Upper Dolpo Circuit Trekking

TYPOLOGIES

Adventure Trekking

DIFFICULTY

High

MIN. AGE

5 Years

Trip Introduction:

Upper Dolpo, a mysterious land behind the rocky Himalaya, Dhaulagiri measuring 8172 m. height and is the 7th highest peak in the world. Upper Dolpo Circuit Trekking  is presumed as a hidden trekking destination of Nepal as there are lots of things to be explored in the category of its natural beauty, people, lifestyle, culture, and its tranquility. The traditions and way of life have intact in the Dolpo region for decades. The culture, Buddhist monasteries, lifestyle of people, traditions has been untouched by modernism still so; it appeals to be a famous attraction point.

 

Dolpo lies within the remote northwest of Nepal, between the Tibetan Plateau amidst the Dhaulagiri mountain ranges. The Upper Dolpo trek as the name suggests, the upper part of the Dolpo region, which is even more remote and infrequently visited. Only open to visitors from the 1980s, Upper Dolpo remains a restricted area and requires a special permit. Phoksundo Lake; Shey Gompa; Buddhist monasteries; Bon Po practitioners; views of Dhaulagiri; Crystal Mountain (a mountain whose cliffs are laced with quartz and marine fossils); unique Tibetan cultures; the magnificent and rare ounce – all of these majestic and beautiful location may sound familiar. And of course, they are, as stated in Peter Matthiessen’s book “The Snow Leopard” and Eric Valli’s film of Dolpo life, ‘Himalaya’.

 

While Dolpo is generally a dry, bare place, it's laced with fast flowing rivers, roaring waterfalls, deep river gorges, lush meadows, and valleys of tilled fields. Remote villages with interesting cultures, including the Bon Po religion, and in fact the mesmerizing icy waters of Phoksundo Lake are other attractions during this region. As a part of Dolpo falls within the Shey Phoksundo park, the wildlife, rare Himalayan blue sheep, goral, thar, Himalayan black bear, etc. is protected.

 

This 27-day trek isn't for the timid trekkers as trails are difficult, high, steep, shaky, and sometimes barely there. Long walking days at high altitude are the standard with several high passes to cross, except for those with the sheer willpower, stamina and fitness level this trek is certainly a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Trip Highlights:

  • Upper Dolpo Circuit Trekking  is a hidden trekking destination of Nepal.
  • Mysterious land beyond the gigantic Himalaya, Dhaulagiri measuring 8172 m, a 7th highest peak in the world.
  • Located inside largest National park of Nepal, Shey Phoksundo with the pristine Lake Shey Phoksundo.
  • Leaving the massive sparkling Himalayas behind the back is obviously a worth of 27 days.
  • Famous destination as rain shadow, unique vegetation, culture and Buddhist monasteries.

TOUR MAP

Day by Day Itinerary

Day 01 Arrival in Kathmandu (1,400m/4,592ft altitude) and transfer to Hotel.

30 mins drive (BB Hotel or Resort as per your request.)

Land at Kathmandu International Airport. Transfer to the hotel or resort by our tour representative. Overnight stay in Kathmandu. Relax.

Day 02 Guided tour around world’s Heritage sites of Kathmandu.

Breakfast Hotel/Resort

Early morning breakfast at the hotel. Our guide will pick you up from the hotel for sightseeing of World Heritage Sites. Actually there are seven World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu and we arrange sightseeing spots according to your choice, you have to choose only 3/4 spots for a day since it is not possible to visit all places in a single day–at least 2/3 days requires having sightseeing tour of all heritage sites in Kathmandu. World Heritage Sites of UNESCO in Kathmandu are; Kathmandu Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square, Swyambhunath Temple, Pashuapatinath Temple, Bouddhanath Stupa and Changu Narayan Temple. In the evening we again can have pre trek discussion.

Day 03 Fly from Kathmandu to Nepalganj 45 min flight.

