Trekking in the remote region of Dolpo leads through scenic, hidden valleys and ancient shrines like Shey Gompa. enjoying fascinating views of the pristine waters of Phoksundo Lake, encountering yak caravans that cross the high-Himalayan passes and mountain people who live in some of the highest settlements on earth like the Dho-Tarap valley; Dolpo is out of this world. Dolpo’s extraordinary natural beauty was exquisitely captured in the Oscar nominated film“Caravan”. Trekking in this Himalayan region is an unforgettable adventure.Dolpo is confined by the Dhaulagiri range in the south and east, Mt. Sisne and Kanjiroba in the west and the Tibetan plataeu towards the north. Lake Phoksundo’s shimmering turquoise waters never fails to fascinate visitors, making it one of the major attractions of Dolpo.Settlements here are generally at amazing altitudes of 3,660 m to 4,070 m and the people are devout Buddhists who have been trading with Tibet for centuries. There are 130 gompas (Buddhist monasteries) in Dolpo which speaks volumes for their religious fervor.
One of the delightful moments during the trek is the sight of long yak caravans that even today endure immense hardships negotiating the harsh, icy terrain, crossing high mountain passes, carrying goods for barter to the other side of the Himalayas. Closely linked with Tibet, the people speak Tibetan, look Tibetan and retain their Tibetan heritage and culture which are highlighted by religious ceremonies in their monasteries wLittle has changed in the way of life for these hardy people who strictly follow the customs and beliefs of their forefathers who came over from Tibet centuries ago. This trek is an opportunity to meet these simple folk who live under extreme conditions just making ends meet.
Opened up for tourism only in 1989, these high mountain valleys remained unexplored and largely unseen by outsiders. Isolated by the difficult topography, the people in this region have preserved their culture and live a life untouched by the trappings of modern society. Dolpo is one of the Restricted Areas of Nepal so trekkers require a Trekking permit from the Department of Immigration in addition to the TIMS card to trek in this region. Trekkers must be extremely fit to endure the long and strenuous stretches en route.here Tibetan Buddhism prevails.
Getting There & Away
Western Nepal is remote, making access more difficult than other parts of Nepal. First, you have to get to Nepalgunj, on the plains, and then to Juphal in Dolpo district.
Most people fly to Nepalgunj from either Kathmandu or Pokhara. From Nepalgunj, you then fly to Juphal. (It isn’t possible to fly directly to Juphal from Kathmandu, although expensive charter flights can be arranged from Pokhara.) Most organised tours will fly from Kathmandu. Keep in mind that the airport at Juphal is no more than a tiny mountain airstrip, where bad weather can often delay flights.
Nepalgunj is also accessible by road, but it is a long trip from Kathmandu or Pokhara. Roads are improving throughout Western Nepal, but Juphal is currently several days’ walk from the nearest road-head
Permits & Regulations
Permits for Upper Dolpo are expensive and strictly enforced. You also need to purchase a permit for Lower Dolpo, which you pass through on your way to Upper Dolpo. On top of that, only 250 foreigners are permitted to enter Upper Dolpo each year.
- Lower Dolpo: $10 USD per week
- Upper Dolpo: $50 USD per day (10-day minimum)
There is also an Rs. 1000 entry fee to the Shey-Phoksundo National Park. As it’s mandatory to trek with a guide on an organised tour in Upper Dolpo, your tour operator will arrange all permits and these fees are generally included in the total cost of your trip.
- Dramatic flight out to Taplejung from the capital of Kathmandu
- A scenic walk through the native land of some of the world’s highest mountains
- Explore the majestic monasteries as it built for long centuries,
- Enjoy the views of the Miraculous and landscape
- Discover the unique lifestyle and culture of the mountain people
- Airport pick up and drop off services – (Airport- Hotel- Airport)
- Trekking equipment such as the Sleeping bag, Down jacket, and walking poles (rental is included if needed)
- Duffle bag if required (Optional)
- Souvenir: Trekking route map/browser and printed ART company HIKING T-shirt
- An Oximeter to measure your Oxygen and Pulse at high altitude to find out the accurate health condition while you are trekking in the mountain.
- WOKI TOKI – for communicating in distance one to another place and that’s for a potentially critical situation on the trek
Like much of Nepal, the best time to visit Upper Dolpo is the spring (April to May) and the fall (October to November) when temperatures are pleasant, skies are the clearest, and there is minimal chance of snow at high altitudes. Late/early snow can affect this trek in April and November, making some passes impossible to cross.
Trekking in Upper Dolpo is considered strenuous. There are steep ascents, three passes above 5000 m., several nights spent above 3500 m. and some long trekking days of six hours or more. The fact that this is a camping trek adds to the physical challenge and discomfort of trekking in Upper Dolpo, and rest days are recommended.
This is not a beginner’s trek or one to attempt if it’s your first time in Nepal. But it will be a worthwhile challenge for experienced trekkers and repeat visitors to Nepal alike!
Here are some of the Trekking accessories that you require for the easy and convenient journey-
In general you will need four sleeping bags (we could provide you one for the trek), a duffel or a trekking bag of 70-80 liters (we can provide one), down jacket (this too we can provide one if needed for the trek) and a normal travel bag of 25-30 liters.
