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Upper Dolpo & Shey Gompa - 27 Days

Upper Dolpo and Shey Gompa Trekking
Upper Dolpo & Shey Gompa

A fascinating, wonderful journey in the Far North Western at Upper Dolpo & Shey Gompa with Great Adventure Treks & Expeditions trip begins with a scenic flight to Nepal’s south west low area at Nepalgunj then another short flight to the Himalayan North Mid Hills at Jhupal in Dolpo then heading north through magnificent remote country side, farm villages and valleys with fabulous scenery of snow capped peaks of Dolpo and Tibetan mountain ranges, then reaching at our adventure destination at Shey Gompa via Lake Phokshumdo or Ringmo pristine, turquoise lake within its Nepal largest Dolpo National Park.

The views and scenery, tranquility of this region is awesome amidst its enchanting forest and landscapes, with overnight stop at Phokshumdo Lake for two nights to explore around this magnificent lake and traditional villages, and the surrounding snow peaks of Kanjibro Himal, with time to visit the nearby isolated village of Ringmo and Shey Gompa old Monastery.

After a wonderful time at Shey Gompa the Crystal Monastery return to Juphal by an alternative route offering you the best of this beautiful country via the route of Saldang La 5,200m. Yangze Gompa 4,960m. Jeng-la 5,090 m, Tokyu Gaon 4,200m and to Dho Tarap 4,040m, meeting interesting places, people, villages, valleys and serene forest of pines, oaks and rhododendrons, the trek passes many gigantic mountain ranges and over the Numala pass at 5,400m till the treks ends at Jhupal, Great Adventure Treks & Expeditions trekking to Lower Dolpo & Lake Phokshumdo concludes with a memorable journey with a flight back to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj.

Trip Highlights: “Trekking in remote cultural destination of Nepal on the old Trans-Himalayan caravan route, ancient Bon-po (pre-buddhist) culture and on the blue sheep, snow leopard trail, less visited area to Crystal Monastery of Shey, Nepal’s wild-west  traditional villages on the backdrop of the high snow capped peaks, serene forest and pristine lake.”

Day 01: Reach Kathmandu 1,300m. and transfer to Hotel.

Day 02: In Kathmandu with half day tour.

Day 03: Fly to Nepalgunj & transfer to Hotel.

Day 04: Fly to Jhuphal (Dolpo) 2,320m. trek to Dunai 2,850m. 2 - 3 hrs walks.

Day 05: Trek to Ankhe 2,896m. 5 - 6 hrs.

Day 06: Trek to Sulighat 3,500m. 5 - 6 hrs.

Day 07: Trek to Phoksumdo Lake 3,500m. 4 - 5 hours.

Day 08: Rest Day at Phoksumdo Lake.

Day 09: Trek to Phuksumdo Khola 4 - 5 hrs.

Day 10: Trek to Phoksumdo Bhanjyang  6 - 7 hrs.

Day 11: Trek to Shey Gompa 4,500m. via Kang-La 5,360m. 5 - 6 hrs.

Day 12: Rest day at Shey Gompa the Crystal Monastery.

Day 13: Trek to Namduna Gaon 4,800m. via Saldang La 5,200m.

Day 14: Trek to Saldang 3,620m. 4 - 5 hours.

Day 15: Trek to Yangze Gompa 4,960m. 4 - 5 hrs.

Day 16: Trek to Sibu 4,560m. 6 - 7 hrs.

Day 17: Trek to Jeng-la Phedi 4,900m. 5 - 6 hrs.

Day 18: Trek to Tokyu Gaon 4,200m. via Jeng la 5,090m. 5 - 6 hrs.

Day 19: Trek to Dho Tarap 4,040m. 4 - 5 hrs.

Day 20: Rest Day at Dho Tarap.

Day 21: Trek to Tarap Khola( Kamakharka) 3,800m. 6 - 7 hrs.

Day 22: Trek to Kharigaon.3,150m. 5 hours.

Day 23: Trek to Tarakot 2,850m. 5 hrs.

Day 24: Trek to Jhupal via Dunai 2,850m. 6 - 7 hrs.

Day 25: Fly Jhuphal - Nepalgunj - Kathmandu.

Day 26: In Kathmandu.

