The Upper Dolpo Trek, with its raw and ancient Himalayan nature and Buddhist culture, is one of the most beautiful campsite hikes in Nepal. It’s quite as costly to go into this mysterious world of Dolpo as you might expect. In reality, it is reasonably expensive comper to Manaslu, Langtang, and Annapurna due to the distant proximity from the capital. The Upper Dolpo Trek cost, however, is most costly compared to the Everest region.
Our customers who have been Upper Dolpo Trek have only positive feedback. The Upper Dolpo is much easier to avoid tourist crudes than other trails in Nepal. For most of them who have already come to the Everest Base Camp, aka EBC or Annapurna Base Camp, aka ABC.
This travel tip includes the fact of Upper Dolpo Trek collects feedback from our recent customers and a guide who explored the region. Stay near and enjoy the readings.
Why Upper Dolpo Trek?
It is a distant and off-the-beaten-paths in Nepal. Only about 500 to 700 tourists visit the Upper Dolpo, whereas 30,000 tourists at Everest Base Camp Trek.
The high Himalaya and the beautiful alpine pastures are above 5000 meters. Such combinations will take very few places on this planet!
Upper Dolpo Trek provides even more side trips than any other route. You can spend more than three weeks exploring different places such as Ringmo, Shey Gompa, Saldang, and Tarap valley.
It belongs to The Great Himalayan Trail (GHT). The Upper Dolpo Trekking is one of the main components of the “Great Himalayan Trail.” A single long-distance trekking route from the east to the west end of Nepal, containing a total of around 1,700 km of the hiking path.
|Upper Dolpo Trek||Quick Fact|
|The High Himalayas such as Kanjirowa, Shey – Shikhar||Over 7000 meters|
|Highest Altitude||5350 meters|
|Best Season||April, May, June, July, August, September, October|
|Trek starting & ending point||Juphal|
|Mode Transportation||Flight / Local bus / Local Jeep|
|Trekking days||More than three weeks (21 – 26 days)|
Upper Dolpo Trek Permits Cost
The Dolpo Trek is one of the restricted regions in Nepal. So, you must have a licensed guide or porters and permit via Nepal’s local agency. You’ll need three trekking permits. It also part of the upper Dolpo trek cost which always includes in the trip cost.
|Upper Dolpo Trekking Permit Cost|
|Shey Phoksundo National Park Permit Cost||NPR 3000|
|Lower Dolpo Restricted Area Permit||US$ 20 Per Person/week|
|Minimum required for two weeks permit||US$ 20×2 =40 Per Person|
|Upper Dolpo Restricted Area Permit||US$ 500/Per Person for 10 days|
|Total Upper Dolpo Trek Permits Cost||US$ 570 Per Person|
You may enjoy reading our blog: Exploring the Shey Phoksundo National Park: Phoksundo Lake Trek.
Documents and the time to request a permit
A copy of the passport, identification photo and original passport with the visa stamp is required to obtain the Upper Dolpo Trek Permit. It will only take 3-4 hours to get the permit from Sunday to Friday (10:00 a.m. to 5 p.m.) Please make sure that there is no public holiday. If you don’t have a day to spear for the permit in Kathmandu, some company is also providing permits without an original passport and visa to expedite. Please contact us if you want to have a trekking permit issued in advance or check with your company.
Guide and Porter Cost
Although Nepal has some trekking trails where tourists can go trekking even without a guide, this doesn’t apply to Upper Dolpo. It is also important to have at least two trekkers in a group to get the trekking permit. If you are traveling by yourself, please check with your company whether they can pair you, or they could obtain a Ghost permit. If you are walking alone, then you can pay for double permit costs and trek with a real person’s name.
Hiring a professional guide for Upper Dolpo is more expensive than any other trek in Nepal. The fee is around USD 30 to 35 a day on average, and this covers food, lodging, and insurance for the guide. It’s all due to the guide’s expensive food. They’re also expected to pay the price similar to a tourist. The guide gets a discount on food, unlike other trekking regions.
|Guide and Porter Cost For Upper Dolpo Trek:|
|Well trained and Professional Guide with local knowledge||US$ 35/day|
|Experienced Trekking porter||US$ 28-30/day|
Our customer often asks us if only a porter can be trekking in Upper Dolpo. The answer is always – Yes, you can do it!!! However, the cost of hiring a porter isn’t so different from hiring a guide. But it’s a little more costly, because of the cost of food and insurance. I would say the cost of hiring a porter for Upper Dolpo trek would be around USD 30 to 35 a day, including food, accommodation, and insurance.
Likewise, with a porter guide (A learning guide), we were also asked to plan the itinerary too. That will cost between 32-35 USD a day. The good things about getting a porter guide are also helping to divide the load and lead you through the trail.
