Deep into Dolpo and Shey Gompa –A High and Wild Trek – 27 days…Do it slow and easy…this is a trek that taxes the body and your emotions to the bone; the natural eco-system hereabouts are some of the best you will ever witness in a whole lifetime…
DOLPO - The Bon - Po Kingdom…Explore the unknown from the known…where the raw beauty of nature in its most sanctified form blends with true grit…as you plod the trails…
Journey into a remote jagged sanctuary that was once hidden to the world…discover raw beauty and supernatural nature that displays an ancient culture which blends with the Shamanistic mystique religion dating back to the 9-10th century…Experience pure adventure, to the core…
Know the land before treading it:
Dolpo is the most remote and least developed region in Nepal.
Ba-Yul, the hidden land of Dolpo, saw its first human inhabitants in a visit by the Rokpa farmers and Drokpa nomads who waded in from Tibet in the 10th century. Although a few anthropologists and geographers had explored the region before, the entire district was closed to trekkers until1989 when the southern part of Dolpo was opened to organized trekking groups. Peter Mathiessen’s ‘The Snow Leopard’ and Snellgrove’s ‘Himalayan Pilgrimage’ have contributed a lot to the mystique and attraction that is ‘Dolpo’ today.
Two notable visits were the first mountaineering expeditions made by Dr. Herbert Tichy in 1953 based in Saigon and the other visit by John Tyson in the early sixties.
Dolpo, one of the most beautiful treks in the remote far corners of Nepal, is very rarely visited by outsiders. Few travellers have ventured into the soul of Dolpo, a region so very aptly depicted in Eric Valli's admirable film - 'Himalaya'. This part of Nepal is one place where the clock ran out of time; an absorbing combo of ancient Tibetan religions and a resilient people who survive by farming and bartering with both Tibet and Nepal.
The Phoksumdo Lake is a central feature of this trip. If you toss in a rock, you can watch it for a long time as it sinks to the bottom. According to myth, Phoksumdo Lake was formed by a spiteful female demon. In the novel ‘Buddhist Himalaya’, David Snellgrove mentions the flight of the demon from saint Padmasambhava and gave the village people a turquoise after they promised not to say that she had passed by. The fable goes on to say that Padmasambhava, however, turned the turquoise into a lump of dung, which upset the local folks so much they revealed the demon's whereabouts. She, in an act of revenge, caused a flood. It is said you can see the remains of a village below the lake's surface…come out here to hear chilling tales that gets the blood racing, and you may even see traces of an unfortunate village.
We conclude this extraordinary odyssey with a descent to the commercial town of the region - Jumla for our return to Nepalgunj. For wilderness buffs of Himalayan trekking and for anyone who possesses a true love for the real wilderness, visit this virgin region of storybook proportions, this is surely one journey you’d want to do before leaving this world for that last home of the ultimate peace where we meet with our GOD.
