Upper Dolpo Trek

Trip Fact:
  • Duration 25 Days
  • Difficulty Level Moderate
  • DestinationNepal
  • Max Altitude5360m
  • AccommodationHotels in Kathmandu, tea house/tented camp during trekking,
  • MealsBreakfast in Kathmandu, All meals during trekking,
  • Trip Start/EndNepalgunj/Juphal
  • Group Size2-50
  • Best SeasonFebruary, March, April, May, June, September, October and November are the best months.

Discover Upper Dolpo Trek: Nepal's hidden gem. Dive into untouched Tibetan culture, breathtaking Himalayan vistas, and authentic trekking adventures.

Nestled amidst the rugged terrains of Nepal's remote Himalayan region, the Upper Dolpo Trek offers adventurers a chance to witness some of the last remnants of traditional Tibetan culture, pristine natural beauty, and untamed wilderness. But what makes this trek truly mesmerizing?

Highlights of the Upper Dolpo Trek

  • Untouched Wilderness: Traverse one of Nepal's last remaining untouched areas, far from the commercial trekking circuits.
  • Shey Phoksundo National Park: Marvel at the pristine beauty of Phoksundo Lake and experience diverse ecosystems, from lush forests to arid landscapes.
  • Ancient Bon Monasteries: Dive deep into Himalayan spirituality by visiting ancient Bon monasteries, a pre-Buddhist religion native to Tibet and the Himalayan region.
  • High Mountain Passes: Challenge yourself by crossing the Kang La and Saldang La passes, offering panoramic views of the Himalayas.
  • Traditional Villages: Step back in time as you wander through remote villages like Saldang and Namduna Gaon, witnessing age-old Tibetan culture and traditions.
  • Unique Wildlife: Chance encounters with the elusive snow leopard, blue sheep, or the Himalayan musk deer amidst the region's diverse flora and fauna.
  • Cultural Immersion: Participate in and observe the rich cultural festivals, rituals, and daily lives of the Dolpo people.
  • Stunning Landscapes: From terraced farmlands to barren cliffs, and from alpine meadows to crystal-clear rivers, the trek boasts diverse and captivating sceneries.
  • Authenticity: Unlike the more commercial treks, Upper Dolpo offers an authentic experience, devoid of crowded trails and commercial lodges.
  • Cinematic Connection: Walk the landscapes featured in the acclaimed movie "Himalaya" (also known as "Caravan"), which showcases the life and culture of the Dolpo people.

The Upper Dolpo Trek is not just a physical journey but also a deep dive into the cultural and natural wonders of Nepal. As you traverse through ancient trails, engage with the indigenous people, and gaze upon landscapes that seem untouched by time, you realize that Upper Dolpo is more than just a destination; it's a profound experience.


Arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, where you’ll be greeted by the vibrant hustle and bustle of Nepal's capital. Check into your hotel, and enjoy the local flavors at a welcome dinner, setting the tone for the days ahead. Rest and rejuvenate as the mountainous adventure awaits.

  • Hotel
  • 1400m

Awaken to the sounds of Kathmandu, where tradition and modernity intertwine seamlessly. After breakfast, embark on a guided sightseeing tour, unveiling the capital's UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Dive deep into the history of Kathmandu Durbar Square with its old royal palaces and intricate wooden carvings. Witness the devotion of devotees at the Pashupatinath Temple, and be mesmerized by the harmonious architectural wonders of Swayambhunath (Monkey Temple) and Boudhanath Stupa.

As the day progresses, shift gears to focus on the upcoming trek. Attend the pre-trip meeting where your guide will provide essential insights into the journey, discussing the itinerary and answering any queries. This is an ideal moment to familiarize yourself with your trekking group and ensure that you're well-equipped for the trek.

  • Hotel
  • Breakfast
  • 1400m

After breakfast, board a flight to Nepalgunj, a bustling town near the Indian border. Notice the stark contrast in climate and topography as you transition from the hilly landscape of Kathmandu to the tropical atmosphere of Nepalgunj. Spend the evening exploring the local bazaars and savoring Tharu cuisine.

