Upper Dolpo Trek-24 Days

Upper Dolpo Trek-24 Days 

Trip Highlight of Upper Dolpo trek

  • Kathmandu city tour
  • Scenic flight to and from Nepalgunj/Juphal
  • Shey Phoksundo Lake and National Park
  • Crossing passes of Kang La, Saldang La and Jeng La
  • Shey Gompa- the Buddhist monasteries
  • Pristine mountains, Flora & Fauna, unique culture

Upper Dolpo trek is an exciting trekking adventure in the magical Dolpo region of Nepal. Upper Dolpo is one of the perfect trekking destinations for trekking fanatics who would opt to enjoy the best trekking experience in the diversified trails of the Himalayan region. Situated in the higher altitude, the Dolpo region is rapidly growing an ideal destination for trekking tourism. The Dolpo region lies in the western part of Nepal and shares its border with Tibet. The Dolpo region is most remote and least developed region in Nepal. The entire Dolpa district was closed to trekkers until 1989 whereas the southern part of the region was opened only for organized trekking groups.  The region is protected as Shey Phoksundo National Park and shelters numerous species of floras and faunas found in the region. Musk deer, snow leopard, Himalayan Blue Sheep etc. are some of the rare animals that are found in the region. The region has been featured in many documentaries and movies some of which were even nominated for the Oscars academy award. The region got the international exposure and is gradually attracting many tourists in recent years. The Dolpo region was least explored area before it was opened for trekkers. The notable exploration include the mountaineering expedition led by Dr. Herbert Tichy during 1953 and other visit by John Tyson in early sixties. Upper Dolpo trek not only provides an exquisite trekking adventure but also entices the visitors with its alluring natural beauty and vivid landscapes. The off the beaten trekking trail, beautiful landscapes, high passes and the exquisite natural glamor make the region the perfect trekking destination. The majority of people living in the region follow Buddhism as their main religion. Exploring the traditional Buddhist culture and life style of people living in the region is yet another interesting part of the Upper Dolpo Trekking. There are numerous monasteries and Gompas in the region and some of them are more than 700 years old. The Upper Dolpo trek is a must do adventure for trekking enthusiasts who would strive to grab the most adventurous trekking experience in the Himalayan region of Nepal.

Our 24 days Upper Dolpo Trek begins with a sightseeing tour in Kathmandu where we visit different cultural and historical monuments of Kathmandu and its vicinity.  Next day we will fly to Nepalgunj and stay overnight at the hotel. We then fly to Juphal from Nepalgunj and start our trekking adventure. Six hours of trek from Juphal takes to Chhepka. From Chhepka we will trek to reach Chunuwar. We pass through dense forest taking many twists and turns and frequent ups and downs during the expedition. We will then trek to reach Phoksundo Lake. We will spend a day in Phoksundo Lake exploring the Shey Phoksundo Lake and its vicinity. Phoksundo Lake is an alpine fresh water Lake that lies in Shey Phoksundo National park. The lake is located at an altitude of 3612m above the sea level. We will also visit the Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the village of Ringmo. We will then continue our expedition and trek to reach Chunemba. We will leave the main valley and trek to Snowfields camp and then to Shey Gompa via Nangdalo La. We will spend a day in Shey Gompa exploring the local culture and tradition of Buddhist people living in the region. We will also visit Sakang Gompa and other attractions of the region. Following days trek take us to Namgung, Saldang, Sibu, Lagmo Che, Tokyu, Dho Tarao, Sisaul, Laina Odar, Lingdo, Dunai and eventually to Jupal. We will terminate our trekking expedition upon reaching Juphal. We will pass through many passes, traditional villages and dense forest during the entire expedition. We will then fly back to Nepalgunj and then to Kathmandu. Breakfree Adventures ensures high level of comfort and security during the Upper Dolpo trekking. We have arranged our itineraries in such a way that you get ample time to rest and acclimatize during the adventure trek to the magnetic Dolpo region of Nepal.

