Himalayan Caravan Trails Trek

Trip Highlights

  1. Trekking in far Wild North West of Nepal Himalaya.
  2. In complete isolated region in the hidden corners of Himalaya, mountain and landscapes.
  3. fantastic panorama under the crystal clear blue sky,
  4. Journey in the remote cultural destination with pristine turquoise lakes.
Trip Duration: 26 days(s) / Trek Duration: 21 days(s) Trip Grade: 4
Lodging: Camping
Transportation: Private vehicle & flight
Communication: Yes
Group Size: Any

Trip Overview

Trip to Upper Dolpo with Adventure Mission Nepal Treks & Expeditions is one of the most fascinating trips in the transhimalayan region of Nepal.  This trek is a combination of varied landscape, unique culture and the insight into Tibetan influence in the Himalayan lifestyle of Nepal. The trek to Dolpo starts after a scenic flight from Nepalgunj to Juphal and goes through a cold desert like area with excellent scenery, turquoise lakes, remote monasteries and some of the least visited areas in the mountainous region of Nepal.

Dolpo is nestled between the Tibetan Plateau and the Dhaulagiri mountain range. Dolpo is the biggest district among the 75 districts of Nepal.  This high land is an extension of the Tibetan plateau.   Dolpo is a controlled area which was opened for foreigners in 1991. So for many centuries this land of Yolmo’s was hidden in the lap of the Himalayas.  This people in this scenic place follow Tibetan Buddhism and Bonpo as religion and are traders by profession. Animal husbandry is also a common profession as the land doesn’t support agriculture throughout the year.  This 26 days trip also takes you to the Shey-Phoksundo national park which covers an area of 3555 sq.km and is the largest national park of Nepal.

Vegetation species such as blue pine, spruce, cypress, poplar, deodar, fir and birch are common in this area. The largest national park of Nepal is also home to animal species such as Ghoral, Himalayan Thar, Serow, leopard, wolf, and jackal, Himalayan black bear, Himalayan weasel, Himalayan mouse hare, yellow-throated marten, languor and rhesus monkeys. Besides all these attractions this trekking in upper Dolpo also includes the Shey Gompa, a 600 year old monastery is also a major attraction of this trek.

Outline

Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu 1,300m transfer to hotel.
Day 02: In Kathmandu with half day sightseeing tour.
Day 03: Fly to Nepalgunj & transfer to hotel.
Day 04: Fly to Jhuphal (Dolpo) 2,320m trek to Dunai 2, 850m. 03 hrs.
Day 05: Trek to Ankhe 2,896m. 06 hrs.
Day 06: Trek to Sulighat. 3,500m. 06 hrs.
Day 07: Trek to Phoksumdo Lake. 3,500m. 05 hours.
Day 08: Rest Day at Phoksumdo Lake.
Day 09: Trek to Phuksumdo Khola. 05 hrs.
Day 10: Trek to Phoksumdo Bhanjyang. 07 hrs.
Day 11: Trek to Shey Gompa 4,500m via Kang-La 5,360m. 06 hrs.
Day 12: Rest day at Shey Gompa the Crystal Monastery.
Day 13: Trek to Namduna Gaon 4,800m via Saldang La 5,200m.
Day 14: Trek to Saldang. 3,620m. 05 hours.
Day 15: Trek to Yangze Gompa 4,960m. 05 hrs.
Day 16: Trek to Sibu 4,560m. 07 hrs.
Day 17: Trek to Jeng-la Phedi 4,900m. 06 hrs.
Day 18: Trek to Tokyu Gaon 4,200m via Jeng la 5,090m. 06 hrs.
Day 19: Trek to Dho Tarap 4,040m. 05 hrs.
Day 20: Trek to Tarap Khola ( Kamakharka) 3,800m. 07 hrs.
Day 21: Trek to Kharigaon. approx.3,150m. 05 hours.
Day 22: Trek to Tarakot 2,850m. 05 hrs.
Day 23: Trek to Jhuphal 03 hrs.
Day 24: Fly to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj and transfer to hotel.
Day 25: In Kathmandu and transfer to hotel.
Day 26: Final departure.

