Upper Dolpo Trek Itinerary

Upper Dolpo Trek Itinerary

Upper Dolpo is a remote area to the north of Dhaulagiri mountain range in Mid-Western Nepal. This remote and vast region of Karnali is naturally and culturally rich. Trekking to Upper Dolpo lets you explore remote areas and peek into lives of people living in that isolated world.

Although people of Upper Dolpo are poor, the region is abundant in natural resources. Dolpo has an abundance of green lush meadows, subalpine and alpine forest and snow-covered mountains. The wilderness of Upper Dolpo is a home to snow leopard, blue sheep, mountain musk deer and more.

Dolpo presents you with the nature in its raw form. The entire district depends on yaks, mules, and horses for transportation. Roads exist only a few kilometers in lower Dolpo. Upper Dolpo is yet to see a wheel rolling on its land. So, trekking is the only option if you want to explore Upper Dolpo.

As you trek to Upper Dolpo, you pass through some of the highest settlements of the world. People here live even above 4000 meters. You witness their amazing Tibetan-influenced Buddhist culture and tradition.

Contents

Highlights of Upper Dolpo Trek

  • Shey-Phoksundo Lake
  • Shey-Phoksundo National Park
  • Kanjirowa and Crystal Mountain
  • Tibetan Buddhism and Bon people
  • Shey Gompa, Yangze Gompa, and Bon Gompa
  • Nomadic lifestyle of locals
  • Caravans of yaks, mules, horses, and sheeps
  • Blue Sheep, Musk deer, Monkeys
  • Villages above 3500 meters
  • Yarshagumba- a medicinal herb
  • Kang-La, Shey-la, and Choi-La passes above 5000 meter

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Outline Itinerary of Upper Dolpo Trek

Restricted Area Trekking

Upper Dolpo trek is a long trek categorized as a strenuous one. You take two flights to reach to Dolpo and pass through villages of lower Dolpo to reach Shey-Phoksundo Lake. Shey-Phoksundo lake is the ultimate attraction of Dolpo.

Further up high in the mountains is the restricted region – Upper Dolpo. You trek on a high trail through old settlements and high passes to take you to the unexplored part of Dolpo. You can visit several monasteries, explore villages, make friends and enjoy the rawness of Upper Dolpo.

In general, Upper Dolpo Trek lasts for 27 days. Remember, the itinerary can be customized as per your objective, span of your vacation and your preference.

Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu (1,400m/4,592 feet)

If you are trekking through a travel agency, the company’s representative will pick you up from the airport. They will then transfer you to your hotel. They workout for your trekking permits and legal process. Your travel company usually offers breakfast and overnight stay in the hotel. So, you have to pay yourself for lunch and dinner.

But if you are traveling on your own, you have to find a taxi and search for a hotel. You may get cheated on taxi fares, be careful. You then need to obtain permits for Dolpo trekking. As you need a government-approved tour operator to accompany you during the trek, you need to find a reliable tour operator.

Day 02: Kathmandu sightseeing and trek preparation

Your next day starts with a delicious breakfast. Then, you can tour around Kathmandu with your trekking agency’s guide. Here are some UNESCO-listed world heritage sites including Pashupatinath, Boudhanath, and Swayambhunath.

If you are traveling on your own, and are still to acquire TIMS card or trekking permit, work on getting them.

Also, make sure you buy all the essentials you need during the trek. You can go to Thamel- a touristic center in the heart of Kathmandu and buy or rent trekking gears. And make sure you are fully prepared for your trek.

Day 03: Fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj(150m, 490 ft)

The next day, you will fly for 45 minutes to Nepalgunj. Nepalgunj is a sweltering city in the Mid-Western Terai. It lies in the vicinity of Nepal-India border and is a major city in Mid-Western region. Bardia National Park is also pretty close to Nepalgunj.

You can also travel to Nepalgunj from Kathmandu by bus. But, you have to catch a night bus on the second day of your trip to arrive at Nepalgunj in the third day. The long journey through East-West Highway is no less amazing. You pass through some other cities including Narayangarh, Hetauda, Bharatpur, Butwal and more.

You will stay overnight in a hotel. Take an evening walk and explore the city.

