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Upper Dolpo camping trek - 23 Days

The Upper Dolpo camping trek takes you to a rugged and remote region in the far west of Nepal. This beautiful Dolpo area borders Tibet. Because of this, the culture is strongly influenced by Tibetan Buddhism and a large part of the landscape looks Tibetan. In the west of the region is also the Shey Phoksumdo National Park, with the beautiful turquoise blue Phoksumdo lake.

Because this area is remote, underdeveloped and poor, it is necessary to camp and bring your own food. You will spend the night on nice camping spots, with a view of the mountains and sometimes near a river. The Nepalese team that is with you makes a different menu every day. If local products are to be found along the way, the cook will buy them and process them into a delicious dish.

In this region you are not allowed to go on the road without a Nepalese guide, you are obliged to go with a minimum of 2 hikers and you need a special permission from the government.

Hiking in the Upper Dolpo is a unique experience. You will hike through deep valleys, along high passes and peaks, enjoy the turquoise blue Phoksumdo lake and visit the ancient Shey Gomba. Then we forget the chance to see some rare wildlife – including the elusive snow leopard – and get acquainted with the lifestyle of the local nomadic people.

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Let yourself be inspired by this trip. You can adjust the trip to your individual preferences and wishes.

  • Trek with a Nepalese team through a remote, untouched part of Nepal
  • Watch out for traces of the hideous snow leopard in Shey Poksumdo National Park
  • Visit the 800 year old monastery in Shey Gompa and the Heritage in Tsakang
  • .

  • Dream away from the azure blue Phoksumdo lake
Day 1
Arrival in Kathmandu

Namaste and welcome to Nepal!

At the airport you will be expected by one of our employees who will be waiting for you with a sign. On this will be our logo so you can easily find each other when you leave the airport.

After a warm welcome you will be brought to your accommodation by private car. Our staff will accompany you and help you with the check-in at your accommodation.

Depending on the time of arrival in Kathmandu, you may still have free time to go out.

You can already explore the cosy streets of Kathmandu today, and take a look at the beautiful Place Royale.

During a short `meet & greet` with Maaike and/or Chuda, you will receive some more tips. You’ll also meet your trekking guide for the next few days.

You’ll stay in a standard hotel in Kathmandu.

Day 2
Free day in Kathmandu & trek preparation

While we arrange everything for your trekking, if you have a day off in Kathmandu.

If you still need clothes or equipment for your camping trekking, we will be happy to help you.

There is also time to visit some of the cultural sites today. Go to Pashupatinath, the large Hindu complex where the ritual cremations take place and you can meet the coloured Saddhus. Half an hour’s walk and you’ll be in Boudhanath, where Asia’s largest stupa is located. This is the vibrant centre of Tibetan Buddhism in Kathmandu.

Also Swayambunath, with the monkey temple is a must! This Buddhist complex is situated on a hill, which gives you a beautiful view over the city.

You stay in a standard hotel in Kathmandu.

You stay in a standard hotel in Kathmandu.

Day 3
Domestic flight to Nepalgunj

You still have a morning off in Kathmandu to do the last shopping for the trekking or just to relax.

In the afternoon you take a flight to Nepalgunj. Because the flights to Juphal only fly early in the morning, you will spend the night here.

Night in a teahouse/simple hotel in Nepalgunj

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Day 4
Flight to Juphal (2475m) / Trek to Dunai (2140m) - ca. 3 hours

Early in the morning you’ll take a second flight that will take you even more into the mountains to Juphal.

Upon arrival it’s just a matter of waiting for the guide to arrange everything so that you can go into the mountains with a team and enough food with the tents. Once the Nepalese team is ready to leave and the luggage is loaded, you will leave for Dunai.

It’s a short walking day today: between terrace fields you walk about 3 hours until you arrive in Dunai.

You will spend the night in a double tent.

Day 5
Trek to Chhepka (2720m) - ca. 6 hours

From this village follow the path on the other side of the river to Raktang (2421m), where you cross the river again. Another hour further you cross the river again in Shyanta, a winter residence for the people of Ringmo. After crossing a side arm of the river, the path continues up to Chhepka (2720m).

You will spend the night in a double tent in Chhepka.

Day 6
Trek to Jharina Hotel (3020m) - ca. 6 hours

You’ll first walk through an old-growth forest today. Afterwards you’ll cross the Suli Khola again an hour later. The path continues through a dense forest.

After crossing a side arm of the river, the path rises steeply for about 380 metres until you reach a wide grassy plateau. The flat path on the plateau takes only a short time as you soon descend again towards the river.

You continue to Sanduwa (2960m). Before you arrive in Sanduwa, cross the river again near the Tapriza Secondary School and the Gompa.

If you wish you can visit the school and make a small donation. From the school you can walk along the shore of Phoksumdo Khola river.

In about twenty minutes you will reach the camp site in Jharina Hotel (3020m).

You will spend the night in a double tent in Jharina Hotel.

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Day 7
Trek to Ringmo (3640m) - ca. 4 hours

The path climbs slightly on the bank of the Phoksumdo Khola, and rises further through a cedar and pine forest. It is a long climb that passes by another winter residence, Polam (3400m), where permits are checked again.