Though, for safety reasons, it is strongly recommended that you go through a professional guide. So you will be confident of the experience so rigorous training they have been through to get their license. It all depends on you, of course, as long as you do not go Upper Dolpo Trek by yourself without a guide or a porter. The Government is not allowed to do so.
What to expect a guide from the company?
We are taking your safety and security seriously. We are also ensuring that all our guides are professionally trained and approved by the Government.
- The majority of our professional guides came from the mountain region. It specialized in restricted trekking areas such as Manaslu, Tsum Valley, Upper Dolpo, Upper Mustang, Kanchenjunga, and Nar Phu, in Nepal. So in these mountains, they know their way very well.
- All of our guides have been to Upper Dolpo at least two to three times a year so you can be sure of their experience in this region.
- Our guide is mostly young but also experienced and well educated. The guides can speak very well in English, and also in other languages in some cases.
- All our guides from our previous clients were received 5 out of a scale of 5 stars. So, we would like to make sure that you enjoy your time with Himalayan Exploration.
- Each guide has an excellent connection on the way to locals and tea-houses. So contact with tea houses or seeking accommodation is not a problem.
- To ensure that you have a good relationship with the guide, we arrange meetings with a guide before departure, or even by telephone before confirming trekking with us. You can ask the guide for questions and check expertise and experience. If you’re not pleased for any reason, we’d be happy to include another guide that suits your needs.
How to find a good company that specializes in Upper Dolpo Trek?
Here are a few tips on how to find the right travel company for your next Dolpo adventure. Some of my ideas below could save a few hundred dollars but still end up with the best service. At the same time, you can make sure that you have everything, particularly when you want to go with a large and expensive company!
- Check their legal documents to ensure they are registered and appropriately licensed by the Nepal government.
- Look for a company that is not listed on Google’s top ads section because such companies will pass on advertisement costs to customers.
- Avoid third-party booking agencies or websites that are likely to be required by local travel companies to pay at least 15% -30% commission.
- Check what other travelers, such as Tripadvisor, are saying about the company. These are independent reviews published by customers and checked by Tripadvisor so you can be sure about the quality of service that these companies will offer. If 90 percent of their customers are handled well, chances are, you will receive the same service.
- Consult with a local company if their guide has a license, first aid, high altitude training, insurance, and the right hiking gear.
- Check with a company to see if they are concerned about your safety. If there is an emergency, the local agency has a contract with helicopter service. You may not need this service, but this is very necessary for emergencies.
- Compare rates with at least a few other companies, so you know that you’re getting a reasonable price. Do not go too low or too high, simultaneously. Stay on a medium.
- If you write a positive review or recommendation on other travel forums or websites, a local company would appreciate it. So, you and your friends may have a chance to get a discount on the next trip!
- Render the payment gateway safe and secure! Such as e-transfer Paypal, Skrill, and Stripe. Don’t pay 100% in advance. Most of the company, however, requires some percentage of the total amount as a confirmation of the booking.
- Before departure, agree to meet a guide, so you know the grade of the guide.
- Take cash with you! Instead of pay by card. If you pay in cash, you can also save 4.2 %
Transportation and flight cost
The only most accessible way to get to the starting point for Dolpo is to take the 45-minute flight to Nepaljung then catch another flight to Juphal by the following day. If someone is willing to take one long journey from Kathmandu, there is also a night bus to Jajarkot and need to take a jeep for Juphal or Dunai. In addition, it would be stopped for the nights in between the routes, and a cheaper choice. But it’s not convenient to get to the Upper Dolpo trek from a local bus. Thus, it is essential to understand how trailhead transport works while planning an Upper Dolpo Trek itinerary.
Many companies don’t have the right information, because they always want to re-write the knowledge of someone. Here is whereas I give you my first-hand details.
- There is no direct flight from Kathmandu to Juphal. So, only the option is to fly to Nepalgunj spend a night and catch a flight to Jupal from Nepalgunj by the next day. Do not rely on Juphal airport. Only the chartered flights are available depending on the number of passengers and volume of cargos, which is very uncertain due to the weather.
- From Kathmandu to Jajarkot, the mountain road is approximately 22-hours drive via wet tropical road. A lot of Dolpo hikers got upset about a long road trip. Especially when you start driving in the morning, the next day morning, you will reach Jajarkot, which is not an enjoyable experience. Then another two days of driving along the bumpy roads which lead you to Juphal or Dunai. If you might have done some research on the itinerary, you would quickly find that some companies will create a plan from Kathmandu to Juphal in a single day. So it is not possible in a single day because there is no flight in the afternoon at Juphal airport. But from feedback from our customer, we would strongly recommend that you make this journey in two days.