Day 27: Transfer to Airport for international departure.

Day 01: Reach Kathmandu 1,300m via respective airlines.

On arrival at Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport our GA staff will receive will transfer you to respective Hotels, in the Hotel our guide will brief of the Hotel, Kathmandu, Trekking / Camping, do's and don't and other related information that you might require while in Nepal with Great Adventure Treks & Expeditions..

Day 02: in Kathmandu.

After the first night in Kathmandu, you will be well informed on arrival about the time for your half day guided sightseeing tour in Kathmandu at places of interest.

Day 03: Fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj & transfer to Hotel.

Transfer to domestic airport for the flight to Nepalgunj an hour scenic flight, at Nepalgunj with time in the late afternoon or evening to have a look around the town which is situated on the southern Nepal border with India, it is quite hot and tropical.

Day 04: Fly to Jhuphal, Dolpo 2,320m. trek to Dunai 2,850m. 2 - 3 hrs walk.

After a pleasant stay at Nepalgunj, morning short flight to Jhuphal over the Himalayan foothills, with views of Dhaulagiri peaks to the north. On arriving at Jhuphal GA trekking crews will meet with the camping gear and food supply, from here 2 - 3 hrs walk to overnight camp at Dunai village walking with an hour downhill through terraced fields to the Bheri River and the narrow gorge to camp at Dunai, a large village or small township, with a new hospital and administrate headquarter of the Dolpo region.

Day 05: Trek to Ankhe 2,896m. 5 - 6 hrs.

From Dunai, route leads to cross suspension bridge and heading west, the path soon begins to climb up the side of the treeless Thulo Bheri Valley, leading to a ridge and then to Phoksumdo River valley, then reaching a ridge which is marked by cairns at 2,499m which offers grand view of the Kagmara Peak up the valley. Walk leads to a large side canyon, then descending gently on the long downhill slope through the scattered houses and walnut groves to a stream at 2,810m.

The trail below the stream leads to Dhera, a winter settlement where people from higher villages keep herds of cows and goats, however, we take the upper trail climbing to Rahagaon, a Thakuri village at 2,900m. Where there is a Gompa dedicated to the local god, Mastha, guardians of this village.Trek leads to a canyon and then heading downhill through deep dark forests to a large stream, finally reaching at the entrance to the Shey Phoksumdo National Park at Ankhe.

Day 06: Trek to Sulighat 3,500m. 5 - 6 hrs.

The path from here leads to small ups and downs through the forested riverbed, then climbing to a 2,900m high, the trail eventually leaves the forests and traverses a grassy slope high above the river. After a while, the path once begins to descend steeply into the forest until it reaches a cliff. After reaching the river at 2,950m, the trail becomes a collection of rocks and sticks that form a dyke along the river bank, trek continues upstream to a bridge near Sulighat at Ryajik village for the overnight camp after a good day's walk.

Day 07: Trek to Phoksumdo Lake. 3,500m. 4 - 5 hours.

The trail continues along the valley floor to the confluence of the Phoksumdo and Pungmo  Kholas, After crossing to the western side of the Phuksumdo Khola on a wooden bridge, then following the west bank of the Pungmo Khola which takes us all the way to Phuksumdo Lake near Ringmo village. The path passes through a cedar forest and finally to Palam, a winter settlement used by the people of Ringmo village. The houses here are almost buried in the sandy soil. Then head up to open country, at an altitude of around 3,350m. From the ridge, we can see the distant views of Phuksumdo Lake and a spectacular 300m high waterfall, one of the highest in Nepal.

After a brief stop here with the great views, we finally descent through birch forests to the upper reaches of the Phuksumdo Khola, and then to the picturesque settlement of Ringmo with its mud plastered chorten and mani walls. From here it is a short walk to the shores of Phoksumdo Lake for our overnight camp.

Day 08: Rest Day at Phoksumdo Lake.

A rest day free from packing, at Phuksumdo one can go for a short hike to the village of Ringmo and its Tibetan Buddhist Monastery is well worth a visit.

Day 09: Trek to Phuksumdo Khola. 4 - 5 hrs.

