Gokyo, Chola Pass & EBC Trek 2018
Ama Dablam Expedition 2018
Royal Everest Trek & Heli Tour
Mustang Festival - 2018
Upper Dolpo Special - 2018
Upper Dolpo Trek
Trekking
Moderate
5360m/17580ft

Service Level Standard

At a Glance

Dolpo the remotest and the largest district of Nepal is situated in the mid western region. The district covers nearly six percent land of the country. The vast biodiversity of nature and culture within is the main eminence of the district. Though the variation of diversity can be realized with in the short paces, the district has been geographically divided into two regions: Upper and Lower Dolpo. The topography of Upper Dolpo resembles with the Tibetan landscape which is mostly covered by the barren crests with sparse vegetations and pastures.

Transportation is one of the most frustrating part of living. Several high passes bordering the neighbouring villages make people suffered even for harmonization among the relatives. Very low productive land forced the people to depend upon livestock for their livelihood. Though the vegetation is very rare the people manage it very well so they can survive in their own way.

The upper Dolpo is inhabited by the people whose culture and religion resemble with Tibetan ones. We can find mostly two sects even among them: Buddhist and Pre-Buddhist. There are several evidences of existence of these sects long back in the region. People belonging to Pre-Buddhist are known as Bonpo, they follow the doctrine of Tomba Sherap the founder of the sect. It is accepted that the big clusters of this sect (Bonpo) are found only in Dolpa. Though the sects are different all the members of the society live in well synchronization within the norms and values of the society.The vast treasure of typical culture and tradition of upper Dolpo is exceptional. There are several Gompas having different importance. These Gompas are managed by the Lamas individually, they regulate the rules and religious performance, and the lamas also nominate the successor for the continuation of their responsibilities. They have still preserved the old and original religious text of great importance in Gompas.

One can scrutinize the traditional Amchi (Traditional doctor) practice, tantrism and shamanism. Since precious herbs are found in plenty in this region, most of the sick people are treated with locally prepared herbal medicines. Overall, the life style of this region is totally traditional as they are out of reach with the advanced world.Overall the landscape, natural diversity, hardship of living, socio-management and typical traditional activities, altogether, the enchanting environment of the region gives unique essence of life.The mysterious religious and traditional facts of the place make everyone curious to explore it.

Detail Itinerary

A very warm welcome to the Kingdom of Himalayas. Upon your arrival at the Tribhuvan international airport our representative welcomes you and assists you transfer in your hotel in Kathmandu. After time to get refreshed, evening you'll meet and transfer for welcome dinner in one of the typical Nepalese restaurant in the heart of Kathmandu i.e. Utsav or Nepali Chula (Kitchen). Here you will not simply experience the traditional Nepalese dish but will be entertained with Nepalese traditional dance and folk songs. After the dinner, you will be transferred back to your respective hotel.

Kathmandu is the historical and cultural heart of Nepal and has been a popular destination for tourists ever since Nepal opened its doors to visitors. The city presents a wonderful mix of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism and Western influence in the Valley. Bauddhanath: Stupa with its 130 ft. dome. One of the world’s largest Stupa, Bouddha is generally acknowledged to be the most important Tibetan Buddhist monument outside Tibet. Pupshupatinath Temple: Pashupatinath is considered one of the holiest shrines of all the Hindu temples. The temple has remained the presiding deity of ruling Nepalese Royalty. -After the city tour, our leader or guide will do the final briefing of the expedition. They will also take the opportunity to check the members' personal equipment as the city bazaars and climbing shops will provide the last chance to correct any deficiencies. Overnight at Hotel.

We take an hour's flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj in Western Nepal. Nepalgunj which is a border town near Nepal-India border is the gateway to Simikot of Humla. The town itself is an interesting Terai (Plain) town of Nepal with influences from both the Nepal hills and plains well as local Hindu & Muslim cultures. Some sightseeing places in Nepalgunj include Mini Zoo, Muslim bazaar, or if possible and interested take a walk into nearby villages. We have to also make preparation for tomorrow's flight to Jhupal.

