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“I won’t promise much but I would guarantee the most beautiful virgins boondocks of Dolpo, sightings of blue sheep and possibly the elusive snow leopard and authentic culture of Dolpo for you and your camera”– Gorakh Bista
There are several exciting places within the region of Dolpo which, has not been explored till now. The Gyaekochen is also known as the Dolpo peak (Gyaekochen ) that is more than 6000mtrs high. At the foothills of this magnificent peak, a beautiful Lake lies Gyaekochen. The Lake has been explored by only the team of Explore Dolpo led by one of our veteran photographer Gorakh Bista.
Mr. Bista says, the photography tour to Gyaekochen Lake is full of surprises. He claims that the natural landcapes throughout the trek are wonderful enough to feast the eyes and camera. One of the unexplored regions in Dolpo, Gyaekochen Lake Photography trek with Explore Dolpo and Gorakh Bista is a great opprtunity to all the fellow trekkers who wishes to take as much as wonderful photographs of superb nature, unique culture and rare wildlife including the wide biodiversity of floral and faunal species.
The photography trek to Gyaekochen Lake with Gorakh Bista, also takes you to the most fascinating highlights of Dolpo that include the culturally rich villages Saldang, Namgung and Shey. During the latter half of the trek it winds through the wonderful landscapes around Phoksundo Lake, halts for a short breather at the lake and winds up at Juphal.
A short biography of Mr. Gorakh Bista
Born and brought up in Dolpo Mr. Gorakh Bista is a very well known photographer in the Nepalese Photography Industry. Ever since he began his photography career in 2005, he has experienced the mega events- photographing. While successfully handling the post of Director in Agora Creations since 2009, Mr. Bista also has shown his photography skills in the events like World’s Highest Cabinet Meeting at Kalapattar 2009. The same year he also covered the ground photography of world’s largest adventurous event the Everest Skydive. As a freelance photographer, his photographs are frequently featured in the National Dailies and weekly like Margadarshan Khabar Patrika, Nepal Weekly, Kantipur Nepali Times weekly, the Himalayan daily and Republica. He also has the experience of Wildlife Photography with Satya Media Arts and Collectives and regarding the experience with the international entity, he has was one of the photographers of Sherpa Outdoor Switzerland in 2012.
Apart from being an expert photographer, he is equally expert in making the contribution for his community. He was one of the facilitators to arrange the dialouge between Maoist Leaders and Government during the extreme insurgency. He has supported the orphans of Hridaya Group since 2008. His hard work has always paid him with the opportunities to work with global organization that includes UNICEF. His works has been recognized by the Prime Minister of Nepal and Nepal Tourism Board and hence he has been awarded with most prestigious awards for photography in Nepal.
Fantastic photographer knows the photographic skills that are truly inspiring for the fellow travelers trekking with him. Most importantly, the photography tour to Dolpo with him is justifiable because this photographer on the way to achieve his expertise as a photographer was born and brought up here. We are asking you to trek with the photographer who knows the place more than any other photographer in the world.
- Day 01:Fly to Nepalgunj
- Day 02:Fly to Juphal and then trek to Dunai
- Day 03:Dunai to Tarakot (2540m) 5-6 hrs Trek
- Day 04:Tarakot to Laini Odar (3375m) 4-5 hrs Trek
- Day 05:Laini Odar to Ghyamghar (3755m) 5-6 hrs trek
- Day 06:Ghyamghar to Gyaekochen Lake (4900m) 7-8 hrs trek
- Day 07:Explore around Gyaekochen Lake
- Day 08:Gyaekochen Lake to Yak Kharka
- Day 09:Yak Kharka to Dho via Choila Pass (5051m) 6-7 hrs trek
- Day 10:Rest day at Dho
- Day 11:Trek to Jyanta La Pass Base Camp via Jayanta La Pass 4850m
- Day 12:Chagaon to Saldang
- Day 13:Rest day in Saldang
- Day 14:Saldang to Namgung Gompa
- Day 15:Namgung Gompa to Shey Gompa via Shey La Pass 5100m
- Day 16:Rest day in Shey Gompa
- Day 17:Shey Gompa to Kang la High Camp via Kang La Pass (5240m)
- Day 18:Kang La High Camp to Damside of Phoksundo Lake
- Day 19:Trek to Phoksundo Lake
- Day 20:Rest day in Phoksundo Lake
- Day 21:Phoksundo Lake to Shyanta 2520m 6-7 hrs trek
- Day 22:Shyanta to Juphal
- Day 23:Fly to Nepalgunj and then to Kathmandu
Day 01: Fly to Nepalgunj
In the morning you can stroll in the streets of Thamel while we arrange all your trekking documents (TIMS, National Park Permit) . Then you collect all the necessary documents from our representative and drive to the domestic section of Kathmandu airport.
