Are you a strenuous trekking lover? If yes, Upper Dolpo trekking is one of the worthy treks in western part of Nepal. Dolpo trek grants you to trek towards rugged and remote areas of Nepal. The infrastructure of that region is underdeveloped and has less facilities of lodges and tea houses in the trail. Having said that it is arduous trekking but it is worth it to trek to upper Dolpo. Trekkers can get to know about the Tibeten culture, hike to shey- phoksundo, torrent, soothing lakes, picturesque hills and alluring scenes of mountains. Trekking to dolpo provides a lifetime experience without any regret which is surrounded by mountain chains.
Vigil the hypnotizing view of snow leopards in Shey-Phoksundo National Park.
Tranquil lake which is crucial with crystal clear water.
Observing the unique culture of Buddhist people and holy places.
800 years early monastery with the amazing view of Himalayas.
Exploring the settlement of a medieval village at Dho Tarap which is the highest human livelihood in the world.
Unique trekking experience and inquire about flora and fauna.
Facts of the Upper Dolpo Trek
Daily Stroll: 6,7 hrs.
Trek Starting and Ending point: Juphal.
Accommodation: Camping/ Guesthouses.
Permits: will be managed by the local agency.
Best time for trek: Sep- Nov and Mar-May.
Transportation: fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj and Nepalgunj to Juphal flight and start trek from Juphal.
How to start and end Upper dolpo trek?
Upper Dolpo trek is one of the most difficult hikes among all the trekking in Nepal. Due to the remote and less facilities most of the people avoid Upper Dolpo Trek but the point is though it is a challenging trek you will never regret which grants lifetime memories.
Dolpo trekking starts by taking a flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj. During a flight you will enjoy the view of dazzling mountains, green hills and marvelous scenarios. Next day you will fly from Nepalgunj to Juphal and walk 2-3hr to Dunai. The next day your trek will start for 24 days. In the trail from Dunai to back to Juphal you will see the quaint hills, soothing lakes, fast flowing rivers, glimpse of breathtaking views of mountains, waterfalls and explore the lifestyle of Tibetan culture people of Upper Dolpo region.
Upper Dolpo trekking is one of the least visited but famous trekking locations of Nepal. Eye catching view of the paradise and slow stroll towards Upper Dolpo will grant you an amazing life time experience.
DAY 1: Welcome to Kathmandu
DAY 2: Explore Kathmandu and prepare for trek
DAY 3: Flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj
DAY 4: Flight from Nepaljung to Juphal and trek to Dunai
DAY 5: Hike from Dunai to Ankhe
DAY 6: Hike from Ankhe to Sulighat
DAY 7: Sightseeing from Sulighat to Phoksundo lake
DAY 8: Explore Shey-Phoksundo lake
DAY 9: Hike to Phoksundo Khola
DAY 10: Explore Phoksundo Khola to Phoksundo Bhanjyang
DAY 11: Trek to Shey Gompa via Kang-La Pass
DAY 12: Day to rest at Shey Gompa
DAY 13: Shey Gompa to Namuna Gaun trek across Saldang La Pass
DAY 14: Explore from Namuna to Saldang La Pass
DAY 15: Hike from Saldanha to Yangtze Gompa
DAY 16: Trek from Yangtze to Sibu
DAY 17: Trek from Sibu to Jeng- la Phedi
DAY 18: Across Jeng La Pass and trek to Tokyu Goan
DAY 19: Trek from Tokyu Goan to Dho Tarap
DAY 20: Day to rest in Dho Tarap
DAY 21: Explore from Dho Tarap to Tarap khola
DAY 22: Trek from Tarap khola to Khani Goan
DAY 23: Hike from Khani Goan to Tarakot
DAY 24: Trek from Tarakot to Dunai
DAY 25: Trek from Dunai to Juphal
DAY 26: Nepalgunj to Kathmandu on flight
DAY 27: Kathmandu (Departure Day)
Upper Dolpo Trek Difficulty
It is better to know about the difficulties before than suffering later. Upper Dolpo is the trekking area which is combined with both hilly and rocky mountains. It is listed as the most difficult trek in Nepal. Trekkers who want to join this upper dolpo trekking must be high level fit and fine. Anybody with a healthy sound body can take a step to go for Upper Dolpo trekking. Though the sight is mind-bogglingly beautiful it is the least visited trekking of Nepal.
Foremost thing to prepare is motivating oneself. This trekking takes trekkers at maximum altitude 5190m many of the trekkers fell sick due to high altitude. The higher you go the level of oxygen at ambience keeps on decreasing. You might feel shortness of breath, headache, dizziness as a symptom of altitude sickness. In this situation it's better to take rest until you feel well.
Trails of Upper Dolpo
As we know, Upper Dolpo is a remote area which is hidden behind a snowy mountain. It is located at the higher altitude where there is desert-like topography with arduous trails. The path of the trekking is rough and steady. Trekking to Upper Dolpo is less famous than other classical treks because of its unconstructed strolling trail. The trails are up and down which makes the trekking difficult for any trekker. For the novice trekkers it is a challenging trek so you should get prepared and do more exercise before joining this trekking.
