Upper Dolpo Trek - 27 Days

  • Duration 20 Days
  • Difficulty Level Strenuous
  • Destination Nepal
  • Trip Type Tented Camp Based Trekking
  • Best Season March to Nov
  • Group Size 16
  • Maximum Altitude 5,350 m

Highlights

  • Leave the crowded trails of the Himalayas behind and embark on a tranquil journey in one of the restricted areas in Nepal
  • Travel back in time and get to see the ancient lifestyle of the locals
  • Witness Tibetan Buddhism and BonPo cultural heritage
  • Visit old monasteries like Shey Gompa and stupas while trekking
  • Walk on the ancient salt trade route and get to see arid landscapes
  • Cross multiple high passes and walk through deep river gorges
  • Come across gorgeous waterfalls and meadows
  • Explore the stunning Phoksundo lake and explore the Shey Phoksundo National Park

Upper Dolpo is one of the restricted parts of Nepal that is only allowed to visit by obtaining an expensive special permit. As the name of the package refers, the Upper Dolpo trek explores the Upper part of the Dolpo region, which was opened to foreign tourists in 1989. Explore the Tibetan plateau and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges during the Dolpo Trek.

Travel back in time with us on our Upper Dolpo Trek 27 days. Explore remote north-western Nepal and walk on an ancient salt trade route, relishing arid landscapes and majestic mountain views.

Upper Dolpo Trekking is a camping trek. The trail ascends through high passes and pastures to the gem of the Himalayas, Phoksundo Lake (3,611 m). You'll be trekking in the Shey Phoksundo National Park. Get ready to come across a range exotic of flora and fauna. If lucky, you may get to see the rare snow leopard. 

Likewise, you get to visit the ancient Shey Gompa (4,200 m) and other old stupas while trekking. Meet with the locals who follow Tibetan Buddhism and BonPon religion. One of the major highlights of Upper Dolpo Trekking is the Crystal mountain. A mountain cliff covered with marine fossils and quartz. 

If you want to thoroughly read about the wonders of the Upper Dolpo or even want to witness them, then we recommend the famous book The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen and the Himalaya movie by Eric Valli. 

Views during Upper Dolpo Trek

Upper Dolpo Trek route follows roaring rivers, cascading waterfalls, and deep river gorges. The lush meadows and verdant valleys of fields views along the trekking route are outstanding. Mountains and hills decorate the path with their dominating presence. And the colorful prayer flags add more color to the scenery. 

How difficult is Dolpo Trek?

Upper Dolpo Trek is not for soft hearts. You have to be physically strong with high endurance to keep up with the routines of the region. As it is a camping trek, our crew carries all the essentials from fuel to food and tents. 

The Upper Dolpo Trekking crosses many passes, including Kang La (5,380 m) and Sangda La (5,515 m). The terrain is rough and steep. You may not get a network connection for days and have to deal with high altitude. Check out our Upper Dolpo Trek map for an uncomplicated presentation of the route. 

Upper Dolpo Trek 27 days is for trekkers who have previous trekking experience. On Upper Dolpo Trek, you get truly off-grid from the rest of the world, which makes this trek very special for adventure lovers.

Training for the Upper Dolpo Trekking

To train for Upper Dolpo Trek, first of all, get the trekking boots and break-in. You do not want to wear a new uncomfortable pair of shoes while walking on rough paths. Your next step should be getting your body ready for the journey. 

Hiking, short treks, swimming, cycling, running, etc, are recommended to help you build your stamina and endurance. Long walks (6 to 7 hours) once every week will get your leg ready for the trail. 

What do we offer?

One can do Upper Dolpo Trek if prepared properly, and we help you get ready for the journey. Our team supports you with lodging and meals. You do not have to carry heavy tents, and other essentials nor have to cook meals unless you enjoy cooking with a view. 

Our reasonable Upper Dolpo Trek cost and experienced team members are all you need to explore this isolated area. To book Upper Dolpo Trek 2022/2023, you can send your booking request through our site. It's an easy and simple process. 

Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek, Upper Mustang Trek, Everest Three Passes Trek, and Tsum Valley Trek are some of the other off-beat trekking routes in different parts of the Himalayas that may interest you. 

Itinerary

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We schedule the pickup time as per your flight landing time on your arrival day. Our airport representatives will assist you in check-in in the hotel and leave you to freshen up. Feel free to explore the nearby area and later meet with other team members.

