Trekking In Upper Dolpo and Shey Gompa

Arrival City

Kathmandu

Departure City

Kathmandu

Lodging level

Accommodation: Hotel, Tea House, Tented Camps

Meals

3 Course Meals

Trip Grade

Moderate to challenging

Maximun Altitude

5160m

Attractions

Shey Phoksundo National Park

Dhaulagiri and Churen Himal ranges

Activity

Trekking & Cultural Tour

Overview

Upper Dolpa trek, a mystical journey to the isolated valley behind the mountains, where you experience the natural beauty and rare culture enriched by myths and old age stories.

If you want to explore the isolated valleys of the Himalaya, experience unique cultures and want to witness the mystical landscape beyond the mountains, Upper Dolpo and Shey Gompa Trek is just for you! After a day of city tour in the valley of Kathmandu, you fly to Nepalgunj, the steamy lowland of Terai and then head towards Juphal from where the trek begins. On the first day you trek to Dunai, which is a short distance from Juphal. Following the trail, you cross suspension bridges over beautiful river, pass through villages including Chepka and Renje to reach Ringmo, a picturesque highland settlement of flat-roofed stone houses with mud -plastered chortens and maniwalls. Taking the north trail after crossing the bridge below Ringmo, you reach turquoise hued Phoksundo Lake, one of the most stunning high-altitude lakes you can find in the Himalaya and also a destination for most Dolpo Trek. After a day of exploration in the Lake area, you move forwards along a crest following the spectacular view of the lake with the snowy peak of Sonam Kang in the background. Crossing the glacial valley and challenging Mendok Ding La at 5160m, the path continues to Shey Gompa where you can explore the ancient monastery and learn about the mythical stories the gompa holds. After a day of rest, you head towards Mugaon passing through Namguna and Karang while exploring the villages and gompas you come across. Passing through several villages then after and crossing challenging passes en route including Mushi La (5030m), Chharka La (4920m) and Sangda La (4990m), you traverse through several switchbacks to reach Jomsom in Kali Gandaki Valley following the challenging trail of loose rocks in the last leg of your Upper Dolpo trek. From Jomsom, you fly to Pokhara and then continue to Kathmandu, thus wrapping up this adventurous Dolpo trekking in Nepal.

Itinerary

It’s a panoramic thrill flying into Kathmandu on a clear day. The views of snow-capped mountain peaks sprawling down below you are almost ecstatic, beginning a whole chain of memorable experiences that stay with you for a long, long time. As your plane lands at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, our waiting support team will meet and greet you at the arrivals and escort you to your hotel.

Kathmandu is the historical and cultural heart of Nepal and has been a popular destination for tourists ever since Nepal opened its doors to visitors. The city presents a wonderful mix of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism and Western influence. There will be a guided tour to UNESCO World Heritage Sites Boudhnath, the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal and after that to Pashupatinath, the most popular Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. You take a tour to Patan also called as Lalitpur (the City of Artisans), which is 5km away from Kathmandu. You walk through Patan Durbar Square, and delight in the architectural wonders of Malla era. Mahaboudha Temple, Kumbeshwor Temple, Krishna Temple and Golden Temple are the major attractions at the square.

You fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj, which lies in the southwest part of the Terai, right on the border to India. After checking into your hotel you might visit Bageshwari Mandir, a temple to honour Goddess Kali. Nepalgunj is known for its local bazaars, which have goods with cheap price rates. Here, not only do you see people from all over Nepal, but also people from Tibet and India who have come here for trade.

You take an early morning flight to Juphal where the Upper Dolpo trek begins. Dolpo flights are always scheduled early in the morning. This is because high wind in the Thulo Bheri Valley begins around 10 am, making later flights impossible. Once you arrive at Juphal (2500m), you start out on a short walk from Juphal to Dunai. You walk downhill through meadows and past a few houses to the small hotels at Kala Gaura (2090m). From here you follow the river trail upstream to Dunai. You camp near Dunai and explore this bustling little hill town for the rest of the afternoon.

You start trekking from Dunai, cross the big steel suspension bridge and turn west, following the trail past the hospital, and then it's a level walk along the bank of the Thulo Bheri to its confluence with the Suli Gaad at 2070m. You follow the new trail north up the east bank of the Suli Gaad to a collection of teashops run by locals. Another hour of walking takes us to Kal Rupi and then on to Raktang (2260m). You cross to the west bank and trek past numerous cattle sheds and horse pastures, over a ridge to the rough stone houses of Jyalhasa, a wintering spot for the people of Ringmo. You keep walking upstream to another bridge, cross it to the east bank, and make your way past some crude teashops and a bridge over a side stream, the Ankhe Khola, at 2460m. The trail moves up and down through grass and ferns to a trail junction. The fork is the old trail leading to the army and national park post at Ankhe, and on to the old trail that passes the villages of Rahagoan and Parela, high on the ridge above. These three villages have a strange name connection: Parela (parela means eye-lashes), Rahagoan (raha means eyebrow) and Ankhe (ankha is eye). The trail to Phoksundo Lake climbs over a ridge at 2710m then descends on a rocky path to Chepka (2670m), which consists of collection of interconnected shops and lodges. You camp here or at another good spot beside a huge rock in walnut grove about 20 minutes beyond Chepka.

