Upper Dolpa Trek - 25 Days

Things to Know
  • Duration25 Days
  • Difficulty Level Technical Challenging
  • Altitude 5,151 m/16,899 ft
  • Trip Type Trekking | Camping
  • Start and End Kathmandu and Kathmandu
  • Best Time Mar-May, Sep-Nov
What You’ll Do
  • Kathmandu City Tour: Explore Nepal's capital city's vibrant culture and rich history.
  • Scenic Flight to and from Nepaljung /Juphal: Enjoy breathtaking aerial views of the Himalayas.
  • Shey Phoksundo Lake and National Park: Visit the stunning turquoise lake and its pristine wilderness.
  • Crossing Passes of Kang La, Saldang La, and Jeng La: Experience the thrill of traversing high mountain passes with spectacular vistas.
  • Shey Gompa - The Buddhist Monasteries: Discover the ancient and serene monasteries rich in Buddhist heritage.
  • Pristine Mountains, Flora & Fauna, and Unique Culture: Experience the untouched natural beauty, diverse wildlife, and unique culture.

Join us on an unforgettable trek through Nepal's wild and remote regions. Explore mysterious monasteries, marvel at the towering Himalayas, and experience the rugged mountain lifestyle of the Upper Dolpo Trek. The Upper Dolpo Trek is a remarkable adventure into one of Nepal's most remote regions. It is one of the most challenging and exhilarating trekking routes, situated between the Dhaulagiri mountain range and the Tibetan plateau in Nepal's mid-western region. Spanning 25 days, the Upper Dolpo Trek is perfect for those who can dedicate a two-week or longer vacation to immerse themselves in the authentic mountain lifestyle and the mesmerizing Himalayan environment of this secluded area. This region is one of Nepal's most remote areas, offering a unique and authentic trekking experience.

Historically, the Dolpo region has been highly isolated, with access strictly restricted until recently, preserving its traditional ways of life. The first organised trek through this area was conducted in the autumn of 1990 by a British tour operator, charting a path from Pokhara to Jumla through Lower Dolpo. The trek traverses several colossal mountain ranges, including Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, and Kanjirowa. It meanders through Lower Dolpo, which was once a small, independent kingdom. Trekkers are captivated by the wild remoteness, breathtaking mountain scenery, and the genuine friendliness of the local inhabitants, characteristic of those living in these remote mountainous regions. The Upper Dolpo region is sparsely populated, with only a few hundred residents, making it one of the highest human settlements in the world. The villages in Upper Dolpo are situated at altitudes of 4,300 meters and above. Here, the pre-Buddhist Bon Po religion is still practised, a rare sight since this ancient sect was mostly supplanted by Buddhist teachings spreading across Tibet in the 9th century.

Short Itinerary

Day 1:Arrival in Kathmandu | 1400m

Day 2:Prepatation Day and Sightseeing around Kathmandu Valley

Day 3:Fly to Nepalganj (165m) from Kathmandu (1400m)

Day 4:Nepalgunj (165m) - Juphal (2475 m) - Kageni (2413 m)

Day 5:Trek from Kageni (2413m) to Rechi (2940m)

Day 6:Trek from Rechi (2940m) to Ringmo Gaun (Phoksundo) 3733m

Day 7:Acclimatization Day | Free Day

Day 8:Trek from Ringmo Gaun (Phoksundo) 3733m to Forest Camp (3,680m) | Phoksundo Khola

Day 9:Trek to Phoksundo Bhanjyang (4,402 m)

Day 10:Cross the Kang La pass (5,151 m) and trek to Shey Gompa (4,160 m)

Day 11:Acclimatization Day in Shey Gompa (4160m)

Day 12:Trek from Shey Gompa (4160m) to Namgung Gaun (4430m)

Day 13:Trek from Namduna Gaun (4430m) to Saldang (3,770 m)

Day 14:Saldang(3770m) – Khoma-la pass (4565m) - Khoma gaon (4060m)

Day 15:Khoma gaon(4,060m) –Shimen la (4,270m) - Shimengaon (3,870m)

Day 16:Trek from Shiemengaon(3870m) to Tinjegaon (4150m)

Day 17:Tinje gaon (4150m) to Camp Site (4868m)

Day 18:Camp Site(4868m) – Chhoila Bhanjyang (5051m) – Dho Tarap (3944m)

Day 19:Trek from Dhotarap (3944m) to Naworpani (3475m)

Day 20:Trek from Naworpani (3475m) to Lashicap (2772m)

Day 21:Trek from Lashicap (2772m) to Dunai (2140m)

Day 22:Trek from Dunai (2140m) to Juphal (2475m)

Day 23:Flight from Juphal (2475m) to Nepalgunj (156m) then Kathmandu (1400m)

Day 24:Leisure day and farewell dinner in Kathmandu

Day 25:Final Departure

Itinerary
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  • Altitude1,400 m
  • Accommodation3 Star Hotel
  • Time1 hour

Our representative will greet you at the Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu, upon your arrival. We will take you to the hotel in our private tourist vehicle. 

