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Upper Dolpa Trek

Overview The Upper Dolpa Trek is a mesmerizing journey that takes adventurers to one of the most remote and untouched regions of Nepal. Nestled in the far western corner of the country, Upper Dolpa also renowns for its rugged landscapes, ancient Tibetan culture, and pristine natural beauty. This challenging trek, spanning approximately 300 kilometers, offers an unforgettable experience for those seeking a truly off-the-beaten-path adventure. The trek begins with a flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj, followed by another scenic flight to Juphal, the gateway to the Dolpa region. From Juphal, trekkers embark on a captivating trail that leads them through…


The Upper Dolpa Trek is a mesmerizing journey that takes adventurers to one of the most remote and untouched regions of Nepal. Nestled in the far western corner of the country, Upper Dolpa also renowns for its rugged landscapes, ancient Tibetan culture, and pristine natural beauty. This challenging trek, spanning approximately 300 kilometers, offers an unforgettable experience for those seeking a truly off-the-beaten-path adventure.

The trek begins with a flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj, followed by another scenic flight to Juphal, the gateway to the Dolpa region. From Juphal, trekkers embark on a captivating trail that leads them through deep river valleys, dense forests, and high mountain passes. The trail also gradually ascends, unveiling breathtaking vistas of snow-capped peaks, cascading waterfalls, and picturesque alpine meadows.

As trekkers delve deeper into Upper Dolpa, they are greeted by traditional Tibetan villages, where ancient Buddhist monasteries and chortens also stand as testaments to the region’s rich cultural heritage. The local inhabitants, mainly of Tibetan descent, also have preserved their unique customs and way of life for centuries, adding to the allure of this remote region.

The highlight of the Upper Dolpa Trek is undoubtedly the mesmerizing Phoksundo Lake. Located at an altitude of 3,611 meters, this pristine turquoise gem is the deepest lake in Nepal. Its crystal-clear waters reflect the surrounding snow-capped peaks, creating a breathtaking panorama that leaves trekkers in awe. The trek also offers ample time to explore the enchanting shores of Phoksundo Lake, allowing for moments of tranquility and reflection in this remote wilderness.

Throughout the trek, trekkers will also encounter a diverse array of wildlife, including elusive snow leopards, Himalayan blue sheep, and colorful Himalayan monals. The region’s biodiversity is also truly remarkable, with rare and endangered species finding refuge in the protected areas of Upper Dolpa.

Conclusion and Summary

The Upper Dolpa Trek is also a physically demanding adventure that requires good fitness and prior trekking experience. However, the rewards are immeasurable. From the rugged landscapes to the rich cultural tapestry, this trek offers a unique opportunity to witness the untouched beauty of Upper Dolpa and immerse oneself in the serenity of the Himalayas. It is also an experience that will leave a lasting impression and create memories to be cherished for a lifetime.

Trip Highlights

    • Remote and untouched beauty: The Upper Dolpa Trek takes you to one of the most remote and pristine regions of Nepal, far away from the crowds and commercialization of popular trekking routes.
    • Spectacular landscapes: The trek offers breathtaking views of snow-capped peaks, deep river valleys, cascading waterfalls, and picturesque alpine meadows, creating a paradise for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts.
    • Ancient Tibetan culture: Upper Dolpa is rich in Tibetan Buddhist culture and traditions. You’ll have the opportunity to visit ancient monasteries, interact with local inhabitants of Tibetan descent, and witness their unique way of life.
    • Phoksundo Lake: The trek includes a visit to the stunning Phoksundo Lake, the deepest lake in Nepal. Its crystal-clear turquoise waters surrounded by snow-capped peaks provide a mesmerizing backdrop for relaxation and exploration.
    • Wildlife encounters: Upper Dolpa is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including the elusive snow leopard, Himalayan blue sheep, musk deer, and a variety of bird species. Spotting these rare and endangered creatures adds to the thrill of the trek.
    • Challenging mountain passes: The trek involves crossing high mountain passes, such as the Kang La Pass and the Jeng La Pass, which offer panoramic views of the surrounding Himalayan peaks and valleys.
    • Cultural immersion: The trek provides an opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture, witness traditional ceremonies and festivals, and gain insights into the ancient customs and rituals of the Dolpa people.
    • Wilderness experience: Upper Dolpa is a restricted area, and the trek offers a true wilderness experience with limited infrastructure and few trekkers. It allows you to disconnect from the modern world and reconnect with nature.
    • Unique flora and fauna: The region is home to a variety of alpine flora, including rare medicinal plants and herbs. The diverse ecosystem supports a range of wildlife species, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts.
    • Spiritual journey: The tranquility and serenity of the Dolpa region provide an ideal environment for self-reflection and spiritual exploration. The trek offers moments of solitude and peace amidst the majestic Himalayan surroundings.