Service includes

  • Arrival and Departure transfers as per the Itinerary.
  • Standard Accommodation in the cities and tea houses in the trek.
  • Full day guided tour of Kathmandu.
  •  3 meals a day during the trek.
  • Guide, porters and other support staff as per your requirement and out agreed price.
  • Dolpo trekking Permit fees.
  • Upper Dolpo Special permit.
  • Trekker;s information management system (TIMS) card fee.
  • Necessary equipments during the trek.
  • All taxes and fees required for the program.

Service does not include

  • Meals in the cities.
  • Personal expenses (Laundry, bar bills, water etc)
  • Travel Insurance (Essential).
  • Personal trekking gears not mentioned in the contract.
  • Tips for staffs.

Itinerary

Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu and transfer to Hotel.
Representative of Adventure Mission Nepal will receive you in the Tribhuvan International Airport. They will be in possession of your name plate or the companies name as per your correspondence with us. You will be transfer to the hotel and the trek guide will meet you in the evening for a dinner. During the meal you can discuss your queries (if any). He/she will brief you about some cultural issues and some necessary things to keep in consideration during the trek.

Day 02: Sightseeing of Kathmandu and half day free for final preparation of the trek.
Early in the morning the staff from AMN will meet you to collect your passport copy and photographs (if not sent via email) for the preparation of Trekking permit and TIMS card. After breakfast you will be taken for a half day sightseeing of the Kathmandu Durbar Square and Swayambhunath temple, also refer as the Monkey temple. Both are UNESCO world heritage sites. In the afternoon you can have some free time with the guide around Thamel to do some last minute shopping of things you might need for the trek.

Day 03: Fly to Nepalgunj & transfer to hotel.
After an hour flight from Kathmandu we reach Nepalgunj, a border town near UP in India. Explore the market area in the evening. This is one of the cities with the biggest concentration of Muslims in Nepal.

Day 04: Fly to Juphal (Dolpo) 2,320m. Trek to Dunai 2,850m.
The flight from Nepalgunj to Juphal is about 40 minutes. The flight takes place early in the morning and then we will trek to Dunai, which is a gradual walk up for almost 3 hours. Prepare for the trek tomorrow.

Day 05: Trek to Ankhe 2,896m. 06 hrs.
After breakfast we start our journey into the Thulo Bheri Valley. We will continue further into the  where it leads to a ridge and then reaching Phoksundo river valley, and then to another ridge which is marked by cairns at 2,499m offering great views of Kagmara Peak, trekking to a large side canyon, descending on long downhill slope through scattered houses and walnut groves to a stream at 2,810m. 
Trail below leads to Dhera, a winter settlement people from higher villages keep herds of cows and goats, then climbing to Rahagaon, a Thakuri village at 2,900m with a Gomba (Monastery) dedicated to the local god, Mastha, guardians of this village, walk continues through lower part of Rahagaon and  descending to the village through another canyon and then heading downhill to deep dark forests, finally reaching at the entrance to Shey Phoksumdo National Park at Ankhe.

Day 06: Trek to Sulighat 3,500m.  06 hrs.
These 6 hours walk starts with a walk into a thin forest and then goes up to Sulighat. The trail in the second half of the day is a bit narrow and the goes up through the cliff. You might feel dizzy because of the very deep valley seen from the trail.

Day 07: Trek to Phoksundo Lake 3,500m. 05 hours.
We will cross the Phoksundo River and then head towards the Phuksumdo Lake which is almost 5 hours walk from Sulighat. The walk is through wilderness and the only village we will see on the way is Ringmo. From the Ringmo village it is a short walk to the Phoksundo lake. We will camp at the campsite near the lake. In the afternoon you will have enough time to explore the surroundings.

Day 08: Rest day at Phoksundo Lake.
After a lazy morning and a late breakfast we can go to visit the monastery near by the lake. You can do hike to the Ringmo village and the surrounding hills.

Day 09: Trek to Phoksundo Khola 05 hrs.
After breakfast we will follow the bank of river and then head west. After 3 hours we will reach the camp where our lunch is waiting for us. After lunch we have couple of hours walk before we reach our overnight camp at Phoksundo river bank.

Day 10: Trek to Phoksundo Bhanjyang 07 hrs.
From here walk leads on level path to a glacial valley then heads due north at the confluence of Phoksumdo Khola with another mountain stream, a long climb brings to a sheep meadow where the trail leads up a steep ravine. A hard climb to the top brings to another valley with views of Kang-La, the pass which will lead to Shey Gompa. This is the camp just before the pass in a place that Peter Matthiessen in his classic novel “The Snow Leopard” christened 'Snowfields Camp'.

