Permits Required for the Dolpo Trek both Upper and Lower Dolpo

There are three different types of permits required for trekking in Upper Dolpo. These are:

  • Lower Dolpo Restricted Area Entry Permit
  • Shey Phoksundo National Park Entry Permit (Not required for Lower Dolpo)
  • Upper Dolpo Restricted Area Entry Permit

We should mention from the start that trekking in Upper Dolpo is expensive because of the cost of the permits. But the rewards are certainly worth it!

Why do Trekkers Need Permits?

First of all Dolpo lies next to the border with Tibet. This has always been a sensitive area and warrants special treatment as it is a restricted area. Thankfully, if you are planning to go only to Lower Dolpo, the permit fee is much cheaper. For those who wish to trek in the pristine environment and unique culture of Upper Dolpo then the cost is considerably higher, as shown below.

How to get Dolpo Permits?

To trek in either Lower or Upper Dolpo you need to be at least two people in a group. You will not be issued a permit as a single person – even when you are travelling through a registered agency. Please ask us about how to trek in this area as one person (paying twice the price) should there not be other trekkers available for your required dates.

On the same topic, individual trekkers cannot go to restricted areas alone. You must book your trip through local agencies. A local agency will arrange your permits for you and arrange all your trekking needs and a guide. This is for your own safety and to protect this unique area’s flora and fauna.

Restricted Area Permits are issued by the Immigration Office in Kathmandu and so your local agency will get these permits before you set out on your trek.

The entry permit for Shey-Phoksundo National Park is issued by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, also in Kathmandu. This permit is also available at the entry point to the National Park for NPR 3,000. As this amount is subject to change, and to make things more smooth, we suggest you get all the permits, including the one for Shey-Phoksundo National Park, ahead of time in Kathmandu. Again your local agency will organise this for you.

Here we explain these permits in more detail:-

Lower Dolpo Restricted Area Entry Permit

  • USD 20 per person per week plus USD 5 per additional day per person.
  • If entering Upper Dolpo trekkers are required to have two of these permits. One to enter and leave (to enter Upper Dolpo) Lower Dolpo. And the second to enter Lower Dolpo (after leaving Upper Dolpo) in order to fly out.

Shey-Phoksundo National Park Permit

  • USD 30 per person (no time limit)
  • Shey-Phoksundo National Park is Nepal’s largest National Park covering an area of 3,555 km2. It was established in 1984 to preserve a unique Trans-Himalayan ecosystem with a diversity of flora and fauna. The elevations in the park ranges from 2,130m to 6,883m at the summit of Kanjiroba Himal. The lake highlighted in the film Himalaya, Phoksundo Lake, is found in the Upper Dolpo section. The flora and fauna of the park is diverse, including the endangered species of snow leopard, grey wolf, musk deer, and blue sheep, goral, great Tibetan sheep, Himalayan Tahr, leopard, jackal, and Himalayan black bear.

Upper Dolpo Restricted Area Entry Permit

  • USD 500 per person for the first 10 days
  • USD 50 per person per day for additional days
  • USD 40 for two entry permits to Lower Dolpo (essential for travel to Upper Dolpo)

Note: The permit cannot be issued for less than 10 days

To sum up:

  • For a 24 days Kathmandu to Kathmandu Upper Dolpo Trek the permits will cost USD570 per person.
  • For those only trekking in Lower Dolpo the cost is UDS 20 for one week plus an USD 5 per additional day, per person. Which is the Shey-Phoksundo National Park Entry Permit (USD 30) plus one Lower Dolpo Restricted Entry Area Permit at USF 20 (for one week plus USD 5 per additional day)

Required documents

  • Original passport with valid visa

Note: No photographs are required

Important Information

You cannot trek in restricted areas alone. Therefore you cannot apply for the restricted area permits yourself. This must be done by your trekking agency. We at Magical Nepal can do this for you.

If you require further information about the permits required for the Dolpo Region or information about trekking in this region, please do not hesitate to ask us at Magical Nepal.

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Article by Pradeep Guragain

Pradeep is the co-founder of Magical Nepal. He was born and bred in Nepal and is a seasoned hiker and rider.

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