Upper Dolpo trek, Dolpa trekking – A beaten path trekking to the unexplored divine mountain kingdom of upper Dolpa at the foot of the mighty virgin Himalayas.
Situated in far western parts of Nepal, Dolpo, one of the highest inhabited plateaus in the world, was closed to trekkers until 1989. Those that did get to visit this area needed special permission from the Government. With the changes in the regulations governing visits, a remarkable part of Nepal, hitherto almost unknown, has suddenly become a major destination for trekkers and adventure seekers.
It is an area of roughly 2100 square miles inside Nepal's northwestern border with Tibet, encompassing some thirty villages and monasteries at altitudes of eleven to fifteen thousand feet. Dolpo is in Nepal but, its people - in race, religion and culture, are Tibetan Buddhists descended from nomadic tribes who settled in this area around the tenth century. Being in Nepal, the Chinese occupation and subsequent "cultural revolution" of Tibet did not affect the Dolpo-pa (people of Dolpo), and their religion and culture has survived as one of the best preserved examples of Tibetan Buddhism in the world. In fact, people living in certain pockets of the region practice Bon Po, an animistic religion that pre-dates Buddhism and which, some believe, is actually the precursor to Tibetan Buddhism as we know it.
Lower Dolpo, the area opened to trekkers, is thickly forested with conifers and cut by gushing rivers. The upper portion of Dolpo, however, is an extension of the Tibetan Plateau and has the same wild, windswept, open spaces characteristic of Tibet. The region was declared a National Park in 1984, making it Nepal's largest National Park and the only one encompassing a Trans-Himalayan eco-system. The national Park Status has helped preserve not only the culture but also the wildlife. The lower Dolpo is home to the endangered musk deer which may be glimpsed along the trails and to a great variety of birds. Though rarely seen the blue sheep, the Himalayan black bear, snow leopard and the Himalayan wolf are also found in Dolpo.
Your journey to the land of the Dolpo begins with a flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj, followed the next day by another flight to the STOL airstrip at Jumla. From Jumla the trail follows a south-easterly direction through the villages of Gothichour, Chaurikot, and Hurikot. Then heading north-east, it crosses the Kagmara pass at 5115 m. to the villages of Pungmo and Ringmo to culminate at the the Shey Phoksumdo Lake. Trekkers are not allowed to go north beyond the lake. The return journey will bring you south through the villages of Sepka and Aankhe to Dunai for the flight back to Nepalgunj and then to Kathmandu.
Destination: Shey Phoksundo Lake, Kagmara Pass.
Trip Duration: 18 Days
Max. Altitude: 5,240 meters
Group Size: Min. 2 / Max.10
Best Season: February, March, April, May, June, September, October, November & December.
Trip Grade: Strenuous
Daily walking Hour: Approx. 5-7
Cost: Please contact us
Day 01: upon arrival in Kathmandu. You will be greeted by a representative and transferred to your hotel.
Day 02: Free day in Kathmandu to make final preparations for your trek. If you feel that you are adequately prepared and would like to have an escorted sightseeing tour of Kathmandu city, we will be glad to arrange it for you. Please ask for this service from our representative upon arrival.
Day 03: Fly to Nepalgunj, a major city in western Nepal. Your guide will meet you at the airport and arrange for you to be transferred to your hotel. Your room at the hotel has been paid for but you will have to buy your own meals at the hotel restaurant. It is suggested that you eat at the hotel itself due to the questionable quality of food available elsewhere.
Day 04: Transfer to the Nepalgunj airport for the flight to Jumla. Today camp at Jumla. From Jumla, heading in a south-westerly direction, the trail passes through terraced fields of wheat, potato and barley and some small villages. It is a pleasant day's walk to the village of Gothichour. Encounters with Dolpo-pa traders with their caravans of pack animals, laden with salt from Tibet, headed for the middle hills is likely. These traders supplement their income by selling their meagre agricultural produce first in Tibet, in exchange for salt and then carrying the salt from there to the Nepalese middle hills. They sell the salt, buy more agricultural produce and repeat the cycle. It is amazing that most of this trade is carried on through a system of barter, almost as ancient as the hills themselves.