  • Tea House
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • 150m

Catch an early morning flight to Juphal, enjoying breathtaking aerial views of terraced fields, deep valleys, and high peaks. Upon landing, begin your trek, with the trail descending through local villages and terraced fields leading to the Bheri River. Follow the river's northern bank, trekking to Dunai, the administrative center of the Dolpo region. Wander through the town and perhaps visit the local monastery before resting for the night.

  • Tea House
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • 2400m

Post breakfast, continue your trek, departing from Dunai. The trail takes you alongside the Bheri River, through walnut groves, past traditional villages, and over suspension bridges. As you make your way, you'll notice the landscape becoming increasingly dramatic – with deep gorges, dense forests, and the rhythmic sound of cascading waterfalls. Ankhe, your destination for the day, is a picturesque village set amidst this natural tapestry.

  • Tea House
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • 2660m

As the sun paints the sky with shades of gold, embark on your trek from Ankhe. The day's journey presents a mix of ascents and descents. Traverse through dense forests filled with rhododendron, fir, and oak trees. As you climb out of the river valley, you'll be rewarded with panoramic views of the towering peaks above and deep valleys below. Your destination, Renje, is a serene hamlet where you can experience the warmth of local hospitality.

  • Tea House
  • Breakfast, Lunch,Dinner
  • 3104m

Today's trek is filled with anticipation as you approach the crown jewel of Dolpo. Begin your hike with a gradual ascent, passing through alpine meadows and traditional villages. As you approach Ringmo village, the deep blue waters of Phoksundo Lake become visible. This pristine lake is a sight to behold, with its turquoise waters set against a backdrop of majestic peaks. Spend the evening by the lakeside, soaking in its tranquil beauty.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • 3600m

Begin your day by walking along the western edge of Phoksundo Lake, taking in its vastness from various vantage points. The trail then leads you into a forested area, accompanied by the harmonious sounds of the Phoksundo Khola (river). As you tread along, you'll find several Mani (prayer) stones, indicating the deep-rooted spirituality of the region. Your campsite for the night will be set up beside the roaring river, offering a melodic lullaby for a restful sleep.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • 3507m

Today’s journey will test your endurance. Start with a steady climb, taking you to higher altitudes and offering unparalleled views of the Dhaulagiri massif. The trail becomes challenging with steep ascents, but the dramatic landscapes, with views of waterfalls, deep gorges, and snow-capped peaks, provide motivation. By evening, you'll reach the high-altitude settlement of Phoksundo Bhanjyang, feeling a sense of accomplishment.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • 4402m

An adrenaline-pumping day awaits! Begin with an early ascent towards the Kang La pass. As you tread the snowy trail, every step offers a blend of challenge and awe. Standing atop Kang La, you're greeted with panoramic vistas that make every drop of sweat worthwhile. Following this euphoria, make your descent towards the mystic Shey Gompa, a revered monastery nestled amidst the mountains. It's a place where spirituality merges with nature.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • 4126m

Awake to the serenity of Shey Gompa, where spirituality seems to resonate with every gust of wind. This ancient Tibetan Buddhist monastery is renowned not just for its religious significance, but also for its stunning backdrop, with the Crystal Mountain looming nearby. Today is dedicated to exploring its enigmatic corridors, learning about its legends, and understanding the practices of the resident monks. You might also wish to explore nearby meditation caves or take a short hike to the base of the Crystal Mountain, a significant pilgrimage site for both Buddhists and Hindus.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • 4126m

Fuel up with a hearty breakfast, for today promises another thrilling pass. The trek to Saldang La is a blend of rugged trails and awe-inspiring vistas. As you reach the pass's pinnacle, take a moment to breathe in the thin air and marvel at the vast expanse of the Himalayas stretching as far as the eye can see. Your descent is equally enthralling, leading you to Namduna Gaon. This village is home to the Namgung monastery, and its stone-laid paths hold tales of ancient trade routes with Tibet.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • 4400m

