Lower Dolpo Trek

Lower Dolpo Trek

The Lower Dolpo Trek is an exciting off-the-beaten-paths trek that takes place at one of the most secluded regions of the nation. The remoteness of Lower Dolpo makes the Lower Dolpo Trek one of the most exciting and secluded trekking experience in Nepal. Due to the region’s relative isolation, its terrain and its villages have remained undisturbed and refined even after centuries. The traditional customs and rituals of the people that have been in practice for hundreds of years are still in practice even now. Trekking in the region resembles going back in time because of the region’s rich religious perseverance. Lower Dolpo was opened for trekking in 1989, however because of its far-flung location, trekking in Lower Dolpo is not common. The relatively untouched region presents many unexplored caves and landscapes brimming with natural beauty. Located on a secluded corner of the Trans Himalayas of Nepal, Lower Dolpo resembles the Tibetan Highlands. The encompassment of high mountains, amazing landscapes, High Passes, beautiful valleys and lakes makes Lower Dolpo an ideal far-off trekking destination to visit. Experience the region’s rich Tibetan Buddhist culture and get to see the day-to-day life of the people in the out-lying acreages of the region. Their nomadic ways combines magnificently with the beauty of the land makes for an exciting trekking journey.

The Lower Dolpo Trek starts from Jhuphal, with trekking routes that go through outstanding locations on the backdrops of high Himalayas. The colorful barren slopes of the region resemble a beautiful painting and the tapestry of the mountains decorating the foreground of the lands enhances its natural pulchritude. The wilderness of Lower Dolpo is rich in unique floral and floral lives that come across the path while trekking. Trekking on territories that rarely see outsiders, the Lower Dolpo Trek is an entirely partitioned experience unlike anything else in the country. The trail goes through three High Passes of Kangmara La, Baga La and the Numa La, which present amazing panoramic sight of the valley below. Quite a strenuous trek, the Lower Dolpo presents harsh climates and dry and arid terrains to trek through. The beautiful sapphire Phoksundo Lake is also a major highlight of the trekking journey. Go through the famous Shey-Phoksundo National Park and encounter the park’s amazing wildlife and biodiversity.

The friendly and hospitable people of Lower Dolpo offer warm and cordial greetings and they are some of the most good-natured people on the planet. Direct descendants of Tibetans, the Lower Dolpo residents practice the old religion of Bön that is very exotic and unique. The traditional practices of the people are a mirror reflection of the traditions from hundreds of years ago. With a perfect combination of natural beguiles, mountain views and exotic far-flung villages on the crevasses and foothills of the Himalayas, Lower Dolpo Trek is exceptionally beautiful and unique.

You can also opt for our Upper Dolpo Trek that offers a trekking experience on the other half of the Dolpa region. Come join us in this wonderful adventure where the region’s best elements and aspects are explored and presented in the best way!

Outline Itinerary

  • Day 01: Arrive at Tribhuwan International Airport, Kathmandu
  • Day 02: Trek Preparation and Kathmandu Valley Sightseeing Tour
  • Day 03: Kathmandu – Nepalgunj Flight
  • Day 04: Nepalgunj - Juphal (2475 m) Flight, then walk to Dunai (2140 m), Duration: 2.5 hours
  • Day 05: Dunai (2140 m) to Lingdo (2391 m), Duration: 5 hours
  • Day 06: Lingdo (2391 m) to Laina Odar (3370 m), Duration: 6 hours
  • Day 07: Laina Odar (3370 m) to Nawarpani (3475 m), Duration: 4 hours
  • Day 08: Nawarpani (3475 m) to Sisaul (3750 m), Duration: 3.5 hours
  • Day 09: Sisaul (3750 m) to Dho Tarap (4080 m), Duration: 4 hours
  • Day 10: Dho Tarap (3944 m) to Numala Base Camp (4440 m), Duration: 3 ½ hours
  • Day 11: Numala Base Camp (4440 m) to Danigar (4631 m) via the Numa La Pass (5318 m), Duration: 6 hours
  • Day 12: Danigar (4631m) to Yak Kharka (3982m) via the Baga La Pass (5190 m), Duration: 6 hours
  • Day 13: Yak Kharka (3982 m) to Ringmo/Phoksundo Lake (3733 m), Duration: 2 .5 hours
  • Day 14: Phoksundo Lake (3733 m) to Chhepka (2838 m) via Rechi (2940 m), Duration: 7 hours
  • Day 15: Chhepka (2838 m) to Juphal (2475 m), Duration: 6 hours
  • Day 16: Juphal – Nepalgunj – Kathmandu Flight
  • Day 17: Leisure day in Kathmandu
  • Day 18: Farewell

