Lower Dolpo Trek - 18 Days

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An enthralling journey filled with remote trekking, high mountain passes and yak caravans in the remote lower Dolpo region
Group size: 1-12 people Max-Altitude: 5,360m/17,580ft
Destination: Nepal Fitness Level: Difficult
Arrival on: Kathmandu, Nepal Departure from: Kathmandu, Nepal
Meals: Breakfast in Kathmandu. All meals during the trek
Accommodation: 3-star hotel in Kathmandu and teahouses during trek

Trip Introduction

Lower Dolpo Trek offers an outstanding trekking experience in the remote western region of Nepal. The 18-day trek begins with visits to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu. Next, we fly to Jhupal via Nepalgunj and begin our trek through remote locations admiring the beautiful rain shadow landscape of the Himalayas, reflected in the colorful barren slopes of the mountains where the play of light and shadow is a perpetual fascinating spectacle. Thanks to Eric Valli, a French geographical photographer working for National Geographic, the Dolpo region of Nepal has been shown in all its integrity and full mystical experience. Furthermore, this is also one of the few areas where the pre-Buddhist Bon Po religion is still practiced. While on the trek, we get to muse at the yak caravans that maintain the traditional salt trade with Tibet. We also cross two high passes- Numa La and Baga La-and reflect on life amidst the tranquil waters of Phoksundo Lake.

