Trekking and Walking

Upper Dolpo to Mustang Trek

Nepal

Upper Dolpo to Mustang Trek

Durtation: 27 Days

Price: US 4,515 All Inclusive

Upper Dolpo to Mustang Trek trial is one of the highest inhabited places in the world. Far away from the hustle-bustle of the modernisation, it is still a stronghold of the ancient Bon-Po religion. This religion existed way before Buddhism emerged on the Tibetan plateau.

Dolpo is strongly influenced by Tibetan culture. Apart from culture, it is home to a variety of wildlife that is not seen in the lower reaches of the Himalayas. But it is cut from the rest of Nepal, due to snowfall throughout the year.

The people living in Dolpo still practice the nomadic way of living. On the contrary, the inhabitants of Mustang practice both the luxurious and comfortable way. The main reason behind that is the famous Silk Route that goes through the Mustang region. It is said that the nomads living in the Upper Dolpo region still use the salt route to trade in Tibet.

Upper Dolpo to Mustang Trek is all about two wonderful locations – Dolpo and Mustang. Both are equally beautiful and unique but at the same time but slightly difficult to approach.

Trek Route

Firstly, the trek begins with an amazing flight over the Himalayas to reach Juphal. From here you will move forward to the Suligad River Gorge and then to the Lake Phoksundo. You will cross our first pass at 5000 meters above sea level to reach the holy Shey Gompa and the “Crystal Mountain.”

You then cross over another pass to reach Saldang.

(Note: This is the same village where the first Nepali movie “Caravan – Himalaya” was shot. Later on, it got nominated for the Oscar in the foreign films category).

Here you will have some days in hand to explore and get acclimatized. You can also get an insight into the lifestyle of the Tibetan people who would be busy with the Autumn Harvesting. From here we move forward to a more remote area in the Pansang Valley that includes Khoma, Shimen and Tinkyu regions.

The trails and mountain passes that connect these remote villages and hamlets are a treasure trove of cultural heritage. This is the sight worth not missing.

The Upper Dolpo region is also home to the Bhotiya Culture (ethno-linguistically tibetan people living in the trans-himalayan region) which in itself is a distinct feature of the place.

Mustang has remnants of the Thakali culture. There are many ancient monasteries one of which is Shey Gompa.  Dolpo and Mustang seem so similar yet they are so different from each other in terms of the culture, the lifestyle of the people and the religious inclination of the inhabitants.

Upper Dolpo to Mustang Trek is a rugged mountainous region, dotted by several fortified villages, Dzongs or monasteries. Additionally, you can even see crystal clear lakes, revered mountains, and high passes.

All in all, Upper Dolpo to Mustang Trek is as exhilarating as it is adventurous. Passing the high mountain passes and going down to Mustang is an epic journey that each of the trekkers remembers for a lifetime.

Phoksundo Lake, situated at the highest point of the sea level, is another main attraction.

Highlights of this Wonderful Trek

  • Trek to the most remote and least developed district in Nepal.
  • Walkthrough the Shey Phoksundo National Park.
  • Brilliant opportunity to observe the dazzling landmarks and geographical terrain.
  • The wild and amazing diversity of plants and wildlife, counting the blue sheep and leopard.
  • The ancient Bon-Po religions.
  • Nepal’s First English subtitled movie on Dolpo – The Caravan which was nominated for Oscar award too.
Why Himalayan Trekkers?
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Detailed Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival in Kathmandu

30 mins

1,350 m

A representative of Himalayan trekkers will receive you and transfer you to the hotel. In the evening we will arrange your meeting with your trekking guide so that you can have your queries solved if you have any.

3 star hotel in KTM

Day 2

Half-day Kathmandu sightseeing & trek preparation

5-6 hrs

1,350 m

Half-day sightseeing in Kathmandu valley and prepare for the trek for rest of the day. Kathmandu is also renowned as a city of Temples and you can see the numerous temples and Palaces here. Also, there are some hill stations nearby Kathmandu valley which have the awe-inspiring view of the Himalayan Range; we will discuss some of the options upon your arrival in Kathmandu.