You keep climbing on a winding and steep path up to a mountain ridge, where you can enjoy a magnificent view of the turquoise and cobalt blue lake of Phoksumdo and a gigantic waterfall (3800m).

The path now continues downhill through a birch forest to the clear source of the waterfall. Afterwards you climb again slightly up to Ringmo (3640m).

You will spend the night in a double tent in Ringmo.

Day 8
Acclimatisation day in Ringmo : day walk

Today the guide will take you on a walk around the beautiful lake. Lake Phoksumdo is a protected nature reserve and it is Nepal’s deepest and second largest lake.

Ringmo is a traditional Tibetan village, situated on the southern shore of the lake. The local people make various craft products there.

On about 1.5 km from Ringmo, on the South East shore of the lake is Pal Sentan Thason Chholing Gompa, of the Bon religion. This religion is quite similar to Tibetan Buddhism, with the only difference being the practical performance of a number of rituals that take place the other way around. For example, at the Bons you pass a mani wall or chorten along the left side and when you walk around or in a gompa, you walk in the opposite direction. In Tibetan Buddhism you leave a mani wall or chorten on your right side and when you walk around or in a gompa, you walk clockwise.

You spend the night in a double tent in Ringmo.

Day 9
Trek to Phoksumdo Khola Camp (3750m) - ca. 5 tot 6 hours

Time for one of the most spectacular parts of the trekking! Along the west side of the lake you walk to the steep cliffs, which you then cross via a steep path. The path doesn’t rise very much in the first half hour, but you have a magnificent view of the village and the lake.

After crossing a small stream, the path climbs steeply up to 4140 metres. Keep your fingers crossed that you won’t encounter a caravan of yaks here!

The path then descends to the floodplain of the Phoksumdo Khola at the northern part of the lake (3630m). After half an hour you cross the river and walk in a pine forest that later turns into a silver birch forest. Did you know that the bark of the silver birch is often used by Tibetans to write down prayers, which they then leave on the mountain passes or at important chortens?

You will cross the river several times on large stepping stones and then climb to the valley. Afterwards, the valley narrows again into a gorge and you walk along the river again. You soon arrive at the camping site.

You’ll stay in a double tent in Phoksumdo Khola Camp.

Day 10
Trek to Pass Camp (4717m) - ca. 5 to 6 hours

From your camp site it’s only a few minutes to the beginning of the gorge. The path goes uphill into the gorge, crossing the river several times.

The sound of the river in the gorge makes all conversation here impossible, so staying together is the message. The guide keeps an extra eye that everyone follows.

The slope of the path decreases as the gorge widens. You continue walking until you reach a small valley. At the end of this valley there is a beautiful small waterfall that left a gully (4717m). You ascend further along a zigzagging path next to the waterfall. After about 100 meters the path becomes less steep.

You continue your ascent to the higher parts of the valley, which gradually become wider towards a large basin (4810m). You camp in this basin.

You spend the night in a double tent in Pass Camp.

Day 11
Trek to Shey Gompa (4343m) - ca. 5 to 6 hours

On the ridge above the basin lies the Nangdala La pass, which we cross today. The path to it is a pass with loose slates and rises inexorably for 2.5 hours.

On the summit of the Nangdala La pass (5350m) you’ll see a wide valley that descends to a stream, which you’ll reach in an hour after crossing the pass. The path now slowly descends further into the valley, crossing the stream several times. In this valley many yaks and sheep graze.

One hour and a half later you reach the red walls of the Shey Gompa (4343m), surrounded by mani walls and chortens and situated in a green meadow.

You stay in a tent camp in Shey Gompa.

Day 12
Acclimatisation day in Shey Gompa : visit of the Hermitage of Tsakang

In addition to the hermitage, you can also visit the Gompa of the Kagyupa sect. There are many legends about the founder of the Shey Gompa and Tsakang. Tsan-zin Ra Ra lived in the early 17th century and made Dolpo one of the holiest valleys in Nepal. The locals insist that no animal is killed in and around Shey Gompa. This may explain why you have a greater chance to see blue sheep and the snow leopard in this valley.

You will spend the night in a tent camp in Shey.

Day 13
Trek to Namgung (4360m) - ca. 6 to 7 hours

Direction east from the Gompa you walk into the barren Sephu Khola valley, following the path along the river. At some point you enter a side valley and climb for 2,5 hours on a path with loose ground up to the Sela La mountain pass (5095m).

After the pass you descend into a narrow valley and continue your hike to the small village of Namgung (4360m).

You will spend the night in a double tent in Namgung.

Day 14
Trek to Saldang (3770m) - ca. 2 to 3 hours

Today it’s a short walking day, which is sometimes nice!

You climb at the end of the valley over the ridge, which forms the bank of the Nagon Khola river.

You will then walk northwest along the Nagon Khola river to the administrative centre of Upper Dolpo, Saldang (3770m).

You will spend the night in a double tent in Saldang.

