Lower Dolpo Trek
- Trip Code: N-OBT-150
- Destination: Nepal
- Season: From May to October
- Max Altitude: 5309 meters/ 17418 feet
- Trip Starts/Ends: Kathmandu/Kathmandu
- Transportation: Private Vehicle and Flight
- Accomodation: Hotel in Kathmandu & Tented Camp in Trekking
- Trip Grade: Moderate
Lower Dolpo Trek is an exotic journey to the hidden land in the corner of Nepal’s western Himalaya. The journey of Lower Dolpo trekking is visiting the southern part of Dolpo region. It opened for foreigners since 1989.
Dolpo trekking boasts impressive ancient monasteries, isolated Tibetan style villages, pristine lake, waterfall, high passes, rich wildlife and snowy peaks.
Here people have still preserved one of the last remnants of old Tibetan culture with following of Bon-Po religion. Phoksundo Lake, one major highlight of this trip, is the deepest lake of Nepal surrounded by rocky crags and deep forests with salient turquoise blue color water.
The gateway of Lower Dolpo trek is Juphal. It can be accessed by a flight of Kathmandu to Nepalgunj followed by next flight from Nepalgunj to Juphal.
For the first few days the trekking will be passing through the river, tropical forest, barely fields and few meadows to reach Dho Tarap. It is the ancient village where people follow century’s old traditions and customs. Leaving Dho Tarap you traverse two high passes of the Numa La (5290m) and the Baga La (5175m). From these passes, you can enjoy the panoramic views of Dhaulagiri (8167m), Shey Shikhar (6139m) and Tibetan peaks named Kugung La and Khyung La.
After crossing these passes you descend all the way to Phoksundo Lake passing meadow and waterfall in the route. Ringmo village, the Bon settlement, near to Phoksundo Lake is rich in Buddhist and Bon Po culture. Excursions to the ancient monasteries (gompas) and Bonpo shrines surrounding the lake make this trip more worthwhile.
From Phoksundo Lake you return back to Juphal following Chepka and Dunai. Next day you fly back to Kathmandu connecting Nepalgunj.
Lower Dolpo Trek- Note:
Lower Dolpo Trek- 18 days of the trip. However, the itinerary is likely to be customized. Thus, please let us know if you have any request to change in itinerary.
Our tour officer will be receiving you at Tribhuvan International airport, Kathmandu. He/She will be displaying play card with your name written in it outside the airport terminal. He will meet, greet and welcome you with auspicious garland and escort you to your respective hotel by our private tourist vehicle. At the hotel, he will assist you to check in and do a pre-trip meeting with you. You will be briefed about your overall program, introduced your guide and clear your questions/queries if any. During the meeting please clear the due balance and handover a readable copy of your travel insurance policy. Overnight at hotel.
After breakfast, you have time for few hours for the preparation of trekking. Our trekking guide will meet you at the hotel. Then you will be transferred to the domestic terminal of Kathmandu airport. Then you board a flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj. It’s one hour flight. After you land at Nepalgunj airport you will drive to your hotel. Overnight at hotel.
Early morning you drive to Nepalgunj airport to catch a flight to Juphal. After forty-five minutes of flight, you land at Juphal airstrip. You will meet your other trekking crews. You set off your trekking following the path to Dngibanda, the village of many houses. Then the trail traverses meadows and down to the Kalighat. You continue walking along the river side of Thulo Bheri and pass Roop Ghar with the water mill and eventually arrive at Dunai, the headquarter of Dolpo district. Overnight at tented camp.
Today you leave Dunai following the route along the south bank of Thulo Bheri. After short walking, the trail crosses the north bank of the river and continues traversing gorges and isolated villages. A few hours later the trail crosses south bank of the river at Lawan. There is a police check post near this bridge. From here the path ascends passing through the terraced fields and arrives at the village of Tarakot. After reaching Tarakot it’s worthwhile to short climb to look around the village which was built as a fortress of Tichurong kingdom. Overnight at tented camp.
You begin trekking crossing the river and climb gently through pink fields of flowering buckwheat. The trail stays mostly high above the river climbing to 2670m before descending to a 120 long high suspension bridge at Laisicap. Just before the bridge, you will need to register and show your permit to the police post. The trail crosses the bridge then ascends to the village of Kanigaon. Passing this village you continue walking through cedar forest as the valley walls start to close in. Here you find three-sided tunnels are blasted out of the rock through the steepest part of the gorge, as the river drops steeply alongside the trail. The gorge finally starts to widen near Laini, a small meadow at 3370m. Here a couple of seasonal tent houses sell tea, noodles, and Chinese beer to traders, trekkers, and mule caravans. Overnight at tented camp.
