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Holiday Overview

Highlights

  • Trek to remote Shey Gompa and the Crystal Mountain
  • Hike the spectacular path above Phoksumdo Lake
  • In the footsteps of `The Snow Leopard` author, Peter Matthiessen
  • Trek to Saldang Village home to Tibetan salt traders

This real adventure trekking holiday visits Inner Dolpo, one of the least accessible and yet most alluring corners of Nepal. Few travellers have penetrated to the heart of Dolpo, a region beautifully portrayed in Eric Valli's excellent film - 'Himalaya'. This is very much the land that time forgot, with a mix of ancient Tibetan religions and a hardy people who make their living through farming and through trade with both Tibet and Nepal. The spiritual heart of Inner Dolpo is the 'Crystal Mountain' and the 11th century Shey Gompa at its base.  The region was visited in 1973 by Peter Matthiessen accompanying George Schaller, during his study of the rare Himalayan blue sheep and the even rarer snow leopard. Matthiessen's subsequent book detailing both his trek and his personal spiritual journey has become a classic of its genre. Flying to Dolpo's only airstrip at Juphal, our holiday adventure begins with a trek north to the lush green fields of Ringmo and the stunning blue Phoksumdo lake. After a day acclimatising in this beautiful spot we continue across the Kang La to Inner Dolpo and Shey Gompa. Our return route crosses the Shey La to the major Dolpo settlement of Saldang and the Jeng La to reach Dho Tarap. We round off this special trekking holiday with a descent of the impressive Tarap Gorge to Tarakot and return to Juphal. For the connoisseur of Himalayan trekking and for anyone who wishes to visit an unspoilt region of near mythical status, this trek is an absolute must.

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Is this holiday for you?

This trekking holiday into the restricted Inner Dolpo offers a variety of trekking conditions from maintained trails well trodden by local people to lesser used routes over shale and scree. With a combination of a number of longish trekking days, several high pass crossings, and the negotiation of the steep gorges of the upper Phoksumdo and Tarap valleys, this holiday is tougher than the Annapurna Circuit and we have placed it at the highest level of our blue grade. A good level of fitness is required for this trip, as is a head for heights as there is a degree of exposure on some of the paths, and it is recommended that this is not your first experience of trekking above 4,000 metres.

Brief Itinerary

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  • Meet at the group hotel in Kathmandu. Transfers from Kathmandu Airport are provided.
  • Fly to Nepalgunj.
  • Early start for the flight to Juphal where we begin our trek to Sulighat (2050m).
  • Trek to Chepka (2970m), crossing the Anke Khola river.
  • Ascend the gorge to Rechi (3010m) via the small viilage at Renje.
  • Trek to Ringmo and on to Phoksumdo Lake (3600m).
  • Vital acclimatisation day at Phoksumdo Lake.
  • Trek the lakeside trail and ascend ridge to a campsite beyond the northern shore.
  • Trek in Peter Matthiesson's footsteps to Snowfields Camp (4650m) at the foot of the Kang La.
  • Cross the Kang La (5350m) into Inner Dolpo and Shey Gompa (4370m).
  • A day for rest and exploration at Shey Gompa.
  • Traverse the Shey La (5100m) to the pastures at Namgung (4415m).
  • Trek to Saldang (4070m) close to the Tibetan border.
  • Trek to Sibu (4150m), passing the monasteries at Samdo.
  • Ascend to the pastures below the Jeng La.
  • Cross the Jeng La (5110m). Views of Dhaulagiri. Descend to Tokyu (4160m).
  • Trek down the Tarap Valley to Dho Tarap (4020m).
  • Contingency day for possible delays.
  • Trek through blue sheep grazing areas to Shim Ora (3647m).
  • Trek through the gorges of the Tarap Chu and descend to Kanigaon (2620m).
  • Trek to Tarakot from where there is the option to visit the fortified settlement at Gumba Tera.
  • Follow the Barbung Khola to Dunai (2090m).
  • Trek to the airstrip at Juphal.
  • Fly via Nepalgunj to Kathmandu.
  • A free day in Kathmandu which can also be used as contingency.
  • Departure day. Kathmandu Airport transfers provided.
2016
Tue 11 Oct - Sat 05 Nov Code DOL /02/16/ Adult$4,740 Status Limited Availability Book now
More information
  • Shey Gompa and Inner Dolpo
  • The departure reference for this tour is DOL /02/16/
  • This tour begins on Tue 11 Oct and departs on Sat 05 Nov
  • This departure has limited availability. Don't delay - secure your place today with a deposit of $1,000
  • Single Supplement $195 - Group hotel nights in Kathmandu & Nepalgunj (single tent not included)
  • Single Tent $220
2017
Tue 19 Sep - Sat 14 Oct Code DOL /01/17/ Adult$4,740 Status Available Book now
More information
  • Shey Gompa and Inner Dolpo
  • The departure reference for this tour is DOL /01/17/
  • This tour begins on Tue 19 Sep and departs on Sat 14 Oct
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $1,000
  • Single Supplement $260 - Group hotel nights in Kathmandu & Nepalgunj (single tent not included)
  • Single Tent $220
Tue 17 Oct - Sat 11 Nov Code DOL /02/17/ Adult$4,740 Status Available Book now
More information
  • Shey Gompa and Inner Dolpo
  • The departure reference for this tour is DOL /02/17/
  • This tour begins on Tue 17 Oct and departs on Sat 11 Nov
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $1,000
  • Single Supplement $260 - Group hotel nights in Kathmandu & Nepalgunj (single tent not included)
  • Single Tent $220
The LAND ONLY dates and prices are for the itinerary joining in Kathmandu. For clients making their own flight arrangements, Kathmandu Airport is the most convenient for transfers to the group hotel. Please refer to the 'Joining arrangements & transfers' section in the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and this trip is showing the 'Guaranteed to Run or Limited' symbol. If your trip is still showing 'Spaces', we will contact you as soon as it has reached the guaranteed status.


