Dolpo trek

Enthralling view of Lake Shey Phoksundo from Dolpo trek.

Dolpo region is located between the Tibetan plateau and the Dhaulagiri ranges in Nepal. The whole region was closed to trekkers before 1989 AD. The district welcomed oraganzied trekking in groups after 1989 and the southern part of Dolpo was opened. It lies at the edge of the Tibetan Plateau in the Himalayan region. The lack of other tourists, the warm welcome given by the hardy Dolpo-Pa and the fascinating insight into the Tibetan way of life makes this an extremely varied and special trek.

The Dolpo region has been arbitrarily divided into two parts; a Lower (Outer) and Upper (Inner) region. The region is the highest inhabited land in Nepal. It is hidden behind high passes from the south and lies north-west of Dhaulagiri and the Kali Gandaki gorge. Geographically it is a southern extension of Tibet. The Upper Dolpo and Lower Dolpo trekking in Nepal offer an endless variety of landscapes along with the people of this region.

Beautiful view of surrounding mountain ranges of Dolpo region seen as trekkers follow the trails.

The trek begins from Jhupal and it follows the trails of Suli Gad and Phoksundo River. Then you will reach the beautiful Phoksundo Lake which is the deepest lake of Nepal. You may encounter different Himalayan wildlife like snow leopard, blue sheep, Ghoral, Himalayan black beer while you trek through Shey Phoksundo National Park. You also cross high pass of Kang-La (5350m) that takes you to the ancient Shey Gompa which is situated on the foot of the holy Crystal Mountain. This place is one of the main attractions of Inner Dolpo. You also trek past the gorgeous valley of Tarap Chu and the village of Dho Tarap which are rich in Tibetan culture. The Dlopo region is also known as the land of rare Bon monasteries and the people of still practice pre-Buddhist Bon religion.

Map of Dolpo trek and surrounding region.

In Peter Mathesons’ book The Snow Leopard, he describes his journey through the beautiful land of Dolpo Himalaya Caravan. It is Nepal’s first English subtitled movie and Oscar nominated which was shot in this region. Dolpo is a restricted area and a special permit is required for trekking in this region. The special permit is charged USD 500 for first ten days and other USD 50 each day after 10 days. The group who want to trek through the region should at least have two people to get the trekking permit and Individual trekker will not get a permit. While the relatively high trekking permit fee limits the number of trekkers that visit Upper Dolpo, it also makes the trek less crowded and more of a personal experience.

Max Elevation:  5,360m

Days: 20 to 30 days 

Average Walk: 6 to 8 hours per day

Trekking Difficulty:   Strenuous

Cost: $3000 – $4500

Best Season: Autumn (Sep-Nov), Spring (March-May) & Monsoon (June-August)

Accommodation Type:   Camping (tents) during the trek, hotels and lodges

Restricted Permits: No

Required Permits: Phoksundo National Park Entry Permit, Dolpo region special trekking permit and TIMS card

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