To visit Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, Dha Hanu, Tso Moriri and the Upper Indus (beyond Upshi) foreigners require a Protected Area Permit (Indian citizens simply fill in a self-declaration form). Applications must be processed through an approved travel agency, though it is technically possible to start the process online at One minor hitch for single travellers is that there must be at least two applicants at the time of application, but agencies can usually fudge this and once you have the permit, travelling alone seems perfectly OK.

Agencies generally need 24 hours to get a permit. Make several extra copies of your permit to please overzealous check posts.

Permits are valid for up to seven days. On top of the variable agency fee (anything up to ₹600), the permit cost is composed of three elements: a ₹100 Red Cross contribution; a ₹20 per day 'wildlife fee'; and a ₹300 environment tax.