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The price of our holidays can change depending on a variety of factors but unlike some other tour operators, KE have undertaken to guarantee the Land Only price of your holiday will not change after you have booked. The price when you book is the price you will pay, whether you are booking for this year or the next. Book early to avoid any tour price increases, get the best flight prices and take advantage of our 'No Surcharge Guarantee'.

KE Adventure Travel is a fully ATOL licensed and bonded tour operator with ABTA and AITO.

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Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • airport
  • point
  • pass
  • trip direction
  • trek

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in Kathmandu. Transfers from Kathmandu Airport are provided.

    Rendezvous at the group hotel in Kathmandu. The hotel is close to the central Thamel District which contains the majority of tourist amenities - shops restaurants, internet cafes etc. KE Land Only package services begin with the evening meal. Your tour leader will brief the group on what to expect in the days ahead

    • Accommodation Hotel with swimming pool

    • Meals d

  • Fly to Nepalgunj.

    The morning is free to relax or for sightseeing and shopping in Thamel for any extra gear needed for the trek. In the afternoon we take a short flight down to the gateway town of Nepalgunj down in the Terrai. The climate here is sub tropical and we will be relieved to reach the cool of our guesthouse. We stay overnight in Nepalgunj.

    • Accommodation Guesthouse

    • Meals bld

  • Early start for the flight to Juphal where we begin our trek to Sulighat (2050m).

    Flights into Dolpo are always early in the morning since the anabatic winds of the Thulo Bheri Valley prevent afternoon flights, rather like Jomsom in the Kali Gandaki further east. We therefore have an early start for the spectacular 40 minute flight. At Juphal we meet our trek crew and after an early lunch, during which final preparation are made and the baggage is assigned to our porters, we set out downhill to the river and our first night's camp at Sulighat (2050m).

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 430m

    • Distance 6km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 790m

    • Time 3 hrs trekking

  • Trek to Chepka (2970m), crossing the Anke Khola river.

    The Suli Gaad River flows down from Phoksumdo Lake through a steep and highly vegetated valley. The trail undulates, sometimes beside and sometimes high above the tumbling white-water river. There are scattered villages along the route including the deserted crude stone houses of Jyalhasa where we take our lunch. Many of these villages are only occupied during the winter months when the communities of Upper Dolpo bring their animals down from the high pastures and at the time of our trek they can be almost hidden in an overgrowth of tall grasses. After lunch we cross the Anke Khola and it can be quite hot as we make our way up the river to our campsite at Chepka (2970m).

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 1600m

    • Distance 16km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1025m

    • Time 6 hrs trekking

  • Ascend the gorge to Rechi (3010m) via the small viilage at Renje.

    We cross and re-cross the river today as we make our way up the narrow gorge, ascending the undulating trail through forests of bamboo, and conifer. As yesterday, we are sometimes high above tumbling waterfalls and at others the trail is right beside the river or with stepping stones providing the only means of keeping feet dry where the river cuts into the steep bank. At one point the trail climbs steadily for an hour or more to bring us out of the forest and into flower-strewn meadows. Eventually the valley opens up a little and the going becomes easier until we reach a bridge leading to several houses which make up the village of Renje (3010m). Beyond here the valley narrows once more and the trail continues to climb and descend as we negotiate spurs of the steep hillside. At the confluence of the Suli Gaad and Pungmo Khola we cross to the west bank and reach the village of Samduwa (3085m), where we make camp.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 1130m

    • Distance 12km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 785m

    • Time 7 hrs trekking

  • Trek to Ringmo and on to Phoksumdo Lake (3600m).

