Trekking in Nepal

Upper Dolpo - The Bon Kingdom Trek

Upper Dolpo - The Bon Kingdom Trek

"Upper Dolpo was closed to foreigners for years and is now only possible to visit with an expensive Restricted Area permit. Upper Dolpo was first written about by David Snelgrove in his book titled "Himalayan Pilgrimmage" and more recently by Peter Matthiessen in "The Snow Leopard" and in "Stones of Silence" by George Schaller."


Upper Dolpo trek is an epic journey crossing many high passes and travels through an area that is culturally Tibetan. This Dolpo trek takes place in the north-west region of Nepal behind the Dhaulagiri massif, towards the Tibetan plateau. Upper Dolpo is one of the remotest and least exposed areas of Nepal, also naturally isolated by the difficult topography and offers rare opportunities to explore near-virgin territory and meet people, almost unexposed to tourism. This Dolpo trek provides chances to visit several unique monasteries (gompas) and an abundance of wild life including Musk Deer, Himalayan Blue Sheep and the legendary elusive Snow Leopard, as well as being home to a fascinating race of Tibetan speaking people.

We start the trek at the airstrip of Juphal continuous encountering interesting places, people, villages, valleys and serene forest of pines, oaks and rhododendron. This trek passes many gigantic mountain ranges and over the Numala pass at 5,400m till we reach the Phoksundo lake at Ringmo village in the "Phoksundo National Park". After a rest day to explore around the lake we carry on the journey crossing different passes to Jumla. Upper Dolpo was closed to foreigners for years and is now only possible to visit with an expensive Restricted Area permit. Upper Dolpo was first written about by David Snelgrove in his book titled "Himalayan Pilgrimmage" and more recently by Peter Matthiessen in "The Snow Leopard" and in "Stones of Silence" by George Schaller.

On our 27-days trek we pass through interesting villages, trekking routes and meeting fascinating people. We also cross a few high Himalayan passes and enjoy the enormous and relaxing beauty of Phoksundo Lake. From Shey Gompa, we follow the earliest Trans Himalayan Trade route and return back to Jhuphal as our trek ends. The trek indeed takes us into the wild far western part of Nepal.


Trip Fact: 27 Days

  • Group size:1-12 people
  • Max-Altitude:5,360m/17,581ft
  • Destination:Upper Dolpo 
  • Fitness level:Moderate
  • Arrival on:Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Departure from:Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Meals: Breakfast in Kathmandu and full-board meal during the trek
  • Best time:September, October, November, December, February, March, April
  • Accommodation:Twin sharing in 2 star to 5 star hotel in city and tea house, lodge, camp and home-stay during trek


Trip Highlights

  • Beautiful flight to Nepaljung or a scenic drive wich offers a view of greenery, rivers, villages, farms and beautiful mountain scenarios.
  • Experience and explore the the non populated tour destination
  • Close up rewarding view of mountains and Explore gorgeous springs, waterfalls
  • Beautiful lush green forest, rice field terraces and farmhouses.
  • Friendly  people, and experience their culture, tradition, living style and their warm hospitality

Outline Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu Airport - (1360m.)

Day 2: Kathmandu Valley sightseeing

Day 3: Kathmandu to Nepalgunj: 1 hrs trek

Day 4: Nepalgunj to Jhuphal (Dolpo) 45 mins flight and trek to Dunai (2,850m/9,348ft): 2-3

Day 5: Dunai to Ankhe (2,896m/9,499ft): 5-6 hrs

Day 6: Ankhe to Sulighat: 5-6 hrs

Day 7: Sulighat to Phoksundo Lake (3,611m/11,849 ft) 4-5 hrs

Day 8: Acclimatization and rest at Phoksundo Lake

Day 9: Trek Phoksundo Lake to Phoksundo Khola: 4-5 hrs

Day 10: Phoksunds Khola to Phoksundo Bhanjyang: 6-7 hrs

Day 11: Phoksundo Bhanjyang to Shey Gompa (4,500m/14,760ft) via Kang-La Pass (5,360m/17,581ft): 5-6 hrs

