Shey Phoksundo National Park, established in 2040 BS (1984 AD), was announced as a national park in 2055 AD (1998 AD). The National Park is the largest and only trans-Himalayan national park in Nepal. It was established in 1984 and covers an area of 3,555 km² in the districts of Dolpa and Mugu in the Mid-Western Region, Nepal. The protected area ranges in elevation from 2,130 to 6,885 m.
The deepest lake in Nepal, you will even find endangered species like musk deer and blue sheep grazing by the lake. Even on the way to the lake, you will be greeted by waterfalls and spectacular scenery.
Shey Phoksundo Flora & Fauna
The Park also offers a wide variety of flora and fauna. Less than five percent of the park is forested, with much of it lying in the southern portion. The northern region of the park consists of barren areas of the upper Himalayas. The trans-Himalayan slope has Caragana Shrubs, Rhododendron, Salix, Juniper, White Himalayan Birch and you will see the occasional silver fir mostly covers the high meadows of the Himalaya.
While the valley of Suligad has blue pine, hemlock, cedar, spruce, silver fir, bamboo, poplar, and rhododendron. The park also has 268 species of ethnobotanical importance.
Shey Phoksundo Culture
The park is home to more than 9,000 people and their village’s area among the highest settlements on Earth. Most of the inhabitants of the park practice Bon Buddhism, an ancient religion with roots in Animism and Buddhism. Upper Dolpo and Shey-Phoksundo Park are located in Nepal, but the people here are Tibetan in both culture and lifestyle. Most of the locals practice Bön (a pre-Buddhist faith) with its heavy emphasis on animism.
Shey Phoksundo National Park has many religious sites including gompas. The most famous one is the Shey Gompa, which was built during the 11th century. Near the lake of Shey Phoksundo, there is Thashung Gompa which was built about 900 years ago.
Shey Phoksundo Lake Altitude
Phoksundo Lake, is an alpine freshwater oligotrophic lake in Nepal’s Shey Phoksundo National Park, located at an elevation of 3,611.5 m (11,849 ft) above sea level in the Dolpa District. Phoksundo Lake is 494 ha in size with a water volume of 409,000,000 m³ and a discharge of 3.715 m³/s.
Shey Phoksundo Climate:
As a result of its spanning both the northern and southern aspects of the Himalayan crest, the park experience a wide climatic range. Most of the precipitation in the area occurs during the monsoon (July-September), although the Dhaulagiri and Kanjiroba Ranges from a massive barrier preventing most of the rain from reaching the Trans-Himalayan area.
The park contains the transition from a monsoon-dominated climate with 1500 mm. of annual precipitation in the south (Suligad) to an arid climate with less than 500 mm. a year on the northern slopes. Winters are quite severe, with frequent snowfalls above 2,500m. and temperatures remaining below freezing above 3,000m. through much of the winter.
Things to do Shey Phoksundo
Shey Phoksundo Lake Trekking
The aquamarine blue-green lake set in the enchanting backdrop of mountains is a visual treat to the eyes. The oligotrophic lake is considered sacred by the Buddhists monks and visited by 2,000 people every year. This area is widely known to be a trekking destination with its beautiful flora, fauna, and attractions. Individual trekking in the area is only permitted up to Rigmo or Phosundo Lake. While it is restricted in the inner-Dolpo areas. Group trekking is only allowed there.
Shey Gompa Trek
This is the best trek of in Nepal, the terrain is varied and there is a remote 11th Century Monastery on the route. The trail goes north of the main chain, across a number of high mountain passes on to part of the Tibetan plateau offering great views onto the Annapurna Range.
The path follows that of that in the famous book The Snow Leopard around frozen peaks and canyons. The terrain is green and lush on the southern side and arid on the Tibetan side. Very few visitors have travelled to this area, the region has only been open to the outside world since 1988.
Helicopter Ride Over The Park
Take a helicopter ride over the park to have an experience like never before. This will not only save your time and energy but will also provide you scenic vistas of the mountains and preserved region from above. There are a number of tour operators in Nepal that organize helicopter tours around the region.
How to get Shey Phoksundo Lake
Your journey to Shey Phoksundo Lake begins with your arrival in Kathmandu. From Kathmandu, you will have to take another flight of 55 minutes to arrive at Nepalgunj. You can choose to stay and have a rest at Nepalgunj. Then after Nepalgunj, you have to fly to Jufal, which takes around 40 minutes.
Best Time to Travel in Shey Phuksundo
As per the trekkers, Spring is the best season to choose for trekking in Shey Phuksundo. Apart from the best climates, this season also offers some best sightseeing of beautiful and colorful rhododendrons blossoming. During this season, the temperature is moderate, and the weather is perfect. You will get to witness the mesmerizing view of Dhaulagiri and other mountains.
It is the rainy season of Nepal. The season starts with scorching sun and gradually monsoon takes over. With the arrival of monsoon, heavy rainfall comes making it very difficult for going on trekking. The path becomes muddy and slippery making it more challenging and unfavorable to trek. So, trekking during this season of Nepal isn’t very wise.
Autumn is another best season for trekking. In Autumn, the temperature is moderate, the weather is nice and days are usually clear which gives you an opportunity of look at the excellent mountain view and the delightful forest of pine, rhododendrons and other floras.
Winter is always harsh in Nepal, and especially in the higher altitude regions, it becomes even more bitter. Shey Phuksundo is at an elevation of 3,611.5 meters/11,849 ft, so it won’t be harsh as the trek isn’t in higher altitude region. Winter is the ideal season for trekking in lower elevation regions.
Shey-Phoksundo National Park Map
Shey Phoksundo National Park (Nepali: शे-फोकसुण्डो She-Phoksundo) is the largest and only trans-Himalayan national park in Nepal. It was established in 1984 and covers an area of in the districts of Dolpa and Mugu in the Mid-Western Region, Nepal.
Shey-Phoksundo National Park Entry Fee
Phoksundo lake and trekking trails in the Lower Dolpo region lie within Shey-Phoksundo National Park. Foreigners are required to obtain a Rara Park National Park entry permit as well as a TIMS card to trek to and around Rara Lake.
Permits and Fees:
- Shey-Phoksundo National Park entry permit fee for foreigners: 3,000 NPR + 13% VAT, totaling 3,390 NPR (Approx. US $34)
- Shey-Phoksundo National Park entry permit fee for SAARC nationals: 1,500 NPR
- TIMS permit: 1,000 NPR (Approx. US $10)
Where to get the permit:
Kathmandu: Permits and TIMS cards can be purchased in the Nepal Tourism Board Office on Pradarshani Marg, Kathmandu, Tel: +977 1 4256909.
*If you book with a trekking agency they will arrange these for you.