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu (1300m/4264ft)
Upon our arrival in Kathmandu, a representative from Himalayan Glacier will pick us up from the airport and take us to our hotel. In the afternoon, we may take a rest or visit Himalayan Glacier’s office. In the evening, there will be a welcome dinner hosted by Himalayan Glacier. For dinner, you will be served excellent Nepalese cuisine. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Included meals:D
Day 02: Kathmandu: Sightseeing and Trek Preparation
Today after breakfast we start a guided tour to several of the most historical and spiritual attractions in Kathmandu. Some of these landmarks are considered World Heritage Sites including the historic Durbar Square, the sacred Hindu temple of Pashupatinath, the famous 'Monkey Temple' (Swayambhunath) and Buddhist shrine (Bouddhanath), which is one of the largest stupas in the world. At noon, there will be a pre-trip discussion where we can meet our trek leader and other team members. Himalayan Glacier will brief us regarding our trek as well as provide us with an opportunity to ask any questions we may have regarding our upcoming adventure. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Included meals:B
Day 03: Fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj: 1 hour
After our short excursion in Kathmandu, we take an hour-long flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj, located in Western Nepal. Nepalgunj, a town near the Nepal-India border, is also the gateway to Simikot, Humla. The town itself is an interesting Terai town that showcases the diverse culture of Nepal. In Nepalgunj, we visit the local market, mini-zoo and nearby villages. Overnight in Nepalgunj.
Included meals:BLD
Day 04: Fly from Nepalgunj to Jhupal (Dolpo) (2,320m/7,610ft) and trek to Dunai (2,850m/9,348ft): 45 mins flight, 2-3 hours trek
We fly to Jhupal after breakfast. The town is beautifully located over the Himalayan foothills, with views of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri peaks to its north. Here, we meet our trekking staff and begin the adventure. We walk through terraced fields to the Bheri River and its narrow gorge. We continue walking to Dunai which is the administrative headquarter of the Dolpo region. We explore the small town in the evening and camp there for the night.
Included meals:BLD
Day 05: Dunai to Tarakot (2,543m/8,341ft): 5-6 hours
After breakfast our trek continues along the southern bank of the Bheri River heading upstream on an easy trail. Along the way, we pass through several deep gorges, hanging bridges and isolated villages. Our trail also includes a tremendous gorge with pine trees and a path built about seven meters above the river. After walking for a while, we will be greeted by the colorful, terraced field of Tarakot, a small village that stands on a hillock to the south of the Bheri River. Overnight in Tarakot.
Included meals:BLD
Day 06: Tarakot to Laini (3,160 m/10,365 ft): 6-7 hours
We walk alongside Tarap Chu river and cross it twice before reaching Sandul Gompa. The gompa lies at a juncture between Barbung Khola and Tarap Chu river. We continue walking on a trail that takes us through farm terraces and rural villages. After ascending and descending for a while, we finally reach Laini. Overnight in Laini.
Included meals:BLD
Day 07: Laini to Nawarpani (3,545m/11,627 ft): 5-6 hours
We climb on a steep trail and walk along switchback above the Tarap River. The walk is quite exciting as the valley becomes a narrow gorge that in some places you can jump from one side to another. Several vigorous climbs and descents will take us to the banks of the Chyugur Khola, from where we reach Nawarpani. Overnight in Nawarpani.
Included meals:BLD
Day 08: Nawarpani to Do Tarap (4,090m/13,415ft): 7-8 hours
We begin today’s trek by gradually ascending to Kamattarka at the confluence of the Tarap Chu and Lang Khola. We cross a narrow gorge and leave the tree line behind us and welcome wild rose and juniper bushes, typical of the dry inner Himalayan valleys. After walking for several more hours, we reach the village of Dho Tarap which is surrounded by an irregular stone wall. In this Valley both Bon Po and Chaiba religious sects reside together. Tarap is also inhabited by a few Tibetans and mostly Magars who have lived here for many generations. Overnight in Do Tarap.
Included meals:BLD
Day 09: Rest Day at Do Tarap for acclimatization
The day off will assist with acclimatization and allow some bodily rest. We can spend the day visiting nearby monasteries. During today’s short walks, we also get a chance to get acquainted with the local culture. The Dolpo people wear homespun clothing that is sometimes dyed a maroon color and they favor Tibetan style somba or dhocha (boots with upturned toes) for foot wear. Both men and women often wear religious amulets and strings of coral, amber and turquoise. The people of the region are both Bon Po and Nyingmapa (Buddhist sects). Overnight in Do Tarap.
Included meals:BLD
Day 10: Trek to Numa La Base Camp (4440m/14,563 ft): 6-7 hours walk
We trek towards the upper Tarap valley enjoying views of lush grasslands on both sides of the river which is unique to this part of the inner Dolpo. We walk alongside Tarap Chu river and take pleasure in the amazing views of the vast Tarap valley with its wide plains and high mountains. A few hours' good walk takes us to the village of Tokyu which houses a Buddhist monastery of the Chiba sect. After exploring the monastery, we continue walking up the valley on a rough trail  before reaching the Numa La Base Camp. Overnight in Numa La Base Camp.
Included meals:BLD
Day 11: Cross Numa La pass (5,190m/17,023ft), camp at Pelung Tang (4465m/14,645 ft): 6-7 hours
Today is going to be the toughest and one of the longest days of our trek.  After breakfast, we begin crossing the Numa La pass on a steep trail all the way up the top ridge of the pass. From the ridge we get incredible views of the barren mountains of Dolpo up to Mt. Dhaulagiri (8167m).  After getting to the top of Numa La, we descend to camp at Pelung Tang.
Included meals:BLD
Day 12: Cross Baga La pass (5,070m/16,630ft), trek to Dajok Tang (4,080m/13,382ft): 6 hours
After breakfast we begin our steep climb up to the top of Baga La pass. From here, we get fantastic views of the dry landscape and the distant snow-capped mountains including Mt. Kanjirowa.  We spend some time at the top of the pass taking pictures and generally enjoying the mesmerizing views. Next, we descend to Dajok Tang for an overnight stay.
Included meals:BLD
Day 13: Dajok Tang to Ringmo (3,600m/11,808ft): 3-4 hours
We spend most of today’s trek on trails alongside beautiful pine forests and alpine vegetation. After trekking for a short while on an easy trail with only gradual highs and lows, we reach Ringmo Village. The village is a traditional Tibetan village of the Dolpo region. Overnight in Ringmo.
Included meals:BL
Day 14: Hike to Phoksundo Lake
Today we explore the great Phoksundo Lake and camp at its shores. We see yak caravans moving in and out of Ringmo mostly towards Tibetan borders on remote mountain trails. The scene is even depicted in a Hollywood movie ‘Caravan’ shot mostly in this location. On our way to the lake, we also tour a nearby monastery. Upon reaching the Phoksundo Lake, we can enjoy a relaxing walk on the serene lake’s shores. Overnight at Phoksundo.
Included meals:BLD
Day 15: Phoksundo Lake to Shyanta (2520m/8265 ft): 5-6 hours walk
We trek downhill to Chepka. From Chepka the trail follows a massive overhanging rock. During our trek, we find many important medicinal minerals which are believed to cure almost anything in this area. The route then passes through villages, before climbing to Shyanta. Overnight in Shyanta.
Included meals:BLD
Day 16: Shyanta to Jhupal
We march towards Jhupal via Sulighat on a trail surrounded by birch trees. From atop a ridge, we get the most spectacular views of the mountain above us and Jhupal Village below. Utmost caution is required while trekking along this trail. After reaching Jhupal, we can spend our afternoon exploring the busy market town or simply taking a rest. Overnight in Jhupal.
Included meals:BLD
Day 17: Fly to Nepalgunj, fly to Kathmandu
We take the earliest flight from Jhupal to Nepalgunj. Upon reaching Nepalgunj, we return to Kathmandu on the next available flight. Upon our arrival in Kathmandu, we will be transferred to our hotel. There is nothing to do but trade emails with travel companions and organize the photos. To celebrate the successful completion of our journey, we will have a farewell dinner in the evening. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Included meals:BLD
Day 18: Final departure
Our adventure in Nepal comes to an end today! A representative from Himalayan Glacier will take us to the airport approximately 3 hours before the scheduled flight.
Included meals:B

