Technically speaking, these areas strictly control the flow of foreigners. Most of the trails used to prohibit the entrance of foreigners, but due to the economic opportunities that tourism brings, foreigners are now allowed to enter, usually with a hefty entry fee. Also, visiting these areas is only possible with a government-registered trekking company and a minimum of two people in the group. You may wonder what is gained by trekking in an area that is more controlled and expensive than other places, but that is an easy answer.
These “restricted areas” are this way to preserve the culture and environment that make them so special. The point is not the keep foreigners out, but rather keep the culture and unspoiled landscapes ‘in,’ or alive. The areas of Upper Dolpo, Rara, Mustang, Manaslu, Kanchenjunga, etc. are some of the most pristine, beautiful trekking spots in Nepal. It is no coincidence that they are also restricted areas. Few tourists make the effort to visit them, so you can walk for days without seeing another tourist. Because of this, you will be able to develop closer connections to the locals than other treks. Many of the restricted area treks lie along the border with Tibet, where you will experience a completely different culture than most other places in Nepal.
Often, the remoteness of restricted areas calls for camping. However, many of the trails now offer teahouse accommodation for those who wish not to sleep under the stars. It is your choice if you want to do a teahouse or camping trek. To see Nepal’s most faraway places and most well-preserved cultures, you should check out our Restricted Area Treks. Reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns, we are happy to help!