Upper Dolpo & Shey Gompa Trek

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Annapurna Encounter offers a classic trekking in the Far North West of Nepal Himalaya on the old caravan route to Tibet, Journey to Upper Dolpo & Shey Gompa with Phokshumdo and around high valleys of Dolpo, an extension of Tibetan plateau and landscapes, starting this fabulous trip with a scenic flight to the low area of southwest Nepal Terai at Nepalgunj city and with another short flight to Jhupal at Dolpo.

Upper Dolpo & Shey Gompa and with Lake Phokshumdo trek leads through traditional villages of highlanders of Dolpo, where the culture, traditions and religion as it was for centuries a complete similarities to South West Tibetan and way of life practicing Bon a pre-Buddhism an ancient religion before present Buddhism influenced the Himalayan region of Nepal and Tibet Himalayan people.

After a wonderful time in Lake Phokshumdo and Ringmo village, trekking through enchanting woodlands of beautiful rhododendron and tall pines and fir tree lines and heading further west direction around isolated and remote scenic area reaching much altitude gain to the highest pass of this journey at Kang-La with 5,360 meters high which is the topest point of this marvelous journey truly out of this world with its fascinating surrounding at Shey Gomba known as crystal monastery, at the base of majestic holy Shey or Crystal Mountain.

From Shey Gompa leading to other beautiful county of Upper Dolpo area visiting impressive and interesting villages of the Dolpo highlanders in Tokugaon and Tarakot and then concluding this overwhelming trip with a flight back from Jhupal back to Kathmandu with great service of Annapurna Encounter

Trip Facts

  • Trip Mode : On lodge and camping
  • Total Trip : 24 - 25 days
  • Higest Point : 5,360 m
  • Trip Grade : moderate to adventurous
  • Season : April to June & September to November
  • Trekking : 20 - 21 days

Day 01: Arrive at Kathmandu 1,300 m and transfer to hotel.
Day 02: Morning sightseeing tour afternoon flight to Nepalgunj.
Day 03: Fly to Jhuphal (Dolpo) 2,320m trek to Dunai 2, 850m - 03 hrs.
Day 04: Trek to Ankhe 2,896 m - 06 hrs.
Day 05: Trek to Sumdo village/ Sulighat 3,500 m - 06 hrs.
Day 06: Trek to Phokshumdo Lake 3,500 m - 05 hours.
Day 07: Rest day at Phokshumdo Lake for local excursion.
Day 08: Trek to Phokshumdo-Khola 3,640 m- 05 hrs.
Day 09: Trek to Phokshindo Bhanjyang - 07 hrs.
Day 10: Trek to Shey Gompa 4,500m via Kang-La 5,360 m -06 hrs.
Day 11: Rest day at Shey Gompa the crystal monastery.
Day 12: Trek to Namduna Gaon 4,800m via Saldang La 5,200m.
Day 13: Trek to Saldang 3,620 m -05 hours.
Day 14: Trek to Yangze Gompa 4,960 m - 05 hrs.
Day 15: Trek to Sibu 4,560m - 07 hrs.
Day 16: Trek to Jeng-la phedi 4,900 m -06 hrs.
Day 17: Trek to Tokyu Gaon 4,200 m via Jeng la 5,090 m - 06 hrs.
Day 18: Trek to Dho Tarap 4,040 m- 05 hrs.
Day 19: Trek to Tarap Khola 3,800 m - 07 hrs.
Day 20: Trek to Kharigaon 3,150 m -05 hours.
Day 21: Trek to Tarakot 2,850m - 05 hrs.
Day 22: Trek to Dunai - 04 hrs then drive to Jhupal - 01 hr.
Day 23: Fly to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj and transfer to hotel.
Day 24: In Kathmandu with sightseeing tour.
Day 25: Transfer to airport for international departure.

Day 01: Arrive in Kathmandu meet our staff and transfer to hotel.
On reaching Kathmandu international airport our AE staff will receive with a transfer to hotel in the hub of Kathmandu around Thamel area, an interesting place with shops, stores, international standard restaurants. Our guide will meet and inform you with details of the hotels and trekking to Upper Dolpo & Shey Gomba and more.

Day 02: Fly to Nepalgunj (50 minutes flight) and transfer to hotel.
Morning at leisure with 2-3 hours sightseeing tour at places of interest around Kathmandu city and its valley, afternoon, our staff will accompany and transfer to domestic terminal of Kathmandu airport for 50 minutes sweeping scenic flight to Nepalgunj city located in the most warmer area of South West Nepal close to India border of UP, with great panorama of snow capped mountains during the flight, on reaching Nepalgunj transfer to respective hotels for overnight stop.

