Lower Dolpo Trekking

lower-dolpo-trek-itineraryBUNA introduces a fabulous trekking the Lower Mustang Kali-Gandaki region, this grand trip begins from Pokhara in the mid western Nepal. Pokhara, one of the most unique sub-tropical valley in the Himalaya and probably in the world, where one can marvel the beauty of the Himalayan landscape and reflection of the Annapurna massif including the towering majestic peak of Mt. Machapuchere on its beautiful lakes.

Lower Mustang Kaligandaki trek follows one of the most ancient trade route of the Trans Himalaya or Salt Trade Route passing through many interesting villages, local people, and traders, donkeys and mule trains. The trail also follows through beautiful enchanting forests of rhododendrons, oaks and pines with constant views of the Annapurna, Dhaulagiri mountain range. On the way to Tatopani onwards walking on the deepest gorge in the world between the two towering massifs of Dhaulagiri 8,172m and Annapurna 8,091m with only 35 km apart, turning the plunge to the Kali Gandaki at Tatopani from their high top peaks into a staggering 6,660m gorge.

Lower Mustang Kali-Gandaki trail at one time served as a major trade route linking India and Tibet. Yak caravans loaded with salt descended from the Tibetan plateau, whilst mule trains carrying grain headed up river from Nepal’s hills, meeting halfway to barter their precious commodities. The Thak Khola region you enter after Tatopani was the centre of this vital and ancient tradition of trade. As you enter the cobbled streets of Marpha, you have entered another world, a reminiscent of the Tibetan Plateau. From Jomsom the trail stretches on the Kali Gandaki Valley and up towards Kagbeni and Muktinath Tibetan-like villages with the ruins of fortresses set in the upper reaches of the Kali Gandaki river Valley. Headquarters of the Mustang district, Jomsom is an important government centre. The location of a landing strip allows trekkers to fly in and out of Pokhara in a fraction of the time it took to walk in. In the heart of this sunny, magical valley lies Muktinath, one of the most sacred of pilgrimage places in all of Nepal. Here, the natural elements are displayed in miraculous form-flickering blue flames of natural methane gas burn on water, stone and earth in an offering said to have been first lighted by Brahma, the Hindu creator.

This natural wonder have awed man from the beginning, for Muktinath sanctity goes back into antiquity of 2,300 years ago. Both Hindu and Buddhists come on the pilgrimage to this sight of natural power. Along the way in the Kaligandaki Valley, the pilgrims search for the black glossy fossils called shaligram (ammonite), those are found in abundance here. After a peaceful stay here, the trek ends at Jomsom for the short twenty minutes flight back to Pokhara and then heading back to Kathmandu.

Outline Itinerary:

Day 01: Arrive at Kathmandu 1,300m and transfer to Hotel.

Day 02: A day in Kathmandu with half day tour.

Day 03: Drive to Pokhara 820m distance 230 k.m. 5-6 hrs journey.

Day 04: Drive to Nayapul 1,070m trek to Tirkhedhunga 1,450m, 3-4 hrs.

Day 05: Trek to Ghorepani 2,860m, 5-6 hrs.

Day 06: Trek to Sikha 2,200m via Punhill 3,193m & Ghorepani 5-6 hrs.

Day 07: Trek to Tatopani 1,190m. 5 hrs.

Day 08: Trek to Ghasa 2,010m. 5-6 hrs.

Day 09: Trek to Tukuche 2,590m. 5-6 hrs.

Day 10: Trek to Kagbeni 2,830m 5-6 hrs via Jomsom 2,730m.

Day 11: Trek to Muktinath 3,760m. Day 12: Trek to Jomsom 4-5 hrs.

Day 13: Fly Pokhara and connect to Kathmandu.

Day 14: In Kathmandu free day at leisure.

Day 15: International Departure.

Details Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive at Kathmandu 1,300m and transfer to Hotel.
On arrival at Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport you will be received by BUNA staff and transfer you to the Hotel, where BUNA guide will give you a brief orientation of the Hotel, Kathmandu, Trekking, do’s and don’t and other related information that you might require while in Nepal.

