Dolpo Trekking in Nepal

Dolpo trek: trekking in Nepal
Enthralling view of Lake Shey Phoksundo from Dolpo trek.

Dolpo trek is one of the most remote trekking destinations in Nepal. Previously, unexplored and isolated, a restricted but thriving Trans-Himalayan ecology, first opened its door for outsiders in 1989 AD. As a result, the southern part of Dolpo finally welcomed organized trekking in groups after 1989. The Dolpo district lies at the edge of the Tibetan Plateau, in the Himalayan region. Similarly, located between the Dhaulagiri ranges and the Tibetan plateau. The hearty greeting, from local tribes and the fascinating insight into their nomadic Tibetan traditions as well as their perception towards life, makes this trek an extremely unparalleled experience.

Main attractions of Dolpo trek: trekking in Nepal

The Dolpo trek encompasses walking through the highest inhabited land in Nepal. The region is hidden behind high passes from the south, lying between the north-west of Kali Gandaki gorge and the Dhaulagiri range. Geographically, it is the southern extension of Tibet. The Upper Dolpo and Lower Dolpo trekking in Nepal offers an endless variety of wowing landscapes along with a unique blend of variety within the region. Trekkers have encountered different Himalayan species like snow leopard, mountain goat, blue sheep, ghoral, Himalayan black beer while trekking through Shey Phoksundo National Park.

Geography of Dolpo trek region

Lower Dolpo consists of luscious green forest, Hindu, and Buddhist pilgrimage in a varied mountainous zone. Whereas, Upper Dolpo walks us through the isolated trails of arid, deserted type landscape, with beautiful ancient Tibetan relics, signifying the ascetic Buddhist way of life. 

Dolpo trek: trekking in Nepal
Beautiful view of surrounding mountain ranges of Dolpo region seen as trekkers follow the trails.

The Dolpo trekking route

The trek begins with the first flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj. After arriving Nepalgunj, trekkers can take their second flight to Juphal. Following the trails from Juphal to Dunai, Suli Gad, and Phoksundo River, you can finally reach the magnificent Shey Phoksundo Lake. It is the deepest lake in Nepal. Moving forward, trekkers can cross the high pass of Kang-La (5350m). Leading the trail into the ancient, Shey Gompa situated, on the foot of the holy Crystal Mountain. This place is one of the main attractions of Inner Dolpo. Similarly, trekkers also pass through the gorgeous valley of Tarap Chu and the village of Dho Tarap, which are rich in Tibetan culture. The Dolpo region is famously known as the land of rare Bon monasteries as people are still practicing the pre-Buddhist Bon religion.

Permits Required for Dolpo trek: trekking in Nepal

Dolpo is a restricted zone, a special kind of permit is required for trekking in this region. The group who want to trek through the region should at least have two people to get the trekking permit. Thus, individual trekking will not be permitted. The permit is charged $500 for the first ten days and $50 each day, after the initial stay of ten days.

Dolpo trek: trekking in Nepal
Map of Dolpo trek and surrounding region.

Chances of altitude sickness during the trek

The Dolpo trek is very challenging. It requires several days of walking in a fluctuating altitude. Due to this reason, you will have to deal with exhaustion in many stages. Altitude sickness may occur at any point. So, spending a few bucks in porters and trekking guides is always a wise decision. Also, we highly recommend you ensure your trip with the valid insurance provider before heading on this journey.

In Peter Matthiessen’s book, The snow leopard, he describes his journey through the magnificent land of Dolpo. Similarly, Himalaya/Caravan, Nepal’s first English subtitled movie nominated in the Oscar, was exclusively shot in this region. While the relatively high trekking permit fee limits the number of trekkers that visit Upper Dolpo, it also makes the trek less crowded and once in a lifetime 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: Dolpo Restricted Area Entry Permit

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

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