Phoksundo Rara Adventure Trek via Upper Dolpo

28 Day(s)

Overview The Phoksundo Rara Adventure Trek via Upper Dolpo is a mesmerizing and off-the-beaten-path journey that encapsulates the raw beauty of Nepal's remote and untouched landscapes. Spanning across approximately 300 kilometers, this trek is also a true adventure for seasoned hikers seeking a unique and unforgettable experience. The journey commences in Juphal, a quaint town in the Dolpa region, which can be reached by a short flight from Nepalgunj. From here, the trek also meanders through ancient trading routes, high mountain passes, and isolated villages, granting trekkers a glimpse into the traditional and culturally rich lives of the local inhabitants.…


The Phoksundo Rara Adventure Trek via Upper Dolpo is a mesmerizing and off-the-beaten-path journey that encapsulates the raw beauty of Nepal’s remote and untouched landscapes. Spanning across approximately 300 kilometers, this trek is also a true adventure for seasoned hikers seeking a unique and unforgettable experience.

The journey commences in Juphal, a quaint town in the Dolpa region, which can be reached by a short flight from Nepalgunj. From here, the trek also meanders through ancient trading routes, high mountain passes, and isolated villages, granting trekkers a glimpse into the traditional and culturally rich lives of the local inhabitants.

The Upper Dolpo region, often referred to as the “Forbidden Kingdom,” holds an aura of mystery and enchantment, as it remained hidden from the outside world until the 1990s. Trekkers also traverse through rugged terrains and barren landscapes, adorned with majestic mountains and pristine rivers, painting a breathtaking canvas of natural wonders.

Journey to Nepal’s Enchanted Lakes: Phoksundo and Rara Treasures

The trail leads to the mesmerizing Phoksundo Lake, the deepest lake in Nepal, flaunting its crystal-clear turquoise waters, surrounded by soaring peaks and lush forests. The serene ambiance at Phoksundo Lake also offers a perfect spot for relaxation and reflection amidst nature’s tranquility.

As the trek continues, it ventures into the Rara National Park, home to the stunning Rara Lake, the largest lake in Nepal. The lake’s azure waters mirror the surrounding hills and peaks, creating a surreal sight that leaves trekkers in awe.

The region’s unique culture and customs are displayed through traditional monasteries, chortens, and prayer flags adorning the landscape. Interactions with the warm-hearted locals also provide insights into their ancient way of life and their deep-rooted connection with the land.

Though awe-inspiring, the Phoksundo Rara Adventure Trek is not for the faint-hearted. Trekkers must prepare for challenging terrains, high altitudes, and basic facilities. However, the rewards of witnessing some of the world’s most remote and untouched beauty are immeasurable.

Conclusion and Summary

In conclusion, the Phoksundo Rara Adventure Trek via Upper Dolpo promises an extraordinary and life-changing expedition for intrepid travelers. The journey unravels Nepal’s hidden gems, showcasing nature’s marvels and the enduring spirit of its people, making it an unparalleled adventure of a lifetime


As you fly into Kathmandu, the views of snow-capped mountain peaks greet you. A representative and driver from our office will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel. The representative will help you check into your designated hotel. At the hotel you will be briefed about your daily activities.

Today we arrange all the governmental paper works for permits. While arranging all the necessary documents you can stroll around the city. You can also visit some of the important places of the city.

From Kathmandu we take a flight on any domestic carrier to Nepalgunj. Nepalgunj , a town in the western Terai , is very close to the Indian border and the Bardia Nationl Park. It is a major transport hub for western, mid-western and far-western regions of Nepal. We will stay overnight at a hotel to catch the early morning flight for Juphal on the following day.

Today we take a 35 minutes long flight to Juphal .Our trekking starts from Juphal .The trail descends and winds through local villages.
We trek by the riverside and pass Roop Ghar with the water mill and finally reach the village of Dunai(2140m).Dunai has a village school, police check post and some government offices. We stay overnight in Dunai and make the final preparation for the trek.

As the trek begins we initially trek along classic trekking route of Dolpo via Sulighar, which is pretty much comfortable walk along the levelled trail. We shall produce the trekking permit to Dolpo and the Shey Phoksundo National Park Permit at the Sulighat Check-post. Now we are officially inside Shey Phoksundo National Park. Beyond Sulighat our trek follows the trail beside Phoksundo River till Kageni. As the trek goes further, the landscapes in the vicinity begin to change. We trek through the lush tropical forest frequently emerging at isolated mid-hill villages like Jutung and arrive to Shangta. At Shangta we cross the bridge twice- once over Phoksundo River and once over the confluence of Phoksundo Khola and Maiaba Khola and begin to head north towards Chhepka. Trekking upstream along the trail beside Phoksundo Khola for a while we arrive to Chhepka. We put our camps at an ideal location in Chhepka for the overnight stay.