You continue on the new trail, which stays near the river, climbing over a small ridge, then crossing to the west side to avoid a large ridge and returning to the east side an hour later near a national park camping ground. Alongside the river at 2900m, the trail becomes a collection of rocks and sticks forming a dyke along the riverbank. The trail makes several more ups and downs through forests of firs and larches as it continues upstream to a bridge that leads the village of Renje on the opposite side of the river at 3010m. You camp at a good camp site here or another about five minutes further on.

You follow the Suli Gaad valley, which turns eastward and becomes even steeper and narrower. You then climb over a ridge and descends to a wooden bridge then continue along the ups and downs along the valley floor to the confluence of the Suli Gaad with the Pungmo Khola. From here the trail to Phoksundo Lake and Shey Gompa, major attraction of the Dolpo Trek, follows the west bank of the river. You climb through a forest of big cedar to a good camp site and then on to Palam (3710m), a winter settlement used by the people of Ringmo village. The houses are almost buried in the sandy soil. The entrance station for Shey Phoksundo National Park is at the south end of the village. After your park entrance ticket is examined, you may be subjected to a baggage inspection. You continue on the route, which switchbacks steeply on a sandy trail through open country to an elevation of 3300m, then you start up another steep set of dusty switchbacks to a ridge at 3780m. From the ridge there are distant views of a spectacular Suli Gaad waterfall - 200m high, the highest in Nepal. The trail makes a steep descent in birch forests to the upper reaches of the brilliantly clear, rushing waters of the Phoksundo Khola. Then you climb gently to Ringmo village, a picturesque settlement of flat-roofed stone houses with lots of mud -plastered chortens and maniwalls. Just below Ringmo, you cross a bridge and follow a trail north to the ranger station at Phoksundo Lake (3730m). You continue to the shores of the lake near the point where the Phoksundo Khola flows out of the lake. There are national park camping grounds on both sides of the river on the south-east shore of the lake. Park rules prohibit us from camping in other places.

A trail leads from the lakeside through juniper trees to the white Pal Sentan Thasoon Chholing gompa, an old Bon-po gompa overlooking the lake that is said to have been built 60 generations ago. There are five others private gompas in various houses of small monastic community near the lake. The insides of the temples contain ancient Buddhist paintings and statues, but the trappings also reflect the animistic elements of the Bon-po religion, so some of the shrines are reminiscent of an ancient witch's cavern. Whoever visits the places will be equally fascinated by the strange iconography and practice of the Bon-po religion.

From your campsite near Ringmo on the southern end of Phoksundo Lake, the trail contours on a rocky ledge as it skirts the western lip of the lake. In places it's precariously suspended on a gangway of wood supported on pegs driven into crevices in the rocks. As you cross a stream, look up at the glacier descending from the upper slopes of Kanjeralwa (6612m). You then climb to a crest at 4060m for a spectacular view of the lake with the snowy peaks of Sonam Kang in the background. The trail makes a step and dusty descent through birches and blue pines to the westernmost edge of the lake at 3630m where the Phoksundo Khola enters. The route now heads west, up along a wide valley. You follow an indistinct trail through thorn bushes and scrub trees, crisscrossing boggy marshes and tributaries of Phoksundo Khola. You camp in a forest of blue pines at Chunembaat 3630m.

You begin the day along the level path that now heads north through a glacial valley. You then cross to the east bank of PhoksundoKhola. You follow the main valley for another hour to Kang Gompa. You climb steeply from Kang Gompa and stay on the grassy ridge. It's a long climb up the ridge past a few groves of birch trees. There are spectacular mountain views with Shey Shikar (6139m) and Kang Chunne (6443m) dominating the skyline to the west. You continue on a crest at 4200m then the route descends gently on a rocky trail to Lar Tsa, a camp site besides the river at 4120m. It's possible to continue walking, but you have now ascended more than 500m in a day and should spend the night at Lar Tsa for acclimatization.

You cross a new bridge and climb to the top of a scree slope at 4490m, then make your way up a grassy ridge to a crest at 4640m. You contour and then drop gently into Mendok Ding (flower valley). You again climb alongside a stream to a campsite at 4610m. You are almost certain to spot a herd of blue sheep on the slopes above the camp.

