Dolpo’s hidden mysteries sheen luminously and endowed with rich culture, sweeping sceneries, mysterious gorges, rare flora, fauna, cliffs, rivers, large cascades, and turquoise lake. Horizons are glittering in the mountains and their glaciers and ice fields are stunning, spiritualizing and enriched.
According to myth, it’s one of the “hidden valleys” created by Guru Rinpoche as a sanctuary for pious Buddhists in troubled times. The beautiful Dolpo valley is surrounded by the soaring mountains including Dhaulagiri massif, Kanijiruwa massif, and Tibetan plateau. The region hides at the high pass from the south and lying at the northwest of Dhaulagiri and Kali Gandaki Gorge. Dolpo’s easiest access is from Tibet, where its people migrated from perhaps 1,000 years ago.
Dolpo region is one of the few places in the globe not yet affected by globalization, modernization, making this region remarkable and distinct. Such a least explored region, Dolpo awaits the inquisitive explorer to cater to an exceptionally worldly experience.
Trekking to Upper Dolpo takes about 28 days to complete. During this trek, the maximum altitude is 4,530 m. to 5,115 m. and is one of the most strenuous treks in Nepal. The northern part of Dolpo is generally called upper Dolpo and has always had a feeling of spirituality. The high valleys of Dolpo are some of the most incredible in the Himalayas with full of views extending to the arid Tibetan plateau
This trek provides a real adventure and an opportunity to discover the hidden and pristine parts of Nepal that have remained largely undiscovered. Since it is a restricted area, only a few numbers of trekkers visit this region a year, providing almighty vistas and authentic hamlets just waiting to be out. Upper Dolpo trek is trekking to an isolated and untamed part of the ancient Himalayan civilization of Tibetan society.
The Upper Dolpo region magnificence has been stated by author David Snelgrove in his book named, “Himalayan Pilgrimage”, Peter Matthiessen in his book named “The Snow Leopard” and by George Schaller in his book “Stones of Silence”
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- Day 1: Arrive at Kathmandu airport (1,302m/4,270ft)
On arrival at Tribhuvan International airport, our representative will be awaiting you to cordially welcome with great hospitality. The representative will be displaying the “Nepal Sanctuary Treks” placard outside the airport terminal. You will be then escorted and transfer to the hotel in our private vehicle. Further details and short preliminary briefing will be provided after transferring to the hotel. You will have leisure time to relax and freshen up.
- Day 2: Optional Morning tour to ancient marketplace and visit world’s UNESCO Heritage sites
After early breakfast, we will start our fresh morning by wandering Ason and Indrachowk marketplaces to get a glimpse of traditional Nepalese life. You’ll witness the bustle of the market, see how locals purchase the products and haggle for a bargain. Whilst walking around enjoy the lively and vibrant atmosphere this local market has to offer.
We walk through a narrow alley and see people rushing. Observe the first hand the local produce people from Nepal actually purchase. You will also take in the sights and smells of the market. Your friendly tour guide will explain in full detail all the products and procedures you will see. There is plenty of opportunities to buy something for your selves and lots of photo opportunities to capture in your camera.
Next, we head towards Kathmandu Durbar Square, also called Hanuman Dhoka Durbar, and used to be the residence of the Nepali royal family and administrators. These ancient sites situated in the traditional heart of Kathmandu that incorporates an architecturally extraordinary complex of ancient palaces, temples, courtyards, and shrines dating from the 15th to the 18th century.
The most revered places of Kathmandu Durbar Square is the three-storied temple named Kumari Bahal. The structured like a typical Newari Vihara. In this house lives Kumari, a girl who is respected as the living goddess. During the festival of Indra Jatra, the Kumari is paraded around the square in a custom-built gilded chariot and worshipped by the people.
The tallest temple of Kathmandu valley ‘Taleju Bhawani’ built-in 1549 AD. This temple is deliberated to be the most outstanding work of art in the Durbar square and considered to be the royal goddess.
Jagannath temple built in the 16th century is well-known for erotic carvings, and the Hanuman Dhoka (the royal palace) is situated in Kathmandu Durbar Square.
Kalbhairav is considered to be the destructor form of Lord Shiva. Built-in the 17th century, this, 10 ft. high stone statue of terrifyingly portrayed Kal Bhairav is sited near Jagannath temple.
