Upper Dolpo Trek
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Upper Dolpo Trek Summary
- Trip Duration: 23 Days
- High Altitude: 5,070m/16,634 feet
- Trekking Hour: 6 hours daily
- Group-Size: 2 – 12 People
- Best Time: May, June, July, August, September and October
- Trip Mode: Tent Camping
- Trek Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
- Transportation: Jeep / Plane / Bus
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”. Impressive Dolpo trek is famous for its isolated area and it was opened in 1982 for trekkers.
Dolpo is a high-altitude Tibetan Buddhist culture in the upper part of the Dolpa District of western Nepal, bordered in the north by China. Wilderness trek places in the Dolpa are home to the popular Shey Phoksundo National Park and Phoksundo lake with beautiful flora and fauna. Fabulous Dolpa is located under the protected area – a restricted area trekking in Nepal that takes us to majestic landscape scenery for a wilderness expedition in the remote Himalayas.
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. Saldang la pass trek is a popular high pass on upper Dolpo trekking, possible to explore from May to November throughout the year.
Trans Himalayan Dolpo region is a very dry and unproductive area. So the people who live here in a very difficult life but they are very humble and friendly with their smiling faces. In addition, the local inhabitants still earn their livelihood by trading commodities like salt, cotton, barley, and rice in Tibet.
Shey Phoksundo lake is the deepest lake in Nepal. Likewise, Shey Gompa is a primary Buddhist gompa to visit, top outdoor adventure hikes are situated in this region. For the last few years, it is going a very popular trekking in 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 wilderness route.
How much does Upper Dolpo Trek Package Cost?
The cost of the Upper Dolpo trek package with a Gokyo Treks Agency (local trekking agency) ranges between US$ 3395 to US$ 4100. The upper Dolpo trip price will vary according to the group size you are traveling to and the service you choose.
It is the standard trip package price for 23 days trek. If you are 2 foreign visitors upper Dolpo trek cost US$ 3598 for 23 days trek according to the given trekking plan. We can modify the trek route and the prices according to your wish. Here is the price list for the Upper Dolpo treks.
Price Per Person for 23 days hike in the Upper Dolpo route.
|Number of Tourist||Price Per Person|
|1 Person||US$ 4100|
|2 Person||US$ 3598|
|3 Person||US$ 3550|
|4 to 6 person||US$ 3498|
|7 to 9 Person||US$ 3425|
|10 and more than 10 Person||US$ 3395|
If you’re wondering to know about what is included and what is excluded on this trip price, kindly check on cost given on a tab button.
Upper Dolpo trek itinerary details
Hike to upper Dolpo is a classical with 23 days itinerary compared to most walks in this region. The special outdoor hiking route is designed for cultural travelers who dream to hike in the wilderness part of the Himalayas to experience Buddhist culture and Snow leopard walking with a normal trekking plan.
However for travelers who wish for quick camping treks and 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 a tailor-made itinerary.1 DayArrival at Kathmandu valley. Dolpo restricted area trek permits arrangements.
Landing in Kathmandu, Tribhuvan International Airport. We receive you with a private vehicle and transfer you to the Thamel hotel in Kathmandu. We need your original passport with Nepal’s Visa to prepare Dolpo restricted area permit. It takes some hours for official formalities to complete Dolpo restricted area permits. In the late afternoon, meet the hiking guide and get briefing details of your Upper Dolpo trek.
We take an hour’s flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj city in west Nepal. Nepalgunj is a big town that is also a gateway to the 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 and Muslim cultures. Get experience visiting some sightseeing places in Nepalgunj with our guide if the weather permits. Otherwise, we at the Gokyo hiking team prepare for a flight to Jhupal airport the next morning.
Catch a morning flight to get Jhupal airport. Nepalgunj to Juphal flight takes 45 minutes. The distance from Nepalgunj to Juphal is 155 km in front. In a clear sky, the tourist gets an amazing view of miraculous landscapes with a beautiful snow-capped mountain view. Juphal is a small Bazaar, where we can feel cold and breathe fresh air. We stay here for the first night because we have to arrange porters, arrange gear and prepare Donkeys to carry food for the Dolpo trip..etc.
