Dolpo Trek is an unforgettable journey through the remote Himalayan region of Nepal, which provides an incredible experience for trekkers of all types. It is an off-the-beaten-path adventure that explores the pristine landscape, unique culture, and hospitable people of the region. The trek begins from the ancient Shey-Phoksundo National Park, passes through beautiful villages, terraced fields, fast-flowing rivers, roaring waterfalls, deep river gorges, monasteries, prayer flags, stupas, chortens, mani-walls, and high passes, and offers incredible views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain range. The area is blessed with a diversity of plants and animals, making it home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. The region is also known as “Ba Yul” or the hidden valley.
Upper Dolpo trek is challenging due to its remote location and high altitude, and altitude sickness should be taken into account throughout the trek. The trekking trails are mostly safe and well-maintained, but caution must be taken in areas with cliffs and rocky terrain. Respect for the local culture, customs, and religion is important during the trek, and the Bon Po religion has a strong presence in the area. “Bon Po” is an ancient pre-Buddhist religion practiced in the Dolpo region of Nepal. It is characterized by its shamanistic nature, with rituals such as sky burials, spirit mediumship and other esoteric beliefs. The Bon Po is also worships mountain gods, local mountain spirits and sky gods.
The trek starts from Juphal in the Dolpo district and passes through remote villages, spectacular scenery, and Nepal’s crown jewels, the Shey Phoksundo National Park with the spectacularly beautiful Phoksundo lake, a serene body of water ringed by abrupt mountains and forests that home to some of the Himalayan rare animal species including snow leopard. It is a trek of great beauty and cultural richness that is ideal for those looking for an adventure that is both challenging and rewarding.
Dolpo Trek requires special permit as it is located in isolated remote area and restricted region of Nepal which lies in the mid-western region between Dhaulagiri range and the Tibetan Plateau. The trek takes us across the old trans-Himalayan trade route, and the main highlights include the stunning Himalayan mountain range, the ancient Buddhist monasteries, the “Bon Po” religion and culture, and the iconic Crystal Mountain. The final stretch of the trek takes you through the Jungben La Pass (5550m) and to Jomsom or Mustang, or you can end your trek at Juphal by making a round Dolpo. Alternatively, you can take the trail through the pristine Rara Lake, which requires high physical fitness but offers majestic views and tranquility.
To access this trip, you can either fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj, or take a bus to Nepalgunj and then fly to Juphal. This trek is an incredible experience that is perfect for those looking for a challenge and adventure. So pack your bags, respect the local culture and environment, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime.
The History of Dolpa Trek: The history of Dolpo can be traced back to the 15th century when it was a part of the kingdom of Mustang. In the 19th century, the area was annexed by the Thakali rulers and later by the hereditary rulers of Jumla. In the late 19th century, Rinzin Dorje Lama’s son, Gyalpo Dorje, continued the tradition of combining Tibetan and Nepalese culture, but also began a period of modernization in the region. The trekking industry in Dolpa began to grow during the 1960s, and in the 1970s it gained popularity among western tourists. The popularity of the area led to the formation of the Dolpa Trekking Association in 1977. The association was responsible for managing the trekking routes, regulating fees, and providing information and support to trekkers. The Dolpa Trekking Association continues to be a major pert of the local community and plays an important role in the tourism industry in the region. The trek was opened for foreign tourists in 1989, but it has been a popular route for local people for centuries. The area has a rich history, with the monasteries and fortresses scattered through the region. The people of the region practices mainly Buddhism and Bon Po. Bon Po is an ancient pre-Buddhist religion practiced in the Dolpa region of Nepal. It is a polytheistic religion that centers around the worship of various gods and goddesses, and its rituals involve offerings of food and other items to the gods.
Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu. When you arrive at the Tribhuvan Internaational Airport, Kathmandu, our staff will receive you at the Airport. He/she will be displaying a placard with Himalayan Travelers Trek & Expedition written in it outside the airport terminal. He/she will meet, greet and welcome you with auspicious garland and escort you to your respective hotel by our private tourist vehicle. At the hotel, he will assist you to check in and do pre-trip meeting with you. Overnight at hotel.
Day 2: This day is preparation day. You will also be briefed about your overall program on this day, introduce your guide and clear your questions/inquiries if any. Overnight at hotel.
Day 3: After breakfast, we will fly to Nepalhunj or take a bus and drive to Nepalgunj.
Day 4: In case of unfavorable weather, we will explore Nepalgunj and its nearby villages. Otherwise, we will fly from Nepalgunj to Juphal (2470m) and hike to Rupgad (2060m). The trek offers stunning views of terraced fields, forests, and Thakuri villages, where animism and Hindu culture are still prevalent. The ladders carved into trunks lead to flat roofs where people dry their harvests and socialize. We will walk for 2:20 hours, with an elevation gain of +75m/-475m.
Day 5: We will continue our journey from Rupgad to Shepka (2680m), hiking along the river that originates from Lake Phoksundo. Two suspension bridges over the Thuli and Suli Khola provide us access to the clear turquoise waters, and the lush greenery of rice fields and conifers surround us. We will walk for 5-6 hours, with an elevation gain of +816m/-204m.
Day 6: Today, we will walk from Chepka to Palang (3150m) and witness the play of light and shadows as we cross the torrent on wooden bridges. We will encounter animist sculptures, and the captivating turquoise waters of the river will lead us to the picturesque Palang. We will walk for 6 hours, with an elevation gain of +806m/-326m.
Day 7: The trail from Palang to Ringmo, the shore of Phoksundo Lake (3670m), is a relatively easy climb, and we can enjoy the stunning views of Lake Phoksundo from the small pass en route. We will walk through the village of Ringmo, where the Bön religion coexists with Buddhism. The houses scattered in the fields and the stupas add to the charm of this beautiful village. We will walk for 4-5 hours, with an elevation gain of +704m/-176m.
Day 8: We will spend the day acclimatizing around Lake Phoksundo.
Day 9: On this day, we will walk from Ringmo to Phoksundo Lake Camp (3730m) and enjoy the mesmerizing colors of the lake. We will explore the village and the monastery of Ringmo, and marvel at the cliffs that surround the lake. We will walk for 5-6 hours, with an elevation gain of +752m/-688m.
Day 10: Trek from Phoksundo Lake to Kang La Phedi (4650m) Today’s trek is relatively short but involves a steep elevation climb. You will make your way through a narrow gorge to reach the base camp of Kang La, which is the first pass of the Dolpo-Mustang crossing. During the trek, you will have to cross the torrent several times, and depending on the water level, some passages may require you to remove your shoes. The scenery behind you will feature the stunning east faces of Kanjiroba, a long ridge over 6000m. As you leave the vegetation behind, you will enter a mineral environment that you will only leave upon your arrival in the kali gandaki. Remember to walk slowly to acclimatize well, as this will affect the quality of the night you will spend.
Day 11: Trek from Kang La Phedi to Shey Gompa (4350m) Today, you will cross your first pass at more than 5000m in a good series, and the slow progress is all the more important due to the high elevation. Early in the morning, the sunrise will bring a pleasant surprise; Kanjiroba will be on fire, and the flutes descending to its glacier will ignite and quickly send back a dazzling light during your progression of the first steep slope. The Kang La peak culminates at about 5360m and marks the beginning of the Tibetan plateau. Crossing this pass is a highlight of the trek, as you switch from the Himalayan part to the Tibetan plateau. The tapering ridges of the Kanjiroba will be behind you, while a horizon of rounded Tibetan peaks will greet you ahead. This is one of the unique aspects of this Himalayan trek where you will alternate between Nepal and Tibet, the Himalayas and the Tibetan plateau. The descent will be long through an open valley, and upon arrival at Shey Gompa, you will feel like you are at the end of the world. The mountain of crystal will be on your left, dominating a little higher.
