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Duration

28 Days

Activities

  • Trekking and Hiking

Accomodation

  • 4 nights accommodation in Kathmandu with breakfast (Hotel Encounter Nepal- www.encounternepal.com or Hotel Norbu Linka- www.hotelnorbulinka.com) or

Meals

  • All meals during the trek (breakfast, lunch and dinner)

Price special offer

from 5000 USD

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Overview

Trip highlights

Upper Dolpo trek is one of the most isolated treks of Nepal and its tranquil and natural beauty is awaiting for exploitation. Located between the Dhaulagiri Himalayan Range and Tibetan border, Upper Dolpo region is the highest inhabited land of western Nepal where only a few hundred people live. Trekking in Upper Dolpo is most adventurous one and need to be self sufficient but can be done in all seasons throughout the year. 

The Upper Dolpo trekking trail passes through diverse landscapes and allow to explore the intact cultures continuing from the centuries. Different kinds of rare flora and fauna, most gigantic mountain ranges, mysterious and legendary monasteries, tranquil lake and different rivers, the small villages full of intact traditions and cultures with innocent villagers, lush greenery and vivid scenery greet you throughout the trek. 

Shey Phoksundo Lake is the deepest Himalayan lake; Shey Gompa built during the 11th century famous for its ancient pre-Buddhist culture and Bon Po; Pal Sentan Thasoon Chholing Gompa, a broken down Bon-po gompa said to have been built 60 generations ago. Similarly, the Shey Phoksundo Nation Park, the world’s most scenic mountain park; marvelous Himalayan scenery from numerous high passes; endangered snow leopard and beautiful blue sheep; and unique Himalayan culture make Upper Dolpo Trekking a most demanding trekking in Nepal.

Activities:

Itinerary

Upon your arrival in the Kathmandu airport (TIA) you will be greeted by a representative from Black Diamond. After completing your immigration formalities (Visa, etc) pick up your luggage and look for our representative with a Black Diamond display board at the arrival gate. You will be then transferred to hotel. After check into the hotel, you can either take a rest, hang around in the city, visit our office; it all depends upon your interests and condition. In the evening, we will organize a "Welcome Dinner" at an excellent traditional Nepalese Restaurant where you will enjoy a Nepalese cultural program as well as a fine meal.

Hotel Encounter Nepal
Dinner

Today after breakfast we will start a guided tour to several of the most historical and spiritual attractions in Kathmandu. Some of these landmarks are considered World Heritage Sites; including the historic Durbar Square, the sacred Hindu temple of Pashupati Nath, the famous 'Monkey Temple' (Swayambunath) and Buddhists shrine (Buddha Nath) which is one of the largest Stupas in the world. In the afternoon, there will be a pre-trip discussion where we can meet our trek leader and other team members. Black Diamond briefs us our trek as well as provides us opportunity to ask any questions we may have regarding our upcoming adventure.

Hotel Encounter Nepal
Breakfast

After breakfast, we get transferred to the domestic terminal of Kathmandu airport and take an hour’s flight to Nepalgunj. Nepalgunj is located in the western Nepal border to India and is the gateway to Simikot of Humla. Blended with Hinduism and Muslim cultures as well as hills and plain land, the Nepalgunj is an interesting town which has Mini Zoo, Muslim Bazaar, B.P Chowk and more to visit. Overnight in hotel.

Hotel Siddhartha
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

After breakfast in the early morning, we fly to Juphal. After 45 minutes flight over high mountains, we arrive at Juphal. We meet our trekking staff and begin the first adventure trip walking through the terraced fields to Bheri River and the narrow gorge. After 2-3 hours climbing, we reach our camping site, Dunai. Dunai is the administrative headquarter of the Dolpo region. Explore Dunai and overnight in camp.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

After breakfast we continue the trek crossing the big steel suspension bridge and turning west, following the trail past the hospital and walk along the bank of the Thulo Bheri River till we reach the confluence point with the Suli Gaad River at 2070m. We follow the north up along the east bank of the Suli Gaad which takes us to Kal Rupi and then to Raktang (2260m). Passing through numerous Goths and horse pastures, riding over a ridge we reach the rough stone houses of Jayalhasa, a wintering spot for the people of Ringmo. We keep walking upstream to another bridge, cross it to the east bank, and make our 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 (ankhe is eye). The trail Phoksumdo Lake climbs over a ridge at 2710m then descends on a rocky path to Chepka (2670m), which is inhabited by three brothers and consists of collection of interconnected shops, whiskey stalls and lodges. We camp here or at another good spot beside a huge rock in walnut grove about 20 minutes beyond Chepka.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