Temple of Shiva Parvati, rectangular in shape enshrines Nava Durga, a group of goddesses on the ground floor. It has a wooden image of Shiva and Parvati at the window of the upper floor looking out at passerby in Durbar Square.
You are then taken to Swayambhunath (monkey temple) which is the magnificent ancient religious architecture and center faith of Hinduism and Buddhism. Its lofty white dome and dazzling golden spire are visible from far and wide. Upon arriving at the top, you can hear the Buddhist songs “Om Mani Padme Hum” resound everywhere. The candles and the aromatic fragrance of incense that burns constantly create a serene vibe and we can turn the enormous prayer wheels which encircle the stupa.
Buddhist shrine of Boudhanath, one of the largest stupa in Nepal as well as the sacred Buddhist sites in Kathmandu. You will observe the monk chant in the prayer hall while people lighting butter lamps and reciting mantras. You can see the vibrant prayer flags tied to the stupa that conveys mantras and prayers into the universe while fluttering in the wind. Traditionally, prayer flags come in sets of five, one in each of five colors. The five colors signify the elements and the Five Pure Lights.
Further, we visit Pashupatinath temple, a Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva located on the bank of Bagmati River. You can see elaborately dressed holy men meditating outside the temple and pilgrims placing offerings at the shrines. You can also observe people performing the religious ritual and funeral pyres burn at open-air cremation. After visiting fascinating cultural heritage sites, you will transfer back to the Hotel. The evening can either be spent strolling the marketplaces in Kathmandu or resting at the hotel.
- Day 3: Flight Kathmandu – Nepalgunj approx. 50 minutes
After breakfast, our representative will transfer you to the domestic airport for flight to Nepalgunj. During flight, you will see the spectacular vistas of the village, city, forest, and mountain.
- Day 4: Flight Nepalgunj - Juphal (2,475 m), trek to Shyanta (2520 m) 5 to 6 hours
It takes around 35 minutes to arrive at Juphal by the flight from Nepalgunj. While on the air, you could see the vistas of Dhaulagiri, Churen Himal, Sisne Himal, and Kanjiroba Himal following all the way up to the Juphal. Upon arriving there, we will trek towards the Shyanta.
- Day 5: Trek to Amchi Hospital (3,110m)- 6 hours walking.
After breakfast, we leave Shyanta behind and trek towards Amchi Hospital. This is a very fascinating place and worth a visit. Indeed it is more a clinic, which is well visited by local people. An Amchi is a doctor who is educated in traditional Tibetan medicine, and always is a lama (monk) as well. In the Amchi Hospital, you can observe a collection of herbs and minerals used for treatment you can see the beautiful Tibetan village with flat-roofed houses and fields of buckwheat.
- Day 6: Trek to Phoksumdo Lake (3,600m) - 4 hours walking.
After having our breakfast we begin to trek by passing arid settlement called Palam and climb uphill for an hour to the ridge at about 3800meters (12,467 ft.). Once you reach a view tower you will get to see the spectacular highest waterfall in Nepal and Ringmo Mo Village with Phoksaondo Lake. On the way, you likely to encounter with blue sheep. We walk down through a birch forest passing Chorten and Mani walls at the doorway to Ringmo village. After a short walk, we reach Phoksondo Lake.
- Day 7: Rest & acclimatization day.
Today is important for acclimatization as we will be trekking to higher altitude; altitude sickness can be a problem so to avoid altitude sickness we stay back and let our body adopt the altitude. As we stay back a day hike to Bon monastery which is believed that this religion origin prior to Buddhism, explore Ringo mo village can be organized for acclimatization.
- Day 8: Trek to Phoksundo Lake North Camp (3,630 m) - 4 hours walking.
After breakfast, we start our trek for today. We will have to recheck the Inner Dolpa restricted area permit before we enter to the north of Phoksondo Lake. The trail offers magnificent views of the lake and amazing Himalaya. We follow the western part of Phoksondo Lake along a narrow cliff trail.
We climb to a ridge with magnificent vistas over the enchanting lake to Ringmo village and the snowcapped mountain of Kanjiroba (6,612m), Norbung Kang (6,085) and Jhyarko Dingla (5,892m). Further, we take a steady decline through birch trees that lead to our Phoksondo Lake North Camp.