Day 12: Acclimatization day at Shey Gompa and Tsakang Monastery You will spend this day acclimatizing at Shey Gompa Monastery, which overlooks the confluence of two rivers. You will see a large number of mani walls, walls with carved stones of prayers surrounding the monastery. The softly colored mountains, the southern chorten of the monastery with the air of “Tintin in Tibet”, and the yaks grazing in opposite valleys will make you feel like you are in the heart of Upper Dolpo. The isolated Tsakang Monastery is quite close, and you can reach it with just an hour and a half of trekking. The monastery is clinging to the mountain, and its location and building will impress you. On the balcony in the cliff overlooking the gorge, you will see the peaks and the river which is lost in a deep gorge. The eagle’s nest monastery at this altitude will certainly give you the perspective necessary to reach a meditative state. You may also spot Bharals or Himalayan blue sheep in this region.
Day 13: From Shey Gompa, we will take a winding path to a low pass, which is under 5000m. The pass is situated in the middle of pastoral hills, where yaks are commonly found. The trek will take about 6-7 hours, with a total elevation gain of 1347m and a loss of 1103m.
Day 14: We will depart from Tora and climb up to a pass over 4400m. After crossing the pass, we will descend to the remote village of Bhijer, known for its unique architecture where houses resemble small fortresses with terraces. Later, we will leave Bhijer valley and take the valley that leads to Saldang. The trek will take about 5-6 hours, with an elevation gain of approximately 510m and a loss of 590m.
Day 15: We will start our trek towards a new pass at 5000m, with a gradual climb which becomes steeper towards the end before reaching the 5380m Nengla La. The view will gradually emerge on the descent, showcasing cliffs that oscillate between grey, yellow, and slightly ocher. We will finally reach the large village of Saldang, spread over all the slopes that descend to the river. The trek will take about 6-7 hours, with an elevation gain of 1276m and a loss of 1624m.
Day 16: From Saldang, we will undertake a long ascent of the valley, crossing villages on the left bank and arriving at Riko, where we may observe bharals coming to drink at nightfall. The males of this goat species have large horns similar to those of ibexes, while the females have smaller horns. We will trek for about 4-5 hours, with an elevation gain of 475m and a loss of 145m.
Day 17: We will continue our trek through a desert at altitude, and may encounter one or two mountain pastures. The cold is starting to bite as the season draws to a close and the nomads’ tents are being folded up. Bearded vultures are present in this region and can be observed. We will walk for about 4-5 hours, with an elevation gain of 465m and a loss of 65m.
Day 18: Our trek from Jeng La Phedi to Tokyu will take us through a wide valley that descends to Dho Tarap, the capital of Dolpo. We will cross the Jeng La pass, which is lower than the previous passes at only 5130m, and less steep. The horizon line will flatten then regain relief, revealing the distant peaks of the Himalayas, including the Dhaulagiri. We may observe an eagle’s nest in the cliffs halfway on our left, while bearded vultures are quite common in this valley. In the village of Tokyu, we will discover a culture that does not feel more Japanese (Tokyo) than Nepalese. The trek will take about 5 hours, with an elevation gain of 610m and a loss of 920m.
Day 19: From Tokyu, start your day with a descent through the valley of Dho Tarap. Dho, the main village of Dolpo, is located at an altitude of over 4000m and is home to the most important Lama of the Dolpo. The Yarsa Gompa has changed the economy and lifestyle of the villagers. During the picking season, thousands of people come to harvest the famous mushroom, creating tensions between residents, outside pickers, and the police. The Dho school, established by Action Dolpo, is a bioclimatic building that uses greenhouses to improve winter living conditions. If it’s open during your visit, you can see the organization and infrastructure. Leaving Dho, take the east valley to Pang La Phedi (4490m).
