Best Season March, April, May and September, October
Dolpa is located in the central-west area of the country. The main attraction of this area is the wild and pristine landscape, which is very different from all other parts of Nepal. Geographically it is part of the Tibetan Plateau and it is generally dry, cold and sparsely vegetated. The national park area and northern part is home of many rare and endangered animal species, including the snow leopard, musk deer and blue sheep.
The most obvious group of people seen in the northern parts of the area are of Tibetan origin. Similar to Tibetans and Sherpas they rely on making a living by subsisting on the high pastures and supplementing this with trade, both to the north and the south. For years, their salt caravans have been a common site along the mountain passes. Their religion is a mixture of Tibetan Buddhism and the ancient, pre-Buddhist Bon religion, a largely animistic faith. Their language is based on the Tibetan dialect spoken in Kham, a province of old Tibet.
Lower down the people are a mixture of ethnic groups, such as the Magar, Gurung and hill people of Hindu caste origin. Of particular interest are the Thakuri, the royal family caste. Again they are quite different in culture and language to their cousins further east. The area is generally very isolated and few tourists visit the area. Even few Nepalese from outside the area make a visit. For this reason, it's a privilege to be able to see this landscape and culture. There is nowhere else on Earth like the Upper Dolpo area. If you have the chance to visit, you must take it!
The Dolpo Circuit is the all-around tour of the Dolpo region. We will pass all sorts of villages, demonstrating the diversity of the small, isolated region. We will take you over several passes, with unbelievable views. We walk along rivers, and camp next to the magical Phoksundo Lake. This is a once-in-a-lifetime trekking opportunity that you don't want to miss!
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Upon your arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, the Adventure Himalayan representatives will pick you up and transfer you to the hotel. After refreshment, you will be briefed in short about your tour by our guide or tour leader. If you have any questions or doubts about your trip then they should be asked and clarified at this time. Overnight stay at hotel.
Kathmandu Valley includes several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Pashupatinath (famous Hindu temple and cremation ground) Boudhanath (massive Buddhist stupa). We can also visit Swyambhunath, also known as Monkey Temple, which was built roughly 2000 years ago. Finally, we can visit Patan, city of fine arts. In the afternoon, you will be meeting with your trekking guide and will check all the necessary things. Overnight stay at the hotel.
To get to Dolpa, you have to fly to Nepalgunj first. Nepalgunj is a city in South Western Nepal, in the lowlands of Terai, close to the Indian border. You pass the busy of the bazaar and see horse carts full with people going to or coming from the Indian border. Overnight in hotel in Nepalgunj.
It’s a spectacular 35 minutes flight over steep mountain ridges to Juphal. Juphal airport is just a gravel airstrip amidst the mountains and Juphal a small, mostly Hindu village. 45 minutes before Dunai, you pass a beautiful gate chörten (stupa), which is the entrance to the VDC (Village Development Committee). Dunai is the headquarters of Dolpa District. It’s a large village, of about 2,500 people, more or less half Hindu and half Buddhist. Up the hill, there is a Buddhist monastery, which is worth a visit. Overnight in Dunai
Soon after leaving, we walk in a beautiful mountain landscape. Rocky slopes are dotted with pine trees. At the horizon we see the snowcapped Kang Tokal (6294m). The path follows the Thuli Bheri River. After leaving Dunai, all the villages we come across are inhabited by Buddhist people. After Byasgar, the landscape gets quickly more rough and rocky. 2-2 ½ hours after Byasgar you reach Lingdo, a small village with one guesthouse with a campsite. Plus a checkpost, so have your permit at hand. Overnight here.
Today's path goes gradually up. Along the way you have a good view to some of the villages in this region, like Sarakot, which is situated high on a cliff. These are the last villages you will see till you reach Dho Tarap. At the horizon you can see the beautiful snowcapped Kang Tokal (6294 m). The trail climbs high on a slope and goes high above the Thuli Bheri River. We reach Laisicap (2772m). There is a police checkpost here and you have to register and show your permit. After Laisicap it’s a strenuous climb of about 3 hours to Laina Odar (3370m). The path goes partly through forests and you are surrounded by steep cliffs full of pine trees. In Laina Odar there is another tent-hotel, located at the riverside. This is a good place to camp.
5 minutes after leaving Laina Odar, the grail goes up to a small pass. After this, it’s a fairly easy walk with some small climbs. After about 3 hours ,we cross the river over a suspension bridge. Half an hour later, another suspension bridge brings you back at the west (left) side of the river. About 4 hours after leaving Laina Odar, you reach Nawarpani (3475 m), where you find another tent-hotel. You can camp here as well. If you are feeling well and in good shape, you could continue and walk to Sisaul (3750 m) today. Overnight in Nawarpani.
After Nawarpani, the landscape quickly gets more barren. t’s a fairly easy walk. At some parts the path is beautifully carved out of the rock, so that you are walking in a kind of three sided tunnel. After 2½ to 3 hours, you have to climb steeply for about half an hour to a small pass with a nice chörten (stupa). From the pass, the path goes down steeply for about 15 minutes, after which it’s another 15 minutes to Sisaul (3750 m). Here you can camp along the river, next to a tent-hotel (this one doesn’t always sell food). Overnight here.