    From Samduwa upwards, the river is known as the Phoksumdo Khola and runs crystal clear from the lake. We pass Palam, another deserted winter village and enter the National Park. The trail climbs to a ridge which separates the open fields of Ringmo from the narrow valley below. A roaring waterfall, the highest in Nepal, lies below and we get our first glimpse of Phoksumdo Lake. Descending steeply through the forest we then climb steadily to reach the charming Dolpopa settlement of Ringmo with its collection of flat roofed stone houses, stuccoed chortens and long walls of prayer-carved mani stones. Just below the village we cross the river and follow it to the lake where we set up camp. (3600m).

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 1640m

    • Distance 12km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1000m

    • Time 7 - 8 hrs trekking

  • Vital acclimatisation day at Phoksumdo Lake.

    It is necessary to spend a day here to give our bodies’ time to acclimatise to the new altitude. This will also be a welcome rest after the last few days of trekking and a chance to catch up on laundry. There are various options for excursions in this fantastic location and a visit to Ringmo and its overlooking monastery is a must.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

  • Trek the lakeside trail and ascend ridge to a campsite beyond the northern shore.

    It is not possible to proceed north of Phoksumdo Lake without the special Inner Dolpo permit. We start our trek to Shey Gompa in Inner Dolpo with a spectacular trail around the western end of the lake. The precarious path is chiseled from the steep rock walls and in places is supported on wooden trestles woven with saplings and covered with rocks. The sparkling pure turquoise waters of the lake lie directly below and it is wise to proceed with full attention to your footing. This trail was dramatically featured in Eric Valli’s brilliant film about the life of the people of Dolpo who bring their yaks over difficult passes bearing salt from Tibet to trade for vital grain in the south. The film was originally released with the title ‘Caravan’ but later this was changed to ‘Himalaya’. After this high traverse, the trail climbs to a ridge giving spectacular views over the lake, the dark green forest, and the bright fields of Ringmo with the snow peak of Kang Norbu to the south. A cairn and prayer flags mark our highpoint on the ridge and now we make a gradual descent to the lake’s northern shore where we take lunch. We ascend a wide flat valley with scattered knee-high thorn bushes and across sponge-like turf criss-crossed with several tributary streams, to reach a drier ‘alpine’ zone of conifers where we make camp (3700m).

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 930m

    • Distance 13km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 885m

    • Time 7 - 8 hrs trekking

  • Trek in Peter Matthiesson's footsteps to Snowfields Camp (4650m) at the foot of the Kang La.

    The Phoksumdo Valley now becomes quite narrow with high rock walls on both sides. We are forced to cross several tributaries and some may have to be waded. After 20 or 30 minutes we leave the main valley and head north again entering a narrow gorge. We have a long climb, often with no trace of any trail as we progress up the steep sided valley, passing occasional grazing areas and crossing several side streams. We are following in Peter Mathiesson’s footsteps here and we camp at the spot he named ‘Snowfields’ Camp in his book. The camp is at the foot of the pass that will lead us to Inner Dolpo. Altitude at camp is approximately 4650m meters.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 1220m

    • Distance 8km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 270m

    • Time 6 hrs trekking

  • Cross the Kang La (5350m) into Inner Dolpo and Shey Gompa (4370m).

    It will take 2 to 3 hours from our camp, climbing awkwardly on loose slatey scree slopes which may have a covering of snow, to reach the summit of the Kang La (5350m). This high pass into Inner Dolpo is also known locally as the Ngadra La and is adorned with cairns and prayer flags. We make a steep descent of around 45 minutes to the valley floor and follow the river easily for a further 3 hours to reach Shey Gompa, the entrance of which is marked by a red and white chorten and snaking lines of mani stones. The monastery is located beneath the strange Crystal Peak on a small grassy plain created by the confluence of two rivers. Physically the gompa itself is not very imposing and is surrounded by half a dozen red colored buildings but the setting is very dramatic and there is no doubt why this place is so revered by both Buddhists and followers of the Bon religion. We set up our camp just below the gompa in a meadow containing a few herders’ huts.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 980m

    • Distance 12km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1370m

    • Time 8 hrs trekking

  • A day for rest and exploration at Shey Gompa.

    We have a day to explore the environs and to catch up on laundry and other camp chores. A worthwhile side trip is to visit the amazing Kagyupa monastery of Tsa Kang which is perched on a narrow ledge high on a cliff face. To get there we have to climb part way on the trail which pilgrims follow to make the ‘Kora’ or circuit of Crystal Peak.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

  • Traverse the Shey La (5100m) to the pastures at Namgung (4415m).

    Continuing our journey through Inner Dolpo we now head east up another narrow valley and climb to the summit of the Shey La (5100m). On reaching the top of the pass the view north to Tibet and east towards Mustang, suddenly opens out and we have some notion of the vastness and arid nature of the Tibetan Plateau. Turning to the north we now make a long descent to the pastures at Namgung (4415m) consisting of a few stone houses and a relatively new gompa.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 835m

    • Distance 13km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 730m

    • Time 8 hrs trekking

  • Trek to Saldang (4070m) close to the Tibetan border.

