12 Days Shey Phoksundo Lake Trek Highlights
- You will get to observe the rare Bonpo culture of the Tibetan Himalayan society and their lifestyle.
- Exploration of the Beautiful Ringmo village located right beside Phoksundo lake
- On this trail you will see one of the highest (167m) waterfalls of Nepal that flows down from Phoksundo lake.
- Walk along the dramatic trans-Himalayan landscape which gives you the experience of an outdoor adventure trek.
- You will explore varieties of flora and fauna who live in Shey Phoksundo national park.
- You will experience the weaving culture of the Tibetan society where they weave carpets and scarves from wool.
About the 12 Days Shey Phoksundo Lake Trek
The trek is short and sweet yet offers you the combination of the beautiful forest section, the dramatic lake and the insight to the Tibetan Buddhism culture. This trek takes you through pasturelands, rocky uphill trails and drylands that sum up the amazing trans- Himalayan trails. The remote area does not promise fulfilling amenities but the hospitality they provide with a welcoming heart is a promising memory.
The trek starts in Juphal which is crammed with houses and lodges amidst hilly geography of mostly barren lands. You pass through temporary settlements consisting of flat stone houses, internationally funded schools, monasteries, wooden bridges and long suspension bridges along the trail. Going through the forests and riverside trails to many small villages and lodges you will reach Ringmo, one of the highest human settlements. Finally, you gradually retreat through the same trail and catch a flight to Kathmandu.
SHEY PHOKSUNDO NATIONAL PARK
Shey Phoksundo National Park lies in the North-western part of Nepal and southern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. The geographical closeness to the Tibetan border is the reason for the Tibetan influenced Bonpo culture in this Himalayan area. This remote national park was established in 1984 and is home to a diverse ecosystem of flora and fauna. It is home to Nepal’s deepest and second-largest freshwater lake namely Shey Phoksundo and the highest waterfall. The parks climatic variation, altitude difference and geographical diversity justifies its unique Trans-Himalayan ecosystem. It is the largest national park covering the area of 3555 sq. km. and the elevation ranges from southeast Ankhe (2,130 m /6,990 ft) to the highest point of Mt. Kanjiroba (6,883 m, 22,582 ft). The region receives less rainfall as it is overshadowed by Dhaulagiri and Kanjiroba massifs which acts as a barrier to prevent rainfall thus providing an arid landscape and harsh cold winters.
Brief Itinerary: 12 Days Shey Phoksundo Lake Trek
Itinerary: 12 Days Shey Phoksundo Lake Trek
Day 1 - Welcome to Kathmandu
Our company representatives will be there to receive you on your arrival to Tribhuvan International Airport. After the airport pick up we will transfer you to the hotel where you will have to go through a brief check-in procedure. In the early evening, we will attend a brief "get to know session" where you are introduced and made familiar to other travellers as well. Then dinner is arranged at the Hotel.
Day 2 - Sightseeing in Kathmandu
Kathmandu also is known as the "city of the temple" welcomes you to the lad of rich history, culture and architecture. On this day we will be visiting three UNESCO world heritage sites with our certified in-house guide.
First, we will visit the sacred Boudhanath temple, a Buddhist monument decorated with prayer flags and prayer wheels that are placed around the walls of the stupa. The dome-shaped religious site is flocked with visitors and devotees alike. You can blend in the spirituality and get knowledge about its history as shared by our guide.
Next, we will visit Pashupatinath temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva of Hindu mythology and is visited by Hindus all over the world. Pashupati temple is a cultural site which reflects the rituals and practices followed by about 81% Hindus residing in the country. However, non-Hindus cannot enter the temple hence they can observe the temple from across the Holy Bagmati river which offers a good view of the temple and the crematorium.
And then we will have our lunch at another famous site “Patan Durbar Square” which is in the heart of Lalitpur. The city of art is surrounded by handcrafted temples and showcases an appealing form of craftsmanship. You will see a collection of handicraft, jewellery and artefacts lined up along the alleyways for sale and also a short visit to Patan museum will provide you with more insight about the durbar. After this, you will be taken back to the hotel for the night.
