Upper Dolpo Trek- A Complete Guide

Upper Dolpo Trek

Last Updated on June 15, 2022 by Alpha Adventure Treks

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Upper Dolpo trek is a fantastic, adventurous journey that takes you to some of Nepal’s most remote locations. It’s one of the best off-the-beaten-path trekking trails in Nepal. On this trek, you have a significant impact on the villages, gompas, and people you meet. The communities are lot more disembroiled and unadulterated, and the scenes are much more devastated. Dolpo is Nepal’s most remote and underdeveloped region. Despite the fact that the region has been surveyed by a few geographers and anthropologists, the entire area was closed to hikers until 1989, when the southern portion of Dolpo was opened to supervised trekking trips. The Upper Dolpo Trek takes you through several massive mountain ranges. The vast majority of Upper Dolpo treks begin with a Lower Dolpo trip to Dho Tarap or Phoksundo Lake. Then adding the Shey Gompa connection, which connects Saldang with Dho Tarap or Phoksundo, two lesser-known locations. Some Upper Dolpo hikes cross high passes to connect to nearby places like Mugu and Mustang. Upper Dolpo trekking is known for its wildness, solitude, and spectacular mountains.

Upper Dolpo Trek: Things you Should Know

Upper Dolpo, like many other trekking routes in Nepal, is best visited in the spring and autumn. However, because to the unpredictable nature of snowfall, early spring and late autumn may not be the best times to trek. This might make crossing the high mountains extremely difficult at this time of year. Because the majority of Dolpo is in the Dhaulagiri Range’s rain shadow, it receives little or no rain, even while the rest of the country is experiencing monsoon rains. This area is primarily a high-altitude desert as a result of this. From the beginning of August through the end of October, and sometimes even into the middle of November, the weather is excellent.

Upper Dolpo Trek: How to Get There?

We can get to the Dolpo Region by two ways:

Traveling to Juphal by Air:

For all hikers and guests, flying to Dolpo (Juphal) is the greatest alternative because it saves time and effort. Different domestic airlines, such as Buddha, Yeti, and Shree Airlines, operate regular flights to Nepalgunj from Kathmandu. From Kathmandu, take any domestic airline to Nepalgunj. Nepalgunj, a town in the western Terai near the Indian border and the Bardia National Park, is a popular tourist destination. There are regular flights from Nepalgunj to Juphal and Dolpo. The flying time is around 35 minutes. From Nepalgunj, Summit Airlines and Tara Airlines fly to Dolpo.

Drive from Nepalgunj to Dolpo through Musikot, Tallu Bagar, Khading, and Tripurakot:

Local buses and Hiace Vans are accessible from Kathmandu to Nepalganj. The ticket may be purchased in Gongabu, the capital’s well-known bus station. Morning and evening departures are on the program. By bus, it takes about 12 hours; by Hiace Vans, it takes about half that time. Nepalgunj serves as a significant transportation center for the country’s western, midwestern, and far western areas. Every day, buses travel from Nepalgunj’s Kohalpur bus terminal for Jajarkot. The road between these two points is approximately 96 kilometers long. Even in the summer, this road is excellent. From Jajarkot, local jeeps can transport you to Radi (Rari), Tallu Bagar, Khadang, and Tripura. Due to the paucity of highway crossings, the road is not blacktopped, and you will need to switch your jeep in between. Summertime is not the best time to go on this road. If you travel by land to go to Dolpo, it takes two days to reach from Nepalgunj to Dunai (2150m), a small town that serves as the district’s headquarters.

Upper Dolpo Trek Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive at Kathmandu | Altitude:  (1,300m/4,264 ft)

Day 02: Kathmandu Sightseeing and Trek Preparation 

Day 03: Fly From Kathmandu to Nepalgunj | Altitude: 518 ft / 158 m

Day 04: Fly from Nepalgunj to Jhupal and Trek to Sulighat  | Altitude: 2070m/6790ft  | Trek: 2-3 Hrs

Day 05: Trek from Sulighat to Renje  | Altitude: 3010m/9873ft  | Trek: 5-6 Hrs

Day 06: Trek from Renje to Ringmo Village  | Altitude: 3640m/11940ft  | Trek:5-6 Hrs 

Day 07: Rest day in Phoksundo Lake and explore around Ringmo village

Day 08: Trek from Phoksundo Lake to Phoksundo Khola  | Altitude: 3630m/1190ft  | Trek: 4-5 Hrs

Day 09: Trek from Phoksundo Khola to Phoksundo Bhanjyang  | Altitude: 4120m/13514ft  | Trek: 6-7 Hrs

Day 10: Trek from Phoksundo Bhanjyang to Kang La pass- Shey Gompa  | Altitude: 5160m/16925ft  | Trek: 5-6 Hrs

Day 11: Rest day at Shey Gompa the crystal monastery

Day 12: Trek from Shey Gompa to Saldang La- Namgung Village  | Altitude: 5010m/16432ft  | Trek: 6-7 Hrs