Today the the trail leads you beside Phoksundo Khola- the trail of famous Lower Dolpa Circuit. We trek in the opposite direction of the river flow to Amchi Hospital. The trek crosses the bridge over Phoksundo Khola twice. As we approach closer to Kharka trekking along the amazingly peaceful region the trail goes high above Phoksundo Khola to Rechi 3011m, where we stop for the lunch. Beyond Rechi we again hike along the river side trail to Sulligad Dovan where we cross the bridge over the confluence of Phoksundo Khola and Yulung Khola and arrive to Chunuwar. We will settle our camps here for the night.

The entrance station for the Shey Phoksundo National Park is at the south end of the village. The route then descends on switchbacks through open country to an elevation of 3300 meter, and then starts up another set of dusty switchbacks to a ridge at 3780 meter to the highest waterfall in Nepal (200 meter high).

Our route then continues on to Ringmo village, a picturesque settlement of flat-roofed stone houses with lots of mani walls. Just below Ringmo we cross a bridge and follow the trail to Phoksundo Lake, where we camp at the national park camping grounds west of the lake.

Today we explore the area around the magnificent Phoksundo Lake. The lake is famous for its magnificent turquoise color and spectacular scenery. Ringmo village, which looks like a typical Tibetan village, is scenically nestled in the area.

Many beautiful glaciers can be found near and above the lake area. There are many monasteries (Gompas ) and Bon-po religious sites at the park and we spend our time visiting some of these.

The most famous, Shey Gompa was established in the 11th Century. Thashung Gompa located near Phoksundo Lake was built about 900 years ago. We explore the natural sites and enjoy our nature tour.

Today’s trek is probably one of the best trekking days of Dolpo Trek. It climbs along the narrow trail cut on a cliff standing vertically straight above Phoksundo Lake. This treacherously fascinating trail brings us to another side of Phoksundo Lake.

This particular part of the trek is like fantasy walk portrayed by a writer in their fiction novels. To get to the Phoksundo Khola camp on other side of the lake, we slide down for ninety minutes along the beautiful forests. The final part of today’s trek slides up to the beautiful campsite at Sallaghari. Enjoy the night in the camps amongst beautiful pine forest.

Today’s trek is relatively short; we trek for almost three hours to reach Nangdala High Camp 4717m. As the trek begins we ascend up the narrow defile of Tuk Kyaksa River.

The trail switches to opposite side of the river several times. Soon we arrive to a place where the rapids of the river are calmer. We cross the bridge over the river at that point.

Thirty minutes of walk after the bridge, we come across the wide valley followed by two hours of walk along the canyon brings us the potential campsite. A walk for a while further reaches to the massive rock slab, which is Nangdala High Camp- our campsite for the night.

Today we trek to the fabled Shey Gompa and the nearby ‘Crystal Mountain’, the most sacred peak in Dolpo which Dolpo pilgrims circumambulate each summer before the harvest.

We are now entering the real Dolpo, and to enter into this mystical land we have to cross the Nangdala pass . We trek along the precipitous and narrow trail to the western side of the lake, otherwise known as the ‘Devil’s Trail’.

Cresting a 4000 meter ridge, we are treated to views of Sonam Kang. We have views of the peaks Shey Shikkar and Kang Chunne, both just over 6000 meters, before descending steeply down to the valley floor and along the river. A red chorten marks the entrance to Shey, where we camp for the night.

Today we go through easy trail with some up and down.

Today our trek goes through the oldest Bon monastery “Shyamling”. Tantrik lamas like Sherap Tenjin of this gompa is famous for his tantric kowlidge. We can have interaction with lama and observe the monastery.

The people of this village gathers lot of experiences about the snow leopard. We can listen some folk lore from the aged people of the village. They have good knowledge about how to protect their domestic animals and the endangered big cat.


In Pho village the most important monastery of Bon religion is found. This village was discovered by the government very lately due to its remoteness.

Today the trek will be bit difficult because most of the trail goes ascending up to the Nyingma Gyanzen La (5563m) then the trail descends to Ghyalungkhor for the night stop.

Today the trek will be easier than the previous day.

