Dolpo Trek is situated between the Tibetan plateau and the Dhaulagiri ranges. The entire district was closed to trekkers until 1989 when the southern part of Dolpo was opened to organized trekking groups.
Dolpo region appears in historical records since the 8th century. The region lies in Shey Phoksundo National Park at the western part of Nepal, between the Tibet plateau and Dhaulagiri range. The Dolpa is divided into two part Upper Dolpa and Lower Dolpa but the entire district was closed to all trekkers until 1989. The region is normally adherents of "Bon" and has preserved its Tibetan culture in fairly pure form. Our trekking to Dolpa is connected by the place named 'Jufal' after taking a short flight from Nepalgunj airport. Jufal is a starting and ending point of Upper Dolpa Trek.
Dolpa was the location for the Oscar-nominated movies "The Himalaya" and “The Caravan” and for the German documentary Dolpo Tulku. The trek to the Upper Dolpa consist passes through many mountain ranges of Annapurna, Kanjiroba, and Dhaulagiri and also pass through beautiful villagers, trail route and meet fantastic people. The beauty of the vast Phoksundo Lake during the trek gives lifetime memory. Despite less accessibility in this region and tourism restrictions for the more remote parts, Dolpa is still a popular destination for trekking tourism.
Exploring villages of ancient Bon and Buddhist cultural villages as the journey continues over a high Kang-la pass to reach our destination at Crystal monastery or Shey Gompa, here with fascinating time then heading back to Jhupal through more lovely villages of Saldang-Tokyu-Dho Tarap and Tarakot with a short drive from Dunai the major town of Dolpo region.
A sweeping scenic flight to Kathmandu through Nepalgunj concludes this fabulous Upper Dolpo trek & Crystal Monastery trekking with excellent guidance and service of Sherpa Expedition and Trekking.
Highlights of Upper Dolpo Trek
- Upper Dolpo Trek through parts of Nepal that very few trekkers ever see.
- Visit 800 years oldest Shey Gompa, Monasteries of the base of Crystal Mountain, immortalized in Peter Matthiessen's "The Snow Leopard."
- The Shey Phoksundo National Park, one of the highest animal concentration in the world.
- Thrilling High passes; Khang La, Saldang La, and others.
- Desert and landscape and striking valleys as: Dho, Saldang and Tarakot.
- Views of Dhaulagiri and Tibetan peaks.
- Airport - hotel -airport pickup and drop by private vehicle in Kathmandu.
- Four nights’ hotel accommodation in Kathmandu on BB Plan as per the category.
- One night’s hotel accommodation in Nepalgunj on BB Plan as per the category.
- Meals on full board (Breakfast, lunch, and dinner) during the trekking period.
- Local fresh fruits where available.
- Best available accommodations during the trek in Teahouse/tent camp.
- Upper Dolpo Trekking map, one in a group.
- Kathmandu Valley Sightseeing by City Tour Guide with entry fees and Transportation.
- An experienced Government license holder guide.
- Trekking porter /Sherpa to carry your bags during the trekking 2:1, max 15 KG baggage/porter.
- Food, drinks, accommodation, insurance, salary, equipments, transportation, local tax for Guide and porters.
- Kathmandu-Nepalgunj-Juphal-Nepalgunj-Kathmandu Flight Tickets/ ground transport for Clients and Trekking Crews.
- Group medical supplies (first aid kit will be available) if required.
- All necessary paper works and Shey Phoksundo National Park entry permits fee.
- Trekking Permits for Upper Dolpo Restricted Area.
- TIMS (Trekkers' Information Management System).
- All government taxes and our service charges.
- Farewell Dinner before departure.
- Sherpa Expedition and Trekking T-shirt
- Lunch and Dinner in Kathmandu and Nepalgunj.
- Your Travel insurance.
- International airfare and airport departure tax.
- Nepal entry visa fee.
- Tips for trekking staff and driver. (Tipping is expected but not mandatory).
- All kind drinks (hot, cold and alcoholic)
- Personal shopping and laundry etc.
- Personal trekking Equipment.
- Any extra activities and items not mentioned in “our services section”.
