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DolpoTrekking Route

The region of Dolpo si situated in the Shey-Phoksundo National Park separated from the rest of the Nepal by Dhaulagiri massif making it one of the remotest corners of Nepal. To get there you need to use bus routes, flights and strenuous trekking in very remote areas at high altitude.

The people of Dolpo are mainly of Tibetan origin whose lives revolve around Buddhism, barley, and yaks. The majority on settlements are over 4,260 meters and are among the highest settlements on earth. The park shelters blue sheep, Himalayan black bear, leopards, wolves and the elusive snow leopard. During your trek you may be lucky enough to see some of these endangered species.
The Oscar nominated film ‘Caravan’ is set in Dolpo and once you have visited the area you’ll never forgot it.

Trek Grading

Strenuous

Trek Duration

21 days

6

Maximum Elevation

5,360 m /17580.8 ft

Day 01 – Fly to Nepalganj from Pokhara
Day 02 – Fly to Juphal (2,400m). Trek to Dunai (2,150m) – 3 hrs
Day 03 – Dunai to Ankhe (2,660m) – 6 hrs
Day 04 – Ankhe to Renje (3,104m) – 7 hrs
Day 05 – Renje to Phosundo Lake (3,600m) – 6.5 hrs
Day 06 – Phoksundo Lake to Phoksundo River (3,507m) – 6 hrs
Day 07 – Phoksundo River to Phoksundo Bhanjyang (4,402m) – 7 hrs
Day 08 – Phoksundo Bhanjyang to Shey Gompa (4,126m) via Kang La pass (5,360m) – 7 hrs
Day 09 – Rest and exploration day at Shey Gompa
Day 10 – Shey Gompa tp Namduna Gaon (4,400m) via Saldang La pass (4,785m)- 7 hrs
Day 11 – Trek to Saldang (3,903m) – 4 hrs
Day 12 – Trek to Sibu (3,942m) – 6 hrs
Day 13 – Trek to foot of the Jeng La (4,369m) – 5 hrs
Day 14 – Cross the Jeng La pass (4,845m), trek to Tokyu Gaon (4,240m) – 7 hrs
Day 15 – Trek to Dho Tarap (4,090m) – 4.5 hrs
Day 16 – Trek to Serkam (3,63
Day 17 – Trek to Khani Gaon (2,550m) – 7 hrs
Day 18 – Trek to Tarakot (2,281m) – 4 hrs
Day 19 – Trek to Dunai (2,052m) – 5 hrs
Day 20 – Trek to Juphal (2,404m) – 3 hrs
Day 21 – Fly to Pokhara via Nepalgunj

Day 01 – Fly to Nepalganj from Pokhara
The flight to Nepalgunj will give you good views of the Himalaya towards the North. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel.

Day 02 – Fly to Juphal (2,400m). Trek to Dunai (2,150m) – 3 hrs
From Nepaljung we will take a connecting flight to Juphal which takes about 35 minutes. Please note that sometimes the flights may get cancelled due to bad weather. Once we arrive at Juphal you will meet the trekking crew, do equipment packing and walk through terraced fields to the Bheri River and the narrow canyon which after 3 hours will lead you to a relatively larger village called Dunai where you will stay in a tented camp site.

Day 03 – Dunai to Ankhe (2,660m) – 6 hrs
From Dunai you will cross a suspension bridge and turn west, following the trail past a new hospital. At the confluence of the Thuri Bheri and Suli Gad rivers you turn to the north and follow the Suli Gad. The trail is fairly undulating but is mostly uphill while the going is firm underfoot. You are never far from the river and can always hear its roar. You will pass through an area which is overgrown with marihuana plants but also has crops for the villagers and animals including millet, pumpkin, potatoes, sweet corn and chillies. Many of the villages in this area are involved in the production of a lotus-like plant called ‘chuk’ that is used to make vinegar and medicines. You continue to track the river and eventually reach the settlement of Hanke, which is also the entrance to the Phoksundo National Park. The three villages you pass through have a strange name connection: Parela, meaning eyelash, Rahagaon meaning eyebrow, and Ankhe meaning eye. Overnight at tented camps.

