Trek to the Dolpa Circuit is an experience we'll never forget. It gives us the opportunity to experience life in the remote highlands. We walk through a variety of landscapes, ranging from green pastures, reminding to the European Alps, to barren rocks, reminding to the Tibetan plateau. The Phoksundo Lake is of an incomparable beauty, with its deep blue and emerald colors, surrounded by steep bold rocks.
We pass some small authentic villages, inhabited by straight descendents of the Tibetans. Buddhism en Bonpo are very important for the people living in these villages and interwoven in everyday life. Bonpo religion is the oldest spiritual traditional of Tibet. It is very much related with Buddhism, but has more shamanistic and animistic influences, which gives a mythical appeal to Dolpa.
Due to its remote location, Dolpa is still an "off the beaten track destination". Especially in spring and summer we see very few other tourists. The Dolpa Circuit is a quite strenuous trekking, with some steep climbs. We have to cross two passes, Numa La of 5318 m and Baga La of 5190 m. This crossing involves long climbs and long descends. But the scenery on the way, the views from the passes and the encounters we will have with the Dolpa people will make it all worth it.
Meet our representative at the airport who will transfer you to the Hotel. Hotel checking-in and go for sightseeing tour. Overnight in Kathmandu.
After breakfast process for the UNISCO Heritage Sightseeing tour. Visit Swyambhunath Temple, Kathmandu Durbar Square, Patan city, Khokana Village and after sight-seeing tour, transfer you back to hotel. Overnight Kathmandu.
Nepalgunj is a steaming hot city in South Western Nepal, in the lowlands of Terai, close to the Indian border, which are just 8 km away and also the gate way to Dolpo. Culturally the area more resembles India than upland Nepal. Take a cycle rikshaw for a ride in town. The Bageshowri temple is one of Nepal's most important Hindu temples and is worth a visit as well. We stay overnight at hotel.
It's just a 35 minutes flight to Juphal over steep mountain ridges with beautiful views of snowcapped mountains. From Juphal we walk down over a small path among fields with wheat and vegetables to the Thuli Bheri River, which will follow after reaching it. About 45 minutes before Dunai we pass a beautiful gate chortens (stupa), which is the entrance to the VDC (Village Development Committee) Dunai where we can observe the beautiful Buddhist paintings of mandalas and important Buddhist figures.
Dunai is the headquarters of Dolpa District. It is situated at the slope at the other site of the river, overlooking Dunai. A bit further away from Dunai, at the same slope, we can find the Dolpo Bon School and Hostels, the Bon School educates children in the Bonpo religion, Tibetan culture and Tibetan language. We stay overnight at tented camp.
Leaving Dunai, we soon walk in a beautiful mountain landscape, which sometimes reminds to the European Alps. Rocky slopes are dotted with pine trees, mostly blue pine. At the horizon we see the snowcapped Kang Tokal (6294 m). The path goes slightly up and down, following the Thuli Bheri River, We cross the Buddhist village Byasgar (2427 m). The people who live in this region are Tarali's, a Magar group.After Byasgar, the landscape gets quickly more rough and rocky. The path is sometimes carved out of the rocks, and at a few points very narrow. Walking through the huge challenging finally we reach to Lingdo, a small village where we stay overnight at tented camp.
The path is gradually going up. Along the way we have a good view to some of the villages in this region, like Sarankot, which is situated high on a cliff. These are the last villages we will see till we reach Dho Tarap. We pass some Mani walls and chortens. The landscape is impressive and sometimes very green. Sharp rocks are dotted with junipers and other pine trees. The trail climbs high on a slope and goes high above the Thuli Bheri River, leading to a large suspension bridge (120 meter long), high above the river as well. We reached Laisicap (2772 m). On the other side of the bridge After Laisicap it's a long and strenuous climb of about 3 hours to Laina Odar (3370 m). The path partly goes through forests and we are surrounded by steep cliffs full of pine trees, some of which are huge. Close to Laina Odar, the path goes alongside the river again. We stay overnight at tented camp.
The trail goes up to a small pass, which takes about 45 minutes climbing to reach it. After the pass, it's a fairly easy walk with a few small climbs. It's a beautiful walk sometimes going through pine forests, with a wonderful smell. About 4 hours after leaving Laina Odar, we reach Nawarpani (3475 m), where we stay overnight at tented camp.
The trail goes through the dry or more barren landscape passing by river valley with high rocks towering on our both side. In this barren landscape the blue sheep lives. If we look out for them we have a big chance to see big groups high on the slopes. It's a fairly easy walk, gradually going up. At some parts the path is beautifully carved out of the rock. The path climbs steeply for about half an hour to a small pass with a nice chorten (stupa). From the pass, it's 30 minutes till Sisaul (3750 m). we stay overnight at tented camp.
The trail climbs to another small pass. Shortly after the pass, the valley suddenly widens. The trail stays besides the river. At the horizon a small collection of houses is appearing in between the mountains: Dho Tarap. Getting nearer to Dho Tarap, we cross many Mani walls and small chortens.A Dho Tarap is a traditional agricultural village, surrounded by fields. Yaks are used to plough the land. Barley, buckwheat and potatoes are among the few crops that can grow in this barren landscapeThe houses are made of stones found in the river valley and are in typical Tibetan style, with small windows and the flat roofs stocked with firewood.
Close to Dho are 2 monasteries which are worth a visit. Ribo Bhumpa Gompa, Gompa belongs to Nyingmapa Buddhism right on the hill behind Dho, and Shipchaur Gompa, which is in the village Shipchowk, 30 minutes walking from Dho. Shipchaur Gompa in Shipchowk belongs to Bonpo Buddhism. We stay overnight at tented camp.