Day 05: from here, the trail continues south-west to Manisangu where there is a small police check post where you will need to show your trekking permit. After this has been examined you will continue to Sherpa Gaon. This is one of the few Sherpa enclaves in the Dolpo region and you will have the opportunity to witness Sherpa culture, as it used to be, unchanged by the onslaught of modernity. From Sherpa Gaon the trail follows a series of ups and downs to the village of Churta.
Day 06: after a long day of constant climbing through hamlets, and the occasional forest, cross the first of the high passes on this trip - the Mauri La (4326 m.). From the pass you descend to the village of Chaurikot and onto camp. It is very likely that as you pass through villages in this region people will flock out of their houses to see you. Do not be alarmed. Some of these people have never seen westerners before are curious to find out more about them. You should ask for permission before taking photographs. People who have not seen cameras, ever, do not like strange objects which make funny sounds pointed at them!
Day 08: From Chaurikot you follow a series of ups and downs to the village of Rimi, high above the north bank of the Bheri River and then head northwest along the Garpung Khola (Khola = (small river), which is a major tributary of the Bheri to Hurikot. Continuing from Hurikot you cross the Garpung Khola to its southern bank and reach Kagmara Phedi at the bottom of the Kagmara La (5115 m.).
As you pass through villages people may come out to you and ask for medicines for headaches and various other ailments. Please do NOT pass out medications unless you can determine the nature of the ailment and provide follow up medical care.
Day 09: This is a day for you to spend acclimatizing to the high altitude and to get some real rest after the strenuous trekking of the last couple of days. You will need to go to bed early today to be able to wake up and make a very early start tomorrow.
Day 10: Waking up early you start out, upwards, for the Kagmara La before the day gets hot and the sun melts the snow (when there is some), making ascent difficult. This is going to be a long day. On the ascent to the pass the forest at first is quite dense and sightings are possible of the Red Panda and various kinds of birds. On the rare occaision you may be lucky and see markings of the black bear, snow leopard or the Himalayan wolf. On still rare occasions you may see the animals themselves. After crossing the Kagmara La the trail descends to Chouri Kharka from where magnificent views of the Kanjiroba Himal are available.
You will be carrying packed lunches which will have been distributed to you in the early morning. This is necessitated because it is very difficult to set up a kitchen at this section and also because of the delay it would cause. You have to cross the pass the pass and get to the first available water before it gets dark.
After descending for some time you arrive at a birch forest where water is available. Your camp will be set up at a grassy spot near the forest. It is possible to sight blue sheep on the opposite slopes but, you need a good pair of binoculars as these animals blend very well with the surrounding landscape.
Day 11: Further descend to Dorjan Khola. Continue through the village of Pungmo to Suli Khola and then turning north you continue to the village of Ringmo. Ringmo is one of the enclaves where Bon Po is still practiced and is situated very close to Phoksumdo Lake.
Day 12: The icy waters give off a blue to turquoise color and a sunny day by the lake gives you some much needed rest. If the weather is good you can see the peaks of the Kanjiroba Himal and the other peaks surrounding Kagmara La. It is also possible to visit the Ringmo Monastery at the edge of the lake.
Day 13: Set off from Ringmo, heading south back over the previous trail as far as the point where the trail meets the one from Kagmara La and then proceed further south to the village of Sumdowa. The headquarters of the National Park is located at Sumdowa. Trek further south along the Suli Gad river to the vilage of Aankhe on the east bank of the Suli Gad river.
Day 14: Continue trekking south through the village of Roha Gaon to the settlement at Suli Gad along the river and then continue to the large settlement of Dunai. Cross the river and head west towards the airfield at Juphal from where you will catch your flight to Nepalgunj and then to Kathmandu.
Day 15: This is a spare day in Juphal, in case you are delayed getting there for a number of reasons, including sickness or injury to any of your group members. You will be booked onto the flight to Nepalgunj and then to Kathmandu the next day.
Day 16: the flight to Nepalgunj is in the mid-morning therefore there is no early morning rush to get to the airport. There will be a transit period of some hours in Nepalgunj before your flight to Kathmandu is called. Arrive in Kathmandu in the evening and transfer to your hotel.
Day 17: A cushion day in Kathmandu in case your return is delayed due to bad weather or other circumstances. Day may be used for sightseeing around Kathmandu valley or for overnight excursions. We will be glad to assist you in planning any sightseeing tours or excursions.
Day 18: Transfer to airport and fly back home.