You continue on the route that follows the upper reaches of the Phoksundo Khola, then you turn north towards the peak of Riwo Drugdra (Crystal Mountain). There is a choice of trails here; you follow the more scenic pilgrim route across the Sehu La to the west of Crystal Mountain, making a kora (circumambulation) of this sacred peak. The Dolma trail turns north soon after camp while the pilgrim trail starts up a steep scree slope on the opposite side of a stream that flows from the north. After a long pull to Sehu La (also known as Mendok Ding La) at 5160m the trail descends a scree slope to a grassy meadow besides a stream valley and begins a series of long ascents and descends across ridges in and out of side valleys as it traverses around Crystal Mountain. After a steep, rough climb to a crest at 5010m and another at 4860m, you begin the descent to the Tar valley. Soon after the route reaches grassy slopes, a side trail leads to Tsakang, a gompa said to be 800years old perched dramatically on the side of a cliff. The final descent is on a wide trail to a campsite in a large meadow near a few huts of nomads at 4310, just below Shey gompa.

Cross the river on a log bridge and climb past a big Chorten and a huge field of mani stones to the Shey gompa compound at 4390m. The gompa itself is not large, and there are no artifacts or paintings of note inside. Although the building is said to be 800 years old, the wall paintings are relatively recent, probably done in 1970s. The statues on the altar are of Guru Rinpoche, Sakyamuni and Milarepa. The gompa also houses an ancient Tibetan scroll that describes the myth of Crystal Mountain and Shey gompa. According to the inscription, there is a holy lake in a crater among the mountains that surrounds Shey. When a pilgrim makes nine circumambulations of this lake the water turns milky. A sip of this milk can enable a pilgrim to see Mt. Kailash in the distance. The ones, who don’t need a day of rest, can try to find this lake.

You trek east from Shey gompa and across the 5010m Shey La. Here you turn north and descend before climbing again to Namgung (4430m).

You traverse high above the Namgung Khola to Karang (4050m). It's also possible to descend to Saldang on the banks of the river, but this village is of little interest.

You descend to Torak Sumdo (3670m), the confluence of the Namgung and Polangkholas, and cross to the northern bank. You then climb to Yanger gompa at 3750m and trek along the river side valley. You camp at one of the campsites along the side of the stream at about 4100m before Mugaon.

You continue up the valley to Mugaon and climb towards the Mushi La at 5030m. Then you descend towards Shimen village. You end the day at a good campsite in pastures above the village at 4010m.

You drop down to Shimen village at 3870m and make a long trek upriver through Pha (4090m) to Tinje (4150m).

You trek past the runway of mysterious Tinje airport to a trail junction at 4130m, where a high route leads to Tarap. You continue southward to a campsite on the banks of the river at Rakpa (4530m).

You begin our day with a long climb to the Chharka La (4920m). You continue on the trail descending along the side of the valley, then make a big drop into a side valley at 4290m. You then make a long traverse down to the picturesque village of Chharka on the banks of Barbung Kola at 4120m.

Another climb to a crest at 4380m begins this day. You then descend again to a river. You follow the right fork southward, climbing in and out of side valleys on a rough trail. The valley narrows, you then emerge into a big meadow and climb to our campsite at Norbulung (4750m).

You begin the day climbing to a yak pasture at Molum Sumna (4860m) and on to a crest at 5130m. You 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 camp site by a stream at 5100m.

You climb to a lower Sangda La at 4990m, then descend through loose shale towards the village of Sangda Ghunsa (4190m). You 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, you then come to a set of steep switchbacks descents to a stream at 3580m. You do another climb to the compact settlement of Sangda, where you end a long day at 3700m.

You ascend the hill behind Sangda and spend most of the day making a high traverse, crossing nine ridges to a final crest at 4280m. You then descend into the Kali Gandaki valley, traversing under high cliffs and descending to the large village of Dhagarjun (3290m).

You climb to a ridge at 3360m and make a final descent on a challenging trail of loose rocks to Jomsom at 2670m.

You take an early flight from Jomsom to Pokhara - a fantastic way to round off the trek, flying right along the Kali Gandaki Gorge between the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges. After 20 minutes flight from Jomsom, then you take a connecting flight from Pokhara to Kathmandu. Rest of the day in Kathmandu is free. You can either let go the strains of Upper Dolpo trek and enjoy the evening strolling down the street of Thamel or rest in the hotel.

This is a contingency day in case of flight delays. If you have free time, you can let go the strains of trekking in the Himalaya. You can explore around the Heritage sites in the city, stroll down the streets of Thamel for local cultural experience, visit nearby monasteries, relax at a spa center or do some souvenir haunting in the local bazaar.

Our Nepali support team will take you to the airport for your flight home. On the other hand, if you prefer to stay longer, you can go for short tours such as game drive at National parks, rafting, Tibet tours, mountain biking, etc. – ask us.

