Himalayan Lakes In Nepal

Shey Phoksundo National Park (शे-फोकसुण्डो) is a stunningly beautiful protected area located in the western part of Nepal. The park was established in 1984 and covered an area of 3,555 square kilometers. It provides a habitat for an incredible array of flora and fauna, as well as the famous Phoksundo Lake, which is one of the main attractions of the park.

Shey Phoksundo National Park
Shey Phoksundo National Park & Buffer Zone

Phoksundo Lake, also known as Shey Phoksundo Lake, is the deepest lake in Nepal, and it is a significant attraction for visitors to the park. The lake is located at an altitude of 3,611 meters and is surrounded by snow-capped peaks, making for a breathtaking view. The color of the lake changes throughout the day, from deep blue to turquoise, and it is a popular spot for trekkers and hikers to take a break and soak in the stunning scenery.

Fauna

Shey Phoksundo National Park provides essential habitat to a wide variety of wildlife, including some rare and endangered species. The park’s fauna includes:

  • Blue Sheep: The Himalayan Blue Sheep (Pseudois Nayaur) is a species of wild sheep that is found in the Himalayan region. t is the dwelling place of a large population of Blue Sheep, which are a primary prey species for Snow Leopards.
  • Musk Deer: The Himalayan Musk Deer (Moschus Chrysogaster) is a species of deer that is found in the Himalayan region. It contains an abundance of a small population of Musk Deer, which are highly prized for their musk, a substance used in perfumes.
  • Himalayan Tahr: The Himalayan Tahr (Hemitragus Jemlahicus) is a species of goat that is found in the Himalayan region. The park is also famous to a significant population of Himalayan Tahr, which is known for its impressive horns.
  • Red Panda: It contains an abundance of a small population of Red Pandas (Ailurus fulgens), which are highly endangered and one of the rarest mammals in the world.
  • Common Langur: The Common Langur (Semnopithecus entellus) is a species of monkey that is found in the Himalayan region. The park incldes a small population of Common Langurs.
Himalayan Tahr (Hemitragus Jemlahicus)
Himalayan Tahr (Hemitragus Jemlahicus)

The park provides essential habitat for some endangered mammals, including the snow leopardHimalayan wolfHimalayan brown bearwhite-bellied musk deer, and bharal.

Flora

Shey Phoksundo National Park is provides essential habitat to a wide variety of plants, including some rare and endangered species.

  • Blue Pine: Blue Pine (Pinus Wallichiana) is a species of pine that is commonly found in the Himalayan region. It is a valuable timber tree and is used in construction, furniture making, and paper production.
  • Spruce: The Himalayan Spruce (Picea Smithiana) is a coniferous tree species that is native to the Himalayan region. The tree has a straight trunk and a conical shape, and its wood is used for construction, pulp, and paper production.
  • Juniper: The Himalayan Juniper (Juniperus Indica) is a species of juniper that is found in the Himalayan region. It is a slow-growing evergreen tree that can reach up to 15 meters in height. The tree’s wood is used for making furniture and charcoal.
  • Rhododendron: The National Flower of Nepal, the Rhododendron, is a genus of flowering plants that are found in the Himalayan region. It contains an abundance of various species of Rhododendrons, including the beautiful Rhododendron arboretum, which is also the national flower of Nepal.
  • Willow: The Himalayan Willow (Salix spp.) is a deciduous tree species that are found in the Himalayan region. The tree’s wood is used for making furniture, tools, and baskets.
  • Birch: The Himalayan Birch (Betula Utilis) is a deciduous tree species that are found in the Himalayan region. The tree’s bark is used for making paper, and its wood is used for making furniture, tools, and construction materials.

Overall, the flora of Shey Phoksundo National Park is diverse and unique, with various species of trees, shrubs, and flowering plants that are adapted to the harsh conditions of the high-altitude Himalayan region.

5 Main attractions of Shey Phoksundo National Park

Shey Phoksundo National Park is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in natural beauty, wildlife, trekking, and cultural experiences.

Shey Gompa(शे गुम्बा)
Shey Gompa(शे गुम्बा)
  1. Phoksundo Lake: Phoksundo Lake is one of the main attractions of the national park. It is the deepest lake in Nepal and is surrounded by snow-capped peaks and lush green forests. The crystal clear waters of the lake are breathtaking and offer a perfect spot for photography.
  2. Shey Gompa: Shey Gompa(शे गुम्बा) is a famous Buddhist monastery located within the park. The monastery is perched on a hilltop and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The monastery is believed to be around 800 years old and is one of the oldest monasteries in Nepal.
  3. Rare Wildlife: The national park shelters a wide array of diverse range of rare wildlife, including the snow leopard, blue sheep, musk deer, and Himalayan black bear. It is also home to over 200 species of birds, including the endangered Impeyan pheasant.
  4. Trekking: The national park offers some of the best trekking opportunities in Nepal. The trekking trails pass through picturesque villages, high mountain passes, and pristine forests, offering stunning views of the Himalayan landscape.
  5. Cultural Experience: The national park hosts a multitude of different several ethnic communities, including the Dolpo and Tibetan people. These communities have a unique culture and way of life that can be experienced through their traditional practices, festivals, and cuisine.
Dolpo Valley