Walking: 5-6 hours, +410m/-220m
Day 20: After acclimatizing and crossing three passes, begin your ascent to Pang La, the highest point you have crossed so far, standing at 5450m. The view from the pass is breathtaking, with a softer relief towards the north and a completely barren Tibetan plateau. Look out for herds of yaks grazing on the slopes. Set up camp before the pass on a yak mountain pasture to enjoy the vast open spaces of the Himalayas.
Walk: 5-6 hours, +1050m/-610m
Day 21: Charka Both (4500m) Wake up to the cool mountain air at almost 5000m, and spot the few yaks still grazing higher up. Today’s trek takes you to Mola La, just above 5000m, offering magnificent views of the entire Dhaulagiri massif, with Chakra Both valley in the foreground. The valley boasts generous terraces and an old village, protected from the wind by narrow streets, closed courtyards, and tall houses. Share the slopes with herds of Himalayan goats and yaks. Though Charka Both seems far from everything, it’s just two days from Jomsom for the villagers, but five for your caravan!
Walking: 5-6 hours, +465m/-900m
Day 22: Wari Kharka (4680m) Follow the trail along the beautiful Charka Khola with its transparent waters, crossing it at a few prayer walls. Cross Thasan Khola to reach the camp on the right bank. Keep an eye out for tracks that could be those of the elusive snow leopard, which shares the region with wolves, although the rounded footprints suggest that it is more likely to be the snow leopard, which lives in these highlands with the bharals and yaks.
Walking: 4-5 hours, +400m/-220m
Day 23: Niwar Phedi (about 5000m) Today’s trek takes you to a high altitude of almost 5000m, and you set up camp just before the pass of the same name, the Nirwa Pass. Enjoy the vast mountain pasture and the stunning views, as this will be your highest night of the trip.
Walking: 4-5 hours, +410m/-110m
Day 24: Golchan Khola (4440m) It’s a long day of trekking, but you are now perfectly acclimatized. Spot yaks seeking freshness as you approach Golchan La via the first pass, the Niwar La. The Golchan La, at 5540m, is the highest pass of your itinerary and offers views of the Hidden Vallez to the south, descending from the Tukuche base camp. Crossing the Golchan La also marks your arrival in Mustang and the return to the rugged terrain of the Himalayas. Brace yourself for a very steep descent into shale, making this your big day of the trek and marking your exit from Dolpo, at least geographically.
Walking: 6-7 hours, +795m/-1285m
Day 25: Golchan Khola to Sangda (4030m) Today’s trek takes you through the rugged and deeply indented Sangda valley, where you will need to navigate around numerous valleys to reach the windswept village. As you approach Sangda, you will be treated to breathtaking views of the Tashikang mountain, which towers over the village with its impressive glacier. The village itself is camouflaged by its rocky surroundings, blending seamlessly into the mineral universe around it. The villagers migrate to a neighboring village during the winter months to escape the harsh conditions. Try to arrive before they leave.
Day 26: Sangda to Phalyak (3430m) Today’s trek will be one of the longest yet, as you navigate through deep valleys that seem endless. However, your perseverance will be rewarded with one of the most stunning Himalayan panoramas you will ever see. As you ascend the ridge, the entire Mustang region and even Tibet will be revealed to you, including the Damodar massif and the Khatung Kang and Yakawa Kang peaks, which frame the famous Thorong La. On your right, the entire Annapurna range will be visible, including Tilicho peak and Annapurna I. This eagle’s-eye view of the region will also give you a glimpse of Mustang’s unique geological composition and the powerful landslide that created this landscape and the Kali Gandaki gorge. Keep an eye out for bearded vultures soaring overhead. The descent to Phalyak will be challenging, but well worth the effort. Phalyak is located outside the Annapurna Circuit but within the Annapurna Park.
