Dolpo Trekking in Nepal
One of the last remnants of ancient Tibetan culture, a place where pre-Buddhist and Bon-Po religions are still in practice, the Dolpo region holds a mysterious pull for travelers. Of rugged and unspoiled natural enigma, the area designated for trekking in Dolpo lies beyond the Himalayan valleys across western Nepal. The massive Dhaulagiri massif looms upon the Dolpo province which remains cut off from civilization with the snow overcome high passes of the region. Time seems to have stood still at this furthest corner of Nepal where the ancient Tibetans still continue their centuries-old practices of cultivation and trade. The area constitutes a protected ecosystem with flourishing varieties of flora and fauna. Blue sheep and the elusive snow leopards are parcels of the great enigma that Upper Dolpo trek holds for trekkers. Eric Valli’s Oscar nominated cinematic essay set in Dolpo and Peter Matthiessen's book Snow Leopard have immortalized Dolpo in the hearts of Himalayan aficionados.
What is the Dolpo Trek?
Dolpo trek Nepal has remained a truly isolated nook of Nepal where time has frozen in the era of traditional Tibetan culture, untouched by modern changes. To explore the riches of Dolpo, trekkers are required to take special permit for Upper dolpo trekking from Kathmandu. Flights will thereafter take the travelers to Juphal via Nepalganj. The itinerary bends to the north on the way to shey Phoksundo National Park and eventually joins the age-old Nepal-Tibet trade route. Including a steep ascent to Nangdola Pass at 5110 m, Upper Dolpo trekking will cover much of the fascinating high altitude summits that serve as superlative vantage points to get sweeping vistas of the exquisite trans-Himalayan topography. Wide-angle views of the arid valley of Dolpo, hued in chrome and brown and red open up to Dhaulagiri Mountains bordering the province. Snow capped peaks of Tibet stand out strikingly in this exquisite blend of hues and baffling heights. The trek is not entirely devoid of greenery. Much verdant expenses can be found once we walk into the pleasant pastures of the Phoksundo Lake. The clear pool of crystal blue waters contrasting against the weathered red and ochre hills is a simply awe-inspiring sight to behold.
Why should you go for the Dolpo Trek?
Dolpo trek Nepal follows an itinerary through western Nepal where the topography is vivid and stark with bold hues of ochre, maroon and red blends against a brilliant sky. Undulating sandy plains rise toward heavens where snow peaks catch the light of the sun. Dolpo in the texture of its landscape resembles the Roof of the World - Tibet. Treks in this region are also a treat because of its sheer isolation from civilization as we know it.
Foraying into the trans-Himalayan topography of western Nepal
A peek into the world of Peter Matthiessen’s Snow Leopard, a phantasmagoric land of traditional Tibetan culture, a world within a world where time seems to have stilled
Expeditioning into Shey Phoksundo National Park, keeping an eye out for snow leopards
Knowing about the spring hunt for ‘yarchagumba’- an unsual caterpillar fungus sought for medicinal purposes
Crossing the Nangdola Pass at 5110m
Awe-inspiring views of Dhaulagiri range
Phoksundo Lake glistening crystal-like and blue against the stark landscape
Shey Gompa in Upper dolpo, established in the eleventh century
The Sela Pass at 5094 m and the Jyanta Pass at 5221 m
Descending trek to Dho Tarap valley
Memorable flight over the snowscape of some of the world’s highest peaks between Pokhara to Juphal
How High is the Dolpo Trek?
The Upper dolpo Trek covers a string of high passes, namely-- the Nangdola Pass at 5110m, Sela Pass at 2094m and Jyanta Pass at 5221m.
When to Visit?
Spring (April-May) and the Fall (October-November) when the temperatures are salubrious and skies are clear are the best time to visit Dolpo. There is minimal chance of thick snow at the high altitudes, especially in the passes.
How to Reach?
Western Nepal is the remotest end of Nepal where transport is infrequent. Trekkers are required to fly from Pokhara to Nepalgunj through expensive charter flights. Flights are also available from Kathmandu. Reaching Juphal from where the trek officially begins takes another flight, from Nepalgunj. Road access to Nepalgunj from Kathmandu or Pokhara is longer and more tedious.
Are There Any Shops Available On the Dolpo Trek?
Shops are hard to come by on the Dolpo trek. Therefore, it’s advisable to conclude shopping for utilities and medicine by Pokhara itself.
How Long does it Take to Complete the Dolpo Trek?
It takes 8-27 days to experience the Dolpo trek covering all its major attractions, starting from Kathmandu/Pokhara and back. Itineraries are set depending on the current condition of access, weather and preference of individual trekking groups.
What to Pack for the Dolpo Trek?
Large or medium size backpack, and a duffle side bag for extras
Rain jacket (essential for the monsoon months)
Sturdy trekking shoes and a pair of floaters
Trekking pants, several pairs
Is There Any Possibility Of Altitude Sickness?
Altitude Sickness is possible on the Dolpo trek provided that, many parts of the lower dolpo trekking veer beyond the treeline. Sufficient hydration, prior fitness preparation and keen monitoring of body conditions during the trek are essential. A course of Diamox on medical advice might be well suited.
How Busy is the Dolpo Trek?
Dolpo in Western Nepal is one of the remotest destinations on earth. You are unlikely to find many trekkers regardless which season you are going. The isolation of the region is part of the main charm of trekking in Dolpho.