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Dolpo (Dolpa)

Dolpo (Dolpa)

Travelers to Nepal rarely visit the remote district of Dolpo (Dolpa, sometimes written Doplpa) and yet it is the least developed district and offers a unique chance to experience a landscape and culture far different from the rest of the country. The district of Dolpa is considered to be divided into two sections Lower Dolpa and Upper Dolpa. They both require different permits to enter – Lower Dolpa is where most people would choose to enter while Upper Dolpa requires a government liaison officer to accompany the travel group. The opportunity to enter the park is quite new because the entire district of Dolpa used to be closed to trekkers. Finally, in 1989 the southern part of Dolpa opened for organized trekking groups.

The western half of the area has been set aside as the Shey Phoksundo National Park. Here, you can find many rare and endangered plant and animal species which can be found no where else in Nepal. Some of the interesting animals found in the park are the grey wolf, snow leopard, and the blue sheep.

One main attraction of the area is the Phoksundo Lake which is around 5 kilometers long and 1 kilometer wide. There are glaciers in the surrounding area that feed its crystal clear water. Near the southern part of the lake is an immense 300+ meter waterfall. It is the main outlet for the lake and is truly a sensational sight.

For those wanting to travel to the Dolpa district, they should be really prepared. The trek in Lower Dolpa itself is not very complicated but having an experienced guide is important. A seasoned local guide is even better especially during some parts of the trek when you need to cross and re-cross the Tarap Khola (river). Having an experienced guide will help you to stay on the correct trail.

Traveling through this district you can find one of the highest settlements in the world belonging to the Dolpa community. (For more information on the Dolpa community, see our ethnic groups page.) Many of the Dolpa settlers are Buddhist but being so close to Tibet there is also a harmonious blend of the Bon Buddhism. You can find many different monasteries and other places of worship throughout the Dolpa region. One in particular that is worth a visit is the Buddhist gompa at Ringmo set in a peaceful forest glade environment.

Dolpo lies between the Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve and Rara National Park so adding additional days to your travels in Dolpa can be combined into a single trip from either Pokhara or Jumla.

The Lower Dolpo trek on its own takes one to two weeks, assuming you fly in and out of Dunai. You head north from there, entering the park after about a day and reaching the lake after two days.

As for accommodations, there are a few houses in the region that offer shelter but there is a food deficiency, so you will need to be self-sufficient and bring along what you might need for your visit.

To view pre-designed Nepal travel packages, see our programs page orĀ the encyclopedia for more Nepal Travel items.