At our first day hikes, we walk through wheat and vegetable field to reach Thuli Bheri River. Crossing a big suspension bridge leads us to the entrance to 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. Enjoy the tea with pure local honey. We trek through the pine trees, fir, Juniper and Cyprus, and bamboo forests. Really a beautiful time to get close to nature. Tourists can hike the millet and wheat field called Cheep Ka where we fix our camp for overnight stay.
We walk through the lush forest, following a river, and often ascend 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 reach Chumuwar village. 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.
We have to ascend about 2 hours but before reaching the top, we can have the new of Nepal’s highest waterfall (107 meters high) knows Phoksundo waterfall. Phoksundo has an impressive waterfall, it’s not the world’s tallest waterfall in this country, but the most scenic beautiful waterfall with flowers. The Hyatung Falls or Hyatrung Falls is the highest waterfall in Nepal but compared to the Phoksundo waterfall, it’s more common and a sunlight waterfall. Its unique waterfalls seem to be the most beautiful waterfalls in this zone. We will descend to Ringmo village where people residing practice the 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 is a big and powerful empire in present western and northwestern Tibet.
Special day to admire the beauty of Phoksundo Lake and visited nearby villagers inhabited by Bon and Buddhist religion.
From here onward, begins the Upper Dolpo section. We follow the famous hiking trail where the famous movie called CARAVAN of Eric Valli was castes. Eric Valli is a renowned French photographer who discovers this Himalayan journey. Salla Ghari hiking trail route, used by local Dolpo people for the purpose to trade with Tibetans. We reach the high hill to get a beautiful view of Lane Ringmo, the dark green pine forests, and the snow-capped mountain to the South. Later on, you will have a spectacular view of Kanjirowa Himal (6,6612m), we reach an alpine area with junipers called Thaneba or Lakeside camp to stay for that night.
We trek through the pine forest between high rock walls on both sides and cross a couple of streams to reach the base camp caravan. Enter a narrow gorge where will set our camp to stay for that night.
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 a 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.
Visit Tsakang Gompa (Monastery at 457m) to explore and meditation. Tsakang had been a meditation center for 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.
Today, we need to cross the Sheyla pass which is also called Geln La (5000m). Hike at the pass, you can see a beautiful view of the northern part of the Tibetan plateau, which is the highest plateau in the world. Likewise, to the east, we can see Mustang. After passing, we descend further to the pastures of Namgung village. Namgung is a beautiful place with friendly people and a great environment.
Our Trek to Saldang la starts with climbing a treed slope. We have to ascend to 4700m before going down steep slopes to the 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 the agriculture and business trade route to Tibet.
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 nearly 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.
The hiking trails today is easier ascend. After lunch, we must make another stream before turning into a side valley where the rise becomes very sharp.
Walk to Jeng La (4850m) pass hilltop. 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 kilometers along the Tarap Chu River. It consists of ten villages with cultivated fields, many Gompas, and Chhortens.
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 Buddhists are inhabitants here. Visit the Buddhist Gompa where a Lama lives, he is happy to welcome you to show you his monastery and might even let you see his private Gompa and the Thankas which he made himself.
Trek route follows the Tarap Khola, generally downhill. Go through the narrow gorges with the river rushing through. One may see blue sheep, marmot, yak, sheep, and goat 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 people and animals. The track is often very narrow in places.
You leave Khanigoan by new suspension bridge. 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. Sandul gompa is a famous gompa of 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 underfoot. Walk beside the Bheri River you use the ingenious path built twenty feet above the river. All too soon you have reached Dunai and the campsite you used before. You will now have completed the Dolpo circuit.
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 than you remember on our first-day hikes. As today is our last day of hikes in remote areas, we are safely back at our campsite. The camping crew will set up a campsite over the nice ground. In the evening, we’ll have a celebration with our team of porters, cooks, guides, and fellow hikers. It’s a delightful opportunity to thank them for helping you realize your Dolpo exploring dream. Finally, we’ll fly from Juphal back to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj, and enjoy some free time in the capital before a farewell dinner as a group.
We take an early flight from Jhupal to Nepalgunj town. On reaching Nepalgunj airport, we return to Kathmandu on the next available flight immediately. Upon landing on the Kathmandu airport runway, our guide will arrange a private transfer for you to return to your hotel. Furthermore, You can spend the evening leisurely, perhaps catch up on some last-minute shopping and celebrate dinner with us. Overnight at Kathmandu.
