Lower Dolpo Trek is an extremely thrilling and rewarding trek that takes you deep into the western hills of Nepal. Treks like the Everest Circuit or even the Annapurna Circuit, invite hundreds of trekkers due to its stunning mountain views. While the Lower Dolpo Trek is often taken upon by fewer travelers, it entices you with off-beaten paths, steep hills, at the core of the trek itself. Add swinging bridges over gushing rivers, and vast, quiet landscapes, this trek demands 5-7 hours of walking every day.
These rigorous terrains don’t come without the rewards. You will get to witness cascading desert-scapes as well as the pristine beauty of the turquoise Shey Phoksundo Lake. Rows of stone-houses, traditional villages, as well as deep pine forests, this trek packs it all for you.
In less than three weeks, you will get to be transported amidst the semi-desert region that weaves you in and out of densely forested slopes. You can also see a wide variety of fauna such as the Himalayan musk deer, blue sheep, snow leopard, caravans of yaks, and so on in their natural habitat. Snowy peaks like Mt. Dhaulagiri, Kugung La, and Khyung La look upon as you trek. You will be trekking to two high passes: Numa La (4350) and Baga La(4500m) that offer breathtaking views of the lands below.
The best season for this trek is during Spring and Autumn. Since this trek falls in the rain-shadow area, it can be done throughout the year. Furthermore, the skies will be clearer and will offer a much better view when you are on higher elevations.
With Nepal Social Trek & Expedition, you can rest assured that our trained professionals are more than capable of guiding you in your trails. Whether it is the geography, culture, or history, our guides are well armed with stories to ensure that you can truly understand the land you traverse. We also have porters and first aid kits handy so that we can ensure that all you have to do is enjoy your trek and marvel at the beauty around you.
For a trip that combines an aesthetic, historical, and geographical trekking experience in one, this trek is a perfect choice for you if you are looking for this mix.
Why You’ll Love Lower Dolpo Trek!
- Trekking up to the beautiful Shey Phoksundo Lake at an altitude of 3730 m.
- Trudging the barren desert-scapes for an otherworldly experience.
- Entry into Shey Phoksundo National park.
- Trekking up to two high passes: Numa La (4350m) and Baga La(4500m)
- A chance to witness the unique flora and fauna in this region.
- Walking on ancient salt trade routes and catching views of the Yak Caravan.
Is Lower Dolpo Trek Right For You?
- This trek includes walking anywhere between 5-8 hours per day for over two weeks. The trek will require some degree of physical fitness, so make sure you are physically active and able to take on this challenge.
- The highest point on this trek is 5310m, and can put you at risk for Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) or altitude sickness. This condition is identified by shortness of breath and headache and can be quite uncomfortable while trekking. However, your guide will make sure to pace you well to allow acclimatization as well as have proper medicines on hand.
- Despite our usage of high-quality technology, the weather can surprise us. Make sure you plan your trip for the most suitable time of the year. The seasons can also affect the views you will see, so you want to ensure the best possible circumstances.
- A large part of the accommodation on this trip is lodges or campsites. We will have basic amenities and provide safe and comfortable sleeping spaces as well as hygienic food. However, any additional materials or prescription medications that you need must be taken care of by you.
The Lower Dolpo region is a restricted region for the preservation of the area. As such, independent trekkers are not allowed in this region. You need special permits, and the rules dictate that there must be at least two trekkers in a group. Furthermore, you must be accompanied by a local guide.
The Lower Dolpo trek only requires you to get one permit. It is the Lower Dolpo Restricted Area Entry permit. This permit will cost you about USD 20 per person for the first seven days and USD 5 for every additional day.
If you want to enter the Upper Dolpo region, you will need to get a separate permit. This permit will cost you about USD 500 per person for the first 10 days. Beyond that, it will cost you USD 50 per person per day.
Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS) Card
This permit is mandatory for all trekkers travelling in Nepal. For this permit, you will need to carry some passport size photographs as well as a photocopy of your passport. The costs are detailed as follows:
- USD 20 for individual trekkers
- USD 10 for trekkers in groups
- USD 6 for individual trekkers from SAARC countries
- USD 3 for group trekkers from SAARC countries
18 Days Lower Dolpo Trek Itinerary
|Day||Itinerary||Altitude (m)||Duration (hours)|
|1||Arrival in Kathmandu||1365||N/A|
|2||Free day in Kathmandu for Sightseeing and Trek Preparation||1365||N/A|
|3||Kathmandu to Nepalgunj (Flight)||150||1|
|4||Nepalgunj to Jhupal (Flight) and to Dunai (Trek)||2850||2-3|
|5||Dunai to Tarakot (Trek)||2550||5-6|
|6||Tarakot to Khani Gaon (Trek)||2543||5-6|
|7||Khanigaon to Chukore (Trek)||3550||6|
|8||Chukore to Kamokharka (Trek)||4000||4|
|9||Kamokharka to Dho (Trek)||4130||3-4|
|10||Dho to Numa La Camp (Trek)||4350||4-5|
|11||Numa La Camp to Bang La Camp (Trek)||4500||4-5|
|12||Bang La Camp to Sanu Bheri Valley (Trek)||4100||4|
|13||Sanu Bheri Valley to Phoksundo Lake (Trek)||3730||5-6|
|14||Ringmo to Renje (Trek)||3010||3-4|
|15||Renje to Chepka (Trek)||2670||6|
|16||Chepka to Dunai (Trek)||2150||6|
|17||Dunai to Jhuphal (Trek)||2400||6-7|
|18||Nepalgunj to Kathmandu(Flight)||1365||1|
- You might want to carry a universal adapter for your charging needs as we go to more remote places. You can also purchase this at Kathmandu itself.
- As the weather can be unpredictable, you should pack a down jacket so that you are comfortable even if it gets cold or rains.
- ATMs and credit card acceptance are scarce in higher altitudes, so remember to have some cash handy for your purchases.
- You might need to carry some passport size photographs for your permits along the way.
Lower Dolpo Trek Itinerary (18 Days)Expand/Close
As you arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport, our staff will be ready to pick you up and take you to your hotel. Once we arrive at the hotel, our team will brief you on the outline for the trek. In the evening, you will be joining the rest of the group for an introductory welcome dinner. The first night is all about bonding and resting up.
- Hassle-free airport pick-up.
- A detailed explanation of the itinerary.
- Bonding welcome dinner with the full group.
While you must be rearing to head out on the trek, you can take this day to immerse yourself in all that Kathmandu has to offer. You will go sightseeing right after breakfast.
Neither crowds nor heat will be a problem as you relax in our private vehicle. Our tour guide will be right by ready to relay details of the sites that we will be heading to. We will begin at Pashupatinath, which is a very famous Hindu temple.
Once we’ve marveled at the cultural and sacred beauty of this temple, we will be moving to Boudhanath and Swayambhunath. These are Buddhist temples and flaunt their unique beauty. Towards the evening, we will head to Kathmandu Durbar Square. Here, you will be surrounded by the cultural beauty of middle age architecture.
You will also have some time in the evening to shop for any trekking gear or supplies. We will be near market hubs like New road or Thamel, so it will be easy to buy any missing components.
- Sightseeing holy sites like Pashupatinath, Boudhanath, and Swayambhunath temples.
- Strolling through historic sites like Kathmandu Durbar Square.
- Free day to purchase any trekking gear or supplies that you might need.
After a hearty breakfast, we will be heading to the domestic airport. From here, we will be taking a flight to Nepalgunj. This flight will only take about an hour. We hope you’ve packed your tank tops and t-shirts as Nepalgunj is one of the hottest places in Nepal. The flight will let you appreciate the tall mountains that stand guard to the rolling, lush hills. Once you land, you can enjoy the sunny beauty of the plains.
- One-hour scenic flight to Nepalgunj.
- Beautiful green meadows and warm, sunny weather.
The next morning we will be catching a flight to Jhupal. It will be a short 45-minute flight. The airport we will be arriving at is on a small hilltop. You will immediately feel the high cool breeze that will get you ready to get set and begin your trek.
