Exploring the hidden country of ancient Bon and old Buddhism heritage and cultures
Upper Dolpo & Shey the Crystal Monastery Trekking, is an enjoyable and exciting adventure around far west corners of the Western Himalayas. The Upper Dolpo for the most outside world is unknown of its existence, which was exposed to the world. From the famous classic novel of 1980’s ‘Snow Leopard’ by Peter Matessian. As well the Oscar-nominated for a foreign film of 1998 the ‘Himalaya’. Where travelers can enjoy reading and watching the movie; before planning this wonderful great journey for Upper Dolpo & Shey the Crystal Monastery Trekking. As it provides a great insight into Dolpo the wild west of Nepal, which will make the adventure more interesting.An adventure of a lifetime experience, where a walk leads you far from the maddening world of civilization on this exciting journey. As the trail follows around both scenic and cultural areas of Dolpo, visiting the picturesque turquoise Phoksundo Lake. Having ample time to get acclimatize as well exploring the traditional villages enriched with an age-old heritage of Buddhism culture.The native of Dolpo also practices an ancient cult, a pre-Buddhism sect called Bon, which is slowly disappearing. But still alive and active around Nepal’s Far West in Upper Dolpo, where trekkers can witness on this exciting adventure.Upper Dolpo & Shey the Crystal Monastery Trekking, begins with a super scenic flight to the low warm city of Nepalgunj airport. Located Far South West of the country, within a sub-tropical climatic zone, and then on connecting short flight to Jhupal, Dolpo.
From the small airstrip village of Jhupal, the walk starts heading north to beautiful serene Phoksundo Lake. Close to interesting Ringmo village within magnificent surroundings green forest of blue pine trees, facing views of towering snow peaks.After a wonderful time at Ringmo village around picturesque Phoksundo Lake, adventure heads due north to cross high Kang-La Pass. The highest point of the journey, facing the glorious panorama of Dolpo’s beautiful landscapes and high snow mountain range.A walk leads to our main high destinations at Shey Gompa, the Crystal Monastery in amazing surroundings. Feeling out of the world within its arid and barren windswept terrain and yet scenic with photogenic landscapes. Enjoy an extra day at Shey Gompa, also known as Crystal monastery. Due to its close location from the Crystal Mountain at a mere distance, regarded as a holy mountain. A religious fair and event are held every 12 years, where hundreds of Buddhist pilgrims make a holy visit. For worship to the natural spirits as well having prayer in the shrine of Shey Gompa.
The adventure continues for the return journey heading down and ups crossing high passes of Sela to Saldang, a nice windblown village.As walk heads further south to Cha-Gaon on windswept terrain over Jyanta-La pass reaching a large village of Tokyu. One of the most attractive and impressive villages in the inner Dolpo area, with time to explore the interesting settlement.As the trail follows on beautiful Tarap valley reaching another lovely village of Dho Tarap, the walk enters a narrow gorge. Quite an exciting place with waterfalls and a narrow valley with some vegetation, as the gorge, opens to a wide area. Reaching Tarakot, a historical village with a fortress during the time of the Malla kingdom period. From Tarakot slowly our walk comes to an end reaching the town of Dunai, the headquarters of the Dolpo district.After Dunai a short interesting drive to Jhupal completes our wonderful and adventurous trekking. Next morning a swift flight back to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj, on arrival at Kathmandu transfer to your hotel. Concluding our memorable adventure of great experience on Upper Dolpo & Shey the Crystal Monastery Trekking.
On first arrival at Kathmandu and Nepal International Airport received by our guide and staff with traditional greetings. Taking care of your baggage, and then a short drive to the hotel, located in the heart of a city near the exciting areas at Thamel. Check into your lovely rooms, after getting refreshed from the Jet-Lag, join in with other members for group briefing. Provided by your guide or Group Leader, offering information regarding the trek, hotels, local lodge. As well of local culture with do’s and don’ts, evening a group welcome dinner in a nice authentic Nepali Restaurants. Entertains the environment with folk cultural program as introduction to Nepalese heritage and culture.