Breakfast

3 star hotel in KTM

Day 3

Scenic flight to Nepalgunj

50 mins

150 m

From Kathmandu, we fly to Nepalgunj, a town in the western Terai that is very close to the Indian border and the Bardia National Park. It is a major transport hub for western, mid-western and far-western regions of Nepal. Overnight stay at Nepalgunj.

Breakfast

3 star hotel

Day 4

Fly to Juphal & trek Dunai

30 mins flight & 3-4 hrs trek

2,475 m

Today we take a flight to Juphal which takes just 35 minutes to reach. Our trek starts from Juphal.T he trail descends and winds through the small villages. We trek along the river and pass Roop Ghar which has a water mill and finally reach the Dunai (2150m). This village has a school, a police check post, and some government offices. We will stay overnight at the Guest House in Dunai.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tea house/ lodges/ guest house

Day 5

Trek to Chhepka

5-6 hrs

2,680 m

From Dunai we trek to Chhepka, which has few houses and a lodge. It will take us almost 6 hours to reach Chhepka and we will spend the night at the local lodge.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tea house/ lodges

Day 6

Trek to Sumduwa

5-6 hrs

3,370 m

Today we follow a trail that goes up and down along the forested riverbed. There are several streams on the way that offers a chance to cool off. The trail continues along the valley floor to the confluence of the Phoksundo and Pungmo Khola (rivers). We cross to the western side of the Phoksundo Khola and reach Sumduwa. Sumduwa is a major trail junction. As its name suggests ‘Sum’ in Tibetan means three and ‘Duwa’ means trail. It is also the Shey Phoksundo National Park’s headquarters. Traveling for nearly 6 hours we will reach our destination for the night.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tea house/ lodges/ tented camp

Day 7

Trek to Phoksundo Lake

5-6 hrs

3,600 m

We will join the direct trail to Lake Phoksumdo today which would take us nearly 5-6 hours of walking. We will traverse through forests that have huge cedar trees and reach Palam (3710m), a winter settlement used by the people of the Ringmo village. The entry point for the Shey Phoksundo National Park is at the south end of the village. The route then descends on switchbacks through open country to an elevation of 3300 meters and then starts up another set of a dusty roller coaster walk to a ridge at 3780 meter that leads to the highest waterfall in Nepal (200 meters high). Our route then continues on to Ringmo village, a picturesque settlement of flat-roofed stone houses with lots of Mani walls. Just after Ringmo we cross a bridge and follow the trail to Phoksumdo Lake, where we camp at the national park camping grounds on the western side of the lake.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tented camp/ local tea house

Day 8

Helicopter

Acclimatization & exploration around Phoksundo

3,600 m

We take a halt at the Lake Phoksundo campsite to get acclimatized to the area and the prevailing weather conditions. Taking advantage of this fact, we can explore the area around the magnificent Phoksundo Lake. The lake is famous for its magnificent turquoise color and spectacular scenery. Ringmo village, which looks like a typical Tibetan village, is scenically nestled in the area. Many beautiful glaciers can be found near and above the lake area. There are many monasteries (Gompas) and Bon-Po religious sites at the park and we can spend some of our time visiting these. The most famous, Shey Gompa was established in the 11th Century. Thashung Gompa located near Phoksundo Lake was built about 900 years ago. We also explore the natural scenery and enjoy our nature tour.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tented camp/ local tea house

Day 9

Trek to Sallaghari

6-7 hrs

4,600 m

From Phoksundo we trek for five to six hours till we reach Sallagari, our campsite for the night.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tented camp/ temporary tea house

Day 10

Trek to Pass Camp/Nangdola High Camp

8-9 hrs

5,350 m

From Sallaghari we trek to Kangla base camp or furthermore Nangdola High Camp (5,350m) traversing through Mandala camp. Owing to Bon Po influence some people called the surrounding place is also renowned as Mandala Camp, we will walk through this camp to our destination.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tented camp

