Upper Dolpo Trek
Overview of Upper Dolpo Trek
Upper Dolpo Trek
Nepal is a country of natural beauty and diverse culture, and Upper Dolpo Trek is one of the best ways to experience both. Located in the western part of Nepal, the Upper Dolpo Trek region boasts semi-arid topography and a Tibetan-like culture. The trek takes you through small settlements of Bon people who are native to the region. The trek passes through several villages of Dunai, Dho, Phoksundo, Saldang, Juphal, and others. In this article, we will explore the hidden gems of Upper Dolpo Trek and why it should be on every adventure-seekers bucket list.
Upper Dolpo Trek traverses through the Dolpa district of Nepal, which is the largest district of the country. The region is sandwiched between the Dhaulagiri and Tibetan Plateau ranges. The terrain is rugged and remote, with an elevation ranging from 2,130 meters to 5,115 meters. The trek passes through the Shey Phoksundo National Park, which is home to several endangered species of flora and fauna.
The culture of the Dolpo region is heavily influenced by the Tibetan way of life. The Bon religion, which originated in Tibet, is prevalent in the region. The people of the Bon religion believe in the existence of both good and evil spirits and have a unique way of worshiping them. The region is also known for its traditional salt trade with Tibet, which has been going on for centuries.
The Upper Dolpo Trek has multiple routes, with varying levels of difficulty. The most popular route is the Juphal to Jomsom trek, which takes approximately 18 to 20 days to complete. The trek starts from the tiny airstrip of Juphal and passes through several villages, including Dunai, Tarakot, and Dho Tarap. The trek also takes you through the stunning Phoksundo Lake and Shey Gompa.
The trek is considered to be challenging due to its remote location and high altitude. The trek passes through several high passes, including the Numala Pass (5,360m) and the Bagala Pass (5,214m). It is recommended to have prior trekking experience and to be physically fit before embarking on this trek.
The best time to visit Upper Dolpo Trek is during the autumn season (September to November) and the spring season (March to May). These months in Nepal are calm and provide mild warm temperature with clear blue skies that makes traveling perfect for trekkers. The temperature during the day ranges from 10-15 degrees Celsius, and at night it can drop to -5 degrees Celsius.
During the winter season (December to February), the region experiences heavy snowfall, which can make trekking difficult. The summer season (June to August) is also not recommended as the region experiences heavy rainfall, which can cause landslides and make the trekking trails slippery.
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Itinerary of Upper Dolpo Trek
Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu (1,400m) pick up and drop to the hotel and prepare for trekking 1400m/4620ft
Day 2: Fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj 492m/1620ft 1 hrs
Day 3: Fly from Nepalgunj to Juphal (2,475m), and trek to Dunai (2,140m/7065ft 3-4 hrs
Day 4: Trek from Dunai to Ankhe (2,660m87780ft 5-6 hrs
Day 5: Trek from Ankhe to Sulighat (3,500m/11555ft 5-6 hrs
Day 6: Trek from Sulighat to Phoksundo Lake (3,600m/11880) ft 4-5 hrs
Day 7: Rest day at Phoksundo Lake 3600m Explorer
Day 8: Trek from Phoksundo Lake to Phoksundo Khola (3,507m/11575ft) 4-5 hrs
Day 9: Trek from Phoksundo Khola to Phoksundo Bhanjyang (4,402m/14526) ft 6-7 hrs
Day 10: Trek from Phoksundo Bhanjyang to Shey Gompa (4,126m) via Kang La Pass (5,350m/13615ft) 5-6 hrs
Day 11: Rest day at Shey Gompa 4126m/13615ft Explorer Village
Day 12: Trek from Shey Gompa to Namgung (4,360m/14388) ft via Saldang La Pass (5,200m/17160ft) 6-7 hrs
Day 13: Trek from Namgung to Saldang (3,900m) 5-6 hrs
Day 14: Rest day at Saldang( 3903m/12879f)t) 2 hrs
Day 15: Trek from Saldang to Yange Gomp (3,850m/12705ft) 4-5 hrs
Day 16: Trek from Yange Gumpa to Sibu (4,560m/15048ft) 5-6 hrs
Day 17: Trek from Sibu to Jeng La Phedi (4,360m/14385ft) 5-6 hrs
Day 18: Trek from Jeng La Phedi to Tokyu (4,240m) via Jeng La Pass (5,090m) 4-5 hrs