Trip Duration : 26N / 27D
Trekking Code: STE/DOL/01
Grade: Strenuous…but a challenge you’d not want to forsake
Activity: Trekking and a Cultural Tour
Starts and ends in: Kathmandu
Trek type: Fully Organized Trek… with all the trappings of realistic wilderness above the tree-line
Accommodation: Hotel, Camping
Meals: Nutritious and hygienic meals provided on the trail
Transportation: Flights/ Private Cars or Tourist Bus
Trek duration: 21 / 22 days on the trail through some stunning wilderness
Max altitude: 5375 metres
Day 1 : Arrive in Kathmandu at tribhuwan International Airport
Day 2 : Free at your own leisure
Day 3 : Fly Kathmandu to Nepalgunj
Day 4 : Fly Nepalgunj to Juphal and trek to Dunai
Day 5 : Trek to Tarakot
Day 6 : Trek to Kamigaon
Day 7 : Trek to Tarap Khola
Day 8 : Trek to Yak Kharka near Pigu Phu cave
Day 9 : Trek to Dho Tarap
Day 10 : A day for rest and acclimatization
Day 11 : Trek to Tokyu gaon
Day 12 : Trek below Numala Pass
Day 13 : Cross Numala and camp at Phedi or Pelungtang
Day 14 : Trek and cross Baga La - camp on the other side of Phedi
Day 15 : Trek to Ringmo
Day 16 : Rest and exploration day at Ringmo
Day 17 : Trek to Pungmo village
Day 18 : Trek below Kagmara La
Day 19 : Cross the Kagmara La
Day 20 : Trek to Hurikot village
Day 21 : Trek to Chaurikot
Day 22 : Trek to Chorte gompa
Day 23 : Trek to Gothichaur
Day 24 : Trek to Jumla
Day 25 : Fly from Jumla to Kathmandu with brief stop at Nepalgunj
Day 26 : Free day in Kathmandu
Day 27 : Departure for home
Day 1: Arrive Kathmandu.1, 300m
On arrival at Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport you will be received by our representative and will be escorted to your Hotel, where one of our trek leaders or a Sherpa guide will give you a brief orientation of the Hotel, Kathmandu, Trekking /Camping, things you should and should not do and other related information that you might require while in Nepal. Our Tour Officer will ask for your International flight ticket and your passport for safe keeping and for reconfirmation of your out bound flight from Kathmandu to your next port of arrival, if required. Do not hesitate to do this as it is one of our routine services and it will be in safe hands while you are on the trek; after your trek, your valued documents will be returned back to you. Your first overnight in the city of temples, probably the most in the world
Day 2: Free at your own leisure
After your first night in Kathmandu, you will be well informed on arrival about what to do in your next free day.
The choice is yours: either you can stroll around the nearby market on your own or you can opt for a half/full day guided sightseeing tour in Kathmandu at places of interest. The cost for this extra tour is not added in the trek cost and you have to pay extra depending on the places you choose to visit. This extra tour gives you deep insights into Nepal’s iconic monuments that have been recognized by UNESCO as world heritage sites. Sansui Treks will give you an orientation on your program & you will also get the opportunity to ask us any questions you may have regarding our upcoming adventure. When this is done, you might find time to shop around the city in the evening time if you need any gears for the trek. Overnight at your hotel
Day 3: Fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj and transfer to Hotel
As per the flight schedule for Nepalgunj, we transfer to the domestic airport for a one and half hour scenic flight to Nepalgunj. At Nepalgunj, we will have time in the late afternoon or evening to have a look around the town which is situated on the southern Nepal border with India. Hereabouts, it is pretty hot and tropical in character.
Day 4: Fly from Nepalgunj to Juphal (Dolpo) 2,320m. Trek to Dunai 2,850m. 2-3 hrs hike
After a pleasant overnight at Nepalgunj, we do an early morning transfer to the airport for the 45 minute flight to Juphal over the Himalayan foothills, with views of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri peaks to the north. On arriving at Juphal our trekking crew will receive you, these guys have done a tough hike all the way from Nepalgunj with the camping gear and food supply which take about 5-6 days. From Juphal, a short 2-3 hrs walk from the airstrip takes us to our first overnight camp at Dunai village. Our first day on the trail begins with an hour of downhill hiking through the village below the airstrip, then leading through the terraced fields to the Bheri River and the narrow gorge taking 2-3 hours to camp at Dunai. This is a much larger village or rather, a small township, with a new hospital and is the administrative headquarters of the Dolpo region. Here we have ample time for a leisure walk around the village. Overnight camp
Day 5: Trek to Tarakot. 2,850m. approx 5-6 hrs
Today's trek leads through many small streams and then follows the Bheri and Barbung river that runs through a tremendous gorge with pine trees and an ingenious path built about seven meters above the river; after a good walk, we come to Tarakot where colorful terraced fields greets us. Tarakot is an old fortress town built by the local people as Dzong or fort. Tarakot was a capital before the Gorkha dynasty reined in Nepal. The famed Sandul gompa lies farther east from Tarakot and at the junction of Barbung khola and Tarup Chu (river). The village stands on a hillock to the south of Bheri River which at one time supervised collection of tolls for the trading caravans. Our overnight camp is made by the river about 150m below the village, near the police post or we climb a steep ridge for an hour to the village on a spur, where there are chortens and a gompa on the edge of a grassy plateau with a solitary trees scattered around.
