Take this rugged, challenging, and remote trek that immerses you in the astounding beauty of Phoksundo Lake and allows you to visit many monasteries that are several centuries old.
Upper Dolpo Traverse Trek – Juphal to Jomsom Wellness culinary Tour
- Per Person Min 4 persons
- Private Tour Min 2 persons
Book this Nepal trek and get a complimentary one hour Trekker’s’ massage after the trek is over. The masseuses will be from a marginalized community. This is part of our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
Juphal to Jomsom traverse, Upper Dolpa Wellness trek
Exploring Dolpo’s rich cultural heritage and untouched landscapes is an extraordinary experience. The region’s unique attributes, including its authentic Tibetan culture, historic isolation, and challenging terrain, make it a captivating destination for intrepid travellers like yourself.
Dolpo remained a forbidden land until 1996, contributing to its preservation and unaltered state over the past 1,200 years. The region’s remote location comprises high passes, arid plateaus, and deep canyons, starkly contrasting the fertile valleys further south, near the impressive Kanjiroba and Dhaulagiri massifs.
To ensure the trek remains manageable and less strenuous, your itinerary includes shorter days and breaks to rest and rejuvenate. These breaks allow for a gradual acclimatisation to the altitude and mitigate the physical demands of the journey. Camping in the wilderness, away from villages, enables you to embrace the serenity of nature while revelling in the nighttime sky as your five-million-star hotel unveils its magnificent display.
Dolpo is a notable section of the Great Himalaya Trail (GHT), which winds its way through the natural borders of Dolpo and Mustang. Along this trail, you will witness the remnants of the ancient Bon religion, predating Tantric Buddhism, which has nearly vanished in Tibet but is still preserved in its purest form within Dolpo.
The trek presents an opportunity to spend two nights at the breathtaking Phoksundo Lake, a magnificent journey highlight. From there, you will embark on an adventure across windswept passes, leading you into the awe-inspiring Panzang (Bantshang) valley. During the trek, you will encounter semi-nomadic settlements, interact with friendly nomads, and engage with curious villagers, enriching your understanding of the region’s people and their way of life.
It is important to note that some trek sections may feature rugged or poorly defined trails, and specific campgrounds might have limited campsites available. Adverse weather conditions, snow, trail conditions, or river water levels can necessitate itinerary changes. Rest assured, your experienced trek leader will guide you and inform you of any adjustments required to ensure your safety and enjoyment.
Embarking on a trek of this calibre requires an open-minded and flexible mindset. Embrace the challenges and surprises that may arise during the journey, and remember to carry a sense of humour, as it can be a valuable asset in making the most of any situation.
Prepare yourself for the adventure of a lifetime in Dolpo, immersing yourself in its ancient culture, scenic beauty, and the raw wilderness surrounding you.
Food and nutrition on the trek
We are pioneers in gastronome trekking in the Himalayas. We provide a varied, exciting menu on treks throughout the Himalayas. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free meals can be catered for upon request, and other special diets can be accommodated with advance notice.
Trekking is not only fun, but it is beneficial for you. It helps in detoxifying the body while also nourishing the soul. To provide a better experience, we also tailor our meals to include superfoods as ingredients to keep you fit and healthy while assisting in acclimatisation to high altitudes. Combining hiking in the pristine mountain air and healthy food makes trekking with us a complete culinary adventure. Read More on Food and nutrition on our treks.
Why Choose Us?
- Our expert trek leader will ensure your safety while enhancing your trekking experience.
- Your private social bubble by staying in less busy lodges and trekking away from the crowded trails where possible.
- Experience the Himalayas in style.
- Your food is prepared with superfood ingredients to give the best nourishment, recovery, and acclimatisation to high altitudes for our Wellness gourmet trekking adventures.
On your arrival day in Kathmandu, the starting point of your adventure, you will be greeted by a representative from the tour company. They will be waiting for you at the airport and assist you with the necessary procedures before transferring you to your hotel in the city.
After settling into your accommodation and taking some time to relax and freshen up, you will have an opportunity to meet the rest of the group during a trek briefing session. This session will typically occur at your hotel or a designated meeting point.
During the trek briefing, your trek leader or a representative from the tour company will provide you with important information about the upcoming journey. They will discuss the itinerary, trekking routes, safety guidelines, and equipment requirements and answer any questions or concerns you may have. This session is crucial to ensure everyone is well-prepared and aware of what to expect during the trek.
You will also have a chance to introduce yourself to fellow group members, fostering a sense of camaraderie and building connections with fellow adventurers. This pre-trek meeting allows everyone to familiarise themselves with each other and lays the foundation for a cohesive and enjoyable group dynamic throughout the journey.
Pay close attention during the briefing, take notes if necessary, and clarify any doubts or queries. Using this time to organise and pack your trekking gear is also advisable, ensuring you have all the essential items for a comfortable and safe experience in Dolpo.
Remember to make the most of this initial meeting as it sets the tone for the rest of your adventure. Take the opportunity to connect with your fellow travellers, exchange travel stories, and embrace the excitement of embarking on a remarkable journey together.
On the day after you arrive in Kathmandu, you will begin your exploration of the city with a morning walking tour. The tour will include visits to three prominent landmarks: Swayambhunath, Kathmandu Durbar Square, and the Ason spice market.