Cost Includes

  • Airport / Hotel / Airport pick up & transfer by private car / van
  • Four nights accommodation with breakfast at a 3-star category hotel in Kathmandu
  • Kathmandu city tour as per the above itinerary
  • One night accommodation in Nepaljung at hotel Batika
  • KTM - Nepalgunj-Juphal - Nepalgunj-KTM airfare including departure tax
  • Meals on full board (breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea & coffee) prepared by our expert cook
  • Twin sharing tented accommodation during the trek
  • An experience guide (trained by Ministry of tourism), required number of porters, their food, accommodation, salary, insurance, equipments
  • Trekking equipment (two men tent, dining tent, kitchen tent, table with chairs, kitchen utensils, and other necessary equipments during the trek)
  • Special trekking permit
  • Shey Phoksundo National Park entry fees
  • Safe drinking water, boiled/iodine tablets.
  • First aid medical kit bag.
  • All government and local taxes.
  • Office service charge.

Cost Excludes

  • Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu
  • Travel insurance
  • International airfare
  • Nepal entry visa: you can obtain a visa easily upon your arrival at Tribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu. (a multiple-entry tourist visa good for 30 days can be obtained by paying US $ 40 or equivalent foreign currency. Similarly, multiple-entry tourist visas for 90 days can be obtained by paying US $ 100. Please bring 2 copies of passport-size photos.)
  • All cold drinks such as: alcoholic beverages, mineral water, Coke, Fanta, juice, etc.
  • Hot showers during the trek
  • Personal shopping and laundry
  • Personal trekking equipments
  • Tips for trekking staff and driver (Tipping is appreciated but it is not mandatory)
  • Day 01: Arrive at Tribhuwan International Airport, Kathmandu

    You may arrive at the airport at any time. Upon your arrival at the Tribhuwan International Airport, you will be greeted by one of Escape Himalaya’s representatives. You will then be transferred to your hotel and further programs and planes will be explained to you by the representative. You may check into your hotel and relax for the remainder of the time. Overnight stay at the Hotel.

  • Day 02: Trek Preparation and Kathmandu Valley Sightseeing Tour

    Today, the sightseeing tour will start of Kathmandu valley, and the tour will mainly maunder around the cultural heritage sites Kathmandu valley has to offer, all listed under the World Heritage List by UNESCO. You will also prepare for the Trek today. The highlight of the tour includes the Kathmandu Durbar Square, the Swayambhunath Temple, the Bouddhanath Stupa and the Pashupatinath Temple. The Pashupatinath Temple is one of the most religiously reverent temples dedicated to Lord Shiva; and we can sometimes observe the cremation ritual of the Hindu people by the bank of the holy river Bagmati at the temple as well. The Bouddhanath is one of the largest Buddhist Mandala in the country. The Swayambhunath is a beautiful stupa situated atop a hill and is also known as “the Monkey Temple”. The Kathmandu Durbar Square holds old monarchial palaces of the Malla kings who ruled over the city in ancient times, along with many architecturally intricate buildings and temples. Many of the buildings in the Kathmandu Durbar Square were heavily damaged during the 2015 earthquake. Reconstruction work is underway. After the tour, we will be heading back to the hotel. Overnight stay at the Hotel.

