Lower Dolpo and Lake Phoksundo Trek

19 Days

Lower Dolpo and Lake Phoksundo trek is one of unheard, unwalked, off the beaten yet alluring travel experience. Situated west from the capital and not so popular among the foreign wanderers, Lower Dolpo and Lake Phoksundo trek is ever ready to pour its beauties in the eyes and hearts of guests.

There are no exact words to explain the natural significance of the Dolpo region. But some words can relate it somehow. Let’s start, this trekking journey will indulge you to the most beautiful piece of Nepal.

One fairytale lake, two scenic high passes, and various dazzling deep valleys, Lower Dolpo has everything that you are longing for. Not only that, but this region is also dotted with heavy and rich wildlife and vegetation.

Above all, the elegance of Phoksundo Lake and Deep Valleys attracts the people to Dolpo. The deepest lake of Nepal “Phoksundo Lake” is not only deep, but it’s also angelic too. Sky-colored water enclosed by the vast hills; the Phoksundo Lake is the natural blessing of the Dolpo region.

And the valleys are gifted with wide pasture lands and dramatic semi-deserted landscapes. Walking over these valleys is a heavenly experience; the Dolpo terrains sight has impressed everyone traveling here and will do to you also.

Trek to Phoksundo Lake means you will enter the Shey Phoksundo National Park also. This entrance will make you traverse the rich vegetation of the Dolpo region.

Pine, Oak, Juniper, and Birch dotted forests makes the Lower Dolpo and Lake Phoksundo trekking experience more delightful.

Also, the Dolpo region is home to the most unique Tibetan influenced Buddhist culture. To remind you that, the Dolpo region is the most rural part of Nepal. This means you will get to learn some serious struggling lives there; how the people there celebrate life. Not only lifestyles but their culture and tradition exploration is also a part of this trekking journey.

To say all at once, the journey to Lower Dolpo and Phoksundo Lake circuit is the most exciting adventure to do in Nepal. You’ll explore the beautiful forbidden land of Nepal. Come and join us for the 19-days long journey to hidden heaven, i.e. Dolpo

Highlights of Lower Dolpo & Lake Phoksundo trekking:

  • Traversing the blue nymph of Nepal, Shey Phoksundo Lake
  • Exploring the unbattered, off the beaten yet beautiful Dolpo region
  • Witnessing the unique and old Bon Buddhism traditions
  • Gaining insight into the most-rural part of Nepal
  • Worthful hikes to two high passes: Numa La Pass(5310m) and Baga La Pass(5182m)
  • Wonderful camping experience just under the clear sky
  • Strolling into the enriched woods of biggest national park of Nepal, Shey Phoksundo National Park
  • Multiple scenic flights over the beautiful landscape of Nepal

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Flight Duration: 55 minutes

Altitude Gain: 150m

Pick the bag! Your Lower Dolpo & Lake Phoksundo trekking is about to start. Reach out to Kathmandu Airport’s domestic terminal for the impressive flight to Nepaljung. It will take one hour to reach Nepalgunj from Kathmandu. Throughout the flight, you will enjoy the eagle’s eye view of plain lands, hills and mountains of Nepal.

Nepalgunj(150m) situated near India-Nepal border is the tourable city, you can stroll around for shopping and hangouts. Bageshwori Temple, Zoo and Local markets are the possible places to visit during free time at Nepalgunj. Overnight at a hotel in Nepalgunj.

Flight Duration: 45 minutes

Walking Time: 2 to 3 Hours

Altitude Gain: 2850m

Just like the first day, the second day will also start with the flight, the takeoff to Jhupal. Jhupal(2,320m) is the gateway to popular Dolpo region trekking. The scenic flight will start from the Nepalgunj airport and within 45 minutes it will land at Jhupal. This ride will be more scenic than the earlier one as it will fly over the beautiful western hills of Nepal. Snowy mountains in the backdrop and tall green hills ahead of them is the kind of view from the plane.

Upon your arrival at Jhupal, You will start preparing for the trek to Dunai(2,850m). Walking above Thulo Bheri Valley and then reaching farm fields of Kalagaunda village. It will be a 3 hours trek through the terraced fields near to Bheri River where you will see some classical water mills just before Dunai village. Overnight in a campsite at Dunai.