Set out from Namduna Gaon, traversing through barren landscapes that eventually give way to fertile terraces and flourishing barley fields. Saldang, the largest village in the northern Dolpo region, is a cluster of five villages nestled in a nurturing valley. It's a hub of culture, with its intricately built houses, chortens, and stupas. Engage with the locals, who are predominantly of Tibetan descent, and enjoy their warm hospitality.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • 3903m

Your journey to Sibu is a harmonious blend of nature and traditional life. The trail meanders along the Nagon Khola, passing through terraced fields and remote villages. You'll witness yak caravans heading to Tibet, a testament to the region's age-old trade practices. Sibu, your destination for the day, is a quaint village known for its yak breeding. It's not uncommon to see local children herding these gentle giants. As the day concludes, the melodic chants from the village monastery might serenade you into a peaceful slumber.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • 3942m

Start your day with a gentle walk along the valley floor, surrounded by undulating hills and grazing yaks. Soon, the ascent begins. As you hike, watch as the landscape transforms from fertile grounds to barren highlands, a testament to the altitude's grip on the environment. Camp at the foot of the imposing Jeng La Pass, preparing mentally and physically for tomorrow’s challenge. The clear night sky, adorned with a million stars, serves as the perfect backdrop for some restful sleep.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • 4369m

Embrace the challenge of Jeng La Pass, pushing forward with determination and zeal. The trail, strewn with rocks and snow patches, demands attention, but the panoramic views from the top, encompassing the vast Dhaulagiri range, are a reward worth every exertion. After capturing these memories, descend through pastures and alongside meandering streams to reach Tokyu Gaon. The village, with its traditional stone houses and ancient monastery, offers a glimpse into the age-old Tibetan Buddhist culture.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • 4240m

Today’s trail offers a pleasant reprieve after the challenging pass. Walk through wide valleys dotted with chortens and Mani walls, evidence of the deep spirituality of the region. Dho Tarap, once a bustling trading point between Nepal and Tibet, welcomes you with its maze of interconnected alleys, stone houses, and a blend of Bon Po and Chaiba sect followers. Engage with the locals, attend prayer sessions, and immerse yourself in their way of life.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • 4090m

With the high passes behind, embrace the comforting embrace of descending trails. As you move towards Serkam, the air becomes richer, and the surroundings more verdant. The path runs along the Tarap Khola, with its crystal-clear waters and playful rapids. The soothing sound of the flowing river, combined with the chirping of birds and rustling leaves, creates nature's symphony. At Serkam, camp by the riverside and let the gentle sounds lull you to sleep.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • 3630m

Continuing your descent, trek through dense pine forests and terraced fields. The sight of cultivated lands and more frequent settlements indicate your return to lower altitudes. Khani Gaon, with its patchwork of fields and traditional homes, stands as a testament to the harmonious blend of nature and mankind. Spend your evening exchanging stories with locals or simply relaxing, reminiscing about the high-altitude wonders you've witnessed.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • 2550m

From Khani Gaon, today’s trek meanders alongside the Barbung Khola. As the path unfolds, ancient trade routes once frequented by merchants traveling between Tibet and Nepal come to life. Your destination, Tarakot, is a fortress town historically used as a checkpoint for traders. The village is crowned by the Sandul Gompa, a monastery perched on a hill, overlooking the confluence of the Tarap Chu and Barbung Khola. Wander through its cobbled streets and interact with locals, absorbing the area's rich history.

  • Tea House
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • 2281m

Embrace the gentle gradients of the trail as you continue alongside the river. The journey offers a chance to observe rural life in the lower Dolpo region. Villagers working in their fields, children playing by the riverbanks, and the ever-present hum of prayer wheels capture the essence of daily life. By evening, reach Dunai, the administrative hub of the Dolpo region, marking a significant shift from remote trails to civilization.

