Upper dolpo trekking or Dolpo circuit is one of the most popular treks as it passed through Phoksundo lake, featured in Eric Valli’s Oscar-nominated movie “ Caravan”. Upper dolpo trekking is famous with its isolated area and it was opened in 1982 for the trekkers.
Dolpo is home to popular Shey Phoksundo National Park, located under the protected area and takes us to superb Phoksundo lake with beautiful flora and fauna. Upper dolpo trek is situated in the Karnali region of Nepal and required special permission from the government of Nepal. It has some adventure passes which are challenging in this route.
Dolpo region is a very dry and unproductive area so the people lived here a very difficult life but they were very humble and friendliness with their smiling face. Shey Phoksundo lake is the deepest lake of Nepal which is situated in this region. Since last few years, it is going very popular trekking of western Nepal.
Hike to upper dolpo is a moderate to strenuous walk along the lower part of Dolpo. Beautiful Lakes, People lifestyle, Buddhist Monasteries, Tibetan plateau and the traditional culture are the main attraction of this route. The local inhabitants still earn their livelihood by trading commodities like salt, cotton, barley, and rice in Tibet. Upper dolpa trekking can be done in any time (except winter) throughout the year.
Upper dolpo trekking is perhaps most dramatic and picturesque scenery in the Nepalese Himalaya. You will have face to face the view of Beautiful mountains through forests, hills and quaint and tiny villages. Upper dolpo trekking is a part of Great Himalayan Trail (GHT) of Nepal and it is a great sense of anticipation builds as you trek up the dolpo valley, passing through intriguing tiny villages, Buddhist monasteries. The trek includes all meals, road-head transport, services of English speaking local trekking guide and porters to carry the luggage. You will only need to carry a day-pack and you can walk at your own pace.
Sherpa villages and Buddhist monasteries, Abundant flora and fauna, Discover Shey Phoksundo Lake, challenging Numa la and Baga la passes along the route, Ancient and isolated villages, Shey Gomba monastery, Enthralling culture and tradition , Old Buddhist monasteries, Enthralling culture and tradition, Experience the vast array of wildlife inhabiting the region, Believed to be a inhabitants of Snow Leopard with many other wild animals.
This trek is suitable for any walker looking for something a little more challenging and energetic. It does not require you to be super fit or have any previous trekking experience. If you are healthy and can walk about 5 hours daily, you can do this trekking easily. However, daily jogging or walking exercise is useful before you depart. Our program always includes rest days and build up gradually, in order to acclimatize to the altitude. Along the routes, you can walk at your own pace, with plenty of stops for resting.
Juphal – Numa la and Baga la pass, Sey Phoksundo lake.
March, April, May, June, September, October and November.
Day 01 : Arrival in Kathmandu
Day 02 : Upper Dolpo Restricted area trek permit arrangements.
Day 03 : Kathmandu to Nepalganj city flight. Transfer to hotel
Day 04 : Nepalgunj to Jhupal flight again
Day 05 : Trek to Chhepka (2838m/9,280 ft), 6 hrs Walk.
Day 06 : Trek to Palam (3,820m/12,491 ft), 7 hrs walking.
Day 07 : Trek to Phoksundo Lake (3,620m/11,837 ft), 4 hrs Walking
Day 08 : Exploring day to discover around
Day 09 : Trek to Salla Ghari (3,640m/11,903 ft), 6 hrs Walking
Day 10 : Trek from Dhotrap to Numala Base Camp
Day 11 : Trek to Shey Gompa (4,320m/14,126ft), 7 hrs Walking
Day 12 : Rest Day at Shey Gompa
Day 13 : Trek to Namgung (4,430m/14,486ft), 6 hrs walking
Day 14 : Trek to Saldang (4,046m/13,230 ft), 3 hrs Walking
Day 15 : Trek to Sibu (4,000m/13,080ft), 6 hrs walking
Day 16 : Trek to Jengla phedi (4,480m/14,650 ft), 5 hrs Walking
Day 17 : Trek to Tokyo Gaon (4,240m/13,865 ft), 7 hrs Walking
Day 18 : Trek to Dho Tarap (4,200m/13734 ft), 2:30 hrs Walking.
