Inner Dolpa & Shey Gompa Trek - 25 days

Inner Dolpa & Shey Gompa Trek - 25 days

Dolpo is unknown until recently though it has been talked about since the journey Snell grove took in 1956 and described in his book "Himalayan Pilgrimage". The region north of Dhaulagiri range is a forgotten land, isolated from rest of the country. The area above Do-Tarap is virtually opaque to outside world. Because of its remoteness and extreme weather it is difficult for outsiders to establish their presence. Dolpo is a hidden valley kept isolated by the huge Himalayan range in the south and, in the north the mountain range of 5000 to 6000 meters high with its many ridges, pass and peaks that stretched to the Tibetan plateau. Trek to Dolpo is an unprecedented adventure to the high, remote and original Bhotia (Tibetan) culture that still need to be discovered. It is true adventure in extreme land. You get to see spectacular mountain-view, unique and unspoiled Bhotia people in their nomadic condition. Broadly speaking Kanjiroba himal range defines its western boarder and in the south is Barbung Khola (river). The enigmatic Shey-gompa lies in inner Dolpo behind the high pass that divides Tarap valley. Dolpo is among the very few places where Bon-po, a pre Buddhist, religion is in practice. 

For years people have wanted to have a look at the monastery at Shey known as Shey-gompa and blue sheep. Shey-gompa is behind the so called ‘crystal mountain.’ It is not an easy walk to this hidden place. There are several high passes that you have to go through before getting behind the Crystal Mountain. This is unexplored land where the trails are not always defined. The trek to Shey demands a lot of energy and patience. And good weather would make this trek memorable.

We fly to Nepalgunj; stay overnight there and next day fly to Juphal (Dolpo). The schedule flight to Dolpo departs early in the morning. We walk from Juphal to Dunai, the district headquarter of Dolpo, and turn south east to Tarakot. After Tarakot the trail to Do Tarap follows narrow valley made by Tarap-khola (river). Do Tarap have two major gompas-Bon po and Buddhist-and chorten (Buddhist stupa). It is fairly large village with cultivated land. Most of the inhabitants are Magar, one of the major ethnic groups of Nepal, but their dialect and culture is Tibetan.

From Do Tarap traverse across the rolling hills, cross Jangla to get into the crystal mountain to arrive at Inner Dolpo. Visit different monasteries (gompas) scattered in the region. We spend a week travelling through important villages like Namdom, Saldang , Namjung and finally Shey Gompa itself. For years people have wanted to have a look at the monastery at Shey known as Shey-gompa and blue sheep. Shey gompa is behind the crystal mountain. It is not an easy walk to this hidden place. The trek demands a lot of energy, patience. But you find perfect Shangri La in Inner Dolpa.

After Shey we plan to cross Kang la, a high pass in the western border of Shey to get out of the valley to the other world. Stay overnight at Phoksindhu lake (3620m) to enjoy its serenity and beauty and travel south to Dunai.  The trail from the lake follow regular path to Juphal. Next day early in the morning we fly out to Nepaljung and in the afternoon we connect flight to Kathmandu.

The trek provides an unprecedented adventure. You will discover the original state of the inhabitants. Of course you will be thrilled to encounter nomads and yak caravans. Unlike other trek you travel through the uncharted trail. The deep blue sky, snow covered rolling high mountain and deep river valley and seemingly endless trail continues to dominate the journey. You will be amazed to see the raw beauty of the land and innocence of the people. You will experience your travel as if you are in a time machine going back in time. There is nothing except you and the nature

Day 01: Arrive Kathmandu, transfer to hotel. In Kathmandu ( Bed and Breakfast)

Day 02: In Kathmandu (Bed and Breakfast): Full day sightseeing tour of Kathmandu and Patan or Bhaktapur.

Day 03: Fly to Travel to NepalJung. Transfer to hotel.

Day 04: Fly to Juphal (2353m)  trek to Dunai (2150m):Early morning transfer to airport. Fly to Juphal (2354m) airstrip situated high above the river. Trek to Dunai. The administrative center of Dolpo has many shops, militery and police post, school, lodges and hospital. After lunch we stay overnight at Dunai before heading east along Barbung Khola (river). It is about 3 hour walk to Dunai.

Day 05: Tarakot (2600m): Trek to Tarakot (2600m):We walk through the southern bank of Barbung Khola, cross the river to climb steadily to Heutaghar. We continue to walk up and down the trail until Tarakot. It has a police check post. The village is situated high above. The intersection at lower Tarakot is the junction of the route from the south, west and east.