Full Board–Dinner, Breakfast, & Lunch Tea House available

Today we take 45 minutes’ flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj, situated in Western Nepal. Nepalgunj is an intriguing Terai town that features the different culture of Nepal. In Nepalgunj, we visit the neighborhood market, villages and mini-zoo.

Day 04 Fly from Nepalgunj to Juphal (2,475m/8,118ft altitude) & trek to Dunai (2,140m/7,019ft altitude) 45 min flight & 3 Hrs walk

Full Board–Dinner, Breakfast, & Lunch Tea House available

Today we again take a flight to Jhupal after breakfast. The town is flawlessly situated in the Himalayan foothills, with perspectives of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna crests to its north. Here, we will start our trekking voyage. We stroll through terraced fields to the Bheri River and its thin crevasse. Proceed with the trail to Dunai, which is the authoritative headquarter of the Dolpo area. In evening we investigate the residential area and camp there for the night.

Day 05 Trek from Dunai to Chhepka (2,838m/9,308ft altitude) 6-7 Hrs walk

Full Board–Dinner, Breakfast, & Lunch Tea Houses are not available–Tented Camps

Today we begin our trek by traversing Thulo Bheri Khola and go via the right side of the river towards Sulighat. We make a stop at Sulighat to enlist at the National Park office. After permit checks, we proceed with our trek along the left bank of the river going through the Raktang village. Later, we cross a huge tributary, Ankhe Khola and after that one hour of the climb. Land at Chepka.

Day 06 Trek from Chhepka to Rechi (2,940m/9,643ft altitude) 5-6 Hrs walk

Full Board–Dinner, Breakfast, & Lunch Tea Houses are not available–Tented Camps

We take the trail crossing the Suli Khola from its west bank and come back to its east bank. We proceed on our trail going through thick woods then cross a tributary and after that climb to achieve an open grass plateau. Later, we take the level trail for some time before progressively going down to a river to reach Rechi.

Day 07 Trek from Rechi to Ringmo Village (3,733m/12,244ft altitude)

5-6 Hrs walk (Full Board–Dinner, Breakfast, & Lunch Tea Houses are not available–Tented Camps)

From Rechi proceed on the trail going via gompa and a school. Our trail from that point proceeds with the right bank of Phoksundo Khola. We now begin on the trail climbing through cedar and pine woodland that swings north, going through the little winter settlement of Polam. We climb additionally up the ridge with great scenes of turquoise Lake Phoksundo. Later our trail drops through birch forest then climb a simple slope to achieve Ringmo Village.

Day 08 Rest and acclimatization at Ringmo. Free exploration

Full Board–Dinner, Breakfast, & Lunch Tented Camps

Today we will spend the day meandering around Ringmo. It is a conventional Tibetan village with old gompas. Here you can buy some local handicrafts. Phoksundo Lake is another feature of Ringmo and the entire Dolpo district. The lake is Nepal’s second biggest and deepest lake which gives a great relaxation moment while investigating Ringmo.

Day 09 Trek from Ringmo to Phoksundo Khola (3,750/12,300ft altitude) via Phoksundo Lake (3,600m/11,808ft altitude)

6-7 Hrs walk (Full Board–Dinner, Breakfast, & Lunch Tea Houses are not available–Tented Camps)

Today we trail in the most astounding areas. We begin our trek proceeding on the west side of the lake and slowly climb towards the hill with great Phoksundo Lake perspectives and beautiful town. After a tough, adventurous trek, the trail plunges to the Phoksundo Khola floodplain having a magnificent campground.

Day 10 Trek from Phoksundo Khola to Campsite (4,717m/15,471ft altitude)

5-6 Hrs walk (Full Board–Dinner, Breakfast, & Lunch Tea Houses are not available–Tented Camps)

Today the trail goes towards the mouth of the canyon. We cross the river a few times. Then we proceed our trek as the slope facilitates and as the canyon broadens. From that point, we trek for around an hour to touch base at the Campsite.

