- Duration 22 days
- Max Altitude 5,360 m
- Group Size 02-10
- Best Season Mar-May,Aug-Oct
- Per Day Walk 06-07hrs
- Accomodation Hotel / Teahouse
- Start/End KTM / KTM
- Difficulty Challenging
- Trip Type Solo / Group /
- Location Dolpo Region
Dolpo Trekking route is a remote and unspoiled area located near the Tibetan border of Nepal. It was opened for trekkers only after the late eighties. After Peter Mathesons described his journey of Dolpo Region Trekking in his book ‘The Snow Leopard’, this region came into a rapid highlight. Upper Dolpo Trek is an adventure filled with mystical beauty adding remoteness, natural vibes blended with unique culture and tradition.
Dolpo Region Trekking is filled up with Buddhist culture and lifestyle. You get to experience the wilderness in this trek. Meanwhile, Dolpo Region Trekking was the shooting place for Oscar-nominated movie ‘Himalayas’ too. You will get to visit Shey Phoksundo Lake, live in Buddhism Bon Po Culture, withness Yak Caravan and walk-in desert-like rainshadow region of Upper Dolpo and make the best memory through this Upper Dolpo Trekking Experience.
You get to explore beautiful valleys, local settlements, gigantic mountains, pie forests, different beautiful high passes trails, amazing landscape, historical monasteries etc during this trip. Experiencing camp life at remote region of Nepal, at natural space would be a different experience indeed. Apart, we get to visit various places like Namduna Gaun, Saldang, Sibu, Jeng La Phedi, Dho Tarap etc during this trip.
Standing proud at Kang La Pass located at 5350 meters would be an amazing experience anyway. One reason why the trip is preferred is that Dolpo lies in that region of Nepal which is regarded to be really least developed, giving visitors experience the beauty of natural space without any sign of urbanization.
The best time to make visit to this place is between April to June, and October to December. The package offered by Mountain Routes is at lowest possible cost, where satisfaction of customer is also considered important to any Travel and Tour Agency. That should be the reason why customers return satisfied from the trip. Meanwhile, we offer flexible and customized trip as per our client’s requirement as well.
Upper Dolpa Trekking detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrival to Kathmandu
Once you land on Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA), our representative will be there to receive you. You will be taken to your standard hotel. You can take some rest to overcome your jet lag and tiredness. During the evening, we will have a detailed discussion about the entire trek. Briefings regarding Dolpo Region Trekking will be explained in brief. In the meantime, you can enjoy the nightlife of Thamel. Or, you have an alternative to research about Dolpo Trek on your own.
Day 2 : Fly to Nepalgunj
After breakfast, we will make a small Kathmandu trip. Visiting around Pashupatinath, the holy place of Hindu and Boudha Stupa, a holy place for Buddhists will make you feel that you are really in an amazing place. We then set aside for lunch, and then move towards the airport to fly to Nepalgunj. Nepalgunj will be the first place to travel towards Dolpo.
This will be a scenic flight of around an hour to western Nepal. Nepalgunj is located near the border of India and is a sub-metropolitan city located in the Banke district of Nepal. During the evening, we walk around to visit the local market there. Overnight at the hotel of Nepalgunj.
Day 3 : Fly to Jhupal and trek up to Dunai
We take the first flight from Nepalgunj to Jhupal of Dolpo. This 45 minutes of flight will be filled with scenic beauty as we get to see Annapurna and Dhaulagiri range through the window time and again. Once we land in Jhupal, we interact with people around – manage our luggage and fill the food supply that is required during the trek.
We then begin our Dolpo trekking formally walking above the Bheri River. This day of Upper Dolpo trek of around 3 hours would be easy and interesting. We continue walking till we reach Dunai, the district center. Overnight will be spent at tented camp.
Day 4 : Dunai to Ankhe
On this fourth day of Dolpo Trek, you begin your trip walking from Dunai, crossing a new suspension bridge turning towards west. You pass the newly built hospital and then start following Suli Gad. The trail would be undulating heading towards up. You keep your Dolpo Trekking hearing the river that flows somewhere near.
