UPPER DOLPO TO MUSTANG TREK - ITINERARY - COST - PERMIT

UPPER DOLPO TO MUSTANG TREK

Group Size

2-7 peoples

meal

breakfast, lunch, dinner

accomodation

tent

arrival on

kathmandu

departure from

kathmandu

trip level

hard

max. altitude

5,500m

Best season

summary

trip highlights

  • Crossing 8 altitude passes from Dolpo to Mustang.
  • Contrasting landscapes
  • Discovery of Tibetan culture
  • A hyperbaric chamber and a
  • satellite phone for more security

trip introduction

Upper Dolpo to Mustang trek is in northwestern Nepal, located in the high Himalayan range between the Tibetan and the Dhaulagiri and churn Himalayan. Its population is of Tibetan origin, along the border between Dolpo and Tibet. This trek is an ideal destination for trekkers. Although, only a few anthropologists and geographers had explored the region. the entire district was permitted to trekkers from 1989.  when the southern part of Dolpo was opened to organized trekking groups. Peter Matheson’s book – The Snow Leopard and Snell grove – Himalayan pilgrimage has contributed to the mystique and attraction of Dolpo. It is the last region in the world where there is an authentic Tibetan culture that can develop freely.

Dolpo is a “beyul” in Tibetan, which means the hidden land. The Dolpo has been forbidden for a long time to foreigners. And has retained this somewhat mythical image of a hidden country. Beyond the Himalayan range, it is in fact like the Mustang and a Tibetan enclave in the kingdom of Nepal. For a long time, however, the Dolpo has crossed paths. Then, taken by Tibetan caravans which descend the salt towards the Nepalese valleys and come back uploaded with cereals and spices.

Many Tibetan, Buddhist, and Bon monasteries are established on these highlands. As well as, a sanctuary where the monks have taken a vow of silence. But as soon as you move away from the villages, you enter the domain of snow leopards! The region of Dolpo, protected by the Himalayan barrier, enjoys a dry climate and it is one of the few pockets of traditional Tibetan culture still alive.

Best season for the upper Dolpo trek

The upper Dolpo and mustang regions are in the rain shadow areas therefore, the SUMMER SEASON is best,  In June and July, the humid air masses of the Bay of Bengal collide and rise on the Himalayas. Moisture in the air cools and falls as rain — the monsoon. Its effects are uneven across Nepal, and some regions are less affected. The monsoon loses its intensity as it moves from the southeast to the northwest; north of the Annapurna in the areas of Manang, Naar, Phu, Dolpo, and Mustang the effect of the monsoon is minor. . Also, the Autumn and spring are good for trekking

Upper Dolpo Itinerary  And preparation for trek

Upper Dolpo to Mustang Trek, this trek is one of the harder and longer treks in Nepal. Trek requires a special permit and a need properly organized a camping trip. Very few people have done this trip but if you do it is a fantastic trip. This trekking route has no tea house and infrastructure not developed like Annapurna Manaslu and the Everest region. So, we need a camping arrangement for this trek and trekkers with some experience of trekking at high altitudes. These treks pass many incredible and unforgettable scenic. such as  SheyPhoksundo Lake, snowy high passes, hidden valleys, the SheyGomba monastery, and numerous fortified villages

Itinerary

Arrival in Kathmandu. Installation at the accommodation. Briefing from your guide. Rest, then free dinner.

approximately 15 hours of driving to the hotel
Final altitude: approximately 13,50 m
Meals:  dinner
Accommodation: night in the hotel

We reserve this day for sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley and to prepare for trekking. After having a warm breakfast, we will leave the hotel in a private vehicle with an experienced tour guide. We will visit several UNESCO listed world heritage sites in Kathmandu valley and the famous sacred Hindu temple, the Pashupatinath temple, Swayambhunath stupa, and Boudhanath stupa. These places are famous to have inherited ancient religious practices, architecture, and culture.

