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Trekking in Dolpo Region of Nepal

January 31, 2020
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Trekking in Dolpo Region of Nepal

In the fiery lands of Western Nepal lies the magnificent Dolpo Region. A perfect combination of cultural sanctity and natural beauty resides within this region. Trekkers who step in the Dolpo region are awestruck with its beauty in the simplicity that it holds.

Dolpo Region
For young people seeking a little off-road and challenging adventure in the beautiful mountain regions of Nepal, Dolpo Region Trek is one of the best options. The elevation ranges from 1500m to more than 5000m above sea level. Not only will you get to enjoy the thrill of trekking along the mountain trails, but you will also get to enjoy the peace and cultural aura of the region.

Lying in the rain shadow area gives this region a different feel than any other mountain trekking regions of Nepal. One of nature’s magnificent creations is the Phoksundo Lake, which also lies in the Dolpo Region at the altitude of 3612m.

Accommodating villages at high altitudes, this region is also famous because it is one of the least populated mountain areas of Nepal. For travelers, this is a chance to interact with the locals and get to know about how they live in these adverse situations at high altitudes.

The southwestern part of this region homes the seventh highest mountain in the world, Mt. Dhaulagiri (8167m). Along with this, there are many more magnificent snow-covered beauties scattered across the region, making the experience of trekking even more enjoyable.

Key highlights of Dolpo Region
• High altitude adventures along with the fresh mountain air and the local people bring out the best trekking experiences in all of Nepal.
• Covered mostly by residents who follow Tibetan Buddhism, the Dolpo region provides travelers a glimpse of the rural life of Nepal.
• Thangkha Paintings, Mani walls, and countless ancient monasteries are scattered across the region, giving travelers a spiritual feel. You will come across many culturally priceless artifacts along the way.

Do not miss out on this once in a lifetime chance to experience the rural lifestyle along with the adventures in the mountain trails of Dolpo Region.

Best Time of the Year
Clearer skies and warm weather conditions are what you need for trekking around Dolpo Region. Higher altitudes are prone to avalanches, so it is better to avoid adverse weather as much as you can.

The time from April to May (i.e., spring) and from October to November (i.e., autumn) are the best in terms of clearer skies and warm weather with fewer chances of rainfall and avalanches. You can see the snow-clad mountains more clearly as the snow will not have melted yet, and the paths through the forests will also be less slippery.

Duration
Dolpo region offers a variety of trekking routes suitable for people who want to travel with time constraints as well as for people who wish to visit leisurely.

Most of the famous treks in the Dolpo Region last more than 15 days. Depending on the time you have on your hands, you can accommodate the itinerary as per your wish. There are also some shorter treks as well, like the Phoksundo Lake Trek, which can be completed in about 11 days. Other popular trekking routes like the Lower Dolpo Trek and Upper Dolpo Trek can be completed in 18- 32 days.

Difficulty
Most of the trekking routes include off-beaten trails, which automatically increases the difficulty level of the trek. There might be instances where you will have to make your path. You can enjoy shorter treks at a lower altitude as well, which are of lower difficulty level. The most popular trekking routes are, however, rated to be of medium to high difficulty, so it is better to be prepared beforehand.

For people seeking to gain adventurous experiences, trekking around the lesser frequented routes of the Dolpo Region are the perfect option. You do need to have a level of physical fitness and know-how to travel around the rough terrains of the Dolpo Region.

Restricted Area Permits
Dolpo Region was open for foreigners after 1989 and trek to Dolpo region needs to be strictly operated through a trekking agency. Your trekking agency will arrange all the permits on your behalf. These permits are required for both Upper Dolpo (500 USD per person for first 10 days and USD 50 per day each additional days) and Lower Dolpo (20 USD per week and USD 5 per day each additional days). You will also be required to pay a 3000 NPR entry fee for entering Shey-Phoksundo National Park. There is also a government rule allowing only 250 foreigners to travel to Upper Dolpo every year.