From Kathmandu we fly on any domestic carrier to Nepalgunj. Nepalgunj , a town in the western Terai , is very close to the Indian border and the Bardia Nationl Park. It is a major transport hub for western, mid-western and far-western regions of Nepal. Overnight at hotel or lodge.
Day 02: Fly to Juphal and then trek to Dunai
Today we take a 35 minutes long flight to Juphal- the trek starting point to Phoksundo Lake. As we begin the trek, the trail ascends southeast high above Thulo Bheri Valley followed by an hour long walk through maize fields to to reach the village of Kalagaunda.
We trek by the southern bank of Bheri River and pass Roop Ghar with the water mill and finally reach the village of Dunai(2145m).Dunai is quite a big mountainous town with schools, health post, government offices, police station and tourist class lodges.
We will stay overnight in one of the lodges in Dunai. Probably at Pala Guest House.
Day 03: Dunai to Tarakot (2540m) 5-6 hrs Trek
As the trek begins today, we follow the upstream trail that banks Bheri River. First part of today’s trek is very pleasant as we trek along the leveled path occupied by beautiful landscapes in the neighborhood. Almost a couple of hours of trek bring us to the settlement of Byasghar 2430m. Exiting out of Byasghar, we continue trekking along the riverside trail that heads towards northeast direction. During this part of the trek, the trail most of the times flanks the river closely and at other time it climbs over the hill or around the ridge. The trek continues along open trails before it arrives to Baijibara.
This small settlement holds a Bon Monastery. After a short uphill trek further, dry stone walls and cultivating fields indicate the arrival of famous mid-hill settlement of western Nepal, Tarakot.
A small settlement that nestles high above Thuli Bheri River was once a famous trading point as it was the capital of ancient independent kingdom Tichorung. Most of the natives of the village belong to Magar tribe and the most of them practice Tibetan Buddhism as their religion.
Day 04: Tarakot to Laini Odar (3375m) 4-5 hrs Trek
As the trek begins today, we hike along the trail that lies on the southern bank of Bheri River. An hour long trek brings us to the open valley created by Bahrbung Khola.
Then the Phoksundo Nature Experience Trek heads east along the bank of Bharbung Khola. This part of trek brings us closer to Putha Huinchuli and Churen Himal. The trail beyond Bharbang Khola chases the easy steps that eventually bring us to Laisicap 2775m.
Now we cross the main river and begin to trek along the west bank of Tarap Khola. We head north until we arrive to Kanigaon 2950m. Khanigaon is the winter residence of the Dho-Tarap people.
We can see the wonderful view of Sandul Gompa across the valley from Kanigaon. The final push on the steep uphill trail finally brings us to Laini Odar, which is a wonderful camping site with a beautiful waterfall nearby.
Day 05: Laini Odar to Ghyamghar (3755m) 5-6 hrs trek
Today the photography trek to Gyaekochen Lake with Gorakh Bista gains the elevation to 3755m. Gradually the trek begins to enter the real Tibetan World in west Nepal and slowly the remoteness begins to prevail.
We can see the signs of valued crop yarsagompa throughout the trail. At the end of the day's trek we arrive to our campsite at Ghyamghar. Overnight in a camp.
Day 06: Ghyamghar to Gyaekochen Lake (4900m) 7-8 hrs trek
Now the regular trekking trail will divert towards Gyaekoche Lake- enjoy and capture the virgin boondocks of Dolpo as promised. The trail is now steeply ascending, you will be having your lunch at the campsite beside the river Kyakuchin.
Post lunch, the photography trek in Nepal continues to involve a steep ascend that will reveal the magnificent glacial mountain and three emerald blue lakes at its base.
Also the barren hills on these highlands also house ants (yarsagompa). This day would offer the best scene of the trip. After the strenuous trek for the day we arrive to Gyaekochen Lake. Overnight in the camp.
