Upper Dolpo Trek

Overview

The Upper Dolpo Trek is a 27-day adventure that takes you deep into one of Nepal’s most remote and culturally rich regions. This challenging journey winds through rugged mountain landscapes, lush valleys, and past towering Himalayan giants like Annapurna and Dhaulagiri. One of the trek’s highlights is the stunning Phoksundo Lake, a high-altitude body of water with a mesmerizing turquoise hue. Along the way, you may spot rare wildlife like the elusive snow leopard, as well as diverse flora and fauna within the Shey Phoksundo National Park. The trek also offers a unique cultural experience, as you explore ancient monasteries like the 800-year-old Shey Monastery and witness the traditional way of life of the Dolpo people. This region has remained relatively untouched, allowing you to immerse yourself in the authentic Tibetan Buddhist culture and traditions. While the Upper Dolpo Trek presents physical challenges, with high-altitude passes like the Kang-La Pass at 5,151 meters (16,900 feet), the rewards are truly exceptional. The stunning natural beauty, coupled with the opportunity to experience a remote mountain lifestyle, make this trek an unforgettable adventure. Trekkers will navigate through rugged terrain, crossing suspension bridges over raging rivers, and trekking through lush rhododendron forests. The journey demands a good level of physical fitness and acclimatization, but the sense of accomplishment and the memories created along the way make it a truly rewarding experience for adventurous souls seeking a unique and authentic trek in the Himalayas.

Trek's Highlight

  • Phoksundo Lake - A stunning high-altitude lake with mesmerizing turquoise waters
  • Rare wildlife - Opportunities to spot snow leopards, blue sheep, and diverse flora and fauna
  • Ancient monasteries - Explore the 800-year-old Shey Monastery and other cultural treasures
  • Shey Phoksundo National Park - Trek through this protected area with diverse ecosystems
  • High mountain passes - Challenge yourself at altitudes like Kang-La Pass (5,151m/16,900ft)
  • Dolpo culture - Immerse in the authentic Tibetan Buddhist traditions and lifestyle
  • Dolpo culture - Immerse in the authentic Tibetan Buddhist traditions and lifestyle
  • Suspension bridges - Cross over raging rivers on thrilling suspension bridges
  • Rhododendron forests - Trek through vibrant rhododendron blooms in spring
  • Annapurna and Dhaulagiri views - Witness stunning vistas of these massive Himalayan ranges
  • Remote trekking - Experience one of Nepal's most isolated and untouched regions

Itinerary

Your journey begins with a flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj, a bustling city in the western Terai region of Nepal. Spend the night in Nepalgunj, preparing for your adventure into the remote Dolpo region.

Take a short flight to Juphal, the gateway to Dolpo. From Juphal, embark on a trek to Dunai, the district headquarters of Dolpa. The trail descends through terraced fields and follows the Bheri River, offering glimpses of rural life in the Himalayas.

Trek along the banks of the Thuli Bheri River, passing through forests of pine and oak. Cross suspension bridges and encounter picturesque villages before reaching Chepka, a small settlement nestled amidst the mountains.

Ascend gradually through dense forests of pine, juniper, and rhododendron. Enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and mountains as you trek to Renje, a tranquil village inhabited by the Dolpo people.

rek through alpine meadows and rhododendron forests, ascending towards Phoksundo Lake. Arrive at Ringmo, a picturesque village overlooking the turquoise waters of Phoksundo Lake. Spend the afternoon exploring the village and its surroundings.

Take a rest day to acclimatize and explore the beauty of Phoksundo Lake. Enjoy optional activities such as hiking to nearby viewpoints or visiting the nearby monasteries and stupas.

Trek along the western shore of Phoksundo Lake, enjoying stunning views of the surrounding landscapes. Cross wooden bridges and traverse rocky terrain before reaching the campsite near Phoksundo Khola.

Climb steadily through a deep gorge carved by the Phoksundo River. The trail gets rocky and rugged as you pass temporary camps of yak herders. Finally, reach Phoksundo Bhanjyang, a high mountain pass rewarding you with breathtaking panoramic views of the Himalayan mountains.

Begin the day with a challenging ascent to Kang-La Pass, the highest point of the trek. Marvel at the breathtaking views of the Himalayan peaks from the pass before descending to Shey Gompa, a sacred monastery nestled in a remote valley.

Explore Shey Gompa and its surroundings, known for its spiritual significance and ancient Buddhist relics. Visit the Shey Phoksundo National Park headquarters and interact with local monks to learn about Tibetan Buddhism.

Trek over Saldang La Pass, enjoying panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Descend to Namduna Gaon, a traditional Tibetan village renowned for its unique culture and architecture.