Day 11

Trek to Shey Gompa via Nangdola

5-6 hrs

4,345 m

Today we walk for five to six hours to the fabled Shey Gompa and the nearby 'Crystal Mountain'. It is considered to be the most sacred peak in Dolpo which Dolpo pilgrims circumambulate each summer before the harvest. We are now entering the actual Dolpo region, and to enter into this mystical land we have to cross the Kangla Pass also popular as the Nangdola. We trek along the precipitous and narrow trail to the western side of the lake, otherwise known as the 'Devil's Trail'. Cresting a 4000-meter ridge, we are treated to the magnificent view of Sonam Kang. We can also see the peaks Shey Shikkar and Kang Chunne, both just over 6000 meters. The trail then descends steeply down to the valley floor and along the river. A red chorten marks the entrance to Shey, where we camp for the night.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tented camp

Day 12

Acclimatization in Shey Gompa

4,345 m

We are at the core part of the Inner Dolpo region, Shey Gompa is one of the Mystic lands of the Inner Dolpo region. We need to explore this day as we can see the 11th-13th-century ochre Shey Gompa which is a stunning Monastery, with colorful Tibetan Murals and antique statues inside which the gatekeeper, a monk from Sikkim will open for us. The 400 years old Kagyugpa Gompas was magical to have been made by a Tibetan Lama Buddhist arriving on the back of a legendary snow-lion. The Murals are not old enough; however, there is a precious scroll that illustrates the legendary behind holy Crystal Mountain and Shey Gompa, comprising where to find the whitewater lake in the core of the Crystal Mountain Kora which gives the pilgrims to see the Mt. Kailash in the far. We can see another Gompa at the lefty of the Shey Gompa but into the cliff. Adventure Mission Nepal hope that you might remember the prayer room inside from the movie “Himalaya”. Make a Kora of the Gompa and its surroundings with the holy Tsakhang Gompa to the west of Shey which is balanced at the red cliff, is the smaller but most important. Tsakhang Gompa which literally means Red Gompa after the name of the cliffs is one of the Kagyupa Sect known for its teachers Tilopa, Marpa and Milarepa. The incarnation of the first Tsakhang Lama, the 17th “Trulku” of this line is a young Lama from Phijor and now is studying in Kathmandu. The Gompa is stunning and filled with the colorful Buddhist flag with Paintings and Thankas. Relax and rest by observing the magnificent Himalayan Range with natural beauty.

'I flew through the sky on a snow lion

And there, among the clouds, I performed miracles.

But not even the greatest of celestial feats

Can equal once round on foot this Crystal Mountain'?

- Drotob Senge Yeshe (The Lama)

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tented camp

Day 13

Trek to Namgong Gompa via Sela La

6-7 hrs

5,100 m

We walk for about 6 hours to reach the Namgong Gompa from Shey Gompa that is said to be about 800 years old. It has some ancient beautiful murals inside and a scroll that describes the mythology behind the Crystal Mountain, locally called Riu Dhukta, and the Gompa. Peter Matthiessen wrote quite a lot about his stay at Shey in his book 'The Snow Leopard', and it was also shown in Eric Valli’s movie ‘Caravan' as Thinley's son's Gompa. After crossing the Ge La (Se La) Pass west of Shey, we are treated to a magnificent view of Mustang to the East, Tibet to the North and Kanjiroba, Kagmara and Riu Dhukta, or the Crystal Mountain, to the West. We spend our night at Namgong (4,400m) , a local nomadic herding settlement.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tea house/ tented camp

Day 14

Trek to Saldang

5-6 hrs

3,800 m

For six hours we walk from Namgong Gompa to Yanger Gompa, which lies on the old trade route to Tibet. We follow the Namga Khola past more summer herding spots, to the large village of Saldang. We'll get a chance to visit some local houses, drink some salt butter tea or chang (Tibetan barley beer) and sample the local fare. This is the short but stunning day on the high trail leading to Saldang, with a large bird of prey and sometimes we can see the migrating Demoiselle Cranes above us and crossing many sodas and villagers on the way. After few hours of walking, we crest ridge topped with prayer flags and below of us, we can see the Saldang with dun Colored Mountain to the north bordering on Tibet. Also, you can see the trail to the Pamzang valley from the ridge and can pick out much of our trail after leaving Saldang. After crossing and walking several climbs and descends we reach Caravan Thinley’s typically Tibetan style house at the north end of the village where we will stop for some butter tea and a cup of Tibetan Barley Beer or popular as “Chang”. If time and physical conditions permit us then we will head 1 hour north along the Nagon Khola, to reach Yanger Gompa, where we set up camp for the night.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tented camp