General Information

TRIP GRADE: Strenuous Trek

This is a long Dolpo Trek that goes far beyond the normal haunts of trekkers and tourists, to remote areas of the country where the landscapes are wild and untamed and where the local inhabitants have seen little change in their way of life for centuries- untouched corners of an increasingly crowded planet. It is physically challenging, likely to include unfavorable weather conditions and strenuous activities, such as, climbing/ scrambling across high passes.

TREKKING TYPES

Trekking in Nepal is categorized in three different types based on their way of organization (Camping Trek, Tea House Trek and GAP Trek). Upper Dolpo trek is organized as Camping trek due to lack of lodge available. The camping trek includes; Guide, Porters, Cook, All meals and tents.

 

ACCOMMODATION

Camping trek means sleeping in tents. On a camping trek, the tents provided are ‘Two men dome’ or ‘A’ shaped. Foam mattress with insulation underneath is provided for sleeping. Clients need to have their own sleeping bag. Bags or cloth packs are used as pillows. If you wish, you can bring your own ‘Air pillow’. We have a pool of hotels in Kathmandu under 3 Star categories which we provide to clients in connection to this itinerary, unless it is mentioned otherwise, or clients have a special choice. You can check on the description of such hotels through our website.

 

MEALS & DRINKING WATER

We provide three tasty, plentiful and nutritious meals daily with a variety of local and Western dishes. To start the day, breakfast consists of a choice of porridge, muesli and cereal followed by omelet, fried or scrambled eggs with chapattis or bread. Lunch is generally a selection of salad, cooked vegetable dishes, pasta and traditional breads.

After a long day on the trail, dinner is a hearty 3 course meal – soup, followed by a variety of vegetable, meat, rice and pasta dishes and completed with a simple dessert. Tea, coffee and hot chocolate are also provided at all meals. We use as much fresh produce as possible and special diets are regularly catered for. The leaders are able to maintain very tight controls on health and hygiene in the kitchen with respect to general cleanliness and food preparation and also within the group with respect to personal hygiene. This has allowed us to maintain remarkably high standards of health over many years of trek organization – and good health is vital to an enjoyable and successful trek and climb. All foods are well cooked and vegetables are treated by potassium permanganate or iodine. Boiled water is served for drinking. Antiseptic soaps and potassium or iodine treated water are provided for washing. Special dietary requirements can always be catered for.

 

PERSONAL EXPENSES– MONEY TO TAKE ON TREK

Money requirement depends largely on type of trek style, duration and trekking region. For a two-week Upper Dolpo trek, you can take about $200- $300, more if you intend to get more table drinks (alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages), snacks while walking (a few smaller shops are available along the trail in some areas), souvenirs, battery charge, internet, hot shower (available in some places) etc.

 

CHANGING MONEY

You can change money at a bank or the money exchange counter in city like Kathmandu. Many Tourist class Hotels have money exchange facilities. These days, there is availability of ATMs in Kathmandu and Nepalgunj.

 

TIPS

Tips are appreciated by your support team after the completion of your trekking in Nepal. The amount depends on your budget and appreciation of their work. As a suggestion, we advise that you can allocate 5- 10 % of the total tour cost as tips. It is recommended that you talk to the members and hand it over individually as per the hierarchy on the last day of the trek.

 

GROUP SIZE ON FIXED DEPARTURE

If you opt to join our ‘fixed departure trip’, you are likely to be joining people from different countries of any age group except minors. The size of group varies, minimum no of persons required to operate a trip is 2 pax and the maximum is 15 pax.
For a Private Booking, any number size from 1 pax to 20 pax is acceptable and can be comfortably organized. We go for special planning for handling group size bigger than 20 pax.

 

GROUP LEADER AND CREW

We provide different options concerning leadership in order to match your requirements:

1) Western leader

2) Trained Nepali Trek leader (experienced and knowledgeable)

3) Sherpa Guide (handles the logistics and guides you and your team on the trek)

The Sherpa guide (commonly called Sirdar) will be accompanied by a crew of porters. We provide 1 porter for 2 members.

 

FLIGHT AND LAND TRANSFERS

First you fly to Nepalgunj from Kathmandu and then you take another short flight from Nepalgunj to Juphal. On the completion of the Upper Dolpo trek, you will fly back to Kathmandu form Jomsom via Pokhara. We will arrange airport transfers.

Note: There is a high probability of cancellation of domestic flights in remote sectors due to bad weather conditions. Hence, we advise you to keep at least one or more day extra in Kathmandu before your flight home.

 

COMMUNICATION

For using internet during the Dolpo trek, Wifi service is available in lower altitudes. You can also use Ncell and NTC network (both for internet and mobile network) but they don’t work properly as you go higher. If it is crucial for you to keep in contact with your family or others, we can provide you a mobile satellite phone (rental charge on request).

