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Upper Dolpa and Shey Gompa Trek - 27 Nights/ 28 Days

Upper Dolpa trek was first settled by Rokpa farmers and Drokpa nomads from Tibet in the 10th century. Upper dolpa region is one of the highest inhabited places on earth, with scattered fortress-like villages and monasteries nestling amongst mountains of stark, ascetic beauty. Though part of Nepal today, upper Dolpa remains culturally and economically firmly tied to Tibet, the people of this desolate area are cut off from their southern neighbors by snow-covered passes for much of the year. Upper dolpo trekking region is fascinating and difficult country to travel in.

Upper Dolpa and Shey Gompa TrekMost of upper Dolpa area is protected by Shey Phoksumdo National Park. Upper dolpa is bounded in the east and south by Dhaulagiri and Churen Himal ranges and in the west by the Jumla district. Upper Dolpo has been bypassed by development and until recently by tourism. Although a few Anthropologists and geographers had explored the region, the entire district was closed off to foreigners until 1989, when southern parts of upper Dolpo was opened to organized trekking groups.

Peter Matthiessen's the snow leopard and David Snellgrove's Himalayan Pilgrimage has contributed to the mystique and attraction of upper dolpo. Both writers visited the Shey Gompa, to the north of the Phoksumdo Lake, in inner Dolpo. This is the goal of most trekkers but this Dolpo trek will take you even further into this mysterious land.

Upper dolpo is Bon-pro country, where people practice a shamanistic religion predating Tibetan Buddhism.

Much of Bon-po symbolism is the opposite of Buddhist practice. You should walk to the right of ancient mud chortens, which are inscribed with swastikas with their arms pointing in the opposite direction to the Buddhist chant of "om mani padme hum", the Bon-pos chant 'om ma tri mu ye sa le du", in Tibetan means "in clarity unite'.

Upper Dolpo trekking is remote hidden trekking destination in Nepal where Nepal's most tranquil and natural beauty is still unexplored. Upper Dolpo is located inside the Shey - Phoksundo National Park of mid-western Nepal, behind the Dhaulagiri massif, towards the Tibetan Plateau.

Dolpo Trek / Trekking in Dolpo region is an experience not easily forgotten. As it is in the isolated part of Nepal, there the nature seems to have remained exactly the same as it was first created- unharmed and unaltered. Undisturbed and preserved for centuries now. Blue sheep, leopards and other interesting Himalayan animals are still there in that region.

Dolpo region trekking is the natural embodiment of high passes, rare flora and fauna, and sweeping vistas, which is enriched by the traditional Tibetan cultural heritage. Upper dolpa trek is quite an experience of life. The view of Kanjiroba peak, Phoksumdo Lake, and the Dhauligiri massif is one of the most rewarding moments of the upper dolpa trekking. A visit to the Phoksumdo Gompa dedicated to the ancient Bonpo religion, local to Dolpo and Tibet, is a memorable experience in Himalayan kingdom of Nepal.

Upper Dolpo trekking is famous for deepest Lake Phoksundo in entire Himalayan Region. Mother Nature created a unique and wonderful treasurer like Dolpo, which is being the shelter of many rare alpine living beings. Trek to Dolpo has often been called the Nepal Himalaya pilgrimage trekking and hidden valley trek created by Guru Rinpoche.

Upper Dolpo trek is most suitable for those who are exceptionally fit and prepared to face the full challenge of the Himalayan wilderness and well-organized camping trekking , trekking in group is recommended also special trekking permit is required which you can obtain through Government registered trekking company of Nepal

Phoksumdo Lake

The lake is spectacular, it is 4.8km long, 1.8km wide and said to be 650m deep. It is known for its aquamarine color a greenish blue similar to a special Tibetan turquoise .There is no aquatic life in the lake, which helps to make the waters brilliantly clear. If you toss a rock in, you can watch it for a long time as it sinks to the bottom. According to legend, Phoksumdo Lake was formed by a spiteful female demon.

In Buddhist Himalaya, David Snellgrove recounts how the demon was fleeing from the saint Padmasambhava and gave the village people a turquoise after they promised not to tell that she had passed by. Padmasambhava turned the turquoise into a lump of dung, which upset the local people so much they revealed the demon's whereabouts. She, in return caused a flood. It is said you can see the remains of a village below the lake's surface.