Day 19 : Trek to Serkam (3,623m/11,847 ft.), 7 hrs Walking
Day 20 : Trek to Tarakot (2,280m/7,456ft), 5 hrs Walking
Day 21 : Trek to Dunai (2,109m/6,896 ft), 5 hrs Walking.
Day 22 : Trek to Juphal (2,404m/7,861ft), 3 hrs Walking.
Day 23 : Fly to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj city.
Day 24 : Kathmandu valley sightseeing.
Day 25 : Fly out to Kathmandu. Trip finish.
Our trek to upper Dolpo is a classical trail with 22 days itinerary compared to most walks in this region. The particular route is designed for world explorers who wish to hike in a more relaxed manner than take a look at this itinerary. However for travelers who wish to do quickly but are walking with limited time wise than ask us for tailor-made itinerary.
Day 01: Arrived at Kathmandu valley
Upon arrival in Kathmandu, Tribhuvan International Airport, we will receive you with private vehicle and transfer to hotel in Kathmandu within B/B plan. Our representative will give you information about further programs.
Day 02: Dolpo Restricted area trekking permit arrangements.
We need your original passport with Nepal’s Visa to prepare Dolpo restricted area permit. It takes some hours for official formalities to complete permits. Then we fix for meeting time with each other. You will introduce with your guide. Your guide will brief details of this trek.
Day 03: Kathmandu to Nepalganj city flight. Transfer to your hotel.
We take an hour flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj city of west Nepal. Nepalgunj is a big town is also a gateway to Simikot of Humla. The town itself is an interesting Terai town of Nepal with influences from both the Nepal hills and plains well as local Hindu & Muslim cultures. Get experience visiting some sightseeing places in Nepalgunj with our guide. We prepare for your tomorrow’s flight to Jhupal airport.
Day 04: Fly to Jhupal [2,320m/7,610ft], Crew management. 45 minutes flight.
After an early breakfast, we take a 45 minute morning flight to get Jhupal airport. We will reach Juphal just in 35-minute flight from Nepalgunj with beautiful views of the snow-capped mountain. Juphal is a small Bazaar / small village, where we can breathe cold and fresh air than that of Nepalgunj. We will stay here because we have to arrange porters and other remaining equipment..
Day 05: Trek to Chhepka (2838m/9,280 ft), 6 hrs Walk
We walk through a wheat field to reach Thuli Bheri River, crossing a big suspension bridge leads us entrance of Shey Phoksando National Park (SPNP). Phoksundo national park is the largest National Park with the area of 3,555km/sq in Nepal. We follow Suli Khola viewing a part of the Dhaulagiri Range. We can enjoy the tea with local pure honey. Then we trek through the pine trees, fir, Juniper and Cyprus and bamboo forest. Really a beautiful time to get close to nature. Some hours later will reach millet and wheat field called Cheep Ka where we fix our camp for overnight stay.
Day 06: Trek to Palam (3,820m/12,491 ft), 7 hrs walking.
We walk through a beautiful forest, following a river and ascend sometimes and descend sometimes. On the way, we can see the local people with their mules as dzopas (cross bread of Yak and Cow). Loaded with thongs to sell. Some hours later you arrive at Reechi village, leaving behind Reechi we will reach Chumuwar. There is an Amchi Hospital, an Amchi is a doctor who is educated in traditional Tibetan medicine. You can have treatment from herbs and numerals. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 07: Trek to Phoksundo Lake (3,620m/11,837 ft), 4 hrs Walking
We have to ascend about 2 hours but before reaching the top, we can have the new of Nepal’s highest waterfall (107 meters high) knows Phoksundo waterfall or commonly known as sunlight waterfall. Then we will descend to Ringmo village where people residing practice Bonpo religion. The religion was founded by Buddha Lonpa Shanrab Miwo, 18000 years ago. It is believed that Dolpa used to be the center of Bon Kindom called Zhang. It a big and powerful kingdom in present western and northwestern Tibet. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 08: Exploring day to discover around
Special day to admire the beauty of Phoksundo Lake and visited nearby villagers inhabited by Bon and Buddhist religion.
