Upper Dolpo Trek: Explore The Remote Part of Western Nepal

Destination
Nepal
Activity
Trekking
Accomodation
Guest House/ Lodge/camping
Region
West Nepal
Start / End Point
Kathmandu/Kathmandu
Duration
22 Nights and 23 Days
Max. Altitude
5350 m at Nangda La Hugh Pass
Meals Included
(Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner) during the trek
Group Size
2-30
Nature of Trek
Guest house to camping trekking
Best Season
March to May and September to November
Trip Code
UDT-WN
Transporation
Flight & Jeep
Grade
Challenging

Overview

Upper Dolpo Trek is the ideal destination for anyone with a knack for trekking in an adventurous remote western part of Nepal and less crowded trails. Most of the places in the Dolpa district are still ignored by the government. Though it has hampered its development, it has kept the villages, vegetation and cultures untouched and untainted by modernity. There is no better place than Dolpa to peek and experience the typical ancient lifestyle of the villages in Nepal.

Furthermore, the enchanting and appealing views of landscapes, picturesque arid and dry lands, Himalayas and endangered species have made it more appealing to thrill-seeking trekkers. The upper Dolpo was brought to light because of Nepal’s deepest lake Shey Phoksundo lake and Shey Phoksundo National Park, the biggest national park in Nepal. The national park host some of the most exotic and endangered species like snow leopard, rare Himalayan blue sheep, goral, thar, Himalayan black bear etc. Moreover, the national park is famed for birdwatching, so you can also enjoy a birding experience during Upper Dolpo Trek.

The place is severely influenced by Tibetan culture so, we get to see many monasteries and gompas along the trails as well as Tibetan rituals and traditions. The most renowned monastery in the place is the crystal monastery on the lap of crystal mountain, clad with quartz and marine fossils. The pristine beautiful lake Shey Phoksundo allures thousands of trekkers and visitors every year so, the establishment of tea houses and lodges along the way is slowly gaining pace. Upper Dolpo Trek is a very long trek so, beginners may have difficulties completing it.

Similarly, the place was isolated and restricted till the 1980s but it is open to all trekkers and visitors presently but one may require a special permit to access the place. The trails traverse through the immense Himalayan peaks so, we may have to ascend some of the highest passes such as Kang La (5,380m, Saldang La (5,060m, Chharka La (5,015m), upper Sangda La (5,515m), lower Sangda La (5,035m). The views during the Upper Dolpo Trek from the top of these passes will blow our minds. Upper Dolp Trek is long trek, with a blend of nature, scenic captivating views, ancient culture and dry arid lands and hills. Although the Upper Dolpo Trek is longer than any other trek, the unique vistas of the high Himalayas perceived amid the trails and the unspoiled culture make it worth every penny.

Why you will love the Upper Dolpo Trek?
    • The serene beauty of the deepest lake in Nepal, Shey Phoksundo is something to behold for trekkers.
    • We can witness some of the exotic and endangered species such as snow leopards, Himalayan Tahr, etc.
    • The soul-stirring view from some of the highest passes such as Kang La Pass (5,380m ), Chharka La Pass (5015 m), etc.
    • The ancient culture, traditions and rituals practised by the locals are also one of the main highlights of the trek.
    • We will also explore fast-flowing rivers, waterfalls, old monasteries and gompas along the way.
    • Unique dry and arid landscapes.

Permits Required for the Upper Dolpo Trek

    Upper Dolpo is a restricted area of Nepal where a certain sum should be paid in order to enter the place. During the Upper Dolpo Circuit trek, we need to have special permits for both Upper Dolpo and Lower Dolpo. The permit cost for upper Dolpo is US$ 500 per person for 10 days only. If the stay exceeds 10 days, then we have to pay US$ 50 every day per person.

    Similarly, the permit fee for Lower Dolpo is just US$ 10 per person for a week. The Upper Dolpo Trek cost is more than any other trek because of the permits but, the scenarios and landscapes perceived during the trek make it worth every penny. Moreover, we have to pay US$ 30 as a permit fee to enter the Shey Phoksundo National Park.

Best Time For Upper Dolpo Trek

Months from March to May and from October to December are the best time to commence this trek. During March-May, the weather is usually clear and most of the hills are covered with green vegetation and blooming Rhododendrons. Also, snowfall is pretty common in this season. But, the clearest and mind-boggling view of the Himalayas can be seen in October as the skies are apparent with no rainfall and meager fog. 

However, the trekking routes are usually more crowded from October to December than in any other season. Though Upper Dolpo lies in a rain shadow part of Nepal and hardly expects any rainfall, the trek is highly risky and dangerous. Furthermore, flights are generally canceled due to extreme weather conditions. 

Similarly, the winters are not applicable for trekking because of the extreme cold in high-altitude areas, and way too much snow in the passes that makes impossible to trek through the pass.