Day 3 - Kathmandu - Nepalgunj
We will take a flight to Nepalgunj, the longest domestic flight available in Nepal. Nepalgunj lies in western Terai region near the Indian border and Bardia National Park. It is a business centre and is a busy area. You can witness the lifestyle of people living in the flat section (Terai) of the country and in the afternoon, we will visit the Bageshwori temple dedicated to Hindu goddess Durga. We will return to the hotel for the night and prepare for the flight next morning.
Day 4 - Nepalgunj - Dunai
The flight to Jhupal will only take off in the morning (given good weather condition) and the flight time will take about 35 minutes. We will land on the runaway situated at the top of the hill and you can sense the change in altitude because of the strong winds here. The trek to Dunai begins by descending to the main motorable road below. After the short downhill trek, we will steadily follow the path through small villages beside Bheri River and Roop Ghar to finally reach Dunai, the administrative capital of Dolpo. Here we will rest for the day.
Day 5 - Dunai-Dunai - Cheepka
The trek starts from Dunai and further walking we will cross the big suspension bridge to the left on reaching Sunlight. A little ahead we will reach the National Park Entry Station where we need to register and pay the entry fee.
About an hour from here, we will reach Kageni which has accommodation facilities and lodges with basic amenities.
We will eventually reach our destination Chhepka, a small settlement and consists of limited houses which serve as hotels. However, the lodges offer hospitality and make you feel like home.
Day 6 - Cheepka - Jharana Hotel
By the end of the day we will see the change in terrain that shifts from lush green to almost barren and arid hills. After leaving Chhepka, we will encounter Thulo Bheri River that Zig zags its way through these valleys. The deep blue colour of the flowing river soothes you and leaves you awestruck making you more excited to explore the source of such beauty.
After leaving the riverside, the trail becomes difficult with rocky trails with ups and downs until you reach Renje village (3010m). After a short rest and lunch, you can gather up your energy to continue your journey ahead. However we walk straight ahead and pass Sumduwa to cross a bridge that brings you to a different landscape with short thorny bushes, almost nude landscape with limited vegetation, bigger rocks and sand boulders.
Shortly after this we will reach Jharana Hotel, a relatively better accommodation with few lodges and a health post.
Day 7 - Jharana Hotel - Shey Phoksundo
Walking today becomes a little more difficult because of the gain in altitude. We can spot a settlement of flat stone houses at the foot of a big rocky cliff.
On reaching Palam, we will follow a trail that is steep uphill that is dusty and sandy with a sudden gain (400m) in elevation to reach a ridge of 3730m at the top. The ridge is decorated with prayer flags and marks up a closure scenic view of the 167m high Sulighat waterfall, one of the highest in Nepal. A little ahead we will catch the first glimpse of Shey PhoksundoThen just by the lakeside we have the beautiful village of Ringmo overlooking the deepest freshwater lake of the country. Overnight at Hotel in Ringmo
Day 8 - Shey Phoksundo - Ringmo
The success story is yet to be rewarded when you get to explore around the village and the awe-inspiring lake. The village of Ringmo reflects the Tibetan culture with carved mani walls and chortens along the narrow alleyways. We can cross a bridge towards the north and go around there to visit some campsites. The water of the Lake is aquamarine in colour that gives shades of turquoise and the absence of aquatic life in this lake makes it transparent and clear. You can also hike up the Thasung Chholing Gompa, a beautiful monastery dedicated to Bonpo culture that offers magnificent view of the lake from atop and snow-capped mountains behind it.
After exploration, we will rest and enjoy our evening at the Hotel.
Day 9 - Ringmo - Sankta
The trail retraces back to the cosy village of Sankta that stays hidden in the green pine trees of Lower Dolpo. We will now have the estimate of time to reach the destination because of familiarity with the trail. We leave behind the lake and venture into the forest once again on the up and down trail and reach Sankta. Overnight at hotel in Sankta
Day 10 - Sankta - Jhupal
Today we will start our trail slowly with the support of a trekking stick or even a knee cap. We should know that continuous walk uphill and a sudden downhill trail can cause muscle tension on your leg and affect your body as a wholeWe will walk back the same path and leave behind Shey Phoksundo National Park towards Juphal. Heading through the motorable roads and a steep uphill climb towards the end to reach our destination.
We will stay here for the night and get ready for flight tomorrow morning.