Walking Time: 5 to 6 Hours

Altitude Gain: 2850m

Today, you’ll start to walk by the sides of the small streams and rivers. Bheri and Barbung river will be your guide during this stretch. You’ll walk for 5 to 6 hours from Dunai to reach Tarakot on the easy riverbed trials. Moving by the south bank of the Bheri River, you’ll trace some small gorges and very much pine trees.

After moving like this the whole afternoon, you will arrive at Tarakot(2,850m), the ancient capital of the long-lasting Gorkha dynasty. This village lies exactly on a ridge just above the south bank of Bheri River. Tarakot is decorated with several Buddhist Gompa and Chortens. Your overnight campsite will be just near the Gompas surrounded by the trees on the green plateau edge.

Walking Time:5 to 6 Hours

Altitude Gain: 2543m

The route today moves ahead with Tarap Chu River till the wooden bridge comes to cross the river. Marching on the beautiful trails, you’ll cross the same river twice before getting to Sahartera village. The stunning farm terrains of locals will welcome you as you step into the settlements.

Leaving the Sahartera village now you will reach another charming but small village of Kola. Until Kola village, it will already be 4 hours of the walk which means some more hours still to be walked. Hence, you’ll make the last stretch of the day to reach Kami Gaon before the dusk. It will be a 2 hours gentle descent from the Kola to reach the campsite destination. Upon your reach at Kami Gaon, you stroll around the village for the exploration before joining campsite at the backside of the village.

Walking Time: 4 to 5 Hours

Altitude Gain: 3,450m

After breakfast, you will return on the tracks of lower Dolpo trekking. You’ll join the steep trail that moves with the Tarap River. You have to make several ups and downs on the sidetracks of the river. You will come across some flocks of goats and sheep, there you’ll inhale the rural smell of Nepal.

Normally, it takes around 4 to 5 hours to reach Tarap Khola from the Kami Gaon. But, this is the round figure, the trials and beauty of the surroundings can make it late. As moving ahead, the trails start to become narrow like the gorge. Walking through such places can be exciting.

This particular trial is a thrilling one, as you have to cross the old and flood-damaged bridges. And sometimes you have to trace your way as the trails here are less crowded. Like this, the walks end here at the bank of Tarap Khola(River). Overnight at a camp in Tarap Khola.

Walking Time: 4 to 5 Hours

Altitude Gain: 3,850m

After spending the lovely night in Tarap Khola, now it’s time to move towards Yak Kharka. It will be 4 to 5 hours of trek from the bank of Tarap Khola to Yak Kharka. The view starts to get better and better as you head ahead. You’ll walk over the dreamable pastures and farmland routes. The trails of Tarap valley are beautiful to walk on. It will be the best view day of Lower Dolpo & Lake Phoksundo trekking.

Then, you will move ahead to Tarap Khola and cross several bridges over it to reach the Yak Kharka(3,850m). ‘Kharkha’ is a Nepali word which means pasture or grazing land, Yak Kharka is a place named after Yak pasture land. You’ll see so many yaks grazing over the beautiful pastures. The camp will be built near the Lang Chu River. Overnight at a camp in Yak Kharka.

Walking Time: 4 to 5 Hours

Altitude Gain: 4,090m

Today, you have to walk around 5 to 6 hours to cover Dho Tarap before the nightfall. It will start with the gentle ascend to Kamatarka before reaching the lush forest of juniper trees. To reach forested trails, you have to walk around 2 hours from the Kamatarka. And cross the beautiful forest to arrive at Dho Tarap village, this will take around 3 hours.

Dho Tarap, your overnight destination, is the settlement of Tibetans and Magars people. After reaching here, you can explore the lifestyles and cultures of indigenous tribes. You can try some local foods made by them. You will call it a day hereafter getting into Dho Tarap. Overnight at a camp near Dho Tarap village.

Altitude sickness is a possible problem in any of Nepal’s high altitude treks. Lower Dolpo & Lake Phoksundo trekking is also one of them which takes you to the maximum height of 5,190m. Hence to adapt you with this altitude gain, the acclimatization day is included in this itinerary. Just make most of this day by touring around the Dho Tarap village.

Dho Tarap is a village with 34 nicely built traditional houses. You’ll make a tour around the yards of these houses to interact with people and to know their lifestyles. The people of this place are most welcoming as they have not seen much of foreigners. So, getting insight into their culture and lifestyle is the major highlight of acclimatization day. Additionally, you can visit the Monasteries and Gompas which are some distance from the village.