Day 11: Trek to Shey Gompa 4,500m via Kang-La 5,360m. 5-6 hrs.
After walking for a short while in the morning from the camp we have a steep and difficult climb up to the pass of Kang-la. It opens up on the other side with a great view of the valley down the pass, on the other side.  We will descend down on the other side of the pass and then continue ahead into the trail with small bushes, stream and herds of grazing mountain goats. By late afternoon we will arrive at Shey Gompa.  

Day 12: Rest day at Shey Gompa the Crystal Monastery.
This is a free day for exploring the Shey gompa and the surrounding area. The things you can see and visit on this day include the Tsakang gompa which is a pilgrimage of the Chaiba community, of the Kagyu sect and followers of Guru Rimpoche, the first Dalai Lama.  This monastery is believed to be more than 900 years old. Besides that the confluence of Kangjunala and Yeju Nala River is also a place worth visiting.

Day 13: Trek to Namduna Gaon 4,800m La 5,200m.
We will start walking on the bushy trail with juniper and head towards the Saldang-la. We will reach the settlement of Namduna Gaon famous for its Namgung monastery by early afternoon. After spending some time at this Karmapa monastery we will head towards the camp at Nam Khong valley. Around 5 hours of walk altogether takes us to Namduna Gaon .

Day 14: Trek to Saldang. 3,620m. 4-5 hours.
We will leave the campsite at Namduna and head towards Saldang which lies on top of a plateau.  The trial goes up and down and the last half an hour is a steep climb up to the village of Saldang. This is one of the highest settlements in Dolpo. This village of 85 households is a important center for trade between Tibet and Nepal.

Day 15: Trek to Yangze Gompa. 4,960m. 4-5 hrs.
The upper Dolpo trek is getting more and more excited as we head towards the Yangze gompa today. The walk involves a moderate walking of almost 5 hours before we reach the camp. We will walk along the Nang Chu most of the day walking past the village of Tiling and Luri gaon. After reaching our camp we will take a brief rest and then we will visit a monastery nearby. You can see the mountains on the Tibetan side and some of the mountains in Nepal in the southern direction.

Day 16: Trek to Sibu 4,560m. 6-7 hrs.
From Yangze to save time and energy retrace the path back towards Saldang village which will be much easier and shorter than the other north western route. From Saldang trail follows the river bed through terraced fields, stupas, Chortens, heaps of Mani stones and a Chaiba monastery, then passing through the Namdo village which is also prosperous with about sixty houses having nearly 400 inhabitants. It stretches for more than 5 km on the high slopes to the left of Nam Khong Khola. The Namdo monastery is located near the river bed. Journey continues further down the river for another two hours to camp near the small settlement of Sibu.

Day 17: Trek to Jeng-la Phedi 4,900m. 5-6 hrs.
We will follow the trail along the Nam Khong River and then walk towards Tibet border. We have followed the trail along the river for some days. Today we will leave the trail and then climb the Jeng la, for the overnight on a nice meadow.

Day 18: Trek to Tokyu Gaon 4,200m via Jeng la 5,090m. 5-6 hrs.
Morning trek leads for two hours climb to the top of Jeng La with an excellent view of snow ranges to the south. The north face of the Dhaulagiri massif shines in the morning light. After a wonderful moment here at the pass walk leads downhill on the rough path towards Tarap valley, afternoon time reaching at the green valley which leads to a pleasant track down towards Tarap Chu.
Tarap is a fascinating valley with vast plains in high mountains. It extends twenty kilo meters along the river, Tarap Chu having ten villages with cultivated fields, many gompas and chhortens of both sects, with overnight stop here at Tokyu monastery. This monastery also belongs to the Chaiba sect.

Day 19: Trek to Dho Tarap. 4,040m. 4-5 hrs.
Today’s walk leads east along the downhill of Tarap Chu in a plain valley with patches of lush grass on both sides of river which is completely different from other parts of inner Dolpo. There is also a marsh which is a common feature in the Desert Mountains of Tibet and the Ladakh Himalaya. In this valley both Bon Po and Chaiba sects reside together in harmony. After a short trek on this beautiful valley reaching at Dho Tarap for the overnight stop with time to visit around the villages. This village is surrounded by an irregular stone wall.
At Dho, about 34 houses are divided into three clusters and built in a haphazard way inhabited by few Tibetans and mostly Magars hill tribe of Nepal who have lived here for many generations.