 

LUGGAGE WHILE TREKKING

During the Upper Dolpo trek, your main luggage will be carried by porter. Please keep your luggage as light as possible around 12 to 15 kgs for flight safety and porter welfare as per IPPG standard. You simply carry a daypack with water bottle, camera, sun-screen, spare jacket etc. You can leave your valuable items at your hotel in Kathmandu while trekking. Many hotels have a locker system and provide a deposit slip for the valuables kept under the hotel’s safekeeping.

 

TYPICAL DAY ON TREK

Your typical day while trekking in Nepal begins with a hot cup of tea brought to the tent at about 6 am, followed by a bowl of hot water for washing. After packing all your bags and having a good breakfast, we set off on the morning’s walk. All you need to carry is a small day pack containing water bottle, camera, sun cream, hat, rain jacket and a warm jumper, just in case. The porters will carry the rest of your gear for you. After walking for 3-4 hours, we stop for lunch at around midday. The afternoon’s walk is generally shorter and we arrive at camp in time for afternoon tea. The remainder of the afternoon can be spent exploring the nearby villages, doing a bit of washing or simply relaxing with a good book. On some days, we will arrive at camp by lunchtime and the entire afternoon will be free. Dinner is usually served between 6 and 7 pm. After dinner, the evening will often be spent playing cards and talking with the crew, or perhaps even joining in some singing and dancing, before heading off to the tent for a well-earned sleep

 

TREKKING GEARS & EQUIPMENT

You will need walking boots, sleeping bag (4 seasons/ -20C rated), waterproof jacket and trousers, fleece jacket, warm hat and gloves, sunglasses, water bottle, sun-screen and day pack. Comprehensive list of equipment will be provided once you book your trip. It’s not necessary to spend a lot of money buying extra equipment and clothing before your trip. Majority of these gears can be bought or hired at reasonable rates in Kathmandu.

 

GEARS AVAILABLE IN KATHMANDU

There are numerous suppliers of trekking gears in Kathmandu supplying genuine branded items or imitations depending on your choice and price. You can get anything from down jackets and sleeping bags to socks or thermal wears that you need for your trek. They might not be the best but good enough for the trek considering the price.

 

EQUIPMENT PROVIDED BY COMPANY

We provide company duffle bag (80L) to use on the trek. You can store your bag in your hotel and use it after the trek.

 

TREK SECURITY

Security of our clients is our foremost priority. All our guides are licensed by Nepal Government. Our guides and support crew are carefully chosen for your trips. They will ensure your safety and security throughout your trip. However, you also have to take precautions yourself at all times. Never leave your baggage unattended and keep your lodge room locked when you go out.

 

MEETING AND GREETING AT AIRPORT

You need to pass on your International flight details to us for a “meeting and greeting” service at airport. You just pass the customs desk and come out of the terminal building where you will see someone standing with a placard with either ‘Explore Himalaya’ or your name written on it. Our airport representative or tour officer will greet you and welcome you with a garland.

 

TREK DURATION

We ensure liability as indicated in itinerary and list of services. If the holiday is cut short or completed earlier than the projected period upon client’s wish, we shall not be responsible or make refund against unutilized days or services. Clients need to pay for hotels/services incurred in Kathmandu or elsewhere in such cases.

 

CLIMATE AND BEST TIME TO GO

The best seasons for trekking in Nepal are Autumn (from mid-September till November end) and Spring (from the beginning of March until mid-May). Temperatures will drop considerably as you trek higher every day. The nights are cold (between -10 C to 5C) but the days are sunny and hot (between 10C to 20C). The mornings are usually clear, with clouds building up during the afternoon, disappearing at night. As Dolpo region is located in the rain shadow area, it is possible to trek during monsoon but domestic flights are often disrupted by heavy monsoon cloud and rain.

March, April, October and November are the most popular and favored months for traveling. Please choose the time that is convenient for you.

 

ITINERARY CHANGES

The itinerary for this Upper Dolpo trek is a standard itinerary. Depending on the prevailing situation while on trek, you can modify it to some extent after consulting with your guide. However, the date of trek completion should always coincide with the original itinerary. You should keep in mind that this is an adventure trip into the remotest region, where many unforeseen events may contribute to the need for a change in itinerary. In such cases, we or your guide will suggest the best alternative similar to your original.

 

HEALTH ISSUES AND VACCINATIONS

As vaccination requirements change frequently, we suggest you consult your doctor at least 2 months prior to the beginning of your trip. We recommend protection against malaria, tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis and polio.

The main health consideration during the Upper Dolpo trek is Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). You may experience some mild symptoms initially, such as headache, lethargy, nausea and difficulty sleeping, but these should lessen within a few days. To avoid Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), people take pills called ‘Diamox’. You can also use these pills after consulting with your doctor and purchase them in Kathmandu. Our itinerary will allow your body to acclimatize properly and handle the low oxygen rate.