After a pleasant overnight at Nepalgunj, early morning transfer to airport for the 45 minute flight to Juphal over the Himalayan foothills, with views of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri peaks to the north. On arriving at Juphal our trekking staffs will receive you, who have walked all the way from Nepalgunj with the camping gear and food supply taking 5-6 days. Here at Juphal a short 2-3 hrs walk from the airstrip leads to our overnight camp at Dunai village. Our first day adventure begins with an hour downhill walk through the village below the airstrip, then leading through the terraced fields to the Bheri River and the narrow gorge taking 2-3 hours to camp at Dunai. This is a much larger village or small township, with a new hospital and it is administrate headquarter of the Dolpo region. Here we have ample time for leisure walk around the village

From Dunai you cross the new suspension bridge and turn west, following the trail past the new hospital. At the confluence of the Thuri Bheri and Suli Gad rivers you turn to the north and follow the Suli Gad. The trail is fairly undulating but mostly up while the going is firm underfoot. You are never far from the river and can always hear its roar. You pass through an area which is overgrown with marihuana plants but also has crops for the villagers and animals including millet, pumpkin, potatoes, sweet corn and chillies. Many of the villages in this area are involved in the production of a lotus-like plant called 'chuk' that is used to make vinegar and medicines. You continue to track the river and eventually reach the settlement of Hanke, which is also the entrance to the Phoksundo National Park. The three villages you pass through have a strange name connection: Parela, meaning eyelash, Rahagaon meaning eyebrow, and Ankhe meaning eye.

The trail starts becoming very hectic but once you cross the river twice on well made bridges, you then make a steep ascent on a very narrow path, hugging the cliff face. Having descended to the river again the trail takes another steep ascent requiring frequent stops to watch the panorama of the landscapes and also for rest. You may camp on the side of Suligad River.

From here the initial hours of the trek is fairly easy. But from Sumdo the trail becomes very much like an incline. Here the river is left behind and you follow the path high above the water. Climb up to a ridge, about 3,875m, from where you will have the most staggering views of a 300m waterfall, the highest in Nepal, and your first view of Phoksundo Lake. You then descend through birch forests to the upper reaches of the Phoksundo Khola and on to the picturesque settlement of Ringmo with its mud plastered chortens and mani walls. The village now has solar panels helping to improve the quality of life of the villagers. From the settlement it is a short walk to the shores of Phoksundo Lake where you set up the campsite.

You follow the trail that skirts the edge of the lake itself. This precarious trail is suspended on a gangway of wood supported on pegs, driven into crevices in the rocks and signals the remoteness of the area you are about to enter. You go very steeply up, to 4,040m, and then plunge down again to the valley bottom to enter the flood plain of the Phoksundo Khola and trek to your night stop alongside the river, within the confines of the forest to avoid the worst of the wind which is prevalent in the valley bottom.

Today you should take sandals or footwear suitable for Knee deep as you are crossings a few streams. This morning you continue along the level path through a glacial valley that now heads north. As this becomes narrower and narrower there are impressive vertical cliffs and contorted rock formations. At the confluence of the Phoksundo Khola and another, unnamed, mountain stream there is an old wooden bridge. Here you take the barely discernible path to the north east up a side valley which has a cavernous look. There is no trail as such, so it is necessary to clamber over rocks and boulders and to ford a stream that rushes down the steep valley. A long climb brings you to a sheep meadow where the trail veers up a steep ravine. A hard climb to the top brings you to yet another valley where you can see the Kang La, the pass will lead you to Shey Gompa. You camp just before the pass in a place that Peter Matthiessen christened 'Snowfields Camp'.

The somewhat indistinct track is physically demanding, especially on the loose slate screed. It will take about 2.5 to 3 hours to reach the top of the Kang La. The views from the top are magnificent and well worth all the hard work. The height of the Kang La is variously given between 5,200m and 5,500m depending on the map one uses. On descending steeply to the valley floor, not more than 45 minutes, you make a long meandering trek along the banks of the river, crossing it once. A red chorten heralds your arrival at Shey Gompa where a quaint wooden log bridge leads up to the Shey compound.

Shey means crystal - this monastery is also known as the Crystal Mountain. The lama of Shey resides at a red hermitage known as Tsakang Gompa which is west of Shey. It is not really a monastery but a retreat. Tsakang has been a meditation centre to many famous lamas from Tibet. Shey Gompa belongs to the Chaiba community, followers of the Padmasambhava and Kagyu sects. It was the first Kagyupa monastery and its founder was the lama Ten-szin-Ra-Pa. The monastery was built during the 11th century. Shey is famous for its ancient Buddhist culture. In Dolpo the ancient Tibetan way of life combines animism with the teachings of Buddha. Drutup Yeshe introduced Buddhism in the Dolpo valley. Many years ago he came to Dolpo and came across wild people, whose supreme God was a 'fierce mountain spirit'. Crystal Mountain is to the west of Shey monastery. It is a very strange mountain indeed. Its contorted cliffs are laced with quartz and embedded with a rich variety of marine fossils. Shey Gompa stands above the confluence of Kangjunala and Yeju nala. Near the confluence there is a group of prayer mills turned by water wheels.

