UPPER DOLPO TREK

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destination Dolpa
duration 25 Days
grade High Advance
start/end point Kathmandu/Kathmandu
region Dolpo
max altitude 5360m
group size 2-12
meal All inclusive
activity 5-6 hrs
accommodation Hotel/Teahouse
season March-July, Sept-October

UPPER DOLPO TREK

This is as close to “heaven on earth” that you will find anywhere on this planet!

One of the most rewarding treks you will take in a lifetime to a place where there are more smiles than mountains, where the terrain separates the people from the outside world and where Tibetan Buddhists live in perfect harmony in this truly off-the-beaten-track region. Upper Dolpo is “another world” kept isolated by the Tibetan Plateau and the Dhaulagiri Range. Historical records of the Dolpo region date back to the 8th century!

You will find no better hospitality anywhere like it in Nepal. Children will rush outside to welcome you and shadow you as you enter these remote villages. There can be no warmer welcome party than the smiling faces of children!

The Upper Dolpo trek takes you into the Shey Phoksundo National Park, home to a number of endangered species, such as the elusive snow leopard, grey wolf, musk deer, blue sheep, goral, great Tibetan sheep, Himalayan Tahr, jackal, and Himalayan black bear. 

The “Bon” people in this region practice a distinct form of Tibetan Buddhism that is reflected in their homes and daily lives. 

The Dolpo region is divided into two parts Upper Dolpo and Lower Dolpo. The trail begins at Jufal which is reached after a short flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj and then fly to Jufal (2499m) in Upper Dolpo. The highest point of the trek is at Shey Gompa (Crystal Monastery), an 800-year-old Tibetan monastery and one of the most famous in all of Nepal. The trail takes you through the Annapurna, Kanjiroba, and Dhaulagiri ranges and to the crystal clear waters of Phoksundo Lake (3612m).  You will see the unspoiled culturally rich Bon and Buddhist villages: Saldang, Tokyu Gaon (Yak Kharka), Dho Tarap and Tarakot and the major town of the Dolpo region - Dunai.

If you want to preview what lies ahead on your trek to Upper Dolpo, then we recommend you take a peek at these movies. Dolpo was the location for the Oscar-nominated movies "The Himalaya" and “The Caravan” and for the German documentary Dolpo Tulku. It wasn’t until 1989 that the southern part of Dolpo eventually opened up to trekkers.

Sherpa Expedition and Trekking guarantee this trek will leave you mesmerized.

Key Features of Upper Dolpo Trek

  • Upper Dolpo trek through parts of Nepal that very few trekkers ever see.
  • Visit 800-year-old Shey Gompa (monastery) also known as Crystal Monastery – made famous in the book The Snow Leopard by author Peter Matthiessen.
  • The Shey Phoksundo National Park & its wild animal species.
  • High altitude passes -  Kang La Pass & Saldang La Pass
  • Rugged high altitude desert-like and barren landscapes and striking valleys - Dho, Saldang and Tarakot.
  • Views of Dhaulagiri and other enormous Tibetan peaks.
  • The crystal clear turquoise waters of Phoksundo Lake (3612m).  
  • Forever smiling faces to soften your heart and warm your soul.