1. Swayambhunath: Commonly known as the Monkey Temple, Swayambhunath is a sacred Buddhist site on a hilltop west of Kathmandu. The UNESCO World Heritage Site offers panoramic views of the Kathmandu Valley. You can observe the iconic white stupa adorned with Buddha’s eyes and the colourful prayer flags fluttering in the breeze. Keep an eye out for the playful monkeys that inhabit the area.
2. Kathmandu Durbar Square: This historical square also holds the UNESCO World Heritage designation. It is home to several palaces, temples, and ancient structures that reflect Nepal’s architectural and cultural heritage. Explore the intricately carved wooden structures, admire the artistic temples, and learn about the rich history and the role this square has played in Nepal’s traditions and monarchy.
3. Ason spice market: Immerse yourself in the bustling Ason spice market’s vibrant sounds, colours, and aromas. Located in the heart of Kathmandu, this market offers an authentic experience of local life. You can wander through the narrow streets and witness the array of spices, herbs, produce, and other goods local merchants trade. Feel free to shop or soak in the lively atmosphere.
In the afternoon, you will fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj. Nepalgunj is located in the western part of Nepal, close to the border with India. This flight will provide you with the opportunity to catch a glimpse of Nepal’s diverse landscapes from the air.
Once you arrive in Nepalgunj, you can relax and prepare for the next phase of your adventure, as this city serves as the gateway to the remote Dolpo region. Take advantage of this time to rest, reorganize your belongings, and ensure you are fully equipped for the upcoming trek.
It is common for the flights to Juphal, the starting point of the Upper Dolpo trek, to occur in the morning. However, it’s important to note that these flights might experience delays due to inclement weather. As the primary trekking season for Upper Dolpo falls before and during the summer monsoon, there is a possibility of adverse weather conditions in the lower parts of Nepal. Nevertheless, Dolpo’s location in the Trans Himalaya region means it lies in the rain shadow, making it less affected by the monsoon.
Once you arrive in Juphal, you will be met by your trekking team, who will organise and load the necessary equipment onto pack animals. This includes kit bags, camping gear, equipment, and food supplies. The team will ensure all logistics are in order and you have everything you need for the trek ahead.
The trek commences as you follow the Thulo Bheri River, meandering northward toward the Suligad River within an hour of hiking. At the entrance to the Shey Phoksundo National Park, the largest national park in Nepal, you will be required to register. This registration process is a standard procedure to ensure the preservation and monitoring of the area’s natural resources.
Continuing, you will go to Kageni to spend the night. The support crew will set up the campsite and take care of the essential services here. They will prepare hot drinks, served in the dining tent along with cookies, offering a cosy and comfortable environment to relax after a day’s trek.
It is worth mentioning that the support crew will play a crucial role throughout the journey, providing assistance with camp set-ups and meals and ensuring your overall safety and well-being. Their expertise and dedication contribute significantly to the smooth functioning of the trek and allow you to focus on enjoying Dolpo’s stunning landscapes and unique experiences.
Continuing on your trek in the Upper Dolpo region, you will embark on a morning walk in a northwesterly direction, following the upstream path of the Suligad River. This river originates from the stunning Phoksundo Lake, adding to the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape.
As you traverse this picturesque route, you will be immersed in the tranquillity of the forested areas. The trail will lead you through Shyanta and Chepka, two charming locations. These villages offer a glimpse into the local way of life and provide opportunities to interact with the residents, gaining insights into their culture and traditions.
Your support team will accompany you throughout the hike and address your needs. They will ensure you are well-nourished and energized by preparing and serving lunch en route. This provides a chance to rest, refuel, and take in the surroundings while enjoying a meal amidst the beauty of nature.
Your journey for the day will conclude at Rechi, where you will halt for the night and set up camp. This peaceful and serene location offers a chance to unwind and appreciate the extraordinary surroundings before continuing your trek in the coming days.
The support team’s commitment to providing meals, logistical support, and maintaining a comfortable campsite allows you to focus on relishing the trekking experience and immersing yourself in the incredible landscapes that unfold along the trail.
The day you set out to explore the majestic Phoksundo Lake promises to be an exciting and memorable experience. The trek begins with an undulating hike, taking you through the charming village of Samduwa. As you continue your journey, you will encounter a significant landmark, Trapiza School. This school was funded by the Swiss and Americans, highlighting their commitment to education in this remote region.
From Trapiza School, the trail gradually ascends as you make your way towards Palam. The climb becomes steeper as you proceed, but you can take breaks and rest along the way. During this trek portion, you will encounter the awe-inspiring Suligad waterfall cascading down a staggering 167 meters. This powerful display of nature’s force is a sight to behold.
As you ascend, you will be treated to your first glimpse of the magnificent Kanjiroba peak, standing tall at 6,612 meters. In the Tibetan language, Kanjirolwa translates to “the big mountain with a ponytail,” offering a cultural insight into the significance of this mountain in the local context.
As the trek progresses, you will also catch sight of portions of the Turquoise Phoksundo Lake, renowned for its exquisite beauty. The crystal-clear waters of the lake and its stunning surroundings create a breathtaking landscape that will leave you in awe.
After an hour of trekking from the main village of Ringmo, you will finally reach the village of Phoksundo Lake itself. This is where you will have the opportunity to experience the tranquillity and serenity of the lake’s turquoise waters firsthand.
