The Upper Dolpo Trek is one of Nepal's most beautiful camping treks, with its raw and ancient Himalayan nature and Buddhist culture. So, it's not as cheap as you might think to go into this mysterious world of Dolpo. Due to its remote place from the capital, it is reasonably pricey in comparison to Manaslu, Langtang, and Annapurna. However, when compared to the Everest region, the Upper Dolpo Trek is by far the most expensive.
Things to know - Why you should trek the Upper Dolpo
It is a remote and off-the-beaten-path destination in Nepal. Only 500 to 700 tourists visit the Upper Dolpo, whereas to 30,000 to 35,000 tourists at Everest Base Camp.
The high Himalayas and the absolutely stunning alpine pastures are above 5000 meters in elevation; such a combination can be found only in a few places on the planet!
- The Upper Dolpo Trek offers more side trips than any other trekking route. You can spend more than three weeks exploring places like Ringmo, Shey Gompa, Phoksundo Lake and Saldang.
Upper Dolpo Trek Permits Costs
- Shey Phoksundo National Park Permit cost: USD 30 per person
- Lower Dolpo restricted area permit cost: USD 20 Per Person/week
- Upper Dolpo restricted area permit cost: USD 500 Per Person for 10 days
The Dolpo is one of the restricted areas in Nepal. So, you'll need a licensed guide or porters, as well as a permit from Nepal's local agency. Three trekking permits are required. It is also part of the upper Dolpo trek cost, which is always included in the trip cost.
Required Documents for the Permit
A copy of the passport, a PP size photo, and the original passport with the visa stamp are required to obtain the Upper Dolpo trek permit. From Sunday to Friday (10:00 a.m. to 5 p.m.), it will only take about 3 to 4 hours to get the permit. Please make sure that there is no public holidays.
Upper Dolpo Trek Guide
Although there are some trekking trails in Nepal where tourists can go without a guide, this does not apply to Upper Dolpo. It is also necessary to have at least two trekkers in a group to get the permit.
If you are traveling alone, please check with your company to see if they can pair you up, or if they can obtain a ghost permit. If you're walking alone, you can pay twice the permit fees and trek under a real person's name.
Transportation and Flight Costs
The only way to get to the starting point for Dolpo is to take a 45-minute flight to Nepaljung and then another flight to Juphal the next day. If you want to take a long journey from Kathmandu, there is a night bus to Jajarkot and then a jeep to Juphal or Dunai.
It would also be stopped for the nights in between routes, making it a cheaper choice. But, taking a local bus to the Upper Dolpo trek is uncomfortable. When planning an Upper Dolpo Trek itinerary, it is essential to understand how trailhead public transport works.
From Kathmandu to Juphal, there is no direct flight. So the only option is to fly to Nepalgunj, spend the night, and then fly to Jupal the next day from Nepalgunj. You should not rely on Juphal Airport. Only chartered flights are available, depending on the number of passengers and cargo volume, which is subject to change due to weather.
The mountain road from Kathmandu to Jajarkot takes about 22 hours via tropical road. If you might have done a bit of research on the itinerary, you would quickly find that some companies will create an itinerary from Kathmandu to Juphal in a single day. As a result, it is not possible in a single day and there is no flight in the afternoon at Juphal airport.
Upper Dolpo Trek - Accommodation and Meals
The Upper Dolpo is one of Nepal's remote areas, and the cost of food is usually higher due to the town's remoteness. Those who have been other base camps in Nepal will be familiar with the rule that the cost of food increases as elevation increases, because food supply is more complicated.
Helicopters are often used to transport supplies from Nepalgunj to Juphal. They also used men and mules in Upper Dolpo and the surrounding area. So, you can imagine how much effort goes into every soup you can eat in the region.
Similarly, you can figure out a budget of around USD 8 - USD 10 per meal. So, perhaps 28 - 33 USD per day. Of course, it will decide how much appetite you might have for each lunch and your drinks.
If you’ve been to Everest Base Camp, the cost is relatively the same or slightly higher. Everest is also pricier than other Nepal treks.
It has significantly improved in the Dolpo area. Speaking of now, the basic accommodation is available up to Shey Phoksundo Lake, as tea houses in each camp.
It would not be difficult for a small group to get up six people at a time when the cost is about USD 6 to USD 9 per night for one twin sharing bed. Because of its remoteness, the Upper Dolpo Trek requires fully-organized camping.
How Difficult is the Upper Dolpo Trek?
Upper Dolpo Trek is a strenuous and still less-known trek in Nepal, about 300 to 700 tourists visiting each year. The name alone strongly indicates that it may be difficult enough to hike to the high mountains.
It requires walking 5 to 8 hours in a single day, crossing over 5000 m., and spending the nights above 4000 meters in several days. For those who are physically and mentally fit, the trip is doable.
WIFI and Mobile Network Access on Dolpo Trek
Only a few locations in the Dolpo area have a mobile phone signal. However, few settlements have a satellite phone for emergencies. But some lodges in the Dolpo area provide wireless Internet access for an extra charge only at Dunai.
If you want to carry a 4G sim card with an Internet pack, we recommend Ncell. In Kathmandu, you can get an internet package for less than USD 10. Make sure you have one of these before you go.
It is generally understood that if you have to make an extra effort, please don't expect to be cheap and paid in the mountains. For alpine treks in Nepal, you may also want to add additional costs to your trip budget:
- Travel Insurance
- Charging your gadgets
As you probably discovered from your analysis, varying companies offer Upper Dolpo trek at different prices. It is pretty confusing because the cost range is comparatively wide and it is difficult to pick which company to trust.
It would be good if you do a little research about Upper Dolpo trek before making a final decision.
If you travel with Magical Summits, the Upper Dolpo to Jomsom GHT trek Nepal cost anywhere between USD 4,000 and USD 4,985 per person for all-inclusive package.