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Lower Dolpo Trek – 23 Days in Dolpo Region

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Bored with trekking in the Annapurna, Everest, and Langtang region? Looking for new places to complete your trek? Then Lower Dolpo Trek will be a new experience for you.

Lower Dolpo trek is a less known trek route of Nepal compared to other trekking routes. But the adventure and thrills of walking on the off-beaten road are quite extreme in this trek. Lower Dolpo trek routes were opened for foreigners in the year of 1982.

Dolpo lies on the western hills of Nepal in Karnali Pradesh. This is one of the seventy-seven districts of Nepal. It is the largest district of the country covering an area of 7889 km.

This district is the farthest region that is popular for hosting Shey Phoksundo National Park. This park’s name was derived from Shey Monastery and Phoksundo Lake that lies here.

Most of the area of the Dolpo district is covered by this National park. Phoksundo lake is the main attraction of this park which is the deepest lake of Nepal. It is situated at an altitude of 3612 m above sea level.

Shey Phoksundo National park is the largest trans-Himalayan National Park. It was built in the year 1984 that protects the endangered wildlife living here. Such as snow leopard, musk deer, Tibetan wolf, and many more.

The majority of people living in this area belong to the Chettri Community. Other communities found here are Gurung, Sherpa, and Magar. Most of the people here are the followers of Hindu and Buddhist religions.

Lower Dolpo trek routes are also known as the hidden treasure of Nepal. You will be traveling through remote villages, ancient monasteries, wildlife, and many more.

Exciting Nepal has brought a 23 days Lower Dolpo Trek itinerary. It takes you through one of the remote areas of this country. You will see that these areas are still underdeveloped. But the friendly nature and warm hospitality will mesmerize you.

To complete this trek you will be needing special trekking permits. Be prepared to visit remote areas of the Himalayas combined with beautiful scenarios.

Highlights of Lower Dolpo Trek

  • Trek in the remote areas of the Himalayas
  • Reach Phoksundo lake the deepest lake of Nepal
  • Ancient monasteries
  • Stunning landscapes
  • Traditional villages
  • Walkthrough Shey Phoksundo National Park
  • Explore the untouched parts of Dolpo

Lower Dolpo Trek Routes

You begin your trekking journey by flying towards Nepalgunj from Kathmandu. Reaching Nepalgunj you stay there for the night. The next day you take a flight to Jumla and begin your trek from there. You head towards Gothi Chaur where you will stay the night.

From Gothi Chaur you head towards Naphukana. And following day head towards Chaurikot from there. Then traveling through off-beaten routes reach Bheri River. From here you trek till Garpung viewing scenic views throughout the day.

Waking up early, your next destination is Kagmara then Kagmara Phedi. From there crossing Kagmara La you reach Pungmo. Then hike till Phoksundo lake where you acclimatize. Again beginning your journey you head towards Numa LA Phedi.

From there you trek till Do and again acclimatize there. After that, head towards Lahini then Tarakot. From Tarakot you trek till Dunai and stay there. Then head towards Jupal which is the last stop. As you return back to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj from there.

Best time to Visit Lower Dolpo

Trekking in Lower Dolpo can be done at any time of the year. But the best time to visit lower Dolpo is during the Spring and Autumn season.

You can visit it during other seasons as well but you can face many complications during that time. So, for a better experience, it is best to visit Lower Dolpo Trek during the recommended seasons.

Autumn Season

Autumn is the peak season for trekking in the lower Dolpo. This is the month for September, October, and November. During these months everything in this route is at its peak.

The weather and temperature are more than perfect in this season. The skies are clear giving out the scenic views of mountains and landscapes. The walks are warm during the day and chilly during the night.

As for the temperature it ranges from -3 to 14 degrees and can rise up to -11 degrees over high passes. This season is also harvesting time so it adds more excitement in your trek. The festive months also fall during this season which will add extra enjoyment for you.

Spring Season

Spring season is another peak time to trek in the routes of lower Dolpo. This is the month for March, April, and May. During this time you can see valleys get their greenery back and buds of flowers ready to bloom.