Day 6: Trek to Kami Gaon. 2,543m. approx. 3-4 hrs
Our route from here follows the Tarap Chu River upstream, crossing by a bridge and criss-crossing the same river twice. The path leads through the farm terraces and rural villages of Sahartera and winds gradually towards a small settlement of Kolas after 3-4 hrs of a good morning hike. From this place, we descend with few ups to reach our overnight camp at Kamigaon after some 2 hrs of trekking. We camp near by for the night in the village backyard. It’s exciting!
Day 7: Trek to Tarap Khola. Approx. 3,450m - 4-5hrs
The trek continues up the gorge of the Tarap River, at times alongside it, at others rising high above on a trail built out from steep slopes. On the way we are likely to encounter people from Dolpo herding their flocks of sheep’s and goats to lower pastures for the winter. On the route there are many possible campsites by the river. The walk is quite exciting as the valley becomes a narrow gorge where in some places you can jump from one side to the other. Sometimes, the path vanishes for a while, making our own path across stone slabs fitted on logs in between the walls which act as a bridge. The gorge also provides unexpected adventure and thrills. In some places, the bridges are either damaged or washed by the monsoon flood, and we may opt to cross the cold torrents on foot. It’s a pleasant chilly feeling on the feet. We camp overnight by the river near Kamattarka village.
Day 8: Trek to YAK KHARKA 3,850m near Lang Chu or Pigo Phu Cave
The walk from here leads to the upper valley following the Tarap Chu (river) most of the way, the trek passes through the summer grazing pasture and few farm settlements and we criss cross the same river twice before reaching our overnight camp near the tributary of Lang Chu (River).
Day 9: Trek to Dho Tarap 4,090m. approx. 6 hrs
Our morning walk begins with a gradual up leading us to Kamattarka at the confluence of the Tarap Chu and Lang Khola, a stream flowing from the east. After few hours of good morning hiking, we leave the narrow gorge and from here the path leads just above tree lines of juniper bush and wild rose, typical of dry inner Himalayan valleys. Another 3 hours or more walking brings us to the village of Dho Tarap surrounded by an irregular stone wall. At Dho, thirty-four houses are divided into three groups and built in random fashion, it’s pretty interesting! In this Valley both Bon Po and Chaiba sects reside together. Tarap is also inhabited by a few Tibetans and mostly Magars who have lived here for many generations. Overnight Camp by the village yard
Day 10: A day for rest at Dho Tarap for acclimatization and a local hike around
This is a well deserved rest day free from the hassles of packing today and a chance to make friends with the locals who have hardly seen westerners for ages. It’s always good to interact with the local folks and give the kids some toffees if you have them. The Dolpo people wear home spun clothing that is sometimes dyed maroon and they favor Tibetan style somba or dhocha (boots with upturned toes) for foot wear. Both men and women often wear religious amulets and strings of coral, amber and turquoise. The people of the region are both Bon po and Nyingmapa of the Buddhist sect. The Buddhist gompa is nearby to the camp while the Bon Gompa (pre Buddhist) is about half an hour's walk away.
Day 11: Trek to Tokyu Gaon. 5 hrs
After a wonderful time here at Dho Tarap, our journey continues towards upper Tarap valley, the walk follows through this plain valley with patched up lush verdant grass on both sides of the river, which is completely different from other parts of inner Dolpo. The trek on this pleasant track leads by the Tarap Chu upstream all the way. Tarap is certainly a dream valley with vast plains in high mountains extending twenty kilometers along the river Tarap Chu, having ten villages with cultivated fields of barley, buck wheat, wheat and potato. After 3-4 hrs of good walk in this perfect tranquil environment, we come to the village of Tokyu; it has a monastery belonging to the Chiba sect. After a break here, our walk continues farther up this valley climbing up the rough track for almost another 3 hours to reach our overnight camp beneath the Numa-la. Overnight camp on the pasture field
Day 12: Trek below NUMALA PASS. Approx. 4 hrs
After a wonderful time here, our route diverts North West as we come across sheep, goat and yak herders with great sceneries of the surrounding landscapes and finally arrive at the base of Numa-la for our overnight camp with the afternoon free for extra hiking and exploring the nearby areas. We can also relax nearby & do some reading which is stimulating in such environments.
