Upper Dolpo trekking is magnificent trekking with numerous scenic and cultural variations and romantic geographical backdrops placed away in the mid-west region of Nepal beyond Dhaulagiri massif, towards the Tibetan plateau. It is here specifically that people still practice the pre-Buddhist Bon Po religion. This early sect was almost entirely replaced after Buddhist doctrine began to spread across Tibet in the 9th century. Dolpo remained unknown to the rest of the world until David Seagrove discovered the region in 1956. His account of his seven-month journey in the inner mountain areas of west and central Nepal, titled 'Himalayan Pilgrimage' is the most authoritative work describing this region. Surrounded by high mountains including the Dolpo massif to the southeast and cut off by high passes closed by snow half the year, Dolpo's easiest access is from Tibet, where its people emigrated from perhaps 1,000 years ago.
This trek starts from Jhupal, after two small flights to Nepalgunj on the first day and to Jhupal on the second day. The route goes through the high and remote alpine area and passes and finally comes to beautiful Shey Phoksundo Lake (3600m). Trek towards Charkha, probably the most beautiful village of high altitude. The best season to trek the Dolpo region is September to December. Then we will trek towards Jomsom after passing Sangda-La, the highest pass of this trek.
Namaste & welcome to Mountain Guide Trek of Nepal. Upon your arrival, you will be greeted by a representative from Mountain guide Treks (MGT). After completing your custom formalities (Visa, etc) pick up your luggage and look for our representative with a Mountain Guide Treks and Expedition with the Group leader's name display board at the arrival gate. You will be then transferred to Hotel. After check-in, if time allows, you will visit the MGT office to meet your trekking leader as well as other participants and for final preparation for the trip. It all depends upon your arrival time. (Overnight at deluxe hotel on BB basis)
The day after breakfast we will start a sightseeing tour with our professional tour guide to the several of most historical and spiritual Places in Kathmandu. Some of these landmarks are considered World Heritage historic Sites such as Durbar Square, the sacred Hindu temple of Pashupati Nath, the famous 'Monkey Temple (Swayambunath) and the Buddhist shrine (Buddha Nath) which is one of the largest Stupas in the world. After coming back from the tour there will be a pre-trip discussion with our trek leader and other team members. Mountain Guide Trek will brief you regarding your trek as well as we may have an opportunity to discuss any difficulties regarding our upcoming adventure. The rest of the time you could use for travelling around the Thamel and shopping for needed pieces of equipment and other necessaries. (Overnight at deluxe hotel on BB basis)
As per the flight schedule for Nepalgunj, we transfer to the domestic airport for one and half hour scenic flight to Nepalgunj. At Nepalgunj, we will have time in the late afternoon or evening to have a look around the town which is situated on the southern Nepal border with India. Here it is quite hot and tropical in character. (Overnight at tourist standard hotel on full board basis)
We go to the airport very early in order to get on the flight to Juphal. Dolpo flights are always early in the morning. This is because high winds in the Thulo Bheri Valley begin around 10 am, making later flights impossible. Once we have gotten all our equipment for the Twin otter in Juphal (2500m), we start out on the short walk from Juphal to Dunai. We walk downhill through meadows and past a few houses to the small hotels at Kala Gaura (2090m). From here we follow the river trail upstream to Dunai. We camp near Dunai and explore this bustling little hill town for the rest of the afternoon. (Overnight at tend camp on full board basis)
You will follow the route of the confluence of the Thuri Bheri and Sulighat rivers and turn to the north and follow the Sulighat River. The trail is fairly undulating and you are never far away from the river and its roar. You also walk through some nice villages such as Pamela meaning eyelash, Rahagaon meaning eyebrow, and Ankhe meaning eye. (Overnight at tend camp on full board basis)
The path goes entirely through the forest to Rech at Renji. This is a very small village and consists of just a couple of houses and a primary school. (Overnight at tend camp on full board basis)