Cost of the items at higher altitudes cost more than at lower altitude. In the upper dolpo there are less tea houses and lodges at higher altitudes. If you find tea houses and lodges, the item is worth extremely more. There are no facilities for Bank and ATM systems. So, it is best to carry enough money which is required while trekking to Upper Dolpo of Nepal.
Network and Wifi service
At Dolpo, only a few of the areas have network services. In some villages, there are emergency satellite telephone services. At Dunai, some of the lodges and teahouses provide good wireless internet service with additional fees charged.
We recommend you to purchase an NCELL sim with 4G service with the internet package. The internet package costs less than USD10 but it provides good internet service. You can purchase a sim card and 4G internet at Kathmandu.
Best Month to trek at Upper Dolpo?
Nepal trekking is best for all seasons. It depends on which type of climate lover you are. Climate and temperature play an indispensable role in making the trek exciting or tedious. As it is in the Himalayas there might be unpredictable snowfall or little rain. For upper dolpo from March- May and Sep- Nov are the best months for trekking.
In the early months the trails may be blocked with snowpack and you might not be able to cross the pass. You can take alternative passes to continue the trekking. From mid April there will be no snowfall, the weather will be perfect and it will be a perfect and easy trek for experienced and no snow trekking experience trekkers.
Temperatures of the region vary at 9°C to 13°C and -8°C at higher altitude.
Monsoon (June to Aug)
In this season there is more chances of rainfall and the delay of the flight might be the problem. Flight from Nepalgunj to Jhupal might be cancelled due to weather conditions. There might be longtime rainfall for the first weeks and the trials may be slippery. But after reaching higher places the trails remain dry and no gears are needed while trekking. The weather condition in the lower part of the region might be affected by rainfall like delay of flight and slipper trails.
Temperature in this season remains ideal. It varies from 5°C to 15°C and in higher altitudes it's over -5°C.
Autumn ( Sep to Nov)
Only the problem in this season is unpredictable snowfall. This season is one of the best seasons for trekking to Upper Dolpo. Even better is sep and nov, the temperature remains gratifying and the sky remains bluesoom. In November half there is the beginning of winter so snowfall may occur and it might block the trail.
Temperatures vary from 4°C to -12°C in higher parts and about 18°C to 12°C as autumn slightly changes to winter in lower parts.
Winter (Dec to Feb)
Trekking in winter at Upper Dolpo is a bad choice. Due to heavy snowfalls and exceedingly cold temperature. It is harder for the normal trekker because the temperature reaches minus degrees and extreme snowfall blocks the trail.
Temperature will be around -12°C at higher altitude which is extremely cold. We do not recommend you to book or make a plan to go trekking in Upper Dolpo in the winter season. Though you want to join you should go with professional trekkers with experience of snow conditions.
Food and Drinking water while trekking to Upper Dolpo
Only upto Shey-Poksundo, there is a facility of tea houses and lodges. Upper Dolpo is a camping trek so tea houses and lodges are not easily available. Though the food is available in remote areas, it is 4 times more expensive than in normal places. Trekkers who have previous experience know the rules that, the more you go at higher altitude, the more the price of the food costs.
Trekkers should manage their food by themself because there are no places to buy food. Managing the shelter and carrying food for upcoming days is the foremost thing to be done by trekkers while heading for trekking to Upper Dolpo.
Water in Upper Dolpo is easily available but it is not safe to drink directly. Many people get sick with diarrhoea, common cold and vomiting due to polluted water during the rainy season. Sealed water bottles are available in some places in the lower part of the Dolpo. But the higher you reach at higher elevation there are no facilities for buying sealed water bottles.
During the trek there might be problems finding the local taps so it's better to carry an extra bottle to fill the water and drink using purification tablets or chlorine drops.
Solo or Guided
Explaining the main point, Upper Dolpo is a restricted area where you cannot trek there alone. You cannot apply for the permits of Upper Dolpo yourself. You should apply for permits with the help of a local agency so that they will allow their staff to trek with you . Trekking to Upper Dolpo is not for a solo trekker. It should be done with a group of people because it is a restricted and also camping trek.
Journey to Upper Dolpo is not for every unexperienced trekker. Difficult trails and the few accommodations make the trekking more challenging. It will be impossible to carry food and manage shelter alone. So, this trek should be performed with one Nepali guide.
Permits and Cost for Upper Dolpo trek?
In Nepal trekking there are different trekking locations with restrictions to trek alone. Though it does not mean you can't join the trek.Permits are required to trek in restricted areas. The local agency will apply for the permits and you can start your trek in the restriction area with the agency staff.
In Upper Dolpo it costs USD 500 individually for 10 days. For additional days it costs USD 50 per person per day. USD 40 for entry permits. Upper Dolpo trek permits cannot be issued for less than 10 days.