Day 07: Explore around Gyaekochen Lake
Today we will explore around Gyaekochen Lake. We can hike up to the Base Camp of Dolpo Peak, which looms right behind this scenic lake. The interesting myth about this lake is that, it holds animal inside it and the previous recce trekkers to the region also have mentioned about it.
We will also explore around the Gyaekochen Lake with our cameras. We will capture the sights of blue sheep and if the luck favors we can sight the life in Gyaekochen Lake and encounter elusive snow leopard. H
owever, the views around the lake are so raw that every trekker would love to spend a day photographing here. Overnight in the camp.
Day 08: Gyaekochen Lake to Yak Kharka
After the day exploration around Gyaekochen Lake, we would resume the photography trek towards the most popular trading town in Dolpo, Dho. However, we would not be able to trek that far today.
So, we will trek slow capture as much as remote and barren landscapes of Dolpo into our camera and arrive to our campsite at Yak Kharka.
Day 09: Yak Kharka to Dho via Choila Pass (5051m) 6-7 hrs trek
As the trek begins today, we cross the bridge over Sulun Khola. Crossing the bridges over several streams the trek arrives to Choila North Pass 5051m.
The trail to Choila North BC is an tarduous and difficult trek. Almost two hours steep climb brings us to the top of Choila Pass from the the fascinating sights of Tokyu camps are seen.
A downhill and leveled trail beside Choila Khola brings us to Tokyu and eventually to Dho Tarap. Dho Tarap is a large village decorated by colorful prayer flags. There are chortens, mani walls and monasteries. Villagers grow wheat, buck wheat, barley, potatoes and green vegetables in terraced fields. Overnight in a camp at Dho.
Day 10: Rest day at Dho
Dho has tea houses, shops with minimal supplies and lodges. The people closely resemble the Khampas of Tibet, the men with a ponytail and red tassel coiled around their head.
The women sport musk deer teeth necklaces. Dho Tarap has a maze of mud-brick Tibetan houses which was featured in Eric Valli’s famous movie 'Caravan', the village where Karma and his band of young Dolpo-pa, and Thinley and his older group of Dolpo-pa, set off with their salt to trade for barley over the high passes. We will enjoy a nature tour and a cultural program consisting of traditional Tibetan dances and songs presented by the villagers.
Here we have few major sites that are worthwhile exploring around Dho Tarap.Including Ribo Bumpa Monastery & Drakmar Dewa Monastery, the vicinity around Dho Tarap has many other important monasteries which include Mekhyim Monastery, Dhoro Monastery and a Bon Gompa of Shipichowk among others. So make your decision wisely while choosing the monastery you prefer to explore from the pool of many.
Day 11: Trek to Jyanta La Pass Base Camp via Jayanta La Pass 4850m
Today, the photography trek in Nepal with local photographer from Dolpo, Mr Gorakh Bista first goes along the ascending trail to the top of Jyanta La Pass 4850m. From the pass, the trek slides down to the Base Camp where we will set our camps for the night. The trek throughout the day has enough stuffs in the nature that keeps your camera busy.
Day 12: Chagaon to Saldang
The photography trek today stretches for few pleasant hours with a few climbs and at the end we arrive to a ridge top adorned with prayer flags overlooking a beautiful village,
Saldang. From the ridge top, we see the mountains glittering to the north. The trail exiting out of Saldang to Panzang valley is a vivid view form the ridge top. We slide down to Saldang and stroll through the fascinating cultural village capturing the photographs.
The views of the Tibetan hamlet include mani walls and stupas. Down the village lanes and around tilled barley fields, we reach our campsite in Saldang, which lies just above historic Saldang Gompa.
Day 13: Rest day in Saldang
A Rest day in Saldang is prime highlight of Photography Trek in Nepal. Saldang Village covers the largest the area largest village in the Nangkhang region of Dolpo. Among few options to explore around Saldang, first one is to hike to some of the northern villages north of Saldang.
During autumn, we have a lot for the camera as the highland hamlet is in the full swing harvesting season. Chasing the trail beside Nagon Khola north to Karang and Marang villages, we get to see and capture lots of authentic culture of Upper Dolpo.