    A shorter day today, beginning with a brilliant traverse high above the Namgung Khola and then a steep descent to the large Dolpopa village of Saldang. Saldang is close to the Tibetan border and the some of the salt trade Yak caravans are routed through here. This trading of Tibetan salt for rice from the southern lowlands is a vital, age-old practice which still prevails in Inner Dolpo. Saldang is really a collection of five separate villages and is the biggest settlement in Inner Dolpo. We set up camp in time for lunch and have the afternoon free to explore. Altitude at camp is 4070 metres.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 275m

    • Distance 6km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 600m

    • Time 3 hrs trekking

  • Trek to Sibu (4150m), passing the monasteries at Samdo.

    Leaving Saldang we turn south following the Nagaon Khola through terraced fields of barley the staple crop of the Dolpopa. We pass through the scattered village of Namdo which boasts two monasteries, one beside the river and another high on a cliff top. Our riverside camp tonight is near the smaller settlement of Sibu (4150m).

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 540m

    • Distance 14km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 475m

    • Time 6 - 7 hrs trekking

  • Ascend to the pastures below the Jeng La.

    The day begins gently as we follow the river. After 2 hours of trekking we turn away from the main river and climb steeply to a yak grazing area located at 4850 metres, below the Jeng La. This is our overnight camping place.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 940m

    • Distance 15km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 220m

    • Time 7 - 8 hrs trekking

  • Cross the Jeng La (5110m). Views of Dhaulagiri. Descend to Tokyu (4160m).

    It is a steep climb to the summit of the pass at 5110 metres which is reached after approximately 2 hours. From the top we have a spectacular view southwards to Dhaulagiri. Beyond the pass, we descend into the extensive Tarap Valley, eventually reaching a stream and following this to Tokyu Village, where we camp. Altitude here is 4160 metres.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 380m

    • Distance 14km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1030m

    • Time 6 - 7 hrs trekking

  • Trek down the Tarap Valley to Dho Tarap (4020m).

    In contrast to the majority of our trekking so far the trail down the Tarap Valley is well used and is well maintained providing relatively easy trekking through a broad fertile valley. There is much cultural interest during today’s short descent beside the Tarap Chu and opportunities to visit several gompas before reaching Dho Tarap, a cluster of stone houses below the Ribo Bhumpa Gompa with its unusual chorten within the arch of a larger chorten. The women of Dho Tarap wear very striking headpieces of beaten silver (known as a 'tikpu') and also usually have large amounts of turquoise, amber and zee stone hanging from their necks and ears. The men of Dolpo often wear red woolen braid in their hair in the manner of the Khampas of Eastern Tibet. As in the Kali Kandaki Valley on the other side of Dhaulagiri there is a fierce anabatic wind here from late morning to sunset and the construction and arrangement of the houses reflects this. We'll walk on to Yak Kharka beyond the village, where it is less windy, to set up camp. Altitude at camp is 4020 metres.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 160m

    • Distance 16km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 480m

    • Time 8 hrs trekking

  • Contingency day for possible delays.

    This is a spare day in case we have encountered any difficulties with our trekking schedule. If we haven't had to use this day, we have the option to spend a rest day at Dho Tarap or at one of the campsites lower down in the valley. Our trip leader will decide on the most appropriate place to take this rest day.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

  • Trek through blue sheep grazing areas to Shim Ora (3647m).

    Descending gradually beside the river we cross to the west bank and continue below imposing cliffs, before crossing a ridge marked with two ancient chortens. Dropping down to the pastures of the Shishul Khola, home to large herds of the blue sheep (or bharal), which George Schaller came to study in 1973. Beyond, we cross and re-cross the Tarap Chu on a variety of bridges old and new to reach the grazing area of Shim Ora (3647m) where we make camp.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 800m

    • Distance 16km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1090m

    • Time 7 hrs trekking

  • Trek through the gorges of the Tarap Chu and descend to Kanigaon (2620m).

    An interesting day of trekking through gorges of the Tarap Chu on a well engineered trail including flights of stone steps mostly on the west bank of the river. After approximately 4 hours of descent we break for lunch. After lunch the descent continues for a further 2 - 3 hours to Kanigaon where there is a police check post. We make camp just outside the village, below the check post in a stand of juniper beside the river. We are now at an elevation of just 2620 metres and it is noticeably warmer.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 1330m

    • Distance 16km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 2340m

    • Time 7 hrs trekking

  • Trek to Tarakot from where there is the option to visit the fortified settlement at Gumba Tera.

