Lower Dolpo Trek

Lower Dolpo Trek  in Western Nepal, is very isolated and under-visited, due to its distance from the cities of Nepal. That means that the rewards for dedicated travelers are great—empty trails, uninterrupted views, and unspoiled landscapes.

Trip Facts

Trip Duration - 18 Days
Trekking Duration - 15 Days
Trekking Mode - Camping Trek
Trip Level - Demanding
Max. Altitude - 5190m
Min. Group Size - 2+

Lower Dolpo Trek in Western Nepal, is very isolated and under-visited, due to its distance from the cities of Nepal. That means that the rewards for dedicated travelers are great—empty trails, uninterrupted views, and unspoiled landscapes. Tibetan Buddhist culture and practitioners of the almost-extinct Bon religion add cultural intrigue to this beautiful camping trek.

Highlights of the Lower Dolpo Trek

  • The stunning blue waters of Phoksundo Lake (3611m), surrounded by forests and peaks
  • Isolated cultures and traditions of Lower Dolpo
  • Visit Bon monasteries, a religion that predates Buddhism’s arrival here
  • Cross the high passes of Numa La (5190m) and Baga La (5190m) for panoramic views of the Himalayas

The Dolpo region is divided into Lower and Upper Dolpo. While Upper Dolpo requires an expensive permit to visit, Lower Dolpo Trek doesn’t have the same restrictions. Reaching the trail—which requires two flights from Kathmandu—is part of the adventure, and really highlights how remote a region this is.

An especially interesting aspect of this trek is that you’ll encounter followers of the Bon religion. People in various places throughout Nepal practiced this religion before Buddhism and Hinduism took over, and it is now almost extinct. So, this trek allows for a rare insight into the Bon religion.

The landscape is also beautifully varied, with deep river valleys, high alpine pastures, two high passes to cross, and of course that amazing lake towards the end of the trek: Phoksundo.

The Route Followed

It’s necessary to begin this trek with two short flights: one from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj, on the Western Terai, and the other from Nepalgunj to the mountain airstrip at Juphal (2490m), from which the trek begins. Although roads are being built on the region, it is still very cut off, and flying to Juphal is the only way to reach the area from the plains.

Follow the trail to Dunai, and spend the next few days trekking towards Dho. There, you will do a few shorter acclimatization hikes to the monasteries around Dho, including a Bon monastery.

After your acclimatization days you should be well prepared to push on to Baga La High Camp, and then the pass. From the pass, there are great views of the Dhaulagiri Range to the east and Kagmara Range to the west.

After crossing the pass, descend steeply to Danigar, but then prepare to cross the second pass—Numa La. The descent from the pass is quite steep and uneven but smooths out after a while. After a day you’ll reach a bridge over the Phoksundo River, which comes off Lake Phoksundo, in the SheyPhoksundo National Park. Camp at Ringmo village, beside the lake.

Spend a rest and exploration day at the lake, exploring the nearby monasteries and beautiful nature views. Continue through the Phoksundo River Valley, finally reaching Juphal at the end of the trek.

Accommodation

This is a camping trek. The Dolpo region is under-visited, so the infrastructure of trekkers’ lodges that are common elsewhere in Nepal have not reached here. Furthermore, it can be difficult to pick up provisions along the way in Dolpo, so all food supplies need to be carried in. Your guides and porters will ensure you are sleeping comfortably and eating well.

Lower Dolpo Trek’s Short itineraries; 

Day 01: Arrive in Kathmandu. (1350 meters).
Day 02: Sightseeing and Trek Preparation.
Day 03: Fly to Nepalgunj. (130 meters).
Day 04: Fly to Juphal (2490 meters) and trek to Lingdo.
Day 05: Trek to Laini.
Day 06: Trek to Sim Odar.
Day 07: Trek to Dho.
Day 08: Acclimatization day.
Day 09: Trek to Baga La High Camp.
Day 10: Cross Baga La and trek to Danigar
Day 11: Cross Numa La and trek to Yak Kharka.
Day 12: Trek to Rigmo
Day 13: Rest day
Day 14: Trek to Chepka
Day 15: Trek to Juphal 1 hour to Sangta. 1 hour to Kageni. 1:30 hour to Kageni. 1:30 hour to sulighat. 3 hour to Juphal.
Day 16: Fly to Nepalgunj and an afternoon flight to Kathmandu A morning flight to Nepalgunj is followed by an evening flight to Kathmandu.
Day 17: Free day in Kathmandu Also an extra day in case of delays or cancellation of flights
Day 18: Departure

