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Dolpo Adventure Trek


Featuring: Do- Tarap, Phoksundo Lake, Shey Gompa & Yanger Gompa

Dolpo, the Himalayan trekkers’ forbidden Shangri-La, has long been one of the most remote secretive and restricted areas of northwestern Nepal. This region includes extensive areas of high arid Tibetan type terrain, undisturbed Buddhist cultures and an extensive natural history quite different from that of the Himalayas to the east. The few western travelers permitted into Dolpo were primarily scholars and researchers.

Within the last few years, the veil of secrecy has gradually been lifted. In the summer of 1989, the southern part of Dolpo was opened to foreigners. Since 1992, the government has opened the remaining parts of Inner Dolpo including Shey Gompa, the northern valleys, and the high passes from Tsharka over to the Kali Gandaki valley.

The best trip to inner Dolpo will be by early October when the summer monsoons would have subsided in western Nepal and the clear autumn skies offer spectacular views of the deep valleys and high snowcapped peaks. The weather should hold for about six weeks before the higher passes become snow-bound by the onset of cold winds and winter storms from the Tibetan plateau. This is our window of opportunity for exploration.

After landing at the airstrip at Juphal (6900ft / 2104m), start trek east to Dunai and then north toward Phoksundo Lake (11570ft / 3528m), a high mountain lake that was formed many years ago when a massive rockslide swept down and blocked the Suli Gad River. The autumn red berries and the deep azure waters of the lake from an incredibly beautiful setting against a backdrop of high arid peaks and clear blue Tibetan skies.

Spend a few days acclimatizing at Phoksundo and visiting the nearby Monasteries at Pungmo and Ringmo before continuing on across the Khang La Pass (17500ft / 3528m), the first of four high passes that is encountered on this trek. This will bring one to Shey Gompa, the spiritual center of Dolpo. Here one can find a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery where some of the most ancient rituals and traditions are still observed.

From Shey, we cross the Se La Pass (16,705ft / 5093m), and descend into northern valleys. Pass through Saldang, Yangsher, Shimen and Ting Kyu, some of the most remote villages. These areas have been visited by few foreigners and remain almost untouched by Western ways.  Continue the trek across another high pass (16500ft / 5031m), to Tsharka, another very remote settlement in the upper Barbung Khola valley. From Tsharka, cross finally the Sangda La Pass (18100ft / 5519m), the last and highest of the all the passes. From here, one can have spectacular views of the northern slopes of the Dhaulagiri Range. Descend to Sangda and then to Jomsom in the Kali Gandaki valley. The treks end with a return flight to Kathmandu from Jomsom.

Since inner Dolpo is still a restricted zone, we must obtain a very special Restricted Area permit from HMG’s Home Ministry. This fee is paid directly to the government of Nepal and will be used to manage the development of tourism in Dolpo. This trip is for experienced hikers or trekkers, but technical mountaineering skills are not required. The remoteness from medical and communication facilities is matched by few other locations on earth.


Best Season: Spring & Autumn
Accomodation: Hotel/Lodge
Group Size: 2+
Transportation: Private Vehicle/Flight

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  • placeDay 01 : Arrival in Kathmandu.

    Upon arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport (Kathmandu), meet, representative and transfer to the hotel.
    Overnight at hotel in Kathmandu.

  • placeDay 02 : Day in Kathmandu.

    Day in Kathmandu to submit the applications by the trek participants to obtain the special permits. Guests are sometimes asked by government officers to present themselves at the office.
    PM: Half-day sightseeing tour of Kathmandu.
    In the afternoon, go on the sightseeing tour of the Kathmandu city including: Temple of Pashupatinath, one of the holiest pilgrimage shrines of Hindus; Boudhanath Stupa, one of the biggest Stupas and Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square.
    EVE: free for pre trek preparation.
    Overnight at hotel in Kathmandu.

  • placeDay 03 : Fly to Nepalgunj.

    Transfer to the domestic airport of Kathmandu for the 45-minutes flight to Nepalgunj. Upon arrival at the Nepalgunj Airport, transfer to the hotel.
    Overnight at hotel in Nepalgunj.

  • placeDay 04 : Fly to Juphal & Trek to Dunai.

    Early morning transfer to the Nepalgunj Airport for the 40-minutes flight to Juphal. Upon arrival start trek to Dunai. Follow the trail eastwards of Dunai along the south banks of the Thulo Bheri. Trek duration: 2 hours.
    Overnight camp in Dunai.

  • placeDay 05 : Trek to Chepka (2,670 m).

