Upper Dolpo Trek is an incredible adventure that takes you through the remote and enchanting region of Dolpo in Nepal. Nestled in the trans-Himalayan region of northwestern Nepal, Upper Dolpo is known for its untouched natural beauty, ancient Tibetan culture, and rugged landscapes. This trek offers a unique opportunity to explore a hidden gem that has remained relatively untouched by modernity.
One of the highlights of the Upper Dolpo Trek is Shey Phoksundo National Park, a protected area renowned for its diverse flora and fauna. The park is home to the mesmerizing Phoksundo Lake, which is the deepest lake in Nepal and changes color with the variations in sunlight.
The area is predominantly influenced by Tibetan Buddhism, and you will encounter monasteries, chortens (Buddhist shrines), and prayer flags along the way. The people of Dolpo have a rich cultural heritage and have preserved their unique traditions for centuries.
Why Choose Upper Dolpo Trek?
The Untouched Wilderness
Nestled in the majestic Himalayas, the Upper Dolpo region remains relatively untouched by modern civilization. This remote corner of Nepal offers a pristine natural environment that will transport you back in time. With its rugged terrain, pristine lakes, and snow-capped peaks, Upper Dolpo is a paradise for nature lovers and photographers alike.
Unique Cultural Heritage
Beyond its natural beauty, Upper Dolpo is renowned for its rich cultural heritage. The region is home to the Dolpo people, who have preserved their unique traditions and lifestyle for centuries. As you trek through traditional villages, you'll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture, interact with friendly locals, and witness ancient rituals that have stood the test of time.
Shey Phoksundo National Park
This protected area is a haven for biodiversity, encompassing pristine forests, alpine meadows, and the iconic Phoksundo Lake, renowned for its crystal-clear turquoise waters. Exploring the national park offers a chance to encounter rare wildlife, including the elusive snow leopard, musk deer, and Himalayan blue sheep.
Route Overview: Day to Day Itinerary
Starting with your arrival in Kathmandu, you will have a day to explore the cultural and historical landmarks of the Kathmandu Valley. The following day, you will fly to Nepalgunj and then to Juphal, where the trek truly begins.
The trek takes you through picturesque landscapes, including dense forests, meadows, and barren high-altitude plateaus. Along the way, you will encounter breathtaking views of snow-capped peaks and crystal-clear lakes, such as the mesmerizing Phoksundo Lake. Rest days in Phoksundo Lake and Shey Gompa allow for exploration and acclimatization.
Throughout the journey, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the ancient Tibetan culture of the Dolpo region. Traditional villages, monasteries, and the warm hospitality of the locals provide insights into their unique way of life.
The trek also presents challenges, such as crossing high mountain passes like Kang La Pass and Jeng La Pass, which require physical endurance and adaptability to the high-altitude environment. However, the rewards are immense as you witness the untouched beauty of Dolpo and experience a sense of tranquility rarely found in today's fast-paced world.
After trekking through various villages and valleys, the journey concludes in Juphal, from where you will fly back to Kathmandu. A farewell dinner allows you to celebrate the successful completion of the trek and bid farewell to Nepal.
- Day01: Arrival at Kathmandu (1,320m/4,330ft)
- Day02: Kathmandu Valley Sightseeing & Trek Preparation
- Day03: Fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj (150m/492ft)
- Day04: Fly from Nepalgunj to Juphal (2320m/7601ft) & Trek to Suligad Ghat (2070m/6790ft)
- Day05: Trek from Suligad Ghat to Renje (3010m/9873ft)
- Day06: Trek from Renje to Phoksundo Lake (3620m/11874ft)
- Day07: Rest day in Phoksundo Lake and explore around Ringmo village.