On this day, we will be hiking for around 3 hours. We will cover 6 km and trudge through local villages. All around us, you will see terraced fields that lead you to the swiftly flowing Bheri river. The trail has the perfect countryside feel to it as you pass by water mills to reach the Dunai village.
- Short scenic flight to Jhupal.
- Only three hours of trekking through plains and terraced fields.
As we head out for this day’s trek, we will be following one stream after the other. Not just this, but we will also be walking right alongside the Bheri and Barbung river. As you maneuver hanging bridges, these rivers will add an excellent soothing soundtrack to your trek and are a sight to behold.
You will also be trudging along with large pine forests that add to the authentic trekking experience. Crossing Byasghar and trekking by Baijibara, you will get a chance to visit a Bon Monastery. As you trek higher, you will begin to see dry stone walls and rows of fields which will be your welcoming sign to Tarakot.
Once we reach Tarakot, we will be taking a short walk to Sandul Gompa. Sandul Gompa is a very famous and sacred site nestled amid large, towering hills. Here, you will begin to notice dry stones and deep gorges. Tarakot was once a very famous trading point. The locals here mostly practice Tibetan Buddhism. Another interesting fact is the dialect, you might get to hear a local language called ‘Kaike’, which is central to here and nowhere else.
This day’s trek will take you about 5 hours of walking.
- Walking by fast-flowing rivers like Bheri and Barbung.
- Tackling hanging bridges and deep gorges for stunning natural beauty.
- Visiting the famous religious site Sandul Gompa.
- Immersing yourself in the local Tibetan Buddhism and culture.
- Large towering hills for a picturesque view.
Once again, following the trail alongside the Bheri river, we will head out this morning. Today’s trek will take about 5-6 hours of walking. The path will further lead us to an open valley and alongside the Bharbung Khola. On reaching Laisicap, we will be crossing the swinging river bridge.
The rivers will continue guiding our path as we will be following the steady stream of Tarap Khola. This river runs alongside high cliffs of red and brown as far as the eye can stretch. The isolated villages and terraced lands will add a stark contrast to the barren hills. Another stream will lead us right to Khani Gaon.
- Following one stream after another is bound to keep your spirits high.
- Large, looming cliffs add an eerie atmosphere to walk alongside.
- Terraced lands and isolated villages at different spots remind you of civilization despite the barren lands.
Once we head out from Khanigaon, the trail goes into Lihini. This day’s trek should take you about 6 hours to cover. The trek is quite versatile. One moment, you will find yourself trudging stone staircases and walking on barren earth underneath, the next. The roads twist and turn until we reach an elevation of 3650m. From there, we will be descending to Chukore.
- Versatile landscapes to keep things interesting.
- Stone stairs as well as twisting roads.
- Walking in the shade of breathtaking and large, dry hills
On this day, we will be leaving Chukore and descending to Narpani. As you look up, you will see glorious mountain peaks at a distance cheering you on. You will be crossing streams and wobbly bridges, feeling one with nature itself.
Your path will further be dotted with a series of low caves, which invite exploration. Additionally, your eyes will be treated with large yak pastures, which will let you know that you have arrived at Kamokharka. This day’s trek will take you about 4 hours.
- Crossing streams, bridges, and yak pastures.
- Passing exciting caves along your trail.
- Only about 4 hours of walking.
As we leave Kamokharka, the trail today will oversee pleasant countryside views. You will walk by meadows and small streams. You will also be crossing wooden bridges and trudging along a mostly even path. After walking for about 3-4 hours, you will begin to see a long line of mani (stone-built) walls. The mani walls mark your arrival at the day’s destination, Dho.
Dho offers a wide selection of sights itself. Even at this elevation, it is dotted with chortens and monasteries. One of them is the 1000-year old Ribo Bumpa Monastery. You can also choose to visit Drakmar monastery which sits tall on red cliffs to create a visual masterpiece. There are many such monasteries to pick from so rest assured your day is going to be very eventful.
- Pleasant meadows and streams to walk alongside.
- Strain-free walking of only 3-4 hours.
- Gorgeous mani walls leading you into Dho.