From Phuksumdo, adventure continues skirting the shore of the lake as it contours on a rocky ledge along the western bank. This unsteady trail suspended on a gangway of wood supported on pegs driven into crevices in the rocks, signals the remoteness of the area we are about to enter. At the westernmost edge of the lake the path leads through a lush meadow that opens up into the flood plain of the Phoksumdo Khola.

Walk leads through the valley, criss-crossing the river and avoiding the occasional boggy marsh underfoot and then coming on the bank of the river to our overnight camping.

Day 10: Trek to Phoksumdo Bhanjyang.  6 - 7 hrs.

Today's first hour walk leads along the level path through a glacial valley that now heads due north. At the confluence of the Phoksumdo Khola and another mountain stream, there is an old wooden bridge. Here we take the barely discernible path to the north-east of the valley. There is no trail as such, so it is necessary to clamber over the rocks and boulders and to ford a stream that rushes down the steep valley. A long climb brings us to a sheep meadow where the trail veers up a steep ravine. A hard climb to the top brings us to yet another valley where you can see the Kang-La, the pass which will lead us to Shey Gompa. We make our camp just before the pass in a place that Peter Matthiessen christened 'Snowfields Camp'.

Day 11: Trek to Shey Gompa 4,500m. via Kang-La 5,360m. 5 - 6 hrs.

Morning walk leads up to a steep climb littered with slate towards the pass. The climb is quite strenuous, especially on the slate scree. From the top of Kang-la there are excellent views down upon a large valley which is bisected by a gushing river. On descending steeply to the valley floor, we make a long meandering trek along the banks of the river, crossing and re-crossing it several times. There are mud caves lining the hills overlooking the river and we pass through meadows where hairy yaks, hundreds of sheep and domestic mountain goat (Chengra) can be found grazing as well near the odd nomadic hut of the herders. A red chorten heralds our arrival at Shey Gompa where a quaint wooden, log bridge leads up to our destination at Shey Gompa compound for our overnight camp.

Day 12: Rest day at Shey Gompa the Crystal Monastery.
Another rest day for local hike around Shey meaning crystal, this monastery is also known as the Crystal Monastery (well described in Peter Matthiessen classic novel The Snow Leopard) The lama of Shey resides at a red hermitage known as Tsakang gompa which is north of Shey. It is rather a retreat than a monastery. Tsakang had been a meditation center of many famous lamas from Tibet. Shey Gompa belongs to the Chaiba community, followers of great saint Padmasambhava, known as Guru Ringpcohe and Kagyu sects. It was the first Kagyupa monastery and its founder was the lama Tenzing Ra-Pa, built during the 11th century. Shey is famous for its ancient pre-Buddhist culture the Bon Po. In Dolpo, the ancient Tibetan way of life combines animism with the teaching of Buddha. Drutup Yeshe first introduced Buddhism in the Dolpo Valley. Hundreds of years ago he came to Dolpo encountering a wild people whose supreme God was a 'fierce mountain and nature spirit'. Crystal Mountain is to the east of Shey gompa it is one of the strangest mountains, as its contorted cliffs are laced with quartz and embedded with a rich variety of marine fossils. Shey Gompa stands above the confluence of Kangjunala and Yeju nala river. Near the confluence, there is a group of prayer mills turned by water wheels.

Day 13: Trek to Namduna Gaon 4,800m via Saldang La 5,200m.

From here following a pleasant trail amidst juniper which descends into a grey, stony canyon, then the path begins to curveover bare rocks and coarse eroded soil until it eventually brings us to the top of Saldang-la. The subsequent  descent towards the north which is long and tiring but we finally come upon the welcome sight of pastures of grazing yaks and sheep, and nomadic tents made from yak hair, then approaching to Namduna Gaon. Like Shey, the Namgung monastery is of the Karma-pa sect.

The village consists of only six stone houses and has terraced fields on both sides of the tributary, which flow down to the Nam Khong valley. The economy of the region is based on agriculture, animal husbandry and trading. In Dolpo only one crop a year can be grown and this is mainly barley. In some village's buckwheat, oil seed, potato and radish are also cultivated. Recently the main cliff temple collapsed and the villagers have now built a beautiful new monastery in the village itself.

Day 14: Trek to Saldang. 3,620m. 4 - 5 hours.