Upper Dolpa and Shey Gompa Trek

Upper Dolpo Trek - Day to Day itinerary

Day 01.
Arrival in Kathmandu
Flying to Kathmandu along the northern border of Nepal on a clear day is in itself an exciting and memorable experience as exotic panoramic view of snow-capped Annapurna mountain range peaks sprawls before you. The Nepali support team will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel.
Day 02.
Sightseeing of Kathmandu Valley
Kathmandu, being a historical and cultural heart of Nepal, is a popular destination for tourists, trekkers and adventure seekers. The city presents a wonderful mixture of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism and Western influence in the Valley. Patan and Bhaktapur are its two major neighboring cities which bear immense historical, cultural and religious significance. There will be a half day guided tour to the famous & biggest Hindu shrine PASUPATHINATH, the largest Buddhist stupa in town BOUDHANATH, the 15th century palace of 55 windows and SOYAMBHUNATH. In the evening, a trip orientation meeting will be organized.
Day 03.
Fly to Nepalganj
We fly from Kathmandu to Nepalganj in the southwest part of the Terai, right on the border to India. After checking into our hotel we might go and have a look at the Bageshwari Mandir, a temple to honour Kali. But what Nepalganj is all about is just wandering around in the bazaar, which has everything on sale that one could imagine. We will see people here from every part of Nepal, people from Tibet and India; they all come here to trade.
Day 04.
Fly to Juphal, Trek to Dunai
We go to the airport very early in order to get on the flight to Juphal. Dolpo flights are always early in the morning. This is because high winds in the Thulo Bheri Valley begin around 10 am, making later flights impossible. Once we have gotten all our equipment of the Twin otter in Juphal (2500m), we start out on the short walk from Juphal to Dunai. We walk downhill through meadows and past a few houses to the small hotels at Kala Gaura (2090m). From here we follow the river trail upstream to Dunai. We camp near Dunai and explore this bustling little hill town for the rest of the afternoon.
Day 05.
Trek to Chepka
6-7 hours, 770m ascent
We start trekking from Dunai, cross the big steel suspension bridge and turn west, following the trail past the hospital, and then it's a level walk along the bank of the Thulo Bheri to its confluence with the Suli Gaad at 2070m. We follow the new trail north up the east bank of the Suli Gaad to a collection of teashops run by the wives of army personnel in Dunai. Another hour of walking takes us to Kal Rupi and then on to Raktang (2260m). We cross to the west bank and trek past numerous goths and horses pastures over a ridge to the rough stone houses of Jyalhasa, a wintering spot for the people of Ringmo. We keep walking upstream to another bridge, cross it to the east bank, and make our way past some crude teashops and a bridge over a side stream, the Ankhe Khola, at 2460m. The trail makes some ups and downs through grass and ferns to a trail junction. The fork is the old trail leading to the army and national park post at Ankhe, and on to the old trail that passes the villages of Rahagoan and Parela, high on the ridge above.

These three villages a strange name connection: Parela (parela means eye-lashes), Rahagoan (raha means eyebrow) and Ankhe (ankha is eye).

The trail Phoksumdo Lake climbs over a ridge at 2710m, then descends on a rocky path to Chepka (2670m), which is inhabited by three brothers and consists of collection of interconnected shops, rakshi stalls and lodges. We camp here or at another good spot beside a huge rock in walnut grove about 20 minutes beyond Chepka.
Day 06.
Trek to Renje
5-6hours, 500m ascent, 320m descent
We continue on the new trail, which stays near the river, climbing over a small ridge ,then crossing to the west side to avoid a large ridge and returning to the east side an hour later near a national park camping ground. Alongside the river at 2900m, the trail becomes a collection of rocks and sticks forming a dyke along the river bank. The trail makes several more ups and downs through forests of firs and larches as it continues upstream to a bridge that leads to nine houses comprising the village of Renje on the opposite side of the river at 3010m. We camp at a good camp site here or another about five minutes further on.
Day 07.
Trek to Ringmo
6-7 hours, 880m ascent, 90m descent
We follow the Suli Gaad valley, which turns eastward and becomes even steeper and narrower. We then climb over a ridge and descends to a wooden bridge then continue along the ups and downs along the valley floor to the confluence of the Suli Gaad with the Pungmo Khola. From here the trail to Phoiksumdo Lake and Shey gompa follows the west bank of the river. We climb through a forest of big cedar to a good camp site and then on to Palam (3710m), a winter settlement used by the people of Ringmo village. The houses are almost burried in the sandy soil. The entrance station for Shey Phoksumdo National Park is at the south end of the village. After our park entrance ticket is examined, we may be subjected to a baggage inspection-ostensibly for drugs and stolen art objects. It's very peculiar formality in this remote locale.