  • Tea House
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • 2052m

As you retrace your steps to Juphal, reflect on the incredible journey you've undertaken, from high-altitude passes to deep valleys and serene lakes. The trail to Juphal is a gentle climb, passing through terraced fields and traditional villages. Once in Juphal, enjoy a celebratory dinner, reminiscing about the trek's unforgettable moments.

  • Tea House
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • 2404m

Embrace the early morning air as you board a flight to Nepalgunj, followed by a connecting flight to Kathmandu. As the plane ascends, catch glimpses of the majestic Himalayas one last time. Upon arrival in Kathmandu, the city's hustle and bustle will be a stark contrast to the tranquility of Dolpo. Check into your hotel and enjoy the city's comforts.

  • Hotel
  • Breakfast, Lunch,Dinner
  • 1400m

The vibrant streets of Kathmandu welcome you back with a bustling energy distinct from the serenity of the Dolpo region. Begin your day leisurely, perhaps sipping on traditional Nepali tea (chiya) as you watch the city come alive. The day is yours to command. Wander through the colorful alleys of Thamel, hunting for handicrafts or souvenirs that resonate with your journey. Perhaps explore more of the city's cultural gems, or simply relax at a local cafe, penning down your trek memories.

As the sun casts its golden hues over the city, reconvene with your trekking team for a special evening. Venture to one of Kathmandu's renowned venues for a cultural dinner show. As you savor authentic Nepali dishes, from momos (dumplings) to dal bhat (lentil soup with rice), local artists will regale you with traditional dances and songs. Each performance, steeped in Nepal's rich heritage, tells tales of valor, love, and devotion. This evening serves as a beautiful amalgamation of tastes, sights, and sounds, celebrating the end of your Himalayan odyssey.

Raise a toast to the memories created, the challenges overcome, and the friendships forged during the journey, as you immerse yourself in Nepal’s vibrant culture.

  • Breakfast

As your Upper Dolpo adventure concludes, get transferred to the Tribhuvan International Airport. As you prepare for departure, the memories of the Himalayan landscapes, the warm-hearted locals, and the spiritual essence of Dolpo will forever remain etched in your heart.

    Cost Details


    • Airport Transfers: Complimentary pick-up and drop-off service by car, van, or hiace.
    • Accommodation in Kathmandu: 3 nights in a reputable hotel, inclusive of breakfast.
    • Trekking Essentials:
      -Comprehensive meals during the trek: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
      -Professional and friendly trekking guide. This includes their salary, insurance, flights, food, and lodging.
      -Dedicated trekking porter (shared between two trekkers) - covers their salary, insurance, flights, food, and lodging.
      -Tented accommodation and requisite equipment during camping segments of the trek.
    • Sightseeing: A full-day tour in Kathmandu valley, inclusive of a tour guide and transport.
    • Permits and Fees: Special Trekking Permit for Upper Dolpo and all applicable local conservation fees.
    • Flights: Round trip airfare: Kathmandu - Nepaljung - Juphal - Nepaljung - Kathmandu.
    • Safety & Essentials: Comprehensive medical kit for any emergencies.
    • Equipment: All necessary trekking equipment for our staff.
    • Taxes: All local and government taxes are covered.


    • Meals in Kathmandu: Excluding the provided breakfasts, lunch and dinner in Kathmandu are on your own.
    • Extra Stay: Additional accommodation in Kathmandu, if needed.
    • Insurance: Personal travel and rescue insurance.
    • Personal Expenses: This includes phone calls, laundry, battery charging, bottled water, hot showers, and other personal needs.
    • Gratuities: Tips for our dedicated guides and porters.
    • Drinks: Any type of beverages, including hot water, alcoholic, and non-alcoholic drinks.
    • Miscellaneous: Any expenses not listed in the "Included in the Package" section.

    Good to Know

    Best Time for the Upper Dolpo Trek

    Spring (March to May): This period welcomes trekkers with blossoming rhododendrons and clearer skies. Days are pleasantly warm, while nights can be chilly. The landscapes are vibrantly lush, making it a popular time for the trek.

