Tage: 26 / Schwierigkeit: 4 of 5 (Anstregend)
Inner Dolpo Trek is one of the more challenging trek which allow you to explore the remote and sparsely populated areas of Nepal. Dolpo Region Trekking of western Nepal has only been open since 1988, and has been widely acclaimed as one of Nepal's best trekking regions. We have previously organized many different treks in the area and in 1997 we retraced the core elements of Peter Matthiessen's journey, made famous in his book “The Snow Leopard”. Dolpo is where the movie 'Himalaya' way shot by Eric Valli. First we fly to Juphal, west of Dhaulagiri, Trekking north we enter Phoksundo National Park and after a rest continuous on Matthiessen's original trail, crossing the Khang La 17320ft/5279m, to reach the very remote monastery of Shey Gompa. On the way we pass the mystical crystal mountain. In Matthiessen's world's “high to the west a white pyramid sails on the sky”. Shey Gompa was established in the eleventh century and little has changed here since then. Dolpo Trek Nepal is a special trek in one of Nepal's restricted areas and as such we have to pay the same levels of permit fees as for Mustang. However it is ideal for the keen walker who would like a wild experience away from the main trekking routes.
Dolpo Trek Itinerary
Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu
Arrival in Airport and meet with our Representative at the airport and transfer to you in Hotel. Welcome drink and short briefing about your trek. All permits procedure.
Day 2: Fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj
The morning is free to relax or for sightseeing and shopping in Thamel for any extra gear needed for the trek. In the afternoon we take a short flight down to the gateway town of Nepalgunj down in the Terrai. The climate here is sub tropical and we will be relieved to reach the cool of hotel. We stay overnight in Nepalgunj.
Day 3: Early start for the flight to Juphal where we begin our trek to Sulighat (2050m). 3 hrs trek
Flights into Dolpo are always early in the morning since the anabatic winds of the Thulo Bheri Valley prevent afternoon flights, rather like Jomsom in the Kali Gandaki further east. We therefore have an early start for the spectacular 40 minute flight. At Juphal we meet our trek crew and after an early lunch, during which final preparation are made and the baggage is assigned to our porters, we set out downhill to the river and our first night's camp at Sulighat (2050m). Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 4: Trek from Sulighat to Chepka (2970m), crossing the Anke Khola river. 7 hrs trek
The Suli Gaad River flows down from Phoksumdo Lake through a steep and highly vegetated valley. The trail undulates, sometimes beside and sometimes high above the tumbling white-water river. There are scattered villages along the route including the deserted crude stone houses of Jyalhasa where we take our lunch. many of these villages are only occupied during the winter months when the communities of Upper Dolpo bring their animals down from the high pastures and at the time of our trek they can be almost hidden in an overgrowth of tall grasses. After lunch we cross the Anke Khola and it can be quite hot as we make our way up the river to our campsite at Chepka (2970m). Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 5: Ascend the gorge to Samduwa (3085m) via the small viilage at Renje. 7 hrs trek
We cross and re-cross the river today as we make our way up the narrow gorge, ascending the undulating trail through forests of bamboo, and conifer. As yesterday, we are sometimes high above tumbling waterfalls and at others the trail is right beside the river or even in it with stepping stones providing the only means of keeping feet dry where the river cuts into the steep bank. At one point the trail climbs steadily for an hour or more to bring us out of the forest and into flower-strewn meado ws. Eventually the valley opens up a little and the going becomes easier until we reach a bridge leading to the several houses that make up the village of Renje (3010m). Beyond here the valley narrows once more and the trail continues to climb and descend as we negotiate spurs of the steep hillside. At the confluence of the Suli Gaad and Pungmo Khola we cross to the west bank and reach the village of Samduwa (3085m), where we make camp. Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 6: Trek to Ringmo and on to Phoksumdo Lake (3600m). 7 hrs trek
From Samduwa upwards, the river is known as the Phoksumdo Khola and runs crystal clear from the lake. We pass Palam, another deserted winter village and enter the National Park. The trail climbs to a ridge which separates the open fields of Ringmo from the narrow valley below. A roaring waterfall, the highest in Nepal
, lies below and we get our first glimpse of Phoksumdo Lake. Descending steeply through the forest we then climb steadily to reach the charming Dolpopa settlement of Ringmo with its collection of flat roofed stone houses, stuccoed chortens and long walls of prayer-carved mani stones. Just below the village we cross the river and follow it to the lake where we set up camp. (3600m). Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 7: Vital acclimatization day at Phoksumdo Lake.