Day 09: Trek to Salla Ghari (3,640m/11,903 ft), 6 hrs Walking
From here onward, begins the Upper Dolpo section. We will follow the famous trail where the famous movie called CARAVAN of Eric Valli was castes. Trek route is used by local peoples of Dolpo and other trade with Tibetans. It is really adventurous to cross over the pass. When we reach the top hill, we will have a beautiful view of Lane Ringmo, the dark green pine forests and snow-capped mountain to the South. Then some minutes later, you will have a spectacular view of Kanjirowa Himal (66612m) then we reach an alpine area with junipers called Thaneba or Lakeside camp where we stay overnight at camp.
Day 10: Trek from Dhotrap to Numala Base Camp
We trek through pine forest between high rock walls on both sides and crossing a couple of streams. We will enter an arrow gorge where will set our camp. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 11: Trek to Shey Gompa (4,320m/14,126ft), 7 hrs Walking
We ascend adventurous journey to Kang La (5350m), also called as Ngadra La. Than we descend downhill walking to reach Shey Gompa, a very small village with a couple of houses and the Gompa. It is an 11th-century gompa, situated beneath the crystal peak on a small grassy plain, at the confluence of two rivers people believed that it was constructed by a Tibetan Buddhist, who arrived here on the back of flying snow lion. Shey Gomba is also called the spiritual heart of Dolpo where many pilgrims visit this gomba to make Kora (clockwise circuit) of crystal peak every year. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 12: Rest Day at Shey Gompa
You can explore around Tsakang Gompa which is at about 457m. It is not really a monastery but a retreat. Tsakang had been a meditation center of many famous lamas from Tibet. Shey Gompa belongs to the Chaiba community, followers of the Padmasambhava and Kagyu sects. It was the first Kagyupa monastery and its founder was the lama Ten-szin-Ra-Pa. The monastery was built during the 11th century. Shey is famous for its ancient Buddhist culture. In Dolpo the ancient Tibetan way of life combines animism with the teachings of Buddha. Drutup Yeshe introduced Buddhism in the Dolpo valley. Many years ago he came to Dolpo and came across a wild people whose supreme God was a ‘fierce mountain spirit’. Crystal mountain is to the west of Shey monastery. It is a very strange mountain indeed. Its contorted cliffs are laced with quartz and embedded with a rich variety of marine fossils. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 13: Trek to Namgung (4,430m/14,486ft), 6 hrs walking
We cross the pass Sheyla which is also called Geln La (5000m), we can see a beautiful view of the northern part of the Tibetan plateau, which is the highest plateau in the world. To the east, we can see Mustang. After through pass, we have to descend to the pastures of Namgung. Namgung is a beautiful place with friendly people and a great environment. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 14: Trek to Saldang (4,046m/13,230 ft), 3 hrs Walking
Our Trek to Saldang starts with climbing a tree slope. We have to ascend to 4700m before going down steep slopes to the picturesque village of Saldang, situated on a plateau high above the Nam Khong nala and the biggest villages of Lower Dolpo. The village is prosperous because of agriculture and business/trade route to Tibet. Overnight at tented Camp ..
