Incredible Himalayan Sherpa Adventure
Upper Dolpo TrekUpper Dolpo TrekUpper Dolpo TrekUpper Dolpo TrekUpper Dolpo TrekUpper Dolpo TrekUpper Dolpo Trek
Upper Dolpo Trek
Upper Dolpo Trek
Upper Dolpo Trek
Upper Dolpo Trek
Upper Dolpo Trek
Upper Dolpo Trek
Upper Dolpo Trek

The Upper Dolpo trek takes you into the high-altitude zone of the Trans-Himalayan Ecosystem in the western district of Nepal. The vast majority of Upper Dolpo is protected by the Shey Phoksundo National Park, which extensively covers 3555 sq.km.It is essential trekkers understand that the greater Dolpo region is culturally and environmentally sensitive and fragile. Your respect and care of this region is a small trade-off for its astonishing beauty, cultural richness and biodiversity.

The Incredible Himalayan Sherpa Adventure’s itinerary through Upper Dolpo ensures a daily experience of contrasts. From arid mountains to walnut groves and dense cedar, birch and pine forests; grassy mountain plateaus and flood plains to gorges of different colored cliff lines, steep valleys and gentle sloping hills; streams laced with stepping stones to a thundering waterfall and the silent Phoksundo Lake – the journey is simply mind-bending.
For nature-lovers, Upper Dolpo’s fauna brings endless splendid encounters with rare bird species, blue sheep and yaks. Endangered species, including the snow leopard and red panda are indigenous to Upper Dolpo.

Upper Dolpo’s people are followers of different Buddhists schools (Nyingma, Kagyu and Sakya) and the Bön religion. Some communal blessings involve the use of medicinal herbs. Sky burials are performed in some communities. They mainly depend on agriculture, animal husbandry and trade for their livelihood. Yak caravans mobilise stock to neighboring regions to this day.

There is a popular misconception that Dolpo is purely of Tibetan culture, as Buddhism is practiced and Tibetan widely spoken across the region. The Dolpo people are one of 59 listed indigenous peoples under the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities. There are centuries of connection between Dolpo and Tibet, and in recent history, the 1959 uprising in Lhasa resulted in some Tibetans fleeing to Dolpo. Dolpo was once also a protectorate of the kingdom of Lo (present-day Mustang) and now belongs to Tichurong. During the trek, you will visit places of great historical importance, such as the Shey Gompa which houses an ancient Tibetan scroll describing the myth of Crystal Mountain.

 

Highlights:

  • Visit the red-painted Shey Gompa, Nepal’s largest monastery, and the hermitage of Tsakang founded during the 17th century
  • Explore the mystical Crystal Mountain, streaked with quartz veins.
  • Traverse the world’s deepest lake of high altitude Phoksundo Lake.
  • A vibrant turquoise blue body of water, this lake is a protected area as it is a habitat for many waterfowl species.
  • Catch breathtaking views of an enormous waterfall formed by Phoksundo Lake’s headwaters.
  • Pass beneath a glacier descending from the upper slopes of Kanjeralwa.
  • Visit the Magar & Bhatia villages in Dho Tarap valley, some of the world’s highest settlements at 4100m
  • Spend a whole day in Ringmo, a traditional village where locals make a range of handicrafts.
  • The Pal Sentan Thason Chholing Gompa, from the Bön tradition, is a short walk from Ringmo.
  • Go from canyon to waterfall in a day between Ghyamgar and Laisicap

Trip Facts

Altitude: 1350m – 5220m

Duration: 23 days 

Accommodation:Tent

Difficulty: Medium to hard

Cultural Rating: Identified indigenous culture of Nepal

Min. age: All ages

Min. group size: 2 and above people

 

 

Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive Kathmandu (1350m/4429 ft.)

Arrive Kathmandu (1350m/4429 ft.)

