Upper Dolpo Trekking is One of the most isolated areas choosing for trekking in Nepal is the Dolpo Region trekking route. Dolpo region situated between the Tibetan plateau and the Dhaulagiri Himalayan range is the highest inhabited land of western Nepal. Dolpo, a land beyond the Himalaya, conjures up visions of mysterious monasteries, snow leopards and blue sheep; it is situated in the north-west part of the country, and is one of the most remote regions in Nepal. The traditions and way of life have remained intact in Dolpo Region since decades. The first trekking in this route has been organized in autumn of 1990 by the first British tour operator. The trek was scheduled from east to west, from Pokhara to Jumla through Lower Dolpo.
Upper Dolpo trekking route passes many gigantic mountain ranges of Mt. Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and Kanjiroba, to name but a few and passes through Lower Dolpo, at one time a small Kingdom in its own right. Trekkers are enthused greatly about the wild remoteness, the stunning mountain scenery and the fact that the local people had thatinnocent friendliness peculiar to people who live in excessively remote mountainous regions in this trekking route.
The people living Upper Dolpo region number only a few hundred and are among the world’s highest dwellers. The villages in Upper Dolpo are 4,300m and above. This is only the place that the people still practice the pre-Buddhist Bon Po religion. This early sect was almost entirely replaced after Buddhist doctrine began to spread across Tibet in the 9th century.
The books of Peter Matheson’s, the Snow Leopard and David Snellgrove’s Himalayan Pilgrimage have contributed to the mystique and attraction of Dolpo. Both writers visited the Shey Gompa, to the north of the Phoksumdo Lake, inner Dolpo. This is the goal of most trekkers but this Dolpo trek will take you even further into this mysterious land.
DAY 01: ARRIVE KATHMANDU (A)
Airport representative of Motherland Hiking Trek will meet, well-come you with flower beat and transfer you by private vehicle to your hotel.
DAY 02: SIGHTSEEING IN KATHMANDU 3 HOURS (A,B)
KATHMANDU 3 hours Half-day sightseeing to Kathmandu Durbar Square, Monkey Temple & Pashupati Nath Temple. All are world cultural heritage sites listed by UNESCO. Rest of the day finalize trekking permit, national park permit and final packing for the trekking.
DAY 03: FLY TO NEPALGUNJ (400M/1312FT)- 1 HOUR (A,B)
The morning will be free to carry on souvenir-hunting or sightseeing, and in the afternoon you will take the flight to Nepalganj. The flight will give good views of the Himalaya to the north. Transfer to your hotel. There will be time in the evening to have a look around the town which is situated 3 kms from the southern Nepalese border with India. Here it is quite hot and tropical. Overnight at Hotel.
DAY 04: FLY TO JUMLA (2370M/7774FT)30 MINUTES (A,B,L,D)
An early morning plane will take us to the town of Jumla, which lies on the banks of the Tila Khola river at 2370 meter. Jumla is one of the highest rice-growing areas of the world, where the unique ‘red’-rice is grown. We will meet our trekking crew today and make the final preparations for our camping-trek.
DAY 05: TREK TO GOTHI CHAUR (2500M/8200FT) (5 HOURS) (A,B,L,D)
From Jumla our trail leads past several water-driven mills before dropping to the confluence of the Tila Khola and the Chaudhabise Khola. We cross both rivers on a cantilever bridge which looks like it is held together by giant clothes pegs. From here our trail climbs gently alongside rice terraces to the village of Dochal Ghara at 2530 meter. From here we follow the trail through a forest of maples and walnuts to a meadow. In season the wildflowers seen here include cinquefoils, terrestrial orchids, forget-me-nots, mints, buttercups, primulas, edelweiss and gentians. Beyond the meadow the trail climbs to a rocky cairn at Pattyata Lagna (2830m), and then descends into a magnificent alpine amphitheatre towards Gothi Chaur close to the stream at the bottom of the valley. At the spring here there are some 13th century Malla dynasty stone carvings. We set up camp close to the river.
DAY 06: TREK TO NAPUKANA (3010M/9873FT) (6 HOURS) (3080M/10103FT) (A,B,L,D)
We will re-enter the Tila river valley and follow this river slowly to its source. After ascending through fields of barley and buckwheat we arrive at the trail junction at Muni Sangu, a small settlement where we can see peculiar carved wooden faces, called dok-pa and are supposed to offer protection from evil spirits. These faces can be seen throughout the whole Dolpo region. We stay on the southern side of the river from here as the valley slowly becomes narrower and follow our way to Changrikot (a series of houses built into the hillside on the opposite side of the river at 2900m). The trail then finally crosses the river and climbs towards the grey stone houses of Chotra (3010m). The village has typical mani walls (walls containing stones carved with Tibetan Buddhist prayers) and a kani (arch, decorated with paintings on the inside) over the trail. A short distance from here is the Tibetan settlement of Naphukana where we will make our camp.
DAY 07: TREK TO BALASA (3110M/10201FT) (5 HOURS) (A,B,L,D)
The trail becomes steeper today as it climbs past rocky fields to forests of oaks and birch trees strangled with Spanish moss. The climb will end at the Mauri lagna (‘honey pass’) at 3820 meter. From this pass we have good views of the snowy peaks of Gutumba (5608m) and Mataumba (5767m) to the north-east and Bhalu Himal (5460m) to the south. We will descent from here to the Bheri valley to the large Khampa settlement of Chaurikot at 3060 meter. A short time past this village there are some excellent campsites alongside the trail.