Day 19: Trek from Tokyu to Dho Tarap (4,090m) 4-5 hrs
Day 20: Rest day at Dho Tarap and Explore the Village 4 hrs
Day 21: Trek from Dho Tarap to Tarap Khola (3,800m) 4-5 hrs
Day 22: Trek from Tarap Khola to Khanigaon (3,150m) 5 hrs
Day 23: Trek from Khanigaon to Tarakot (2,537m) 4-5 hrs
Day 24: Trek from Tarakot to Dunai (2140m/7065ft) 3 hrs and flight to Juphal 25 min
Day 25: Fly from Juphal to Nepalgunj and then to Kathmandu 1 hrs
- Deluxe hotel/accommodation in Kathmandu with breakfast
- Both way air ticket Kathmandu-Nepaljung-Kathmandu
- Basic lodge accommodation during the Trek
- Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner with tea/coffee during the trek
- English speaking guide and necessary porter with their salary, accommodation, meals, and insurance
- Airport transfers in private vehicle by Car
- Upper Dolpo Restricted Trek PERMIT and TIMS
- Applicable government taxes
- Medical Kit box (FIRST AID KIT)
- International airfare and Nepal Visa Fee
- Personal expenses like laundry, bar and beverage bill, the pot of tea/coffee, hot shower during the trek, etc.
- Extra night hotel accommodation in Kathmandu because of early return from Trek and late departure from Nepal
- Tipping for guides and porters
- Emergency Rescue Services
Permits and Fees Required for Upper Dolpa Trek
To trek in the Upper Dolpa region, you will need to obtain several permits and pay a few fees. You will need to obtain the Shey-Phoksundo National Park Permit, the Restricted Area Permit, and the TIMS (Trekkers’ Information Management System) Card. The Shey Phoksundo National Park Permit costs NPR 3,000 for foreigners, and the Restricted Area Permit costs 500 USD for the first ten days and 50 USD for each additional day.
In addition to the permits, you will also need to pay for accommodation and food during the trek. The cost of accommodation and food varies depending on the type of accommodation you choose. Tea houses are the most popular option, and they offer basic accommodation and food options. If you prefer more comfortable accommodation, you can opt for lodges or guesthouses, which offer better amenities but are more expensive.
Accommodation and Food Options During the Trek
During the Upper Dolpa Trek, you will be staying in tea houses, lodges, or guesthouses. Tea houses are the most popular option, and they offer basic accommodation and food options. The rooms in tea houses are small and simple, with a bed and a blanket. Some tea houses may have shared bathrooms, while others may have attached bathrooms.
The food options in tea houses are also basic, with most serving dal bhat (rice and lentils) as the main meal. Other options include noodles, soup, and momos (dumplings). If you have any dietary restrictions, it is best to inform the tea house owner in advance, and they will try to accommodate your needs.
Lodges and guesthouses are a more comfortable option, with better amenities and food options. The rooms in lodges and guesthouses are bigger and come with attached bathrooms. The food options are also more diverse, with most lodges and guesthouses serving continental, Indian, and Nepali cuisine.
Hidden Gems of Upper Dolpa Trek – Phoksundo Lake, Shey Gompa, and Dho Tarap
The Upper Dolpa Trek is known for its stunning natural beauty and cultural significance. The trek takes you through several hidden gems, including Phoksundo Lake, Shey Gompa, and Dho Tarap.
Phoksundo Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in Nepal, with crystal-clear blue water and snow-capped mountains in the background. The lake is situated at an altitude of 3,611 meters and is a popular spot for camping.
Shey Gompa is a 800-year-old monastery located at an altitude of 4,126 meters. The monastery is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Tibetan Buddhists and is known for its unique architecture and intricate murals.
Dho Tarap is a small village located at an altitude of 4,090 meters. The village is home to the Dolpa people, who have a unique way of life and culture. The village is also known for its traditional salt trade with Tibet.
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