After breakfast, you ascend to mini pass at 3540m marked with prayer flags. Then passing some ascents and docents you arrive at the Chyugur Khola. Crossing the suspension bridge to the river you walk along a side of the stream of Chaya Khola. Here the local slate like the rock is excellent for building bridges and stairways for the trail. Continue the walking to Tazam, where a couple of huts offer food and supplies between May and November. You again cross the suspension bridge to the river bank and follow the riverside trail and sooner you will arrive at Nawarpani. This is mule caravan stop at 3475m. Overnight at tented camp.
The day starts crossing the river bank over the bridge and passes a small cave and camp site to climb a breathtaking section of trail chiseled out of the sheer rock face. The trail then crosses the Tarap Chu on a wooden bridge at Tal Tole and climb on the east bank through a classic eroded Trans-Himalayan landscape to a chorten on a ridge. This is Serkam an abandoned border post between Nepal and Tibet in the 19th century. Descend from Serkam you swing into the Sishul Khola. Then the trail climbs gently to two weatherworn chortens and a mani wall atop a ridge. After that, it descends all the way to Do Tarap passing impressive views. Overnight at tented camp.
Today is the day of exploration of Dho Tarap village. The name Tarap refers to the entire region. Dho means lower end of the valley. This village is made of clusters of closely packed stone houses and corrals surrounded by fields of barley. Here huge shaggy yaks are used for plowing and carrying loads. It will be rewarding to visit three interesting monasteries of Ribo Bhumpa Gompa, it is unique ‘chorten in a chorten’ which contains remains of a demon killed by Guru Rinpoche. The paintings inside the chorten represent both Bonpo and Nyingma traditions; Doro Gompa, it is located on the north side of the river and has an unusual entrance; Shipchok Gompa, it is the Bonpo school lies across the river which is recognizable by the dozen of Mustang style chortens. It has a wonderfully carved door and finely painted prayer wheel in the atrium. Overnight at tented camp.
Today is the relatively short walking day. Leaving Dho Tarap village you walk through impressive kani (gate) and climb to the century old Mekyem Gompa which features a large statue of Maitreya Buddha. Then the trail passing through Crystal Mountain School continues uphill to Gakar village and Dorje Phurba Gompa which has collection ancient weapons. Afterward, the trail moves towards Tarap Chu and crosses it over a wooden bridge that leads to Mondo. From here the trail divides. You will follow southern branch route to the Numa La passing white walled Jampa Lhakhang to Tok Khyu village. From this village, after one hour of steep ascent, you will reach Numa La base camp. Overnight at tented camp.
Today you start your journey early in the morning as you are passing high Numa La pass. Firstly you cross the stream on rocks then climb steeply on yak trails up a grassy slope to a ridge where there are several mani walls and a chorten. Then you dip into a high glacial bowl and come to cross the small stream. From here you make a long climb up a moraine to the Numa La (5290m). From the pass, you can see the peaks of Dhaulagiri (8167m), Shey Shikhar (6139m) and Kanjeralwa. Descend from the pass into a scenic U-shaped rocky valley crossing stream, and scree slopes. On the way, you will meet yak caravans hauling timber from Phoksundo to Dho Tarap. Finally, you arrive in pastures at Pelung Tang for the camp site. Overnight at tented camp.
In the beginning, the trail crosses the stream then switchbacks up a slope to a small meadow called as high camp (4740m). From here it ascends a ridge then a moraine into a large bowl marked by a chortens of upturned stones. The trail arcs gently around the bowl on a scree slope to several rough cairns atop Baga La (5175m). Descend from the pass steeply first, then more gently staying high above the right bank of the stream. At 4390m the trail turns a corner and enters a huge valley making a final descent on steep switchbacks to Dajok Tang, meadow marked with prayer flag. This is a spectacular valley and one of the most scenics in western Nepal with a large moraine at its head and numerous waterfalls. Overnight at tented camp.
