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Upper Dolpo / Dolpa Circuit Trek (20 Days)


Trip Code: WEVT-55
Group Size: 2-20 Person
Max Altitude: 1300.00 meters
Trip Category: Trekking
Travel Style: Trekking
Area Dolpa
Activities Trekking and Hiking
Places Covered
Kathmandu,
Tags
#dolpa, #snow leopard trek, #shey gompa, #crystal mountain, #dho tarap, #Bon people, #Tibetan Buddhist,

Dolpo is remote, wild and untamed far most corner of the Nepalese himalayas that is discrete with Nepal and rest of the world by high passes towards the south. Trekking in the dolpo region is very significant from rest of the himalayas in Nepal. This land is very pure and considered holy and rests in the extension of Tibetan plateau towards Nepal. The region is in directly contact with Tibet for over 100 years. The settlement in Dolpo is in few handful numbers like the oasis in desert. The land is very dry and arid but boasts a beautiful terrain and elements of nature.


 

You will not only come across a beautiful biodiversity but also the highest continuous settlement of Thakchu khola at 4100 meters. Dolpo circuit trek is surrounded by the wonders of nature, towards the west it boundaries Mugu and it is walled by the Dhaulagiri mountains towards the east and on  the far north is the beautiful crystal mountain of Kanjiroba. Alike Mustang and Manang, Dolpo as well fall in the rain shadows of the high mountains towards the south.


Despite few enthusiastic anthropologists and geographers made it to the region in the past the district has seen only nominal amount of tourist. In fact Dolpo trek was not accessible to the world to 1989 and then the lower region was opened for organized trek. Upper Dolpa circuit was opened much later and it as well homes Nepal’s most beautiful lake Shey Phoksundo. The beautiful villages of Tarap and Shey which is astoundingly beautiful will catch your attention for sure. The protection and restriction fees however makes it a little expensive than the other treks in region. If it is in your reach you definitely would want to do Upper Dolpo circuit trek. Book this trek today and get it in an unbeatable price!

Short Itinerary:

Day 1Kathmandu - Nepalgunj (1 hr flight)
Day 2Nepalgunj-Juphal (2,475 m); walk to Chhepka (2,838 m); 6 hours
Day 3Chhepka (2,838 m)-Chunuwar/Amchi Hospital (3,130 m); 6 hours
Day 4Chunuwar/Amchi Hospital (3,130 m)-Ringmo/ Phoksundo Lake (3,608 m); 3 hours
Day 5Ringmo/Phoksundo Lake (3641 m). Rest day and visit to Bon Gompa
Day 6Ringmo/Phoksundo Lake (3641 m) - Phoksundo Khola Camp (3730 m) 6 hrs
Day 7Phoksundo Khola Camp (3730 m) - Pass Camp(4400 m) 6-7 hrs
Day 8Phoksundo Khola Camp (4400 m) - Shey Gompa (4310 m) via Nagdalo-La (Kang La) (5350 m) 6-7 hrs
Day 9Shey Gompa (4310 m). Rest day
Day 10Shey Gompa (4310 m) - Namgung (4430 m) via Shey-La (5010 m) 6-7 hrs
Day 11Namgung (4430 m) - Saldang (4060 m) 3-4 hrs
Day 12Saldang (4060 m) - Chagaon (3840 m) 4 hrs
Day 13Chagaon (3840 m) - Darshumna Dobhan (4700 m) 7 hrs
Day 14Darshumna Dobhan(470 0 m) - Tokyu (4210 m) via Jyanta-La/Jeng-La (5220 m) 7 hrs
Day 15Tokyu (4210 m) - Dho Tarap (4080 m) 2-3hrs
Day 16 Dho Tarap (4080 m) - Tarap Khola (3150 m) 6-7 hrs
Day 17Khanigaun(3523 m) - Tarakot(3370 m) 6-7 hrs
Day 18Tarakot(2537 m) - Dunai (2140 m) 6 hrs)
Day 19Dunai (2140 m) - Juphal (2475 m) 3-4 hrs
Day 20Juphal-Nepalgunj-Kathmandu (Flight)
Best Seasons:
Spring(April, June, July), Monsoon(August, September, October), Summer(November, December January),
Number of Days:
20 Days
Day 1
Kathmandu - Nepalgunj (1 hr flight)

Places Visited: Kathmandu

Activities: Flight

Thank you for choosing upper Dolpo circuit trek! There are several flights in and out of Kathmandu and to Nepalgunj. The flight takes around 45 minutes and you will mostly fly over flat terrain once out of Kathmandu. Depending upon your will to explore Nepalgunj and upon the decision of the group, your flights will be booked as per your convenience. Overnight in Nepalgunj.