  • AccommodationHotel
  • Maximum Altitude1,310 m

Kathmandu sightseeing is around 5 to 6 hours long. You visit places like Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath Temple, and Boudhanath Stupa. All of these places are significant monuments with great historical backgrounds.

After the tour, there'll be a small break, and we once again meet with our trek guide. The guide will brief the journey, and we begin packing our duffel bags.

  • AccommodationHotel
  • MealsBreakfast
  • Maximum Altitude1,310 m

Flying over the entire western Himalayan range, we fly to Nepalgunj, one of the hottest cities in Nepal. From here, we take another flight to Jhupal, which is around 45 minutes, enjoying the superb views of the Himalayan foothills. From Jhupal, we load our luggage in the jeep and drive to Dunai where the trek begins.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude2,140 m

We pack the luggage and get ready to begin the first day of the trek. The trail crosses a bridge over the Bheri river and walks on the left side of the route to Shulighat. It's the entry point of Shey Phoksundo National Park. Trekking through many small settlement areas, we reach Chhepka village.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude2,678 m

We gradually ascend along the valley through lush forest. The route further has numerous small ascents & descents. We cross a river on a small bridge and reach Raichi. Here we have lunch. Further, the trail takes us across an impressive point where we can see two rivers of different colors merging to form a single Phoksundo river before reaching Chunuwar.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude3,130 m

We slowly walk uphill via the densely forested slopes. The route presents fantastic mountain views. Soon, we will get to see the spectacular view of Phoksundo Lake. The views we get to see today are unbelievable. We spend the night in the Ringmo Gaun, situated nearby the lake.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude3,641 m

It is our day off in Ringmo. We explore the gorgeous Phoksundo lake and enjoy its beauty. Later, we visit ancient monasteries in the Ringmo villages. The locals of this village follow the BonPo religion. 

We will have a great opportunity to see their lifestyle and learn about their traditions.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude3,641 m

We begin the day by gradually ascending a carved path along the cliffside overlooking the lake. It is an uphill walk mostly, and the views are remarkable. We take a small break at a rocky area and further trek through lush forest to Phoksundo Khola Camp.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude3,750 m

The trail winds through the Tuk Kyaksa River. We alternate the side as we walk further along the river. The trail then crosses a gorge, and we climb to Nagdalo High Camp.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude4,700 m

Today, we reach the Shey Gompa, a very prominent place in the Dolpo region. But first, we have to cross the Nagdalo La pass. From the high camp, we ascend on a steep path to reach the top o the pass that offers breathtaking mountain scenery. Further, the trail steeply descends to Shey Gompa, an 800 years old monastery situated on a grassy slope.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude5,350 m

On our second acclimatization day, we explore Shey Gompa and Tsakang Gompa. Tsakang Gompa is more like a retreat center. Later, we visit the Shey Gompa, built in the 11th century. We get to see superb views of the Crystal mountain to the west of Shey Gompa. The cliff of this mountain is laced with quartz and a wide range of fossils.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner

After having breakfast, we begin trekking towards Shey La pass. The path is zigzag and rocky. From the pass, we descend to the pastures and walk towards Namgung Gompa.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude5,094 m

From Namgung Gompa, we steeply ascend all the way up to a ridge at 4,700 meters. The trail from here drops down to Saldang village. It is a short and scenic walk today. Saldang is one of the biggest villages in Dolpo.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude3,770 m

Here comes our third rest day. We take all these rest days in between the trek to acclimatize our bodies and also explore the villages. We hike to Yangtsher Gompa today. Encompassing dunes, we visit centuries-old Samye Choling and Jovo monasteries. Along the way, there are many mani walls and prayer flags. We also visit hidden hamlets around Saldang village.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude4,559 m

The trail from here onwards gets quiet and isolated to Khoma Gaun. We trek enjoying diverse landscapes of bare hills and dunes to white-washed villages, colorful chortens & mani walls. On the way, we cross many streams and ascend & descend a few times before reaching Khoma Gaun.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude4,210 m

We pack up our belongings and begin trekking towards Shimen Gaun. The trail passes through old traditional villages and mani walls. We cross Shimen La pass (4,375 m) and descend to Panjyan Khola. Shimen village is located at the bank of this river.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude3,885 m

We trek on a downhill path that gets off-trail above Panjyan Khola. Along the way, we visit another ancient and significant monastery called Pu Gompa. From Tinkyu, the scenery gets exclusive, and the culture of the locals makes the trek very special.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude4,110 m

