The Upper Dolpo Trekking route is a remote and unspoiled area near the Tibetan border of Nepal beyond the Dhaulagiri Himalayas rain shadow area. It passes through beautiful valleys, interesting places, local settlements, gigantic mountains and greenery forest of pines, Rhododendrons, Oaks, etc. The main highlights of the trek are an ancient, spectacular landscape, mesmerizing Shey Phoksundo lake, isolated villages of Ringmo, the centuries-old monasteries and rare animals like snow leopards and blue sheeps. Shey-Phoksundo is the deepest lake of Nepal with its 145m depth. Here is a holy mountain called “Crystal Mountain” that is why each year hundreds of pilgrims travelers visit the upper Dolpo region and make a circuit of the mountain. Also Upper Dolpo has been mentioned by David Snelgrove in his book titled "Himalayan Pilgrimage," more recently by Peter Matthiessen in "The Snow Leopard" and in "Stones of Silence" by George Schaller.
The Trek begins with a flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj about 45 minutes and the next morning flight ends at Jhupal. On our 25-day trek we pass through interesting villages, trekking routes and meet fascinating people. We also cross a few high Himalayan passes and enjoy the vast and tranquil beauty of Phoksundo Lake. From Shey Gompa, we follow the ancient Trans Himalayan Trade route and return back to Jhuphal as our trek ends. The trek indeed takes us into the wild west of Nepal. This trek is best to do in the summer and monsoon season. Winter seasons are avoided for this trek because of the heavy snowfall.
You will be warmly welcomed at the airport by our office representative and then you will transfer to hotel. Our office staff will give a brief explanation about the program. This day you can stay within the hotel or enjoy the night at Thamel.
The very next morning, after breakfast you will be taken for a full day sightseeing tour around Kathmandu valley. You can visit the center of pilgrimage Pashupatinath Temple and Swyambhunath, very ancient and essentially enlisted in UNESCO World Heritage sites. The biggest Buddhist Stupa at Boudhanath might make you feel calm and peace and visit Patan the city of fine arts and Durbar Square is full of Hindu temples and Buddhist monuments. On the journey back to the hotel, you can explore the local areas, gullies, and lifestyle. After your dinner, you can perhaps take a leisurely stroll through the famous streets like Thamel and Durbarmarg. Overnight at hotel.
From Kathmandu, we take a bus or fly on any domestic carrier to Nepalgunj. Nepalgunj is very close to the Bardia National Park and the Indian border. It is a major transport hub for western, mid-western and far-western regions of Nepal. Our representative will pick you up in the airport and take you to the hotel for overnight.
From Nepalgunj, we take a flight to Juphal. From here, you will walk to the Bheri River through terraced fields and the narrow canyon till 3 hours and further lead you to a relatively larger village called Dunai. Overnight at Dunai.
After breakfast,We leave Dunai and cross a suspension bridge and turn to the west following a trail past a hospital. The trail ascends up the side of the Thulo Bheri valley before entering Phoksundo river valley. During the walk we can get the view of Kagmara Peak up the valley. We pass through walnut groves, Dhera and Rahagaun villages and finally reach Ankhe. Overnight in Ankhe.
Our path goes ups and downs along a wooded riverbank and climbs on a steep trail. The ascending and descending can be a bit monotonous, but there are several small rivers along the way that offer a chance to cool off. The path eventually leaves the forests and passes through a grassy slope high above the river. We trek downhill on a trail surrounded by lush forests before reaching a cliff followed by a dizzying drop on a wobbly stone staircase to the river bank. We continue trekking until we reach Sulighat where we rest overnight.
We continue our journey along the valley floor to the Phoksundo and Pungmo rivers. After crossing a bridge, we walk on the western bank of the Pungmo Khola. The trail passes through forest before reaching Palam village. From here we trek up to a ridge and enjoy distant views of Phoksundo Lake and a spectacular waterfall, one of the highest in Nepal. Next, our trail descends to the upper reaches of the Phoksundo Khola, and then to the picturesque Ringmo village. From here it is a short walk to the shores of the Phoksundo Lake. Overnight at Phoksundo Lake.
Today we explore the area around Ringmo Village and the magnificent Phoksundo Lake. First, we explore around Ringmo Village and head to Tshowa (the lake-shore Bon Monastery). Exploring this culturally rich Born Monastery is fascinating experience. Then we drop down to Phoksundo Lake along steep-sided cliffs. The lake is famous for its magnificent turquoise colour and spectacular scenery. Ringmo village, a typical Tibetan village, is scenic view from Phoksundo Lake. We also explore the wonderful natural sites and enjoy our nature tour.
You follow the trail that skirts the edge of the lake itself. This precarious trail is suspended on a gangway of wood supported on pegs, driven into crevices in the rocks and signals the remoteness of the area you are about to enter. You go very steeply up, to 4,040meters, and then plunge down again to the valley bottom to enter the flood plain of the Phoksundo Khola and trek to your night stop alongside the river, within the confines of the forest to avoid the worst of the wind which is prevalent in the valley bottom.
