Upper Dolpa Trek

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Upper Dolpo Nepal, Saldang, Nepal
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Duration

21 Days

Tour Type

Daily Tour

Group Size

12 people

Languages

English

About this tour

The Upper Dolpa Trek is a remarkable and remote trekking experience located in the northwestern part Dolpo Region of Nepal, near the Tibetan border. This trek takes you through the mystical landscapes of Dolpa, a region known for its ancient Tibetan culture, rugged terrain, and stunning natural beauty. The Upper Dolpa Trek offers a journey into a land of untouched wilderness, isolated villages, and high Himalayan passes.

The trek starts from Juphal and takes you through picturesque villages, terraced fields, dense forests, and across high mountain passes. One of the main attractions of this trek is the Shey Phoksundo National Park, which is home to the pristine Phoksundo Lake, the deepest lake in Nepal. The turquoise waters of the lake surrounded by steep cliffs and snowy peaks create a surreal and captivating sight.

As you trek through Upper Dolpa, you’ll have the opportunity to witness the unique culture and traditions of the local people, who have maintained their ancient Tibetan way of life for centuries. The traditional villages, monasteries, and chortens along the route provide insight into the spiritual practices of the region.

The Upper Dolpa Trek is considered a challenging trek due to its remote and high-altitude terrain. Trekkers need to be prepared for varying weather conditions and long days of walking. The trek crosses several high passes, including the Kang La Pass and the Saldang La Pass, offering panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

Due to its remote nature, the Upper Dolpa Trek requires a special trekking permit. The journey not only offers natural beauty but also provides a deep cultural immersion and a sense of adventure that few other treks can match. It’s an opportunity to explore an area that remains relatively untouched by modernization and experience the raw beauty of the Himalayas and the cultural heritage of Upper Dolpa.

Essential Tips for a Successful Upper Dolpa Trek

  • Obtain Permits: Ensure you have the necessary permits, including the Upper Dolpa Restricted Area Permit, Shey-Phoksundo National Park Permit.
  • Choose the Right Season: Plan your trek during the pre-monsoon (spring: March to May) or post-monsoon (autumn: September to November) for the best weather and clear views.
  • Physical Fitness: The Upper Dolpa Trek is challenging. Prioritize physical fitness and stamina with regular exercise and training before the trek.
  • Pack Light: Pack only essential items to keep your backpack manageable during challenging trekking days.
  • Proper Gear: Invest in high-quality trekking gear, including sturdy hiking boots, warm clothing, waterproof layers, and a comfortable backpack.
  • Altitude Awareness: Pay attention to altitude-related symptoms, communicate with your guide, and adhere to gradual ascents.
  • Local Culture: Respect local customs, traditions, and etiquette. Ask for permission before taking photos of people or their belongings.
  • Trekking Company: Choose a reliable and experienced trekking company with knowledgeable guides familiar with the region.
  • Trekking Guide: Consider hiring a local guide who can provide cultural insights, navigation assistance, and emergency support.
  • Travel Insurance: Obtain comprehensive travel insurance that covers high-altitude trekking and emergency medical evacuation.
  • Communication: Be aware that mobile network coverage may be limited in some areas. Consider alternative means of communication, such as satellite devices.
  • Cash: Carry sufficient Nepalese rupees for trek expenses, as ATMs are not available in this region.
  • Trekking Itinerary: Plan a flexible itinerary that accounts for possible weather delays, rest days, and acclimatization stops.
  • Responsible Trekking: Practice “Leave No Trace” principles, minimize waste, and respect the environment and local communities.
  • Weather Preparedness: Be prepared for changing weather conditions by carrying appropriate clothing layers and waterproof gear.

Upper Dolpa Trek Safety Considerations

  • Acclimatization: Follow the recommended acclimatization schedule to allow your body to adjust gradually to higher altitudes and reduce the risk of altitude sickness.
  • Hydration and Nutrition: Stay hydrated and maintain a balanced diet to ensure your energy levels and immune system remain strong.
  • Altitude Sickness: Learn about the symptoms of altitude sickness and communicate any discomfort to your guide immediately. Descend if symptoms worsen.
  • Guided Trek: Consider hiring a local guide who is familiar with the region’s trails, weather patterns, and emergency procedures.
  • Emergency Contact: Carry a list of emergency contacts, including local medical facilities, trekking company contacts, and embassy/consulate information.
  • First Aid Kit: Carry a basic first aid kit with essentials like bandages, antiseptics, pain relievers, and any personal medications.
  • Navigation: Stay on marked trails and avoid venturing into unknown areas. Rely on your guide’s knowledge of the terrain.
  • Environmental Respect: Follow “Leave No Trace” principles, avoid damaging flora and fauna, and respect local customs and culture.
  • Emergency Evacuation Plan: Familiarize yourself with the evacuation procedures in case of serious injury or illness.
  • Weather Updates: Keep informed about weather forecasts and local conditions, especially before attempting high passes.
  • Safety Equipment: Carry essential safety equipment such as a whistle, flashlight, multi-tool, and a basic survival kit.
  • Team Communication: Keep open communication with your guide and fellow trekkers. Voice any concerns or difficulties promptly.
  • Local Advice: Listen to your guide’s advice regarding trekking pace, altitude adaptation, and overall safety.
Upper Dolpo Trekking Guide