We begin walking following the Panjyang Khola and reach Chhamdang. The trail then goes through arid shrublands to Thalum Khola. From here, we trek and reach Yak Kharka.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner

We cross a bridge over Sulun Khola and begin trekking upstream to Choila La (5,040 m). It is the last 5,000 meters on this trek. The route is tough and steep, but the outstanding view from the top of the pass pays for all of our hard walks. The trail from here descends to Tokyu for the night's stay.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude4,240 m

We visit the ancient Tokyu monster early in the morning and have breakfast. The trail then moves to Dho Tarap. We pass by hamlets and terraced fields. Along the way, we get to see huge cattle grazing on huge green pastures. The views are heavenly. Visiting Chaiba Gompa further, we pass by the chortens and mani walls before reaching Dho Tarap.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude3,944 m

Passing by several small villages, we trek through the Tarap valley. The trail is packed with chortens and some occasional gompas. The scenery today is fantasy. Further, we walk along the Tarap Khola and a narrow gorge to reach our campsite at Ghyangmar.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude3,755 m

The rough trail continues through the gorge. We alternate walking from one side of the river to another, and eventually open up to a wide area called Chhyugar.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude3,440 m

The day begins by crossing a bridge and walking alongside the Tarap Khola. It's an impressive route today. The trail leads us to the beautiful Tarakkot village, where we'll be spending the night.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude2,540 m

After having breakfast, we begin walking along the banks of the Thuli Bheri River. The trail then goes through forests and terraced fields to Dunai village.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Our last day of the trek is here. It's an easy and relaxing walk to Juphla from Dunai. Enjoy the views while trekking and celebrate in the evening. We have completed one of the toughest and longest treks in the Himalayas.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Maximum Altitude2,475 m

We take a back to back flight from Jhupal to Nepalgunj and then to Kathmandu. It's your last day in Kathmandu, so enjoy the remaining day as you wish. Shopping and spending some time in the spa sounds great. We meet in the late evening to celebrate and have a farewell dinner.

  • AccommodationHotel
  • MealsBreakfast & Farewell dinner
  • Maximum Altitude1,310 m

Our airport team members will take care of the airport drop as per your flight departure time. Have a safe flight, and see you soon!

  • MealsBreakfast

This is our standard and recommended itinerary. If this itinerary doesn’t suit to you, we can customize your trip as per your interest and time-frame. Click here for Tailor-Made program.

Includes

  • All grounded transportation as per itinerary by private car
  • One expert tour guide for Kathmandu Valley Sightseeing inclusive entrance fees
  • Three nights’ accommodation in Kathmandu inclusive breakfast
  • Kathmandu – Nepaljung – Jhupal – Nepaljung – Kathmandu round flight ticket inclusive domestic taxes
  • Full board meals with tea coffee prepared by our expert cook
  • One highly experience English speaking & friendly trekking guide and required porter including their expenses
  • Two men tent, dining tent, kitchen tent, table with chairs, kitchen utensils, and other necessary equipment during the trek
  • Upper Dolpo special permit fee and other necessary permits
  • Upper Dolpo Trekking map
  • Nepal Gateway Company T-shirt and achievement certificate
  • Local fresh fruit
  • First aid kit
  • Evacuation assist if needed
  • Government taxes and office service charge

Excludes

  • Lunch and Dinner in Kathmandu
  • Your travel insurance – Compulsory
  • Nepal entry visa.
  • Your international flight ticket to/from Kathmandu
  • Your personal nature expenses, equipment and medical kit
  • All kinds of hot and cold drinks and alcoholic beverage in trekking
  • Hot shower, internet and phone call unless it is free
  • Tipping to field staffs (Tipping is not mandatory but expected)

Useful Info

Altitude Sickness

One may suffer from altitude sickness during the Upper Dolpo Trek because of its high elevation. To avoid it, trek slowly and do not ascend more than 500 meters in a day. Also, take acclimatization days in between the trek and drink lots of water. Do carry prescribed altitude sickness medicine with you. 

These are some symptoms of altitude sickness:

  • headache

  • nausea

  • difficulty in breathing

  • loss of appetite

  • insomnia

Upper Dolpo Trek Permit

You'll need Lower Dolpo Restricted Area Entry Permit, Shey Phoksundo National Park Entry Permit, and Upper Dolpo Restricted Area Entry Permit for this trek. 

