Dolpo is isolated region situated between Dhaulagiri range and the Tibetan plateau. Also referred as the last enclave of pure Tibetan culture, landscape, Buddhist religion this place was only open after 1996 for the foreigners. People here live 4300m high above sea level and still practice the pre-Buddhist Bon po or shamanistic religion. Peter Matthiessen’s “The Snow Leopard” and David Snellgrove’s “Himalayan Pilgrimage” and Eric Valli’s superb film “Himalaya” has contributed mystique Dolpo to outer world.
To begin this Lower dolpo trek, we first fly to Nepalgunj and onward to Juphal, headquarter of Dolpo region. We walk through vast and rugged landscape; villages inhabited by Tibetan descendent people. Likewise, we cross few high Himalayan passes, enjoy serenity of Phoksundo lake, visit different ancient monasteries and chortens on the way. We’ll be crossing challenging Numa la and Baga la pass on our way and finally return back to Jhupal ending our trek in this Wild West region of Nepal.
SPECIAL NOTE :
a. Lower Dolpo trek crosses high Himalaya altitude of over 5000m with extreme temperatures of -10 to -20 degree. It is crucial to follow expedition style camping trekking facilities with highly experience Sherpa and staffs.
b. The itinerary is well designed in order to allow proper rest and acclimatization to cope high altitude. Though trekkers should have well fitness and in good health condition.
C. Flight between Nepalgunj to Juphal and vice versa is generally reliable. In case of bad weather, flight is cancelled often and to avoid missing international flights, we recommend 2-3 days extra at end of your trip. Also be prepared to pay some extra money for Helicopter flights. Which may cost $ 300 – $ 800 or more depending on persons on the flight. For group, we normally charter helicopter flights. Make sure that you have full-fledged insurance coverage arrangement. In our program there is two night as buffer day in case of unforeseen circumstances.
Day 01- Arrival in Kathmandu
Welcome to Nepal! Ramdung Expedition representative will meet you at the airport and bring you to your hotel in Kathmandu. You can take a rest or if you are arriving earlier, can visit around the city.
In the evening we will hold a briefing session regarding your trip and get to know your Nepali trekking companion. We’ll be happy to answer any question you may have. O/N Hotel.
Day 02- Sightseeing trip / Trek preparation
Kathmandu valley is has fantastic UNESCO world heritages all around. Today after the breakfast, you’ll be visiting Boudhanath Stupa (the largest Buddhist shrines in the world), Pashupatinath (the holiest Hindu temple in the world), Durbar Squares (Palaces and fortresses of medieval Kings). The lifestyle of the Nepalese people, holy sadhus and monks, the fascinating history and the awe-inspiring architecture will be the highlight of this day. You can also buy or rent any needed gear or clothing from trekking/mountaineering shops. O/N Hotel (B)
Day 03 – Fly Kathmandu to Nepalgunj. 1 hr
We take an hour's flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj in Western part of Nepal. Nepalgunj is a border town near Nepal India border and is the gateway to Simikot of Humla. The town itself is an interesting Terai town of Nepal with influences from both the Nepal hills and plains well as local Hindu & Muslim cultures. Some sightseeing places in Nepalgunj include Mini Zoo, Muslim bazaar, or if possible and interested take a walk into nearby villages can be done. We have to also make preparation for tomorrow's flight to Jhupal. O/N Hotel (BLD)
Day 04 – Fly Nepalgunj to Jhupal (dolpo). 45 mins.. Trek to Dunai. 2-3 hrs
After an early breakfast, we take a morning flight to Jhupal Airport, the only airport to connect Dolpo via air. The 45minutes flight over the high mountains brings you at Jhupal. On arriving at Jhupal our trekking staffs will receive you, who already been there some days before. Our first day adventure begins through the terraced fields to the Bheri River and the narrow gorge taking 2-3 hours to camp at Dunai. Dunai is the administrative headquarter of the Dolpo region. Explore Dunai in the evening. O/N Camping (BLD)
Day 05 – Dunai to Tarakot (2540m) 6 hrs
After breakfast we start our trek continues along the south bank of the river heading upstream on a good trail. Deep gorges, hanging bridges and isolated villages. A tremendous gorge with pine trees and an ingenious path built about seven meter above the river. The colorful terraced field of Tarakot greets us. Tarakot is an old fortress town built by the local people as Dzong or fort. The village stands on a hillock to the south of Bheri River at one time supervised collection of tolls for the trading caravans. O/N Camping (BLD)
Day 06 – Tarakot to Laini (3160m) 6-7 hrs
After breakfast, we continue our walking to follow the Tarapchu river upstream, crossing the bridge and crossing the same river again the twice. The famed Sandul Gompa lies farther east from Tarakot and at the junction of Barbung and Tarup chu Rriver. The path leads through the farm terraces and rural villages. After a few ups and downs, finally we descend to reach our overnight camp at Laini. O/N Camping (BLD)
Day 07 – Laini to Nawarpani (3545m) 5.5 hrs
After breakfast we continue walking up to the gorge of the Tarap River, rising high above on a trail built out from steep slopes. The walk is quite exciting as the valley becomes narrow gorge that in some places you can jump from one side to another. Descend to Chyugur Khola. 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. O/N Camping (BLD)
Day 08 – Nawarpani to Do Tarap (4090m). 7-8 hrs
Our trek begins with a gradual up leading us at Kamattarka at the confluence of the Tarap Chu and Lang Khola, a stream flowing from the east. After few hours of walk leaving the narrow gorge, from here the path leads just above tree lines for juniper bush and wild rose, typical of dry inner Himlayan valleys. Another 3 hours or more walk brings us to the village of Dho Tarap surrounded by an irregular stone wall. In this Valley both Bon Po and Chaiba sects reside together from centuries. Tarap is also inhabited by a few Tibetans and mostly Magars who have lived here for many generations. O/N Camping (BLD)
Day 09 – Rest or explore day.
