Upper Dolpo Trek

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Upper Dolpo Trek - Days

Trip Route

KTM - Phoksundo Lake - Nangdalo la - Shey Gompa - Shey La Pass - Yanjer Gumba - Chhoila Pass - Chhedhul Gompa - Dunai - KTM

Trip Facts

Group Size
2+ PAX
Trip Grade
Moderate to Strenuous
Home-Stay & Tented Camp
Max. Elevation
5,140 M/16,860 FT
Full Board on Trek
Private Vehicle/Flight/ Public Bus
Best Season
May to November

Upper Dolpo Trek Highlights

  • Adventure trek in arid landscapes with experience wilderness and Buddhist culture in the Himalayas
  • The high plateau is occupied by famous Tibetan and Bon-Po religious monasteries, stupa and gompa
  • Physical challenging trek with crossing several above 16,000 Ft high altitude trekking passes
  • Get breathtaking mountain view of Dhaulagiri, Kanjiroba, Mukot, Putha Hiuchuli, Dhaulagiri mountain range, crystal mountain, and Annapurna massif
  • Trekking around deepest Shey Phoksundo lake and take a picture of Suligat waterfall

Dolpo region is situated the far western part of Nepal between beyond the Dhaulagiri Himalayas range and Tibetan plateau. it was closed until 1989 and then opened for organized trekking groups. Dolpo region became more highlight after The movies CARAVAN- The Himalaya spread in the European market which is shot in Dolpo region and Shey Phoksundo National park because the movies were a huge success in the international market and nominated on best foreign language film category. Dolpo has multi biodiversity natural source which attracts tourist to visit Dolpo. The national park protects the rare wild animals specially Snow-Leopard which is mostly seen in around Shey Phoksundo lake, except that trekker's seen Musk Deer, Himalayan Blue Sheep, etc. Along the trek, trekker's passing typical local people villages which is very similar to typical Tibetan villages and people as well because of the influence by Tibetan culture even they do trade, exchange goods with Tibetan. The trek offers beautiful lakes, very old Buddhist Monastery, lifestyle of highlander peoples, Numala pass, amazing crystal mountains and along the trek you will have more opportunity to explore this fascinating wild west of Nepal Himalaya.

Daily itinerary

Upon your arrival at the Tribhuvan intl. airport our representative welcomes you and assists to transfer in your hotel in Kathmandu. After time to get refreshed, evening you'll meet and transfer for welcome dinner in one of the typical Nepalese restaurant in the heart of Kathmandu

Nepalgunj, a large commercial city in southwestern Nepal not far from the India border. Most of the far western Nepal mountainous district flight operating from Nepalgunj. There is two way to reach Nepalgunj from Kathmandu either by air or overland. Regular buses are operating both day and night also daily flight scheduled from Kathmandu. We organize your transport on your preference either 60-min flight or 12 hours' drive.

Nepalgunj to Juphal flight offers Ariel Mountain View of Dhaulagiri mountain range on a far distance with mismatched sceneries of the countryside. From Juphal airstrip rambling downward on the cultivate farm to Suligad, the meeting-point of Thulo Bheri river and Phoksundo Khola. From here the walk passing aside of upstream the Phoksundo river where randomly sights several villages and through the pristine forest. Regular heard the bird chirping in this lush green atmosphere. We commonly passing local tea shop at Kageni, Jhyalsa, Shyngta then arriving Chhepka village.

The trek begins after breakfast, the trail to Jhaarana hotel led alongside the thundering river and pristine nature setting with breathe good taste of air. About one and a half hours walk reach seasonal campsite Sendek on the bank of the river. It is pleasant hiking into the green valley of huge pine trees and bamboo shrubs. Continuously crossing a wooden bridge over the river and gentle climbing up. We also do short trips to Amchi hospital, it is a traditional hospital, and they collect mountain herbs from the nearby mountains and pounded then serve to village patient.

Today much of the path to Shey Phoksundo Lake is climbing up on the forest and grassy meadow. We also passing Polam village the winter settlement of Ringmo village, a beautiful stone house with open flat-roofed with piles of the timbers. We keep ascending and stop at the ridge (3,780 m) and then admire the gorgeous view of the Suligad waterfall which is believed to be 200 meters long. Now follow the path shore of the Phoksundo Khola to Ringmo village. Around 30-40 houses and different ethnic group people live here, The people practicing both Tibetan Buddhism and Bon-Po religion also established numerous of the monuments at village and shore of the Lake. Most of the do animal husbandry, agriculture, and few people do the trade for a living.