Day 27: Phalyak to Jomsom (2880m) The final leg of the Dolpo Mustang crossing takes you through the village of Dhagarjung and up to the last pass of the trek, where you will be treated to another exceptional panorama of the Annapurna range. As you approach Jomsom, you will begin to notice signs of modernization, including a telephone relay and trucks traversing the bed of the Kali Gandaki. The trail descends steeply, so you may want to split into two groups for a more leisurely descent through the valley.
Day 28: Jomsom to Kathmandu via Pokhara flight The trek has come to an end and Jomsom, with its city life, is a stark contrast to the rugged mountain terrain of the past few weeks. Flying back to Kathmandu via Pokhara is a less weather-dependent option, although the runway at Jomsom provides a backup plan in case of flight cancellations. The flight between Pokhara and Kathmandu offers breathtaking views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri peaks, both over 8000m. Spend the night at a hotel in Kathmandu.
Day 29: Free day in Kathmandu After days of trekking amidst the stunning natural scenery of the Himalayas, Kathmandu offers a starkly different experience. Despite being in the same country, the pace of life is markedly different. This day provides a chance to acclimatize to the more modern surroundings.
Day 30: Departure from Kathmandu Airport The journey comes to an end as you depart from Kathmandu Airport. Memories of the trek, the yaks, and the colorful prayer flags fluttering in the wind will remain vivid for a long time to come.
“When you book with Himalayan Travellers, we want you to be fully informed about the cost of your trip. Our fully inclusive land-only price ensures that there are no hidden extras or last-minute costs. Almost everything is included in the price, and if you would like to provide gratuity for your trekking and expedition staff, it is entirely optional. We want you to enjoy your trip with peace of mind knowing that everything has been taken care of.”
The following are included in our price:
Supervision by a Nepalese trekking guide, Assistant guide, Cook and Kitchen staff, porters.
Accommodation in a hotel in Kathmandu (night and breakfast at the Padma hotel), in a lodge and Camping during the trek.
Transfers by bus or plane from Kathmandu, Nepalgunj, Juphal.
Full board during the trek.
The Special Dolpo permit fee and National park permit fee.
Cost Not Includes
The Nepalese visa.
Insurance (compulsory on all trips – ensure you are adequately covered for emergency evacuation by helicopter).
Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu.
Spending of a personal expenses, e.g. laundry, snacks and drinks, souvenirs, etc.
The Upper Dolpo Trek is a challenging and remote trekking experience that offers a glimpse into the unique culture and landscape of the Dolpo region in Nepal. Some of the difficulties that trekkers may encounter on the Upper Dolpo Trek include:
High altitude: The trek reaches an altitude of over 5,000 meters, which can cause altitude sickness for some trekkers. Proper acclimatization and trekking gear are essential to avoid altitude-related illnesses.
Remote location: The Upper Dolpo Trek is located in a remote region of Nepal with limited access to basic facilities such as medical services, communication networks, and accommodation.
Weather conditions: The weather in the Dolpo region can be unpredictable and harsh, with extreme cold and snowfall in the winter months. Trekkers need to be prepared for all weather conditions, including carrying appropriate clothing and equipment.
Physical demands: The trek involves long hours of walking on difficult terrain with steep ascents and descents. Trekkers need to be physically fit and prepared for the physical demands of the trek.
Cultural differences: The Dolpo region has a unique culture and way of life that may be different from what trekkers are accustomed to. It’s important to be respectful and aware of cultural differences and to seek guidance from local guides.
Permits and logistics: Obtaining the necessary permits and organizing logistics for the trek can be challenging and time-consuming. Trekkers need to plan ahead and be aware of the required permits and regulations.
Accommodation and food: Accommodation and food options are limited on the trek, and trekkers may have to rely on camping and basic lodges. Food options may also be limited, and trekkers need to be prepared to eat local cuisine.
Overall, the Upper Dolpo Trek is a challenging but rewarding experience for adventurous trekkers who are prepared to face the difficulties of this remote and unique region.
