Upper Dolpo circuit trek is one of the untouched and unexplored trekking trails of Nepal. It is situated in the mid western region of Nepal. And you will pass through various high trekking passes over 5,000 meters above sea level throughout the trek. Upper dolpo circuit trek also passes through the Shey Phoksundo lake as well as the Shey Gumba.
Untouched and unexplored upper dolpo is a land where life still moves around yaks, mules and horses. Meanwhile people still wear traditional attire and jewelry and the remains of the dead are given to the vulture.
Upper dolpo is still one of the restricted areas of Nepal. About 250 people are only allowed to explore this place every year. Meanwhile, it is restricted for the preservation of the unique tradition and culture. Marvellous views of the mountain ranges and the beautiful landscape can be seen during the trek.
Besides that the main attractions of the Upper dolpo circuit trek is the Shey Phoksundo lake. It is one of the most beautiful lakes of Nepal situated at an elevation of 3,589 meters above sea level. Besides that, the unique culture, traditions and lifestyle of the locals also attracts the tourists every year. You can also add a short visit to Bardia National Park during your stay at Nepalgunj. There are various things to do in Bardia National Park.
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- Walk through the untouched and unexplored trekking trails
- Experience the unique culture, traditions and lifestyle of the locals
- Witness the amazing landscape throughout the trek
- View the amazing Shey Phoksundo Lake
- Scenic flight to Juphal and back to Nepalgunj
- Explore some of the UNESCO world heritage sites inside kathmandu valley
Major attractions of Upper Dolpo circuit trek
We have listed some of the major attractions and noticeable places of Upper Dolpo circuit trek.
Juphal is one of the popular villages in the Dolpo district of Nepal. Similarly, the only airport of the Dolpo district is also in Juphal. Juphal lies at an elevation of 2,500 meters above sea level. And it is also the trek starting as well as the ending point for the lower as well as the upper dolpo circuit.
Upper Dolpo is one of the most remote places of Nepal. Situated in the northern site of Kathmandu people live here with the basic facilities available. Beisdes that the people of the uper dolpo are very friendly and helps every travellersls passing by. You can also experience the warm hospitality of the locals during your stay. Meanwhile, marvellous views of the landscape, valleys and the mountain views are also the main highlights of upper dolpo.
Shey Phoksundo Lake
Shey Phoksundo is one of the most popular as well as the beautiful lake of Nepal. It is situated at an elevation of 3,589 meters above sea level. The maximum depth of Phoksundo lake is 145 meters. Because of that it is also listed as the deepest lake at such a high altitude around the globe. It is a freshwater lake and no aquatic life has been recorded in this lake.
The icy cold water from the Himalayas is collected by the Shey Phoksundo Lake. Similarly, aquamarine blue colour of the lake attracts the numbers of tourists. Meanwhile, if you observe them then you can notice that this lake changes its colour according to the amount of ambience of light.
Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal and it is rich in newari culture and traditions. You can witness various art and architecture in different temples and patis built centuries ago. There are 10 UNESCO world heritage sites in Nepal. Among them 7 of those world heritage sites lies inside Kathmandu valley. You could stop by some of the most popular heritage sites inside Kathmandu valley.
There are various heritage sites to explore inside Kathmandu valley. Among those heritage sites you will explore Swayambhunath, Boudhanath, Pashupatinath and Kathmandu Durbar Square. You can also choose to explore some other heritage sites of your choice. Similarly, you can also do a last minute shopping before your trek. Besieds these there are also various tourist places to visit in Kathmandu.
Shey Phoksundo National Park
Shey Phoksundo national park lies in the mid western part of Nepal in the Dolpa and Mugu districts. With an area of 3,555 square kilometers it is the largest national park of Nepal. Established in 1984 the elevation starts from 2,130 meters. Similarly, the highest elevation of the Shey Phoksundo national park is 6,885 meters above sea level.
The landscape and the beautiful scenarios that can be seen inside the national park attracts many visitors. Besides that the most popular Shey Phoksundo lake also lies inside this national park. Meanwhile, Yarsagumba, Jatamasi, Panchaunle, Chimailo etc are some of the medical herbs found inside the national park. Similarly, some of the rare species of animals can also be seen inside the national park. These animals includes Blue sheep, ghorals and cheetahs.