The Upper Dolpo trekking is an amazing adventure that takes you to a faraway and untouched place called Dolpo in the northwest part of Nepal. It’s known for its beautiful but empty landscapes, old Tibetan culture, and special animals. The trek starts in Juphal and goes through pretty villages, high mountain paths, and green valleys. People walking can explore old monasteries like Shey Gompa and meet nice locals who believe in the traditional Bonpo religion. The trek also goes through the Shey Phoksundo National Park, where there’s a stunning blue lake called Phoksundo Lake surrounded by tall mountains.

The journey is tough with difficult paths and high places like Kang La and Sela passes, making it an exciting adventure. The Upper Dolpo area, shown in the movie “Caravan,” is a rare chance to experience an old way of life and nature that hasn’t changed much, giving a really immersive and amazing trekking experience for those who want a faraway and real Himalayan adventure.

Upper Dolpo Trek Cost

The price of doing the Upper Dolpo Trek is 3500$ – 5000$ Per Person which can change based on a few things. Usually, you’ll have to pay for permits, transportation, a place to stay, food, and a guide and porter. Permits for special areas like Upper Dolpo can be a bit expensive because they want to protect the place and its special culture and nature. You have to process your trekking through the register trekking agency of nepal and have to hire a guide is mandatory.

Getting to the starting point in Juphal will cost more for flights or other ways of travel. The cost of where you stay and eat depends on whether you choose a basic teahouse during trek and a comfortable hotel at city area . It’s smart to plan for unexpected costs and remember that things might cost more in this faraway place. In the end, the cost of the Upper Dolpo Trek is like an investment in enjoying the beautiful nature and rich culture of this far-off Himalayan spot.

Upper Dolpo Trek Permit

Getting the right permits is very important when planning to go on the Upper Dolpo Trek. Upper Dolpo is a special place in Nepal, and you can’t visit it without special permission. The permits you need are called the Restricted Area Permit (RAP) and the Shey Phoksundo National Park Permit. These permits are crucial to keep the area’s nature and culture safe. The RAP is given by the government of Nepal, and it’s a good idea to make permit through a trekking agency that’s officially registered. The Shey Phoksundo National Park Permit is needed to go into the national park, where you’ll see the amazing Phoksundo Lake and different animals.

The Upper Dolpo Trek permit costs (RAP) USD 500 Per Person for 10 days and must be obtained from the immigration department in Kathmandu. After 10 Days you need to pay an extra USD 50 per person per day. Another separate permit is required to enter Shey-Phoksundo National Park which cost you USD 30$ Per Person. It’s really important to plan ahead, making sure you get all the right permits before starting the Upper Dolpo Trek, because going without them is not allowed.

Upper Dolpo Trek Itinerary

The Upper Dolpo Trek itinerary is especially design for an exciting journey through the remote and culturally rich landscapes of Dolpo in Nepal. It usually takes about three to four weeks. The adventure begins with a flight to Juphal. From there, the path goes through pretty villages like Dunai and Ankhe, where trekkers can see how the local people live. Along the way, trekkers will see old monasteries like Shey Gompa, climb up steep mountains passes like Kang La (5151 m) and Sela, and enjoy beautiful views in the Shey Phoksundo National Park.

The best part of the trek is visiting the amazing Phoksundo Lake, a blue lake surrounded by tall mountains. The plan also includes going to faraway villages like Ringmo, where trekkers can learn about the special Bonpo culture. The trek ends with a flight back from Juphal, leaving everyone with great memories of a tough but satisfying adventure in the heart of the Himalayas of Nepal.

You will find more detail Itinerary below which make you more clear about your destination where you are going and how you are going.