If you have ever suffered from altitude sickness, or have a heart or breathing complaint, we highly recommend you to consult your doctor about your suitability for trekking in high altitude areas before booking. We suggest that you take some pain-killing pills with you and enough medicine for cold, diarrhea, nausea and fever. Some nasal ointment and throat-moistening pills will greatly help for those who are sensitive to chilly or freezing weather conditions.

 

FIRST AID KIT

We supply a medical bag with standard medicines prescribed by trekking doctors and a user’s manual. Since our staffs/guides are not qualified for suggesting medications to western clients, we would request you to use the medicines upon your own risk. It is safer and more reliable if you have your own medicine kit and not depend on what we have.

 

VISA

All visitors except the Indian nationals must hold passport and valid visa. Visa can be obtained at the Nepalese diplomatic missions and consulates abroad. You can also get “On Arrival Visa” at entry points. For doing Annapurna Trek, you can come with a 30 day visa which costs US $ 50. You should have a passport size photo to get it at airport upon arrival. Some countries’ nationals need to get visa prior their arrival. Please check http://www.nepalimmigration.gov.np/page/tourist-visa for detailed information.

 

JOIN A GROUP OR PRIVATE TRIP

Our trips are available on both fixed departure and private basis. If you are looking for a group to join this Dolpo trip, please check our ‘Fixed departures’ link for availability, dates and price. If you would like to travel independently, or with your friends, families & colleagues, you are invited to choose any of the trips at your convenient timeframe for any number of people (minimum 1 & maximum 20 at a time). If you want to do something that is not included in our trip list, we are ready to tailor your trip to suit your exact requirements. In short, we will make every effort to meet your needs.

 

RESCUE / EVACUATIONS

We take your safety and security very seriously, and make sure that nothing untoward happen to you. However, if anything serious like sickness or a casualty occurs, we will do everything to transfer you to the nearest hospital. As you are responsible for all the expenses incurred in evacuation, please make sure that it is covered by your insurance before assigning for it.

 

INSURANCE

Before joining Upper Dolpo trekking, we recommend you take a travel insurance which should cover cancellation, medical expenses, helicopter evacuation and emergency repatriation. Our staff will collect your insurance details before you leave for the trek.

 

RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL

We are among the few companies in Nepal to receive Travelife Certificate Award https://www.travelife.info for our long-term efforts in sustainable practices.

1.Care for porters and staffs

We ensure that all the porters and other staffs going into high altitude conditions during Upper Dolpo trek are provided with adequate clothing and equipment. All our porters carry less than 30 kg and underage porters are strictly prohibited in our operations. We run the trek according to the guidelines of the International Porter Protection group (IPPG – www.ippg.net)

 

2.Environmental Responsibility

Wonderful environment of the Himalayas is also an extremely fragile one. Increasing population density and numbers of trekkers threaten the very beauty of Nepal. At Explore Himalaya, we are extremely conscious about the environment and aim to minimize our impact as much as possible. As deforestation is one of the greatest environmental threats, we do not have camp fires and use LPG gas or kerosene for cooking as an alternative fuel to wood. We don’t use plastic bottles. We also discourage trekkers from using wood-fuelled hot showers in lodges along the way. Many lodges, however, now provide solar hot showers, a far more eco-friendly alternative.

Garbage disposal is another major problem and some of the busier trails can, at times, appear strewn with litter. Our staff members are well motivated towards eco-friendly practices. Our staff carry garbage bag with them all the time and collect our garbage and other litters they find on trail, and dispose them on the designated area. We also volunteer to bring garbage down to Lukla while returning back. Our aim is to help protect and preserve this beautiful environment for future generations of trekkers to enjoy.

 

3.Social Responsibility

Explore Himalaya works with the motto ‘Development through Tourism’. Keeping in line with this motto, Explore Himalaya Community Service Project (EHCSP) has been conceived to empower underprivileged, marginalized, poor and minority segments of Nepal.Since its inception, EHCSP has been incessantly facilitating and advocating for school education, health, community development, forest conservation, agro practices and culture preservation. A certain amount of your trip money goes to these projects. For more details on our CSR initiatives, please visit https://www.explorehimalaya.com/csr/

    The Trip Cost Includes
    • Fully Catered Camping trek (FOT) and Teahouse Trek as per the itinerary
    • All meals during trek in local lodges/ prepared in camp only
    • English speaking local expert guide, porters (2 members= 1 porter: 15 kg only per member)
    • Domestic Airfares: Kathmandu/Nepalgunj/Juphal 
    • Domestic Airfares: Jomsom/Pokhara/Kathmandu 
    • Shey-Phoksundo National Park Entry Fee
    • Dolpo Restricted Area Permit Fee
    • 4 nights hotel accommodation in Kathmandu on twin sharing with breakfast
    • 1 night hotel accommodation in Nepalgunj on twin sharing with breakfast
    • Sightseeing tour in Kathmandu with English speaking local guide
    • Entrance fees to sightseeing monuments
    • Airport transfers and tour transfers in private vehicle
    • Insurance for all staffs and porters
    • Equipment and clothing for all porters and staff
    • First aid kit bag (carried by guide)