Cross Bagala Pass

Detail Itinenary

Arrival In Kathmandu Day 01
Arrive in Kathmandu. (1350 meters).
A representative from Visit Himalaya Treks Pvt. Ltd. trekking with the company’s display board will greet you outside the arrival terminal and transfer you to your Hotel. (Overnight at Hotel)
sight-seeing-kathmandu-valley Day 02
Sightseeing and Trek Preparation.
A half day guided tour to several of historical and spiritual attractions enlisted under the World Heritage Sites. The trek leader will meet the group for a meeting and provide a detailed briefing on the trek. All the required information regarding the trek would be provided. (Overnight at Hotel. Breakfast included)
Flight back to Kathmandu Day 03
Fly to Nepalgunj. (130 meters).
The mornings can be used to carry out some last minute re-checks as we have a half an hour afternoon flight to Nepalgunj. Nepalgunj is very hot and humid compared to Kathmandu and it is better to have some insect repellent creams nearby. (Overnight at Hotel. Breakfast included)
Fly to Juphal (2490 meters) and trek to Chhepka. Day 04
Fly to Juphal (2490 meters) and trek to Lingdo.
An early morning 45 minutes flight lands us on Juphal and after a brief sorting and introduction of our crew, the trek finally starts. The trek heads toward Dunai, administrative headquarter of Dolpo, and then continues to follow the Bheri River all the way to Lingdo. (7 hours) (Overnight at Camp)
Trek to Laini. Day 05
Trek to Laini.
The trail is the newly built road and stays on it all the way to Laisicap. The first two hours of the day is a comfortable trek and after that, the trail starts to climb steeply snaking the ridge. After 30 minutes trek, trail briefly drops to Laisicap. The trail now crosses the river and then stays gentle for next 20 minutes. Now, the trail gets away from the road and climbs steeply, briefly getting back on the road. The climb lasts for an hour and a chorten marks its end. A brief gentle flat walk of 10-15 minutes is again followed by a steep climb for the next hour. The treks are now in a narrow valley and undulate for most of the times with more climbs than downhill. It takes around 2 hours from the chorten to Laini. There are a couple of tents by a waterfall just steps before the next day’s short steep climb.
Trek to Sim Odar. Day 06
Trek to Sim Odar.
A steep continuous climb lasts for a little more than an hour. Then the trail continuously undulates with small sections of descends and ascennds. Tghe valley is very narrow for most parts of the whole day. Finally after 3 hours, Chyuggar can be seen from a ridge and a small brief descent finally leads to Chyuggar. It is a small resting place with some small teashops by the river. A comfortable hour with again small ups and downs takes to Nawarpani (another small rest stop like all other places with couple of tents) and a similar half an hour leads to Sim Odar. Sim Odar is a flat place at the river banks with couple of Odars (a shelter beneath an overhang)
Trek to Dho Day 07
Trek to Dho.
The trail undulates for the most part in the morning and arrives at Toltol after an hour. The valley is quite narrow and trails keep undulating following the river. After around 3 hours the trail crosses the river and a steep 10 minute climb leads to Kesi La. After Kesi La, a drop is briefly leads to a bridge and again continues to follow the valley which is starts to be a little wider. Another bridge follows (lots of tiny caves by the river) and a gentle climb leads to another set of prayer flags. This second prayer flag is an hour away from Kesi La. A wider valley appears after the prayer flags and a long comfortable walk of around 4 hours by the stream ends at Dho.
Acclimatization day at Dho Day 08
Acclimatization day.
The day is used to do some acclimatization hikes around Dho as the trek enters into higher elevation in the next few days. There are several monasteries around Dho. A Bon Monastery in nearby village is one of the highlights of this acclimatization day.
Trek to bagala High Camp Day 09
Trek to Baga La High Camp.
There is a big wide main trail that passes through Crystal Mountain School followed by Taksi village. It takes an hour to pass through Taksi from Dho. Another hour on the same trail takes through another small village of Tokyo. The trail starts to turn into a gentle climb and also leaves the main trail and the valley behind. After one more hour, a small stream and a wide valley appears on the left side of the main valley coming from Dho. (Some groups considers it Base Camp and camp by the river.) The trail crosses the stream and a steep climb on a ridge follows. The trail passes through several piles of small mane stone plates. The steep ascents lasts all the way to High Camp. It is just an clearing only large enough for a small party but offers a great view of Dolpo's labyrinthine valley. It is a little more than 2 hours climb from the stream to High Camp.
Cross Bagala Pass Day 10
Cross Baga La and trek to Danigar
The steep climb continues on the ridge and after 30 minutes, a brief traverse starts. Another ridge and another steep ascend follows for the next hour. The climb ends at Baga La. Baga La offers views of Dhaulagiri Range to the East and Kagmara Range in the West. A steep descend into the main valley leads to a small stream in the bottom of the valley. The trail briefly stays with stream until it reaches a fork. Here, the trail crosses the river heads towards the left valley. A small gentle uphill traverse ends at Danigar. Danigar is a pasture at the end of the valley surrounded by towering ridges. Norbu Gyang is a prominent peak among these ridges that surround Danigar.
Cross Numa La and trek to Yak Kharka. Day 11
Cross Numa La and trek to Yak Kharka.
The day starts with a steep climb on the ridge seen directly from Danigar. Steep climbing continues for around 2 hours and reaches a spot with some mane stones. After the spot, the steepness decreases (yet still difficult) and a traverse towards the top of Numa La starts. It takes around 40 minutes to reach Numa La from the spot with mane stones. The descend after Numa La is a bit rough and goes through boulders and scree. After an hour, a valley opens up and the trail starts to follow a stream. The stream snakes through the valley and after less than an hour, the trail moves away from the stream and starts to drop very steeply to Phedi. The descend continues farther than Phedi and then changes into a comfortable and gentle trek towards the end of the day. Yak Kharka is an hour away from Phedi. It is a wide seasonal pasture for the locals also has a couple of houses.
Trek to Phoksundo Lake Day 12
Trek to Rigmo
After leaving Yak Kharka, the trail comfortably traverses for half an hour. Then slowly, a steep climb starts and lasts for almost more than an hour until it reaches a stop with a prayer flag. Now, the climb eases and a huge waterfall appears on the opposite valley. Juniper trees and some fields appears near the trail and soon Rigmo village is seen. A bridge to cross the Phoksundo river flowing out of the Phoksundo lake marks the entry to Rigmo village. The campsite lies just outside of Rigmo village and right next to the Phoksundo Lake.
Acclimatization day Day 13
Rest day
The day can be enjoyed by the side of the majestic lake. There are also few monasteries in the village for day visits.
Trek to Chhepka Day 14
Trek to Chepka
The trek now starts to go through the valley carved by Phoksundo River. Around 2 hours of descent leads to Jharana Hotel. Now the trail stays with or near Phoksundo river until the end of the trek. A comfortable trek with small ascends and descends takes through a small settlement of Rechi. The whole day after Jharana Hotel is in a narrow valley. After Rechi it takes around 3 hours to reach Chepka. Chepka is a bigger and wider place compared to Rechi.
Trek to Juphal Day 15
Trek to Juphal
The trek follows the same pattern as of the previous day and continues in the same valley. The trail goes through small settlements of Sangta and Kageni en route to Sulighta. Finally the valley widens up after Sulighat and the trek head towards Dunai by the bank of Bheri river. The trail follows Bheri river and there is a final climb of around an hour to reach Juphal, the ending point of the trek.
Flight back to Kathmandu Day 16
Fly to Nepalgunj and an afternoon flight to Kathmandu
A morning flight to Nepalgunj is followed by an evening flight to Kathmandu.
Sightseeing in Kathmandu Day 17
Free day in Kathmandu
Free day in Kathmandu Also an extra day in case of delays or cancellation of flights
Final-Departure Day 18
Departure
A representative from Visit Himalaya Treks Pvt. Ltd. will check your flight tickets and transfer you to the airport before two hours from your flight with a hope of seeing you again in the future. (Breakfast included)