Day 04 – Ankhe to Renje (3,104m) – 7 hrs
We will wake up early in the morning and prepare for the strenuous trek ahead. The trail start off hectic until you cross the river twice then you will set upon a steep uphill trek on a narrow path, hugging the cliff face.
After decending to the river bank, the trail again gets steep requiring frequent stops. You can rest with awesome panoramic views of the landscapes. You will camp on the side of Suligad River for the night.

Day 05 – Renje to Phosundo Lake (3,600m) – 6.5 hrs
From here the initial hours of the trek is fairly easy. But from Sumdo the trail becomes more strenuous due to steep uphill climb. Here you will leave the river behind and follow the path high above the water. Then you will climb up to a ridge that lies at the altitude of 3,875m. Here you will be abel to get the most staggering views of a 300m waterfall, the highest in Nepal, and your first view of Phoksundo Lake. The trail then descends through birch forests to the upper reaches of the Phoksundo River and then on to the picturesque settlement of Ringmo with its mud plastered chortens and mani walls. From the settlement it is a short walk to the shores of Phoksundo Lake where you set up the campsite and stay overnight.

Day 06 – Phoksundo Lake to Phoksundo River (3,507m) – 6 hrs
The trail to Phoksundo river skirts the lake itself. The trail is difficult and is suspended on wooden pegs supported on the rocks. The experience can induce the feeling of remoteness of the area you are about to enter. The trail climbs steeply to 4000m and then goes rapidly downhill to the valley to enter the flood plain of Phoksundo River where you will rest for the night in within the confines of the forest which will protect from the worst of the chilly wind.

Day 07 – Phoksundo River to Phoksundo Bhanjyang (4,402m) – 7 hrs
On the seventh day of the trek you will encounter few streams without bridges that you will need to cross. We recommend that you keep flip flops handy so as to avoid wet shoes. You will head north through glacial valley and as it gets narrower you will walk among impressive vertical cliffs and rocks. The you will cross a wooden bridge atop an unnamed stream and follow barely discernible path to the north east up a side valley which has a cavernous look. Due to lack of trails you will need to crawl over rock formation sometimes. Just before Kang la Pass you will camp for the night.

Day 08 – Phoksundo Bhanjyang to Shey Gompa (4,126m) via Kang La pass (5,360m) – 7 hrs
The somewhat indistinct track is physically demanding, especially on the loose slate screed. It will take about 2.5 to 3 hours to reach the top of the Kang La. The views from the top are magnificent and well worth all the hard work. On descending steeply to the valley floor, not more than 45 minutes, you make a long meandering trek along the banks of the river, crossing it once. A red chorten heralds your arrival at Shey Gompa where a quaint wooden log bridge leads up to the Shey compound. Overnight at tented camps.
(Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

Day 09 – Rest and exploration day at Shey Gompa
The name Shey Gompa refers to a monastery in the region and shey actually means crystal. The priest resides at Tsakang monastery at the west which is a meditation centre famous among the Lamas of Tibet.

Day 10 – Shey Gompa tp Namduna Gaon (4,400m) via Saldang La pass (4,785m)- 7 hrs
Today, you start by following a pleasant track amidst juniper, which ascends to a grey, stony canyon. This begins to zig-zag over bare rocks and coarse eroded soil until it eventually brings you to a flat spot, suitable for a brew or lunch, if the weather is fine. Then continuing very steeply up for 20 minutes before traversing to the top of the Saldang La pass. Here you will enjoy great views towards the arid landscapes of Mustang and the distant snow peaks of Tibet. The subsequent descent towards the north is long and tiring, but you finally come upon the welcome sight of pastures of grazing yaks and sheep and nomadic tents made from yak hair. This signals your approach to Namduna Gaon. Like Shey, the Namgung monastery is of the Karma-pa sect. The monastery, a red stone structure, is built against the backdrop of a cliff on the north wall of a gorge. The red and white colors of the Gompa and its Stupas are the only color in this stark landscape. The village itself consists of only six stone houses and has terraced fields on both sides of the tributary, which flows down to the Nam Khong valley. The economy of the region is based on agriculture, animal husbandry and trading. In Dolpo only one crop a year can be grown and this is mainly barley. In some village buckwheat, oilseed, potato and radish are also cultivated. Recently the main cliff temple collapsed and the villagers have now built a beautiful new monastery in the village itself. Overnight at tented camp.