Day 11 - Jhupal - Kathmandu
It is important to note that flight from Juphal takes off only in the mornings and if good weather conditions favours us then we will reach Kathmandu via Nepalgunj quickly through a connecting flight. In the airport, our company representatives will be there to pick you up and transfer you to the hotel. You can rest at the hotel or go out for a stroll to the tourist hub (Thamel) in the evening or do shop for souvenirs.
Day 12 - Departure from kathmandu
After breakfast, we will arrange to drop you off at the international airport and see you off.
Note: Every effort will be made to keep to the above itinerary, but as this is Adventure Travel in the mountains, we cannot guarantee it. Weather conditions, road conditions, vehicle breakdowns and the health of fellow travellers can all contribute to changes. We will try to ensure that the trip runs according to plan, but an easy-going nature is an asset!
Airport pickup and drop off services
All accommodation during the trek (in lodges and guesthouses)
Two way private transportation between hotel & TIA Airport
Shey Phoksundo National Park Permit
Lower Dolpo Restricted Area Permit
Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS) card fee
All government, Local taxes and official Expenses
A highly experienced, English-speaking trekking guide (8 or above trekkers: 1 assistant guide) and porter to help trekkers luggage. (2 trekkers:1 porter "9 kg per trekker max limit")
Coverage of Guides and Porters, Their meals, insurance, salary, lodging, transportation, flight and other necessary equipment
Use of a sleeping bag, down jacket and a duffel bag (in case you don't have them). They have to be returned after the trek.
A first aid kit and basic supplies appropriate for the group size. In a worst case scenario, arrangements of an emergency helicopter evacuation service (to be paid for by your travel insurance). Note: if you require or are taking specific medications it is critical that you discuss this with us prior to your trip departure
Farewell Dinner at the end of the trek
Note: The local tea houses are basic but clean and they do not often have attached bathrooms or hot showers. The price is based on twin share and does not include any extra charge that lodge owners may levy for single rooms, attached bathrooms or hot showers (if these facilities are available) or for battery charging. We can’t know in advance what they may charge for such things in the different lodges along the way, so we prefer to leave this cost out, rather than pass along an estimated charge to you.
International flights to and from Kathmandu; Nepal visa fees and international airport taxes; any excess baggage charges
Comprehensive travel insurance that includes trip cancellation and emergency rescue / evacuation that covers all of the activities you will undertake during your trip should this be required for any reason (we require this as the minimum insurance cover)
Services and activities not mentioned in the detailed itinerary above (eg additional nights, optional trips and sightseeing tours)
Additional costs or delays caused by out of management control, for example, landslide, weather condition, itinerary modification due to safety concerns, illness, change of government policies, strikes etc.
Excess baggage charges (Limit is 9kg per Person)
Any gear or equipment that you may need to rent/buy - please ask us if you would like any advice about gear to bring/buy/rent
Extra night accommodation in Kathmandu due to early arrival or late departure, early return from the trek.
Personal expense (shopping, snacks, boil bottle water, hot and cold drinks, hot shower, Alcohol, Wi-Fi, telephone call, battery re-charge fee), extra porters etc
Personal clothing and gear
All Accommodation and meals in Kathmandu, before and after we start our journey
Travel insurance which has to cover emergency high-altitude rescue and evacuation compulsory
Personal expenses (eg mineral water/soft drinks/bar bills, entrance/photography fees at monasteries, laundry, telephone calls, postage, donations, extra snacks etc)
Costs incurred due to unforeseen events (eg caused by natural disasters, adverse road conditions / flight delays, labour strikes, fuel shortages, extreme exchange rate changes, etc)
Any extra charge that tea house owners may levy for single rooms, attached bathrooms, or hot showers (if these facilities are available) and charging of batteries
Tips for the guide, and porter (if you have added a porter to help you carry your backpack)
All the costs and expenses which are not listed in "cost includes" will be counted as Excludes
Best Season/Time for 12 Days Shey Phoksundo Lake trek
The best trekking season for Shey Phoksudo trek is in spring (End of March-May), Autumn (Mid of September-November) and Summer (June- August)
Spring Season (End of march- May)
During this season, you will find greenery returning to the forest and the landscape of Lower Dolpa is filled with wildflowers. It is warmer during the day and the temperature lies in the range of 2 °C in daytime and 18 °C during the evening/night. It will be easier to trek in this season as the forest will shade your path creating minimal contact with direct sunlight. The days are longer and the mild breeze passing by is refreshing. The skies clear out and provide great visibility and the weather crisis is also less.
