Lower Dolpo trek is an exciting 17 days journey to relish the immaculate beauty and rugged land in one of the remote places of Nepal. The lower Dolpo was opened for trekking in 1989 however the region has remained untouched and unexplored due to its isolated location. The lower Dolpo located in an isolated corner in the Trans Himalayas of Nepal which is naturally very rich in Himalayan valleys and resembles to the Tibetan highlands. Lower Dolpo Trek is a superb combination of mountain views, high passes, fantastic landscape, lush valleys, beautiful lakes with Tibetan Buddhist influenced culture with nomadic people who practice their ancient traditional culture and lifestyle.
The 18 days Lower Dolpo Trek begins from Jhupal that takes us to some outstanding remote locations that located in the backdrop of beautiful Himalayas. The colourful infertile slopes of the mountains are alluring that reflects the wilderness of the region. We walk through the virgin territory that is very rarely walked by outsiders. The trail to Lower Dolpo graces three high passes namely Kangmara La, Baga La and Numa La which is a great achievement of our journey. The trek to Lower Dolpo is quite strenuous as you have to endure the harsh climate and dry rugged terrain. The pleasing moment of cherishing the beauty of peaceful Phoksundo Lake is the major attraction of this trekking journey.
The trail to Lower Dolpo passes through Shey Phoksundo National Park therefore; Lower Dolpo Trek is an opportunity to encounter varieties of unique floras and faunas. The people residing in this area are simple, helpful and friendly. The people residing in this region are the descendants of Tibetan who still practice pre Buddhist Bon religion. Their lifestyle is very simple and traditional. They have their own unique dialect that resembles the Tibetan language. If you are ready for the challenge of trekking to Lower Dolpo region of Nepal, then contact Nepal Hiking Team. With the general permit to Shey Phoksundo wildlife reserve and special permit to Lower Dolpo region, NHT will do its best to make your journey worth it!
Note: There is Discount available for more than 6 people group.
Day 01 - Arrive at Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA) Kathmandu.
You are welcomed by hospitable meeting and then you will be transferred to hotel. Our airport representative will explain briefly the program upon arrival. Overnight at hotel.
Day 02 - Trek Preparation and Kathmandu Valley Sightseeing Tour.
Sightseeing of world heritage sites in Kathmandu valley including, Kathmandu Darbar square, Swayambhunath Temple, Boudhanath Stupa & Pasupatinath Temple. Overnight at hotel.
Day 03 - Flight Kathmandu - Nepalganj
To get to dolpo region, generally you have to fly to Nepalgunj first. Nepalgunj is a steaming hot city in South Western Nepal, in the lowlands of Terai, close to the Indian border, which is just 8 km away. Culturally the area more resembles India than upland Nepal.
Take a cycle rikshaw for a ride in town. You pass the hustle and bustle of the bazaar and see horse carts full of colorful people going to or coming from the Indian border. The Bageshowri temple is one of Nepal’s most important Hindu temples and is worth a visit as well. Overnight at hotel.
Day 04 - Flight Nepalgunj-Juphal, walk to Dunai (2.5 hrs)
It’s just a 35 minutes flight to Juphal over steep mountain ridges with beautiful views of snowcapped mountains. Juphal airport is just a gravel airstrip amidst the mountains, which guarantees a spectacular landing. Stepping out of the plane, you enter in a completely different world. From a hot city in the plains, you arrive in a small mountain village, situated in the midst of the Himalaya, breathing in crispy cold air. From Juphal you walk down over a small path among fields with wheat and vegetables to the Thuli Bheri River, which you’ll follow after reaching it. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 05 - Dunai to Lingdo (5 hrs)
Leaving Dunai, you soon walk in a beautiful mountain landscape, which sometimes reminds to the European Alps. Rocky slopes are dotted with pine trees, mostly blue pine. At the horizon you see the snowcapped Kang Tokal (6294 m). The path goes slightly up and down, following the Thuli Bheri River, once and a while passing a couple of houses.
You cross the Buddhist village Byasgar (2427 m). After leaving Dunai, all the villages you’ll come across are inhabited by Buddhist people. The people who live in this region are Tarali’s, a Magar group.