- Wide variety of centuries old monasteries to explore.
Once we turn our backs to Dho, we will be passing several rows of stone houses. You will pass a popular school, and follow an ascending trail uphill. This trail leads you to the traditional, remote village of Tok-Kyu, where you will get to see old-fashioned houses and a lifestyle untouched by modern influences.
This area is famous as one of the highest altitude human settlements in the world. From here, we will be crossing the Tarap Khola. This river runs swiftly between a stunning depth creating a lovely gorge. You will be rewarded with interesting sights like Shering Gompa, a house for the monks in this region. The trail leads you through gentle inclines and then turns more rugged as you near Numa La Camp. After walking for about 4 to 5 hours, you will reach Numa La Camp.
- Picturesque rows of stone houses.
- Witnessing the stunning gorge of Tarap Khola.
- Visiting the remote village of Tok-kyu with its untouched lifestyle.
This day’s trek gets slightly more strenuous as we enter higher elevations. The climb may be steep, but it is also gratifying. Once up there, you will get to marvel at the astounding beauty of the mountains. The views of the sprawling desert land in front of you is bound to make an impactful memory. After you’ve had your fill–both for your heart and your cameras, we will descend to Dajok Tang. This day’s trek will only take you about 4-5 hours of walking.
- Reaching Baga La Camp and enjoying the stunning view from high above.
- Cascading hills that stretch into the expanse.
On this day, we will be crossing a stream and then ascending a slope to reach Poyn Chu Valley. You will reach Baga La as you continue along, which is at an elevation of 5190m. Since this is quite high, it is possible to tire yourself quicker. With this in mind, this day’s itinerary is only 4 hours long. We will be walking alongside a mountainside slant until we get to Sanu Bheri Valley.
- Well-paced 4 hours of walking for proper acclimatization.
- Reaching high elevations and enjoying the surrounding scenic beauty.
- Walking along mountainside slants for a memorable otherworldly experience
As we will be reaching very high elevations on this day, be sure not to strain yourself too much while walking. We will be taking ample breaks, but if at any time you feel like you need to stop, make sure you let one of our guides. We have altitude sickness medicines on board, so if you feel any shortness of breath or strain, please feel free to reach out to any member of our team.
You will begin the descent and will immediately be greeted with beautiful stretches of green meadows. These will then lead you into dense forests that stretch high up to provide ample shade as you trek on through. Additionally, you will be passing yak pastures and also climbing on a cliffside ridge.
This ridge acts as an excellent viewpoint to watch the bustling valley below. You can also witness the mighty waterfall that comes out of Phoksundo Lake. You will follow a trail that lowers you and takes you via tall pine forests to Ringmo. Ringmo is a small Tibetan village but it offers excellent views of the Phoksundo Lake.
The blue waters are bound to seem inviting after a long day’s trek. You can spend your evening walking by this lake and snapping pictures of the sunset. We will be stopping here right near the famous Phoksundo Lake.
- Stunning natural beauty as you walk through green meadows and dense pine forests.
- View of the entire valley from a highpoint cliffside ridge.
- Overnight near the famous Shey Phoksundo Lake.
The next day’s trek is much easier on your feet. You will be detouring to visit a Tibetan monastery nearby and appreciate the pristine beauty of this emerald lake. The monastery is Tshowa Gompa, which is a 900-year-old Bon monastery that sits on a small ridge above the lake. The lake is considered to be sacred by the Buddhist community and sports a breathtaking turquoise color.
Once we move on from this point, we will be heading towards Sulighad. The fun tidbit is that one of the streams originating from the lake itself will guide us along the way until we reach the village of Renje.
- Detour to the Tshowa Gompa, a 900-year-old Bon monastery.
- Beautiful Phoksundo Lake flaunting its turquoise color far and wide.
- Short day’s walk to Renje village.
On this day’s trek, we will leave the small village of Renje. With the tall mountains celebrating our successful trek, we will be marching through fir and larch forests. Flowing right alongside us will be the Sulighat River, ready with its fresh stream to rejuvenate us along the way. After about 6 hours of walking, we will reach Chepka.