The journey to Phoksundo Lake and Ringmo allows you to witness the region’s natural grandeur and immerse yourself in the unique cultural and geographical features that make this area so remarkable.
You will embark on a relatively easy walk to the ancient Bon monastery known as Thasung Tsoling Gompa. This monastery holds profound cultural and religious significance as it is associated with the ancient Bon religion, which predates Tibetan Buddhism.
The Bon religion is an indigenous spiritual tradition of the Himalayan region, characterized by its unique rituals, beliefs, and practices. The people of Ringmo village are devout followers of Bon, and the entire village serves as parishioners of this ancient faith.
As you stroll towards Thasung Tsoling Gompa, you will have the opportunity to witness the rich religious heritage and cultural traditions passed down through generations in this region. The ancient Bon monastery stands as a testament to the enduring spiritual connection of the local community to their ancestral beliefs.
Inside the gompa, you may encounter intricate murals, sacred artefacts, and ancient scriptures, all of which contribute to the spiritual ambience of the place. You can immerse yourself in the peaceful atmosphere, observe or participate in religious rituals if appropriate, and gain insights into the practices and teachings of the Bon religion.
This visit not only offers a chance to explore the architectural and artistic wonders of the monastery but also provides a unique insight into the region’s cultural tapestry. It allows you to appreciate the coexistence of different religious traditions in this remote part of the world and understand the profound influence of the ancient Bon religion on the lives of the local people.
(Note: Please respect the monastery’s rules and customs and seek permission before photographing or participating in religious activities. Also, remember the specific itinerary and arrangements your tour operator or guide made.)
After enjoying a delicious breakfast, you will begin your morning adventure by following the Western trail of the turquoise Phoksundo Lake. The trail initially takes you uphill, offering a gradual ascent as you immerse yourself in the pristine natural surroundings. At every step and turn, you will be treated to breathtaking views showcasing the lake’s absolute beauty and surroundings.
As you continue along the trail, you will eventually reach the highest point, above 4,000 meters from where you initially started. From this vantage point, you will be able to marvel at the panoramic vistas that stretch before you, taking in the grandeur of the landscape.
From here, the path will gently contour into a downhill trend, leading you through a captivating landscape of pine and Rhododendron forests. The vibrant foliage of the Rhododendron trees adds a splash of colour to the surroundings, enhancing the visual appeal of your journey.
As you go through the forests, you will eventually reach the lakeside north of Ringmo village. This tranquil setting provides a picturesque spot for you to soak in the serenity of the lake and its surroundings. Along this lakeside area, you may come across a couple of herder’s tents, which conveniently accommodate restaurants, shops, and even lodging during the summer months. This blending of traditional herding lifestyle with the needs of travellers adds a unique touch to your experience.
Your camp for the day is just a short hour away from the north side of the lake. This proximity allows you to appreciate the tranquillity and beauty of the surroundings fully. You can relax, unwind, and revel in the mesmerizing atmosphere created by the combination of turquoise waters, lush greenery, and towering peaks.
Continuing your trek, you will hike upstream alongside the mesmerising Phoksundo River. As you go through the peaceful surroundings, you will gradually ascend towards your first pass, which takes you through a dense pine forest. The scent of the pine trees wafting through the air adds to the sensory experience of your journey.
Upon reaching the lower base camp, you will veer to the right, following the course of the Tuk Kyasa River. This section of the trail entails navigating rough and challenging terrain. You’ll cross the river by carefully stepping and leaping from rock to rock while immersing yourself in the raw beauty of the natural surroundings.
As you continue along this path, the valley gradually widens, giving you more expansive views. You will reach the intermediate campsite approximately 30 minutes after the valley opens up. This campsite, nestled in the heart of nature, offers a serene and picturesque spot to rest and rejuvenate.
You will find ample accommodations at the intermediate campsite to ensure your comfort during your stay. Four sleeping tents, a kitchen tent, a dining tent, and a toilet tent will be set up to cater to your needs. The campsite is close to a stream, allowing the kitchen staff to access water for cooking and other necessary tasks easily.
This lovely spot offers a sense of tranquillity and serves as a peaceful retreat amidst the wilderness. You can unwind, enjoy the soothing sound of the nearby stream, and marvel at the natural beauty surrounding you.
On this significant trek day, you will undertake a challenging endeavour as you cross the first of the six passes above 5,000 meters. The Kang La Pass, also known as Nagdalo La, stands at 5,350 meters.
Your journey begins with a one-hour ascent, where you steadily reach the high camp. From there, you will continue climbing, encountering a mixture of short, steep sections and steady ascents for approximately 90 minutes. As the trail progresses, the incline becomes more vertical, presenting a more demanding and challenging climb. This steep ascent continues for over two hours until you reach the majestic summit of Kang La.
At the top of the pass, preparing for potentially windy and cold weather conditions is important. Nonetheless, the breathtaking views that await you make the effort worthwhile. On a clear day, you may catch sight of the stunning Manaslu range to the southeast while the north unveils the stark yet striking hills that define the Dolpo region. These panoramic vistas create a sense of awe and appreciation for the natural wonders that surround you.
The descent begins with a narrow, steep drop lasting approximately 20 minutes. The trail gradually contours downward for about 90 minutes following this initial descent. Along this descent, you will find a beautiful open space with a stream running alongside it, providing a perfect spot to take a break and absorb the tranquil ambience of your surroundings.
