West Nepal sees few tourists disappearing, and only a very small number of trekkers venture out on the area’s beautiful and pristine trails. Historically, this part of Nepal was most of all a stopover for travelers on their way to Tibet’s sacred mountain, Mount Kailash, and the area’s biggest attraction is still the isolation that the vast, unspoilt landscapes bring with them. For the most adventurous trekkers, this is exactly what makes Vestnepal so interesting.
According to rctoysadvice, some of the area’s best trekking routes can be found in Dolpo, the destination of one of the great Himalayan treks that run through Dolpo and Shey Gompa. Here, the pristine Tibetan highland culture is alive and well, as it has been for centuries among nomadic peoples who have not experienced much influence from the rest of the world.
Accommodation on trekking trips in west Nepal takes place in tents in a really old-fashioned expedition style. Access to the area by plane goes to the area’s largest city, Nepalganj, which with its location just six kilometers from the Indian border is clearly marked by great Indian influence. From Nepalganj, planes continue to some of the most desolate parts of Western Nepal, where the country’s most pristine trails are found. The conditions in the area are very simple, but also very authentic, and there is thus a world of difference between West Nepal and the much visited Annapurna and Everest regions.
Read more about the trekking routes in Vestnepal below.
Difficulty: C (light medium)
Number of days: 10
Height (max.): 3,548 m.
In the extreme nature of the northwestern and pristine corner of Nepal lies the spectacular Mount Api, which with its impressive 7,132 m. Is the highest peak in Western Norway. But the trekking trip to Mount Api Base Camp offers in addition to the amazing mountains also all the best of Nepal. It is outside the law, and the trip therefore involves a lot of driving through hills, valleys and cities before and after the trek itself.
The hike starts in the small town of Latinath at just over 1,000 meters and goes through the stunning Mahakali Valley, which with its steep slopes, alpine and subtropical vegetation, meadows, waterfalls, crystal clear lakes, spectacular mountain views and an extremely versatile fauna, already from day one the senses bombard. For bird lovers, the area is a goldmine with every opportunity to observe new species.
The people along the route and in the idyllic villages are incredibly hospitable, and you get to know the different cultures, religions, traditions and ways of life in an area where trekkers only rarely travel.
Approx. halfway through the trip you reach Api Base Camp, located at an altitude of 3,861 meters on a large, open plateau, surrounded by some of the most beautiful giants of the Himalayas.
The trek returns and ends again in Latinath.
Difficulty: B (easy)
Number of days: 10
Elevation (max.): 3,430 m.
The trek from Annapurna to Dhorpatan is very rarely visited by tourists – and that’s a shame! The route goes from Pokhara and the Annapurna Mountains, south of Dhaulagiri, over the Jaljale Pass to Dhorpatan, which is a hunting reserve and a magnificent high valley on the old trade route to Dolpo.
The path goes through diverse and beautiful villages, each with their own interesting building style. Nature is top notch: beautiful trails through the dense rhododendron forest with views of the eternal snow mountains of the Himalayas.
Dhorpatan is a large, flat valley with scattered settlements: here there is no bazaar and no real center. There are Magars and Tibetans living in Dhorpatan, of which the Tibetans are in clear majority. Some of them are refugees who came to Nepal in the 1950s at the beginning of the brutal Chinese occupation of Tibet. Buddhist prayer flags weigh over almost all the houses, and countless maneuver walls run through the valley.
From Dhorpatan it goes down towards the lowlands along the caravan trail to the old capital, Tansen, which feels like a larger provincial town; as Kathmandu 50 years ago.
The Pokhara-Dhorpatan-Thamgas-Tansen trek is for those who want to experience the original Nepal in a nature that can fully compete with other trekking routes in Nepal.
Dolpo & Phuksumdo Lake
Difficulty: C (light medium)
Number of days: 8
Elevation (max.): 3,600 m.
See Tourists: Dolpo Panorama trek
The trek to Dolpo and Lake Phoksumdo covers the first third of the Domple and Shey Gompa trek.
The trek starts in Juphal in the Dolpo region, which is located at an altitude of 2,350 meters, and from here it goes down to the administrative capital of Dolpo, Dunai at an altitude of 2,140 meters. Then it goes up and north, into the Shey Phoksumdo National Park, through lush forest terrain and past small villages that bear a clear mark of Tibetan culture.
The ladder rises through landscapes of limestone cliffs, up to the town of Ringmo, located at the southern end of Phoksumdo in the heart of Dolpo. According to legend, the Dolpo was created by Guru Rinpoche, who led Buddhism to Tibet as a refuge for Buddhists in wartime. Dolpo, also called the Land of the Yakoks, is hidden behind some high passes west of Dhaulagiri and north of the Kanjiroba Himal. The more than 3,500 inhabitants are among the highest living in the world, and they live on high-lying terrace fields, where they grow barley, buckwheat and potatoes, and of course keep yaks.
It is worth spending extra time in the area and studying Dolpo’s religious traditions and culture. The beautiful, unusual blue Phoksumdo Lake is a very special sight.
From Dolpo and Phoksumdo, the route goes back through the valley before the trek ends in Juphal.