Note: The above information is just a guide and standard pattern of what we provide. The trip can be tailored at your request to accommodate your specific requirements. On adventure trips of this type, weather, transport or a multitude of other factors beyond our control can result in a change of itinerary. It is, however, very unlikely that the itinerary would be substantially altered; if alterations are needed the person in charge will make a decision what is the best alternative, taking into consideration the best interests of the whole group. Where a change does arise, we do everything we can to reduce its effect, but we cannot be liable for the results of changes or delays.
Mission Eco Trek aware that there are many companies seeking your business as you plan your adventure holidays in the Nepal Himalayas. We believe we offer the very best value for money and take your safety, comfort and ultimate holiday experience very seriously.
Food on full board basis will be provided during the spent on trekking. Three meals (Sherpa, Nepalese and Tibetan, Continental, Italian and Indian dishes) a day will be provided from the guesthouse/teahouse/lodge menus. Every day dinner and breakfast are used to take in the same teahouse/lodge you spend the night. Lunch will be taken on the way to destination. Reception, farewell dinner with culture show and breakfast will be provided during your stay in Kathmandu.
The following equipment lists are suggested and essential for both camp & teahouse trekking in the Himalayas. Make use of this list as a guideline; some of the equipment can be hired in Katmandu as well. Besides, keep in mind trekking gear can be bought in the many adventure shops in Katmandu, the majority of gear is locally manufactured (hence a lot cheaper) although it is becoming more common for gear to be imported from China and therefore of better quality.
1) 1 large duffel bag: This will carry all your personal gear on the trekking. It should be strong and durable. The best size would be around 30" x 14", with a full-length zipper and handles.
2) 1 rucksack or day pack: This should accommodate a sweater, rain gear, water bottle, camera and accessories and any miscellaneous items you need to have during the day. We recommend a pack with at least 1450cu. In capacity, or smaller if you are not carrying a large amount of camera equipment.
Head and Face Gear:
2. A Bandana
5. Sunscreen with a very high SPF factor
6. Lip balm with a high SPF factor
1. Lightweight gloves
2. Thermal underwear- Top and bottom. Synthetic is best
4. 2 Long shorts
5. 2 Trousers- (loose and comfortable) One thin, one thick and warm
1. Down Jacket
2. Fleece Jacket (or a windproof jacket)
3. Waterproof jacket with a hood (or a poncho)
4. Waterproof pants
5. Baggy pants
6. 2 pairs of gloves/mittens (1 thin and 1 thick)
7. 1 sweater to be worn under the fleece jacket
1. Light weight walking boots- (leather is recommended)
2. Spare laces
3. 2 pairs of thick woolen socks.
4. 2 pairs of thin socks to be worn under the woolen socks
5. One pair of sandals or comfortable shoes for camp
1. Water Bottle
Purification equipment- Boiled drinking water will be provided but further purification with iodine or purification tablets is highly recommended.
Sleeping and Carrying Equipment:
1. 30-40 liter daypack
2. Water Proof Bag- A water proof bag to cover the rucksack
3. Sleeping Bag- Please brings a bag that can resist temperatures as low as -15 degrees Celsius
Personal Medical Kit:
1. Bandage for sprains
3. Iodine or water filters
4. Moleskin/Second skin - for blisters
5. Antiseptic ointment for cuts
6. Anti-bacterial throat lozenges (with antiseptic)
7. Aspirin/paracetamol - general painkiller
8. Oral rehydration salts
9. Broad-spectrum antibiotic (norfloxacin or ciprofloxin)
10. Anti-diarrhea medication (antibiotic)
11. Diarrhea stopper (Imodium - optional)
12. Diamox (altitude sickness - can be bought in Kathmandu)
13. Sterile Syringe set (anti-AIDS precaution)
2. Reading book
3. Trail Map/Guide book
4. Journal & Pens
5. Travel game i.e. chess, backgammon, scrabble
1. 1 medium sized quick drying towel
2. Toothbrush/paste (preferably biodegradable)
3. Multipurpose soap (preferably biodegradable)
5. Nail clippers
6. Face and body moisturize
7. Feminine hygiene products
8. Small mirror
How can I book this trip?
When you confirmed trip, we need photo copy of your passport and 15% down payment of the total price for advance flight tickets and hotel booking and permit process. For the details, please Contact us.
How can I enter in Nepal?