Service include on trip cost

  • Arrivals and departure transport by car (We will collect you from the Kathmandu international airport) and transfer to Hotel.
  • Half day sightseeing in Kathmandu (Boudhanath and Pashupatinath) with city guide and necessary transport.
  • 4 nights’ accommodation (2 persons per room) in Kathmandu in a 3* standard Hotel with breakfast.
  • Kathmandu – Nepaljung – Jufal  – Nepaljung – Kathmandu flight ticket.
  • All land transportations (by private Car/Jeep/ Bus).
  • Full Camping trek with all meals and hot drinks during the trek serve by Cook and staffs.
  • Tented accommodation with dining, table, chairs, toilet tent, and shower tent.
  • Salary, insurance, food, accommodation for guides, Supporters’ staffs, cook, and porters.
  • Lower Dolpo special permits and Shey-Phoksundo national park entry permits.
  • Annapurna conservation area (ACAP) permit. And Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS) Card.
  • Group First Aid Kit.

Service exclude on trip cost

  • Nepal entry visa Fee.
  • Personal Travel Insurance (Compulsory).
  • Lunch and dinner in Nepagung and Kathmandu.
  • Entry fee at the sightseeing sites.
  • Personal expenses like beverages (mineral water, alcohol, and soft drinks), telephone bills, laundry, bar bills, personal tips etc.
  • All not mentioned in inclusion section.

Gear List

Visit Himalaya Treks has always been keen on safety on the journey. We have prepared Trekking Equipment List which the trekkers will need during their trek in Nepal. The following list should help you with your packing. Generally, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum. The weight of your trek bag while trekking should be no more than 15 KG. You must bring the following items:
  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper
  • Thermal shirts/underwear
  • Nightwear thermals
  • Fleece/sweatpants
  •  Day-wear shirt/rain pants
  •  Trekking pants
  • Wind pants
  • Warm hat/balaclava
  • Neck gaiter
  • Sunhat
  • Warm hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Mittens/gloves
  • Water bottle
  • Torch / Flashlight
  • Quick drier Towel
  • Sunscreen and lip balm with sunscreen 35++
  • Water purification
  • A set of Earplugs
  • Trekking Poles
  • Hiking Boots
  • Socks
  • First aid kit
  • Antiseptics
  • Camera and video camera
Medical
  • Betadine / Dettol.
  • Hand-plaster
  • Bandage
  •  Eye drop.
  • Eardrop
  •  Sinex.
  • Gauge
  • Cotton
  • Move / Spray
  • Design
  • Diamox
  •  D-Cold
  • Vicks
  • Paracetamol
  • Medicine for diarrhea
  • Medicine for a toothache

 

Notes: ALL ITINERARIES CAN BE CUSTOMIZED AT YOUR REQUESTS ACCORDING TO YOUR CONVENIENCE.

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