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UPPER DOLPO AND SHEY GOMBA TREKKING

Trip code
Package name UPPER DOLPO AND SHEY GOMBA TREKKING
Duration 25
Max. elevation 5,350m m
Level MODERATE
Transportation Private vehicle | domestic
Accomodation Hotels in Kathmandu and local lodge where available with tented camps most of the treks.
Starts at KATHMANDU
Ends at KATHMANDU
Trip route
Cost USD 0 per person

Overview

UPPER DOLPO AND SHEY GOMBA TREKKING OVERVIEWS:


Upper Dolpo and Shey Gomba Trekking, with Vertex Holidays, take you to far hidden corners of the Western Himalayas. Where country landscapes change dramatically as you trek along within wild-west areas of Nepal. Far and away from the human civilization of the 21st Century, adventure on the most remote part of the country. Where Dolpo villagers still retain their age-old glory and heritage traditions and culture as there were hundreds of years ago.

Upper Dolpo and Shey Gomba are more of exploration rather than a trekking adventure. As the walk leads you on the old classic trail of the Trans Himalaya Salt Trade Route of Nepal and Tibet. Adventure within the country’s largest national park of Shey & Phoksundo covers an area of 3, 555 sq. km. Extends towards the Mugu district further North West and around Mustang in the east direction. As well as the border of South West Tibet in the north, where the high areas of Dolpo. Which is an extension of the vast Tibetan plateau of dry and arid landscapes, yet beautiful to enjoy its charming scenery. Upper Dolpo and Shey Gomba, perfect adventures for travelers who are bored walking on popular mainstream trekking trails. As the area around Dolpo provides adventurers to enjoy the absolute wilderness. Within the harmony of ancient culture and custom of Dolpo villagers, as trek leads to a remote, isolated area of Shey Gompa.

The adventure begins with a sweeping panoramic flight from the capital Kathmandu to land at Nepal Far South West in Nepalgunj. From the low warm city of Terai-belt to the low land of Nepal. Then taking a short flight to reach Dolpo in Jhupal small airstrip to start our trek towards Upper Dolpo. The first part of the journey takes you around nice farm villages and at Dunai, the headquarter town of the Dolpo region. Walking past lovely farm areas of mixed hill tribes of western Nepal to reach picturesque Phoksundo Lake. Also called Ringmo Lake as the village with the same name is located close to the emerald Phoksundo Lake. A beautiful spot surrounded by green tree lines of blue pine, spruce, cypress, poplar, deodar, fir, and birch. Spending time at Phoksundo Lake, exploring Ringmo village of great cultural interest of both Buddhism and ancient Bon sect of pre-Buddhism. 

Our adventure continues towards the north, away from villages and human settlements for some days to reach mystical Shey Gompa. The climb takes over a high pass of the adventure at 5, 350 m, overlooking the stunning panorama of beautiful landscapes with snow peaks. Then heading towards our main goal and highlighted reaching Shey Gompa. Located within tranquil surroundings and isolated from the rest of the world. Shey Gomba, also known as the Crystal Monastery due to nearby mountain called Shey or Crystal of Tibetan origin language. The monastery is the spiritual heart of Dolpo that has stood since the 11th Century to this day. A two-storied roofed monastery painted red with various ancient religious arts and painting in the main prayer hall.

A religious festival is held every 12 years called Shey Mela which started 1,800 years ago by Kagyu pa a Buddhist sect. The event victory over evil, a great wonderful place for rest days to explore around, and the monastery of great interest. Enjoying an exciting time around the most remote part of Himalaya at Shey Gompa, the return journey heads towards the inner areas of Dolpa. With more to explore remote rural villages and monasteries of both Bon and Buddhism religion. Walk leads on completely barren, arid country, the terrain similar to Tibetan landscapes as route leads past the interesting village of Saldang and Cha-Gaon. Where houses are built of stone and muds decorated with religious arts, and happy people with simple farm life. As route leads over high passes of Jyanta and Jeng-La of above 5, 000 m to reach the large village of Tokyu. One of the largest settlements with huge farm fields of buckwheat, barley, and other high-altitude crops.