Nepal is a popular tourist destination in south Asia. Several airlines have direct and non-stop flights from Middle East and Asia to Kathmandu, Capital of Nepal.
There are direct flights from London, Paris, Frankfurt, Doha, Osaka, Shanghi, Mascow, Bangkok, Singapore, Hongkong, Karachi, Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta, Paro, Dhaka, Lhasa, and Varanasi.
Can I do Dolpa trek?
Dolpo trek is suitable for any walker looking for something more challenging and energetic. It does not require that you have any previous trekking or mountaineering experience. Although, daily jugging or walking exercise is useful and you need to be in good physical condition and able to walk for 6 -7 hours daily.
Can I join with group?
Yes, you can join with group, we guarantees a series of fixed group departures dates for Annapurna base camp trekking. We can arrange small group trekking trip to suit your requirements. Please contact us for group departure dates.
Do I need to join with group?
It is not necessary that you need to follow our fixed group departures dates, because private trip departs every day upon your request which are best suited to couples, families and small groups of friends. We are happy to organize your holiday according by your selecting starting date.
Do you also offer Tailor-made Departures?
Yes, we do offer Tailor-made Departures, if our holiday trips are not perfect or the group departure dates are not convenient as per your travel plan.
What kind of accommodation I can have during the trip?
In Kathmandu, we do provide standard accommodation and during the trekking, we provide you local lodges which is called Tea house. Tea Houses are more like hotels, with hot showers, western food, and private rooms (twin sharing). In this arrangement overnight halts with dinner and breakfast will be in Tea-houses (Lodges) and lunches in local restaurants en-route.
Furthermore as you will be staying in locally owned lodges you will be benefiting and interacting with the local community. It will give you a true feel for the Nepalese people and their lives.
What kind of meals I can have during the trip?
All Meals on full board basis will be provided during trekking. Freshly cooked food is served at all times (western, continental and Nepali meals are available in all places). Three meals a day will be provided.
What kind of equipment do I need to bring with me?
Trekking in Nepal is a exiting and adventure trip. We trek up to 6000m walking through villages, green hills, and white snow path so you need to have right equipments with you. Click here to have more info
Do I have pre-departure meeting?
Yes, at first, our staff will receive you at the airport and transfer to the hotel and our tour leader will brief regarding about the trip. The briefing will cover the itinerary and introduced your trek Leader.
Can I charge camera batteries along the trek?
Some places can find electricity to charge the batteries but not reliable so please bring some extra charged batteries.
Is someone going to meet me at the airport? Are transfers included?
Yes, our Airport Representative will come to the airport to pick you up. We will be displaying a play card of Mission Eco Trek with your name on it. Airport transfer is included.
Can I extend my holiday?
Dolpo trek can extend and there are many options and choices to extend your holiday before or after your main trip. Following trips are suggested for your holiday extensions.
-2 nights / 3 days Chitwan Jungle Safari
-2 full day sightseeing tour in Bhaktapur, Patan Durbar Square and Kathmandu valley
-1night/2 days Trisuli or Bhote Kosi river rafting
-Everest mountain flight.
Mission Eco Trek is professionals at operating at high-altitude. Each trip we run has a realistic acclimatization programme. Our entire adventure trips are designed to allow gradual height gain, spread over a number of days. High altitude is not predictable sickness, so there is no way of predicting who will suffer from altitude but, for the vast majority of people, a slow ascent to height will produce minimal effects. We can provide 'Gamow Bag' as a precautionary measure as per your request on renting basis. Acclimatizing takes time and there are no safe shortcuts. All trips to altitudes in excess of 3,000 meters carry medicines essential to the treatment of altitude sickness, and our leaders, guides and staffs are well trained to administer them and to know the symptoms.
Check out "Altitude illness" by Dr Jim Duff
Our homepage contains as much information as possible about this trip. However, if you have any questions regarding trip, please feel free to contact us. We answer all enquiries within 24 hours. If you want to book a trip, you can send us an email or contact us directly by phone: 0977 98510 23742 (Jitendra), 0977 98510 23758 (Thakur).
Travelling is an investment and we believe that an insurance makes your investment secure. It is a condition of joining any of our adventure trips that be protected against comprehensive expenses potential to incur due to medial issues or accidents (to include helicopter rescue, air ambulance, and treatment costs). Please be noted that we do not arrange or sell insurance.