Nepal is perhaps one of the most sought after trekking destinations in the world, and with good reason. The Himalayas are unsurpassed in their soaring heights, beauty, and legends and Nepal has a rich history of people living among these fabled giants. Famously friendly to trekkers as well the country has integrated a wide network of small villages into the tourism sector building up infrastructure for comfortable long-distance trekking.
For this trek, NOLS leaves the well-established trail networks of the classic treks and seeks out an area where few go. The Lower Dolpo region is a remote, and isolated region where Tibetan Buddhism is still alive despite the closure of the border. The people are still living in ways similar to generations past, reliant largely on their communities and itinerant traders but less so on outside technology. This region is far from untouched but it is the Nepal that westerners first discovered many years ago that connected them to the mountains and the people.
Trekking in Nepal was never meant to be a week long short affair with the mountains but rather a drawn out exploration. Spending 3 weeks on this trip will allow you to settle into the rhythm of the trek and get further from roads than most will ever imagine. In truth, this trek moves beyond even the tea house system in Nepal where camping is the only true option. This trip asks for a true commitment to Nepal, time and energy will have to be focused on this journey to make it successful.
This trip is a porter supported expedition where we will lean on local resources as well as supporting the local economy. This has become the standard and expectation in Nepal and is often how foreigners can help the most. Additionally, your pack will be lighter for the trip, allowing you to climb passes well over 17,000ft and hike mileage that would be vey challenging with a full pack on your back.
The Tea Houses on this route are a basic variety. Offering simple meals and basic lodging so that tents and cooking setups are mostly unnecessary. These Tea Houses have been connected to local trade routes for hundreds of years and represent an evolution of a long-held tradition of trekking and trading in the Himalayas. Local Nepali food is typically a highlight for anyone who stays in Tea Houses, but variations of basic western cuisine can typically be found as well.
The last several days of this trip are a sightseeing spectacular. You will fly on a small plane out of the depths of the Tibetan Plateau and down south to one of Nepal's most diverse national parks. You will spend 2 days visiting the park and seeing fauna that live few other places in the world. With luck, you might see a Bengal Tiger! This park borders India and is consdiered a jungle, a stark contracts from the hills you had been climbing. All intra-country flights are included on this trip so you will have 3 different changes to see the mighty Himalayan peaks from the sky!
This trip is focused on the backcountry beauty of the Himalayas but does include some time in a couple of major cities in Nepal for cultural sightseeing and even a cooking class!
*The hiking can be strenuous and is at high elevations, but porters carry most of the weight and you will have plenty of time for each day's goals.