Flying into KTM is a memorable experience with the Himalaya Spread out before you. After landed your flight in Tribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu (1350m), our airport representative will be waiting for you with your name written on the placard. We welcome you by offering Tibetan scarf and transfer to the hotel in a private vehicle. There will be a full trek briefing this evening.
Overnight at Hotel 

 

Day 02: Kathmandu sightseeing

Kathmandu sightseeing

The day is spent visiting UNESCO World Heritage and cultural sites of Kathmandu. You will visit to ancient Buddhist and Hindu holy sites Swayambhu(Monkey Temple), planet's tallest Boudha Stupa, open cremation and sacred Hindu Temple Pashupatinath. After visit these three places return to hotel and prepare for trek and explore the tourist hub of Nepal Thamel where you can easily find all you need for trekking. Or if you just want to relax there are many cafes and bakeries serving excellent local tea and coffee. It is best to avoid the street food.
Meals included: bed and breakfast
Overnight at Hotel 

Day 03: Scenic flight to Nepalgunj (1500m), 1hr flight

Scenic flight to Nepalgunj (1500m), 1hr flight

We fly to Lukla. Flying into Nepalgung is an another unforgettable experience with scenic view of Himalaya and plain terrain of Terai region.
[Included meals: Breakfast]
Overnight at Hotel

Day 04: Another scenic flight to Juphal and trek to Dunai (2140m),35m fly+3-4hr walk

Another scenic flight to Juphal and trek to Dunai (2140m),35m fly+3-4hr walk

We fly to Lukla. From here we walk down hill and follow shallow gull, further some steeply walk bring us to Thulo Bheri Khola(2080m). Further, we follow the trail besides the river to reach Dunai (2140m) which is the administrative centre for all of Dolpo, as well as the main trading centre.
[Included meals: Breakfast+Lunch+Dinner]

Day 05: Trek to Chhepka (2720m), 5-6hr walk

Trek to Chhepka (2720m), 5-6hr walk

We descend through the centre of the town to the suspension bridge across the Suli Khola & take the trail up which has little shade & seems to endlessly go up & down. Switching the trail across the river several time reach to Ragtang (2421m). Our trail leads to another suspension bridge to cross the river & pass Shyanta (winter settlement of Ringmo Village) & final cross to Ankhe Khola and an hour of ascend walk bring us to Chhepka (2720m).
[Included meals: Breakfast+Lunch+Dinner]

Day 06: Trek through the bank of river, dense forest and switchback trail to reach Jharina Hotel (2960m), 6-7hr walk

Trek through the bank of river, dense forest and switchback trail to reach Jharina Hotel (2960m), 6-7hr walk

We start our trek through the walnut grove about 10 minutes and cross the Suli Khola to follow the river bank until we reach to the dense forest. After an hour, we cross a tributary and climb up to switchback trail for roughly (380m). The trail then leads to an enjoyable flat grassy plateau, later it drops down to the river, follow the river bank route which lead to the bridge near the Tapriza Sec. School. From here we cross to the west bank of the Phuksondo Khola and short trek bring us to Jharina.
[Included: Breakfast+Lunch+Dinner]

Day 07: Climb up to Phonksundo Khola, continue up on switchback trail with scenic view of Phoksundo lake and reach to Ringmo (3640m), 4-5hr walk

Climb up to Phonksundo Khola, continue up on switchback trail with scenic view of Phoksundo lake and reach to Ringmo (3640m), 4-5hr walk

From here we climb along the west bank of the Phoksundo Khola, pass the wooden bridge below the trail, and continue climbing through cedar and pine forest on a trail that swings northwards. Passing another long climb, we reach to the winter settlement called Polam (3400m). Continue climbing switchbacks to a ridgeline with excellent views of the turquoise & cobalt blue Phoksundo Lake, and an enormous waterfall formed by the headwaters of the Phoksundo Khola (3800m). We descended through birch forest to the clear-running headwaters & climb an easy gradient towards Ringmo.
[Included meals: Breakfast+Lunch+Dinner]

Day 08: Acclimatization day in Ringmo

Acclimatization day in Ringmo

We have relaxing day to adjust our body with the altitude and we also have short hiking around the village peripheral. We visit the Nepal’s deepest and2nd largest Lake (Phoksundo Tal) which lies to the Northern side of the village. About 1.5km away, on the south-eastern edge of the lake, is the Bon tradition Pal Sentan Thason Chholing Gompa which is extremely similar to Tibetan Buddhism. Bon is the old Tibetan religion which follow the animism but most of the ritual practices are similar to Tibetan Buddhism.We discover the Bon rituals & the interior layout of the Monastery out there.
[Included meals: Breakfast+Lunch+Dinner]