Day 12: Acclimatization and rest at Shey Gompa

Day 13: Shey Gompa to Namduna Gaun (4,800m/15,744ft) via Saldang La (5,200m/17,056ft): 6-7 hrs

Day 14: Namduna Gaun to Saldang (3,620m/ 11,874ft): 4-5 hrs

Day 15: Saldang to Yangze Gompa (4,960m/16,267ft): 4-5 hrs

Day 16: Yangze Gompa to Sibu (4,560m/14,957ft): 6-7 hrs

Day 17: Sibu to Jeng-la Phedi (4,900m/16,072ft): 5-6 hrs

Day 18: Jeng-la Phedi to Tokyu Gaon (4209m/13809ft) via Jeng La pass (5,090m/16,695ft): 5-6hrs

Day 19: Tokyu to Dho Tarap(4,040m/13,251ft): 4-5 hrs

Day 20: Rest Day at Dho Tarap

Day 21: Dho Tarap to Tarap Khola (Kamakharka) (3,800m/12,464ft): 6-7 hrs

Day 22: Tarap Khola to Khanigaon(3,150m/10,332ft): 4-5 hrs

Day 23: Khanigaon to Tarakot (2,537m/8,321ft): 4-5 hrs

Day 24: Tarakot to Dunai (2,140m/7,019ft): 5-6 hrs

Day 25: Dunai to Jhuphal: 2-3 hrs

Day 26: Fly from Jhuphal to Nepalgunj and then to Kathmandu

Day 27: Final departure


Detail Itinerary

Day1: Arrival in Kathmandu Airport - (1360m.)
After your arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport, you will be warmly greeted by our office representative and transferred to the hotel.

