Upper Dolpo Trek

Duration: 27 Days

Upper Dolpo Trek
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Upper Dolpo Trek Overview

The Upper Dolpo Trek is one of the most adventurous, and exhilarating treks in Nepal, situated in the North-West part in-between the Dhaulagiri massif & Tibetan plateau. The Upper Dolpo trail marks itself as the rarely visited and off-beaten trail leading you to the secluded terrain with several high passes. Unexposed to the contemporary development to date, the trek takes you on a journey to the upper part of Dolpo with abrupt high pathways mostly inside the Shey-Phoksundo National Park. From the rugged landscapes, high passes to unique secluded villages with a raw genuineness following ancient Buddhist and Bon Po traditions influenced by Tibetan culture, the trek guides you to a distinct world exceeding your envisioning. The main highlight of the trek is the pristine turquoise blue 1500 feet deep Shey-Phoksundo lake situated at an elevation of 3589 m surrounded by lush pine forests & snow-capped peaks all around. Also, during the trek you'll cross five high passes; Kang La Pass (5380m), Saldang La Pass (5060m), Chharka La Pass (5015m), Upper Sanga La Pass (5515m) & Lower Sanga La Pass (5035m). Traversing through ancient monasteries and isolated mystical remote land, the region is a restricted area only open for tourism since 1989. For adventure-seekers, there cannot be any other better option than the Upper Dolpo trail to serve your craving.

It is a long and challenging trek of over three weeks which is not suitable for beginner trekkers without any experience. The 27-days trek starts with a flight to Nepalgunj from Kathmandu followed by another flight to Jhupal from Nepalgunj. From Jhupal the real trek on foot begins as you make your way to Dunai. You'll cross several ancient remote villages on your way before arriving at Phoksundo lake. From Phoksundo lake, the trail then leads to several high passes as you continue your journey traversing through more remote settlements. The trek on foot ends at Jhupal and then a flight back to Nepalgunj and Kathmandu marks an official end of your trek. Presenting you with a distinct part of nature and wilderness, the upper Dolpo trek although long and challenging is a once in a lifetime opportunity for all adventure and thrill-seekers. 

Start At Kathmandu Airport
End At Kathmandu Airport
Transportation Plane and Private Car
Trip Grade Moderate to serious

Travellers should be comfortable and participating in physically-demanding activities for extended periods of time.

Accommodation 3 Star Hotel, Tea house & Camp
Tour Type Private

Upper Dolpo Trek Highlights

  • Explore the remote and secluded upper Dolpo region.
  • Witness mesmerizing turquoise Shey Phoksundo Lake.
  • Experience unique Tibetan Buddhist culture and lifestyle.
  • Visit several ancient Buddhist monasteries and Gompas.
  • Cross high passes over an elevation of 5000 m.
  • Walkthrough rugged diverse landscapes and lush forests.
  • Walk on a trail inside Shey Phoksundo National park.
  • Explore diverse flora and fauna in the Shey Phoksundo National Park.
  • Get majestic views of several ranges of mountains.
Upper Dolpo Trek Itinerary

This is your arrival day. One of our team representatives will be there at the Tribhuvan International Airport to welcome and greet you at the time of your arrival. You'll then be escorted to your hotel in Kathmandu where you're free to rest after completing the check-in procedures. In the evening you'll have a short briefing session with your guide. As it is a long and strenuous trek, it is very important for you to know and understand every part of the itinerary. Overnight stay at Kathmandu.


Things to look out for:

  • Meet and greet at the airport.

  • Short briefing session at the hotel.

This is a day for you to explore Kathmandu. Today you'll be visiting some famous UNESCO world heritage sites inside the Kathmandu valley. All the places you'll be visiting today hold ancient history and showcase the beauty of Nepali arts and architecture. Places you'll visit today are; Kathmandu Durbar square, a famous hangout spot for both tourists and locals. Another site you'll visit is Pashupatinath Temple which is the oldest and biggest Hindu shrine in the country. After Kathmandu durbar square and Pashupatinath temple, you'll also be visiting the famous stupa, Swayambhunath. You'll be escorted back to the hotel after the exploration of heritage sites. Overnight stay at Kathmandu


Things to look out for:

  • A sacred Hindu temple, Pashupatinath.