It is necessary to spend a day here to give our bodies’ time to acclimatize to the new altitude. This will also be a welcome rest after the last few days of trekking and a chance to catch up on laundry. There are various options for excursions in this fantastic location and a visit to Ringmo and its overlooking monastery is a must. Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 8: Trek the lakeside trail and ascend ridge to a campsite beyond the northern shore. 8 hrs trek
It is not possible to proceed north of Phoksumdo Lake without the special Inner Dolpo permit. We start our trek to Shey Gompa in Inner Dolpo with a spectacular trail around the western end of the lake. The precarious path is chiseled from the steep rock walls and in places is supported on wooden trestles woven with saplings and covered with rocks. The sparkling pure turquoise waters of the lake lie directly below and it is wise to proceed with full attention to your footing. This trail was dramatically featured in Eric Valli’s brilliant film about the life of the people of Dolpo who bring their yaks over difficult passes bearing salt from Tibet
to trade for vital grain in the south. The film was originally released with the title ‘Caravan’ but later this was changed to ‘Himalaya’. After this high traverse, the trail climbs to a ridge giving spectacular views over the lake, the dark green forest, and the bright fields of Ringmo with the snow peak of Kang Norbu to the south. A cairn and prayer flags mark our highpoint on the ridge and now we make a gradual descent to the lake’s northern shore where we take lunch. We ascend a wide flat valley with scattered knee-high thorn bushes and across sponge-like turf criss-crossed with several tributary streams, to reach a drier ‘alpine’ zone of conifers where we make camp (3700m). Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 9: Trek in Peter Matthiesson's footsteps to Snowfields Camp (4650m) at the foot of the Kang La. 6 hrs trek
The Phoksumdo Valley now becomes quite narrow with high rock walls on both sides. We are forced to cross several tributaries and some may have to be waded. After 20 or 30 minutes we leave the main valley and head north again entering a narrow gorge. We have a long climb, often with no trace of any trail as we progress up the steep sided valley, passing occasional grazing areas and crossing several side streams. We are following in Peter Mathiesson’s footsteps here and we camp at the spot he named ‘Snowfields’ Camp in his book. The camp is at the foot of the pass that will lead us to Inner Dolpo. Altitude at camp is approximately 4650m meters. Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 10: Cross the Kang La (5350m) into Inner Dolpo and Shey Gompa (4370m). 8 hrs trek
It will take 2 to 3 hours from our camp, climbing awkwardly on loose slatey scree slopes which may have a covering of snow, to reach the summit of the Kang La (5350m). This high pass into Inner Dolpo is also known locally as the Ngadra La and is adorned with cairns and prayer flags. We make a steep descent of around 45 minutes to the valley floor and follow the river easily for a further 3 hours to reach Shey Gompa, the entrance of which is marked by a red and white chorten and snaking lines of mani stones. The monastery is located beneath the strange Crystal Peak on a small grassy plain created by the confluence of two rivers. Physically the gompa itself is not very imposing and is surrounded by half a dozen red colored buildings but the setting is very dramatic and there is no doubt why this place is so revered by both Buddhists and followers of the Bon religion. We set up our camp just below the gompa in a meadow containing a few herders’ huts. Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 11: A day for rest and exploration at Shey Gompa.