A lovely village to visit around the houses and to witness more of Dolpo people ancient culture and customs. From here onward into a wide valley of Dho-Tarap and the village to reach historical Tarakot village. An important fortress village at one time during 14th Century Malla kingdom that lasted till 17th Century. Tarakot village was the main gateway to the Tibet border, where it used to collect toll and taxes from the caravan. After a great time around Upper and Inner Dolpo, finally, our adventurous journey slowly comes to an end on reaching Dunai. Then back at Jhupal for the last overnight stop to bid farewell to all the loyal trekking staff and porters. Next, early morning swift flight in a small aircraft reach you at Nepalgunj and then flying back to Kathmandu. Where mesmerizing experience of the great adventure on the Upper Dolpo and Shey Gomba trek that concludes.


Additional Information of Upper Dolpo


Upper Dolpo and around Lower Dolpo, which is well described in the famous classic novel ‘The Snow Leopard’ by American author Peter Matessian, published in the 1980s. Dolpo region is well exposed and picture in a famous movie called Himalaya a joint Nepal and French Production, directed by famous Éric Valli a French photographer and film director. Which was nominated as the best foreign-language movie for Oscar in 1998.

The monastery in the local language and in Nepal often spelled as Gompa or Gomba depends upon areas of tribal native languages across the country.

After Dunai, accommodation in a tented camp with separate kitchen unit of cook, kitchen hands, along with guides and strong porters to carry all equipment and foods for the whole trek.

Dolpo area falls within the restricted region of Nepal, where trekkers need to obtain special permits as well as the park entry fees. 

After reading the Snow Leopard and watching the movie Himalaya, certainly makes you plan this wonderful adventure to Upper Dolpo and Shey Gomba with one and only Vertex Holidays.

 Upper Dolpo  and Shey Gumba trekking  Outline Itinerary 


Day 01
Arrival in Kathmandu via respective airlines and transfer to hotel.
Day 02
Morning free preparation for trek, afternoon fly to Nepalgunj.
Day 03
Fly to Jhupal 2,475 m then drive to Dunai 2, 231 m - 04 hrs.
Day 04
Trek to Chepka 2, 678 m - 06 hrs.
Day 05Trek to Samdua village 2,960 m -05 hrs.
Day 06
Trek to Phoksundo Lake 3,611 m - 06 hours.
Day 07
Rest day at Phoksundo Lake for a local excursion.
Day 08
Trek to Phoksundo-Khola 3,750 m- 05 hrs.
Day 09
Trek to Phoksundo Bhanjyang 4,717 m - 04 hrs.
Day 10
Cross Kang-La 5,350 m and trek to Shey Gomba 4, 200 m-06 hrs.
Day 11
Rest day at Shey Gomba the crystal monastery.
Day 12
Trek to Namgung 4,608 m via Sela (Gela) La 5,094 m.
Day 13
Trek to Saldang 3,770 m - 05 hours.
Day 14
Trek to Cha-Gaon 4,910 m - 05 hrs.
Day 15
Trek to Dachu Khola camp at 4,700 m - 06 hrs.
Day 16
Trek Jeng-La Phedi 4,900 m - 06 hrs.
Day 17
Trek to Tokyu Gaon 4,240 m via Jeng-La 5, 110 m - 05 hrs.
Day 18
Trek to Dho-Tarap 4, 090 m- 05 hrs.
Day 19
Trek to Ghyamgar 3,759 m - 07 hrs.
Day 20
Trek to Tarap Khola 3,652 via Chyugar 3,440 m - 06 hours.
Day 21
Trek to Tarakot 2,540 m - 06 hrs. 
Day 22
Trek to Dunai - 05 hrs then drive to Jhupal - 02 hr jeep ride.
Day 23
Fly from Jhupal to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj.
Day 24
Free day in Kathmandu spare and contingency day.
Day 25
Depart Nepal for international departure homeward bound.

Highlights

Trip Itinerary

Day 1 : Arrival in Kathmandu via respective airlines and transfer to hotel.

On arrival at Kathmandu-Nepal International Airport via various airlines, our guide and staff receive you for a short transfer in the heart of Kathmandu city. 

Where your hotel is located, after checking into your rooms and then meet other members of the trek at the hotel lobby for briefing. Regarding the wonderful adventure to Upper Dolpo and Shey Gomba Trek. On briefing includes useful information to make your holiday in Nepal more enjoyable. Evening group welcome dinner in a lovely Nepalese Restaurant with introduction to Nepalese culture of various parts of Nepal with folk dance and music. 

Day 2 : Morning free preparation for trek, afternoon fly to Nepalgunj.