On this day about 2 hours of walking you will reach Amchi Hospital. The walk goes almost entirely through beautiful pine forests, with some bushes, birches and other broad leaf trees in it as well. Before reach to Ringmo on the way, you will see a spectacular waterfall 167 meters high. After views point the path is going down for about half an hour until it gets close to the river again then walking through the forests, till you reach Ringmo. Ringmo is a charming village. People practice the Bonpo religion here. Bonpo is a lot older than Buddhism and goes thousands of years back. It has more animistic aspects than Buddhism. (Overnight at tend camp on full board basis)
Your body needs time to acclimatize to the higher altitude. The Phoksundo Lake is such a beautiful place for a free day. There is a beautiful Bonpo Gompa (Monastery) at the shore of the lake, which is worth a visit. It's a 20 minute walk to the monastery through the pine forest. In the monastery you can observe a statue of Thonpa Chenrab, the founder of Bonpo religion, a Buddha who lived thousands of years ago. (Overnight at tend camp on full board basis)
On this day you enter the restricted area of Upper Dolpo. You follow the famous Demons Trail from the movie Caravan of Eric Valli, a beautiful movie about the life of people in Dolpa who bring their yaks over difficult passes bearing salt from Tibet to trade with grain from the lowlands. In the movie, this trail is used during this salt caravan and one of the yaks falls in the lake here. It's a spectacular trail, going high above the Lake. In some parts, it gets very narrow due to landslides. The trail climbs to a ridge, from which you have a spectacular view of the Lake, Ringmo, the dark green pine forests and the snow-capped mountain Norbung Kang (6085 m) to the south. It's now a gradual descent to the lake's northern shore, which is a good place for lunch. After this the trail climbs through a wide valley, crossing some streams. You have a splendid and nearby view of the flanks and tops of the snow-capped Kanjirowa Himal (6612m). You arrive at an alpine area which is a good place to camp. (Overnight at tend camp on full board basis)
The Phoksundo Valley gets quite narrow, with high rock walls on both sides. You have to cross a couple of streams. After about half an hour, you leave the main valley and enter a narrow gorge. It's a long, pretty steep climb through the steep sided valley. The campsite is at Snowfields Camp, a name given by Peter Mathiesson in his famous book the Snowleopard. From here strenuous climb of about 2½ hours over a dusty path to Kang-La (5350m), locally also called Ngadra-La. There is snow most of the times, which makes a bit difficult for descending. (Overnight at tend camp on full board basis)
From here the descent is pretty steep for the first 45 minutes, but after this, it is going gradually for about 3 hours, till you reach Shey Gompa. Getting nearer, you pass red and white Chortens and Mani walls. Shey Gompa is a very small village, with a couple of houses, and of course the Gompa. The 11th-century Gompa is located beneath Crystal Peak on a small grassy plain, at the confluence of two rivers. It is said to be constructed by a Tibetan Buddhist, who arrived here on the back of a flying snow lion. It's a magical place, and Shey Gompa is often called the spiritual heart of Dolpa. Every year hundreds of pilgrims come to visit the Gompa and to make a Kora (Clockwise Circuit) of the Crystal Peak. People living here are direct descendants of Tibetans, which you can notice easily by their faces and their dress. The women wear dark dresses with colourful aprons made from yak wool. Men wear a long coat, from which they let one sleeve hang down. (Overnight at tend camp on full board basis)
During this day, you can go to Tsakang Gompa (4575m), a monastery from the Buddhist Kagyupa sect. This Gompa appears in the movie Himalaya. It is spectacularly located high on a red rocky slope. The trail to Tsakang Gompa partly follows partly the same trail as pilgrims follow to make a Kora of the Crystal Peak. You will probably see flocks of blue sheep in these areas. Many blue sheep live here, as the abbot of Shey Gompa imposed a ban on hunting them. Besides, in these regions, you have the best chance of seeing the snow leopard. (Overnight at tend camp on full board basis)
