Dolpa Circuit Trek – 14 days
The upper dolpa circuit trek is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea and hence that is when Dolpa circuit trek comes into play. Not everyone has enough time, money and the energy to go through rigorous passes back to back. This trek is less taxing and as well takes to the beautiful Phoksundo lakes, amazing topography and brings you close to the nowhere to be found Bon people.
The best way to begin your Dolpa circuit trek is from Juphal, where lies the only airport of the region. Be it season or off season, you will find very few trekkers in the region as it is a restricted area and second, because the trek is demanding. However, if you opt for this trek, you will be amongst very few trekkers who truly walked in the wilderness, where blue sheeps are in abundance and the land which is truly a hunting ground of the shy and precipitous snow leopards. This is the land of people who have better ties with Tibet, practice culture which is closely knitted to the northern counterparts and above all so rustic that it might come as a shock for travellers.
The terrain of Dolpa circuit trek is almost similar to the one further up. It is barren with very less or no vegetation, arid and dry. Lower Dolpa as well is an extension of the Tibetan Plateau that falls in the Nepalese territory. However, the trail encompasses 2 high passes and you will have to traverse them back to back. Nevertheless, these passes are best known as the viewpoints showcasing one of the rare jewels Kanjiroba and one of the highest on the planet, Dhaulagiri.
All this terrain, the second largest and the deepest lake, snow leopard walking trails and amazing beauty comes at a comfort of accommodating cold nights under the tents. It is a true wilderness experience to some sacred buddhist gompas sharing your way with the yaks loaded with trading goods. Dolpa circuit trek is a bless as well as bliss not everyone gets to experiences. Trek this trail today and collect memories from such destination which people dream of or enjoy just in pictures!
- Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu
- Day 02: Trek preparation and sightseeing
- Day 03: Kathmandu - Nepalgunj
- Day 04: Nepalgunj - Juphal - Chepka (2838 m)
- Day 05: Nepalgunj - Juphal (2475 m) - Dunai (2140 m) 3 hrs
- Day 06: Dunai (2140 m) - Lingdo (2391 m) 5 - 6 hours
- Day 07: Lingdo (2391 m) - Laina Odar (3370 m) 7 hrs
- Day 08: Laina odar (3370 m) - Toltol (3523 m) 6 - 7 hrs
- Day 09: Toltol (3523 m) - Dho Tarap (4080 m) 6 hrs
- Day 10: Dho Tarap (4080 m) - Numa La phedi base camp (4440 m) 4 - 5 hrs
- Day 11: Yak Kharka (3860 m) - Ringmo village (3641 m) 4 hrs
- Day 12: Ringmo Village (3641 m) - Chepka (2838 m) via Rechi
- Day 13: Chepka (2838 m) - Juphal (2475 m) 7 hrs
- Day 14: Juphal - Nepalgunj - Kathmandu
- Day 15: Farewell
Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu
Welcome to Kathmandu! A representative from Karma eco trek will receive you at the airport and drop you off to your hotels. No plan is set aside for the day. Overnight in Kathmandu
Day 02: Trek preparation and sightseeing
Although the trek requires preparation from long back and almost everything is prepared by this day, you will do last minute shopping if anything is require. Once you short things out in the morning, you head out to see couple of UNESCO heritage sites in the city. These sights are considered national heritage and exploring them is a beautiful way to get along Nepalese way of life and culture. You will do last minute packing in the evening. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 03: Kathmandu - Nepalgunj
Day 04: Nepalgunj - Juphal - Chepka (2838 m)
The trek begins as soon as our flight lands in Ranjha airport, Juphal. From Juphal you would embark on a motorable road where rarely you will come across motor and within an hour you will hit the gates of Shey Phoksundo National parks. After getting out permits checked we enter the restricted area. On this section of the trail you will find teahouses in good amount, which is not the same in the days to come. You will stop in between either in Khalaripi or Kageni or in Sangta. We will hike further down to Chepka and pin down our tents. Chepka is more densly populated and have better water as well as toilet facilities. Overnight in Chepka.
Day 05: Nepalgunj - Juphal (2475 m) - Dunai (2140 m) 3 hrs
After taking an early morning flight to Juphal, the only airport in Dolpa, we walk our trek on foot. From Juphal, it takes around 3 hours of walk to the Dolpa headquarters of Dunai. The first one and half hour is a steep descend and later the trail gets more horizontal and is an easy stroll. Overnight in Juphal where the facilities are modern and campsites have running water.