Today, you start by following a pleasant track amidst juniper, which ascends to a grey, stony canyon. This begins to zig-zag over bare rocks and coarse eroded soil until it eventually brings you to a flat spot, suitable for a brew or lunch, if the weather is fine. Then continuing very steeply up for 20 minutes before traversing to the top of the Saldang La pass. Here you will enjoy great views towards the arid landscapes of Mustang and the distant snow peaks of Tibet. The subsequent descent towards the north is long and tiring, but you finally come upon the welcome sight of pastures of grazing yaks and sheep and nomadic tents made from yak hair. This signals your approach to Namduna Gaon. Like Shey, the Namgung monastery is of the Karma-pa sect. The monastery, a red stone structure, is built against the backdrop of a cliff on the north wall of a gorge. The red and white colors of the Gompa and its Stupas are the only color in this stark landscape. The village itself consists of only six stone houses and has terraced fields on both sides of the tributary, which flows down to the Nam Khong valley. The economy of the region is based on agriculture, animal husbandry and trading. In Dolpo only one crop a year can be grown and this is mainly barley. In some village buckwheat, oilseed, potato and radish are also cultivated. Recently the main cliff temple collapsed and the villagers have now built a beautiful new monastery in the village itself.

Leaving Namgung monastery and start climbing. Further on it begins a long thrilling traverse along some dusty barren mountains. Looking down into the valley bottom it is very evident that the people have made best use of the fertile valley as one sees the neat terraced fields showing bright patches of green and ripening crops. You ascend before going down steep slopes to the picturesque village of Salding, situated on a plateau high above the Nam Khong nala and the biggest village of the inner Dolpo area. Though the village lies at about the same altitude as Ringmo, it is totally different. Ringmo, a Himalayan village is situated below the tree line while Saldang belongs to the arid zone of the trans-Himalayan Tibetan plateau. The village stretches for two kilometers on an open slope and consists of five villages having eighty well-built houses with nearly six hundred villagers. It is prosperous, not only agriculturally, but also for its strategic location on a trade route to Tibet.

After leaving Saldang on the way down to the river bed you pass through terraced fields, Stupas, Chortens, heaps of Mani stones and a Chaiba monastery. Namdo, the next village is also prosperous with sixty houses having nearly four hundred inhabitants. It stretches for more than 5 kms on the high slopes to the left of Nam Khong Khola. The Namdo monastery is located near the river bed. There is also another monastery on top of a high cliff. You camp near the small Settlement of Sibu, right on the river bank.

Following the line of the river valley the trail is fairly easy going initially. After about two hours it is necessary to wade another stream before turning into a side valley and the rise becomes very sharp. This is a pleasant meadow, but bestrewn with rocks, yak and other animal droppings.

The trail is generally well compacted making the going underfoot easy, much easier than loose shale, but it is steep. It is only a 2 hour climb to reach the top of the Jeng La. From the top of the pass there are good views of the Dhaulagiri massif, glittering in the morning light. A rough track descends towards the Tarap valley. By the afternoon you find a green valley which leads you by a pleasant track down towards the Tarap Chu. Tarap is a dream valley with vast plains in high mountains extending 20kms along the river Tarap Chu. It has ten villages with cultivated fields, many Gompas and Chortens of both sects. You halt for the night at Tokyu monastery. This monastery also belongs to the Chaiba sect.

Before leaving Tokyu a short visit can be made to the Chaiba Gompa. The trail is broad and well traveled, making the going easy and there is evidence of work in the fields, where the women will be bringing in the harvest - the men are away bringing down the herds of animals for the forthcoming winter. There are many Mani walls but some of the Chortens are in a bad state of repair. The ' French School ' is just outside the village of Dho Tarap where you have your night stop. Tarap is inhabited mostly by Magars who have lived here for generations but also by a few Tibetans. They wear home-spun clothing that is sometimes dyed maroon and they favor Tibetan style Somba (boots with upturned toes) for footgear. Men and women often wear both religious amulets and strings of coral and turquoise. The inhabitants of this village are both Bon Po and Buddhist (Nyingmapa). In the afternoon a walk up to the Buddhist Gompa is very worthwhile. There is a resident lama who is very happy to show off his monastery and might even let you see his private Gompa and the Tankas he has made himself. The Bon Gompa is about half an hour's walk from camp.