Morning after breakfast, at given time our city and cultural guide will receives you at the hotel. A short drive to the hub of Kathmandu city, for exciting tour of old Durbar Square / Palace Courtyard. The area is teemed with life and activities, a great way to soak into Nepalese cultures. Visiting historical and religious monuments listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites most of the ancient buildings.After an interesting time at Durbar Square, a short drive to Nepal’s most important landmark, the Swayambhunath Stupa of more than 2,600 years old history. A Buddhist monument tucked on a hill top west of the city, from here visit the Hindu holy temple of Pashupatinath. The tour continues to large dome Stupa of Bouddhanath, as well known as ‘Little Tibet’. A great place to enjoy the tour of the world’s largest Stupa with all seeing eyes of Lord Buddha.Enjoying the day tour, transfer back to hotel rest of the afternoon preparation for the trekking and packing the right gear.
Transfer to Kathmandu domestic airport as time for flight to Nepalgunj city airport, a flight of 50 minutes. An exciting way to view Himalayan range of peaks from Langtang, Ganesh and Manaslu Himalayas with Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Himal. As flight lands on Nepalgunj airport, located South West Nepal around sub-tropical climatic zone. On arrival transfer to respective hotels, with time to browse the streets and shops of Nepalgunj city. Where most inhabitants are of Indian origin and mixed cultures of Hindu and Islam, due to close border with India.
Early breakfast and transfer to Nepalgunj airport for connecting flight to Jhupal at Dolpo, a short scenic flight. Facing amazing panorama of snow peaks with dramatic landscapes of Western Nepal, as small aircraft lands at Jhupal airstrip. Then joining with trekking and camping staff and guide, as well porters to carry the gears. After a short refreshing break, getting ready for few hours walks en route Chepkpa, heading past farm land and villages.
As walks ends on reaching the mid-way of Dunai town and trail towards our route to Chepkpa and Phoksundo Lake. Tented camp is set on a small farm village backyard, with time for walk and to feel the local environment.
From the camp, heading north walk follows to a high ridge top above Phoksundo River valley, overlooking views of Kagmara peak. On reaching the hilltop, then walk downhill past farm villages lined with walnut trees. As walk leads close to Dhera a small settlement of cattle herder, and then climb continues to Raha-Gaon village. The mid-hills populated by Thakuri Malla Hindu tribe, as walk progresses reaching a forested area to camp at Chepkpa.A nice moderate size farm village, where tents camp is placed near the village, and enjoy the surrounding views.
Morning from Chepkpa, walk leads close to another lovely village of Ankhe and then heading uphill with short descent. Reaching a river side on leaving the forested area behind, walk continues downhill back into forest. After a great interesting walk following the Phoksundo River upstream to Ryajik village, having rest continue walk for another hour. Then finally completing the day reaching our overnight camp at Samduwa, situated near Phoksundo National Park entrance.
An exciting day heading towards our first highlights of the trip to beautiful Phoksundo Lake.
Start the morning walk heading past Pungmo Khola (stream) valley. Following Pungmo Khola downhill within pine and birch trees to upper side of Phoksundo Khola.After continues walk of more than 5 hours reaching Ringmo village, an interesting village of Tibetan origin local natives. The village adorned with Chorten and Mani / prayer walls of both Buddhism and Bon sect a pre-Buddhist religion. Having short rest walk to Phoksundo Lake where our overnight camp is set near the shores of turquoise colored Phoksundo Lake.
A perfect spot for rest day before heading towards higher terrain, enjoy the day exploring the beautiful location. Take a short hike around this unique country, visit of Ringmo village festooned with ancient culture similar to Tibetan predecessors. Rest of the day at leisure, marvel the scenic views of towering snow peaks of Kagmara and adjoining mountain range.
Morning from this spot, our route leads higher towards Upper Dolpo on leaving Ringmo village and Phoksundo Lake. The trail leads to contour a rocky ledge on an unsteady path to the western side of the lake. Reaching a summer pasture of yak herder temporary shelters an open wide valley as walk ends at Phoksundo Khola / stream for overnight camp.