On leaving the Namduna gaon, the route climbs up a scree slope, then to a long traverse along barren mountains, after four hours of the climb, then reaching Saldang high above Nam Khongna-la. Saldang the largest village of inner Dolpo area.

Saldang consists of five villages having about 80 well-built houses with nearly six hundred people. Saldang is a prosperous village not only agriculturally but also for its strategic location on a trade route to Tibet. After the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959, trade with Tibet was virtually stopped. It has been restored to some extent through the barter system by which Tibetan salt reaches mid-Nepal. The Drokpa people from the western plains of Tibet collect salt from the dried lakes north of Tsangpo.

Day 15: Trek to Yangze Gompa. 4,960m. 4 - 5 hrs.

This great adventure leads further far north to the least unexplored area by few westerners, the trail follows the Nang chu river most of the way on this wild barren windswept terrain. Walking along the gradual path with few ups and downs slope and then passing through the small settlement of Tiling  then reaching to overnight camp at Yangze also known as Yangtsher with time for short hike around the villages and the Monastery.

Day 16: Trek to Sibu. approx. 4,560m. 6 - 7 hrs.

From Yangze the long way trail heads west passing through remote villages of Nishalgaon and further past Shimengaon, the trail following the river bed passing through terraced fields, stupas, chortens, heaps of mani stones and a Chaiba monastery, then passing through the Namdo village which is also prosperous with about sixty houses having nearly 400 inhabitants. It stretches for more than 5 km on the high slopes to the left of Nam Khong Khola. The Namdo monastery is located near the river bed. The journey continues further down the river for another two hours to camp near the small settlement of Sibu.

Day 17: Trek to Jeng-la Phedi 4,900m. 5 - 6 hrs.

The trail follows the Nam Khong Khola for a while on the morning walk coming across caravan of laden yaks that are on their way towards Tibet border. After days of following the same river, finally, we part turning east till we arrive at the confluence of two small tributaries, from here our walk leads to a steep climb to the bottom of Jeng la, where we stay for the overnight on a nice meadow.

Day 18: Trek to Tokyu Gaon 4,200m. via Jeng la 5,090m. 5 - 6 hrs.

Morning trek leads to two hours climb towards the top of the Jeng La. An excellent view of snow ranges emerges to the south. The north face of the Dhaulagiri massif shines in the morning light. After a wonderful moment here at the pass, walk leads downhill on the rough path towards Tarap valley. On the afternoon reaching the green valley which leads us on the pleasant track down towards Tarap Chu. Tarap is a fascinating valley with vast plains in high mountains. It extends twenty-kilometers along the river. Tarap Chu having ten villages with cultivated fields, many gompas and chortens of both sects. Stopping here for the night at Tokyu monastery. This monastery also belongs to the Chaiba sect.

Day 19: Trek to Dho Tarap. 4,040m. 4 - 5 hrs.

Today the walk leads eastwards along the downhill course of Tarap Chu in a plain valley with patches of lush verdant grass on both sides of the river which is completely different from other parts of inner Dolpo. There is also a marsh which is a common feature in the Desert Mountains of Tibet and the Ladakh Himalaya. In this valley both Bon Po and Chaiba sects reside together in harmony. After a short trek on this beautiful valley we come to Dho Tarap for the overnight camp with ample time to visit around the villages. This village is surrounded by an irregular stone wall. At Dho, about 34 houses are divided into three clusters and built in a haphazard way inhabited by few Tibetans and mostly Magars hill tribe of Nepal who have lived here for many generations.

Day 20: Rest Day at Dho Tarap.

Here we will have an opportunity again to make friends with the people from Dolpo. They wear homespun clothing that is sometimes dyed maroon and they prefer Tibetan style somba (boots with upturned toes) for footwear. Men and women often wear both religious amulets and strings of coral and turquoise. The villagers are both Bon Po and Buddhist of Nyingmapa sect. The Buddhist gompa is the nearest one to the campsite, the Bon Gompa is further 40 minutes walk.

Day 21: Trek to Tarap Khola.( Kamekharka) 3,800m. 6 - 7 hrs.

Today a long day's or moderate walk depending upon the choice of several different campsites so the itinerary can be as flexible as you like, from the barren country around Tarap, descend towards a wide valley into a gorge. Walk along the juniper bush and wild rose, typical of dry inner Himalayan valleys, to just above the tree line.