And then, you come across the region where you see villagers farm where crops like millet, potatoes, chilies, sweet corn, pumpkins are grown. You will then continue walking till you settle Ankhe – entrance to Phoksundo National Park. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 5 : Ankhe to Sulighat
The next morning, when you wake up, you take your breakfast and start your Dolpo Trekking adventure. The trail will first ascend and then descend along with a wooden riverbank. These ups and downs can be monotonous, but various streams will be on the way that will make you cool.
The trail will take you to steep ascent which would require frequent stops to watch the panorama of landscapes. We walk on the trail that gets surrounded by lush forest. Once we reach Renje, we can decide to camp on the side of Sulighat River.
Day 6 : Sulighat to Phoksundo Lake
This probably will be the best day of Upper Dolpo Trek, because this day we set up our target to reach Phoksundo Lake. Phoksundo Lake is a gem and one important reason why people opt for Dolpo Region Trekking. So, we start the journey from floor to confluence of Pungmo and Phoksundo rivers. We cross the bridge, and then walk on the western bank of Pungmo river, Follow the trail that passes through the cedar forest and reach Palam village. We then continue Dolpo trek up to the ridge and then enjoy the distant view of Phoksundo Lake along with an amazing waterfall.
Then, the trail descends through the birch forest until we make it to the Phoksundo river. We reach Ringmo village, and then a short walk will take to Phoksundo Lake. It’s okay if we decide to spend overnight at the large platform on the face of the lake itself.
Day 7 : Trek to Phoksundo Khola
After spending some morning time at Phoksundo Lake, we continue our Dolpo Trekking following the trail which moves around the top western end of Phoksundo Lake contouring rocky ledge along the lake’s western bank. We walk along with the trail that is suspended on the gangway of wood and supported on pegs.
The trail then goes steeply up reaching 4040 meters and then we get down to the valley bottom reaching plain of Phoksundo River. We finally trek to our ultimate destination of the day and stop alongside the river where we set up the camp for overnight.
Day 8 : Phoksundo Khola to Phoksundo Bhanjyang
We gradually start taking height from this day of Dolpo Trekking. This day we will be crossing a few streams too. We begin the day continuing along the level path through a glacial valley that heads towards the north. When it gets narrower, there appears vertical cliffs and contorted rock formations. We cross an old wooden bridge and walk towards the northeast.
We then make a difficult climb towards the top that will bring us to the next valley from where we can see Kang La Pass. We set up the camp here where Peter Matthiessen christened his creation ‘Snowfields Camp’. Phoksundo Bhanjyang is located at a height of 4402 meters.
Day 9 : Trek to Shey Gompa
This would be an adventure-filled and breathtaking day of Dolpo Trekking, as we get to the height up to 5360 meters. We start this day of Dolpo Trek ascending steep trail towards the pass and then climb to the top. We continue the trek for the next two and a half hours to three hours till we reach the height of Kang La Pass. We observe mesmerizing and magnificent views from the top – something worth of hard Dolpo Trek. After spending some time here, we then descend steeply towards the valley. This would be a short walk of less than an hour until we reach the banks of the river. After crossing it, we then reach Shey Gompa. Overnight at tent in Shey Gompa.
Day 10 : Rest day at Shey Gompa
We take rest this day. There are old monasteries to be around, or we can hike around Shey village which is famous for its ancient pre-Buddhist culture, Bon Po. A book worm can stay at camp and experience reading at an amazing place, or you can spend the day sleeping – killing all your tiredness. Our body certainly needs rest – so this day of Dolpo Trekking is all about relaxing our body, mind, and soul.
Day 11 : Trek to Namduna Gaun
Getting refreshed, re-energized we begin the next day of Upper Dolpo Trek following the pleasant and simple trail in between juniper trees. It keeps on descending until it makes it into the grey and stony canyon. The mixed path then heads over bare rocks and coarse eroded soil. Dolpo Trek of the day would then gift us to Saldang La Pass at the height of 5200 meters.
We then descend towards north observing yaks and sheep around. There we see nomadic tents which are made out of yak hair. After around 6 to 7 hours of trek, we then reach Namduna Gaun. Taking small rest we manage our time to visit the Namgung monastery made out of red stone, against the backdrop of a cliff on the north wall of the gorge. Overnight at camp in Namuda Gaun.