We 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 river bank. The trail makes several more ups and downs through forests of firs and lurches as it continues upstream to a bridge that leads to nine houses comprising the village of Renje on the opposite side of the river at 3010m. We camp at a good camp site here or another about five minutes further on.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

We follow the Suli Gaad valley, which turns eastward and becomes even steeper and narrower. We 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 Phoksumdo Lake and Shey gompa follows the west bank of the river. We 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 Phoksumdo National Park is at the south end of the village. After our park entrance ticket is examined, we may be subjected to a baggage inspection-ostensibly for drugs and stolen art objects. It's very peculiar formality in this remote locale. We continue on the route, which switchbacks steeply on a sandy trail through open country to an elevation of 3300m, then we start up another steep set of dusty switchbacks to a ridge at 3780m. From the ridge there are distant views of a spectacular 200m -high waterfall, 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 Phoksumdo Khola. Then we climb gently to Ringmo village, a picturesque settlement of flat-roofed stone houses with lots of mud -plastered chortens and maniwalls. Just below Ringmo, we cross a bridge and follow a trail north to the ranger station at Phoksumdo Lake (3730). We continue to the shores of the lake near the point where the Phoksumdo 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.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

A trail leads from the lakeside through juniper trees to the white Pal Sentan Thasoon Chholing gompa, a ramshackle Bon-po gompa overlooking the lake that is said to have been built 60 generations ago. There are five other private gompas in various houses of small monastic community near the lake. The insides of the temples contain dusty Buddhist paintings and statues, but the trappings also reflect the animistic elements of the Bon-po religion, so some of the chapels are reminiscent of an ancient witch's cavern. A donation to the ragtag collection of dirty monks will gain us entrance to the gompas; our Sherpas will be equally fascinated by the strange iconography and practice of the Bon-po religion.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

From Ringmo, we continue the trek along the shore of the lake on a rocky ridge following the western bank. The trail is so narrow and difficult, in some areas suspended wooden path is built supported on pegs only. This implies the remoteness of the area. At the westernmost edge of the lake the path leads through a lush meadow that opens up into the flood plain of the Phoksundo Khola. Then the walk leads through the valley, crossing the river and avoiding the occasional wet marshland and then coming on the bank of the river to the overnight camp.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Today our trek starts with plane path for the hour through a glacial valley towards north. We reach in an old wooden bridge where Phoksundo Khola and another mountain stream are conflicted and from there we take the path to the northeast of the valley is quite tough since we have to climb up through rocks and boulders. After few hours adventurous climb we reach at pasture land and then follow the steep gorge that brings us to another valley near to the Kang-La, the pass which will lead towards Shey Gompa. We overnight in the ‘Snowfields Camp’ just before the Kang-La Pass.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Today our trek starts early in the morning and is quite strenuous since we have to cross the Kang-La pass (5,360m). Passing through the steep and bared land we will reach Kang-la from where we can see the majestic view of the Annapurna range and the beautiful valley which is bisected by a garrulous river. From there we descend the steep trail to the valley, then follow the river bank crossing it several times. After few hours walking passing through meadows and nomadic hut we can see the red chorten, a Shey Gompa (4,500m). We overnight in the Shey Gompa compound.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Another well earned rest day for local hike around Shey meaning crystal, this monastery is also known as the Crystal Mountain (well described in Peter Matthissen classic novel Snow Leopard). The lama of Shey resides at a red hermitage known as Tsakang gompa which is north of Shey. It is rather a retreat than a monastery. Tsakang had been a meditation centre of many famous lamas from Tibet. Shey Gompa belong to the Chaiba community, followers of great saint Padmasambhava, known as Guru Ringpoche and Kagyu sects. It was the first Kagyupa monastery and its founder was the lama Tenzing Ra-Pa, built during 11th century. Shey is famous for its ancient pre-Buddhist culture the Bon Po. In Dolpo the ancient Tibetan way of life combines animism with the teaching of Buddha. Drutup Yeshe first introduced Buddhism in the Dolpo valley. Hundreds of years ago he came to Dolpo encountering a wild people whose supreme God was a 'fierce mountain and nature spirit'. Crystal Mountain is to the east of Shey gompa it is one of the strangest mountain, as its contorted cliffs are laced with quartz and embedded with a rich variety of marine fossils. Shey Gompa stands above the confluence of Kangjunala and Yeju Nala River. Near the confluence there is a group of prayer mills turned by water wheels. Each year people from all over Dolpo region travel great distances to attend the festival at Shey and to complete the circuit of Crystal Mountain. This is an amazing trip to here that certainly makes this trek as special as only few Westerners have ever ventured up to Shey gompa.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Today our trek start with pleasant trail which descends into a gray stony canyon. Then the rocky and steep zigzag trail begins and continuing till we reach the top of Saldang La (5,200m). Enjoy the magnificent view of Kanjiroba Himal. Then we descend towards the north which is a long and strenuous path and finally leads us to the pasture land with nomadic tents made from yak hair, near to the Namduna Gaun (4,800m) which is a very small village consisting only few houses and Namgung monastery of the Karma-pa sect. We overnight in camp at Namduna Gaun.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

