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Upper Dolpo Trek

Trip code
Package name Upper Dolpo Trek
Duration 24
Max. elevation 5151 m
Level Difficult
Transportation All ground transportation and domestic flight as per itinerary
Accomodation 3*** Hotel in Kathmandu and Camp/Lodge during the trek
Starts at Kathmandu
Ends at
Trip route
Cost USD 3,150 per person



UPPER DOLPO TREKKING offers wonderful scene of blue sheep and snow leopard with great dramatic landscapes.

Mode of Trekking: In best available Lodges and tented camping
Trekking Grade: Moderate to Adventurous
Area of Trekking: Nepal Far North West around Dolpo region
Highest points: 5, 151 m / 16, 900 feet high
People and culture: Populated by people form Dolpa of strong Tibetan origin tribe who follows Buddhism with ancient Bon cult
Trekking duration: 20 / 21 Days, with flights both ways
Total Trip: 24 Nights / 25 Days from arrival to main departures

The Upper Dolpa trek by Himalayan Forever is a popular trekking route in the Dolpa district of  Western Nepal. This trek leads you into the untouched and remote Himalayan region full of amazing views of snow-capped mountains, crystal lakes, and traditional Tibetan villages. 

Upper Dolpo Trekking, an adventure of a lifetime, begins with a flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj, which offers magnificent views from above the clouds. Then you need to book another small flight to Jhupal located in Dolpa district. You get to explore the high-altitude remote villages of Saldang, Tokyo, Dho Tarap, Tarakot, and Dolpo’s headquarter, Dunai. Relax for the day at the magnificent Phoksundo Lake which is renowned for its sparkling blue-green color and crystal-clear water. It is located in the Shey Phoksundo National Park, the largest Park in Nepal. Also, explore the Ringmo Village, which is covered with remarkable Buddhist monuments. The trek ascends higher, passing over Kang-La Pass located at an altitude of 5465m. 

After trekking down form Kang-La Pass, you arrive at Shey Gompa, a Buddhist monastery that is thought to be more than 800 years old. It is a significant spiritual center for the Dolpa people, and every year a colorful festival occurs at this historic place. After exploring the area for a day, you will be trekking on a dry windy trail surrounded by dry canyon walls and crumbled towering rocks. The trail leads to Saldang, a small village with a typical Tibetan culture that practices local traditional customs and farm activities. You will ascend higher and cross over Jeng-La to reach Tokyu-Gaon, an area made of several farm villages knitted close to each other. People with strong religious interests are highly recommended to go there since they can learn about Tibetan historical traditions and visit many monasteries. 

You will make your way back to Tokyu Gaon, and the trek goes downhill towards Tarap Chu / River, passing through a wide green valley. After passing several villages full of narrow river gorges with waterfalls, you reach Tarakot. It is a historical village that once served as the Malla kingdom's defensive safeguard against invaders in ancient times. From there, you take a short walk to Dunai town and take a drive to Jhupal. The next morning, take a scenic flight to Kathmandu from Nepalgunj ending an unforgettable trek of the Upper Dolpa area. 

1. Difficulty during Upper Dolpo Trek
The Upper Dolpo Trek presents several challenges that make it a demanding Himalayan journey. Firstly, the trek spans approximately 21 days with steep climbs and descents across desert-like terrain, requiring physical endurance.

With two mountain passes exceeding 5,000 meters, including the highest point, Kang-La Pass at 5,151 meters, altitude sickness is a significant concern. Acclimatization is crucial, and trekkers must be vigilant for symptoms such as breathing difficulties, headaches, and nausea. Informing the guide or trek leader promptly is essential for safety.

Additionally, Upper Dolpo's remote and underdeveloped nature poses logistical challenges, with limited basic amenities available. Trekkers must also research the best season for their journey, considering local conditions.

While prior high-altitude trekking experience is beneficial, it is not essential. However, excellent physical fitness, mental resilience, and stamina are required. Engaging in cardio exercises and hiking preparations in the months leading up to the trek is recommended for optimal readiness.