Tour: full-day tour
Final altitude: approximately 13,50 m
Meals: breakfast 
Accommodation: night in the hotel

Flight of about an hour with superb views of the Manaslu, Annapurna, and Dhaulagiri massifs. Nepalgunj is located in the Terai plain, not far from the Indian border.

approximately 35 minutes of flight 
Final altitude: approximately 280 m
Meals: breakfast – lunch – dinner
Accommodation: night in the lodge

We take off for the small airport of Talcha near Lake Rara. We walk for three hours to the camp where the kitchen teams and porters are waiting for us. The trail runs along the lake with clear blue green waters. Walk in a beautiful forest of walnut, holm oak and coniferous trees along a sometimes marshy path.

NB: If the weather makes the flight impossible, we may be able to go to Talcha by helicopter under certain conditions: weather and sufficient number of participants to co-charter. For this we ask you to provide the sum of 200 euros in cash. We would take a third of the price and our Nepalese partner a third to split the cost into 3.

approximately 40minutes of flight & 3hours of walking
Final altitude: approximately 2,710 m
Meals: breakfast – lunch – dinner
Accommodation: night in the tent

 

We descend into the valley of Gamghadi, the capital of the district of the same name, then we take a steep path that runs along the Mugu Karnali to Lumsa. Camp in the schoolyard.

approximately  of walking
Final altitude: approximately 2,800 m
Meals: breakfast – lunch – dinner
Accommodation: night in the lodge

We walk to the beautiful village of Chala, its carved wooden houses and its community flour mill. It is not uncommon to come across caravans of mules which come to supply the villages or herds of goats which feed along the path. We observe fields of millet, corn, amaranth and even cannabis plants. Stop at the village of Mangri then continue on to Bhale following the gorges of the Mugu Karnali.

approximately  3hours of walking
Final altitude: approximately 2,710 m
Meals: breakfast – lunch – dinner
Accommodation: night in the tent

We leave Bhale to follow the Mugu Karnali, after the confluence with the Namlang Nadi which comes straight from the Kanjirowa Himal and we enter the gorges. We may come across caravans of dzos and mules loaded with salt coming from Mugu. We will see the very beautiful abandoned monastery of Tiyar before setting up camp along the river.

approximately  5hours of walking
Final altitude: approximately 2,600 m
Meals: breakfast – lunch – dinner
Accommodation: night in the tent

 

We continue to go up the Mugu Nadi to reach Shilenchaura, the starting point for the caravans. Some  tea shops are in operation according to the opening dates of the Tibetan border.

approximately 5 hours of walking
Final altitude: approximately 2,950 m
Meals: breakfast – lunch – dinner
Accommodation: night in the lodge

You have to enter a gorge by going up a torrent to discover the only possible camp for the end of the day. We are on the trail of the harvesters of Yarsa Gumbo, without them, no more paths …

approximately 6 hours of walking
Final altitude: approximately 4,050 m
Meals: breakfast – lunch – dinner
Accommodation: night in the tent

The climb is easy on large grassy slopes. The pass (Chyargo La 5 150 m) is reached fairly quickly, weather permitting, many peaks are available to us. Laying down prayer flags before descending into a valley that gradually closes. We find a wild nature where humidity regains its rights.

approximately 6 hours of walking
Final altitude: approximately 4,020 m
Meals: breakfast – lunch – dinner
Accommodation: night in the tent

There are two paths to reach Bhijer from Silenchaura: the gorge path and the pass path. The state of the roads can change quickly (bridge built or disappeared, landslide, etc.). We will indicate to those interested in the route that we prefer based on current information. But as a rule, we take the one for the passes. After passing a camp on the banks of the torrent, very wet, we cross on a landscaped trunk before starting our first climb. Numerous views follow at each passage of the ridges, before descending to the next torrent. All that remains is to go up the stream to set up our camp as close as possible to the Yala La pass.

approximately 6 hours of walking
Final altitude: approximately 4,020 m
Meals: breakfast – lunch – dinner
Accommodation: night in the tent

This second neck is much more mineral. You have to go up a large circus before reaching the Yala La (5,420 m). The prayer flags are in number, we have just moved to Dolpo, finally. All you have to do is join the torrent below, then follow it and pass Pung kharka, reaching the last possible camp.

approximately 6 hours of walking
Final altitude: approximately 4,640 m
Meals: breakfast – lunch – dinner
Accommodation: night in the tent