Leaving the camp around the lovely areas, a short morning walk of few hours allowing time for acclimatization. The trail follows north above Phoksundo Khola, heading to a steep climb reaching a higher ridge. Facing grand views of green valley as walk leads near to the base of Kang-La pass at Phoksundo Bhanjyang. The camp is set on best available level ground with a grassy meadow, rest of the afternoon at leisure.
An early morning start with steep haul of few hours, after a slow steady climb reaching top of Kang-La Pass. Rewards amazing scenery of beautiful Dolpo landscapes from green hills to arid barren terrain with views of snow-mountains. On top of the highest point of the adventure a long descent to the base. As walk follows towards series of religious monuments of Stupas and prayer walls reaching at Shey the Crystal Monastery. Overlooking grand views of majestic Crystal Mountain embedded with semi-precious stones. Overnight camp is set close to the monastery / Gompa premises.
Enjoy the rest day on the main highlight of the adventure within a wild and unique scenic location. An amazing country makes you feel out of this world, facing views of moonscapes with towering peaks of Crystal Mountain. Visit the Shey Gompa a Buddhist monastery built in the 11th Century, considered as a spiritual hub of Dolpo villagers.
From Shey Gompa, walk leads to higher areas leading to short downhill on dusty path of red mud hills. As walk continues in between eroded canyon and towering wind-blown cliff and crossing a high Sela or Gela-La pass. Then short down to a windswept areas where Nam-Gaon located for overnight camp. A small cattle herder settlement, within a dry and arid landscapes and yet interesting place to experience.
On leaving Nam-Gaon, morning walk leads to cross over Neng-La pass at 4,860 m high, facing dramatic landscapes scenery. After a short stop enjoying the surrounding views, downhill on windswept path to Saldang village for overnight stop. Quite an impressive as well one of the largest village of the area, situated on a high wide plateau. Overnight camp either in tented camp or in a simple local lodge or guest house. Enjoy the afternoon with tour of Saldang village made of stones and mud plastered house.
Morning on leaving an interesting village of Saldang, walk follows Nang Chu River with few short climb and descent. Coming across smaller villages of Sugu-Gaon and Dechen Laprang, around Yak herder camps, and then a gradual climb to Cha-Gaon. A nice little village for overnight camp, with time here to visit an old Rapa Gompa of Bon religion. Worship of natural spirits an ancient sects of pre-Buddhism.
From Cha-Gaon, morning starts heading due south following the Dachu Khola and then crossing the same stream several times. The route follows along the stream reaching farm fields, as the day ends reaching a small settlement of Yak herder areas for overnight camp.
Adventure leads to cross the last high pass of the trip, morning walk follows further south.Then reaching base of Jyanta-La pass, having a short rest start the climb to the top of the pass. From the top rewards magnificent panorama of Inner Dolpo beautiful country landscapes with Dhaulagiri Himalayan range. After an exciting views, then walk downhill to the base of the pass for overnight camp on grassy meadow.
Walk today leads towards an interesting village of Tokyu Gaon, from the base of Jyanta-La or Jeng-La. The trail follows on the main trail of old Trans Himalaya Salt Trade of Nepal to Tibet. Where caravan of yaks and mules laden with goods from both sides of the border passes through on this trail. Then slowly walk on gradual path past Modo and Khanger smaller settlements to Tokyu-Gaon for overnight halt. An impressive, interesting village of Dolpa area, with more than ten villages and nice well-tended farm fields with old monasteries.
After a pleasant stop at Tokyu Gaon, morning walk follows downhill to Tarap Chu on a wide green valley. The longest valley around Dolpo, stretches near about 20 km distance, walk continues across temporary shelters of Yak men. As the day finally ends reaching Dho Tarap village for an overnight stop, another interesting village. Populated with mixed people of Tibetan origin and Magar hill tribe of western Nepal.
Morning walk begins on leaving Dho Tarap heading towards exciting areas getting closer to our final destinations. As walk leads along the banks of Tarap Khola / stream. Around tranquil location chance of catching glimpse of mountain wildlife like herd of blue sheep. Finally the day concludes crossing a dramatic suspension bridge over the Chaya Khola to a small areas of Gyagar close to Nawarpani village for overnight halt.