Day 15: Trek to Sibu (4,000m/13,080ft), 6 hrs walking
We will leave Saldang village and on way to Sibu we have to pass through terraced fields, Stupas, Chortens mani, and a Chaiba monastery. Namdo, the next village contains sixty houses having nearby four hundred in habitats. It stretches 5km on the high slopes to the left of Nam Khong Khola. We will set camp near the small settlement of Sibu, right on the river bank. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 16: Trek to Jengla phedi (4,480m/14,650 ft), 5 hrs Walking
The first part of our journey before Lunch, the trail is easy to ascend but after two hours, we must make another stream before turning into side valley where the rise becomes very sharp. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 17: Trek to Tokyo Gaon (4,240m/13,865 ft), 7 hrs Walking
Walk to Jeng La (4850m) about 2 hrs ascend to reach the top. Jeng la offers an excellent Golden view of Mount Dhaulagiri in the morning. Then descend towards Tarap valley. Tarap is a spectacular valley with vast plants in high mountains extending to twenty kilometers along the Tarap Chu River. It consists of ten villages with cultivated fields, many Gompas, and Chhortens. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 18: Trek to Dho Tarap (4,200m/13734 ft), 2:30 hrs Walking
Trek along the downward lower of Tarap Chu where the trail is easy as it is well traveled. There are many mani walls along the journey. The French School is just outside the village of Dho Tarap. Dho is surrounded by an irregular stone wall and consist of thirty-four houses. Both Bonpo and Buddhist is inhabitant here. We will visit Buddhist Gompa where a Lama lives, he is happy to welcome you to show his monastery and might even let you see his private Gompa and the Thankas which he has made himself. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 19: Trek to Serkam (3,623m/11,847 ft.), 7 hrs Walking
Your route follows the course of the Tarap Khola, generally downhill. You go through narrow gorges with the river rushing through. One may see blue sheep, marmots, yaks, sheep, and goats and perhaps meet people from Dolpo taking their flocks of sheep and goats to lower pastures for the winter. You will also see the first of the modern steel suspension bridges have been built to facilitate the movement of people and animals. The track is very narrow in places. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 20: Trek to Tarakot (2,280m/7,456 ft), 5 hrs Walking
You leave Khanigoan with new suspension bridge and then walk alongside the river, sometimes going very high before reaching down to the water again. Coming into the broad fertile valley of the Barbung Chu, you walk among the various crops of millet, sweet corn, barley, buckwheat, green beans, chilies, and marijuana. Tarakot is an old fortress town known by the local people as Dzong, meaning ‘fort’. Before the Gorkha dynasty, Tarakot was the capital and had a dzong. The famous Sandul gompa lies 8km east of Tarakot and at the junction of Barbung Khola and Tarap Chu, stands on a knoll to the south of Bheri River and at one time supervised collections of tools for the trading caravans traversing an area called Tichu Rong. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 21: Trek to Dunai (2,109m/6,896 ft), 5 hrs Walking
The trail is mostly down and fairly firm underfoot. Walking beside the Bheri River you use the ingenious path built twenty feet above the river. All too soon you have reached in Dunai and the campsite you used before. You will now have completed the circuit. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 22: Trek to Juphal (2,404m/7,861 ft), 3 hrs Walking
You now retrace your steps to Juphal. After reaching Jhupal, we can spend our afternoon exploring the busy market town or simply pursuing whatever we feel like. Initially, the way is flat but the final hour up to your destination seems steeper than you remember on Day One. Fix the camp overnight in the grounds of one of the lodges.
Day 23: Fly to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj city
We take a flight from Jhupal to Nepalgunj town. On reaching Nepalgunj, we return to Kathmandu on the next available flight. Upon arrival in Kathmandu, you will be transferred to your hotel. You can spend the evening leisurely, perhaps catch up on some last minute shopping and celebrate dinner together with us. Overnight at Kathmandu.
Day 24: Kathmandu valley sightseeing.
After breakfast the day will start to our guided trip to cultural world heritage sites in Kathmandu valley; including visits to the pilgrimage sites of Hindus Pashupatinath temple, the world biggest Boudhanath Stupa, visit Swayambhunath Stupa also known as monkey temple and historical Kathmandu Durbar Square with temple, unique architectures and Kumari (living goddess) in central Kathmandu.
Day 25: Final departure day
Drop you in Kathmandu International Airport onward your final destination and our trip ends. Wish you your wonderful journey.
The trip price will vary according to group size. For the deluxe and luxury trekking tour plan, we add 3 stars category hotel deluxe air-conditioned room in Kathmandu (BB PLAN), so let us know. AND WE ARE OPEN TO CUSTOMIZE YOUR TOUR AND PACKAGES PRICE AS PER YOUR REQUIREMENTS. International tour leaders are highly encouraged to get discount and attractive complimentary.
Upper dolpo trek cost include:
Upper dolpo trek cost exclude :
We can organize private Upper dolpo trekking or Upper dolpo trek starting at any date that works for you. Please contact us for more information.
Answer: Yes sure !! If you provide us your flights details then you should do request then our representative will come to pick up you on Kathmandu international airport.
Question: Do I need the experience to do Upper Dolpo trekking?