    Leaving Kanigaon we come to a confluence of the Tarap Chu with the Barbung Khola and shortly after, cross this latter river on a high suspension bridge. The trail continues generally high above the river with some ups and downs until a final descend to Tarakot where we camp just below the village. This is a short day of trekking (approximately 2 -3 hours) and after lunch, there is the option to make the 1-hour (400 metre) climb up to the commanding, fortified settlement of Gumba Tara, where there is a monastery. In this lower valley there are 13 settlements which are collectively known as Tichurong.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 430m

    • Distance 9km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 610m

    • Time 3 hrs trekking

  • Follow the Barbung Khola to Dunai (2090m).

    We complete our trekking circuit today following the Barbung Khola (which becomes the Bheri River) to Dunai 2090m). This is another short day and provides us with a free afternoon. Dunai has a couple of small lodges and those who are ready for a beer should be able to find one. Our penultimate night’s camp.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 305m

    • Distance 16km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 645m

    • Time 6 hrs trekking

  • Trek to the airstrip at Juphal.

    Continuing alongside the Bheri River on a lovely trail with some excellent stands of large conifers, there is a sting in the tail as we make a final climb through terraced farmland to reach the airstrip at Jhupal (2480m). We set up camp beside the airstrip and, this being our final camp of the trip; we will want to celebrate with our crew on the completion of one of Nepal’s finest treks.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 660m

    • Distance 10km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 290m

    • Time 3 - 4 hrs trekking

  • Fly via Nepalgunj to Kathmandu.

    The early morning flight takes us out of the cool, fresh mountains of Dolpo and into the hot and humid Terrai region at Nepalgunj. This time, however, it is a short stop and we soon connect with our flight to Kathmandu, where we check into our hotel. Time now for a clean up and a look in the mirror (if you dare). This evening we have to get used to some fine dining and the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu’s busy streets.

    • Accommodation Hotel with swimming pool

    • Meals bld

  • A free day in Kathmandu which can also be used as contingency.

    This is a contingency day in case of problems with the weather-dependent flight out of Jhupal. If we have flown on schedule this will be a day to relax and enjoy the delights of Kathmandu. This evening we will have an end of trip dinner in one of the city’s finest restaurants.

    • Accommodation Hotel with swimming pool

    • Meals bld

  • Departure day. Kathmandu Airport transfers provided.

    KE Land Only package services end after breakfast. Complimentary airport transfers are provided for all flights.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • An experienced KE tour leader
  • Kathmandu Airport transfers
  • Internal flights and land transport involved in the itinerary
  • All accommodation as described in the trip dossier
  • All meals
  • Restricted area permits
  • Full trekking service including all equipment (excluding personal equipment)
  • Guided sightseeing tour of Kathmandu
  • Travel insurance
  • Nepalese Visa
  • Tips for porters and other trek staff
  • Miscellaneous expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc.

The food served during the trek is a mixture of local and Western, mostly purchased in Nepal and cooked for us by highly trained trek cooks. The cooks will produce a variety of dishes of local and international cuisine. The emphasis is on providing a high-carbohydrate and largely vegetarian diet, which we have found to be easily digestible at high altitude. During this trek there is a limited opportunity for you to purchase snacks and drinks from simple shops and tea houses. All meals while on trek and also while staying in hotels in Kathmandu and Nepalgunj are included in the trip price.

All meals are included in the holiday price from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on day 26
All clients travelling to Kathmandu will be met at the airport by a KE representative who will arrange the transfer to the group hotel. Clients MUST provide the KE office with full details of their flights and should let us know if Kathmandu Airport transfers are not required. Hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation.
During this trip the group will spend 3 nights in Kathmandu at a centrally-located tourist-class hotel. There is also a single night at a comfortable hotel in Nepalgunj. While on trek there are 21 nights camping. All accommodation is on a twin sharing basis. If you are travelling by yourself you will be paired up with another single client of the same sex. It is possible to hire a single tent while on trek for an additional cost. Please note single tent hire does not include single rooms in hotels. For the 4 hotel nights single rooms are available for a supplementry cost. Additional hotel nights in Kathmandu are also available. For Hotel prices and single supplement costs please refer to the dates and prices page of the trip on our website. Hotels are subject to availability and prices may vary.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

The region known as Inner Dolpo is classified as a 'restricted area'. To limit the number of visitors to this sensitive region and to help preserve the unique culture of the Dolpa, a quite significant charge is made for access to this area. Unlike many trekking companies, KE include this permit fee in the overall holiday price, so there are no hidden surprises or hefty costs once you arrive in Nepal.

Shortly after first light (around 6 a.m.) one of the cook crew will wake you with a cup of tea or coffee brought to your tent. You will have plenty of time to get up and pack your kitbag before sitting down to a hot breakfast, during which camp will be struck and the porters given their loads. We will generally reach our lunch stop after around 3 or 4 hours walking. Lunch usually takes an hour or even two and is normally a cooked meal. This is a great time for relaxing, reading and sitting in the Sun. Porters usually catch up with the group during lunch and are well on their way to camp which we hope to establish by 3 or 4 p.m., well before dusk. It is usual for the afternoon’s walk to be shorter than the morning session. On arrival at camp, the Sherpas will quickly put the tents up and a hot drink will soon follow. Dinner is a 3-course meal served in the mess tent. This is a great time of day for reliving the events of the trek so far and for general socialising. After dark, the temperature quickly falls and everyone will soon be tucked up in their sleeping bags.

