Unearth the mysteries of shamans and explore the roots of the ancient Bon-Po religion while trekking through the pristine Dolpo region on the Upper Dolpo Trek. One of the trans-Himalayan regions, Upper Dolpo Trek with the Himalaya Land Treks offers a unique insight into the lifestyle and culture of people living in the remotest corridor of Nepal.
Upper Dolpo remained closed for tourists until it was opened for trekking in 1989. A protected region, Upper Dolpo remains a remote destination filled with unique landscapes, and endemic culture and lifestyle. The native inhabitants' or Dolpalis are known to have preserved their age-old practices that predate the arrival of modern-day Buddhism.
The 24-days Upper Dolpo trek begins once you arrive in the historical Kathmandu City. The trip starts with a scenic journey to some of the most popular UNESCO World Heritage sites around Kathmandu Valley. The trek begins with a trans-Himalayan flight to Juphal via Nepalgunj and slowly advances through Shey Phoksundo National Park towards the 800-years old monastery of Shey Gompa and scenic Saldang La Pass via Kang La Pass (5160m), the highest mountain pass in the region.
You’ll also cross Phoksundo Lake en route to Kang La. Phoksundo is the deepest lake in Nepal that lies inside Shey Phoksundo National Park. The banks of the lake are home to numerous Buddhist stupas and a hilltop monastery. The trail drops until Saldang village before going uphill through Yangze Gompa and Jeng La Phedi towards the high pass of Jeng La (5090m). You'll head towards Do Tarap, the highest altitude human settlement in the world.
You’ll get to explore the scenic Tarap Khola along the way back to Juphal via Tarakot as well. The trip concedes upon your return to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj. You can undertake Upper Dolpo trek throughout the year, however, autumn and spring seasons guarantee the best weather and accessibility.
The 24-days Upper Dolpo trek is Himalaya Land Trek’s standard package; however, we can always plan your itinerary as per your requirements. The standard package covers all the benefits including meals and lodging throughout the trek, domestic flight, transportation, permits, and guide and porters.
Welcome to the historical Kathmandu City. Upon your arrival, you’ll be warmly welcomed at the airport by a Himalaya Land Treks’ representative who will then escort you to your hotel located at the heart of the city. You’ll meet your trek guide and discuss the itinerary in detail.
Today you will prepare for Upper Dolpo trek. Your trek guide will assess your equipment and gears to determine if they are enough to be taken for the trek. Afterward, you’ll embark on a scenic sightseeing tour of the historical Kathmandu City and witness some of its unique UNESCO World Heritage Sites including Kathmandu Durbar Square, Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath, and Boudhanath. In the meantime, we’ll obtain trek and national park permits on your behalf.
After early breakfast at the hotel, you’ll drive towards the Kathmandu airport and embark on a scenic 30min to Nepalgunj. Located 515km southwest of Kathmandu, you’ll fly towards the lowland plain of Terai region. The city lies close to the Indian border in the south hence giving an Indian taste to local lifestyle, culture, and cuisines.
Leaving Nepalgunj, you’ll embark on an early morning flight to Juphal located in Dolpo district. A short trans-Himalayan flight will take you over the mountains of western Nepal towards Juphal located in Dolpa. Juphal serves as the gateway to Dolpa region. After taking a brief rest, you’ll make a decent trek for Upper Dolpo alongside Thuli Bheri River and walk towards Suligad Ghat. It will be an easy trek and may take anywhere almost 2.5-3hr to complete.
After obtaining Shey Phoksundo National Park permit at the Check post in Suligad Ghat, you’ll begin Upper Dolpo trekking towards Renje village. The trail here lies inside Shey Phoksundo National Park. Crossing the bridge begin heading towards Jyalhasa- also known as the winter settlement of Ringmo village. Following the trail, you’ll continue up the ridge towards Chhepka. A short detour from here, you’ll arrive at Renje campsite.
Leaving Renje, you’ll continue up the ridge and head down to the wooden bridge. After crossing the Phoksundo River, you’ll continue through the forested path towards the top of the ridge that offers the first glimpse of Phoksundo Lake. You will descend through the forests of Birch and Pine trees that take you to the charming village of Ringmo. Following the main trail along the edge of the village, you’ll trek towards Phoksundo Lake.
Today, you’ll explore the pristine Phoksundo Lake and the surrounding. You can also use this day to acclimatize before advancing further up the valley. The turquoise-colored Phoksundo Lake is a freshwater lake originating from the glaciers that lie at the altitude of 3620m above the sea level. It is also the deepest lake in Nepal and is decorated by small Chortens lying on the bank of Phoksundo Lake. Afterward, you’ll trek up to explore Ringmo village and the scenic whitewashed Thasung Chholing Gompa. Overnight in a camp in Phoksundo Lake.
After breakfast at the camp, you’ll begin hiking along the shore of the lake. You’ll begin advancing towards Phoksundo River. Hereon, the trail is uneven and is suspended on a gangplank of wood maintained by pegs driven into the crevasse in the rocks. As you approach the westernmost edge of the lake, you’ll arrive at the flood plain of the Phoksundo River. You’ll continue walking and crossing the river numerous times before arriving at the campsite beside Phoksundo River.
After having your breakfast at camp, you’ll begin heading towards the confluence of the Phoksundo River and Gyampo Kapuwa River along a glacial valley. The trail leads towards the north-east of the valley towards Shey Gumba. You’ll encounter a difficult trail that goes climbs through the rocks and boulders. You’ll enter the steep gorge and continue towards Phoksundo Bhanjhyang that offers the prime view of Kang La Pass (5160m).
