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“Two long lost territories of highland Nepal, Upper Dolpo and Upper Mustang; Dolpo where the Bon and Tibetan Buddhism prospered side and side and also the place which houses Nepal’s one of the most fascinating landscapes and Mustang the forbidden kingdom which holds the prosperous history of Lobas and witnessed the culture of sky cemeteries long long ago.”
Dolpo to Jomsom is one of the most adventurous trip that covers upper Dolpo and upper Mustang. Exploring the hidden religious and cultural treasures makes the trip momentous adventure. Enjoying the scenic beauty of the landscapes along with the glazing faces of the Himalayas in the lap of nature and exploring the authentic evidences of different episodes of super powered human existence en bloc provide the eternal satisfaction.
Dolpo to Mustang Trek can be made before May or after October because during the agricultural season in the regions nobody is allowed to enter the villages. But the trek in October is still highly recommended.
The trek is very adventurous and bit difficult and expensive. Further Araniko Chuli (Trekkers’ Peak) can be included in the itinerary for climbing.
On top of all these constraints the trek gives full satisfaction and can be one of the great adventures in the life time. This is only the trek in Nepal that gives you the real experience and realization of the real old Tibetan culture and tradition.
- Day 01:Kathmandu – Nepalgunj 55min flight
- Day 02:Nepalgunj to Juphal 35 min flight then trek to Dunai (2140m). 3hrs.
- Day 03:Dunai to Chhepka 6-7hrs.
- Day 04:Chhepka to Chunuwar 6-7hrs.
- Day 05:Chunuwar to Phoksundo 4-5 hrs.
- Day 06:Rest day in Phoksundo.
- Day 07:Phoksundo Lake to Sallaghari/ (3630m). 5-6 hrs.
- Day 08:Sallaghari to Kang-la (Nangdalo) High Camp/ (4717m). 5-6 hrs.
- Day 09:Nangdalo Pass High Camp to Shey gompa 6-7hrs.
- Day 10:Shey Gompa to Namgung Gompa/ (4360m) 5-6 hrs.
- Day 11:Namgung to Saldang (3770m) 5-6 hrs.
- Day 12:Saldang day hike to Yangjer Gompa
- Day 13:Saldang to Khoma. (4200m) 4-5 hrs.
- Day 14:Khoma to Shimen 4-5 hrs.
- Day 15:Shimen to Tinje 5-6 hrs.
- Day 16:Tinje gaon to Rapka/ (4535m). 5-6 hrs.
- Day 17:Rapka to Chharka/ (4302m) 6-7 hrs.
- Day 19:Chharka – Tulshikhola Bhedakharka (4450m) 3-4 hrs.
- Day 19:Tulshikhola – Yak Kharka (5100m) 4-5 hrs.
- Day 20:Yak Kharka – Chanagar HC (5450m) 4-5hrs.
- Day 21:Chanagar HC – Tsopgo (5365m) 5-6 hrs.
- Day 22:Tsopgo – Kekyap Phedi (5000m) 4-5 hrs.
- Day 23:Kekyap Phedi – High Camp (5350m) 5-6 hrs.
- Day 24:High Camp – Lo Manthang (3910m) 5-6 hrs.
- Day 25:Lo Manthang – Exploration
- Day 26:Lo-Manthang
- Day 27:Lo-Manthang to Dhakmar (3820m) 5-6 hrs.
- Day 28:Dhakmar too Syangboche (3800m) 5-6 hrs.
- Day 29:Syangboche – Chhuksang (2980m) 6-7 hrs.
- Day 30:Chhuksang to Jomsom/ (2720m) via Kagbeni/ (2810m) 5-6 hrs..
- Day 31:Jomsom/Pokhara morning flight same day afternoon Kathmandu flight.
Day 01: Kathmandu – Nepalgunj 55min flight
We take Kathmandu to Nepalgunj 1hr Flight in the late afternoon as far as possible. Nepalgunj is the business centre for the mid and western region of Nepal.