In addition to the stunning natural beauty and wildlife, the park is also harbors a plethora of several cultural and historical landmarks. The Shey Gompa, a 900-year-old Buddhist monastery, is one of the park’s main attractions. The Monastery is built into a cliff and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Visitors can also see the traditional way of life of the local people, who are mainly Tibetan Buddhists, by visiting the small villages scattered throughout the park.

How to Explore the Shey Phoksundo National Park

One of the best ways to explore the park is through trekking. The park offers several trekking routes that cater to different levels of experience and fitness. The most popular trekking route is the Upper Dolpo trek, which takes visitors through remote villages and over high mountain passes. This trek also includes visiting the famous Phoksundo Lake and the Shey Gompa.

Shey Phoksundo Lake
Shey Phoksundo Lake

Another popular trekking route is the Lower Dolpo trek, which takes visitors through the beautiful Phoksundo River valley and over the Kang La pass. This trek also offers the opportunity to see traditional Tibetan villages and stunning views of the Himalayas.

Best time to visit the Park

The best time to visit Shey Phoksundo National Park is during the dry season. It starts from October to May. During this time, the weather is clear and dry, and the temperature is mild. This time will make it ideal for trekking and outdoor activities.

The monsoon season (June to September), is not a suitable time to visit the park. The trails can become slippery and dangerous, landslides are common. However, if you want to experience the lush green landscape and see the park’s waterfalls in full flow. You can visit in the early monsoon is just beginning.

Park Regulations to follow or things to remember 

Foreigners are required to pay an entry fee of Rs. 3,000, SAARC Nationals Rs. 1,500, and Nepali visitors Rs. 100. Tourist porters are required to pay Rs. 25. The entry permit can be obtained from the National Parks ticket counter at the Nepal Tourism Board or park entrance gate at Suligad. The permit is non-refundable, non-transferable, and valid for a single entry only. Visitors are requested to keep the permit with them as park personnel may ask for it. It is illegal to enter the park without a permit.

For documentary/filming purposes, a special permit is required from the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC). Foreigners are required to pay a fee of US$ 1500, SAARC Nationals Rs. 50000, and Nepali visitors Rs. 10000. Additionally, a 25% fee is required while using drones for filming. The drone fee is the same as the documentary/filming fee when used for other purposes.

Visitors are not allowed to remove or damage plants and animals. All flora and fauna are protected and should not be disturbed. Rubbish should be placed in designated areas. Visitors are not allowed to walk within the park between sunset and sunrise. Cultural and religious sites should be respected. Camping should only be done in designated areas. Visitors should carry non-biodegradable items such as batteries, plastic bags, and bottles. It is advised to never trek alone and to hire a local guide if a companion is not available.

Frequently asked questions about the Park

What is Shey Phoksundo National Park?

Shey Phoksundo National Park is a protected area located in the Dolpa district of Nepal. It was established in 1984 and covers an area of 3,555 square kilometers.

What is the main attraction of Shey Phoksundo National Park?

The main attraction of Shey Phoksundo National Park is the Phoksundo Lake, which is the deepest lake in Nepal and is located at an altitude of 3,611 meters.

What kind of wildlife can be found in Shey Phoksundo National Park?

Shey Phoksundo National Park serves as the residence for many different variety of wildlife, including snow leopards, Himalayan tahr, musk deer, blue sheep, and several species of birds.

What are the popular activities to do in Shey Phoksundo National Park?

Popular activities in Shey Phoksundo National Park include trekking, hiking, camping, bird watching, and wildlife spotting.

What is the best time to visit Park?

The best time to visit Shey Phoksundo National Park is from September to November and from March to May when the weather is generally clear and dry.

How do I get to Shey Phoksundo National Park?

The nearest airport to Shey Phoksundo National Park is Juphal Airport, which can be reached by flying from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj and then taking a connecting flight to Juphal. From Juphal, visitors can trek to the park.

Is a permit required to visit National Park?

Yes, visitors need to obtain a permit to enter Shey Phoksundo National Park. The permit can be obtained from the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation in Kathmandu or from the local office in Dunai.


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Sailendra Bhatta

An adventurer, writer, and Founder of Nepal Travel Vibes.

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