Day 01: Arrive Kathmandu
Arrive Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport, you will be met and welcomed by our representative/guide. Please look for signage with your name once you come out of Arrival Terminal Hall after collecting your luggage. Group will be escorted by our representative/guide to the hotel

Welcome to Kathmandu, Nepal! -Kathmandu is the bustling capital of Nepal and the country’s largest city. Away from the modern parts of the city is an intricate maze of narrow streets, great for exploring and observing the traditional culture and Nepalese way of life with hidden temples, local markets and old workshops. Actually formed of three ancient cities, Kathmandu has always been a melting pot for the different ethnic groups of Nepal, and therefore boasts an unbelievably rich cultural heritage that has remained largely unchanged since the Middle Age.
Upon arrival, guest will be provided welcome drinks (non-alcoholic) with room keys
Overnight at the hotel

Day 02 : Kathmandu Sightseeing and trek preparation
We will organize a guided city tour where you get to discover several historical, cultural and spiritual attractions of Kathmandu. You will be seeing the world heritage sites like historical Durbar Square, the sacred Hindu temple of lord Pashupatinath, Buddhist pilgrimage Swoyambhunath (famous by the name of Monkey temple among tourists), Boudhanath Shrine and many more cultural and natural monuments. The Kathmandu city tour also lets you understand the urban lifestyle of people of Nepal.  Later we will have a discussion session where we discuss about our trek plan and preparation. Our trek leader would be obliged to brief you about our expedition and answer your queries. O/N you stay at the Hotel.

Day 03 : Fly to Nepalgunj
We will board a flight to Nepalgunj from the domestic terminal of Kathmandu airport. Nepalgunj lies in lowlands of Terai in western Nepal. The Indian border is very near from Nepalgunj and therefore it is also a business hub for many merchants and local traders. You may choose to hire a Rikshaw for hanging around in the busy town of Nepalgunj. Bageshwori temple is the religious attraction of Nepalgunj and is worth visiting during your stay in Nepalgunj. Overnight, we stay at a hotel in Nepalgunj.

Day 04 : Fly to Juphal (2475m) and trek to Chhepka (2838m) [35 minutes flight, 6 Hours walk]
From Nepalgunj we will catch a flight that will fly over the beautiful Himalayas and land us in Juphal airport. Juphal is a beautiful village surrounded by mountains from all directions. We will start our trekking expedition from Juphal today and walk for approximately six hours to reach Chhepka. We start walking through the small path towards Thuli Bheri River. We cross the suspension bridge and enter Shey Phoksundo National Park. Shey Phoksundo is the largest national park of Nepal established in 1984 and covers the area of 3555 square kilometers. The national park is a home for numerous species of floras and faunas found in the region. We will take the permit by paying the entrance fee and continue our expedition. We trail follows the Suli Khola river and offers a magnificent views of Dhaulagiri range. We will pass through the lush forest filled with Pine, Fir and Juniper trees and reach the village of Kageni (2413). Trekking further we will reach the village of Sangta (2520m). We continue our expedition until we reach the village of Chhepka. Overnight, we camp at Chhepka.

Day 05 : Chhepka to Chunuwar (3110) [5-6 Hours)
We will be trekking for approximately six hours to reach Chunuwar today. We pass through the dense pine forest enjoying natural glamor around us. We take frequent ascents and descents before reaching the village of Rechi. On our way we will encounter with local people with their mules or Dzopas (Crossed between yak and cow) loaded with goods. We continue our expedition through the other side of the bridge and walk for another two hours to reach Chunuwar. We will visit Amchi hospital which is a local hospital for the local people of Dolpa. An Amchi is a monk doctor educated in traditional Tibetan medicine. The doctor at Amchi hospital uses techniques of pulse analysis and urine analysis for diagnosis. Tibetan acupuncture and herbal medicines are used for healing purpose. Overnight, we camp at Chunuwar.

Day 06 : Chunuwar to Ringmo/Phoksundo Lake (3641m) [3 Hours]
We will hike for approximately three hours to reach Phoksundo Lake today. The trail follows the west bank of the Pungmo Khola that leads the way to Phoksundo Lake. The trail further passes through a cedar forest and reaches Palam. We ascend further enjoying the superb view of Phoksundo waterfall which is Nepal’s highest waterfall. The ridge offers fine view of the waterfall and Phoksundo Lake. The trail then descends down to the village of Ringmo where people practice the Bonpo culture. Bonpo culture and religion is really worth exploring. We can also find some shops and hotels in Ringmo. We will then take a short walk to our campsite by the shores of Phoksundo Lake. Overnight, we stay at the camp.