Day 02: Nepalgunj to Juphal 35 min flight then trek to Dunai (2140m). 3hrs.
Morning flight from Nepalgunj to Juphal (2475m) takes nearly
35min. The flight will be enjoyable if the weather is clear you can have a good mountain sightseeing. After landing in the Juphal airport starts the trek to Dunai. It takes nearly 3hrs. Dunai is the headquarter of the district and we make the final packing for the whole trip.
Day 03: Dunai to Chhepka 6-7hrs.
The trail enters to the Shey Phoksundo National Park after passing Sulighat the entrance of the park area.
The trail goes within the Shey Phoksundo National Park will be pleasant and enjoyable. The trail passes through the wood and small streams.
One can enjoy the bird watching also within this area. We pass through some winter migration places, where the people migrate for the winter.
Day 04: Chhepka to Chunuwar 6-7hrs.
Today the first section of the trail will be through the jungle with slight ascends. There are several streams that make the walk refreshing. When we reach Sumduwa then the trail goes more or less straight. We can see a school on the way the school is providing education to all the villages of around Phoksundo.
Day 05: Chunuwar to Phoksundo 4-5 hrs.
Today the trail goes ascending towards the ridge. We can observe the beautiful lake from different angles while going through this trail. There is a view point also on the ridge from where we can observe the Phoksundo water fall. Then the trail goes descending towards the lake through the wood of silver birtch.
Day 06: Rest day in Phoksundo.
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 colour and spectacular scenery. Ringmo village, a typical Tibetan village, is scenic view from Phoksundo Lake. There are several monasteries (Gompas ) and Bon-po religious sites at the park and we spend our time visiting some of these.
Day 07: Phoksundo Lake to Sallaghari/ (3630m). 5-6 hrs.
Today’s trek is probably one of the best trekking days of Dolpo to Mustang Trek. It climbs along the narrow trail cut on a cliff standing vertically straight above Phoksundo Lake.
This treacherously fascinating trail brings us to another side of Today’s trek is probably one of the best trekking days of Dolpo to Mustang Trek. It climbs along the narrow trail cut on a cliff standing vertically straight above Phoksundo Lake.
This treacherously fascinating trail brings us to another side of Phoksundo Lake. This particular part of the trek is like fantasy walk portrayed by a writer in their fiction novels.
To get to the Phoksundo Khola camp on other side of the lake, we slide down for ninety minutes along the beautiful forests. The final part of today’s trek slides up to the beautiful campsite at Sallaghari. Enjoy the night in the camps amongst beautiful pine forest.
Day 08: Sallaghari to Kang-la (Nangdalo) High Camp/ (4717m). 5-6 hrs.
As the trek begins we ascend up the narrow defile of Tuk Kyaksa River. The trail switches to opposite side of the river several times. Soon we arrive to a place where the rapids of the river are calmer. We cross the bridge over the river at that point.
Thirty minutes of walk after the bridge, we come across the wide valley followed by two hours of walk along the canyon brings us the potential campsite. A walk for a while further reaches to the massive rock slab, which is Kang La/Nangdala Base Camp- our campsite for the night.
Day 09: Nangdalo Pass High Camp to Shey gompa 6-7hrs.
Today we trek to the fabled Shey Gompa and the nearby 'Crystal Mountain', the most sacred peak in Dolpo which Dolpo pilgrims circumambulate each summer before the harvest. We are now entering the real Dolpo, and to enter into this mystical land we have to cross the Kangla/Nangdala pass .
The trek to the top of Kang La/Nangdala Pass is along the graveled trail uphill for three continuous hours. However, all the efforts put to come up to the top of the pass rewards us with wonderful views.
The eye feast views from the Kang La Pass includes Cyrstal Mountain, the mountains in Tibetan territory and the mesmerizing landscapes of Dolpo. We also have views of the peaks Shey Shikkar and Kang Chunne, both just over 6000 meters, before descending steeply down to the valley floor and along the river.