Day 15
Trek to Chagaon (3840m) - ca. 3 hours

The Nagon Khola valley has gently sloping slopes over which an easily undulating path runs. Branches merge into one another and offer you a beautiful view of daily life in this area.

A quiet 3 hour walk from Saldang lies Chagaon (3840m), where you can visit a small Gompa next to the river. On the ridge above the village there is another hermit gompa, which is very popular with local and Tibetan llamas.

You will spend the night in a double tent in Chagaon.

Day 16
Trek to Dharsuma Dhoban - ca. 6 to 7 hours

The further south you walk, the steeper the valley walls become and the more ferocious the terrain becomes. A crumbling fortress stands above the river behind the last village, Chasip. The path rises slowly along the river.

After an hour and a half of walking, you cross the river and also see some stone houses in Rakyo Kharka. It is possible that you will have to walk through the water here, in case the river has damaged the path.

Two hours later you come to a large side stream of the river, which has its own valley. You walk into this Dachung Khola valley. After another two hours walk the river splits up again. You cross the Dachung Khola river and follow again the path that runs in the side valley.

You walk in this valley with steep walls until you reach a flat lawn.

You’ll stay in a double tent in Dharsuma Dhoban.

Day 17
Trek to Tokyu (4209m) - ca. 5 hours

You start with a gradual climb of about 500 meters to the Jyanta La pass (5220m).

After crossing the pass you descend into a large narrow mountain valley. At the end it is swampy, on the banks of the Jyanta Khola river. You descend slowly along the river until after an hour and a half you come across a wall with loose gravel. Once you pass this wall you descend less steep and cross the river.

While the valley slowly widens, you pass several mani walls and chörtens. A final descent brings you to the camping site near the village of Tokyu (4209m).

You’ll spend the night in a double tent in Tokyu.

Day 18
Trek to Ghyam Ghar - ca. 6 hours

In the wide, fertile Thakchu valley lie several Magar and Bhotia villages; they are close to each other and almost run into each other. These permanent settlements are of the highest in the world, situated at an altitude of 4100 meters. The green valley is therefore very popular with Tibetan nomads to graze their cattle.

There are both Buddhist and Bon Gompas in this valley, although they are not as old as those in Upper Dolpo.

The trail runs from Tokyo through this valley and is a pleasant walk past villagers who are engaged in their daily chores. Dho Tarap is the last village in this valley and from there you’ll descend to the narrower Tarap Khola valley where you’ll hike further as far as Ghyamghar.

You will spend the night in a tent camp in Ghyamghar.

Day 19
Trek to Laisicap (2775m) - ca. 7 hours

The valley becomes a gorge with a wild river, which you cross over a bridge. You descend slowly to a junction with a tributary. You follow the path until you reach Chhyugar (3440m).

The path has eroded from the rocks and now descends more strongly. The last part is a winding, steep path up to the beautiful waterfall in Laina Odar (3770m).

The path continues to descend and suddenly the Tarap Khola valley becomes the Thuli Bheri Khola valley. A little further on is the camping site in Laisicap (2775m).

You will spend the night in a tent camp in Laisicap.

Day 20
Trek to Dunai (2140m) - ca. 5 hours

After days of descending and ascending on narrow and adventurous paths, it is a relief to walk on a larger road along the Thuli Bheri River today. Today you walk about 5 hours.

There is little shade on this part, so suncream and plenty of water are a must.

About an hour walk from Laisicap, you will arrive at the establishment of Tarakot (2540m), a popular wintering place for the people of Do Tharap.

After the village you walk along the other bank of the river until you reach Dunai (2140m). Just before Dunai you cross the river again.

You spend the night in a teahouse in Dunai.

Day 21
Trek to Juphal - ca. 3 to 4 hours

Day you get up early and walk to Juphal, the end point of your trekking.

In Juphal you say goodbye to the local kitchen team and the person responsible for the donkeys and/or porters.

You will take a domestic flight to Nepalgunj and then a second flight to Kathmandu.

The rest of the day is free to spend in Kathmandu.

One night in a standard hotel in Kathmandu.

The rest of the day is free to spend in Kathmandu.

Day 22
Free day in Kathmandu

If there were no delays with the domestic flights, you have an extra day off today in Kathmandu!

If you want to do some more sightseeing, you can visit the royal cities of Patan and Bhaktapur.

You stay in a standard hotel in Kathmandu

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Day 23
Departure day

The end of the journey has come. We hope you had a fantastic trip and will take home a lot of great memories.

Depending on your departure flight, you may have some free time in Kathmandu. There are a lot of nice little shops with handmade goods in Kathmandu!

At least 3 hours before the departure time of your flight, you will be picked up at the reception desk of your accommodation for a transfer to the airport.

At least 3 hours before the departure time of your flight, you will be picked up at the reception desk of your accommodation for a transfer to the airport.

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

Upper Dolpo camping trek

Trip Facts

  • April - October (Summer!)
  • 18
  • Juphal / Juphal
  • 5350m - Nagdala Pass
  • Strenuous
  • Standard hotels / teahouses / tweepersonstent during trekking
  • Private car with driver & domestic flights
Nepal Inside Out op TripAdvisor