Dolpo is a secluded region that requires special permits to trek. The region lies in the northern part of Mid-Western Nepal. Dolpo has its own culture, tradition, and lifestyle different from the rest of Nepal. The area is a home to Bon people whose culture is widely-influenced by Tibetans. Here, you also find nomads with caravans of yaks and sheep.
Here, you trek through rugged trails with a passionate guide to explore Dolpo. You carry your backpack and trek through alpine and subalpine forests, green lush grassland, and high passes. Navigating alongside the Phoksundo River, you trek towards remote and old villages of Upper Dolpo.
You forget every modern convenience and explore the world that looks like one back to hundreds of years. No wheels, no huge buildings, malls, or star hotels for weeks! All you see is the dove-white Himalayas soaring into the sky, green lush grasslands, cascading rivers and streams, and sparsely scattered thin villages at times.
Highlights of Dolpo Trek
- Spend a day exploring around holy Shey-Phoksundo Lake
- Visit Buddhist sacred monasteries including Shey Gompa
- Witness breathtaking mountain peaks including Crystal Mountain
- Cross high passes over 5000 meters including Kang-La pass
- Explore old villages like Dho Tarap and Saldang
- Live in tea houses and tented camps
- See nomadic and agro-pastoral lifestyle
- Meet Bonpa and explore the Tibetan-influenced culture
- Blue sheep, Snow Leopard, Himalayan Tahr in the wild
- Caravans of Yaks, Sheep, Chamba goats and mules
- Know about Yarsagumba- a medicinal herb
Dolpo Trekking Permits
Trekkers are allowed to trek freely in most parts of Nepal. Such trekkers are called Free Individual Trekker(FIT). You need to get a TIMS card and trek individually or in a group.
But there are certain restricted areas in Nepal that the government regulates. In those regions, FITs are strictly prohibited. Dolpo is among such controlled areas.
Trekking in such area is somehow different from trekking to normal destinations. You must have a special trekking permit of such specific areas to trek there. Trekkers are not allowed to trek individually and a guide is compulsory. Moreover, you need to have at least two people for the trek.
Unlike other trekking regions, you do not need a TIMS card to travel to a restricted area. The special trekking permit of the region is enough.
In Dolpo trek, if you plan to trek only lower parts of Dolpo, you need a Lower Dolpo permit. But, if you want to trek to remote areas of Upper Dolpo, you need both Lower Dolpo and Upper Dolpo trek permits.
Here, you can see the permits required to trek in Dolpo and other relevant information about the Dolpo trekking permits.
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Who Issues Dolpo Trekking Permit?
Many think Tourism Board of Nepal issues permits for trekking in restricted regions like Upper Dolpo and Lower Dolpo. But, Department of Immigration of Nepal issues the permit. The department is located at Kalikasthan, Dillibazar in Kathmandu.
Why Dolpo Remains a Restricted Region?
Dolpo remains a remote area undisturbed by the outside world. Nepal Government included Upper Dolpo and Lower Dolpo in the list of restricted regions for a few reasons. The unique and interesting culture and tradition of Dolpo is the wealth of the country. They need to be preserved. Also, this is to prevent ecological and biological deterioration.
Another major reason for restricting Dolpo for trekkers is the remoteness of Dolpo. If something goes wrong, the trekkers need instant assistance. The absence of even the basic infrastructure and geographical constraint of Dolpo means such supports may be unavailable or delayed.
So, only the licensed trek operators are allowed to take trekkers with a good preparation. The tour operator has to ensure about trekkers’ safety to the Department of Immigration.
When Was Dolpo Permitted to Trekkers?
Dolpo was abandoned until 1989. No foreigners were allowed to go to Dolpo. But, as the tour operators requested the Government to allow the area for trekking, the Government opened Lower and Upper Dolpo to foreigners, with restrictions.
The Process of Getting Dolpo Trekking Permit
Trekkers themselves are not advised to apply for the permit. You have to contact an authorized trekking agency of Nepal, which will then apply for your permit at the Department of Immigration of Nepal. Your tour operator has to submit an application form with relevant documents. Here is the list of required documents to submit at the Department of Immigration of Nepal.
- Online application form
- Name lists of trekkers
- A copy of the passport of each trekker
- A copy of trekkers visas covering sufficient days for the trek
- Program schedule with the itinerary
- A letter of guarantee from the tour operator
- Trekkers agreement with the tour operator
- Insurance-related documents of trekkers and crew member
- Tour operator’s license
- Tour operator’s certificate of PAN number
- Tour operator’s tax clearance certificate
- Voucher of permit fee payment
There should be a minimum of two trekkers for the trek. A licensed guide should accompany the trekkers.
Remember, they will not issue a trekking permit beyond the visa expiration date. So, make sure you have enough days visa for the Dolpo trek.
Time Required to Get Dolpo Trek Permit
Upon the request of the customers, trek agencies can apply for the permit with all the relevant documents. The Immigration Department Office remains open from Sunday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. If the documents are submitted, Dolpo Trek Permit should be ready within 2-3 hours after the submission.
Dolpo Trek Permit Card
The Department of Immigration issues Dolpo Trek Permit cards to trekkers with following information mentioned in the permit.
- Name of the trekker
- Permanent address
- Temporary address in Nepal
- Passport number
- Date of Nepalese visa validity
- Place of trekking
- Point of starting and ending of the trek
- Name of your tour operating agency
- Trekking permit number
- Date of issue
- Route of trekking and
- A passport sized photo
The otherside of the card has rules and regulations to be followed. Violation of the regulations may result in immediate deporting or even into detention.
You should keep the permit with you while trekking and should be shown to police or immigration authorities on request. After the completion, you have to return the card at the Immigration Department or exiting port.
Dolpo trek is for those who want to experience the rawness of nature. You pass through isolated regions which need special permits. Your journey through highlands crossing countless rivers and streams, alpine forests, grasslands and a few high passes is sure to be a memorable one. You will explore the area that only a very few westerners have explored.
You will be friends with nomads, learn about Bonpa and their unique culture. You will have a lifelong memory of exploring around turquoise Shey Phoksundo Lake and passing through some of the highest settlements in the world.
If you want to trek in Dolpo, you can contact us for a comfortable and well-prepared trek to Dolpo. We look after your entire trek from getting you permits to taking care of your food, accommodation, and transportation.