Is it safe in Nepal?
Yes, it is safe in Nepal. Over the past 10 years, Nepal has become the top traveling destinations in the world.
What is Trekking?
Trekking is a form of walking, undertaken with the specific purpose of exploring and enjoying the scenery. It usually takes place on trails in areas of relatively unspoiled wilderness.
What is climbing or Expedition?
Mountain expedition or climbing is typically referred to a long journey or voyage undertaken for a specific purpose, often exploratory, scientific, geographic, in high mountains. It is the activity of using one’s hands and feet to ascend a steep object.
Do I need Trekking Permit?
Yes, for trekking all regions is has required Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS) as new policy. You will need a National park / Conservation entrance permit. Some of control area does require a special trekking permit issue by Immigration through trekking agency.
Do I need Climbing/ Expedition Permit?
Yes, compulsory you need climbing/expedition permit. We have 33 trekking peaks which permit issued by the Nepal mountaineering Association for more information visit www.nepalmountaineering.org. The rest of the mountain to climb we need to collect the permit from Nepal Government – Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation – for more information visit www.tourism.gov.np which issue by Trekking agency.
What types of equipment do i need?
Light, loose garments are recommended in spring (March, April and May) and summer (June, July and August), while woolens and jackets or similar warm clothings are needed from November to February.
I am suffering from Acrophobia can i do trekking in Nepal?
Yes you can do. we have many place to go small hill trek, like Kathmandu valley trek, Pokhara valley trek, Ghorepani poon hill trek, mardi himal trek…….
How can I book my trip?
You can book your trip by mail. mail Address:- Mobile Namber:- +977-98 51 06 21 76
How to make payment?
The 25 % payment in advance through the company bank account. Please note full payment should be made before tour departure date for cash. For cheque or bank transfer.
What are the best seasons/months to do trek in Nepal?
Spring and autumn are the best seasons to visit Nepal. Lots of travelers want to visit Nepal in September, October, March, and April.
What is the difference between trekking, hiking and mountain climbing?
You can do all three activities in Nepal, but they are quite different things. Trekking is a multi-day walk, where you stay overnight at the place you have walked to. Hiking generally refers to a one-day walk. It might be two hours or eight, but if it takes place within a single day, it will probably be referred to as a hike. Mountain climbing is another thing entirely. It takes special equipment, training and comes with more risk. Neither trekking nor hiking require any special skill, other than the ability to walk.
What is Personal Insurance?
You will need personal travel insurance before coming Nepal so you are responsible to organize travel insurance, which at least covers injury, medical expenses, rescue, repatriation, cancellation, etc.
Do will we use Oxygen?
Oxygen,We will not use oxygen for progression. And it is not (either) a service that is offered. However, we will have an oxygen cylinder for medical use. Clearly, it is only used in the event of a problem, to descend (and especially not to continue to climb!)
will we use fixed ropes?
It’s more interesting to guide expeditions without fixed ropes (or with as few as possible). And overall, if we do use fixed ropes, we will take them OUT
What is High Altitude Sickness?
General trekkers going to higher altitudes quickly the problems like headache, Nausea, shortness of breath, tiredness encountered at high altitude i.e. above 8000 ft. Factor of Altitude Sickness. Specially, in trekking in Himalaya there are problems of Altitude Sickness (AMS). Our bodies have the ability to adjust to higher altitudes if given enough time. This process of adaptation is called acclimatization. Altitude illnesses observed in Nepal include acute mountain sickness (AMS), High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE), the presence of fluid in the lungs. High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE), swelling of the brain. And High Altitude Retinal Hemorrhage (HARH), bleeding in the retina of the eye.
Will somebody come to pick me up at the Airport?
Yes, somebody will come to the airport to pick you. Outside of Terminal Hall, he/she will be displaying a play card of Himalayan travellers trek & Expedition.