ITINERARY

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On your arrival at Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport, you will be met by Sherpa Expedition and trekking staff and transferred to your respective hotels followed by a briefing regarding Dhaulagiri trek, hotels, lodges on the route and the dos and don’ts followed by an evening welcome dinner.
Today, we will spend the day sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley with our guide. We will visit Pashupatinath, which is regarded as the holiest Hindu temple in Nepal and where pilgrims worship Lord Shiva (situated on the banks of the holy Bagmati River), Bouddhanath, a Buddhist temple known as ‘Little Tibet’ and then on to Swayambhunath known as the Monkey Temple. From Swayambhunath we drive to Kathmandu’s famous Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site and located in front of the old royal palace. Upon arriving back at your hotel you may have time to do some last-minute shopping around Thamel – the tourist hub of Kathmandu. We will take a 50-minute afternoon flight to Nepalgunj located in Nepal’s distant southwest.
In the morning we take our flight to Jhupal in Dolpo and after arrival has a short drive to Dunai where we stay the night. Dunai is a major town in the district and has markets and shops to wander around in the afternoon.
Today we have a five to six-hour trek ahead of us, firstly crossing the Thulo Bheri River and on up over a ridge to the Phoksundo River Valley and views of Kagmara Peak. Along the trail we pass Dhera Village and then climb to Rahagaon Village home to the Hindu Thakuri people and then descend through the forest until we reach Ankhe where we will stay the night. Ankhe is also the entrance to the Shey Phoksundo National Park.
Today’s five to six-hour trek first descends through the forest until we reach the river and later over a bridge at Ryajik Village and on to Sumdu /Sulighat where we stay the night.
Our four to five-hour trek today first leads us along the banks of the Pungmo Khola and on to the Phokshindo Khola, eventually reaching the attractive Tibetan village of Ringmo. Village adorned with prayer flags, Mani stone walls, and chortens. Tonight’s camp is right next to the pristine turquoise blue Phoksundo Lake.
Today we can literally lounge around and take in the superb views of the lake and nearby peaks, such as Kagmara, and wander around Ringmo Village.
A four to five-hour trek today takes us along the western side of the lake and across the summer grazing lands to Phoksundo Khola (river) where we spend the night listening to the water flowing down from the mountains.
We head to the north of Phoksundo Khola and climb a ridge where we have stunning views looking back down the valley and looking over Kang-La Pass which is the route we take to Shey Gompa. Tonight we make camp in the pastures at Phoksundo Bhanjyang.
Our trek today is of about six to seven hours and leads us to the highest point of the trek, Kang-La Pass (5360m). From here we have amazing views of many snow-covered peaks, such as the Dhaulagiri Ranges. After soaking up the views we descend along a trail that takes us past chortens and Mani stones before reaching Shey Gompa (monastery) that sits at the base of Crystal Mountain.
A fascinating place for rest day around the high mountainous area, in complete harmony of nature and monks chanting, a tour of Shey Monastery also known as Crystal Monastery, this area is well described by Peter Matthiessen in his classic novel “The Snow Leopard.
Today we follow the trail through a steep gorge to Saldang La Pass where we can expect to have magnificent panoramic views of the many Dhaulagiri Peaks and after head down to Namduna Gaon where we stay the night
Today’s trek of about four to five hours takes us a rugged and dry landscape and then a steep climb before reaching Saldang where we stay the night. From here there are more amazing views of the Dolpo region and the plateau surrounding us.
Our trail today takes us along the Nang Chu River and along the way we pass two small villages, Tiling and Lurigaon. We continue on until we reach Yangze Gomba which has an ancient Bon monastery. We will stay here the night.
Today we follow the trail back in the direction of Saldang Village and then on to Sibu. First we head through cultivated land and to Nambo Village and then on to Sibu where we stay overnight.
After leaving Sibu we follow the trail for five to six hours alongside the Nam Khong Khola (river) until we reach Jeng La Phedi where we stop for the night. It is not uncommon along the trail to see yak and mules transporting goods from Tibet.
Our journey today is of about six to seven hours and begins with a steep ascent to Jeng La Pass. From the top of the pass we have majestic views of fantastic views of the Dhaulagiri mountain ranges. We then head down to the nearly 20km long Tarap Valley that extends all the way to the Tarap Chu River. We finally reach Tokyu Gaon, a very quaint and picturesque village in the Upper Dolpo region, with its old monasteries and cultivated fields. We stay the night here.
Our trail today descends to Tarap Chu located in a large green valley scattered with many small yaks and sheep herder’s huts. The trail continues until we reach Dho Tarap where we stay the night. The people here are a mix of Tibetan and Magar castes.
Our trek today is about six to seven hours through the valley and then through a more confined gorge with sparse vegetation. This area is home to Blue Sheep and other wild animals. We continue along the trail until we reach the junction of the Tarap Chu and Lang Khola rivers where we stay the night.
We have a five to six-hour trek ahead of us today as we follow the Tarap River, through a gorge and crossing some rickety bridges until we reach Kharegaon where we camp next to the river for the night.
A four to five hour trek today takes us through Lalberi Village and along the river to Tarakot. Tarakot has an ancient fort on the edge of the village. We continue along the trail until we reach Sandul Gomba situated where the Barbung Khola and Tarap Chu rivers intersect. It is here that we will camp for the night.
Our final day on the trail leads through several villages along a broader trail over some hills and through valleys heading to the Thulo Bheri River until we reach Dunai. If time permits we will stop here for lunch and then take a jeep to Jhupal where we will spend out last night in the Dolpo region and celebrate our fascinating journey in this spectacular Dolpo region.
Today we have two flights ahead of us, firstly a very short flight to Nepalgunj and then on to Kathmandu. On reaching Kathmandu we will take you to your respective hotels.
Today is a free day where you can explore the city, do some last-minute shopping or merely sit back and reflect on your journey to the remote Dolpo region.
Your adventure comes to an end today – but your memories will last a lifetime! Our company representative will take you to the airport approximately 3 hours before your scheduled flight. On your way home you'll have plenty of time to plan your next adventure and explore the most magnificent mountains of Nepal.

SERVICES

Costs included in your package.

