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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 01 Arrival in Kathmandu||1,350m/4,429ft|
|Day 02 Kathmandu: Sightseeing and Trek Preparation||1,350m/4,429ft|
|Day 03 Fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj||150m/492ft|
|Day 04 Fly from Nepalgunj to Jhupal (Dolpo) and trek to Dunai||2,850m/9,351ft||2-3 hrs|
|Day 05 Dunai to Tarakot||2,537m/8,324ft||5-6 hrs|
|Day 06 Tarakot to Laini||3,160m/10,368ft||6-7 hrs|
|Day 07 Laini to Nawarpani||3,545m/11,631ft||5-6 hrs|
|Day 08 Nawarpani to Do Tarap||4,090m/13,419ft||7-8 hrs|
|Day 09 Rest Day at Do Tarap for acclimatization||4,090m/13,419ft|
|Day 10 Trek to Numa La Base Camp||4,440m/14,568ft||6-7 hrs|
|Day 11 Cross Numa La pass, camp at Pelung Tang||4,465m/14,650ft||6-7 hrs|
|Day 12 Cross Baga La pass trek to Dajok Tang||4,080m/13,386ft||5-6 hrs|
|Day 13 Dajok Tang to Ringmo||3,600m/11,812ft||3-4 hrs|
|Day 14 Hike to Phoksundo Lake||3,612m/11,851ft||4-5 hrs|
|Day 15 Phoksundo Lake to Shyanta||2,250m/7,382ft||5-6 hrs|
|Day 16 Shyanta to Jhupal||2,500m/8,203ft||5-6 hrs|
|Day 17 Fly to Nepalgunj, fly to Kathmandu||1,350m/4,429ft|
|Day 18 Final departure||-|
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.
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.
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.
We fly to Jhupal (2,320m/7,610ft) 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 (5,190m) 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.
After breakfast we begin our steep climb up to the top of Baga La pass (5,070m). 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
We will be staying in Yatri Suites & Spa or similar 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.
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.
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.
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.
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