Another pass to cross this day, the Sele-La, also called Gelu-La, of 5000m. The climb to the pass goes through a narrow valley. From the pass, you have a good view to the north of the arid Tibetan Plateau, which is stretching out seemingly endlessly before you. To the east, you can see Mustang. After the pass, it's a long descent to the pastures of Namgung. Scattered in the landscape, you will see some fields. Many times accompanied with a big Tibetan tent, as the fields are too far from the village to go there and go back each day. (Overnight at tend camp on full board basis)
The path goes high above the Namgung River and then descends steeply to the village of Saldang. Saldang is the largest settlement of inner-Dolpo. It's a spread-out, traditional agricultural village, surrounded by fields. Barley, buckwheat and potatoes are among the few crops that can grow in this barren landscape. Besides, people live from what the yak gives them and from trade. Saldang is close to the Tibetan border and some of the salt trade caravans pass through Saldang. The trading of salt for grain and rice is a century-old tradition that still prevails in Inner-Dolpo. The people from Saldang are semi-nomadic. In the warm months, they trek in the highlands with their herds of yaks and sheep. The ones who are better off let the pure nomadic people of Dolpa. (Overnight at tend camp on full board basis)
The trail follows the Nang Chu river most of the way on this wild barren windswept terrain. The walk begins along the fairly gradual path with a few ups and downs slope and then passes through the small settlement of Tiling and Lurigaon till we reach Yangier Gompa (3750m) and visit the very old Bon-Po Monastery. We then continue to walk to Nisalgaon. (Overnight at tend camp on full board basis)
We continue up the valley to Mugaon and climb towards the Mushi La at (5030m). Then we descend towards Shimen village, we end the day at a good campsite in pastures above the village at 4010m. (Overnight at tend camp on full board basis)
Heading south along the Panjyan Khola, staying on the eastern bank, we pass two trails leading north to the border of Tibet on our left, and further along Pu Gompa in the hills to the right. Namyal Gompa is another hour away also to the south of the trail, a larger Gompa. From Targaon and Phalwa, another trail branches off to the north heading to the Tibetan border, signifying how important trade with Tibet is still to the Dolpo. Thinje, just past this intersection and before another, is a large, prominent village from where many of the villagers acting in the movie 'Himalaya' come. Tenzin Norbu, the famous 'Ngagpa' painter of Dolpo, also comes from the Panzang region. In the old times, his ancestors, also monk painters, travelled to Lo Monthang in Mustang to pay their tribute in murals, Thankas and Mani walls. We've been told it's an amazing village, so we've scheduled a 'rest' or exploration day to take advantage of this. (Overnight at tend camp on full board basis)
We trek past the runway of mysterious Tinje to a trail junction at (4130m), where a high route leads to Tarap. We continue southward to a campsite on the banks of the river at Rakpa (4530m). (Overnight at tend camp on full board basis)
We begin our day with a long climb to the Chharka-La (4920m). We continue on the trail descending along the side of the valley, then make a big drop into a side valley at 4290m. We then make a long traverse down to the picturesque village of Chharka on the banks of Barbung Kola at (4120m). Chharka is a small hamlet of closely-built, white-washed dwellings, medieval in feel, with a Bon-Po monastery, Sarchhen Gompa. Overnight at tend camp with full board meal
We follow the Chharka Khola to the intersection of the Thansan Khola, having to cross the river on a small bridge. The campsite right after this river crossing is Sumdo, and we may set up camp for the night here, or we may continue on to a campsite called Norbulung, down the east bank of the Thansan Khola. (Overnight at tend camp on full board basis)
We begin the day climbing to a yak pasture at Molum Sumna (4860m) and on to a crest at 5130m. We then make a long traverse across meadows to the foot of the Sangda-La, then a long, steep final climb to the pass at 5460m. Switchbacks descend down to our campsite by a stream at 5100m. (Overnight at tend camp on full board basis)
