The Lower Dolpo trek is an exciting 16-day journey to enjoy the beauty and rugged landscape of one of Nepal’s most remote regions. Although this region was opened for trekking in 1989, it has remained untouched and unexplored due to its remote location. Lower Dolpo is situated in Nepal’s Trans Himalayas in an isolated corner of the region rich in Himalayan valleys and similar to Tibet’s highlands.
In addition to excellent views, high passes, lush valleys, and quaint lakes, the Lower Dolpo Trek offers a traditional nomadic culture and lifestyle influenced by Tibetan Buddhism. Trekking in Lower Dolpo is quite strenuous as you have to deal with harsh weather conditions and rugged terrain. However, the rewarding experience of admiring the beauty of the tranquil Phoksundo Lake is the main attraction of the trek.
We will trek for 16 days through the Lower Dolpo region, which the Himalayan Mountains surround. The colorful barren slopes of the mountains reflect the region’s wild character. Throughout our journey, we pass through virgin territory that outsiders rarely explore. On the trail to Lower Dolpo, we cross three high passes, namely Baga La, Numa La, and Kangmara La.
In addition to the unique flora and fauna, the Lower Dolpo Trek offers an opportunity to meet simple, helpful, and friendly people who reside in this area. This region is inhabited by descendants of Tibetans still practicing the pre-Buddhist Bon religion. Their way of life is very simple and traditional. They speak a dialect similar to Tibetan.
Suppose you are interested in trekking to the Lower Dolpo region of Nepal. In that case, the Pokhara Info Team can provide you with a permit to Shey Phoksundo National Park and a special permit to the Lower Dolpo region. We will do our very best to make your journey enjoyable!
Lower Dolpo Trek Itinerary
Upon arrival in Kathmandu, our airport representative will welcome you and give you more information about the tour. There are no planned activities for today, so check into the hotel. Relax at the hotel for the night.
We visit the World Heritage Sites in the Kathmandu Valley, including Kathmandu Durbar Square, Swayambhunath Temple, Boudhanath Stupa, and Pasupatinath Temple. We stay at a hotel and have breakfast each morning.
It is generally necessary to fly to Nepalgunj before visiting the Dolpo region. Nepalgunj is a hot, steaming city in South Western Nepal, in the lowlands of Terai, close to the Indian border, which is only 8 km away. Culturally, the area resembles that of India more than upland Nepal.
You can ride a cycle rikshaw through town, passing the bustling bazaar and seeing colorful people crossing the border in horse carts. The Bageshowri temple is one of Nepal's most important Hindu temples and is worth visiting.
It only takes 35 minutes to reach Juphal across steep mountain ridges with breathtaking views of snow-capped mountains. Juphal airport is a gravel airstrip nestled among the mountains, so landings will be breathtaking. You enter a completely different world upon stepping out of the plane.
From a sweltering city in the plains, you are now in a mountainous village near the Himalayas, breathing in the crisp, cold air. You walk on a path through fields of wheat and vegetables from Juphal to reach the Thuli Bheri River, which you will follow after you reach it.
After leaving Dunai, the landscape turns into a beautiful mountainous terrain, sometimes reminiscent of the Alps. Rocky slopes are covered with pine trees, mostly blue pine. The snow-capped Kang Tokal (6294 m) can be seen at the horizon. The path ascends and descends slightly, following the Thuli Bheri River, passing a couple of houses here and there.
The next village you will pass is Byasgar (2427 m). After leaving Dunai, all the villages you will pass will be inhabited by Buddhist people. The inhabitants of this region are Tarali's, a Magar group. Byasgar's landscape becomes more rough and rocky. The path was carved out of the rocks, and at some points, it is very narrow. A motorable road is planned all the way to Dho Tarap. The walk seems to be a huge challenge, and it might take a couple of years. However, it might be a good reason to visit Dolpa sooner than later. After a little while, you reach Lingdo, a small village with a guesthouse and camping grounds.
The path gradually ascends. Along the way, you can see some of the villages of this area, such as Sarakot, which is perched high on a cliff. These are the last villages you'll see until you reach Dho Tarap. You will pass mani walls (a wall with loose stones carved with Buddhist mantras) and chortens. As per Buddhist tradition, you must pass these Buddhist shrines clockwise, on the left. In the distance, you can see the gorgeous Kang Tokal, a snowcapped mountain. On the path, we trek to Laina Odar via Laisicap.