    The Trip Cost Excludes
    • Nepal visa fees
    • International flight or any other airfares and airport taxes
    • Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu and Nepalgunj
    • Personal expenses like, communication, laundry, bar bills, internet, camera/mobile battery recharge, hot water/shower on trek, snacks while walking etc.)
    • Personal gears & clothing (available on hire)
    • Tips for guide, porters, drivers etc.
    • Client’s insurance and medical expenses
    • Any expenses incurred in emergency evacuation/rescue due to any unforeseen reasons
    • Anything not mentioned under “Price Includes”

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TERMS AND CONDITIONS

BOOKING PROCEDURE

Your booking of this Upper Dolpo and Shey Gompa Trek will be confirmed by email once we receive your deposit of $500 and the signed copy of booking form and contract. The balance is due no later than two months prior to departure. If you book a tour less than 2 months prior to departure, you must send the full payment within 7 days of confirmation by us.

CANCELLATION POLICY

If you cancel your booking, the following scale of charges will apply: • 2 months before departure – Loss of deposit (US$ 500) • 29 days to 2 months before departure – 30% of total trip cost • 10 to 28 days before departure – 60% of total trip cost • Less than 10 days before departure – 100% of total trip cost

TRIP EXTENSIONS

In addition to this Dolpo trek, we can organize extensions both within Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan etc. You may want to try water rafting or a jungle safari in Nepal or Nepal Cultural Tour. You may as well take a trip to Tibet or Bhutan, whichever seems more appealing to you.

DISCLAIMER

It is fundamental to acknowledge that trekking is an adventure tour. This requires some flexibility. The day to day itinerary is taken only as a guideline. We cannot be held responsible for any delays caused by International or domestic flights, strikes, Government regulations, weather or natural casualties etc. In such cases, Explore Himalaya shall provide suitable alternatives which will be decided upon mutual agreement. If you have any questions regarding this trip, please feel free to contact us at enquiry@explorehimalaya.com or directly by phone: +977-1-4518100. We answer all enquiries within 24 hours.

TRAVEL GUIDE

DOLPO REGION

Dolpo is the largest district of Nepal which lies in Karnali province in western Nepal. It borders with China to the north, Jumla and Mugu districts to the west and is surrounded by Dhaulagiri and Churen Himal range to the east and south. It is rich in diverse nature, unique culture and wonderful scenic beauty which attract the travelers. Dolpo is also known as the “hidden land” as it is less frequented and yet to be explored fully by travelers.

SHEY PHOKSUNDO NATIONAL PARKSHEY PHOKSUNDO NATIONAL PARK

Nepal’s largest national park, Shey Phoksundo National Park was established in1984 AD. The National Park lies at the altitude ranging from 2130m in Ankhe to 6883m at the summit of Kanjiroba Himal and covers an area of 3555 km which extends over the parts of Dolpo and Mugu districts. It is a home to different species of flora and fauna found in trans Himalayan ecosystem. Nepal’s deepest and second largest lake Phoksundo Lake and also the highest waterfall of country Suligad waterfall lies in the upper region of Suligad. The National Park is also the home to many monasteries and glaciers.

CLIMATE, FLORA AND FAUNA

The climate in the region varies from subtropical to alpine. As Doplo lies in the rain shadow area due to Dhaulagiri range, the rainfall is very minimum in this region. It is a plus point for the trekkers as trekking can be done even in rainy season. But no trek can be done in winter region as the passes are blocked by heavy snowfall. The various flora found in this region are pine, juniper, sliver birch, wall nuts, apples, plums, etc. and the region provides home to different species of animals like blue sheep, musk deer, wild yak, wild goat and several other animals and endangered animal snow leopard is also found in this region.

PEAKS

Dhaulagiri
Dhaulagiri range from II to VI lies in Dolpo region. Dhaulagiri II is the highest peak among all the peaks found in Dolpo region with 7751m of elevation and it was first summited in 1971. The Dhaulagiri IV is the second mountain which was successfully summitted among other Dhaulagiri ranges in 1969 AD after Dhaulagiri I.

Churen Himal
Churen Himal lies in the Dhaulagiri Mountain range. Churen Himal consists of 3 major summits – Churen Himal main (7,385m), Churen Himal east (7,371m) and Churen Himal west (7,371m). Churen Himal was first summitted in 1970 AD. Today, different mountaineering agencies provide expedition packages to climb this peak.

