Upper Dolpo Trek

Upper Dolpo Trek is one of the most remote regions of Nepal. The Upper Dolpo trek is an ideal destination for trekkers looking for a physical challenge and a stunning wilderness adventure in a tranquil, pristine and mysterious high-altitude region.

Trip Facts

Trip Duration - 29 Days
Trekking Duration - 25
Trekking Mode - Camping Trek
Trip Level - Demanding
Max. Altitude - 5550 Meters
Min. Group Size - 2+

Upper Dolpo Trek is one of the most remote regions of Nepal. The Upper Dolpo trek is an ideal destination for trekkers looking for a physical challenge and a stunning wilderness adventure in a tranquil, pristine and mysterious high-altitude region.

Highlights of the Upper Dolpo Trek

  • The Tibetan Buddhist culture of the Dolpo people
  • Trek around the beautiful, glacial SheyPhoksundo Lake
  • Visit 800-year-old SheyGomba, one of the most famous monasteries in Nepal
  • Have a true wilderness experience in one of the least-visited areas of Nepal

There’s no denying that the Upper Dolpo trek is one of the harder and longer treks in Nepal, with several camps situated above 4500 meters and some high passes. But, this makes it ideal for experienced trekkers on a return trip to Nepal who is looking for a new challenge and fresh sights. A high level of fitness is required, and an organized tour is essential as there is little-to-no tourism infrastructure here.

The trek passes many incredible and unforgettable sights: turquoise SheyPhoksundo Lake, snowy high passes, hidden valleys, the SheyGomba monastery, and numerous fortified villages (dzongs).

Dolpo is within the rain-shadow of the Himalayas, meaning that the landscape is dry and harsh. The locals used to have to rely on trade with Tibetans for their livelihoods. The people themselves are descendants of those who migrated from Tibet. The Upper Dolpo trek passes through many villages that bear evidence of the ancient trade route.

While most inhabitants practice Tibetan Buddhism, there are also traces of the pre-Buddhist, shamanistic Bon religion in Dolpo.

Upper Dolpo’s main international claim to fame is being featured in Peter Matthiessen’s classic travel memoir, The Snow Leopard. It is well worth reading if heading to Dolpo.

The Route Followed

Because of Dolpo’s remoteness, getting there from Kathmandu is an adventure in itself!

First, fly to Nepalgunj, on Nepal’s western plains. From Nepalgunj, fly to the tiny mountain airstrip at Juphal, only accessible by air.

On the first couple of days of the trek, you head towards Phoksundo Lake, following the Phoksundo River. Ringmo is the last settlement of any size encountered before entering the true wilderness.

The altitude on the trek increases gradually until you reach the famous SheyGomba. It’s one of the oldest and most famous monasteries in Nepal.

After crossing a 5000m-plus pass, incredible views of the Mustang region open up, as well as the mountains of Tibet and the Kanjiroba Range. The next few days are spent trekking through remote valleys.

The Dolpo region is separated from the Kali Gandaki Valley by the Sangda La (pass). Once this pass is crossed, you enter the Mustang area, another culturally Tibetan region on the ‘other side’ of the Himalaya. End the trek at Jomsom, headquarters of Mustang, and fly back to Pokhara.

A number of acclimatization days are built into itineraries in Upper Dolpo, as well as contingency days. Flights are often delayed or canceled, so extra days are added. If you don’t encounter any delays, these days will be used on the trek for side trips.

Accommodation

It is necessary to camp in Upper Dolpo, and carry food supplies with you. Visit Himalaya Treks has good skill carry enough food to avoid Food shortages sometimes afflict Upper Dolpo. Occasionally, a village homestay may be possible.

There are few of the comforts of other treks in Nepal on the Upper Dolpo trek. That only makes it a greater experience for the adventurous traveler!