From Namduna Gaun we follow the steep route and then crossing the some dusty barren mountains we reach at the Nam Khongmala from where we can see the picturesque Saldang village below on a plateau. Saldang (3,620m) is the largest and prosperous village of the inner Dolpo region consisting of five villages with around eighty houses and six hundred people.. From there around an hour descending leads us to the Saldang. 

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

From Saldang we take the northern trail that follows the Nang Chu River with barren terrain and some ups and downs which brings us to the small settlement of Tiling and then crossing the tributary Panzang river we reach at Lurigaon. From here a short walk brings us to an unexplored region of Yangze (4,960m) also known as Yangtsher. Spend our spare time exploring the unexplored village and its very old Bon-Po Monastery. Overnight in camp. 

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

From Yangze there are two trails that connect Sibu (4,560m/14,957ft), the long way trail heads due west passing through the very remote villages of Nishalgaon and further past Shimengaon. To save time and energy we will retrace the path back towards Sudan village which will be much easier and shorter. From Saldang following the river bed and passing through terraced fields, stupas, chortens, heaps of mani stones and a Chaiba monastery we reach the Namdo village which is also prosperous village with about sixty houses having nearly 400 inhabitants and stretches for more than 5 km on the high slopes to the left of Nam Khong Khola. Visiting Namdo monastery located near the river bed, further we walk down the river for another two hours to camp near the small settlement of Sibu.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

We follow the Nam Khong Khola till we reach at the confluence of two small tributaries. We may get a chance to see the caravan of loaded yaks on their way towards the Tibet border. From tributaries we take a steep climb till we reach to the Jeng La Phedi (4,900m). We overnight in camp on a nice pasture land.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Morning 2 hours gradual climb leads us to the top of the Jeng La (5,090m). The view of north face of Dhaulagiri massive with spanking sunrays is awesome. Spending some great moment at the pass we descend the rough trail towards the Tarap Valley which is extended twenty km along the river. And then following the pleasant trail, crossing Tarap Chu which consist ten villages with cultivated land and many gompas, chortens of both sects; finally we reach at Tokyu Gaon (4,200m). We spend the night at Tokyu monastery which belonfs to the Chaiba sect.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

From Tokyu Gaon, Tarap Chu we descend the east route which leads us to a plain valley where lush grass is grown on swamp land of river sides which is unique in inner Dolpo. In this valley both Bon Po and Chaiba sects reside together in harmony. After a short trek on this beautiful valley we reach at Dho Tarap (4,040m/13,251ft) for the overnight camp with ample time to visit around the villages. This village is surrounded by an irregular stone wall. At Dho, about 40 houses are divided into three group and built in a haphazard way inhabited by few Tibetans and mostly Magars hill tribe of Nepal who have lived here for many generations.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Today, we have a full rest day or exploration of local areas. During the visit you will have an opportunity to make friends with the people from Dolpo. They wear homespun clothing that is sometimes dyed maroon and they prefer Tibetan style somba (boots with upturned toes) for footwear. Men and women often wear both religious amulets and strings of coral and turquoise. The villagers are both Bon Po and Buddhist of Nyingmapa sect. The Buddhist gompa is the nearest one to the campsite, the Bon Gompa is in 40 minutes walking distance.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