Day2: Kathmandu Valley sightseeing
The capital city of Nepal, Kathmandu, being the historical and cultural heart of the country, is a popular destination for tourists, trekkers and other types of adventure seekers. The city is a marvelous amalgamation of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism and Western cultures influences. Paten and Bhaktapur are its two major neighboring cities. These two cities, like Kathmandu, have a rich historical, cultural and religious legacy which is reflected in the many temples, monuments and artifacts that they contain. You will be taken on a half-day guided tour of Kathmandu and Bhaktapur cities. In Kathmandu, you will be visiting Pashupatinath, the most famous and revered Hindu shrine in the country; Bouddhanath, the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal, Swyambhunath, which contains both Buddhist and Hindu shrines and stands as testimony to the religious harmony that exists in the country; and the 15th-century 55-window palace in Bhaktapur. An orientation session for the trek, which commences the following day, will be organized in the evening.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 3: Kathmandu to Nepalgunj:
Early morning after breakfast, we drive to Nepaljung from Kathmandu via Prithvi Highway, takes 12 hrs approximately (option of flying from Kathmandu to Nepaljung, takes extra cost). Along the way we will stop in scenic spots, for lunch and to get fresh as well, en-route you experience the countryside which is lays with greenery, rivers, local villages, farm lands and beautiful mountain scenarios. It is located in Western Nepal. Nepalgunj, a town near the Nepal-India border, is also the gateway to Simikot, Humla. The town itself is an interesting Terai town that showcases the diverse culture of Nepal. In Nepalgunj, we visit the local market, mini-zoo and nearby villages.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 4: Nepalgunj to Jhuphal (Dolpo) and trek to Dunai (2,850m/9,348ft): 45 mins flight & 2-3 hrs
After breakfast we fly to Jhupal. The town is beautifully located over the Himalayan foothills, with views of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri peaks to its north and our adventure begains. We continue on foot to Dunai through terraced fields to the Bheri River and its narrow gorge which is the administrative headquarters of the Dolpo region. We explore the small town in the evening and camp there for the night.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 5: Dunai to Ankhe (2,896m/9,499ft): 5-6 hrs
Crossing a suspension bridge we head to Ankhe where we turn to the west following a trail. The trail ascends up the side of the treeless, Thulo Bheri valley before entering Phoksundo river valley with a view of Kagmara Peak up the valley. We pass through walnut groves, Dhera and Rahagaun villages, walk down dense jungles and finally reach Ankhe.
Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 6: Ankhe to Sulighat: 5-6 hrs
We trek downhill on a trail surrounded by lush forests before reaching a cliff followed by a dizzying drop on a wobbly stone staircase to the river bank. Our trail ascends and descends along a wooded riverbank and climbs on a steep trail which can be monotonous, but several streams lets us to cool down which eventually leaves the forests and passes through a grassy slope high above the river reaching Sulighat where we spend the night.
Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 7: Sulighat to Phoksundo Lake (3,611m/11,849 ft) 4-5 hrs
We carry on our journey along the valley floor to the convergence of the Phoksundo and Pungmo rivers trekking along the western bank of the Pungmo Khola crossing bridge. The trail passes through a forest before reaching Palam village. Distanced view of Phoksundo Lake and a spectacular waterfall, one of the highest in Nepal will motivate us to pass the obstacles. Descending through birch forests to the upper reaches of the Phoksundo Khola, and then to the picturesque Ringmo village with its mud-plastered chortens and mani walls let us reach to the shores of the Phoksundo Lake.
Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 8: Acclimatization and rest at Phoksundo Lake
Acclimatization at Phoksundo Lake will embark on a short hike to the village of Ringmo and its natural heritage and traditions. The Dolpo people wear homespun clothing that is sometimes dyed a maroon color and they favor Tibetan-style somba or dhocha (boots with upturned toes) for foot wear. Both men and women often wear religious amulets and strings of coral, orange and turquoise
Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 9: Trek Phoksundo Lake to Phoksundo Khola: 4-5 hrs
After breakfast we trek to another part as it curve on a rocky ledge along the lake’s western bank. At the westernmost edge of the lake the path leads through a lush meadow that opens up into the flood plain of the Phoksundo Khola. This unsteady trail balanced on a passage of wood supported on pegs driven into gorge in the rocks, signals the remoteness of the area we are about to enter. Then we trek through the valley, crossing the river and avoiding the occasional swampy land underfoot and then coming on the bank of the river.
Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 10: Phoksunds Khola to Phoksundo Bhanjyang: 6-7 hrs
We will pass through the small villages and a few temples on the way. We will have our lunch on the way and keep walking until we don’t reach in Phoksunda Bhanjyang and after reach in Phoksunda Bhanjyang, we will explore all around the Phoksunda Bhanjyang and stay overnight in this beautiful village. A hard climb to the top brings us to yet another valley where we can see the Kang-La pass. We set up our camp near the pass in a place that Peter Matthiessen christened 'Snowfields Camp'. During our trek today we also get to admire the views of Chhamlang peak 6 (6739m) and peak 7 (6105m).
Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 11: Phoksundo Bhanjyang to Shey Gompa (4,500m/14,760ft) via Kang-La Pass (5,360m/17,581ft): 5-6 hrs
In the morning after breakfast, we climb on a steep trail towards the pass which is quite strenuous. At the time of trekking, we will pass through the many beautiful places of this region trekking towards the Shey Gompa village. From the top of Kang-la pass we get excellent views of the large valley by a gushing river. We descend to the meandering trail along the banks of a river. We also pass through pasture where we see grazing yaks, hundreds of sheep and domesticated mountain goat (Chyangra). After crossing an old-fashioned log bridge we reach the Shey Gompa.
Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 12: Acclimatization and rest at Shey Gompa
We will explore all around this beautiful village from where we can see many wonderful views of Mountain of this region which can be seen from this region. Shey Gompa was built in 1655 and the monastery is noted for its giant copper with gilded gold statue of a seated Shakyamuni Buddha. We spend the day hiking around Shey village which is famous for its ancient pre-Buddhist culture. In Dolpo the ancient Tibetan way of life combines mythological belief with the teaching of Buddha.
Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 13: Shey Gompa to Namduna Gaun (4,800m/15,744ft) via Saldang La (5,200m/17,056ft): 6-7 hrs