The permits costs:

Lower Dolpo restricted area permit: USD 40 for two entry permits in Lower Dolpo

Shey Phoksundo National park entry permit: USD 30 per person

Upper Dolpo restricted area permit: USD 500 for the first 10 days per person and USD 50 per person each day thereafter 

Dolpo Trek Best Time

Below we have mentioned the three best seasons of the year to have an amazing journey in the Upper Dolpo.

Spring (March to April)

Spring is one of the best times of the year to trek anywhere in the Himalayas. But for Upper Dolpo, it may not be the same case. In the early days of spring, the passes are still covered with dense layers of snow, which make it impossible to cross. From the end of April, the snow begins to melt, and the trail becomes more approachable. The temperature varies from -10°C to 13°C.

Monsoon/Summer (May to September)

Because Upper Dolpo lies in the rain shadow area, there is no rain in the monsoon season in this region. Therefore, monsoon/summer is an excellent time to explore Upper Dolpo. The temperature ranges between -4°C to 17°C. You may see issues with a flight to Jhupal and Nepalgunj because of rainfall in these parts of Nepal, but once you hit the trail, the weather is just fantastic. 

Autumn (October to November)

Autumn is another great time of the year to trek in Dolpo. Do not begin the trek in late November because the region begins to see snowfall, and the trail can get slippery because of that. The climate is pleasant and the weather stable with clear skies. It's a harvesting month for the locals, so the journey becomes furthermore immersive. The temperature ranges between -3°C to 20°C. 

Last Minute Booking

Before you book the Upper Dolpo trek, do know that it is a restricted area trek. Therefore, you have to trek in a group of at least two people. You cannot do this trek solo or without a guide. For last-minute booking, send us your inquiry through our site and complete the booking process for confirmation of the trip. You have to send us your passport details and a few other basic information with 100% of the Upper Dolpo trek package cost for booking. 

Travel Tips 

  • Accommodation: It is a camping trek. Our crew will carry all the tents and necessities during the trek. We provide high-quality alpine-grade tents and other gear for a comfortable journey. Two members of the group share a sleeping tent, and there will be separate dining & washroom tents. 

  • Food: All the meals are cooked and prepared by our crew members. The menu ranges from dal bhat to momo, noodles, sandwiches, pasta, soup, and veg/non-veg curries & bread.

  • ATM: There is no ATM on the route to Upper Dolpo. Get some extra cash in Kathmandu to use while trekking.

  • Charging: Carry spare batteries or a solar charger. This is the only way you can charge your device during the trek. In some villages, you may see charging stations.

  • Luggage: One porter carries a load of two trekkers. The weight limit is 10 kgs for each trekker. Likewise, for a day pack, the weight limit is 5 kgs.

  • Personal Expenses: Some things like international flights, tipping, shopping, and extra nights in Kathmandu are not covered in the trek package cost. So, make a budget for these things.

  • Travel Insurance: It's better to trek with a travel insurance in the Upper Dolpo area because there are no proper health care facilities here. If by chance any medical emergency occurs, we have to airlift you to the nearby hospital in a city.

FAQs

  • Q1. How do you get to Dolpo from Kathmandu?

    From Kathmandu, you can reach Dolpo by taking two flights, one to Nepalgunj and then to Jhupal. From here, you can trek through Lower Dolpo and gradually ascend to Upper Dolpo. It is the most famous and common route to reach Dolpo.

  • The Upper Dolpo trek, is classified as one of the most strenuous treks in the Himalayas. It is a long trek consisting of 27 days, crosses many passes, and involves numerous steep ascents & descents. Dolpo trek is for experienced trekkers.

  • As per our itinerary, the starting point of the Upper Dolpo trek is Dunai, at 2,140 meters. From Jhupal, you drive 3 to 4 hours to reach Dunai.

  • We organize a camping Upper Dolpo trek. Therefore the accommodation during the trek tents. There are tea houses in some villages along the way, however whether you'll get a room to spend the night is not sure. And to be honest, sleeping in tents will be more comfortable than in teahouses.

  • Yes, you can get boiled water to refill in the teahouses. We carry all the cooking supplies and raw materials to cook meals, so there will be no issue with food. Likewise, we also carry water purification tablets to double purify the water.

  • There is no WiFi service along the way, so carry a Nepali sim to use the internet. The network will not be stable all the time. Especially when you touch an elevation above 3,000 meters, you may have to go without network for 2 or 3 days.

  • Yes, a trek like Upper Dolpo requires travel insurance. The trail is way too secluded to trek without travel insurance. 

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