Inner Dolpo Trek
The Inner Dolpo Trek is a captivating journey through one of the most remote and untouched areas of Nepal. Nestled between the Tibetan Plateau and the Dhaulagiri mountain range, Inner Dolpo is known for its ancient Tibetan culture, pristine landscapes, and the stunning Phoksundo Lake. The region was popularized by the movie “Caravan” (also known as “Himalaya”), which showcased its raw beauty and the hardy spirit of its inhabitants.
- Duration: Approximately 25-28 days, depending on the specific route and side trips.
- Difficulty: Challenging due to its remote nature, high-altitude passes, and the length of the trek.
- Max Altitude: The trek crosses several high passes, with some exceeding 5,000 meters.
- Starting and Ending Point: The trek typically starts from Juphal and can end in Jomsom, or vice versa.
- The mesmerizing, deep blue Phoksundo Lake.
- Ancient monasteries like Shey Gompa, which is believed to be centuries old.
- Crossing challenging high-altitude passes offering panoramic views.
- Witnessing the authentic Tibetan culture and traditions of Dolpo’s inhabitants.
- The unique and stark landscapes, vastly different from other trekking regions in Nepal.
Land in Nepal's capital, Kathmandu. Depending on arrival time, explore the nearby historic and cultural sites.
Finalize trekking permits and make last-minute preparations. On day 3, fly to Nepalgunj, an essential hub in western Nepal.
Take a scenic flight to Juphal. The trek begins with a descent to the Thuli Bheri River, leading to the administrative center of Dolpo, Dunai.
Head out from Dunai, crossing suspension bridges and walking alongside the river to reach the village of Ankhe.
Navigate through dense forests, cross rivers, and pass by terraced fields to arrive at Sulighat, near the Phoksundo National Park's entrance.
The trail takes you through birch forests and traditional villages to the mesmerizing turquoise Phoksundo Lake, a highlight of Dolpo.
Spend the day exploring the lake's surroundings, visiting Ringmo village, and the nearby Bon Monastery.
Walk alongside the western bank of Phoksundo Lake through forests filled with birch trees to camp at Phoksundo Khola's riverbed.
Trek uphill to a ridge offering splendid views, then descend through forests to the base of Kang La pass.
A challenging day, cross the Kang La pass, and then descend to the sacred Shey Gompa situated near the confluence of two rivers.
Explore the ancient Shey Gompa and learn about its significance in the Bon religion.
Ascend the Saldang La pass and then descend to Namduna Gaon, home to the Namgung Monastery.
Trek through barren landscapes to reach Saldang, one of Dolpo's largest and most prosperous villages.
Walk through terraced fields, cross rivers, and pass through nomadic settlements to reach the ancient Yangze Gompa.
Retrace your steps back to Saldang, then head towards the village of Sibu, passing through terraced fields and traditional settlements.
Follow the Nam Khong river, pass yak pastures, and gradually ascend to Jeng-La Phedi, the base of the Jeng La pass.
Cross the Jeng La pass, enjoying panoramic views, and then descend to the Tarap Valley, finally reaching Tokyu Gaon.
Walk through the culturally rich Tarap Valley, visiting monasteries and chortens, to reach the village of Dho Tarap.
The trail takes you through wide valleys with patches of lush grass, ideal for camping.
Descend through forests and traditional villages, crossing suspension bridges to reach Khani Gaon.
Trek alongside the Barbung Khola, passing through terraced fields and local settlements to reach Tarakot, a historical fortress town.
Continue your descent to reach back to Dunai, completing a loop of your trek.
The final leg of your trek leads you back to Juphal through terraced fields and local villages.
Fly back to Nepalgunj and then catch a connecting flight to Kathmandu.
Spend your days resting, souvenir shopping, and exploring any missed sites in Kathmandu.
Bid farewell to Nepal and head to the airport for your onward journey.
- Airport pick-up and drop-off in Kathmandu by private vehicle.
