Overview

The Dolpo district of Nepal is the kind of fantasy place that movies are made about. It is a real-life mountain paradise. From dry, barren lands, to lush meadows, to waterfalls and sacred lakes, our Upper Dolpo Trek guides you through these mystical lands for an out of this world experience. The trekking route lays in the remote northwest area of Nepal’s Himalayas. The territory is largely uninhabited, and it’s possible to go for a day or two without seeing another human. Very few tourists visit this place, let alone even know that it exists.

The residents of Dolpo have origins in Tibet, with whom they have traded with for hundreds of years. Local products do not provide a sufficient livelihood, hence their necessity to trade. As the highest inhabited region of Nepal, it is also the least populated, with only about 5,000 people living in the region. They follow the Bon Po religion, which uses ancient shamanistic practices with roots in Tibetan Buddhism.  

The journey into Upper Dolpo starts with an hour-long scenic flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj. We begin the actual trek on the following day, to Dunai. Immediately the stunning sceneries are seen. We pass through lush forests and agricultural fields in the lowlands. As we head up and northward, the vegetation as well as villages become sparser. We have views of the colossal mountain Dhaulagiri (8,167 meters/26,794 feet), the 7th highest mountain in the world. Also, the Annapurna, Manaslu, and Nilgiri ranges show themselves along the trail.

The three high mountain passes, Saldang La Pass (5060m), Jyanta La Pass (5220m), and Kang La Pass (5380m) add a whole new level of exhilaration to the trek. After these passes, we get to sleep right next to the majestic Shey Phoksundo Lake. This large, turquoise colored lake will take your breath away. You’ll never see another lake like it. Nearby is the Demon’s Trail, made famous by the movie Himalaya (Caravan) by Eric Valli. It’s a route that has been used for centuries for trade with Tibet. Shey Gompa is the primary destination of the Upper Dolpo Trek, a sacred monastery that is allegedly over 800 years old and houses ancient Tibetan scrolls.

We pass more picturesque villages and have an opportunity to see wide range of biodiversity, including the blue sheep and snow leopards among much more. The trek ends the same way it began, with a scenic flight to Kathmandu from Nepalgunj. Come enjoy the Upper Dolpo Trek with us! You won’t believe the beauty until you see it for your own eyes!

This is a camping journey, though there are opportunities to stay at guest houses along the way. Trekking is possible throughout the year, but Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to November) provide the best weather. Depending on the time of the year that you take the trek, teahouses may not be open.  Therefore, we have listed this as a camping trek. We will give you the details before you book your trek. The Upper Dolpo Trek requires moderate fitness and little acclimatization to avoid acute mountain sickness. Breeze Adventure arranges the trek with complete management. Please, feel free to contact us for more detailed information.

Upper Dolpo is a restricted area, meaning that you need a special permit, as well as a licensed guide to enter.  The cost is $500 for the first 10 days, and $50/day after that. The cost is included in the price of the package.

Trip Highlights

A remote, unreal trek in a mountain paradise environment

Traversing three high alpine passes: Saldang La Pass (5060m), Jyanta La Pass (5220m), and Kang La Pass (5380m)

Visit the majestic Shey Gompa near Crystal Mountain

Learn about the unique Bon Po religion and its devoted followers

Feast your eyes on the striking Shey Phoksundo Lake at 3,612 meters

Massive Himalayan peaks visible throughout the trek, including Dhaulagiri (8,167 meters/26,794 feet)

Trip note

Accommodation

All our packages include accommodation in the cost.  This accommodation is included only during the set itinerary.  While in Kathmandu, we provide a 2/3 star hotel for you.  During the trek, our guides will pick the best lodge for you to stay in based on their experience as well as room availability.  During high trekking season, you may have to share a room with a same-sex trekker from another group.  Our company provides you a sleeping bag for both sleeping in a teahouse as well as outdoor camping.  

Food

Nepal has a wide variety of food and it is easy to cater to your needs.  If you are a vegetarian/vegan, gluten or lactose-free, we are able to work around that if you let us know ahead of time.  During your time in the hotel in Kathmandu, your breakfast is included.  Lunch and dinner must be covered on your own.  On the trek, breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided. While camping, we will prepare the meals for you.  After our trek, we will have a celebration/pre-departure traditional Nepali meal in Thamel. 

Guide & Porters

A government-licensed guide will lead the trek.  All our guides have tremendous experience on the trails and are passionate about the trekking industry.  Our guides and porters are dedicated to making your experience of trekking in Nepal a memorable one.  If there is any worry during your trek, our guides will address it.  Your safety is our number one priority.  For groups of more than six people, there will be two guides. For teahouse treks, there will be one porter for every two trekkers.  For camping treks, we will need more porters in order to carry the food, kitchen equipment, tents, etc.   

Acclimatization/Fitness/Experience

As many of our treks lead us high into the Himalayas, it is necessary to let our bodies sufficiently get used to the altitude.  Our treks have acclimatization days built into the itinerary.  It is best to take it slow to prevent altitude sickness.  The level of fitness necessary for our treks varies depending on the trek.  On average, expect to walk an average of 5-6 hours per day while on the trial.  Generally, the treks can be done with an average level of fitness.  More important than fitness or experience is one’s personal determination and positive attitude toward finishing and enjoying the trek.  

Travel Insurance

We strongly recommend having travel insurance before going on a trek.  We do our best to take care of you, but something can happen that is out of our control.  In case of medical emergency, leading to a helicopter evacuation, it is best to have insurance.  You are unable to obtain medical insurance in Nepal and must do so in your home country.  Be sure that your insurance covers accidents abroad and high in the mountains.  

Best Time to Travel

The peak seasons for traveling in Nepal are during the Spring (March to May) and the Autumn (September to November).  These times provide the best scenery and clearest skies, but of course they are a little more crowded than the off-season.  It is possible to trek during the Winter (December to February), but you will face cold temperatures.  It is also possible to trek during the monsoon season (June to August), though the views will likely be covered by clouds and there is a high chance of rainfall.

Domestic Flights

Flights to and Juphal can be delayed due to weather conditions and delays may last up to several days.  It is best to book flights to and from Nepaljung with a several day margin to avoid missing a flight back to your home country.  If flights go smoothly, we will help arrange activities for you during your margin days.

Cost Details

Cost Includes

Upper Dolpo Permit

Transportation to and from Tribhuvan Airport.

Three nights in a 2-3 star hotel in Kathmandu, breakfast included.

One night in 2-3 star hotel in Nepalgunj, breakfast included.

All transportation for the trek (flights, bus, etc.).

Tented Camp & supplies (kitchen, sleeping bag, etc.).

Government-authorized, experienced guide and porters

Insurance, food, accommodation, and wage for guides and porters

Hygienic meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) during the trek.

All equipment (sleeping bag, warm layers, etc.) for trekking.

First Aid Kit

Maps

Service charge and government taxes

Post-trek celebration dinner in Kathmandu

Cost Excludes:

International airfare

Meals in Kathmandu (besides breakfast)

Your personal expenses, shopping, etc.

Shower and electronic charging fees at guest houses during the trek

Alcoholic drinks, chocolates, tea and coffee

Tips for guide and porter

Extra accommodation and meals outside of itinerary

Costs from unexpected occurrences (i.e. cancellations, weather problems, damages of property, illness, etc.)