From Dho Tarap we descend towards the wide valley which eventually narrows into a gorge. Then the trail passes through juniper bush and wild rose, typical of inner Himalayan valleys, to just above the tree line. By the afternoon time we reach at the confluence of the Tarap Chu and the Lang Khola, a stream that joins with Tarap River. We camp on the pasture land in Kamakharka (3,800m), where some spacious caves are found nearby.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Today also we continue the trail descending through the gorge of the Tarap River. On the way may meet the people from Dolpo coming to lower pastures for the winter. Our trail is so exciting today as it change from wide valley to deep narrow gorge and in some places we can jump from one side to another. Sometimes there is no trace of any path and we have to walk across the stone slabs fitted on logs in between the walls which act as a bridge. The gorge also provides unexpected adventure and thrills. In some places, the bridges are either damaged or washed away and we may be forced to cross the icy torrent on foot. Crossing unique landscapes finally we reach to the camping spot beside the Tarap Khola at Khanigaon.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Today from this camp path follows an indistinct trail to the village of Lalberi. Then passing through an area of impressive forest, before descending into another gorge our walk continue following the river again downstream to reach Tarakot where colorful terraced fields greet us. Tarakot (2,537m/8,321ft) is an old fortress town built by the local people as Dzong or fort. Tarakot was a capital before Gorkha dynasty which stands on a hillock to the south of Bheri River at one time supervised collection of tolls for the trading caravans.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

We leave the colorful terrace field of Tarakot and our trail goes through the ingenous path built above seven meters of the Bheri river, pine trees, isolated villages, hanging bridge and deep narrow gorges. Finally we reach in Dunai and conclude out trek. We celebrate the success of our long and adventurous trek of Upper Dolpo.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

We retrace the journey back to Jhuphal, which is a short distance walk along the Bheri River to the small airstrip for the last overnight camp of this great memorable adventure.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

After breakfast in the morning we take a flight from Jhupal to Nepalgunj and afternoon, we return to Kathmandu on the next available flight. Upon arrival in Kathmandu, transfer to the hotel. Rest day is free and spend the evening leisurely. Rest and recharge yourself. Overnight in Kathmandu.

Breakfast
Hotel Encounter Nepal

Today is your leisure day. You can relax in the hotel or perhaps catch up on some last minute shopping and explore thamel. Late evening celebrate dinner together with Black Diamond staffs. Overnight at Kathmandu.

Hotel Encounter Nepal
Dinner

After breakfast free till departure time. If you have more time you can do shopping or sightseeing around Kathmandu. Approximately 3 hours before your scheduled flight, a representative from Black Diamond drops you to the airport.

Breakfast

Inclusion

    • All transfers, sightseeing, airport pick up and drop by private vehicle
    • Domestic flights (Kathmandu to Nepalgunj to Juphal to Nepalgunj to Kathmandu)
    • Domestic airport tax
    • 4 nights accommodation in Kathmandu with breakfast (Hotel Encounter Nepal- www.encounternepal.com or Hotel Norbu Linka- www.hotelnorbulinka.com) or similar 3-star hotel as per availability.
    • 1 night accommodation in Nepalgunj in best available hotel
    • 22 nights accommodation in camp during trekking
    • Welcome dinner in Nepalese Restaurant with cultural show
    • Farewell dinner
    • All meals during the trek (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
    • English Speaking Guide during sightseeing
    • Entrance fees in the monuments
    • An experienced guide, porters (1 porter for 2 people), cook and assistants during trek
    • Salary, insurance, equipments, transportation, food and lodge for the guide, porters, cook and assistants
    • All high quality camping equipments, kitchen equipment, mattress; dining, toilet and kitchen tents
    • Down jacket, four seasonal sleeping bag, duffel bag, t-shirt, and trekking map (down jacket and sleeping bag are needed to be returned)
    • All necessary paperwork and permits
    • Travel and rescue arrangement
    • A comprehensive medical kit
    • All government and local taxes.
    • International airfare
    • Nepal Visa fee
    • Travel and rescue insurance
    • Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu
    • Excess baggage charge
    • Personal expenses (phone calls, laundry, battery recharge, extra porters, bottle or boiled water, shower etc)
    • All kind of drinks
    • Extra night accommodation than the scheduled itinerary
    • Tips for guides, porters and driver
    • Any other expenses which are not mentioned in “Trip Cost Includes”

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Trip reviews

Annapurna round trek was well organized by Raj from BDEx. Gide Amrit Pandey is very skilled and intelligent. Weather on the trek was rather different so we were about ready to turn back from Pissang. Nevertheless next day was clean and we immediately decided to continue. Finally we did Thorang La 5416 m. On the way we saw many people coming back because of deep snow. I am happy that we were lucky to pass Thorang La on second day after it was opened. Many thanks for the trip to BDEx and my guide!!!

Mikhail Grevtsev

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