On this day in Kathmandu, allowing trekking members to prepare for the trek, with leisure morning after breakfast. As time for flight departure transfer to Kathmandu domestic airport for scenic flight of less than hour to land at Nepalgunj city airport. During air enjoy a glorious panorama of Himalayan peaks from Langtang, Ganesh, Manaslu, and Annapurna to the Dhaulagiri range. 

Nepalgunj, located Nepal Far Mid-West within low land known as Terai belt of warm sub-tropical climate, on reaching Nepalgunj airport a short drive to your hotel near the city area. Enjoy an evening stroll and catch glimpse of the locals with more Indian influence due to the close border with India.

Day 3 : Fly to Jhupal 2,475 m then drive to Dunai 2, 231 m - 02 hrs.

Morning as per flight time for Dolpo, reach the airport for exciting flight to Jhupal a scenic short flight of 40 minutes. On arrival at Jhupal airport received by our trekking staff, and loading the gear in four-wheel drive or jeeps. 

A short drive of few hours to Dunai, the headquarter and administrative town of Dolpo located by the Thulo Bheri River, check into the best available lodge and guest house for overnight, with time to relax and wander around the street of Dunai to witness the local way of life and impressive culture.

Day 4 : Trek to Chepka 2, 678 m - 06 hrs.

From Dunai, heading through the market areas and then morning walk leads to cross a bridge over Thulo Bheri River with climb to a ridge above Phoksundo River valley with views of Kagmara peak.

After a pleasant first day walk, head downhill past farm villages with many walnut trees around Dhera, within cattle herders a temporary settlements, and then short climb to reach at Raha-Gaon village inhabited by Thakuri people of Hindu tribe. Walk downhill into the forested area to reach our first overnight camp at Chepkpa, a small farm village. 

Day 5 : Trek to Samdua village 2,960m -06 hrs.

The second-day trek from Chepka leads close to Ankhe village, starts with a short climb and descend into a forest to a riverbank, and then uphill on leaving the forest behind with downhill back into tree lines. As the walk continues upstream to cross a small bridge at Ryajik village, walking further to Samdua for the overnight stop, located near the entrance of Phoksundo National Park.

Day 6 : Trek to Phoksundo Lake 3,611 m - 06 hours.

A great day walk to reach the first destination as well as the highlight of the adventure to Phoksundo Lake. Walk leads past Pungmo Khola (stream) valley following Pungmo Khola downhill into a small forest of pine and birch trees to reach the upper side of Phoksundo Khola.

Having few short stops, then walk to Ringmo village, a nice and interesting village with Tibetan origin background, and similar culture. The houses are built of stones with mud-plastered, with Buddhist and Bon religion prayer monuments of Chorten and Mani (prayer) walls.

From the village of Ringmo short walk to reach serene Lake Phoksundo for overnight camp near the bank from turquoise-colored Phoksundo Lake.

Day 7 : Rest day at Phoksundo Lake for a local excursion.

A great and perfect place for a rest day, enjoy with leisure activities and short walks, facing beautiful surrounding dramatic scenery that includes views of Kagmara peaks, explore around Ringmo village of immense cultural interest.

Also called Shey Phoksundo or Ringmo Lake, an alpine fresh-water oligotrophic lake within Shey Phoksundo National Park, where one can trek to various regions around Dolpo, and cross Kagmara high pass also to reach further west at Jumla and Lake Rara. 

Day 8 : Trek to Phoksundo-Khola 3,750 m- 05 hrs.

From here onward our journey heads towards higher side to reach around Upper Dolpo area, to our main highlights of this marvelous adventure, walk follows contouring rocky ledge on the river bank, with some unsteady small wooden bridge and vague path to reach the western side of the lake within a wide summer pasture. The area opens into a wide field and a valley to set our overnight camp by the shore of Phoksundo Khola / stream.

Day 9 : Trek to Phoksundo Bhanjyang 4,717 m - 04 hrs.

Morning walk starts on a nice level path with a short climb towards north above Phoksundo Khola, and then on a hill slopes with steep uphill haul to reach on a ridge top. Facing grand views of the wide green valley down below with Kang-La pass in the north that leads to our major destination at Shey Gomba.

Overnight camp is set on a nice green summer pasture near to the base of high Kang-la pass, around complete wilderness and far from human settlements. 