  • Visit the famous stupa Swayambhunath.

  • Explore the Kathmandu Durbar Square.

Keep in mind:

This is your last day in the city before you head on a long journey to the mountains. So, make sure to ask your guides in case of any confusion and if you need to buy any necessities for the trek.  

After having breakfast in Kathmandu, you'll fly to Nepalgunj today. Nepalgunj lies in the midwestern part of Nepal in the Terai region. It takes around 55 minutes to reach Nepalgunj from Kathmandu on a flight. You can get a scenic aerial view of the city during your flight. Overnight stay at Nepalgunj.

This is the second day of your trek & you have another flight today to Jhupal from Nepalgunj. Early in the morning, you'll fly to Jhupal which takes around 35 minutes. Once you arrive at Jhupal, the real trek begins as you will be walking toward Dunai. The walk begins alongside the bank of the Bheri River and passes by several valleys and settlements before you finally reach Dunai Village after around 3 hours of walking. Overnight stay at Dunai village. 


Things to look out for:

  • Short scenic flight to Dunai.

  • Walk alongside the river passing through several valleys.

You'll head to Ankhe from Dunai today. The trail first starts with an ascend to the Thulo Bheri valley leading you to Phoksundo river valley. During the walk today, you can get a view of Kagmara Peak as you pass through several villages & dense forests until reaching Ankhe village. Finally, after walking for around 5-6 hours, you'll arrive at Ankhe. Overnight stay at Ankhe. 

The trail today’s trail leads you to Sulighat from Ankhe. The walk starts with an ascent through the forest over a grassy ridge above the river. Moving further, you'll follow the trail down through a stone staircase alongside the river. You'll cross several wooden bridges during the walk today and after several hours of ascending, descending & passing rivers along the way, you'll make it to Sulighat. Overnight stay at Sulighat.

Today, you'll head toward Phoksundo Lake from Sulighat. The trail first leads you to Phoksundo and Pungmo rivers as you start walking through pine forests. On the way today, you can get the first glimpse of the glittering Phoksundo lake from the top ridge. Waking further, the trail descends through dense forests leading you to Ringmo village situated alongside the Phoksundo river. It is a short walk to the banks of Phoksundo Lake from Ringmo village. After 4-5 hours of walking, you'll arrive at Phoksundo Lake & spend the night there. Overnight stay at Phoksundo Lake.


Things to look out for:

  • Walk through dense forests alongside the river.

  • First glimpse of Phoksundo lake. 

This is your first acclimatization/rest day of the trek. Today you'll be exploring Phoksundo lake & Ringmo village all day. The exploration begins with a stroll around the village where you can learn & experience the traditions and lifestyle of Tibetan society. You can also visit Tshowa Gompa near Phoksundo lake which is a 900-year-old Bon monastery offering a very spiritual environment. And then the major highlight of the day is the beautiful turquoise freshwater Phoksundo lake which is the deepest lake in Nepal. You can spend the entire day relishing views of the serene lake with the background of Kanjirowa Himal (6612m). Overnight stay at Ringmo village. 


Things to look out for:

  • Exploration and stroll around Ringmo village.

  • Visit ancient monastries.

  • Learn and experience the traditional Buddhist culture.

  • Relish the majestic view of the lake and mountains.

Today you'll leave behind pristine Phoksundo lake & head toward Phoksundo Khola. The walk begins as you follow the trail to the west, across a wooden bridge. You'll reach an open field and continue walking on a rocky path along the lake’s western bank from thereon. The path then leads you through a lush grassland opening to the floodplain of the Phoksundo Khola. Continuing the walk through several villages on the way and crossing the river you'll soon reach the bank of the river. You'll spend the night at a set-up tent at Phoksundo Khola. 

You'll leave for Phoksundo Bhanjyang today from Phoksundo Khola. You'll begin the trek as you walk through a glacial valley to the intersection of the Phoksundo Khola and another stream. Passing the glacial valley, there's a wooden bridge that leads you to the sheep fields. After a few more hours of ascending, you'll reach a valley from where you can see the Kang-La pass along with a view of Chhamlang peak. Overnight stay at Phoksundo Bhanjyang. 