Itinerary Expand All

As you fly into Kathmandu, the views of snow-capped mountain peaks greet you. A representative and driver from our office will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel. The representative will help you check into your designated hotel. At the hotel you will be briefed about your daily activities.

During the free day, you may have a chance to visit the heritage site of Kathmandu valley. We conduct the pre-trip departure meeting regarding upcoming trekking peak climbing where you meet the trek guide and other team members. They will brief you about the team formation, equipment and nature of peak climbing and other necessary information

From Kathmandu we take a bus or fly on any domestic carrier to Nepalgunj. Nepalgunj, a town in the western Terai, is very close to the Indian border and the Bardia Nationl Park.

It is a major transport hub for western, mid-western and far-western regions of Nepal. Overnight stay will be at hotel or lodge that is 10 to 15 minutes drive from the airport. Our representative will pick you up in the airport and take you to the hotel.

Our representative will pick you up from the hotel and takes you to the airport. Today we take a 35 minutes long flight to Juphal .Our trekking starts from Juphal.

The trail from Juphal to Dunai is comfortable and easy as the trail on this part of trek also has few jeeps running to and fro. The first forty five minutes of the trek descends down to Kalagauda followed by two hours of hike along the trail above Thuli Bheri River.

We trek by the riverside and pass Roop Ghar with the water mill and finally reach the Dunai (2150m) a small town, the head quarter of the district. Dunai has some schools government and private, college, police check post and some government offices.

You can visit the Bon Stupa and school, Central Buddhist monastery and the very first English medium school across the river, From the Stupa you can have the view of whole town and another village, upper Dunai too.

The real adventure of Dolpo Mustang Trek begins today. As the trek begins we initially trek along classic trekking route of Dolpo via Sulighar, which is pretty much comfortable walk along the levelled trail.

We shall produce the trekking permit to Dolpo and the Shey Phoksundo National Park Permit at the Sulighat Check-post. Now we are officially inside Shey Phoksundo National Park.

Beyond Sulighat our trek follows the trail beside Phoksundo River till Kageni. As the trek goes further, the landscapes in the vicinity begin to change. We trek through the lush tropical forest frequently emerging at isolated mid-hill villages like Jutung and arrive to Shangta.

At Shangta we cross the bridge twice- once over Phoksundo River and once over the confluence of Phoksundo Khola and Maiaba Khola and begin to head north towards Chhepka.

Trekking upstream along the trail beside Phoksundo Khola for a while we arrive to Chhepka. We put our camps at an ideal location in Chhepka for the overnight stay.

Today the the trail leads you beside Phoksundo Khola- the trail of famous Lower Dolpa Circuit. We trek in the opposite direction of the river flow to Amchi Hospital.

The trek crosses the bridge over Phoksundo Khola twice. As we approach closer to Kharka trekking along the amazingly peaceful region the trail goes high above Phoksundo Khola to Rechi 3011m, where we stop for the lunch.

Beyond Rechi we again hike along the river side trail to Sulligad Dovan where we cross the bridge over the confluence of Phoksundo Khola and Yulung Khola and arrive to Amchi Hospital. Amchi refers to traditional doctors who heal infections and diseases using the herbal medicine found in Dolpo.

Amchi Hospital is the treatment center of the locals of Dolpo, where expert Amchis treat the patients. We will settle our camps by side of Amchi Hospital.

We will join the direct trail to Phoksundo Lake today climbing through forests of big cedars on to Palam (3710m), a winter settlement used by the people of the Ringmo village.

