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Upper Dolpo Circuit Trek - 24 Days

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Upper Dolpo Circuit Trek Highlights

  • You will follow the footprints of the ancient trans-Himalayan traders.
  • You will be freely exploring the region in a dry weather without worrying about the rain as the region lies in the rain shadow area of Dhaulagiri ranges.
  • You will have an amazing time inside your tented camp on this trek around the Shey Phoksundo lake, Crystal mountain, and the crisp views of Dhaulagiri ranges.
  • You can catch a view of diverse flora and fauna in the Shey Phoksundo National Park.
  • You get an insight into the life and culture of the followers of Bon Buddhism.

Dolpo lies in the remote north west of Nepal, between the Tibetan Plateau and the Dhaulagiri mountain ranges. The Upper Dolpo trek takes in, as the name suggests, the upper part of this region, which is even more remote and rarely visited. Only opened to visitors at the end of the 1980s, Upper Dolpo is still considered a restricted area and requires a special permit. Phoksundo Lake; Shey Gompa; Bon Po practitioners; Buddhist monasteries; views of Dhaulagiri; Crystal Mountain (a mountain whose cliffs are laced with quartz and marine fossils); unique Tibetan cultures; the magnificent and rare snow leopard – all of these may sound familiar. And yes, they are, made so through Peter Matthiessen’s book “The Snow Leopard” and Eric Valli’s film of Dolpo life, ‘Himalaya’.

While Dolpo is in general a dry, bare place, it is laced with fast flowing rivers, roaring waterfalls, deep river gorges, lush meadows, and valleys of tilled fields. Remote villages with interesting cultures, including the Bon Po religion, and of course the beautiful icy waters of Phoksundo Lake are other attractions in this region. As part of Dolpo falls within the Shey Phoksundo National Park, the wildlife, such as the snow leopard, rare Himalayan blue sheep, goral, thar, Himalayan black bear etc. is protected.

This three week trek is not for the faint-hearted as trails are difficult, high, steep, shaky, and sometimes barely there. Long walking days at high altitude are the norm with several high passes to cross, but for those with the stamina, fitness level and sheer willpower, this trek is definitely a once-in a lifetime trip.

Days Itinerary Altitude Time
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 Ankhe 2896 m 5 - 6 hr
Day 4 Ankhe to Sulighat 3180 m 5 - 6 hr
Day 5 Sulighat to Phoksundo Lake 3612 m 4 - 5 hr
Day 6 Acclimatization Day 3612 m 2 hr
Day 7 Phoksundo Lake to Phoksundo Khola 3507 m 4 - 5 hr
Day 8 Phoksundo Khola to Phoksundo Bhanjyang 3910 m 6 - 7 hr
Day 9 Phoksundo Bhanjyang to Shey Gompa 4500m 5 - 6 hr
Day 10 Acclimatization Day 4500 m 3 hr
Day 11 Shey Gompa to Namduna Gaun 4800 m 6 - 7 hr
Day 12 Namduna Gaun to Saldang 3620 m 4 - 5 hr
Day 13 Saldang to Yangze Gompa 4960 m 4 - 5 hr
Day 14 Yangze Gompa to Sibu 4560 m 6 - 7 hr
Day 15 Sibu to Jeng La Phedi 4900 m 5 - 6 hr
Day 16 Jeng La Phedi to Jeng La Pass to Tokyu Gaun 4209 m 5 - 6 hr
Day 17 Tokyu to Dho Tarap 4040 m 4 - 5 hr
Day 18 Acclimatization Day 4040 m 2 hr
Day 19 Dho Tarap to Tarap Khola 3800 m 6 - 7 hr
Day 20 Tarap Khola to Khani Gaun 3150 m 4 - 5 hr
Day 21 Khani Gaun to Tarakot 2537 m 4 - 5 hr
Day 22 Tarakot to Dunai 2850 m 5 - 6 hr
Day 23 Dunai to Jhupal 2320 m 2 - 3 hr
Day 24 Jhupal to Nepalgunj (Flight) to Kathmandu (Flight) 1380 m 1 hr