Even if we are already at Dolpo, we still have the first “crux” of this route to cross: the Nyingma Gyanzen La pass. We must first continue down the stream a little before going up a small steep valley. . Then, reach a pass and a nearby summit. All that remains is to follow a beautiful ridge with exceptional views. In the distance, the village of Kuwagaon, the northernmost point of the Dolpo. The descent is on the program to reach the village of Pho, a well-deserved stopover.

approximately 7-8 hours of walking
Final altitude: approximately 4,090 m
Meals: breakfast – lunch – dinner
Accommodation: night in the tent

A day to breathe, finally. For the more courageous, head to the gompa of this village well hidden in a lost valley. Close, but which will again require some effort. Laurent will be happy to show you around.

approximately 3 hours of walking
Final altitude: approximately 4,090 m
Meals: breakfast – lunch – dinner
Accommodation: night in the tent

On the map, everything seems close. It is forgetting the turbulent terrain of Dolpo. We have to reach a magnificent bridge in the valley before climbing steeply to the Yambur La pass. Depending on the season, a few currants can reward us. The descent is easy before being able to contemplate the village of Bhijer, a wonder in this season.

approximately 7 hours of walking
Final altitude: approximately 3,850 m
Meals: breakfast – lunch – dinner
Accommodation: night in the tent

This morning we stroll in the village, we visit the school then the monastery and we then climb on the side above the village to the base camp of Nang La, in a beautiful very lively kharka. We will not forget to taste cheese in the brand new cheese dairy in the valley.

approximately 3 hours of walking
Final altitude: approximately 4,350 m
Meals: breakfast – lunch – dinner
Accommodation: night in the tent

We pass the Nang La at 5,375 meters where we have a magnificent view of almost all of the upper Dolpo, we descend to Saldang, leaving aside the path that leads to Marang which, by itself, is another route. We descend from the terrace to the terrace to reach the surroundings of the Saldang Gompa that we will visit to appreciate the work of the painter Norbu who has completely rehabilitated the murals.

approximately 7 hours of walking
Final altitude: approximately 4,350 m
Meals: breakfast – lunch – dinner
Accommodation: night in the tent

We have to cut the Naga Khola to start our ascent to the village of Khomas, one of the few in the Dolpo that is built on a flat… The ascent is gradual in a fairly mineral environment. We cross a small pass and the village comes to us. All the red gompas are on our right, all you have to do is find the keys. Normally, they are in one of the last houses, below the village.

approximately 6 hours of walking
Final altitude: approximately 3,620 m
Meals: breakfast – lunch – dinner
Accommodation: night in the tent

We leave Khomas to reach a small pass which allows us to have a view of the terraces of that of Shimen. Beautiful descent to reach Shimen, and we go up the Panjyang torrent to the locality of Mendo, an obligatory passage for caravans arriving from Tibet. It is the Chinese government which decides the opening dates of the border, it is thus necessary to hope to have a good karma to cross some… It remains only to follow the path towards our camp which overhangs the torrent.

approximately 6 hours of walking
Final altitude: approximately 4,030 m
Meals: breakfast – lunch – dinner
Accommodation: night in the tent

 

 

The villages are linked one after the other to reach that of Tinkyu or Tinje (birthplace of Tenzing Norbu, the Himalayan painter, the childhood of a chief  ). Below, a large platform catches the eye. This is the airstrip used by the Khampa rebels during the insurgency following China’s annexation of Tibet. We continue our progression towards the bottom of the valley and Taraka Sumdo. The tea shops fabric should still be numerous in this season …

approximately 6 hours of walking
Final altitude: approximately 4,240 m
Meals: breakfast – lunch – dinner
Accommodation: night in the tent

We continue by going up the wide river valley of Keheing Khola followed by that of Larkyang Khola. We reach Lajar Sumna camp at the foot of Mola La, a beautiful green space where yaks graze and graze herds of sheep and goats. The path is easy, small hillocks allow you to have a surrounding view. Meeting with the nomads who share these places. Lajar Sumna is located on a promontory, allowing the observation of the surrounding camps.