  • Airport picks up and transports by private Car/Jeep.
  • Four night’s standard twin sharing Hotel in Kathmandu with breakfast.
  • One night’s hotel accommodation in Nepalgunj with breakfast
  • Full board meal (veg. /nonveg.) during camping, prepared by our expert cook with Tea & coffee.
  • Fresh fruit every evening after dinner.
  • Twin sharing tented accommodation and other equipment during the camping trek. We will provide full waterproof two men tent, dining tent, kitchen tent, Table with chairs, kitchen utensils, toilet tents, etc.
  • All necessary paper works and Shey Phoksundo National Park entry permits fee.
  • Trekking Permits for Upper Dolpo Restricted Area.
  • Kathmandu-Nepalgunj-Juphal-Nepalgunj-Kathmandu Flight Tickets/ ground transport for Clients and Trekking Crews.
  • A highly experienced, helpful, knowledgeable, friendly, English speaking well trained, Government license holder guide with all his salary, food, drinks, accommodation, transport and insurance.
  • Strong, helpful Sherpa porters with proper safety equipment and walking equipment, his salary, food, accommodation, and insurance (one porter for two people).
  • Comprehensive medical supplies (first aid kit will be available).
  • Arrangement of emergency helicopter service (paid by your Travel Insurance Company).
  • Use of sleeping bag, down jacket, duffel bag and walking poles (if you don’t have your own, to be returned after trip completed).
  • Sherpa Expedition and Trekking T-shirt
  • Government taxes and official expenses.
  • Guided Kathmandu sightseeing tour with private car/jeep.
  • Upper Dolpo Trekking map, one in a group.
  • Oxygen meter to check your pulse and oxygen saturation and heart rate twice daily (Very useful to check Altitude Mountain Sickness(AMS) symptoms) which will ensure your health during the trek.
  • Assistant guide for groups of 8 or more people.

Costs Exclude

  • Lunch and Dinner in Kathmandu and Nepalgunj.
  • Your Travel insurance.
  • International airfare and airport departure tax.
  • Nepal entry visa fee.
  • Tips for trekking staff and driver. (Tipping is expected but not mandatory).
  • All kind drinks (hot, cold and alcoholic)
  • Personal shopping and laundry etc.
  • Personal trekking Equipment.
  • Any extra activities and items not mentioned in “our services section”.

EQUIPMENTS

The following information will give you some idea about what you need to bring for the trek. It is important you do not forget the essential items, as this will determine your comfort and safety on the trek. Equally important is that you do not burden yourself with unnecessary equipment on the trek.

General

  • All season sleeping bag and down Jacket (we can provide if you need it,  but has to be returned after the trek)
  • Duffle bag ( Sherpa Expedition & Trekking provide duffle bag during the trek but has to be returned after the trek)
  • A wind and waterproof thin layered jacket (a must-have for morning and evenings above 3,000m)
  • Daypack

Upper Body- Head / Ears / Eyewear

  • A pair of half gloves
  • A warmer hat that covers the ears
  • Sunglasses 
  • Neckwarmer
  • Sunscreen (35 to 60 SPF)
  • Headlamp and an extra set of batteries

Hands

  • A pair of half gloves for walking poles(if you prefer)
  • Warmer shell gloves and liner

Upper Body

  • long sleeve t-shirts
  • Thermal tops
  • wool jacket or pullover
  • Sports bras for women and girls
  • Water and windproof shell jacket 

Lower Body

  • Thermal underwear (especially trousers)
  • windproof and waterproof trousers
  • warmer trousers
  • Comfortable trekking pants
  • Extra casual sport pants

Footwear

  • A pair of good waterproof trekking boots
  • Pair of sandals
  • 4-5 pairs of woolen socks
  • Sock liners
  • Light shoes and sneakers
  • First Aid Kits and Medicines
  • Assorted adhesive bandages (fabric preferred)
  • Blister treatment cream or similar
  • Insect / anti-itch ointment
  • Ibuprofen or other pain-relief medication
  • Diamox (125mg to 250mg tablets for altitude sickness)
  • Warps, splints, and wound coverings butterfly bandage
  • Water purifying pills

(Note our company guide will carry the medicines and first aid kits during the trek. However, we recommend you bring your personal first-aid kit as well)

Miscellaneous - but must useful on the trek

  • 4  passport size photos with original passport
  • Water bottle & filter
  • Flight details (please make a copy and leave one pic at our office in KTM because in case you want to change your flight date)
  • Bathroom kit (conform, should be included toilet paper, plastic bags, hand wipes, towel, and soap, etc.)