Day 13: Cross NUMALA 5,190m and camp at PHEDI or Pelungtang
Our journey continues with the crossing of Numa La pass at 5,190m, the track goes to a steep climb all the way to the top ridge of Numa la with fantastic views of the surrounding landscapes; the scenery of the valleys, and mountains including the north face of the Dhaulagiri massif along with other distant snow capped peaks is so spiritually invigorating. After a glorious moment at the pass, almost three hours of downhill hiking brings us to Palungtang 4,465m or further for the overnight camp just before Baga-la or Basi-la pass.
Day 14: Trek and cross Baga La. 5,070m and camp on the other side of Phedi approx.4, 470m.
Our journey continues with the crossing of Numa La pass at 5,190m, the track leads to a steep climb all the way to the top ridge of Numa la with even contrasting views of the surrounding landscapes & scenery of valleys, mountains including the north face of the Dhaulagiri massif along with other distance snow capped peaks. after a glorious moment at the pass, almost three hours of downhill walk takes us to Palungtang or farther for the overnight camp just before Baga-la or Basi-la pass, depending upon the duration of walk and fitness of our team of trekkers, if everybody is all right and on time, our trek might lead over the Baga-la to camp on the other side of this pass making it easier for the next day.
Day 15: Trek to Ringmo. 3,600m. 6 -7 hrs
The morning trek starts with a steep climb to reach the ridge top of Baga-la at 5,070m, which offers fantastic views of the surrounding landscapes and of the distant snow capped peaks of Kanjiroba Himal range, after a great moment here our walk leads to a descent for 2 hours through pine forest; on leaving the forest behind, the country and the vegetation changes for pasture fields and alpine shrubs most of the way to Ringmo on the gradual slopes with few ups and downs as we reach our final destination at Ringmo and the crystal serene Lake of Phoksumdo.
Day 16: Rest Day at Ringmo for a hike to Phokshumdo Lake and around the village of Ringmo
The nearby Tibetan Buddhist monastery is well worth a visit, as is the village of Ringmo. A walk part way round the lake is also very enjoyable and relaxing. It’s a wonderful place to just chill out & let your spirits go free. You could also perhaps, get rid of your demons down here.
Day 17: Trek to PUNGMO village. Approx. 3,320m - 3-4 hrs
After a great time at Ringmo, today's short walk leads to the edge of southern Phoksundo Lake and leaving the village, a short climb with grand view of the lake below brings us to our overnight camp at Pungmo, a small village in the area.
Day 18: Trek below KAGMARA -LA. Approx. 3-4 hrs
A walk from here follows uphill crossing a small ridge at Daju, coming to a settlement of Yudon and Lasa, time permitting and subject to the availability of a campsite, our walk continues near the base of Kagmara-la at approx. 3,900m to 4,200m.
Day 19: Cross the KAGMARA-LA. 5,115m. Approx. 4-5 hrs
Our early morning trek follows the steep path uphill for two hours or more depending upon our fitness and finally reaches the top of the pass with awesome views of the Kagmara mountain range; after a grand moment at the top, a steep descend brings us to the bottom of the pass near the Garpung Khola for the overnight camp after an adventurous and solid hike.
Day 20: Trek to HURIKOT VILLAGE. Approx. 3,300m - 5-6hrs
Today's walk follows the Garpung stream most of the way with gradual winding path with few short steep ups and downs with views of Lha Shamma 5,698m, Kang Chunne 6,443m to the north and Kagmara peak on the south. After a good walk of five hours or more, we reach our destination for the overnight camp at Hurikot, a small farm village in the area.