We continue on the route, which switchbacks steeply on a sandy trail through open country to an elevation of 3300m, then we start up another steep set of dusty switchbacks to a ridge at 3780m. From the ridge there are distant views of a spectacular 200m -high waterfall, the highest in Nepal. The trail makes a steep descent in birch forests to the upper reaches of the brilliantly clear,rushing waters of the Phoksumdo Khola, then we climb gently to Ringmo village, a picturesque settlement of flat-roofed stone houses with lots of mud -plastered chortens and maniwalls. Just below Ringmo, we cross a bridge and follow a trail north to the ranger station at Phoksumdo Lake (3730). We continue to the shores of the lake near the point where the Phoksumdo Khola flows out of the lake. There are national park camping grounds on both sides of the river on the south-east shore of the lake. Park rules prohibit us from camping in other places
Day 08.
Rest and exploration
A trail leads from the lakeside through juniper trees to the white Pal Sentan Thasoon Chholing gompa, a ramshackle Bon-po gompa overlooking the lake that is said have been built 60 generations ago. There are five other private gompas in various houses of small monastic community near the lake. The insides of the temples contain dusty Buddhist paintings and statues, but the trappings also reflect the animistic elements of the Bon-po religion, so some of the chapels are reminiscent of an ancient witch's cavern. A donation to the ragtag collection of dirty monks will gain us entrance to the gompas; our sherpas will be equally fascinated by the strange iconography and practice of the Bon-po religion.
Day 09.
Trek to Chunemba
5-6 hours, 570m ascent, 560m descent
From our camp site near Ringmo on the southern end of Phoksumdo Lake, the trail contours on a rocky ledge as it skirts the western lip of the lake. In places it's precariously suspended on a gangway of wood supported on pegs driven into crevices in the rocks. As we cross a stream, look up at the glacier descending from the upper slopes of Kanjeralwa (6612m). We then climb to a crest at 4060m for a spectacular view of the lake with the snowy peaks of Sonam Kang in the background. The trail makes a step and dusty descent through birches and blue pines to the westernmost edge of the lake at 3630m where the Phoksumdo Khola enters. The route now heads west up a long a wide valley. We follow an indistinct trail through thorn bushes and scrub trees, crisscrossing boggy marshes and tributaries of Phoksumdo Khola. We camp in a forest of blue pines at Chunemba, an undeveloped national park camping ground at 3630m.
Day 10.
Trek to Lar Tsa
4-5½ hours, 570m ascent, 80m descent
We begin the day along the level path that now heads north through a glacial valley. We then cross to the east bank of Phoksumdo Khola. We follow the main valley for another hour to kang Gompa. We climb steeply from Kang Gompa and stay on the grassy ridge. It's a long climb up the ridge past a few groves of birch trees. There are spectacular mountain views with Shey Shikar (6139m) and Kang Chunne (6443m) dominating the skyline to the west. We continue on a crest at 4200m then the route descends gently on a rocky trail to Lar Tsa, a camp site besides the river at 4120m.