Day 03: Fly to Jhupal 2,320 m then trek or drive to Dunai 2,850m.
Early breakfast in the hotel and transfer back to Nepalgunj airport for another scenic short flight in a small plane to Jhupal in Dolpo region, great views during 40 minutes airborne, on reaching Jhupal received by our trekking staff, traveled a long way from Kathmandu to reach Dolpo for the trek on overland journey by bus and on foot. From here a short drive of few hours to Dunai town the administrative headquarter of whole Dolpo area, and this trek is within the largest Nepal National Park of Shey Phokshumdo.

At Dunai for overnight in hotel or lodge with time in the afternoon for walk around in this interesting town and observing the Dolpo people in the bazaar area.

Day 04: Trek to Ankhe 2,896m - 06 hrs.
First day walk starting from Dunai leads to cross a bridge and then heading North West direction with an uphill on bank of Thulo Bheri River valley, walk continues with marvelous views of Kagmara peak, and then with a long descend passing small villages, farm land and walnut groves close to a stream, walk continues at Dhera a small temporary area of cattle herders, and then a climb to Rahagaon village with Hindu Thakuri people, the main tribe around western Nepal mid and low hills, from Rahagaon on the downhill trail into thick alpine forest to reach our first overnight camp in tents at Ankhe village. From this village the main entrance of Shey Phokshumdo National Park.

Day 05: Trek to Sumdu / Sulighat village 3,500m -06 hrs.
Starting the morning walk with short climb and descent into lovely woodland towards bank of a river and again leading to a climb to a hill top on leaving tree lines behind for a while, walking on a high trail above from the river, and then a climb to top of the ridge line to descend into forested area at another river side. From here following the river upstream to cross a small bridge to reach Ryajik village, after a nice rest in this isolated village walk leads further to Sumdu for overnight camp which is close Sulighat village.

Day 06: Trek to Phokshumdo Lake 3,500 m - 05 hours.
Today our journey reaches to our main destination at Lake Phokshumdo also known as Ringmo lake after the name Ringmo village near the lake, morning walk on the beautiful valley field following the small river Pungmo Khola and then crossing at west side of Phokshumdo Khola, leading back to Pungmo Khola, walk continues with a descent into pine and birch tree lines on the upper side of Phokshumdo Khola, to reach Ringmo village with mud plastered Buddhist monuments of chortens and Mani (prayer) walls, after this nice interesting village, less than an hour walk leading at an emerald, turquoise Lake Phokshumdo for two night camping by the lake shore.

Day 07: Rest day at Phokshumdo Lake for local excursion.
A charming place for rest and free day in the beautiful picturesque surrounding and in peaceful environment at Lake Phokshumdo, and it’s also necessary for acclimatization before heading to high passes of Baga and Numa –la, with free day here explore the local village of Ringmo which interesting with its Buddhist monuments, chortens and Mani or prayer wall and the houses with stones and mud plastered built, the people here of Bon religion of pre Buddhist but follows both Buddhism and visit its old monastery.

Day 08: Trek to Phokshumdo-Khola 3,640 m - 05 hrs.
From Phokshumdo lake and Ringmo area with fascinating time, today’s walk leads heading higher North just near to Tibet border at Shey Gompa and beyond, morning walk after contouring a rocky ledge path by a river side and on unstable trail, and reaching towards west side of Lake Phokshumdo to approach a summer pasture of cattle herders that expose into a flood plain of Phokshumdo Khola to set the night camp by the river bank.

Day 09: Trek to Phokshumdo Bhanjyang - 07 hrs.
Morning walk on a nice good path around the glacial valley heading towards north of Phokshumdo Khola, and then a climb walking on the long ridge line on summer pasture area, after a hard climb reaching at top ridge with scenery of great wide valley and the hill top of Kang-La pass on route Shey Gompa our next destination, after a hard vigorous climb leading to a nice grassy field to make the camp for overnight, this area is well described in the famous classic novel “The Snow Leopard” of Peter Matthiessen where he christened this spot as ‘Snowfields Camp\'

Day 10: Trek to Shey Gompa 4,500m via Kang-La 5,360 m -06 hrs.
After a nice rest in this camp of isolated area, morning walk heads to our main destination at Shey Gompa, starting with s steady uphill walk on small slated rocks and stone scree to reach Kang-la pass top at 5,360 meters, on the highest point of this adventurous journey looking around great scenery of hills and valleys and all the way towards North East with views of Mt. Dhaulagiri range which is world’s 7th highest peak at 8,167 meters high. From here after catching great views descend towards river side on marshy area coming across a grazing land with yaks, sheep’s, goats and herders temporary shelters and finally reaching our overnight stop and to our main destination at Shey Gompa with red chortens (Buddhist monument) and the monastery just beneath the majestic peak of Shey or Crystal Mountain regarded as sacred and holy mountain by all Bon the pre Buddhist religion that is practiced by highlanders of Dolpo.