Day 21: Trek to CHAURIKOT Approx. 3,000m. 5-6. hrs
From Hurikot, a few hours walk leads to the end of the Kagmara Lekh and Dolpo region, coming to Jumla and Mugu district at Rimi and Kaigaon. The walk follows a good trail passing through the village of Balasa and then to Chaurikot for the overnight camp.
Day 22: Trek to CHORTE GOMPA Approx. 3,200m 5-6hrs
After entering the new region of Jumla, our walk follows through a winding gradual uphill path for an hour or two and reaches towards a small pass of Mauri Lagna La at 3,840m, overlooking grand views of the surrounding landscapes and snow capped peaks of Bhalu Himal 5,460m, Gutumba 5,806m and Dudukundali 6,542m. From here a slow down hill brings us to the small village of Rolpa Tra at the base of Jagdula Lekh (mountain ridge) and the walk continues to more Pre Buddhist shrines and chortens at Naphukona at 3,080m. From here, an hour or more of gradual climbing brings us to the village of Chorta for our overnight camp, with time for a walk to the nearby monastery / gomba of Chorta.
Day 23: Trek to GOTHI CHAUR. 2,700m. Approx. 4-5 hrs
From this camp, the walk is more or less on the downhill path passing through the village of Muni Sangu and Munigaon and farm terraces growing wheat, barley and millet, the path leads to a bridge over the river Bapila Khola near Munigaon and a few hours walk from this spot brings us to our camp at Gothichaur for our overnight stop. Gothichaur is one of the main villages of this area and is a major trading junction for the people of Dolpo, Jumla and the nearby Mugu region.
Day 24: Trek to JUMLA. 2,370m Approx. 6-7 hrs - Our last day on these awesome mountains…
Our last day of trekking begins by slowly and gradually dropping down a really lovely valley from high alpine pastures, through magnificent forests and eventually into a fertile well farmed valley. It is dotted by pretty little villages such as Padmara and the track is not too steep and follows the same river all the way down to Jumla. This makes a nice circuit and avoids having to repeat part of the outward trek. On reaching Jumla, rest of the afternoon can be spent exploring the busy market town. We could also have a party with our crew whom we’ve come to know so well over the weeks gone by & we can also taste some ‘chang’ (local mountain beer brewed from rice) which is very popular on these mountains and do a jig to a cultural dance; an altogether merry ending to a merry trip on the last day on these mesmerizing mountains, we may never see them again. We then retire for the night and reminisce on the wonders of our challenging adventure on some of the toughest territories on earth.
Day 25: Fly from Jumla to Kathmandu with brief stop at Nepalgunj
We hop an early morning sweeping, wonderful flight of 30 mins. To Nepalgunj over the Himalayan foothills, overlooking stunning views of the snow capped peaks for the last time. On arrival at Nepalgunj, depending on the connecting flight schedule to Kathmandu; if it’s in the afternoon, we will have time for a few hours to refresh in the comforts of the Hotel Batika at Nepalgunj. After which, we then connect with a flight back to Kathmandu. Overnight at your hotel
Day 26: At leisure in Kathmandu
A free day in Kathmandu, please let our staff or tour officer know if you would like to go on another short tour in and around Kathmandu Valley or for a scenic mountain flight or maybe do some rafting. If you are a couple, maybe you could visit ‘Nagarkot’, a wonderful scenic hideaway that’s just 40 km out of Kathmandu. Spend a night at this beautiful haven known for honeymooners throughout the world. The beauty here is so natural & pure; you would hardly believe it. Try it! It’s worth its weight in gold!!! What better way to de-tox after a strenuous venture in one of the most remote regions in the country.
Day 27: Transfer to Airport for International departure to that lovely place we know as ‘home’ – See you soon, Buddies!!
Today, as per your international flight time, keep your confirmed air ticket, departure tax (in local currency) and your passport handy. Our Tour Officer will take you to the airport for your final departure from this most amazing of all countries, Nepal. Au Revoir!! And take care!!
Have you made the right choice for what may turn out to be a lifetime vacation?