  • Altitude1,400 m
  • Accommodation3 star Hotel
  • Time4-5 hours

After breakfast, Around  8.00 am your sightseeing trip will start. You will have a private vehicle and a professional tour guide. You will visited some popular UNESCO  heritage site inside Kathmandu valley like swayambhunath, Pashupatinath Temple, Boudhanath Stupa, Patan Durbar Square 

  • Altitude165 m
  • AccommodationHotel
  • Time1 hour flight

The flight to Nepalgunj will give you good views of the Himalayas towards the North. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel. In the evening walk around the town, which is 3.5 km from the Nepal-India border.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included.
Accommodation: Hotel
Height Difference: +1235 m

  • Altitude2,413 m
  • AccommodationTea House
  • Time35 mins flight, 4-6 hours trek

Flight of approximately 45 minutes to Juphal (2475m) in the early morning are made at the small airport that allows you to approach Dolpo.
Because of bad weather, It may be postponed or even cancelled. After arrival at Jupha airport, we present our Nepali staffs, we begin our trek with a descent to the junction at an altitude of 2082m of the Thuli Bheri and Suligad rivers—the river which comes from Lake Phoksundo where we will reach in 2 days. We continue along a path along this river to arrive at the hamlet of Kageni where we first set up our camp camp with tents.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included.
Accommodation: In Tent
Height Difference: +2335 m

  • Altitude2,940 m
  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • Time6 hours

On the second day of the hike, we follow the Suligad River, which climbs gradually (succession of short climbs and short descents). Pass the Kageni, Jutung, and Shangta villages. Arrive at the confluence of Maiba Khola and Phoksundo, and traverse a bridge over Phoksundo. Head towards the north and reach Chhepka and lunch, then continue our walk along the Phoksundo Khola then we reach Rechi. Set the camp and stay overnight.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included.
Accommodation: in Tent
Height Difference:+ 527

 

  • Altitude3,733 m
  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • Time5-6 hours

A trek to Ringmo Gaun begins. Walk through the Phoksundo Lake trail and ascend the cedar forest. Arrive at Palam which is a winter settlement of locals of Ringmo. After a few descends and ascends we will arrive at Ringmo Gaun. Get a glimpse of chortens and mani walls. Walk a little further to the shores of Phoksundo and set up the camp for an overnight stay.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included.
Accommodation: in Tent
Height Difference:+793

  • Altitude3,733 m
  • AccommodationTented camp

An acclimatization day to adjust to the altitude for the next days. The day is spent exploring Phoksundo Lake and Ringmo village. The Tibetan village Ringmo natives are friendly and have their own culture and tradition. Also, visit Bon monastery called Tshowa. A great experience around the ancient monastery which is 900 years old. From there, a downhill walk towards Phoksundo Lake. The deepest lake in Nepal is truly mesmerizing. The turquoise colour water surrounded by natural scenery is magical. Complete the excursion and stay overnight at a camp.

  • Altitude3,680 m
  • AccommodationTented camp
  • Time6-7 hours

We walk at the bank of Phoksunda Lake with a splendid view on a path overlooking Lake Phoksundo. We enter the upper Dolpo area where a special permit is required. After several climbs by passing viewpoint, we descend to another side of the lake. We continue our walk up the Phoksumdo Khola valley and arrive at our camp (3680m).

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included.
Accommodation: in Tent
Height Difference:-53m

  • Altitude4,402 m
  • AccommodationTented camp
  • Time6-7 hours

Today you should take sandals or footwear suitable for knee-deep as you are crossing a few streams. This morning you continue along the level path through a glacial valley that now heads north. As this becomes narrower and narrower there are impressive vertical cliffs and contorted rock formations. At the confluence of the Phoksundo Khola and another, unnamed, mountain stream there is an old wooden bridge. Here you take the barely discernible path to the northeast up a side valley that has a cavernous look. There is no trail as such, so it is necessary to clamber over rocks and boulders and to ford a stream that rushes down the steep valley. A long climb brings you to a sheep meadow where the trail veers up a steep ravine. A hard climb to the top brings you to yet another valley where you can see the Kang La, the pass will lead you to Shey Gompa.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included.
Accommodation: in Tent
Height Difference:-722m

