- Trek on lesser-visited trails in the spectacular high Himalaya
- Meet Nepalis from a range of cultures, including Dolpali, Bhotia, and Magar
- Enjoy sightseeing in Nepal's vibrant capital, Kathmandu
|Day 1||Arrive in Kathmandu||Kathmandu|
|Day 2||Explore Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath, and Patan Durbar Square||Kathmandu|
|Day 3||Explore the Thamel District, Fly to Nepalgunj||Nepalgunj|
|Day 4||Fly to Juphal, Trek to Dunai (7,037 ft / 2,145 m)||Dunai|
|Day 5||Trek to Chhepka (8,759 ft / 2,670 m)||Chhepka|
|Day 6||Trek to Jharana Hotel (11,056 ft / 3,370 m)||Jharana Village|
|Day 7||Trek to Ringmo (11,351 ft / 3460 m)||Ringmo|
|Day 8||Explore Lake Phoksundo||Phoksundo|
|Day 9||Rest Day at Lake Phoksundo||Phoksundo|
|Day 10||Trek from Lake Phoksundo to Chhepka (8,759 ft / 2,670 m)||Chhepka|
|Day 11||Trek from Chhepka to Juphal (8,120 ft / 2,475 m)||Juphal|
|Day 12||Fly to Nepalgunj & Connect to Kathmandu||Kathmandu|
|Day 13||Depart Kathmandu|
Day 1: Arrive in Kathmandu
As you fly into Kathmandu, you'll be greeted by views of snow-capped mountain peaks. Your representative will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel.
Depending on your arrival time, you may be able to do some sightseeing on your own. The centrally located Kathmandu Durbar Square is a good place to start, or you can browse the shops and restaurants of the tourist hub, Thamel.
Day 2: Explore Kathmandu: Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath, & Patan Durbar Square
This morning, you'll be picked up for a full-day cultural tour of the Kathmandu Valley. Spend the day at three sacred sites: Swayambhunath Stupa, Pashupatinath Temple, and Patan Durbar Square.
You'll do quite a lot on this carefully planned day, yet the itinerary doesn't overload you with too many sites. As this is a private tour, you can spend as much time as you like at each temple, but most people like to spend about an hour.
A short distance from the city center, high on a hill, Swayambhunath Stupa is a great place to admire the views of the Kathmandu Valley below. The stupa—a dome-shaped Buddhist structure—is one of the most historical places in this part of the world. Spin the prayer wheels and admire the fine paintings and sculptures around the stupa.
Located on the banks of the Bagmati River, the Pashupatinath Temple Complex is Nepal's holiest Hindu pilgrimage site and has received worshippers for at least 1,500 years. A circuit of the area takes visitors past a sixth-century statue of Buddha and an eighth-century statue of Brahma. Wander past skeletal images guarding temple gates and other magnificent temples dedicated to various deities in the complex.
Next, you'll head to Patan Durbar Square, a beautiful living square with many temples and also home to the excellent Patan Museum. The unmissable Golden Temple is also just around the corner.
Day 3: Explore the Thamel District, Fly to Nepalgunj
In the morning, walk through the streets of Thamel while your specialists arrange your trekking permits, then collect your documents and head to the domestic terminal of Kathmandu's Tribhuvan Airport. From Kathmandu, you'll fly west to Nepalgunj, a border town on the Terai close to India and Bardia National Park.
After your one-hour flight, settle into your accommodations and relax in Nepalgunj for the night.
Day 4: Fly to Juphal, Trek to Dunai (7,037 ft / 2,145 m)
This morning, you'll hop on a 35-minute flight to Juphal (8,120 ft / 2,475 m), the starting point for your trek to Lake Phoksundo.
As you begin the trek, the trail ascends high above the Thulo Bheri Valley, followed by an hour's walk through maize fields to the village of Kalagaunda. Continue trekking along the southern bank of the river and pass Roop Ghar with its water mill, until you finally reach the village of Dunai (7,037 ft / 2,145 m).
Dunai is quite a big mountain town with schools, a health post, government offices, a police station, and decent lodges. Wander the streets, tuck into a traditional meal and enjoy the view as you sip some Nepali tea and rest your feet.
