Upper Dolpo is a remote, hidden but much-loved destination among clients of Yatra Himalaya. This far-west region is one of Nepal’s most tranquil and natural havens, but as yet remains a mostly unexplored area. It is the home of herbal land, unspoiled trans-Himalayan culture and Buddhist monuments, all with a unique human civilisation at high altitude. It is definitely worth a visit, despite some hardships. Trekking around Upper Dolpo is an unforgettable journey, observing the different rain-shadow landscapes, stunning mountain views, wild flowers and animals – Himalayan blue sheep, snow leopards, and huge Himalayan Griffons.
Dolpo is protected by the Shey Phoksundo National Park. It lies to the north of the Dhaulagiri Range bordering the Tibetan Plateau. Here one can find a well-preserved eco-system of plants and wildlife. Trekking in Upper Dolpo is suitable for those who are exceptionally fit and prepared to face the full challenge of the Himalayan wilderness. The views of Kanjiroba peak, Phoksundo Lake and the Dhaulagiri massif are the most rewarding moments of this trek. A visit to Phoksundo Gompa – dedicated to the ancient Bonpo religion, local to Dolpo and Tibet – is a memorable experience. The Oscar-nominated movie ‘Himalaya’ (originally entitled ‘Caravan’) was produced in the Dolpo region, displaying the blend of lifestyle, unique culture and enchanting natural beauty of the area. Dolpo was opened to outsiders only in 1990; therefore, tourists are required to obtain special permits and go with a Nepalese government-registered company.
We begin our trek to Dolpo from Juphal, reached by flights from Kathmandu via Nepalgunj. Next day, we head to Dunai and then to Ankhe, Renji and Phoksundo Lake (3600 m). We relax along the lakeshores and explore the area before heading to Mandala camp (4570m). With great anticipation we trek on to the mystical Shey monastery (gompa), crossing the Nagdalo Pass (5350m) on the way. Subsequently we head over the Sela La (5095m) to Namgung and then Saldang village. From here we trek to Musigaon, and after crossing the Muri La pass (5030m), we head to Tinja. Afterwards we reach Kheng and Charka. There are many more passes to cross before we reach Santa. From there we proceed to Phale Gaun and finally reach Jomsom (2710m). From here we fly to Pokhara and then return to Kathmandu by bus or plane.