Upper Dolpo Trek
Upper Dolpo, a forbidden region, present to the south of the Kanjiroba and Dhaulagiri ranges, has been untouched by the waves of modernization and urbanization for the past 1200 years. Filled with Tibetan culture, arid plateaus and rugged trails, this region offers spectacular insights into the mystery surrounded by this forbidden land.
Customized itinerary subject to change will be suitable for this region as it is subject to sudden weather changes. The region has been untouched and is suitable to be toured even after the earthquake that shook the nation on 2015. The major highlights of the trek are the interesting villages, fascinating people, major Himalayan passes, Shey Gompa, Phoksundo Lake among many others. To observe the wild, mysterious west of Nepal, this trek is a must do for thrill seekers wishing to explore the mystiques of the beautiful Himalayan country Nepal.
Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu (1300m)
Day 02: Sightseeing around Kathmandu (1300m)
Day 03: Kathmandu- Nepalgunj
Day 04: Nepalgunj-Juphal-Dunai (1300m-2850m)
Day 05: Dunai- Ankhe (2850m-2896m)
Day 06: Ankhe- Sulighat
Day 07: Sulight- Phoksundo Lake (2896m-3611m)
Day 08: Acclamatization at Phoksundo Lake
Day 09: Trek to Phoskundo Khola
Day 10: Phoksundo Khola- Phoksundo Bhanjyang
Day 11: Phoksundo Bhanjyang- Shey Gompa (3611m-4500m)
Day 12: Acclimatization at Shey Gompa
Day 13: Shey Gompa- Saldang La- Namduna Gaun (4500m-4800m)
Day 14: Namdun Gaun- Saldang (4800m-3620m)
Day 15: Saldang- Yangze Gompa (3620m-4960m)
Day 16: Yangze Gompa- Sibu (4960m-4560m)
Day 17: Sibu- Jeng la Phedi (4560m-4900m)
Day 18: Jeng La Phedi- Jeng La Pass- Tokyu Gaon (4900m-4209m)
Day 19: Tokyu- Dho Tarap (4209m-4040m)
Day 20: Rest at Dho Tarap
Day 21: Dho Tarap- Tarap Khola (4040m- 3800m)
Day 22: Tarap Khola- Khanigaon (3800m-3150m)
Day 23: Khanigaon- Tarakot (3150m- 2537 m)
Day 24: Tarakot- Dunai (2537m- 2140m)
Day 25: Dunai- Juphal
Day 26: Juphal- Nepalgunj- Kathmandu
Day 27: Rest Day at Kathmandu
Day 28: Departure
Arrival in Kathmandu (1300m)
Arrival in the Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu, is followed by checking in to the hotel. You can relish authentic Nepali cuisine and rest adequately for the upcoming trek. Necessary materials for the upcoming trek can be collected.
Sightseeing around Kathmandu (1300m)
Kathmandu is home to the famous World Heritage sites like the Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan Durbar Squares. Other fascinating areas include the Syambunath, Boudanath and several gompas along with temples like Pashupatinath, Guheswori etc which can be visited today.
One hour flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj can be followed by observing the traditions and cultures of this terai town. Nepalgunj lies in the border to India and is also the gateway to Simikot, Humla. 1 hour flight.
After breakfast, a flight to Juphal is carried out. This is the starting point of the actual trek. Juphal is a town situated over Himalayan foothills which provides views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri. The trail now starts and moves into Bheri River through terraced fields and narrow gorges. The destination for this day is Dunai which can be reached after a 2-3 hour trek. Dunai is the headquarter of Dolpo. 45 minutes flight. 2-3 hours trek.
Dunai- Ankhe (2850m-2896m)
After crossing a suspension bridge through Dunai, the trail ascends upwards to a dry, arid Thulo Bheri valley. The trail then moves forward to enter Phoksundo valley. Along the way, the views of the Kagmara peak can be observed. Through walnut groves, the villages like the Rahagaun and Dhera and through jungles, Ankhe is reached. 5-6 hours trek.
The trail now follows a ascending as well as a descending pattern through wooded riverbanks. The steep trail is reached which becomes a bit monotonous and requires good physique. Several streams, forests and trails later, a grassy slope are reached. The trail then enters lush forests and drops down into a stone staircase. Through the river banks, Sulighat is reached. 5-6 hours trek.
