A restricted area trek refers to a trekking experience in a specific region of a country that is subject to special permits and regulations. These areas are often remote, less explore, and have unique cultural or environmental significance.
Restricted area treks provide adventurous travelers with the opportunity to explore off-the-beaten-path locations and immerse themselves in untouched natural beauty and indigenous cultures. These treks require obtaining special permits, traveling with register guides, and adhering to specific guidelines to ensure the preservation of the region and the safety of trekkers.
Nepal is a fantastic destination for trekking enthusiasts, offering a wide range of trekking options, including some restrict areas that require special permits. These special areas provide unique and off-the-beaten-path experiences for adventurous travelers. Here are a few popular restricted area treks in Nepal:
Upper Mustang Trek:
Located in the rain-shadow region of the Annapurna range, the Upper Mustang region offers a captivating blend of natural beauty and Tibetan culture. Trekking in this area requires a special permit, as it was once a forbidden kingdom. The landscape is characterized by barren valleys, ancient caves, and stunning rock formations.
Manaslu Circuit Trek:
This trek takes you around Mount Manaslu, the eighth highest peak in the world. The trail passes through remote villages, lush forests, glacial valleys, and high mountain passes. A restricted area permit is required for this trek, as it explores the culturally significant Nubry Valley and requires crossing the challenging Larke Pass.
Tsum Valley Trekking in Nepal
Tsum valley is a popular trekking destination in Nepal for several reasons. Firstly, it offers a unique cultural experience. The valley is home to the Tsumba people, who have their own distinct language, traditions, and lifestyle. The Tsumba culture is deeply rooted in Tibetan Buddhism, and trekkers have the opportunity to visit ancient monasteries, interact with friendly locals, and witness their religious ceremonies.
Secondly, Tsum Valley boasts stunning natural beauty. The trek takes you through picturesque landscapes, including lush forests, terraced fields, and towering Himalayan peaks. The valley is nestled between the Ganesh Himal and Sringi Himal ranges, providing breathtaking panoramic views throughout the journey.
Lastly, the recent opening of Tsum Valley for tourism has generated curiosity and interest among trekkers. Until 2008, the region was restricted, making it inaccessible to tourists. The sense of exclusivity and the opportunity to explore a relatively unexplored area have attracted many trekkers to venture into the Tsum Valley.
Nar and Phu Trekking in Nepal
The main reason for the restricted status is to protect the unique culture, traditions, and natural environment of the region. The Nar Phu valleys are home to ethnic Tibetan communities that have preserved their ancient way of life for centuries. The restricted access helps maintain their cultural integrity and prevent the negative impacts of mass tourism.
Furthermore, the area’s proximity to the Tibetan border raises security concerns. Nepal shares a sensitive border with China, and restrictions are in place to ensure the safety and sovereignty of the region.
While the permit requirement and restricted status may add some logistical challenges, it also contributes to the allure and exclusivity of the Nar Phu trek, attracting adventure seekers looking for off-the-beaten-path experiences and cultural immersion.
Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek:
Mount Kanchenjunga is the third highest peak globally and offers a mesmerizing trekking experience in eastern Nepal. This region is less crowds and rich in biodiversity. Kanchanjunga Trekking requires a special permit and takes you through dense forests, terrace fields, remote villages, and stunning alpine landscapes.
Dolpo, located in the western part of Nepal, is a remote and culturally distinct region. Trekking in Dolpo takes you through Shey-Phoksundo National Park, which is renowned for its stunning turquoise lake, Phoksundo. The area is known for its unique Bon culture and Tibetan Buddhist traditions. A restricted area permit is required for Dolpo trek also.
Humla and Simikot Trek:
Humla and Simikot are regions in western Nepal that were previously designated as restricted areas for trekking. These areas have recently been opened up for tourism, allowing trekkers to explore their stunning landscapes and unique cultural heritage.
Humla, is in the far northwest of Nepal, is known for its remote and rugged terrain. It is home to the Limi Valley, which offers breathtaking views of snow-capped mountains, pristine lakes, and traditional Tibetan villages. The region showcases a blend of Tibetan and Nepali cultures, with monasteries, ancient caves, and traditional practices adding to its charm.
Simikot to Hilsa trek:
It’s an adventurous and remote trekking route in western Nepal, near the border with Tibet (China). It is part of the Great Himalayan Trail and offers a unique opportunity to explore the pristine landscapes and cultural treasures of the region.
Hike to Hilsa starts from Simikot, the administrative headquarters of Humla District, and follows a challenging trail through rugged terrain, deep river valleys, and high mountain passes. One of the highlights of this trek is crossing the Nara La Pass at an altitude of around 4,620 meters, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and valleys.
Journey to Hilsa from Simikot also takes you along the sacred Karnali River, and you may encounter nomadic herders and remote communities along the way. Additionally, trekkers traverse through picturesque villages, terraced fields, dense forests, and barren landscapes, experiencing the diverse beauty of the area.
It’s important to note that restricted area treks often have additional requirements, such as traveling with a registered guide and a minimum group size. These measures are in place to ensure the safety and preservation of the region.
Before embarking on any control area trek, it is advisable to gather up-to-date information and consult with a local trekking agency or the Department of Immigration in Nepal to understand the permit requirements, regulations, and current trekking conditions.
Reasons to keep keep some places as a Restricted Area in Nepal
The Nepal Government designates certain areas as restriction for trekking due to various reasons. Here are a few common reasons behind the decision:
Preservation of culture and heritage:
Restricted areas often have unique cultural significance and are home to indigenous communities with distinct traditions and lifestyles. The government aims to protect and preserve their cultural heritage by limiting access and ensuring that the local way of life remains undisturbed.
Some areas encompass fragile ecosystems, rare flora and fauna, or sensitive ecological zones. By restricting access, the government aims to minimize human impact and maintain the pristine condition of these areas, promoting sustainable tourism and conservation efforts.
In certain border regions or areas with political sensitivity, restricting access helps maintain national security and sovereignty. It ensures that unauthorize individuals or activities do not compromise the safety and integrity of the region.
Promoting control tourism:
By designating areas as control, the government aims to control tourist flow and prevent overcrowding. This approach helps protect the natural environment, manage infrastructure and resources, and provide a higher quality experience for trekkers.
In general, the decision to keep some places as restricted area treks in Nepal is a strategic approach to balance tourism, preservation, cultural respect, and environmental sustainability.
How to get a restrict area permit in Nepal?
Anyone willing to enter the restricted area in Nepal, go through Gokyo Treks and Expedition agency. You must get a restrict area trek permit through the department of the immigration office in Nepal. In addition, you also needs the national park and conservation office permit which you get either from the Nepal Tourism Board or through the Gokyo trek company.
Every trekker must have those permits before you go otherwise a double value of permit cost will be charged as a penalty. If you do not want to bother about the special permits and arrangements for the trip, we help you all.
We arranges the online trekking permit through a series of applications and guarantee letters. You cannot trek alone, Thus, you need a minimum of 2 foreigners to apply for trek permits together. We need a valid passport with a valid visa to get permits.
As you go into the remote areas, there are no Lodges along with the journey. Therefore, Gokyo Treks & Expedition a Trekking agency in Nepal arranges everything you need for your holiday in the best way with all the necessary gears such as Tents, Support staff, Tents, mattresses, pillows, food, cooks…etc. Compared to normal treks, hike into the control areas is more costly in terms of additional crew taking from town.