Your route follows the course of the Tarap Khola, generally downhill. You go through narrow gorges with the river rushing through. One may see blue sheep, marmots, yaks, sheep, and goats and perhaps meet people from Dolpo taking their flocks of sheep and goats to lower pastures for the winter. The afternoon brings more undulations in the path when it leaves the immediate course of the river. There is evidence of improvements to the trail where parts of the rock have been blasted out. You will also see the first of the modern steel suspension bridges which have been built to facilitate movement of people and animals. The track is very narrow in places. You reach your overnight camp on a grassy strip by the river.

You continue to walk down the gorge of the Tarap River, at times alongside it and at others high above, on a narrow trail built out from the steep slopes. The quality of the path varies from broad, smooth and firm to very narrow and crumbly. There are also flights of manmade stone staircases which need to be tackled with care – some of the constituent rocks wobble when stepped upon! An exciting day in deep and awe-inspiring gorges. Your camp site is a pleasant meadow in the shade of a stand of trees.

Leaving Khanigoan by the new suspension bridge and then walk alongside the river, sometimes going very high before reaching down to the water again. Some of the trail is quite demanding and one bridge, said to have been out for six years, necessitates crossing on wet stepping-stones. Coming into the broad fertile valley of the Barbung Chu, you walk amongst the various crops of millet, sweet corn, barley, buckwheat, green beans, chilies and marijuana. Your lunch and night stop is high above the river but there is a standpipe for water. Tarakot is an old fortress town known by the local people as Dzong, meaning 'fort'. Before the Gorkha dynasty Tarakot was the capital and had a dzong. The famous Sandul Gompa, which lies 8km east of Tarakot and at the junction of Barbung Khola and Tarap Chu, stands on a knoll to the south of Bheri river and at one time supervised collections of tolls for the trading caravans traversing an area called Tichu Rong.

The trail is mostly down and fairly firm. Walking beside the Bheri river, you use the ingenious path built twenty feet above the river. All too soon you have reached the village of Dunai and the camp site you used before. You will now have completed the circuit of mysterious land Dolpo and a celebration party is sure to happen.

You now retrace your steps to Juphal. Initially the way is flat but the final hour up to your destination seems steeper than you remember on Day One!

Early morning flight to Nepalgunj from Juphal. This is a wonderful 35-minute flight over the Himalayan foothills, with fine views of giant peaks including Annapurna and Dhaulagiri to the north. You then connect with the flight back to Kathmandu.

Rest and relax at the hotel after such long a wonderful trip. The day is also reserved as a contingency day due to flight delays or other unforeseen conditions in Jumla. For those eager to see as much of Kathmandu as possible, an early start is worthwhile to visit the temples of Pashupatinath and Swayambhunath and districts of Bhaktapur and Patan. Durbar Square is also on the essential list, as is the shopping area of Thamel. In the evening you can have your last night in Nepal, enjoying the Nepali cultural dinner show or go out to Thamel.

Today is free or last minute shopping for souvenirs or gift to your family, friends or relatives for you until your departure flight/drive or to commence any extra trips or activities you may have booked with us. If departing, you'll be transferred to the International Airport for your departure flight to your onwards destination.

Inclusion and Exclusion
Trip Deal
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Departure Dates
# Start Date End Date Trip Cost Availability Booking
1 25/4/2018 19/5/2018 Cost on Request Available Book Now
2 1/5/2018 25/5/2018 Cost on Request Available Book Now
3 6/5/2018 30/5/2018 Cost on Request Available Book Now
4 6/9/2018 30/9/2018 Cost on Request Available Book Now
5 6/10/2018 30/10/2018 Cost on Request Available Book Now
Terms and Condition

A deposit of 25% of the total trip cost is payable at the time of booking and the final balance due 8 weeks before the start of the trip. The act of booking implies that you have accepted the ethos of the trip and any objective or subjective risks associated with it. 

Cancellation

Should you wish to cancel your booking please inform us immediately in writing by e¬mail or letter. The following charges will apply, as a percentage of the trip: 
  • More than 42 days before departure – 25% of total cost 
  • 42 to 29 days – 50% of total cost
  • 28 days to 15 days – 75% of total cost and 
  • 14 days or less – 100% of total cost. 
These cancellation charges go to paying, amongst other things, outside Guides that have been contracted in, hotel or airline deposits, staff wages, setting up costs etc.

Trip Notes

Download Trip Note of Upper Dolpo Trek

Trip Reviews

by Grand Himalaya

Recommended for Everyone
Best Camping Trek

This trek is suitable for those who wish to have a camping trek without the indulgences of Tourists' crowds. You can still enjoy the pristinely beautiful nature and culture as well as rich Buddhist history.

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Upper Dolpo Trek
Upper Dolpo Trek