Dolpo via Jomsom Trek

Trip Duration 27 Nights/28 Days
Trip Code NAP-UDOL-407
Trip Cost USD 4585 per passenger
Trip Grade Moderate to strenuous trail
Best Time Aug-Nov and Mar-May

Overview

Dolpa via Jomsom trek is magnificent trekking with numerous scenic and cultural variations and romantic geographical backdrops placed away in the mid-west region of Nepal beyond Dhaulagiri massif, towards the Tibetan plateau. It is here specifically that people still practice the pre-Buddhist Bon Po religion. This early sect was almost entirely replaced after Buddhist doctrine began to spread across Tibet in the 9th century. Dolpo remained unknown to the rest of the world until David Seagrove discovered the region in 1956. His account of his seven-month journey in the inner mountain areas of west and central Nepal, titled 'Himalayan Pilgrimage' is the most authoritative work describing this region.

This trek starts from Jhupal, after two small flights to Nepalgunj on first day and to Jhupal on second day. The route goes through high and remote alpine area and passes and finally come to beautiful Shey Phoksundo Lake (3600m). Trek towards to Charkha, probably the most beautiful village of high altitude. Then we will trek towards Jomsom after passing Sangda-La, the highest pass of this trek.

Highlights

  • Rim of the Kathmandu valley excursion
  • Bone and Buddhist culture and monasteries
  • High passes
  • Beautiful Charkha and Dho Tarap village
  • Shey Phoksundo Lake
  • Excellent dry and desert landscape
  • Abundant wildlife and impressive display of wild flower
  • Visit cultural places at Shey Gompa, Sangdang, Chharka.
  • Friendly people and many more
  • Lake valley of Pokhara

Trip Summary

Trip Grade Moderate to strenuous trail
Trip Duration 27 Nights/28 Days
Trip code NAP-UDOL-407
Trip Start/Ends Kathmandu, Nepalgunj/Jomsom, Pokhara
Maximum Altitude Kang-La pass (5360m) Jyanta Pass (5221m)
Trip Cost USD 4585 per passenger
Group Size Minimum 2 upto 16 passengers
Accessibillity Kathmandu fly to Nepagunj/Jhupal fand Jomsom to Pokhara
The Route Maximum altitude Kang-La pass (5360m) Jyanta Pass (5221m) 6/7-hrs average walking per day, moderate to strenuous trail.
Season Aug-Nov and Mar-May
Permit Fee For the first 10 days per person US $500 and after 10 days per day per person US$50, or equivalent convertible foreign currency.
Trip Valid This offer is valid on reservations made from September through December 31, 2018.
Trip Facilities Tourist standard hotel in city and camping on mountain.

Itinerary

Arrive in Kathmandu: Upon arrival at Tribhuwan international airport, welcomed by our representative and transfer to hotel. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure. A pre-trek briefing will be given in the evening at hotel about the daily program activities by your Group Leader/Guide.

After breakfast the day will start with a guided tour of Kathmandu's historical and spiritual key attractions; including the historic Kathmndu Durbar Square, the famous 'Monkey Temple' (Swayambunath) and then finally visit to Patan Durbar square which is situated the heart of the city constitutes the focus of visitor's attraction. In the evening there will be pre-trip discussion where you can meet your group leader/guide then you can ask any questions you may have.

As per the flight schedule for Nepalgunj we transfer to the domestic airport for one and half hour scenic flight to Nepalgung. At Nepalgunj we will have time in the late afternoon or evening to have a look around the town which is situated on the southern Nepal border with India. Here it is quite hot and tropical in character.

We go to the airport very early in order to get on the flight to Juphal. Dolpo flights are always early in the morning. This is because high winds in the Thulo Bheri Valley begin around 10 am, making later flights impossible. Once we have gotten all our equipment of the Twin otter in Juphal (2500m), we start out on the short walk from Juphal to Dunai. We walk downhill through meadows and past a few houses to the small hotels at Kala Gaura (2090m). From here we follow the river trail upstream to Dunai. We camp near Dunai and explore this bustling little hill town for the rest of the afternoon. 

Trek to Chhekpa: You will follow the route of the confluence of the Thuri Bheri and Sulighat rivers and turn to the north and follow the Sulighat River. The trail is fairly undulating and you are never far away from the river and its roar. You also walk through some nice villages such as Parela meaning eyelash, Rahagaon meaning eyebrow, and Ankhe meaning eye.

The path goes entirely through the forest to rech at Rnji. This is a very small village and consists of just a couple of houses and a primary school.