- Walking through lush fir and larch forests.
- The tall backdrop of gorgeous mountains as you trek back.
On this day’s trek, we will be walking for about 6 hours. You will be trekking through villages and getting a front seat view of the local livelihood. The trek is relatively stress-free and full of all the beauty that the plains have to offer. You will have plenty of time to slowly walk and snap pictures once we reach Dunai.
- Walking through local villages and settlements.
- Appreciating the daily lives of people away from the city life.
Once we have a hearty breakfast, we will head right back into the trail. This trail is sure to be a treat for your eyes. You will be walking through Birch trees and vast green pastures. The route can sometimes get rocky, but you are unlikely to notice from the high of your triumphant descent. This day’s trek will take you about 6-7 hours.
- Green forests and pastures all along your trail.
- Rocky but rewarding descent.
Early morning we will be taking a short, scenic flight to Kathmandu. The flight will only take about 1 hour, during which you can marvel at the land below and celebrate your successful trek. From here, we will be transferring you to your hotel. The rest of the afternoon is free for you to catch up on some sightseeing or simply rest in your hotel and go through your camera roll.
Lower Dolpo Trek Cost
The Cost Include(s)
- Private Arrival & Departure transfers on both international and domestic flights,
- Assistance for the trekking gears and the shopping for the trekking equipment if required,
- Welcome and farewell dinner in Kathmandu.
- Lower Dolpo Restricted Area Permit (USD 20 per person) and TIMS.
- Full board meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) during trekking,
- 3 Star Hotel Accommodation in Kathmandu on B/B basis,
- Accommodation in a camping during trekking,
- Domestic flights Kathmandu-Nepalgunj-Juphal-Nepalgunj-Kathmandu.
- All private overland transports included in the itinerary.
- All kitchen team including experienced trek Cook and staff.
- All camping equipment.
- Nepal Social Treks Gears – sleeping bag, duffel bag for the use during the trip,
- Professional local guide with extensive experience,
- First Aid Kit Comprehensive,
- Necessary Porters to carry all personal gear and group equipment (1 porter per 2 trekkers),
- Insurance for all staff including porters,
- Assistance to evacuation in case of any kind of emergency
- Lower Dolpo Trekking map
- Nepal government tax and service fees.
The Cost Exclude(s)
- Entry visa for Nepal that you can get upon arrival in Kathmandu.
- Any bottled drinks other than tea and coffee.
- Personal insurance if any evacuation is needed during trekking or climbing.
- Any personal gear for trekking.
- International airfare and airport taxes, excess baggage charges,
- Valid Travel Insurance with Medical evacuation in case of emergency,
- Nepal entry visa fees
- Additional expenses for batteries, telephones, cold drinks, laundry, and so on.
- Any tips or gratuities for the staff.
Why Nepal Social Treks for Lower Dolpo Trek?
We are well aware of how saturated the travel business can get. There are multiple companies with attractive offers vying for your attention. We understand that we must offer nothing short of the best for you. Here is why we are confident that Nepal Social Trek and Expedition will be the best choice for all your trekking needs.
Highly Qualified Teams
With our long-standing history of quality deliverance, you can rest assured that our team is well prepared to take care of you. We have made zero compromises so that even in the high altitude passes, we ensure top-quality hospitality.
All our guides are well-prepared in the rich history of the land that will unfold in front of you. With interesting tidbits about all the pitstops, you are sure to receive an elevated travel experience altogether.
Well-prepared for Every Situation
The Lower Dolpo Trek will take you through the hot Nepalgunj weather, and then traversing swinging bridges over rapids like the Bheri river. The trail even gets to elevations over 5000m. With this in mind, we understand that your safety cannot be taken lightly. We have a well-trained staff as well as a comprehensive first aid, to ensure that there are no-trade offs when it comes to your safety.
High Success Rate
One of our main reasons for exuding confidence is the rave reviews you can find on our website from fellow travelers just like you. We’ve been in the business of providing high-quality, reliable trekking services since 2006. In this time, we have delivered 300+ treks in a year.