Upper Dolpo Trek Difficulty:

The Upper Dolpo Trek presents a formidable challenge as one of Nepal's most remote and isolated trekking destinations. With its high altitude passes exceeding 5,000 meters, steep & rocky terrain, and unpredictable weather, the trek demands a high level of physical fitness, trekking experience, and preparedness.
The extended duration of around 20-25 days, the absence of basic facilities, and the need for acclimatization further contribute to its difficulty. Moreover, the Upper Dolpo is so remote that, we can’t find teahouses or lodges so camping is the only option during some days. 

Furthermore, we need to carry our food during the Upper Dolpa Trek, as the region is also known for food scarcity, and this is the reason why the Upper Dolpo Trek is expensive compared to any other trek in Nepal.
With a strenuous difficulty grade, we don’t recommend the Upper Dolpo Trek to beginners, and even if you are a professional hiker but it’s your first time in Nepal, we highly suggest you try other popular treks like Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Manaslu Circuit Trek, Everest Base Camp Trek before trekking the remote region of Upper Dolpo.  
However, the unique cultural experiences, breathtaking landscapes, and sense of achievement of accomplishing the three passes during the Upper Dolpo Trek make it a rewarding endeavor for those seeking an authentic and strenuous Himalayan adventure.

Upper Dolpo Trek: Explore The Remote Part of Western Nepal Photo

Upper Dolpo Trek Itinerary:

  1. day 1

    Arrival at Kathmandu airport and transfer to Hotel:

  2. day 2

    Fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj

  3. day 3

    Fly from Nepalgunj to Jhupal (2475 m) and trek to Dunai (2140 m)

  4. day 4

    Trek from Dunai to Chhekpa (2687 m)

  5. day 5

    Trek from Chhekpa to Chunuwar (3000 m)

  6. day 6

    Trek from Chunuwar to Phoksundo Lake (3600 m)

  7. day 7

    Rest day at Phoksundo Lake

  8. day 8

    Trek from Phoksundo Lake to Sallaghari (3630 m)

  9. day 9

    Trek from Sallaghari to Nangdala High Camp (4717 m)

  10. day 10

    Trek from Nangdala High Camp to Shey Gompa (4343 m) via Nangda La high pass (5350 m)

  11. day 11

    Trek from Shey Gompa to Namgung Gompa (4360 m) via Shey La Pass (5100 m)

  12. day 12

    Trek from Namgung Gompa to Saldang Village (3770 m)

  13. day 13

    Acclimatization at Saldang

  14. day 14

    Trek from Saldang to Komash Village (4060 m)

  15. day 15

    Trek from Komash Village to Shimen (3850 m)

  16. day 16

    Trek from Shimen to Tinje Village (4110 m)

  17. day 17

    Trek from Tinje Village to Yak Kharka (4018 m)

  18. day 18

    Trek from Yak Kharka to Tokyu (4240 m)

  19. day 19

    Trek from Tokyu to Dho Tarap (3944 m)

  20. day 20

    Trek from Dho Tarap to Naworpani (3475 m)

  21. day 21

    Trek from Naworpani to Lashicap (2775 m)

  22. day 22

    Trek from Lashicap to Dunai

  23. day 23

    Trek from Dunai to Jhupal

  24. day 24

    Fly from Jhupal to Nepalgunj and Nepalgunj to Kathmandu

Upper Dolpo Trek Map and Altitude Graph

everest base camp trek map

WHAT’S INCLUDED?

    • All ground transports in private vehicles including airport transfers.
    • Full board meals with tea/coffee (Breakfast, Lunch, and dinner) during the trek.
    • The best available twin sharing lodge to lodge accommodation during the trek.
    • One highly experienced, helpful and friendly guide, porters (1 porter for 2 people) and their food, accommodation, salary, equipment, and accidental insurance for all staff.
    • Round trip flight Kathmandu – Nepalgunj and Nepalgunj- Jhuphal, and Jhuphal-Nepalgunj and Nepalgunj – Kathmandu including departure taxes.
    • Down jacket and sleeping bag during the trek, if required.
    • North Nepal T-shirt, trekking map and trip achievement certificate.
    • First aid medical kit.
    • Shey Phoksundo National Park Permits fee.
    • TIMS Fee- Trekkers Information Management System (Please bring 2 passport-size photos for permit).
    • Government taxes and office service charges.
    • Special permit fees for Upper Dolpa

What is Excluded from packages?

  • Meals not specified in the ‘Meal Inclusions in the itinerary’.
  • Travel insurance.
  • International airfare.
  • Nepal entry visa: you can obtain a visa easily upon your arrival at Tribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu. (a multiple-entry tourist visa good for 30 days can be obtained by paying US $ 40 or equivalent foreign currency. Similarly, multiple-entry tourist visas for 90 days can be obtained by paying US $ 100. Please bring 2 copies of passport-size photos).
  • Cold drinks Inc. coke, water, Fanta etc.
  • Snacks and other personal expenses.
  • Hot showers during the trek except for Phakding, Namche and Lukla.
  • Personal trekking equipment.
  • WiFi internet during the trek.
  • Tips and gratuities for trekking staff and drivers.

Written by: Mohan Bhandari

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