Upper Dolpo

Upper Dolpo

Trip Overview

This trek takes place in the northwest region of Nepal. Dolpo lies in the Phoksundo National park of mid-western Nepal. Behind the Dhaulagiri massif and towards the Tibetan plateau. The area is cut off by a series of very high passes and closed by the snow all around the year.
As it is one of the remotest and least exposed areas of Nepal, it offers rare opportunities to explore the near-virgin territory and meet people. It is all isolated by the difficult topography, almost unexposed to tourism. Because Dolpo is so close to Tibet’s border, people of Tibetan origin inhabit it. The trek provides chances to visit several unique monasteries (gompas).

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Trip Itinerary

  • Day 01

    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 free time visiting nearby sanctuaries or resting.

  • Day 02

    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

  • Day 03

    Kathmandu to Nepaljung

    Fly to Nepalgunj, a small town near the Indian border in the Terai region of Nepal, and stay overnight in this transit city.

  • Day 04

    Nepaljung to Dunai (2796m) via Juphal (2354m)

    We will leave early in the morning on the only flight out to Juphal. It is a short flight with wonderful views of the precipitous hillsides and river valleys. The airstrip at Juphal is at an altitude of 2,354 m, so we will have a relatively easy trek as we walk along the Thuli Bheri River to Dunai.

  • Day 05

    Tarakot to Khanigoan (2540m)

    We follow our trail eastwards out of Dunai, along the south bank of the Thulo Bheri, ascending slowly upstream on a good trail. We will cross the river many times as we come closer to our campsite below the fortress of Tarakot village. After dropping our luggage, it is worth a climb to the village for a look around (5 hours).

  • Day 06

    Tarakot to Khanigoan (2540m)

    The trek today to Khanigaun goes alongside terraced fields following the Barbung Khola river and crosses to the western bank just below its confluence with the Tarap Khola. After a few ups and downs, the trail crosses this river on a 120-meter-long, high suspension bridge. At 2,540 meters, there is a place to camp on the banks of the Tarap Chu (chu is Tibetan for river) in a lovely cedar grove (4 hours).

  • Day 07

    Khanigoan to Chheur (3610m)

    The Tarap Valley narrows up in a tight V-shaped gorge ahead, climbing through cedar forests and fields of cannabis over the tops of some spectacular landslides. The new trail here is excellent, with stone steps and tunnels blasted out of the rock through the steepest part of the gorge. The river drops steeply alongside the trail—600 meters in only 3 kilometers. Finally, the gorge opens up at Lahini, which is a rough grass slope at 3,160 meters. Beyond this, the trail passes through grassy meadows and graveled river beds, and one can see waterfalls spraying from the rock walls. We will continue climbing over ridges, with the usual ups and downs, to another crest at 3600 meters. The trail stays high for a while before descending to a rushing side stream, the Tilba Khola, at 3,570 meters. We have to climb one more ridge to arrive at our campsite at Chheur, where there are large rose shrubs, yellow poppies, and magenta-blooming legumes (6-7 hrs).

  • Day 08

    Chheur to Sishul Khola (3770m)

    Our trail stays on the west bank of the river, making some short climbs before reaching Nawor Pani, a shelter at 2,620 meters. The valley turns a bit to the west as the trail makes its way to a grassy meadow and crosses the Tarap Chu a few times on a series of log and stone bridges. After crossing the Tarap Chu on a very short bridge where the river emerges from a narrow, steep gorge, we climb further on the east bank through a true trans-Himalayan landscape to a chorten (Buddhist prayer temple) on a ridge at 3870 meters. We enter "blue-sheep country" now; there are numerous herds living among the yellow rocks and cliffs. We descend from here to the Sishul Khola river, where there is a grassy campsite (5 hrs).

  • Day 09

    Sishul Khola to Do Tarap (4080m)

    We start by climbing gently to two weatherworn chortens atop a ridge. From here, the trail is rocky as it traverses beneath cliffs to a bridge at 3,890 meters, where we cross to the east bank. We continue climbing up the canyon alongside the river. It will not be long before we see the white Ribo Bhumpa gompa ahead of us in Do Tarap. We will continue with a short climb alongside a line of ancient chortens to Do Tarap, where there is a camp site in a grassy meadow south of the village (4 hours).

  • Day 10

    Rest day for acclimatization

    Rest day for acclimatization

  • Day 11

    Do Tarap to Tok-khyu High Camp (4390m)

    Our path heads west out of Do Tarap, past a cluster of stone houses and the Crystal Mountain School, which is the first serious attempt to bring education to this remote region. Beyond the school, a trail leads uphill to Ga Kar ("the white mountain" village). We continue our way up the valley to Trangmar (the red cliff) and Dorje Phorba gompa at 4,170 meters. We continue on to Tok-Khyu village at 4,180 meters, and from here it is about an hour further following the stream to the campsite at 4390 meters (6 hrs).