    Autumn (September to November): Post-monsoon, the skies clear up, offering crystalline views of the Himalayas. Temperatures remain moderate, and the trails are less muddy, making it an ideal time for trekking.

    However, avoid the monsoon season (June to August) due to slippery trails and potential flight disruptions. The winter months can be incredibly cold, especially at higher altitudes, and may not be suitable for everyone.

    Hotel/Accommodation on the Dolpo Trek Trail

    Unlike popular treks in the Annapurna or Everest regions, Upper Dolpo remains less commercialized. While there are basic tea houses and lodges in some villages, it's primarily a camping trek.

    Tea Houses: Limited to a few villages, these offer basic amenities - a bed, shared restrooms, and local meals. Dunai and Juphal have a more extensive range of tea houses.

    Camping: Most of the trek involves camping. Your trekking agency will generally provide tents, kitchen equipment, and meals. This allows flexibility in terms of stopovers and a closer experience with nature.

    Packing Essentials

    Clothing: Layering is key. Pack thermal base layers, trekking shirts, a fleece jacket, a down jacket, waterproof outer layers, and trekking pants. Don't forget warm hats, gloves, and scarves.

    Footwear: Invest in a sturdy pair of trekking boots. Also, pack several pairs of trekking socks and sandals for camp.

    Gear: A sleeping bag rated for -10°C, a good quality backpack, trekking poles, and UV protection sunglasses are essential.

    Medical Supplies: Altitude sickness pills, basic painkillers, band-aids, antiseptic creams, and any personal medications.

    Toiletries: Sunscreen, lip balm, toothbrush, toothpaste, biodegradable soap, and a quick-drying towel.

    Miscellaneous: Water purification tablets, reusable water bottles, energy snacks, a headlamp, spare batteries, and a good book or journal.

    Other Important Information

    Permits for Upper Doplo Trek

    Trekking in the Upper Dolpo region requires trekkers to secure a Restricted Area Permit (RAP). This is due to its proximity to the Tibetan border. To obtain the RAP:

    • Submit a copy of your passport, visa, and passport-sized photographs.
    • Our company will issue the specail permit from Immigration Department, Kathmandu
    • Remember, solo trekking isn't allowed in this region. You must be in a group of at least two trekkers and be accompanied by a government-approved guide.

    Additionally, you'll need the Shey Phoksundo National Park Entry Permit, which supports conservation efforts in the area.

    Guides/Porters: The Upper Dolpo Trek is known for its remote and challenging trails, making a local guide invaluable.

        They offer cultural insights, ensuring you respect local customs and traditions.
        Porters can help carry heavy equipment, making your trek more comfortable.
        By hiring locally, you're also supporting the regional economy.

    Altitude Sickness (AMS): The risk of AMS is real on this high-altitude trek

    • Symptoms: Headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath, and nausea.
    • Prevention: Acclimatize properly, avoid rapid ascents, and drink plenty of water.
    • Treatment: Descend to a lower altitude immediately if symptoms persist or worsen. Carry medications like Acetazolamide (Diamox) after consulting with a physician.


    • Internet: Don't expect Wi-Fi hotspots on this trail. Some lodges might offer internet services at a cost, but the connection will be sporadic at best.
    • Mobile Network: Only some parts of the trek might catch a weak mobile signal. It's advisable to inform family and friends that you might be out of touch for extended periods.

    Local Culture & Etiquette

    • Respect religious sites. Always walk clockwise around stupas, chortens, and mani walls.
    • Dress modestly. Avoid wearing revealing clothing.
    • Seek permission before photographing locals, especially during their daily rituals or inside religious structures.
    • When invited into a local's home, it's customary to remove your shoes.

    Travel Insurance

    It's highly recommended to get comprehensive travel insurance that covers high-altitude trekking, medical emergencies, and evacuation. Ensure that your insurance also covers unexpected events like trip cancellations or lost luggage.

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