The entrance station for the Shey Phoksundo National Park is at the south end of the village. The route then descends on switchbacks through open country to an elevation of 3300 meter, and then starts up another set of dusty switchbacks to a ridge at 3780 meter to the highest waterfall in Nepal (200 meter high). Our route then continues on to Ringmo village, a picturesque settlement of flat-roofed stone houses with lots of mani walls. Just below Ringmo we cross a bridge and follow the trail to Phoksundo Lake, where we camp at the national park camping grounds west.

Today we explore the area around Ringmo Village and the magnificent Phoksundo Lake. First, we explore around Ringmo Village and head to Tshowa (the lake-shore Bon Monastery).

The Gompa nestling a ridge top above Phoksundo Lake was built about 900 years ago. Exploring this culturally rich Bon Monastery is fascinating experience. Then we drop down to Phoksundo Lake along steep-sided cliffs.

The lake is famous for its magnificent turquoise colour and spectacular scenery. Ringmo village, a typical Tibetan village, is scenic view from Phoksundo Lake. There are several monasteries (Gompas ) and Bon-po religious sites at the park and we spend our time visiting some of these. We also explore the wonderful natural sites and enjoy our nature tour.

Today’s trek is probably one of the best trekking days of Dolpo to Mustang Trek. It climbs along the narrow trail cut on a cliff standing vertically straight above Phoksundo Lake.

This treacherously fascinating trail brings us to another side of Today’s trek is probably one of the best trekking days of Dolpo to Mustang Trek. It climbs along the narrow trail cut on a cliff standing vertically straight above Phoksundo Lake.

This treacherously fascinating trail brings us to another side of Phoksundo Lake. This particular part of the trek is like fantasy walk portrayed by a writer in their fiction novels.

To get to the Phoksundo Khola camp on other side of the lake, we slide down for ninety minutes along the beautiful forests. The final part of today’s trek slides up to the beautiful campsite at Sallaghari. Enjoy the night in the camps amongst beautiful pine forest.

Today’s trek is relatively short; we trek for almost three hours to reach Kangla/Nangdala Base Camp 4100m. As the trek begins we ascend up the narrow defile of Tuk Kyaksa River. The trail switches to opposite side of the river several times. Soon we arrive to a place where the rapids of the river are calmer. We cross the bridge over the river at that point.

Thirty minutes of walk after the bridge, we come across the wide valley followed by two hours of walk along the canyon brings us the potential campsite. A walk for a while further reaches to the massive rock slab, which is Kang La/Nangdala Base Camp- our campsite for the night.

Today we trek to the fabled Shey Gompa and the nearby ‘Crystal Mountain’, the most sacred peak in Dolpo which Dolpo pilgrims circumambulate each summer before the harvest. We are now entering the real Dolpo, and to enter into this mystical land we have to cross the Kangla/Nangdala pass .

The trek to the top of Kang La/Nangdala Pass is along the graveled trail uphill for three continuous hours. However, all the efforts put to come up to the top of the pass rewards us with wonderful views.

The eye feast views from the Kang La Pass includes Cyrstal Mountain, the mountains in Tibetan territory and the mesmerizing landscapes of Dolpo. We also have views of the peaks Shey Shikkar and Kang Chunne, both just over 6000 meters, before descending steeply down to the valley floor and along the river.

A red chorten marks the entrance to Shey. Every Dragon year according to the Tibetan calendar that comes in every 12 years there occurs a grand festival. People from different places and countries come to join this festival. We camp for the night.

Today we will explore Shey Gompa. It is said to be about 800 years old monastery, with murals inside and an ancient scroll describing the mythology behind the Crystal Mountain. The monastery is locally known as Shelri Sumdho Gompa.

Shey Festival, the summer festival observed by the people of Dolpo with huge enthusiasm is hosted at Shey Gompa. Peter Mattheissen wrote quite a lot about his stay in Shey in ‘The Snow Leopard’, and it was shown in Eric Valli’s movie ‘Caravan’ as Thinley’s son’s gompa. After the exploration of Shey Gompa as the trek begins, it follows the trail beside Sephu Khola for almost couple of hours.