Day 11 Trek from Campsite to High Camp (4,900m/16,072ft altitude)

4-5 Hrs walk (Full Board–Dinner, Breakfast, & Lunch Tea Houses are not available–Tented Camps)

We follow the trail that ascensions the switchback to the left of the heavenly waterfall. Keep on climbing over the waterway valley which widens to an enormous basin. There are numerous flat territories in the basin, later we proceed to the base of the long bending tail. Reach High Camp.

Day 12 Trek from High Camp to Shey Gompa (4,343m/12,245ft altitude) via the crossing of Nangda La Pass (5,350m/17,548ft altitude)

7-8 Hrs walk (Full Board–Dinner, Breakfast, & Lunch)

Begin early today towards the challenging Nangdala La Pass. We take the trail that is over free slate-scree, ascend steeply we reach to the top of the pass. From there we can view a wide valley. Slowly plunging the trail now continues on a simple inclination down to the valley. Encounter sheep and yak herds during the descending trail. Reach to the red-painted walls of Shey Gompa.

Day 13 Full-day excursion around Shey Gompa

Full Board–Dinner, Breakfast, & Lunch Tented Camps

Today spend the day to unwind and for a full day sightseeing around Shey Gompa. Visit Kagyupa gompa and additionally the hermitage of Tsakang. It is the holiest valleys in Dolpo. It is normal to spot snow leopard and blue sheep around there. The killing of any animal is strictly prohibited in Shey Gompa.

Day 14 Trek from Shey Gompa to Namgung (4,806m/15,763ft altitude)

6-7 Hrs walk (Full Board–Dinner, Breakfast, & Lunch Tea Houses are not available–Tented Camps)

We leave Shey Gompa today and travel east into Sephu Khola Valley. Our trek is over a rising trail over the loose land till the highest point of the Sela La Pass at 5095 m. On, reaching the highest point of the pass we start the down trail into a shallow valley and then we go through a waterway to reach the little Namgung village.

Day 15 Trek from Namgung to Saldang (3,770m/12,365ft altitude)

4-5 Hrs walk (Full Board–Dinner, Breakfast, & Lunch Tea Houses are not available–Tented Camps)

We follow the ascending trail on a hill along dusty desolate mountains. Following 3-4 hours of a hard climb, we start to view Saldang Village underneath us on a plateau high over the picturesque Namga Khola river. The village extends for almost two kilometers on an incline and comprises of five villages having around eighty well-built houses. It is also a trade route to Tibet.

Day 16 Trek from Saldang to Khomas Gaon (4,060m/13,316ft altitude)

7-8 Hrs walk (Full Board–Dinner, Breakfast, & Lunch Tea Houses are not available–Tented Camps)

Today we head northeast toward the trekking path to Khomasgaon. Our trail heads through few white-washed villages, painted chortens, long mani walls, and ancient gompas along the Nagon Khola. On reaching Chagaon, we take the trail towards the left and traverse the stream. Proceed to northeast through a small track to land at Khomasgaon.

Day 17 Trek from Khomas Gaon to Mendo (3,950m/12,956ft altitude)

5-6 Hrs walk (Full Board–Dinner, Breakfast, & Lunch Tea Houses are not available–Tented Camps)

After breakfast, we leave Khomasgaon and proceed with our trek that goes through the conventional towns and mani walls. Trekking here and there through the valley we reach Mendo.

Day 18 Trek from Mendo to Rapka khola (5,205m/17,072ft altitude)

7-8 Hrs walk (Full Board–Dinner, Breakfast, & Lunch Tea Houses are not available–Tented Camps)

Today we investigate the less-beaten trails of Upper Dolpo area during our trek. Enjoy the stunning scenes and the one of a kind culture of Upper Dolpo that doubtlessly gives mysterious encounter to the trekkers. After a long and great trekking day, we will land at Rapka.