This season is the beginning of the new year and a new environment. The weather and temperature are favorable for trekking. A perfect time for nature lovers to visit these routes.

The view of the mountain top under the clear blue sky is quite a sight. Also, the forest paths filled with buds ready to bloom will mesmerize you. To enhance your experience you can visit Lower Dolpo from mid-April.

The temperature ranges from -10 to -13 degrees during this season. The days are hot and sunny while the nights are cool. So, sweat-absorbent clothes are a must for this time.

Monsoon Season

Usually, trekkers don’t trek in high altitudes during Monsoon due to slippery and muddy roads. But for lower Dolpo, you can trek during this season as well.

Lower Dolpo is a rain shadow area so there are less to no chances of rain. This is the month for June, July, and August.

But reaching Dolpo can be quite challenging. As there is an occurrence of heavy rainfall in other parts of Nepal. So, your flights may get canceled or delayed due to bad weather conditions.

Yet, the weather is clear during this month with no obstruction from dark rain clouds. Also, the temperature ranges from -4 to 17 degrees during this time. It is better to keep your schedule flexible during this season.

Winter Season

Winter season is the least preferred time for trekking in the routes of Lower Dolpo. This is the month for December, January, and February. This is the coldest time of the year.

During this season, there are high chances of road blockage due to heavy snowfall. The skies are clear giving the best view of snow-capped mountains. But due to blockage, you might not be able to complete your trek.

The climatic condition in high altitudes is never predictable. Also, it gets freezing cold during these months. The temperature ranges up to -14 degrees during this season.

Thus, It is recommended not to trek during this season for safety matters.

Lower Dolpo Trek Difficulties

Trekking journeys are never easy; you may face difficulties even in the easiest routes. Mentioned below are a few Lower Dolpo Trek Difficulties:

Lower Dolpo Trek Route Difficulty

The Lower Dolpo Trek is graded as a moderate level trek. This trek is suitable for both experienced as well as novice trekkers. If this is your first trek it can be quite harsh and difficult. But if you have gone trekking before it will be quite easy.

You will be trekking in the remote and untouched areas of the Dolpo district. On this trek, you will be making up and downhill walks that are steep and uneven. So, for beginners, this will be quite challenging. But with proper physical training, you can overcome this difficulty.

Duration

If you are not much of a walker then covering days’ duration can be a major problem for you. You will be walking for about 5 to 6 hours a day to complete this trek. The duration is much for non-walker.

Also, you will be spending 23 days trekking on these exotic routes. So if it might be a problem for people with a busy schedule. You can adjust the itinerary but it is better to finish your trek with no hurry.

Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness is common when traveling to higher altitudes. This is always a concern for trekkers whether they be novice or experienced. You will be traveling at altitudes above 4000 m on this trek. So, suffering from altitude sickness is common for most trekkers.

Some symptoms of altitude sickness are headache, vomiting, difficulty in sleeping, nausea, and many more. If you see any of these symptoms you should inform your guide immediately. They will give you further instructions on what you should do.

Drinking plenty of water and keeping your body hydrated should be the first priority to prevent altitude sickness.

Lower Dolpo Trek Permits

To trek in the Lower Dolpo region, you need to carry the lower Dolpo restricted area entry permit. You can get this special permit from the migration office. Without this permit, you can’t complete your trek.

The cost of this permit is lower compared to the upper Dolpo permit. You need to pay 20 US$ per person for a week. After that, you need to pay 5 US$ per person for additional days.

Outline Itinerary

Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu and transfer to the hotel.

Day 02:  Preparation and Free day

Day 03: Kathmandu to Nepalgunj.