We climb to a lower Sangda-La at 4990m and then descend through loose shale towards the village of Sangda Ghunsa (4190m). We drop to the Chalung Khola, crossing it at 3750m, and then climb steeply up the opposite bank. A long high traverse leads to a cairn at 4090m, we then come to a set of steep switchbacks that descend to a stream at 3580m. We do another climb to the compact settlement of Sangda, where we end a long day at 3700m. (Overnight at tend camp on a full board basis)
From Canada, we start climbing and spend most of the morning making a high traverse, crossing many ridges until we finally reach the 'pass' at 4280 meters. From the crest, we have a magnificent vista, looking out to snow-capped peaks and down to Mustang's patchwork of trails and villages far below. Kagbeni, Jharkot, Muktinath, Thorung Peak., the Thorung La, Niligiri, Daulaghiri and the Kali Gandaki are all visible, an awe-inspiring site! From here, we descend quite steeply into the Kali Gandaki valley, reaching the fortress-like entrances to the small villages of Phalyak and nearby Dhagarjun, (Overnight at tend camp on a full board basis)
Stick your heads out of your tents to see the sunrise on Niligiri and Daulaghiri before breakfast in our dining tent. Himalayan sunrises and sunsets remind us of why we've come all this way, and endured these hard, cold days! We climb to a small ridge, and then head directly south towards Jomsom, the district headquarters of Mustang, back to 'Civilization' on the Annapurna Circuit. We reach the long, cobbled path that connects upper and lowers Jomsom, along which beautiful textiles, woven on hand looms in the traditional style, are displayed by Mustang women. At the Trekker's Lodge in lower Jomsom, cold beers and hot showers, both well deserved, wait. We'll celebrate our wonderful journey through remote Dolpo in the evening with our fantastic crew, and hand out tips and bonuses. (Overnight at tend camp or at tea house on full board basis)
Fly from Jomsom to Pokhara which takes about 35 minutes. The flights are available during the morning time. The strong breeze blows during the after and frequent change in the weather prevent the flight from being landed and taken off in the afternoon. During the flights in the morning, the sky looks very clear which makes you able to enjoy the splendid views of different mountain peaks. (Overnight at deluxe hotel on BB basis)
You could choose afternoon flight to Kathmandu, till some hours before flight; you may take an optional sightseeing tour around Pokhara or enjoy adventure activities such as boat riding, paragliding, etc. While returning to Kathmandu from Pokhara, be sure to catch the left side of airplane for the best views of Himalayas. Or if you would like to choose by bus, we will arrange ticket in tourist coach at river side seat and start your journey at 7:30 am from Pokhara. Left site's seats of vehicles are nice to enjoy the scenery; the road follows by Trisuli River where you see many people rafting on the river. After 6/7 hours you will arrive at Kathmandu (beside Thamel) and transfer to your hotel. The day at leisure to rest, perhaps catch up on some last-minute shopping or explore any sights you missed during your first day in Kathmandu. ! Remember, we will be hosting a fantastic celebration "Farewell dinner" at traditional Nepalese restaurant together with Mountain Guide Trek staffs for successful completion of the Upper Dolpo Trek! (Overnight at deluxe hotel on BB basis)
Today is the last day in Nepal for this trip; you are saying goodbye to the mountains as the journey in Nepal comes to an end today! There is nothing to do but trade emails with travel companions and organize the photos. If you have more time you can do some shopping or sightseeing. Approximately 3 hours before the scheduled flight a representative from Mountain Guide Treks will take you to the airport.
Note:- The cost includes and excludes section may give you a better idea of how the trip is organized. Once you let us know the number of interested travellers and the departure date we would get back to you with the actual cost for the trip.
The following is a list of equipment, clothing, and accessories that we recommend for Yala Peak Climbing in Nepal. This is not intended to be a comprehensive clothing and equipment list; rather it is intended to act as a reminder of those items that we feel necessary for your comfort and convenience. However, we recognize that you may have your personal preferences for equipment and clothing which may be equally as suitable.
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