Trekking time: 3 hours
Day 5: Trek to Chhepka (8,759 ft / 2,670 m)
Begin today's trek by descending through Dunai and crossing the bridge over the Bheri River. Then, chase the northern bank of the river for an hour to reach Sulighat.
From here, you'll head north to reach the check post for entering the Shey Phoksundo National Park, where you'll show your permits. Beyond the check post, you'll gradually climb along a rock-strewn trail above the serpentine Suli Ghad River.
As the trail stretches higher through hemp tree forests, you'll arrive at Kageni. Continue through forests of walnut and maple trees; soon, you'll begin to see the first signs of Tibetan culture. There are beautiful views of fluttering prayer flags, ecological biodiversity, cascading waterfalls, and lush vegetation on the way to Shyanta (8,267 ft / 2,520 m). From there, you'll tackle another 90 minutes of uphill trekking along narrow trails to your overnight stop, Chhepka (8,759 ft / 2,670 m).
Trekking time: 6-7 hours
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 6: Trek to Jharana Hotel (11,056 ft / 3,370 m)
Rise early this morning to make your way toward Jharana Hotel. The trail climbs through a forest of big cedars and a winter settlement used by the people of Ringmo village. The route climbs steadily through the open country to 11,056 feet (3370 m). En route, get a close-up view of a spectacular 1,082-foot (330 m) waterfall, the highest in Nepal, and your first glimpse of Lake Phoksundo in the distance.
Trekking time: 5-6 hours
Day 7: Trek to Ringmo (11,351 ft / 3460 m)
This morning, you'll make your way to Ringmo via a steep descent through birch forests, to the upper reaches of the Phoksundo River. After you cross a bridge, you'll follow a trail north to the ranger station at the stunning Lake Phoksundo.
After a final push through the Phoksundo River Gully, emerge to the yak-filled meadows of Ringmo (11,351 ft / 3460 m), a village home to the ethnic Bon community.
Trekking time: 5-6 hours
Day 8: Explore Lake Phoksundo
Spend today exploring the area around Ringmo and Lake Phoksundo.
First, you'll head to Tshowa, a fascinating lakeside Bon monastery about 900 years old. You'll then drop down to the lake along steep cliffs. Lake Phoksundo is famous for its turquoise color and spectacular scenery. If you wander around the lake area, you'll find glaciers, and if you're interested in learning more about the local flora and fauna, you can take a guided nature-focused tour.
Day 9: Rest Day at Lake Phoksundo
It is advisable to build some extra days into any Dolpo itinerary in case of flight delays, to help acclimate, and explore the area fully. Luckily, there's a lot to see in this valley.
Spend today resting and enjoying the views, or stretch your legs on a hike to a viewpoint above the lake. You can also participate in some cultural and artistic activities, such as painting and photography, or spend some time interacting with the locals. If the weather is good, you could even go for a quick dip in the lake's cold water.
Day 10: Trek from Phoksundo Lake to Chhepka (8,759 ft / 2,670 m)
Today you'll trek back to Ringmo and continue toward Sulighat, following the stream that originates from the lake. You'll then pass through the village of Renje. After a meal break, you'll continue through fir and larch forests, and you hike along the Sulighat River before you reach Chhepka (8,759 ft / 2,670 m) for the night.
Trekking time: 6-7 hours
Day 11: Trek from Chhepka to Juphal (8,120 ft / 2,475 m)
After breakfast, you'll continue retracing your steps along the trail through forests, fields, and charming villages. You'll end your trek in Juphal, where you can celebrate with a local meal before spending a final night in the mountains.
Trekking time: 6-7 hours
Day 12: Fly to Nepalgunj & Connect to Kathmandu
In the morning, you'll head to the local airport in Juphal for your flight to Nepalgunj. You'll then continue onward to Kathmandu.
Once you settle in at your hotel in Nepal's capital this afternoon, you can enjoy some free time or see anything you may have missed at the beginning of your trip.
Day 13: Depart Kathmandu
Depending on your departure time, there may be some time today for last-minute souvenir shopping, a final meal of dal bhat, or some delicious Nepalese momo. You'll then be transferred to the airport in good time for your flight.