The Dolpo area is the best known of the many isolated high Himalayan valleys across the northern Nepal. It preserves one of the last remnants of traditional Tibetan culture. Legend says it's a bayul, one of the "hidden valleys" created by Guru Rinpoche as a refuge for devout Buddhists in troubled times. Surrounded by high mountains including the Dhaulagiri massif to the southeast rand, cut off by more than 5000m high passes closed by snow half the year, Dolpo's easiest access is from Tibet, where its people emigrated from perhaps thousand of years ago. Upper Dolpo shelters about 6,000 people, whose lives revolve around Buddhism, barley and yaks; their villages (over 4,260 meters) are among the highest settlements on earth.