  • Local transfers for your international flight x 2 (arrival/ departure)
  • Local transfers for your domestic flights x 4
  • Kathmandu Nepalgunj Jhuphal Nepalgunj Kathmandu Flight
  • Shey Phoksundo National Park Permit and Restricted Area Entry Permit
  • Guide for 24 days
  • Porter for 22 days
  • Cook for 22 days
  • Kitchen helper for 22 days
  • 3 nights accommodation in Kathmandu
  • 22 nights accommodation in mountain teahouses and tented camps
  • 1 night accommodation in Nepalgunj
  • 24 x set breakfast, 24 x set lunch and 23 x set dinner while on trek
  • Farewell dinner in Kathmandu
  • Staff insurance and necessary ground transport for support staff


  • International flight ticket and Nepal entry visa
  • Personal travel insurance (Which should include coverage for trekking)
  • Lunches and dinners in Kathmandu, except the farewell dinner
  • Personal gear for trekking (Including any you may wish to hire in Kathmandu), any personal expenses (i.e. soft and alcoholic drinks, snacks etc.)


Is it safe to drink the water in Upper Dolpo Trek?

No. You cannot drink the water from the tap or streams in Upper Dolpo Circuit Trek. Mineral water is not available on the trail. You can use a water purifier or SteriPen.

Am I likely to get altitude sickness on my trek?

Be aware. Elevation on this trek will exceed 3,500m. The possibilities of getting altitude sickness generally start at this elevation. But in order to avoid this, as much as possible, we have designed the itinerary in such a way that it will give you enough time to acclimatize.

Am I at risk and how can I avoid altitude sickness?

There is no knowing who will suffer from altitude sickness. It does not follow that the younger and fitter people will not get altitude sickness where the older and less fit will. It is not related to (general) fitness or age. Talk to your doctor at home. There are prescription medications which help avoid the onset of altitude sickness. But above all, go slowly, listen to your body, be aware of any changes, and listen to your guide if he feels you are showing symptoms (which you might not notice).

What happens if there is need for emergency evacuation while I am trekking?

We will collect your travel insurance policies and details before the trek so that in case of an emergency we can coordinate with your insurance company and the helicopter providers for evacuation.

What about simple medical treatment on the trek?

First aid. On every trek we will carry a first aid kit. We also recommend you carry your own. Here is a checklist recommended by Karen Anderson of things you should bring. Vaccinations are not compulsory in Nepal but to be on the safe side we recommend you comply, where possible, with this list provided by again by Karen Anderson (medical doctor in New Zealand and friend and client of Magical Nepal).

Do I need to buy travel insurance before I come to Nepal?

Yes. Magical Nepal only provides insurance for our own staff. We recommend you buy insurance in your country. Note: Insurance should cover you for the altitudes you are trekking at (not all do). We recommend World Nomads.

Will I need to bring my own sleeping bag or not?

Yes, bring your own or you can rent it or buy it in Kathmandu. Renting a sleeping bag in Kathmandu will cost you $1 or $2 per day. To buy a new sleeping bag in Kathmandu expect to pay around $150 to $200 for one of medium quality.

Will I need to use crampons on this trek?

Yes. It is an exploratory trek, and weather conditions can be unpredictable. We might need to use crampons.

What happens if I forget to bring something with me from home?

If you forget something it might be extremely hard to find here. Please check here for an exhaustive packing list for (general) trekking in Nepal. If you are not a frequent hiker, you can rent most of the trekking gear in Nepal when you arrive.

Will we be using tents and mattresses on the trek?

Yes. It is an exploratory trek, and weather conditions can be unpredictable. We might need to use crampons.

Where can I leave stuff in Kathmandu when I am trekking?

Anything you don’t want to take on the trek with you can be stored at your hotel or in our office. We suggest you ensure your bag is lockable.

Who will be my guide?

We use local guides. On each trek our guides have been to the relevant areas numerous times. All are experienced, knowledgeable, flexible and authorized licensed guides with the Government of Nepal.

Will I need a porter for my trek?

Preferable. If you use a porter it has double benefit: you can fully enjoy your trek without carrying a heavy bag, and its improves the income of the local community.

How much can a porter carry?

20kg. On average a porter can carry 22kg including their own backpack. So, they can carry up to 18kg of your gear and equipment. We provide backpacks for porters.

Are your staff insured in case of accidents etc.?

Yes. At Magical Nepal we make sure all our staff are well insured.

I hear incidents when porters do not have proper shoes etc. Is this true?

At Magical Nepal we ensure all our guides and porters have proper gear, are well equipped and protected. This is for their own well being and for the wellbeing of our clients.

You can send your inquiry via the form below.

You can send your inquiry via the form below.

Trip Facts

  • 4960m
  • Nepalgunj/Nepalgunj
  • Strenuous

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