Day 04: Fly to Jumla [2370m] & trek to Gothi chaur [2700m]

Day 05: Trek to Naphukana [3080m]

Day 06: Trek to Chaurikot [3060m]

Day 07: Trek to Bheri riverside [2610m]

Day 08: Trek to Garpung khola [2900m]

Day 09: Trek to Kagmara [3500m]

Day 10: Trek to Kagmara phedi [4000m]

Day 11: Cross Kagmara La and reach Pungmo Khola [5115m]

Day 12: Trek to Pungmo

Day 13: Trek to Phoksundo Lake

Day 14: Acclimatize at Phoksundo Lake

Day 15: Trek to Baga La phedi

Day 16: Cross Baga La [5090m] & trek to Numa La phedi [4800m.

Day 17: Cross Numa La [5360m] & trek to Do [4100m]

Day 18: Rest day at Do

Day 19: Trek to Lahini [3560m]

Day 20: Trek to Tarakot [2600m]

Day 21: Trek to Dunai [2100m]

Day 22: Trek to Juphal [2500m]

Day 23: Fly Juphal/Nepalgunj/Kathmandu

Lower Dolpo Trek Itinerary

Day 1- Arrive at Kathmandu

Maximum Altitude: 1400 m

On the first day of your trip, you will arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. This is the only international airport in Nepal. Before your arrival, our representative will be waiting for you at the terminal.

As your flight lands, the respective person will pick you up from the airport and drop you off at your hotel. After dropping you off, they will help you check-in. As the rest of the day is free you can relax. Or, roam around the nearby area and visit local markets.

You stay in the hotel for the night.

Day 2: Preparation and Free day

After a wonderful night, this day you will roam around the city and know more about it. Waking up early, you will get ready and wait for your guide to pick you up for the tour.

Kathmandu has many attractions and sites you can visit. Such as Pashupatinath, Boudhanath, Swayambhu, Basantapur Durbar Square, and many more. As this city is full of rich ancient arts and cultures.

You can also try the Newari dishes which are quite popular among locals living here. After a fun tour, you return back to your hotel where you prepare for your trek.

Your guide will give you a brief summary of your trip. After that, if you need to buy a few things you can visit local markets near you. You will have to wake up early the next day so it is better to sleep early.

You stay here for the night.

Day 3: Kathmandu to Nepalgunj

Flight duration: 45 to 50 min

Flight Distance: 516 km

Maximum Altitude: 150 m above sea level

On the third day, you begin your lower Dolpo Trek journey. You wake up early, pack your things, and wait for the guide. Your guide will come to pick you up from the hotel. Then you head towards the airport from where you will catch your flight to Nepalgunj.

Boarding your flight you soar into the sky viewing mesmerizing scenes along the way. After flying for about one hour you reach Nepalgunj. This city lies in the western terai and is pretty close to the Indian border. Nepalgunj is one of the hottest cities in Nepal.

You stay here for the night.

Day 4: Flight to Jumla then Trek to Gothi Chaur

Flight Duration: 35 to 40 mins

Maximum Altitude: 2514 m above sea level

Trek Duration: 5 to 6 hours

Maximum Altitude: 2820 m above sea level

On the fourth day, you will wake up to take the early flight to Jumla from Nepalgunj. It is about a half an hour flight above the beautiful valleys and Landscapes.

Viewing the picturesque scenes you arrive at Jumla. It lies in the mid-western hills of Nepal. This place is famous for gardening delicious apples and cider made from it.

Now, your trekking journey begins as you head towards Gothi Chaur from Jumla. This is a few hour’s walks that take you on an exciting journey this day. You will walk past many water-driven mills before crossing the Tila Khola and Chaudabise Khola.

Using a cantilever bridge you cross over the Kholas and make an uphill climb in the paths. Walking alongside the terraced rice fields you reach a small settlement. Then from there, you enter the lush green forest of Maples and walnuts.

You can see different species of vegetation as you walk this forest path. Such as forget me not, mint, primula, and many more. Heading out the forest you make a slight climb up a rocky cairn and then descend towards Gothi Chaur.

Gothi Chaur lies near a stream at the bottom of the valley. You camp here for the night.