After Byasgar, the landscape gets quickly more rough and rocky. The path is sometimes carved out of the rocks, and at a few points very narrow. There are plans to make a motor able road all the way to Dho Tarap. Walking here, it seems that this is a huge challenge, and it surely will take a couple of years. But, it might be a reason not to wait too long if you want to visit Dolpa… You reach Lingdo, a small village which has one guesthouse, with a campingsite. Plus a checkpost, so have your permit at hand. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 06 - Lingdo to Laina Odar (6 hrs)
The path is gradually going up. Along the way you have a good view to some of the villages in this region, like Sarakot, which is situated high on a cliff. These are the last villages you will see till you reach Dho Tarap. You pass some mani walls (a wall with loose stones with Buddhist mantra’s carved on it) and chortens. According to Buddhist custom, you have to pass these Buddhist shrines on the left side, so clockwise. At the horizon you can see the beautiful snowcapped Kang Tokal. The landscape is impressive and sometimes very green. Sharp rocks are dotted with junipers and other pine trees. If you are lucky, you can see groups of large grey monkeys here.
The trail climbs high on a slope and goes high above the Thuli Bheri River, leading to a large suspension bridge (120 meter long), high above the river as well. You reached Laisicap (2772 m). On the other side of the bridge, there is a tent-hotel, where you could stop for a dal bhat or noodle soup or fill up your stock of snacks. Tent-hotels are big Tibetan tents, set up to serve food and drinks to travelers. Besides local restaurants, they serve as a shop as well, and you can buy a variety of items here, like biscuits, juice, Lhasa beer, shampoo, etc.
After Laisicap it’s a long and strenuous climb of about 3 hours to Laina Odar (3370 m). The path partly goes through forests and you are surrounded by steep cliffs full of pine trees, some of which are huge. You find yourself high above the river. Close to Laina Odar, the path goes alongside the river again. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 07 - Laina Odar to Nawarpani (4 hrs)
After leaving Laina Odar, the trail goes up to a small pass, which takes about 45 minutes climbing to reach it. After the pass, it’s a fairly easy walk with a few small climbs. It’s a beautiful walk again, sometimes going through pine forests, with a wonderful smell. About 4 hours after leaving Laina Odar, you reach Nawarpani (3475 m), where you find another tent-hotel. You can camp here. If you are feeling well and in good shape, you could continue and walk to Sisaul (3750 m) today. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 08 - Nawarpani to Sisaul (3.5 hrs)
After Nawarpani the landscape quickly gets more barren. There are only few trees. You mostly walk in the river valley with high rocks towering above you on both sides. In this barren landscape the bluesheep lives. If you look out for them you have a big chance to see big groups high on the slopes. Besides, if you are really very lucky, you might even spot a snowleopard…
It’s a fairly easy walk, gradually going up. At some parts the path is beautifully carved out of the rock, so that you find yourself walking in a kind of three sided tunnel. The path climbs steeply for about half an hour to a small pass with a nice chorten (stupa). From the pass, it’s 30 minutes till Sisaul (3750 m). Overnight at tented camp.
Day 09 - Sisaul to Dho Tarap (4 hrs)
Leaving Sisaul, the trail climbs to another small pass. Shortly after the pass, the valley suddenly widens. The landscape has changed completely. It’s very dry and small bushes have taken the place of the trees from before. Gradually you will notice these bushes disappearing almost completely as well.
The trail stays besides the river. At the horizon a small collection of houses is appearing in between the mountains: Dho Tarap. Getting nearer to Dho Tarap, you cross many mani walls and small chortens. It makes you realize how important Buddhism is for the people of Dolpa. Buddhism is interwoven in each and every aspect of people’s life here. Behind Dho, you can see the gompa (Buddhist monastery) of Dho, situated on a hill.
The people of Dho are direct descendents of Tibetans, which you can notice easily by their faces and their dress. The women wear dark dresses with colorful aprons made from yak wool. Many women wear bracelets of big shells and some have beautiful silver and turquoise headgear. Most men have long hair, some wear a red ribbon in their hair, in the style of Tibetan Khampas.