2. Upper Dolpo Trekking in Seasons
Trekking in Upper Dolpo is best experienced during the spring and autumn seasons. While it's possible to trek during the summer/monsoon due to Upper Dolpo's rain shadow area status, winter treks are not advisable due to excessive snowfall. Here's a breakdown:

Spring Season:
Spring offers pleasant weather and clear skies, making it ideal for trekking. Rhododendron blossoms add color to the landscape, and snow-capped mountains provide breathtaking views. However, early spring may have snow obstacles, with late March to May being the best months for Upper Dolpo trekking.

Summer/Monsoon Season:
Upper Dolpo remains accessible during the monsoon due to its rain-shadow location. Lush landscapes and clear paths characterize this season, but flight cancellations due to heavy rain can be a concern.

Autumn Season:
Autumn is considered the best time for trekking in Upper Dolpo. Clear skies, picturesque views, and interactions with locals during the harvest season make it a memorable experience. However, snow may start to appear in November, so early planning or preparedness is advised.

Winter Season:
Winter brings cold temperatures, snow-covered trails, and impassable passes, making it unsuitable for trekking in Upper Dolpo.

3. Permits to Trek in Upper Dolpo
Exploring the restricted region of Upper Dolpo requires obtaining the Restricted Area Permit (RAP) and the Shey Phoksundo National Park Entry Permit. These permits regulate access and contribute to the conservation of this pristine Himalayan region. Trekkers must secure these permits before embarking on the journey.

4. Getting There & Away
The journey to Upper Dolpo typically involves a flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj, followed by another flight to Juphal. From Juphal, the trek officially begins, leading adventurers through breathtaking landscapes and ancient villages. The return journey follows the same route, showcasing the diverse beauty of this remote region.

5. Accommodation & Meals
Accommodation and meals are included in the trip cost provided by Himalayan Glacier. During the trek, deluxe accommodation for 3 nights in a 3-star hotel in Kathmandu, 2 nights in a lodge in Nepalgunj/Jupal, and the remaining nights in comfortable two-person camping tents will be arranged. For camping, 4-season sleeping bags and foam mattresses will be provided to ensure standard comfort, considering weather conditions.

Accommodations are based on twin sharing, with single supplements available at no extra charge if there are individuals of different sexes. In Kathmandu, only breakfast will be provided, while during the trek, all meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) will be available. Trained and experienced cooks will prepare freshly-cooked, hygienic, and nutritious meals on a full-board basis. The menu includes authentic Nepalese and Tibetan dishes, as well as international cuisine like Tibetan, Continental, Italian, and Indian. Additionally, welcome and farewell dinners will be organized in Kathmandu.

6. Variations
The Upper Dolpo Trek offers variations in terms of side trips and additional destinations. Trekkers can explore Shey Gompa, Phoksundo Lake, and the ancient villages of Upper Dolpo, adding layers of cultural and natural richness to the main trekking route. These variations allow for a more personalized and enriching experience.

7. Upper Dolpo Trek route
The Upper Dolpo trek route traverses various passes, rivers, and monasteries, adorned with prayer flags, stupas, Tsyorten, and Mani stones along the way. Despite the challenges, camping in this wilderness offers a rewarding experience, showcasing captivating views of the area's untouched culture, landscapes, rare wildlife, and vegetation. Combining upper and lower Dolpo routes, this trek is recommended for trekkers seeking both adventure and spiritual enrichment. For trek cost and itinerary details, consult with a local expert to ensure suitability and accommodate any program changes.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1 : Arrival in Kathmandu 1,320 m and transfer to hotel.

On your arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, our guide and staff will receive and welcome you in a traditional way. They will accompany you on a short drive to your hotels located in the heart of the city, Thamel. It is a tourist hub where most good hotels and restaurants are situated.

Check out your exquisite accommodations and get refreshed to join in for a group briefing. The Himalayan Forever's guide or group leader will provide you with a lot of useful and important information regarding the trek, hotels, and local lodges. A group welcome dinner in a nice Nepali restaurant during the evening time will be served to you.

Day 2 : Morning tour of Kathmandu, afternoon fly to Nepalgunj.

