Dolpo Trek is situated between the Tibetan plateau and the Dhaulagiri ranges. The entries 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. In spite of the near inaccessibility of the region and tourism restrictions for the more remote parts, Dolpa is 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 via 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.
Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu and transfer to hotel.
On arrival at Kathmandu international airport received by Sherpa Expedition and Trekking guides/staff for short drive to respective hotels around Thamel area, a tourist hub of Kathmandu. After rest and getting refresh our guide briefs you regarding the hotel, Kathmandu and Upper Dolpo Trekking with an evening welcome dinner in an authentic Nepalese restraint with culture programs.
Day 02: Morning sightseeing tour afternoon flies to Nepalgunj.
Morning optional tour around Kathmandu at places of interest full of World Heritage Sites, the Pashupatinath temple, Bouddhanath (Little Tibet), Swayambhunath (Monkey Temple) & monasteries, old Royal Palaces courtyard; after the tour back to the hotel for an afternoon flight to Nepal Far South West at Nepalgunj city. Nepalgunj located close to UP state of India border, during 50 mins flight excellent views of Mountains, at Nepalgunj in a nice hotel for the overnight halt.
Day 03: Fly to Jhupal 2,320 m then trek to Dunai 2,850m – 03 hrs.
Starting with early breakfast and then connect the flight to Jhupal in Dolpo, on reaching Jhupal meet our trekking/camping staff, and then a short drive to Dunai for an overnight stop. Dunai an interesting and major town of Dolpo districts with time to explore its markets of shops and stores.
Day 04: Trek to Ankhe 2,896m - 06 hrs.
From Dunai, morning walk leads to cross over Thulo Bheri River with a climb above a ridge leading to Phuksumdo River valley, with wonderful views of Kagmara peak, walk leads downhill passing many scattered farm villages lined with walnut trees. Then walk close to a stream at Dhera, a small cattle herders settlements continue with a short climb to Rahagaon village of Hindu Thakuri people. The walk continues downhill into forest reaching at Ankhe for the overnight stop, Ankhe a small village and entrance to Shey Phuksumdo National Park.
Day 05: Trek to Sumdu / Sulighat village 3,500m -06 hrs.
After Ankhe village a short climb and then descend into a forested area to reach a river bank. From here a climb to ridge top with great views, and then downhill to cross a small bridge at Ryajik village, trek further to Sumdu near Sulighat village for an overnight stop.
Day 06: Trek to Phuksumdo Lake 3,500 m - 05 hours.
Morning leads towards our first destination at Phuksumdo Lake after crossing streams, following Pungmo Khola downhill into pine and birch trees to reach upper side of Phokshindo Khola after short stops continue to walk to Ringmo village. An interesting and attractive Tibetan like a village with mud plastered chortens and Mani (prayer) walls. From here short walk to Phuksumdo Lake for overnight camp by the turquoise Phuksumdo Lake.
Day 07: Rest day at Phuksumdo Lake for the local excursion.
A wonderful spot for free and rest day, relax and enjoy beautiful views of surrounding landscapes and peaks of Kagmara, explore interesting Ringmo village and walk around the lakeside.
Day 08: Trek to Phokshumdo-Khola 3,640 m- 05 hrs.
From this scenic place starts morning walk towards higher upper Dolpo area to our next highlight and destination, walk contours around rocky ledge above the river bank on unsteady path, then approaching western side of the lake into a summer pasture which opens up into a wide plain of Phuksumdo Khola to stop for overnight by the river.
Day 09: Trek to Phuksumdo Bhanjyang - 07 hrs.
Morning walk leads on a good path around northern area of Phuksumdo Khola and then climb up to reach a ridge top, offering incredible views of the wide green valley overlooking at Kang-La pass which leads to Shey Gompa, here overnight stop on nice green pasture.
Day 10: Trek to Shey Gompa 4,500m via Kang-La 5,360 m -06 hrs.