Day 02: A day in Kathmandu.
After your first night in Kathmandu, you will be well informed on arrival about the time for your half day guided sightseeing tour in Kathmandu at places of interest. Sometime, depending upon your flight arrival if it’s late in the night we will do this tour in the afternoon instead of morning to give you a nice rest before you venture out of the Hotel in our interesting tour.

Day 03: Drive to Pokhara 820m, 5-6 hrs.
An early start by the main east-west highway leading towards west to Pokhara, Nepal’s second largest city and a remarkable touristy spot. Leaving the city suburb the road climbs to the valley rim and begins its descent along the Trisuli River valley. This scenic journey drives takes us on the long winding road through many villages and farmlands. As the drive continues we can have glimpse of Ganesh, Manaslu and Annapurna snow capped peaks,

Day 04: Drive to Nayapul 1,070m, trek to Tikhedhunga 1,450m, 3-4 hrs.
Drive takes through Pokhara for another short hour an a half drive, which leads up to the newly built Chinese highway at Nayapul (new bridge) where BUNA trek begins, arriving at Nayapul a busy village where all the local from the nearby hills comes here for their supply, the place is quite warm situated on the Pokhara to Baglung highway by the river Modi. From Nayapul soon leaving the main traffic behind, heading towards North West to begin with crossing the bridge over the river Modi, the path leads to a gentle walk with few ups and gradual portion passing through small farm villages, cultivated terraces and farm fields till Tikhedhunga village is reached.

Day 05: Trek to Ghorepani 2,860m. Approx: 4-5 hrs.
The walk today leads to a gradual climb through the cool forest approaching crystal clear streams and creeks through the small scattered village of Bhanthati-Nagethati and finally reaching at Ghorepani Deurali which is just 15 minutes up form the main Ghorepani village, Ghorepani is on the main trading route to Jomsom and has many tea houses or a number of lodges catering the trekkers, at Ghorepani, where you will come across trekkers, teahouse, lodge and the mule caravans. Overnight at Ghorepani Deurali where one can view magnificent views of the Dhaulagiri range of mountains with Annapurna Fang (Vara Shikhar) and Annapurna South.

Day 06: Trek to Sikha 2,200m approx 3-4 hours walk.
Early morning an hour hike to the top of Pun-Hill for the beautiful sunrise over the panoramic views of the Himalayas from Dhaulagiri-Annapurna to Mt.Manaslu range. After the busy photo session return back to camp at Ghorepani for breakfast. After Ghorepani the trail follows downhill through rhododendron forest, from here the path leads through the temperate rain forest, as you come to Chitre village, the trek from here is on the gradual descent for an hour coming down to Sikha village for the overnight and lunch.

Day 07: Trek to Tatopani 1,190m 3-4 hrs.
From Sikha villages a pleasant walk leads through Ghar Khola where you cross the river and then upstream to the village of Tatopani where the hot springs are well below the village. On the banks of the river and it is etiquette not to pollute these pools by using soap in them. Here you will have time to immerse in these pools for the rest of the afternoon.

Day 08: Trek to Ghasa 2,010m, 5-6 hrs.
After a pleasant stay at Tatopani, trek leads along the gorge of the Kali Gandaki River and you will cross the river at two places on suspension bridges, the trail is gradual most of the way with few ups as you come to the Rupsi Charra (waterfall). After passing by this beautiful waterfall the path is spectacular, carved out of the cliff side. Cross the ridge and then descend again. At the bottom of a short descend cross the bridge over Kali-Gandaki river another hour brings you to the beautiful Thakali village of Ghasa for the overnight stop.