Important Note

Your safety is of paramount concern while traveling with Himalayan Glacier. Please note that your leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Every effort will be made to keep to the above itinerary; however, since this adventure entails travelling in remote mountainous regions, we cannot guarantee that we will not deviate from it. Weather conditions, health condition of a group member, unexpected natural disasters, etc., can all contribute to changes in the itinerary. The leader will try to ensure that the trip runs according to plan, but please be prepared to be flexible if required.

Included in the Cost

  • Airport pickups and drops in a private vehicle
  • 3-star hotel accommodation in Kathmandu with breakfast
  • Teahouse accommodation during the trek
  • All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) during the trek
  • Welcome and farewell dinners
  • All ground transportation on a comfortable private vehicle as per the itinerary
  • Domestic flights (Kathmandu- Nepalgunj -Jhupal round trip)
  • Guided city tour in Kathmandu by private vehicle
  • Entrance fees for sightseeing/monument visits as per the itinerary
  • An experienced, English-speaking and government-licensed trek leader and assistant trek leader (4 trekkers: 1 assistant guide)
  • Porter service (2 trekkers: 1 porter)
  • Staff costs including their salary, insurance, equipment, domestic airfare, food and accommodation
  • Down jacket and sleeping bag  (to be returned after trip completion)
  • Himalayan Glacier’s trekking bag/duffel bag, t-shirt and trekking map are yours to take
  • All necessary paperwork and trekking permits (National Park Permit, TIMS)
  • Medical kit (carried by your trek leader)
  • All government and local taxes

Not Included in the Cost

  • Nepalese visa fee 
  • Excess baggage charge(s)
  • Extra night accommodation in Kathmandu because of early arrival, late departure, early return from mountain (due to any reason) than the scheduled itinerary
  • Lunch and evening meals in Kathmandu
  • International flights
  • Travel and rescue insurance
  • Personal expenses (phone calls, laundry, bar bills, battery recharge, extra porters, bottle or boiled water, shower, etc.)
  • Tips for guide(s), porter(s) and driver(s)

The Trekking Group

For the Lower Dolpo Trek, there will be one leader, assistant leader (4 trekkers: 1 assistant guide) and Sherpa porters for luggage carrying (2 trekkers: 1 porter). This arrangement ensures that even if someone in the group gets sick or is unable to carry on, the trip can still go ahead as planned for the rest of the group. We can run the trek for groups of any size, but usually a maximum of twelve people is ideal as we've found this to be the optimum size for a successful trip.

Travel Insurance

It is a condition upon joining any of Himalayan Glacier's trips that all clients be insured for comprehensive expenses that might incur due to medical issues or accidents (this includes air ambulance, helicopter rescue, and treatment costs). Please note that we don't arrange or sell insurance.

Accommodations

We will be staying at Hotel Moonlight in Kathmandu and teahouses during the trek. All accommodations are on twin-shared basis. Single supplement will be served on request and will cost an additional USD 350. Himalayan Glacier will arrange rooms with attached washrooms; however, teahouses in some remote places only have shared washing and toilet facilities.Also note that single rooms are readily available in Kathmandu and the trekking regions at lower elevation but it might be difficult to find them at higher elevations.

Meals

Breakfast (only) will be available in Kathmandu whereas all meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) will be available during the trek. We can enjoy freshly-cooked, hygienic and nutritious meals on full-board basis prepared by our trained and experienced cook during the trek. Authentic Nepalese, Tibetan dishes as well as the more common international cuisine (Tibetan, Continental, Italian, Indian, etc.) will be available.