High Passes During the Upper Dolpo Circuit Trek
Upper Dolpo circuit trek is one of the difficult trekking trails of Nepal. There are numbers of high trekking passes that make this trek a difficult one. The highest pass of the upper Dolpo circuit trek is Neng la pass situated at an elevation of 5,402 meters above sea level.
Nagdalo La Pass (Kang La Pass)
Nagdalo La Pass lies at an elevation of 5,350 meters above sea level. Also known by the name Kang la pass, you will reach Shey Gompa after crossing this pass.It is also the first pass that you will cross during the trek. Walking through the bank of the Tuk kyaksa khola you will reach High camp and then to the Nagdalo la pass. Marvellous views of the mountain ranges as well as the beautiful villages can be seen from the top.
Neng La Pass
Neng la pass is another high pass that you will be crossing during your upper dolpo circuit trek. It lies at an elevation of 5,402 meters above sea level. Similarly, it is also the highest point of our upper Dolpo circuit trek. You will cross this pass during your 11th day of the trek. This pass joins the Bhijir village with Saldang village. Marvellous views of the mountain ranges and the Saldang village can be seen from the top.
Jayanta La Pass
Jayanta la pass is the last pass that you will be crossing during your upper dolpo circuit trek. It is situated at an elevation of 5,220 meters above sea level. You will need to stay overnight at high camp to cross this pass and reach Dho Tarap. Similarly, due to the high snowfall in this area this pass is open for April to November only. Meanwhile, in other months of the year it is quite difficult to cross this pass.
Best Time for Upper Dolpo Circuit Trek
Upper Dolpo is one of the remote areas of Nepal. Because of that proper facilities of the accommodation, meals and the transportation are not available almost throughout the trail. Because of that you will need to completely depend upon the locals for the accommodation as well as the meals.
The best time for the Upper dolpo circuit trek is during the months of May and June. During these months of the year you can witness the marvellous rhododendron flower blooming all over the forest in the lower region. Marvellous views of the lakes, waterfalls, mountains, lakes and valleys can be seen during these months of the year.
Similarly, another best time to visit Upper dolpo is during the months of September and October. During these months of the year there is very less chance of the rainfall. After October the chances of snowfall is very high. Because of that it makes it almost impossible to trek during these months of the year.
Your Arrival Time (?): Our office representative will meet and greet you at Kathmandu Airport and transfer you to your hotel in Kathmandu.
At 06:00 PM: In the evening we will meet for a coffee and will brief you on the details of your trek program.
Kathmandu Sightseeing and Trek Preparation
At 08:00 AM : You will visit for a full day sightseeing of Kathmandu Durbar Square and Swayambhunath, Boudhanath and Pashupatinath. Besides sightseeing, you can do required shopping for your trek.
Fly to Nepalgunj
At 08:00 AM: Wake up and have breakfast at the hotel. Your trekking guide will receive you and take you to the Tribhuvan International Airport for your flight to Nepalgunj.
The duration of the flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj is about 50- 60 minutes. Upon reaching Nepalgunj you will be transferred to the hotel. You can also add Bardia National Park during this day.
Flight to Juphal, Trek to Shyanta
At 08:00 AM : After the breakfast at the hotel, you will move towards the Nepalgunj airport for your flight to Jhuphal. The duration of the flight to Jhuphal from Nepalgunj is about 45 minutes.
Upon reaching Jhuphal you will meet your further team for the trek and move towards Shyanta. You will stay overnight at Shyanta village situated at an elevation of 2,520 meters above sea level.
Trek to Samduwa
At 08:00 AM : Breakfast, at the hotel. After that you will start your trek. During this day you will walk through the Phoksundo national park to reach Samduwa. Samduwa lies at an elevation of 3,038 meters above sea level.
Trek to Ringmo
At 08:00 AM: The trail today includes a long and sometimes steep climb of about 2 hours. Mesmerizing views can be seen from the top. The best part of the day is that you can witness one of Nepal’s highest waterfalls. The waterfall is about 167 meters high. Similarly, it is called by the name Phkosundo waterfall.
