Trekking the Lower Dolpa area is a venture you are likely to remember for a lifetime. You get the chance to understand what life is about in some of the most isolated outposts on earth; the highlands hereabouts are different from anywhere else. The assortment of landscapes range from lush green pastures that may remind you of the European Alps that Hannibal first crossed in ancient times to conquer Rome, to desolate rocks, which will tell you about the Tibetan plateau, if you’ve been there. The tranquil Phoksumdo Lake, a gem in this vast outback of awesome rugged beauty, will steal your heart away with its deep blue and emerald colors, bordered protectively by steep jagged rocks.
Literally blocked out from the civilized world by some formidable high passes laden by snow through most of the year, Dolpa virtually stands in a most secluded part of Nepal. Time hasn’t played any role on this side of the global fence with the local folks of Tibetan origin who live their lives just as their ancestors did before Christ, cultivating and surviving of the land while bartering by the ancient form of trade. The highest villages in the world are found in this wild region. The well maintained Eco–system has preserved a naturally wild and astonishing array of plant species and wildlife which includes the blue sheep and the elusive mountain leopard.
As you hike the paths through dotted settlements small in number, you will witness people who can genuinely trace their lineage to Tibetans of Tibet; the local folks follow an ancient religion called the ‘Bonpo’’ that is much related to Buddhism and is very much part of their daily lives. Bonpo religion is one of the oldest religious practices of Tibet but is more shamanistic in nature with beliefs in spirits – good or bad - that can be found in nature itself, chilling tales related to the mountain spirits can be racy and interesting in these corner most remote outposts of an otherwise super modern world that’s developed to unimaginable proportions. This is what gives Dolpo that mysterious appeal of mysticism that’s grounded into its very existence.
Like the Upper Dolpo zone, the Lower Dolpo Trek begins at an airstrip in Juphal after a short flight from the steamy terrain town of Nepalgunj which is well connected by both road and air from Kathmandu. Dolpo is an off-track destination with unique features related to adventure, nevertheless, trekkers are only a handful that frequent this region; dolpo can be visited any time of the year because of its geographic placement falling in the rain shadow area of Nepal, but the best time to visit this region would be early spring and autumn, its simply lovely at this time of the year.
Trip Duration: 17N / 18D
Trekking Code: STE/DOL/02
Trek Duration: 13 days
Grade: Moderate but Strenuous in some areas
Accommodation: Hotel and camping
Starts & Ends in: Kathmandu
Activity: A cultural tour and trekking
Transportation: A tourist coach & flights
Maximum Altitude: 5190 metres at Numa La pass
Trek type: Fully Organized Trek
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 Laini
Day 7 : Trek to Nawarpani
Day 8 : Trek to Dho Tarap
Day 9 : Rest and acclimatization at Dho Tarap
Day 10 : Trek to Numa La base camp
Day 11 : Cross Numa La and camp at Pelungtang
Day 12 : Cross Baga La Pass and camp at Dajok Tang
Day 13 : Trek to Ringmo
Day 14 : A day for rest at Ringmo and explore Phoksundo Lake
Day 15 : Trek to Shyanta
Day 16 : Trek to Juphal
Day 17 : Fly to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj
Day 18 : 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. Overnight at your hotel
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. Overnight in our tented camps
Day 6: Trek to Laini [3,160m] - 6-7 hrs walk
After breakfast, we continue our hiking by sticking to the Tarap chu river upstream, crossing by bridge and traversing the same river twice. The well-known Sandul Gompa lies farther east from Tarakot near the junction of Barbung khola and Tarup chu River. The route goes through farm terraces and rural villages. After some elevation fluctuations, we eventually descend to reach our overnight camp at Laini for the night
Day 7: Trek to Nawarpani [3,545m] - 5 hrs walk
Today our hike goes up to the gorge of the Tarap River, rising high above on a trail built out from steep slopes. The walk is somewhat a thrill as the valley takes shape into a narrow gorge where in some places you can jump from one side to the other. We then descend to Chyugur Khola. Sometimes the path vanishes for a while, making our own way across stone slabs fitted on logs in between the walls that act as a bridge. Overnight in our tented camps
Day 8: 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 9: 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 Bonpo 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 10: Trek to Numa La Base Camp [4440m] - 6-7 hrs walk
After enjoying ourselves at Do Tarap, our venture continues towards upper Tarap valley, the walk follows in this plain valley with patches of lush green grass on both sides of the river, which is comparatively different from other areas of inner Dolpo. The trek on this pleasant track leads by the Tarap chu upstream all the way. Tarap is one of those unique rolling valleys with flowing plains at higher altitudes. A few hours' good hiking takes us to the village of Tokyu, it has a monastery belonging to the Chiba sect. After visiting this village our walk continues further up this valley climbing up the rough track for almost another three hours to reach our overnight camp beneath the Numa-la. And this is where we crash out in our tents for the night.
Day 11: Cross NUMALA 5,190m and camp at Pelungtang – 6-7 hrs
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 12: Cross Baga La [5,070m] and camp Dajok Tang [4,080m] - 6 hrs
After breakfast our morning trek starts with a steep climb to reach the crest of Baga-la at 5,070m, giving us sublime views of the surrounding landscapes and of the distant snow capped peaks of Kanjirowa Himal range, after a splendid moment at the pass, its an almost three hours of downhill hiking which brings us to Dajok Tang for an overnight in our tented camps
Day 13: 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. This is where we camp out for our overnight
Day 14: Rest Day at Ringmo for a hike to Phoksumdo 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 and let your spirits run free to contemplate on the good things that happened in your life, not forgetting to thank God for his blessings amidst all this natural beauty. We could also perhaps, get rid of our demons down here. We enjoy a wonderful sleep in our tents at this spot.
Day 15: Trek to Shyanta [2520m] - 5-6 hrs walk
Today it’s a roller coaster hike downhill to Chepka. From Chepka the trail follows a massive overhanging rock. We come across many important medicinal minerals which are believed to cure almost anything in this area. The route then passes through quiet little villages, before climbing to Shyanta for our overnight
Day 16: Trek to Juphal
As we hike through the trail that gently slopes upwards, we march towards Juphal via Sulighat. We hike by tall birch trees on our way. From atop the ridge, we can have the most amazing views of the mountains and Juphal below. We’ve got to be pretty cautious while trekking along this trail. After reaching Juphal, we can spend our afternoon exploring the busy commercial town or simply or just doing what interests us most. this is your time. We crash out in our tents for the night
Day 17: Fly to Kathmandu with brief stop at Nepalgunj.
We hop an early morning sweeping, wonderful flight of 30 minutes to Nepalgunj over the Himalayan foothills, overlooking stunning views of the snowcapped 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 our hotel
Day 18: 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!!
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.