Access to the high and remote areas of the Himalaya where our treks start is often only possible using internal flights. The changeable nature of mountain weather makes flying conditions complex. In addition, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal does not operate to the same standards as those of western nations and all airlines in Nepal appear on the European Commission’s list of airlines that are banned from flying into EU member states. Flying in Nepal is an acknowledged risk, and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice provides further details which you can read on their website at: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/nepal/safety-and-security. KE is mindful of its duty of care to clients travelling with us in Nepal and we were stakeholders in an independent air audit of Nepal airlines undertaken by UK tour operators during 2015. KE uses only four airlines in Nepal which were approved by this audit as safe carriers. These airlines are: Yeti Airlines, Tara Air, Buddha Air and Simrik Airlines. In addition to this both Tara Air and Yeti Airlines have fulfilled the IATA Standard Safety Assessment (ISSA) - a new global safety standard for commercial airlines operating smaller aircraft www.iata.org/whatwedo/safety/audit/issa/Pages/index.aspx. We continue to cooperate with other tour operators to monitor aviation safety in Nepal and will ensure we remain a stakeholder in any further air safety audits. While we have taken appropriate action to try to minimise the risks of flying in Nepal, you should be aware that flying in mountainous terrain is not without any risk.

Please note that poor weather can cause delays on internal flights. If at the start of your holiday internal flights are cancelled for the day, you will spend an extra night near the airport and this may be at a hotel other than the group hotel. On the majority of trips there is enough flexibility in the trekking itinerary to make up 1 or possibly 2 lost days, but alternative arrangements must be made if internal flights are cancelled for a subsequent day. For trips that end with an internal flight out of the mountains with no alternative road access, we have included 2 nights in Kathmandu as a contingency against delay. Helicopters can sometimes fly when the scheduled fixed wing aircraft cannot. If your group is offered the opportunity to use a chartered helicopter, either flying up from or back to Kathmandu, the cost will be shared between those choosing to take this option. In the extremely unlikely event that flight cancellations cause you to miss your homeward international flight, KE will render all assistance, but cannot be held liable for any extra costs incurred. We advise you to take out suitable insurance and to keep your receipts, as you may subsequently be able to make a claim.

The group will be accompanied by an experienced KE tour leader throughout the trip. Whilst on trek there will also be a full trek crew, including several Sherpas, a cook team and porters.

Approximately £250 (or equivalent in US dollars, Euros etc.) changed into local currency, should be allowed for miscellaneous expenses including tips for local staff, beer and soft derinks etc. It is not necessary to obtain local currency (Nepalese rupees) prior to departure. Sterling, US Dollars and Euros are equally acceptable for exchange in Nepal. We recommend that you carry your travel money in the form of cash, since you will exchange the majority of this on the day of your arrival in Kathmandu. If you prefer not to carry all of your spending money in cash, it is possible to withdraw money from ATMs in Kathmandu using your debit or credit card. During the trek it is sometimes possible to buy snacks, chocolate, soft drinks and beer from local tea-houses. Please be aware that since everything has to be carried up by porters or animals, these items become more expensive as you gain altitude.

Tipping is the accepted way of saying ‘thank you’ for good service. Tips do not form part of the wages of your porters and trek crew but they are very much appreciated. It is important to remember that tipping is voluntary and should be dependent on good service. Normally the tips are given at the end of the trek and this is best done as a group. Your trek leader will give you help and advice on this. Most groups will give the tips with a bit of ceremony (or sometimes a party) on the last evening, to mark the end of the trip. As a guide, we recommend that each group member contributes around £50 -60 (in rupees) to these tips. At the end of a trek many people also like to donate various items of their equipment to the porters and trek staff who work so hard to make the trip a success. Boots, gloves, hats, scarves and even socks (clean of course) are always warmly received by the porters. Technical clothing and equipment such as head-torches and trekking poles are highly prized by the local guides and camp crews. If you think you would like to donate equipment at the end of your trip, your trek leader will make arrangements for a fair distribution among the trek crew.