After having breakfast in Phoksundo Bhanjyang today, you'll head toward Shey Gompa. You'll be crossing Kang La pass today on your way to Shey Gompa. The steep ascending trail leads you to the top of the pass which can be quite exhausting at times but the view from the top makes it all worth it. You can get magnificent views of the large valley below along with several mountain ranges from the top of Kang La pass. Continuing the walk you'll then descend to the valley floor through a steep trail alongside the river. Passing through the fields where you can witness grazing yaks, sheep, and mountain goats, you'll arrive at Shey Gompa where you'll be spending the night. Overnight stay at Shey Gompa.


Things to look out for:

  • Crossing the Kang La pass at an elevation of 5309 m.

  • Magnificent views of mountains. 

Keep in mind:

The walk can get challenging at times but once you reach the top of the pass, it'll be all worth it. So, make sure to enjoy and take in every moment.

This is your second acclimatization/rest day of the trek. Today you'll have enough time to explore the Shey Gompa which showcases the authentic Bon religion of the area. You'll spend the entire day hiking around the Shey village as you learn about the pre-Buddhist culture of the gompa, known as Bon Po. You can also experience the Tibetan Buddhist lifestyle today as you stroll around the village. Overnight stay at Shey Gompa.


Things to look out for:

  • Explore Shey Gompa.

  • Learn and experience the Bon Po culture.

Today you'll head toward Namduna Gaon leaving Shey Gompa Behind. On the way to Namduna Gaon, you'll cross Saldang La pass situated at an elevation of 5100 m. The trek begins as you follow the trail through juniper trees & descend to a crooked path over rocks. You'll make it to Saldang La Pass after walking for around 3-4 hours. You can get some spectacular views of mountains from the top of the pass, and after crossing the pass, you'll move ahead with a descent leading you to a field full of grazing yaks and sheep. Soon, after another 3-4 hours of walking, you'll make it to Namduna Gaon which is the final destination of the day. Overnight stay at Namduna Gaon.


Things to look out for:

  • Crossing Saldang La pass at an elevation of 5100 m. 

Continuing the journey, today you'll head to Saldang from Namduna Gaon. The trail takes you through dry hills above the Namga Khola to reach Saldang village. Saldang is the largest village in the inner Dolpo region. You'll pass through several bridges, forests & dry fields on your way until you reach Saldang village. Relatively a short walk compared to previous days, you'll arrive at Saldang after 405 hours of walking. Overnight stay at Saldang village.

Today you'll walk toward Yangze Gompa leaving behind Saldang village. You'll follow the trail alongside Nagan Khola on dry land through several villages like; Marang and Ki. You'll cross a stream of the Panzang River followed by a few ups and downs, and head towards the east crossing the river again before arriving at Yangze gompa. Once you arrive at the Gompa, you can go around to explore ancient monasteries. Overnight stay at Yangze Gompa.

You'll head toward Sibu from Yangze Gompa today. The walk begins as you mark your way first to Saldang village & walk alongside the river passing through several terraced fields, stupas, mani stones, and monasteries. Moving further, you'll make your stop in Namdo village where we can have a quick visit to the Namdo monastery. Another few hours of descent alongside the river will lead you to Sibu. Overnight stay at Sibu. 

This marks the fifteenth day of your trek as you head to Jeng La Phedi from Sibu. You'll walk along the Nam Khong Khola & pass by yak pastures along the way. After walking for a while, you'll arrive at an intersection of two small streams. The steep trail begins as you continue walking forward to Jeng La Phedi. Overnight stay at Jeng La Phedi. 

You'll be crossing one more high pass today as you head to Tokyu Gaon from Jeng La Phedi. After around two hours of walking, you'll reach the top of the Jeng La pass from where you get an amazing view of the Dhaulagiri massif. After crossing the pass you'll descend on a rugged trail to the Tarap Valley and visit the monastery at Tokyu. After walking for another 3-4 hours from the high pass, you'll finally arrive at Tokyu Gaon & spend the night there. Overnight stay at Tokyu Gaon.


Things to look out for:

  • Crossing Jeng La pass.

  • Get an amazing view of the Dhaulagiri massif. 