A red chorten marks the entrance to Shey. Every Dragon year according to the Tibetan calendar that comes in every 12 years there occurs a grand festival. People from different places and countries come to join this festival. We camp for the night.
Day 10: Shey Gompa to Namgung Gompa/ (4360m) 5-6 hrs.
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. After the exploration of Shey Gompa as the trek begins, it follows the trail beside Sephu Khola for almost couple of hours.
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 Namgung. We spend our night at Namgung, a local nomadic herding settlement
Day 11: Namgung to Saldang (3770m) 5-6 hrs.
Before setting out towards Saldang, we explore the monastery of Namgung set on the flanking cliff. As the trek from Namgong Gompa begins we follow Namga Khola cross pass more summer herding spots and emerge out of spur for a short hike down to Saldang. Saldang is a beautiful village with lots of dry land surrounded hills. Amchi tradition and Buddhism in Dolpo thrives here at Saldang. We'll get a chance to visit some local houses, drink some salt butter tea or chhyang (Tibetan barley beer) and sample the local fare at Saldang.
Day 12: Saldang day hike to Yangjer Gompa
Today we will have a day hike after early breakfast to Yanjer the richest monastery of this region. We will have packed lunch and will come back to Saldang for the night stop after the exploration of the monastery.
Day 13: Saldang to Khoma. (4200m) 4-5 hrs.
Today we trek for six hours and reach the village of Komash. Initially, the trail follows the Saldang Lek along the Rapyha Khola to the barren hillside. Exiting out to the elevated ridge of almost 4500m, the trail descends down steeply to Komash Village a village which bears similarity to a Tibetan village. Overnight in tents at Komash.
Day 14: Khoma to Shimen 4-5 hrs.
As we trek from Komash village we may sight some endangered animals like snow leopard or Blue sheep. On the way we pass small villages. The landscapes in the vicinity is full of highland deserts with few shrub like vegetation. After almost five hours of comfortable hike we arrive to Shimen. Overnight in the tented camps at Shimen.
Day 15: Shimen to Tinje 5-6 hrs.
Today the trail goes by the side of Panjyang Khola. There are some villages and gompas on the way to Tinje. Tinje is a very beautiful valley. There is a natural air strip where once a British aircraft had landed and taken off.
Day 16: Tinje gaon to Rapka/ (4535m). 5-6 hrs.
Leaving this beautiful valley the trail leads you to Rapka for the night camp.
Day 17: Rapka to Chharka/ (4302m) 6-7 hrs.
From Rapka the next night stop will be in Chharka Crossing Chharka La / Mola pass - (5030m). Here you can observe the Bon Gompa too.
Day 19: Chharka – Tulshikhola Bhedakharka (4450m) 3-4 hrs.
Today also the trail goes straight by the side river Tulshi. Chharka is the last village of Dolpo while going this route. The trail goes through open land. We will make the camp tonight at Tulshi Khola.
Day 19: Tulshikhola – Yak Kharka (5100m) 4-5 hrs.
Again the trail goes by the side of the river in open space. We can see some rocks on the sideways. There will be several small trails so we need an experience person to find the right trail. The place where we can camp for tonight is Kyarkog (Yak Kharka).
Day 20: Yak Kharka – Chanagar HC (5450m) 4-5hrs.
Today also the trail is in the open land and can view rocks by the sides. The landscape is open and wide. We find several stone piles that shows the trail. At last we reach the high camp to settle down for the night. We can view some mountain peaks from this high camp.
Day 21: Chanagar HC – Tsopgo (5365m) 5-6 hrs.
Today we will have to cross the pass Chanagarla (Syap la) 5665m. After walking for two hours from high camp we reach this and crossing the pass we walk on the rocky trail till another pass for near about an hour. We can view the lake Tsopgo from this second pass. Then the trail slightly descending towards Tsopgo walking around three and half hour we reach the lake Tsopgo where we camp for the night.
Day 22: Tsopgo – Kekyap Phedi (5000m) 4-5 hrs.