Day 5: Trek to Naphukana

Trek Duration: 6 to 7 hours

Maximum Altitude: 3080 m above sea level

On the fifth day, you head towards Naphukana from Gothi Chaur. Today you begin your trek by heading out Gothi chaur and take the trail that leads through Tila valley.

Walking along the Tila Khola you will head north passing through corn and potato field. Then making an ascend in the paths till you reach a small village. As you walk ahead you can see unique carved wooden faces behind and above the houses.

From there you follow the trails on the southern side of Tila Khola and pass Changrikot. Then make a slight ascend in the trails till you reach Chotra. This is a small Buddhist village inhabited by Khampas from eastern Tibet.

As you follow the path you arrive at Naphukana, another Tibetan settlement. This place has a large Gompa named Urgen Sanga Chholing.

You stay the night in a camp.

Day 6: Trek to Chaurikot

Trek Duration: 3 to 4 hours

Maximum Altitude: 3060 m above sea level

On the sixth day, you head towards Chaurikot from Naphukana. Heading out of the village you make a steep climb in the trails. And entering a forest that leads to Mauri Lagna pass.

From this pass, you can see the mesmerizing top of snowy peaks in the north and east. Viewing these scenes you descend the trails as it becomes gradually steeper. Then again enter a beautiful forest of pine and oaks.

From there you follow the path towards Bheri valley. Then you follow the trails in and out of the valley till you arrive at Chaurikot.

You camp here for the night.

Day 7: Trek to Bheri riverside

Trek Duration: 6 to 7 hours

Maximum Altitude: 2610 m above sea level

On the seventh day, you head towards Bheri riverside from Chaurikot. Today’s trail leads you through the beautiful village of Balasa that gives the beautiful view of the Kagmara peak.

Then making a slight descend you again climb the paths through the lush green forest of walnuts. Exiting the forest you pass through apple orchards in Jyakot. Then you again descend in the trails till you reach Rimi.

From there you follow a rocky trail till you arrive at Bheri Riverside. You camp here overnight.

Day 8: Trek to Garpung Khola

Trek Duration: 5 to 6 hours

Maximum Altitude: 2900 m above sea level

On your eighth day, you head towards Garpung Khola from Bheri riverside. You continue your trek by walking along the west bank of Bheri River. You pass Hurikot and reach the entrance of Shey Phoksundo National Park.

Walking in the trails you reach the junction of Garpung Khola and Jagdula Khola that joins the Bheri Khola. As you keep moving in the trail you arrive at Garpung Khola.

You stay here for the night.

Day 9: Trek to Kagmara

Trek Duration: 4 to 5 hours

Maximum Altitude: 3500 m above sea level

On your ninth day, you head towards Kagmara from Garpung Khola. Today’s trek is less challenging and short. You continue to walk along the Garpung Khola then make an uphill climb to Kagmara la. This is to acclimatize here before you make your climb towards the high altitude.

Day 10: Trek to Kagmara Phedi

Trek Duration: 5 to 6 hours

Maximum Altitude: 4000 m above sea level

On your tenth day, you head towards Kagmara Phedi from Kagmara. Today you will cross across to the east side of the river. As you move forward the valley narrows and you can see a series of waterfalls.

Making an uphill climb you reach moraines below the Kagmara La. You get to see many magnificent peaks surrounding you from here.

Overnight at the camp.

Day 11: Cross Kagmara La and reach Pungmo Khola

Trek Duration: 6 to 7 hours

Maximum Altitude (Kagmara La): 5115 m above sea level

Today you will be crossing the Kagmara La to reach the Pungmo Khola valley. You will make up early this morning and ascend the trails along the Kagmara Glacier. From there you cross Kagmara La and make a descent till you arrive at Pungmo Khola valley.

You spend the night here.

Day 12: Trek to Pungmo

This day you head towards Pungmo from the Pungmo Khola. You begin this trail by entering the forest of birch and juniper. Continuing the trails you get to see Kanjiroba peak before you enter the Pungmo village.