Day 07 : Rest day at Phoksundo Lake

A trekker stands above the turquoise blue Phoksundo lake in the Dolpa region of Nepal
A trekker stands above the turquoise blue Phoksundo lake in the Dolpa region of Nepal

We have set this day for acclimatization. We will spend the day exploring the Phoksundo Lake and the Ringmo village. The culture and tradition of local people living in Ringmo village is worth exploring. Later we will get back to the camp for the overnight stay.

Day 08 : Phoksundo Lake to Chunemba (3639m) [5 Hours)
Today we will be trekking to reach Chunemba by entering the restricted area of inner Dolpo. We will follow the same trail that was portrayed in the movie Himalaya (Caravan) by Eric Valley. We can see many local traders with their Yaks crossing the difficult passes in the remote trails of the region.  The trail goes above the lake and climbs a ridge from where we can have spectacular views of the Lake, Ringmo and mount Norbung Kang (6085m). We then descend down to the northern shore of the lake and again ascend through the wide valley crossing some streams. We can also have a superb view of Mount Kanjirowa (6612m) at a distance. We continue our expedition until we reach the campsite of Chunemba. Overnight, we stay at the cam.

Day 09 : Chunemba to Phoksundo Bhanjyang/Snowfields Camp (4400m) [6-7 Hours]
We continue our expedition through the rocky trail and enter a narrow gorge. We will then ascend steeply for couple of hours until we reach the campsite at Snowfields camp. It will take us approximately seven hours to reach the snowfield camp from Chunemba. Our campsite is located at the foot of the pass. Overnight, we stay at the camp.

Day 10 : Snowfields Camp to Shey Gompa (4310m) via Kang La Pass (5360m) [5-6 Hours]

A local woman preparing the local food champa in Shey Gompa
A local woman preparing the local food champa in Shey Gompa

We will start with a steep ascend that leads us towards the Kang La Pass (5360m). The climb is quite strenuous especially on the slate screed. We reach the top of the pass and enjoy the excellent views of large valley bisected by a gushing river. We then descend down to the valley crossing many rivers and streams. The trail then pass through the meadows where Yaks and mountain goats can be seen grazing. We continue to walk passing the red Chorten and wooden bridge until we reach Shey Gompa (4500m). Shey Gompa is a small village with couple of houses and monastery. The Shey Gompa is located in the confluence of two rivers beneath the crystal peak. It is believed that the Gompa was constructed by a Tibetan Buddhist who arrived here in the back of the snow lion. Overnight, we stay at the camp.

Day 11 : Explore Shey Gompa
Today is another scheduled rest day of the trip. We will explore the Shey Gompa and its vicinity today. The Shey Gompa is also known as Crystal Mountain (as described in Pater Matthissen classic novel Snow Leopard). The priest or the Lama of the Shey Gompa resides at a red hermitage known as Tsakang Gompa located in north of Shey Gompa. Tsakang Gompa had been a meditation center for many Tibetan Lamas. The Shey Gompa was the first Kagyupa monastery founded by Lama Tenzing Ra-Pa during the 11th century. The Shey Gompa belongs to the Chaiba community who are the followers of saint Padmasambhava known as Guru Rimpoche. It is believed that Drutup Yeshe first introduced Buddhism in Dolpo valley hundreds of years ago. The crystal mountain in the east of Shey Gompa is one of the strangest mountain as its contorted cliffs are laced with quartz and embedded with rich variety of marine fossils. The Gompa situated above the confluence of Kangjunala and Yejunala River is the religious hub for the people living in the Dolpo region. Every year many people from all over Dolpo region throng to Shey Gompa to attend the festival held at Shey Gompa and to complete the circuit of the crystal mountain. After a day full of exploration around Shey Gompa, we get back to the camp for the overnight stay.