We spend a rest day in Do Tarap for gradually getting used to the altitude. You can visit the surroundings monasteries and enjoy the breathtaking views. Have a conversation with locals who have hardly seen westerners. The Dolpo people wear home spun clothing that is sometimes dyed maroon and they favour 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. O/N Camping (BLD)
Day 10 – Do Tarap to Numa la Base camp (4440m). 6-7 hrs
After a wonderful time at Do Tarap, our journey continues towards upper Tarap valley, the walk follows in this plain valley with patched of 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. A few hours' good walk takes us to the village of Tokyu, it has a monastery belonging to the Chiba sect. After visit 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. O/N Camping (BLD)
Day 11 – Numa la BC to Numa La pass (5190m) to Pelung Tang (4465m). 6-7 hrs
This is one of the long and difficult days in our whole lower Dolpo trek. After breakfast, our journey continues to crossing of Numa La pass at 5,190m, the track leads to steep climb all the way to the top ridge of Numa la with great views of the surrounding landscapes. An incredible panoramic view of the bare mountains of Dolpo up to the Dhaulagiri (8167m). After getting to the top of Numa La we will descend to camp at Pelung Tang. (O/N Camping (BLD)
Day 12 – Pelung Tang to Baga la pass (5070m) to Dajok Tang (4080m). 6 hrs
After breakfast our 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 Kanjirowa Himal range, after a glorious moment at the pass, almost three hours of downhill walk takes to the Dajok Tang for overnight. O/N Camping (BLD)
Day 13 – Dajok Tang to Ringmo. (3600m). 4 hrs
After breakfast our morning trek starts through the pine forest, on leaving the forest behind the country and the vegetation changes for pasture field 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. O/N Camping (BLD)
Day 14 – Ringmo to Phoksundo Lake. (3611m).
We’ll be camping ashore to Phoksundo lake today. A walk way round the lake is also very enjoyable and relaxing. This is a great day exploring the lake areas and the crystal serene Lake of Phoksundo with a great views. O/N Camping (BLD)
Day 15 – Phoksundo lake to Shyanta (2520m). 5-6 hrs
Trek downhill to Chepka. From Chepka the trail follows the massive overhanging rock. We found many important medicinal mineral which is believed to cure almost anything in this area. The route then passes through the villages, before climbing to Shyanta. O/N Camping (BLD)
Day 16 – Shyanta to Jhupal
Following the trail gently sloping upwards, we march towards Jhupal via Sulighat. We meet tall birch trees on our way. From atop the ridge, we can have the most spectacular views of the mountain and Jhupal below. Utmost caution is required while trekking along this trail. After reaching Jhupal, we can spend our afternoon exploring the busy market town or simply pursuing whatever we feel like. O/N Camping (BLD)
Day 17 – Fly Jhupal to Nepalgunj to Kathmandu
We take a flight from Jhupal to Nepalgunj. On reaching Nepalgunj, we return to Kathmandu on the next available flight. Upon arrival in Kathmandu, you will be transferred to your hotel. O/N Hotel (BLD)
Day 18 – Contingency or rest day
You can spend time resting/buying souvenirs back to home. In the evening, we will host farewell dinner in traditional restaurant with cultural dance performances in celebration of your amazing trip. O/N Hotel (BD)
Day 19 – Trip ends, farewell and departure
The journey in the mountains of Nepal comes to an end today ! At last approximately 3 hours before your scheduled flight, a representative from Ramdung Expedition will drop you to the airport. (B)
Normally, we use following 3 star standard hotels in Kathmandu depending on availability in our trekking package.
Hotel Manang. Located in touristic hub, Thamel. www.hotelmanang.com
Hotel Utse. Located in touristic hub, Thamel. www.utsehotel.com
Hotel Manaslu. Located in Lazimpat near to Thamel area. www.hotelmanaslu.com
while on trek, the lodges are fairly basic but perfectly adequate for the mountain type service. Two people will be accommodated in each room mostly in twin beds with foam mattresses. If you prefer private accommodation, you can choose “single supplement” option. It is important to consider that some places in the trek do not have sufficient lodges and rooms; in this case you’ll have to share room. Some lodges now have showers (charged at $3-$5).