Before reaching Shey Gompa, your destination for the day, you will make a final stop at this picturesque location. It serves as an ideal resting point before continuing on your journey.
After leaving the picturesque campsite near the stream, you will descend towards Shey Gompa. You will arrive at this significant destination within a few hours of hiking. The trail includes a short uphill section from the river, leading you to the entrance of Shey Gompa.
Upon reaching Shey Gompa, you will be greeted by a beautifully maintained campsite. This area is managed by an elderly couple who serve as caretakers of the campsite and the monastery. Their dedication and attention to detail ensure that visitors have a pleasant and comfortable experience during their stay.
Shey Gompa is a highly revered religious site in Dolpo. It is located opposite Crystal Mountain, which majestically towers above the surrounding landscape. Known as the holiest mountain in the region, Crystal Mountain holds great spiritual significance for the local community. It is considered the second most sacred mountain in the Dolpo region after Mount Kailash in Tibet.
The awe-inspiring presence of Crystal Mountain adds to the mystical atmosphere surrounding Shey Gompa. Its towering presence is a constant reminder of the sacredness and spiritual heritage of the area, captivating the imagination and offering a sense of reverence to those who visit.
Today’s leg of your journey takes you to Namgung. To reach your destination, you will cross another pass named Sela, which stands at an elevation of 5,094 meters. Compared to the previous pass, Sela offers a relatively more straightforward crossing. The trail presents stunning scenery, enhancing the overall hiking experience as you approach Namgung.
As you descend from the pass, keep a keen eye out. You may come across four well-placed monasteries and retreats along the way. These hidden gems might require dedicated observation as they blend seamlessly into the surrounding landscape. The presence of these monasteries and retreats adds an aura of spiritual and cultural significance to the area, emphasizing this region’s remote and serene nature.
Upon arriving in Namgung, you will find a small settlement comprised of just five houses alongside the monasteries. This quaint and intimate village provides a glimpse into the local way of life and offers a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere. Immerse yourself in the simple charm of Namgung, appreciating the remoteness and seclusion of this unique location.
As you begin your day, you will embark on a short climb until you reach the plateau. This initial ascent sets the stage for the journey ahead. Once you reach the plateau, the trail becomes undulating, characterized by gentle ups and downs as you contour the hills. This part of the trek offers mesmerizing views of the surrounding landscape and allows you to experience the region’s raw beauty.
While traversing the undulating trail, you will catch sight of several neighbouring towns dotted along the horizon. These towns, with their unique charm and cultural significance, serve as testaments to the rich history and heritage of the area. The distant paths weaving through the rugged terrain further showcase the vastness and remoteness of the region, evoking a sense of adventure and exploration.
Your day’s journey will eventually lead you to Saldang, which is significant as it is the most crucial village on this trek. As you descend towards Saldang, you will witness the village gradually coming into view. Nestled amidst the stunning landscape, Saldang offers a glimpse into the local way of life, highlighting the resilience and adaptability of the people in this challenging environment.
Take your time to explore the village, immerse yourself in the local culture, and appreciate the unique atmosphere of Saldang, a testament to the indomitable spirit of the people who call this place home.
During your rest day in Saldang, you have two enticing options to choose from:
i) The first option is a full-day hike to Yangjer Monastery. This involves taking a packed lunch with you and heading towards the monastery. The hike will allow you to explore the surrounding natural beauty and immerse yourself in the tranquillity. After a refreshing day of exploration, you will return to Saldang in the late afternoon, allowing you to enjoy the comforts of the village and unwind after a fulfilling day.
ii) The second option lets you spend the morning leisurely wandering around the village. Take your time to observe and absorb the unique atmosphere as you stroll through the streets of Saldang. Visit the Samye Choling Monastery, a remarkable 500-year-old religious site in the lower part of Saldang Village. This ancient monastery is steeped in history, providing insight into the region’s cultural and spiritual heritage.
After exploring during your rest day in Saldang, you have two enticing options to choose from:
i) The first option is a full-day hike to Yangjer Monastery. This involves taking a packed lunch with you and heading towards the monastery. The hike will allow you to explore the surrounding natural beauty and immerse yourself in the tranquillity. After a refreshing day of exploration, you will return to Saldang in the late afternoon, allowing you to enjoy the comforts of the village and unwind after a fulfilling day in nature.
ii) The second option lets you spend the morning leisurely wandering around the village. Take your time to observe and absorb the unique atmosphere as you stroll through the streets of Saldang. Visit the Samye Choling Monastery, a remarkable 500-year-old religious site in the lower part of Saldang Village. This ancient monastery is steeped in history, providing insight into the region’s cultural and spiritual heritage.
After exploring the village and visiting the monastery, return to your accommodations in time for lunch. Rest and rejuvenate before indulging in a refreshing shower. The dedicated staff members will ensure that hot water is available for your showering needs and set up a shower tent for your convenience.
Both options offer distinct experiences, whether immersing yourself in nature and hiking to Yangjer Monastery or delving into the cultural and historical aspects of Saldang Village by visiting the Samye Choling Monastery. Whichever option you choose, take the time to relax and enjoy the unique offerings of this rest day in Saldang.
The next leg of your trek takes you to Khomas, beginning with a descent towards the river. As you descend, you will immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the surroundings, with the river carving its way through the landscape. Following the descent, a steady climb awaits you, leading you towards Khoma at an elevation of 4460 meters.