Again following the rocky trail in the open we reach at a river and crossing the river the trail goes descending towards Kekyap Phedi. There are some pastures on the trail.
Day 23: Kekyap Phedi – High Camp (5350m) 5-6 hrs.
From Kekyap Phedi the trail goes uphill and the trail is rocky and cannot see any fixed trail. We should follow the stone piles to find the right trail. Still we need an experienced guide to find the path. After crossing Kekyap La (5600m) we reach the high camp for the night rest.
Day 24: High Camp – Lo Manthang (3910m) 5-6 hrs.
From the high camp the trail descends where there are some yak kharkas on the way. At last we reach Lo Manthang capital of Mutang. Then onwards the trek can be done in teahouse basis too.
Day 25: Lo Manthang – Exploration
A free day in Lo-manthang is never more. The village with 150 houses is the home to many monks. While exploring the untouched territory since the 14th century, we explore four major temples of the fabled walled city.
Champak Leaking, one of the major temples comprises a huge clay statue of Buddha as well as the elaborated mandala paintings on the walls. The grand palace in the center of the town is the home of royals. Explore the town properly so that you wont miss any highlights of Upper Mustang.
Day 26: Lo-Manthang
Visit to the villages (Garphu, Dhuk, Barcha, Nenyul).
Day 27: Lo-Manthang to Dhakmar (3820m) 5-6 hrs.
The trail from Lomanthang to Dhakmar is moderate with slight up and down. You can find some stupas on the way. You will reach Ghar Gompa from where you can see some villages like Marnag, Charng, etc.
Day 28: Dhakmar too Syangboche (3800m) 5-6 hrs.
The trail goes sometimes off the road and sometimes through road. We go through Ghami and will have the lunch at Jhaite and continue walking through some cluster of houses. We can observe some stupas on the way.
Day 29: Syangboche – Chhuksang (2980m) 6-7 hrs.
From Syangboche there two trails one goes through Chungsi cave and another one goes through the road. If you take the first trail then we can observe the cave. Then there are some cattle shades on the way and we will reach to Samar. We take our food at Samar again the trail divides in two. One goes towards Ghyakat and another one goes through the road then we reach Chele. After crossing the river we reach Chhuksang.
Day 30: Chhuksang to Jomsom/ (2720m) via Kagbeni/ (2810m) 5-6 hrs..
The walk to Jomsom via kagbeni will be enjoyable, you can get some teashops on the way.
Day 31: Jomsom/Pokhara morning flight same day afternoon Kathmandu flight.
We take Jomsom/Pokhara morning flight and same day afternoon flight to Kathmandu.
I´ve just recently arrived back home from a 25 days trip (10 sept-04 oct) in Upper Dolpo with Explore Dolpo Trekking and Expedition.
We were 4 friends from Europe and it took 6 nepalis, 4 mules and a horse to help us achieve our goal.
They did it in the most professional way and the best of spirits, always ready to help us even under the constant burden of their heavy loads.
From the moment we arrived in Kathmandu and were welcomed by Bhupendra, the corresponding manager, until the day of our departure, everything was handled efficiently and professionally so I can only reccomend this trip (Upper Dolpo Trek) and this company (Explore Dolpo Trekking and Expedition) to anyone wishing to visit this truly remote part of our planet.
The region is amazingly beautiful, we already knew that but, for me, one of the highlights of the trek was the constant interaction with the locals, our porters and our guide, that came as a bonus.
Chandra, our guide and magnificent cook was an expert in the region and knew a lot of locals along the way and that made our trip even more enjoyable; he always took the right decisions concerning the “when and where” according to the topography our physical fitness and the changing weather conditions.
The rest of the team was great, always ready to help, always fun to talk to.
So I can only thank Bhupendra, Chandra, Bishnu, Dipandra, Chhatra, Danbar and Paban for helping us to have a thoroughly great experience…not to forget the four mules and the horse whose antics made us laugh in several ocations.
Eduardo J. Castro
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