After breakfast, a city and cultural tour guide from Himalayan Forever will meet you at the hotel for an exciting day city tour drive. The drive passes through Kathmandu's historical Durbar Square and Palace Courtyard. It is the right place to witness Nepalese cultures and offers the views of ancient monuments listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Our next stop is Swayambhunath Stupa, which carries a history of 2,600 years. It is a Buddhist monument that is one of Nepal's most well-known landmarks and is located on a hillside west of Kathmandu. 

Our guide will drive you back to the hotel for lunch. You will get ready for an exciting scenic flight to Nepalgunj city located in the Far Mid-South West Nepal where you will spend the night.

Day 3 : Morning flight to Jhupal(2,475 m) and trek to Chepkpa -04 hrs.

Take a 45-minute flight from Nepalgunj to Jhupal after an early breakfast. The short scenic flight will offer a great panorama view of western Himalayan peaks with dramatic landscapes. After landing Jhupal, join our trekking/camping staff/guide, and take a short time for refreshment.

Now, hike for a few hours along the Chepkpa trail to reach Phoksundo Lake. The route goes through farm areas and small dense forest before arriving at the overnight stop at Chepkpa. Finally, tents will be set for camping and the spare time will be spent to explore the stunning villages in Dolpa.

Day 4 : Trek to Chepkpa 2,838 m - 04 hrs.

Following a delightful overnight stay in a tent camp, a morning hike leads to a high hill above the valley of the Phoksundo River. As you walk through farming villages wrapped with walnut trees, enjoy the stunning views of the Kagmara and Kanjiboraba peaks. The hike gets close to Dhera, a small settlement of cattle herders and the journey leads to Raha-Gaon village which is mostly inhabited by Thakuri Malla Hindu tribe. The trail passes through a forest area and reaches Chepkpa where you find a nice field for overnight camping. You can stroll around charming farm villages there. 

Day 5 : Trek to Samduwa village 2,960 m -06 hrs.

After a fun overnight camping trip in Chepkpa, the hike leads to Ankhe, a lovely farming community. The trail follows a short climb before descending to a riverside and keeps descending, reaching to the thick blue pine tree lines. From there, the trek follows the Phoksundo River upstream to Ryajik Village, for a possible lunch stop. Hike for a few hours in the afternoon to overnight camp in Samduwa, which is close to the Shey-Phoksundo National Park entrance area. Find wonderful grassy areas to set the tent and explore the beautiful area during your spare time.

Day 6 : Trek to Phoksundo Lake 3,630 m - 06 hours.

On this day, you will witness the first major highlight of Upper Dolpa Trek, which is the breathtaking emerald-colored Phoksundo Lake. Pack the tents early in the morning and have breakfast before heading to the Pungmo Khola (stream) valley. You will reach the upper side of Phoksundo Khola after a short hike on the side of the stream full of pine and birch trees. The trail continues for more than five hours before reaching the lovely village of Ringmo. Stay there overnight in the local nice simple lodge, and experience the hospitality of the local Dolpa villagers.

Besides, Ringmo is a small fascinating village that has strong Tibetan origin culture and is filled with mani/prayer walls and chortens. After getting organized in comfortable rooms of the local lodge, you may enjoy the views of Phoksundo Lake.

Day 7 : Rest day at Phoksundo Lake for local excursion.

Phoksundo area is a majestic place for rest and acclimatization, before heading towards higher elevation. Enjoy this day with a short hike and witness this unreal lake and its tropical surroundings. Furthermore, visit nearby Ringmo village filled with the ancient culture of Tibetan heritage. Enjoy the stunning views of the faraway snow peaks of Kagmara and the bordering mountain range. 

Day 8 : Trek along the Phoksundo-Khola trial 3,750 m- 05 hrs.

You will leave the human settlements for some days, and hike towards the remote corners of Upper Dolpa. Start the morning hike from Ringmo and Phoksundo Lake through the upper trails until you reach a rocky cliff. Walk on an unsteady path towards the western side of the lake. The trek leads you to the beautiful place within a summer grazing area of yak herder temporary shelters. The day's hike ends in a wide, open valley close to the Phoksundo Khola or stream, where you can set up camp for the night.