It's possible to continue walking, but we have now ascended more than 500m in a day and should spend the night at Lar tsa for acclimatisation.
Day 11.
Trek to Mendok Din
2-3 hours, 520m ascent, 130m descent
We cross a new bridge and climb to the top of a scree slope at 4490m, then make our way up a grassy ridge to a crest at 4640m. We contour and then drop gently into Mendok Ding (flower valley). We again climb alongside a stream to a campsite at 4610m. You are almost certain to a spot herds of blue sheep on the slopes above the camp.
Day 12.
Trek to Shey Gompa
7-8½ hours, 1040m ascent, 1240 descent
We continue on the route that follows the upper reaches of the Phoksumdo Khola, then we turn north towards the peak of Riwo Drugdra (Crystal Mountain). There is a choice of trails here, we follow the more scenic pilgrim route across the Sehu La to the west of Crystal Mountain, making a kora (circumambullation) of this sacred peak. The Dolma trail turns north soon after camp while the pilgrim trail starts up a steep scree slope on the opposite side of a stream that flows from the north.

After a long pull to Sehu La (also known as Mendok Ding La) at 5160m the trail descends a scree slope to a grassy meadow besides a stream valley and begins a series of long ascents and descends across ridges in and out of side valleys as it traverses around Crystal Mountain. After a steep, rough climb to a crest at 5010m and another at 4860m, we begin the descent to the Tar valley. Soon after the route reaches grassy slopes a side trail leads to Tsakang, a gompa said to be 800years that is perched dramatically on the side of a cliff. The final descent is on a wide trail to a campsite in a large meadow near a few nomads huts at 4310, just below Shey gompa.
Day 13.
Rest-Exploration
Cross the river on a log bridge and climb past a big chorten and a huge field of manistones to the Shey gompa compound at 4390m. The gompa itself is not large ,and there are no artifacts or paintings of note inside. Although the building is said to be 800years old, the wall paintings are relatively recent, probably done in 1970s. The statues on the altar are of Guru Rimpoche, Sakyamuni and Milarepa. The gompa also houses an ancient Tibetan scroll that describes the myth of Crystal Mountain and Shey gompa. According to the inscription, there is a holy lake in a crater among the mountains that surrounds Shey. When a pilgrim makes nine circumambulations of this lake the water turns milk. A sip of this milk, and the pilgrim can se Mt Kailash in the distance. So for those who doesn't need the day for rest, we will go and try to find this lake.
Day 14.
Trek to Namgung
6-7½ hours, 1029m ascent, 900m descent
We trek east from Shey gompa and across the 5010m Shey La. Here we turn north and descend before climbing again to Namgung (4430m).
Day 15.
Trek to Karang
5-6 hours, 150m ascent, 530m descent
We traverse high above the Namgung Kola to Karang (4050m). It's also possible to descend to Saldang on the banks of the river, but this village holds little of interest.
Day 16.
Trek to Mugaon
6-7½ hours, 490m ascent, 550m descent
We descend to Torak Sumdo (3670m), the confluence of the Namgung and Polang kholas, and cross to the northern bank. We then climb to Yanger gompa at 3750m and trek along the river side valley. We camp at one of the camp sites alongside the stream at about 4100m before Mugaon.
Day 17.
Trek to Shimen
7-8½ hours, 1040 m ascent, 890m descent
We continue up the valley to Mugaon and climb towards the Mushi La at 5030m. Then we descend towards Shimen village, we end the day at a good camp site in pastures above the village at 4010m.
Day 18.
Trek to Tinje
7-8 hours, 550m ascent, 170m descent
We drop down to Shimen village at 3870m and make a long trek upriver through Pha (4090m) to Tinje (4150m).
Day 19.
Trek to Rakpa
7-8 hours, 550m ascent, 170m descent
We trek past the runway of mysterious Tinje airport to a trail junction at 4130m, where a high route leads to Tarap. We continue southward to a camp site on the banks of the river at Rakpa (4530m).
Day 20.
Trek to Chharka
7-8 hours, 490m ascent, 900m descent
We begin our day with a long climb to the Chharka La (4920m). We continue on the trail descending along the side of the valley, then make a big drop into a side valley at 4290m. We then make a long traverse down to the picturesque village of Chharka on the banks of Barbung Kola at 4120m.
Day 21.
Trek to Norbulung
6-7 hours, 820m ascent, 190m descent
Another Climb to acrest at 4380m begins this day. We then descend again to a river. We follow the right fork southward, climbing in and out of side valleys on a rough trail. The valley narrows, we then emerge into a big meadow and climb to our campsite at Norbulung (4750m).
Day 22.
Sangda Phedi
7-8 hours, 790m ascent, 440m descent
We begin the day climbing to a yak pasture at Molum Sumna (4860m) and on to a crest at 5130m. We then make a long traverse across meadows to the foot of the Sangda La, then a long, steep final climb to the pass at 5460m. Swirchbacks down to our camp site by a stream at 5100m.
Day 23.
Trek to Sangda
7-8 hours, 460m ascent, 1860m descent
We climb to a lower Sangda La at 4990m, and then descend through loose shale towards the village of Sangda Ghunsa (4190m). We drop to the Chalung Khola, crossing it at 3750m, and then climb steeply up the opposite bank. A long high traverse leads to a cairn at 4090m, we then come to a set of steep switchbacks descends to a stream at 3580m. We do another climb to the compact settlement of Sangda, were we end a long day at 3700m.
Day 24.
Trek to Dhagarjun
7-8 hours, 970m ascent, 1380m descent
We climb the hill behind Sangda and spent most of the day making a high traverse, crossing nine ridges to a final crest at 4280m. We then descend into the Kali Gandaki valley, traversing under high cliffs and descending to the large village of Dhagarjun (3290m).
Day 25.
Trek to Jhomson,
3hours, 870m ascent, 690m descent
We climb to a ridge at 3360m and make a final descent on a challenging trail of loose rocks to Jomsom at 2670m.
Day 26.
Fly to Pokhara and Transfer to hotel
We take an early flight from Jomsom to Pokhara - a fantastic way to round off the trek, flying right along the Kali Gandaki Gorge between the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges. In Pokhara we check into the Hotel, get the dust of the last three weeks washed off and head out for a nice dinner..!
Day 27.
Fly to Kathmandu
We take the 25 minute flight to Kathmandu and transfer to your hotel
Day 28.
Depart Kathmandu
Our The Nepalese support team will take you to the airport for your flight home. (Or stay longer for short tours such as game drive at National parks, rafting, Tibet tours, mountain biking etc).