- Day 9: Trek to Lar Tsa Camp (4,200 m)- 7 hours walking.
After breakfast, we leave Phoksondo North Camp and head towards a wide valley with a couple of river streams. On the left side of valley, you can see superb views of Kanjero Himal. After four hours trek, we will stop for lunch at Dobhan (river confluence) camp. After lunch, we ascend uphill for approximately three hours towards Lar Tsa Camp. Lar-Tsa camp is popularly known for producing Yarchagompa “Caterpillar fungus” which is used by the practitioner of Tibetan and Chinese medicine for cancer and fatigue treatment. You can also see the beautiful view of Kanjiroba Himal (6,612m) from Lar Tsa camp
- Day 10: Trek to Snowfields Camp (4,650m)- 3 to 4 hours walking.
We have an early breakfast and begin to trek by walking up to the valley and traverse river on a bridge. Then start walking uphill to the small pass. Then you step towards the narrow gorge. Once you cross narrow gorge you will see Snowfield high camp. After one and half hour trek, you will reach snowfield camp. Snowfields Camp is at the base of Kang La that traverse into Dolpo
- Day 11: Cross Kang La at 5,380 m, trek to Shey Gompa (4,400 m)- 6 to 7 hours walking.
The trail is steep and challenging all the way up to Kang La pass. From the top of the pass, we will be offered with a view of the large valley divided by river. Now we descend steeply to the base of the valley then trek along the bank of the river until we arrive at Shey Gompa, Shey means crystal so the famous Buddhist monastery is located beneath Crystal Peak. Our campsite will set up in a meadow area with several herders
- Day 12: Exploration day at Shey Gompa.
Today is also a rest day; we stay back in Shey Gompa. After a decent breakfast, we can either rest in the tent or explore the area, an optional day hike will be organized to Tsakang gompa, hours of walk from Shey. We will return back to the camp and stay overnight here
- Day 13: Cross Saldang La (5,060 m), trek to Namgung (4,430 m) - 5 to 6 hours walking.
After an early breakfast, we rejoin our trail, leaving Shey gompa behind. We trek a pleasant trail through juniper trees descending into a grey, stony canyon. From here the trail becomes zigzag and we further trek to the top of Namgung La Pass, from the pass you can enjoy views from the north into Tibet and east towards Mustang. From the top, we then descend northwards to a small village of Namduna Gaon where we will camp the night.
- Day 14: Trek to Karang (4,050m) - 6 hours walking.
After breakfast, we trek through the Namgung Khola Valley to Karang. Stay overnight at a camp in Karang.
- Day 15: Trek to Mischagaon village (4,200m) - 6 hours walking.
After having breakfast, we carry on our trek by descending to Torak Sumdo (3,670 m) with a confluence of the Polang Khola and Namgung Khola. Further we traverse to the north bank and ascent to Yanger Gompa (3,750 m). Then trek along the river valley to the campsite near the stream. Stay overnight at a camp in Mischagaon
- Day 16: Cross Muri La (5,030m), trek to Chanpola Goth near Shimen village (4,250m)- 6 hours walking.
After having an early breakfast we start to take steep ascent for hours to Muri La Pass. From the pass, you can see the beautiful landscape of the Upper Dolpa area and Tibet. After savoring the view we start to heading down for three hours that lead us to Chapula Goth.
- Day 17: Trek to Tinje village (4,180 m)- 7 hours walking.
After breakfast, we start to walk downhill for one hour to Shimen village with huge areas of terraced fields of buckwheat, barley, and potatoes. You will see the longest mani wall (600m) of Dolpo. We start walking along the Tinje Khola. We will stop for lunch here. After lunch, we walk along the river and you will see the rocks inscribed in the mantra . Once you get to Phal Gaun, there is a road on the left side of the valley that leads to Tibet. We will continue to trek taking the right side trail towards the beautiful Tinje village of Tibetan settlement. You can still see airstrip which was used during the conflict between Tibet and China in the past. Tinje is the main village in a broad valley with widespread fields with two gompas and an old fort. We stay overnight in camp at Tinje.
- Day 18 : Trek to Rapka (4,550 m)- 6 to 7 hours walking.