After a hearty breakfast, you’ll begin climbing towards Kang-La pass, one of the highest passes in the region. The steep trail may offer difficulty going up. Once at the top of the pass, you’ll be presented with the amazing view of the Upper Dolpo valley. You'll begin descending the pass that leads along the banks of the river. You will need to cross the river numerous times before heading into the old nomadic herders’ settlement. Soon you spot a red Chorten that marks your arrival at the Shey Gompa. You’ll continue towards Shey Gompa.
Today you’ll spend the day acclimatizing and exploring Shey Gompa monastery. Also known as Crystal Monastery, the history of the Gumba goes back over 800 years. The local legend believes that the Gumba was built during the 11th Century. It is the first Kagyupa monastery and is situated above the confluence of Kangjunala and Yaju Nala River. After exploring the monastery, you’ll also visit the nearby crystal mountain.
Leaving Shey Gompa, you’ll make your way towards Saldang La Pass (5010m), one of the highest passes in the region. The initial trail remains pleasant and runs through the juniper trees into the canyons. An uneven path over bare rocks and coarse soil will lead you to the top of Saldang La. You'll begin descending the pass and head north towards the yak pastures and nomadic settlement and reach Namgung village.
Leaving the herder’s village of Namgung, we will begin heading towards Saldang village. You’ll ascend above the ridge and continue along the barren mountainous trail. Composed of hard climb, you’ll continue ascending towards the ridge that offers the picturesque view of Saldang village located just below on a plateau high above the Nam Khongma La. You’ll continue walking downwards to reach Saldang village.
After a hearty breakfast at Saldang, you’ll begin climbing the trail north towards Yangze Gompa. You’ll encounter few detours along the Nagon River and walk past small settlement including Tiling, Kaigaon, and Luri Gaon. You will then cross the bridge over the Panjyan River and keep walking along the quaint part of the region towards Yangze Gompa. Yangze Gompa is an old Bon-Po Monastery built by the locals before the arrival of Buddhism in the region.
Leaving Yangze Gompa, you’ll begin trekking downhill towards Saldang village. Although there is an alternative route leading to Sibu village, you’ll take a detour from Saldang to save time. Once at Saldang, you’ll begin following the river bed and walk past the terraced fields, stupas, Chortens and Mani stones towards Namdo village located on the bank of Nam Khong River. From here, we continue trekking for about two hours to reach Sibu.
After having your breakfast at Sibu, you’ll set off towards Jeng La Phedi. You’ll begin the trek with a climb following the same Nam Khong River. After a while, you’ll turn east and continue until you come across the confluence of two small tributaries. You’ll begin walking towards the bottom of the Jeng La or Jeng La Phedi.
Leaving Jeng La Phedi, you’ll begin climbing the mighty Jeng La Pass (5090m). Around two hours of the strenuous uphill climb will take you to the top of the Jeng La pass that welcomes you with a beautiful view of snowy mountains including the north face of Dhaulagiri massif. You’ll begin descending through the rough path towards the Do Tarap valley. You’ll get to visit Tokyu monastery belonging to Chaiba sect en route to Do Tarap. After a short trek, you’ll reach Do Tarap village.
You’ll take a break and explore the day visiting the Do Tarap village. After having your breakfast, you’ll set out for a leisurely half-day excursion to Dero Gompa and Shipchok Gompa –a school of Bon Po religion. You’ll also get to visit Ribo Bhumpa Gompa above the village. You can also observe the traditional lifestyle of the people as you spend the day exploring the villages. Overnight in Do Tarap.
After a hearty meal at Do Tarap, you’ll begin descending away from Tarap valley and head into the gorge. You will walk along with the juniper bushes and wild roses en route to Tarap Khola that lies in the confluence of the Tarap Chu and the Lang River. You walk further towards the meadow in Kama Kharka where you will set up your camp. If time permits, you can visit the nearby caves as well.
Leaving Kamakharka, you'll begin descending the lower Dolpo region. You'll walk along Tarap River and past the narrow deep gorges towards Khanigaon. Khanigaon lies on the bank of Tarap Khola and offers surreal scenery of the surrounding landscapes. Here, you can also visit Chhedhul Gompa and observe the influence of the monastery on the lifestyle of the locals. You can set up the camp for the overnight stay.
Leaving Khanigaon, you’ll begin trekking through the dense forest and head towards the gorge. You’ll continue following the river to reach Tarakot village where we can enjoy the colorful terraced fields. After a brief rest, you’ll continue along the trail and cross the bridge at Lawanto head towards village lying in the shades of pine trees. You’ll follow the bank of Thuli Bheri River and reach Dunai. Overnight in Dunai.
The day marks the end of the trek. After a hearty breakfast at Dunai, you’ll begin trekking along the Thuli Bheri River to reach Juphal. The trail passes through terraced fields and small settlements en route to Jhupal. You can spend the rest of the day celebrating the completion of the trek with your staff and colleague.
After breakfast, you’ll catch an early morning flight back to Nepalgunj. You’ll fly over the Himalayas to reach the lowland plains of Terai region. Once at Nepalgunj, you’ll catch the connecting flight back to Kathmandu. The 30min flight will take you over the lushly decorated hills of central west Nepal. In Kathmandu, you’ll participate in a farewell dinner hosted by the Himalaya Land Treks.
The last day of the trip, you’ll enjoy your breakfast at the hotel. Afterward, you’ll embark on a short journey towards the airport to catch your flight back home. You can choose to indulge in last-minute shopping before heading to the airport.
We will easily organize this trip on the dates requested by you. Please contact us for your customized departure date