From the camp at Gyagar, morning starts heading down hill and crossing series of exciting suspension bridges. Then entering a river gorge with dense vegetation reaching at Chyugar or Laini Odar. A place with large overhanging cave provides suitable shelter in inclement weather for travelers on route to their journey beyond. Overnight camp is set on a grassy meadow after a long day trekking.
Start the morning walk following a pleasant trail with series of streams, a short climb on leaving the river gorge. As walk ends reaching Tarakot, a fortified village of stand atop on a picturesque hillside. Where myriad Buddhist prayer flagpoles flutters up proudly amidst the houses of Tarakot village. On setting the camp by the river, having time for tour of Tarakot village and the monastery of Sandul Gompa. Lined with numerous Chorten and Mani walls, an interesting place for overnight camp, and to observe local life and culture.
On leaving an interesting Tarakot village, walk into a forested path for a while, and then coming across farm areas. As walk follows on gradual winding path reaching a large town at Dunai, the headquarters of Dolpo district. Having time here for refreshing stop and taking a jeep drive to Jhupal for last overnight around Dolpo area.
Next early morning walk to Jhupal small airport terminal, as the plane arrives from Nepalgunj then board in small aircraft. A sweeping short flight reaches down south to warmer areas at Nepalgunj city airport. At Nepalgunj as time for connecting flight for Kathmandu on larger plane, get on board for scenic flight to Kathmandu. On arrival at Kathmandu domestic air terminal a short drive to your hotel, rest of the day free at leisure.
Enjoy a relaxing free day in Kathmandu on completing one of most adventurous trekking.On rest day, with options for another exciting tour of Patan and Bhaktapur cities. Well worth a visit, rest of day at leisure for individual activities and shopping souvenirs of Nepal.
Your last day in Kathmandu and Nepal, as per your international flight time our staff transfer you to the airport. Then bid farewell to guide and staff as you enter the airport terminal for homeward bound flight, after an amazing great adventure around Upper Dolpo & Shey the Crystal Monastery Trekking.
The best seasons for Upper Dolpo Trekking are in spring and autumn/fall. The main flow and high season are spring starting from March to May, where days are longer with enough sun-light hours. Morning and late afternoon till night time is cold from 2,500 m above, chances of light rain and snow-fall sometimes.The next best season is autumn/fall, the high time for trekking around the Himalayas.Most days are crystal clear for scenic walks and best views, but short days due to sun-light hours. Can be much colder from late afternoon till the next morning before the sun hits the area. Chances of snowfall sometimes around the high region of Upper Dolpo above 2,500 m high. Upper Dolpo, can visit during the monsoon wet months of June to August, as the area falls within rain-shadow. The monsoon’s dark rain clouds are blocked by the high Himalayan Mountain range, which is why the country with near-desert landscapes.
Nepal is a country of the world’s highest mountain range known as the Himalayas, where 80 % of landscapes are covered by hills. As well as greater ridges and mountains, where one can expect walking ups and downhill.The only flat land of the country is located south, which extends from the Far East to the Far West of Nepal. The low land is known as the Terai belt, of sub-tropical climate, the country with most mid and high hills.The people around Dolpo, are populated by Tibetan origin tribe known as Dolpalese.Practice Buddhism with ancient Bon a pre-Buddhism cult and religion. One can witness the villages with every house festooned with Buddhist prayer flags. As well as a monastery is known as Gomba. Includes long rows of the prayer wheel and religious walls.Nepal has more than 60 ethnic groups and 70 native spoken languages, with a blend of Hindu and Buddhism religions. On this trek expect more uphill and downhill walks, but with constant views of snow-capped peaks. Overlooking famous mountain range of Dolpo like, Kagmara and Kanjiboraba as far to Dhaulagiri Himalaya range.
People with enough time in Nepal, can join in for various adventure sports activities in Pokhara. Likewise Paragliding, Ultra-Light Flight, Bungee Jumping, Zip Flyer, White water or scenic float Rafting. Other extension program is Mountain Biking for few days, and trip to Chitwan National Park for Wild-Life Safari.