For 1 hour, we walk on a trail that leads us along the level path through a glacial valley which heads due north. At the confluence of the Phoksundo Khola and another mountain stream, there is an old wooden bridge. From here, we walk towards the north-east. A hard climb to the top brings us to yet another valley where we can see the Kang-La pass. We set up our camp near the pass. During our trek today we also get to admire the views of Chhamlang peak.
It will take about 2-3 hours to reach the top of the Kang La. The views from the top are magnificent and well worth all the hard work. The height of the Kang La is variously given between 5,200 and 5,500 m depending on the map one uses. On descending steeply to the valley floor, not more than 45 minutes, you make a long meandering trek along the banks of the river, crossing it once. A red chorten heralds your arrival at Shey Gompa where a quaint wooden log bridge leads up to the Shey compound.
Shey Gompa was built in 1655 and the monastery is noted for its giant copper with gilded gold statue of a seated Shakyamuni Buddha. To the east of the gompa is Crystal mountain which is one of the strangest mountains. Today is another well-earned rest day for acclimatization. We spend the day hiking around Shey village which is famous for its ancient pre-Buddhist culture, the Bon Po. Overnight in Shey Gompa.
To get to Namgung, we have to cross the pass Sheyla which is also called Glen La is about 5000m. While we are through the Glen pass, we can see a beautiful view of the northern part of Tibetan plateau, which is the highest plateau in the world. To the east, we can see Mustang. After through pass, we have to descend to the pastures of Namgung. Peoples of Namgung heartily welcome us. It is a beautiful place with a friendly environment. Overnight at tented camp inclusive all board of meals.
Our Trek to Saldang starts with climbing a tree slope. We have to ascend to 4700m before going down steep slopes to the picturesque village of Saldang, situated on a plateau high above the Nam Khong Nala and the biggest villages of the lower Dolpo area. The village is prosperous, not only agriculturally but also for its strategic location on a trade route to Tibet. Overnight at tented camp inclusive of full board meals.
We will leave Saldang village and on way to Sibu we have to pass through terraced fields, Stupas, Chortens mani, and a Chaiba monastery. Namdo, the next village contains sixty houses having nearly four hundred inhabitants. It stretches 5km on the high slopes to the left of Nam Khong Khola. We will set camp near the small settlement of Sibu, right on the river bank. Overnight at tented camp inclusive of full board meals.
We walk along the Nam Khong Khola for a while and pass by caravans with yaks that are moving towards the Tibetan border. After turning east and walking for a while, we arrive at a confluence of two small streams. Next, the steep trail ascends to a grazing area below the Jeng La pass (4,900m/16,072ft). Our camp will be set up in this beautiful meadow. Overngiht in Jeng la Phedi.
It will take about 2 hrs to climb to reach the top of Jeng La. Form the top of the peak we can have good views of Dhaulagiri, beautiful goldy views in the morning then we will descend towards Tarap valley. Tarap is a spectacular valley with vast plants in high mountains extending to 20 km along the Tarap Chu River. It consists of ten villages with cultivated fields, many Gompas, and Chhortens. Overnight.
We trek downhill on a plain valley with patches of lush grass on both sides of the river which is completely different from other parts of inner Dolpo. There is also a marsh which is a common feature in the Desert Mountains of Tibet and the Ladakh Himalaya. Both the Bon Po and Buddhist sects are practiced in the valley. After a short trek, we reach Dho Tarap). Overnight in Dho Tarap.
Your route follows the course of the Tarap Khola, generally downhill. You go through narrow gorges with the river rushing through. One may meet people from Dolpo taking their flocks of sheep and goats to lower pastures for the winter. The afternoon brings more undulations in the path when it leaves the immediate course of the river. You will also see the first of the modern steel suspension bridges which have been built to facilitate movement of people and animals. You reach your overnight camp.
You leave Khanigoan by the new suspension bridge and then walk alongside the river. Coming into the broad fertile valley of the Barbung Chu, you walk amongst the various crops. Your lunch and night stop is high above the river but there is a standpipe for water. Tarakot is an old fortress town known by the local people as Dzong, meaning 'fort'. Before the Gorkha dynasty, Tarakot was the capital and had a dzong. Overnight at tented camp, inclusive of full board meal.
The trail is mostly down and fairly firm. Walking beside the Bheri river, you use the ingenious path built 20 ft. above the river. Soon you have reached the village of Dunai and the camp site you used before. You will now have completed the circuit of mysterious land Dolpo and a celebration party is sure to happen. overnight.
You now retrace your steps to Juphal. Initially, the way is flat but the final hour up to your destination seems steeper than you remember on Day One! Camp overnight on the grounds of one of the lodges. Overnight at tented camp, inclusive of full board meal.
From Juphal we fly to Nepalgunj by early morning flight. In Nepalgunj you will have to spend some time by looking around the airport settlement or can go to the hotel and have a rest. By afternoon flight you will be flying to Kathmandu. Our representative will pick you up at Kathmandu airport and will take you to the hotel.
Today is your departure day, we will drop you to the International airport to catch your flight back to your home and pray for your Safe journey.
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