During this climb, you will be rewarded with breathtaking views, and as you ascend, you will catch sight of Khomas village in the distance. This vantage point offers a unique perspective on the village, allowing you to appreciate its location within the open valley.
Once you reach this point, you can choose to take it easy and enjoy the picturesque scenery, the warmth of the sun, and the absence of wind. This serene interlude allows you to relax and soak in the natural beauty surrounding you. You can utilize this time to rest and wait for the mules and your staff to catch up, ensuring that everyone proceeds together.
After approximately 45 minutes of rejuvenating rest, you will resume your hike, continuing to descend from the elevation. Along the way, you may encounter a grassy pasture, which provides an idyllic spot to stop for lunch. The peaceful ambience of the field enhances your dining experience, allowing you to savour your meal amidst nature’s tranquillity.
Following lunch, you will resume your downward journey towards the village. The descent guides you closer to Khomas, revealing the details of the relatively large settlement within the open valley. This valley setting adds to the charm of Khomas village, emphasizing its unique character and the captivating landscapes surrounding it.
Take your time to explore the village, interact with the locals, and appreciate the distinct atmosphere of Khomas. The village’s size and location make it an intriguing stop along your trek, offering an opportunity to learn more about the local culture and way of life.
On this day’s hike, you will begin with approximately one hour of traversing along the trail. This section offers a chance to enjoy the surrounding scenery as you make your way forward. Following the traverse, there will be a descent towards the river, allowing you to descend gradually and connect with the natural flow of the landscape.
Once you reach the river, the trail will lead you uphill towards the top of Shimen La at 4260 meters. This ascent is a challenging yet rewarding portion of the hike, offering panoramic views of the surrounding terrain. As you ascend, the undulating path will continue for approximately 45 minutes before reaching the end of the pass.
You will be treated to a stunning view of Shimen village in the distance from the pass. It is worth noting that from this vantage point, you may spot an old airstrip that was once utilized for flights between Nepalgunj and Shimen during the 1960s and 1970s. This historical feature adds intrigue to the landscape, highlighting a previous era of accessibility to the region.
It is essential to know that distances can be deceiving in mountainous regions, primarily due to the effects of high altitude. The thin air can make objects appear closer than they are. As you take in the breathtaking views, remember the unique optical illusions that can occur at higher elevations.
The descent from the pass brings you to Shimen village, which is significant as it is the lowest village you have encountered since leaving the Phoksundo camp. The change in altitude brings a noticeable shift in climate, and you might experience the warmth and the sensation of being in a lower, more temperate environment.
Now, you are in the Panzang (Ban Tshang by locals) river valley. This valley offers a different landscape and geographical setting compared to the previous stretches of your trek. Take the time to appreciate the beauty of the valley, the meandering river, and the unique features that contribute to the overall charm of the region.
As you enter the Panzang River valley, you will notice a distinct change in the landscape. The valley opens up, offering a broader expanse and rolling hills in contrast to the sharp ridges and deep valleys you encountered earlier in your trek. This change provides a refreshing and varied scenery for your journey.
While hiking through this picturesque valley, you will encounter several Chortens. Chortens are sacred structures in Tibetan Buddhism, adding a cultural and spiritual element to the surroundings. You may also have the opportunity to appreciate interesting rock carvings on the river rocks. These carvings serve as a testament to the region’s rich history and cultural significance.
An intriguing aspect of the area is the Nepali government’s unique process of rationing supply. The government sends rations through Tibet to the border, where villagers can purchase subsidised rations. They then transport these rations back home by packing them on their animals. This method enables them to keep the cost of transportation lower than if the rations were transported within Nepal. This local practice highlights the resourcefulness and adaptability of the villagers in ensuring a sustainable supply of necessities.
Your day’s campsite will be next to a serene stream beyond the village of Tinje. This tranquil setting provides a perfect backdrop for rest after hiking. It is worth noting that the location of the campsite will be approximately two hours away from Tinje, along the fork in the trail. This additional time spent walking allows you to appreciate the beauty of the surrounding nature as you approach the campsite.
By choosing this beautiful spot for your campsite, you can fully immerse yourself in the natural wonders of the Panzang River valley, enjoying the soothing sound of the stream and the peaceful ambience of the surroundings.
As you depart from your wilderness campsite, you will be greeted by the lively presence of numerous Marmots. These charming creatures will serenade you with their whistling calls, alerting their fellow furry companions to your presence. It adds a touch of wildlife interaction and connection to the start of your day.
Next, you will take a left turn at the fork, continuing your journey for several hours. Along the way, you will have the convenience of a packed lunch, enabling you to find a suitable spot at a designated time to take a break and enjoy your meal. This allows you to recharge and refuel amidst the natural surroundings.
The trail initially involves a gentle and gradual climb, allowing you to acclimate to the increasing altitude. As you progress further, there may come a point where you will need to cross a river. Although it might have been possible to navigate across the river stepping on rocks, it is prudent to exercise caution and take preventative measures. Removing your boots for the crossing helps minimise the risk of slips or injuries caused by uneven surfaces. This safety-conscious approach ensures a smoother and more secure passage.
During this part of the trek, you will venture into two different valleys before commencing your ascent towards the high camp of Mo La, which serves as the third trekking pass of your journey. By now, you will have been heading east for the past few days, experiencing the evolving landscapes and panoramic vistas accompanying your progress.
