Upper Dolpo Trekking
“Adventure on snow leopard and blue sheep trails to remote crystal monastery”
Let us show you the wonders of Nepal’s wild far west Himalaya of Upper Dolpo Trekking in the company of BUNA Treks & Expeditions expert guides and staff with complete camping facilities of separate unit of cooks and kitchen unit providing you with excellent guidance and enjoyable and memorable time in our Upper Dolpo Trekking.
Upper Dolpo Trekking leads you to remote and isolated Shangri-la at Shey Gompa known as the Crystal Monastery, which well described on Peter Mattessian classic novel “The Snow Leopard” and this wild beautiful country can be seen in the movie Caravan later changed to Himalaya a French and Nepali ventured film nominated as best foreign film for Oscar Award in 1999.
Upper Dolpo Trekking an overwhelming adventure with life time experience exploring amazing and unique landscapes, snowcapped peaks, and visiting ancient Bon culture (pre-Buddhist) which is near to extinct.
Starting and ending of Upper Dolpo Trekking involves a scenic flight both ways to and from Jhupal near Dunai district headquarter of Dolpo region.
Our adventure first takes you to marvel the beautiful scenery at beautiful turquoise Phuksumdo Lake and around Ringmo village where you can witness the rare and hidden culture of Dolpo people the highlanders of Western Himalaya.
Next part of the adventure leads you to the country of Snow Leopard and Blue Sheep at Shey Gompa, after crossing over high pass Kang-la 5,360 m high.
At Shey Gompa exploring around Crystal Mountain and the old monastery enriched with ancient artifacts, statue of Buddha and other great past gurus and lamas.
Our adventure completes at Jhupal for the flight to Kathmandu after visiting lovely and interesting villages of Saldang-Tokyu-Tarakot.
Day to Day Itinerary
Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu and transfer to hotel
On arrival in Kathmandu Tribhuvan International airport, where BUNA staff receives you with warm welcome and transfer you to respective hotels in the heart of Kathmandu city around exciting Thamel area, where most of the hotels-shops and world –class restaurants located.
After getting refreshed our guide and staff briefs you with information regarding your stay in Nepal with us includes full details on Upper Dolpo Trekking, with evening welcome dinner in an authentic Nepalese restaurants with culture programs.
Day 02: Fly to Nepalgunj (55 mins flight) and transfer to hotel
Morning an optional half day guided sightseeing tour at places of interest around Kathmandu. Kathmandu-Patan and Bhaktapur cities steeped with world heritage sites and monuments, afternoon transfer to Kathmandu domestic airport for flight to Nepalgunj city with panorama of snowcapped mountains during 55 minutes flights, on reaching at Nepalgunj transfer to nice hotels around city area.
Day 03: Fly to Jhuphal 2,320 m then trek or drive to Dunai 2,850m
Morning transfer to Nepalgunj airport for another sweeping flight to Dolpo at Jhuphal with views of Dhaulagiri mountain range, at Jhuphal meet our trekking / camping crews then a short drive to Dunai for overnight stop.
Dunai headquarter town with Government administrative of Dolpo region.
Day 04: Trek to Ankhe 2,896m - 06 hrs
From Dunai, starting our first day walk crossing a suspension bridge leading towards North West then climb to the banks of Thulo Bheri Valley leading to a ridge at Phoksumdo river valley at 2,499 meters offering views of Kagmara Peak, from here a long downhill through several scattered houses and walnut groves near to a stream at Dhera a small winter settlements of cattle herders.
After a short rest climb to Rahagaon village of Thakuri, a Hindu tribe of people of Western Himalaya, from here downhill into a dense forest reaching at Ankhe for overnight camp.
Ankhe village located at the entrance of Shey Phoksumdo National Park with time in the afternoon for short walk around this lovely area.
Day 05: Trek to Sumdu / Sulighat village 3,500m -06 hrs
Morning walk starts with short ups and downhill walks into forest and to river side, then a climb to a ridge leaving forested area high above the river, after reaching the top descend back to forest area to riverbed.
From here walk leads to an upstream then crossing a small bridge near Ryajik village, after this village walking further towards our overnight camp at Sumdu near Sulighat village with time for short visit around this nice small village
Day 06: Trek to Phuksumdo Lake 3,500 m - 05 hours
Walk today leads to our first highlight of this trip at Phuksumdo lake, leading to a valley of Phuksumdo and Pungmo Kholas (streams) confluence, after crossing Phuksumdo Khola, and then following the Pungmo Khola west bank. After a nice rest walk downhill through birch and pine forests to upper side of Phuksumdo Khola to reach at Ringmo village.
Ringmo an interesting and attractive village with mud plastered chortens and Mani (prayer) walls, from here a short walk to turquoise colored Phuksumdo Lake for overnight camp near the bank of this beautiful lake.
Day 07: Rest day at Phuksumdo Lake for local excursion
A rest day at Ringmo arounf Phuksumdo Lake for acclimatization before heading higher area, an ideal spot for free day walk and explore Ringmo village and its old interesting Buddhist Monastery along with stunning views of surrounding landscapes and snowcapped mountains.