After breakfast, we follow Panzang Khola past ruins of an old settlement on the other side of the river, after two hours we arrive at river confluence where we take the left tributary Kehen Khola for a further hour to reach our lunch spot in the grassy area next to the river. After lunch, we continue walking up the left bank of Kehen Khola passing several doksas before arriving at Rakpa where we camp for the night.
- Day 19: Cross Chharka La (5,015 m), trek to Chharka (4,300 m) - 7 hours walking.
After breakfast, we walk the leveled path for one hour and cross the river. Again start walking onto riverside of a different valley that will lead towards Chharka La. if the weather is apparent, you can see the superb view of Dhaulagiri 2. The gradual climbs to the pass take 5 hours walking and further three and a half hours walk leads you to Chharka village. Chharka is the last village of Upper Dolpa. Several years before Chharka was considered as SAKA. In Tibetan words, SAKA means “Good place” and also the hamlet was popular for fine salt since there was salt mine. Salt found in Chharka was the finest one, therefore, the ‘Chharka’ means good salt. Hence, Chharka is titled from Good salt & a good place.
- Day 20: Exploration day at Chharka village.
After breakfast, you can take rest or explore around Chharka village. We will explore the two gompas, Buddhist and Bönpo, signifying the two religions of Dolpo. Situated in Chharka village, Sachen Gonpa is Ningmapa sect gompa which was made by Saga Jampa, Dorje Choekyong Sangpo in 1400A.D. Later in 1993 Menla Phunjok of Chharka village had re-built the gompa in the involvement of village dwellers.
The ancestors and heredity of Chharka people are Siro, Habha, Yangton, Tolung, Purang, Nopri, Toyo which were originated from Dulung Village, Mustang, Lasing, Tibet, Poldya of Tinje Village. You can observe diverse people while exploring the village.
- Day 21: Trek to Norbulung (4,750 m) and to Molum Sumna (4,860 m) - 6 to 7 hours walking.
On this day, we will be trekking through the most magnificent trails from Chharka to Norbulung. We trek to the trodden way from the caravans of Yaks and people along the way. Norbuling has been named by one of the well-known expeditors George Schaller as a new world of “remote peaks crowned by remoter snows”. Further, we’ll descend from the plateau down to the main river traversing it on a bridge. Stay overnight camping at Molum Sumna.
- Day 22: Cross higher Sangda La (5,515m), trek to Sangda Phedi (5,100m) - 6 to 7 hours walk.
Today we will commence our trek early in the morning. We pass through the meadow of Molum Sumdo and then carry on to a ridge with a cairn at just over 5,100m. Then, it is an additional couple of hours to get Sangda La walking through a lush plateau with grazing yaks. Further, we start ascending the trail to the Sangda La pass marking the boundary among Dolpo and Annapurna. The trail drop on loose rock debris to Sangda Phedi.
- Day 23: Cross lower Sangda La (5,035 m), trek to Sangda (3,800 m) - 6 to 7 hours walking.
After breakfast, we start our today’s trek following Bheri Khola then contour up and ascent the lower
Sangda La at 5,035m. Once you reach the pass you will be rewarded with magnificent towering peaks views over to Kali Gandaki valley and Thorong La and more a range of 6,000m mountains comprising Tongu Himal and Mukot Himal.
There is a sharp descend from the pass on a wobbly trail that traverses a ridge with a cairn at 4,800m then descent to a huge rock at 4,500m. We further trek down to a verdant plateau with pine trees then take right and cross the new suspension bridge at 3,900m.
We take steep ascent and the trail crosses high above Kyalunpa Khola, after an hour we traverse a crest with prayer flags. We trek down through a steep gorge to traverse the tributary river for ½ hour to the second river again crossing on rocks.
In a while, you will see the entrance chorten to Sangda village followed by a huge wall around their fields stay overnight at Sangda village.
- Day 24: Trek to Dhagarjun (3,280 m) - 7 to 8 hours walking.
After breakfast, we ascend to a hill behind the Sangda. Today we cross numerous ridges and reach the last crest (4280 m). Further, we take to descend to the Annapurna round trail in the Kali Gandaki valley. Then trek through a side of a cliff and trek down to Dhagarjun. Dhagarjun is a huge village with Bhotia people. Stay overnight at a camp in Dhagarjun.
