Upper Dolpo Trek to Shey Gompa
The Upper Dolpo Trek to Shey Gompa brings you into a mystical land where centuries old Buddhist and Bonpo traditions, interwoven with shamanistic influences, are still an important part of daily life. The villages, gompas and people you meet during this trek will leave an unforgettable impression on you. The landscapes here are even more desolate than on the Dolpa Circuit and the villages even more isolated and authentic.
The trail leads to Shey Gompa which is often referred to as the spiritual heart of Upper Dolpo. It’s a magical place situated at the base of Crystal Mountain. Crystal Mountain itself is a well-visited pilgrimage site visited by hundreds of pilgrims each year who make a kora (circuit) around the mountain.
This is quite a strenuous hike. You have to cross three high passes, Nagdalo La (5350 m), the Shey La (5010 m) and Jeng La (5220 m). These crossings involve long climbs and long descents. The trails linger above 4000 m for long periods of time which results in very cold nights. That being said, the unforgettable landscapes, the views from the passes and the rare insight into a preserved culture makes it all worth it.
Upper Dolpo is a restricted area, for which a fee is charged of US$ 500 for the first 10 days, and US$ 50 for each additional day. The relatively high trekking permit fee limits the number of trekkers that visit Upper Dolpo, making this trek a very special and exclusive experience.
Leaving from Kathmandu it’s a 21 days trip, but it can be shortened or extended depending on how many hours of walking you fit into your days. There are basic guesthouses in Juphal, Dunai, Kageni, Chhepka, close to Sanduwa (next to the Amchi Hospital), Ringmo, Shey, Saldang, Dho and Lingdo. At the other places you have to camp (day 7, 10-14, 16 and 17 of this itinerary).
April, May, September, October
Camping, Teahouse/Lodge, Homestay
Level of Difficulty
Restricted Area Trekking Permits (for Upper Dolpo $500 for 10 days and $50 for each additional day and $20 for Lower Dolpo), issued by the Immigration Office in Kathmandu and Shey-Phoksundo National Park Entry Permit issued by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation in Kathmandu. Also available at the National Park entry point for a fee of NRS 3390 (subject to change).
- Day 1 Flight Kathmandu - Nepalgunj
- Day 2 Flight Nepalgunj - Juphal (2475 m), trek to Shyanta (2520 m) or Chhepka (2838 m) 5-6 hrs
- Day 3 Shyanta/Chhepka (2838 m) - Chunuwar near Amchi Hospital (3110 m) 6-7 hrs
- Day 4 Chunuwar (3110 m) - Ringmo village near Phoksundo Lake (3641 m) 3 hrs
- Day 5 Ringmo/Phoksundo Lake (3641 m). Rest day and visit to Bon Gompa.
- Day 6 Ringmo/Phoksundo Lake (3641 m) - Forest Camp beyond Sallaghari (3730 m) 6 hrs
- Day 7 Forest Camp (3730 m) - Kang La Low Camp (4400 m) 6-7 hrs
- Day 8 Kang La Low Camp (4400 m) - Shey Gompa (4310 m) via Nagdalo-La (Kang La) (5350 m) 6-7 hrs
- Day 9 Shey Gompa (4310 m). Rest day.
- Day 10 Shey Gompa (4310 m) - Namgung (4430 m) via Shey-La (5010 m) 6-7 hrs
- Day 11 Namgung (4430 m) - Saldang (4060 m) 3-4 hrs
- Day 12 Saldang (4060 m) - Chagaon (3840 m) 4 hrs
- Day 13 Chagaon (3840 m) - Jyanta-La Base Camp (4550 m) 7 hrs
- Day 14 Jyanta-La Base Camp (4550 m) - Tokyu (4210 m) via Jyanta-La/Jeng-La (5220 m) 7 hrs
- Day 15 Tokyu (4210 m) - Dho Tarap (4080 m) 2-3hrs
- Day 16 Dho Tarap (4080 m) - Toltol (3523 m) 6-7 hrs
- Day 17 Toltol (3523 m) - Laina Odar (3370 m) 6-7 hrs
- Day 18 Laina Odar (3370 m) - Lingdo (2390 m) 6 hrs
- Day 19 Lingdo (2390 m) - Dunai (2140 m) 5 hrs
- Day 20 Dunai (2140 m) - Juphal (2475 m) 3-4 hrs
- Day 21 Flight Juphal-Nepalgunj-Kathmandu
Specialised Operators offering this itinerary
- Speaking like a local – useful lingo for the trail Nov 12, 2015
- The Muddy Mayhem of Ropain Jul 08, 2015
- Color Craze – Celebrating Holi in Nepal Mar 22, 2016