The Shey Phoksundo National Park is the abode of the mighty Shey Phoksundo Lake, which is often touted as the deepest lake in Nepal. The lake is about 650 meters deep and spans an area of 4.8 km long & 1.8 km wide. The Park not only houses this magnificent lake, but it is home to a wide array of flora and fauna. Set in the desolate background of far western Nepal, Shey Phoksundo National Park spans over the rural lands of Dolpa and Mugu.
This region spans from 2130 meters to 6885 meters above sea level, with the Phoksundo Lake being the major landmark of the park. A trip to the Phoksundo National Park is not just a mere trek, but in fact, it is rather a lifelong journey that ranges from the modern day utopia to the primitive lands of ancient Buddhism. Take this journey to truly comprehend the magic behind this magnificent marvel.
Climate in Shey Phoksundo National park
The Park ranges over the northern and southern aspects of the Himalayan crest, and due to this, the park witnesses a wide climatic deviation. The annual precipitation reaches a maximum of 1,500 mm in the south, and in the northern parts, the rainfall is comparatively lower. The monsoon season is prevalent in the months of July to September. The reason for the comparatively low rainfall is due to the fact that the Dhaulagiri and Kanjiroba mountains block the rain-bearing clouds.
After learning from various trekkers, we have come to the conclusion that the best time to visit this park is from March to May. Apart from the gorgeous weather, the spring provides a great view of the blooming rhododendrons and crystal clear view of the Dhaulagiri Mountain. If you fancy cool winds, then you can choose to travel in the months of September to November as during this period, the ambiance is pretty lively and there is a high probability that wild animals can be seen too. Although doable, we do not recommend you to travel in summer, as the scorching sun and downfall may make traveling and sightseeing cumbersome. The winter season is especially frigid with temperatures dropping below zero. But, if you are fancy and adventurous, then suit yourself.
Vegetation and Wildlife in Shey Phoksundo National park
The Shey Phoksundo National Park houses a diverse array of vegetation. The northern parts of the upper Himalayas contain barren lands, and the slopes house vegetation like rhododendron, shrub, Salix, juniper, white Himalayan Birch. You can see the silver fir as well, which dominates the green meadows of the Himalayas. Due to the high elevation, only about 5% of the Himalayas is forested and much of the vegetation are seen on the southern position of the park. You can visit the Sulligad valley as well
That consists of blue pine, bamboo and other 286 species of botanical plants.
The Shey Phoksundo National Park is home to a variety of wild animals like snow leopard, grey wolf, musk deer, and the Himalayan black bear. The park is home to 6 species of reptiles and 29 species of butterfly, which includes the highest flying butterfly in the world. The park is the sanctuary for over 200 species of birds like the Tibetan partridge, wood snipe, and the rosefinch.
People around the Shey Phoksunda National park
The park provides shelter to more than 9,000 people, and they account for being the people that live in the highest part of the country. The inhabitants of the park are followers of Bon Buddhism, which has its roots in ancient Tibet. The BonPo religion forms the entire cultural base for Tibetan Buddhism, which was founded 18,000 years ago. The landscape of the park is dominated with sacred monasteries, and the local community is heavily involved in agriculture and trade with Tibet. They are involved in animal husbandry as well but to a small extent.
How to reach Shey Phoksundo National park
The easiest way to reach the Shey Phoksundo National Park is by initially flying to Nepalgunj from Kathmnadu, and then later flying to Juphal airport. These short flights can be completed in a single day or it make take 2 days. From Juphal, you will begin the trek to Dunai. Along the way, you can see the Thulo Bheri valley and the Bheri River. The route provides amazing views of the ancient settlements, which include the Shyanta village and the Chhepka village. These villages are decorated with chortens and ancient Tibetan culture.
From the Chhepka village, the road takes you to the Jharana waterfall where the magnificent allure of nature totally tantalizes you. Take a breather and Ringmo village, and don’t forget to buy some souvenirs. From Ringmo, head to the Shey Phoksundo Lake, and marvel at this turquoise gem, which sits calmly between the barren hills. Visit the Tshwoa Gompa, and later head down via Chhepka and ultimately to Juphal. A short flight from Nepalgunj takes you back to Kathmandu where the trip shall end. The trek normally lasts for 12 days to 16 days.
Trekking permits and fees to enter Shey Phoksundo National park
To enter the Shey Phoksundo National Park, trekkers need an entry permit and a TIM’s card. The Shey Phoksundo National Park entry permit fee for foreigners is Rs.3000. For SAARC Countries, it is Rs.1500, and for TIMS, it is an extra Rs.1000.
Some interesting facts about the Shey Phoksundo National Park
• The Shey Phoksundo Lake is the deepest lake in Nepal.
• It is the largest national park in Nepal.
• It is the only Trans Himalayan national park in Nepal.
Things to do around the Shey Phoksundo National Park
The National park is the main place located in the Dolpo region to indulge in some heavy trekking. Navigate through rugged terrain and landscapes to observe the green meadows, green lake, and sparkling mountains.
• Cultural awakening
The people residing in the park are ardent followers of ancient Tibetan culture called Bon. It is completely different from the typical Buddhism culture that we witness in other parts of Nepal. Visit the Shey Gompa, which dates back to the 11th century to learn the significance of ancient Buddhism in the lives of the locals.
The park comprises of a plethora of magnificent sites and monikers that enchants the soul. Soothe yourself by observing the tranquil waters of the lake, and the various wildlife that inhabits its premises. Whether its wild animals or the surreal view of the melodramatic landscape, the Shey Phoksundo National Park comprises it all.
The Shey Phoksundo National Park is a hidden gem set in the rural background of Far Western Nepal. Although the park is not readily accessible for everyone, with a bit of effort you can venture into its soothing environment. While you plan for your next trip, we highly recommend you to visit this natural marvel and feel the untamed and untainted beauty of the exotic wilderness, which is the Shey Phoksundo National Park.