Continue descending through arid landscapes and barren hillsides to reach Saldang, one of the largest villages in Dolpo. Explore the village and interact with the friendly locals, known for their hospitality and traditional way of life.

Trek along the Nagon Khola, passing through remote villages and ancient monasteries. Arrive at Yangze Gompa, a picturesque monastery perched on a hillside overlooking the valley.

Descend through rugged terrain and barren landscapes to reach the village of Sibu. Along the way, encounter nomadic herders and wildlife such as blue sheep and Himalayan birds.

Ascend gradually towards Jeng La Phedi, crossing high-altitude pastures and rocky terrain. Set up camp at the base of Jeng La Pass, preparing for the next day's ascent.

Begin the day with a challenging ascent to Jeng La Pass, offering panoramic views of the surrounding Himalayan peaks. Descend to Tokyu Gaon, a picturesque village surrounded by snow-capped mountains.

Trek through scenic valleys and lush meadows to reach Dho Tarap, the largest village in Dolpo. Explore the village and visit ancient monasteries, experiencing the unique culture and traditions of the Dolpo people.

Take a rest day to explore Dho Tarap and immerse yourself in the local culture. Visit the village's monasteries, interact with the friendly locals, and learn about their traditional way of life.

Descend through the Tarap Valley, following the course of the Tarap Khola. Pass through remote villages and terraced fields, enjoying stunning views of the surrounding landscapes.

Trek through lush forests and alpine meadows to reach Khanigaon, a small village inhabited by the Dolpo people. Enjoy the tranquility of the Himalayan wilderness as you camp near the village.

Descend through forests of pine and juniper to reach Tarakot, a historic village located at the confluence of the Barbung Khola and Tarap Chu rivers. Explore the village and visit the ancient Sandul Gompa monastery.

Trek back to Dunai, retracing your steps along the Bheri River. Enjoy the last day of trekking amidst the rugged landscapes of Dolpo before reaching Dunai.

Bid farewell to Dolpo as you trek from Dunai to Juphal, where you'll catch a flight back to Nepalgunj.

Fly from Juphal to Nepalgunj and then to Kathmandu, marking the end of your adventurous trek in the Dolpo region. Spend the rest of the day relaxing and reminiscing about your unforgettable journey.

Includes

  • Medical kit and emergency evacuation arrangements.
  • Sightseeing tour of Kathmandu's UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Comprehensive pre-departure briefing and trekking orientation.

Excludes

  • International airfare to and from Nepal.
  • Nepal entry visa fees.
  • Travel insurance covering medical and evacuation expenses.
  • Personal expenses such as snacks, drinks, and souvenirs.
  • Extra accommodation and meals in Kathmandu and Nepalgunj due to unforeseen circumstances (e.g., flight delays or cancellations).
  • Optional activities and excursions not mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Tips for guides, porters, and support staff (customary but not mandatory).
  • Any costs incurred due to unforeseen circumstances such as natural disasters, political unrest, or flight delays.
Is the water at Upper Dolpo Trek safe to drink?

No, drinking water directly from taps or streams on the Upper Dolpo Trek is not safe. However, you can use a purifier or SteriPen. Purchasing bottled water on the trek can be expensive, approximately ten times the cost in Kathmandu.

How can I prevent altitude sickness?

Altitude sickness does not discriminate based on age or fitness level. Prescription medications are available to prevent symptoms, but it’s essential to listen to your body and your guide’s advice.

What if emergency evacuation is needed during the trek?

We collect travel insurance details before the trip and coordinate with insurance and helicopter companies in case of emergency evacuation.

Can I bring my own medication on the trek?

We provide a basic first-aid kit on every trip but recommend bringing your own. Vaccinations are not compulsory, but we suggest considering them if necessary.

Do I need travel insurance before coming to Nepal?

Yes, travel insurance covering medical and emergency evacuation is essential. We only provide insurance for our staff.

Should I use crampons for this trek?

Crampons are unnecessary unless trekking in mid-winter. Lightweight spikes are recommended instead, as they are less expensive and fit any shoe size.

Will tents and mattresses be used for the trek?

No, as there are tea houses along the trek, tents and mattresses are not needed.

What if I forget something at home?

Finding replacements in Nepal can be challenging. Refer to our detailed packing list or rent trekking equipment upon arrival.

Who will be the guide?

We employ local guides who are experienced, qualified, certified, and licensed by the Government of Nepal.

How much weight can a porter carry?

Porters can carry up to an average of 20 kg, including their own gear. However, we provide a backpack for them.

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

Upper Dolpo Trek