Day 15

Trek to Khoma Village

6-7 hrs

4,200 m

After a long walk of 6 hours, we will reach Khoma that bears a striking resemblance to a typical Tibetan village with the stunning beauty of villagers, Purely Tibetan lifestyle and hospitality make this place best trekking in the entire Himalaya. We walk passing the Saldang Gompa along the trail of Dho to the Nagon Khola through Sugugaon which is a stunning whitewashed village and past long Mani walls with painted Chorten and ancient Gompas at the cliffs. At Chagaon, we cross the Nagon Khola on a small bridge and walk straight up the dusty ridge on the steep, rocky trail for an hour. Descending to a dry, black riverbed we again ascend to a grassy plateau where we will stop for a much-needed lunch break after a long walk. After lunch, we walk 15 minutes to the Khoma La (4565m), from where we descend slowly to reach the stunning village of Khoma Gaon where we camp in the middle of the town at the grassy land.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tented camp

Day 16

Trek to Mendo

6 hrs

4,000 m

As we trek from Khoma village, if we are lucky enough we may be able to see some endangered animals like a snow leopard or Blue Sheep. On the way, we pass small villages that look right out of the picture postcards. We stop at Simen village for lunch. After lunch, we will explore Simen Gompa which is in the middle of town and we can stop for a while to see this picturesque Gompa and see the culture and traditions of the local people, where villagers will be threshing their barley. We walk further passing the Mani walls with old chortens and descend to the river. We follow this trail for about an hour to reach our campsite for the day. The place is called Mendo, a seasonal doksa with a Mani wall and stone fields. This is a beautiful but cold place as it loses the sun very early and does not get until late morning.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tented camp

Day 17

Trek to Thinje

5-6 hrs

4,110 m

Today we will head south along the Panjyan (Panzang) Khola passing the two trails leading north to the border of Tibet on our left, we will see more Mani walls and further along Pu Gompa on the other side of the river. We can see the Namgyal Chorten soaring up at the hill across the river. We will walk to the seasonal village and then to the small hamlet of Phalwa, where another route headed off to the north heading to the Tibetan border, shows the importance of the trade with Tibet is still to the Dolpo-Pa. After that, we will cross the intersecting stream and ascend to an impressive group of large chortens and Mani walls with colorful Tibetan flags and continue another hour to the Thinje. It is a large and renowned village where many villagers acting in the movie “Himalaya”. Tenjin Norbu, the well known “Ngagpa”, painter of Dolpo also comes from this village. Similarly, in the old times, his ancestors also monk painters traveled to Lo Manthang in Mustang to pay their tribute in Murals, Mani walls, and Thankas.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tented camp/ local lodges

Day 18

Trek to Rapka

6-7 hrs

4,535 m

Now are truly off the map as Thinle lead us along the local trading trail heading to Rapka doksa. On the way, we will pass villagers from Chharka heading to or from Tibet, or carry supplies that they put away with their Yak Caravans. The trail is easy at first following the Panzang River before it turns south and staying on the left-hand side. While walking us reach the junction where Panzang Khola becomes Sulun Khola and continue become narrow from here. Now the trail ascends and descends often and we lose the natural scene from here as we need to pass windy canyons but after a couple of hours the valley widens and we ascend and descend to the wide plateau of Rapka. We can find the two campsites at Rapka, we will select the perfect one with an expansive view. In Rapka, we will explore 2 monasteries of Tibetan style named Bon Po Monastery and Sharchhen Gompa. This is also the route of Great Himalayan Trail (GHT) from Mustang to Dolpo Sect.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tented camp/ local lodges