Day 09:Trek through the precipitous trail, follow the excellentgrassy place and take few side trail to reach Phoksundo Khola Camp(3750m), 5-6hr walk

Trek through the precipitous trail, follow the excellentgrassy place and take few side trail to reach Phoksundo Khola Camp(3750m), 5-6hr walk

Trek commence with aside the Lake and gradually steep up with precipitous trail. We have a wonderful sight of the lake and the village. After an hour, trail descend to the flood plain of the Phoksundo Khola at the northern end of the lake (3630m. We cross the river and enter patchy pine forest which is soon replaced by silver birch as the valley narrows. We pass through a few copses of silver birch and further short walk bring us to Phoksundo.
[Included meals: Breakfast+Lunch+Dinner]

Day 10: Follow through the gorge and past small campsite to reach Pass Camp (4810m), 5-6hr walk

Follow through the gorge and past small campsite to reach Pass Camp (4810m), 5-6hr walk

Trek begin with ascend that lead up to the gorge where there are many animal tracks and the sound of the river reverberating from the cliffs. The gradient eases after 1 ½ hours as the gorge widens. Climb the switchback trail to the east of the waterfall and after about 100m the gradient ease. We continue to upper reaches of the river valley and scree slope rises. the most popular is at the base of the long curving trail.
[Included meals: Breakfast+Lunch+Dinner]

Day 11: Climb up over loose slate-scree to the pass, descend easy gradient to reach Shy Gompa (4343m), 5-6hr walk

Climb up over loose slate-scree to the pass, descend easy gradient to reach Shy Gompa (4343m), 5-6hr walk

Our trail lead to the pass which is over loose slate scree up an unrelenting gradient for 2 ½ hours. From the top of the Nangdalo La (5350m) we see a broad valley descending to the north carve by a substantial stream. We follow an easy gradient down the valley, crossing the stream where the valley is popular with yak and sheep herders. Further short work brings us to red painted walls of Shey Gompa (4343m).
[Included meals: Breakfast+Lunch+Dinner]

Day 12:Acclimatization day in Shy Gompa

Acclimatization day in Shy Gompa

It is worth spending a day at Shey to explore both the Kagyupa sect Gompa and the hermitage at Tsakang. We visit many legends surrounding the founder of Shey Gompa and Tsakang. Tsan-zin Ra Pa, who lived in the early seventeenth century, making this one of the most sacred valleys in Dolpo. Locals insist that the killing of any animal is prohibited in or around Shey Gompa, and this perhaps explains why it is relatively common to spot blue sheep and snow leopard in the valley. Perched on the cliffs of Crystal Mountain, about an hour north from Shey, is the hermitage of Tsakang.
Included meals: Breakfast+Lunch+Dinner

Day 13: Following the arid Sephu Khola, past Sela La (5095m),descend down to reach Namgung (4360m), 6-7hr walk

Following the arid Sephu Khola, past Sela La (5095m),descend down to reach Namgung (4360m), 6-7hr walk

Trek to heading east into the arid Sephu Khola Valley, following a trail along the north bank. Continuing the trek, the trail forks where a tributary flow down from the north and climb on lose ground to the Sela La (5095m).Further wonderful trek brings us to Namgung.
Included meals: Breakfast+Lunch+Dinner

Day 14: Climb over the ridge and descend down to Saldang (3770m), 4-5hr walk

Climb over the ridge and descend down to Saldang (3770m), 4-5hr walk

From here, we follow the trail which climb over the ridge on the far side of the valley, through the ridge that forms the northern bank of the Namga Khola and descend to the Nagon Khola. We continue north, to the commercial land administrative centre of Upper Dolpo, Saldang (3770m). A horse racing festival in July to honour the Black Goat King, who once ruled central Dolpo, begins from the newly decorated Gompa in the village, to the north interesting gompas in the Karang valley, Luri (Sunger Gompa) and Nisalgaon (Yangze Gompa.
[included meals: Breakfast+Lunch+Dinner

