"Embark on a journey to the hidden gem of Nepal with the Upper Dolpo trekking, where the pristine wilderness and untouched Tibetan culture await. This challenging trek will take you through remote villages, soaring mountain passes, and turquoise lakes, all while providing stunning panoramic views of the Himalayas. With limited access and minimal tourist infrastructure, the Upper Dolpo trek is a true adventure for the brave traveler seeking an authentic and unique experience in the Himalayas."
Upper Dolpo trek in a glimpse
The allure of Dolpo's rugged terrain is not new. It has been shown in Peter Matthiessen's book, "The Snow Leopard," and Eric Valli's documentary film, "Himalaya," which showcase the region's unique features such as the tranquil Phoksundo Lake, the serene Shey Gompa, the revered Bon Po practitioners, and the ancient Buddhist monasteries.
The snow-capped Dhaulagiri peaks and the crystalline Crystal Mountain, adorned with quartz and marine fossils, are among the many breathtaking vistas that make Dolpo a must-visit destination. Moreover, the region's rare Tibetan cultures and the elusive snow leopard are among the many highlights that keep travelers coming back for more.
Join our Upper Dolpo trek 24 days or customize the itinerary as per your requirements. Solo trekkers can join our Upper Dolpo trek 2023/2024 fixed departures, or if you have your own group, contact us for a private trek.
Unlike the popular Everest base camp trek and Annapurna circuit trek, you can do the Upper Dolpo trek in monsoon (June to August) too. So, you do not have to wait for the next best seasons to make your dream of trekking in one of the most exotic sections of the Himalayas come true.
Nestled in the remote northwest of Nepal, between the towering Dhaulagiri mountain ranges and the expansive Tibetan Plateau, lies the mystical land of Dolpo. The Upper Dolpo trek offers a chance to explore the upper part of this region, which is even more isolated and rarely visited. Since its opening to foreign visitors in the late 1980s, Upper Dolpo is still regarded as a restricted area, requiring a special permit for entry.
The Dolpo region in Nepal offers trekkers an opportunity to witness the majestic beauty of the rugged and secluded far west of the country. With its border shared with Tibet, the region's culture and landscapes bear striking resemblances to its northern neighbor. Shey-Phoksundo National Park, Nepal's largest national park, is located in the western part of the district, and the Upper Dolpo trek route runs through it.
Despite its remoteness, the Dolpo region is also underdeveloped and impoverished. Unlike other famous trekking regions in Nepal, the tourism infrastructure is lacking, and visitors must camp and carry their own food supplies during the Upper Dolpo trekking. And that is why Upper Dolpo is also known as one of the best camping treks in Nepal. The cost of permits is expensive, and trekking in Upper Dolpo without a guide is not allowed.
However, those who brave the challenges of the region are rewarded with stunning vistas of deep valleys, high passes, and peaks, along with the mesmerizing turquoise waters of Phoksundo Lake. The 800-year-old Shey Gompa is another highlight of the region, as well as the possibility of glimpsing rare wildlife such as the elusive snow leopard.
Upper Dolpo trek route
Although Dolpo is known for its arid and rugged terrain, the region is also adorned with a variety of
natural wonders. Fast-flowing rivers, roaring waterfalls, deep river gorges, lush meadows, and terraced fields are just some of the natural features that make Upper Dolpo a truly captivating destination.
As part of the Shey Phoksundo National Park, Dolpo's diverse wildlife is well-protected. The park is home to the rare and elusive snow leopard, Himalayan blue sheep, goral, tahr, Himalayan black bear, and a variety of other wildlife species.
Trekking in Dolpo is not for the faint-hearted. The challenging trails are often steep, unstable, and barely existent in some areas. Long days of hiking at high altitudes are common, with several high passes to cross. However, for those with the stamina, fitness level, and determination, this Upper Dolpo trek 24 days is an unforgettable adventure of a lifetime.
Upper Dolpo trek itinerary
Nestled in the remote northwestern corners of Nepal, the Dolpo region is a hidden treasure that is divided into two parts: Upper Dolpo and Lower Dolpo. The Upper Dolpo trek starts from the small town of Juphal, which can be reached by a short flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj and then a connecting flight to Juphal (2,499 m).
The trail goes through the Annapurna, Kanjiroba, and Dhaulagiri ranges. Along the trail, you will have the opportunity to experience the unspoiled Bon and Buddhist villages of Saldang, Tokyu Gaon (Yak Kharka), Dho Tarap, and Tarakot, each rich in cultural heritage and unique in their own way. The trek concludes at Dunai, followed by a few hour's walk back to Juphal, the major town in the Dolpo region.
The locals of Upper Dolpo and BonPo religion
The Upper Dolpo is home to the BonPo religion, one of the oldest spiritual practices in Tibet. The Bon Po religion has its roots in shamanism and animism. Its teachings emphasize the harmony between man and nature. The BonPo religion is a significant cultural aspect of the Upper Dolpo region, with the locals having preserved their unique traditions and customs for centuries.
The locals of Upper Dolpo are primarily of Tibetan origin and are known as Dolpo-pa. They lead a traditional lifestyle, relying mainly on farming and livestock rearing for their livelihood. The people of Upper Dolpo are hospitable and warm, welcoming visitors with open arms. Their unique way of life has been shaped by the rugged terrain and harsh weather conditions of the region, with their homes built to withstand the extreme cold and strong winds.
Shy Gompa and Crystal Mountain
Shey Gompa is one of the oldest monasteries in Upper Dolpo, believed to be founded over 800 years ago. The monastery is perched on a rocky outcrop at an altitude of 4,160 meters and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Crystal Mountain is located nearby Shey Gompa. This mountain is believed to be made entirely of crystal. According to local legend, it is the source of Phoksundo Lake's crystal-clear waters. The mountain is considered sacred by both Buddhists and Bon Po followers, and pilgrims come from far and wide to pay their respects.
Shey Phoksundo Lake
Shey Phoksundo Lake, also known as Phoksundo Lake, is considered one of the most beautiful and serene lakes in Nepal. It is also the deepest lake in the country, with a depth of 145 meters. Its crystal-clear waters, surrounded by snow-capped peaks, make it a sight to behold.
The lake's water is so pure that it is believed to have medicinal properties and is used to treat various ailments. The lake's surroundings are also home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, with several endangered species like the snow leopard and musk deer inhabiting the region.