After breakfast, the day will start with our guided trip to cultural world heritage sites in Kathmandu valley. The tour places are pilgrimage sites of the Hindu Pashupatinath temple, the world’s biggest Boudhanath Stupa, visit Swayambhunath Stupa, and historical Kathmandu Durbar Square. In addition, Tourists can visit an ancient monument to see unique architecture and the living goddess (kumari temple) in central Kathmandu.
In the evening, we drop you at Kathmandu International Airport for your home country return flight. In this way, the trip ends. Gokyo Treks Nepal agency will be happy to serve you on all of your adventures, trekking, and tours in the Himalayas. We wish you a wonderful journey back home.
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How much does Upper Dolpo Trek package price?
Hike to upper Dolpo Price is US$ 3598 per person on double occupancy basis. Nepalgunj to Dolpa flight price for the Nepali guide and foreigner team is included, thus, the trip looks a little high price. In addition, Nepalgunj to Juphal bus ride is not possible currently but Kathmandu to Nepalgunj airport by bus ride is possible. The journey by bus takes around 12 hours to reach Nepalgunj airport.
For the deluxe and luxury trekking tour plan, we add a 3-5 star category hotel deluxe air-conditioned room in Kathmandu (BB PLAN). AND WE ARE OPEN TO CUSTOMIZING YOUR TOUR AND PACKAGES PRICE AS PER YOUR REQUIREMENTS.
Upper Dolpo Trek Package Includes:-
- Kathmandu international airport transfer by private vehicles.
- 2 nights on double bedroom Moonlight Boutique hotel accommodation in Kathmandu with delicious breakfast.
- 2 nights in double bedroom tourist standard hotel with AC accommodation in Nepalgunj.
- Tent camping accommodation during the trekking days in the mountain region.
- 22 Breakfast, 21 Lunch, and 21 Dinner served with hot drinks during the trekking days.
- All the essentials camping and kitchen equipment to run the upper Dolpa camping trip.
- Upper Dolpo restricted area trekking permit [US$ 500 per person] issued by Department of Immigration, Nepal.
- Lower Dolpo controlled region trekking permit issued by Immigration of Nepal.
- Shey Phoksundo National Park entrance permit fee.
- TIMS permit for Dolpa Trekking.
- Domestic flight: Kathmandu – Nepalgunj – Juphal – Nepalgunj – Kathmandu round trip with airport tax.
- Upper Dolpo trek map for each guest
- An experienced English-speaking licensed holder local trekking guide.
- Required supporting kitchen crew and donkeys to carry food and luggage along the hikes.
- Food / Salary/accommodation and medical or accidental insurance of all the trek staff.
- Farewell dinner after the trip completion in Kathmandu.
- Upper Dolpo trek map and trek completion certificate – keep them as souvenirs.
- Gokyo Agency’s duffel bag (50 liters capacity), and trek poles if Necessary – return after the trek.
- First aid medical kit including Oximeter to check your Oxygen level, Pulse rate to monitor every day to prepare for high mountain risk.
- In a worst case, help with all Helicopter Rescue and evacuation arrangements (but not the rescue bills).
- Nepal Government Tax, VAT, and as well as Company service charge.
Upper Dolpo Package Trek Price Excludes:
- Nepal entry visa fee
- Lunch and Dinner during your staying in Kathmandu and Nepalgunj city.
- Any kinds of battery charges, laundry service, phone calls, and hot showers during the trekking.
- Tourist personal trekking equipment and Clothing.
- -10 comfort fresh Sleeping bag rental cost per piece US$ 2 per day.
- Personal nature expenses, and bar bills.
- Travel Insurance which covers emergency rescue, evacuation, personal loss, or damage.
- Any donation and monument entrance fees.
- Gratuities for camping crew [Tip is a culture, so they expect highly].
- Any other things which are not mentioned above
Mysterious Dolpo trekking package is the best way to explore. There are no guest houses along the hiking trail. So every travel body must go with a full board camping with outdoor hiking and camping gear. However, we can organize a private upper Dolpo Trek starting on 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 with 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 the upper Dolpo trek?
Answer: It is suitable for keen trekkers/walkers who are able to walk around 5 or 6 hours daily, with a lightweight daypack.