The day spends with a cultural and natural excursion around the Shey Phoksundi lake. We have an option for Phoksundo lake day tour. If you looking an easy and short trips then walk into the cultural Ringmo village and hike around shore of the Phoksundo lake. While walking aside from the lake discover mesmerizing old-age Buddhist stupa and also get bless from monks at Tshowa Bon monastery. Worth to visit 900 years Tibetan Bon-Po religion monastery then sights series of red and white painted mud stupa right above the lake. Probably the best place for the laundry on a sunny day because further-up is cold and it takes a long time to dry.

We begin the trek from Ringmo village and walking west bank of Lake. We heading upward to Nagdalo La pass also pronounce Kang-La pass there is no permanent human settlement between Shey Phoksundo Lake and Shey Gompa village. The path on the boulder is small and steeply rock also often sights yak crossing this small trail. We also reached the tiny rocky ridge that decorated with five-color Buddhist flags, from here an exceptional view of the emerald lake and Ringmo village appear at end of the south edge of the lake. Trek still goes along the lake and we probably eat our lunch north edge of the lake then a trek continuous into the deep pine forest with gentle ascending. There is huge ground often see the yak are pasturing also high chances to spot the endangered musk deer. We make our campsite a good area on this ground nearby the water resource.

We rapidly ascend from Phoksundo Lake to Nangdalo/Kangla high camp, it about 4 hours trekking and gaining 600 m altitude. We finally reached snow terrain above the tree lines. We trekking on the forest and mountain gully also crossing wooden bridges, the seasonal temporary bridge might damage by the snowfall and flood at that time have to cross the stream by foot. A traverse on the area of the short tree often spots the blue sheep, mountain goat, mountain pika, and musk deer and Himalayan monal. We also get a close-up view of the mount Kanjiroba. If no cloud sees millions of stars in the sky from the tent.

The most exciting day of Upper Dolpo Trek that leading over the Nadalo La Pass and also pronounce Kang-la pass (5,356 m). Often crossing the pass entering the Upper Dolpo region which is the most remote area of Nepal and it remarkable for the Buddhist Bon-Po pilgrimage sites. We set off from the campsite with steeply ascending on the icy and rocky path to the summit of Nagdalo la pass. The 5 colors Buddhist flag and series of stone cairn mark the summit and it rewards with an exceptional view of the Crystal Mountain, Shey Shikkar, and Kang Chume, etc. We now steeply descend on the slope rocky path to Shey Gomba.
We pass the stone mani-wall on the large ground where the local people celebrate grand events each 12-years. Then entering the iconic village, the entrance gate has red and white painted stupa. Shey Gomba village is one of the colorful hamlets where can sights amazing monasteries, stupa and gompa.

The spare day at Shey Gompa gives you sufficient time to reconnoiter the tranquility Shey village and ancient monasteries and gompa's. Tsakang Gomps is the highlights of the Shey gompa. The 800 years Kagyupa sect monastery perched on the high on the cliff above the homestead. The morals in the wall and ceiling as well as old Buddhist flavor painting make the monastery very attractive. Once upon a time the gompa used for the retreat and meditation for the monks of the Chaiba community. We then walk inside the village and take a picture of the people and stupas.

It is enjoyable trekking on the arid terrain with crossing another above 5000 m high altitude adventure trekking pass. Infertile high plateau and enchanting landscape as well as several Buddhist sites make your walk fabulous. We also passing seasonal yak hut and sheep graze the pasture. We then following gradual climbing on the dusty path and see the seasonal mountain herbs are flouring including Himalayan juniper. Also visiting red color Buddhist monastery above Sephu Khola valley. About an hour flatten trail bring us creek then following uphill path on the trifling gulley then steeply rising to the Sela La (5,095 m). The atop provides a breathtaking mountain view of Kanjiroba, Kagmara, Riu Dhukta with numerous unmake snow peaks. Pile of inscribed stone built the traditional stupa at the summit and also hanging a bunch of the Buddhist flags. After taking photographs walking down to Namgung Gompa. The trail to the Namgung Gompa is gentle downward on the mountain desert.

From Namgung short distance trekking to Saldang village, after breakfast visiting Namgung village and then trek begins to Saldang village. The route to Saldang village is quite easy compare to other days trek. The altitude dropping down under 4000 m and can see some high altitude trees. Possibilities to sights train of yak caravan that trading goods from Tibet to Saldang.