Day 2
Nepalgunj-Juphal (2,475 m); walk to Chhepka (2,838 m); 6 hours

Places Visited:

Activities: Flight Trekking and Hiking

The flight takes around 35 minutes over the rugged terrain of Jumla and giving you with beautiful views of snow clad mountains on the either side. Once in Juphal, you will begin your Shey Phoksundo Trek on foot and you will embark on the only trail that makes its way through the fields of wheat and towards the thulo Bheri river. You will then cross the river and enter the premises of Shey Phoksundo National park. The trail climbs along Suli Khola; a wild emerald green stream that leads to Kageni in about an hour. About around an hour an half and through the forest and along the stream you will reach the settlement of Syangta. The trail is almost uphill from the very beginning and almost to the end of the day. From Syangta, the trail again climbs but this time through beautiful forest of pine, spruce, fir, Juniper and cypress and on top it climbs next to the emerald green stream all the way to Chhepka. Overnight in Chhepka.

Day 3
Chhepka (2,838 m)-Chunuwar/Amchi Hospital (3,130 m); 6 hours

Places Visited:

Activities: Trekking and Hiking

The same beautiful setting prolongs on this day as well, the path continues through beautiful pine forest, birches and other broadleaf tree. Primarily, you will traverse through a gorge created by Phoksundo river which later opens to an exposed ridge with drops at either end. This is the only trail that you will follow all the way and the trail is surrounded by pine trees that climbs higher than the trail at all times. You will cross the river over wooden bridge several times and at times share the trail with dzopas; crossbreed of yak and cow. The first ever settlement you will reach is Ryachi which is as well pronounced as Rechi. Only after this place the trail gets a little broader but still climbs gradually to the final destination. Around above 2 and half hours from Ryachi, you will arrive at a boarding school for the local children and further to the final destination of the day Chunuwar. Overnight in Chunuwar.

Day 4
Chunuwar/Amchi Hospital (3,130 m)-Ringmo/ Phoksundo Lake (3,608 m); 3 hours

Places Visited:

Activities: Trekking and Hiking

The trail gets narrow, steep and sandy and it climbs for around 2 hours making it very difficult for you to climb. The climb takes you to a beautiful waterfall point which boasts amazing view of the surrounding. The waterfall is well known as Phoksundo waterfall as well as Suligadh waterfall and lies at an elevation of 3683 meters from the sea level. From here, the trail descends and reaches to Phoksundo river and in another 45 minutes from here you would reach to the village of Ringmo. This tiny village is adjacent to Shey Phoksundo Lake and right from the behind of this village soars snow capped mountains Norbung Kang (6,085 m), Byas Risi (5,416 m) and Kang Tokal (6,294 m). Overnight in Ringmo village.

Day 5
Ringmo/Phoksundo Lake (3641 m). Rest day and visit to Bon Gompa

Places Visited:

Activities: Trekking and Hiking

Phoksundo lake is the second largest and the deepest lake in Nepal and is a RAMSAR site. Located on the southern side of the lake is the culturally rich Tibetan village of Ringmo. People here are yet to be exposed to the modern world and its amenities. You can as well observe during your rest day that people in this village are fond of making several varieties handicrafts. Around a kilometer and five is located the famous Pal Sentan Thason Chholing Gompa which is a pilgrimage for Bon people in the region. This is the home of follower of Bon religion and many people know very less of the religion and on this day you have this opportunity to explore it. Overnight in Ringmo/Phoksundo Lake.

Day 6
Ringmo/Phoksundo Lake (3641 m) - Phoksundo Khola Camp (3730 m) 6 hrs

Places Visited:

Activities: Trekking and Hiking

From this point on you will embark on the trails of Upper Dolpa/Dolpo Circuit trek. For the first 40 minutes you will traverse on a precipitous trail that does not climb too steeply. After crossing a stream, the trail climbs steeply for the next 400 meters but with one of the most dramatic views of the surrounding. You have to be extremely careful because the trail is exposed at times and you will have to share the way with Yak caravans. After almost 80 minutes of climbing up to the ridge, the trail now drops to the sandy basins of Phoksundo Khola. This very plain makes the best place for us to stop and grab our lunch. From here, you will walk on the floodplains created by the river for around half an hour and then cross the river. Once you are in the other side the trail enters pine forest which later makes way for silver birch. While you make your way through the Birch forest, you will notice buddhist mantras carved on the barks of these trees by passing buddhists. It takes couple of hours by this point to reach Phoksundo Khola camp traversing from beautiful landscape, crossing streams at several place and making our way from gorges and narrow valleys. Overnight in Phoksundo Khola Camp.