Their typical dress is a long coat, from which they let one sleeve hanging down. The people in Dho are very friendly. A Tashi Delek (good day, like the Nepali Namasté), is always welcomed with a big smile. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 10 - Dho Tarap to Numala Base Camp (3 ½ hrs)
As it is only a 3 ½ hours walk to Numala Base Camp, so you can use the morning to explore Dho and surroundings. Leaving Dho, you pass a beautiful gate chorten. After more or less half an hour, you arrive at the Crystal Mountain School, which is educating children from Dho and surroundings. It is sponsored by a French NGO. If you want, you can visit the school, the teachers are very pleased to show you around. From the school, it’s about half an hour to Tokyu (4209 m), a spread out village, which is said to be the highest permanent settlement in the world.
The gompa is at the end of the village, and is worth a visit. It has a beautiful statue of Maitreya, the Future Buddha. From the gompa, it is a gradual climb of about 1 ½ hours over grassy land to Numala Base Camp (4440 m). It’s in the middle of nowhere, but close to the river and you find a small house for cooking here.
Day 11 - Numala Base Camp to Danigar via Numa La (Pass) (6 hrs)
A tough day lies ahead of you. It’s a good idea to start early (between 5 and 6 am), to arrive early at the pass. In the morning the weather generally is best which makes the crossing of the pass easier and safer.
Besides you have more chance to have a good view of the mountain ranges from the pass, as later in the day clouds tend to cover the peaks.
It’s a long and strenuous climb of about 3 hours to Numa La (la means pass) at 5318 m. The altitude makes you go slow and you get out of breath quickly. But it’s definitely worth it.
On a clear day you have a stunning view from the pass on countless snowcapped mountains. Daulagiri (8167 m) is towering above them to the right. Besides, you can see the Annapurna and Manaslu Range, the Shey Shikar (6139 m), Kanjirowa (6883 m) and many, many others.
In spring there can be snow on the pass, which makes the crossing a bit harder. After the pass you go down steeply for about an hour. Then the path becomes pretty level and later climbs slowly but steadily again for about an hour. As the river is going down quickly, you find yourself soon high above the river.
After a couple of turns, you arrive at a meadow, which is the campsite for today, Danigar (4631 m). It’s an amazing spot close to the river (Panklanga Khola). To the south the beautiful snowcapped Norbung Kang (6085 m) is towering high above the campsite. On the other side of the river there are high pastures, which are often used by yaks to graze. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 12 - Danigar to Yak Kharka via Baga La (6 hrs)
Another pass to cross today, so another tough, but beautiful day lies ahead of you. Again, an early start is best. The path continues on the slope on the other side of the Panklanga Khola and climbs pretty steep, going “zig zag” over the slope.
Soon you are high above the river. A good 2 hours after leaving camp you reach the high camp, which is already close to the pass. From here you have an excellent view on the Norbung Kang and the Baga La range. Pretty soon after the high camp you can observe the last stretch of the path to the pass, climbing very gradually in a half circle over the slope to Baga La (5190 m). From the pass you have a splendid view on many snowcapped mountains like Kanjirowa and Shey Shikhar. In spring there can be snow on this pass as well.
After the pass, the path descends pretty steep at the beginning. This part can be icy which makes it slippery, so watch your step! You walk in a stunning scenery of huge rocks in all kind of colors with at the horizon mountains covered with snow. And then, suddenly, more or less 1 ½ hour after leaving the pass, you will see green bushes and a bit later even trees. In the distance you can observe green meadows far below you. A beautiful sight after those days without any trees.
Besides, you will see a couple of beautiful waterfalls along the way. It’s rather flat and easy walking, very gradually going down, till you reach Yak Kharka (3982 m), another beautiful place to camp. You have a great view of the imposing Kanjirowa Himal (6612 m). Besides, in spring the meadows are full with flowers. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 13 - Yak Kharka to Ringmo/Phoksundo Lake (2 .5 hrs)
It’s a short hike today, and if you have the energy, you can even walk this part at the same day as crossing the Baga La. Pretty soon after leaving Yak Kharka, the path starts to climb high on the slope, and the river (Maduwa Khola) is soon far below you.
The path is going up and down and stays level sometimes: that is what they call Nepali flat. The path is beautifully carved out of the rocks and leads to a small pass. After the pass, the path goes into a pine forest. If you detour from the path soon after entering the forest and go to the left to the edge of the ridge, you can see a nice waterfall. You walk through some beautiful pine forests and meadows and it’s nice to hear the birds singing. Leaving the forest, you cross a small bridge from which you climb in a couple of minutes to Ringmo.
