Yes, some areas in ladakh needs inner line permits (ILP) to visit certain areas. Basically, these are the areas on the international border and so, considered sensitive. However, last year there was some news that these Ladakh Permits will be removed but as of now, they continue. So, this is a guide about hpw to get permits.
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A Complete Guide to Ladakh Permits, ILP, PAP & RAP
What exactly are the Ladakh permits & who needs it?
As mentioned above, you need special permits to visit frontier areas of Ladakh. Both domestic and foreign travellers need it and you have to pay a certain fees for it. No one is exempt and in fact, it is tougher for certain people.
Which areas need ILP in Ladakh?
especially the Khardung La, Nubra Valley & Turtuk, the great lakes of Changthang like Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri along with other attractions in that area such as Hanle, and also the Dah Hanu (Brokpa Area or Aryan Valley), and Batalik. You DON’T need it to simply visiting Leh or reaching it through either Srinagar or Manali route. You can also roam around nearby areas of Leh without any issue. Check my Ladakh Tourist Map if you have trouble understanding these regions.
Who needs Protected Area Permits (PAP) ?
While a general ILP is enough for most tourists, people from certain countries and people with certain special passports will need special permits called Protected Area Permits (PAP) from the respective ministries in Delhi before entering Ladakh.
Citizens of Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, foreign national of Pakistani origin, Hong Kong (special administrative region peoples republic of china) require Protected Area Permit (PAP) to visit protected/restricted areas from Ministry of Home Affairs, GOI, New Delhi.
Additionally, diplomatic passport, un passport, international organisation passport, official passport/visa, journalist passport/visa holders require protected area permit to visit protected/restricted areas (like pangong, nobra, khardongla, tsomoriri, etc.) of ladakh from Ministry of External Affairs, GOI, New Delhi
How and where to get Ladakh Permits?
Apart from the special cases mentioned above, rest of the people can easily get it on their own. You can apply online, or visit the LAHDC office. ANother easy way is to emply the service of locals. Your hotel manager, local tour operator, or taxi driver can get it for you. You can also simply go to any tour operator in the Leh Market and pay them (they may charge a bit extra).
Can I get Online Permit?
Yes. Earlier it was not there but now it has become more convenient to get the same. You can either apply alone or as a group. You just have to provide your details and any ID number. You can get it yourself by paying online or go through a registered agent. Oversease vistors have a slightly different form and you must go through an agent. Here is the link for getting Ladakh pemrits online.
Choosing Regions while applying
While applying for permit, you will be asked to choose the regions to visit. It can be confusing and there is a long list. However, the expert tip here is that, it does not cost extra. So, just tick every location if you want.
Duration of Permit
Permit can be valid up to 15 days for foreigners and three weeks for Indians.
How much Ladakh Permit costs?
Here are the current fees and breakdown when I tested it myself on the website.
There may be slight changes based on the number of days you need. Basically, be prepared to pay between INR 600-700
Wildlife Fee INR 240
Environment Fee INR 400
Red Cross Fee INR 50 (Optional, you can avoid it)
Total INR 640 or INR 690
If you do it yourself, you can pay online through net banking. That may cost you an additional convenience fee of INR 10.