We have a day to explore the environs and to catch up on laundry and other camp chores. A worthwhile side trip is to visit the amazing Kagyupa monastery of Tsa Kang which is perched on a narrow ledge high on a cliff face. To get there we have to climb part way on the trail which pilgrims follow to make the ‘Kora’ or circuit of Crystal Peak. Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 12: Traverse the Shey La (5100m) to the pastures at Namgung (4415m). 8 hrs trek
Continuing our journey through Inner Dolpo we now head east up another narrow valley and climb to the summit of the Shey La (5100m). On reaching the top of the pass the view north to Tibet
and east towards Mustang, suddenly opens out and we have some notion of the vastness and arid nature of the Tibetan Plateau. Turning to the north we now make a long descent to the pastures at Namgung (4415m) consisting of a few stone houses and a relatively new gompa. Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 13: Trek to Saldang (4070m) close to the Tibetan border. 3 hrs trek
A shorter day today, beginning with a brilliant traverse high above the Namgung Khola and then a steep descent to the large Dolpopa village of Saldang. Saldang is close to the Tibetan border and the some of the salt trade Yak caravans are routed through here. This trading of Tibetan salt for rice from the southern lowlands is a vital, age-old practice which still prevails in Inner Dolpo. Saldang is really a collection of five separate villages and is the biggest settlement in Inner Dolpo. We set up camp in time for lunch and have the afternoon free to explore. Altitude at camp is 4070 metres. Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 14: Trek to Sibu (4150m), passing the monasteries at Samdo. 6 hrs trek
Leaving Saldang we turn south following the Nagaon Khola through terraced fields of barley the staple crop of the Dolpopa. We pass through the scattered village of Namdo which boasts two monasteries, one beside the river and another high on a cliff top. Our riverside camp tonight is near the smaller settlement of Sibu (4150m). Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 15: Ascend to the pastures below the Jeng La. 8 hrs trek
A shorter day which starts quite easily following the river. After 2 hours of trekking we turn away from the main river and climb steeply to a yak grazing area located at 4850 metres, below the Jeng La. This is our overnight camping place. Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 16: Cross the Jeng La (5110m). Views of Dhaulagiri. Descend to Tokyu (4160m). 7 hrs trek
It is a steep climb to the summit of the pass at 5110 metres which is reached after approximately 2 hours. From the top we have a spectacular view southwards to Dhaulagiri. Beyond the pass, we descend into the extensive Tarap Valley, eventually reaching a stream and following this to Tokyu Village, where we camp. Altitude here is 4160 metres. Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 17: Trek down the Tarap Valley to Dho Tarap (4020m). 8 hrs trek
In contrast to the majority of our trekking so far the trail down the Tarap Valley is well used and is well maintained providing relatively easy trekking through a broad fertile valley. There is much cultural interest during today’s short descent beside the Tarap Chu and opportunities to visit several gompas before reaching Dho Tarap, a cluster of stone houses below the Ribo Bhumpa Gompa with its unusual chorten within the arch of a larger chorten. The women of Dho Tarap wear very striking headpieces of beaten silver (known as a 'tikpu') and also usually have large amounts of turquoise, amber and zee stone hanging from their necks and ears. The men of Dolpo often wear red woolen braid in their hair in the manner of the Khampas of Eastern Tibet
. As in the Kali Kandaki Valley on the other side of Dhaulagiri there is a fierce anabatic wind here from late morning to sunset and the construction and arrangement of the houses reflects this. We'll walk on to Yak Kharka beyond the village, where it is less windy, to set up camp. Altitude at camp is 4020 metres. Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 18: Contingency day for possible delays.
This is a spare day in case we have encountered any difficulties with our trekking schedule. If we haven't had to use this day, we have the option to spend a rest day at Dho Tarap or at one of the campsites lower down in the valley. Our trip leader will decide on the most appropriate place to take this rest day. Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 19: Trek through blue sheep grazing areas to Shim Ora (3647m). 7 hrs trek
Descending gradually beside the river we cross to the west bank and continue below imposing cliffs, before crossing a ridge marked with two ancient chortens. Dropping down to the pastures of the Shishul Khola, home to large herds of the blue sheep (or bharal), which George Schaller came to study in 1973. Beyond, we cross and re-cross the Tarap Chu on a variety of bridges old and new to reach the grazing area of Shim Ora (3647m) where we make camp. Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 20: Trek through the gorges of the Tarap Chu and descend to Kanigaon (2620m). 7 hrs trek