Walking Time: 5 to 6 Hours

Altitude Gain: 4,209m

After the worthwhile stay at Dho Tarap village, now it’s time to leave the village. You’ll head towards upper Tarap village by hiking through the fair valley. The routes are elegantly decorated with lush green grasses in the river banks. This particular walk through the sides of the Tarap river is the easiest and most beautiful among others. The Upper Tarap valley’s vision is so artistic and enchanting that your eyes will want to come out to capture the view.

Amazing terrains, wide plains, a stream of Tarap river and mountains in the backdrop; it’s truly a dreamland to be. Plus, the number of traditional settlements situated over the farmlands of potato, wheat, and barley. What other things do you need in a perfect eyeshot than this? After the insightful walk of 3 to 4 hours through Upper Tarap valley here comes the Tokyu Gaun(4,209m). You’ll visit the monastery of Tokyo village and places around the village. Overnight at a campsite in Tokyo village.

Walking Time: 5 Hours

Altitude Gain: 4,180m

On the 10th day, you’ll reach out for the Numa La Pass base camp(4,180m). So, with the sun rising, you will head up towards Numa La by leaving Tokyu Gaun. You’ll head north-west from the Tokyo Gaun where the view is very watchful, green vegetation landscapes.

Moving ahead will make you enter into the more scenic area, the area of pasture lands and alpine trees. After 5 hours of alluring walk, you’ll make an entry into the base camp of Numa La Pass. You’ll visit around the base camp until dusk and then eat a meal before taking a night rest in the campsite at Numa La Base camp.

Walking Time: 7 to 8 Hours

Altitude Gain: 5,190m and then descend to 4,465m

Today is the big day of the entire Lower Dolpo & Lake Phoksundo trekking. Because you will climb the highest point of the trek, i.e. Numa La Pass(5,190m). It will be a steep climb of 4 hours until the top. The climb will demand some efforts, so you have to push yourself all the way to top. Walk slowly and drink enough water, the altitude sickness can hit anytime if you are making the nonstop climb.

The steep and strenuous climb is worthy after reaching the top. Numa La Pass hosts the wide views of the terrains and mountains. Notably, the popular Mt. Dhaulagiri’s north face is visible from this pass. Moreover, other western peaks of Nepal which are less-popular yet beautiful can be sighted from the top. After capturing enough of the views, you’ll fall gently downwards to the Palungtang(4,465m). It will take 3 hours to reach Palungtang from the Numa La Pass. Overnight at the campsite in Palungtang.

Walking Time: 7 to 8 Hours

Altitude Gain: 5,070m and then descend to 4,470m

The first rays of the dawn will open your eyes on the 12th day where you will hike to Phedi(4,470m). After breakfast is done, you’ll start to climb towards Baga La Pass(5,070m), the second-highest point of the trek. The climb will take 4 effortful hours of yours, where you’ll ascend the summit.

Just like the prior pass, this Baga La Pass provides identical but astonishing views of terrains and peaks. All of your pain and sweat will get washed away after succeeding the ascent. And, after some view-fulfilling rest at the top, you’ll head down to Phedi, the overnight destination. You’ll complete the descent from top to Phedi in 3 easy hours. Finally, you’ll get to sleep at the campsite after the long day.

Walking Time: 6 to 7 Hours

Altitude Gain: 3,600m

Today, you will begin your day with a steep climb to a hill. After your hill ascends, you can have as much as views of stunning terrain and snow-dotted mountains. The view here also is quite awesome just like the past passes. You’ll find snow-capped Kanjiroba Himal(6,883m) gazing at you from the northern highlands. After the view at the top, it’s time to ascend from the hill, it will take 2 hours to descend through the pine-riched forest.

Then, the path will lead you through the dense vegetation at first and secondly to the beautiful pasture land. With few small ascents and descents, you are here at the Ringmo(3,600m) after the walk of 6 to 7Hours in total. Overnight at the campsite at Ringmo.

Today will be another big day of Lower Dolpo & Lake Phoksundo trekking because you will eyeshot the prime attraction of this trek, Phoksundo Lake. Ringmo is the gateway to the most beautiful Lake of Nepal or maybe of World, Shey-Phoksundo Lake. This lake is the blue mine of a gem locked between the hills of Dolpo. So, one full day is scheduled for the tour around Phoksundo Lake and Ringmo village.