Upper Dolpo Trek 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 Chhepka. (2675 meters).
Day 05: Trek to Amchi Hospital. (3110 meters).
Day 06: Trek to Phoksundo Lake. (3733 meters).
Day 07: Acclimatization day.
Day 08: Trek to Phoksundo Khola. (3690 meters).
Day 09: Trek to Snowfield Camp. (4625 meters).
Day 10: Cross Kang La (5345 meters) and trek to Shey Gompa. (4375 meters).
Day 11: Acclimatization day.
Day 12: Cross Sela Bhanjyang (5075 meters) and trek to Namgung. (4430 meters).
Day 13: Trek to Saldang. (3980 meters).
Day 14: Trek to Khoma Gaon. (4100 meters).
Day 15: Trek to Mendo. (4000 meters).
Day 16: Trek to Tinje Gaon. (4110 meters).
Day 17: Trek to Rapka. (4535 meters).
Day 18: Cross Chharka La (5030 meters) and trek to Chharka. (4110 meters).
Day 19: Acclimatization day.
Day 20: Trek to Norbulung. (4750 meters).
Day 21: Trek to bottom of Sangda La. (4800 meters).
Day 22: Cross Niwar Pass (5130 meters) and Sangda La (5300 meters), and trek to Sangda Phedi. (5100 meters).
Day 23: Trek to Lower Sangda. (3710 meters).
Day 24: Trek to Dhagarjun. (3210 meters).
Day 25: Trek to Jomsom. (2720 meters).
Day 26: Fly back to Kathmandu via Pokhara.
Day 27: Free day at Kathmandu.
Day 28: Departure.