Day 14 - Phoksundo Lake to Chhepka via Rechi (7 hrs)
You can walk the following stretch in two short days, or one long day. Walking time to Rechi is about 3.5 hours and from Rechi to Chhepka is 3 .5hours as well. The walk to Rechi goes almost entirely through beautiful pine forests, with some bushes, birches and other broad leaved trees mixed in. Leaving Ringmo, the path is rather flat at first, but soon climbs steeply up the hill. Soon you will see the river far below you. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 15 - Chhepka to Juphal (6 hrs)
Today it is most of the times descending, with some small climbs in between. The first part is going through the forest again, with below you the wild flowing river. After the village of Shyanta you leave the forest, and suddenly you walk through a bit dry landscape. In front of you, you can see a part of the Dhaulagiri range.
You pass villages like Sangta (2520 m) and Kageni (2413 m) and reach the check post of the Shey Phoksundo National Park (SPNP) again. After crossing a big iron suspension bridge (the Dhim Bridge, 99 m long) you go left (west) to Juphal (if you would go right (east), you’ll arrive in Dunai again (45 minutes walking)
From the bridge, it’s about 3 hours to Juphal. The first part goes over a large path, passing through the small village of Kalagaonda. Then you leave the main road and walk over a small path, through fields of barley and wheat, with walnut, peach and apricot trees. It’s a pretty steep climb to reach Juphal. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 16 - Flight Juphal-Nepalgunj-Kathmandu
Early in the morning you fly to Nepalgunj. Especially the first part of the flight through the mountain valleys is spectacular. Later in the day, you fly back to Kathmandu.
Day 17 - Departure
Today is free or last minute you have few hour special shopping for your relatives. If you have more time you can do some shopping or sightseeing. We will drop you to the International airport to catch your flight back to your home and wish for your Safe journey.
We will be staying at 3 Star Standard hotels which have deluxe suite in Kathmandu for 4 nights and the best tents during the trek. All accommodations are on twin-shared basis. Single supplement will be served on request and will cost an additional USD 300.
All meals will be provided during trekking while only breakfast will be available in Kathmandu. There will also be welcome and farewell dinners for guests. While on the short trek, we have breakfast and dinner in the tea-houses/lodges we spend the night and lunch on our way to the next destination. The teahouse menu includes Nepalese, Tibetan and the more common continental cuisines for us to choose from.
This trek’s itinerary is planned with a high degree of awareness of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). Experts agree that gaining elevation without proper consideration of AMS could be fatal. The higher the altitude, the less oxygen will be in the air. Therefore, our body needs time to adapt to an environment with less oxygen.
For this trek, there will be one leader, assistant leader (5 trekkers: 1 assistant guide) and porters for luggage carrying (2 trekkers: 1 porter). This arrangement ensures that even if anybody in the group gets sick or is unable to carry on, the trip can still go ahead as planned for the rest of the group. We can run the trek for groups of any size, but usually, it is a maximum of twelve people as we've found this to be the best size for a successful trip. If you would like to make a group booking for more than twelve people together, we can arrange this too.
Messenger Travel & Tours is definitely committed to porter rights. We make sure that all our porters are well treated, well paid and we provide the level of shelter, clothing and footwear that these harsh environments demand. Porters who become sick are treated with the same care and attention as other team members and we have previously used helicopters - at our expense - to rescue porters from dangerous situations. We support the work of the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG), making our resources available to them to help improve the working conditions of the porters.
Physical Condition & Experience Requirements
This is a moderate trek. Travelers who can walk up to 6-7 hours a day on an uphill and downhill trail will find this trek fulfilling. It is best that we prepare ourselves for the trek by jogging and exercising regularly at least a month prior to the start of the trek. Trekking to the will be relatively easier for those who have experience walking/trekking in a high altitude environment. Past hiking experience would be an asset but no technical skill is required for this trip. Participants with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart, lung, and blood diseases should inform Messenger Travel & Tours before booking the trek.
Best Time to Travel
The best time for the Trek is spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) seasons. The temperature is moderate in these seasons and guarantees amazing views through the trip. Although this trek can be undertaken during winter, the cold temperature might not be suitable for everyone.
Note:There will be 2(percent) additional discount per person, if the group of people exceeds the minimum group of people (Min. 2 Pax)