Your baggage on trek will be carried by porters or pack animals. The packed weight of your trek bag whilst trekking should be no more than 15kg. For all flights to STOL airstrips in Nepal, the maximum allowance for hold baggage AND hand baggage combined, is 15 kg. This weight allowance is normally strictly enforced and excess baggage will be charged. Please be aware that you will have to pay any excess personal baggage charges on check in. It is possible to leave clothes or other items not required on trek at the group hotel.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

This holiday involves going to very high altitude. During the course of your trip you will be spending at least one night above 4000 metres and/or trekking to 5000 metres or above. This is not something that you should worry about; the human body is quite capable of adapting to a very wide range of altitudes, but it is important that we follow some simple rules in order to acclimatise successfully. Before coming on this holiday you should read the advice on trekking at high altitude on our website which can be viewed via the link below. Unless you have previous experience of trekking above 4000 metres you should consult one of our trekking experts before embarking on this holiday. On this trip we carry a portable altitude chamber (PAC-bag) and/or bottled oxygen for use in emergencies. www.keadventure.com/page/altitude.html

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum. The packed weight of your trek bag while trekking should be no more than 15 kgs.

For all flights to STOL airstrips in Nepal, the maximum allowance for hold baggage AND hand baggage combined, is 15 kg. It is essential you keep the total weight of your baggage within this limit. Paying for transportation of excess baggage is not normally an option on these flights. It is possible to leave clothes or other items not required on trek at the group hotel.

You must bring the following items:

  • Hiking boots

  • Sandals or similar for river crossings

  • Gaiters

  • Socks

  • Trekking trousers

  • Waterproof overtrousers

  • Travel clothes

  • Underwear

  • Baselayer shirts

  • Thermal underwear

  • Casual shirt and/or T-shirts

  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper

  • Waterproof jacket

  • Sunhat

  • Warm hat

  • Sunglasses

  • Warm and waterproof gloves or mittens

  • Headtorch and spare batteries

  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)

  • Water bottles 1 Litre x2

  • Washbag and toiletries

  • Antibacterial handwash

  • Small towel

  • Selection of dry bags (to keep trek bag contents dry)

  • Daypack approximately 30 litres

  • Sleeping bag (comfort rated -10°C)*

  • Warm jacket (down)*

  • Basic First Aid Kit including: antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), Diamox, painkillers, plasters and blister treatment, insect repellent, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite).

  • Small padlock (to lock trek bag)

The following items are optional:

  • Thermarest or similar camping mat*

  • Trainers or similar for camp use

  • Shorts

  • Sleeping bag liner

  • Swimwear

  • Trekking poles (strongly recommended)

  • Camera

  • Pen-knife (remember to pack sharp objects in hold baggage)

Notes

Suitable foam camping mattresses are provided by our local agent. You do  not need to take an additional camping mattress.

*Available for hire/rental through KE Adventure Travel
Please make all requests at least 6 weeks prior to the trip departure date. Please note all hire / rental equipment is issued in Kathmandu. Please remember to allow room in your trek bag for these items.

The Nepalese are still traditional and conservative in the way they dress. Therefore to avoid embarrassment on both sides we recommend that you respect this and do not wear revealing clothing or sleeveless tops while visiting Nepal. Shorts are acceptable, but they should reach to just above the knee and be modest and for women it is preferable to wear trousers or a trekking skirt.

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport for each country that you visit.

Visa Nepal

All nationalities require a visa. The visa fee is $25 for 15 days, $40 for 30 days, $100 for 90 days and is obtainable on arrival. Payment must be made in cash and USD, GBP or Euros are accepted. You will require 2 passport photos.

For all the regions of Nepal that we visit an additional permit is required. This is included in the holiday price and KE will apply for it, with your full passport details and 1 passport photo (sent by post or emailed). You must supply this to us at least 4 weeks prior to departure.

For the following holidays, in addition to the above, we will also require you to supply a copy of the information page of your passport (sent by post or emailed).

These trips are: Kanchenjunga (KAN), Mustang (MUS), Dolpo (DOL), Manaslu (MAN), Hidden Valleys of Naar and Phu (NAP), Naar to Mustang (NTM), Humla and Limi Circuit Trek (HUM), Naya Kanga and the Ganja La (NKG), Yala Peak and the Ganja La (YPGL), Tent Peak (TPK), Ramdung and Parchemo (RAM), Mera Peak, Island Peak and the Amphu Labsta (MIP), Island Peak Climber (IPC), Peaks and Passes on Nepal (MTR); Mera Peak Climb (MER); and Chulu Far East & the Tilicho La (CTL); Tabsar Peak and the Tsum Valley (TVC), Mukot Peak (MKP).

You should contact your doctor or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations or other preventive measures. You should be up to date with routine courses and boosters as recommended in the UK e.g. diphtheria-tetanus-polio and measles-mumps-rubella, along with hepatitis A and typhoid. Malarial prophylaxis is not usually required for trips in the mountains, however if you are visiting rural and remote low lying areas then they might be necessary. On holidays to more remote areas you should also have a dentist check up. A good online resource is Travel Health Pro.