The landscapes during this part of the trek are typical Dolpo landscapes- barren and enchanting. Then we begin to climb up towards the top of Shey La Pass, which is almost two hours of hike. The acme of Shey La Pass west of Shey, rewards us with the magnificent views of Mustang to the East, Tibet to the North and Kanjiroba, Kagmara and Riu Dhukta, or the Crystal Mountain, to the West. The final push downhill from the pass, which is almost 2 hours of hike brings us to Namgung. We spend our night at Namgung, a local nomadic herding settlement

Before setting out towards Saldang, we explore the monastery of Namgung set on the flanking cliff. As the trek from Namgong Gompa begins we follow Namga Khola cross pass more summer herding spots and emerge out of spur for a short hike down to Saldang. Saldang is a beautiful village with lots of dry land surrounded hills. Amchi tradition and Buddhism in Dolpo thrives here at Saldang. We’ll get a chance to visit some local houses, drink some salt butter tea or chhyang (Tibetan barley beer) and sample the local fare at Saldang.

Today we will have a day hike after early breakfast to Yanjer the richest monastery of this region. We will have packed lunch and will come back to Saldang for the night stop after the exploration of the monastery.

Today we trek for six hours and reach the village of Komash. Initially, the trail follows the Saldang Lek along the Rapyha Khola to the barren hillside. Exiting out to the elevated ridge of almost 4500m, the trail descends down steeply to Komash Village a village which bears similarity to a Tibetan village. Overnight in tents at Komash.

As we trek from Komash village we may sight some endangered animals like snow leopard or Blue sheep. On the way we pass small villages. The landscapes in the vicinity is full of highland deserts with few shrub like vegetation. After almost five hours of comfortable hike we arrive to Shimen. Overnight in the tented camps at Shimen.

Today the trail goes by the side of Panjyang Khola. There are some villages and gompas on the way to Tinje. Tinje is a very beautiful valley. There is a natural air strip where once a British aircraft had landed and taken off.

From the village of Tinje we trek to Yak Kharka. Initially the trail to Yak Kharka chases the trail beside Panjyan River to the small settlement of Chhamdang. Beyond Chhamdang the trek along the river bank continues to the confluence of Chholtam Khola and Panjyan Khola. Trekking further we cross the bridge over Thalum Khola, which flows from Thalum Lek and arrive at Yak Kharka. Yak Kharka is an open grazing ground for yaks and sheep. The grassy meadow of Yak Kharka makes for an excellent camping site.

As the trek begins today, we cross the bridge over Sulun Khola. Crossing the bridges over several streams the trek arrives to Choila North Pass 5040m. The trail to Choila North BC is an tarduous and difficult trek. Almost two hours steep climb brings us to the top of Choila Pass from where the fascinating sights of Tokyu camps are seen. A downhill and leveled trail beside Choila Khola brings us to Tokyu, where we settle our camps for the overnight stay.

Today after breakfast we walk towards Dho Tarap, it is nearly one and half hours walk. We spend the day at Dho Tarap. Dho Tarap is a large village decorated by colourfull prayer flags.

There are chortens, mani walls and monasteries. Villagers grow wheat, buck wheat, barley, potatoes and green vegetables in terraced fields. There are tea houses, shops with minimal supplies and lodges. The people closely resemble the Khampas of Tibet, the men with a ponytail and red tassel coiled around their head.

The women sport musk deer teeth necklaces. Dho Tarap has a maze of mud-brick Tibetan houses which was featured in Eric Valli’s famous movie ‘Caravan’, the village where Karma and his band of young Dolpo-pa, and Thinley and his older group of Dolpo-pa, set off with their salt to trade for barley over the high passes.

We will enjoy a nature tour and a cultural program consisting of traditional Tibetan dances and songs presented by the villagers. Here we have few major sites that are worthwhile exploring around Dho Tarap.

Including Ribo Bumpa Monastery & Drakmar Dewa Monastery, the vicinity around Dho Tarap has many other important monasteries which include Mekhyim Monastery, Dhoro Monastery and a Bon Gompa of Shipichowk among others. So make your decision wisely while choosing the monastery you prefer to explore from the pool of many.

Today, the trek covers a long distance. As we start the trek, we hike along the flat trail beside Tarap Khola to Mirububane Khola Dovan- the confluence of Tarap Khola and Mirubabane Khola. Then the trek slides down to the bridge over Klang Khloa at Langa Camp.

The trail continues to chase Tarap Khola with the picturesque views of arid landscapes. As the trek goes further the trail emerges and cross passes several villages like Sisaul, Gyamghar, Toltol and finally we come to Nawarpani for the night stop.

