were hundreds of centuries ago. Follow the same river, and then finally reach our overnight halt at the base of high Jeng-La pass.

Start the morning trek earlier for a steep climb to the top of Jeng-La pass and then towards a lovely large village of Tokyu Gaon. From the camp start the steep climb for a few hours, once on top spectacular scenery of beautiful landscapes of Dolpo with views of snow peaks rewards you. On top enjoy grand views of the Dhaulagiri Himalaya range, and then downhill on the grassy trail as the route leads you to nice Tokyu village for an overnight stop. Enjoy the afternoon exploring the village and witness the local impressive culture similar to its Tibetan predecessor.

Staying at a nice village at Tokyu Gaon after an enjoyable pleasant overnight and exploring this lovely cultural village, the morning begins heading downhill towards Tarap Chu valley, a wide field with a number of temporary settlements of Yak and sheep herders summer pasture grazing area. The walk continues further down at Dho Tarap for overnight halt, another nice and interesting village of mixed tribes of people the Dolpa of Tibetans origin and Magar hill tribes of western Nepal.

From here a long descend to Tarap valley, the largest and longest valley of Dolpo area stretches near 20 k.m. our walk follows Tarap Chu River all the way till it joins the Thuli Bheri River near Tarakot village. The route leads past Langa near a beautiful waterfall, as the walk heads south then reaches a small settlement of Kesila around cattle herder summer camps, and then eventually ends the day walk at Ghyamgar for overnight camp.

Slowly our adventure nears the end of a journey, as morning walks follow to a nice valley of Tarap, and then enter a narrow gorge with few vegetation of juniper and wild rose, the trail follows past a small clearing at Tol-Tol a places with a large overhanging cave. The area where wild life like Naur or Blue Sheep often dwells for grazing and might spot some mountain animals.
Walk continues on reaching at a confluence of Tarap Chu and Lang Khola streams, where our overnight camp is set by the river bank on a grassy meadow.

Morning walk starts heading through spread out smaller settlements and farm villages, then through a small forest area, the walk follows along the riverside and then climb up to the village of Tarakot.
Tarakot, a large and historical village with an old fortress where in early days caravan laden with goods past through Tarakot on route to Tibet on old Trans Himalaya Salt Trade trail. Tarakot was the place taking toll and taxes during the ancient Malla kingdom regime. At Tarakot for overnight last overnight in a tented camp, with time visit the old Sandul Gomba located on a junction of Barbung Khola and Tarap Chu River.

Today the last day walk of the adventure, on leaving Tarakot heading to Dunai as walk follows on a nice gradual path for short while reaching a motorable road, then boarding in the local jeep or similar vehicle, where the drive takes you to Dunai for lunch and then continue to drive to Jhupal for last overnight around Dolpo.

Early morning after a good breakfast, walk towards an airfield for a short flight to Nepalgunj, on arrival at Nepalgunj city airport with time for rest and refreshment before connecting another flight back to Kathmandu. On reaching Kathmandu transfer back to your hotels, rest of the afternoon at leisure.

Reserved an extra or spare as a contingency day in Kathmandu, where sometimes the flight to and from Jhupal can get delayed or lead to cancellation depending upon the weather condition. Sometimes the weather can be unpredictable for flight to the mountainous regions like Dolpo. If all goes as per our standard itinerary days enjoy free time in Kathmandu for a leisure tour around world heritage sites or just relax and recall the memories of Upper Dolpo Trekking.

Last day in Nepal and at Kathmandu, as per your international flight time our staff and guide transfer you to the airport for homeward bound or to the next port of call, after an amazing and memorable adventure on Upper Dolpo Trekking.

  • 22 nights accommodation in tents
    1-night accommodation in Nepalgunj (Hotel Sneha or similar)
    Guide for 24 days
    Cook for 24 days
    Required number of porters for 24 days
    Kathmandu Nepalgunj Kathmandu Flight
    Nepalgunj Jhupal Nepalgunj Flight
    Shey Phoksundo national park permit
    Restricted area permit
    24 x breakfast, 23 x lunch and 23 x dinner while on the trek

Cost Doest Not Included:
Lunch and dinner in Nepalgunj

Upper Dolpo Trekking Map

Upper Dolpo Trekking Map

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