The Dolpo region lies in the remote west of Nepal. Padma Sambhava brought Buddhism here in the 8th century. It is a succession of revelations to the enquiring trekker but it’s stony ways and cold passes test the muscles as well as expand the mind.
The Dolpo does not look or feel like the Kathmandu valley or even the Everest region. It is one of the few remaining undisturbed remnants of Tibetan culture and the last redoubt of the little-understood Bon religion that pre-dates Buddhism.
In 1956 David Snellgrove laid the way with his book “Himalayan Pilgrimage” closely followed by David Mattheiessen in 1973 with “The Snow Leopard,” then in 1999 Eric Valli brought the Dolpo to the screen with his stunning film “Himalaya.”
Only a limited number of people are allowed into the region annually. There is also a special fee attached to trekking in this region with precludes a lot of travellers. Check with Magical Nepal for the current price, but if you can afford it, and a three week trek would hardly do the area justice, you will not be disappointed.
Shey Gompa, the crystal mountain, and Phoksundo lake have evolved into a trek that is almost a pilgrimage. It is the highest inhabited land on earth, where the elusive snow leopard moves as soundless as a shadow, stalking small herds of Bharal on forgotten hillsides.
Remote and romantic, it has no major 8000 m peaks to entice with vertical adventures, but those who are drawn to its mystery are changed forever. For a single visit here to visit this ancient land has a way of haunting ones dreams with a demand to return.
This three week trek is not for the faint-hearted as trails are difficult, high, steep, shaky, and sometimes barely there. Long walking days at high altitude are the norm with several high passes to cross, but for those with the stamina, fitness level and sheer willpower, this trek is definitely a once-in a lifetime trip.
Generally we go via Nepalgunj to get to Dolpo so, firstly we will fly to Nepalgunj and spend a half-day buying necessary items in Nepalgunj. Nepalgunj is situated in south western part of Nepal.
We will reach Juphal just in 35 minute flight from Nepalgunj with beautiful views of snowcapped mountain. Juphal is a small mountain village. We'll load our items, food ration etc. and start our trek to Dunai (3hrs) for overnight camp.
From Dunai you cross the new suspension bridge and turn west, following the trail past the 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 mostly up while the going is firm underfoot. You are never far from the river and can always hear its roar. You 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.
The trail starts becoming very hectic but once you cross the river twice on well made bridges, you then make a steep ascent on a very narrow path, hugging the cliff face. Having descended to the river again the trail takes another steep ascent requiring frequent stops to watch the panorama of the landscapes and also for rest. You may camp on the side of Suligad River.
From here the initial hours of the trek is fairly easy. But from Sumdo the trail becomes very much like an incline. Here the river is left behind and you follow the path high above the water. Climb up to a ridge, about 3,875m, from where you will have the most staggering views of a 300m waterfall, the highest in Nepal, and your first view of Phoksundo Lake. You then descend through birch forests to the upper reaches of the Phoksundo Khola and on to the picturesque settlement of Ringmo with its mud plastered chortens and mani walls. The village now has solar panels helping to improve the quality of life of the villagers. From the settlement it is a short walk to the shores of Phoksundo Lake where you set up the campsite.
Today is a rest day at Phoksundo Lake, which is the deepest freshwater mountain lake in Nepal. Phoksundo Lake is regarded as sacred by Buddhists and followers of Bonpo religion, who believe that the lake contains an underwater palace and a tantric mandala of spirits. The lake is famous for its striking turquoise color and spectacular scenery. Many beautiful glaciers can be found near and above the lake area. Overnight at camp.
From Phoksundo Lake, the trek ascend and descend through the narrow trail on the corner of the lake. The trek continues above the lake on an up-and-down trail to pine forest, then makes a steep climb descent to the westernmost edge of the lake. Where the Phoksundo Khola enters the lake, there is a lush meadow that opens up into a long valley. We walk Continue through the valley following Phoksundo Khola avoiding thorn bushes. Finally, we fix our camp here for tonight.
We ascend slowly but gradually throughout the day and reaches the bottom of Kang La pass. The camp has been mentioned in the bestselling book of Peter Mathiesson, ‘The Snow Leopard’. The name Snowfield Camp to the campsite comes from the Peter Mathiesson book.