Day 9 : Trek to Phoksundo Bhanjyang 4,717 m - 04 hrs.

During the early morning of the 9th day, take a short hike for a few hours for another overnight camping at the bottom of Kang-La Pass. This trail passes through the narrow valley into a gorge, that leads to another wide open field before finally reaching Phoksundo Bhanjyang. Set up an overnight camp there, and you will be served a good hot lunch from our camping cooking staff. Spend the afternoon relaxing and exploring the near surroundings.  

Day 10 : Trek to Shey Gompa 4,160 via Kang-La 5,345 m / 17,536 feet-06 hrs.

Start the long uphill trek toward the top of Kang-La in the early morning.  This is the highest point of the Upper Dolpa Trek, and you will take a slow and steady climb through the Kang-La Pass, enjoying spectacular views of some dramatic landscapes.  From lush green hills to dry barren land with tall snow-capped mountains in the Dhaulagiri Himalaya on the far eastern horizon, you can view it all. Hike downhill for quite some time toward a number of Stupas and prayer walls. 

Finally, you'll arrive at Shey the Crystal Monastery, where you'll spend the night. Set your camp near the monastery premises around the arid terrain landscapes which offer close views of Shey/ Crystal Mountain.

Day 11 : Rest day at Shey Gompa / Crystal Monastery.

Enjoy the peaceful and tranquil surrounding around unpopulated pristine areas of Upper Dolpa at Shey Gompa. It is a mystical and magical place, and walking around its barren and arid terrain and picturesque landscapes would be a magical experience. Here, you can explore the monastery built around the 11th century, which is the spiritual hub of Dolpa villagers. In this monastery, a great colorful event is held once a year where local takes a circuit/kora of the monastery and the nearby Crystal Mountain.

Day 12 : Trek to Nam-Gaon 4,608 m via Sela (Gela) La 5, 094 m -06 hrs.

After an amazing experience at Shey Gompa, we trek towards Nam-Gaon exploring the dramatic moonscape terrains of Upper Dolpa. This trail leads to an eroded windblown towering cliff and traverses the high Sela / Gela-La pass. From there, you can view Tibet in the north and Mustang in the east. Trek downhill to the isolated small settlement of Nam-Gaon for overnight camping. You can explore a small cattle herder shelter and many mud and stone houses in this region. 

Day 13 : Trek to Saldang 3,770 m - 05 hrs.

From Nam-Gaon during the early morning, trek to Neng-La pass located at 4,860 m high which offers fantastic views of Dolpa country from the top. Hike downhill on the dusty windswept trail to Saldang village and stay there for the night. It is an aesthetic large village of Upper Dolpa, situated on a high flat plateau. You can find a simple local lodge there, which offers warm traditional hospitality from the local people. Enjoy the afternoon exploring the Saldang village, where houses are built of stones, plastered with mud. 

Day 14 : Trek to Cha-Gaon 4,910 m - 05 hrs.

Early in the morning, climb a short distance from Saldang Village to Nang Chu River. This trail leads to the villages of Sugu-Gaon and Dechen Laprang, where Yak herder camps exist. Climb steadily to Cha-Gaon, a small windswept village, and set up the camp there for the night. You can also go to the historic Rapa Gompa of the Bon religion, a pre-Buddhist group that worships natural spirits. 

Day 15 : Trek to Dachu Khola and camp at 4,700 m - 06 hrs.

From Cha-Gaon, the trail heads to the south at Dachu Khola/stream and then crosses the same stream a few times. This trial leads to the farm fields, before reaching Dachu. There, you can find a small settlement of Yak herder. Camp there for an overnight stay.

Day 16 : Trek and cross Jyanta-La 5,220 m and walk to Phedi 4,900 m-06 hrs.

Trek towards the south during the early morning and you will reach the base of Jyanta-La pass. Take a short rest and resume the trek to climb the top of the Jyanta-La pass. You will be rewarded with a stunning view of the enormous inner Dolpa. Additionally, you can enjoy stunning views of the Dhaulagiri Himalayan range towards the east. After this amazing experience, trek downhill to the base of the pass for overnight camping on a grassy field.

