Dolpo (Dolpa) is a region in western Nepal. Surrounded by high mountain ranges from south and east, bordering Tibet from the north, it is remote and not easy to access. Northern part of Dolpo - Upper Dolpo - is located north of the main Himalaya range and so getting there is especially difficult, as all the trails have to cross high (5000 m+) mountain passes.
With its Tibetan character, both geographically and culturally, Upper Dolpo has certain mystique about it. Outside interest in the region was largely started with the publication of P. Matthiessen's book, 'The Snow Leopard' and boosted by the 'Himalaya' ('Caravan') movie.
Trekking through Upper Dolpo is challenging due to its remoteness and the need for self-sufficiency of the trekking party. The trek has to be organized by a government-licensed agency and requires special permit, as the whole area has a 'restricted' status. Of the many route possibilities, crossing Upper Dolpo from Phoksumdo Lake to Shey Gompa to Jomsom (in Kali Gandaki river valley) is the most interesting, as it visits a number of important gompas and picturesque villages. It is also the most demanding variant requiring crossing at least five high mountain passes.
My trek, in April/May 2012, was organized by Explore Himalaya.