Our Trek begins from Shey Gompa taking the crisscross path over bare rocks and soil until it eventually brings us to the top of Saldang-la pass. We will explore all around this beautiful village from where we can see many wonderful views of Mountain of this region which can be seen from this region. The subsequent decline towards the north is long and exhausting but grazing yaks and sheep, and traveling tents made from yak hair is a comforting sight. In Namduna Gaun we visit Namgung monastery. The red stone monstery is built against the backdrop of a cliff on the north wall of a gorge.
Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 14: Namduna Gaun to Saldang (3,620m/ 11,874ft): 4-5 hrs
After breakfast, heading with a rigid climb, we leave the village and climb up a slope and begin a long walk along dusty barren mountains we begin to see Saldang, has a charming appearance. Saldang is the largest village of the inner Dolpo area. The village stretches for nearly two kilometers on an open slope and consists of five villages having about eighty well-built houses with nearly six hundred people. It is a prosperous village not only agriculturally but also for its strategic location on a trade route to Tibet.
Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 15: Saldang to Yangze Gompa (4,960m/16,267ft): 4-5 hrs
From Saldang, we trek north along the Nagon Khola (river) on a wild and barren terrain with a fairly gradual path with few ups and downs. Approaching through Marang and Ki villages we cross a stream of Panzang River and walk towards crossing the river again before reaching Yangze gompa which houses an old Bon-Po Monastery.
Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 16: Yangze Gompa to Sibu (4,560m/14,957ft): 6-7 hrs
With an option of trail we start from Yangze Gompa to Sibu. We will take a easier and shorter trekking path back towards Saldang village, which will be save us some time than the other route. From Saldang we walk along a river and pass through terraced fields, stupas, chortens, heaps of mani stones and a Chaiba monastery, then pass through the Namdo village, which is also prosperous, with about sixty houses having nearly 400 inhabitants. The Namdo monastery is located near the river bed. Our journey continues further down the river to the small settlement of Sibu.
Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 17: Sibu to Jeng-la Phedi (4,900m/16,072ft): 5-6 hrs
After good rest we start our trek from Sibu along with the Nam Khong Khola for a while and pass by caravan with yaks heading towards Tibetan border. Trekking for a while, we arrive at a convergence of two small streams. With steep ascend to a grazing area underneath the Jeng La pass (4,900m/16,072ft). We overnight in this beautiful pasture.
Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 18: Jeng-la Phedi to Tokyu Gaon (4209m/13809ft) via Jeng La pass (5,090m/16,695ft): 5-6 hrs
An early short trek will reach the top of the Jeng La pass from where we get remarkable views of the north face of the Dhaualgiri and we descend on a jagged trail to the Tarap Valley, a fascinating valley with vast plains in high mountains that extends twenty kilometers along Tarap Chu River. We overnight to the monastery at Tokyu.
Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 19: Tokyu to Dho Tarap(4,040m/13,251ft): 4-5 hrs
From Tokyu Gaon our trek descend on a plain valley with patches of lush grass on both sides of the river which diverge from other parts of inner Dolpo. There is also a marshland which is a common feature in the Desert Mountains of Tibet and the Ladakh Himalaya. Both the Bon Po and Buddhist sects are practiced in the valley. After a short trek, we reach Dho Tarap for the night.
Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 20: Rest Day at Dho Tarap
With full rest we leisurely walk in the village of Dho Tarap which is surrounded by an irregular stone wall. Our walks will help us get acquainted with the local culture of the area. we can visit a Buddhist Gompa which is closest to our campsite or we could embark upon a 40-minute walk and visit a Bon Po Gompa At Dho, about 40 houses are divided into three bunches and built in a messy way inhabited by few Tibetans and mostly Magars who are a hill tribe of Nepal.
Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 21: Dho Tarap to Tarap Khola (Kamakharka) (3,800m/12,464ft): 6-7 hrs
From Tarap we descend valley along juniper and wild rose bushes just above the tree line. On our trek we see herds of blue sheep and by the afternoon, we reach the union of the Tarap Chu and the Lang Khola, a stream that joins with Tarap River and spend the night.
Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 22: Tarap Khola to Khanigaon(3,150m/10,332ft): 4-5 hrs
Trekking along with Tarap Khola we could observe the villagers taking their herd of domesticated animals for grazing. This will be one of the most exciting days of this trip as the valley becomes so narrow in a deep gorge that in some places we can jump from one side to another. Sometimes there is no trace of a path and we may have to walk across stone slabs fitted on logs in between the walls which act as a bridge. The gorge also provides unexpected adventure and thrills. At some places, the bridges are either damaged or washed away and we may be forced to cross the icy torrent on foot. Finally, we reach our camping spot beside the Tarap Khola at Khanigaon where we spend our night.
Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 23: Khanigaon to Tarakot (2,537m/8,321ft): 4-5 hrs
From the camp we follow a trail to village of Lalberi, passing through a lush forest, move down into another ravine and continues to follow the river again. After reaching Tarakot, we can visit Sandul Gompa which lies in east of the village at a moment of Barbung Khola and Tarap Chu. The monastery stands on a hill to the south of Bheri River. Today we camp by the Tarap Chu River below Tarakot, near the police station.
Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 24: Tarakot to Dunai (2,140m/7,019ft): 5-6 hrs
We begin our trek on a trail with wonderful gorge with pine trees behind the Bheri River before crossing a bridge near the Lawan village, continuing alongside the big Bheri Rriver climbing until the Byas Gadi. From here the easy trail moves towards the west. We cross the river near the Lochakhola Gaon and ascend to Dunai for an overnight.
Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 25: Dunai to Jhuphal: 2-3 hrs
Fron Dunai, we trek along the Bheri River enjoying the beautiful landscape. On the way, we pass through Dhupichaur and Rupgad villages as well as a temple. We continue trekking via Kalagaonda village and Motipur village before reaching the small airstrip reaching to Jhuphal for the night.
Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 26: Fly from Jhuphal to Nepalgunj and then to Kathmandu
Early morning wonderful flight to Nepalgunj over the Himalayan foothills, overlooking stunning views of the snow capped peaks. On arrival at Nepalgunj we head our drive back to Kathmandu (option of flying from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj, takes extra cost). When we reach to our ending point then you will be transferred to your hotel.
Included meals: Breakfast Dinner

