Dolpa is one of Nepal’s most exciting trekking destinations for many reasons. First of all, with an area of 7,889 sq. kilometers, it is the largest district of Nepal and yet one of the most sparsely populated. Its topography is fascinating. It contains the deepest lake in Nepal, Lake Phoksundo, the deepest lake of high altitudes worldwide. Dolpa is one of the few Nepali districts that are behind the Himalayan mountains, due to which it gets very little rain. Upper Dolpo Trek is one of Nepal’s best and less visited trekking regions. A restricted area only recently opened for travelers in 1988. Travel through beautiful National Park areas and isolated trails to reach remote Shey Gompa Monastery. Pass mythical Crystal Mountain. Enjoy wild mountain scenery and splendid Himalayan views.
Hence, most of the hills are bare, with little vegetation. The Harsh weather combined with high hills makes the Upper Dolpo Trekking area one of the most inhospitable in Nepal. Yet, the barren and majestic hills lend it a rare beauty that is mesmerizing. Due to the harsh living conditions, few people live or travel in these areas. As a result, the people of Dolpa are part of a very isolated culture found in specific pockets of northern Nepal.
This is a land where life still revolves around horses, mules, and yaks, people still wear traditional attire and jewelry, waters are still divided based on a dice game, and the remains of the dead are given to wild vultures. Even today, much of Dolpa is a restricted area for tourists, contributing to the preservation of the unique culture of Dolpa.
Some of the attractions of the Upper Dolpo Trek route are Dho Tarap, a human settlement at the highest altitude in the world, Shey Gumba, religiously the most important Gumba in Nepal, and Lake Phoksundo, the deepest lake of high altitude in the world.
The Upper Dolpa region is full of rare herbs and wild animals. Lucky tourists can sight blue sheep, choral, even cheetahs, and many other species of wild animals. Also, the forests of Upper Dolpo are home to rare plants like Yarsagumba, Jatamasi, Panchaunle, Chimailo, and many others.
Upper Dolpa is one of the few remaining sources of Yarsa Gumba, an exotic half plant, the half-animal considered a powerful aphrodisiac. Every year, in May-June, the Shey Phoksundo National Park opens its doors to the seekers of yarsagumba. Local villagers travel in droves to great heights to seek this elusive plant found only in high altitudes under specific weather conditions. At a small six inches, the Yarsagumba is hard to spot on the ground for anyone but local experts.
Even the locals have to endure challenging hardships of high altitude, cold, and harsh topography to reap the Yarsagumba in its prime condition. They then sell it to local dealers at up to Rs. 1,200 per piece. The economy of Dolpa leans heavily on Yarsagumba, called “the insect” by locals and “Himalayan Viagra” by its enthusiasts. In July-August, droves of local traders can collect yarsagumba from villagers and take it over to China or Kathmandu for sale. At the end of the chain, Yarsagumba sells for more than Rs. 5,000 per piece in retail.
Accommodations are included in the trip cost. Peregrine Treks and Expedition has chosen the best deluxe accommodation for three nights in Kathmandu in a 3-star hotel, two nights in a lodge in Nepalgunj/Jupal, and the other nights in a comfortable two-person camping tent. To sleep in a tent, 4 season sleeping bag, and a foam mattress will be provided. We maintain standard comfort in every matter based on enforceable conditions such as weather calamities. All hotel and camping accommodation is on a twin-sharing basis and will provide you with a single supplement if there is different sex without extra charge. If you prefer a single room, you may indicate your preference and get a single room/tent on request by paying a single supplement of USD 350.
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 a full-board basis prepared by our trained and experienced cook during the trek. Authentic Nepalese, Tibetan dishes, and the more common international cuisine (Tibetan, Continental, Italian, Indian, etc.) will be available. There will also be welcome and farewell dinners in Kathmandu.
Upper Dolpo Trek is categorized as an arduous trek. In such a trek, you will likely walk for 6-7 hours, cross steep, hilly terrain, and occasional high passes of up to 5500 m. 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. You are exercising and jogging regularly for weeks before the trip is an excellent 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. Before booking the trek, you should also inform Peregrine Treks about your medical condition.
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).
The safety of all travelers is our main concern. Your team leader/guide has fully authorized and responsible for amending or changing an itinerary because of the safety concern. We will try our best to provide all services per an original itinerary. Still, the condition of weather, the worst health conditions for the traveler, and natural disasters like heavy rain, landslides, earthquake,s, etc. might change your trekking schedule.