Day 08: Trek to Phokshumdo-Khola 3,640 m - 05 hrs
After an enjoyable time at Phokshumdo lake our journey continues towards higher to upper Dolpo region, our final destination of this adventure and highlights of this trip, morning walk contours a rocky ledge over river bank towards an unsteady trail, at western rim of Phuksumdo lake then to a summer grazing pasture opening into a flood plain of Phokshumdo Khola for overnight camp near the river.
Day 09: Trek to Phuksumdo Bhanjyang - 07 hrs
From this camp in the middle of nowhere, walk starts on pleasant trail towards a glacial valley leading north of Phokshumdo Khola confluence where another stream joins, then from here walking up to a long ridge slopes on grazing area.
After a tough climb reaching at ridge top with views of wide valley and of Kang-La pass which leads to Shey Gompa to our next destination. Overnight camp on a nice wide grazing spot, this camp christened as ‘Snowfields Camp’ by Peter Matthiessen in his classic novel “The Snow Leopard”
Day 10: Trek to Shey Gompa 4,500m via Kang-La 5,360 m -06 hrs
Walk today leads to our destination at Shey Gompa and high lights of this fabolus adventure, morning starts with a steep climb on the slated stone scree atop Kang-la pass at 5,360 meters, the highest spot of this trip offering grand vista of surrounding valleys and snow capped mountains and all the way views of Mt. Dhaulagiri range.
After enjoying the rest with the magnificent scenery, walk leads downhill towards a valley floor, from here the trail meanders along the river banks, then walking on the green marsh and wet meadows, encountering herds of yaks, sheep’s, goats, nomadic huts of cattle herders, and then slowly heading towards a red chortens (Buddhist monument) this is a relief sign that the walk is complete for the day and welcoming you at Shey Gompa, our overnight camp set beneath the stunning Crystal Mountain regarded as sacred mountain as well.
Day 11: Rest day at Shey Gompa the Crystal Monastery
A rest day after a hard walk for a week, this morning optional excursion around Shey Monastery, Shey means crystal in local language, this monastery is also known as the Crystal Monastery, which is mentioned in Peter Matthiessen novel The Snow Leopard. Crystal Mountain to the east of Shey Gomba one of the strangest mountains, as its contorted cliffs is laced with quartz and embedded with a rich variety of marine fossils.
Day 12: Trek to Namduna Gaon 4,800m via Saldang La 5,200m
After a wonderful enjoyable time here our journey continues with a mesmerizing moment of Shey and the Crystal Monastery, walk follows in the middle lined with juniper trees, and then descending into a canyon, the track winds up on top of Saldang-la pass, from here on the downhill path towards north direction, then reaching to an area at a pasture with yaks, sheep grazing, from here a gradual walk to our overnight stop at Namduna Gaon.
This village with an old monastery of Karmapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism this is a farm village growing only one crop a year mainly barley, in some village’s buckwheat’s, mustard, potatoes and radish are also cultivated.
Day 13: Trek to Saldang 3,620 m -05 hours
From here morning walk heads up on rocky slope, along a dusty windswept country, after four hours of strenuous climb reaching at Saldang an interesting village of this area, located high above on a plateau and it is one of the largest village of inner Dolpo area.
In Saldang there are five villages a flourishing village scattered around near the area, this is one of the main village not only agriculturally but also for its prime location with trade route to Tibet.
Day 14: Trek to Yangze Gompa 4,960 m - 05 hrs
This grand classic trek leads further north on least visited area by other western trekkers, and then following Nang chu river most of the way on this dry arid and picturesque terrain, leading ups and downs and through Tiling and Lurigaon small cattle herders settlement then reaching to our overnight camp, at Yangze village with an old Bon-Po Monastery, Bon – Po or Pa a pre-Buddhist religion started before Buddhism came to Tibet.
Buddhism started only from 6th Centaury onwards in Tibet and in the high country of Nepal.
Day 15: Trek to Sibu 4,560m - 07 hrs
Our journey continues by retracing the trail towards Saldang village as this is the most straight forward route, and as well it saves time making the walk much shorter than on the northern western trail to Siby and beyond. After crossing a path reaching at Saldang village area, from here our walk follows the river into terraced fields with rows of stupas, chortens, monastery, then through Namdo another large flourishing village with more than sixty houses after visiting the monastery at Namdo, walk continues for another two hours further descending towards a river and into a temporary Sheppard’s settlement at Sibu for overnight stop.
Day 16: Trek to Jeng-la phedi 4,900 m -06 hrs
From this campsite at the grazing pasture land, morning walk starts following Nam Khong Khola (stream) for an hour, then coming towards yaks laden caravan on their way towards Tibetan border for trade and bartering, as this area on the old Trans Himalayan Trade route, been trading with Tibet for hundreds of years till today, walk continues following the same river, and then finally our route diverts heading east to the meeting point of two smaller rivers, from here walks leads on the steep uphill climb towards Jeng –la base or a bottom for overnight camp on a nice grassy spot.