Day 13: Trek to Phoksundo Lake

Maximum Altitude: 3612 m

This day you will be heading towards the highlight of this trek, Phoksundo Lake from Pungmo. You walk downstream towards Sumduwa which is the headquarter of the National park.

From there, you continue to walk in the trails that lead to Phoksundo Lake. Climbing in the trails you walk-through a luscious forest of large cedar. From there you continue to ascend till you reach the ridge.

It gives the astounding view of lakes and the highest waterfalls of Nepal nearby. Then taking a gradual descent you head north towards the shore of Phoksundo lake.

You stay here for the night.

Day 14: Acclimatize at Phoksundo Lake

On the fourteenth day, you will acclimatize at Phoksundo lake known as the deepest lake in Nepal. You can roam around the lake known for having an unusual greenish-blue color. Also, the magnificent mountain of Kanjiroba seen in the backdrop of the lake is another plus point.

You can also hike to an ancient Gompa that has many ancient paintings and statues. This is an old dilapidated Gompa which has evidence of the Bon-Po religion.

Day 15: Trek to Baga La Phedi

Today you retrace your steps back to Ringo and head towards the east side following the trails. Walking a little further you enter the forest of blues and juniper. Then walking along the river you walk past the waterfall and reach Baga La Phedi.

You stay here for the night.

Day 16: Cross Baga LA then Trek to Numa La Phedi

Maximum Altitude( Baga La): 5090 m above sea level

Maximum Altitude( Numa La Phedi): 4800 m above sea level

Waking up early you steadily climb to the summit of Baga La which is the second high pass. From here, you get a magnificent view of landscapes and mountains.

Spending some time there, you gradually descend in the trails. Then it slowly begins to get steeper until you arrive at a stream. From there you make an uphill climb till you reach the foot of Numa La.

You stay here for the night.

Day 17: Cross Numa LA then Trek to Do

Trek Duration: 7 to 8 hours

Maximum Altitude(Numa La): 5360 m above sea level

Maximum Altitude(Do): 4100 m above sea level

Today’s walk is a bit challenging and harsh. You will be heading towards Do via Numa La pass. You begin by climbing uphill to Numa La which is the last of the high pass.

Reaching there you can see mani walls and prayer flags. Also the amazing view of snowy peaks. Viewing them you descend in the trails till Tarap region. Then continuing your walk you reach Do.

You stay here for the night.

Day 18: rest day at Do

You will have two acclimatization on this trek. And the second rest day is held here in Do. This place has several gompas you can explore. Such as Ri Bhunpa Gomba above the village in the ridge. Or the Bon Po Gomba on the east side in Shipchhok village.

These Gompas are worth exploring from where you get to see many great views.

Day 19: Trek to Lahini

Trek Duration: 5 to 6 hours

Maximum Altitude: 3560 m

Today you will wake up early and head in the flat trails along the river. Then entering the gorge you get to see many beautiful wildflowers and shrubs. This day you will have crossed many rivers and streams till you reach Lahini.

You stay here for the night.

Day 20: Trek to Tarakot

Trek Duration: 7 to 8 hours

Maximum Altitude: 2600 m above sea level

Today’s walk is long, steep, and narrow. You will be heading towards Tarakot from Lahini. You continue your walk along the banks of Bheri river then head upstream. Walking further the valley opens and leads you to Khanigaon village.

You will walk past many bridges, isolated villages, and gorge. You arrive at Tarakot , your destination. You stay the night here.

Day 21: Trek to Dunai

Trek Duration: 4 to 5 hours

Maximum Altitude: 2100 m above sea level

On the twenty-first day, you head towards Dunai from Tarakot. You follow the paths along the Barbung Khola till you reach Lawan. Then crossing a bridge and walking for a few hours you arrive in Dunai.

You stay here for the night.

Day 22: Trek to Juphal

Trek Duration: 4 to 5 hours

Maximum Altitude: 2500 m above sea level

This is your last day in the Dolpo region. You will be heading towards Juphal from Dunai. Heading out from Dunai you follow the river trail to reach Juphal. This day you will be making a steep climb on the trails to arrive at Juphal.