Day 7
Phoksundo Khola Camp (3730 m) - Pass Camp(4400 m) 6-7 hrs

Places Visited:

Activities: Trekking and Hiking

For around 90 minutes you will climb exactly from where you had stopped on the previous day. There are different trail marks left by animals from this point on and it seems like there are several ways to reach our destination of the day but in fact, there are only 2 ways to get there. We will take the highway which is avoided by animal caravans. The trail becomes somewhat of easier gradient once it reaches the mouth of the Gorge. Within the next half an hour is a the first campsite and is good if the water level is low. The next campsite is towards the end of the valley and has a stream nearby. In around another 2 and half hours is the very campsite in the flat basins with the beautiful views of Churan Lekh which is as well known as Nangdala. Overnight in Pass Camp.

Day 8
Phoksundo Khola Camp (4400 m) - Shey Gompa (4310 m) via Nagdalo-La (Kang La) (5350 m) 6-7 hrs

Places Visited:

Activities: Trekking and Hiking

The way to the pass is not before another couple of hours of walk. The trails are not marked and only an experienced guide will be able to help you out of this basin. Once on the top through loose slate scree, you will reach the top of Nagdalo La which is as well known as the Nangdala la. From the pass is seen a broad valley which will take you another hour from the top. Once at the bottom, the trail goes easy downhill and see plenty of yak herders and sheep herders. In season, they sell one of the best fresh yoghurt. In not more than over 2 hours, you will reach the red color walls of the Shey Gompa. Overnight in Shey.

Day 9
Shey Gompa (4310 m). Rest day

Places Visited:

Activities: Trekking and Hiking

Shey Gompa is considered to be the holiest of the shrines for the people following Bon religion and Tibetan buddhism. There are 2 gompas in the village namely Kagyupa Sect Gompa and Hermitage at Tsakang. It’s not the infrastructure of the Gompas that is captivating but the stories of its evolution told by the monk attendees of the shrines. The entire Shey is considered as holy land and hence, no slaughtering and killing of animals is allowed. This being the reason, there still are several blue sheep sightings and frequent sightings of shy snow leopards. Overnight in Shey Gompa.

Day 10
Shey Gompa (4310 m) - Namgung (4430 m) via Shey-La (5010 m) 6-7 hrs

Places Visited:

Activities: Trekking and Hiking

From here, we will begin heading north and towards the dry and arid Likhu Khola valley. Around 2 hours and we begin trekking further north and walk towards a stream. From here, you will begin climbing on loose trail that takes you all the way up to a pass namely Shey La at 5095 meters. Once you descend from the top, you will see different trails branching at all possible direction but you will take the trail along the watercourse. You will descend all the way to the Namgung and then climb a little further to the campsite. Overnight in Namgung.

Day 11
Namgung (4430 m) - Saldang (4060 m) 3-4 hrs

Places Visited:

Activities: Trekking and Hiking

There are several trails out of Namgung and only one trail leads to the end of the valley and then down to Saldang, rest of the trail leads to a direction where we are not headed to. We will begin climbing the ridge on the far side of the valley and once on the top of the ridge, we will head down towards Namga Khola. From here, we will further descend to another stream namely Nagaon Khola. From here, it takes another hour to the commercial and administrative center of Saldang. It is a short trek and much require short trek. Overnight in Saldang.

Day 12
Saldang (4060 m) - Chagaon (3840 m) 4 hrs

Places Visited:

Activities: Trekking and Hiking

It is from Saldang that the trail branches to Kagbeni, Mugu or Dho Tara. From here, out Upper Dolpo Circuit trek head towards Dho Tarap and this is why we will now branch off to Chagaon. On today’s day the trail is somewhat decent and you will see several villages and will get exposed to day to day lives of Dolpo people. Today, you will walk only 3-4 hours and in these hours you will see one village making way for another. So, you begin walking towards the east and then later on you are southeast bound. You will mostly walk on the high bank along the river. The first village you will reach is named as Ponrah and the village has 2 prehistoric monasteries. From here, Chagaon is around an hour of walk. Overnight in Chagaon.