However, locals also call it the Sulighat waterfall. Besides that from the pass you can also view Phoksundo lake. After that, the path goes down and gets closer to the river. After that, you will reach Ringmo for an overnight stay.
Trek to Lower Forest Camp
At 08:00 AM: You can also add an extra day to explore around the Phoksundo lake. There are various places to stop by during your day at Ringmo. The trek to the Lower forest camp is more challenging than other days.
The lower forest camp lies at an elevation of 3,670 meters above sea level. Similarly, you will pass through the forests and beautiful villages to reach the lower forest camp for an overnight stay.
Trek to Lower Camp
At 08:00 AM : The trek to Lower Camp is as easy as other days. You will gradually gain altitude in the day. You will walk on the bank of Tuk Kyaksa khola to reach the lower camp for an overnight stay. There are no hotels around so that you will stay overnight at the tented camps.
Trek to Shey Gumba
At 06:00 AM: You will get up early and start your hike towards Shey Gumba. You will have to walk uphill from the beginning of the day. After two hours of walking, you will reach a high camp situated at an elevation of 4,460 meters above sea level.
You will walk uphill until you reach the top. From this pass above 5,000 meters, you can witness marvellous views of the valleys. After that, you will descend downhill until you reach Shey Gumba for the overnight stay.
Trek to Namgung
At 08:00 AM: After breakfast, you will start your trek towards Namgung. The trail today is uphill as well as downhill climb. You will cross Saldang-la pass.
Trek to Saldang
At 08:00 AM : After breakfast you will move towards Saldang. Saldang is one of the popular villages of the upper Dolpo. The trail goes uphill until you reach the top. Marvellous views of the Sladang and nearby villages can be seen from the top.
After that you will descend downhill to reach the Saldang village situated at an elevation of 3,770 meters above sea level.
Trek to Rhakyo
At 08:00 AM: During the first few minutes of the trek, you will descend downhill until you reach Nagaon Khola. After that, you will start uphill walking. The trail to Rhakyo is mixed with uphill and smooth. Walking through the trails you will reach a gumba decorated with the praying flags and thousands of mani stones.
After collecting the memories and capturing the moments you will start walking towards Rhakyo. Walking beside the Nagon Khola you will reach a small forest before reaching the Rhakyo village.
Trek to High Camp
At 08:00 AM: Rhakyo is a small village in the middle of nowhere and you can also interact with the locals. After breakfast, you will start the walk. The trail today is an uphill walk only. You will gradually gain altitude until you reach the high camp. The high camp is situated at an elevation of 4,590 meters above sea level.
Trek to Dho Tarap
At 08:00 AM: Breakfast at the campsite and then you will start your trek. First few hours of the trek you will walk uphill until you reach the top of the pass. You can rest for a while and capture moments. After the pass, the trail to Dho Tarap is quite easy. Though the hiking distance is quite long.
You will descend downhill. Before reaching Dho Tarap you will reach Tokyu village and then witness Gagar Takmar village from a distance.
Trek to Nawarpani
At 08:00 AM : Dho Tarap is one of the civilized villages of the upper Dolpo circuit trek. There are many beautiful traditional houses and many other facilities are available here. The trek to Nawarpani is one of the easiest among all the trekking days.
You will walk on the bank of Tarap khola until you reach Nawarpani. You will also pass through the beautiful village Toltol before reaching Nawarpani for the overnight stay.
Trek to Khanigaon
At 08:00 AM: Walking through the bank of the Tarap Khola you will reach Chhyugar in a few hours. After that, you will leave the Tarap Khola and move towards the trail.
Meanwhile, before reaching the Lain Odar we will again meet the Tarap Khola and move towards the Khani gaon. Before reaching the village you will descend downhill and climb for a few minutes before finally reaching the village.
Trek to Dunai
At 08:00 AM: Walking beside the Tarap Khola you will cross a small bridge before reaching a small village. From there you will walk further on the bank of the Thuli Bheri and reach Takakot. Takakot is a small village and you can also explore the gumba in this area. From Takakot the trail goes downwards until you reach Dunai for the overnight stay.
Trek to Juphal
At 08:00 AM: After breakfast, you will move towards the Jhuphal. Initially, the way to Juphal is flat but the final hour up to Jhuphal seems steeper than the one you remember from your day one of trek. Juphal is situated at an elevation of 2,475 meters above sea level. Upon reaching you can explore the village or interact with the locals.