Day 12 : Namduna Gaun to Saldang
Starting this day of Dolpo Region Trekking, we leave Nduna Gaun and start climbing up towards the slope and walk along dusty barren mountains. You get to see neatly terraced fields with green crops around. After climbing steeply for 3 to 4 hours we start seeing Saldang Village below us over the plateau above Namga River stream.
This amazing panoramic view might appear in your dream time and again. Saldang is the largest village in the inner Dolpo region stretching nearly two kilometers on an open slope. It is regarded to be a strategic point on the trade route to Tibet. You get to experience a different lifestyle of people here – which you will find unique and impressive. Overnight at Tent Camp in Saldang.
Day 13 : Saldang to Sibu
We depart from Saldang and continue our Dolpo Trekking adventure walking further towards the north of Nagaon River. We follow wild and barren terrain and continue to walk towards a fairly gradual path having few ups and downs. We then pass through terraced fields, heaps of Mani stones, Chaiba monastery, Stupas, Chortens and reach next village Namdo.
Crossing across the village, we decline towards the slope of the Nam Khong River. Ultimately, we find our place to set our camp near the tiny settlement of Sibu, on the river bank. This would be a blissful night in Dolpo Trekking days as we sleep with the sound of natural river flow.
Day 14 : Sibu to Jeng La Phedi
On this day of Dolpo Trekking, we follow the line of the river valley which is relatively easy going. We pass by caravans and yaks. Further walking, we turn east and after walking for a couple of hours we meet two small streams. We walk along with rocks there. And then there arrives steep trail ascending to grazing area right below Jeng La Pass. We manage to set up our camp there and then spend overnight at Jeng La Phedi.
Day 15 : Jeng La Phedi to Tokyu Gaun
On this day of Dolpo Trek, we follow the trail which is well compacted making the going underfoot easy. Although steep, it is only around climb of a couple of hours till Jeng La, at an altitude of 48485 meters. The effort you make to climb up would make sense once you get to see Dhaulagiri massif, morning light glittering around. There would lie a rough track descending towards Tarap valley and then.
Walking further, we come across a green valley which will be followed by easy track towards Tarap Chu. There are ten villages with cultivated fields. Tokyu Gaun has a Tokyu monastery where we can tent and spend overnight.
Day 16 : Trek to Dho Tarap
On this day of Upper Dolpo trekking, we initially make a short visit to Chiba Gompa. After breakfast, we then begin our Dolpo trek further following the trail which is broad and well-traveled. This will be downhill trek on a plain valley where patches of lush grass on both sides of the river will be noticed. We observe various Mani walls – in the good and bad state thereby. Observing Bon Po culture here, we get to interact with inhabitants of the village at places. Overnight at Dho Tarap.
Day 17 : Dho Tarap to Tarap Khola
After getting ourselves refreshed, we then continue our trekking. We initially descend heading downwards to the wide valley which narrows down up to the gorge. Then, we walk along with juniper and wild rose bushes right above the tree line. So, on the trek, we get to see blue sheep around. Walking further on this Dolpo trek we reach Tarap Chu and Lang Khola which will ultimately join up with Tarap Khola from the east. That is the ultimate destination of the day – we set our camp there itself and spend overnight.
Day 18 : Trek up to Khani Gaun
This day, we walk down the gorge of Tarap River which is sometimes high above and sometimes narrow indeed. Although the quality of the path varies – we get to experience an entirely different set of experiences. This would be an impressive trekking day in deep and inspiring gorges. We reach Khani Gaun after around six hours of the trek this day.
Day 19 : Trek to Tarakot
We leave Khani Gaun through the new suspension bridge and then start the trek walking alongside the river. The trail would be ups and downs regarding the river flow. We walk further coming through various crops like millet, corn, buckwheat, beans, marijuana, barley, etc till we reach Barbung Chu valley. We hold down for lunch there and rest for a while. Further, we walk till Tarakot. Reaching Tarakot we can visit Sandul Gompa which lies about 8 km east of the village. Overnight at Tarakot.
