Treks in the Lower Dolpo do not need special permits. The Lower Dolpo is located in the mid-western part of Nepal known as“Ba Yul” in the local dialect or the hidden valley. One of the many highlights of the lower Dolpo trek is the flat upper valley, which contains a number of interesting villages mostly inhabited by people of Magar & Gurung origins.
There are a number of Buddhist and Bon-Po temples to see along the way.
Arrival in Kathmandu
Upon arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport, transfer to your hotel in Kathmandu or Bhaktapur. A short briefing will follow concerning the necessary formalities and your trekking itinerary. Depending upon your arrival time, you may spend your free time visiting nearby sanctuaries or resting.
Sightseeing / Cultural Day in Kathmandu Valley
Half-day sightseeing tour of UNESCO Bhaktapur and Kathmandu, including Buddhist and Hindu temples and shrines reflecting ancient local traditions. There is time to explore the city’s many places of interest on your own or take a rest while trekking permits are finalized. In the evening, sample a delicious traditional Nepali dinner. Overnight in Kathmandu
Kathmandu to Nepalgunj
We have to fly to Nepalgunj from Kathmandu. Nepalgunj is the jumping-off place for flights and buses throughout western Nepal. Unfortunately, there is no connecting flight to Jumla (the start of our trek), so we will spend the night here.
Nepalgunj to Jumla
An early morning plane will take us to the town of Jumla, which lies on the banks of the Tila Khola river at 2,370 meters. 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.
Jumla to Gothi Chaur (2500m)
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 2,530 meters. 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 (2,830 m) and then descends into a magnificent alpine amphitheater 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 (5 hrs).
Gothi Chaur to Naphukana (3080m)
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 peculiarly carved wooden faces called dok-pa that 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 gray stone houses of Chotra (3,010 m). The village has traditional Mani walls (stones carved with Tibetan Buddhist prayers) and a Kani (an arch with murals on the inside) over the trail. A short distance from here is the Tibetan settlement of Naphukana where we will make our camp (6 hrs).
Naphukana to Balasa (3110m)
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 (the "honey pass") at 3,820 meters. From this pass, we will have good views of the snowy peaks of Gutumba (5,608 m) and Mataumba (5,767 m) to the north-east and Bhalu Himal (5,460 m) to the south. We will descend from here to the Bheri valley to the large Khampa settlement of Chaurikot at 3060 meters. A short distance past this village, there are some excellent campsites alongside the trail (5 hours).
Balasa to Kaigaon (2610m)
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 2,890 meters, 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 (3–4 hours).
Kaigaon to Toijem (2920m)
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 (5 hrs).
Toijem to Kagmara Phedi (4000m)
Today we follow the trail up the western side of the Garpung Khola river to about 3,650 meters, 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 3,900 meters. 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 (6 hrs).
Kamarga Phedi to Lasa (4060m)
We start early to climb alongside the Kagmara Glacier to Kagmara La Pass at 5,115 meters. Then we descend about 900 meters 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 at about 4,060 m (7 hrs).
Lasa to Sumduwa (3100m)
The trail stays high above the stream, which eventually becomes the Pungmo Khola River. The route enters birch and juniper forests, which give way 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 proceed downstream to the Sumduwa school. Then, descend to a tent on the banks of the Phoksundo Khola (5 hrs).
Sumduwa to Phoksundo Lake (3730m)
We will join the direct trail to Phoksundo Lake today, climbing through forests of big cedars on to Palam (3,710 m), a winter settlement used by the people of the Ringmo village. The entrance station for the Shey Phoksundo National Park is at the south end of the village. The route then descends on switchbacks through open country to an elevation of 3,300 meters and then starts up another set of dusty switchbacks to a ridge at 3,780 meters to the highest waterfall in Nepal (200 meters 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 Phoksundo Lake, where we camp at the national park camping grounds west of the lake (6 hrs).
Today we rest to admire the beauty of this great lake. We will visit nearby Bon and Buddhist Settler villages and can take a short excursion to the white Pal Sentan Thasoon Chholing Gompa, a Bon-Po gompa overlooking the lake that is said to have been built 60 generations ago.
Phoksundo Lake to Renje (3010m)
We will backtrack our path to Ringmo village and continue to pass through Palam to the Suli Gaad valley, following the stream originating from Phoksundo 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 (5 hrs).
Renje to Chepka (2670m)
Our route follows several ups and downs alongside the river, through forests of firs and larches, as it continues downstream. The trail then passes through 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. (4-5 hrs).
Chepka to Juphal (2354m)
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 (7 hrs)
Juphal to Nepalgunj
We fly to Nepalgunj today and connect with our flight back to Kathmandu the next day.
Nepalgunj to Kathmandu
We take our return flight to Kathmandu. You will have an overnight stay in Kathmandu. The next day, you will depart from Kathmandu.
- Airport pick-up and drop-off
- Three nights hotel accommodation and breakfast in Kathmandu
- Licensed and trained trekking guides
- Porters for carrying goods and supplies
- All accommodation during trek
- All meals and hot beverages whilst trekking
- Transportation to and from trailhead
- All necessary documents and permits for trekking (where applicable)
- National Park/Conservation Area entry permit
- Equipment such as sleeping bag, tents, mattresse
- Cooking equipment
- Camp-site charges
- Insurance, medication, and equipment for staff
- Coordination of Quick Rescue service (costs covered by your insurance plan)
- International airfares
- Travel/trekking insurance
- Excess baggage charges more than 16kg and hand bag more than 5kg in domestic flights
- Visa fees
- Rescue charge
- Drinks (cold and alcoholic)
- Lunches and dinners whilst not trekking
September to end of November and February to late June
Medium - Hard
Starting point of trek
Finishing point of trek
Read our FAQ that answers general questions