- Welcome and farewell dinners with cultural programs in Kathmandu.
- Tourist standard hotel accommodation in Kathmandu.
- Meals: Full board meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) during the trek.
- Lodge/guesthouse accommodation (best available) during the trek.
- Trekking permits (ACAP and TIMS) and necessary entry fees.
- Professional and highly experienced government-licensed local trekking guide.
- Necessary porters as per your group size (usually 2 guests = 1 porter).
- All expenses of the trekking staff (guides/porters) including food, accommodation, salary, insurance, and equipment during your travel period.
- Comprehensive First Aid Kit.
- International flight airfares (to/from Kathmandu)
- Nepal tourist visa fees and international airport departure tax.
- Extra nights in Kathmandu:
- Travel insurance that covers emergency rescue and evacuation.
- Optional Activities: Any optional activities or side trips beyond the standard trek itinerary are not included.
- Tipping: Tipping the trekking guide, porter, and other support staff is customary but not usually included in the package price.
- Personal Expenses
- Permits: Special permits are required for Inner Dolpo due to its status as a restricted area. These include the Restricted Area Permit and the Shey Phoksundo National Park Entry Permit.
- Best Time to Visit: The ideal times are during the pre-monsoon (April-May) and post-monsoon (September-October) periods.
- Accommodation: The region is remote, so teahouse facilities are basic. Camping might be required on certain days.
- Guides/Porters: It's mandatory to have a guide for this trek due to its restricted nature. Porters can be very helpful given the trek's length and difficulty.
Inner Dolpo offers an unparalleled trekking experience, taking one through untouched landscapes and offering glimpses into a way of life that has remained largely unchanged for centuries.
1. How challenging is the Inner Dolpo Trek?
The Inner Dolpo Trek is considered one of Nepal's more challenging treks due to its remote nature, high-altitude passes, and the length of the trek. Previous trekking experience, particularly in high-altitude regions, is beneficial.
2. What permits are required for the Inner Dolpo Trek?
Given its status as a restricted area, you'll need the Dolpo Restricted Area Permit. Additionally, an entry permit for Shey Phoksundo National Park is required. Make sure to apply for these permits well in advance.
3. What's the best time to undertake the Inner Dolpo Trek?
The ideal periods for this trek are during the pre-monsoon (April-May) and post-monsoon (September-October) seasons. The region can receive heavy snowfall in winter, making some paths impassable.
4. Are there teahouses along the trek, or do I need to camp?
Inner Dolpo is more remote than other popular trekking regions in Nepal. While there are some basic teahouses and homestays in certain villages, be prepared for several days of camping.
5. How do I handle food and water on the trek?
While basic meals are provided in the teahouses, it's wise to carry a supplementary stash of energy bars and snacks. Always treat water from local sources before drinking, either with purification tablets or a portable filter.
6. Is hiring a guide and porter mandatory?
Yes, due to the restricted nature of the region, hiring a licensed guide is mandatory. A porter can greatly assist by carrying heavy gear, making the trek more manageable.
7. How do I deal with altitude sickness?
The key is proper acclimatization. It's vital to ascend slowly, drink plenty of water, and be aware of the symptoms of altitude sickness. Carry altitude sickness medications after consulting with a doctor.
8. How do I reach the starting point of the trek?
The trek typically begins at Juphal, which is accessible by flight from Nepalgunj. Nepalgunj, in turn, is connected by air to Kathmandu.
9. What kind of gear is essential for this trek?
Essential items include sturdy trekking boots, a warm sleeping bag, a high-quality tent, rain gear, sun protection, and a comprehensive first-aid kit. Given the region's remoteness, ensure you're well-equipped.
10. Can I undertake side treks or explore nearby regions?
Yes, there are several side treks and nearby regions worth exploring, such as the Upper Dolpo Trek. However, ensure you have the necessary permits and a guide familiar with the area.