Day 17 : Trek to Tokyu Gaon 4,209 m - 06 hrs.

Take a gradual morning walk on a winding path that leads to Tokyu Gaon. This trail passes through the main route of the former Nepalese and Tibetan caravan route and the Trans-Himalayan salt trade. Hike gradually towards the small villages of Modo and Khanger before finally reaching Tokyu-Gaon. Stay there overnight. 

Tokyu Gaun is a beautiful large area in inner Dolpa which composes of more than ten smaller villages closely knitted into one settlement. This area is surrounded by nice well-tended farm fields with some old monasteries. 

Day 18 : Trek to Dho-Tarap 3, 944 m- 05 hrs.

Hike downhill from Tokyo Gaon and the trial goes through a wide green valley to Tarap Chu / River.  It is the longest valley in Dolpa, extending about 20 km, and it passes through a few summer communities of cattle herders. The trial goes through gentle grassy area and reaches Dho Tarap village. Stay there for overnight. 

In Dho Tarap, there are of mixed people and Tibetan Dolpa native, as well some Magars, who are the largest hill tribe of western Nepal. Enjoy camping in the village's backyard or stay in the comfortable lovely local lodge.

Day 19 : Trek to Gyagar 3,759 m - 07 hrs.

After a great night in Dho Tarap, start hiking west towards the smaller settlements in the morning. This trial goes through farm areas and reaches Tarap Khola / stream.  You can catch a glimpse of the stunning surroundings, which are home to a herd of blue sheep, along with mountain goats and other animals. These animals are frequently seen in the vicinity of this remote village where there is plenty of grassland for them to graze.

After a long journey, you will eventually arrive at the little, remote location of Gyagar. The following trail leads to a bridge that spans Chaya Khola to Gyagar and is close to the settlement of Nawarpani. Camp there for overnight stay.

Day 20 : Trek to Tarap Khola 3,652 via Chyugar 3,440 m - 06 hrs.

Starting at Gyagar, the trail goes downhill which comprises a number of thrilling suspension bridges. This route enters a river gorge with thick vegetation and continues till it reaches Chyugar or Laini Odar. This place is popular for big overhanging cave, which offers travelers a great place to shelter during bad weather. By the end of the day, set a camp in a grassy meadow.

Day 21 : Trek to Tarakot 2,540 m - 06 hrs.

A morning hike takes you through a mellow path that crosses several streams and follows another short climb. The hike continues for some hours and  leaves behind the narrow river gorge. The trail ascends and descends before arriving to Tarakot, a walled settlement built above a beautiful hillside. You can witness the myriad Buddhist prayer flagpoles fluttering up in the houses of Tarakot village. Then, set a camp on a nice field near by the river, and explore this beautiful village of Tarakot. 

Additionally, you can explore the well-known Sandul Gompa monastery, which is surrounded by several Chorten and Mani walls and exprence the local lively culture there. 

Day 22 : Trek to Dunai 2,140 m - 05 hour and drive to Jhupal - 02 hrs.

Our Upper Dolpa Hike slowly comes to an end as we leave Tarakot village in the morning and hike towards the forest. Hike gradually in winding path towards the west and which leads you to various small farm villages. After some hours, you reach Dunai, an important town that serves as the administrative center for the Dolpa. Get refreshed and observe the local activities there. Then, board on a local vehicle or a jeep which leads to Jhupal. Stay there for the night.

Day 23 : Fly to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj and transfer to hotel.

During the early in the morning, board a short scenic flight from Jhupal to Nepalgunj. After arriving at Nepalgunj airport, broad another flight for Kathmandu. This scenic flight will get you to Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport in less than an hour. From there, take a short drive to your hotel and spent the rest of the day relaxing. You can also do your personal tasks during this leisure time.

Day 24 : International departure for homeward bound.

This is your last day in Nepal and you should get ready for final departure as per your international flight time. You will be escorted to the airport by the Himalayan Forever Trek guide and team. Our guide and staff will bid you a farewell as you depart for your country. You will surely never forget this wonderful experience and adventure of Upper Dolpa Trekking. Namesty!


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