- Day 25: Trek to Jomsom (2,670m) 7-8 hours
After breakfast, we trek from Dhagarjun to Jomson. Further, we ascend to a ridge at 3360m and make a final descent on a challenging trail of loose rocks to Jomsom at 2670m. Stay overnight at lodge
- Day 26: Fly to Kathmandu via Pokhara
After breakfast, we take a flight from Jomsom to Pokhara and onto Kathmandu. After landing in Kathmandu, you will be escorted to your hotel. You will have the afternoon to yourself to explore the city or to relax at the hotel.
- Day 27: Spare Day in Kathmandu
After having breakfast at the hotel. You have leisure time to take relax or explore around marketplaces to shop the souvenir for loved ones.
- Day 28: Final Departure
It is time to fly back to home keeping all the terrifying experiences of Nepal in mind.
The representative from Nepal Sanctuary Treks will transfer you to TIA airport where you should check-in 3 hours prior to your scheduled flight.
- Airport transfers,
- Internal flight Kathmandu/Nepalgunj/Juphal/Jomsom/Pokhara/Kathmandu
- Restricted area permit, TIMS, conservation fee,
- Trekking guides, cook, porters & other supporting staffs,
- Tented accommodation during trek on full board
- Staff insurance on the trek,
- Duffle bag
- Four nights in Kathmandu Guest House & one night in Nepalgunj with breakfast
- Safety equipment including high altitude chamber and satellite phone
What's not Included
- Additional tours and meals that are not mentioned,
- Personal bills,
- Visa fee: US$ 30 for 15 days and US$ 50 for 30 days and US$125 for 90 days multiple entries
- Insurance (for cancellation, accident, health, emergency evacuation and loss, theft of or damage to baggage and personal effects), liability insurance
- Excess baggage beyond 20 kilogram
- Personal Equipment ( Please refer to the packing checklist) section
Most Common FAQs
- 1 . What should I need to bring for this trek?
1 Waterproof Jacket and Pants both ventilated (pit zips, side zips, etc.)
1 Down jacket
1 Windproof Soft Shell jacket and pants for windy/cold days.
1 Fleece top and pants
2 Thermal tops
1-2 Thermal long johns depending on how much you feel the cold
4 Pairs of Coolmax Liner socks
2 Pairs of undies for cool/cold weather
2 Pairs of undies for warm/hot weather
2 Pair walking trousers
2 Loose fit trekking shirts with pockets
2 Lightweight synthetic T-shirts
1 Broad-brimmed sun hat
1 Warm hat and gloves
1 Polarizing sunnies with 100% UV protection
1 Buff or trekking Scarf
1 Pair waterproof walking boots that can take crampons
1 Pair sandals to let feet breathe in the evenings and for washing
2 Pair of Warm Weather walking socks (e.g. Bridge dale Light Hiker)
2 Pair of Cool Weather walking socks (e.g. Bridge dale Trekker)
1 Pair of Cold weather walking socks that can also be used as bed socks
1 Sleeping Bag rated to -15 Celsius / 3 Fahrenheit
1 Sleeping sheet and pillow (you will be given a pillow if you prefer)
1 Inflating sleeping mat (you will be given a mat if you prefer)
1 45-ish liter pack for trekking
1 Pair of Trekking poles
1 Head torch and spare batteries
1 lip balm with sunblock
1 Mozzie/fly repellant
1 toiletry bag with essentials (no hairdryers!!)
1 pack towel
1 Neck pillow for plane/bus trips if required
1 Camera with back-up batteries if needed
1 2 to 3 liters of water bottles or bladder system depends on how much you normally drink
Waterproof compression bags for storage in the tote bag
1 Reading material/diary spare pens
1 General repair kit
1 Tent for appropriate conditions
1 Tote Bag for the spare gear you do not carry
1 Pillow or stuff sack for clothing
1 Medical kit
Water purification tablet
Note: we provide a comprehensive group first aid kit however please bring personal medications and other items you might use regularly such as:
Any personal medications
Blister treatment- Compeed patches are the best
Multivitamins plus iron supplement
Analgesic- paracetamol, ibuprofen, and aspirin
Diamox (optional)- helps with acclimatization, can buy in Kathmandu
1 Chair kit for a sleeping mat
1 Shorts for bathing/swimming in rivers
1 Closed-cell foam mat
1 Sarong for bathing, around camp on hot days.
1 Anti-bacterial hand gel
1 crampon for each group member