Sulight- Phoksundo Lake (2896m-3611m)
The trail moves upwards in the valley and then reaches the confluence of the Phoksundo as well as the Pungmo rivers. The bridge of the river is crossed after which the trail moves towards the bank of the Pungmo Khola. The Palam village is then reached after passing through cedar forest. Amalgamating with the enjoyment of the spectacular waterfall and the Phoksundo Lake, will the passage of the trail through birch forests as well as the Phoksundo Khola. The Ringmo village, with the mani walls, prayer flags and mud chortens is reached. The walk to the Phoskundo Lake from here is a short walk. 4-5 hours trek.
Acclamatization at Phoksundo Lake
The trails from the Phoksundo Lake include high altitudes thus leading to the need of proper acclimatization to ensure proper health. A short hike to the Ringmo village and the chortens and monasteries like the Tibetan Buddhist Monastery can be carried out. The cultural spectacles, the dressing styles and the religious amulets worn by the people there are worth observing. Proper acclimatization is then achieved.
Trek to Phoskundo Khola
Through the western side of the Phoksundo Lake, the trail moves along rocky ledges and a rugged terrain. Pegs are driven into the rocks and the trail here is unsteady, giving the accurate picture of the remoteness of the area being entered. Lush meadows and greenery is present in the trail which opens up to the Phoksundo Khola. The river is crossed and camp is then set at the banks of this river. 4-5 hour trek.
Phoksundo Khola- Phoksundo Bhanjyang
The trail now moves up through a glacial valley towards the north direction. Through a old wooden bridge present at the confluence of a mountain stream and the Phoksundo Khola, the trail now moves towards the north east direction. After a long climb, a sheep meadow is reached after which the trail ascends up to a ravine. A treacherous climb up to the top is followed by the presence of a valley which showcases the beauty of the Kang La Pass. Camp is set near the pass and the views of the Chhamlang Peak can be viewed and marveled upon. 6-7 hours trek.
Phoksundo Bhanjyang- Shey Gompa (3611m-4500m)
The trail today ascends up to a steep trail filled with slates. After a strenuous climb, the top of the pass is reached. Marvelous views of the large valley can be seen from the top. The valley cut in between by a huge river gives the realization of the mystique of the region. This is followed by a descend to the valley floor by following a steep, strenuous trail. The trekking trail then moves towards the banks of the river and consist of crossing and re-crossing the river several times along with observing the caves and the hills surrounding the valley. Through yak meadows with grazing sheep, yaks and mountain goats, we reach Shey Gompa after crossing a log bridge. 5-6 hours trek.
Acclimatization at Shey Gompa
To phase out the risks of altitude sickness, acclimatization is necessary at this point. This day also proves to be an opportunity to overlook the intricate details of the Shey Gompa which was created in 1655. The copper and gold statue of the Shakyamuni Buddha is accompanied by the views of the Crystal Mountain to the east. This name arises from the fact that the mountain is laced with several marine fossils and quartz which gives it a unique look. Hiking around the Gompa can be amalgamated with overlooking the Tibetan culture and tradition of the area.
Shey Gompa- Saldang La- Namduna Gaun (4500m-4800m)
The trail today is a pleasant one consisting of juniper trees. The trail then decends into a canyon and then follows a zigzag path through bare rocks and eroded soil. The trail then ascends up to the Saldang La Pass which is followed by a descent through yak and sheep meadows and tents made of yak hair. The destination for the day, the Namgung monastery is reached after passing though this difficult trail. This monastery made up of red stone is made along a wall of a gorge. 6-7 hour trek.
Namdun Gaun- Saldang (4800m-3620m)
The day’s trail is an upward climb through a slope which brings the views of the Saldang village. Through dusty barren mountains, the plateau over the Namga Khola, consisting of the Saldang Village, is seen. The largest village of the Dolpo region, it consists of eighty houses and six hundred people approximately. Its strategic location, near to Tibet and its agricultural prosperity makes it a prosperous village. 4-5 hour trek.
Saldang- Yangze Gompa (3620m-4960m)
The trail now moves north from Saldang and along the Nagon Khola through a barren terrain. With a few ups and downs, the trail leads towards the villages like Marang and Ki followed by the tributary of Panzang River. The trail then moves esatwards and reaches the Yangze Gompa. This area consists of the famous Bon-Po monastery which can be visited. 4-5 hours trek.