As it is only a 3 ½ hours walk to Numala Base Camp, we pass a beautiful gate chorten. After more or less half an hour, we arrive at the Crystal Mountain School which is sponsored by a French NGO and worth to visit. From the school, it's about half an hour to Tokyu (4209 m), a spread out village, which is said to be the highest permanent settlement in the world. The Gompa is at the end of the village, and is worth a visit. It has a beautiful statue of Maitreya, the Future Buddha. From the Gompa, it is a gradual climb of about 1 ½ hours over grassy land to Numala Base Camp (4440 m). We stay overnight at tented camp.
Early morning trek to Numa la pass give us the spectacular view of the mountain ranges from the pass. It's a long and strenuous climb of about 3 hours to Numa La (la means pass) at 5318 m. The altitude makes we go slowly and we get out of breath quickly. We have a stunning view from the pass on countless snowcapped mountains. Dhaulagiri (8167 m) , Annapurna and Manaslu Range, the Shey Shikar (6139 m), Kanjirowa (6883 m) and many, many others. In spring there can be snow on the pass, which makes the crossing a bit harder. After the pass we go down steeply for about an hour. Then the path becomes pretty level and later climbs slowly but steadily again for about an hour. It's an amazing spot close to the river (Panklanga Khola). To the south the beautiful snowcapped Norbung Kang (6085 m) is towering high above the campsite. On the other side of the river there are high pastures, which are often used by yaks to graze. We stay overnight at tented camp.
An early start is best. The path continues on the slope on the other side of the Panklanga Khola and climbs pretty steep, going "zig zag" over the slope. Soon we are high above the river. A good 2 hours after leaving camp we reach the high camp, which is already close to the pass. From here we have an excellent view on the Norbung Kang and the Baga La range Baga La (5190 m). From the pass we have a splendid view on many snowcapped mountains like Kanjirowa and Shey Shikar. After the pass, the path descends pretty steep at the beginning. This part can be icy which makes it slippery, we walk in stunning scenery of huge rocks in all kind of colors with at the Horizon Mountains covered with snow. And then, suddenly, more or less 1 ½ hour after leaving the pass, we will see green bushes and a bit later even tree Besides, we will see a couple of beautiful waterfalls along the way. It's rather flat and easy walking, very gradually going down, till we reach Yak Kharka (3982 m), another beautiful place to camp. We have a great view of the imposing Kanjirowa Himal (6612 m). Besides, in spring the meadows are full with flowers.
The path is going up and down and stays level sometimes. The path is beautifully carved out of the rocks and leads to a small pass. After the pass, the path goes into a pine forest. Leaving the forest, we cross a small bridge from which we climb in a couple of minutes to Ringmo.
Ringmo is a charming village. Ringmo lies at the shore of the holy Phoksundo Lake. This lake is of an incomparable beauty. It has an enchanting deep blue color and is emerald green close to the shore .If we want; we can walk a part of the famous Demons Trail from the movie Himalaya (Caravan) of Eric Valli. This is a beautiful movie about the life of people in Dolpa, At the other shore, there is a beautiful Bonpo Monastery which we can visit. In the monastery we can observe a statue of Tonpa Shenrab Miwo, the founder of Bonpo religion, who lived thousands of years ago.
Phoksundo Lake is part of the Shey Phoksundo National Park. It's Nepal's largest National Park, established in 1984, with an area of 3,555 km². It aims to conserve the Trans-Himalayan ecosystem and the Tibetan type of flora and fauna. we can camp at the shores of Phoksundo Lake.
Walking time to Rechi is about 3 ½ hours and from Rechi to Chhepka is 3 ½ hours as well.The path is rather flat at first, but soon climbs steeply up the hill. The walk to Rechi goes almost entirely through beautiful pine forests, with some bushes, birches and other broad leaved trees mixed in. Soon after the top we'll come across Nepal's highest waterfall, a spectacular waterfall of 167 meters high, the Phoksundo Waterfall. More or less one hour after the viewpoint we reach the Amchi Hospital. It's about 1 ½ hour more to Rechi (2940 m). We walk through the forest, with birds singing. The river flows rapidly and is beautiful emerald green at some places. The village Rechi is at the other side of the river. It's a very small village and consists of just a couple of houses and a primary school.
The trail stays Nepali flat to Chhepka, following the river all the time. We notice that we are descending; not only by the increasing temperature, but also by the difference in vegetation. After about 3 to 3 ½ hours we reach Chhepka, a small village, surrounded by fields of millet and wheat.
Descending with some small climbs. We can see a part of the Dhaulagiri range. We pass villages like Sangta (2520 m) and Kageni (2413 m) and reach the checkpost of the Shey Phoksundo National Park (SPNP) again. After crossing a big iron suspension bridge (the Dhim Bridge, 99 m long) we go left (west) to Juphal .From the bridge, it's about 2½ - 3 hours to Juphal. The first part goes over a large path, passing through the small village of Kalagaonda. It's a pretty steep climb to reach Juphal. Just before arriving, we pass the Hindu village Dangiwada. Juphal is a large village with a small bazaar where it is nice to spend some time looking around.we stay overnight at local guest house.
Early in the morning we fly to Nepalgunj. Especially the first part of the flight through the mountain valleys is spectacular. Later in the day, we fly back to Kathmandu. Spend the leisure time in Kathmandu on your own shopping or short sightseeing around city.
Breakfast in the hotel and today you have a free day in Kathmandu for your own activities and relax little bit before your long flight back to home. Today you can go for shopping, maybe massage to relax your body or short visit to Kathmandu Durbar Square which is in walking distance from Thamel. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Breakfast in the hotel and you have free time for your own activities. Afternoon one of our representatives will transfer to airport for flight onwards on your destination.
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