Set-off from Saldang village and passing colorful Saldang monastery then crossing Nagon Khola and upward trek leading to the pass at the height of 4,500 m. Then following the downhill trail on the alpine juniper to Khoma Gaon. There are around 10-20 houses with a good fertilizer field where the villager products buckwheat and potatoes as well as seasonal vegetable. We arrange your accommodation at a very simple lodge with a sharing toilet.

It takes about 4 hours to reach Shimen village, the trail contains uphill and steeply descend on the grit path. The sweating climb over at height of 4,270 m at Shimen-La pass also offers a superb view of the landscapes and snow-clad peak. From here scatter downhill on the rocky and grit path to Shimen village. The villager uses plastic sheets for vegetable plantation, thus get fresh veggies during the month of April to October.

We following the track on the southeast valley from the tea house, it is very smooth hiking, a lot of the stupa, monasteries, mani-wall, and series of stone cairn passing on way to Tinje. We also sight some of the local traverses by chine motorbike to Tibet for kitchen and garments supplies. We notice Tibetan beer, soft drinks, and instant noodles. Along the way can see Tibetan world sculpture and the flapping Buddhist flags make our trail more interesting.

From Tinje village follow the branch trail on the stream which lead to Yak Kharka, also passing few houses village Chhamdang. Now the trek continuous on the little spur often encounter the blue sheep. We crossing the wooden bridge on the river meeting point of Chholtam Khola and Panjyan Khola. From the river climbing on the shrubs of the mountain herb to the Yak Kharka, the large yak grazing ground, then enjoy a close-up view of surrounding Himalayas.

After breakfast, the trek begins and crossing a single timber bridge in the Sulun Khola also possible to cross the river by feet because of lack of the bridge. Our trail leads steeply up after crossing the bridge and following stony and rubble uphill path to the Chhoi La pass North (5,040 m). Then admire the mesmerizing view of the snow mountain and the large plateau. Another 3 hours downhill and pebble path takes us to Tokyu village

Tokyu village to Dho Tarap is short trekking through the agriculture field, about 2 hours hike reached Dho Tarap village, the charming and fascinating village of the Dolpo trek also from here starts lower Dolpo trek. Dho Tarap is a culturally rich Buddhist village living by different ethnic groups. This antique village is capture in Eric valley movies "Caravan" with the train of the yak.

Today walking down along the Tarap River to Nawarpani, much of our trail is downhill on the boulder. The first section of the path continues into the juniper shrubs on the barren terrain then getting into the gorge me. Commonly encounter the blue sheep and mountain goat. Along the way often view the seasonal four-season tented camp where local people selling drinks and some local foods. We heading to Nawarpani if the seasonal tented camp not running down there, we stay at Toltol village.

Again our trek leading aside of the Dharap river, the trail is pretty tiny and getting back to the lush green tree line. As there is a large rock, we climb up and trekking high above the river and enjoy the view of the river bank. We then passing Lahini Odar and beautiful Chhedhule Gompa before arriving Laisicap on the bank of the river.

We getting back on the tropical climate, rapidly passing the remote mountain village and sights the people are working on the agriculture field. Much of the path is downhill till Tarakot, another large tranquility village en route to Dolpo trek. From here flatten trekking trail along the Thulo Bheri leading to Dunai village and then about 30-minute drive to Juphal village. Then enjoy your evening with your crew who enormously support you during the Upper Dolpo Trek.

After breakfast short walk to Juphal airport for Nepalgunj, a 35-minute flight offers Ariel mountain. From here we follow a 60-minute spectacular flight to Kathmandu. Upon arrival Kathmandu transfer to your hotel. Have an enjoyable time yourself before meeting for fare-well dinner at an authentic Nepalese restaurant.

Your last day in Nepal, our airport transfer team is standby to deliver you an international airport. You will be dropped to airport 4 hours before your flight scheduled. We hope to see you again someday. From here your onward journey by flight to next destination.

What's included?