This day about 2 hours walking you will reach at Amchi Hospital. The walk goes almost entirely through beautiful pine forests, with some bushes, birches and other broadleaf trees in it as well. Before reach to Ringmo on the way you will see a spectacular waterfall of 167 meters high. After views point the path is going down for about half an hour until it gets close to the river again then walking through the forests, till you reach Ringmo. Ringmo is a charming village. People practice the Bonpo religion here. Bonpo is a lot older than Buddhism and goes thousands of years back. It has more animistic aspects than Buddhism. For outsiders it is difficult to see the difference between Bonpo and Buddhism, but one important aspect is that you have to cross their Mani walls and chortens anti-clockwise, while according to Buddhist custom, you pass them clockwise. The women wear dark or checked dresses with colorful aprons made from yak wool. You see fewer men in the typical dress, which is a long coat, from which they let one sleeve hanging down. Strolling around the village, you might see women weaving. In Ringmo women make very nice woven products, like belts, bags, shawls and blankets. Most items are made from cotton, but they also sell products made from yak wool. There are a few shops where you can buy this iteams.

Your body needs time to acclimatize to the higher ltitude. The Phoksundo Lake is such a beautiful place for a free day. There is a beautiful Bonpo Gompa (Monastery) at the shore of the lake, which is worth a visit. It’s a 20 minute walk to the monastery through the pine forest. In the monastery you can observe a statue of Thönpa Chenrab, the founder of Bonpo religion, a Buddha who lived thousands of years ago.

This day you enter the restricted area of Upper Dolpo. You follow the famous Demons Trail from the movie Caravan of Eric Valli, a beautiful movie about the life of people in Dolpa who bring their yaks over difficult passes bearing salt from Tibet to trade with grain from the lowlands. In the movie, this trail is used during this salt caravan and one of the yaks falls in the lake here. It’s a spectacular trail, going high above the Lake. At some parts it gets very narrow due to landslides. The trail climbs to a ridge, from which you have a spectacular view on the Lake, Ringmo, the dark green pine forests and the snowcapped mountain Norbung Kang (6085 m) to the south. It’s now a gradual descend to the lake northern shore, which is a good place for lunch. After this the trail climbs through a wide valley, crossing some streams. You have a splendid and nearby view to the flanks and tops of the snowcapped Kanjirowa Himal (6612m).You arrive at an alpine area which is a good place to camp.

The Phoksundo Valley gets quite narrow, with high rock walls on both sides. You have to cross a couple of streams. After about half an hour, you leave the main valley and enter a narrow gorge. It’s a long, pretty steep climb through the steep sided valley. The campsite is at Snowfields Camp, a name given by Peter Mathiesson in his famous book the Snowleopard. From here strenuous climb of about 2½ hours over a dusty path to Kang-La (5350m), locally also called Ngadra-La. There is snow most of the times, which makes a bit difficult for descending. 

From here descend is pretty steep the first 45 minutes, but after this, it is going gradually for about 3 hours, till you reach Shey Gompa. Getting nearer, you pass red and white chortens and Mani walls. Shey Gompa is a very small village, with a couple of houses, and of course the Gompa. The 11th century Gompa is located beneath the Crystal Peak on a small grassy plain, at the confluence of two rivers. It is said to be constructed by a Tibetan Buddhist, who arrived here on the back of a flying snowlion. It’s a magical place, and Shey Gompa is often called the spiritual heart of Dolpa. Every year hundreds of pilgrims come to visit the Gompa and to make a Kora (Clockwise Circuit) of the Crystal Peak. People living here are direct descendents of Tibetans, which you can notice easily by their faces and their dress. They women wear dark dresses with colorful aprons made from yak wool. Men wear a long coat, from which they let one sleeve hanging down.

During this day, you can go to Tsakang Gompa (4575m), a monastery from the Buddhist Kagyupa sect. This gompa appears in the movie Himalaya. It is spectacularly located high on a red rocky slope. The trail to Tsakang Gompa partly follows partly the same trail as pilgrims follow to make a kora of the Crystal Peak. You will probably see flocks of bluesheep in these areas. Many bluesheep live here, as the abbot of Shey Gompa imposed a ban on hunting them. Besides, in these regions you have the best chance of seeing the snowleopard.

Another pass to cross this day, the Sele-La, also called Gelu-La, of 5000m. The climb to the pass goes through a narrow valley. From the pass you have a good view to the north of the arid Tibetan Plateau, which is stretching out seemingly endlessly before you. To the east you can see Mustang. After the pass, it’s a long descend to the pastures of Namgung. Scattered in the landscape, you will see some fields. Many times accompanied with a big Tibetan tent, as the fields are too far from the village to go there and go back each day. The people in Namgung are very friendly and open.

The path goes high above the Namgung River and then descends steeply to the village of Saldang. Saldang is the largest settlement of inner-Dolpo. It’s a spread out, traditional agricultural village, surrounded by fields. Barley, buckwheat and potatoes are among the few crops that can grow in this barren landscape. Besides, people live from what the yak gives them and from trade. Saldang is close to the Tibetan border and some of the salt trade caravans pass through Saldang. The trading of salt for grain and rice is a century old tradition that still prevails in Inner-Dolpo. The people from Saldang are semi-nomadic. In the warm months they trek in the highlands with their herds of yaks and sheep. The ones who are better off let the pure nomadic people of Dolpa. 