Day 20 : Tarakot to Dunai
We start Upper Dolpo Trekking this day walking the trail right behind the Bheri River before crossing the bridge located near Lawan village. The trail will further continue alongside the bigger portion of Bheri River ascending to Byas Gadi. From there, the trail moves towards the western side towards the relatively easy trail.
Then, the trail will cross the river again located near Lochakhola Gaun and then we walk steeply upwards till we reach Dunai for overnight stay. So, with this, we have almost completed the Dolpo Region Trekking adventure. But not yet, we have a day yet.
Day 21 : Walking up to Jhupal
As the airport is located in Jhupal, we walk up to Jhupal which would be around 2-3 hours of trek. We pass through Dhupichaur thereby. If we decide to walk early we might catch a flight to Nepalgunj; or if we have enough time, it’s okay to spend overnight at Jhupal and wait for the flight the next day.
Day 22 : Fly to Kathmandu through Nepalgunj
We fly to Nepalgunj on the very first flight and then switch the plane to Kathmandu gathering all the memories that we gained during Lower Dolpo circuit trek. Once we reach Kathmandu, we take a long rest – till the flight back.
Upper Dolpo Trekking: Frequently Asked Questons
From where do we start our Trek?
Upper Dolpo is an isolated place far from Kathmandu. Getting to Upper Dolpo we have to take a flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj which will take around one hour the air distance from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj is 362 KM. Nepalgunj is located near the border of India. From Nepalgunj we will take a flight to Jhupal of Dolpo this will take around 45 mins from Jhupal and from Jhupal our trek will start walking above the Bheri river.
How long does it take to complete Upper Dolpo trekking?
The standard itinerary for upper Dolpo trekking would be around 19 days however the days can be managed at your convenience. We can also customize the itinerary.
Can I do upper dolpo trek how difficult can it be?
Upper Dolpo trek is a strenuous and challenging trek. You need to be in good physical condition to complete this trek. We will be walking for 4 to 8 hours per day in steep and rugged terrain. One needs to cross high passes above 5000 meters, and spend several nights above 4000 meters which increases the risk of Altitude sickness. The trekker should prepare themselves for the tough challenges. One of the main difficulties of the upper Dolpo trek is the topography, the long and tiring walks and the elevations. However, these difficulties could be minimized through proper acclimatization, Physical training and the right diet.
How should I train for upper dolpo trek?
Before committing for upper Dolpo trek you should start your training one month before the trek. Your training should be mainly focused on:
- Cardiovascular endurance
- Strength training
- Stamina and
- Mental preparation
You will be trekking for a long period of time and the altitude will increase gradually, increase in altitude decreases the oxygen level and your heart rate will also change. Cardiovascular exercises are essential to increases lung capacity. Activities like Swimming, Aerobics, cycling Treadmill, Gym helps to build good cardio as well as increase your stamina. At the same time, you also need to build your strength. Exercises like push-ups, Pull-ups, Jumping jacks, Weight lifting helps to make you strong and increase your strength. You can also go for small hikes with your Rucksack for practice trek. Hiking or cycling uphill’s before the trek are found to beneficial. But avoid overdoing as it increases the chance of injury, You should start slow and steady and gradually increase your pace once you know your limit then you can upgrade yourself to the next level. One of the most important aspects of training is you need to have a strong mindset with NO GIVE UP attitude.
What are the attractions of upper dolpo Trek?
Upper Dolpo is one of the least travelled destinations of Nepal. Being an Isolated and restricted area upper Dolpo region is less crowded and off the beaten trail. You can fully enjoy the Natural beauties, Magnificent views of mountains ranges, Ancient culture and civilization, amazing landscapes and the beautiful high passes. Some of the top attractions of upper Dolpo trek are
- Gumbas and monasteries
- Shey Phoskundo lake: the deepest lake of Nepal
- Buddhism and Bon religion
- High passes
- Mountains and glaciers
- Birds and animals
- Arts and artefacts
- People and culture
- Festivals, rituals and ceremonies
- Shey-Phoksundo National park
- Camping experiences in high altitude
- Off the beaten trail
- Dolpo Bon school
- Sinjha valley
- Tinje valley
Trekking in Upper Dolpo is one of the most amazing experiences one can get in his life this is once in a lifetime opportunity. This trek fills your heart with joy and mind with blissfulness.