We pass snow leopard territory as we make our way from Pung Kharka to Chyandi Khola. We may see musk deer and Himalayan Tahr as we trek on the way to Chyandi Khola, where we camp for the night.
In Pho village the most important monastery is found. This remote village was discovered by the Nepal government authorities just recently. The trek goes to Chyandi Khola via Yala La (5414m)

Today we trek to Takla Khola from Chyandi Khola

Trek to Thajachaur from Takla Khola
Today we traverse through the Gyargo La (5150m) Pass. We pass through snowy high ground and some difficult rocky ground. We camp for the night at Thajachaur.

Today we go to Shilenchaur from Thajachaur.

Today we will trek from Shilenchaur to Pulu

From Lumsha we trek to Lumsha village

Today we trek to the lake Rara. The biggest lake of Nepal.

Rara ake(3062m) is the focal point of Rara Lake National Park .Rara is a clear high altitude lake ringed with pine,spruce and juniper forests and snow capped Himalayan peaks. It is almost 13km around the lake, and a day devoted to making this circuit is well spent.

Once you are at Rara you will be reluctant to leave. It has a rare peace and tranquility and captivating beauty. With no grazing animals in the park the woods have reverted to their natural state with dense undergrowth. Walk around the lake on the path built for King Mahendra to mark his visit in 1964.

Today we leave Rara Lake and trek to Talcha airport via Gam Ghadi.

From Talcha we take a flight to Nepalgunj from where we will proceed to Kathmandu.

Our representative will drive you to the airport for your return flight.

What's Included

What's Excluded

Trip Information

Nepal’s one of the most diverse and off beat trekking trail that covers the intriguing trail between two most fascinating lakes in western Nepal, Phoksundo Rara Trek is adventurously challenging trek that has every rare encounters a time-forgotten trail of anywhere has to offer.”

Phoksundo Rara Adventure Trek with Explore Dolpo is in a way the trekking trail very well known only by the expert native guides of the region. This trek takes you off the beaten path, as our guide takes you on a trail used only by locals and which is virtually unknown to commercial trekking groups. We pass through villages where the lifestyle of the people reflects their ties with Tibet and Tibetan culture.

We follow the ancient Tibetan salt caravan route, across high passes and through the wilderness in one Nepal’s most remote areas. We visit ancient Buddhist and Bon monasteries and take you into the regions of truly amazing lakes like Phoksundo  and Rara. As we pass through alpine meadows filled with wildflowers, the snowy peaks soar up right above you in the horizon, where the silence is broke by the wonderful gush of glacial streams- a heaven inside earth if lies it is either in Rara and Phoksundo Lake or the trail between them.

The route also takes in a newly discovered village in Dolpo, Phot Village. The government authorities had no idea that this village existed until recent time.  Being far removed from civilization, this village still retains its age-old customs and practices. You get to interact with the villagers as your local guide will act as an interpreter. Hence, we guarantee the trek takes you to the time-forgotten places of distant west.

This itinerary can be change as per  your  interest and time frame.

Outline Itinerary

  • Day 01:Arrival in Kathmandu
  • Day 02:Preparation day.
  • Day 03:Kathmandu to Nepalgunj flight
  • Day 04:Nepalgunj to Juphal flight and Juphal (2475m) to Dunai (2140m)
  • Day 05:Dunai to Chhepka (2720m) / 6hrs
  • Day 06:Chhepka to Chunuwar (3110m)
  • Day 07:Chunuwar to Phoksundo Lake (3600m) / 5hrs
  • Day 08:Phoksundo Rest Day
  • Day 09:Phoksundo to Sallaghari (3750m)
  • Day 10:Sallaghari to Nangdala High Camp (4717m)
  • Day 11:Nangdala High Camp to Shey Gompa (4343m) via Nangdala Pass (5350m)
  • Day 12:Shey Gompa to Tata.
  • Day 13:Tata to Bhijer via Shyamling Gompa
  • Day 14:Bhijer – Rest day.
  • Day 15:Bhijer to Pho Village
  • Day 16:Pho village to Ghyalungkhor
  • Day 17:Ghyalungkhor to Pung Kharka
  • Day 18:Pung Kharka to Chyandi Khola
  • Day 19:Chyandi Khola to Takla Khola
  • Day 20:Takla Khola to Thajachaur
  • Day 21:Thajachaur to Shilenchaur
  • Day 22:Shilenchaur to Pulu
  • Day 23:Pulu to Lumsha Village
  • Day 24:Lumsha to Rara
  • Day 25:Rara Rest Day
  • Day 26:Rara Lake to Talcha Airport/ 3hrs
  • Day 27:Talcha to Nepalgunj flight and Nepalgunj to Kathmandu flight
  • Day 28:Depart Kathmandu
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