An early start is followed by a long uphill ascend over the Kangla hill top. The view from pass offers awesome. Than we descend down hill walking cause the trail leads to the bottom of the river and rest of the day is spent following the river. The day ends at Shey Gompa, also famous by the name Crystal Monastery.
Another tough day begins after walking a long steep climb to the top of Sela Bhanjyang is rewarded with views of Mustang Valley and some of the mountains of Tibet and the Kanjiroba Mountain Range. A drop again leads to a riverbed and a more easy terrain in afternoon finally leads to Namgung village where we fix our camp to stay overnight.
Today we trek for about 6-hrs Yanger Gompa, which lies on the old trade route to Tibet. We follow the Namga Khola past more summer herding spots, to the large village of Saldang. We'll get a chance to visit some local houses, drink some salt butter tea or chang (Tibetan barley beer) and sample the local fare. Heading north along the Nagon Khola, we finally reach Yanger Gompa, where we set up camp for the night.
Yanger Gompa to Musi Gaon is the easy day of trekking downward and it’s a lunch camp 5 hours walking so it is not so far and we take the way through Musi Khola. And we will take Rest because tomorrow we have to pass another high mountain called “Lang La pass”. And the Musi Gaon is the Nearest village to the Tibet border we can have little Hike around 1 hour to have a view of Tibet and Nepal Boarder | Overnight at the tent.
From Musi Gaun Via Lang La pass (5,002m) and Shimen Gaun 7 hours walking, Shime Gaun is the large village where we will camp at the Local Primary School and can have new experience after involving with the people culture | Overnight at the tent.
From Simen Gaun walking to Tinje 7/8 hours walking. Shime Gaon to Tinje is the Flat surface way downward and we take the way through Pinyan Khola and small vegetation can be found on the way. Overnight at the tent.
Today we trek from Tinje via Nawal pass (4,550m) to Kheng Khola 7/8 hours walking. After the Nawal pass, we walk for about 3 hours to reach our destination and it is a way of cold desert land with lots of wind. Stay overnight at the tent.
Today we trek to Charka Bhote Gaon via Charka Pass (5036m) and walk for about 7/8 hours. Charka Bhote is a small place where we can find any basic needs and the people of this area is little more civilized so the night at the Charka Bhote is the memorable place for the Upper Dolpo trekking. Stay overnight at the tent.
We will trek about 7 hrs from Chharka Bhote to Yak Kharka (4,780m). Yak Kharka is a very large green field and it’s called Yak Kharka because people with their Yak who came for the business they used to stay there so it is called Yak Kharka. Stay overnight at the tent.
Trek to Sangda Phedi takes us via Thujeng La pass (5,490,m). The Thujeng La pass is one of hardest passes because this place is near to Mt Tashikang (6,383m),Tongu peak (6,197m),Hongdae peak (6,556m), where regular cold wind blow makes us feel hard while climbing up Thujeng La pass. Our Campsite will be Thujeng La Phedi riverbank of the Ghudam Khola. Stay overnight at the tent.
From the Sangdala La Phedi, we walk for 7/8 hours to reach Sangda Gaun (3709m). Sangdak Gaun is the last vegetation which is similar to Tibetan and the last day of our Upper Dolpo Circuit trek, where the restricted zone area ends. Stay overnight at the tent.
Sangda to Phale Gaon is an easy trail, as we join to the Annapurna range trekking routes, and walk for your 5 to 6 hours to reach Phale Gaon. Overnight camp.
Another easy trek to Jomsom, the district headquarters of Mustang District. Jomsom is the way of passes because we have to cross 2/3 passes but it is not hard after we can get to Jomsom at the early time and can prepare for last day celebration at Jomsom is the wonder Land where any type of Accommodation and facilities are available so we feel like we are in a different world after doing this trek. Stay overnight at the tent or Lodge.
From Jomsom, fly back to Pokhara and transfer to the hotel. After check-in hotel then a free visit to beautiful Pokhara. All day is free for leisurely activities or rest in the the hotel.
After breakfast, we take transfer to tourist coach for our return journey to Kathmandu or take a short domestic flight of 30min. Upon arrival, check in to hotel and free and easy time for own activities.
Free day in Kathmandu for own activities including shopping etc. Hotel with breakfast included.
After breakfast, our representative will help to transfer you to airport (3 hrs before your scheduled flight time) to fly back home.
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