From Dajok Tang you follow the path down to herders’ huts passing through national park building. Then it traverses high above the river and moves into a huge valley passing through groves of pine and juniper trees. After an initial descent, the trail climbs to the cliff from where you can see Rilke village below to the left and the blue river and trail descending from Phoksundo. Then it contours around the hillside to a ridge from where you can see a huge waterfall. The trail descends gently through blue pine forest to the chortens and barely fields of Ringmo village. From this village, after ten minutes you will arrive at the Phoksundo Lake. Phoksundo is an alpine freshwater lake spread over 494 ha in size with a water volume of 409,000,000 m3 with 145m depth. Overnight at tented camp.
Today you will explore the area around Phoksundo Lake. First, we explore around Ringmo Village, a typical Tibetan village and head to Tshowa (the lakeshore Bon Monastery). The Gompa nestling a ridge top above Phoksundo Lake was built about 900 years ago. Exploring this culturally rich Bon Monastery is a fascinating to experience. Then you drop down to Phoksundo Lake along steep-sided cliffs. The lake is famous for its magnificent turquoise color and spectacular scenery. Many beautiful glaciers can be found near and above the lake area. There are many monasteries (Gompas ) and Bon-po religious sites at the surroundings of this lake. You visit some of them. Overnight at tented camp.
After breakfast, you follow the path on the riverside. Initially, it is leveled but pretty soon you climb along the steep uphill trail. After an hour long uphill climb you reach atop a hill from where the river you followed earlier begins to diminish in size. However, the last view of Phoksundo Lake atop a hill is truly fascinating. Then you slide down for a while and resume the trek along leveled trail to Chunuwar. Beyond Chunuwar, the trail slides down gently along lush forests of pines and birches to Recchi. Then the series of gentle ups and downs along the trail beside the river throughout until you arrive at Chepka. Overnight at tented camp.
An hour long trek from Chepka brings you to Shyanta and one more hour trek takes you to Kageni. Dramatically, beyond Shyanta you leave the forest trail and chase with arid landscapes. The walk is pleasant savoring wonderful rocky landscapes to the check post of Shey Phoksundo National Park. After the check post, you cross the suspension bridge over Dhim Khola and follow the path on the west to Juphal. The trail to Juphal is wide before it arrives at Kalagaonda village. Leaving Kalagaonda you walk along the narrow path. Sooner the trail passes beautiful fields of barley and wheat then climb final uphill to Juphal. Overnight at tented camp.
After breakfast, you board a flight from Juphal to Nepalgunj. From Nepalgunj, you fly back to Kathmandu. Upon landing in Kathmandu airport you will be transferred to your hotel. The rest of day is at leisure. You can have a hot shower, spa for relaxing your body in Kathmandu. Overnight at hotel
After breakfast, you will be offered cultural sightseeing of World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu valley accompany with a professional guide. By our private vehicle you will visit Pashupatinath, sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located on the banks of the Bagmati River 5 kilometres north-east of Kathmandu city; Boudhanath, the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal and the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet which is the center of Tibetan culture; Bhaktapur Durbar Square, medieval royal palace that glimpse you Nepalese authentic art and architecture and unique culture. After sightseeing, you have free time for your last minute shopping. Evening you will be offered farewell dinner with Nepali cuisines and cultural dances at typical Nepali Restaurant. Overnight at hotel.
The trip concludes today. Our tour officer will drop you at Kathmandu International Airport for your flight departure from Nepal.
All foreign nationals except Indian Nationals are required to arrange a visa in order to enter Nepal. A Nepalese Visa can be obtained either prior to your arrival at a Nepalese embassy abroad or on arrival time in Kathmandu at the airport. But nationals from Afghanistan, Iraq, Cameroon, Ghana, Somalia, Swaziland, Palestine, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Liberia cannot secure the Nepalese Visa upon arrival. The Visa can be also taken at entry points at Nepalese borders. For Nepalese Visa it requires your passport with at least six months validity, recent digital photo (size: 1.5″ x 1.5″) and the following fees either in USD dollars cash or the equivalent local currency:
|US$ 25 or equivalent Nepalese currency
|US$ 40 or equivalent Nepalese currency
|US$ 100 or equivalent Nepalese currency
We would offer you the meeting and greeting service in Kathmandu International Airport on your arrival time. For this, you need to pass us your International flight details at least 2 days before your arrival date in Kathmandu. After you get down from the aircraft you just pass on the Customs and come out of the Terminal building where you will see our tour officer standing with your name card. He will greet and welcome you with auspicious garland and escort you to the hotel.
