Upper Dolpo Trek

Upper dolpo trek

Upper dolpo trek or Dolpo circuit is one of the most popular treks as it passed through Phoksundo lake, featured in Eric Valli’s Oscar-nominated movie “Caravan”.

Dolpo trek is famous with its isolated area and it was opened in 1982 for the trekkers. Dolpo is home to popular Shey Phoksundo National Park. Dolpa is located under the protected area and takes us to superb Phoksundo lake with beautiful flora and fauna.

Furthermore, Dolpo is situated in the Karnali zone of Nepal and required a special permit from the government of Nepal. It has some adventure passes in between the route so we recommend this route for experienced trekkers only.

Trans Himalayan Dolpo region is a very dry and unproductive area so the people lived here a very difficult life but they were very humble and friendliness with their smiling face. Shey Phoksundo lake is the deepest lake of Nepal which is situated in this region. Since the last few years, it is going very popular trekking of western Nepal.

In addition, upper dolpa trekking has a very beautiful Phoksundo Lake on the way. As you are in dolpa hiking, you can experience the local people’s lifestyle. Hike to upper dolpo stays with ancient Buddhist Monasteries. As the landscapes are just amazing, you hike into the Tibetan plateau which is one of the main attractions of this route.

In addition, the local inhabitants still earn their livelihood by trading commodities like salt, cotton, barley, and rice in Tibet. Saldang la pass trek is equally popular as an upper Dolpo trekking, possible to explore in any time (except winter) throughout the year.


Upper dolpo trek itinerary details

Hike to upper dolpo is a classical with 23 days itinerary compared to most walks in this region. The particular route is designed for world travelers who wish to hike in a more relaxed manner, take a look at this itinerary. However for travelers who wish to do quickly but are walking with limited time-wise and want to explore only Phoksundo Lake trek? or want to explore snow leopard trail in dolpo?, email us for tailor-made itinerary.

Day 1 Arrival at Kathmandu valley

Upon arrival in Kathmandu, Tribhuwan International Airport, we will receive you with private vehicle and transfer to hotel in Kathmandu with breakfast plan. Our representative will give you information about further programs.

Day 2 Dolpo restricted area trek permits arrangements.

We need your original passport with Nepal’s Visa to prepare Dolpo restricted area permit. It takes some hours for official formalities to complete permits. Than we fix for meeting time each other. You will introduce with your guide. Your guide will brief details of this trek.

Day 3Kathmandu city to Nepalganj flight. Transfer to your hotel.

We take an hour flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj city of west Nepal. Nepalgunj is a big town is also a gateway to Simikot of Humla. The town itself is an interesting Terai town of Nepal with influences from both the Nepal hills and plains well as local Hindu & Muslim cultures. Get experience visiting some sightseeing places in Nepalgunj with our guide. We prepare for tomorrow’s flight to Jhupal airport.

Day 4 Fly to Jhupal (2,320m/7,610 feet), Crew management. 45 minutes of flight.

After an early breakfast, we take a 45 minute morning flight to get Jhupal airport. We will reach Juphal just in 35-minute flight from Nepalgunj with beautiful views of a snow-capped mountain. Juphal is a small Bazaar / small village, where we can breathe cold and fresh air than that of Nepalgunj. We will stay here because we have to arrange porters and other remaining equipment..

Day 5 Trek to Chhepka (2838m/9,280 feet), 6 hrs Walk

We walk through wheat and vegetables field to reach Thuli Bheri River, crossing a big suspension bridge leads us entrance of Shey Phoksando National Park (SPNP). Phoksundo national park is the largest National Park with an area of 3,555km/sq in Nepal. We follow Suli Khola viewing a part of the Dhaulagiri Range. We can enjoy the tea with local pure honey. Then we trek through the pine trees, fir, Juniper and Cyprus and bamboo forest. Really a beautiful time to get close to nature. Some hours later will reach millet and wheat field called Cheep Ka where we fix our camp for overnight stay.

Day 6Trek to Palam (3,820m/12,491 feet), 7 hrs walking.

We walk through beautiful forest, following a river and ascend sometimes and descend sometimes. On the way, we can see the local people with their mules as dzopas (cross bread of Yak and Cow). Loaded with thongs to sell. Some hours later you arrive at Reechi village, leaving behind Reechi we will reach Chumuwar. There is an Amchi Hospital, an Amchi is a doctor who is educated in traditional Tibetan medicine. You can have treatment from herbs and numerals.