Upon reaching the high camp of Mo La, situated at an altitude of 4880 meters, you will set up your campsite. The elevated location provides stunning views and provides a base for further exploration. It also allows you to observe your surroundings from a new perspective, appreciating the rugged beauty and grandeur of the landscape.
Remember to take sufficient time to acclimatise and listen to your body as you adapt to the increasing altitude. Proper rest, hydration, and gradual progression are crucial for ensuring a safe and enjoyable trekking experience.
The hike to Mo La Pass, which stands at 5030 meters, is relatively comfortable, making for a pleasant trekking experience. The final climb to reach the top of the pass is not overly challenging and typically takes around an hour. As you ascend, you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of Dhaulagiri’s magnificent north face, the highest mountain on this trek. This awe-inspiring sight adds an extra element of grandeur to your journey.
After reaching the summit of Mo La Pass, you will begin your descent, and it is during this part of the hike, you will be treated to spectacular vistas of the surrounding landscapes. The trail leading down is incredibly scenic, allowing you to immerse yourself in the area’s natural beauty. However, it is essential to note that the descent to Charka may appear deceptively shorter than it is. The trail might require more time and effort than anticipated, so be prepared for the additional distance.
As the name suggests, Charka originates from the Tibetan words “Chaa Ka,” meaning “good salt.” The significance of this name becomes evident as you explore the outskirts of the village. Here, you will find a source of salt, attracting various animals from the region. They visit this area to satisfy their need for salt, recognizing its vital importance for their well-being.
In Charka, there is also a stream that flows through the village, enhancing its tranquillity and providing a refreshing water source. This combination of natural elements makes Charka an appealing location for humans and animals.
At this point, your support staff will take the opportunity to restock essential supplies such as dry rations, kerosene, and some fresh vegetables. This preparation ensures that you will have sufficient provisions for the next three days, during which you will be camping in remote areas away from villages. This self-sufficiency allows you to explore and appreciate the untouched wilderness, immersing yourself in the great outdoors.
After crossing the Charka Tulsi River, you will advance along a newly constructed, expanded trail for approximately an hour. This trail offers a spacious and well-defined path, ensuring ease and comfort as you proceed. Following this stretch, you will arrive at a bridge allowing you to cross another river safely. You will face a short yet demanding climb from the bridge on a dusty path. Despite the physical challenge, reaching the top will reward you with a captivating sight: the terrain has a picturesque green appearance reminiscent of a golf course. The lush surroundings provide a refreshing change of scenery, offering a serene and peaceful atmosphere.
Continuing along the trail, you will encounter a gentle slope for approximately 90 minutes. As you progress, the landscape evolves, and you will soon find yourself traversing through areas prone to landslides. These sections of the trail are characterized by narrow and rocky paths, which may require extra caution and attention. Navigating through these areas adds a touch of excitement and adventure to your journey, merging the thrill of exploration with the natural beauty of the surroundings.
Finally, you will reach your campsite approximately an hour after passing your lunch spot. This wide-open valley is your resting place, providing ample flat ground for camping. The camp boasts two relatively large and clean streams flowing nearby, further enhancing the tranquillity and natural allure of the location. The presence of these water sources adds convenience and allows you to replenish your supplies or enjoy the serene ambience created by the soothing sound of flowing water.
Settling in for the night at this campsite amidst the expansive valley, you can fully appreciate the vastness and magnificence of the surroundings, immersing yourself in the remote beauty of the wilderness.
The long day of hiking has been split into two easier days to ensure a more manageable and less physically demanding trek while allowing time for acclimatisation to the high altitude. On this particular segment, the hike to our camp at Nulungsumda Kharka at an elevation of 4987 meters is expected to take approximately four hours.
As you progress towards Nulungsumda Kharka, you may notice a change in weather conditions. Clouds begin to gather, and westerly winds carry them towards the east. This atmospheric phenomenon results from the prevailing wind patterns in the region.
During this time, the ponymen and local guide may express their concerns about the changing weather, and it is vital to pay attention to their observations and expertise. Their familiarity with the local climate and weather patterns enables them to recognise potential risks and atmospheric changes.
In the region, it is not uncommon for cyclones originating from the Bay of Bengal to bring unseasonal snowfall to the high passes. Unfortunately, such weather conditions have resulted in casualties—both among trekkers and locals—for some years. However, you reassure the team that the typical pattern involves bad weather from the east while the clouds they observe travel in the opposite direction—the west. This reassurance is based on the prevailing weather patterns and historical knowledge of the area, suggesting that the risk of unseasonal snow due to cyclones is relatively low during this trekking period.
Maintaining caution and staying informed about the weather throughout the journey is crucial. Weather conditions can change rapidly in the mountains, so continuous vigilance and communication with the local guides and support staff are to ensure safety.
The upcoming day, often called a “huge” day due to its challenging nature, involves crossing three passes: Niwas La at 5125 meters, Jungben La at 5550 meters, and an unnamed pass at 5400 meters. This day’s journey comprises various terrains and elevations, showcasing breathtaking views and demanding physical exertion.
The day begins with a relatively flattish terrain, gradually ascending towards Niwas La. As you make your way up, you will be rewarded with captivating vistas of the Sadache Himal range, adding a touch of grandeur to the landscape. The trail continues with a mostly flat stretch until the last 60 minutes, leading to the summit of Jungben La at 5550 meters. Despite its high elevation, reaching Jungben La is expected to be manageable, offering a sense of accomplishment and awe-inspiring panoramic views.
