Upper Dolpo (Nepal) - August 2003
Meet a myth
Upper Dolpo is, before anything else, a myth: this place wasn't unknown before "Caravan (Himalaya - l'enfance d'un chef)", but this aesthetical movie contributed to its knowledge in France and the western countries. But the myth is not easy to reach: a four weeks hike, six passes above 5000 meters (16400 feet), a US $70 per day special trekking permit plus the price of the travel itself. Upper Dolpo is also the stronghold of maoist rebels, which are now in truce with the nepalese governement, but will ransom you anyway, they have to earn their living (this was valid in 2003 when I hiked there, but not anymore today)! And if all this hasn't discouraged you, know then that if Dolpo can be reached during monsoon, the planes going there can have problems to deal with bad weather: we waited five days for a plane to Juphal airstrip (with two aborted flights) and the sixth day, we were taking an helicopter to reach Dunaï (thanks to Terres d'Aventure).
But the reward is there : a wild and harsh land, with no tourists and even few hikers, and with, here and there, a few villages. Wonderdul landscapes, monasteries... poor ones, people, yaks of course, and this feeling of being very very far away. But enough words: look at the pictures, listen to the movie music, and dream.
Check out the photos of the trek on Flickr, to download the images in their original size and see on a map the places where they were taken.
The trek map in Google Maps.