Yangze Gompa- Sibu (4960m-4560m)
Among the two routes that can be used to reach Sibu, the path which consists of retracing the path back to Saldang will be chosen. The trail then passes through the bank of a river from Saldang and passes through terraced fields, mani stones, monasteries, chortens and stupas to the Namdo village. This prosperous village houses 400 inhabitants and stretches for more than 5 km. upon continuing further downwards, the settlement of Sibu is reached. 5-6 hours trek.
Sibu- Jeng la Phedi (4560m-4900m)
Today, the trail passes through caravans and yaks moving towards the Tibetan border. Walking along the Nam Khong Khola brings a steep trail which then ascends upwards towards a grazing area below the Jeng La Pass. This meadow is the destination for setting up camp here. The base of the pass is known as the Jeng La Phedi. 5-6 hours trek.
Jeng La Phedi- Jeng La Pass- Tokyu Gaon (4900m-4209m)
This trek starts early in the morning and moves upwards towards the Jeng La Pass. The pass is a pathway from which incredible views of the Dhaulagiri mastiff can be obtained. After observing the mystical beauty from the pass, the trail then passes through a descending, rough terrain into the Tara Valley. This valley which consists of vast plains, also gives the views of the roaring Tarap Valley River. Camp is set near a monastery near Tokyu. 5-6 hours trek.
Tokyu- Dho Tarap (4209m-4040m)
Today’s trail descends downhill into a valley with lush grass. The trail also passes through a marsh. This valley has inhabitants who follow both the Bon Po and Buddhist religion. Dho Tarap is reached after a short trek. 4-5 hours trek.
Rest at Dho Tarap
This day is devoted to resting and strolling around the Dho Tarap village. This is an incredible opportunity to observe the cultural and religious diversity of the region. Tibetan as well as Magar culture is observed by the inhabitants. The Buddhist Gompa and the Bon-Po Gompa both can be visited at this day.
Dho Tarap- Tarap Khola (4040m- 3800m)
The trail today descends downwards towards a wide valley which consists of juniper and rose bushes above the tree line. This day gives a chance to observe blue sheep and reach the confluence of the Tarap Chu as well as the Lang Khola. The meadow called Kamakharka can be used to make camp. 4-5 hours trek.
Tarap Khola- Khanigaon (3800m-3150m)
Through the gorge of the Tarap River, this day’s trail is started. This day gives us opportunities to observe the traditions and cultural diversity of the local people. This trail passes through an extremely deep gorge thus making this day an interesting one. Stone flabs might be used to walk as there are no traces of path in some areas. There might be the need to pass though the icy torrents on foot due to the washing away of the bridges present there. This adventure and thrill filled day ends as we reach Khanigaon, a camping spit beside the Tarap Khola. 5-6 hours trek.
Khanigaon- Tarakot (3150m- 2537 m)
This day, the trail takes us to the Lalberi village. Through lush forest and gorges, the village of Tarakot can be reached. Tarakot consists of the Sandul Gompa present at the junction of the Tarap Chu and the Barbung Khola. This incredible monastery can be visited and this can be followed by camping 150 meters below Tarakot. 4-5 hours trek.
Tarakot- Dunai (2537m- 2140m)
The trail for this day begins behind the Bheri River. After crossing a bridge near the Lawan village, the trail continues alongside Bheri River and ascends downwards to the Byas Gadi. A relatively easy trail follows, which crosses the river near the Lochakhola Gaon and ascends upwards towards Dunai. 5-6 hours trek.
Trekking along the Bheri River by enjoying the beauty of the region, this day’s trail moves along Dhupichau as well as the Rupgad villages. After passing though Kalagaonda village as well as the Motipur village, a small airstrip is reached. 2-3 hours trek.
Juphal- Nepalgunj- Kathmandu
An early morning flight from Juphal can be taken to reach Nepalgunj. This is followed by a return flight to Kathmandu. The day can be spent by visiting around some remaining areas and collecting souvenirs for friends and family.
Rest Day at Kathmandu
This day can be spent by shopping and visiting other must-see places in Kathmandu. The incredible Nepali Cuisine can be tasted and tried.
After a wonderful trek amalgamated with the views and the cultures and traditions of the beautiful Upper Dolpo, it’s time to say goodbye.