Our professional and knowledgeable crew is ready to ensure your trip is not only successful but also memorable. Our team has proven over and over that Nepal Social Treks is the company for you as you take on the Lower Dolpo trek.
Excellent Food and Accomodation Facilities
Gone are the days where camping had to be uncomfortable and cold. We’ve ensured that you deserve a hearty meal and a cozy sleep at the end of every night. Our itinerary has planned comfortable tea houses and tents that provide clean and safe sleeping spaces as well as hygienic food.
When you decide to take on challenging terrains and leave the city behind, it is natural for you to be concerned about what technology we have onboard. We are ready with the most advanced technology for all our weather forecasting. Even for team communication, we have high-tech gear ready so that you won’t have to worry about any loss in communication.
FAQs About Lower Dolpo Trek
The Lower Dolpo Trek is categorized as a strenuous trek. It includes trekking up to an elevation of 5310m. Therefore, it does require some degree of physical fitness. Moderate fitness should be sufficient to tackle this trek.
We do ensure plenty of rest times and adequate pacing to avoid unnecessary strains. In case you are suffering from any pre-existing medical condition, we suggest you consult your doctor before picking this trek. Similarly, we commend being physically active in the months prior to this trek. You can do this in the form of activities like biking, running, hiking, swimming, and so on.
There are plenty of ATM and credit card facilities available in Kathmandu, as well as Nepalgunj. However, beyond that, when you venture into more remote villages and higher altitudes, these are going to be scarce to non-existent. We recommend you carry the necessary cash for any purchases in these areas.
As this is not a popular trek, not all the villages are prepared with the amenities that you may need. You better carry your solar charging for your cameras and phones, in case you don’t have one, you don’t need to worry about any problems in charging up your phones, cameras, or other electronics along the way as our team will have solar charging for emergencies.
Yes. We recommend that you purchase insurance in your country before coming on this trek. Nepal Social Treks only covers the insurance for our own staff. Please make sure that your insurance covers you for high altitude trekking.
Yes. We will be traversing uneven trails and facing unpredictable weather. As such, you will want to ensure excellent grip for your safety, so we might need to use crampons.
We will be staying in three-star hotels while we are in the city. Further, into the trek, we will be staying at camping tents. Rest assured, we have ensured top-tier security as well as comfort in any situation.
We have included a free day on the itinerary. You can use this day to shop for anything that you may have missed. However, when it comes to things like shoes or any specific gear, you might not want to risk last-minute shopping. We have included a comprehensive trekking gear checklist, so you should triple check this before heading out for your trek.
No. We strongly suggest you refrain from drinking tap water as your stomach likely will not have adjusted to the local water just yet. For your safety, only drink bottled water or properly filtered water.
The elevation on this trek does exceed 3500m. There is a possibility that you could get altitude sickness. However, we have designed the itinerary to make sure you can acclimatize properly. Our first aid kit is also fully equipped to take care of you.
Porters are optional. If you feel like you need help carrying your bags as you want to focus on the trek and enjoying the view itself, we have them on board our team. Typically, a porter can carry about 20kg in weight, which includes their backpack as well.
Lower Dolpo Trek is listed as a trek of moderate to strenuous difficulty. You will be traversing uneven terrains, swinging bridges, and reaching altitudes as high as 5310m. Similarly, there can always be unpredictable shifts in the weather patterns, so it is always a good idea to remain well-prepared for any situation. With this in mind, we have drawn up the following list of trekking gear that you should consider packing:
Breathable trekking shirts, both half and full sleeves
Water and wind-resistant trekking trousers
Comfortable trekking shorts for walking in hot weather
At least one thermal layer for colder conditions
Waterproof jacket for unexpected rains
Light fleece jacket for warmer areas
High-quality down jacket in case of extreme weather conditions
Comfortable, worn-in hiking boots.
Sandals for leisurely walking.
High-quality hiking socks and thermal socks.
Sun protection hat
Beanie or headband
Inner and Outer gloves
Good quality sleeping bag
Camera and portable chargers
UV protection sunglasses
Water bottle and water purification tablets
Any prescription medications
Hand sanitizers, sunscreen, lip balm