Day 11 – Trek to Saldang (3,903m) – 4 hrs
Leaving Namgung monastery and start climbing. Further on it begins a long thrilling traverse along some dusty barren mountains. Looking down into the valley bottom it is very evident that the people have made best use of the fertile valley as one sees the neat terraced fields showing bright patches of green and ripening crops. You ascend before going down steep slopes to the picturesque village of Salding, situated on a plateau high above the Nam Khong nala and the biggest village of the inner Dolpo area. Though the village lies at about the same altitude as Ringmo, it is totally different. Ringmo, a Himalayan village is situated below the tree line while Saldang belongs to the arid zone of the trans-Himalayan Tibetan plateau. The village stretches for two kilometers on an open slope and consists of five villages having eighty well-built houses with nearly six hundred villagers. It is prosperous, not only agriculturally, but also for its strategic location on a trade route to Tibet. Overnight at tented camps.

Day 12 – Trek to Sibu (3,942m) – 6 hrs
After leaving Saldang on the way down to the river bed you pass through terraced fields, Stupas, Chortens, heaps of Mani stones and a Chaiba monastery. Namdo, the next village is also prosperous with sixty houses having nearly four hundred inhabitants. It stretches for more than 5 kms on the high slopes to the left of Nam Khong Khola. The Namdo monastery is located near the river bed. There is also another monastery on top of a high cliff. You camp near the small Settlement of Sibu, right on the river bank. Overnight at tented camps.

Day 13 – Trek to foot of the Jeng La (4,369m) – 5 hrs
Following the line of the river valley the trail is fairly easy going initially. After about two hours it is necessary to wade another stream before turning into a side valley and the rise becomes very sharp. This is a pleasant meadow, but bestrewn with rocks, yak and other animal droppings. Overnight at tented camps.

Day 14 – Cross the Jeng La pass (4,845m), trek to Tokyu Gaon (4,240m) – 7 hrs
The trail is generally well compacted making the going underfoot easy, much easier than loose shale, but it is steep. It is only a 2 hour climb to reach the top of the Jeng La. From the top of the pass there are good views of the Dhaulagiri massif, glittering in the morning light. A rough track descends towards the Tarap valley. By the afternoon you find a green valley which leads you by a pleasant track down towards the Tarap Chu. Tarap is a dream valley with vast plains in high mountains extending 20kms along the river Tarap Chu. It has ten villages with cultivated fields, many Gompas and Chortens of both sects. You halt for the night at Tokyu monastery. This monastery also belongs to the Chaiba sect. Overnight at tented camps.

Day 15 – Trek to Dho Tarap (4,090m) – 4.5 hrs
Before leaving Tokyu a short visit can be made to the Chaiba Gompa. The trail is broad and well traveled, making the going easy and there is evidence of work in the fields, where the women will be bringing in the harvest – the men are away bringing down the herds of animals for the forthcoming winter. There are many Mani walls but some of the Chortens are in a bad state of repair. The ‘ French School ‘ is just outside the village of Dho Tarap where you have your night stop. Tarap is inhabited mostly by Magars who have lived here for generations but also by a few Tibetans. They wear home-spun clothing that is sometimes dyed maroon and they favor Tibetan style Somba (boots with upturned toes) for footgear. Men and women often wear both religious amulets and strings of coral and turquoise. The inhabitants of this village are both Bon Po and Buddhist (Nyingmapa). In the afternoon a walk up to the Buddhist Gompa is very worthwhile. There is a resident lama who is very happy to show off his monastery and might even let you see his private Gompa and the Tankas he has made himself. The Bon Gompa is about half an hour’s walk from camp. Overnight at tented campss.