Starting the day towards our destination at Shey Gompa the high lights of this trip continue to walk with a climb on stone and rocky path over Kang-la pass at 5,360 meters, the highest point of the adventure. The top offers superb views of snow-clad peaks including Dhaulagiri mountain range. After the top descend to the base of the hill by the river then across cattle herder camps, then continue towards Buddhist prayer monument Chortens and Mani on reaching Shey Gompa located below Crystal Mountain, regarded as Holy Mountain with an old monastery.
Day 11: Rest day at Shey Gompa the crystal monastery.
A fascinating place for rest day around the high mountainous area, in complete harmony of nature and monks chanting, a tour of Shey Monastery also known as Crystal Monastery, this area is well described by Peter Matthiessen in his classic novel “The Snow Leopard”.
Day 12: Trek to Namduna Gaon 4,800m via Saldang La 5,200m.
From here journey continues through a walled canyon, as the trail meanders atop Saldang-la, offering views of Dhaulagiri peaks, then downhill to grazing area and end the walk at Namduna Gaon for an overnight stop.
Day 13: Trek to Saldang 3,620 m -05 hours.
After this village walking on dusty and dry terrain, leading to the steep climb to reach overnight camp at Saldang, another impressive and large village of Dolpo area, situated higher side of the windswept plateau.
Day 14: Trek to Yangze Gomba 4,960 m - 05 hrs.
From here, morning walk follows river Nang chu all the way with short ups and down then passing Tiling and Lurigaon a cattle herders settlement. Continue to walk to our overnight camp at Yangtze village with an old Gomba of pre-Buddhist Bon-Pa culture.
Day 15: Trek to Sibu 4,560m - 07 hrs.
Morning walk leads back on the same path to reach main route close to Saldang village, then taking northwest direction to Sibu and beyond, walk follows the river through farm fields, and into Namdo village, another large village with an old monastery, from here walk leads to pasture land at Sibu for an overnight stop.
Day 16: Trek to Jeng-la Phedi 4,900 m -06 hrs.
After nice stop around summer grazing area walk follows Nam Khong Khola for short period, and then encountering yaks and mules laden caravan on route to Tibet, where trade with Tibet still exist since past hundreds of years and then reaching a nice flat area for an overnight stop at the bottom of Jen-la pass.
Day 17: Trek to Tokyu Gaon 4,200m via Jeng la 5,090m-06 hrs.
From the camp of Jeng-la pehdi, morning starts with a steep climb to reach atop Jeng-la pass, with fantastic views of Dhaulagiri mountain range, from here a long descend to Tarap valley, one of the largest and longest valley of Dolpo areas which is about 20 k.m. which stretches all the way to Tarap Chu River. After a good walk for hours reaching at Tokyogaon for the overnight stop. This is one of the most lovely and interesting villages of inner Dolpo; consist of more than ten villages with nice tended farm fields and old monasteries.
Day 18: Trek to Dho Tarap 4,040m- 05 hrs.
After Tokyu-gaon, morning walk starts with downhill towards Tarap Chu on a wider green valley, this is one of the scenic valleys with many Sheppard’s settlements tending and grazing Yaks and Sheep. The walk continues to our overnight camp at Dho Tarap, this is another interesting village with mix tribes of Tibetans origin and Magar hill tribe people.
Day 19: Trek to Tarap Khola ( Kamekharka) 3,800m - 07 hrs.
Today, longest walk but on a nice gradual path within the valley, which later forms into a narrow gorge with little vegetation of bushes of juniper and wild rose. On this area chance of spotting Blue Sheep and other mountain animals, the walk continues reaching a confluence of two rivers Tarap Chu and Lang Khola for overnight stop by the river.
Day 20: Trek to Kharigaon 3,150m - 05 hours.
Morning walk continues following Tarap River and through a gorge, involves some adventure walk over some broken bridges caused by monsoon floods, and might lead to cross a chilly river on foot sometimes. After an adventurous moment walk finally ends for the day to camp by the Tarap- Khola close to Kharigaon a temporary cattle herders shelters.
Day 21: Trek to Tarakot 2,850 m - 05 hrs.