Day 20: Trek to Tarap Khola.( Kamekharka) 3,800m.  07 hrs.
Today  a long day's or moderate walk depending upon the choice of several different campsites so the itinerary can be flexible as you like. From the quite bare country around Tarap, descend towards a wide valley which eventually narrows into a gorge. Walk along the juniper bush and wild rose, typical of dry inner Himalayan valleys, to just above the tree line. On this route might see herds of blue sheep by the afternoon time reaching at the confluence of Tarap Chu and the Lang Khola, a stream that joins with Tarap River from further east. Overnight camp on a nice meadow, this place is also known as Kamakharka.

Day 21: Trek to Kharigaon 3,150m. 05 hours.
Journey continues down the gorge of Tarap river, rising high above on a trail built out from steep slopes. Here there are many possible campsites by the river This will be one of the exciting days of this trip, as the valley becomes so narrow in a deep gorge that in some places we can jump from one side to another. Sometimes there are no trace of path and have to walk across stone slabs fitted on logs in between the walls which act as a bridge. The gorge also provides unexpected adventure and thrills. At some places, the bridges are either damaged or washed away and forced to cross the river on foot, finally coming to the overnight camping spot beside the Tarapkhola at Kharigaon.

Day 22: Trek to Tarakot  2,850m.  05 hrs.
From the camp, following an indistinct trail to the village of Lalberi, and then passing through an area of impressive forest before descending into another gorge. Following the river again downstream to reach Tarakot where colorful terraced fields greets. Tarakot is an old fortress town known by the local people as Dzong, meaning 'fort'. Before the Gorkha dynasty Tarakot was the capital and had a Dzong. The famous Sandul gompa lies about 8 km east of Tarakot and at the junction of Barbung Khola and Tarap Chu. It stands on a knoll to the south of Bheri River and at one time supervised collections of tolls from the trading caravans traversing an area called Tichu Rong. It is possible to camp by the river about 150m below Tarakot, there are chorten and a Gompa here on the edge of a grassy plateau, with an interesting solitary tree.

Day 23: Trek to Jhuphal.approx. 2-3 hrs.
Continue the last day walk beside the Bheri river in a tremendous gorge with pine trees and an ingenious path built about seven meters above the river. On reaching Dunai retrace the journey back to Jhuphal, which is a short distance walk along the Bheri River to the small airstrip for the last camp of this memorable adventure.

Day 24: Fly Kathmandu via Nepalgunj.
Morning take a sweeping flight to Nepalgunj over the Himalayan foothills, overlooking panoramic views of Mt. Annapurna and Dhaulagiri to the north.
On arrival at Nepalgunj depending upon the connecting flight schedule to Kathmandu, few hours for refreshment in the comfort of the hotel at Nepalgunj.  then with connecting flight back to Kathmandu.

Day 25: Free day in Kathmandu.
After this remarkable adventure with time in Kathmandu for optional sightseeing tour at places of interest inform Adventure Mission Nepal staff.

Day 26: Transfer to airport for international departure.
Depending upon the flight time, AMN staff transfer you to Kathmandu international airport for the flight back home or to your respective destination, after a memorable adventure in the high Himalaya of Nepal with Adventure Mission Nepal Treks & Expeditions (Pvt) Ltd.

Trip FAQs

How fit do I have to be?
The Upper Dolpo with Shey Gompa Trek is a moderate and slightly challenging trekking. Some of the portion of the trek is difficult with steep inclines. Even though you don’t need any special skills for the trek we recommend you to do this if you are active in your daily life. You should be in proper health conditions so a check up with your doctor is advised before starting the trek. We advise you to do some light exercise for some time before undertaking this trip. You should be fit enough to walk 4-7 hours a day. But there will be plenty of rest and we can customize the trip as per your speed and requirement so that you can enjoy it much more.