The trail follows the Nang Chu river most of the way on this wild barren windswept terrain. Walk begins along the fairly gradual path with few ups and downs slope and then passing through the small settlement of Tiling and Lurigaon till we reach to Yangier Gompa (3750m) and visit very old Bon-Po Monastery. We then continue walk to Nisalgaon where our camp set. 

We continue up the valley to Mugaon and climb towards the Mushi La at (5030m). Then we descend towards Shimen village, we end the day at a good campsite in pastures above the village at (4010m).

IHeading south along the Panjyan Khola, staying on the eastern bank, we pass two trails leading north to the border of Tibet on our left, and further along Pu Gompa in the hills to the right. Namyal Gompa is another hour away also to the south of the trail, a larger Gompa. From Targaon and Phalwa, another trail branches off to the north heading to the Tibetan border, signifying how important trade with Tibet is still to the Dolpo. Thinje, just past this intersection and before another, is a large, prominent village from where many of the villagers acting in the movie 'Himalaya' come. Tenzin Norbu, the famous 'Ngagpa' painter of Dolpo, also comes from the Panzang region. In the old times, his ancestors, also monk painters, traveled to Lo Monthang in Mustang to pay their tribute in murals, Thankas and Mani walls. We've been told it's an amazing village, so we've scheduled a 'rest' or exploration day to take advantage of this.

We trek past the runway of mysterious Tinje to a trail junction at (4130m), where a high route leads to Tarap. We continue southward to a campsite on the banks of the river at Rakpa (4530m).

We begin our day with a long climb to the Chharka-La (4920m). We continue on the trail descending along the side of the valley, then make a big drop into a side valley at 4290m. We then make a long traverse down to the picturesque village of Chharka on the banks of Barbung Kola at (4120m). Chharka is a small hamlet of closely-built, white-washed dwellings, medieval in feel, with a Bon-po monastery, Sarchhen Gompa.

We follow the Chharka Khola to the intersection of the Thansan Khola, having to cross the river on a small bridge. The campsite right after this river crossing is Sumdo, and we may set up camp for the night here, or we may continue on to a campsite called Norbulung, down the east bank of the Thansan Khola.

We begin the day climbing to a yak pasture at Molum Sumna (4860m) and on to a crest at 5130m. We then make a long traverse across meadows to the foot of the Sangda-La, then a long, steep final climb to the pass at 5460m. Switchbacks descend down to our camp site by a stream at (5100m).

We climb to a lower Sangda-La at 4990m, and then descend through loose shale towards the village of Sangda Ghunsa (4190m). We drop to the Chalung Khola, crossing it at 3750m, and then climb steeply up the opposite bank. A long high traverse leads to a cairn at 4090m, we then come to a set of steep switchbacks descends to a stream at 3580m. We do another climb to the compact settlement of Sangda, were we end a long day at (3700m).

Fly from Jomsom to Pokhara which takes about 35 minutes. The flights are available during the morning time. The strong breeze blows during the after and frequent change of the weather prevent the flight being landed and taken off in the afternoon. During the flights in morning, the sky looks very clear which makes you able to enjoy the splendid views of different mountain peaks.

After breakfast, drive to Kathmandu by tourist bus. Along the way you can enjoy with good scenery views. You'll be arriving at Kathmandu late afternoon then you have free afternoon to be fresh up; evening we comment about the trip and celebrate farewell dinner together at Nepalese Typical Restaurant you have free time for shopping.

This pleasant day you may have full day at leisure and either relax at hotel or explore the Thamel and overnight at hotel.

Cost Included

  • Documents: Upper Dolpo special permit, National Park entrance permit 
  • Activities: Sightseeing , hiking and trekking trip as per the itinerary.
  • Equipment: All necessary camping equipments and kitchen utilize
  • Accommodation: 4 nights hotel in Kathmandu, 1 night hotels iNepalgunj and 1 Pokhara hotel in Pokhara on twin shering bedroomand 20 nights tented accommodation on mountain. 
  • Food: Full board on camping (Breakfast, lunch and dinner) during the trekking and 6 breakfast in city. 
  • Staffs: Leader/Guide and supporters and their daily wage, food, and accommodation
  • Transportation: All airport arrival/departure transfer and surface road-head transportation 
  • Company and Government’s service charge: All applicable Government taxes and official service charges. And Crew’s, daily wages/salary, food, equipment, air and road-head transportation

Cost Excluded

  • Kathmandu to Nepalgunj/Jhupal and Jomsom to Pokhara flight.
  • TTravel/medical insurance coverage personal accidents, medical and emergency Helicopter rescue
  • Personal travel and trekking equipments 
  • Lunch and dinner while in city
  • Items of a personal nature such as normal drinks, hot shower, dessert, laundry, internet and phone call.
  • Expenses occurred due to unavoidable Events i.e. road wrecks, flight delays etc.
  • Tips/Gratuities for your trekking crews
  • Temple and Monastery entrance fees
  • Optional activities
  • And unforeseen expenses which are out of control by Nepal Adventure Point

Trip Notes

Coming soon

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