  • Altitude4,160 m
  • AccommodationTented camp
  • Time7 hours

Early in the morning, you will climb a hard trail toward a pass. Although the ascent will be difficult, the view of the surrounding region from the summit will be spectacular. You will also do a steep trail descent and a stroll by a river's edge. You will journey across meadows and cross this river multiple times at various locations. The meadow is home to several yaks, mountain goats, and sheep. You will eventually arrive in Shey Gompa for the night after crossing a wooden log bridge.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included.
Accommodation: in Tent
Height Difference:+685m/-975m

 

 

  • Altitude4,160 m
  • AccommodationTented camp

Shey means crystal in the Tibetan language. This monastery is also called the Crystal Mountain. We can visit the Shey Gompa and take blessings from the Lama. We can visit the Tsakang Gompa, west of Shey. It has been a meditation hub for lamas in medieval times. The monastery was built in the 11th century. Here, we can witness the perfect blend and harmony of Tibetan Buddhism and the ancient Pre-Buddhist religion Bon Po. We can later go around the area and explore the vicinity. There is a big festival in July/August (Sharwan Purnima). Pilgrims come to make the kora in mountain crystal.

  • Altitude44300 m
  • AccommodationTented camp
  • Time6-7 hours

We follow an easy path, the wide valley crossing numerous nomad camps. We continue our walk until we reach the Shey le-la pass (5010m) from where we can view the magnificent views of the Tibet border. An easy descent then a balcony path takes us to Namgung (4430m), a small hamlet of a few houses and a very old Buddhist monastery.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included.
Accommodation: in Tent
Height Difference:+270

  • Altitude3,770 m
  • AccommodationTented camp
  • Time4-5 hours

We climb up the path which allows us to exit the gorge. This way is easy and possible to see different kinds of wild animals, like blue sheep, vultures, Himalayan cock etc. We pass the Salang la pass (4400m) and descend slowly to the big village of Saldang. We visit the village which is a large village in upper Dolpo with around 1000 inhabitants. There is Sakya-pa monastery school. It is a village known as Haut Dolpo. You can see the typical Tibetan houses.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included.
Accommodation: in Tent
Height Difference:-660

  • Altitude4,060 m
  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • Time5 hours

We cross the river and ascend then cross the Khoma-la pass which takes around 2 and a half hours. We see the great view of Saldang village. We begin to descend to enter the village of Khoma Gaon where we camp our tents. Khoma Gaun is also a beautiful village but smaller than Saldang.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included.
Accommodation: in Tent
Height Difference:+795m/-550m

  • Altitude3,870 m
  • AccommodationTented camp
  • Time5 hours

We go up and cross the Shimen la pass which will take around 3 hours and start to descend a long way to arrive at Shimen Gaon. After Lunch, We left the Shimen Gaon and set up our camp after an hour of walking in the mountain pasture. We see the beautiful valley of Tibet on this day. This day we can see one of the longest Buddhist monuments mani. Shimen Village is very beautiful and organic.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included.
Accommodation: In Tent
Height Difference:+210m/-400m

  • Altitude4,150 m
  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • Time7 hours

The path to Tinjegaon is easy and takes about 3 to 4 hours of walking. On the way, we visit a serene gompa. We have lunch in Tinjegaon and set up camp in the village, where we can watch the locals working in the fields. Tinjegaon is a beautiful village. After lunch, we can explore and see many Buddhist monuments, including manis and both large and small stupas. Due to its proximity to the Tibet border, there is a police presence for security.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included.
Accommodation: in Tent
Height Difference:+280m

  • Altitude4,868 m
  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • Time5 hours

 

The morning view of Tinjegaon is extraordinary. The village is surrounded by mountains and hills, creating a stunning landscape. As we walk through the fields, we see many Buddhist monuments. We cross a river and continue walking on flat land. The path is long, but eventually, we arrive at the campsite.

Breakfast, Packed lunch and dinner are included.
Accommodation: in Tent
Height Difference:+718

  • Altitude3,944 m
  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • Time5-6 hours

We slowly climb up towards the pass of Chhoila Bhanjyang and then descend into the main, important, and beautiful village of the Dolpo region. Along the way, we see extensive agricultural fields, typical houses, and many Buddhist monuments.