Summer Season (June-August)
This is also a great time for trekking in this region because the monsoon here is not that effective. Dolpa falls under the rain shadow area as it lies right below the Dhaulagiri and Kanjiroba massifs. Lower altitude receives less rainfall which barely affects the trail. However, in higher elevation, the soil is dry and dusty, but the winds are stronger. The lower forest region becomes livelier and the temperature remains cool. There is mild precipitation and the temperature ranges from 4 °C to 20 °C.
Autumn Season (September-November)
This season also offers a good trek to Shey-Phoksundo as the Mountain View is clear with blues skies, fresh freeze and the forests change colors to light green and pale yellow. The weather becomes mild to warm during daytime and colder as evening approaches. There are very few chances of rainfall because of which you can catch pleasant weather, spectacular views and fewer chances of natural disasters. The minimum to maximum temperature ranges from -2 °C to 16 °C.
Winter Season (December- February)
In winter, the trail freezes with snowfalls. Although it is possible to withstand the temperature and trek during this time, the facilities for lodging are unavailable because the people of Ringmo move to a lower altitude. The village of Ringmo is abandoned with empty locked down houses and the nearest temporary settlement area is Palam which is almost 2.5 hours from Ringmo. However, staying overnight at Palam and making a round trip to Shey Phoksundo in the morning might be possible but not recommended. The lake lies below the Himalayan massifs thus the winter is harsh here with temperatures ranging from -4 °C to 12 °C.
Packing list / Equipment checklist
List of Equipment for 12 Days Shey Phoksundo Lake Trek
- Headband or Beanie
- Neck Gaiter or Balaclava
- Hat for Sun Protection
- Inner Gloves
- Outer insulated gloves
- Base Layer
- Insulated Jacket
- Outer Layer
- Trekking Shirts/T-Shirt
- Fleece Jacket
- Hard Shell Jacket and Rain Gear
- Base Layer
- Trekking trousers and shorts
- Rain and Windproof Trousers
- Hiking Boots
- Trekking shoes/sandals
- Hiking/Thermal Socks
- Gaiters (not necessary)
- Sleeping bag
Bags and Backpacks
- Duffle bag
Miscellaneous & Accessories
- Trekking Poles
- Head Torch
- Sunscreen/Lip balm/Wipes/Hand Sanitizer/Toiletries
- Reusable Water Bottle or Hydration Bladder
- Small Locks
- Trekking Towel
- Waterproof Ziplock Bags
- Camera/Video Camera/Extra Batteries/ Extra Chargers
- Notebook/Journal and Pen (optional)
- Playing Cards/Book/Kindle (optional)
- Water Purification Tablets
- General Medications
- Basic First Aid Kit
- Blister Plasters
- Durable wallet for travel documents, money & passport
- Favourite snack foods (No more than 2 pounds)
Teahouse accommodation is the classic form of trekking accommodation in the Dolpo region. Along the way to Dolpo trail, most of the tea houses are built and managed by local villagers. These tea houses are specially designed to provide the basic facilities for trekkers to take rest.
Basically, you’ll find twin-basis type of accommodation on the Dolpo trail. Most single rooms have twin beds with some basic furniture like a small table or a chair. Almost all tea houses provide blankets as it will be freezing at night.
Mainly on the lower elevation, most lodges offer western style toilets. As you move higher on the trail you’ll find squat toilet facilities. Showers do not always have hot water and most tea houses charge for the use of hot water.
Documents & Permits needed for 12 Day Shey Phoksundo Lake Trek
Dolpo lies next to the border of Tibet which has been a sensitive & restricted area for travellers. Trekking to Lower Dolpo, the permit fee is much cheaper as considered to Upper Dolpo the cost is considerably higher. There are three different types of permits required for trekking in the Upper region. These are:
- Lower Dolpo Restricted Area Entry Permit
- Shey Phoksundo National Park Entry Permit (Not required for Lower Dolpo)
- Upper Dolpo Restricted Area Entry Permit (required if you trekking to upper Dolpo region)
Lower Dolpo Restricted Area Entry Permit
Lower Dolpo Trek Permit would be necessary for both Lower Dolpo and Upper Dolpo Treks.