The trek today begins on the trail that runs beside Tarap Khola. Gradually, the view in the vicinity begin to change. The green forest start to emerge. For a while we slide up high above Tarap Khola to Lamchaur. Cross passing Lahini Odar, we descend down the hill to Chhedhul Gompa.

Once again, a short walk along the trail beside Tarap Khola we arrive at Laisicap for the camp.

Now on we trek along the green woodlands high above Thuli Bheri River towards Tarakot. Just before arriving to Tarakot, we cross the bridge over the small stream.
The last day of the trek is not less interesting. We trek on the trail that stretches beside Thuli Bheri River to Dunai via Lawan and Byasgad. The trail has forested region on its west, Thuli Bheri River and cultivated terraced fields on its East. We have our lunch at Dunai.

The trail goes by the side of Bheri river till Kalagawda and then the trail ascends towards Juphal. A couple of hours trek from Dunai brings us to Juphal.

From Juphal we fly to Nepalgunj by early morning flight. In Nepalgunj you will have to spend some time by looking around the airport settlement or can go to the hotel and have a rest. By afternoon flight you will be flying to Kathmandu. Our representative will pick you up at Kathmandu airport and will take you to the hotel.

Our representative will drive you to the airport for your flight home.

What's Included

  • Airport Pick-up and Drop Off,
  • Licensed and trained trekking guides,
  • potters for carrying goods and supplies,
  • Meal on full board (breakfast, lunch, dinner) basis during the trek
  • 3 Nights Accommodation in the 3 Star Hotel in Kathmandu with B & B. (Bed & Breakfast) on Twin Sharing Basis.
  • All accommodation on Tent during the trek on sharing Basis.
  • All meals and hot beverages during the trek.
  • Transportation to and from trail head by Private and Sharing Transport
  • All necessary documents and permits for trekking (where applicable)
  • National Park/Conservation Area entry Permit, Insurance, and
    equipment for the staffs.
  • Coordination of quick Rescue service (Costs covered by your Insurance Plan)
  • Trekking staffs wages etc.
  • Welcome dinner in a Nepali Cultural Dance restaurant in Kathmandu.
  • Trekking Map, T-shirt, and Trekking certificate.
  • Exclusive of Medical Kit Bag
  • All Government and local Taxes
  • International Flight ticket re-confirmation.
  • Meals will be Start when your Trek starts.
  • Domestic Flights
  • Domestic Flights for Trekking Guide.
  • Trekking Staff Insurance of $10,000 Per Person.

What's Excluded

  • International Airfares,
  • Travel/Trekking Insurance,
  • Excess baggage charges More than 16kg and hand bag more than 5 kg in domestic flights.
  • Visa fees.
  • Airport Departure Taxes.
  • Drinks (Cold and Alcoholic) Rescue charge.
  • Tips for The staffs.
  • Expenses of Personnel nature and Permit and Liaison officer fee (where Applicable.
  • Meals during stay in the Kathmandu
  • Extra Domestic Ticket  of Jomsom, Pokhara etc.
  • Extra Hotel in Kathmandu and Pokhara.

Trip Information

The Upper Dolpo trek route goes through several passes, rivers, and monasteries. The prayer flags, the stupa, the Tsyorten, and the Mani stones are visible during the journey. The Upper Dolpo trek still runs on a camping basis and makes sense to you as a wilderness experience. The visit is worth rewarding despite all these difficulties. The views of the area are genuinely fascinating and magnificent. The untouched culture, lifestyle of the peoples, landscapes, rare wildlife, and vegetation all add a feeling of a real adventure that can not feel while staying in a cozy room at your home. The Dolpo region and its daring itineraries combine the upper and Lower Dolpo trekking routes. However, it recommends for those trekkers who could have both important and religious influence.

If you plan a trek, here is everything you need to know about Upper Dolpo Trek Cost. Ask a local expert if the above itinerary is unsuitable for you or if something changes in the program.

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Trip Facts

Duration 25 Day(s)
Activities Trekking
Group Size 2 to 20
Best Season March to May, September to November
Start/End Point Kathmandu / Kathmandu
Difficulty Level Challenging
Max Altitude 5360M

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