Upper Dolpo Trekking – 24 Days
This is a challenging, quite diverse and scenically amazing long trek that takes us to a remote and spectacular corner of the Himalaya in a largest district of Nepal occupying 15% of total land area, bound to the east and south by the huge Dhaulagiri and Churen Himal ranges, to the west by Jumla district and isolated from rest of the country by high passes to the south. This trek is recommended to expert trekkers who are used to trek in to great heights and although is a difficult route compensated however by the beauty of the countryside and kindness of the people. The Tibetan style villages boast impressive gompas and monasteries, where yak caravans remain the main form of transportation. Much of this region is protected by 3555 sq. km. Shey Phoksumdo National park, Nepal’s largest protected area. In this region one can find a well-preserved eco-system of plants and wildlife, including the blue sheep and the elusive snow leopard. The home of herbal land, unspoiled trans-Himalayan culture, Buddhist monuments, and unique human civilization at high altitude is worth a visit. Observing different rain shadow landscapes with stunning mountain views, wild flowers, Himalayan blue sheep, snow leopards, and huge birds Himalayan griffon.
Day 1: Arrival KATHMANDU (1300m/4265ft)
Arrive at Kathmandu International Airport where you will be warmly welcomed by our representative and check in to the hotel. Overnight at hotel. Meals: Welcome Dinner
Day 2: Fly to NEPALGUNJ (160m/525ft)
From Kathmandu domestic airport it is an one hour scenic flight to Nepalgunj, which lies in the southern Nepal border with India and has a hot tropical climate. Overnight at hotel. Meals: Breakfast
Day 3: Fly to JUPHAL (2490m/8170ft); Trek to DUNAI (2030m/6660ft) 2-3 hours
From Nepalgunj there is only few flights a week in the early morning for the 40 minutes flight to Himalayan terrain land of Juphal. Flight from Nepalgunj to Juphal is short but exciting. The trail to Dunai descends past the houses heading southeast through fields to reach a village of Dangi Bhara. Passing through the village and continuing between more fields of maize we cross a stream and reach another settlement of Kala Gaura. From here we walk close to the river on its south bank all the way to Dunai. After short narrowing of the valley we reach Roop Ghar from where the trail passes beyond the tributary stream on the opposite bank the entrance to the Suli Gad valley. Now crossing broad flat meadow fringed with pine and now small fields we see a large complex of hospital buildings seen on the opposite bank, we go through an entrance of Kani and moments later we enter the district headquarter of Dunai which is large village with paved street lined with houses. Overnight at tented camp. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4: Trek CHEPKA (2670m/8760ft) 4-5 hrs; 770m ascent
We cross the big steel suspension bridge and turn west, following the trail past the hospital, and then it’s a level walk along the bank of the Thulo Bheri to its confluence with the Suli Gaad at 2070m. We follow the new trail north up the east bank of the Suli Gaad and after another hour of walking we reach Kageni (2260m) and then on to the abandoned settlement of Raktang. We cross to the west bank and trek past numerous herder’s huts and green pastures over a ridge to the rough stone houses of Jyalhasa, a wintering spot for the people of Ringmo. We keep walking upstream to another bridge, cross it to the east bank, and make our way past some crude teashops at Sankta (2460m) and a bridge over the Ankhe Khola. The trail makes some ups and downs through grass and ferns to a trail junction. From where we take the left fork to climb over a ridge at 2710m then descends on a rocky path to Chepka. Overnight at tented camp. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5: Trek RENJE ( 3010m/9876ft) 3-4 hours; 500m ascent, 320m descent
We continue on the new trail that stays near the river, climbing over a small ridge ,then crossing to the west side to avoid a large ridge and returning to the east side an hour later near a national park camping ground. The trail becomes a collection of rocks and sticks forming a dyke along the river bank. The trail makes several more ups and downs through forests of firs and larches as it continues upstream to a bridge that leads to nine houses comprising the village of Renje on the opposite side of the river. Overnight at tented camp. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6: Trek PHOKSUMDO LAKE (3620m/11877ft) 6 hours; 880m ascent, 90m descent