You stay here for the night.

Day 23: Return back to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj

This is your final day of Lower Dolpo trek, today you fly towards Nepalgunj. Then from there catch the flight back to Kathmandu. Arriving Kathmandu we drop you off at your hotel and bid you farewell. Hope Lower Dolpo Trek was interesting for you.

Conclusion

Exciting Nepal hopes this article about Lower Dolpo Trek has given you some brief insight into this trek. If you are planning to visit lower Dolpo then it is a great decision. You won’t be disappointed throughout the trek.

You will be trekking in one of the remote areas of Nepal. The off beaten, untouched paths are a plus point in this trek.

Trip Cost US$ 2,495 Per person
Cost Includes:
  • Two night Deluxe Kathmandu hotel in Kathmandu on B/B. Before and After the trek. Hotel Access Nepal Pvt.ltd.
  • Airport pick-up and drop services
  • Ticketing permit and all needed document.
  • Guide and necessary staffs.
  • A cook and kitchen supporter.
  • All surface transportation to the starting point and from the ending point of the trek.
  • All meals three times a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner, juice, tea, coffee, hot chocolate, fruits etc.)
  • Necessary Camping equipment such as tents, kitchen tent, dining tent, toilet tent, mattresses, down sleeping bag, down jacket, cooking utensils, fuel etc
  • Camping charges
  • Necessary insurance for trekking staff
  • First Aid kit, including Oximeter and pulse meter checker.
  • emergency Rescue assistance.
Cost Excludes:
  • Nature of personal expense
  • All meals and hotels in Kathmandu..
  • Activities in Kathmandu like sightseeing tour.
  • International airfare

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FAQS

1. How difficult are the trekking routes?

As mentioned above this trek has been graded as a moderate level trek. And is suitable for both experienced and novice trekkers. However, for newcomers, the routes can be quite harsh. To know more you can read Lower Dolpo Trek difficulties from above.

2. Training needed for this trek?

Yes, training is needed for this trek. You don’t require technical training but should do physical training. Physical training such as running, swimming, short hikes, etc. You need to increase your stamina for a better experience.

3. Do we need Permits for this Trek?

Yes, permits are compulsory for this trek. You will be requiring a lower Dolpo restricted area entry permit to complete this trek. You should always carry this permit along with you during this entire trip. This permit is non-refundable and non-transferable.

4. How to prevent Altitude Sickness?

Altitude sickness can occur even if you are a healthy person. People wonder how to prevent altitude sickness. Some methods are as follows:

  • Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated
  • Carry energy bars for the trek.
  • Walk slowly
  • Avoid smoking and drinking in this whole trek
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Fantastic Experience of the Lower Dolpo trekking with Exciting Nepal

Lower dolpo is one of the places in Nepal that fascinated me the most. With the remote location and pristine lifestyle, I knew I had to visit it once in my lifetime. So me and my friends decided to browse the internet for some clues. We found positive reviews of Exciting Nepal and decided to contact them for the trek.

Exciting Nepal is definitely one of the best crews I have ever worked with. Extremely friendly and professional, they made this trip a breeze. Mr Subash of Exciting Nepal was the first person we contacted and he prepared us a perfect itinerary and in no time we were off to the dream destination

Needless to say the place was magical. Travelling along the rugged hills, glistening lakes and snow-capped mountains we had the time of our life! Our guide Mr. Basu was a charming and helpful guide. He provided us with the best accommodations and food and made this trip more convenient than ever. Also, his complete knowledge of the place astounded us!

From our behalf,we would like to thank the entire Exciting Nepal crew, especially Mr Subash and Mr Basu for this fantastic journey and pocket full of memories that we have carried from the Lower Dolpo Trekking.

Cali carter, poland

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Trip Facts

  • Group Size: 02 Minimum.
  • Grade Info: Adventure And Challenging
  • Transportation: Flight/Private vehicle.
  • Total Days: 20 days

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