In the route of Lower Dolpo trekking, it should depend on a tented camp for night halt since organized trekkers lodges have not been built yet. So during trekking, we would provide you comfortable twin sharing tents with mattress and sleeping bag for night stay. In Kathmandu and Nepalgunj we would offer you tourist standard hotel under 3-star categories unless it is mentioned otherwise or clients have a special choice.
Since Lower Dolpo is camping trek our kitchen team prepares delicious food for you throughout trekking days. Each day they cook different items and serve you 3 times of hot fresh meal including tea, coffee, chocolate, and soup. In the entire trekking, you will have a taste of Nepali meals Dal Bhat (rice with lentils soup and seasonable vegetables), Chinese, Continental and Indian cuisines.
The trekking team who will go with you is the most significant thing that makes your Lower Dolpo trekking successful, enjoyable and memorable. We would provide you skilled, experienced, courteous, knowledgeable and helpful trekking guide, cook, kitchen helpers, and porters. The trekking guide leads you on the trail and brief you all the about this route and porters carry your luggage. Our all trekking guides are carefully selected in terms of their appropriate experience, leadership skills and their knowledge about local culture, ecosystem, geography, flora and fauna, and history. Our cook is well experienced and trained in the cooking of Nepali, Continental, Chinese and Indian food. With aim of sustaining local communities, we only employ qualified local people.
During the trek, your main luggage will be carried by porters or pack animals (usually yaks or cross-breeds). You simply carry a day pack with water bottle, camera, sunscreen, spare jacket, etc. – a small load that allows full enjoyment of the trek. A trek bag is ideal for your main luggage, plus a small lockable bag for travel clothes or anything that you do not need during trek which you can leave at hotel’s locker room in Kathmandu for free of charge.
The day starts around 6 a.m. with a cup of hot tea brought to your tent along with a bowl of hot water for your morning wash. Breakfast will be laid on the table consisting of porridge, toasts, eggs, pancakes and tea/coffee. While you are taking breakfast our staff will pack the tents so you need to pack your bags before breakfast. After breakfast by 7:30 am everyone should be ready to start walking. The reason for this early is to take advantage of the cool morning when walking is easiest and also the morning air is very clear allowing a better view of the mountains than at other times of the day. Porters carry your baggage. Everyone walks at his or her own pace. There is a plenty of time to enjoy the views, meet the local people, take photographs and enjoy the flora and fauna. The porters are slower and kitchen crews rush ahead to prepare lunch which should then be ready when the groups arrive at around 11 am. Afternoon trek ends about 3 pm then get into your tents which already set up by our staff in a field near the village. The kitchen crew again prepares tea coffee and serves it to you with biscuits. As we often camp near villages a trip to the local inn can provide some light entertainment. Later you have free choice to read a book or explore the surrounding area. Dinner is provided around 6 pm. In the evening all staffs make fun by singing and dancing with group members. Then everybody will turn to their tents to enjoy a sound sleep.
Lower Dolpo Trekking is fairly strenuous trek suitable for any passionate walkers who able to walk at least 5-7 hours a day with a light day pack. Walking in higher altitudes is more physically demanding than walking in lower altitudes; however, if you are in excellent health with average physical fitness and have a positive attitude, self-confidence, and strong determination, you can do this trek successfully. Exercising and jogging regularly for some weeks prior to the trip is a good idea to enhance your strength and stability. Past hiking experience would be an asset but no compulsorily required for this trip. It is vital for participants with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart, lung, and blood diseases to consult their doctor before taking the trip.
At high elevations, the combination of reduced oxygen and lower atmospheric pressure can produce a variety of unpredictable effects on the body, known collectively as Acute mountain sickness (AMS) is also commonly known as Altitude Sickness. Everyone who treks over 3500 m experiences some mild symptoms of AMS like slowness, dizziness, headache, nausea, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, racing pulse, disturbed sleep and swelling of the hands and feet but serious cases are very rare. The golden rule of prevention from Altitude Sickness doesn’t walk too fast at altitude, drink plenty of liquids, eating well, getting plenty of sleep and avoiding alcohol. If in case you feel any mentioned symptoms the simple cure is to move down (descend) and you shouldn’t ascend further until you start feeling better. To treat AMS there is also available medication Acetazolamide (better known under the brand name Diamox). The dosage is 250 mg every twelve hours. Diamox improves respiration at altitude and can, therefore, accelerate acclimatization. Some doctors recommend a preventive dose (125 mg twice a day) for people trekking at high elevations. At the time of trekking our trekking team always guides you to prevent from Altitude Sickness and they always have Diamox along with first aid kit.