Leader(s) & Staff Arrangements

The most significant thing that makes this trek, enjoyable and memorable is the skilled, experienced, courteous and helpful leader(s) and crew members. Our trip will be led by only the best and most professional leaders. All of Himalayan Glacier's leaders are carefully selected on the basis of their appropriate experience, leadership skills and personal aptitude. With an objective of sustaining local communities, Himalayan glacier only employs local staff who have adequate knowledge about culture, ecosystem, flora, fauna, geography, and history of their local region/s. The trek and expedition leaders have undergone the following trainings:

  • Intensive Wilderness First Aid
  • Trekking Guide Training
  • Eco Trekking Workshop and Adventure Meet
  • English Language
  • Conservation and Biodiversity
  • Rock climbing, Ice Climbing and Mountaineering (for expedition leaders)

To meet Himalayan Glacier's team, check out the Guide Profile Page

Porter Care

Though often overlooked, it's no exaggeration to say the entire trekking and expedition industry in Nepal is built on the back of hard-working local porters. It is their tireless efforts carrying supplies, equipment and baggage that make journeying to these remote areas possible. Therefore, we are firmly committed to porter rights. We make sure that all our porters are well treated, well paid and we provide the level of shelter, clothing and footwear that these harsh environments demand. Porters who become sick are treated with the same care and attention as other team members and we have previously used helicopters - at our expense - to rescue porters from dangerous situations. We support the work of the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG), making our resources available to them to help improve the working conditions of the porters. (International Porters Progress Group)

Environmental Concerns

This Dolpo region is stunningly beautiful, but equally fragile. Future generations have just as much of a right to appreciate it as we do and so the tourism industry has an obligation to protect and preserve it. We employ a 'zero impact' policy on the natural environment and the traditional communities that live there. We enforce a number of do's and don'ts, and our experienced staff can advise you on how to minimize your impact.

Acclimatization

Lower Dolpo Trek’s itinerary is planned with a high degree of awareness of AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). A separate day is set aside in Do Tarap for acclimatization. Going up at higher altitudes too fast causes a medical condition serious enough to result in death. The higher the altitude, the less oxygen will be in the air. For example, at an altitude above of 5000m, there is 50% less oxygen than at sea level. Therefore, our body needs many days to adapt to an environment with less oxygen. 

Himalayan Glacier advises guest(s) with known heart, lungs or blood diseases to consult their doctor before traveling. Mild headaches, fever, loss of appetite or stomach disorders are symptoms of AMS. Check out "Altitude illness" by Dr Jim Duff. .  Himalayan Glacier's itineraries are designed to try to prevent AMS as much as possible. However, it is important to remember that some visitors are more vulnerable than others.

Physical Condition & Experience Requirements

Lower Dolpo Trek is categorized as a difficult trek. In such trek, you are likely to walk for 6-7 hours, cross steep, hilly terrain and occasional high passes of up to 5500m. You are likely to be in a remote environment with extreme weather on some days. You will also be facing high-altitude air with low levels of oxygen. Therefore, previous trekking experience, physical fitness and a positive attitude are essential. Exercising and jogging regularly for some weeks prior to the trip is a good idea to enhance our strength and stability. Past hiking experience is fundamental but no technical skill is required for this trip. It is vital for participants with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart, lung, and blood diseases to consult their doctor before taking the trip. It is also advised that you inform Himalayan Glacier about your medical condition before booking the trek.

Best Time to Travel

Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to October) are the best months for this trip. Since the Dolpo region lies in the rain shadow area formed by Dhaulagiri and Annapurna ranges, you can also take this trip during the Monsoon season (June to August).

Equipments & Packing List

This list is a guideline to help you pack for your adventure. Also understand that the items listed below will vary a little according to the season and the trek duration. Those items marked by an asterisk (*) are provided by Himalayan Glacier inclusive in the service. The weight limit for your luggage is 33 pounds or 15 kg. Remember that your luggage will be carried by your porter but you are required to carry a day-pack (with your valuables or anything important) on your own. We also suggest that you pack only what is necessary.

Important documents and items

  • Valid passport, 2 extra passport size photos, airline tickets
  • Separate photocopies of passport, visa form (easily obtained at Kathmandu airport), proof of insurance
  • Dollars, pounds or Euros in cash for purchasing Nepalese visa at Kathmandu airport, for paying for restaurants and hotels, for gratuities, snacks, and to purchase your own drinks and gifts
  • Credit cards, Bank/ATM/Cash machine cards for withdrawing funds from cash machines (bring a photocopy of your cards), traveler's checks, etc.