Flight to Nepalgunj, Back to Kathmandu
At 08:00 AM: After breakfast, you will take an early morning flight to Nepalgunj. This is a wonderful 35-45 minute flight over the Himalayan foothills, with fine views of the main peaks including Annapurna and Dhaulagiri to the north. You then connect with the flight back to Kathmandu. You will have free time and we will meet in the evening and have a farewell Nepali dinner together.
Breakfast at the hotel and you will have free time. 3 hours before your flight time our driver will pick you and drop you to the International airport.
Find out all required travel guides and trips for the Upper Dolpo circuit trek.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best time for the Upper Dolpo circuit trek?
The best time for the upper dolpo circuit trek is during the months of March, April, May, September and October. Because of the rain or the monsoon season in Nepal it is not suitable to go on a trek for upper dolpo in the months of June, July and August. Similarly, because of the snowfall it is difficult to cross most of the passes and is not suitable during the months of November to February.
What about the clothing and the dress requirement during the trek?
This is one of the toughest treks of Nepal. Besides that the weather condition also may change from time to time. Because of that you will need to pack all of your basic equipment and clothes. Some of the basic things you will need to pack includes Trekking boots, warm socks, warm jackets, sweat t-shirt, gloves, raincoat thermowares and flexible trousers.
What about the meals during the trek?
Throughout the trek we will provide you all the 3 meals in a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner. During most parts of the trek we will have our 3 meals at the local tea house or the lodges. Meanwhile, while moving towards the passes there are no local tea houses or the lodges because of that we will carry our packed lunch.
How long do we walk each day?
Normally, 6-7 hours of walk is required every day. However, you will also walk 3-4 days also in some of the days. Similarly, while crossing the pass you will also need to walk 8-9 hours per day too.
Communications options during the Upper Dolpo circuit trek?
You may lose communication in various parts of the trek. Satellite phones may work in all parts of the trek. Phone networks which work well in other parts of Nepal do not work here. Some of the popular networks around here include Hello Nepal, Sky Nepal, Namaste and Ncell.
What permits required for Upper Dolpo circuit trek?
Upper Dolpo is one of the restricted areas in Nepal. Only about 250 trekkers can enter the upper Dolpo in a year. You will need a special permit as well as the lower Dolpo permit as well to trek in upper Dolpo. Besides that you will also need Shey Phoksundo national park permit to enter the largest national park of Nepal.
What kind of hotels and lodges can we expect during the Upper Dolpo Circuit Trek?
Upper Dolpo is one of the isolated parts of Nepal. There are very few teahouses and lodges available throughout the trek. Besides that, camping is also required in different places. Similarly you will get 2 star hotel accommodation during your stay at Kathmandu and Nepalgunj. You can also upgrade your hotels at Kathmandu and Nepalgunj.
- All arrival and departure at Kathmandu airport as mentioned.
- Flight (Kathmandu/Nepalgunj/Juphal/Nepalgunj/Kathmandu)as mentioned in the itinerary.
- Private vehicle throughout the sightseeing at Kathmandu.
- 2-star hotel accommodation in Kathmandu and Nepalgunj as per the trek itinerary.
- Daily breakfast throughout the trip.
- Lunch and Dinner from trek start day to trek end day.
- All necessary paper works. (National Park Entry Permits and TIMS Card)
- English speaking licensed trek guide.
- Porter during the trek. (Can carry 20KG Baggage of 2 people)
- Lodge or Tea house accommodation during the trek.
- One local SIM card (returnable) during your stay.
- All government and local taxes.
- Guide and Porter’s salary, food and accommodation during the trek.
- Arrangement of emergency helicopter service which will be paid by your traveller’s insurance company.
- Sleeping bag, duffle bags and trekking route maps – if necessary.
- Farewell Nepali dinner on your last night.
- Personal expenses.
- Kathmandu sightseeing entrance fee.
- Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu and Nepalgunj.
- Nepal visa cost. (You will require 2 passport size photos and 30 USD)
- International flight ticket.
- Travel health insurance. (Recommended)
- Tips for the guide, porter and driver.