It is relatively a short walk today compared to other days as you move to Dho Tarap from Tokyu Gaon. Starting with a downhill walk on a plain valley through lush forests alongside the river, you'll cross several other forests on your way. After a short walk of around 4-5 hours, you'll make it to Dho Tarap where you can get a chance to witness both the Bon Po and Buddhist culture. Overnight stay at Dho Tarap.

This marks your third acclimatization day. As you've spent the past few days continuously walking, today you'll be spending the day resting and strolling around the village of Dho Tarap. Dho Tarap is a village inhabited by a few Tibetans and mostly Magars and you can get a chance to witness different cultures here. You can also visit a Buddhist Gompa around the village or visit the famous Bon Po Gompa which is a 40-minute walk. Overnight stay at Dho Tarap.

You'll head toward Tarap Khola from Dho Tarap today. The trail today takes you through juniper and wild forests towards a wide valley into a gorge. There are several forests and fields that you'll pass through today. After walking for around 5-6 hours, you'll arrive at Tarap Khola where you'll be spending the night. Overnight stay at Tarap Khola.

You'll continue our journey as we move toward Khani Gaon from Tarap Khola. You'll have the adventure and thrill of crossing several bridges & gorges on your way today. It is another short and easy walk day and you'll arrive at Khani Gaon after 4-5 hours of walking through rough bridges & several streams. Overnight stay at Khani Gaon.

You'll leave for Tarakot from Khani Gaon today. Following the trail through lush forest and crossing gorges, you'll soon arrive at a small village. Moving forward, walking alongside the river, you'll reach Tarakot after around 4-5 hours of walking. Overnight stay at Tarakot.

Today, you'll descend to Dunai from Tarakot. You'll pass through several pine forests & gorges along the way as you walk alongside the Bheri river. Walking on a relatively easy trail, you'll arrive at Dunai after 5-6 hours of walking. Overnight stay at Dunai.

Today you'll mark your way back to the starting point of the trek. It is a very short walk today toward Jhupal from Dunai. You'll trek alongside the Bheri River through the beautiful landscape and pass through several villages; Dhupichaur, Rupgad, Kalagaonda, and Motipur before reaching the Juphal village. Overnight stay at Jhupal.

You'll take an early morning flight back to Nepalgunj today. After arriving at Nepalgunj, you'll catch another flight back to Kathmandu. Once you arrive in Kathmandu, you'll be escorted to your hotel where you can take a much-needed rest, or if you want you can also explore & stroll around the market of Kathmandu to buy souvenirs. Overnight stay at Kathmandu.

The long adventurous trek has finally come to an end. This is your departure day. One of our team representatives will be there to drop you off at the airport and bid you goodbye at the time of your departure. 

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Upper Dolpo Trek Includes / Excludes
  • All ground transport in a private vehicle, including airport transfers

  • Three nights accommodation with breakfast at a 3-star category hotel in Kathmandu

  • Kathmandu city tours, including tour guide, and private transportation

  • 3 standard meals a day during the trek

  • Snacks of seasonal fruits during the trek

  • Best available twin sharing lodge for accommodation during the trek.

  • Domestic flights (Kathmandu to Nepalgung to Jhupal and Jhupal to Nepalgung to Kathmandu) Round Way

  • Himalayan Recreation’s experienced, government licensed, English speaking trekking guide during the Upper Dolpo trip

  • Porter services during the Trek (1 porter = 1 trekkers)

  • All costs of staff which includes food, accommodation, salary, insurance, equipment’s and medicines.

  • Duffel bag use while trekking, Trekking map and trip achievement certificate

  • Required Permit fee and TIMS Fee- Trekkers' Information Management System

  • First aid medicine kit

  • Farewell dinner with Cultural show in a fine restaurant on second last day.

  • Government taxes & office service charge

  • Meals not specified in the 'Meal Inclusions' in the above itinerary

  • Personal Travel insurance & Personal trekking equipment or expenses

  • Alcoholic drinks and beverages

  • Tips for trekking Guides, Porters (tipping is expected)

  • Any other expenses that are not mentioned in the 'Price Includes' section.