Domestic Flight Delay
Domestic flights in Nepal might be delayed quite often during adverse weather conditions. Since Dolpo Region is a mountainous region, you might be facing situations where your flight gets delayed or canceled because of snowstorms or avalanches. It is best to check on the weather condition beforehand while traveling.

The varying topography of Nepal in short distances can cause domestic flights to get delayed even for slight changes in the weather. So, make sure you have proper knowledge of the weather condition before traveling to Nepal.

Possible Treks in Dolpo Region of Nepal

Shey Phoksundo Lake Trek
The breathtaking alpine freshwater lake, Shey Phoksundo, is the heart of the Dolpo Region. Considered to be a sacred and holy place by people following Buddhism and Bon religion, this lake and it’s surrounding captures the essence of culture and natural beauty in once place.

For people with limited time, the Shey Phoksundo Lake Trek is the best choice to experience the beauty of the Dolpo Region. The trek duration is only 11 days starting from a flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj? Then, you catch a second flight from Nepalgunj to Jhupal. From Jhupal, the journey on foot starts.

You will pass through many local villages throughout the trek. Pine and fir trees cover the trekking route along with many alluring waterfalls. At the altitude of 3612m, you reach Phoksundo Lake, which is a memorable experience on its own. Along with the serene lake, you also get to view the glistening Kanjirowa Himal along with its neighboring peaks. The short trek is graded easy, so people with limited experiences in trekking can even thoroughly enjoy the trek.

Lower Dolpo Trek
A thrilling adventure through off-beaten roads is what awaits you for Lower Dolpo Trek. The treks in this region are challenging as you will pass through many rough trails as well as slippery slopes. However, the beauty of the trek is unmatchable as you move through countless natural attractions. Along with this, you will also get to have a taste of rural settlements of Nepal through different local villages scattered around the region.

This 19-day trek also takes off with a flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj, finally ending at Juphal. The trek garners attention among travelers for combining the experience of traveling across lush forests covered in oak and pine trees as well as semi-desert regions. The protected area of Shey Phoksundo National Park also falls in the Lower Dolpo Trek, where you will get to enjoy the exotic flora and fauna.

The park also protects the spectacular sight of mountains like Numa La and Baga La. Lake Phoksundo, and the cultural spirit attached to it greets you as you walk further down the trail. All in all, traveling in the Lower Dolpo Region is a challenging task, suitable for daredevils who want to taste the thrill of the Himalayas.

Upper Dolpo Trek
Upper Dolpo Trek is significantly more to this scenic beauty that is why people are attracted to visit here as the numbers grow every year. Upper Dolpo Trek is not only limited to the thrill of adventure or for trekking purpose, but it is also a great place to explore the remnants of ancient history and Bonpo, pre Buddhist culture and mysterious Buddhist monasteries.

Upper Dolpo takes you through the off-beaten paths and it is also restricted trekking regions so the special permit is required. The trail of Upper Dolpo goes through Shey Phoksundo National Park and allows you to explore the variety of flora and fauna. You arrive at exotic turquoise blue Phoksundo Lake which is surrounded by deep forests and majestic snow-capped peaks. Shey Gompa, another major attraction of this trek route is a perfect site to discover culture, tradition and religious way of life of the locals.

This trek passes through the ancient trading route of Tibet so mostly Tibetan language is spoken in this region. Since the Dolpo region lies in the rain shadow area formed by Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges, you can also do this trek during the Monsoon season too. Upper Dolpo is categorized as a difficult trek so you need to be fully fit and have past trekking experience for this trip.

Conclusion
Dolpo Region has a different charm to it than any other trekking regions of Nepal. Along with a thrilling adventure of trekking in one of the most rural areas of Nepal, you are also collecting memories of the people who live here. Traveling in the Dolpo Region gives you the power to look through the eyes of these people who live so far away from the rush of city life. There is no better get away from the grueling monotonous life than an unforgettable trek through the Dolpo region of Nepal.