Day 13: Trek from Namgung Village to Saldang  | Altitude: 3620m/11,874ft  | Trek: 4-5 Hrs

Day 14: Trek from Saldang to Yangze Gompa  | Altitude: 4960m/16267ft  | Trek: 4-6 Hrs

Day 15: Trek from Yangze Gompa to Shibu  | Altitude: 4560m/14957ft  | Trek: 6-7 Hrs

Day 16: Trek from Shibu to Jeng La Phedi  | Altitude: 4900m/16072ft  | Trek: 5-6 Hrs

Day 17: Trek from Jeng La Phedi to Jeng La Pass- Do Tarap  | Altitude: 5090m/16695ft  | Trek: 6-7 Hrs

Day 18: Day explore and acclimatization in Do Tarap

Day 19: Trek from Do Tarap to Tarap Khola | Altitude: 3800m/12464ft  | Trek: 6-7 Hrs

Day 20: Trek from Tarap Khola to Khanigaon  | Altitude: 3150m/10332ft  | Trek: 5-6 Hrs

Day 21: Trek from Khanigaon to Tarakot- Dunai  | Altitude: 2537m/8321ft  | Trek: 5-6 Hrs

Day 22: Trek from Dunai to Jhupal  | Altitude: 2320m/7610ft  | Trek 2-3 Hrs

Day 23: Fly from Jhupal to Nepalgunj- Kathmandu  

Day 24: Departure Day

Upper Dolpo Trek: Best Season/ Time to Trek

Behind the mountains, Dolpo and Upper Mustang are in the rain shadow. Spring (Mid-March, April & May) and autumn (Mid-September, October, November) are the most popular seasons for trekking in Nepal. Trekking to Dolpo in different seasons, however, has its own charms. Always verify the weather focus of the areas you are intending to visit before planning your trek in the Himalayas and have paper copies with you.

Spring Season: March, April, May

Even though spring is an excellent time to trek in Dolpo, late snowfall can make things difficult. So, mid-April is the ideal time to arrange your trip to Dolpo. Even the month of May is pleasant, as vegetation gradually emerges and people return from places such as Kathmandu, Nepal, and Nepalgunj.

Monsoon Season: June, July, August

Summer is considered the nicest and most popular season in Nepal’s Himalayan region. Dolpo is one of them, and it is located in Nepal’s rain shadow territory, where summer is ideal for exploring the Dolpo. During that time, the weather is neither too chilly nor too hot, making it ideal for trekking. However, due to weather issues in Nepal’s lowlands, the flight from Nepalgunj to Juphal may be canceled. If you are planning your trek during the summer, we recommend adding one or two days to your itinerary in case your flight does not depart on time.

Autumn Season: September, October, November

Autumn is perhaps the finest season for trekking in Nepal, with the Annapurna, Langtang, and Everest regions being particularly congested. The clean and blue skies following the summer monsoons provide numerous wonderful panoramic views of glittering nature and the majestic Himalayas. During the Upper Dolpo hike, you can also meet with the locals, see several lovely villages, and communities during the fall harvest season.

Winter Season: December, January, February

All of Dolpo’s high passes are blocked by snow throughout the winter, and no one crosses them until the mid-spring season. As a result, going to Dolpo in the winter is not a good idea. This is not to argue that trekking in the Dolpo region during the winter is impossible. Some travelers have trekked to Phoksundo Lake in the winter, but a well-experienced guide and favorable weather are required for a successful expedition. Winter lasts for a few months, beginning in mid-November and ending in mid-late March.

Upper Dolpo Trek: Cost/ Package

Upper Dolpo trek prices vary depending on the packages given by the trekking operator. In general, the price of an Upper Dolpo Trekking package ranges from $3500 to $5500, depending on the length of your trip, the number of groups, and the Upper Dolpo Trekking package you select. The cost of the Upper Dolpo hike covers airfare, meals, lodging, insurance, gear, and the cost of hiring a guide, among other things.

Upper Dolpo Trekking: Permits Cost

Below are the required permits and their cost to trek to Upper Dolpo Region:

  • Upper Dolpo restricted permit costs USD 500 for the first ten days and USD 50 per person per day for the remaining days.
  • The entrance charge to Shey Phoksundo National Park is USD 30 for foreign visitors, NPR 1500 for SAARC nationals, and NPR 100 for Nepali visitors. It is a one-time permit that can be used indefinitely.
  • If your hike begins and ends in Dunai or Juphal, you will also need two Lower Dolpo permits, which cost USD 20 per person per week.
  • The cost of entering a monastery varies from NPR 200 to NPR 400 per person. During your visit to the monastery, you will be required to pay.

Upper Dolpo Trek: Difficulty

Upper Dolpo Trek is a difficult and little-known trek in Nepal, with only between 250 to 750 visitors travelling each year. The name alone suggests that getting to the high mountains may be tough. It takes 5 to 9 hours of trekking in a single day, reaching above 5000 meters, and spending numerous nights over 4000 meters. For those who are physically and mentally healthy, the trip is achievable.

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Author: Alpha Adventure Treks

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