FLIGHT DELAYS IN NEPALGUNJ TO JUPHAL (DOLPO)
Flight between Nepalgunj to Dolpo is generally reliable. Being Short Take-Off & Landing (STOL) mountain airstrips, flight is dependent on the weather. Delays often happen if there is poor visibility or high winds. In case of bad weather, flight is cancelled often and to avoid missing international flights, we recommend 2-3 days extra at end of your trip.
If you have to wait in Nepalgunj and Dolpo due to flight delays, the cost for your overnight accommodation in Nepalgunj is not included so you will have to pay extra for this.
Also be prepared to pay some extra money for Helicopter flights. Which may cost $ 300 - $ 800 or more depending on persons on the flight. For group, we normally charter helicopter flights. Make sure that you have full-fledged insurance coverage arrangement. In our program there is two night as buffer day in case of unforeseen circumstances.
it is mandatory to have travel insurance for the trekking and please submit us photocopy before departure to mountain. Standard policies often only cover medical evacuation to 4000m so make sure it covers up to 6000m.
You are expect to trek about 5-7 hours covering distance of 10-15 kilometer daily depending on trial conditions and state of the weather. You’ll be traveling through wilderness, remote countryside and high elevations. Trekking with a guide is not only safer but also for more enjoyable experience. Our guides and porters are expert in Himalayan treks and have more than one decades of experience in average.
It is recommended that you prepare for trek with suitable training such as climbing hills/stairs, jogging, exercise and gym to improve your stamina few months prior to trek. The trek will be more enjoyable if you are fit.
MEALS AND DRINKS
There are plenty of excellent restaurants to serve food and drinks in Kathmandu such as Rum doodles, Fire & ice, La Dolce Vita, Ktoo Steak House, Everest Steak, New Orleans, Gaia etc. Breakfast is provided at your hotel every morning. It will cost $ 3-7 per meal depending on meals item chosen and restaurant.
While on trek, the lodges or teahouse provide good quality food in sufficient quantities. Meals whilst on trek are included in the package which is breakfast, lunch, dinner and hot drinks. You can choose your meal from hotel menus. Meals in lodges are varied ranging from traditional Nepalese daal bhaat to pizza, apple pie, steak, pasta and so on.
It is safer to drink bottled, boiled and filtered water. A reasonable variety of both hard and soft drinks are available in cities and while on trek. You can purify your own water if you carry a canteen or water bottle and iodine drops or tablets.
Spring starts from March until May where temperature fluctuated between 20°c to 30°c. From June to August is summer season which is also time of monsoon with occasional thunderstorms and hot temperatures. From late September to end November is autumn and is best for trekking activities. Winter is from late November to February.
The trek will have a wide range of temperatures depending on the elevation and time of the particular day. In the mountains between 1000m-3500m, the night generally will be cool around 5°C and during the day temperatures every so often rise to 20°c. At the higher altitudes, temperatures range from 15° to -15°c.
Tips is not mandatory but generally after hard work something extra is expected. We recommend a tip for guide and porter as at least $70 (more will be appreciated).
CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT LIST
The following are what we recommend to bring as clothing and equipment needed for the trek. Trekking gear can be rented or purchased in Kathmandu at cheaper price; we can assist you with necessary arrangement. Except for your day pack, your luggage will be carried by porters. You’ll have strong and hospitable porter for two people. The weight limit for trek is 10-13kg per person. One porter can carry 20-25kg weight. Before the trek, you can store all your excess baggage in Kathmandu at hotel or at our office and take only which is required for the trek.
Light balaclava or warm fleece hat
Sun Hat or scarf
Cotton tees or thermals
Gloves for hand
Lightweight cotton pants (long)
Thin inner socks
Thick, warm wool hiking socks
Comfortable Trekking boots
Sleeping bag rated to -20
Trekking bag or duffel bag
Large plastic bags (keeping items dry inside trek bag)
Trekking poles (recommended, optional)
Lonely Planet Nepal: A guide book of Nepal.
Annapurna: A book by Reinhold Messner about his expedition experience in the dead zone of Annapurna.
Trekking in Nepal: Written by Stephen Bezruchka is an nice book for all treks with and bibliography of additional books.
Trekking and climbing in Nepal: Written by Steve Razzetti, this book gives comprehensive knowledge of major trekking trails and climbing peaks.
Nepal Handbook: By Kerry Morgan. Recommended specially for Kathmandu Valley sightseeing’s.
Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya: By Stan Armungton. This book has detailed trek descriptions including restricted areas of Mustang, Manaslu, Dolpo and kailash.
Into Thin Air: By Jon Krakaur. A personal account of the Mount Everest disaster.
Travelers Tales: Edited by Rajendra Khadka, Traveler’s Tales, and San Francisco.
Mustang: A lost kingdom by Michel Peissel.