  • International and Domestic airport pick-up & drop-off services
  • All the required ground transportation as mention in the Itineraries
  • National park fees of Shey Phoksundo national park
  • Upper Dolpo trek restricted/immigration permit
  • Both way flight ticket with together your guide from Kathmandu to Juphal via Nepalgunj and Juphal to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj
  • Three meals a day during the mountain trek (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner With Hot Drinks)
  • Varieties of accommodation as it possible local tea house, lodge, home-stay and tented camp during the trek
  • Experienced licensed guide with his salary, insurance, personal equipment, lodging and food
  • Complimentary trekking gear on returning basic (Sleeping Bag, Down Jacket, Trekking Pole) etc
  • Camping gears as it requires (Tent, mattress) for camping at needed places
  • First aid medical kit, oximeter to check pulse, heart rate and oxygen saturation at higher altitude
  • Seasonal fresh fruits and biscuits
  • Dunai to Juphal and Juphal to Suligat by drive
  • Farewell dinner in Kathmandu at typical Nepalese restaurant with live cultural dance show

What's not included?

  • Medical and travel insurance which should cover emergency rescue
  • Personal expenses laundry, phone call, internet, how shower, battery charge etc
  • All the drinks (soft and hard)
  • Meals and accommodation in Kathmandu
  • Any others expenses which are not mentioned on 'Price Includes' section
  • Tips for trekking staff

Fixed Departures

Sorry, No fixed departure dates availabe, Please request for Private Trip

Essential Information

Best Season For Upper Dolpo Trek

Spring and autumn are the best time of the year for trekking in Nepal. In regards of Upper Dolpo trek end of the April to May and September/October is the best of the year. Early snow fall can be harsh this trek because of crossing few high altitude trekking passes and much of the time hiking above 4000 m altitude. Also trekking earlier than April could be very challenging because of icy and a lot snow over the passes. June/July/August are also good month of the year for Upper Dolpo trek, very less rain fall beyond the Shey Phoksundo lake

Upper Dolpo Trek Permit and Cost

Upper Dolpo trek permit is costly than other trekking in Nepal that comparatively expensive. The trekkers must have three different permits for Upper Dolpo Trek and these permits are essential. And Upper and Lower Dolpo trek permits should obtain through the authorized trekking agency from Kathmandu or Pokhara. Shey Phoksundo national park ticket can purchase instant at the national park office in Dolpo. Lower Dolpo trek permit cost U$D20 per week, Upper Dolpo trek permit cost U$D50 per day (minimum travel duration is 10-days). The entrance fees of Shey Phoksundo Lake cost Rs-3000 per person.

Starting and Ending of Dolpo Trek

Dolpo region trek located western in the Karnali province of Nepal still the regular overland road is not linked to Dolpa district from province and Kathmandu. Not the only road also does not have a direct flight from Kathmandu and has to transit at Nepalgunj to reached Dolpo airport. Now the question came here how to reach Dunai, the starting point of Upper Dolpo trek. Easiest option to reach Dunai or Juphal take a flight from Kathmandu and transit at Nepalgunj to Dolpa/Juphal airport. If you ready to accept the jarring, dusty, and snuggle drive, the road connected from Rukum to Dunai but have to change the jeep several times as there are no bridges over the river. The drive duration cannot estimate as to the road situation not stable. I believe it takes around 32 to 35 hours from Kathmandu to Dunai with breaking 1 or 2 nights on the way. So upper Dolpo trek begins from Juphal or Dunai and also ends here. After visiting landmarks of the Upper Dolpo region either end of Juphal/Dunai or also possible to end trek at Jomsom with crossing multiple high altitudes passes. But still, a maximum of trekkers fly to Dolpa/Juphal airport and also a departure from Juphal/Dolpo airport.

Food and Accommodation in Upper Dolpo Trek

Since the beginning, the Dolpo region trek fully accommodated on tented camp and also prepare its own hygienic foods at its own kitchen. Now (2020) basic tea house operating en route of Upper region trek but much lower level service than other trekking regions of Nepal Everest, Annapurna, Langtang, and Manaslu. As we know the detail of Upper Dolpo trek, still recommend fully camping trek. Tented camping trek cost would be higher but more comfortable and less pressure though still not beyond your expectation.
Musical adventure trekking operates both camping and semi-tea house Dolpo trek on client preference. On behalf of semi-tea house trek, we have to stay overnight at tented camp before Nagdalo la pass and Yak Kharka. Then other places arrange your accommodation at the gompa, house and temporary tented camp which is bit dirt.
During the camping trek, the meals prepared by our kitchen staff and most of the raw food carrying-up from Dunai or Kathmandu then seasonal vegetable buying on the route.
On the tea house trek, you can select the meals from the menu cart as long as they have a menu. If the food not mention in the menu our local guide talk with the lodge operator then explain whatever possible to eat.