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The remote Dolpo region is the least developed in Nepal. It is an area, which closed to tourists before 1989. But now it is open to organised groups of trekkers. These isolated valleys in the north of the country, constituting Nepal’s largest national park and conservation area, are also an ancient sanctuary for devout Tibetan Buddhists and remain a stronghold for traditional Tibetan culture.
A trek in the upper Dolpo offers opportunities for adventure, for exploring some wild high county, the serene rhododendron and pine forests of the lower valley slopes, and the ancient villages along the trail. The reason is the land of the musk deer, the Himalayan blue sheep, and the rare and elusive snow leopard. Similarly, you will see the yak herds on the region’s high slopes and pastures, which are the ubiquitous beast of burden for the local people.
After crossing the Numala Pass (5,400m), the trek reaches one of the trip’s highlights, the magical waters of Phoksundo Lake. The rocky slopes of the surrounding mountains plunge almost vertically into the lake, which is renowned for its ever-changing shades of deep blue, reflecting the intense colour of the sky at these altitudes. The nearby village of Ringmo and its monastery perch on a ledge above the lake. Travelling the higher trail that follows the ancient trade route up to the Crystal Mountain at Shey Gompa, the holiest mountain in this region, a ridge of snow-capped peaks rising above the dry, treeless lower slopes.