Starting morning walk around lower Dolpo through Lalberi village and then into a small wooded area, following the river all the way to Tarakot. Tarakot a large and interesting village steeped with past glorious history of the Malla period and well maintained terraced farm fields, including old fortress (Dzong or Kot) guarding the village. Tarakot village with famous old Sandul Gomba located at the junction of Barbung Khola and Tarap Chu River where the overnight camp is set.
Day 22: Trek to Dunai – 04 hrs then drive to Jhupal - 01 hr jeep ride.
After a great time at Tarakot, our last day walk takes to Dunai and then with a short drive to Jhupal for the flight back to Kathmandu. The morning starts following spread out villages a, walking on a much wider trail with few short uphills into a valley and downhill towards Thulo Bheri River valley to reach Dunai town. From here time permitting with lunch stop then a jeep drive to Jhupal to make the day shorter. Last night in Dolpo celebrates the night among fellow staff and porters.
Day 23: Fly to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj and transfer to hotel.
As per the flight time to Nepalgunj board on the small aircraft for a short flight to Nepalgunj, and then connect to another flight to Kathmandu on reaching Kathmandu transfer to respective hotels.
Day 24: In Kathmandu free day.
A free and leisure day in Kathmandu after an adventurous journey and tough trekking, on this day if the interesting book for a sightseeing tour around places of interest in Kathmandu-Bhaktapur or Patan with rest of the day free for individual activities and shopping souvenirs.
Day 25: International departure homeward bound.
Today, last day in Nepal with great experience and fond memories of Upper Dolpo & Crystal Monastery Trekking, as per your time for international flight, Sherpa Expedition and Trekking staff transfer you to the airport for your final departure homeward bound or to your next destinations.
1. Trekking equipment
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:
- Good down Sleeping bag (Optional/we can provide one if you do not have on your own and it is to be returned after the trek.
- Duffel or Rucksack bag to keep your all the gear and this will be carried by the porters.
- Daypack bag for yourself
- A down Jacket
- Shade hat
- Warm wool hat to cover your ears
- A pair of lightweight warm gloves.
- T-shirts 2- 3 pieces
- Lightweight thermal tops.
- Fleece jacket.
- Fleece Wind-proved jacket (optional).
- A pair’s nylon hiking shorts which are quick drying one
- Two pairs of lightweight long underwear.
- Two pairs trekking pants, preferably that zip on/off at the knees so they double as shorts
- Four pairs of liner warm socks
- A pair of light to medium weight waterproof hiking/trekking boots.
- A pair of light trekking shoes for camp/lodges
- A pair sandal (Optional)
- A water bottle.
- Head/Torch Light.
2. Medicines and First Aid Kits
- Extra Strength Excedrin for altitude-related headaches like DMX.
- Ibuprofen for general aches and pains.
- Imodium or Peptone besom, Flexon capsules for upset stomach or diarrhea.
- Diamox 125 or 250mg or 400mg tablets for altitude sickness.
- 1 small personal sized first-aid kit with blister treatments such as moleskin, band-aids, some waterproof tape, anti-infection ointments, etc.(Sherpa expedition and Trekking company's team also provide first aid kits)
3. Miscellaneous but Important
- Passport and extra passport photos (4 copies)
- Durable wallet/pouch for travel documents, money & passport.
- Lip care (Balm) At least SPF 20, 2 sticks.
- Sun’s cream with SPF 40 is recommended
- Pocket knife.
- Water purification Iodine tablets
- Toiletry kits and be sure to include toilet paper stored in a plastic bag, hand wipes, and liquid hand sanitizer, towel, soap, etc.
Note Regarding Itineraries:
Although we generally adhere to the schedule, the itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control, including weather and terrain conditions, suitable campsite availability, and the group's general fitness level. It is important to understand that our trek is logistically complex and it is not unusual that adjustments be made. Our guide will orient you each evening to the following day's plan and their good judgment is the key to the long history of successful treks that Sherpa Expedition & Trekking Pvt. Ltd. Please remember that our ability to make adjustments as needed helps to ensure that your trek is safe and successful. Your safety is paramount.