However, the descent from Jungben La presents a winding and steep path, which requires attentiveness and caution as you navigate the terrain. After the initial descent, the trail eases with a small climb towards the final pass, which remains unnamed. From this pass onward, the descent becomes notably challenging, characterized by loose shales, screes, and rocks. The trail follows a relentless steep slope, seemingly stretching on endlessly. This section demands a steady footing and physical endurance as you descend amidst the rugged and rocky surroundings.
It is important to note that descending on such terrain requires careful footing to maintain stability and prevent potential mishaps. The loose nature of the trail necessitates a calculated and deliberate approach to ensure a safe and steady progression.
As with any strenuous trekking segment, it is advisable to pace yourself, stay adequately hydrated, and take regular breaks to rest and regain energy. The awe-inspiring ruggedness of the landscape, coupled with the physical demands of the journey, makes this particular day an adventurous and memorable experience.
The day starts with a small climb followed by a steep descent towards Kyalungpa Khola, the river you’ll cross. As you make your way, you will pass through an area adorned with Juniper trees. However, it’s important to note that the active Mustang wind can exacerbate the dusty conditions of the trail, making it more challenging to navigate.
During the descent, you will encounter some exposed and slippery sections, which can require extra caution. The trail drops steeply until you reach the bridge, crossing the Kyalungpa Khola. Once you have crossed the bridge, there is a short climb of approximately 30 minutes, after which the trail levels out for a while.
The relatively levelled section provides some respite after the steep descent, allowing you to catch your breath and regain energy. Enjoy the more gentle terrain as you progress towards a small pass on the route. Once you pass this pass, the trail descends again towards a river in the valley.
Upon reaching the river, you must cross it, possibly using a bridge or finding a suitable crossing point depending on local conditions. Following the river crossing, there is another short climb of around an hour before you arrive at Santa (also known as Shang Tak).
The journey from the river crossing to Santa involves navigating through varied terrain, likely a combination of ascents, descents, and possibly traversing rocky sections. It is essential to pace yourself during these climbs and descents, as they require sustained effort and careful footing.
Reaching Santa (Shang Tak) after the demanding day’s trek will provide a sense of achievement and an opportunity to rest and rejuvenate for the next leg of your journey.
The day starts with a challenging uphill climb, ascending to an altitude of 4110 meters. The steepness of the terrain requires physical exertion as you make your way up. It is worth noting that the hike follows a newly constructed road, which provides a defined path for trekkers to follow.
As you ascend, the road contours towards the top of Bhimen La at an elevation of 4600 meters. The panoramic views from the pass are nothing short of breathtaking. To the north, you can marvel at the vast expanse of Upper Mustang, a region known for its unique culture and stunning landscapes. Towards the northeast, you will catch glimpses of the peaks of the Nar Phu Valley, adding to the dramatic scenery.
Turning your gaze eastward, you can feast your eyes on the prominent Thorung peak and access the Thorung La pass. The view also includes landmarks such as Muktinath, Jharkot, and Kagbeni, which lie beneath the Thorung pass. The enchanting spectacle continues to the southeast, where you can admire the majestic Nilgiri peaks. Finally, you can see the winding Kali Gandaki riverbed, which cuts through the picturesque landscape.
During this portion of the trek, it is essential to be prepared for the possibility of strong winds and dust. The Mustang region is known for its gusty winds, which can create dusty conditions along the trail. Be sure to protect your eyes and face, wear a scarf or mask, and dress appropriately to shield yourself from the elements.
As you approach Phalyak village, the trail can be windy and dusty, emphasizing the need to take necessary precautions. The challenging trek to Phalyak village presents an opportunity to immerse yourself in the raw beauty of the Mustang region while embracing the natural elements that shape the landscape.
The trek continues towards the main road after crossing a substantial suspension bridge over the Kali Gandaki River. The bridge provides a vital link across the river, allowing trekkers to proceed with their journey. Suspension bridges are commonly used in the region due to their stability and ability to withstand the strong river currents.
Once you have crossed the bridge, the trail follows a relatively flat terrain, offering a respite from the challenging uphill climbs or descents. This trek section towards Jomsom maintains a fairly level path, making it a more comfortable hiking experience than the preceding sections.
As you continue the trail, you will encounter another bridge near Ekle Bhatti. This bridge provides yet another opportunity to cross a river or a smaller tributary, depending on the specific geographic features of the area. Crossing bridges can be an exciting element of the trek, allowing you to traverse water bodies and access new regions.
Beyond this bridge, the trail leads you to Jomsom. Jomsom is a popular destination in the region, known for its infrastructure and facilities. It serves as the Mustang district’s administrative centre and offers trekkers various amenities, including accommodations, restaurants, and other services.
The flattish hike to Jomsom provides a chance to enjoy the surroundings at a more relaxed pace. The relatively easier terrain allows you to appreciate the landscape, enjoy the views, and soak in the region’s beauty without the added challenge of steep ascents or descents.
If the flight from Jomsom is affected by bad weather and unable to operate, it is wise to plan for contingencies. It is common for flights to Jomsom to be disrupted due to unfavourable weather conditions, especially during certain seasons.