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/

It makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on a trekking trip getting some additional exercise. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. For this trip you need to be aerobically fit and also comfortable with walking up to 7 hours each day with ascents and/or descents of up to 1000 metres on most days. We would suggest that you adopt a weekly exercise regime leading up to your trip. Regular hiking in hill country is the best training but running, cycling and swimming are also good for developing cardio vascular fitness and stamina. Before departure, we suggest that you try to fit in a number of long walks in hilly country.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: www.fco.gov.uk. North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

Late September and October is the best ‘window of opportunity’ to visit Dolpo. These months normally see the end of the monsoon weather but are not too late to cross the passes before they become permanently snow covered. This also means we are still likely to encounter the Dolpa people occupying their high pasture villages on the routes to Shey Gompa. During this trip we are likely to encounter a wide range of daytime temperatures. It will be warm or even hot during the day but when the sun goes down temperatures fall rapidly and night-time temperatures at our highest camps will fall below freezing. At this time the region north of the main chain of the Himalaya sees little in the way of precipitation, but it should be remembered that in mountains, localised storms do occur and the possibility of rain or snow can never be ruled out.

  • Trekking and Climbing in Nepal. Steve Razzetti.

  • Lonely Planet Nepal.

  • Rough Guides Caravans of the Himalaya. Eric Valli.

  • The Snow Leopard. Peter Matthiessen

Upper Dolpo 1:125,000. Nepa Maps

A good map covering the entire route. The scale is quite small compared to maps we might be used to for mountain walking in Europe or the United States, but larger scale maps are hard to come by and this one has enough detail, clearly presented, to be useful to the trekker.

Extend Your Holiday

Extensions

When booking your holiday, you will be able to 'add an extension option'.

Once we have received your booking we will contact you to discuss additional services required for the extension and to take any additional deposit.

Chitwan Jungle Extension

The jungles of southern Nepal are an interesting counterpoint to trekking in the foothills or the high Himalaya. Tiger Tops Tharu Lodge provides a relaxing and comfortable base for a wildlife safari and cultural village experience. During two days of wildlife viewing in the Chitwan National Park 'buffer zone' - the interface area between visitors and the animals that live at Chitwan – you will be accompanied by expert guides on safaris by jeep by boat and on foot. 



Chitwan Jungle Extension

From $1100 per person

More info

Kathmandu Tour - Nagarkot and Bhaktapur

The Kathmandu Valley contains the cities of Patan, Bhaktapur and Kathmandu itself, all of which were once independent kingdoms. An exploration of the valley’s historic and cultural sights is an excellent way to begin or end your adventure in Nepal. Highlights of this tour includes a very early drive up to Nagarkot on the Kathmandu Valley rim, the perfect place to watch a Himalayan sunrise. This is followed by a tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bhaktapur, renowned for its temples and traditional buildings. 

 

Kathmandu Tour - Nagarkot and Bhaktapur

From $145 per person

More info

Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge (join Kathmandu)

Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge sets the standard for comfortable and luxurious mountain lodge accommodation with its relaxed atmosphere, tranquil setting, eco-tourism and conservation ethos. Located on a spectacular hilltop ridge, it has panoramic views of ‘Fishtail Mountain and Himalayan giants, Dhaulagiri, Annapurna and Manaslu. It has won several prestigious awards including the PATA Heritage and Culture Gold Award and the Conde Nast Traveler magazine Ecotourism Award.

Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge (join Kathmandu)

From $995 per person

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Shanker Hotel

From $100 per room per night

Situated next to the grounds of the former Royal Palace and only a 10-minute walk from the popular Thamel district, this former Rana residence was converted into a hotel in 1964. The original architecture was based on a French palace and the hotel has a grand appearance. Set in a large and beautifully tended garden, it provides a hideaway from the hustle and bustle of city life and is an ideal base from which to explore Kathmandu. All its rooms which are en-suite have been recently refurbished and the hotel facilities include 2 restaurants, 2 bars and a swimming pool where you can also order drinks.

Shangri La

From $119 per room per night Another of Kathmandu’s original ‘luxury’ hotels. While the sophistication of its amenities may be upstaged by Kathmandu’s more modern concrete and glass hotels, the Shangri La maintains an old world charm that cannot be beaten. Located in the diplomatic enclave of Lazimpat, away from the hustle and bustle yet just 10 minutes walk from tourist centre of Thamel, the hotel is set in a pleasant garden and facilities include a pool, tennis court and massage therapist. The hotel has a speciality Indian restaurant and a garden café serving international cuisine as well as a bar.

Dwarikas Hotel

From $279 per room per night Dwarika’s is a heritage hotel modelled on the grandeur of the palaces of the Newar Kings. Consisting of several buildings arranged around a quiet courtyard, the hotel incorporates many original 15th – 17th century features in its architecture from the lifetime collection of its founder. The rooms are in the same Newari style and lavishly luxurious in their appointments. Its location close to Pashupathinath and Bouddhanath is perfect for exploring this side of Kathmandu. There are 3 restaurants serving Nepali, Japanese and international cuisine, a bar, spa and fitness centre, and a swimming pool.

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