Before You Go

Best time to Trek Upper Dolpo

Weather is another most critical and decisive factor for determining the trekking destination and time. It is possible to trek in Nepal throughout the year which has its own pros and cons. But, naturally, trekkers prefer trekking during the spring and autumn season as the weather is more favourable during these seasons. 

Specifically talking about Upper Dolpo Trek, it is possible to trek here throughout the year but spring, summer, and autumn seasons are considered the best time. In the spring the climate is mild and the rainfall is quite low which makes the trekking conditions perfect. The lower regions are comparatively warmer and the upper regions are moderate making it pleasant to trek. And as the sky is very clear during spring, you can enjoy panoramic views of the mountain ranges all along the trail. Similar to spring, autumn is another perfect season to trek upper Dolpo when the temperature is moderate with mild wind and low precipitation. The sun usually shines brightly and the skies are sparkly with a clean environment in the autumn season. As the upper Dolpo falls under the rain shed area and receives less rainfall, trekking here in the summer season is not quite a bad option as well. Make sure to be well-prepared no matter which season you are trekking as it is very important to have the right information about the weather and climatic condition of the destination beforehand to avoid any kind of mishaps. 



Accommodation during Upper Dolpo Trek

Accommodation is another important factor to consider during the long treks in the higher elevation. The accommodation for the Upper Dolpo Trek ranges from standard hotels to normal lodges to tents throughout the trek as you'll be moving from low cities to high passes in the mountains. While in lower altitudes, you can enjoy a private room with in-room showers, western-style flush toilets, heating blankets, WIFI connection, and in-room plugs to charge your stuff. But as you trek to higher elevation and enter the remote area, the rooms come without heating blankets and other in-room facilities like in-room showers, western-style flush toilets, heating blankets, and so on. There are also a few days which require you to stay in a tent which will be managed by our team. Our highly skilled team will ensure your safety and security throughout the trek.   


Food during Upper Dolpo Trek

Food is a significant factor to consider while trekking to any destination, especially if it is long and challenging like this one. The meal during the Upper Dolpo Trek is very convenient, but there won't be as many choices as in the cities or other trekking destinations. The menu generally is a combination of Traditional Local, Asian, and Western cuisine in the beginning few days of the trek, but as you move to the higher elevation, the choices get limited. Breakfast usually consists of hot porridge or eggs, potatoes, and toast or bread while lunch and dinner items include Dal Bhat (the Nepali meal consisting of lentil soup, rice, and veggies), fried noodles, fried rice, etc. Also, It is advised to avoid alcoholic drinks and caffeinated items at higher elevations during the trek.


Upper Dolpo Trek Difficulty

Upper Dolpo Trek falls under the difficult-challenging grade trek in the Dolpo region of Nepal. As it is a restricted region of Nepal that is rarely visited and prohibited to trek alone, the trek is certainly challenging physically and mentally compared to other trekking destinations in Nepal. Difficult or Grade C level trekking which is also known as adventure trekking is more challenging than moderate level trekking as it involves crossing the high passes above 5000 m elevation and walking approximately 6-8 hours a day. This grade of trek requires previous trekking experience and requires trekkers to be physically fit with good stamina. As the trek involves walking on rough terrain for more than three weeks, it is highly recommended to get physical training beforehand like walking, hiking, cycling, etc. The trek is suitable for trekkers looking for a challenging, and adventurous trek of more than 2 weeks in rough and remote surroundings. 



Upper Dolpo Trek Permits

There are a total of three permits you need to issue for Upper Dolpo trekking. The three permits with its cost are mentioned below:

  • Lower Dolpo restricted area entry permit

The first permit you need to acquire for the trek is a lower Dolpo restricted area entry permit that costs USD 20 per person per week plus USD 5 for an additional day after a week per person. 


  • Shey Phoksundo National park entry permit

After the lower Dolpo restricted area permit, the next permit you need to acquire is Shey Phoksundo national park entry permit. The national park entry permit costs USD 30 per person with no time limit. 


  • Upper Dolpo restricted area entry permit

The final permit you need to trek to upper Dolpo is the Upper Dolpo restricted area entry permit. The permit costs USD 500 per person for the first 10 days and after that additional USD 50 per day per person is added. 

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