The Upper Dolpo Trek

Step into a realm frozen in time that unveils pristine nature, spiritual havens, and hidden secrets

20, Nov 2023 |

The journey, although challenging, is a testament to the power of the human spirit and endurance. This trek is an invitation to a world where beauty is boundless, where time stands still, and where the soul dances to the rhythm of nature’s heart

In the cradle of the Himalayas, where mountains touch the sky and ancient tales whisper in the wind, lies the hidden gem of Upper Dolpo. This mystical region, yet untouched by the relentless tides of modernization, holds within its embrace a world of wonder that beckons to the souls of adventurers seeking solace and awe.

This secret realm was unveiled to travellers only in 1989, a testament to its preservation and a gift to those who seek an escape from the cacophony of modern life. Amidst this symphony of natural wonders lies the mesmerizing Shey Phoksundo Lake, its turquoise waters a reflection of the sky’s most vivid dreams. 

But the journey is more than a mere sightseeing expedition; it’s a pilgrimage into the heart of nature’s grandeur. Ascending beyond 4000 m trekkers traverse the ethereal Kang-La Pass, a celestial bridge between the realms of Phoksundo Valley and Shey Gompa. Here, the world unfurls its splendor in panoramic majesty, with mountains and valleys embracing in a dance of breathtaking beauty. 

The journey, although challenging, is a testament to the power of the human spirit and endurance. This trek is an invitation to a world where beauty is boundless, where time stands still, and where the soul dances to the rhythm of nature’s heart. It’s a journey not merely of miles but of moments that linger, painting the soul with the hues of an untouched paradise.

Trekking Permits

Lower Dolpo Restricted Area Entry Permit

Shey Phoksundo National Park Entry Permit (not required for Lower Dolpo)

Upper Dolpo Restricted Area Entry Permit


Itinerary of upper dolpo trek

Day 1: Fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj 

We will fly to Nepalgunj from Kathmandu. After a tiring day, you can spend the evening in your hotel or explore this vibrant city.

Day 2: Fly to Juphal and trek to Dunai 

From Nepalgunj, take a flight to Juphal; it’s about 35 minutes long. At Juphal, meet our trekking crew and walk through the green terraced fields along the Bheri River and through the narrow canyon. After three hours of trekking, we reach the large village of Dunai, where we will spend the night.

Day 3: Trek to Ankhe 

Starting from Dunai, cross a suspension bridge, heading west. At the Thuri Bheri and Suli Gad rivers’ convergence, we’ll follow Suli Gad northward, hiking gradually with the river’s soothing sound. Passing marijuana, millet, and pumpkin fields, we’ll reach Hanke, the gateway to Shey Phoksundo National Park

Day 4: Trek to Renje

The trek starts to get a little challenging from this point on. After crossing a dwindling river on well-built bridges, we will hike uphill on a steep and narrow trail. From there, we will descend for some time along the river and then ascend, relishing the beautiful view of the surrounding landscape. We may camp on the side of the Suligad River.


Day 5: Trek to Phoksundo Lake 

Beginning early, the trek starts easily and then descends steeply from Sumdo. Ascending a 3,875m ridge offers breathtaking views of Nepal’s largest 300-meter waterfall and Phoksundo Lake. Through lovely birch forests, we’ll reach Phoksundo Khola and the charming Ringmo village, adorned with mud-plastered Chortens and Mani walls. A short walk leads to vibrant Phoksundo Lake’s shores, where we’ll camp.

Day 6: Trek to Phoksundo Khola 

We will follow the adventurous trail that is suspended on a footway of wood supported on pegs and driven into gaps in the rocks. We will go steeply up, up to 4,040 m, and then drop down to the bottom of the valley to enter the banks of Shey Phoksundo Khola, where we will camp for the night.

Day 7: Trek to Phoksundo Bhanjyang 

Barefoot, we’ll traverse streams and the glacial valley, moving northward. The trail narrows, leading through vertical cliffs and twisted rocks. A historic wooden bridge spans the meeting point of the Phoksundo River and another. After a strenuous climb, we’ll reach sheep-grazing land and ascend a tranquil gorge. Another challenging climb reveals the Kang La Pass-adjoining valley. Nightfall finds us at an overnight camp.


Day 8: Cross Kang La Pass and trek to Shey Gompa 

The ascent to Kang La Pass at 5,151m is notably strenuous; about 3 hours of effort are rewarded by breathtaking views. Descending cautiously, it takes 45 minutes to reach the valley. Shey Gompa welcomes visitors with a red chorten, and an antique log bridge leads to the compound. A night in tents awaits, a fitting end to a demanding day.