  • Day 12

    Tok-khyu High Camp to Pelungtang (4465m)

    We will have to start early to pass the Numa La Pass (5,318 m) under the best of circumstances. We have to climb steeply up a grassy slope to a ridge where there are several Mani walls and a chorten at 4,580 meters. We climb further up along a moraine to Numa La Pass, which is about 4 hours past our high camp. On a clear day, we will have excellent views of Dhaulagiri I (8,167 m). From the pass we descend into an U-shaped, rocky valley. We follow the river here downstream and cross it on a combination of rocks and logs, then climb back up again on the south bank, which climbs gently but continually to a good camp site in a meadow at 4,465 meters. This area is known as Pelungtang; tang in Tibetan means meadow (7 hrs).

  • Day 13

    Pelungtang to Dajok Tang (3800m)

    Today is a tough day when the pass is covered with snow, but it is not really difficult when the route is clear. It takes about 3 hours to reach the Baga La Pass (5,190 m), marked by prayer flags and cairns. From the pass, one can see several snow-clad peaks, including the Kanjiroba massif. We descend steeply from the pass until our trail levels out, staying high above the stream until we enter a huge valley at 4,390 meters. From here, we make a final descent on steep switchbacks to Dajok Tang ("the prayer flag meadow") at 4,080 meters. The stream drops beside the trail in an impressive series of step-like waterfalls. This is truly a spectacular valley, with a large moraine, said to encompass a lake, at its head and numerous waterfalls shooting from near-vertical rock cliffs. We continue for a short time before arriving at our campsite (6 hours).

  • Day 14

    Dajok Tang to Phoksundo Lake (3730m)

    The trail today remains on the right bank of the Sanu Bheri. It is a magnificent trek with wonderful views every step of the way. In some places there are broad meadows, and in others the valley teeters along a steep hillside. Along the trail, we will see Norbu Kang (6,005 m), Kagmara Peak, and other peaks of Kanjelaruwa. The trail eventually will emerge onto a thorny shrub area, descend briefly, and then climb on a high cliffside trail to a ridge at 3,780 meters. From here, there is a great view across the valley to the huge waterfall formed by the Phoksundo Khola river. The trail levels out again and re-enters the forest as it climbs to another ridge at 3,820 meters. It then descends through a blue pine forest to the national park camping ground near Phoksundo Lake. It’s a spectacular lake that's 4.8 km long and 1.8 km wide. It is said to be 650 meters deep. There is no aquatic life in the lake, which helps to make the water brilliantly clear and have an aquamarine color.

  • Day 15

    Phoksundo Lake to Renje (3010)

    Today we will descend to Renje village. It is the first time crossing the picturesque village of Ringmo, with its flat-roofed stone houses and many mud-plastered chortens and Mani walls. Ascending through birch forests, we will follow our trail past the spectacular 200-meter-high waterfall coming from Phoksundo Lake; this is the highest waterfall in Nepal. We keep following this river downward, crossing it many times, till we reach our campsite at Renje (5 hrs).

  • Day 16

    Renje to Chepka (2670m)

    Also today, we will follow the river further downward, making many ups and downs alongside it. We will go through forests of firs and larches until the trail becomes more rocky and forms a dyke on the side of the river. If we are lucky, the small village of Chepka has just been restocked by cargo helicopters, and we will be able to buy some refreshments like soft drinks or cold beers. We will camp in a meadow next to a walnut grove (5 hours away).

  • Day 17

    Chepka to Juphal (2490m)

    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).

  • Day 18 and 19

    Juphal to Nepalgunj/Kathmandu

    From Jumla, we fly back to Nepalgunj and then fly to Kathmandu. Staying at a hotel for the night

  • Day 20


    Depart from Kathmandu.

Whats Includes

  • Airport pick-up and drop-off
  • Three nights hotel accommodation and breakfast in Kathmandu
  • Licensed and trained trekking guides
  • Porters for carrying goods and suppplies
  • 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, matresses
  • Cooking equipment
  • Camp-site charges
  • Insurance, medication, and equipment for staff
  • Coordination of Quick Rescue service (costs covered by your insurance plan)

Not Included

  • 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
Total Cost in (USD) USD 3895
Total Price: USD 3895

Trek Details

Trek dates



September to end of November and February to late June


20 days

Trekking days


Trekking grade

Medium - Hard

Maximum altitude


Starting point of trek


Finishing point of trek


Trek code


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