The natural beauty of Nepal is quite unparalleled, from the spectacular array of the Himalayas to the alluring panorama of the lush green forest; the surprise is constant. And of all the surprises, the beautiful Himalayan lakes sitting alongside the majestic mountains is way more blissful.
The wide range of Himalayas that Nepal homes have formed the stunning lakes at high altitude. Undoubtedly there are several popular Himalayan lakes in Nepal and in that long list, Shey Phoksundo is one of the favorites of tourists.
Shey Phoksundo Lake
Located at an altitude of 3,611.5 meters, Shey Phoksundo Lake is the popular trekking destination in Nepal, which is known for its breathtaking turquoise color. Its extreme location amid towering peaks and undeniable beauty acts as the magnet of attraction.
The lake lies within the periphery of Shey Phoksundo National Park in Dolpo district. Spread over the area of 494 hectors with a water volume of 409,0000 m3, the lake is categorized as an oligotrophic lake. Along with its mesmerizing beauty, the depth of Shey Phoksundo is quite awe-inspiring; the lake has a maximum depth of 145 meters.
Keeping aside the talk about Shey Phoksundo, a waterfall of over 167-meter height plunging from the water of the lake is another great attraction of lake. And as it happens, it is the tallest waterfall in Nepal. There is a village named Ringmo on the southern end of the lake that sits on 30,000-40,000-year-old landslide dam that formed the lake, and the waterfall is right past the dam.
Shey Phoksundo is the epitome of natural beauty surrounded by mountain-fed glaciers, and in addition to that, the lake is also revered by Tibetan Buddhist and Bon especially. You will find more than 20 stupas in the southern side of the lake and one gompa in the side, where annual prayer and worship are carried out by the locals.
Best Time to Visit Shey Phoksundo
The best time to visit Shey Phoksundo is from the month of March to May and September to November. These are the pre and post monsoon season when the temperature and weather are favorable for trekking.
Although winter is extreme, Shey Phoksundo trek is still doable during that time.. However, the weather can get chilly with all the snow and cold wind. So, pack your bag, taking extra care.
But, summer season, where June to September gets the most rainfall, won’t be the best option to trek towards Shey Phoksundo.
Shey Phoksundo Lake Altitude
The lake is located at an altitude of 3,611.5 meters, which is relatively moderate height. Also, the trek has a medium level of difficulty, meaning you don’t need skill or expertise on trekking. Journeying towards the lake doesn’t possess any extreme threat of altitude sickness; however, follow the acclimatization rule, drink plenty of water, trek at a slow pace and have enough rest.
Shey Phoksundo Lake Weather
The region of Shey Phoksundo receives most of the precipitation during the month from July to September.
Likewise, located at such an altitude, winter is severe with frequent snowfall above 2,500 meters, and above 3,000 meters, the temperature remains below zero.
How to get to Shey Phoksundo?
The typical way to arrive at this splendid lake of Shey Phoksundo Lake is taking a flight at first, and trekking. Another popular way to get Shey Phoksundo is halfway through drive and halfway through the trek.
It takes around ten days of time to complete this popular trek. However, the itinerary is a matter of customization, depending on the client's’ preference.
To add more thrill and adventure in this, trekkers connects Shey Phoksundo to other popular destinations like Upper Dolpo, Shey Gompa, and Rara Lake. Well, you will get the detail below, so keep up with the article.
Rich Biodiversity in Shey Phoksundo National Park
As the lake lies within the Shey Phoksundo National Park, the trek will take you to the land of rich biodiversity.
There are six species of reptile and 29 species of butterfly, along with the highest flying one in the world, Paralasa nepalaica. The endangered animals that the park harbors include Snow leopard, blue sheep, musk deer, and the Grey wolf. Some other wildlife is Himalayan Tahr, Himalayan black bear, grey bear, leopard, jackal, goral, great Tibetan sheep and yellow-throated marten.
Shey Phoksundo National Park is also an excellent place for birdwatching, where over 200 species of birds resides including wood snipe, wood accentor, white-throated tit, Tibetan partridge and crimson-eared rosefinch.
Also, the vegetation of the park is quite diverse. Along with all the wide range of floral species, there are 286 species vegetation with ethnobotanical importance. White Himalayan birch, Salix, juniper, blue pine, spruce, poplar, rhododendron, silver fir, bamboo are some species.
Sole Shey Phoksundo Lake Trek
This is the sole journey towards Shey Phoksundo and back, without joining any further destination. To begin the journey, we first take a flight to Nepalgunj from Kathmandu and the next flight to Juphal from Nepalgunj and start trekking to Dunai.
Then after two days of trekking, we will arrive at Shey Phoksundo; wherein we pass by traditional villages and the Tibetan settlement in Ringmo is the most popular one, a cascading waterfall, terraced farms, mountains views, and unique vegetations.
After exploring the lake, we will descend back.
Upper Dolpo and Shey Gompa via Shey Phoksundo Trek
Scaling further from the Shey Phoksundo lake towards Upper Dolpo and Shey Gompa is another popular trekking destination amongst tourists. As Upper Dolpo is a restricted area, you will need a special permit in addition to Shey Phoksundo National Park permit.
From Shey Phoksundo lake, we scale towards Shey Gompa via Kang-La pass (5,456 meters). Shey Gompa is located at an elevation of 4,126 meters and is one of the most sacred Himalayan pilgrimage sites of Nepal.
The journey to Upper Dolpo and Shey Gompa takes you to the mystical land where centuries-old Buddhist and Bonpo traditions entwined with shamanistic influence is still the part of daily life. Further, the landscape is even more remote, and the villages are more isolated and authentic than any you have ever encountered.
Even after arriving and exploring Shey Gompa, it takes additional around ten days to be back at Juphal. So, the Shey Phoksundo trek joining Upper Dolpo and Shey Gompa is more challenging and strenuous than sole trek to Shey Phoksudo. However, for the avid-adventurers, this long trek is a perfect spend of vacation.
Shey Phoksundo to Rara Lake
Now, it a more longer version of Shey Phoksundo trek than the above mentioned two. It is a long trek that takes around 25 days to form Shey Phoksundo to Rara Lake and around 30 days if you add Shey Gompa as well. Depending on the time, resource and the passion you have for trek you embark on this trek accordingly.
Just like Shey Phoksundo, Rara Lake is another sought-after Himalayan lake of Nepal located at 2,290 meters elevation above sea level. To include this, yet another incredible destination on the trek can lengthen some days, but with delightful alpine meadows filled with wildflowers, majestic peaks soaring right above the horizon, glacial streams, distant settlements; everything that comes along the way just keeps on upscaling the charm of the trek.
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