Day 10 : Cross Kang-La 5,350 m and trek to Shey Gomba 4,160 m -06 hrs.

Adventure to Shey Gomba, as morning, starts with a steep climb on stone and rocky trail for some hours to reach on the highest spot of the trek at Kang-la pass.

Which is above 5,350 meters / 17,552 feet our highest point of the adventure. The pass is also called Nagdalo-La, at the top festooned with prayer flags and stone cairns as spiritual symbols. 

Enjoy the spectacular views, after a hard struggle overlooking the beautiful scenery of the wide Dolpo country with snow peaks that includes Mt. Dhaulagiri, in the Far East direction. After achieving a successful climb to the highest pass of the adventure, then downhill to the bottom of a stream, walk past Yak herder camps coming across Buddhist prayer monuments of Chorten and Mani walls.

A pleasant walk reach you to our final destination at Shey Gomba, located near beneath the Crystal Mountain, regarded as a Holy Mountain with an old Shey Monastery.

Day 11 : Rest day at Shey Gomba the crystal monastery.

A great place for rest day, around remote and isolated region of Himalayas in complete wilderness of arid and dry surroundings. 

A deserving rest to relax and for a short hike to explore around amazing location within Crystal Mountain. Tour of impressive and interesting old Shey Gomba also called Crystal Monastery. Where Dolpo villagers come for Koro / Circuit of the mountain and monastery on every 7th auspicious time of Lunar month.

The mountain is embedded with quartz and semi-precious stones, hence the name Crystal Mountain. Here is a beautiful line by saint and great guru Druptop Senge Yeshe of 11-12 Centaury. 

“I flew through the sky on a snow lion, and there among the clouds,

 I performed miracles, but not even the greatest of celestial feats

 can equal once rounding on foot this Crystal Mountain” 

A mystical and wonderful place to experience, a real Shangri-La well hidden away from the rest of the maddening world. 

Day 12 : Trek to Namgung 4,608 m via Sela (Gela) La 5,094 m.

After a great moment and exciting time at Shey Gomba, adventure takes to another beautiful side of this great country to Inner and Lower Dolpo.

From this magnificent place, journey continuous walking beneath great canyon walls, as path meanders high up to Sela / Gela-la pass and a ridge top at 5,094 m high. Catch wonderful views of great valleys and rolling hills with distance Dhaulagiri peaks, and then downhill within grazing area with pleasant walk to Namgung Gaon for overnight stop in a windblown village but interesting.

Day 13 : Trek to Saldang 3,770 m - 05 hours.

From this barren and arid land and quant sleepy village next stop to Saldang a lovely farm village, walk on dusty windswept wide path with steep climb to cross over a ridge to reach Saldang, another impressive and a large village of Upper Dolpo region, located on the higher side extension of a Tibetan plateau.

Overnight camp near the village crop field of buck-wheat and barley. 

Day 14 : Trek to Cha-Gaon 4,910 m - 05 hrs.

After an interesting time exploring the village of Saldang and its old monastery, morning walk follows on the bank of Nang Chu River all the way, with few short ups and down and then past Sugu-Gaon and Dechen Lapran.

Yak herder settlement and then reach our overnight camp at Cha-Goan, a village with an old Rapa Gompa of Bon an ancient pre-Buddhist heritage and culture.

Day 15 : Trek to Dachu Khola camp at 4,700 m - 06 hrs.

Morning walk from Cha-Gaon takes you around south-eastern areas of Dolpo towards Tarap valley within Tokyu and Dho Tarap villages, as route, follows Dachu Khola and beyond, after crossing a few smaller wooden bridge and then through farm fields, to reach Yak herder temporary summer shelters for overnight camp.

Day 16 : Trek to Jeng-La Phedi 4,900 m - 06 hrs.

After a pleasant overnight in the middle of the serene wilderness, morning walk follows the same river for short while, and then walking on the main path coming across yaks and mules caravan laden with spices, crops and herbs heading towards Tibet border for trade, that has existed for hundreds of years till present.

Walking on old Trans Himalayan salt trade route and Caravan trails of Nepal and Tibet, and then reach at the base of Jeng-la pass for overnight camp. 

Day 17 : Trek to Tokyu Gaon 4,240 m via Jeng-La 5, 110 m - 05 hrs.