How are the hotels in the cities and during the trek in Nepal?
In the cities especially in Kathmandu and Nepalgunj there are hotels of all kinds ranging from Back packer’s accommodation with basic facilities to luxury five star accommodations. You can choose from the various types available. Even the budget hotels have Wi-Fi, neat and clean rooms and attached bathrooms. The hotels that are star categorized have special amenities but the standard of hotels in western world can’t be compared with Nepalese standards. We would say a 5 star in Nepal would have the same kind of services like a 3 star or a 4 star hotel in North America/Europe.
The accommodations during the trek are basic and may not have attached bathrooms most of the time. You must share the toilets and bathrooms with fellow trekkers. Even though hot showers are not available you can get buckets of hot water for 1-2 USD depending upon how high you are in the mountains. The tea houses have restaurants with limited options but the foods they prepare are really delicious. The tea houses are often managed by individual families and are very welcoming and friendly. They are neat and clean and not bad for a single night. 

Is enough drinking water available? How many liters of water shall we carry in our day pack?
We advise our guests to bring water bottles with them so that they can refill the bottles at the tea house rather than buying everyday as water prices go proportionately higher with the altitude in the Himalayan region. Carrying purification tablets is also recommended. We advise you to drink atleast 4-5 liters of water every day during the trek to avoid dehydration. Trekking in Nepal is fun but only if you are careful about your health.

 Where can I keep my extra luggage during trekking in Nepal?
While you are in the trek you can store the extra luggage at our office or at the hotel without paying anything extra either in Pokhara or Kathmandu.

Do I need to take walking sticks?
It depends on you but it is advised to carry them as they help you to balance in the small trails while walking in the mountains. They observe the pressure on your legs (quad muscles) while going up and down. Since they are not heavy you can easily tie them in your day pack and walk while you don’t use them.

Can I buy/rent any equipment in Kathmandu before the start of the trip?
Kathmandu, especially Thamel has lots of places to buy and rent equipments for trekking.  If you want to buy things at home it might be expensive compared to home. The things you buy or rent here will be cheaper but the quality is not the same. Things such as trekking shoes, jackets etc you can buy from home but petty things such as sun glasses, walking sticks, sleeping bags can be bought here.

Is there electricity to charge iPod, batteries, cameras etc… while on the mountain?
Yes you can charge the electronic stuffs at the tea houses during the trek but some tea houses charge you for that. The cost would be around 1 USD for a single device. You can charge them in your rooms in the cities.

Can we take showers during the trek?
It depends a lot I where you are. Usually below 3000m there are common bathrooms in the tea houses where you can take a shower and after you go high you might not want to shower often because of the cold weather. Some tea houses charge you for the hot water they provide in the buckets for Shower.

How much money per day do you think I will need? What currency should I take?
Local currency in Nepal is rupees. We recommend you bring US dollars with you to Nepal and exchange them here as this is easily done and is a widely accepted currency. Although you may get a lesser rate on traveler’s cheques, we suggest you carry a mixture of both depending on your needs. The amount of money you will need on a daily basis depends on your spending habits. A guide would be $10 per day for extra drinks and bar bill during your trek and $20 per day to cover lunch/dinner whilst in Kathmandu and Pokhara.

What do I have to carry with me on trek?
Try not to make the day pack very heavy but don’t miss essential things such as personal items, water, camera, snacks, sunscreen, hat, a fleece jacket and gloves for higher altitudes. You will have a porter helping you will most of the things besides the day pack when you are trekking in Nepal. The porters carry maximum 15 Kgs (can be little more or less depending upon the nature of trekking).

What if I get sick while on trek?
It depends on the seriousness of the health issue. If you have problem with altitude or cramp or something small we will take time and provide basic first aid in the place in case of emergency we will arrange for a helicopter or a horse to bring you to the nearest possible hospital.

Do I need to buy compulsory travel insurance for trekking in Nepal? Where do I buy?
Insurance is a must while going for a trek in Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan. You can get an insurance that covers health issue, rescue and evacuation and cancellations due to bad weather. We advise you to buy insurance at your home country before coming for trekking in Nepal, Tibet or Bhutan as buying insurance here will be twice as expensive.

Is there any compulsory tipping for Guide/Porters/Drivers etc?
Tipping is completely your personal choice. In Nepal there is no any hard and fast rule for tipping but usually the staff working in tourism gets tips from the guest. You can consult with us regarding the tipping. If you are happy with the services you are most welcome for the tipping.

Are there any communication facilities during this trip?
Most of Nepal is nowadays well connected with cell phone networks. There are cyber café or Wi-Fi in all cities and during the trek even the tea houses have internet services below 3000m but places like Manang, Jomsom, Muktinath etc are exceptions with internet facilities.

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