B/B = Bed & Breakfast, B = Breakfast, B/L/D = Breakfast/ Lunch/ Dinner

Upper Dolpo Trek Special price includes following services:

  • Kathmandu International Airport Arrival & Departure Transfer by Private Comfortable Car/van/ Hiace
  • 3 Nights Hotel Accommodations on B/B Plan Twin Sharing in Kathmandu at 3 star or 5 Star hotel
  • 1 Nights Hotel Accommodations on B/B Plan Twin Sharing in Pokhara at 3 star or 5 Star hotel
  • 23 Nights full board comfortable Lodge & Tented accommodation with all meals basis...
  • Experienced Cook, cook helper, kitchen staffs, assistant Sherpa
  • All Cooking utensils, Camping gears, tents
  • Porters to carry all camping gears, foods,
  • Special Camping meals( International standards)- 3 times a day
  • Fully boiled water( 4-5 liters) a day
  • Tea/ Coffee- 3 times a day, full board services( 3 meals a day)
  • Kathmandu- Nepalgunj by flight with Airport taxes
  • Nepalgunj- Juphal- by flight with Airport tax for guests
  • Jomsom- Pokhara by flight with all Airport taxes
  • Pokhara- Kathmandu flight with all Airport Taxes
  • All domestic Airport transfers in Kathmandu & Nepalgunj by Private CAR/ HIACE
  • Before and after trek Transport by Private CAR/VAN/ HIACE as per group size in Pokhara
  • Kathmandu- Nepalgunj normal bus transports for Guide, cook, porters and all staffs
  • 1 English Speaking experienced Sherpa Govt.Trained/Licensed Holder Guide for whole Trek
  • Porter (1 porter Between 2 Person basis, Max 30 KGS per Porter) for Whole Trek
  • Full day sightseeing in Kathmandu city with Guide, all entrance fees, private CAR/HIACE( 6 hrs)
  • Lower dolpo special Trek permit & Upper dolpo special Trek Permit
  • TIMS card & Any required permits or Official Documentation
  • Insurance, Daily Wages, Equipments and all meals & Lodges of Porters and Guide in Whole Trek
  • First Aid Kid Box( for Normal Treatment only)
  • Emergency helicopter rescue Evacuation Coordination Service (This is only in case of Emergency condition of guests, however all guests are responsible to pay helicopter Evacuation Charge- US$ 2000 per/Hour if necessary. So all our Valued guests are kindly advised to make sure that they have necessary travel Insurance which should cover heli Evacuation expenses in case needed)
  • Government taxes & Other Applicable Fees

