The Lower Dolpo Circuit is set in the isolated and remote western region of Dolpo where the landscape and people are more Tibetan than Nepali. This mysterious land has a dry atmosphere and is at high altitude, despite being in ‘lower’ Dolpo. With ever increasing altitudes up to the maximum 5,190m and with days averaging 6 – 7 hours of walking, this two week trek is recommended for experienced and fit hikers. But the rewards are astounding: the crisp, clear blueness of Phoksundo Lake (3,611m); unique flora and fauna; a unique religion; diverse culture; colourful festivals; challenging passes; high snow-covered Kanjirowa Himal peaks and the list goes on!
Much of lower Dolpo falls under the protection of Shey Phoksundo National Park. This has ensured pine, fir and birch forests as well as wildlife such as the elusive snow leopard, rare Himalayan blue sheep, goral, thar, Himalayan black bear, langur and rhesus monkeys, among others, maintain their strength in today’s world.
Isolated villages of people closely related to Tibetans, and ancient monasteries offer a glimpse back in time are another feature of this area. Additionally, this is one of the few remaining places where the Bon Po religion is practiced. Bon Po is similar and yet different from Buddhism – one difference being practitioners walk anti-clockwise round stupas and shrines.
Phoksundo Lake is almost 500 ha in size and was designated a Ramsar site (wetlands of international significance) in 2008. But most probably, people recognise this lake from the film which was made here about, and staring, the people of this area. Known as Caravan in Nepal, the film was called Himalaya on the international stage.
Naturally there is a reason why this area is remote and isolated – difficult and rough, and at times very high and narrow, paths and mountain passes over 5,000m. But for those who have an interest in the Buddhist and Bon Po culture, are excited by windswept scenery interspersed with pine forests and the possibility of sighting rare mammal and medicinal plant species, this is a truly wonderful trek!
|Day 1||Kathmandu to Nepalgunj (Flight)||150 m||1 hr|
|Day 2||Nepalgunj to Jhupal (Flight) to Dunai||2850 m||3 hr|
|Day 3||Dunai to Tarakot||2543 m||5 - 6 hr|
|Day 4||Tarakot to Laini||3160 m||6 - 7 hr|
|Day 5||Laini to Nawar Pani||3545 m||5 - 6 hr|
|Day 6||Nawar Pani to Dho Tarap||4090 m||7 - 8 hr|
|Day 7||Acclimatization Day||4090 m||3 hr|
|Day 8||Dho Tarap to Num La Base Camp||4440 m||6 - 7 hr|
|Day 9||Num La Base Camp to Pelung Tang||4465 m||6 - 7 hr|
|Day 10||Pelung Tang to Dajok Tang||4080 m||6 hr|
|Day 11||Dajok Tang to Ringmo||3600 m||3 - 4 hr|
|Day 12||Ringmo to Phoksundo Lake||3612 m||4 - 5 hr|
|Day 13||Phoksundo Lake to Shyanta||2520 m||3 - 4 hr|
|Day 14||Shyanta to Jhupal||2320 m||5 - 6 hr|
|Day 15||Jhupal to Nepalgunj (Flight) to Kathmandu (Flight)||1380 m||1 hr|