If you’d like to make yourself comfortable, then you should go from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj on day 01, and spend a night there. You should only take a flight the next day to Juphal.
|Transportation that belongs to Upper Dolpo Trek Cost|
|One way flight cost to Nepalgunj||US$ 207×2 = 414 per person|
|One way flight cost to Juphal||US$ 165×2 = 230 per person|
|Kathmandu to (Rimna) Jajarkot local bus cost||US$ 28×2 = 56 per person|
|Jajarkot to Tallu Bagar local jeep cost (sharing basis)||US$10 ×2 = 20 per person|
|Tallu Bagar to Khadang local jeep cost (sharing basis)||US$8 ×2 = 16 per person|
|Khadang to Tripurakot local jeep cost||US$10 ×2 = 20 per person|
|Tripurakot to Juphal or Dunai||US$10 ×2 = 20 per person|
|Kathmandu to Rimna distance 330 km||17 to 22 hours|
|Jajarkot to Tallu Bagar 28 km||3-4 hours|
|Tallu Bagar to Khadang 42 km||5-6 hours|
|Khadang to Tripurakot 14 km||2 – 3 hours|
|Tripurakot to Juphalor Dunai 11 km||1h30 – 2 hours|
You May also like to read: A Complete Guide to Upper Dolpo Trek
What’s the price for food in the Upper Dolpo?
Due to the distant proximity of the town, since Upper Dolpo is one of the remote areas of Nepal, the cost of food here is usually more expensive. All who have been to other base camps in Nepal will know the rule that as the elevation rises, the cost of food increases. That is because food distribution is more complicated.
Supplies are transported by the helicopters from Nepalgunj to Juphal. And they also used men and mule for Upper Dolpo and surrounding. So you might imagine how much effort is put into every soup you can eat in the region. Likewise, you may figure out the budget of approximately USD 8-10 per meal. So maybe 28-33 USD a day. It will, of course, determine how much appetite you might have for each lunch and your drinks.
If you’ve been to Everest Base Camp, the cost is comparatively the same or somewhat higher. Everest is also costlier than any other Nepal trek.
Accomodation in Upper Dolpo Trek?
It has drastically improved in the area of Dolpo. Speaking about this year, however, I assure you, basic accommodation is available up to the Shey Phoksundo Lake is not a problem as tea houses in each camp. It wouldn’t be a challenge for a small group to get up six people at a time. The cost is around US$ 6 to US$ 9 a night for one twin sharing bed. Because of its remoteness, it needs fully-organized camping for the Upper Dolpo Trek.
How difficult is Trek to Upper Dolpo?
Trekking difficulties in the Himalayas frequently turn into altitude sickness. The success rate of Upper Dolpo trek is still much higher than Everest Base Camp or any other trek in Nepal, due to the long days before reaching a high altitude. Based on our experience, about 95 percent of our groups managed to complete the Upper Dolpo Trek without any problems with altitude sickness. Someone who has no previous hiking experience on high altitude has done this trek without any problem. But it isn’t as easy as walking in the park.
I would love to give 5 out of 4.5 ratings to ask me precisely the Upper Dolpo trekking difficulty. You must undoubtedly be physically fit. Be able to walk every day for a total of 6 to 7 hours, 400-900 meters above sea level.
In the Dolpo Region, telecommunications, and wifi facilities.
Only a few places in the area of Dolpo have a mobile phone signal. Some villages, however, have an emergency satellite telephone. Some lodges in the Dolpo region provide wireless Internet access for an additional fee only at Dunai. We suggest Ncell if you want to carry a 4 G sim card with an Internet pack. You can purchase an internet package in Kathmandu, less than in USD 10. Before departure, make sure you have one of them.
Other miscellaneous costs.
It is widely understood that if you have to make an extra effort, please don’t expect to be cheap and you are paid in the mountain. For every trek in Nepal, you may also want to add additional costs to your budget:
- Charging batteries your gadgets
- Bucket showers
As you probably learned from your analysis, various companies offer Upper Dolpo trekking at different prices. It is very confusing since the range of costs is comparatively wide, and it is hard to decide which company to trust. You should not miss a little research on Upper Dolpo Trek before you make decisions. For example, to try and figure out how much foreign tour operators are paying, the prices might be over US$ 7000. But if you check with the cost of the same package in Nepal from a local travel company, you might be able to lower the price of the same package to a third.
The travelers who visit the first time will usually accompany with International branding agencies because of their safety concerns.
I assure you, however, that local agencies in Nepal can offer a perfect itinerary for treks and equal quality to a fraction of the price. It doesn’t matter if you go to the more expensive or cheaper, because everyone sleeps in the same class of tea-houses. In the mountain region, there is nothing like a 5-star tea house.
If you choose to trek with a local agency, then the Upper Dolpo trek cost for 26 days could be approximately estimated to vary from $3,800 to $4,200 per person for full board package.