Start the morning walk with a steep climb to reach on top Jeng-La pass at 5,110 m high, overlooking views of massive Mt. Dhaulagiri range with some peaks of Mustang area, from here long descend walk to the base of the pass and then on pleasant winding trail to reach a large Tokyu village for overnight camp.

Tokyu one of the largest village around Dolpo, with nice houses and neat farm fields. Consist of more than ten villages spread around its nice tended farm fields with Tibetan-style houses includes old monasteries.

Day 18 : Trek to Dho-Tarap 4, 090 m- 05 hrs.

From Tokyu Gaon, the morning starts with descending towards Tarap Chu within a wide green valley, one of the most scenic valleys of western Nepal with many of Sheppard’s temporary settlements of Yaks and Sheep, trek continues to reach our overnight stop and camp at Dho-Tarap, near the village populated with mix tribes Dolpa of Tibetans origin and Magar hill people.

Day 19 : Trek to Ghyamgar 3,759 m - 07 hrs.

Enjoyable time exploring villages of Tokyu and Dho-Tarap villages, as morning heads to long descend within Tarap valley, one of largest and longest valley of Dolpo stretches to near 20 k.m long. Where path follows Tarap Chu River most of the way that joins with Thuli Bheri River near Tarakot village.

Walk leads past Langa a small place with views of cascading waterfalls then head due south following Sisaul and Kesila grazing fields, around Yak herder camps to reach Ghyamgar for overnight camp.

Day 20 : Trek to Tarap Khola 3,652 via Chyugar 3,440 m - 06 hours.

Morning begins with a marvelous walk around the end of Tarap valley, where the trail enters a narrow gorge with some sparse vegetation. Bushes of juniper and wild rose, walk past Tol-Tol close to a large overhanging cave. Around this area might be lucky to spot some wildlife like Naur or Blue Sheep and other animals including elusive Snow Leopard.

Walk progress on reaching a confluence of Tarap Chu and Lang Khola streams, overnight camp is set by the river after a long day walks of more than six hours. 

Day 21 : Trek to Tarakot 2,540 m - 06 hrs.

Today’s adventure takes you to the famous historical village of Tarakot which is close to Dunai, and towards the north around Dhaulagiri Himalaya range on route to Mustang region.

Morning walk leads past smaller farm villages and then into a patch of tree lines, following river to near Tarakot. On reaching Tarakot, a large and interesting village with an old historical background.

Tarakot at one time fortress village, during Malla dynasty, the fort known as Dzong in Tibetan and Kot in Nepali to defend the area from outsiders. At Tarakot village with time to explore around visit the famous old Sandul Gomba, located on the junction of Barbung Khola and Tarap Chu River where our overnight camp is set.

Day 22 : Trek to Dunai - 05 hrs then drive to Jhupal - 02-hour jeep ride.

From Tarakot our adventure slowly comes to an end as today’s walks take you back to Dunai. Morning begins following a trail through spread-out villages, as the trail gets wider with few short uphill and downhill to reach Bheri River valley and at Dunai. From the town of Dunai taking a jeep ride to reach our ending point of the journey at Jhupal. Overnight in best available local lodge and guest house with time to bid farewell to our trekking staff and porters. As they have to walk and take a bus ride for few days to reach Kathmandu via Nepalgunj.

Day 23 : Fly to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj.

Morning as per the flight time to Nepalgunj, board in a small aircraft either Twin Otter or Dornier plane a swift short flight brings you to low warm areas at Nepalgunj. With time for refreshments or lunch before connecting into a bigger plane for a scenic flight of 50 minutes to Kathmandu, back into hustle and bustle city life of Kathmandu. After being in tranquil surroundings around Upper Dolpo, from the airport short drive to your hotel with the rest of the day at leisure.

Day 24 : Free day in Kathmandu spare and contingency day.

It is always best and wise to have a spare or contingency day, in case of flight delay and might lead to cancellation at Jhupal / Dolpo. Due to bad unfavorable weather conditions for small planes to operate which can happen even in the best time of the seasons.

On this free day, one can enjoy individual activities and shopping for souvenirs or take a tour of Kathmandu's ancient cities site within Kathmandu, Patan, or Bhaktapur. 

Day 25 : Depart Nepal for international departure homeward bound.

Your last day in Nepal, enjoying a memorable adventure on Upper Dolpo and Shey Gomba Trek, and then as time for your international flight. Our staff transfer you to the airport for homeward bound.

Inclusions

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