Land of snow Leopard and deepest Turquoise lake of Nepal
Behind the Dhaulagiri massif, towards the Tibetan plateau, the Shey-Phoksundo National Park of Dolpo is the largest and only trans-Himalayan national park of Nepal. Totally secluded by a series of very high passes and snow most of the year, Dolpo remains a truly remote corner of Nepal. Time has stood still here for centuries as inhabitants of Tibetan stock continue to live, cultivate and trade the way they have done since time immemorial. The intact ecosystem encompasses a wild and wonderful variety of plants and wildlife, including Blue Sheep and Snow Leopard, and magnificent views including Mount Dhaulagiri. A trek through Dolpo is an unique experience not easily forgotten. This is the enchanting trek that has been immortalized by Peter Matthiessen in his famous book “Snow Leopard”, a spiritual novel and bestseller.
~ Off the beaten path
~ Inspiring and pristine area
~ Hidden valley
~ Bon-po culture
~ Deepest lake in Nepal
~ Snow Leopard and other wildlife
~ High passes
~ Unique landscape
Established in 1984, Shey-Phoksundo National Park, contains the famous Phoksundo Lake, and offers diverse and spectacular landscapes, making it one of the most scenic mountain national parks in the world. Elevations range from 2,130m in the southeast to 6,883m at the summit of Kanjiroba Himal, which is at the southern edge of the Tibetan plateau. Phoksundo Lake, famous for its magnificent turquoise colour, lies at 3,660m and is Nepal’s deepest and second largest lake (after Lake Rara). Near the lake outlet is the country’s highest waterfall (165m). Many beautiful glaciers can be found near and above the lake area.
Trekking days are normally about 6-7 hours long, though this can vary. You begin trekking after a hearty breakfast, stop for lunch in the middle of the day and arrive to the camp in the afternoon where well-deserved tea or coffee and cookies will be waiting for you.
For accommodation twin sharing tents are the best option with insulated mattress. For drinking water, boiled water is provided after the meals, so make sure to bring a one or two liter water bottle. A dug-out toilet tent will be set up near the camp. For smaller and challenging trekkers in small group size can be done in lodge or homestay basis too these days (2018).
Why trek to Shey-Phoksundo?
As well as the astounding beauty of this wild and remote area, the flora found within the park is extremely diverse even though the northern area is barren. The trans-Himalayan slopes are covered by rhododendrons, caragana shrubs, salix, juniper, white Himalayan birch, with the (rare in this area) silver fir in the high meadows of the Himalayas. Less than five percent of the park is forested, with most of this lying in the southern area. The Suligad Valley flora consists of blue pine, spruce, hemlock, cedar, silver fir, poplar, rhododendron, and bamboo. The park also contains 286 species of ethnobotanical importance.
The park provides an important habitat for endangered species such as the snow leopard, grey wolf, musk deer, and blue sheep. Ghoral, Great Tibetan Sheep, Himalayan Tahr, Leopard, Jackal, Himalayan black bear and yellow-throated marten are also found in the park. The park is home to six reptiles and 29 species of butterfly, including the highest flying butterfly in the world, Paralasa nepalaica. The park provides habitat for over 200 species of birds, such as Tibetan Partridge, Wood Snipe, White-throated Tit, Wood Accentor and Crimson-eared Rosefinch.
Level of grade – Moderate to Strenuous Adventure
Nepal is a mountainous country that means climbing up and down through many hills, valleys, forests, pastures and ridges, which offers challenge for everyone. Days may involve a long duration of walking (6-7 hours) though this can vary. At times, it can be quite physically demanding, though the highest point is not above 5250m(pass)
Food and accommodation
All meals are included on the trip apart from meals in Kathmandu. Our experienced trekking cook and his assistants will be serving you with the best possible blend of local food making sure it’s clean, tasty and hygienically prepared.
Your accommodation is in spacious two-person tents with all the equipment such as a sleeping bag with inner liner and sleeping mat provided.
The lake is spectacular. At 3,660m, it is 7.8km long by 1.8km wide and supposedly 650m deep. It is famous for its green-blue colour, similar to Tibetan turquoise. There is no aquatic life in the water, making the water crystal clear. There is a gompa that overlooks the lake, said to be over 60 generations old. Another five small gompas can be found by the lake, where there is a small community of Buddhist Bon-po monks.
Best time to come
The recommended time to come is from the April to October. The trek can be also pleasant during the months of June, July and August too when its monsoon in other parts of the country.
Day in Kathmandu
To Juphal and Dunai
Baga La Phedi
At Phoksundo Lake
To Nepalgunj and Kathmandu
Day in Kathmandu
- Accommodation in Kathmandu Boutique Hotel with breakfast and at Nepalgunj on tourist std hotel on full board
- Half a day guided heritage sightseeing tour in Kathmandu
- All private land transportation
- All flight costs as per itinerary
- An experienced, qualified English speaking trek guide/leader, cook, porters support staff
- Trekking equipment and kitchen utensils
- Trekking permit and any government tax
- Staff insurance