Day 19 Trek from Rapka Khola to Chharkabhot (4,110m/13,480ft altitude)

6-7 Hrs walk (Full Board–Dinner, Breakfast, & Lunch Tea Houses are not available–Tented Camps)

After breakfast, we trek over the trail that climbs gradually towards Chharka La Pass at 4920 m. On, reaching its top we go down en route the side of the valley to reach Chharka Village arranged at Barbung Khola bank.

Day 20 Trek from Chharkabhot to Norbulung (4,750m/15,580ft altitude)

6-7 Hrs walk (Full Board–Dinner, Breakfast, & Lunch Tea Houses are not available–Tented Camps)

Today our trail descends to the stream. Then we proceed on the trek through the right fork southwards moving all through the side valleys on rough tracks. We land into a major meadow where the valley narrows. Ascend further to reach Norbulung.

Day 21 Trek from Norblung to Sangda Phedi via the crossing of Niwal Pass (5,120m/16,793ft altitude)

7-8 Hrs walk (Full Board–Dinner, Breakfast, & Lunch Tea Houses are not available–Tented Camps)

We begin to take the trail that ascends to a yak field – Molom Sumna. Then we make a climb before crossing over the knolls to achieve the Sangda La. From that point, we make a long and difficult last ascend for the intersection of Sangda La called Niwal Pass. Later, gradually trek to land at Sangda Phedi.

Day 22 Trek from Sangda Phedi to Sangda (3,940m/12,923ft altitude)

6-7 Hrs walk (Full Board–Dinner, Breakfast, & Lunch Tea Houses are not available–Tented Camps)

After breakfast, we move to a lower Sangda La at 4990 m. Later go down to the Sangda Ghunsa village. Again, descend from there for the intersection of Chalung Khola at 3750 m. before climbing trail towards the lofty switchbacks and after that trail down to a stream. Finally, the trail upwards takes us to a small settlement of Sangda.

Day 23 Trek from Sangda to Dhagarjun (3,840m/12,595ft altitude)

5-6 Hrs walk (Full Board–Dinner, Breakfast, & Lunch Tea Houses are not available–Tented Camps)

Today we trail up the slope and spend our day making high navigates, crossing nine ridges till the last peak at 4280 m. We at that point go down into the Kali Gandaki Valley crossing along high hills then trail down to the Dhagarjun village.

Day 24 Trek from Dhagarjun to Jomson Jomsom (2,730m/8,954ft altitude)

4-5 Hrs walk Full Board–Dinner, Breakfast, & Lunch Tea House available (Can choose Tea House or Camp accommodation)

We trail to a ridge at 3360m from Dhagarjun preceding the last climb on an adventurous loose trail to reach Jomsom. It is an essential center for Mustang and Upper Mustang Treks with the airstrip. On, successfully reaching Upper Dolpo Circuit it’s time for celebration for completing our trek.

Day 25 Fly to Pokhara. Sightseeing, boating or free for any other personal activities

Breakfast Hotel/Resort

Today take an early morning scenic flight from Jomsom to Pokhara. Transfer to hotel after landing at Pokhara airport. Spend rest of the day touring around the lovely valley of Pokhara. The impression of the Machhapuchre (Fish-Tail) over the peaceful Fewa Lake makes this place genuinely mystical. You can opt for boating at Fewa Lake, touring around the city and its sacred places to spend your day at Pokhara.

Day 26 Drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu

Breakfast & Farewell Dinner Hotel/Resort

After breakfast, leave Pokhara to take a drive of four to five hours to return Kathmandu. We will drive along Prithvi Highway which offers picturesque hilly crisscross streets through the banks of Trishuli River. Amid our drive, we will go through roadside market towns and beautiful villages also have a chance to watch the lifestyle of locals.

Day 27 Farewell, departure transfer to Tribhuvan International Airport.

After breakfast, transfer to the Tribhuvan International Airport. Way back to home with the cherished memories of your adventure.