    Cross the steel suspension bridge following the trail through the Thulo Bheri. Walk through Suli Gaad to Raktang (2,260 m). Cross the west bank & trek to Jyalhasa. Keep walking upstream to another bridge to the east bank to Ankhe Khola. Trail through ups & downs to Rahagaon & Parela to the high ridge above. After descending on a rocky path, arrive at Chepka (2,670 m). Trek duration: 5-6 hours.
    Dinner and overnight camp at Chepka.

  • placeDay 06 : Trek to Renje (3,010 m)

    Climbing over a small ridge, cross to the west side to avoid a large ridge & returning to the east side along the riverside to the rocks & sticks forming dyke. The trails make several ups & downs through the forests to a bridge to the Renje. Trek duration: 6 hours.
    Dinner and overnight camp at Renje.

  • placeDay 07 : Trek to Phoksundo Lake (3,730 m).

    Climb over a ridge and descend to a wooden bridge & then continue its ups & downs along the valley floor to the Suli Gaad. A wooden bridge leads to the western bank of Phoksundo Khola, the trails follows the west bank of the river. Trek to Sumduwa, cross the bridge & climb through a forest of big cedars to Palam (3,710 m). The route switchbacks steeply on a sandy trail to the dusty switchbacks at 3,780 m. From the ridge you can see the spectacular views of Phoksundo Lake & 200m high waterfall. Steep decent trail in birch forests to the upper you will be in Ringmo village. Cross a bridge & follow a trail north to the ranger station at Phoksundo Lake. Trek duration: 7 hours.
    Overnight camp in Phoksundo Lake.

  • placeDay 08 : Rest day to explore around Phoksundo Lake.

    Phoksundo Lake:
    The lake is spectacular. It is 4.8 km long, 1.8 km wide and is said to be 650m deep. It is known for its aquamarine color-a greenish blue similar to a special Tibetan turquoise. There is no aquatic life in the lake, which helps to make the waters brilliantly clear. If you toss a rock in, you can watch it for a long time as it sinks to the bottom. According to legend, Phoksumdo Lake was formed by a spiteful female demon. In Buddhist Himalayan David Snell grove recounts how the demon was fleeing from the saint Padmasambhava and gave the village people a turquoise after they promised not to tell that she had passed by. Padmasambhava turned the turquoise into a lump of dung, which upset the local people so much that they revealed the demon’s whereabouts. She in return, caused the flood. It is said that you can see the remains of a village below the surface of the lake.

    This is Bon-po country, where people practice a shamanistic religion that predates Tibetan Buddhism. Much of Bon-po symbolism is the opposite of Buddhist practice. Youshould walk to the right of the ancient mud chortens, which are inscribed with swastikas that have their arms pointing in the opposite direction to the Buddhist version. Instead of the Buddhist chant of "Öm Mani Padme Hum", the Bon-pos chant "Om Ma Tri Mu Ye Sa Le Du", which Snell grove found untranslatable except that Sa Le Du in Tibetan means "In Clarity Unite". A trail leads from the lakeside through juniper trees to the white Pal Sentan Thasoon gompa that overlooks the Lake. This is a Bon-po gompa said to have been built 60 generations ago. There are five other private gompas in various houses of the small monastic community near the lake. The insides of the temples contain dusty Buddhist paintings and statues, but the trappings also reflect the animistic elements of the Bon-po religion, so some of the chapels are reminiscent of an ancient witch's cavern. A donation to the ragtag collection of dirty monks will gain you entrance to the gompas; if you're traveling with sherpas they will be as fascinated as you by the strange iconography and practices of the Bon-po religion.
    Overnight camp in Phoksundo Lake.

  • placeDay 09 : Backtrack to Renji

    Overnight camp in Renji.

  • placeDay 10 : Backtrack to Chekppa.

    Overnight camp in Chekppa.

  • placeDay 11 : Backtrack to Dunai.

    Overnight camp in Dunai.

  • placeDay 12 : Back Track to Juphal.

    Overnight camp in Juphal.

  • placeDay 13 : Back Track to Juphal.

    Eve: In the evening celebrate the completion of your adventure with your support Sherpa team in traditional Sherpa style.
    Overnight camp in Juphal.

  • placeDay 14 : Fly back to Nepalgunj & Connect afternoon flight to Kathmandu.

    Early morning fly from Juphal to Nepalgunj in Twin Otter. Upon arrival in Nepalgunj meet waiting vehicle and transfer to hotel for rest & Lunch.
    After lunch transfer to Nepalgunj domestic airport to board 1 hour flight to Kathmandu.
    Spend a free time in Kathmandu relaxing or shopping.
    EVE: Farewell dinner
    Overnight at hotel in Kathmandu

  • placeDay 15 : Final departure to Dubai.

    Free until final departure transfer to Dubai.


The itinerary listed is a guideline and standard pattern which we provide you. This trekking can be modified according to your time and requirements. We will be pleased if you provide every minor details about your trip.

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