Firstly, you will start with an exploration of Ringo village, the nearest settlement from Phoksundo lake. There are many Buddhist monasteries near the village to tour around and get blessings. After that, you can stroll around the Ringmo village to explore the lifestyles of the Thakuri and Gurung tribes.

The rest of the time will be utilized by hiking around the Phoksundo lake(3,612m). Shey Phoksundo Lake is the deepest lake of Nepal which is also the part of Shey Phoksundo National Park, the biggest National Park of Nepal. To say it all at once, the view of Phoksundo lake is awe-inspiring, mind-blowing and breathtaking. Bluish water sealed in between mighty hills, you just go and get the view. You will end the most beautiful day of Lower Dolpo & Lake Phoksundo trekking by camping in Ringo village.

Walking Time: 4 to 5 Hours

Altitude Gain: 3,400m

After the probable best day of your life at the bay of Phoksundo Lake, it’s time to return home. On your first attempt, you will trek down to Sumduwa(3,400m) from beautiful Ringmo village. Today will be the first homecoming day of Lower Dolpo & Lake Phoksundo trekking. It will need 4 to 5 hours of walk to reach the overnight destination.

Signing off from the Phoksundo Lake area, you will move towards the steep hill for the climb. The climb will be through the birch-filled forest until the ridge of the hill. From the ridge, you can enjoy the distant view of Phoksundo lake and its surrounding hills. After all the sweating and stretching you’ll end up at Sumduwa for the overnight.

Walking Time: 5 to 6 Hours

Altitude Gain: 2,896m

You’ll leave Sumduwa by stepping ahead on the morning droplets only to reach Ankhe before nightfall. You have to walk for 5 to 6 hours to reach Ankhe from Sumduwa. Walking forward you’ll meet the river and cross the bridge to reach Ryajik(2,940m).

Now, you’ll make a slow walk along the river bed until the stone stairways. These stone stairs will lead you through the forest way towards the ridge. From the ridge, the trails will start to turn into grassy ways from the rocky. Then, you will pass through the entrance gate of the big Shey Phoksundo National Park. Ankhe is the entrance to this national park and your overnight station. Overnight in Ankhe.

Walking Time: 5 to 6 Hours

Altitude Gain: 2,000m

On your way back home, today you will trek down Dunai which is 6 hours away from Ankhe. Starting with the big stream banked way then the trail climbs up toward the dense dark forest. Cross the forest and you’ll reach the riverbed of Phuksumdo Khola(river). Then the trail moves through the lower Rahagoan(2,909m), a Thakuri settlement.

From the village, you will head up towards the ridge by crossing stream ways of Phoksundo valley. The ridge provides a photogenic eyeshot of Kagmara Peak. Then descend the hill to reach semi-deserted Thulo Bheri Valley. Walk past the valley by crossing the suspension bridge to reach Dunai(2,000m), today’s overnight place.

Walking Time: 2 to 3 Hours

Altitude Gain: 2,320m

Today will be the second last day of the tour and final trek day of Lower Dolpo & Lake Phoksundo trekking, try to make the most of this day. You’ll retrace your earlier footprints to reach Jhupal, walking over the birch populated forest. The walk is not too long, just 3 easy hours. Along the way, turn your back and you’ll enjoy the awe-inspiring mountain and landscape views. Then, you’ll arrive at your trek starting point of Lower Dolpo & Lake Phoksundo trekking, Jhupal(2,320m).

Flight Duration: 45 minutes + 55 minutes

Altitude Gain: 150m(Nepalgunj) and then 1,300m(Kathmandu)

Your beautiful 19-days Lower Dolpo & Lake Phoksundo trekking is about to end. It’s time to leave the heavenly landscape of the Dolpo region. Firstly, you’ll fly from Jhupal to Nepalgunj in a 45-minute long flight. The flight will showcase the identical scenic views of the mountains and hills.

After you arrive at Nepalgunj Airport(150m), you will pick another flight to Kathmandu. It takes one picturesque hour, i.e. 55 minutes to reach Kathmandu from Nepalgunj. Upon your arrival at Kathmandu Airport, you’ll get hotel transfer via van from our crew members. We’ll have a trip succession and farewell dinner late in the evening.

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Lower Dolpo and Lake Phoksundo Trek