DAY 08: TREK TO KAIGAUN (2610M/8561FT) (3-4 HOURS) (A,B,L,D)
We will continue our trek through walnut forests; the local people seldom eat the nuts but use them as a source for cooking oil. We slowly descend to the village of Rimi at 2890 meter, where the amusing faces of the dok-pa peek at us from the tops of houses. After crossing the stream we will arrive in Kaigaon, where we will find the first shop since leaving Jumla.
DAY 09: TREK TO TOIJEM (2920M/9578FT) (5 HOURS) (A,B,L,D)
We follow the west bank of the Bheri river and climb slowly up leaving the river deep below us. The trail stays high above the river and continues to the confluence where the Jagdula and Garpung Kholas join to form the Bheri. We then drop to the Jagdula Khola river and cross it on stones to our campsite near the army post at Toijem.
DAY 10: TREK TO KAGMARA PHEDI (4000M/13120FT) (6 HOURS) (A,B,L,D)
Today we follow the trail up the western side of the Garpung Khola river to about 3650 meter, after which we cross it and continue upstream on the eastern side. The valley narrows and the river becomes a series of waterfalls as the trail climbs to a moraine at 3900 meter. We will make a high camp in the boulders at Kagmara Phedi. The panoramic views of the peaks from here are sensational. Wildflowers are of the hardy alpine species, including blue poppies, buttercups, mint, gentians and puffballs. Among the birds here you may sight snow pigeons, redstarts, ravens and griffons. This is also an excellent place to spot blue sheep.
DAY 11: TREK TO KAGMARA (5115M/16778FT) AND LASA (7 HOURS) (4060M/13317FT) (A,B,L,D)
We start early to climb alongside the Kagmara Glacier to Kagmara La pass at 5115 meter. Then we descend about 900 meter along a stream into the Pungmo valley. On this side of the pass there are sweeping scree slopes and massive rock formations that contrast with the vertical uplifts and thrusts of the southern side. We descend further to Lasa, a shepherds’ camp.
DAY 12: TREK TO SUMDUWA (3100M/10168FT) (5 HOURS) (A,B,L,D)
The trail stays high above the stream, which eventually becomes the Pungmo Khola river. The route enters birch and juniper forests, which give away to blue pines as the trail crosses the river on a wooden bridge. The route continues through barley fields to the fortress-like village of Pungmo. From here we continue our way downstream to the school at Sumduwa and descend to a camp on the banks of the Phoksumdo Khola.
DAY 13: PHOKSUNDO LAKE (3730M/12235FT) (6 HOURS) (A,B,L,D)
We will join the direct trail to Phoksumdo lake today climbing through forests of big cedars on to Palam (3710m), a winter settlement used by the people of the Ringmo village. The entrance station for the Shey Phoksumdo National Park is at the south end of the village. The route then descends on switchbacks through open country to an elevation of 3300 meter, and then starts up another set of dusty switchbacks to a ridge at 3780 meter to the highest waterfall in Nepal (200 meter high). Our route then continues on to Ringmo village, a picturesque settlement of flat-roofed stone houses with lots of mani walls. Just below Ringmo we cross a bridge and follow the trail to Phoksumdo Lake, where we camp at the national park camping grounds west of the lake.
DAY 14: PHOKSUNDO LAKE (A,B,L,D)
Today we rest to admire the beauty of this great lake. We visit nearby villages inhabited by Bon and Buddhist Settlers and can make a short excursion to the white Pal Sentan Thasoon Chholing Gompa, a Bon-po gompa overlooking the lake, which is said to be build 60 generations ago.
DAY 15: TREK TO RENJE (3010M/9873FT) (5 HOURS) (A,B,L,D)
We back track our path to Ringmo village and continue past Palam to the Suli Gaad valley, following the stream originating from the Phoksumdo Lake. After a descent of almost 900 meters we will arrive in the small village of Renje, which consists of 9 houses on the side of the river. Here we will find a good campsite about 5 minutes from the village).
DAY 16: TREK TO CHEPKA (2670M/8758FT) (4-5 HOURS) (A,B,L,D)
Our route follows several ups and downs alongside the river through forests of firs and larches as it continues downstream. The trail then becomes a collection of rocks and sticks forming a dyke along the river bank. We will set up camp beside a huge rock in a walnut grove about 20 minutes away from Chepka.
DAY 17: TREK TO JUPHAL (2354M/7721FT) (7 HOURS) (A,B,L,D)
Today we walk to the region famous for its lotus-like plant called chuk, which is used to make vinegar and medicines. We pass through the villages of Ankhe, Rahagaon and Parela, meaning ‘eye’, ‘eyebrow’ and ‘eyelash’ respectively. We keep walking downstream following the river to Dunai. From here we ascend to Juphal climbing through wide meadows. In Juphal we will spend the night in one of its hotels where a well deserved hot shower awaits us.
DAY 18: FLY TO KATHMANDU VIA NEPALGANJ. (A,B,L)
Early morning flight to Nepalganj. This is a wonderful 35-minute flight over the Himalayan foothills, with fine views of the main peaks including Annapurna and Dhaulagiri to the north. You then connect with the flight back to Kathmandu. Transfer to your hotel.
DAY 19: AT LEISURE IN KATHMANDU. (A,B)
Time for shopping, relaxing, writing the postcards you forgot to send, and catching up with your diary. Overnight at Hotel.
DAY 20: FLY BACK. (B)
We will serve you appropriate vehicle to transfer you to Kathmandu International Airport as per group size.