Day 9: Exploration Day in Shey Gompa

Shey literally means crystal in the Tibetan language. This monastery is also called Crystal Mountain. We can visit the Shey Gompa and take blessings from the Lama. We can visit the Tsakang Gompa, west of Shey. It has been a meditation hub for Lama since medieval times. The monastery was built in the 11th century.

Here, we can witness the perfect blend and harmony of Tibetan Buddhism and the ancient pre-Buddhist religion Bon Po. We can later go around the area and explore the vicinity.

Day 10:  Saldang La Pass to Namduna Gaon

The trek to Saldang La Pass, although demanding, unveils a captivating allure. Enchanting vistas along the trail serve as a driving force, igniting the determination to persist despite the challenges.


Day 11: Trek to Saldang 

After leaving the Namjung Valley, we will hike uphill. It begins with a long and exciting traverse along the rocky path. At the bottom of the valley, are terraced fields of ripening crops. We will ascend for some time before going downhill to the beautiful village of Salding, located on a plateau high above the Nam Khong Nala River. It is the biggest village in the district. 

Day 12: Trek to Sibu 

Departing Saldang early, we descend along the river, passing terraced fields, stupas, and chortens. En route, we encounter Mani stones and visit Chaiba Monastery. Through Namdo village, with 60 houses and 400 residents, we explore monasteries. Camping by Sibu settlement’s riverbank, an overnight camp concludes our day.

Day 13: Trek to the foot of Jeng La Pass 

Following the dwindling river, the first few hours of the trek are going to be fairly easy. After two hours, we will cross another stream and then turn into a valley. The climb from there is very steep. We will then reach a pleasant meadow, but it is dotted with rocks. The night will be spent in an overnight camp.

Day 14: Cross Jeng La Pass and trek to Tokyu Gaon 

The day’s trail is mostly easy walking, though steep at times. Just 2 hours to Jeng La’s peak offers mesmerizing views of Dhaulagiri. Descending roughly to Tarap Valley, lead to lush greenery near Tarap Chu. Majestic Tarap boasts plains surrounded by snowy mountains, extending 20 km along Tarap Chu. We spend the night at the Tokyu Monastery compound of the Chaiba sect.


Day 15: Trek to Dho Tarap 

The trail today is broad and fairly easy. We will walk along the fields, where we can see men and women busy harvesting crops. We can also see Mani Walls and Chortens, many of which need reconstruction now. The village of Tarap is mainly populated by Magars and a few Tibetans. The people here follow Bon Po, or Buddhism. We can go visit the gompa here and receive blessings from the resident lama. We will spend the night in a camp on the site.

Day 16: Trek to Serkam 

Following the course of the Tarap Khola, we will go downhill. We will cross narrow gorges on our way. We might even see blue sheep, yaks, and people taking their yaks and goats for grazing. We will walk along a more heaved path as we walk away from the river. We will cross one of the modern suspension bridges. The track will get very narrow in places. We will spend the night in an overnight camp.

Day 17: Trek to Khani Gaon 

We will continue our descent down the canyon of the Tarap River. Today we will trek on paths ranging from broad and silky to very narrow and steep. We will also mount the flights of man-made staircases, which need to be tackled with some care. Our campsite will be a pleasant and beautiful meadow in the shade of big trees. We will spend the night in an overnight camp.


Day 18: Trek to Tarakot

 Leaving Khani Gaon and the mountains in the backdrop on a newly built suspension bridge, we will walk along the river, sometimes uphill and sometimes downhill. Sometimes the trail can be more challenging, and we will also cross the river on wet stepping stones!

Day 19: Trek to Dunai 

Leaving the wild adventure of the trek, we will climb down mainly. We will walk beside the resonating Bheri River and reach the village of Dunai. Now we have completed the circuit of beautiful Dolpo. We will take rest and later go exploring.

Day 20: Trek to Juphal

 We will go back to the small town of Juphal. At first, the trail is flat and broad, but as we go up, the trail goes on to become more and more steep. We will spend the night in an overnight camp.

Day 21: Fly from Juphal to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj

We will board the two planes on the same day. We will fly from Juphal Nepalgunj and then connect to Kathmandu.

Best season

The ideal times for this adventure are spring (April to May) and fall (October to November), when you’ll enjoy clear skies, mild weather, and less snow at higher elevations, making your trek more pleasant.

Itinerary by: 

Nepal Eco Adventure

Saat Ghumti Marg 3 Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal

Contact Details: +977-9851170646

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