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Upper Dolpo Rara Lake Traverse Trek - 22 Days

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Upper Dolpo Rara Lake Traverse Trek Highlights

  • The trek route takes you the biggest lake of Nepal- Rara Lake. The dazzling water that changes its hues during the changing sun is the most beautiful sight to behold.
  • You will also enjoy the soft breezes of Shey Phoksundo lake, the deepest oligotrophic lake in Nepal.
  • You can collect blessings at Shey Gompa, a 12th-century monastery in Dolpo which saves the history of the region.
  • You can become an active participant of Bon dance and other cultural activities.
  • You can explore around the Rara National Park, and explore the diverse flora and fauna of the region.

The Upper Dolpo to Rara Traverse trek highlights two of the most beautiful high altitude lakes in Nepal. Starting in the barren yet stunningly beautiful landscape of Dolpo, and ending in the equally beautiful Mugu district, one of the poorest areas of the country, this trek is as challenging as it is enthralling. Spread over three weeks, there are four high passes to cross as well as high, steep, narrow and rocky trails to negotiate. A good deal of this trek is done at over 4,000m with the passes being between 5,000 to 5,500m. The lakes themselves Phoksundo (3,641m) in Dolpo and Rara (2,980m) in Mugu are both turquoise jewels set in a craggy, rocky landscape, and in pine forests, respectively. On the way the route, part of the newly opened east to west Great Himalayan Trail (GHT), passes through interesting villages with a Buddhist culture closely linked to Tibet, monasteries and gompa, and the quartz studded Crystal Mountain.

Dolpo is an area where the Bon Po religion (similar but different to Tibetan Buddhism) is still practiced and the majority of the people are more closely tied to Tibet than Nepal. Trade routes along which yaks and mules pass still run from Tibet to the lower parts of Nepal. Shey Gompa, a 12th century monastery, is often referred to as the spiritual heart of Dolpo, and is situated at the base of the Crystal Mountain, a long-standing pilgrimage area.

Mugu is the least developed district of Nepal, where its rugged landscape has meant it remains pretty much as it was in the past. With the opening of the GHT and a push towards local tourism, the beautiful Rara Lake, Nepal’s largest, is making its way onto the map. Rara National Park is the smallest national park in Nepal at only 106 square kilometers. As in the Shey Phoksundo National Park (3,55km2) which covers a large portion of Dolpo, there are several interesting mammal species in Rara National Park including the snow leopard, red panda, Himalayan black bear, musk deer, Langur and rhesus monkeys, among others.

Stark landscapes, alpine forests, green meadows, craggy rock faces, tricky trails, high passes, beautiful people and completely stunning lakes await those with the time and willingness to try out this section of the Great Himalayan Trail.

Days Itinerary Altitude Time
Day 1 Kathmandu to Nepalgunj (Flight) 150 m 1 hr
Day 2 Nepalgunj to Jhupal (Flight) to Chhepak 2830m 5 - 6 hr
Day 3 Chhepak to Chunuwar 3130 m 6 hr
Day 4 Chunuwar to Ringmo 3612 m 3 hr
Day 5 Acclimatization Day 3612 m  3 hr
Day 6 Ringmo to Chunemba 3639 m 5 hr
Day 7 Chunemba to Snowfield Camp 4400 m 7 hr
Day 8 Snowfield Camp to Shey Gompa 4310m 6 hr
Day 9 Shey Gompa to Bhijer 3850 m 7 hr
Day 10 Bhijer to Pho 4087 m 8 - 9 hr
Day 11 Pho to Pung Kharka 4650 m 8 hr
Day 12 Pung Kharka to Chyandi Khola 4830 m 6 hr
Day 13 Chyandi Khola to Takla Khola 3785 m 7 hr
Day 14 Takla Khola to Thaju Chaur 4050 m 7 hr
Day 15 Thaju Chaur to Shilen Chaur Kharka 2945 m 6 hr
Day 16 Shilen Chaur Kharka to Tiyar 2418 m 3 hr
Day 17 Tiyar to Mangri 1950 m 4 hr
Day 18 Mangri to Gamgadi 2095 m 4 hr
Day 19 Gamgadi to Rara Lake 2980 m 4 hr
Day 20 Day trip to Muldi View Point 3410 m 3 hr
Day 21 Rara Lake to Talcha 2990 m 3 hr
Day 22 Talcha 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 Flight
  • Talcha Nepalgunj Kathmandu Flight
  • Rara and Shey Phoksundo National Part Entry Permit and Restricted Area Entry Permit
  • Guide for 22 days
  • Porter for 20 days
  • Cook for 20 days
  • Kitchen helper for 20 days
  • 4 nights accommodation in Kathmandu
  • 20 nights accommodation in mountain teahouses and tented camps
  • 22 x set breakfast, 22 x set lunch and 21 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 Rara Lake Traverse Trek?

No. You cannot drink the water from the tap or streams in Upper Dolpo Rara Lake Traverse 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

  • 5487 m
  • Nepalgunj/Nepalgunj
  • Strenuous

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