Extra things

  • Comfortable trekking poles
  • Quality energy dry foods (up to you)
  • Power bank and music players 
  • Camera (memory card, chargers, and extra batteries)

GOOD TO KNOW

Getting There & Away

Western Nepal is remote, making access more difficult than other parts of Nepal. First, you have to get to Nepalgunj, on the plains, and then to Juphal in Dolpo district.
Most people fly to Nepalgunj from either Kathmandu or Pokhara. From Nepalgunj, you then fly to Juphal. (It isn’t possible to fly directly to Juphal from Kathmandu, although expensive charter flights can be arranged from Pokhara.) Most organized tours will fly from Kathmandu. Keep in mind that the airport at Juphal is no more than a tiny mountain airstrip, where bad weather can often delay flights.
Nepalgunj is also accessible by road, but it is a long trip from Kathmandu or Pokhara. Roads are improving throughout Western Nepal, but Juphal is currently several days’ walk from the nearest road-head.

Permits & Regulations

Permits for Upper Dolpo are expensive and strictly enforced. You also need to purchase a permit for Lower Dolpo, which you pass through on your way to Upper Dolpo. On top of that, only 250 foreigners are permitted to enter Upper Dolpo each year.

Lower Dolpo: $10 USD per week

Upper Dolpo: $50 USD per day (10-day minimum)

There is also an Rs. 1000 entry fee to the Shey-Phoksundo National Park. As it’s mandatory to trek with a guide on an organized tour in Upper Dolpo, your tour operator will arrange all permits and these fees are generally included in the total cost of your trip.

Best Season

Like much of Nepal, the best time to visit Upper Dolpo is the spring (April to May) and the fall (October to November) when temperatures are pleasant, skies are the clearest, and there is minimal chance of snow at high altitudes. Late/early snow can affect this trek in April and November, making some passes impossible to cross. Phoksundo Lake, Shey Phoksundo National Park

Difficulty

Trekking in Upper Dolpo is considered strenuous. There are steep ascents, three passes above 5000 m., several nights spent above 3500 m. and some long trekking days of six hours or more. The fact that this is a camping trek adds to the physical challenge and discomfort of trekking in Upper Dolpo, and rest days are recommended.
This is not a beginner’s trek or one to attempt if it’s your first time in Nepal. But it will be a worthwhile challenge for experienced trekkers and repeat visitors to Nepal alike!

Accommodation & Meals

Most treks in Upper Dolpo are fully-catered camping treks given accommodation and food supplies are hard to come by along the trail. (Upper Dolpo is known to have food shortages.) Some basic teahouse/lodge accommodation is available in some villages, but shouldn’t be relied upon.
It is advised to take as many food provisions when trekking in Upper Dolpo (and anywhere in Western Nepal, in general). If participating in an organized trek (essential in Upper Dolpo), your food needs will be taken care of. It is still important to be mindful of the fact that restocking provisions can be challenging for guides and porters in this region, and that resources are scarce.

Variations

Juphal to Lake Phoksundo
There are also shorter variations of the Upper Dolpo trek that you can take. One shorter variation is to trek from Juphal to Lake Phoksundo and back, which takes around eight days. Other variations connect Dolpo to Mustang and/or the Annapurna region, to the east.

Upper Dolpo to Annapurna Traverse

The Upper Dolpo to Annapurna Traverse, via Dhorpatan Wildlife Reserve, would add about a week onto the Upper Dolpo trek. There is a three-day stretch during which you pass no settlements at all.

Upper Dolpo to Jomsom trek

The Upper Dolpo to Jomsom trek is another variation. Jomsom is in the Lower Mustang region of Nepal, and also has a strong Tibetan-influenced culture. It is in the rain-shadow of Mount Dhaulagiri and Annapurna, offering a different view of the Annapurna Himal.

Dolpo to Rara Traverse

Yet another variation is the Dolpo to Rara Traverse via Shey Gompa. It is around the same length as the regular Upper Dolpo trek, but diverges at Shey Gompa and ends at Rara Lake, in Jumla and Mugu districts. This is the largest lake in Nepal, and renowned for its abundant birdlife.
Looking out from one of the passes in Dolpo

What to Bring

As with other treks in Nepal, it is essential to have sturdy hiking boots, a waterproof outer layer, and other clothing that can be layered and put on/off as the weather requires. Because trekking in Upper Dolpo can only be done with a guide, you will not need to bring your own tents or other specialist equipment. However, you should check whether your tour operator provides sleeping bags.

MAP

Departures

Trip Date Price Duration Seats Left

We Offer Group Discount

No. Of People Price Per Person
1 Pax USD 4,500
2 Pax USD 3,800
3 Pax USD 3,700
4 - 6 Pax USD 3,600
7 - 12 Pax USD 3,500
13 - 18 Pax USD 3,400
19 - 24 Pax USD 3,000
  • Best Price Guarantee
  • Hassle-Free Booking
  • Team of highly experienced Experts

All Inclusive Cost

USD 4,500

Per Person

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