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 with its isolated area and it was opened in 1982 for the 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 is home to popular Shey Phoksundo National Park, Phoksundo lake with beautiful flora and fauna. Fabulous Dolpa is located under the protected area – 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 equally popular as an upper Dolpo trekking, possible to explore at any time (except winter) 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 which are situated in this region. For the last few years, it is going to 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 wilderness route.
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 designing 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 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 Day Arrival at Kathmandu valley
Landing in Kathmandu, Tribhuwan International Airport. We receive you with private vehicle and transfer to Thamel hotel in Kathmandu with breakfast plan. Our representative will give you information about further programs.
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, introduce with your hiking guide. Your guide will brief details of your dolpa trek.
We take an hour flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj city of 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 & Muslim cultures. Get experience visiting some sightseeing places in Nepalgunj with our guide if the weather permits. Otherwise, we at the Gokyo hiking team prepares for a flight to Jhupal airport the next morning.
Catch a morning flight to get Jhupal airport. Nepaljung 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 breathe fresh air. We stay here for the first night because we have to arrange porters, arrange gears and prepare Donkeys to carry food for the Dolpo trip..etc.
At our first day hikes, we walk through wheat and vegetables field to reach Thuli Bheri River. Cross 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 forest. 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 at 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 meter 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 waterfalls with flowers. The Hyatung Falls or Hyatrung Falls is the highest waterfall in Nepal but comparing to the Phoksundo waterfall, it’s more common and a sunlight waterfall. Its unique waterfalls seem to be similar to the beautiful waterfalls in the world. 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 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 Himalaya 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 arrow 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 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.
Today, we need cross the Sheyla pass which is also called Geln La (5000m). Hike at the pass, you can see beautiful view of northern part of Tibetan plateau, which is highest plateau in the world. Likewise, to the east we can see Mustang. After pass, we descend further to the pastures of Namgung village. Namgung is a beautiful place with friendly people and great environment.
Our Trek to Saldang la 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.
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.
The hiking trails today is easier ascend. After lunch, we must make another stream before turning into side valley where the rise becomes very sharp.
Walk to Jeng La (4850m) pass hill 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.
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. 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 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 for 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. 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.
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 you remember on our first day hikes. As today is our last day of hikes in the remote areas, we 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 Nepaljung, 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 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.
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. Nepalgunj to dolpa flight price for 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 Nepaljung airport by bus ride is possible. The journey by bus takes around 12 hours to reach Nepaljung airport.
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 hikes.
- Upper dolpo restricted area trekking permit issued by Department of immigration, Nepal.
- Lower dolpo controlled region 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.
- Upper dolpo trek map for each guest
- 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 required airport and hotel transfer.
- The world heritage sites tour with experience Tourist Guide for 1 day 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
Mysterious dolpo trekking package is a best way to exploring. There are not guest houses along the hiking trail. So every trael body must go with a full board camping with outdoor hiking and camping gears. However, we can organize a 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 5 or 6 hours daily, with a lightweight daypack.
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 tent camping trekking, our professional cook prepares a delicious range of mostly vegetarian such as Pasta, tuna bakes, noodles, potatoes, eggs, dhal bhat, bread, soups, fresh vegetables.
Question: What opportunities will I have for a shower along upper Dolpo treks?.
Answer: As you are 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 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 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: Are 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 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 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: Hiking 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 the 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
- Duration of trek: 25 Days
- Altitude: 5,070m/16,630 feet
- Trekking Hour: 6 Hrs
- Group-Size: 2-25 People
- Best Time: Oct -May
- Trip Mode: Guest House
- Meal on Trek: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- Transport: Car/Plane/bus
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