Breakfast, Packed lunch and dinner are included.
Accommodation: in Tent
Height Difference:+183m/-11070m

  • Altitude3,475 m
  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • Time6-7 hours

Today’s trek will be a long one as we have to cover a long distance than other days. We will trek along the flat trail which will take us to the confluence of Tarap Khola and Mirubabane Khola. Then, we will cross a bridge over Klang Khola, Langa Camp. We will continuously follow the trails along the Tarap Khola. Beautiful picturesque views of the magnificent landscape can be admired during this part of the trek. We will pass various beautiful settlements of Sisaul, Gyamghar and Toltol. After that, we will reach our campsite destination, Naworpani. We will set up the camp at Naworpani.

Breakfast, Packed lunch and dinner are included.
Accommodation: in Tent
Height Difference:-469m

  • Altitude2,772 m
  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • Time4-5 hours

.Today also, we will follow the trails along the Tarap Khola. Walking for some time, we will witness some changes in the view and landscape. Green forests will start to emerge as we move forward. We will then ascend to Lamchaur high over Tarap Khola. After crossing Lahini Odar, we will descend and reach Chhedhul Gompa. Again, after following some time along the Tarap Khola, we will reach Laisicap where we will set up the camp.

Breakfast, Packed lunch and dinner are included.
Accommodation: in Tent
Height Difference:-703m

  • Altitude2,052 m
  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • Time4-5 hours

Today, we will trek along the green lands above the Thuli Bheri River to reach Tarakot. After reaching Tarakot, we will cross a small bridge over a stream. We will pass Lawan and Byasgad on this day. Today’s trek will offer some greenery and forested region and cultivated terraced fields. Reaching Dunai, rooms will be assigned.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included.
Accommodation: Hotel
Height Difference:-632m

  • Altitude2,052 m
  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • Time3 hours

Today is the last day of the trek. We will follow the trail along the Bheri River until we reach Kalagawda. After Kalagawda, we will ascend some times to reach Juphal. It will be a short trek of around 3 hours up to Juphal.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included.
Accommodation: Hotel
Height Difference:+335m

  • Altitude1,400 m
  • AccommodationHotel
  • Time4-5 hours

Early morning, we will have our breakfast and head towards Juphal airport for the early morning flight to Nepalgunj. We will fly to Nepalgunj on this day. At Nepalgunj, you will have some time to explore around depending on your flight schedule. In the afternoon, you will approach Nepalgunj for the Kathmandu flight. At Kathmandu, our office representative will pick you up and transfer you to the hotel. 

  • Altitude1400m
  • AccommodationHotel

You have the day off today in Kathmandu. You may unwind for the day, go shopping, and explore the area. Evening we celebrate farewell dinner together.

    The exciting trek you took with us through Nepal has come to an end. After breakfast today, you will head to the airport. A member of our team will help you get to the gate of the international airport terminal before bidding you farewell.

    Trip Cost Details
    Included
    • All (international and domestic) airport transfers on a tourist vehicle
    • Twin-sharing/double accommodation in a 3-star hotel in Kathmandu including breakfast
    • Freshly prepared meals (B, L, D) with boiled water, tea, coffee etc. during the trek
    • Twin sharing tent for accommodation during the trek. (High-quality 3-men tent)
    • Experienced local trek leader with a 1:4 assistant guide-to-client ratio
    • Full support camping crew with mules for porterage
    • All camping logistical arrangements for your comfort
    • All ground transportation as mentioned in the itinerary on private vehicle
    • All required permits for the trek 
    • Internal airfare (Kathmandu-Nepalgunj-Jhupal-Nepalgung-Pokhara)
    • International and domestic airport transfers as per flight time
    • Comprehensive first aid kit with high-altitude medicine
    • Supplementary oxygen system and Thuraya satellite phone for emergency purposes
    • Waterproof Duffel bag and use of the sleeping bag and down Jacket 
    • Staff wages, equipment, insurance and allowances
    Excluded
    • International airfare, Nepal Visa and travel insurance
    • Meals at Kathmandu
    • Personal expenses
    • Gratuities for staff
    • Personal trekking gears
    Useful Info

    Preparation for Upper Dolpo Trek

    Preparation is key for a successful and enjoyable Upper Dolpo Trek. Here are some important steps to consider when preparing for the trek:

    • Physical fitness is essential for the Upper Dolpo Trek, as the trek involves long days of hiking at high altitudes over rough terrain. It's important to start preparing well in advance by doing regular exercise and building up your endurance.
    • The Upper Dolpo Trek is located in a remote area, so it's important to have the necessary gear to stay warm and comfortable. This includes proper clothing, footwear, a sleeping bag, and a good-quality backpack.
    • The Upper Dolpo Trek is located at a high altitude, so it's important to properly acclimatize to avoid altitude sickness. It's recommended to take a few days to acclimatize in the lower elevations before starting the trek.
    • Travel insurance is essential for any trek, especially one as challenging as the Upper Dolpo Trek. Make sure your travel insurance covers emergency evacuation and medical treatment.