The Suli Gaad valley turns eastward and becomes even steeper and narrower. We climb over a ridge and descend to a wooden bridge to continue the ups and downs along the valley floor to the confluence of the Suli Gaad and Pungmo Khola. Taking the trail that continues along the eastern bank of the river we climb through a forest of big cedars to a good camp site and then on to Palam (3280m), a winter settlement used by the people of Ringmo village. The houses are almost buried in the sandy soil. We continue on the route which switchbacks steeply on a sandy trail through open country from where we again head for even steeper set of dusty switchbacks gaining over 400m to a ridge at 3730m. From the ridge there are distant views of a spectacular 200m high waterfall, the highest in Nepal. The trail makes a steep descent through a forest of birch and chir pine to the upper reaches of the brilliantly clear, rushing waters of the Phoksumdo Khola and climb gently to the charming village of Ringmo (3640m). Just below Ringmo, we cross a bridge and follow a trail north to the perennially closed park-ranger station at Nepal’s deepest lake, Phoksumdo Lake which is 4.8km long, 1.8km wide and said to be 650m deep. We continue to the shores of the lake near the point where the Phoksumdo Khola flows out of the lake. Overnight at tented camp. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7: Trek CHUNEMBA (3630m/11910ft) 5-6 hours; 570m ascent, 560m descent
The trail contours on a rocky ledge as it skirts the western lip of the lake. In places it’s precariously suspended on a gangway of wood supported on pegs driven into crevices in the rocks. As we cross a stream, look up at the glacier descending from the upper slopes of Kanjeralwa (6612m). We then climb to a crest at 4060m for a spectacular view of the lake with the snowy peaks of Sonam Kang in the background. The trail makes a steep and dusty descent through birches and blue pines to the westernmost edge of the lake at 3630m where the Phoksumdo Khola enters. Now heading northwest up a long, wide valley we follow an indistinct trail through thorn bushes and scrub trees, crisscrossing boggy marshes and tributaries of Phoksumdo Khola to reach a forest of blue pines at Chunemba. Overnight at tented camp. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8: Trek LAR TSA (4120m/13518ft) 4-5 hours; 570m ascent, 80m descent
We begin the day along the level path that heads north through a glacial valley and cross to the east bank of Phoksumdo Khola to follow the main valley for another hour to Kang Gompa (3710m). We climb steeply from Kang Gompa on a long climb up the ridge past a few groves of birch trees. There are spectacular mountain views with Shey Shikar (6139m) and Kang Chunne (6443m) dominating the skyline to the west. We continue on a crest at 4200m then the route descends gently on a rocky trail to Lar Tsa. Overnight at tented camp. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9: Trek MENDOK DING (4610m/15125ft) 2-3 hours; 520m ascent, 130m descent
Crossing a new bridge we climb to the top of a scree slope at 4490m to make our way up a grassy ridge to a crest at 4640m. We contour and then drop gently into Mendok Ding (flower valley) where we can spot herds of blue sheep on the slopes. Overnight at tented camp. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10: Trek SHEY GOMPA (4390m/14404ft) 7-8 hours; 1040m ascent, 1240m descent
We continue on the route that follows the upper reaches of the Phoksumdo Khola, then turn north towards the peak of Riwo Drugdra (Crystal Mountain). From here we choose to follow the more scenic pilgrim route crossing Sehu La (5160m) to the west of Crystal Mountain, making a circumambulation of this sacred peak. After a long pull to Sehu La (also known as Mendok Ding La) at 5160m the trail descends a scree slope to a grassy meadow beside a stream valley and begins a series of long ascents and descents across ridges in and out of side valleys as it traverses around Crystal Mountain. After a steep, rough climb to a crest at 5010m and another at 4860m, we begin the descent to the Tar valley. Soon after the route reaches grassy slopes a side trail leads to Tsakang, a gompa said to be 800years old that is perched dramatically on the side of a cliff. The final descent is on a wide trail to a large meadow near a few nomads’ huts just below Shey Gompa. We finally cross the river and climb past a big chorten and a huge field of mani stones to Shey Gompa. Overnight at tented camp. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11: Trek NAMGUNG (4430m/14535ft) 6-7 hours; 1020m ascent, 900m descent
We trek east from Shey Gompa and across the 5010m Shey La we turn north and descend before climbing again to the village, monastery and cave complexes at Namgung. Overnight at tented camp. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 12: Trek KARANG (4050m/13288ft) 5-6 hours; 150m ascent, 530m descent
We take the direct route that traverses high above the Namgung Khola to Karang. Overnight at tented camp. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 13: Trek MUGAON (4100m/13452ft) 6-7 hours, 490m ascent, 550m descent
We descend to Torak Sumdo (3670m), the confluence of the Namgung and Polang Khola to cross to the northern bank and then climb to the oldest monastery of Dolpo region, Yangtser Gompa at 3750m and trek along the river to a side valley. We walk alongside the stream to reach Mugaon. Overnight at tented camp. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 14: Trek SHIMEN (3870m/12697ft) 7-8 hours; 1040m ascent, 890m descent