Highlights

  • Explore a less-traveled trail, offering a sense of solitude and the opportunity to experience a truly remote Himalayan region.
  • Traverse through diverse landscapes, including lush forests, high alpine meadows, rocky terrain, and breathtaking mountain vistas.
  • Visit the mesmerizing Phoksundo Lake, one of the deepest lakes in Nepal, with its stunning turquoise waters set against a backdrop of snow-capped peaks.
  • Encounter unique cultures of the Dolpa region, including the Bön religion, Tibetan Buddhist traditions, and the distinct lifestyle of the local people.
  • Explore ancient monasteries such as those in Shey Gompa, adorned with colorful murals, intricate carvings, and centuries of history.
  • Cross challenging high passes like Numa La (5,190 meters) and Baga La (5,070 meters), providing panoramic views of the surrounding peaks.
  • Immerse yourself in the Tibetan-influenced way of life, architecture, and cultural practices of the Dolpa people.
  • Spot unique Himalayan wildlife like blue sheep, snow leopards, and diverse bird species. The region's flora includes a variety of alpine plants.
  • Encounter semi-nomadic communities and observe their traditional practices, such as yak herding and trading.
  • Interact with the welcoming locals in remote villages like Do Tarap and Ringmo, gaining insights into their daily lives and customs.
  • Enjoy the natural hot springs near Tarakot and relax in the soothing warm waters.
  • The trek's remote and challenging nature adds to its allure, offering a sense of accomplishment and adventure.
  • Experience the unique regulations and permits required for trekking in the restricted Upper Dolpa region, contributing to the exclusivity of the journey.
  • The Dolpa region is relatively untouched by modern development, allowing you to experience the pristine beauty of the Himalayas.
  • Participate in local festivals, witness traditional dances, and learn about the spiritual significance of the region.

Included/Excluded

  • International and Domestic Airport Pick Up and Drop.
  • Welcome and Farewell Cultural Dinner.
  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner from the Teahouses menu during the treks.
  • Overnight Sleep at Standard tea house with basic facility during the treks.
  • Government licensed holder trekking guide including all his meals, accommodation, salary, transportation, insurance.
  • One porter for two person who carry only two trekking member’s bags, including all his meals, accommodation, salary, transportation, insurance.
  • If single trekker booked then guide will help you to carry some of your stuffs.
  • Equipment like sleeping bags, down jackets, duffle bags, trekking poles, and Crampons will be provided (Returned after the trip is complete).
  • First aid kid box included and carry by guide.
  • Emergency helicopter rescue services provided, Pay By your Insurance or By Your Self.
  • All needed Trekking Permit and National park Entry fees.
  • All needed ground transportation mention on the itinerary.
  • Government Tax and Company service charge.
  • Personal expenses as like the Phone Bill, Camera Charging, Hot Shower, Wifi.
  • All kind of drinks as like Mineral Water, Tea, Coffee, Juice, Coke, Fanta, Beer and Bar Bills.
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner during your stay in city like Pokhara, Kathmandu.
  • Extra Nights’ Accommodation in Kathmandu and Pokhara, in case if you return earlier from the Treks.
  • Tips to your Guide and Porter. (It is expected)
  • Travel insurance.

Itinerary

  • Arrive in Nepalgunj via a flight from Kathmandu.
  • Rest and prepare for the upcoming trek.
  • Overnight at Nepalgunj at Simple Hotel.
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner at the hotel.

  • Take an early flight to Juphal, a scenic mountain airstrip.
  • Start the trek to Dunai, the administrative headquarters of Dolpa.
  • Pass through terraced fields, local villages, and a river.
  • Overnight in Dunai.
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner at the teahouse.

  • Begin trekking towards Ankhe.
  • Pass through beautiful landscapes, forests, and terraced fields.
  • Reach Ankhe and enjoy the serene surroundings.
  • Overnight in Ankhe.
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner at the teahouse.

  • Trek through forests, steep cliffs, and suspension bridges.
  • Pass through remote villages and enjoy the stunning views.
  • Reach Renje, a small village with picturesque surroundings.
  • Overnight in Renje.
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner at the teahouse.

  • Continue trekking towards the mesmerizing Phoksundo Lake.
  • Pass through forests and enjoy the sight of the turquoise lake.
  • Reach Phoksundo Lake, one of the deepest lakes in Nepal.
  • Overnight near Phoksundo Lake.
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner at the teahouse.

  • Trek along the lake's shore and enjoy the reflection of the mountains.
  • Pass through a waterfall and ascend to the other side of the lake.
  • Reach Phoksundo Khola and rest for the night.
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner at the teahouse.

  • Ascend to a higher altitude, passing yak pastures and rocky terrain.
  • Reach Phoksundo Bhanjyang, a high camp with panoramic views.
  • Overnight in Phoksundo Bhanjyang.
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner at the teahouse.

  • Begin the challenging climb to Kang La Pass.
  • Reach the top of the pass and enjoy breathtaking views.
  • Descend to Shey Gompa, a spiritual and cultural site.
  • Overnight in Shey Gompa.
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner at the teahouse.