Acclimatization day at Chharka

Detail Itinenary

Arrival In Kathmandu Day 01
Restricted areas
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 Chhepka. (2675 meters)
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 start to follow Phoksundo River towards North in the valley and stops at Chhepka for the first night in camps. (7 hours) (Overnight at Camp)
Trek to Chhepka Day 05
Trek to Amchi Hospital. (3110 meters)
The trek continues to head north of the valley and will keep doing so for most of the trek till Saldang. After passing many small settlements of lower Dolpo, the trek slowly enters Dolpo Valley and reaches Amchi Hospital. Amchi are the traditional doctors of the region. (6 hours) (Overnight at Camp)
Trek to Phoksundo Lake Day 06
Trek to Phoksundo Lake. (3733 meters)
The trek still continues to move forward in the valley and also follows the Phoksundo River all the way to Ringmo. Ringo is the last big settlement before the trek enters the more wildly and remote aresas of Dolpo. The lake is only a few minute walk away from Ringmo. (4 hours) (Overnight at Camp)
Acclimatization day Day 07
Acclimatization day.
The day can be used to explore around the Phoksundo Lake. (Overnight at Camp)
Trek to Phoksundo Khola. Day 08
Trek to Phoksundo Khola. (3690 meters)
The trek moves to the other side of the Phoksundo Lake and then starts to follow Phoksundo Khola for the rest of the day. This day also marks the treks entry into the upper valley of Dolpo and provides a brief look into the wilderness and remoteness that awaits in the valley ahead. The campsite is also by the banks of the river. (7 hours) (Overnight at Camp)
Trek to Snowfield Camp 09
Trek to Snowfield Camp. (4625 meters)
Slowly and gradually, the elevation increases throughout the day and reaches the bottom of Kang La, first of the many passes of the trek. The camp has been mentioned in the bestselling book of Peter Mathiesson, ‘The Snow Leopard’. The name Snowfield Camp to the campsite comes from the same book. (7 hours) (Overnight at Camp)
Cross Kang La (5345 meters) and trek to Shey Gompa. Day 10
Cross Kang La (5345 meters) and trek to Shey Gompa. (4375 meters)
An early start is followed by a long uphill to the top of Kang La. Equally tiring downhill leads to the bottom of the river and rest of the day is spent following the river. The day ends at Shey Gompa, also famous by the name Crystal Monastery. (6-7 hours) (Overnight at Camp)
Trek to Shey Gompa shey Gompa Day 11
Acclimatization day at Shey Gompa
The day is spent exploring around the village and can also be use to visit a nearby monastery on a top of cliff. The visit to the monastery would take couple of hours for the round trip. (Overnight at Camp)
Cross Sela Bhanjyang (5075 meters) Day 12
Cross Sela Bhanjyang (5075 meters) and trek to Namgung. (4430 meters)
Another early start and a long steep climb to the top of Sela Bhanjyang is rewarded with views of Mustang Valley and mountains of Tibet and the Kanjiroba Range. A drop again leads to a river and a more easy terrain in afternoon finally leads to Namgung. (5-6 hours) (Overnight at Camp)
Trek to Saldang. (3980 meters) Day 13
Trek to Saldang. (3980 meters)
A steep climb for the most of morning ends at Saldang. Saldang is one of biggest settlements of the region. Ironically, this one of the most remote village of country is home to one of the biggest star of the country. Saldang is home of Thinle, the main character of the academy award nominated movie ‘Himalaya’. (5-6 hours) (Overnight at Camp)
Trek to Khoma Gaon Day 14
Trek to Khoma Gaon. (4100 meters)
The day starts with a climb and changes into a descent later in the morning as the trail drops once again to a river. Afternoon walk is similar as the trek first climbs to Khoma La (4565 meters) and then drops down to Khoma Gaon. Gaon in Nepali means village. (6-7 hours) (Overnight at Camp)
Trek to Mendo. (4000 meters) Day 15
Trek to Mendo. (4000 meters)
The trail drops to the river and follows the river for the most part of the day. Yet another drop follows a climb to a top of a ridge and ends at a green valley of Shimen. A brief walk after Shimen leads to Mendo. (6-7 hours) (Overnight at Camp)
Trek to Tinje Gaon. (4110 meters) Day 16
Trek to Tinje Gaon. (4110 meters)
The trek continues to follow the river towards south and passes through small villages, chortens and mane walls before reaching Tinje Gaon. The village was also one of the major points of ancient Tibetan trade route. (6 hours) (Overnight at Camp)
Trek to Rapka. Day 17
Trek to Rapka. (4535 meters)
An easy trail in the morning starts the trek and continues to head south of the valley. Later in the day, the trail starts to undulate and passes through narrow gulleys before reaching the wide valleys of Rapka. (6-7 hours) (Overnight at Camp)
Cross Chharka La Day 18
Cross Chharka La (5030 meters) and trek to Chharka. (4110 meters)
Another early start and yet another pass makes the day one of the longer days of trek. After crossing Chharkha La, a long descent finally ends at Chharka. (7-8 hours) (Overnight at Camp)
Acclimatization day at Chharka Day 19
Acclimatization day.
The day can be used as rest day to prepare for the final few passes of the trek. (Overnight at Camp)
Trek to Norbulung. Day 20
Trek to Norbulung. (4750 meters)
The trail undulates and many rivers are crossed on suspension bridges throughout the day towards the south of the valley. The trek keeps heading south of valley for most of the latter stages of trek. A final climb leads to Norbulung ending the day. (6-7 hours) (Overnight at Camp)
Trek to bottom of Sangda La. Day 21
Trek to bottom of Sangda La. (4800 meters)
Once again the trek starts to gain elevation as the trek now enters the final stages. Few passes separates Dolpo region from Kali Gandaki Valley and Sangda La is one of them. The day’s trek ends at the bottom of Sangda La. (6-7 hours) (Overnight at Camp)
Cross Niwar Pass Day 22
Cross Niwar Pass (5130 meters) and Sangda La (5300 meters), and trek to Sangda Phedi. (5100 meters)
The day to Sangda Phedi includes crossing of two passes and is one of the hardest day of the trek. The trail climbs up Niwar Pass and then crosses Sangda La and offers stunning views of the valleys in front for all the hard work. Long descent finally ends at Sangda Phedi. (7-8 hours) (Overnight at Camp)
Trek to Lower Sangda Day 23
Trek to Lower Sangda. (3710 meters)
The trek enters into descent mode and passes several small rivers throughout the day. More mountains of Kali Gandaki Valley starts to open up near Lower Sangda and the region also have huge number of Blue Sheeps.(6 hours) (Overnight at Camp)
Trek to Dhagarjun. Day 24
Trek to Dhagarjun. (3210 meters)
A small ascent in the morning soon turns into gradual drop and turns steeper with the day. This final descent also provides the view of Kali Gandaki Valley as the day ends at Dhagarjun. (6-7 hours) (Overnight at Camp)
Trek to Jomsom. Day 25
Trek to Jomsom. (2720 meters)
The downhill continues as the trek enters Kali Gandaki Valley and drops all the way down to river. The trek now continues on the dusty secondary roads following the river south towards Jomsom. Jomsom is administrative headquarters of Mustand and is a busy town and marks the end of adventure. (4 hours) (Overnight at Camp)
Fly to Pokhara Day 26
Fly back to Kathmandu via Pokhara .
An early morning flight to Pokhara is followed by another flight to Kathmandu and a whole day to explore the capital. (Overnight at Hotel. Breakfast included)
sight-seeing-kathmandu-valley Day 27
Free day at Kathmandu.
A leisure day in Kathmandu which can used for an early morning mountain flights to Everest or can extended into further more tours to Nagarkot, Dhulikhel etc. Further adventure activities like rock climbing, hiking, biking around the Kathmandu valley with bungee jumping, rafting near the valleys can be done on this free day. (This is also spare day in case of cancellation of flights) (Overnight at Hotel. Breakfast included)
Final-Departure Day 28
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 & Jomsom – Pokhare – 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.
  • Upper Dolpo and 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 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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