Day 7 Trek to Phoksundo Lake (3,620m/11,837 feet), 4 hrs Walking

We have to ascend about 2 hours but before reaching the top, we can have the new of Nepal?s highest waterfall (107 meter high) knows Phoksundo waterfall or commonly known as sunlight waterfall. Then we will descend to Ringmo village where people residing practice Bonpo religion. The religion was founded by Buddha Lonpa Shanrab Miwo, 18000 years ago. It is believed that Dolpa used to be the center of Bon Kindom called Zhang. It a big and powerful empire in present western and northwestern Tibet.

Day 8 Exploring day to discover around

Special day to admire the beauty of Phoksundo Lake and visited nearby villagers inhabited by Bon and Buddhist religion.

Day 9 Trek to Salla Ghari (3,640m/11,903 feet), 6 hrs Walking

From here onward, begins the Upper Dolpo section. We follow the famous trail where the famous movie called CARAVAN of Eric Valli was castes. Trek route is used by local peoples of Dolpo and other trade with Tibetans. We reach the top hill, we will have a beautiful view of Lane Ringmo, the dark green pine forests and snow-capped mountain to the South. Then some minutes later, you will have a spectacular view of Kanjirowa Himal (66612m), we reach an alpine area with junipers called Thaneba or Lakeside camp.

Day 10 Trek from Dhotrap to Numala Base Camp

We trek through pine forest between high rock walls on both sides and crossing a couple of streams. We will enter a arrow gorge where will set our camp.

Day 11 Shey Gompa Trek (4,320m/14,126 feet), 7 hours

We ascend adventurous journey to Kang La (5,350m), also called as Ngadra La. We descend downhill walking to reach Shey Gompa, a very small village with a couple of houses and the Gompa. It is an 11th-century gompa, situated beneath the crystal peak on a small grassy plain, at the confluence of two rivers people believed that it was constructed by a Tibetan Buddhist, who arrived here on the back of flying snow lion. Shey Gompa is also called the spiritual heart of Dolpo where many pilgrims visit this gompa to make Kora (clockwise circuit) of crystal peak every year.

Day 12 Shey Gompa day tour

You can explore around Tsakang Gompa which is at about 457m. It is not really a monastery but a retreat. Tsakang had been a meditation center of 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 a wild people whose supreme God was a ‘fierce mountain spirit’. Crystal Mountain is to the west of the 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.

Day 13 Trek to Namgung (4,430m/14,486 feet), 6 hrs walking

We cross the pass Sheyla which is also called Geln La (5000m), we can see beautiful view of northern part of Tibetan plateau, which is highest plateau in the world. To the east we can see Mustang. After through pass we have to descend to the pastures of Namgung. Namgung is a beautiful place with friendly people and great environment.

Day 14 Saldang la trek (4,046m/13,230 feet), 3 hours of hike

Our Trek to Saldang starts with climbing a tree slope. We have to ascend to 4700m before going down steep slopes to picturesque village of Saldang, situated on a plateau high above the Nam Khong nala and the biggest villages of lower Dolpo. The village is prosperous because of agriculture and business trade route to Tibet.

Day 15 Trek to Sibu (4,000m/13,080 feet), 6 hrs walking

We will leave Saldang village and on way to Sibu we have to pass through terraced fields, Stupas, Chortens mani and a Chaiba monastery. Namdo, the next village contains sixty houses having nearby four hundred in habitats. It stretches 5km on the high slopes to the left of Nam Khong Khola. We will set camp near the small settlement of Sibu, right on the river bank.

Day 16 Trek to Jengla phedi (4,480m/14,650 feet), 5 hrs Walking

The first part of our journey before Lunch, the trail is easy ascend but after two hours, we must make another stream before turning into side valley where the rise becomes very sharp.

Day 17 Tokyo Gaon trek (4,240m/13,865 feet), 7 hrs Walking

Walk to Jeng La (4850m) about 2 hrs ascend to reach the top. Jeng la offers an excellent Golden view of Mount Dhaulagiri in the morning. Then descend towards Tarap valley. Tarap is a spectacular valley with vast plants in high mountains extending to twenty kilometer along the Tarap Chu River. It consist of ten villages with cultivated fields, many Gompas and Chhortens.

Day 18 Trek to Dho Tarap (4,200m/13734 feet), 2:30 hrs Walking

Trek along the downward lower of Tarap Chu where the trail is easy as it is well-traveled. There are many mani walls along the journey. The French School is just outside the village of Dho Tarap. Dho is surrounded by an irregular stone wall and consists of thirty-four houses. Both Bonpo and Buddhist is inhabitant here. We will visit Buddhist Gompa where a Lama lives, he is happy to welcome you to show his monastery and might even let you see his private Gompa and the Thankas which he has made himself.

Day 19 Trek to Serkam (3,623m/11,847 feet.), 7 hrs Walking

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. You will also see the first of the modern steel suspension bridges that have been built to facilitate for people and animals. The track is very narrow in places.