To explore through the maze cobbled alleyways of Saldang, which traverses through the entire village is wonderful way to peep inside the culture of Saldang. Overnight in a camp at Saldang
Day 14: Saldang to Namgung Gompa
Today the photography trek with Gorakh Bista, takes you to yet another culturally fascinating village in Dolpo, Namgung Gompa. Explore the Gompa in the Village and capture the mesmerizing landscapes and appealing culture of Upper Dolpo throughout the day's trek. Overnight in camp at Namgung.
Day 15: Namgung Gompa to Shey Gompa via Shey La Pass 5100m
The landscapes during this part of the trek are typical Dolpo landscapes- barren and enchanting. Then we begin to climb up towards the top of Shey La Pass, which is almost two hours of hike.
The acme of Shey La Pass west of Shey, rewards us with the magnificent views of Mustang to the East, Tibet to the North and Kanjiroba, Kagmara and Riu Dhukta, or the Crystal Mountain, to the West. The final push downhill from the pass, which is almost 2 hours of hike brings us to Shey Gompa. Overnight in a camp at Shey.
Day 16: Rest day in Shey Gompa
Today we will explore Shey Gompa.. It is said to be about 800 years old monastery, with murals inside and an ancient scroll describing the mythology behind the Crystal Mountain.
The monastery is locally known as Shelri Sumdho Gompa. Shey Festival, the summer festival observed by the people of Dolpo with huge enthusiasm is hosted at Shey Gompa.
Peter Mattheissen wrote quite a lot about his stay in Shey in 'The Snow Leopard', and it was shown in Eric Valli’s movie ‘Caravan' as Thinley's son's gompa. Overnight in a camp at Shey.
Day 17: Shey Gompa to Kang la High Camp via Kang La Pass (5240m)
We are now exiting out of Upper Dolpo, and entering into the region of mystical lake. For this we have to cross the Kangla pass . The trek to the top of Kang La Pass is along the graveled trail uphill for three contin
Day 18: Kang La High Camp to Damside of Phoksundo Lake
The photography trek today slides down the pass to Sallghari- the forest camp the major camping site during the trek other way around. Beyond Sallghari we trek on the forest trail for quite a while. Then we begin the trek along the trail of Phoksundo Khola- the river that feeds water to Phoksundo Lake. At the end of today's trek we arrive to the camp at Damside of Phoksundo Lake.
Day 19: Trek to Phoksundo Lake
Trekking along the most treacherous trail of Dolpo that hangs on the cliff right above the lake, we arrive to Phoksundo Lake by lunch time. We settle our camps at the lake shore, enjoy the lunch and set off to explore around Phoksundo Lake on our own.
Day 20: Rest day in Phoksundo Lake
The photography trek with Gorakh Bista highlights Phoksundo Lake because of its superior beauty. Today we explore the area around Ringmo Village and the magnificent Phoksundo Lake.
First, we explore around Ringmo Village and head to Tshowa (the lake-shore Bon Monastery). The Gompa nestling a ridge top above Phoksundo Lake was built about 900 years ago.Exploring this culturally rich Bon Monastery is fascinating experience. Then we drop down to Phoksundo Lake along steep-sided cliffs.
The lake is famous for its magnificent turquoise color and spectacular scenery. Ringmo village, a typical Tibetan village, is scenic view from Phoksundo Lake. Many beautiful glaciers can be found near and above the lake area. There are many monasteries (Gompas )and Bon-po religious sites at the park and we spend our time visiting some of these. We also explore the wonderful natural sites and enjoy our nature tour.
Day 21: Phoksundo Lake to Shyanta 2520m 6-7 hrs trek
After an enjoyable and insightful photography trek to Gyaekochen Lake with Gorakh Bista, we trek along the mid-hills trail to Shyanta. We stay overnight at the hotel.
Day 22: Shyanta to Juphal
After the breakfast, we continue the trek along the forested trail that brings us to Juphal. After 6-7 hrs of pleasant walk through culturally and naturally diverse trail we arrive to Juphal. Overnight in a lodge at Juphal.
Day 23: Fly to Nepalgunj and then to Kathmandu
Early morning, we walk to the airport in Juphal from where we fly to the airport in Nepalgunj. At Nepalgunj we board a plane that directly connects us to Kathmandu. On arriving Kathmandu, you will be transferred to your hotel. Rest of the time is free time. End of Photography trek to Gyaekochen Lake with Gorakh Bista.
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