The Upper Dolpo Trek, with its raw and ancient Himalayan nature and Buddhist culture, is one of Nepal’s most beautiful camping treks. So it’s 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. However, the Upper Dolpo Trek cost is the most costly compared to the Everest region.
Our customers who have been to Upper Dolpo Trek have only positive feedback. The Upper Dolpo is much easier to avoid tourist crudes than other trails in Nepal. Most have already visited the Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Base Camp.
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.
Table of contents
- Why Upper Dolpo Trek?
- Upper Dolpo Trek Permits Cost
- Documents and the time to request a permit
- Guide and Porter Cost
- What to expect a guide from the company?
- How to find a good company that specializes in Upper Dolpo Trek?
- Transportation and flight cost
- What’s the price of food in the Upper Dolpo?
- Accomodation in Upper Dolpo Trek?
- How difficult is Trek to Upper Dolpo?
- In the Dolpo Region, telecommunications and wifi facilities.
- Other miscellaneous costs.
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 Himalayas 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. Over three weeks, you can explore places like 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 around 1,700 km of 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 a permit via a local agency. You’ll need three trekking permits. It is also part of the upper Dolpo trek cost, which is always included 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, PP-size 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 an extra day in Kathmandu to prepare permits, some companies also provide permits without an original passport and visa to expedite. Don’t hesitate to contact us or check with your company if you want trekking access issued in advance.
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. Having at least two trekkers in a group is also essential 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, you can pay for double permit costs and trek with a natural person’s name.
Hiring a professional guide for Upper Dolpo is more expensive than any other trek in Nepal. The average fee is around USD 30 to 35 a day, covering 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 trek 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. Hiring a porter for the Upper Dolpo trek would cost around USD 30 to 35 daily, including food, accommodation, and insurance.
Likewise, with a porter guide (A learning guide), we were also asked to plan the itinerary, which will cost 32-35 USD daily. 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 and rigorous training they have been through to get their license. It all depends on you, of course, as long as you do not go to Upper Dolpo Trek alone 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 also ensure that all our guides are professionally trained and approved by the Government.
- The majority of our professional guides came from the mountain region. Nepal specializes in restricted trekking areas such as Manaslu, Tsum Valley, Upper Dolpo, Upper Mustang, Kanchenjunga, and Nar Phu. So in these mountains, they know their way very well.
- Our guides have been to Upper Dolpo at least two to three times a year. You can be sure of their experience in this region.
- Our guide is mainly 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 received 5 out of a scale of 5 stars. So, we want to ensure 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 telephone before confirming trekking with us. Likewise, you can ask the guide for questions and check your expertise and experience. If you are unhappy, we will gladly provide another guide that meets your requirements.
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 ensure 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.
- Check what other travelers, such as Tripadvisor, say about the company. These are independent reviews published by customers and checked by Tripadvisor so that you can be sure about the quality of service these companies offer.
- Avoid third-party booking agencies or websites that are likely to be required by local travel companies to pay at least 15% -30% commission.
- 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 a helicopter service. You may not need this service, but this is very necessary for emergencies.
- Compare rates with a few other companies to know you’re getting a reasonable price. Do not go too low or too high simultaneously. Stay on a medium.
- A local company would appreciate it if you wrote a positive review or recommendation on other travel forums or websites. 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. However, most of the company 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 paying 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 and 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 they need to take a jeep for Juphal or Dunai.
It would also be stopped for the nights between the routes and a cheaper choice. But getting to the Upper Dolpo trek from a local bus is inconvenient. Thus, it is essential to understand how trailhead transport works while planning an Upper Dolpo Trek itinerary.
Many companies don’t have the correct information because they want to rewrite someone’s knowledge. Here is where 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 chartered flights are available depending on the number of passengers and cargo volume, which is uncertain due to the weather.
- From Kathmandu to Jajarkot, the mountain road is approximately a 22-hour via wet tropical road. A lot of Dolpo hikers got upset about a long road trip. Especially when you start driving in the morning, you will reach Jajarkot the next morning, which is not an enjoyable experience. Then another two days of driving along the bumpy roads 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 customer feedback, we strongly recommend you make this journey in two days.
You should go from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj, then spend a night there if you’d like to make yourself comfortable. It would be best if you only flew 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|
|Flight cost to Juphal (One-way)||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$10 ×2 = 20 per person|
|Kathmandu to Rimna distance 330 km||17 to 22 hours|
|Jajarkot to Tallu Bagar 28 km||3-4 hours|
|Tallu Bagar to Khadang 42 km||5-6 hours|
|Khadang to Tripurakot 14 km||2 – 3 hours|
|Tripurakot to Juphalor Dunai 11 km||1h30 – 2 hours|
You May also like to read: A Complete Guide to Upper Dolpo Trek.
What’s the price of food in the Upper Dolpo?
Due to the distant proximity of the town, since Upper Dolpo is one of Nepal’s remote areas, food costs are usually more expensive. All who have been to other base camps in Nepal will know the rule that the cost of food increases because the elevation rises. That is because food distribution is more complicated.
Supplies are often transported by helicopters from Nepalgunj to Juphal. And they also used men and mules for Upper Dolpo and surrounding. So you might imagine how much effort is put into every soup you can eat in the region.
Likewise, you may figure out a budget of approximately USD 8-10 per meal. So maybe 28-33 USD a day. Of course, it will determine how much appetite you might have for each lunch and your drinks.
If you’ve been to Everest Base Camp, the cost is comparatively the same or somewhat higher. Everest is also costlier than any other Nepal trek.
Accomodation in Upper Dolpo Trek?
It has drastically improved in the area of Dolpo. Speaking about this year, however, I assure you, basic accommodation is available up to the Shey Phoksundo Lake is not a problem as tea houses in each camp.
It wouldn’t be a challenge for a small group to get up to six people at a time, while the cost is around US$ 6 to US$ 9 a night for one twin sharing a 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 generally turn into altitude sickness. The success rate of the Upper Dolpo trek is still much higher than Everest Base Camp or any other tour in Nepal due to the long days before reaching a high altitude.
Based on our experience, about 95% of our groups completed the Upper Dolpo Trek without altitude sickness. But someone with no previous hiking experience at high altitudes has done this trek without a 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 about the Upper Dolpo trekking difficulty. Maintaining good health is of utmost importance. Be able to walk daily for 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. But 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 4G sim card with an Internet pack. You can purchase an internet package in Kathmandu for less than 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 paid in the mountain. For every trek in Nepal, you may also want to add additional costs to your budget:
- Charging batteries of 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.
It would help if you did not miss a little research on Upper Dolpo Trek before making 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 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.
Travelers who visit for the first time will usually accompany International branding agencies because of their safety concerns. However, I assure you that local agencies in Nepal can offer a perfect itinerary for treks and equal quality at a fraction of the price.
It doesn’t matter if you go to the more expensive or cheaper one because everyone sleeps in the same class as tea houses.
If you embark on the Upper Dolpo trek with Himalayan Exploration, the estimated cost for a 26-day all-inclusive package ranges from $3,800 to $4,200 per person.