We believe casualty and a serious sickness will not happen on the trip. If it happens we will do everything to transfer you to the nearest hospital. Since all the expenses incurred in evacuation liable to you please make sure that it is covered by your insurance before assigning for it or be prepared to pay on your own after getting back to Kathmandu.
We strongly advise you to take travel insurance before joining a tour which should cover medical expenses, emergency repatriation and helicopter evacuation at high altitude places and loss of your luggage. We would request you to bring your insurance documents when you come to Nepal.
The following list is a guideline to help you pack for your trekking. The weight limit for your luggage is 15 kg or 33 pounds. Remember that your luggage will be carried by our porter. However, you are required to carry a small day- pack with your valuables or anything important. We advise you pack only what is necessary.
Important Items : Airline tickets; Valid passport; 2 extra passport size photos; Photocopy of your passport; Insurance paper; Dollars, Pounds or Euros in cash for purchasing Nepalese visa at Kathmandu airport, for paying at restaurants and hotels, for gratuities, snacks and to purchase your own drinks and gifts; Credit Card (Visa/ Mater Card) for withdrawing cash from cash machines if needs.
For Head: Sun Hat; Bandana or head scarf; Headlamp with extra batteries; Sun Glasses with UV protection.
For Upper Body: Shirts (1 half sleeve and 2 long sleeves); Lightweight thermal tops; Fleece Jacket or Wool Sweater; Wind Cheater jacket; Down Jacket
For Lower Body: 1 pair of lightweight thermal bottoms; 1 pair of fleece or woolen trousers; 1 pair of waterproof shell pants and 1 pair of hiking trousers.
For Hands: 1 pair of lightweight wool or fleece gloves and 1 pair of lightweight poly liner gloves.
For Feet: 2 pairs of thin inner socks; 2 pairs of poly or wool socks; 1 pair of Hiking boots (sturdy soles, water resistant, ankle support); 1 pair of running shoes and/or sandals.
Medical: Your daily taking medicine if any; small personal first aid kit; Aspirin, plasters (band-aids); Sunscreen; lip balms; Anti-diarrhea pills; Anti-headache pills; A cough and/or cold medicine; Anti-altitude sickness pills: Diamox or Acetazolamide; Stomach antibiotic: Ciprofloxacin.
Other Useful Items: 1 sleeping bag (good to -20 degrees C or 28 degrees F); Rucksack and Travel Bags; 1 large duffel bag *; A small daypack/backpack for carrying your valuables; Small padlocks for duffel- bags; 2 large waterproof rucksack covers (optional); Digital camera; 2 water bottles (1 liter each); disposable rubbish sacks; Toiletries: 1 medium-sized quick drying towel; Toothbrush/paste; Multi-purpose soap; Deodorants; Nail clippers; Face and body moisturizer; Tissue /toilet roll; hiking poles, snack food (chocolate/ biscuits); umbrella; reading book or pack of cards (for leisure time during trekking).
Note: * mark item we will provide you in service. If any items are not available in your hometown you can buy in Trekking Store in Kathmandu before you embark for trekking.
The itinerary for each trip should be taken as a guideline only. Depending on the situation, you can modify it to some extent after consulting with your guide. However, the date of trip ending should always coincide with the original itinerary. Kindly keep in mind that sometimes unforeseen events may contribute to the need for a change in itinerary. In such cases, we or your guide will suggest the best alternative similar to your original.
Naturally Dolpo Region is so beautiful but equally, it is fragile as well. Increasing population density and numbers of trekkers threaten the very beauty of this area. We at Silver Himalaya Adventures are extremely conscious about protecting its beautiful natural environment and preserving the fascinating local culture. We are doing our level best to minimize our impact as much as possible. Our all trekking guides and porters are well trained and motivated to following guidelines of responsible tourism and eco-friendly tourism. In trekking, they also advise you do’s and don’ts to minimize your impact on the local environment.
In addition to your Trekking trip, you can join in various side Trips in Nepal like a cultural tour of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Jungle Safari in National Park, White Water Rafting in Himalayan Rivers, Golfing, Adventure activities like Bungee Jumping, Altra Light Flight, Paragliding, Jeep flyer etc. You also can extend your trip to neighboring Himalayan Countries: Bhutan, Tibet, Sikkim (India) which seems more appealing to you. On your request, we will give you the detail of the side trips.