    Difficulty during Upper Dolpo Trek 

    Various factors level up the difficulty of a Himalayan trekking journey. First and foremost, the long itinerary of the Upper Dolpo that requires almost 20 days of several steep ascents and descents on the desert-like topography makes the trek difficult. It's worth noting that Upper Dolpo is the country's least developed region. It's not just the altitude that causes problems; remoteness and a lack of basic amenities are also issues. 

    Upper Dolpo Trekking in different seasons

    Trekking in Upper Dolpo is best done during the spring and autumn. It is possible to do this trek in the summer/monsoon as Upper Dolpo falls in the rain shadow area. It is not advisable to trek during winter due to excessive snowfall. 

    Upper Dolpo Trek in Spring Season

    The spring season is the best season to trek in Nepal. The weather and temperature in spring are pleasant with a bright sky. The clear sky and stable weather mean there are fewer risks of flight cancellations in Juphal, the trek's starting point. With the temperatures beginning to rise in mid-March, the trekking trails gradually become visible. The post-winter season allows Snow Mountains to be viewed at their best. There will be breathtaking vistas of the central Himalayan range. The rhododendron blossoms will be blossoming at their peak along the way, with a wide range of hues in the lower region.  However, snow can be an issue in the Upper Dolpo during the early spring, making it difficult or impossible to cross some passes. The optimum spring months for Upper Dolpo are from late March until the end of May.

    Upper Dolpo Trek in Monsoon Season

    Some of the trekking journeys in Nepal during the monsoon season are not recommended. However, some places like Upper Mustang and Upper Dolpo are rain-shadow locations in western Nepal. No rain means those places are accessible during the summer/monsoon season. The high passes are snow-free, the landscapes are lush, and the paths are well-marked with locals' footsteps during this season. The only concern during the monsoon for Upper Dolpo Trips is a strong likelihood of flight cancellations arriving in Juphal due to the overcast weather and heavy rain in the lower regions. 

    Upper Dolpo Trek in Autumn Season

    Out of all seasons, autumn is considered the ultimate time for treks in Nepal including the Upper Dolpo Trek. The skies are bright and blue after the summer monsoons, providing many picturesque moments of glittering nature and the majestic Himalayas. Additionally, you can mingle with the inhabitants, many tiny villages, and communities on their journey to the Upper Dolpo during the fall harvest season. Though November is an autumn month, snow is likely to be seen starting from this time in the Upper Dolpo Region. So, we recommend you come early or come prepared. 

    Upper Dolpo Trek in Winter Season

    The temperature slowly begins to drop in November, especially during the night-time and continues to do so for the next few months. Due to the harsh cold temperature, impassable passes, and snow-covered trails, winters are not recommended for the trek in Upper Dolpo. 

    Permits to trek in Upper Dolpo 

    Trekkers need to carry three permits to do the Upper Dolpo Trek:

    1. Lower Dolpo Restricted Area Permit

    2. Shey Phoksundo National Park Entry Fee

    3. Upper Dolpo Restricted Area Permit (US$500 entrance fee for the first ten days and an additional US$50 per day after that)

    Note: Trekkers are not permitted to trek alone in restricted zones. As a result, you are unable to apply for restricted area permits on your own. But, you do not have to worry about it. Iconic Holiday Nepal will be responsible for all the permits for you. Because of the comparatively hefty permit cost, the number of trekkers in the area is limited, contributing to Upper Dolpo's status as one of Nepal's most exclusive and unforgettable experiences.

    Accommodation

    The Upper Dolpo Trek is primarily a camping trek lasting 20 days. You will be given a high-quality tent to share with one other member. For added comfort and warmth, each tent will contain a thick down-filled mattress. We also provide a kitchen tent, a dining tent, a staff tent, and a toilet tent with a commode.  You will stay four nights in Kathmandu before and after the trek will be at a 3-star category hotel accommodation on a twin/double sharing basis with breakfast. However, you can also upgrade the services and choose to have luxurious accommodation in the city by informing us prior and with an additional cost. Also in Nepalgunj, you will be stationed at the best available lodge on a twin/double sharing basis. 

    Meals During Upper Dolpo Trek

    Except for lunch and dinners in Kathmandu, all the food costs are included in the package. 

    Note: We have not included lunch and dinner during your stay in Kathmandu in the package because you will have plenty of choices from a vast variety of cuisines and restaurants/cafes/pubs accessible in the cities. But, we can recommend some of the bests that match your preferences.

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