Leaving Sisaul, the trail climbs steeply at first and then gradually for about half an hour to another small pass. 2 hours after leaving Sisaul, we cross a bridge, and the path continues at the eastside of the river. 1 ½ hour later, we can see a small collection of houses in between the mountains: Dho Tarap.Behind Dho, you can see the gompa (Buddhist monastery) of Dho, situated on a hill. The people of Dho are direct descendents of Tibetans. The people in Dho are very friendly. A Tashi Delek (good day, like the Nepali Namasté), is always welcomed with a big smile. Close to Dho are 2 monasteries which are worth a visit. Ribo Bhumpa Gompa, right on the hill behind Dho, and Shipchaur Gompa, which is in the village Shipchok, 30 minutes walking from Dho. Overnight in Dho.
As it is only a 3 ½ hours walk to Numala Base Camp, you can use the morning to explore Dho and surroundings. It is a gradual climb over grassy land to Numala Base Camp (4440m). It’s in the middle of nowhere, but close to the river and you find a small house for cooking here. Overnight at Numala Base Camp.
A tough, but rewarding day lies ahead of us. It’s a good idea to start early (between 5 and 6 am), to arrive early at the pass. In the morning the weather generally is best which makes the crossing of the pass easier and safer. It’s a long and strenuous climb of about 3 hours (excluding breaks) to Numa La (la means pass) at 5318m. On a clear day you have a stunning view from the pass on countless snowcapped mountains. Daulagiri (8167 m) is towering above them to the right. Besides, you can see the Annapurna and Manaslu Range, the Shey Shikar (6139 m), Kanjirowa (6883 m) and many, many others. After the pass you go down steeply for about an hour. After crossing a couple of rivers and following along their banks, we arrive to a meadow at Danigar (4631m). It’s an amazing spot close to the river (Panklanga Khola). Overnight at camp here.
Another pass to cross today, so another tough, but beautiful day. Again, an early start is best. Soon you are high above the river. A good 2 hours after leaving camp (excluding breaks), you reach the high camp, which is already close to the pass. From the high camp you have an excellent view on the Norbung Kang and the Baga La range. From the pass you have a splendid view on different mountains of the Kanjirowa and other snowcapped mountains, like the Shey Shikhar. In spring there can be snow on the pass, which makes the crossing a bit harder. After the pass, the path descends pretty steep at the beginning. This part can be icy, so watch your step. After, you walk into a stunning scenery of huge rocks of all kind of colors with at the horizon mountains covered with snow. And then, suddenly, more or less 1 ½ hour after leaving the pass, you see green bushes and a bit later even trees. From here it’s rather flat and easy walking, very gradually going down, till you reach Yak Kharka (3982m), another beautiful place to camp. You have a great view of the imposing Kanjirowa Himal (6612m). Overnight in camps at Yak Kharka.
It’s a short hike today. After leaving Yak Kharka, the path starts to climb high on the slope, and the river (Maduwa Khola) is soon far below you. After a bit more than an hour, we to climb steeply for about half an hour to a small pass. You walk through some beautiful pine forests and meadows. Leaving the forest, we cross a small bridge from which you climb for a couple of minutes to Ringmo. Overnight in Ringmo.
As the Phoksundo Lake is such a beautiful place, a free day here is recommended. Ringmo is a charming village that lies on the shore of Phoksundo Lake. People practice the Bonpo religion here. At the other shore, there is a beautiful Bonpo Monastery which you can visit. It’s a 20 minute walk to the monastery through the pine forest. In the monastery you can observe a statue of Thönpa Chenrab, the founder of Bonpo religion, a Buddha who lived thousands of years ago.
You can walk the following stretch in two short days, or one long day. Walking time to Rechi is about 3 ½ hours (excluding breaks) and from Rechi to Chhepka is 3 ½ hours as well. The walk to Rechi goes almost entirely through beautiful pine forests, with some bushes, birches and other broadleaf trees in it as well. After a couple hours of hiking, we reach a hospital. From here, it’s about 1 ½ hour walking to Rechi (2940 m). Just before Rechi, there is a hotel with a camping spot, where you can stop for lunch or put up your tent. The path continues steeply uphill for about 15 minutes (you can see Rechi on the other side of the river) and afterwards goes down steeply as well. It’s about 3 to 3 ½ hours walking to Chhepka. We notice a change in vegetation as we pass through forests for the rest of the way to reach Chhepka. Overnight in Chhepka.
You pass villages like Shyanta, Raktang (2421m) and Kageni (2413 m), while passing though scenic landscapes. An hour later, you cross a suspension bridge. Soon after, there is the checkpost of the Shey Phoksundo National Park (SPNP), where you have to show your permit and entree ticket of the SPNP. To Juphal it’s about 2½ - 3 hours from the bridge. About 1.5 hr later, we leave the main road and walk over a small path. It’s a pretty steep climb of about 1 - 1½ hour to reach Juphal, a large village with a small bazaar where it is nice to look around.
Early in the morning you fly to Nepalgunj. Especially the first part of the flight through the mountain valleys is spectacular. Later in the day, you fly back to Kathmandu. Celebratory dinner in Kathmandu. Overnight at hotel.
We will transport you to the airport. Thanks for trekking with Adventure Himalayan travels. We look forward to seeing you again!
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