Day 11: Rest day at Shey Gompa the Crystal Monastery.
Truly a mystical and fascinating place for rest day in this holy spot, here visit the very old monastery “Gompa” of Shey where it treasures ancient artifacts and statue of various Buddha’s the main present being Lord Sakyamuni and stature of Guru Ringboche and known as Guru Padmasamba who came from India to Tibet on a mission to revive Buddhism in early 6th Century.

The Crystal Mountain located east of Shey Gompa a strange kind of mountain, as its contorted cliffs is laced with quartz and embedded with a rich variety of marine fossils.

Day 12: Trek to Namduna Gaon 4,800m via Saldang La 5,200m.
From this classic and dramatic are of Shey and its mysterious mountain and old Gompa the monastery walk, morning walk on a long downhill following the path lined with juniper small trees and bushes, and then reaching a canyon area, where the path winds up at Saldang-la pass at 5,200 meters high, on reaching the top with grand panorama of surrounding barren and arid landscapes and of snow mountains of Dhaulagiri range, after a nice rest heading downhill on route north direction, walking on grazing land with yaks, sheep grazing, and then walk leads on a pleasant trail reaching at Namduna Gaon for overnight camp. An interesting village with old monastery of different sect of Tibetan Buddhism known as Karmapa, the village with nice farm land growing barley, buckwheat’s, mustard, potatoes and radish are the main staple crops and vegetables.

Day 13: Trek to Saldang 3,620 m -05 hours.
After this nice Namduna gaon walking further to next village and to more villages on route to Saldang, morning trekking leading up on scree and rocky trail, after hours of vigorous climb reaching Saldang village for overnight stop in this main important village of this area, positioned high above on a plateau one of the chief village of inner Dolpo area.

In Saldang there are five thriving villages spread around this large area, along with agriculture and cattle breeding, the villagers has been trading in Tibet for hundreds of years till now, as the route from here is known as caravan route to Tibet trading grains and spices from Nepal to rock salt and Chinese goods.
The chief and headman of this village named Thinly a popular and leading man of Dolpo area has been cast as important character in the movie of this region called the Caravan and later changed the name into Himalaya the film location was shot around this area.

Day 14: Trek to Yangze Gompa 4,960 m - 05 hrs.
From this impressive village, morning heading towards Nang chu river all the downhill on this arid, barren and picturesque moonscape country, walk is a combination of short ups and downs passing several farm settlement of Tiling and Lurigaon and eventually reaching our overnight stop at Yangze village with old Bon-Po Gompa or Monastery an interesting place to visit its monastery and the houses of this village.

Day 15: Trek to Sibu 4,560m - 07 hrs.
Morning walk continues retracing the way back to near Saldang village as this is the normal and shorter route, after a zig-zagging path reaching close at Saldang village and then walk follows along the river through terraced land with many stupas, chortens and monastery, then going into Namdo which is another big flourishing village of around sixty houses or more, after a nice visit of Namdo monastery, carry on trekking for another few hours beyond with downhill towards a river and to a cattle herders and Yak man summer settlement at Sibu for overnight camping.

Day 16: Trek to Jeng-la phedi 4,900 m -06 hrs.
After being in several villages of few days, today the walk leads to isolated camping sites at the base of Jeng-la, morning starts to follow Nam Khong Khola for short while, then encountering caravan of yaks laden with goods for trade to Tibet / Nepal on this old Trans Himalayan Trade route for hundreds of years. Then walk follows the same river, and then heading up with a steep climb towards Jeng -la phedi or base, bottom for overnight camp.

Day 17: Trek to Tokyu Gaon 4,200m via Jeng la 5,090 m - 06 hrs.
From this peaceful isolation camp, morning walk up to Jeng-la pass top uphill of few hours strenuous climb to the top ridge of Jeng-la at 5,090 meters with fabulous views of surrounding landscapes with panorama of high snow capped mountains of Dhaulagiri range on eastern direction and looking down view of Tarap valley, a long beautiful valley that extends about 20 k.m. distance on the bank of Tarap Chu River, after a long descend back to villages at Tokyugaon for overnight stop, this large village is a combination of about more than 10 smaller villages added into one big area, with nice cultivated farm fields of barley and wheat’s, this village with old monastery, chortens.