- It costs USD 20 per person per week plus USD 5 per additional day per person. You can collect your trekking permit from the Department of Immigration before starting your trek to the Lower Dolpo.
Shey Phoksundo National Park Permit
The Shey Phoksundo National Park Permit is required for both Upper and Lower Dolpo Treks. You can collect the permit at the entrance of Shey Phoksundo National Park.
- It cost USD 30 plus 13% VAT for foreigners
- It costs Rs 1000 plus 13% VAT for SAARC nations
- Whereas the cost of the permit for crew members is Rs.25
Upper Dolpo Restricted Area Entry Permit
The Upper Dolpo Trek permit is required if you are trekking to the Upper Dolpo region.
- USD 500 per person for the first 10 days
- USD 50 per person per day for additional days
There is no doubt that Dolpo Shey Phoksundo Trek is truly one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in Nepal. Shey Phuksundo trek is located above 3000mtr & there are no such difficulties on the trails. Since the highest elevation point of the trek is not more than 3800mt, the chances of altitude sickness can be reduced beforehand. We should be more careful about acclimatization hence we have to prepare ourselves before Trek physically and mentally.
If you want to make your trek easier, you can start by exercising before you go for your trek. You can go on day hikes with some uphill/downhill climbs. It will prepare you for the varying route on the trekking trail.
12 Days Shey Phoksundo Lake Trek FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the highest altitude of Shey Phoksundo Lake Trek?
Shey Phoksundo Lake Trek doesn't go higher than 3800m.
How many hours a day do we walk?
On average, you have to walk around 6-8 hours per day. Some days can vary from 4-5 hours a day to just 2-3 hours.
What happens if I get sick or get hurt while trekking?
Basically, our guide will take care of this. If it is not too bad we will go down by walking, however in the event of an emergency there usually is access to a telephone line for an evacuation via helicopter.
Will I get the facilities of battery charging & hot shower?
You can bring your charger and charge your batteries during trekking. There is also a facility for hot water, but you may have to pay an extra $1-$2. However, you can find a hot water facility for free at a lower altitude.
I have never gone trekking yet. Is Shey Phoksundo Lake Trek for me?
Yes, of course, you can do it. The Shey Phoksundo Trek is suitable for keen trekkers/walkers who are able to walk around 4 or 5 hours in a day, with a lightweight daypack.
What is the accommodation like?
The Shey Phoksundo Trek is a teahouse trek, which means there are guesthouses in almost every village. However, rest assured that we will try our best to provide you with the best option that meets all of your needs. All teahouse rooms are basic and come with shared bathrooms.
What kind of food can I expect on this trek?
During the tea house trek, lodges will prepare a delicious range of mostly vegetarians such as Pasta, noodles, potatoes, eggs, Daal Bhat, bread, soups, fresh vegetable variety depending on the season.
How much luggage can I take during my trek in Shey Phoksundo Trek?
The weight limit for your luggage is 9 kg per trekker, Porters will be assigned to carry your luggage, Two people will be assigned with one porter, combined luggage should not exceed more than 18 kgs. Only carry what is essential.
Are there any communication facilities on the Phoksundo lake trek tea house?
Normally not! You can get telephone services only in some places.
Can I extend my trek?
Yes, you can. But for this, you have to update us before the trek so that we could manage the itinerary as per your requirement.
How can I use toilets during the trek?
On the trail, you will find the Toilet in the small villages where there are restaurants and tea houses. Most toilets in this region are squat toilets. And in other options prepare to hide behind big rocks and do your business.
Do I need Insurance?
100% Yes! Trekkers need to have traveling insurance which covers the comprehensive expenses that might incur due to medical issues or accidents (this includes air ambulance, helicopter rescue, and medical treatment costs). Insurance companies in Nepal do not provide traveling insurance for foreigners and the trekkers need to get traveling insurance from one of the international insurance companies.
What is the average size of the group?
Groups can vary between 6 to 16 travelers, who typically are a mix of individuals, couples or friends traveling together who have a shared interest in outdoor adventure and nature.
Where can I exchange my money?
There are a number of registered money exchanges in the streets of Thamel and it's common to find near your Hotel in Kathmandu.
Are there any ATM’s on the Trekking route?
There will be no ATM on our trekking route. Kathmandu and Pokhara are the only places where you will find an ATM.
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- Prices are valid for your specified time of travel only
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- Prices are subject to availability
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