Complementary from Company (to our Valued Guests)

  • Trip Certificate( for memory of Nepal trip)
  • Porter Carrying kid Bag- Trekking bag for Porter

Upper Dolpo Trek Special price excludes following services:

  • International Airfare to and from your country
  • Nepal Visa fee: Nepal entry visa (US$ 40 or equivalent foreign currency for 30 days. you will also require 2 passport size photos.)
  • Travel, medical and Helicopter Evacuation Insurance(must necessary)- We can assist to make your insurance from Kathmandu too, please contact us for cost
  • Lunch & Dinner in Kathmandu & Pokhara - keep $ 5 to 15 for per meal in Tourist Restaurant
  • Any Alcoholic Drinks, Cold Drinks, Boiled & Mineral Water, Beverages, deserts after meals Etc in Trek
  • Tips for Guide & Porter( highly expected)
  • Hot Shower, Battery Charges( Available in Trek with Extra cost or Free in some lodges/ hotels)
  • Unforeseen Cost such as Flight Cancellation or Delayed, Sick in Trek, and Helicopter rescue in Trek. Cost due to bad weather etc which is out of our control
  • Any Other Cost, which is not mentioned in Cost Includes Items as Above

Hotels in Kathmandu ( The best Selected One, Centrally Located & at Quiet environment)

  • 3 Star Hotel: Hotel Nirvana Garden, International Guest house or Similar(Deluxe Room)
  • 5 Star Hotel: Hotel Yak & Yeti, Hotel Del' Annapurna, Hotel Shangri-La or Similar(Deluxe Room)

Hotels in Pokhara we use are( The best Selected One, Centrally Located & at Quiet environment)

  • 3 Star Hotel: Hotel Base Camp resort, Hotel the Kantipur or Similar(Deluxe Room)
  • 5 Star Hotel: fishtail lodge, Shangri-la Village resort, Hotel Grande or Similar(Deluxe Room)

Note: (about special Price, services and single supplementary)

  • single room Supplementary charge is applicable if Guest does not have partner to share room together or in the case if no one want to Share room together or He/she prefer to have single room.
  • If you would like to accommodate yourself at your own preferable Luxury or Budget hotels in Kathmandu city, please kindly write us hotel name, so we can update accordingly.

DESIGN- PLAN YOUR OWN TRIP

Services- you can arrange yourself (which we can remove from our set itinerary package)

When you travel with Mountain Sherpa Trekking & Expeditions, We never force you to follow our fixed/set package. Please kindly advice us- what you would like to include and Exclude in our Package.

In Kathmandu City, if you would like to make your own city sightseeing or your own hotel reservation, we are happy to take out those services from our Set package and we will provide you only Trekking package to and from Kathmandu.However, we highly recommend to follow our set Package for your hassle free memorable travel experience.

As a travel professional, we also understand important of time and money if above set Package offer is not suitable to you due to out of timeframe or out of Budget or any other reason, please kindly advice us with your details interests, requirements and Expectations. We are more than happy to re-design the Itinerary and ready to provide Best Package which will meet your requirements and interests.

We wish you a very wonderful and once in al lifetime trekking experience with us.

Mountain Sherpa is the best travel company i’ve travelled with...

“Hello Pasang,I just wanted to send you a short note thanking you and Tandi(I hope I spelled it correctly)for all your help and hospitality, while Lacon and I were in Nepal. Your experience and helpfulness made this a very special trip that will never be forgotten. Ringee and Puree (I hope i spelled it correctly) were as good as gold, and helped make our trek a very special experience. It was not just that you guided us along, but you were all very friendly and genuine, and your friendships will not be forgotten.
I hope I make it back to Nepal one day, and if I do I won’t hesitate to look you up. Thanks again, and Happy New Year!
I will send you a couple of photos when I get them done.”

said Richard Canada

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