approximately 6 hours of walking
Final altitude: approximately 4,690 m
Meals: breakfast – lunch – dinner
Accommodation: night in the tent

We go up quietly wide pastures to cross a pass from which the view extends into the glacial mountains which mark the border with the Mustang. We can guess the rest of the route which will infiltrate towards the east between the mountain ranges, to reach the base of Araniko Chuli. But for today, the day’s walk is limited to the morning alone, just to leave time for the visit of the fortified city of Chharka Bhot and allow meetings with the villagers. A few small shops have appeared in recent years. It is also a major place for buying and reselling yaks …

approximately 6 hours of walking
Final altitude: approximately 4,400 m
Meals: breakfast – lunch – dinner
Accommodation: night in the tent

A little after Chharka Bhot we cross the Barbung Khola then the Thasang Khola on two new bridges which make this route possible. Then we go along the Thasang Khola. After having crossed large meadows with yaks then having cleared a passage in the austere gorges of the Thasang Khola, we go up towards the mountain pastures and camp at the foot of the pass the next day. Plan many uses for the sandals, the river “letting go” from time to time until it submerges the path traced on its right bank …

approximately 6 hours of walking
Final altitude: approximately 4,870 m
Meals: breakfast – lunch – dinner
Accommodation: night in the tent

The ascent of Nirwa La is easy (just a false flat to gain a foothold on a grassy plateau …), the second is quite another: steep and interminable but at 5,555 meters the reward is up to the mark. A spectacular view of the mountains of Mukot Himal, Dhaulagiri and as a bonus almost all of Mustang is offered to us there. We descend through large bends in a scree slope to reach the river valley of the Lhanhimar khola. In the early afternoon, crossing the Jungbenley Laou Kok La at 5,125 meters will be a formality before descending the jet-black schist slopes and reaching a haven of happiness with trees, yes, yes! It has been 14 days since we had not seen one … Beautiful plunging views over the Kyalungpa khola valley, the villages of Ghok and Sangta with, at the back, a few selected and colorful portions of the eastern Mustang plateaus. And mouflons all around which colonize the raised slopes. What happiness!

approximately 7 hours of walking
Final altitude: approximately 4,320 m
Meals: breakfast – lunch – dinner
Accommodation: night in the tent

From the camp in the juniper tree, we descend towards the “door” of Dolpo, a path traced in the cliff which at times does not exceed one meter wide! We then cross the Kyalungpa Khola on a suspension bridge, then a Nepalese flat leads us to the village of Sangda, having found two deep thalwegs on the way to cross … In the village, little room to set up camp. We go south through two snares to reach a flat area on the plateau, a real caravanserai for convoys of mules and yaks. Guaranteed atmosphere! Night more or less agitated according to the number of convoys which made stopover …

approximately 7 hours of walking
Final altitude: approximately 3,760 m
Meals: breakfast – lunch – dinner
Accommodation: night in the tent

 

The penultimate day of this great adventure. Unfortunately in (too) much of it on the newly mapped track between Jomosom and Sangta. From the camp, we cross a very small pass (4400 m) where we find the old path. Then, the track found (beyond, the old path is no longer used by the locals and has become dangerous …), we embark on a descent to the 4,300 meters hill where we rock on your left towards the alpine pastures below. Superb views of Mustang and Tilicho Peak. We cross an area of ​​limestone tuff in which many caves are hollowed out, before returning to sheep pastures. Direct descent to the furrow of the Kali Gandaki. We enter the village of Kagbeni, a very typical Mustang.

To know: In case of delay on the program, the hike, Day 26 would be canceled and Day 25, following the day of walking and after having had time to visit Kagbeni, the group would take a jeep to reach Jomsom (30 minutes on the runway) in order to meet the plane on the morning of Day 27.

approximately 6hours of walking
Final altitude: approximately 2,840 m
Meals: breakfast – lunch – dinner
Accommodation: night in the tent

Last step, last small pass, we make a detour through the village of Lupra where we can visit a gompa bon. We end the trek by taking a balcony path traced above the Panda Khola, before ending on the dusty track of Jomsom.

approximately 5hours of walking
Final altitude: approximately 2,740 m
Meals: breakfast – lunch – dinner
Accommodation: night in the lodge

We reach Pokhara then Kathmandu by plane Free time.

