Himalayan Companion’s team successfully completed “Lower Dolpo Heritage Trek” (Barbung valley, Tarap Valley, Sagar Khola valley and Phoksundo) in Oct/Nov 2018.
In this trip, we trekked along the Thuli Bheri river upto Kola Chyulung and climbed to Kola and Tachin villages and descended to Musi Khola then followed Barbung Khola to Kakot village.
Beyond Kakot village, we treaded along the Barbung River for half day and climbed to Pimri village and spent one night in local house. Then we continued to Gyaryang(Shyang), Seri, Dukot (Tuba), Dad Gaon(Yarley) to Chap Chu Lake (Base Camp of Chanla Pass) having the breath taking views of Putha Hiunchuli (7246m), Churen Himal(7286m), Dhaulagiri II(7751m), Dhaulagiri III(7715m), Dhaulagiri IV(77661m), Dhaulagiri V(7618m), witnessing local people’s culture and lifestyle.
Crossing Chanla 5378m and Pen La 4800m pass we entered in to Tarap valley along Tarap Khola via Doro and Sipchyo village. Visiting Nyiphug Dechen Monastery and Sipchyo Bon Monastery following Tarap Khola we camped in Dho Tarap.
After Dho Tarap we followed half day, the classic Lower Dolpo Route and switched to the North below the Jyanlun Gompa and Seric Gompa and crossing Numala North(Khyungla) 5143m descended down to Chhyutang Khola. Next to Chhyutang Khola rolling on the beautiful curving trail of Jyamjum Dada, rewarded the panoramic views of Norbhu Kang (6085m), Kanjiruwa(KangchenRalwa) 6612m and few unnamed peaks.
Switching one hour from Sagar Khola trail, we climbed to the view point 4760m, we had wonderful view Phoksundo Lake and surrounding mountains and peaks. Following the Sagar Khola and crossing several times Sagar Khola (12 Times) we descended down to Dekuthang(Eastern Bank of Phoksundo) and continued to climb eastern ridge and descended down to northern bank of Phoksundo then to Rigmo village.
Interestingly, the last two days had been very wonderful descend following Phoksundo Khola nd lush vegetation of Shey Phoksundo National park and terminated our trek in Juphal.
Stage 1: Nepalgunj – Juphal – Dunai
As our schedule for ‘Lower Dolpo Heritahe Trek’ from 22nd October to 11th November, we took our flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj on 22nd October in the afternoon 4:15 PM, an hour flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj had been very comfortable flight. We were supposed fly on next day 23rd October, and we requested hotel manager to pack our breakfast as the flights from Nepalgunj to Dolpo are conducts in early morning 6:15 am onwards. As per our plan we checked out from hotel at 5:15 am in the morning, and we were transferred to Nepalgunj airport at 5:30 am. But unfortunately, due to technical problem on aeroplan our flight had cancelled. Then we returned back to Hotel.
If you stuck one day in Nepalgunj, then there is nothing to do more activities. The only option is to visit “Bageswai Temple” a great temple of Hindu Goddess “Bageswari Mata”. We visited temple and walked around Nepalgunj city and back to Hotel.
Next day (24th Oct), we took flight in the morning 6:15 AM and arrived in Juphal by 6:50 AM, where our team (Crews) were waiting for us. After having Tea & Coffee in Tripura Hotel in Juphal we started our trek to Dunai, after walking 2.30 hours along the bank of Thuli Bheri River dirt motorable road. There is dirt road from Juphal to Dunai where you can travel by Jeep also, but better is walking rather than Jeep.
Stage 2: Dunai-Yalakot-Kola-Tachin –Musi Khola-Kakot
Our actual plan was to Dunai to Tarakot then visit Sadul Gompa and continue to Kakot. But heavy rainfall during the monsoon, due to landslide on the way from Lasicap to Musi Khola was disturbed and we decided to take Upper trail through Kola and Tachin village of Tichurong valley.
Our trek from Dunai to Yalakot was wonderful as it was a beginning of trek. There was no sudden gain of altitude. We followed the Thuli Bheri River, along the Palcha, Byasigad, Raikuwa, Namdo, Tarakot Bagar to Yalakot.
From Yalakot we followed the main trail for 1 hour and from Kolachulung we climbed upto Kola village, and in Kola village we went to a local house and had cup of local tea, then continued with beautiful scenic views of Tichurong valley along the lush vegetation trail to Tachin village. In Tachin village we had our Lunch and then after lunch we descended down to Barbung River bank for 45 minutes and continued along the river bank for 2 hours and arrived in Musi Khola camp. There were four houses in Musi Khola, and nearby the hotel there was a very nice camp site. The next we followed the Barbung Khola valley, it was very nice trail which passes along the river bank and with a thin vegetation crossing river through the suspension bridge, wide valleys. After treading for 4 to 5 hours we reached in Kakot village.
Stage 3: Kakot-Pimri-Gharyang-Seri
This stage trail is one of the most interesting trail of entire trip. From Kakot the trail passes along the Barbung Khola valley for 2 hours and then trail ascend up through the for 3 hours following asmall river stream for 1.30 hours and then we reached at a herders camp, which was very beautiful place. The campsites was also a very nice view point, from the camp site we witnessed an amazing view of Churen Himal, Dhaulagiri IV, Dhaulagiri III. From the, camp site the trail passed inclining with gradual gain of altitude about 1.30 hours and finally reached in village along the temple (Chorten & Mani wall) of Pimri village. Pimri village is one of the best place to see the Dhaulagiri & Churen Himal.