  • Day 03: Kathmandu – Nepalgunj Flight

    To get to Dolpa, generally you have to fly to Nepalgunj first. Nepalgunj is a steaming hot city in South Western Nepal, situated in the lowlands of Terai, close to the Indian border that just 8 kilometers away. Culturally, the areas resemble more India than upland Nepal. You can take a cycle rickshaw for a ride in around the town as well. Passing the hustle and bustle of the bazaar, you can 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, breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

  • Day 04: Nepalgunj - Juphal (2475 m) Flight, then walk to Dunai (2140 m), Duration: 2.5 hours

    The flight from Nepalgunj to Juphal takes about 35 minutes and the airplane goes over steep mountain ridges and beautiful valleys. The sight of the snow-capped mountains from the airplane is amazing to look at. The Juphal Airport is just a gravel airstrip amidst the mountains, which guarantees a spectacular landing. Stepping out of the plane, you will be entering a completely different world. From a hot city in the plains, you will have arrived in a small mountain village, situated in the midst of the Himalaya, breathing in crispy cold air. From Juphal, you will walk down over a small path among fields with wheat and vegetables to the Thuli Bheri River, which you’ll follow further on to Dunai. Overnight stay at the tented camp, Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

  • Day 05: Dunai (2140 m) to Lingdo (2391 m), Duration: 5 hours

    Leaving Dunai, you will walk in a beautiful mountain landscape, which sometimes resembles the European Alps. Rocky slopes are dotted with Blue Pine trees, making for a pleasant walk. At the horizon, you can see the snowcapped Kang Tokal Himal (6294 m). The path follows an up and down route, following the Thuli Bheri River and passes a couple of remote village houses as well. You will go though the Buddhist village of Byasgar lying at 2427 meters. 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 quickly gets more rough and rocky. The path is sometimes carved out of the rocks, and at a few points become very narrow. There are plans to make a motor-able road all the way to Dho Tarap. You will reach Lingdo, a small village which has one guesthouse, with a camping site, plus a check-post, so have your permit at hand. Overnight stay at the tented camp, Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

  • Day 06: Lingdo (2391 m) to Laina Odar (3370 m), Duration: 6 hours

    The path gradually goes up today. Along the way, you will have a good view of 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 will also pass some Mani walls (a wall with loose stones with Buddhist mantra’s carved on it) and chortens. According to Buddhist custom, you will have to pass these Buddhist shrines from the left side, so you have to follow a clockwise path. At the horizon, you can see the beautiful snowcapped Kang Tokal Himal. The landscape is impressive and sometimes very green. Sharp rocks are dotted with junipers and other pine trees. If you are lucky, you can also see groups of large grey monkeys here. The trail then 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 will reach 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. Beside the local restaurants, they serve as a shop as well, and you can buy a variety of items here, like biscuits, juice, Lhasa beer, shampoo and other trinkets. 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 will find yourself high above the river. Close to Laina Odar, the path goes alongside the river again. Overnight stay at the tented camp, Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

  • Day 07: Laina Odar (3370 m) to Nawarpani (3475 m), Duration: 4 hours

    After leaving Laina Odar, the trail goes up to a small pass, which takes about a 45 minutes climb to reach it. After the pass, it’s a fairly easy walk with a few small climbs further on. It’s a beautiful walk again, sometimes going through pine forests filled with the wonderful smell of nature. About 4 hours after leaving Laina Odar, you will reach Nawarpani (3475 m), where you will 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 stay at the tented camp, Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

  • Day 08: Nawarpani (3475 m) to Sisaul (3750 m), Duration: 3.5 hours

    After Nawarpani, the landscape quickly gets more barren. Only a few trees make appearances in the otherwise empty landscape. You mostly walk in the river valley with high rocks towering above you on both sides. Blue Sheep live on these barren lands. If you look out for them, you have a big chance to see big groups of these herd animals high on the slopes. Besides, if you are really very lucky, you might even spot a snow leopard. It’s a fairly easy walk, gradually going up. At some parts the path is beautifully carved out of the rock, so you will 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 a 30 minute duration till Sisaul (3750 m). Overnight stay at the tented camp, Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

  • Day 09: Sisaul (3750 m) to Dho Tarap (4080 m), Duration: 4 hours

    Leaving Sisaul, the trail climbs to another small pass. Shortly after the pass, the valley suddenly widens. The landscape presents a completely different sight. It’s very dry and small bushes grow in 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 appear between the mountains- the Dho Tarap village. Getting nearer to Dho Tarap, you will 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 the people’s life here. Behind Dho, you can see the gompa (Buddhist monastery) of Dho, situated on a hill as well. 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 as well. 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 stay at the tented camp, Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

  • Day 10: Dho Tarap (3944 m) to Numala Base Camp (4440 m), Duration: 3 ½ hours

    As it is only a 3 ½ hours walk to Numala Base Camp, you can use the morning to explore Dho and its surroundings. Leaving Dho, you will pass a beautiful gate chorten. After half an hour more or less, you will arrive at the Crystal Mountain School, which educates 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 the Numala Base Camp (4440 m). It’s in the middle of nowhere, but close to the river and you can find a small house for cooking here.