Following Laina Odar, the trail climbs to a small pass, which takes about 45 minutes walking. After the pass, the path is fairly easy with a few minor climbs. The walk is beautiful once again, sometimes going through pine forests.
You reach Nawarpani (3475 m) about 4 hours after you leave Laina Odar, where you find another tent hotel. You can camp there today, or you could continue walking to Sisaul (3750 m) today.
The landscape soon becomes more barren after Nawarpani. There are fewer trees, and most of the walking is in the valley near the river, with high rocks looming over you on both sides. This is the land of the blue sheep. You can see big groups high on the slopes if you watch out for them. Furthermore, if you're lucky, you might spot a snow leopard.
At some points, the path is beautifully carved into the rock, making you feel like you are walking in a tunnel. The path ascends steeply for about half an hour until you reach a small pass with a nice stupa.
On the way out of Sisaul, the trail ascends a small pass. After the pass, the valley suddenly widens. The terrain has changed significantly. The landscape is now very dry, and small bushes have replaced the previously existing trees. A small collection of houses appears behind the mountains: Dho Tarap. As you approach Dho Tarap, you pass by many mani walls and small chortens, making it clear how important Buddhism is for the people of the Dolpa.
Leaving Dho, you pass a beautiful gate Chorten before heading to Numala Base Camp. Due to the short distance to Numala Base Camp, you can use the morning to explore the area around Dho. We will travel to Tokyu and eventually Numala Base Camp after 4 to 5 hours of trekking through an interesting landscape.
As the day begins to wear on you, it's a good idea to start early (between 5 and 6 am), so you arrive at the pass early. In the morning, the weather is generally better, making crossing the pass safer and easier. We will trek through the snowy path to Danigar, passing Numa La Pass.
Today we will cross another pass, so we should leave early and start climbing on the other side of the Panklanga Khola. The path climbs steeply, going "zig-zagging" over the slope. We will enjoy the trek to the snowy Baga La pass at 5190 meters. Finally, after six hours of trekking, we reach Yak Kharkha, our destination for the day.
Leaving Yak Kharka, the path immediately climbs high on the side of a slope, and the river (Maduwa Khola) is soon far below. If you have the energy, you can even cross the Baga La while walking this portion. The walk begins through pine forests and meadows with the birds singing. After leaving the forest, you cross a bridge from which you ascend into Ringmo in just a few minutes.
You can walk the following stretch in two short days or in a single day. The distance from Rechi to Chhepka is about 3.5 hours, and the distance from Rechi to Chhepka is about 3 1/2 hours. As you walk to Rechi, you pass through a beautiful pine forest, interspersed with bushes, birches, and broadleaved trees. After leaving Ringmo, the path begins relatively flat but soon begins to ascend steeply.
Today you mostly descend, with some small climbs thrown in. The first section takes you back through the forest, with a wild river below you. After Shyanta, the forest ends, and you walk through a bit drier terrain. As you approach the check post of Shey Phoksundo National Park, you pass villages like Sangta (2520 m) and Kageni (2413 m). After crossing a significant iron suspension bridge (the Dhim Bridge, 99 meters long), you should turn left (west) towards Juphal. Turning right (east) would bring you back to Dunai.
It takes approximately three hours to walk from the bridge to Juphal. The first part is a wide path passing through Kalagaonda; the second is a small path passing through barley and wheat fields with peaches, apricots, and walnuts. To get to Juphal, you have to climb steeply.
After the trip concludes, you fly back to Nepalgunj through the mountain valleys. Afterward, you fly back to Kathmandu. The next day is free for you to explore or rest in Kathmandu, depending on your inclination.
The itinerary mentioned above is the general plan arranged by Pokhara Info. However, the above itinerary is only a guideline; it might change due to the availability of lodging and campsites, fluctuating weather conditions, unforeseen political, trail, and environmental, or any other factors beyond our control. After consulting with the group, your trek leader will decide the best way to reach a final decision if this occurs.
If the itinerary is unsuitable for you, please let us know, and we will customize it. We will be able to make changes to the itinerary if clients want to do so.
Finally, When you are ready to start adventures in Nepal, it is time to begin thinking about what to pack. If you are ready to book but aren’t sure when is the best time to trek or what to stay in, Pokhara Info has got you covered. You can figure out these queries through our site. We are also available on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media sites. I hope you have a good time in Nepal and thank you for visiting!