On this area might see herds of blue sheep, by afternoon time reaching the confluence of the Tarap Chu and the Lang Khola, a stream that joins with Tarap River from the further east the camping on a nice meadow, this place is also known as Kama-kharka.

Day 22: Trek to Kharigaon 3,150m. 5 hours.

Journey continues down the gorge of the Tarap river, as the valley becomes narrow in a deep gorge that in some places, sometimes there is no trace of any path and have to walk across stone slabs fitted on logs in between the walls which act as a bridge, the bridges are either damaged or washed away and we may be forced to cross the icy torrent on foot, eventually coming to overnight camping spot beside the Tarapkhola at Kharigaon.

Day 23: Trek to Tarakot 2,850m. 5 hrs.

From the camp, following an indistinct trail to the village of Lalberi, and then passing through an area of the impressive forest before descending into another gorge, following the river again downstream to reach Tarakot where colorful terraced fields greet.  Tarakot is an old fortress town built by the local people as Dzong or fort.The village stands on a hillock to the south of Bheri River at one time supervised collection of tools for the trading caravans. Overnight camp with a climb a steep ridge for an hour to the village on a spur, where there are chorten and a Gompa on the edge of the grassy plateau, with a solitary tree.

Day 24: Trek back to Jhupal via Dunai  6 - 7 hrs.

From Tarakot walk on the gradual trail retracing back the journey to Jhuphal via Dunai for the last camp of this great memorable trip.

Day 25: Fly Jhuphal - Nepalgunj - Kathmandu.

A 30 minutes morning sweeping flight to Nepalgunj over the Himalayan foothills, overlooking striking views of the snow-capped peaks, on arrival at Nepalgunj connecting the flight to Kathmandu after a wonderful, memorable trip to Upper Dolpo & Shey Gompa with Great Adventure Treks & Expeditions.

Day 26: At leisure in Kathmandu.

A day in Kathmandu, a tour in and around Kathmandu Valley on request.

Day 27: Transfer to Airport for the International departure.

Today as per your international flight time, Great Adventure staff will transfer you with a complimentary transport to the airport for your final departure from this magnificent country, Nepal.

AREA (3,555 SQ.KMS)

LOCATION: Shey-Phuksundo National Park is situated in the mountain region of western Nepal, covering parts of Dolpo and Mugu Districts. It is the largest national park in the country.

FEATURES: The Park contains luxuriant forests, mainly comprised of blue pine, spruce, cypress, poplar, deodar, fir and birch. The Jugdula River valley consists mostly of Quercus species. The trans-Himalayan area has a near-desert type vegetation of mainly dwarf juniper and caragana shrubs.

The park provides prime habitat for the snow leopard and the blue sheep. Other common animals found in the park are ghoral, Himalayan thar, serow, leopard, wolf, and jackal. Himalayan black bear, Himalayan weasel, Himalayan mouse hare, yellow-throated marten, languor and rhesus monkeys.

The park is equally rich in many species of birds, such as Impeyan pheasants (danphe), blood pheasant, cheer pheasants, red and yellow billed cough, raven, jungle crow, snow partridge and many others.

  • Pick up from airport and transfer to hotel
  • Accommodation in kathmandu  as your Budget.
  • Kathmandu valley sight seeing and prepare for trek
  • An  professional Sherpa Guide with Government License
  • Sherpa porter who will carry your baggage(2 person 1 sherpa porter)
  • Food in Trekking(Breakfast, Lunch , Dinner  )
  • All Accommodation during Trekking(Tea House/ Camping)
  • Necessary Trekking permits
  • TIMS (Trekkers Information Management system card)
  • Necessary Equipment( sleeping bag and Down Jacket)
  • All programme as per Itinerary
  • Necessary flight Ticket/ Land Transport(Domestic only )
  • Food , salary  Transport, clothing for Guide and Porter
  • Insurance for Guide and Porter
  • Rescue  Help
  • Restricted Area Permit

  • Lunch and dinner in kathmandu .
  • Any kinds of Drinks( soft and Hard Drinks)
  • Visa, international flight ticket
  • Personal Nature expenses
  • Tips for Staffs
  • Rescue and Evacuation cost

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