  • Day 11: Numala Base Camp (4440 m) to Danigar (4631 m) via the Numa La Pass (5318 m), Duration: 6 hours

    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 of a 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 the Numa La at 5318 meters. The altitude makes you go slow and you get out of breath quickly. But it’s definitely worth it. On a clear day, you can have stunning views from the pass of countless snowcapped mountain peaks. Mount Dhaulagiri towers impressively on the right of the High Pass. You can also see the Annapurna and the Manaslu Ranges, the Shey Shikar (6139 m), the Kanjirowa Himal (6883 m) and many other Himalayas. In the spring, there can be snow on the pass, which makes the crossing a bit harder. After the pass, you will go down steeply for about an hour. The path becomes pretty leveled out and later climbs slowly but steadily again for about an hour further on. As the river is going down quickly, you will find yourself soon high above the river. After a couple of turns, you will 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) towers high above the campsite. On the other side of the river there are high pastures, which are often used by yaks to graze. Overnight stay at the tented camp, Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

  • Day 12: Danigar (4631m) to Yak Kharka (3982m) via the Baga La Pass (5190 m), Duration: 6 hours

    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 serpentine over the slopes. Soon, you will find yourself high above the river. A good 2 hours after leaving camp, you will reach the high camp, which is already close to the pass. From here, you have an excellent view of 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 of many snowcapped mountains like the Kanjirowa Himal and the 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 it’s best to watch your step. You will walk through a stunning scenery of huge rocks in all kind of colors. At the horizon- mountains covered with snow make for a beautiful foreground. 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. The sight is beautiful and offers a different view after those days trekking on a landscape without any trees. Besides, you will see a couple of beautiful waterfalls along the way as well. It’s rather flat and easy walking, gradually going down, till you reach Yak Kharka (3982 m), another beautiful place to camp. You will have a great view of the imposing Kanjirowa Himal (6612 m). Besides, in spring the meadows are full with flowers. Overnight stay at the tented camp, Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

  • Day 13: Yak Kharka (3982 m) to Ringmo/Phoksundo Lake (3733 m), Duration: 2 .5 hours

    It’s a short hike today. Pretty soon after leaving Yak Kharka, the path starts to climb high on the slope, and the river (Maduwa Khola) appears soon far below you. The path goes 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 through 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. Walking through some beautiful pine forests and meadows, you can hear bird songs filling up the dulcet in the air. Leaving the forest, you will cross a small bridge from which you will climb in a couple of minutes to Ringmo.

  • Day 14: Phoksundo Lake (3733 m) to Chhepka (2838 m) via Rechi (2940 m), Duration: 7 hours

    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 .5 hours 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 stay at the tented camp, Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

  • Day 15: Chhepka (2838 m) to Juphal (2475 m), Duration: 6 hours

    Today, you will likely spend most of your trekking time descending, with some small climbs in between. The first part goes through the forest again, with the wild flowing river below you. After the village of Shyanta, you will leave the forest, and suddenly walk through landscape that is dry and arid. In front of you, you can see a part of the Dhaulagiri range. Passing villages like Sangta (2520 m) and Kageni (2413 m), you will 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 will 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 a 3 hour hike 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 stay at the tented camp, Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

  • Day 16: Juphal – Nepalgunj – Kathmandu Flight

    Early in the morning, you will fly to Nepalgunj. The first part of the flight through the mountain valleys is quite spectacular. Later in the day, you will fly back to Kathmandu.

  • Day 17: Leisure day in Kathmandu

    Today is a leisure day in Kathmandu. Yu can spend the day relaxing at your hotel or can go around the city for shopping. Overnight stay at the hotel.

  • Day 18: Farewell

    Approximately three hours before your scheduled flight, Escape Himalaya’s representative will take you to the airport from where you will depart.

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