The Following information will give you some idea about what you need to bring for the trek as the backpack for the hiking in Nepal and the gear play a vital role for the successful trip and we suggest you to have all the necessary gear for the trip and not to have unnecessary equipment/things that you will not be using for the trip and list of the gear you need for the trek are:
- Seasonable Sleeping bag and down Jacket (If you need it but has to be returned after the trek)
- Duffle bag (We will provide duffle bag during the trek Sherpa Expedition & Trekking need to be returned after the trek)
- A wind and waterproof thin layered jacket (Must have for morning and evening above 3,000m)
Upper Body- Head / Ears / Eyes
- A pair of half gloves
- The warmer hat that covers the ears
- Neck warmer
- Sunscreen (35 to 60 SPF)
- Headlamp and an extra set of batteries
- A pair of half gloves for walking poles(if you prefer)
- Warmer shell gloves and liner
- long sleeve t-shirts
- Thermal Tops
- wool Jackets or pullover
- Artificial sports bras for (Women and girls)
- Water and windproof shell jacket
- Thermal underwear (especially trousers)
- windproof and waterproof trousers
- warmer trouser
- Comfortable trekking pants
- Extra casual sport pants
- A pair of good waterproof trekking boots
- Pair of sandals
- 4-5 pairs of woolen socks
- Socks liner
- Light shoes and sneaker
First Aid Kits and Medicines
- Assorted Adhesive Bandages (fabric preferred)
- Blister treatment
- Insect testing / anti-itch treatment
- Ibuprofen / other pain-relief medication
- Diamox (125mg to 250mg tablets for altitude sickness)
- Warps, splints, and wound coverings butterfly bandage
- Water purifying pills
Miscellaneous, but must useable
- 4 pic passport sizes with original passport
- Water bottle & filter
- Flight details (please make a copy and leave one pic at our office in KTM because of if you won to change your flight date)
- Bathroom kit (conform, should be included Toilet papers put on the plastic bag, hand wipes, towel, and soap, etc.)
- Comfortable trekking poles
- Best energy dry foods (up to you)
- Power Bank and music players
- Camera (Memory card, chargers, and extra batteries)
Good to Know
Getting There & AwayWestern 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 & RegulationsPermits 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)
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. Phoksundo Lake, Shey Phoksundo National Park
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!
Accommodation & Meals
Most treks in Upper Dolpo are fully-catered camping treks given accommodation and food supplies are hard to come by along the trail. (Upper Dolpo is known to have food shortages.) Some basic teahouse/lodge accommodation is available in some villages, but shouldn’t be relied upon.
It is advised to take as many food provisions when trekking in Upper Dolpo (and anywhere in Western Nepal, in general). If participating in an organised trek (essential in Upper Dolpo), your food needs will be taken care of. It is still important to be mindful of the fact that restocking provisions can be challenging for guides and porters in this region, and that resources are scarce.
Juphal to Lake Phoksundo
There are also shorter variations of the Upper Dolpo trek that you can take. One shorter variation is to trek from Juphal to Lake Phoksundo and back, which takes around eight days. Other variations connect Dolpo to Mustang and/or the Annapurna region, to the east.
Upper Dolpo to Annapurna Traverse
The Upper Dolpo to Annapurna Traverse, via Dhorpatan Wildlife Reserve, would add about a week onto the Upper Dolpo trek. There is a three-day stretch during which you pass no settlements at all.
Upper Dolpo to Jomsom trek
The Upper Dolpo to Jomsom trek is another variation. Jomsom is in the Lower Mustang region of Nepal, and also has a strong Tibetan-influenced culture. It is in the rain-shadow of Mount Dhaulagiri and Annapurna, offering a different view of the Annapurna Himals.
Dolpo to Rara Traverse
Yet another variation is the Dolpo to Rara Traverse via Shey Gompa. It is around the same length as the regular Upper Dolpo trek, but diverges at Shey Gompa and ends at Rara Lake, in Jumla and Mugu districts. This is the largest lake in Nepal, and renowned for its abundant bird life.
Looking out from one of the passes in Dolpo
What to Bring
As with other treks in Nepal, it is essential to have sturdy hiking boots, a waterproof outer layer and other clothing that can be layered and put on/off as the weather requires. Because trekking in Upper Dolpo can only be done with a guide, you will not need to bring your own tents or other specialist equipment. However, you should check whether your tour operator provides sleeping bags.