Day 04: Fly from Nepalgunj to Juphal(2,475m, 8,118ft) and trek to Dunai(2,140m, 7,019ft)

In the early morning, you will travel to Juphal Airport from Nepalgunj. You fly over amazing landscapes witnessing Dhaulagiri and Annapurna ranges.

Juphal Airport is the only airport in Dolpa. It was also the only place to depend on for Dolpo locals to connect to other parts of Nepal. Recently, road track to Dhadang is opened. This has given Dolpo people a glimpse of hope that they will have alternative transport options as well.

After you land at Juphal, you will trek for 2-3 hours to reach Dunai.

Dunai is the district headquarter of Dolpo based at 2000 meters on the bank of Thuli Bheri River. You will stay in a teahouse in Dunai.

Trek Hours: 5-6 hours

Accomodations: Tea house

Meal Includes: Dinner, breakfast & lunch

Day 05: Trek from Dunai(2,140m/ 7,019ft) to Ankhe(6988ft/ 2,130m)

On the next day, the trek starts towards Ankhe. You will cross the new suspension bridge, turn west and follow the trail. You start ascending to reach a ridge and enter into Phoksundo River Valley. The trek then passes through another ridge, then a canyon, then reach Rahagaon.

After that, you will trek through a dense forest to Ankhe. Territory of Shey-Phoksundo National Park begins from Ankhe. You will stay overnight in Ankhe.

Trek Hour: 5-6 hours

Accomodations: Tented camps

Meal Includes: Dinner, breakfast & lunch

Day 06: Trek from Ankhe(6988ft/ 2,130m) to Sulighat

The next day, you trek through a trail passing through forests and many streams. A river flows alongside the rocky trail. You will then trek to Ryajik and then to Sulighat to spend the sixth night of your trip.

Trek Hours: 5-6 hours

Accomodations: Tented camps

Meal Includes: Dinner, breakfast & lunch

Day 07: Trek from Sulighat to Phoksundo Lake(3,611m/11,849 ft)

On the seventh day, you trek along the valley to the junction of Phoksundo River and Pungmo River. After you cross a wooden bridge, you trek alongside Pungmo River all the way to Phoksundo Lake.

Trek Hours: 5-6 hours

Accomodations: Tented camps

Meal Includes: Dinner, breakfast & lunch

Day 08: Acclimatization and rest at Phoksundo Lake

You have trekked a long way to Shey Phoksundo Lake. The lake is at an altitude of 3611 meters. So, today is well-earned rest and acclimatization day.

You can explore the area around Shey Phoksundo Lake. This amazing turquoise colored lake is a heavenly sight to behold.

You can visit Ringmo village and a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in its neighborhood. You can delve into culture and tradition of people.

Accomodations: Tented camps

Meal Includes: Dinner, breakfast & lunch

Day 09: Trek to Phoksundo Khola(3,750m/12,300ft)

It’s day nine. The trail flanks the Shey Phoksundo Lake from the western side. You walk through the trail of rocky hills of the western end of the lake. The trail continues through a lush grassland to the floodplain of Phoksundo Khola.

Trek hour: 5-6 hours

Accommodation: Tented Camp

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 10: Trek to Phoksundo Bhanjyang(4,717m/15,417ft)

On the tenth day, you walk through a glacial valley heading north and reach to the junction of Phoksundo river and a stream. As you cross the bridge, you walk towards the north-east direction and begin an uphill climb. As you climb to the top of a steep george, you can see Kang-La pass from the top.

Trek hour: 6-7 hours

Accommodation: Tented Camp

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 11: Trek to Shey Gompa(4,500m/14,760ft) via Kang-La pass(5,360m/17,581ft)

On the eleventh morning, walking through a strenuous trail will take you to Kang-La Pass. Kang-La Pass is at an altitude of 5,360 meters from where you can have an excellent view of deserted valleys, Crystal Mountain and U-shaped canyon towards Shey-Gompa.

You then descend from the pass, cross the same river several times and walk through meadows where yaks, and sheeps are seen grazing. As you walk through small huts, a red Buddhist shrine welcomes you to Shey Gompa.