Day 12 : Shey Gompa to Namgung (4430m) Via Shey La Pass (5000m) [5-6 Hours]
We will trek to Namgung by crossing Shey La Pass today. We ascend the Shey La Pass going through a narrow valley. The top of the pass offers a great view of arid Tibetan Plateau in the north and Mustang in the east. We will then descend down to Namgung. Namgung is a small village in the region with few stone houses. The people of Namgung are friendly and hospitable. Overnight, we stay at a tented camp in Namgung.

Day 13 : Namgung to Saldang (4060m) [3 Hours]

Locals at Saldang Gompa
Locals at Saldang Gompa

We will hike for approximately three hours to reach Saldang today. The trail goes high above the Namgung Khola and descends steeply to the village of Saldang. Saldang is the beautiful village in Dolpo region with largest settlement. The main occupation of people living in this village is agriculture and they mostly grow barley, wheat and potatoes. They trade Yak products like cheese, meat and wool to earn their living. Saldang is close with Tibetan border and some of the salt trade caravans pass through this village. The trade with Tibet was virtually stopped after the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959. It has been restored to some extent through the barter system by which the Tibetan salt reaches mid Nepal. The Drokpa people from western plains of Tibet collect salt from the dried lakes north of Tsangpo and trade with grains or rice. Overnight, we stay at a camp in Saldang.

 Day 14 : Saldang to Sibu (4200m) [5 Hours]
It is going to be an easy walk to Sibu today. We will continue following the Namgung Khola and pass through many traditional villages. The villages are surrounded by terraced fields of barley or seasonal crops.  The path goes alongside numerous mani walls, chortens and Gompas that depicts the deep rooted Buddhist tradition of people living in the Inner Dolpo region. Upon reaching Sibu we will fix out tents and stay overnight at the camp.

Day 15 : Sibu to Lagmo Che (4570m) [4-5 hours]
We will be trekking for approximately five hours to reach Lagmo Che today. The trail follows the Nam Khong Khola and continues towards the Raka village. On our way we will see caravan of laden Yaks that are on their way towards the Tibetan border. We then enter a large inhabited valley and then turn away from the river and ascend steeply to Lagmo Che. Lagmo Che is the bottom of Jeng La Pass (5090m). We stay overnight at a camp in Lagmo Che.

Day 16 : Lagmo Che to Tokyu Gaon (4209m) via Jeng La [5-6 Hours]
We start with a steep ascend for approximately two hours to reach the top of the Jeng La (5090m). As we reach the top we will be greeted by amazing views of southern Himalayas. We will see the shining Dhaulagiri massif along with other Himalayas. We will spend some time admiring the exotic views from the pass and then descend down towards Tarap valley. Tarap valley is a beautiful valley with vast plains in high mountains. We continue further to reach the village of Tokyu. Tokyu is believed to be the highest permanent settlement in the world. Tokyu monastery is one of major attraction of the village as it has a beautiful statue of Maitreya, the future Buddha. Overnight, we stay in a camp at Tokyu Gaon.

 Day 17 : Tokyu Gaon to Dho Tarap (4040m) [2-3 Hours]

Children from Dho Tarap
Children from Dho Tarap

It is going to be a short and easy walk for us today. We will reach Dho Tarap in approximately three hours from Tokyu Gaon. On our way we will see Crystal Mountain School sponsored by a French NGO. Thirty minutes of walk from the school will lead us to Dho. Dho Tarap is a traditional agricultural village surrounded by fields. People mostly grow barley, buckwheat and potatoes in their fields. People also trade Yak products to earn their living. The people living in Dho are believed to have migrated from Tibet. The houses are made of stone in typical Tibetan style. Ribo Bhumpa Gompa and Shipchaur Gompa are religious attractions of Dho Tarap. Ribo Bhuma Gompa belongs to Nyingmapa Buddhism and it has got a big statue of Guru Rinpoche who is believed to be an important Buddhist saint from the 7th century. Shipchaur Gompa in Shipchok belongs to Bonpo Buddhism and really worth exploring. We will explore most of the attractions of Dho Tarap during the day and spend overnight at a camp.