A lot of this adventurous vacation is made up of some average hiking which can be done by anyone who loves hiking and is fit enough to do it…a spirit of adventure is the call of the times for a trip of this kind. The trek is billed as ‘tough’ and challenging because of the long haul that goes over several weeks but then some of the area is rugged and mean and the higher reaches are pretty gritty. Perhaps, this is why this zone is less visited by backpackers compared to the other well known trekking regions. Most of the journey on foot throughout this trek is a wonderful experience and somewhat easy on the body, except in certain areas whilst going across the Mirgin La. Planning a holiday to any part of the Kangchenjunga region is an odyssey for a story to pass down to the generations to come…
Please note: The above itinerary should be taken only as a guide line; it could change due to weather owing to unfavorable climatic conditions, availability of clean water and campsite, trail or any other unforeseen circumstances. In case of a trek Itinerary alteration or if it needs to be re-routed to another area, your Group Leader or Sherpa Guide will make the final decision after consulting with the trekking group. We must keep in mind that this wild venture occurs in one of Nepal’s most rugged remote regions where the going is tough & virtually forces the tough to get going. However, the risks comes down to the bare minimum withIncentive Holidays because we know the land and go the extra mile in ensuring that you enjoy this challenging venture…your way, at your pace; as the rugged landscape you hike through unfolds its divine lovely sanctum with each drop of sweat that pours from the body; giving you the pure kind of adventure that only comes once in a lifetime.
A ‘Camping trek’ is a term used for sleeping in tents. The tents we provide are ‘Two men or couple domes’ or ‘A’ shaped. A foam mattress with insulation underneath is used for sleeping. Clients need to have their own sleeping bag. Bags or cloth packs are used as pillows. It’s a matter of choice, if you want, you bring your own ‘Air pillow’ and freak out anyways, and this is adventure in the wild…the rougher it gets the better.
We have a pool of hotels in Kathmandu under 3 Star categories which we provide to clients in connection with this program, unless it is mentioned otherwise or clients have a choice of their own. You can check on the description of such hotels through our website. Accommodation is never a problem, the choice exclusively yours.
At ‘Incentive Holidays’ – its zero tolerance on cutting of cost when it comes down to feeding our trekking guests, because we know how tough it is on the trails; we provide three tasty, bountiful and nutritious meals daily with a variety of local and Western dishes. To start the day, breakfast is ‘king size’ [the first meal of the day] consisting of a choice of porridge, muesli and cereals followed by omelet, fried or scrambled eggs with chapattis or bread. Lunch is generally a selection of salad, cooked vegetable dishes, pasta and traditional breads.
After a lengthy gritty day on the trail, dinner is a hearty 3 course meal - soup, followed by a variety of vegetables, meat, rice and pasta dishes completed with a simple dessert. Tea, coffee and hot chocolate are also provided at all meals. We use as much fresh produce as possible and special diets are regularly catered for. The local trek leaders are able to maintain very tight controls on health and hygiene in the kitchen with respect to general cleanliness and food preparation and also within the group with respect to personal hygiene. This has allowed us to maintain extremely high standards of health over many years of planning treks - and good health is vital to an enjoyable and successful trek and climb. All foods are well cooked and vegetables are treated by potassium permanganate or iodine.
Boiled water is served for drinking. Antiseptic soaps and potassium or iodine treated water are provided for washing. Special dietary requirements can always be catered for. ‘Gluttony is a sin’ but there are no restrictions on the grub we serve to our guests on the mountains; we leave it up to our trekking guests who are the best judge of their own appetites.
Popular Sightseeing places in Kathmandu:
Half day sightseeing includes visit two of these places and full day sightseeing includes three of these places inside the ring-road of Kathmandu. Besides the above mentioned places, the charges will apply depending on the distance accordingly.
The best time to visit for a trip of this kind would be in the Spring and Autumn. It is wonderful during this time of the year when an overall beauties of the landscapes found in these trips are so distinct & stunning, due to clear weather pattern & sunny blue skies. Our program could be changed to accommodate individual group choices and preferences in order to give you proper holidays that become signature ventures for a lifetime.