Day 15: Gentle sloping through Nagon Khola to reach Chagaon (3840m), 4-5hr walk

Gentle sloping through Nagon Khola to reach Chagaon (3840m), 4-5hr walk

Initial trek begin with gently sloping hills on its south-eastern (left) bank across which runs an easy undulating trail. An easy trail of short trek that lead to Chagaon (3840m), where we see Gompa beside the river. There is another hermitage Gompa, popular with local and Tibetan lama.
[Included meals: Breakfast+Lunch+Dinner]

Day 16: Climb up aside the river bank and past several stone house to reach Pass Camp (4700m), 6-7hr walk

Climb up aside the river bank and past several stone house to reach Pass Camp (4700m), 6-7hr walk

Following the trail which past besides the last village of Chasip, continue along the main trail as it slowly climbs beside the river. After an hour, we cross the river to the west bank, and a couple of stone houses at Rakyo Kharka. From here, our trail remains on the west bank of river and reach to cross the Nagon Khola to the east bank and turn into the Dachung Khola valley. A further trek brings us to another major river junction with rivers from the southeast and southwest. We cross the Dachung Khola, into a steep-walled valley and reach at Pass Camp(4700m).
[Included meals: Breakfast+Lunch+Dinner]

Day 17: Steady climb to the top of the Jyanta La (5220m), descend down to huge shallow alpine valley and follow the river bank to reach Tokyu (4209m), 5-6hr walk

Steady climb to the top of the Jyanta La (5220m), descend down to huge shallow alpine valley and follow the river bank to reach Tokyu (4209m), 5-6hr walk

Trek begin with a steady gradient climbs about 500m from the campsite to the top of the Jyanta La (5220m). Then descend into a huge shallow alpine valley, which is boggy at the bottom, beside the Jyanta Khola. The gradient remains gentle on the west bank of the river until we reach a loose wall of terminal moraine. Once down the moraine, the gradient eases again and we cross the river to the eastern bank. We pass a series of Mani walls and chorten on either side of the valley as it widens. A final descend brings us to Tokyu (4209m) via Dho Tarap valley.
[Included meals: Breakfast+Lunch+Dinner]

Day 18: Trek through large Thakchu Khola valley, descend from Dho Tarap and cross the bridge to Ghyamgar (3755m), 6-7hr walk

Trek through large Thakchu Khola valley, descend from Dho Tarap and cross the bridge to Ghyamgar (3755m), 6-7hr walk

We trek down from the large, fertile Thakchu Khola valley which is home to Magar and Bhotia villages and almost merge together. This is one of the highest permanent settlements on the planet at an average of 4100m, and a popular place for Tibetan nomads to graze their yak herds. From Dho Tarap, continue to descend the now narrowing Tarap Khola valley. Continuing our trek cross the Tarap Khola to the west bank beyond the campsite and descend a rough rocky trail through scrubby patches of forest. The trail descends rapidly to the Sisal Khola, then swings back into the Tarap Khola and descends rapidly to a bridge in a narrow gorge, climb of about 200m over a small peninsula in the valley Ghyamgar (3755m).
[Included meals: Breakfast+Lunch+Dinner]

Day 19: Follow the gradual descent on an undulating trail, take a steep switchback section and past the waterfall to reach Laisicap village (2775m), 7-8hr walk

Follow the gradual descent on an undulating trail, take a steep switchback section and past the waterfall to reach Laisicap village (2775m), 7-8hr walk

As we start our trek, the valley becomes a sheer sided canyon with the river in a white rage beneath a bridge to the west bank. The gradient eases to a more gradual descent on an undulating trail which later meet to another major tributary junction with the Nawapani Khola. We soon cross back to the east bank for a short section before returning to the west bank at Chhyugar (3440m). After that, we descend more rapidly to a steep switchback section that drops to a pretty lace-waterfall at Laina Odar (3440m). We then soon descend rapidly again and suddenly the Tarap Khola valley merge with the Thulo Bheri Khola valley and finally we cross the river reach to Laisicap village (2775m).
[Included meals: Breakfast+Lunch+Dinner]

Day 20: Walk on a broad thoroughfare, past the Tarakot (2540m) and Dunai (2140m) and finally reach to Juphal(2475m), 7-8hr walk

Walk on a broad thoroughfare, past the Tarakot (2540m) and Dunai (2140m) and finally reach to Juphal(2475m), 7-8hr walk