NB: flight not guaranteed and subject to the vagaries of weather conditions and places available. Since 2017, only Tara Airlines has operated these flights and this poses problems of seat availability. The flight can be replaced by a long driving day (8-10 hours) on an uncomfortable track.

approximately 5hours of walking
Final altitude: approximately 1,350 m
Meals: breakfast – lunch – dinner
Accommodation: night in the hotel

free time depending on the departure time of your flight and our representative will drop you to the airport, ending your journey in Nepal. We hope to be of service to you again. Thank you and safe travels.

approximately 20 minutes of drive
Final altitude: approximately 1,350 m
Meals: breakfast 

inclusion

what's included

  • Pick up from the airport and Final drop to the airport by private vehicle
  • Domestic flights described in the program.
  • Collective and individual camping and cooking equipment.
  • Accommodation as described in the paragraph “On-site organization”.
  • Meals as indicated in the “Day to day” program.
  • Dinner on the last evening in Kathmandu (except for drinks).
  • Supervision by an English-speaking Nepalese guide throughout the trip.
  • The assistance of a local team during the trekking (sirdar, porters, cooks).
  • The special permit for this region of Nepal.
  • All Government tax

what's not included

The price does not include

  • Cancellation/interruption of stay/loss of luggage insurance and assistance.
  • All that is not indicated in the section “The price includes”.

Your expenses on site

  • Visa fees on arrival.
  • Lunches and dinners in Kathmandu and Nepalganj
  • Any additional luggage on domestic flights.
  • The drinks.

TIPS

Tips are an integral part of the country’s culture. This gesture of thanks, which varies according to the itinerary and the duration, has become an obligation. A prize pool is created, given at the end of the trip to the members of the team.

However, it is important that the tip remains a gratuity, as our teams are also very well paid. We invite you to distribute tips only if the service has met your expectations and to reduce this sum if the services were not sufficient, explaining why in order to consolidate our educational work.

 

 

Accomodation & meal

ACCOMMODATION

In a standard category hotel (base: double room) in Kathmandu and Pokhara, during the rest of the trip in a tent (3-person tents for 2 people) or in a lodge depending on the trip. The lodges in Nepal are very comfortable random. In general, conditions are quite good around the Annapurnas and the Everest region. On the other hand, in Mustang, in the Manaslu,  Tsum valley, and in the region of Kangchanjung or Makalu, they can be very rudimentary to the point of being a dormitory sometimes even a kitchen. lodges can look like a refuge or sometimes a bed and breakfast from home. Most of the time it is a family house with double, triple, or dormitory rooms. Toilets and showers are always separate.

MEAL

In the cities, many restaurants allow us to discover the typical local cuisine. Meat is scarce in the high mountain, the Nepalese are generally vegetarians. The basic ingredients are rice, pasta, lentils, potatoes, vegetables. Snacks are included during the trek (cereal bars, dried fruits, etc.).

For camping trek accommodation: during the trek, breakfasts and evening meals are prepared by the kitchen team. They are taken under the mess tent. Depending on the profile of the stages (length of the day’s walk and/or presence of water), midday snacks will be served hot or cold in the form of picnics.

For tea house trek accommodation: meals are prepared by the cooks of the lodge and are taken in the dining room. Here is a typical one-day menu:

  • breakfast: eggs, toast or chapati, or Tibetan bread or pancakes, or pancakes, butter/jam, tea or coffee
  • lunch: the main course, tea or coffee.
  • dinner: soup, main course, fruit (fresh or canned), tea or coffee

NB: Hindus and Buddhists are most often vegetarians. We, therefore, eat very little meat or fish. The dishes are pasta, rice, potatoes, lentils, etc.

DRINKS: during the trek, tea is served with meals (two cups of tea per meal). Additional cups of tea and other beverages, including mineral water, are the responsibility of the participants. You can fill your gourds with water in the lodges, but it is essential to treat it with purifying tablets. Avoid buying plastic bottles,

 

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  • duration :

    29 days
  • difficulty level :

    hard

price from

5500$per person

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