Question: What kind of accommodation can I expect on the 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 them while you are in Kathmandu.
Question: What kind of food can I expect in this trekking?.
Answer: In a Tent camping trekking, our professional cook prepares a delicious range of mostly vegetarian such as Pasta, tuna bakes, noodles, potatoes, eggs, bread, soups, and fresh vegetable rice.
Question: What opportunities will I have for a shower along upper Dolpo treks?.
Answer: As you are camping or trekking, we provide you with 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 Aqua tablets to purify the normal water as the normal water is available in the hiking camps.
Question: Can I charge my digital camera or other batteries on my trip?
Answer: Upper Dolpo is totally isolated with no electricity. Some places have electricity where you can hardly recharge the battery but we advise you to bring an extra pair in case. Remember to bring your own adapters!
Question: Are there any communication facilities on the Upper Dolpo trek?.
Answer: Roughly about 6/7 days after Phoksundo lake, there is no network for calling – the 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 Nepali rupees (Nrs) and carry them along with you to give some donations or tips to the monastery or monks on the journey.
Question: When should I book my trip and what are the payment 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 a 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 the 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 carries 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 gradient, terrain, and altitude. As such it is very hard to give specific distances for each day, however, you have to be prepared to walk for roughly about 5 hours each day.
Question: Do I need hiking poles for my hiking?.
Answer: It is better to hike with walking poles. Learn how to use trekking poles for balance and stability, whether on the sidewalk or on trails. Walking poles can help prevent slips and falls. They are just 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 your trek.
Upper Dolpo Trek Highlights and the best side trips
Exploring the upper dolpa is called Inner Dolpo exploration. It is a very remote region, a Trans Himalayan territory of Nepal. There are other parts of Nepal for remote trekking yet Dolpo remains the most wilderness and difficult as tourists cross over the 4,000 meters-high passes.
Although you are hiking the wilderness part of the Himalayan trail with tiny inhabitants, there are still many interesting things to see on your side trips. These types of facts are also marked as the top highlights of upper Dolpo trekking in Nepal.
- Phoksundo Lake is famous for its magnificent turquoise color and the spectacular scenery clearly ranks it among the most scenic summits in the world.
- Ringmo village, a typical Tibetan village, is scenically nestled in the area.
- Shey Phoksundo National Park offers everything they would not expect in their wildest dreams, from the gigantic Himalayas to the deepest lakes
- Discover the challenging Numa la and Baga la high passes along the route.
- Ancient and isolated villages, Buddhist monasteries, Enthralling culture, and tradition.
- The territory of Snow Leopards with many other wild animals often will have a chance to see on your journey.
- Experience the vast array of wildlife inhabiting the region
- Shey Gompa, an ancient Buddhist monastery in Inner Dolpo with a spectacular trail around the western end of the lake.
- Hike the Dolpo route usually goes above 4000 meters, and this unknown land influences the Tibetan culture.
- Dho Tarap is a village in Dolpo Buddha Rural Municipality of Dolpa District in the Karnali Zone of north-western Nepal.
Notes for Upper Dolpo trekkers!
Solo travelers for the upper Dolpo hike are possible only by joining the group trips. Single or individual trekkers can hike Dolpo sharing permit because to obtain a Dolpo trek permit, we need a minimum of 2 clients for the same travel plan purpose.
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 conditions may change the above itineraries.
“What makes the 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. First safety and success satisfaction is our prime concern.
We at Gokyo Treks and Expedition believe in quality services. We are a team of professional, experienced, trained, and licensed local guides who know the destination better.
Upper Dolpo Trek Review
Best Agency, Excellent service
Great trek, run by competent people, a special guide called SOM Shrestha and Kamal Khatri and a nice carrier. Fantastic landscapes and unforgettable encounters. Gokyo Treks is the right agency to make a trek in Nepal!!! Thanks at all!. – Cristiano Lissoni, Milano, Italy.
Response from Gokyo Treks Nepal
Thank you Christiano for the time to review your trek with us. We hope to welcome you again for your trip in the Himalayas again.
From US$ 36712% Off US$ 3598
|No. of people||Price Per Person|
|4 - 6||USD 3498|
|7 - 9||USD 3425|
|10 +||USD 3395|
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