Day 19

Trek to Chharka

6-7 hrs

4,410 m

Today we need to walk a long day so we need to start early in the morning. We start descending for an hour to the wide, icy but shallow river to get to the access valley for the Chharka La (Mola Bhanjyang). The Lakkyan Khola turns to the flood-plain like Myantoku Khola, a smaller river which we have to ford several times. We need to ascend a while on the right side of the river, descend down and then at the chortens starts ascending again. There are two summits at the pass which will make you confuse so don’t pick the first one. We have another hour to reach Chharka La (5030m). At the pass, an easy ascend and look at your right you can see the massive mouth-watering view of Mt. Dhaulagiri, which will follow us for a few more days. Similarly, still, we have another couple of hours of walking sometimes upwards and sometimes downwards to reach Chharka. On the way, we can see the villagers working in the field with the magnificent view of the scenery. Once we reach the line of chortens along the trail we are close to our camp. From here Chharka Gompa is just below us to the right and Chharka village is below straight ahead. We pass the village school on the left as we descend, pass through the large Kane that marks the starting of the main village and then windy way through this old village to reach our campsite just above the Chharka Khola.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tented camp

Day 20

Trek to Yak Kharka

5-6 hrs

4,780 m

From Chharka we climb down to a river and follow the right fork southward, climbing in and out of the side valleys on a rough trail. The valley narrows here and we then step on to a big meadow and walk to our campsite at Yak Kharka.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tented camp

Day 21

Trek to Ghok Pass

5-6 hrs

5,460 m

We begin the day by starting our climb to a yak pasture at Molum Sumdo (4860m) and further on to a crest at 5130m. We then traverse across meadows and then make a long, steep final climb to Ghok Pass at 5460m. We will come down the switchbacks to reach our campsite by a stream at 5100m.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tented camp

Day 22

Trek to Sangda Village

6-7 hrs

5,909

We climb to a lower Sangda La at 4990m and then descend through loose shale towards the village of Sangda (4190m). We will come down to the Chalung Khola, crossing it at 3750m, and then climb steeply up the opposite bank. A long high traverse leads to a cairn at 4090 meters after which we come to a set of steep switchbacks that descend to a stream at 3580m. We climb up to the compact settlement of Sangda where we will settle for the night. Sangda is a remote village of Gurung Tibetans originally from Mustang. This is blue sheep territory, so be ready with your binoculars!

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tented camp

Day 23

Trek to Phalek Village

5-6 hrs

4,280 m

We start climbing the hill behind Sangda and spend most of the day making a high traverse, crossing nine ridges to a final crest at 4280m. We then come down into the Kali Gandaki Valley, walking under high cliffs and descending to the large village of Phalek. We can see the stunning view of Kagbeni, Jharkot, Muktinath, Thorung Peak, the Thorung La, Niligiri, Dhaulagiri and the Kali Gandaki. Phalek is an attractive Mustangi village which holds a yearly archery festival as most of the Mustangi and Managi villages do.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tea house/ tented camp/ homestays

Day 24

Trek to Jomsom

4-5 hrs

2,743 m

From Phalek we climb to a ridge that is at an altitude of 3360m and make a final descent on a challenging trail consisting of loose rocks to reach Jomsom located at 2670 meters above sea level.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tea house/ lodges/ guest house

Day 25

Scenic flight to Pokhara & explore Pokhara

25 mins

827 m

Since Jomsom lies in the mountainous region so there is always an early flight to Pokhara as in the morning the days are clear and also the flight duration is about 20 minutes. Similarly, Pokhara is also known as “city of Lake” and is one of the most popular places for foreigners after Kathmandu. There are lots of interesting things to see in Pokhara. So when you are in Pokhara don’t miss to visit the popular landmarks of Pokhara.

You can visit a good spa and massage center to get relief from pain.

Breakfast

3 star hotel

Day 26

Scenic flight/drive back to Kathmandu

30 mins flight/ 6-7 hrs drive

1,350 m

Today either you can fly to Kathmandu which will be 30 minutes worthy flight where you can see the changing natural vegetation with Himalayan Range or you can drive from Pokhara. The drive will be scenic and you will get the opportunity to experience the highway of Nepal.