Day 13
Chagaon (3840 m) - Darshumna Dobhan (4700 m) 7 hrs

Places Visited:

Activities: Trekking and Hiking

There is no proper trail marking so it is identifying the trail with the help of terrain, rivers and rocks. So, you still continue south from here and walk up the ruins of an ancient fort beyond the last village of Chasip. You will remain intact on the main trail and climb gradually besides the river. You will reach a grazing ground namely Rakyo Kharka in the next couple of hours from where you will have to cross the stream frequently. In the next couple of hours, you will reach a larger tributary namely Dachung Khola. Further down is the Nagon Khola which you will cross and then remain on the banks of the larger tributary mentioned earlier. Watching the terrific views, you will once again walk for an hour and half to a confluence of tributaries where you will cross Dachung Khola and walk into a valley. From here, the camping ground is around 45 minutes away. Overnight in Darshumna Dobhan.

Day 14
Darshumna Dobhan(470 0 m) - Tokyu (4210 m) via Jyanta-La/Jeng-La (5220 m) 7 hrs

Places Visited:

Activities: Trekking and Hiking

It takes around 2 hours to climb all the way to Jayanta La at 5220, the pass that connects the next valley. From the top, you will get great views of Dhaulagiri massif, local peaks and the view of Tibet. From here, it will be your last view of Tibet. We will remain at the very center while descending down the valley and we will descend all the way down to the banks of Jayanta Khola. The walk is not very difficult for the next 2 hours and then it becomes more easier once you cross the river and come to place with series of mani walls and chortens. One final descent from here takes you to Tokyu. Overnight in Tokyu.

Day 15
Tokyu (4210 m) - Dho Tarap (4080 m) 2-3hrs

Places Visited:

Activities: Trekking and Hiking

This is one of the most important days of the Upper Dolpa circuit trek. We will descend south and descend gradually observing the mix of Buddhist and Bon religions. As you descend along the patches of green by the river, the temperature slowly picks up and the terrain begins to change. In a very short time you will be in one of the strategically important villages in Dolpo namely Dho Tarap. Once in Dho, you will explore the village as the village is relatively big and has several gompas worth exploring. Overnight in Dho.

Day 16
Dho Tarap (4080 m) - Tarap Khola (3150 m) 6-7 hrs

Places Visited:

Activities: Trekking and Hiking

The trail out of Dho Tarap is mostly horizontal but is equally windy as well. We follow the only trail out of the village that climbs up the gorge and watch the views of the river shrinking below. You may come across blue sheeps and yaks making their way to the lower ground for the grazing grounds. We walk along juniper shrubs and wild roses on the trial slightly above the tree line. On peak season for Dolpa circuit trek, you may see tents on open space shared with sheeps, mules and yaks. Half way through the trek you will reach the confluence of Lang khola and Tarap Chu. Lang makes a perfect place for lunch. We walk further down at Khanigaun and then camp in a meadow.

Day 17
Khanigaun(3523 m) - Tarakot(3370 m) 6-7 hrs

Places Visited:

Activities: Trekking and Hiking

From this day on the trail begins to descend but before doing that, it slightly inclines and drops making way for forests. Far below you will see the river flowing and hear it gushing down. The forest of pine goes from ones and twos to dense and on the way the forest is accompanied by couple of beautiful waterfalls. Despite descending down, the gorge created by the hills rising at either end makes the trail very cold and windy. Laini Odar on the way makes a beautiful place to stop for lunch in between. Further down the trail, you will come across a large village namely Lasikyap. Moving ahead, you will come to a confluence of two rivers joining to become Thuli Bheri river. Beyond this river, the trail is still gentle and passes through dense vegetation. Now, you will come across several villages and out of them one is our overnight stop is Tarakot.

Day 18
Tarakot(2537 m) - Dunai (2140 m) 6 hrs)

Places Visited:

Activities: Trekking and Hiking

From Tarakot the trail becomes broader, better and still is horizontal. The trail out from the village is along the shore of the river. At times, the trail climbs up the hill and at times dips down to the bed of the river. On your way, you will come across a village namely Shahar Tara which makes a nice place to stop over or even catch our lunch. We walk all the way to Dunai and call it a night.