Day 20 Trek to Tarakot (2,280m/7,456 feet), 5 hrs Walking

You leave Khanigoan by new suspension bridge and then walk alongside the river, sometimes going very high before reaching down to the water again. Coming into the broad fertile valley of the Barbung Chu, you walk among the various crops of millet, sweet corn, barley, buckwheat, green beans, chilies, and marijuana.

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 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.

Day 21 Trek to Dunai (2,109m/6,896 feet), 5 hrs Walking

The trail is mostly down and fairly firm underfoot. Walk beside the Bheri River you use the ingenious path built twenty feet above the river. All too soon you have reached in Dunai and the camp site you used before. You will now have completed the circuit.

Day 22 Trek to Juphal (2,404m/7,861 feet), 3 hrs Walking

You now retrace your steps to Juphal. After reaching Jhupal, we can spend our afternoon exploring the busy market town or simply pursuing whatever we feel like. Initially, the way is flat but the final hour up to your destination seems steeper you remember on Day One. Fix the camp overnight on the grounds of one of the lodges.

Day 23 Fly to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj city

We take a flight from Jhupal to Nepalgunj town. On reaching Nepalgunj, we return to Kathmandu on the next available flight immediately. Upon arrival in Kathmandu, you will be transferred to your hotel. Furthermore, You can spend the evening leisurely, perhaps catch up on some last-minute shopping and celebrate dinner together with us. Overnight at Kathmandu.

Day 24 Kathmandu valley sightseeing.

After breakfast, the day will start to our guided trip to cultural world heritage sites in Kathmandu valley; including visits to the pilgrimage sites of Hindus Pashupatinath temple, the world biggest Boudhanath Stupa, visit Swayambhunath Stupa also known as monkey temple and historical Kathmandu Durbar Square with temple, unique architectures and Kumari (living goddess) in central Kathmandu.

Day 25Final departure day

Drop you in Kathmandu International Airport onward your final destination and our trip ends. Gokyo Treks Nepal agency will be happy to serve you on all of your adventure, trekking and tours in the Himalayas. Wish you your wonderful journey.


How much does Upper Dolpo Trek cost?

Hike to upper Dolpo cost is US$ 4,090 per person on double occupancy basis. But of course, the trip price will vary according to group size. For the deluxe and luxury trekking tour plan, we add 3-star category hotel deluxe air-conditioned room in Kathmandu (BB PLAN). AND WE ARE OPEN TO CUSTOMIZE YOUR TOUR AND PACKAGES PRICE AS PER YOUR REQUIREMENTS. International tour leaders are highly encouraged to get discount and attractive complimentary.

Upper Dolpo Trek Cost Includes:

  • Kathmandu international airport transfer by private vehicles.
  • 2 nights on Twin sharing Moonlight botique hotel accommodation in Kathmandu with delicious breakfast.
  • 2 nights on Twin sharing tourist standard hotel with AC accommodation in Nepalgunj with breakfast.
  • Tent camping accommodation during the trekking days in the mountain region.
  • Meals : Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner each day during the trekking days prepared by our expert cook serve with hot drinks.
  • All the essentials camping and kitchen equipment to run upper dolpa camping trip.
  • An experienced English speaking local trekking guide.
  • Required supporting kitchen crew and donkeys to carry foods and luggage along the trek.
  • Upper dolpo Special trekking permit issued by Immigration of Nepal.
  • Lower dolpo Special trekking permit issued by Immigration of Nepal.
  • Shey Phoksundo National Park entrance permits and local taxes.
  • Domestic flight: Kathmandu – Nepalgunj – Juphal – Nepalgunj – Kathmandu round trip with airport tax.
  • Arrangement of Emergency Helicopter service which will pay by your Travel insurance company.
  • Food / Salary / accommodation and medical or accidental insurance of all the trek staffs.
  • Gokyo Treks and Expedition company kit bag.
  • Farewell dinner party after the trip completion in Kathmandu.
  • All the government and local taxes.
  • All the required airport and hotel transfer.
  • The world heritage sites tour with experience Tourist Guide for 1 days for complementery trip.
  • Nepal Government Tax, VAT and as well as Company service charge.

Upper Dolpo Trek Cost Exclude :

  • Nepal entry visa fee cost US$ 40.
  • Lunch and Dinner during the staying in Kathmandu and Nepalgunj city.
  • Any kinds of battery charges, laundry service, phone calls and hot shower during the trekking.
  • Personal trekking equipment and Clothing.
  • Personal nature expenses, any types drinks and bar bills.
  • Your travel insurance (it is mandatory in case of emergency).
  • Any donation and monuments entrance fees.
  • Tips for the crew (Note : TIPS is not compulsory but highly expected)
  • Any other things which are not mentioned above
Group join

We can organize private Upper Dolpo Trek starting at any date that works for you. Please contact us for more information.