Day 06: Lahini and to Khanigaon (2543m):We follow the trail through southern bank to the river towards east, cross the river that has suspension bridge to reach Sahartara and further up Khanigaon. Depending upon the situation we may walk further about another 2 hour to another nice camping place.

Day 07: Cheur (3632m) / Serkam:We have entered the valley made by Tarap Khola (river). The  valley up stream is narrow. We travel high above the valley and continue to climb the trail to  Lahini; it would take avout 3 hour. Lahini has beautiful meadow with water fall . The walk is delightful through waterfalls, meadows and forests. You can see musk deer in the wilderness. After that we climb the trail high above the narrow river valley through varieties of condition. Finally we reach Cheur that has narrow shelf with big overhead cliff. We walk further to Serkam. It is quite an arduous and long walk on this day.  The narrow valley has many caves carved out for shelters. It is important to travel during better weather condition. In the past travelers have used ropes to cross difficult parts of the trail. People have been continuously making better condition, but from time to time natural elements have damaged the condition.

Day 08: Do Tarap (4040m):The trail becomes broad and well travelled as you approach Dho tarap. The fields are cultivated and people keep herds of animals. There are many mani walls and chortens along the trail. Some of the chortains are in bad shape. The ‘French School' is just outside the village of Dho Tarap. Dho is surrounded by an irregular stone wall and consists of thirty-four houses, divided into three clusters and built in a haphazard way. Tarap is inhabited mostly by Magars who have lived here for generations. There are also few Tibetans. People of Dho Tarap wear home-spun cloths which are mostly dyed into maroon colour. As for shoes most of them wear Tibetan style somba (boots with upturned toes). Both men and women normally wear religious amulets and strings of coral and turquoise. The inhabitants of this village are both Bon Po and Buddhist (Nyingmapa). In the afternoon a walk up to the Buddhist Gompa is very worthwhile. There is a resident lama who is very happy to show off his monastery and might even let you see his private Gompa and the thankas he has made himself. The Bon Gompa is about half an hour's walk.

Day 09: Tok Kyu  / Shering Gompa (4400m):Walk from Do Tarap to Tokyu is about 2 hour.  We walk east along the Tarap Chu (river) in a plain valley that has patches of grass on both sides of the river. En-route you may visit Chaiba Gompa. The valley along Tarap Chu has pleasant trail. Tarap is a beautiful wide valley in this high mountains; it extend 20 kms along the river (Tarap Chu). Tarap has ten villages with cultivated fields, many gompas and chortens. We stay overnight near the Tokyu monastery that belongs to the Chaiba sect.

Day 10: Cross Jangla Base (5080m) to Sibu (4033m): We start early on this day. The climb to the pass at Jang-la would take us about 4 hour.  The trail though steep is quite easy on foot. From summit of Jang la you can get good views of the Dhaulagiri massif; it glitters in the morning sunlight. The trail from Tarap valley is quite rough that gradually ascend to the pass. We leave behind the lush green valley and get into Inner Dolpo on this day. After the pass we make a steep descend to Sibu village. We pass through a pleasant meadow where the locals usually heard their cattles. We continue to traverse towards the river Nangkong Chu and walk further on the easy trail along the river to Sibu located on the bank of the river.

Day 11: Extra day for weather:overnight at Jangla base camp.

Day 12: Saldang (3920m):Next day we travel through Namdo. It is quite a large prosperous village. The last count was sixty houses with about four hundred inhabitants. The village located high on the slope west of Nam Khong Khola stretches for more than 5 km. The monastery at Namdo is located near the river bank. As you travel towards Saldang you pass through several stupas, chortens, and terraced fields, stupas, and chortens. You come across stacked mani stones and a Chaiba monastery. Saldang is a large picturesque and prosperous village located on the trade route to Tibet. The village is situated on a plateau high above the Nam Khong chu (river). Probably it is the biggest village in the inner Dolpo region. Because of its isolated location this village has very much Tibetan appearance. The population of the village was about 600 inhabitants with 80 houses. 

Day 13: Namjung (4430m):Our journey continues on through the barren land with patches of green fields in places that are usual scene of the high mountain plateau. We gradually traversed the slopes climbing gradually then descend to Namjung village. This is a short day to allow us to visit village and meet local inhabitants.    

Day 14: Free day -Extra day at Namjung and Saldang (4000m)

Day 15: Shey Gompa (4200m):Trek to Shey gompa.