It is advisable to allocate an extra night in Jomsom to account for this possibility. This allows for flexibility in your travel plans and ensures ample time to make alternative arrangements. An additional night will enable you to explore Jomsom and its surroundings or relax and rejuvenate before continuing your journey.
If flights from Jomsom to Pokhara are cancelled, hiring a jeep and driving to Pokhara is a feasible alternative. The journey from Jomsom to Pokhara can be undertaken by hiring a private jeep or shared transportation services, depending on your preferences and budget.
Driving to Pokhara provides an alternative means of transportation, ensuring you can continue your trip without significant disruptions. While the duration of the journey can vary depending on road conditions and traffic, it is typically a picturesque drive that allows you to appreciate the region’s scenic landscapes.
It is worth noting that road travel from Jomsom to Pokhara can be subject to challenges, including rough terrain and occasional delays. However, it is considered a reliable backup option when flights are not operational.
When deciding to hire a jeep and drive, it is advisable to consult with local guides, travel agencies, or transportation services for the most up-to-date information on road conditions and the availability of vehicles.
After completing your trek and arriving in Pokhara, you will have the morning free to unwind and relax before your afternoon flight to Kathmandu. This is an excellent opportunity to take some well-deserved rest and pamper yourself with a massage or other rejuvenating activities.
Pokhara offers a range of options for relaxation and rejuvenation. Numerous massage centers and spas are available throughout the city, offering various treatments and therapies to soothe your tired muscles and provide a sense of relaxation. You can choose from traditional Nepali massages, Ayurvedic treatments, or other wellness services based on your preferences.
Indulging in a massage not only helps to alleviate physical fatigue but also provides a chance to immerse yourself in the local culture and wellness traditions of Nepal. It can be a therapeutic experience, allowing you to unwind and recharge before continuing your journey.
Additionally, if you prefer a more tranquil experience, Pokhara offers serene natural settings where you can enjoy peaceful walks along the lakeside or simply sit by the tranquil Phewa Lake, absorbing the beauty of the surroundings.
In the afternoon, you will catch a flight from Pokhara to Kathmandu. The flight duration is relatively short, taking approximately 25-30 minutes, allowing you to reach Kathmandu conveniently.
Ensure that you arrive at the airport well in advance to complete the necessary check-in procedures and security checks. Flight schedules can occasionally be subject to change, so it is advisable to reconfirm the departure time with the airline or your travel agent.
Take this opportunity to savor the last moments of your trekking adventure, cherishing the memories and relishing the relaxation before returning to the vibrant city of Kathmandu.
You will be brought to the airport three hours before your international flight.
A Responsible promise
Despite the exceptional circumstances in which we find ourselves at the moment, we don’t want you to give up your holiday – and we want you to be able to book your trip without any worries.
To provide additional security for your booking, we have introduced a new rebooking and cancellation policy so that you can easily rebook or cancel your trip free of charge if the worst comes to the worst.
Free Cancellation With the Responsible Promise 100% Money-Back Guarantee
For new bookings made between May 10th 2021, and December 31st 2022, you may cancel your complete package (activities, hotels, tours, excl. flight) free of charge up to 30 days before your departure and get 100% of your money back. However, to stay flexible, we recommend that you choose a flexible fare when booking your flight.
Complete flexibility on your booking
Stay flexible with our new rebooking service until shortly before your departure. For new bookings made between May 10th and December 31st, 2021, you may rebook your package (activities, hotels, tours) free of charge up to 30 days before your departure (subject to availability). Rebooking is only allowed once, and you must inform us 30 days before your planned departure. Any additional costs incurred due to changes in your schedule or upgrades, such as additional fees in high season or upgrades to your accommodation, will still apply. To remain flexible, we recommend that you choose a flexible fare when booking your flight.
Most of our clients have completed their treks from 1 years old to some in their 70s with almost no exercise or training.
Do you offer hotel/airport pick-up?
We offer hotel and airport pick-up. As you continue with your booking, there will be an option to input flight details or hotel names.
Do I need a Visa?
A visa for Nepal can be acquired on arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu, and at border entry points in Kakadvitta, Birgunj, Bhairahawa, Nepalgunj, Gaddachowki on the Nepal-India border, and Kerung on the Nepal-China border.
Outside of Nepal, A visa can also be obtained at the nearest Nepal Embassy or Diplomatic Mission.
For more information, go to the Department of Immigration, Kalikasthan, Kathmandu.
What should I bring on a Trek?
Being adequately equipped is one of the keys to a successful trek. For information to help you select the best type of clothing and equipment for your trip, please see our Clothing and Equipment Guide.
Also, see our Links page for details of specialist retailers who will offer further advice and assistance with purchasing new clothing or equipment.
If you have more questions, please check this article to reference equipment to pack or contact us.
Is this trip safe for solo/female/LGBT+/minority/POC travelers?
You are safe as long as you respect the culture, do not show affection in public, and dress decently (this won’t pose too much problem as you will be covered up in layers to stay warm).
Here are some helpful articles:
Am I too old to go trekking?
Arriving at Kathmandu airport.
Should I bring cash or ATM cards?
What to pack for a trek?
Do I need to train for a trek?
What are the differences between camping and lodge trekking?
What is a typical day on a trek like?
What is the food like on the trek?
The Benefits of using trekking poles.
What do I need to know about high altitudes?
High altitude myths.
How to trek safely?
For more articles, you can go to our blogs.