Day 18: Trek to Dho Tarap 4,040 m - 05 hrs.
From this interesting and very impressive village, continue morning walk towards south east route along the wide Tararp valley and Tarap Chu river passing many cattle herders summer pasture of yaks, sheep’s and goats grazing on the yard of this beautiful green valley meeting the Yak herders with very much Tibetans look in custom and culture and of Bon religion, after a nice walk overnight camp by the Tarap river in this nice valley of Tarap.

Day 19: Trek to Tarap Khola (Kamekharka) 3,800m - 07 hrs.
Today a long day walk but on gradual trail with nice views along the way, starting following the river downstream with slow downhill slope on the wide summer pasture and then entering into a gorge valley with few smaller vegetation of juniper and dwarf rhododendron bushes around this area might see some wild life, as this region is famous for blue sheep’s and snow leopard, might heard of the classic novel “Snow Leopard” by Peter Matthessian, who visited Upper and Lower Dolpo area in search of snow leopard, as the walk leads on short ups and down path finally reaching our overnight camp by the confluence of Tarap Chu and Lang Khola rivers.

Day 20: Trek to Kharigaon 3,150m - 05 hours.
From this isolated area and campsite morning in walk leads through Tarap River gorge walking on steep path which rises high above from the river and walking unstable bridge on broken path with an adventure crossing over it and might have to wade the river on foot to reach overnight camp at Kharigaon a small cattle herders temporary shelters with stone huts and setting camp by the river side.

Day 21: Trek to Tarakot 2,850 m - 05 hrs.
After being in isolation away from the villages, today’s walk lead to one of the most impressive village at Tarakot village, starting the morning walk on this lower Dolpo area and then reaching at Lalberi village the first village after few days in wilderness, after a nice break here walk continues leading back to vegetations and tree lines small forest area and following the river downstream to Tarakot village for overnight stop another charming and wonderful village with a neat terraced of buck wheat, barley and mustard plants are cultivated in this beautiful area of Tarakot village which in olden days guarded this village with a fortress which still remains here for hundreds of years. This village is famous for Sandul Gompa, situated on the confluence of Barbung Khola and Tarap Chum rivers, after setting the camp a walk around the village is interesting in this impressive village.

Day 22: Trek to Dunai 2,850 m and drive to Jhupal 2, 320 m - 01 hr.
From Tarakot which located on route to Dunai, Jhupal, upper Dolpo, upper Mustang and towards Beni via Dhorpatan. Today the last day of walking on route Dunai getting in jeep or any other available transport to Dunai and towards Jhupal, morning walk leads through many spread out farm villages and Sheppard’s shelters and towards Thulo Bheri valley near Dunai area, and then walking past Dunai hospital to get over a suspension bridge and to Dunai town the main town with Nepal government headquarter of whole Dolpo, from here after having lunch, drive to Jhupal for few hours for the last night in Dolpo area.

Day 23: Fly to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj and transfer to hotel.
Morning depending upon flight situation and time walk to the airport for the flight to Nepalgunj, then connect flight to Kathmandu with grand views of mountains views all the way to Kathmandu, on reaching Kathmandu airport, our staff will transfer you back respective hotels in the hub of Kathmandu city after an amazing and awesome time in the high Himalaya region of Dolpo.

Day 17: In Kathmandu with sightseeing tour at places of interest.
A free day in Kathmandu in case of flight delay due to bad weather as the Himalayan weather are unpredictable sometimes if all goes well as per the planned itinerary, morning guided sightseeing tour ( on request) at places of interest. Kathmandu city and the surrounding valley steeped with history, culture. Kathmandu is full of World Heritage Sites with old Temples, Monasteries, Stupas, Royal Courtyard and Palaces, afternoon free at leisure for souvenirs shopping.

Day 18: International departure for home ward bound.
Last day in Nepal with memorable moment and awesome experience and good time with Annapurna Encounter services, as per the international flight time our AE staff will transfer you to airport for the flight back home or to respective countries.

on the remote Far North West of Nepal Himalaya with dramatic landscapes
Upper Dolpo a mystical, scenic country on the old caravan route Nepal / Tibet
alluring scenery of beautiful lake Phokshumdo in enchanting environment
amazing views of snow mountains of Dhaulagiri and Kagmara peaks
pristine forests of rhododendron and pine trees enriched with flora and fauna
visiting villages of Dolpo highlanders with rich culture and tradition