- Day08: Trek from Phoksundo Lake to Phoksundo Khola (3630m/1190ft)
- Day09: Trek to Phoksundo Bhanjhyang (4,402m / 14,442ft)
- Day10: Trek from Phoksundo Bhanjyang to Shey Gompa (4390m/14400ft) Via Kang La Pass (5160m/16925ft)
- Day11: Rest day at Shey Gompa
- Day12: Trek from Shey Gompa to Namgung village (4430m/14530ft)
- Day13: Trek from Namgung village to Saldang (3620m/11,874ft)
- Day14: Trek from Saldang to Yangze Gompa (4960m/16267ft)
- Day15: Trek from Yangze Gompa to Sibu (4560m/14957ft)
- Day16: Trek from Sibu to Jeng La Phedi (4900m/16072ft)
- Day17: Trek from Jeng La Phedi to Dho Tarap (4080m/13382ft) via Jeng La pass (5090m/16695ft)
- Day18: Day Explore and Acclimatization in Dho Tarap
- Day19: Trek from Dho Tarap to Tarap Khola (Kama Kharka) (3800m/12464ft)
- Day20: Trek from Tarap Khola to Khanigaon (3150m/10332ft)
- Day21: Trek from Khani Gaun to Tarakot (2537m/8321ft) to Dunai (2030m/6658ft)
- Day22: Trek from Dunai to Juphal (2320m/7610ft)
- Day23: Fly from Juphal to Nepalgunj and Nepalgunj to Kathmandu | Farewell Dinner
- Day24: Departure Day
Upper Dolpo Trek Difficulty: Can Beginners trek to Upper Dolpo?
The Upper Dolpo Trek is considered a challenging trek that requires a good level of physical fitness and prior trekking experience. Due to its remote location, high altitudes, and rugged terrains, it is generally not recommended for beginners or inexperienced trekkers.
The trek involves several high mountain passes, such as Kang La Pass and Jeng La Pass, which require ascending and descending steep slopes at high altitudes. The trail also traverses through remote and isolated areas with limited facilities and amenities.
Furthermore, the trek requires long hours of walking each day, often on rocky and uneven terrain. The altitude variations can also pose challenges, including the risk of altitude sickness. Adequate acclimatization and a gradual ascent are crucial for a safe and enjoyable trekking experience in Upper Dolpo.
That being said, if you are a beginner with a strong determination and a good level of physical fitness, it is possible to undertake the Upper Dolpo Trek. However, it is highly recommended to have prior trekking experience in similar environments and to undergo thorough physical training and preparation before attempting this challenging trek.
Accomodation on Upper Dolpo Trek
Accommodation during the Upper Dolpo Trek primarily consists of teahouses and camping. However, it's important to note that the availability and quality of accommodation can vary along the trail due to the remote and rugged nature of the region.
In the lower sections of the trek, such as Suligad Ghat and Renje, teahouses are available. Teahouses are basic lodges that provide a bed, usually in a shared room, and basic amenities such as a common dining area and toilets. The facilities in these teahouses may be relatively simple, with shared bathroom facilities and limited electricity or hot water.
As you ascend higher and venture into more remote areas, the availability of teahouses decreases. In places like Phoksundo Khola, Phoksundo Bhanjhyang, Shey Gompa, and Dho Tarap, camping is the primary accommodation option. You will need to carry your own camping gear or arrange for a trekking agency to provide it for you. Camping in these locations allows you to experience the wilderness of Dolpo and enjoy the stunning landscapes.
It's important to note that camping requires more preparation and logistics compared to staying in teahouses. You will need appropriate camping equipment, including tents, sleeping bags, and cooking utensils.
In terms of facilities, camping sites generally have basic amenities, such as a designated area for tents, and may provide communal dining and washing facilities. However, keep in mind that facilities may be more limited than what you would find in teahouses.
Cost Breakdown of Upper Dolpo Trek
The cost breakdown of the Upper Dolpo Trek is as follows:
- 1 Person: US$ 3,900
- 2 - 4 Persons: US$ 3,600 per person
- 5 - 8 Persons: US$ 3,400 per person
- 9 - 15 Persons: US$ 3,250 per person
The cost of the Upper Dolpo Trek includes trekking permits, meal, transprotation during the trek.
In Conclusion embarking on the Upper Dolpo Trek is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that will leave you with indelible memories. From the untouched wilderness to the unique cultural heritage, every aspect of this trek is an invitation to discover the extraordinary.
As you navigate the rugged terrain, immerse yourself in the rich traditions of the Dolpo people, and marvel at the awe-inspiring landscapes, you'll realize why the Upper Dolpo Trek is a true gem of Nepal. So, pack your bags, put on your hiking boots, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through the mystical lands of Upper Dolpo.