Head

  • Bandana or head scarf, also useful for dusty conditions
  • Warm hat that covers your ears (wool or synthetic)
  • Headlamp with extra batteries and bulbs
  • Sunglasses with UV protection
  • Prescription sunglasses (if required)

Upper Body

  • Polypropylene shirts (1 half sleeve and 2 long sleeves)
  • Light and expedition weight thermal tops
  • Fleece wind-stopper jacket or pullover
  • Waterproof (preferably breathable fabric) shell jacket
  • Down vest and/or jacket *
  • Gore-Tex jacket with hood, waterproof and breathable

Hands

  • 1 pair of lightweight poly-liner gloves.
  • 1 pair of lightweight wool or fleece gloves
  • 1 pair of mittens, consists of 1 Gore-Tex over mitt matched with a very warm polar-fleece mitt liner (seasonal)

 Lower Body

  • Non-cotton underwear briefs
  • 1 pair of Hiking shorts
  • 1 pair of Hiking trousers
  • 1 pair of lightweight thermal bottoms (seasonal)
  • 1 pair of fleece or woolen trousers
  • 1 pair of waterproof shell pants, breathable fabric

Feet

  • 2 pairs of thin, lightweight inner socks
  • 2 pairs of heavy poly or wool socks
  • 1 pair of Hiking boots with spare laces (sturdy soles, water resistant, ankle support, “broken in”)
  • 1 pair of trainers or running shoes and/or sandals
  • Cotton socks (optional)
  • Gaiters (winter only), optional, “low” ankle high version

Sleeping

  • 1 sleeping bag (good to -10 degrees C or 14 degrees F)*
  • Fleece sleeping bag liner (optional)

Rucksack and Travel Bags

  • 1 medium rucksack (50-70 liters/3000-4500 cubic inches, can be used for an airplane carryon)
  • 1 large duffel bag *
  • A small daypack/backpack for carrying your valuables, should have good shoulder padding
  • Small padlocks for duffel-kit bags
  • 2 large waterproof rucksack covers (optional)

Medical

  • Small, personal first-aid kit. (simple and light)
  • Aspirin, first-aid tape, and plasters (Band-Aids)
  • 1 skin-blister repair kit
  • Anti-diarrhea pills
  • Anti-headache pills
  • Cough and/or cold medicine
  • Anti-altitude sickness pills: Diamox or Acetylzolamide
  • Stomach antibiotic: Ciprofloxacin, etc. Do not bring sleeping pills as they are a respiratory depressant.
  • Water purification tablets or water filter
  • 1 set of earplugs
  • Extra pair of prescription glasses, contact lens supplies

Practical Items

  • 1 small roll of repair tape, 1 sewing-repair kit
  • 1 cigarette lighter, 1 small box of matches
  • 1 compass or GPS(optional)
  • 1 alarm clock/watch
  • 1 digital camera with extra cards and batteries
  • large Ziplocs
  • 2 water bottles (1 liter each)
  • 1 small folding knife
  • Binoculars (optional)
  • 4 large, waterproof, disposable rubbish sacks

Toiletries

  • 1 medium-sized quick drying towel
  • Toothbrush/paste (preferably biodegradable)
  • Multi-purpose soap (preferably biodegradable)
  • Deodorants
  • Nail clippers
  • Face and body moisturizer
  • Female hygiene products
  • Small mirror

Personal Hygiene

  • Wet wipes (baby wipes)
  • Tissue /toilet roll
  • Anti-bacterial hand wash

Extras/Luxuries

  • Reading book
  • Trail map/guide book
  • Journal and pen
  • iPod
  • Travel game i.e. chess, backgammon, scrabble, playing cards (to help you pass the time at teahouses and/or camps)
  • 1 modest swim suit
  • Binoculars (optional)
  • Voltage converter (from 220 to 110)
  • Plug adapter (2 round pegs to 2 flat pegs)
  • Lightweight pillow case (in case your teahouses provide you with pillows) or use your own stuff as a pillow

Additional Information

Our website contains as much information as possible about this trip. However, if you wish to discuss any aspect of this trip or your suitability for it please contact us by email. If you want to talk to us directly feel free to call us at: 00977-98510-55684

Source:www.himalayanglacier.com