In the evening, joining a team of Himalayan trekkers for farewell dinner with cultural show. Overnight at hotel

Breakfast & Dinner

3 star hotel in KTM

Day 27

Final departure

30 mins

You can depart from Kathmandu to your home country or extend the trip and head for another trip within or outside Nepal.

Have a safe journey and please do visit Nepal again on your next holiday!

Breakfast

Not Really Satisfied?

Customize Your Trip

Accommodation

Himalayan Trekkers promises to manage the best, most comfortable and preferable accommodation available at every step of your travel.

Generally, in cities like Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Nepalgunj we arrange basic three-star facilities for travelers. However, if available, you can opt for a more budget-friendly option or upgrade to a more luxurious hotel. Hence we can help you customize your stay according to your preference. All you have to do is communicate your needs to us at Himalayan Trekkers!

Although places on the trekking route might not have all the modern facilities, we will make sure to arrange safe and comfortable accommodation so that you can rejuvenate your energy. In general, hygienic and safe tea houses/local lodges/ home-stays with all the basic facilities are arranged for the guests’ overnight stay. But again you can, if possible, personalize according to your preference established through correspondence with Himalayan Trekkers customer services.

If your itinerary includes camping or you choose to experience camping during your travel, a proper camping-site will be pre-decided. If required, we also provide the basic equipment which is refundable. Please check the Gear-List for more information.

Meals

Breakfast is usually included with your B&B Accommodation within the cost that is evident.
For other meals in the city, you would have to pay separately. Often in the cities, you can choose from many different cuisines and varied food services. We can always help you find the right place to fit your taste.

In more remote areas within your trekking route, usually, there are not many options. But you can always find hygienic and well-prepared food. Moreover, almost all the meals during the trek are included in the cost. We can help you make changes according to your preference and budget, but only if choices are available!
On top of that, Himalayan Trekkers also organizes Welcome or Farewell Dinners as a symbol of warm greetings.

Please go through the detailed itinerary for more information. We are always there to help you travel to your heart’s content.

Inclusion

Whats Included

  • All airport arrival/departure transfers
  • Accommodation with daily breakfast in Kathmandu as per the itinerary
  • Guided Sightseeing with all applicable entrance fees as per the itinerary in Kathmandu
  • Accommodation with breakfast in Nepalgunj as per the itinerary
  • All Guesthouse, Lodge/Tented Accommodation during the trek
  • All meals (Breakfast, Lunches & Dinner with Tea/Coffee) During the Trek
  • All Private transfer as per the itinerary
  • Domestic (Kathmandu – Nepalgunj – Juphal & Jomsom – Pokhara - Kathmandu) Airfare and taxes as per the itinerary
  • An Experienced GOVT licensed Trekking Guide & required No. of Sherpa Porters & Crew
  • All wages, allowances, insurance, medical and equipment for supporting crewmembers.
  • She Phoksundo National Park Fees
  • Special (Protected area) Permits fees
  • Annapurna conservation Fees
  • TIMS fees & Local Province (Municipality/Village) Fees
  • Trekking & Camping / Kitchen Equipment as per itinerary/necessary
  • A comprehensive medical kit
  • Welcome/Farewell Dinner
  • All GOVT local taxes and official expenses

Whats Not Included

  • International airfares and airport tax
  • Nepal Visa fees
  • Trekking Equipment
  • Personal expenses such as laundry, liquor, room service, and others
  • Beverage expenses
  • Tips to Guide, Porter, and Driver
  • Your Travel Insurance
  • Any cost occurs from any unfavorable condition such as landslide, bad weather, flight cancellation, etc.
  • Anything not mentioned in the includes section

Gear List

Gears required for the trek vary upon destination and season. Trekking shoes, down jacket, sleeping bag, hiking poles are the essential ones. 

A comprehensive list of gear for all activites is listed on our dedicated page of Complete Gear List For Trekking and Climbing