Overnight stay in Shey Gompa.

Trek hour: 5-6 hours

Accommodation: Teahouse

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Upper Dolpo Trekking in Nepal

Day 12: Acclimatization and rest at Shey Gompa

You have walked tirelessly for days on high altitudes. So, you will have a well-earned rest in Shey Gompa to make sure your body acclimatizes with the change in altitude.

Walk around the area and explore Shey Gompa. Shey Gompa is the most popular monastery in Upper Dolpo. Hundreds of Buddhist devotees visit Shey Gompa yearly.

To the east of Shey Gompa lies Crystal Mountain( Ribo Drugta). Locals gather and circumambulate this mountain every year before harvesting their crops.

Accommodation: Teahouse

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 13: Trek from Shey Gompa to Namduna Gaun(4,800m/15,744ft)via Saldang La(5,200m/17,056ft)

The trek resumes. You trek through a trail that passes amid Juniper forest leading to a rocky canyon. You walk through a meandering trail to reach the top of Saldang-La Pass.

From there, the trail descends for a long time towards north to Namduna Gaun. You can visit Namgung monastery perched on the northern wall of a ridge.

Overnight stay in Namduna Gaun.

Trek hour: 6-7 hours

Accommodation: Teahouse

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 14: Trek from Namduna Gaun to Saldang (3,620m/ 11,874ft)

In the morning, you start your trek by ascending barren hills for hours. After 3-4 hours of walk, you start to see Saldang Village which stretches through a slope above Namga River.

Saldang Village is the largest settlement of Inner Dolpo. This is home to nearly 600 people. Surrounded by terraced fields, Saldang is an agriculturally prosperous settlement of Inner Dolpo.

Overnight stay in Saldang Village.

Trek hour: 4-5 hours

Accommodation: Teahouse

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 15: Trek from Saldang to Yangze Gompa(4,960m/16,267ft)

The third week of your trek begins from Saldang village to further unexplored area in the north. You follow Nang Chu river on your trail to Tiling, and Lurigaon village. You walk further to Yangze village. Here, you can explore Yangze region, Bon-Po monastery, and Panzang river.

Overnight stay in Yangze village.

Trek hour: 4-5 hours

Accommodation: Teahouse

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 16: Trek from Yangze Gompa to Sibu (4,560m/14,957ft)

From Yangze, you have a couple of trails to Sibu. The longer route passes through Nishalgaon and Shimengaon to Sibu. We pick the shorter trail by retracing our path back to Saldang village.

The trail then leads to Namdo village which has around 400 residents and stretches over 5 km. There is Namdo monastery near Nam Khong river.

You then trek for two more hours to reach Sibu.

Overnight stay in Sibu.

Trek hour: 6-7 hours

Accommodation: Teahouse

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 17: Trek from Sibu to Jeng-la Phedi (4,900m/16,072ft)

On the seventeenth day, you begin your trek following Nam Khong river. On the way, you may see caravans of yaks herds. After a few hours of walk, you arrive at a junction of two small streams. You then begin upward climb to the base of Jeng La pass.

Overnight stay in Jeng-La Phedi.

Trek hour: 5-6 hours

Accommodation: Tented Camp

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 18: Trek to Tokyu Gaon(4209m/13809ft) via Jeng La pass (5,090m/16,695ft)

The day starts climbing to the top of Jeng La Pass(5110) that takes about two hours. From Jeng La Pass, you can witness picturesque views of Dhaulagiri massif.

After that, you descend towards Tarap Valley. As you reach a stream, you follow the stream to Tokyu village.

Stay overnight in Tokyu village.

Trek hour: 5-6 hours

Accommodation: Tented Camp

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 19: Trek from Tokyu to Dho Tarap(4,040m/13,251ft)

The trail in this region is an easy one. You walk through broad fertile valley visiting several chortens on the way. About 4-5 hours of the trek will take you to Dho Tarap.

Overnight stay in Dho Tarap.

Trek hour: 4-5 hours

Accommodation: Teahouse

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 20: Rest Day at Dho Tarap

We spend the twentieth day resting in Dho Tarap(4080m). You can explore the village, visit the gompas and make friends.

