If your plan to be in Nepal is to trek around and explore the wilderness, I bet you have a lot to explore. But before you dive right into it, here’s a couple of things that you must know before going for a trek in the hills. For starters let’s begin with the when, how, where to of getting trekkers permit in Pokhara:
I went to the Annapurna region and here’s something I have with me to share, it’s a step by step guide to get Trekkers Permit and TIMS card (Trekkers’ Information Management Systems) for the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek in Pokhara.
Get your documents ready.
To get a permit, you need to present the following documents:
- Two passport size photos,
(The passport size photo can be clicked at the permit authority office too. But to avoid the queues and save time, I recommend bringing two passport-sized photos with you.)
- A photocopy of your passport (take the original along too),
- Fee for the permit.
- A valid travel health insurance.
(When I was at the permit office, I saw a group of Indians who came without Travel Insurance and had to buy one online there and then.)
Also, keep the following information ready to fill up in the form:
- Your entry and exit points for the trek
- An itinerary of your trek
- Entry and exit dates
- Emergency contact in Nepal and your home country.
Go to the tourist permit authority in Pokhara
The tourist authority in Pokhara issues the TIMS card and the Trekker’s permit. The office address is:
Tourist Police Office and Permit Office, Damside Road, Near Nepal Immigration Office, Damside, Pokhara, 33700.
(An important landmark is the Sahid Chowk. If you’re coming from the lakeside, after Sahid Chowk take the next left on the crossroads and it’s a 100 meters walk. The office is situated very close to the airport as well.)
When to go:
The office remains open from 9 AM to 5 PM on working days (Monday-Saturday) except for national and international holidays. The lunch hours are informal and are between 1300 to 1400.
Travel Hack: During peak season, you would find a long queue if you go during the day, better get to the office early in the morning and line up before the office opens, that way, you would be the first to get a pass and could save a lot of time.
Show documents, pay fees, and get the pass:
You go into the office, show them your documents, and pay them the fees as follows:
- Going with a group: NPR. 1,000; per trekking route per person per entry.
- Going as a free individual trekker (FIT): NPR. 2,000 per trekking route per person per entry.
For SAARC countries TIMS Card fees are as follows:
- Going with a group: NPR. 300; per trekking route per person per entry.
- Going as a free individual trekker (FIT): NPR. 600, per trekking route per person per entry. (Which is what I paid when I visited).
- Diplomats are not charged for the card.
To get complete details of the Trekking Permit fees and charges visit the official website here.
(The charges of TIMS card and the permit is almost double if you are traveling solo to promote group travel to ensure the safety of Trekkers. The color of the card issued to Free Individual Trekkers (FIT) is RED while for Group Trekkers (GT) it’s BLUE)
Apart from the TIMS card, there is an ACAP registration charge that you have to pay to register yourself into the Trekker’s maintenance database. It is an emergency safeguarding fund for trekkers, if and when any mishaps occur during the trek. I paid NPR 1000 for the ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Project) registration (being a SAARC citizen), Non-SAARC nationals have to shell out 3000 NPR for the registration.
The entire process from you arriving at the office to you getting a pass roughly takes about 1 hour. The staff at Tourist Permit Authority, Pokhara, was very friendly and helpful. Once you have it, you are good to go on the ride.
Note: Just like your passport, keep the TIMS card safe and intact at all points. These get checked multiple times at checkpoints located on the trail starting from Besisahar.