Day 18 : Dho Tarap to Sisaul (3750m) [3-4 Hours]
We will trek down to Sisaul from Dho Tarap today. It will take us approximately four hours to reach Sisaul from Dho. We will spend the morning exploring Dho Tarap and later begin our expedition towards Sisaul.  The trail descends down following the Tarap Khola. On our way we will come along many mani walls and small chortens. We will ascend a small pass and then descend to Sisaul. We will spent overnight at a tented camp in Sisaul.

 Day 19 : Sisaul to Laina Odar (3370m) [7-8 Hours]
We leave Sisaul behind and continue our expedition to reach Laina Odar. We ascend to a small pass with Chorten and then enter into the river valley. We continue through the rocky trail with gigantic rocks on the both sides of the trail. Walking for about few hours we will reach Nawarpani and later descend through the tunnel like trail. We continue through the pine forest until we reach Laina Odar. It will take us approximately eight hours to reach Laina Odar from Sisaul. Overnight, we stay at a tented camp in Laina Odar.

 Day 20 : Laina Odar to Lingdo (2391m) [5 Hours]
The trail passes through the dense forest filled with Pine, Fir and Juniper trees and reaches Laisicap (2772m). We then cross the large suspension bridge over Thuli Bheri River and continue to walk through the forest. We may spot group of large grey monkeys along the way. We will also have a glimpse of snowcapped Kang Tokal (6294m) behind us.  As we continue we will start to see some villages at a distance. We will then pass some Mani walls and Chortens and enter the village of Lingdo. Lingdo is a small village with few guesthouses and campsite. Overnight, we stay at a campsite in Lingdo.

Day 21 : Lingdo to Dunai (2140m) [5 Hours]

Hikers cross a bridge at Dunai, a village in Dolpa, a remote region of Nepal
Hikers cross a bridge at Dunai, a village in Dolpa, a remote region of Nepal

It will be an easy walk today. We will continue our expedition passing through the lush forest and walking through the fine trail of the region. We will reach a small village of Byasgar (2427m) in approximately three hours. We will further continue following the Thuli Bheri River and passing through traditional villages. We will reach Dunai in approximately five hours from Lingdo. Dunai is the district headquarter of Dolpa. It is a large settlement of both Hindus and Buddhists. Dolpa Kendriya Gompa is a religious center of Buddhists built in the year 1998. The Gompa is located in an exotic location and the Lama of Gompa would be happy to take you around the Gompa. The Gompa has got a beautiful statue of Sakyamuni Buddha, the holy sculptures of Buddhism and big Thankas. Other attractions of Dunai include Dolpo Bon School, hostel, Bompo Gompa, Stupas and other religious attractions. Overnight, we stay in Dunai.

 Day 22 : Dunai to Juphal (2475m) [3-4 Hours]

Looking east down the Juphal valley from the Balanga Langa pass
Looking east down the Juphal valley from the Balanga Langa pass

We will retrace back to Juphal today. We will reach the entrance to the Village District Committee of Dunai after walking for approximately an hour. We then pass the big iron suspension bridge and continue towards Juphal. We Will pass through the villages of Kalagaonda and Dangiwala before reaching Juphal. Upon reaching Juphal we will terminate our trekking expedition. Overnight, we stay at a tented camp in Juphal.

 Day 23 : Fly from Juphal to Nepalgunj to Kathmandu
Early morning we will board a flight that will fly us all the way to Nepalgunj. It will take us approximately thirty five minutes to reach Nepalgunj. We can enjoy the alluring views of Mt. Annapurna and Dhaulagiri from the flight. We will have a relaxing rest at a hotel in Nepalgunj before boarding a flight to Kathmandu. Later we will fly back to Kathmandu from Nepalgunj. You may choose to hang around in Kathmandu for last minute shopping to your near and dear ones. We will organize a farewell dinner at an authentic Nepali restaurant later in the evening. Overnight, we stay in a hotel.

 Day 24 : Transfer to airport for your onward destination
Your trip to the majestic country of Nepal comes to an end today! You will be escorted by one of the representatives to the international terminal of Kathmandu airport approximately three hours before your flight schedule.

We exchange our last good-byes and now you will be leaving Nepal with all the good memories you had during the wonderful trekking adventure in the Upper Dolpo region. We hope you had a lovely time with us.


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