After days of descending treacherous trails, it is a relief to be walking on a broad thoroughfare beside the Thulo Bheri Khola. After an hour, beyond Laisicap is a fine kani at the entrance to Tarakot (2540m), a popular winter settlement for people from Dho Tarap. Beyond Tarakot, we cross to the north, exposed bank of the Thulo Bheri Khola and resume a typical up and down profile all the way to Dunai (2140m). Finally we retrace our stepsfrom the first day of trekking to the airstrip at Juphal (2475m).
[Included: Breakfast+Lunch+Dinner]

Day 21: Fly back to Nepalgung (1500m), 35min fly

Fly back to Nepalgung (1500m), 35min fly

From Juphal we take flight to Nepalgung and stay there.
[Included meals: Breakfast+Lunch+Dinner]

Day 22: Fly back to Kathmandu (1350m), 1hr fly

Fly back to Kathmandu (1350m), 1hr fly

We fly back to Kathmandu and transfer to the hotel.
[Included meals: Breakfast]

Day 23: Departure from Kathmandu

Departure from Kathmandu

A representative of IHSA will drop off you at the airport by private vehicle
[Included: Breakfast]

Included Services

+ All airport transfers. We’ll pick you up personally
+ Accommodation in a quality 3* hotel with breakfast in Kathmandu and Pokhara [upgrade possible]
+ Sightseeing in KTM by private vehicle & professional English speaking guide
+ Private trek with an English speaking trekking guide
+ Camping crew (cook, Kitchen boys, Sherpa, number of porters)
+ All round trip flight tickets
+ Full board meals (Breakfast+Lunch+Dinner/ coffee/chocolates/Milk/Black/Lemon/Green/Masala/Mint Tea) during the trek
+ Accommodation during the trek in tent
+ All Camping Equipment & Kitchen items required during the trek, sleeping tents/mattresses, kitchen tent etc.)
+ All trekking permit and TIMS card
+ First Aid kit+ Medical & accidental insurances of crew

 

Excluded Services

- International Airfare to and from your country

- Nepal Visa fee for on arrival entry visa (US$ 25 or equivalent foreign currency for 15 days, US$ 40 for 30 days & US$ 100 for 90 days. You also require 2 passport sized photos)

- Travel & Health Insurance [needs to cover Emergency Helicopter Rescue at altitude]

- Lunch & Dinner in Kathmandu

- Any alcoholic beverages, cold drinks and boiled mineral water as well as snacks, deserts etc. during the trek

- Tips for Guide & Porter (not mandatory but expected)

- Hot shower, battery charges (available at extra cost in lodges, sometimes free)

- Unforeseen cost not under our control such as flight cancellations or delays, weather related issues, illness during the trek, rescue costs etc.

- Any other costs not specifically included. Please feel free to ask if in doubt.

- Entrance fees during tour in Kathmandu

Equipment

Equipment for trip

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Useful Information

Permits:

Upper Dolpo is a special zone and part of the Trans-Himalayan

Ecosystem. Trekkers must be issued a special permit through a registered trekking agency. All trekkers are required to trek through Upper Dolpo as part of an organised trek.

 

 

Festivals/Religious Events:

Winter: Losar or Chhongo (Tibetan New Year- falls in Falgun, during February/March)
Summer: Shey Gompa (celebrating 12 year cycle in the Buddhist calendar, next festival in August 2024); Saldang’s horse racing festival (in honour of the Black Goat King, July)
Autumn: Annual Buddhist pilgrimage (September)

 

 

Films and books on the region:

The Bon Landscape of Dolpo, written by Marietta Kind in 2012
Dolpo Tulku - Return to the Himalayas, a documentary by Martin Hoffman and Daniela Hartmann in 2010
Caravan/Himalaya, a film directed by Eric Valli and Michel Debats in 1999
The Snow Leopard, written by Peter Matthiessen in 1973
Himalayan Pilgrimage: a study of Tibetan religion by a traveller through Western Nepal, written by David Snell grove in 1961

Duration
23 days
Season
Spring/Fall/winter
Region
Dolpa
Grade
Medium to hard
Altitude
5360m
Walking
5hr
Accommodation
Tent
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