Dho Tarap – one of the highest settlements of the world, is the junction of trails leading to Mustang, Jomsom, and Tibet. It has about 3 dozens of houses. Inhabitants consist of mostly Magars and Tibetans. There are many Buddhist shrines in Dho Tarap. Bon Gompa above Dho Tarap is a famous one.

Accommodation: Teahouse

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 21: Trek from Dho Tarap to Tarap Khola (Kamakharka) (3,800m/12,464ft)

You start the next day trek descending towards a valley that finally turns into a gorge as you trek further. The trek passes through bushes of junipers and eventually leads to the junction of Tarap Chu and the Lang Khola. You then reach to Kamakharka for halting the trek.

Overnight stay in a tent in Kamakharka.

Trek hour: 6-7 hours

Accommodation: Tented Camp

Day 22: Trek from Tarap Khola to Khanigaun(3,150m/10,332ft)

You trek alongside gorge of Tarap Khola. The gorge sometimes gets so narrow that you can cross the river with a jump. So, the walk alongside the gorge can be exciting. As you reach Khanigaun, you stop your trek there.

Overnight stay in Khanigaun.

Trek hour: 4-5 hours

Accommodation: Tented Camp

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 23: Trek from Khanigaun to Tarakot ( 2,537m/8,321ft)

You start your day trek following a trail to Lalberi village. Then, you pass through a forest, descend to a gorge then trek alongside the river. You then reach to Tarakot after a total of 4-5 hours of walk from Khanigaun.

Tarakot is a small town which once used to be a fortress. It used to be a capital of Tichorung Kingdom and was a popular trading point. Although it has lost the energy it used to share, it still has the charm to attract the travelers.

Overnight stay in Tarakot.

Trek hour: 4-5 hours

Accommodation: Tented Camp

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 24: Trek from Tarakot to Dunai (2,140m, 7,019ft)

After morning breakfast, you follow the Bheri River passing through several gorges, villages, and bridges to reach Dunai. You pass by Lawan village, Byas Gadi, and Lochakhola Gaon to finally reach Dunai.

Dunai is the district headquarter of Dolpo. There are about 2700 residents. You can find schools, campus, bank branches, and other infrastructures of development in Dunai.

Overnight stay in Dunai.

Trek hour: 5-6 hours

Accommodation: Teahouse

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 25: Trek from Dunai to Juphal(2,475m, 8,118ft)

The trail following Thuli Bheri continues. You pass through Dhupichaur, Rupgad, Kalagaonda, and Motipur to finally arrive in Juphal. The long and strenuous trek finally ends at Juphal.

Overnight stay in Juphal.

Trek hour: 2-3 hours

Accommodation: Teahouse

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 26: Fly from Juphal to Nepalgunj and then to Kathmandu

You will take the first flight available from Juphal to Nepalgunj. After that, you will board the flight to Kathmandu the same day. Take a rest in your hotel, or if you want, take a walk around the city.

If you are traveling with a travel company, companies usually give you a farewell dinner.

Overnight stay in Kathmandu.

Day 27: Final departure

It’s the final day of your Upper Dolpo trip. You will fly to your country.

If you want to continue traveling in Nepal, there are many trek destinations in the country. Please, feel free to contact us for any queries.

Upper Dolpo Trekking

Final Words

Upper Dolpo is a hidden wonderland trekkers love to explore. From the high Himalayas to green lush meadows, the nature of Dolpo makes sure travelers enjoy the trek. Friendly locals welcome travelers with all their heart and try to make your trip as pleasant as they can.

Although very few travelers knew about Upper Dolpo in the past, trekkers have started flowing to Upper Dolpo. So, you can find trekkers on your way to Dolpo.

Since, Dolpo is a restricted region, and is a strenuous and long trek, travel companies can help you make your trek easy. You can contact us for a convenient and well-organized Upper Dolpo Trek.

Do you have any question about trip to Nepal?

Tell us about your trip to Nepal and what you expect from it. We will answer your questions in 24 hours and help you design a trip with a comfortable itinerary to best meet your needs.
1 Group Size
2 Travel Dates
3 Trip Details
4 Contact Details