Answer: Actually for this kind of trekking is suitable for keen trekkers/walkers who are able to walk around 4 or 5 hours in a day, with a lightweight daypack. For this trekking, if you have about the little experience would be better.
Question: What kind of accommodation can I expect on upper dolpo tent trekking?
Answer: We provide you tourist standard accommodation in Kathmandu and Tented accommodation during the trekking routes. However we recommend you to take your own sleeping bags if you have one with you otherwise, you may rent it while you are in Kathmandu.
Question: What kind of food can I expect in this trek?
Answer: During the tented camping trekking, our professional cook prepare a delicious range of mostly vegetarian such as Pasta, tuna bakes, noodles, potatoes, eggs, dhal bhat, bread, soups, fresh vegetables (variety depends on the season.
Question: What opportunities will I have for a shower along Upper dolpo trekking?
Answer: As you are in camping trekking, we provide you hot water bucket then you will take a bucket shower.
Question: How do I get drinking water on dolpo Trekking?
Answer: During the trekking route there are all places hotel and shops where you can able to buy mineral water and you can buy it for drinking but however we advise against buying mineral water in plastic bottles, as currently there are no provisions for disposing of these. Instead, we provide you with boiled water or bringing chlorine tablets to purify the normal water as the normal water is available in campsite/along the way.
Question: Can I charge my digital camera or other batteries on my trip?
Answer: During the local lodges here will be more chances to charge the battery. We recommend you bring an extra pair for in case. Remember to bring your own adapters!
Question: Is there any communication facilities on Upper dolpo trekking?
Answer: In this trekking route you can get telephone services as well as internet services as well.
Question: Can I use credit cards in Trekking?
Answer: No! So, for the trekking routes, you need to have cash Nepali rupees because credit cards work only in the bigger city areas.
Question: When should I book my trip and what is the payments terms?
Answer: Because our trips book up months in advance, we recommend booking early to avoid any kind of misunderstanding. We will, of course, make every effort to accommodate last minute bookings.
And regarding the deposit, we prefer 25 % advance deposit of the total price of the trip in order to confirm your reservation before you arrive in Nepal. And the rest of the payment can be made after your arrival in Nepal.
Question: Who will carry my luggage on upper dolpo hiking?
Answer: We provide porters to transfer your luggage. As we are a responsible trekking tour operator agency, each of our porters carry maximum 25 kilo of your backpack which means 2 guests (12.5 kg luggage of each guest): 1 porter basis.
Question: How much distance do I walk each day?
Answer: When walking in the mountains, the distance you cover each day can vary greatly due to a gradient, terrain, and altitude. As such it is very hard to give specific distances on each day, however, you have to be prepared to walk roughly about 5 hours each day.
Question: Do I need walking polls ?
Answer: Walking pools are recommended but not compulsory.
Question: How much additional money do I need per day?
Answer: You can allocate US$ 08 – 10 for lunch/dinner in Kathmandu and it depends on your spending habits. US$ 7 to 10 US$ each day will be enough to buy bottles of water, chocolates, tea coffee, and some drinks while you are on trek.
The above itineraries are subject to change due to the condition beyond our control. This is a Guideline showing tentative camp night stops. A physical, technical and natural condition may change this above itineraries.
Opportunities for challenging trekking or hiking and pleasant strolls are scattered all over this planet; you just need to know where to find them. We at Gokyo Treks and Expedition believe in the quality services. Your safety and satisfaction is our concern. We are a team of professional, experienced, well trained and licensed local guides who know the destination much better than others.
Upper dolpa trekking faq
Cost & Departures
Your Trip Your Style!
Book with Confidence
Reference person of Gokyo Treks !
Contact in Germany
Klaus Kummer : +49-367-2351-957
Roland Stich: +49-0271-870-031
Dr. Lars : +49-3641-5395-160
Contact in USA
John Erwin: 212-222-6389
Beth Pekol, Chicago: +1 312-364-8924
Eve Quesnel, California: 530-5879-113
Contact in Australia
Dr. Chris Hislers: +61-419-556-381
Contact in Austria
Verena Laner: +43-650-7110-301
Contact in Switzerland
Dominik Lee, Zürich: +41-079-3826-028