From Pimri, the trail passes on same level of altitude, the trail straight ahead through Ghyareng village and Seri village. The panoramic views of Dhaulagiri II, III, IV, V, Churen Himal, Putha Himal, Mukot Himal was rewarding stuff of this trek. After 4 – 5 hours we reached in Seri village and stop for lunch. On the spare time, we visited the Seri Gompa. After lunch we walked for 1.5 hours and camp near a small river stream.
Stage 4: Seri –Dukot-Dad Gaon- Punga Bagar
After Seri, the trail passes through north, about half an hour we encountered a Chorten and trail passes bit scary but not dangerous along the narrow gorges then after 1 hours there was a small river stream which is good campsite but we further continued and climbed upto a place 4200m and descended down camped nearby another river stream, it was 4 o’clock when we reached there. I would recommend to camp on first river stream.
Next day, following the criss-cross trail, along the rocky gorges about 3-4 hours we reached Dukot and from there followed inclined trail reached in Dad Gaon, and stop for lunch. On sparse time we went to visit Gompa, which was 10 minutes up from campsite. Then after lunch we continued crossing a suspension bridge neary by Dad Gaon and about 45 minutes we reached in Gun Chaur(Punga Bagar) Campsite. Which was opposite to small village Punga.
Stage 5: Punga Bagar- Chap Chu –Maran –Dho Tarap
Gun Chaur (Punga Bagar) is very nice camping site. Across the camp there is small village known as “Punga” with 4-5 houses. From Punga Bagal we followed the Barbung Khola for 3 hours and reached at confluence of Chharka village and Dho Tarap. From the confluence we switched to left trail following small river stream. After few minutes we reached at a stupa. We had little break at Stupa and ascended to Chap Chu lake along the zigzag trail about 2 hours and stop for lunch and camp. For camping Chanla BC 4355m is better than Chap Chu Lake Camp.
Next day, we continued ascending up to Chan La with gradual climb up we reached on Chan La Pass after 5 hours trek from Chap Chu camp. Having half an hour break on the top of Chan La pass we descended down and about next half hour we climbed and descended from small pass Pen La(4800m), to Maran Khola. Rolling about next 3 hours along Maran Khola valley we stop at Maran Goth Camp. Following day stretching along the Maran Khola along Toro Sipchhok village we conjoined to Dho Tarao village after 3 hours trek.
Barbung Valley to DHo Tarap:
Stage 6: Dho Tarap – Thangboche – Chhyutang
From Dho Tarap village, we passed along the Taokyau Khola, Crystal Mountain School, Kakar-Tamar village. In Kakar-Tamar village we visited Kakar Labrang Gompa. Then following the wide valley of Takyau village after visiting Jyampa Gompa, continued to following the Tokyau Khola we reached at Thangboche after three hours and we stop for camp.
Next day ascended towards Khyung La, which took 3 hours from Thangboche, we got fresh snows on the Khyung La (5143m) pass and spent about half hour on top. Due to clouds we were not able see the views of surrounding mountains. But snow showering trek was a wonderful experience. Then we descended down to Chhyutang Khola valley and following Chhyutang khola we reached at Chhyutang Camp.
Stage 7: Chhyutang khola-Sagar Khola- Dekuthang- Phoksundo North Camp- Rigmo
From Chhyutnag camp we crossed Chhyutang khola in the morning and climbed up to for half an hour to a flat valley, it was a beautiful place. From there we witnessed very amazing and panoramic views of surrounding mountain ranges, Kanjiruwa Himal & Norbu Kang peak. Engazing few minutes over there we continued along the valley and again ascended to a view point (Jyanjhum Dada), which was 1 hour from the main trail. From Jyamjhum Dada we sight the magical view of Phoksundo lake and surrounding mountain ranges. Then we returned back to main trail descended down to small river stream and climbed up for 20 minutes. Then descended down to Sagar Khola camp.
Next day from Sagar khola, in the morning we crossed Sagar Khola and continued along the bank of Sagar khola. The trail for the day was quite hectic, because of several time crossing of River. We crossed Sagar Khola about 12 times and reached at Dekuthang.
From Dekuthang, we further ascended up through rough, rocky trail about 1.30hours and then trail gradually inclined up about half an hours and descended down for next 30 minutes. Then following the rocky and slipper trail bank of Phoksundo Lake, we reached at Phoksundo North Camp. Next following the classic trail for 3-4 hours we reached in Phoksundo (Rigmo Gaon). In Phoksundo we camped on campsite and visited Thasung Samchoeling Bon monastery.
Stage 8: Rigmo – Chhepka –Juphal
From Phoksundo(Rigmo village) following the Phoksundo river for 8-9 hours we reached in Chhepka, it was a hard day. Next day, from Chhepka we further continued descend down to Salugad and Rupgard for lunch, took 5 hours walk. Then after lunch we arrived to Juphal after 2 hours. Next day we took flight, and came back to Kathmandu.