Day 06: Dunai (2140 m) - Lingdo (2391 m) 5 - 6 hours
Very quickly, after you leave Dunai, the landscape turns beautiful with pine trees in the surrounding and high hills and mountains in the distance. Most of the times you will follow Bheri river and make your way through hamlets settled by Terali Buddhist of Magar communities who have strong connection with Tibet. After Byasgar, the trail becomes arid and rocky and at times the trails gets very narrow and is carved on rock face of the hills and mountains. The narrow roads open to the village of Lingdo where there are few teahouses with running water facilities. Depending upon your condition and will we will either put up the tents or enjoy accommodating in concrete structures. Overnight in Lingdo.
Day 07: Lingdo (2391 m) - Laina Odar (3370 m) 7 hrs
You will basically be ascending most of the time today. The trail traverses through hamlets which would be the last settlements before you reach Dho Tarap. The terrain changes and switches dramatically from green to arid time and again. On this very section of the trail you will get glance of snow clad Kang Tokal. Keep your eyes open for grey monkeys as well. Making your way through juniper and pine trees, you follow Bheri river all the way to the top to cross a suspension bridge. The trail further leads to Laisicap which is equipped with hotels and campsite with tents and shops serving biscuit, drinks and other stuffs. It is a back breaking 3 hours long walk to Laina Odar from here. The trail however is surrounded by pine trees and some surprisingly very large. You climb up high to the top and leave the river below to join the river again on the top. Once you reach the river you will see a tented hotel which is Laina Odar. Overnight in Laina Odar.
Day 08: Laina odar (3370 m) - Toltol (3523 m) 6 - 7 hrs
From laina Odar onwards you walk through beautiful forest of pine which in matter of hours become sparse and soon vanish. Making your way through couple of beautiful waterfalls and gradual ascend you climb to the hilltop in 4-5 hours. From here the vegetation changes entirely and lush green land becomes dry and arid. From the top of the hill the trail declines steeply to the confluence of two rivers and a camp site of Tangum. From here, it is comparatively easy and an hour worth of stroll to Toltol. Overnight in Toltol
Day 09: Toltol (3523 m) - Dho Tarap (4080 m) 6 hrs
We embark on the same trail that we left on previous day. Right after Dho, the trail leads into a windy gorge. The trail in the beginning is almost flat but we slowly and gradually start climbing on a steep rocky cliff. From the top you can see the river changing course and making its way through the gorges and at times it even vanishes in between cliffs rising on the either sides. You will also come across some narrow valleys and if fortunate witness tents of horse caravans. However, you will walk further down to open junctions which is often used as rest area for yaks and mules. One of these junction is our destination of the day namely Toltol. Overnight in toltol.
Day 10: Dho Tarap (4080 m) - Numa La phedi base camp (4440 m) 4 - 5 hrs
There is not much walking to do but just plenty of detours to just see the landscape and gompas. The first gompa you will witness is a century old Mekyem gompa, which features a large statue of an avatar of Buddha. You will join back on the trail through crystal mountain school which is a private facility. Further, you will climb to the village of Gakar where Phurba Dorje gompa is housed. We leave behind this highly decorated gompa housing ancient weapons behind and move forward towards the village of Tokyu. From here the trail branches to the restricted area of Upper dolpa. Tokyu is a fine place to camp but since the following day is going to be long and tedious you will continue further to Numa La phedi base camp. The view of the terrain and the mountains in the surrounding will certainly awe-inspire you.
Day 10: Numa La phedi base camp (4440 m) - Danigar (4440 m) via Numa La 7 hrs
The trek is steep right from the beginning and the snow remains almost at all times of the year which makes it a little difficult to cross. Later, the trek becomes gradual and you will walk on bowl shaped glacial formation. The views of Dhaulagiri, north Annapurnas and Kanjiroba are visible in from the best angles. The trail descends steeply and further climbs up the ridge towards Panglanka Khola. Keep your eyes open and become as quiet as you can because people have spotted a lot of blue sheeps as well as snow leopards at this very section of Dolpa circuit trek. The path straight leads to a beautiful meadow of Danigar where we will camp for the night. A river flows from very close which mixes in Phoksundo lake and the views of Norbu Kang is beautiful.