What is the best season for trekking in upper dolpo?
Dolpo region is a rain shadow area located behind the Gigantic Dhaulagiri and Annapurna so this area receives less precipitation. One can enjoy this trek to the fullest in the spring season March, April May, or in Autumn September, October and November. Dolpo region could also trek in the monsoon June, July and August as this area receives less rainfall. One can also trek upper Dolpo in winter season but the temperature reaches a minus degree in high altitude.
What type of permits do I need for Lower dolpo Trek?
You will need three different kinds of a permit for upper Dolpo trekking:
Lower Dolpo Restricted Area Entry permit
Upper Dolpo Entry permit and
Shey Phoksundo National Park Permit
Our company will help you to arrange the necessary permits, the cost of the permits will be sent to you Via mail.
What are some of the peaks and mountains that we may witness on the trek ?
Dolpo trekking offers you the pristine views of peaks and mountains like
- World-renowned 8000-meter mountain Dhaulagiri and Annapurna
- Dolpo peak
- Mt Putha Hiuchuli peak
- Chureni Himal
- Guraj Himal
- Konabon peak
- Serku dolma Himal
- Kang Nyung than
- Kang Tokal
- Sita Chuchura
- Kanchauni lek
- Tripura Thumba
- Sechi la or Dhampus peak
- Dogari himal and many more small peaks like
- Sechi Lek
What are the high passes that we need to cross in upper dolpo Trek?
While trekking in upper Dolpo we need to cross 3 different passes
- Kang la pass(5360m)
- Saldang La Pass (5200m) and
- Jeng La pass
Tell me something about the high passes?
High passes are the highest point between two valleys and connect two different places. In Dolpo or most of the high passes were used to cross from one valley to another. Crossing a high pass is a strenuous job. The steep terrain, strong winds and high elevation make it more challenging and difficult. We will mainly be crossing three high passes while trekking in Dolpo region.
How is the Accommodation in upper dolpo?
Upper Dolpo was completely isolated for a long period of time. The accommodation is very simple compared to Annapurna and Everest circuit we do not expect you to have luxurious expectations. We will be spending our nights in Basic homestays and lodges where they provide the simple facilities of bed and food. We will spend most of the nights in tented camps, as there are very limited lodges. The campsites will be managed by our team. We will provide the necessary items like warm sleeping bags, mattress, and tents
How is the food and water in upper Dolpo?
You can get the foods as per the menu of the Tea houses, the tea houses offer limited items of food. The foods prepared by the tea houses are well cooked and hygienic. The food meets the standard quality. while camping the food will be prepared by experienced high altitude cooks they will prepare the food according to our body needs by balancing the carbs, proteins and nutrients. Well, there’s always room for your favourite snacks you can bring choco bars, power bars and flavoured drink mixes. All the water should be properly treated before drinking, Drinking direct water is not good for health. To save the heavy amount of water you can bring your own purification tablets or life straw. While trekking at high altitude you should at least drink 3 to 4 litres of water per day.
What is Altitude sickness?
Altitude illness or High altitude illness is a spectrum of medical conditions resulting from pathophysiological changes in the human body caused by hypobaric hypoxia at high altitudes. When extremes of cold temperature, ultraviolet radiation, low air pressure and low humidity are all potentially dangerous, Hypoxia poses the greatest threat. AMS is one of the most common forms of mountain sickness which includes the symptom like headache, nausea loss of appetite, nausea/vomiting or insomnia. AMS can be prevented by following measures
- Ascend gradually
- Avoiding alcohol
- Drinking plenty of water
- Proper layering
- Right food
Is it safe to travel in upper dolpo?
Upper Dolpo is one of the least travelled destinations of Nepal. Being an isolated place upper Dolpo is quite far from development. But upper Dolpo is completely safe for visitors the people are hospitable and welcomes the guest as their own family members. IF your safety concern is about the trail routes weather condition, Culture and people then you do not need to worry about it our company has been running trips to upper Dolpo safely and there hasn’t been a single issue of robbery, or theft. We cannot predict the accidents but we can promise you that we will minimize or avoid the potential dangers and help you meet your expectations.