An interesting day of trekking through gorges of the Tarap Chu on a well engineered trail including flights of stone steps mostly on the west bank of the river. After approximately 4 hours of descent we break for lunch. After lunch the descent continues for a further 2 - 3 hours to Kanigaon where there is a police check post. We make camp just outside the village, below the check post in a stand of juniper beside the river. We are now at an elevation of just 2620 metres and it is noticeably warmer. Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 21: Trek to Tarakot from where there is the option to visit the fortified settlement at Gumba Tera. 6 hrs trek
Leaving Kanigaon we come to a confluence of the Tarap Chu with the Barbung Khola and shortly after, cross this latter river on a high suspension bridge. The trail continues generally high above the river with some ups and downs until a final descend to Tarakot where we camp just below the village. This is a short day of trekking (approximately 2 -3 hours) and after lunch, there is the option to make the 1-hour (400 metre) climb up to the commanding, fortified settlement of Gumba Tara, where there is a monastery. In this lower valley there are 13 settlements which are collectively known as Tichurong. Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 22: Follow the Barbung Khola to Dunai (2090m). 6 hrs trek
We complete our trekking circuit today following the Barbung Khola (which becomes the Bheri River) to Dunai 2090m). This is another short day and provides us with a free afternoon. Dunai has a couple of small lodges and those who are ready for a beer should be able to find one. Our penultimate night’s camp. Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 23: Trek to the airstrip at Juphal. 4 hrs trek
Continuing alongside the Bheri River on a lovely trail with some excellent stands of large conifers, there is a sting in the tail as we make a final climb through terraced farmland to reach the airstrip at Jhupal (2480m). We set up camp beside the airstrip and, this being our final camp of the trip; we will want to celebrate with our crew on the completion of one of Nepal
’s finest treks. Stay overnight at tented camp.
Day 24: Fly from Juphal via Nepalgunj to Kathmandu.
The early morning flight takes us out of the cool, fresh mountains of Dolpo and into the hot and humid Terrai region at Nepalgunj. This time, however, it is a short stop and we soon connect with our flight to Kathmandu, where we check into our hotel. Time now for a clean up and a look in the mirror (if you dare). This evening we have to get used to some fine dining and the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu’s busy streets. Overnight in Hotel.
Day 25: A free day in Kathmandu which can also be used as contingency.
This is a contingency day in case of problems with the weather-dependent flight out of Jhupal. If we have flown on schedule this will be a day to relax and enjoy the delights of Kathmandu. Overnight in Hotel.
Day 26: Final Departure from Kathmandu
Your trip will come to an end today after breakfast. Your leader will be on hand to advise and assist with your onward travel arrangements and transfer to Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport by our private van around 3 hours before your flight schedule and flight back to your home/other travel destination.
Our Trek Package Cost Includes:
* Airport / Hotel / Airport pick up & transfer by car / Van.
* 4 nights deluxe accommodation with breakfast at 3* hotel in Kathmandu and Standard Hotel in Nepalgunj.
* Meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) with Tea & coffee and hot/cold filter water during the trek.
* Tented accommodation during the trek.
* 1 experienced, helpful and friendly guide, 1 cook and necessary porters (1 porter for 2 peoples), their food & accommodation, salary, equipment and insurance.
* Trekking camping equipment (Tent, mattress, dining tent, kitchen tent, toilet tent, kitchen utensils etc.)
* All domestic flights and airport tax.
* Upper and Lower Dolpo Restricted Area permit.
* All necessary permits.
* All transportation by private car.
* First Aid Medical Kit box.
* Office Service charge.
* All Government Tax.
Our Trek Package Cost doesn't include;
* Any meals in Kathmandu and Nepagunj other than breakfast.
* Travel insurance (if you want us to arrange your travel insurance, we would greatly be happy to assist).
* International air fare to and from Nepal
Tourist Visa fee.
* Items and expenses of personal nature.
* Any kind of alcoholic drinks, cold drinks, laundry, phone call, internet.
* Personal Trekking Equipment like sleeping bags, jackets (can all be hired in KTM)
* Emergency Evacuation (Helicopter Rescue).
* Any costs which arise due to a change of the itinerary, because of landslides, political disturbance, and strikes etc.
* Any other costs whatsoever, that is not mentioned in the cost included.
* Horse renting during the trek.
* Tips for guide, porters, driver...
Tipping is expected but it is not mandatory.
Customize Your Trek:
This is a general itinerary, which can always individually be “tailormade”. The trek package can be redesigned or redeveloped as per your taste, For more information please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: In case of emergency during the trip, Helicopter will be arranged by Swiss Family Treks & Expedition GmbH. The charges must be paid by the clients themselves.