For clothing, you will require the following-
Upper body- For this-shirts, waterproof jacket, fleece jacket or pullover, water proof jacketare needed. Wind proof jacket are optional but preferred. For T-shirts, baggy cotton T-shirts are the best especially for warm days in lower altitudes. Moreover, we recommend synthetic T-shirts as they quickly absorb the moisture. Then, for the waterproof jacket, we recommend you to have nylon which is light.
Lower body- For this, you need hiking shorts, trekking pants, soft shell and hard shell pants, cotton pants or jeans. For hiking shorts, buy the fabric which dries quickly. For trekking pants, go for the ones which have zipper in the middle of the knees so that you can take off the bottom part when necessary. Forsoft shell pants, buy a synthetic fiber. Then, for hard shell, buy a waterproof one. Full zipper from top to bottom is preferred for both soft and hard shell pants. For extra wearable, have a pair of jeans or cotton pants.
Inner wears- Regarding inner wears, you need lightweight underwear which is preferably made up of synthetic. For women, own synthetic sports bras. You could also have swimsuit if you would like to.
Footwear- For this, you need a trekking boot, gaiters and sandals. For Trekking boots, get a hard sole lug-cleated boots for good performance for every kind of landscape. We then recommend you to have a pair as it helps keep your feet dry quickly and keeping dust, rocks and snow out of your shoes. We also suggest you to have a pair of sandals as it helps while you are in the lodge. Then, for socks, you require 4 pairs of synthetic and 3 pairs of woolen socks.
Hand wears- The hand essentials are gloves, mittens and hand warmers. For warm weather, buy synthetic or thin woolen gloves. For cold weather, buy a woolen or fleece gloves. While for mittens, Gore-Tex mittens are the best. Regarding hand warmers, it’s completely your choice whether you want to have or not.
Face protection- For protecting the face against the snowfalls, heavy wind, direct sun, etc. we recommend you to have a cap or a hat, a synthetic woolen hat, a lightweightedbalaclava, glacier glasses having 100% UV protected lens with side shields and hard-sided storage, headlamp, ear muffs, neck warmer, etc. Ear muffs and neck warmers are not necessary but are up to your choice.
First Aid Kit– Though the trekking guides will be carrying a first aid kit box, we suggest you to have one as well. So, for this, you will need to have basic emergency equipment. You can discuss with us regarding what all to take along with you.
Personal care- The personal care products that you will require while trekking are tooth brush, tooth paste (biodegradable is preferred), towel, soap, hand wash, sanitizers, wet wipes, deodorants, crèmes, etc. along with your other needs.
Miscellaneous but important- These include valid passport, passport size photos, airline ticket (and its copy), luggage locks, thick garbage bags, water bottle, small bag for travel documents, passport, wallet/purse, etc., pocket knife, sunscreen lotion (SPF 40 recommended) and lip balm of at least SPF 20.
Extras- The extras include trekking poles, snacks, books, games, chargers, binoculars, batteries, camera, guide book, extra glasses (if you wear), notebook/pen, sleeping bag liner, hydration bladder with drinking tube, pee bottle for men and pee funnel for women, thermos, etc.
Note- Tight fitting clothes especially made out of fabrics like lycra, especially to women can be offensive to the local villagers. So, make sure that you pack something to wear on top of them if you want to pack them.
Day 1: Fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj: 1 hour, overnight at Hotel.
Day 2: Fly from Nepalgunj to Jhuphal (Dolpo) and trek to Dunai (2,850m/3 hours trek), overnight at lodge.
Day 3: Trek from Dunai to Ankhe (2,896m/6 hours walk), overnight at lodge.
Day 4: Trek from Ankhe to Sulighat 6 hours walk, overnight at lodge.
Day 5: Trek from Sulighat to Phoksundo Lake (3,611m/5 hours walk), overnight at lodge.
Day 6: Acclimatization and rest at Phoksundo Lake, overnight at lodge.
Day 7: Trek to Phoksundo Khola 4/5 hours walk, overnight at lodge.
Day 8: Trek from Phoksunds Khola to Phoksundo Bhanjyang 6/ 7 hours walk, overnight at lodge.
Day 9: Trek from Phoksundo Bhanjyang to Shey Gompa (4,500m) via Kang-La pass (5,360m) 5/6 hrs, overnight at lodge.
Day 10: Acclimatization and rest at Shey Gompa, overnight at tent/ lodge.
Day 11: Trek from Shey Gompa to Namduna Gaun (4,800m) by passing Saldang La (5,200m) – total walking time 7 hours, overnight at lodge.
Day 12: Trek from Namduna Gaun to Saldang (3,620m/4-5 hours walk), overnight at lodge.
Day 13: Trek from Saldang to Yangze Gompa (4,960m/5 hours walk), overnight at lodge.
Day 14: Trek from Yangze Gompa to Sibu (4,560m/7 hours walk).
Day 15: Trek from Sibu to Jeng-la Phedi (4,900m/5-6 hours , overnight at lodge,
Day 16: Trek from Tokyu to Dho Tarap (4,040m) - 5 hours Walk, overnight at lodge.
Day 17: Rest Day at Dho Tarap, overnight at lodge.