The Upper Dolpo trek leads to the northern highlands of Dolpo district of Karnali Province bordering with the Tibetan Autonomous Province. It is the most remote, the least developed, and the highest inhabited region of Nepal, yet full of natural and cultural wonders. Moreover, this region remained practically secluded for centuries from Nepal but closely connected geographically and culturally with Tibetan Plateaus. The hidden valley was popularized significantly by the books titled ‘The Snow Leopard’ and ‘Himalayan Pilgrimage’ and the movie titled ‘The Himalaya.’ In the recent years, more and more hardcore trekkers who prefer cultural experience to the usual luxurious trips have been embarking upon the Inner Dolpo Trek.
No matter how distant Dolpo may seem, it is abundantly blessed by nature and within this blessed land lies Nepal’s largest national park, the Shey Phoksundo National Park, named jointly after the famous Shey Village and Phoksundo Lake. Dolpo region is situated between the Dhaulagiri mountain range and the Tibetan Plateau. In fact, Dolpo is the hidden gem of Nepal having the geographical extension of Tibet and home to a unique race of Tibetan-speaking natives. You cannot compare anything else with the cultural shock our Inner Dolpo trek offers in the company of th hardy Dolpo dwellers.
A would-be World Heritage Site, Dolpo is famous for centuries old Bon-Po and Buddhist monasteries justifying the existence of Tibetan culture. The Sacred Crystal Mountain is the most important pilgrimage site for the Buddhist people from all over the world. The three gompas: Komoche Gompa, Sel Sumdo Gompa and Tsakang Gompa are the cultural highlights of Shey Village of Upper Dolpo. These monasteries are on the backdrop of the Holy Crystal Mountain that the pilgrims take a kora (circumambulation) of the mountain for religious purpose. This is way, Dolpo region is said to be the last enclave of authentic Tibetan culture left on earth.
Upper Dolpo trekking excursion starts from Jhupal, then, you will visit several interesting villages, valleys and serene forest of pines, oaks and rhododendron. While the trail crosses numerous mountains, ultimately you ascend to a staggering altitude of 5,360m at Kang La Pass. Visits to the ancient Shey Gompa (Shey Monastery), Phoksundo Lake and Ringmo Village will make this trek even more memorable and enjoyable. Dho Tarap, one of the largest villages of Dolpo is one of the highest altitude permanent human settlement areas in the world.
Trekking to Inner Dolpo can be done even in rainy season as it lies in the rain shadow area, so, low or no rainfall. The best time to make a journey around Upper Dolpo region is spring (April and May) and autumn (October and November). This time, the temperature is pleasant and the skies are clear that you can have the full-fledged panoramic vistas of the surrounding. Nevertheless, planning to visit Dolpo region in winter may not be as appropriate as in other seasons because of the snowfall. As there are three high passes over 5,000m, the trekking trail may be blocked due to heavy snowfall.
Upper Dolpo trek has a large scope for traversing into other regions of the trans-Himalayan region of Nepal. Some of the popular trekking packages of this region are Juphal to Lake Phoksundo trek, Upper Dolpo to Annapurna region trekking, Upper Dolpo to Jomsom trek and Dolpo to Rara Lake trek. You can find Upper Dolpo region trekking itineraries ranging from 22 days to 27 days based on the duration, route and your stamina of walking. Orbit Alpine Adventure has designed Upper Dolpo trek 22 itinerary to assist you explore the hidden valleys and rustic lifestyle of the northern part of Nepal. For customized Dolpo region trekking package, you can reach Orbit Alpine Adventure via email, phone call, WhatsApp or online booking facilities.
1. Where is Upper Dolpo trek?
Brought by the 1999 OSCAR-nominated film, ‘Himalaya’ into limelight, Upper Dolpo lies in Dolpa district of western Nepal sharing its northern border with Tibet. It is famous for the hidden valleys yet to be explored and the rustic lifestyle untouched by the modernity. Similarly, the deepest lake of Nepal, Shey-Phoksundo Lake and Shey-Phoksundo National Park are the landmarks to popularize this hidden gem of Nepalese tourism.
2. How long does Upper Dolpo trek take?
There are various trekking itineraries for Upper Dolpo trek. Basically, it takes from 22 days to 27 seven days depending upon the route, acclimatization days and your desire to trek.
3. How difficult is Upper Dolpo trek?
Upper Dolpo trek is one of the moderate type of trekking through the restricted area of the Northern Trans-Himalayas of Nepal. As it is a restricted area, you must be at least two in each group supported by a professional trekking guide and a porter. Orbit Alpine Adventure manages all the things you require and gives complete information about the trip.
4. What is the best season for Upper Dolpo trek?
Although you can do Upper Dolpo trek throughout the year, doing this trek in winter is not as appropriate as in other seasons. You can do this trek even in rainy season as there is very low rainfall in this region which lies in rain shadow area. The best season for Upper Dolpo trek is spring and autumn when the weather is pleasant and the skies are clear. You can have the stunning views of the plateaus, amazing landscapes and the snowcapped peaks in this season.
5. What are the attractions of Upper Dolpo trek?
Upper Dolpo trek is full of alluring attractions to offer to the daredevil trekkers who want to explore the unexplored part of Nepal. Flora and fauna of Shey-Phoksundo National Park and Phoksundo Lake which is the deepest lake of Nepal are the prime beauties. Similarly, Bon cultural practices and ancient Bon-Po monasteries including authentic pastoral lifestyle and unexplored valleys of Tibetan Plateaus also make this trip remarkable. Last but not the least, experience of the camping trekking in the alpine deserts of the trans-Himalayan region is the lifetime reward.
6. Can I suffer from altitude sickness during Upper Dolpo trek?
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) like altitude sickness is a very common phenomenon while trekking in the 3,000m+ terrain. However, you can avoid this health problem by taking enough precautions and following the advice given by the trekking guide. You must walk slowly while ascending to higher landform; drink enough clean water and avoid smoking or drinking during the trip. If you feel any difficulty, don’t hesitate to share it with your guide so that he can help you further. Finally, you can pack some AMS preventive medicines like Diamox Oral that helps you in case of emergency.
7. What type of accommodation facilities are found in the course of Upper Dolpo trek?
While in the urban area or main stopovers, you can find quality hotels and basic teahouses. Due to the complex geographical structures, don’t expect higher facilities during Upper Dolpo trek. You will have to spend the night at the tented camp by eating the food prepared by the crew organized by the agency. You must be flexible while doing the camping trekking which is harder yet more interesting than teahouse trekking.
8. What are the permits required for Upper Dolpo trek?
The permits required for Upper Dolpo trek are:
- TIMS Card
- Lower Dolpo Restricted Area Permit
- Shey-Phoksundo National Park Entry Permit
- Upper Dolpo Restricted Area Permit
9. What is camping trekking?
Camping trekking is fully an organized trekking which is one of the most popular trekking types in Nepal. It is useful to do camping trekking in the regions where basic infrastructures of mountain tourism are not developed. In this trekking, food supplies and tents are organized by the trekking agency you book your trip through. By managing the crew consisting the trekking guide, porters, cook and kitchen helpers who carry the necessary materials by themselves. Sometimes, the domestic animals like yaks, sheep, mules and dzopas are employed to transport the camping trekking gears and other equipments.
10. How long should I walk every day during Upper Dolpo trek?
The longest duration to walk each day is seven hours and the shortest is three hours during Upper Dolpo trek. To cover the distance of the trekking trail comfortably, we recommend you to take complete rest, drink enough water and eat hygienic food.