Day 11: Danigar (4440 m) - Yak Kharka (3860 m) via Baga La
There are high chances of the trail being covered with snow or frost at all time of the year making your ascend to Baga La base camp tougher. On the way you will traverse through rocky trail with few dwarf rhododendron bushes. To get to the final destination, you will once again cross a pass namely Baga La. Most of the descend from the pass is steep and traversed over loose rocks. However, you will come across waterfalls cascading down beautifully on the rocks, a huge rock with om mani padme hum painted on it and trails zigzag which requires focus from trekkers at all times. After walking down on these beautiful landmarks, the trail opens up to a valley and a flat land wrapped around prayer flags namely Bagala Phedi or Dajok Tang. From here it is an easy stroll to our final destination of yak kharka, which is a seasonal campsite for yak herders. Overnight in Yak Kharka.
Day 11: Yak Kharka (3860 m) - Ringmo village (3641 m) 4 hrs
Its a relief to your legs on this day. Compared to the hiking of the previous days, you will enjoy the easy stroll with beautiful views of the mountains. You are south bound and soon you will see the valley opening to Juphal. However you make a short climb towards the Phoksundo lake and in the process you will not miss the 200 m waterfall made from the outlet of the lake itself. Furthermore, from this point onwards you will experience pines and yellow birches which opens up to barley fields of Ringmo village. Ringmo village also has hotels with basic facilities. You could either camp once again or enjoy our accommodation in a concrete yet traditional building.Overnight in Ringmo.
Day 12: Ringmo Village (3641 m) - Chepka (2838 m) via Rechi
The route gets easier as we walk along Phoksundo khola and traverse through green vegetation. On this day you are still bound to walk downhill but nothing like the days you have already spent on the trail. The highest point of today’s trek is of the 330 meters water fall which is the highest in the country. The trek is around 6 hours long and majority of the walk is flat or downhill. Once in Chepka we will call it a night.
Day 13: Chepka (2838 m) - Juphal (2475 m) 7 hrs
This 7 hours trek from Chepka to Juphal is pleasant. The trail traverses via beautiful lotus like flowers which is used for making vinegar and few other medicine. On this day you will walk through small villages and do not forget to ask your guide the names of the villages. Surprisingly, the villages are named as Ankhe, Rahagaun and Parela, meaning eye, eyebrows and eyelashes respectively. Once all the way down to Dunai river, you will ascend until Juphal. Overnight in Juphal.
Day 14: Juphal - Nepalgunj - Kathmandu
You will board an early morning flight from Juphal to Nepalgunj. Later that day, you will board another flight from Nepalgunj to Kathmandu. Once in Kathmandu we will transfer you to your hotel. In the evening, one last time, we will gather for a farewell dinner and over the dinner we will talk about the trek and your experience in Nepal.
Day 15: Farewell
Your Lower dolpa circuit trek officially comes to an end when we drop you off at the airport.
- Airport pickup and drop by private vehicle.
- 2 nights Hotel accommodation at 3 star category in Kathmandu inclusive breakfast.
- All government and local taxes
- A comprehensive medical kit
- Highly an experienced trekking Guide, Cook, assistant cook and Porters.
- All accommodations on the trails and 3 times meals during the trek (staple meal of Daal Bhat for lunch and dinner or any one item from the menu )
- Camping/ Tented accomodation on the trail.
- Both way domestic flight from ktm to Nepalgunj to jhupal/ jhupal to nepalgunj to ktm.
- A comprehensive medical kit.
- Accidental and medical Insurance of Nepalese staffs
- Certificate of trek Completion
- Travel and rescue insurance
- Lunch & dinner in kathmandu hotel.
- Nepal visa which obtained at the airport on arrival (4 copies of passport size photo).
- Personal expenses (phone calls, laundry, bar bills, battery recharge, extra porters, bottle or boiled water, shower, mineral water etc)
- Nepal entry visa fee and airport tax during the departure.
- In case of natural calamities i.e. political unrest, cancellation of flight due to weather, landslides etc the extra charge should be borne by themselves.
- Tips for trekking crews.
- Anything else that is not mentioned on what is included