Day 16 – Trek to Serkam (3,630m) – 6.5 hrs
Your route follows the course of the Tarap Khola, generally downhill. You go through narrow gorges with the river rushing through. One may see blue sheep, marmots, yaks, sheep, and goats and perhaps meet people from Dolpo taking their flocks of sheep and goats to lower pastures for the winter. The afternoon brings more undulations in the path when it leaves the immediate course of the river. There is evidence of improvements to the trail where parts of the rock have been blasted out. You will also see the first of the modern steel suspension bridges which have been built to facilitate movement of people and animals. The track is very narrow in places. You reach your overnight camp on a grassy strip by the river. Overnight at tented camps.

Day 17 – Trek to Khani Gaon (2,550m) – 7 hrs
You continue to walk down the gorge of the Tarap River, at times alongside it and at others high above, on a narrow trail built out from the steep slopes. The quality of the path varies from broad, smooth and firm to very narrow and crumbly. There are also flights of manmade stone staircases which need to be tackled with care – some of the constituent rocks wobble when stepped upon! An exciting day in deep and awe-inspiring gorges. Your camp site is a pleasant meadow in the shade of a stand of trees. Overnight at tented camps.
(Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

Day 18 – Trek to Tarakot (2,281m) – 4 hrs
Leaving Khanigoan by the new suspension bridge and then walk alongside the river, sometimes going very high before reaching down to the water again. Some of the trail is quite demanding and one bridge, said to have been out for six years, necessitates crossing on wet stepping-stones.

Day 19 – Trek to Dunai (2,052m) – 5 hrs
The trail is mostly down and fairly firm. Walking beside the Bheri river, you use the ingenious path built twenty feet above the river. All too soon you have reached the village of Dunai and the camp site you used before. You will now have completed the circuit of mysterious land Dolpo and a celebration party is sure to happen. Overnight at tented camps.

Day 20 – Trek to Juphal (2,404m) – 3 hrs
You now retrace your steps to Juphal. Initially the way is flat but the final hour up to your destination seems steeper than you remember on Day One! Overnight at tented camps.

Day 21 – Fly to Pokhara via Nepalgunj
Early morning flight to Nepalgunj from Juphal. This is a wonderful 35-minute flight over the Himalayan foothills, with fine views of giant peaks including Annapurna and Dhaulagiri to the north. You then connect with the flight back to Pokhara.

Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS) has been implemented jointly by Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) to ensure safety and security of trekkers and to control illegal trekking operations. Trekking companies will be asked to furnish personal information of trekkers like their passport numbers, nationality and their contact address and their itinerary. The data will be uploaded in visitors’ database which can be accessed in case of accidents and/or natural calamities in order to inform the concerned institutions about the number of trekkers inside a certain trekking area. TIMS cards should be collected by both Free Individual Trekkers (FITs) and trekkers taking the service of government authorized trekking agencies. Past experiences have revealed that difficulties were seen while carrying out rescue operations during times of accidents and natural calamities. Due to the lack of proper record system of trekkers, rescue and search missions used to face difficulties in spotting the missing trekkers. Based on the data collected through TIMS cards, however, it will be possible to know the position of a trekker in case a rescue operation is needed. The provision of Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS) came into effect on January 1, 2008. Since then, the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN) and Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) started recording trekkers’ details and began issuing TIMS Card to trekkers. As per the recent MoU signed by NTB and TAAN, TIMS card is applicable in all trekking areas of the country including restricted areas. Group trekkers will have to pay Blue TIMS cards by paying a fee of Rs 1,000 per person, while FITs have to get Green TIMS cards by paying a fee of Rs 2,000. Similarly, group trekkers from SAARC countries have to pay Rs 300 for TIMS cards, while FITs from the SAARC region have to pay Rs 600 each.