Day 09: Trek to Tukuche 2,590m, 5 hrs.
After Ghasa, two hours of pleasant trekking leads us along the western bank of the Kali-Gandaki river and crossing the Lete Khola (stream) river by a wooden bridge and passing through the village of Lete, a short climb from Lete brings us to another nice village of Kalapani along with the magnificent view of the Dhaulagiri and its icefall to left and to the right Nilgiri’s near the peaks of Annapurna I. From this village, the walk is gradual most of the way, then reaching back to the Kali-Gandaki River Valley, where there is a two path one for the winter dry season and the other long one to cross the Suspension bridge for the rainy season, most probably at this time of the year we will be taking the long route to Larjung via the bridge. After the bridge it is about an hour walk to the village of Larjung situated at the bank of the Kaligandaki river valley, with a brief break here journey continues for another hour to the overnight stop at Tukuche village, the trail meanders past the village of Larjung just 50 meters above from the river, passing through apple orchard and eventually reaching at Tukuche, one of the most beautiful village around the Himalaya nestled just beneath the great peak of Tukuche and the towering Mt.Dhaulagiri. Here you will have time to marvel the surrounding view and the village and perhaps try the local apple products, cider-juice or a potent brandy.

Day 10: Trek to Kagbeni 2,800m via Marpha & Jomsom 2,710m, 5-6 hrs.
From Tukuche, two hours of pleasant walk will bring to another charming village at Marpha. After Marpha and Tukuche, you are well into the Tibetan like region of the trek and pass through the sparsely vegetated areas of this windswept country, the Kaligandaki river lies below the main road for most of the way meandering in the flat, wide, stony riverbed, fantastic view of the Nilgiri’s on route to Jomsom. In the early afternoon the wind can be quite strong. Arriving Jomsom by lunch time, which is the largest town and the administrative headquarter of the whole Mustang zone. Jomsom with its airstrip is a thriving spot for both tourist and pilgrims. From Jomsom, the trail leads on the Kaligandaki plains in the rainy season the road diverts to the right bank of the river plain, the walk is very pleasant with few ups and down most of the way to the place of Eklebhatti (lonely inn) where there is three or four tea-houses at present, it used to be one tea-house when its got its name Eklebhatti. From here the path splits into two ways the higher up leads to Muktinath well the other one leads you to upper Mustang and Tibet via Kagbeni the last place where trekkers allowed on their normal trekking permits, to go further from Kagbeni towards needs special permits, from Eklebhatti the trail is more or less flat which takes about an hour to reach the Tibetan-like windswept village of Kagbeni. Here you will have time in the afternoon to stroll around in the village of Kagbeni.

Day 11: Trek to Muktinath 3,760m.
Today is a steep haul for few hours to get up to the holy township of Muktinath. You will need to take things very slowly as Muktinath is at the height of 3,750 meter. The highest spot on this trek, initially the route leads us along the busy road that joins from Eklebhatti, the road widens as we walk further on, passing through the interesting village of Jharkot, this place looks old and withered, as it was been for many hundred years ago untouched by modern civilizations, from Jharkot the trail climbs gradually for another hour and half to the holy place of Muktinath. Muktinath, located in between the popular trek to Manang via the high pass of Thorang la and the trail also joins from upper Mustang region, in the auspicious time this place is flooded with pilgrims of both Hindu and Buddhist, a nice walk to the Temple of Muktinath and with its 108 water spout, which is also the source of Kaligandaki river. Superb views of Dhaulagiri, Tukuche can be seen from Muktinath itself including the Tilicho and Nilgiri’s peaks to the left.

Day 12: Trek to Jomsom.
4-5 hrs Retrace the journey back to Jomsom bypassing the path to Kagbeni, leading straight to Eklebhatti with another two more hours to Jomsom for the final night of this great trip.

Day 13: Fly Pokhara and to Kathmandu.
We take a morning short scenic flight from Jomsom to Pokhara with a brief stop at Pokhara airport. As we get hold of the boarding pass depending upon our flight time we make our way to the terminal for security check, this scenic flight from Jomsom to Pokhara takes less than half hour and then another half hour flight to Kathmandu, a panoramic view of the snow capped peaks can be seen from the plane. On arrival at Kathmandu domestic terminal, BUNA staff will receive and transfer you back to the Hotel.

Day 14: In Kathmandu. A free day in Kathmandu, please inform our staff if you would like to go on another short tour in and around Kathmandu Valley or for scenic mountain flight.

Day 15: International Departure.
Today as per your international flight time, keep your confirmed air ticket, and your passport handy. BUNA staff will take you to the airport for your final departure from this amazing country, Nepal.

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