Kanjiroba Himal
Standing at the elevation of 6883m, Kanjiroba Himal is an isolated part of the Himalaya range within Nepal, adjacent to the Tibetan border. The area was discovered when British explorer John Baird Tyson made the first of a series of expeditions to the area in 1950s. It lies within the cross border of Shey Phoksundo National Park and is about 180 km northwest of Pokhara city.

PLACES

Phoksundo Lake
Phoksundo Lake is the deepest lake of Nepal which is located at the altitude of 3612m above sea level. As per the native of Dolpo, the water never freezes even in winter. The interesting part of the Lake is that it has no living organism at all. Another fascinating fact about the lake is its color changing feature. Though the lake is known for its turquoise blue color, it changes its color according to the amount of light falling upon it. The activities like swimming and boating are not allowed but the people are attracted towards the lake to gain the live experience of mesmerizing beauty the lake holds.

Dho Tarap Valley
Dho Tarap Valley is located at the heart of Dolpo with approximately 1500 people living in a valley of 3 villages, Dho, Tokyu and Lang. It is one of the highest settlements in Nepal. Dho is located at an altitude of 3900m which has 120 households and Tokyu is located at 4300m with same number of households where as Lang is a small village with only about 30 households. The Valley can be reached in a day from other villages of Dolpo.

Ringmo Village and Suligad Waterfall
Ringmo is a traditional village where people follow Bon religion and mostly belong to Tibetan ethnicity. It is located on the landslide dam that formed Phoksundo Lake at 3660m above sea level. To the south of the village lies countries longest waterfall, Suligad waterfall which is half kilometer away from the village. The water comes from Phoksundo Lake and the waterfall is 167m long which drops into Bheri river.

Shey Gompa
Shey Gompa is a holy place of Buddhists which is also known as Crystal Gompa as it was built in 11th century below the holy crystal mountain. It is a major destination of Upper Dolpo trek. The monastery was made famous by Peter Matthiessen through his book “The Snow Leopard”. The Gompa is known for its 12m tall breezed golden status of Shakyamuni (Gautam Buddha). It lies in the trekking route to cross Kanga La Pass (5151m) which is one of the highest Passes in the Himalayas.

FESTIVALS

Lhosar: Lhosar means New Year. Known as the festival of mountain people or highlanders, it is celebrated by various ethnic groups following Buddhism like Sherpa, Hyolmo, Tamang and Gurung. Interestingly, these groups don’t celebrate the festival on the same day. There are three types of Lhosar s namely Tamu Lhosar (Gurungs), Sonam Lhosar (Tamangs) and Gyalbu Lhosar (Sherpas and Hyolmos) celebrated on different dates based on lunar calendar starting from January to February. During the festival people offer prayers for good health and prosperity at homes and monasteries. They exchange various goods and gifts, organize feasts and perform dances.

Buddha Jayanti: The festival falls in the month of May. It is the day Lord Buddha was born, enlightened and died; and it celebrated by people praying together in gompas. The people in Upper Dolpo also celebrate the festival with much enthusiasm.

Shey Festival: This festival is celebrated once in every twelve year i.e., dragon year according to the Tibetan calendar. During the festival, all the Buddhist followers from the region and beyond gather to the Shey Gompa and perform typical dances, wear traditional and antique dresses and different events like horse riding, archery and lama dances are organized. People also go for kora, the circumambulation of the monastery.

Chaite Dashain: The festival occurs in the month of March or April. It is mostly celebrated in the lower Dolpo by Hindu people of the region. The festival goes for one month, people celebrate it in relaxing way. During the festival people do not work at all. They invite each other and have feast and celebrate by dancing, singing, playing and eating.

Maghe Sankranti: The festival occurs in the month of January. On this day people invite their relatives and eat different kinds of dishes specially yams.

PEOPLE & RELIGION

Bon Religion and Buddhism:
People in Upper Dolpo follows Bon and Buddhism. The people following Bon religion are called Bonpos. The Bonpos are comparatively lesser than people following Buddhism in Upper Dolpo. They speak Tibetan language and Kaam language which is similar to Tibetan language. People celebrate festivals like Shey festival, Buddha Jayanti, Lhosar.

Hinduism and Shamanism:
Lower Dolpo and middle belt has high influence of multiple culture though it is dominated by the Khasan. Khasan are the followers of Hinduism and Shamanism. Hindu casts like Brahmin Kshetri, Thakuri and other can be found who celebrate major Hindu festivals like Dashain, Janai Purnima, Maghe Sakranti etc.

Kike and Shamanism:
People in the middle part of Upper Dolpo and Lower Dolpo practice Shamanism. They have a typical culture and dialect. Kike is the language which is similar to Tibetan language and is believed to exist in Dolpo only.

TALK WITH EXPERT

Anuj Pandey

+977 9801024990

sales@explorehimalaya.com

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