Day 19
Dunai (2140 m) - Juphal (2475 m) 3-4 hrs

Places Visited:

Activities: Trekking and Hiking

The last day of the trek is uphill. Our target is to reach Juphal which is the only village in the entire Dolpa region that is linked with an airport. Partly, you will walk on a wide road that takes you all the way to a place named Kalagauda. From here, it is a back breaking and nerve wracking 2 hours uphill stretch to Juphal. Once in Juphal, we will accommodate in the comfort of a basic teahouse and celebrate the completion of Upper Dolpo / Dolpa circuit trek.

Day 20
Juphal-Nepalgunj-Kathmandu (Flight)

Places Visited: Kathmandu

Activities: Flight

You could either fly out today or will have to wait for a day to fly out of Juphal. However, the first flight is over mountain terrain and takes around 35 minutes to reach Nepalgunj. Depending upon the first flight, you will either fly out of Nepalgunj on the same day or the next day. Once in Kathmandu, you will be transferred to your hotel and hence, your Upper Dolpo / Dolpa Circuit trek comes to an end.

Price :
Not Mentioned  
What's Included:
  • All airport and hotel transfers
  • All government and local taxes
  • A comprehensive medical kit
  • All necessary paperwork and permits (National park permit, TIMS )
  • Trekking Map
  • All airport/hotel transfers
  • Two nights in a budget accommodation with breakfast
What's Not Included:
  • Down jacket, sleeping bag, day backpacks, t-shirt, and trekking map
  • Excess baggage charges
  • International airfare to and from Kathmandu
  • Nepal Visa fee.
  • Lunch and evening meals in Kathmandu (and also in the case of early return from the mountain than the scheduled itinerary)
  • Extra night accommodation in Kathmandu because of early arrival, late departure, and early return from the mountain(due to any reason) than the scheduled itinerary
  • Travel and rescue insurance
  • Personal expenses (phone calls, laundry, bar bills, battery recharge, extra porters, bottle or boiled water, shower etc)
  • Tips for guides and porters
Please make sure that you are equipped with following equipments and resuorces before you proceed for this tour package.
Checklist:
  • Sun hat or scarf.
  • Light balaclava or warm fleece hat.
  • Sunglasses with UV protection.
  • Under Garments
  • Hiking shorts.
  • Lightweight cotton long pants.
  • Light and expedition weight thermal bottoms.
  • Fleece or wool pants (seasonal).
  • Waterproof (preferably breathable fabric) shell pants
  • Thin, lightweight inner socks
  • Thick, warm wool hiking socks
  • Hiking boots with spare laces
  • Camp shoes (sneakers and/or sandals)
  • Gaiters for hiking in winter to the base camp
  • T-shirts
  • Light and expedition weight thermal tops
  • Fleece jacket or pullover
  • Fleece Wind-Stopper jacket (optional)
  • Waterproof (preferably breathable fabric) shell jacket
  • Down vest and/or jacket *
  • Lightweight gloves
  • Heavyweight gloves or mittens with a waterproof shell outer (seasonal)
  • Sleeping bag rated to zero DC *
  • Headlamp (e.g. Petzl Zoom) with spare bulbs and batteries
  • Trekking Bags/Duffel bag *
  • Basic First Aid Kit
  • Large plastic bags - for keeping items dry inside trek bag
  • Daypack (approximately 2500 to 3000 cubic inches)
  • Trekking Poles
  • Water bottle (2) or camel bag
  • Toiletries (Small wash towel, Toilet papers etc)
  • Ear Plug (who know some people on group are snoring)
  • 1 medium sized quick drying towel
  • Tooth brush/paste (preferably biodegradable)
  • Multipurpose soap (preferably biodegradable)
  • Deodorants
  • Nail clippers
  • Face and body moisturiser
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Small mirror
  • Wet wipes (baby wipes)
  • Tissue /toilet roll
  • Anti bacterial hands wash
  • Binoculars
  • Reading book
  • Trail Map/Guide book
  • Journal & Pen
  • I-pod
  • Pencils and small notebooks
  • Travel game i.e. chess, backgammon, scrabble
  • Modest swimsuits (for Kathmandu)

Reviews from our gratified travellers


Dolpo is remote, wild and untamed far most corner of the Nepalese himalayas that is discrete with Nepal and rest of the world by high passes towards the south.

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