Dolpo is a remote region, most of which is protected by the Shay Phoksumdo National Park. The Dollop region has been bypassed by development and, until recently, by tourism. Although a few anthropologists and geographers had explored the region, the entire district was closed to foreigners until 1989. Today it still receives only a few visitors and one can explore parts of Nepal starting from Jamal, one of the world’s highest rice-growing areas in the world, through the Tila valley with its unique red rice until we reach Duane. This trek can be extended on request with 5 days to Phoksumdo Lake, entering the inner parts of Dollop and views over the deepest lake of Nepal.
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Challenging
Experience strange mixture of ethnic groups, good high-altitude scenery, opportunity to explore relatively unexplored territory.
Arrival in kathmandu
Upon arrival at Kathmandu International Airport transfer to your hotel in Kathmandu or Bhaktapur. Short briefing will follow concerning the necessary formalities and your trekking itinerary. Depending upon your arrival time you may spend free time visiting nearby sanctuaries or resting.
Sightseeing / Cultural Day in Kathmandu Valley
Half day sightseeing around UNESCO Bhaktapur / Kathmandu where your guide will escort you on a tour of Buddhist and Hindu temples and shrines reflecting ancient local traditions. There is time to explore the city’s many places of interest on your own or take a rest while trekking permits are finalised. In the evening sample a delicious traditional Nepali dinner. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Kathmandu to Nepalgunj
We have to fly to Nepalgunj from Kathmandu. Nepalgunj is the jumping-off place for flights and busses throughout western Nepal. Unfortunately there is no connecting flight to Jumla (the start of our trek), so we will spend the night here.
Nepalgunj to Jumla
An early morning plane will take us to the town of Jumla, which lies on the banks of the Tila Khola river at 2370 meter. Jumla is one of the highest rice-growing areas of the world, where the unique ‘red’-rice is grown. We will meet our trekking crew today and make the final preparations for our camping-trek.
Jumla to Gothi Chaur (2500m)
From Jumla our trail leads past several water-driven mills before dropping to the confluence of the Tila Khola and the Chaudhabise Khola. We cross both rivers on a cantilever bridge which looks like it is held together by giant clothes pegs. From here our trail climbs gently alongside rice terraces to the village of Dochal Ghara at 2530 meter. From here we follow the trail through a forest of maples and walnuts to a meadow. In season the wildflowers seen here include cinquefoils, terrestrial orchids, forget-me-nots, mints, buttercups, primulas, edelweiss and gentians. Beyond the meadow the trail climbs to a rocky cairn at Pattyata Lagna (2830m), and then descends into a magnificent alpine amphitheatre towards Gothi Chaur close to the stream at the bottom of the valley. At the spring here there are some 13th century Malla dynasty stone carvings. We set up camp close to the river (5 hrs).
Gothi Chaur to Naphukana (3080m)
We will re-enter the Tila river valley and follow this river slowly to its source. After ascending through fields of barley and buckwheat we arrive at the trail junction at Muni Sangu, a small settlement where we can see peculiar carved wooden faces, called dok-pa and are supposed to offer protection from evil spirits. These faces can be seen throughout the whole Dolpo region. We stay on the southern side of the river from here as the valley slowly becomes narrower and follow our way to Changrikot (a series of houses built into the hillside on the opposite side of the river at 2900m). The trail then finally crosses the river and climbs towards the grey stone houses of Chotra (3010m). The village has typical mani walls (walls containing stones carved with Tibetan Buddhist prayers) and a kani (arch, decorated with paintings on the inside) over the trail. A short distance from here is the Tibetan settlement of Naphukana where we will make our camp (6 hrs).
Naphukana to Balasa (3110m)
The trail becomes steeper today as it climbs past rocky fields to forests of oaks and birch trees strangled with Spanish moss. The climb will end at the Mauri lagna (‘honey pass’) at 3820 meter. From this pass we have good views of the snowy peaks of Gutumba (5608m) and Mataumba (5767m) to the north-east and Bhalu Himal (5460m) to the south. We will descent from here to the Bheri valley to the large Khampa settlement of Chaurikot at 3060 meter. A short time past this village there are some excellent campsites alongside the trail (5 hrs).
Balasa to Forest Camp (3100m)
We will continue our trek through walnut forests; the local people seldom eat the nuts but use them as a source for cooking oil. We slowly descend to the village of Rimi at 2890 meter, where the amusing faces of the dok-pa peek at us from the tops of houses. After crossing the stream we will arrive in Kaigaon (2610m), where we will find the first shop since leaving Jumla. The route climbs steeply up from here through pastures into a forest of birches and wild roses to an elevation of 3230 meter and then levels out in a forest of rhododendrons and oaks, the home of black langur monkeys. We will slowly descend along the side of a large valley to a few campsites in the forest (5 hrs).
Forest Camp to Tibrikot (2100m)
Today we will climb to the pass of Balangra La at 3760 meter, from where we can see Dhaulageri Himal on clear days. From here our trail descends to a large yak farm in the forest at 3160 meter. From here the trail levels out and continues through a treeless, waterless area, before making our final 500 meter descent through a rocky area to the stream just below Tibrikot, where we can make a good campsite. Tibrikot is a picturesque village on a promontory overlooking the Thulo Bheri valley (6 hrs).
Tibrikot to Dunai (2130m)
We climb slightly to the temple of Tibrikot, which is dedicated to the goddess Tripura Sundari Devi, from where we descend past extensive rice terraces to a long suspension bridge. The rest of the day we will follow the Thulo Bheri river, passing the tiny settlements of Su Pani and Beti. Our trail continues with a few ups and downs to the village of Dunai, which we enter through a fancy gate. Here we can sleep in a ‘normal’ bed again and enjoy our well deserved hot shower (5 hrs).
Dunai to Juphal (Dolpo airport)
Dolpo flights always arrive and depart early in the morning because of strong winds coming from the Thulo Bheri valley that usually begin at 10 am. It is at least a 3 hours walk from Dunai to the airport in Juphal village, so the only reasonable thing is to spend a night here.
Juphal to Nepalgunj
We will fly back to Nepalgunj from the small airport of Juphal. Because there are no connecting flights we will stay the night in Nepalgunj
Nepalgunj to Kathmandu.
Today we will fly back to Kathmandu early morning. Overnight stay at hotel.
Departure from Kathmandu.