  • Spend a day exploring Shey Gompa and its surroundings.
  • Visit the monastery and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere.
  • Overnight in Shey Gompa.
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner at the teahouse.

  • Trek towards Namduna Gaon, passing through Saldang La Pass.
  • Enjoy stunning views of the mountains and landscapes.
  • Reach Namduna Gaon, a traditional Tibetan village.
  • Overnight in Namduna Gaon.
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner at the teahouse.

  • Continue the trek to Saldang, a picturesque village.
  • Experience the unique culture and lifestyle of the locals.
  • Overnight in Saldang.
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner at the teahouse.

  • Trek towards Sibu, crossing the Nam Khong Khola river.
  • Pass through terraced fields and beautiful landscapes.
  • Reach Sibu and rest for the night.
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner at the teahouse.

  • Trek towards the base of Jeng La Pass.
  • Enjoy the scenic views and prepare for the next day's pass crossing.
  • Overnight at the base of Jeng La Pass.
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner at the teahouse.

  • Cross Jeng La Pass and enjoy panoramic mountain views.
  • Descend and trek to Tokyu Gaon, a remote village.
  • Overnight in Tokyu Gaon.
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner at the teahouse.

  • Trek towards Dho Tarap, a charming village.
  • Pass through local settlements and enjoy the landscapes.
  • Overnight in Dho Tarap.
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner at the teahouse.

  • Continue the trek to Serkam, passing through beautiful valleys.
  • Enjoy the cultural experience and interactions with locals.
  • Overnight in Serkam.
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner at the teahouse.

  • Trek towards Khani Gaon, descending to lower altitudes.
  • Pass through forests, villages, and enjoy diverse landscapes.
  • Overnight in Khani Gaon.
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner at the teahouse.

  • Trek to Tarakot, a historical fortress.
  • Pass through valleys and enjoy the views of terraced fields.
  • Overnight in Tarakot.
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner at the teahouse.

  • Trek back to Dunai, the endpoint of the trek.
  • Reflect on the journey and enjoy the final day of trekking.
  • Overnight in Dunai.
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner at the teahouse.

  • Conclude the trek with the final stretch to Juphal.
  • Enjoy the last moments in the mountains.
  • Overnight in Juphal.
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner at the teahouse.

  • Fly back to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj.
  • Transfer to your hotel in Kathmandu.
  • Breakfast and Lunch at the teahouse.

Durations

21 Days

Languages

English

Frequently asked questions

Upper Dolpa is a remote region located in the northwestern part of Nepal, bordering Tibet (China).

Yes, a special permit, known as the Upper Dolpa Restricted Area Permit, is required for trekking in Upper Dolpa. This permit is in addition to the TIMS card and Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP).

The best time for the Upper Dolpa Trek is during the pre-monsoon (spring: March to May) and post-monsoon (autumn: September to November) seasons when the weather is relatively stable and clear.

Yes, the Upper Dolpa Trek is physically demanding due to its remote and rugged terrain, high passes, and long trekking days. Good physical fitness and previous trekking experience are recommended.

The highest point of the Upper Dolpa Trek is the Kang La Pass at an elevation of approximately 5,360 meters (17,585 feet).

Basic teahouses and guesthouses provide accommodations in villages along the trekking route. The food options are limited but include local and basic international dishes.

Yes, altitude sickness is a concern due to the high elevations reached during the trek. Acclimatization days and a gradual ascent are included in the itinerary to minimize risks.

While it's not mandatory, having a local guide is highly recommended for navigation, cultural insights, and safety considerations.

Independent trekking is possible, but due to the remote nature of the region and its regulations, it's advised to have a guide and follow the required permits.

There are no ATMs in the Upper Dolpa region. Carry sufficient cash (Nepalese rupees) for your trek expenses.

Accommodations in Upper Dolpa are basic guesthouses and teahouses with simple amenities such as shared rooms and communal bathrooms.

Winter trekking in Upper Dolpa is not recommended due to harsh weather conditions, cold temperatures, and the possibility of trails being inaccessible due to snow.

Mobile network coverage may be limited in certain areas of Upper Dolpa. It's best to rely on your guide or local knowledge for communication.

While Upper Dolpa is a standalone trek, some adventurous trekkers opt to combine it with the Shey Gompa and Phoksundo Lake trek or the Annapurna region.

The Upper Dolpa Trek is considered strenuous and requires trekkers to have prior high-altitude trekking experience, good physical fitness, and the ability to handle challenging terrains.

Tour's Location

Upper Dolpo Nepal, Saldang, Nepal

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