Day 28: Final departure



Cost Includes

  • Welcome in Airport by garland
  • Airport Pick up & Drop Transportation by private vehicle
  • Twin sharing accommodation at Kathmandu in 2 star to 5 star hotel with breakfast
  • Sightseeing in Kathmandu Escorted with English Speaking Guide & Entrance fee
  • Two-way ticket in domestic fixed wings Air craft or local bus or private jeep which ever is necessary
  • Accommodation in tea house during trek, lodge and Home-stay
  • Meals (Breakfast, lunch, dinner) in trekking
  • 4 seasonal sleeping bags
  • trekking map for group
  • All necessary paper work & Permits
  • All cost for a staff (A First Aid and Eco trained & Government licensed holder English Speaking guide and one Porter between each two clients while on trek )
  • Salary, equipment, transportation & Insurance of trekking staff
  • National Park Fee
  • TIMS
  • First aids kit
  • Travel & Rescue arrangement.
  • All government taxes.
  • Farewell dinner

Cost Does not Include:

  • International Airfare
  • Nepal Visa fee (US$ 40 per person for 30 days)
  • Airport Departure taxes/Excess baggage charges.
  • Lunch/Dinner in Kathmandu
  • Travel Insurance
  • Medical evacuation in case of emergency.
  • Personal spending money.
  • Personal gears & clothing (available on hire)
  • Client's insurance, Items of personal nature i.e. Soft/hard drinks, Tips etc.
  • Expenses incurred due to mishaps, landslide, strikes, political unrest etc. In such case extra will be charged as per actual

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