Day 17: Trek to Tokyu Gaon 4,200m via Jeng la 5,090 m - 06 hrs
After being few days in total isolation away from the village, today’s walk leads to an interesting village at Tokyu Gaon, one of the largest village of this region, starting the morning with a steep climb for near two hours at the top of Jeng – la with panoramic views of snow capped mountains looking at the North Face of Mt. Dhaulagiri massif range of peaks, after enjoying the awesome scenery, walk leads to a long descend towards Tarap valley, which is one of the longest beautiful green valley extending near about 20 k.m. distances along the Tarap Chu River, with more than 10 villages with well tended farm fields with monasteries and chortens, then walking on a pleasant trail after completing the downhill portion to reach our overnight stop at Tokyu-gaon a wonderful village with an old interesting monastery, afternoon with ample time to visit the village and the monastery or just relax and interact with the locals.
Day 18: Trek to Dho Tarap 4,040 m - 05 hrs
From this nice village, morning walk follows downhill path towards Tarap Chu into a wide valley, around this picturesque valley with temporary settlements of local cattle herders, the people here belongs to both Bon Po and Chaiba sects of Tibetan Buddhism (Mahyana) living together in friendly harmony.
Then with a good nice walk on this beautiful valley reaching at Dho Tarap for overnight camp, afternoon with time for local visit around this interesting village which is inhabited by Tibetans origin people and with mostly Magar hill tribe.
Day 19: Trek to Tarap Khola (Kamekharka) 3,800m - 07 hrs
Today a long day walk on gradual trail with few short climb and down hills, morning descend into a wide valley which further narrows into a gorge, following the path with sparse vegetation of juniper and wild rose bushes which is typical in this dry barren area of inner Himalaya climate and arctic temperate zone.
Around here chances of seeing blue sheep’s, after a great enjoyable walk reaching at junction of Tarap Chu and Lang Khola, which flows from Tarap River beyond east, source of North West Dhaulagiri Himalayan range of mountains.
After pleasant walk reaching a grassy field which is called Kame-kharka, the word Kharka means shelter or shades of Sheppard’s.
Day 20: Trek to Kharigaon 3,150m - 05 hours
After a nice morning with wonderful surrounding, walk leads to Tarap River and into a gorge, rising above from the path built on steep slopes.
This narrow gorge offers some adventure as the path leads to damaged broken bridge by river floods, and sometimes might have to wade on chilly river on foot.
Then from here walk to Tarap- khola near Kharigaon for overnight camp.
Day 21: Trek to Tarakot 2,850 m - 05 hrs
Adventure continues through Lalberi village and back into tree lines following the same river again downstream to Tarakot village.
This lovely village with nice terraced cultivated fields and an old fortress of over hundred years, stands before Gorkha dynasty, this beautiful was capital and had Dzong meaning Fort).
Tarakot village houses famous Sandul Gompa, located at the confluence of Barbung Khola and Tarap Chum, after interesting detour of Tarakot village, walk down from the village to overnight camp by the river, below the village close to a monastery at the edge of a grassy plateau, with an interesting solitary tree.
Day 22: Trek to Dunai 2,850 m and drive to Jhupal 2, 320 m - 01 hr
This remarkable and fine journey slowly comes to an end at Jhupal, morning walk to Dunai following several scattered farm villages and cattle herder shades. Leading to a gradual uphill to a valley and descend to other side on barren treeless landscapes at Thulo Bheri valley around Dunai.
From here walk past a hospital to cross a suspension bridge then reach Dunai town, a large town area with an administrative headquarter of Dolpo zone, to make this walk shorter and to reach Jhupal on time, taking a jeep ride for an hour drive on rough road to Jhuphal for the last and final overnight stop.
Day 23: Fly to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj and transfer to hotel
Early morning, taking short scenic flight to Nepalgunj with panorama of mountains, on reaching at Nepalgunj connect flight to Kathmandu, at Kathmandu airport transfer to respective hotels with afternoon free at leisure.
Day 24: In Kathmandu as contingency days with free for individual activities
BUNA Treks & Expeditions reserves this day as spare or contingency in case of flight delay and cancellation to and from Nepalgunj to Jhupal and back; might occur sometimes as Himalayan climate can be unpredictable sometimes. If all goes well as per the itinerary days one can enjoy a free day for individual activities and shopping souvenirs or join in for another sightseeing tour at places of great interest.
Day 25: International Departure homeward bound
Today your last day in Nepal the land of amazing Himalaya depart for your international flight homeward bound after a fond memory and overwhelming experience on Upper Dolpo Trekking with expert guidance of BUNA Treks & Expeditions.
“Adventure around Nepal’s Far Wild North West Himalaya to Upper Dolpo. Exploring ancient Bon and Buddhist cultural villages in the hidden country of snow leopard Trek into Nepal’s largest National Park and around turquoise Lake of Phuksumdo following on an ancient Trans Himalayan Caravan route of Nepal and Tibet”