Question: Is pick up service available on my arrival day in Kathmandu?

Answer: Yes sure. Provide us your flight detail and request for pickup. Our representative will come to pick up you at TIA, Kathmandu international airport.

Question: Do I need the experience to do upper Dolpo trek?

Answer: It is suitable for keen trekkers/walkers who are able to walk around 4 or 5 hours in a day, with a lightweight daypack. For this trekking, if you have about the little experience would be better.

Question: What kind of accommodation can I expect on Upper dolpo tent trek?

Answer: We provide you tourist standard accommodation in Kathmandu and Tented accommodation during the trek route. However we recommend you take your own sleeping bags if you have one with you otherwise, you may rent it while you are in Kathmandu.

Question: What kind of food can I expect in this trekking?

Answer: During the tented camping trekking, our professional cook prepare a delicious range of mostly vegetarian such as Pasta, tuna bakes, noodles, potatoes, eggs, dhal bhat, bread, soups, fresh vegetables (variety depends on the season.

Question: What opportunities will I have for a shower along upper Dolpo treks?

Answer: As you are in camping trekking, we provide you hot water serving with a bucket and you will take a bucket shower.

Question: How do I get drinking water on Dolpo Trekking?

Answer: We provide boiled water or bringing chlorine tablets to purify the normal water as the normal water is available in campsite/along the way.

Question: Can I charge my digital camera or other batteries on my trip?

Answer: Upper dolpo is totally isolated with no electricity. Some places they have electricity where you can hardly recharge the battery but we advise you to bring an extra pair for in case. Remember to bring your own adapters!.

Question: Is there any communication facilities on Upper dolpo trek?

Answer: Roughly about 6/7 days after Phoksundo lake, there is no network for calling – internet. You will have a full mobile network when you reach Dho Tarap, one of the biggest villages on the trek. Kindly participate in a trip briefing before your trek departure.

Question: Can I use credit cards in Upper dolpo trek?

Answer: No. This is a full board camping trek, so you do not need to use a credit card to pay. Change some foreign currency into in Nepali rupees (Nrs) and carry along with you to give some donation or tips to the monastery or monks on trek journey.

Question: When should I book my trip and what is the payments terms?

Answer: Because our trips book up months in advance, we recommend booking early to avoid any kind of misunderstanding. We will, of course, make every effort to accommodate last minute bookings.

And regarding the deposit, we prefer 25 % advance deposit of the total price of the trip in order to confirm your reservation before you arrive in Nepal. And the rest of the payment can be made after your arrival in Nepal.

Question: Who will carry my luggage on Upper dolpo trek?

Answer: We provide a donkey to transfer your luggage along with the dolpo hiking. We arrange donkeys according to the group size. Normally each donkey carry 35-42 kilos.

Question: How much distance do I walk each day?

Answer: When walking in the mountains, the distance you cover each day can vary greatly due to a gradient, terrain, and altitude. As such it is very hard to give specific distances on each day, however, you have to be prepared to walk roughly about 5 hours each day.

Question: Do I need walking polls?

Answer: Walking pools are recommended but not compulsory.

Question: How much additional money do I need per day?

Answer: You can allocate US$ 08 – 10 for a lunch/dinner in Kathmandu and it depends on your spending habits. US$ 7 to 10 US$ each day will be enough to buy bottles of water, chocolates, tea coffee, and some drinks while you are on trek.

Upper Dolpo trek notice:

Upper Dolpo trek itinerary is subject to change due to a condition if natural disasters arise. It is out of our control. This is a Guideline showing tentative camping night stops while on upper dolpa hiking. The physical, technical and natural condition may change this above itineraries.

“What makes Upper dolpo trek very special?”

Opportunities for challenging trekking or hiking and pleasant strolls are scattered all over this planet; you just need to know where to find them. We at Gokyo Treks and Expedition believe in quality services. Your safety and satisfaction is our concern. We are a team of professional, experienced, well trained, and licensed local guides who know the destination better.

Trip Price : US$ 4,090 Per Person

    1. Duration of trek: 25 Days
    2. Trip Grading: Moderate Grading
    3. Altitude: 5,070m/16,630 feet
    4. Trekking Hour: 6 Hrs
    5. Group-Size: 2-25 People
    6. Best Time: Oct -May
    7. Trip Mode: Guest House
    8. Meal on Trek: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    9. Transport: Car/Plane/bus

Cost & Departures

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ITINERARY, COST, DEPARTURES, will adjusted according to your GROUP SIZE NEED TIME

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