Day 16: Extra day at Shey (4200m): Spend the day to relax and see the monastery which  is said to be dated 11th century. It has colorful Tibetan murals and old statues of deities. The antic Kagyupa gompa was fabled to have been built by a Tibetan Buddhist lama, arriving on the back of a mythical snow-lion. This has been the fable almost anywhere important monasteries were built in the nook and corners of the himalaya. It has valuable scroll that is said to describe about the mythology of Shey Gompa. There is another gompa next to the main monastery.

Day 17: Traverse to the pass at Kangla (5270m) / cross Kang La: This day is going to be long and hard walk to Sehu –La (5000m) and kangla.  Often the slopes are covered with snow. A long uphill walk in snow is expected to take about 6 hours. It is important to have good weather condition on this day to traverse all the way. A bad weather can strand most likely for days. A steady walking pace would gradually lead you to the summit. The view from the summit is stunning. After a while at the summit we descend through the steep scree slope that takes about 3 hour to go up to the summit from the valley floor. For us it should take about an hour careful walk through the loose soils to the floor.  The uninterrupted sleeper slope is more than 300 meter down to the valley floor. This is the arduous walk in the travel to inner Dolpo.

Day 18: Kangla base camp to Phoksindhu lake (3568m):After Kangla we traverse through the narrow valley. This stretch to the lake is relatively easy that descend quite steeply. We travel south along Phoksindhu river which we would be crisscrossing. The narrow river valley slowly widens up as you approach lower end of the Phoksindhu river. On this day we virtually walk through unchartered trail that descend sharply to the confluence of Phoksindhu lake.

Day 19: At Phoksindhu Lake (3568m) - Rest day:Phoksindhu Lake (3620m) is part of Shey Phoksundo National Park that includes a large are of Inner Dolpo; the park is established in 1984. Phoksindhu is a beautiful lake perched in the corner of the surrounding mountain range.

Day 20: Roha gaon (2970m):We descend to Ringmo (3600m) and gradually to Dunai (2150m).  It takes about 5 hour to reach the confluence of Barbung Khola (river) and Suli Gadi river. We cross the bridge over Suli Gad river pass by Sumdo to Regi (3050m) - a small Gurung village. Further down the river we travel through Sepka (2670m), Hanke (2660m) and climb to Roha gaon (2970m) . We come across the winter houses of the people living in upper part of Dolpo that appear abandoned. Roha is a neat village inhabited by Magars and Chetri who dress and speaks Tibetan dialect.  They are mostly traders who bring salt from Tibet to sell in the south.

Day 21: Juphal airport (2400m):We make further descent to Dunai and to Juphal:  It is short walk to Juphal.

Day 22: Fly to Nepaljung and to Kathmandu. In Kathmandu (Bed & Breakfast). We take early morning flight from Juphal to Nepaljung and later in the afternoon another schedule flight to Kathmandu. Transfer to Hotel. Overnight in Kathmandu.

Day 23: In Kathmandu

Day 24: in Kathmandu - free day

Day 25: Transfer to aiport, depart Kathmandu


Cost: US$ 4830 per person

Cost includes:

01: All meals and accommodation in tent during the trek

02: Cooking and eating utensils.

03: Service of sardar (guide), cook, kitchen and sherpa assistants

04: Porters to carry personal baggage (each 15 kg.), food and camping equipment

05: Warm clothing, shoes, blankets and dark goggles for high altitude porters as required

06: Accident insurance for staffs and porters.

07: Domestic Airfare according to programme

08: Upper Dolpo Special trek permit

09: Nationalpark/conservation entry permit as per programme

10: Arrival and departure transfers.

11: Local / Public transport as shown in the programme for staffs

12: Hotel Accommodation in Kathmandu on on BB, MAP on Nepalgunj

Cost does not include:

01: Personal clothing and sleeping bag (US$ 50 per person) 

02: Personal accident and health insurance

03: Emergency evacuation and oxygen cost, and medical-box

04: Alcoholic and bottled beverage, laundry, and tips

05: Sightseeing tours and meals in Kathmandu

06: Any other services and expenses that are not specifically mentioned in the programme

07: Expenses due to flight delay, sickness other contingencies

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trip hightlight

  • Price : USD 4830
  • Destinations : Upper Dolpo
  • Max Elevation : 5500 m.
  • Weather : Spring and Autumn are good time to visit this area
  • Trip Duration : 25 days
  • Trip Grade : Streneous
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