We continue up the valley to Mugaon and climb towards the Mushi La pass at 5030m and descend towards Shimen village. Overnight at tented camp. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 15: Trek TINJE (4150m/13616ft) 7-8 hours; 280m ascent, 270m descent
We drop down to Shimen village and make a long trek upriver through Pha (4090m) to Tinje. Overnight at tented camp. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 16: Trek RAKPA (4530m/14863ft) 7-8 hours; 550m ascent, 170m descent
We trek past the runway of the disused and mysterious Tinje airport to a trail junction at 4130m, where a high route leads to Tarap. We continue southward to a camp site on the banks of the river at Rakpa. Overnight at tented camp. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 17: Trek CHHARKA (4120m/13518ft) 7-8 hours; 490m ascent, 900m descent
We begin our day with a long climb to the Chharka La (4920m) and continue descending along the side of the valley making a big drop into a side valley at 4290m. We then make a long traverse down to the picturesque village of Chharka on the banks of Barbung Kola. Overnight at tented camp. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 18: Trek NORBULUNG (4750m/15585ft) 6-7 hours; 820m ascent, 190m descent
We climb to a crest at 4380m and descending again to a river we follow the right fork southward, climbing in and out of side valleys on a rough trail. The valley narrows, then emerges into a big meadow and climbs to Norbulung. Overnight at tented camp. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 19: Trek SANGDA LA (5460m/17914ft) 7-8 hours; 790m ascent, 440m descent
We begin the day climbing to a yak pasture at Molum Sumna (4860m) and on to a crest at 5130m and then make a long traverse across meadows to the foot of the Sangda La, then finally a long steep climb takes us to the high pass of Sangda La. Overnight at tented camp.Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 20: Trek SANGDA (3700m/12140ft) 7-8 hours; 460m ascent, 1860m descent
We climb to lower Sangda La at 4990m, then descend through loose shale towards the village of Sangda Ghunsa (4190m) and drop to Chalung Khola, crossing it at 3750m and climb steeply up the opposite bank. A long high traverse leads to a cairn at 4090m and through a set of steep switchbacks we descend to a stream at 3580m and after another climb we reach to the compact settlement of Sangda. Overnight at tented camp. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 21: Trek DHAGARJUN (3290m/10794ft) 7-8 hours; 970m ascent, 1380m descent
We climb the hill behind Sangda and spend most of the day making a high traverse, crossing nine ridges to a final crest at 4280m. We descend into the Kali Gandaki Valley, traversing under high cliffs and descending to the large village of Dhagarjun. Overnight at tented camp. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 22: Trek JOMSOM (2760m/9056ft) 3 hours; 70m ascent, 690m descent; Fly to POKHARA (884m/2900ft)
We climb to a ridge at 3360m and make a final descent on a dreadful trail of loose rocks to Jomsom and take an early flight from Jomsom to Pokhara – a fantastic way to round off the trek, flying right along the Kali Gandaki Gorge between the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges. Overnight at hotel. Meals: Breakfast
Day 23: Fly back to KATHMANDU
Fly back to Kathmandu and drop to the hotel. This is a leisure day which can be utilized buying gifts and souvenirs for your friends and family. In the evening you will be invited to join FAREWELL reviewing great photos and share experiences of the trip. Overnight at hotel. Meals: Breakfast, Farewell Dinner
Day 24: Fly back HOME or extend your HOLIDAYS
If you prefer to stay longer, you can consult us for short tours such as game drive at National parks, rafting, mountain biking, Tibet, India or Bhutan tours etc. Meals: Breakfast
Cost, Includes and Excludes
- All airport/hotel pick up and drop in private car/van
- 3 Nights Hotel in Kathmandu including breakfast
- 12 Nights stay in Lodge/Guest House during trek.
- An experienced English speaking Trekking Guide and a Porter during trek.
- Salary, food, insurance and lodging cost for guide and porter
- Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Tea/Coffee during trek.
- Welcome and Farewell Meals and Breakfasts while in Kathmandu.
- National Park Permit and TIMS for Everest.
- Air fare from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj ,Jomsom to Pokhara and Pokhara to Kathmandu and domestic flight departure taxes.
- Down Jacket and Sleeping Bag that needs to be returned to office after trek completion.
- Nepal entry visa fees.
- International airfare and departure tax.
- Bar bills, laundry and other expenses of personal nature.
- Travel insurance including evacuation.
- 1 Lunch in Kathmandu
- Tips for local staffs, guides and porters.