• Feb 2, 2024
  • Rupak Parajuli

The Tibetan Plateau is known to the Dolpo region, but it has not yet been fully explored. Despite the waves of modernization being less frequent in the region, it has managed to retain its natural charm. However, making it a must-visit location for hikers who love tranquility. Only in 1989 was the Upper Dolpo Trek restricted area made accessible to tourists. The Upper Dolpo hike path normally reaches over 4000 meters, and this uninhabited land has an impact on Tibetan culture. It is a part of the Shey Phoksundo National Park. This comprehensive guide to Upper Dolpo trekking will help you learn about the permits required for the mountain range with an unforgettable experience.

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The trail travels through the towns as it heads out of a little airfield at Juphal. At 3600 meters above sea level, Shey Phoksundo Lake, which is the deepest lake in the world, offers views of the forest and tall, snow-capped mountains. Shey Gompa and the Phoksundo valley are connected by the Kang-La Pass. The highest point of the walk is the Kang-La Pass, from which you may enjoy stunning views of the surrounding mountains and scenery. After exploring Shey Phoksundo Lake, the Upper Dolpo journey continues with a trip to the Shey Gompa. With the peacefulness it exudes, Shey Gumpa and the crystal mountain offer a hideaway and a sense of individual uniqueness. The trail leads you to the hidden Saldang and Yangtser Gumpa, which is about the Upper Dolpo secret that nobody is talking about, despite the stunning environment and natural beauty. As a result, the excursion transforms you into a lovely getaway in the Upper Dolpo region.

Why Upper Dolpo Trek?

It is located in Nepal, far away and off the usual road. The Upper Dolpo receives just 500 to 700 visitors, compared to 30,000 during the Everest Base Camp Trek. Above 5000 meters, the high Himalayas meet the stunning alpine meadows; there are very few other sites on Earth with such a mix! More side trips are available on the Upper Dolpo Trek than on any other route. Explore numerous locations like Ringmo, Shey Gompa, Saldang, and Tarap Valley for more than three weeks. The Great Himalayan Trail includes it. One of the primary elements of the "Great Himalayan Trail" is the Upper Dolpo Trekking. One long-distance trekking route that spans about 1,700 km through Nepal, running from east to west.

Why do Trekkers need Permits?

Dolpo is situated close to the Tibetan border, to start with. Since it is a restricted location, this has always been a delicate area that requires specific handling. Thankfully, the permit cost is far lower if you simply intend to visit Lower Dolpo. The price is significantly more for people who want to hike in Upper Dolpo's pure environment and distinctive culture, as indicated below.

How to get Dolpo Permits?

You must have a minimum of two people in your group to trek in Lower or Upper Dolpo. Even if you travel with a licensed agency, you won't be given a permit as a single person. If there are no other trekkers available on your desired dates, kindly ask us how to hike in this area alone (paying twice the price). On the same subject, trekkers cannot enter prohibited places on their own. Your travel must be scheduled through regional businesses. Your permits, all of your hiking needs, and a guide will be handled by a local agency. This is to ensure your safety as well as the preservation of the local wildlife and plants.

The Immigration Office in Kathmandu is responsible for issuing Restricted Area Permits, thus your local agency will obtain these before you begin your journey. The Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, based in Kathmandu, issues the Shey-Phoksundo National Park admission permit. For NPR3,000, this permit is also offered at the National Park's entrance. We advise you to obtain all permits in advance in Kathmandu, including the one for Shey-Phoksundo National Park, as this sum is subject to change and for convenience's sake. Once more, your local agency will handle the arrangements.

Here is a more thorough explanation of these permits:

Shey-Phoksundo National Park Permit

It costs USD 30 per individual (no time limit). The largest national park in Nepal, Shey-Phoksundo, has 3,555 km2 of land. To protect a distinctive Trans-Himalayan habitat with a variety of flora and wildlife, it was founded in 1984. At the summit of Kanjiroba Himal, the height of the park ranges from 2,130 meters to 6,883 meters. The Upper Dolpo region contains Phoksundo Lake, which was included in the Himalayan movie. The park has a wide variety of plants and animals, such as the Himalayan black bear, snow leopard, grey wolf, musk deer, and blue sheep, as well as gorals, big Tibetan sheep, leopards, jackals, and Himalayan Tahrs.

Lower Dolpo Restricted Area Entry Permit

It costs USD 20 per person each week plus USD 5 for every extra day. Trekkers must possess two of these permits to enter Upper Dolpo. One is to enter Lower Dolpo and exit (to enter Upper Dolpo) and the second is to leave Upper Dolpo and enter Lower Dolpo before taking off.

Upper Dolpo Restricted Area Entry Permit

The price of each person's Upper Dolpo Trekking Permit is USD 500. (for the first 10 days). The same applies to $50 per person, each day beyond 10 days. Particularly, the region of Shey Phoksundo Rural Municipality and Dolpo Buddha Rural Municipality (all territories of wards no. 4 to 6). (All areas of wards no. 1 to 7). Charka Tangsong Rural Municipality is similar (All areas of wards no. 1 to 6).

Documents for Permit

Dolpo is a restricted area, so to trek there, you must do it through an authorized service. The majority of Dolpo treks include camping. Additionally, when trekking in the Dolpo, at least two people must be present. It is not possible to obtain a permit for Dolpo trekking if you are a lone individual. Your Dolpo trekking permit will be granted once you have made a reservation with any authorized trekking company. Your agency will request your original passport, a valid visa, and a passport-size photo to obtain a Dolpo trekking permit. Your agency will fill out the online form and visit the Immigration Department Office, which is open from Sunday through Friday from 10 am to 5 pm, once you have given them your passport and a PP-sized photo. Within two to three hours of paperwork submission, the permit for the Dolpo trek should be ready.

How to find a good company that specializes in Upper Dolpo Trek?

Here are some pointers on how to choose the best tour operator for your upcoming Dolpo excursion. Some of the suggestions provided below could help you save a few hundred bucks while still getting the greatest results. You can ensure that you have everything at the same time, especially if you choose a big, pricey business. 

  • Verify their legal documentation to make sure they have the required registration and licenses from the Nepali government.
  • Look up reviews of the business on sites like Tripadvisor to see what other travelers are saying. You may be confident in the caliber of service that these businesses will provide because they are unbiased customer reviews that have been published and reviewed by Tripadvisor.
  • Avoid third-party booking agents or websites that are probably obligated to pay at least 15%–30% commission to local travel agencies.
  • Ask a local business if the guide has a license, first aid training, high altitude experience, insurance, and the appropriate hiking equipment.
  • Verify a company's concern for your safety by contacting them. The local agency has a deal with a helicopter service in case of an emergency. Although you might not require it, this service is crucial in an emergency.
  • To ensure that you're obtaining a fair deal, compare rates with at least a few different businesses. Avoid going too high or too low at the same time. Maintain a medium.
  • A local business would value your favorable reviews or recommendations on other travel forums or websites. Consequently, you and your pals might be able to save money on your upcoming trip
  • Before leaving, make plans to see the guide so you can determine their level of expertise.
  • Bring money with you! instead of using a credit card. Additionally, you can save 4% if you pay in cash

Feel free to contact us, if you are a planning a trip to Upper Dolpo Trek or any other trip in dolpo region, we will help you to create a customized itinerary based on your requirements.

Rupak Parajuli

Rupak Parajuli

He is a Travel Enthusiast and Writer, who mostly covers the guide to outdoor adventure in the Himalayas of Nepal. He can be your friendly trip planner. Feel free to reach out to him.

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