Upper Dolpo Trek - 24 Days

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US$ 3875/pp  

Upper Dolpo Trek - 24 Days

  • Starting Cost
    US$ 3875
  • Duration:
    24 Days
  • Destinaiton:
    Manaslu
  • Season:
    Monsoon, Spring and Autumn
  • Difficulty Level:
    Extreme
  • Max Altitude:
    4,402 m

Highlight

  • Kathmandu City Sightseeing
  • Visit the National Parks of Bardiya and Shey Phoksundo. 
  • Trek through Kang La Pass (5,360m), Saldang La Pass (5,200m) and Jeng La Pass (5,090m) 
  • Explore Phoksundo Lake.
  • Experience the authentic culture and lifestyle of Magar and Kami communities.

Overview

Explore the enigmatic realm of Upper Dolpo, an entirely different world veiled in mystique, seeks adventure on a land filled with ancient monasteries, turquoise lakes, cascades and rushing rivers. Wild animals including elusive snow leopards, and the blue sheeps call Upper Dolpo their home.

For decades, Dolpo remained a forbidden land, shrouded in isolation, safeguarding its timeless traditions and the way of life. It wasn't until the autumn of 1990 when travelers started visiting Lower Dolpo. Along the way, they were greeted by the colossal peaks of Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, and Kanjirowa, weaving through the historic paths of Lower Dolpo, once a sovereign kingdom in its own right.

The allure of this trek lies not only in its breathtaking mountains and lake but also in the warmth and simplicity of the local community, who live in this rugged remoteness of the terrain. With villages perched at altitudes crossing 4,300 meters, these settlements stand as some of the highest human settlements on earth. Here, amidst the thin mountain air, ancient traditions still thrive, with remnants of the pre-Buddhist Bon Po religion live along the teachings of Buddhism.

Itinerary (Plan)

Time : 25 mins Drive
Max Altitude : 1,440 m
3 Star
N/A
  • Arrive in Kathmandu.
  • Our representative will be there to greet you and transfer you to your hotel.
  • The program will be briefly explained on the way to the hotel.
  • Rest of the day varies depending on your arrival time; some activities can be arranged if you arrive by midday or late afternoon.

Time : Sightseeing Only
Max Altitude : 1,440 m
3 Star
Breakfast
  • After breakfast at the hotel, we start our day by visiting Kathmandu Durbar Square, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, it is a significant cultural and architectural landmark. It served as the royal palace of the Malla kings who ruled over the Kathmandu Valley from 1201 to 1779. The architecture reflects the rich artistic and cultural heritage of the Newar people, who are indigenous to the valley.
  • We then make our way to the Swayambhunath Stupa, also known as the Monkey Temple, is one of the oldest and most important sacred Buddhist site located on a hill in Kathmandu. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. The stupa's name, Swayambhunath, means "self-existent one" in Sanskrit, indicating its ancient origins.
  • After lunch, we head to the Pashupatinath Temple, another significant religious site in Kathmandu, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. It is located on the banks of the Bagmati River and is dedicated to Lord Shiva, one of the principal deities in Hinduism. The temple is not only a religious site but also an important pilgrimage destination for Hindus from Nepal, India, and beyond. It is believed that a visit to Pashupatinath and offering prayers here can cleanse one's sins and lead to spiritual liberation.

Our day of sightseeing concludes at the Boudhanath Stupa, which is believed to have been built in the 5th century, making it one of the oldest and holiest Buddhist sites in Kathmandu Valley. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a prominent symbol of Buddhism in Nepal. The stupa is a massive structure with a dome-shaped base and a towering spire, adorned with the watchful eyes of the Buddha painted on all four sides. These eyes, known as the "Eyes of Buddha" or "Wisdom Eyes," symbolize the all-seeing and compassionate nature of the Buddha.

Time : 2 hours
Max Altitude : 150 m
3 Star
Breakfast
  • We take an early flight to Nepalgunj from Kathmandu
  • Drive from Nepalgunj to Bardiya National Park, home to Asian Elephants, One-Horned Rhinoceros and most notably the Royal Bengal Tiger.
  • Explore Bardiya National Park and visit the Karnali Bridge which is the first and only cable-stayed bridge in Nepal.
  • Return to Nepalgunj for overnight stay.

Time : 3 hours
Max Altitude : 2,400 m
Guest House
Breakfast
  • Morning flight to the hillside village of Juphal from Nepalgunj. 
  • Upon arrival, we meet our porters and we go through entry permit verification for the Shey-Phoksundo National Park.
  • From Juphal, we will trek for around three hours to reach the village of Dunai.

Time : 6 Hours
Max Altitude : 2,660 m
Guest House
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • We start today’s trek crossing the new suspension bridge turning west from Dunai.
  • At the Thuli Bheri and Suli Gad river confluence, follow along the Suli Gad.
  • Pass through overgrown marijuana fields interspersed with millet, pumpkin, potato and chili crops.
  • Many villages here farm the "chuk" plant used to make vinegar and medicines.
  • After 6 to 7 hours, we arrive at the settlement of Hanke - gateway to Shey Phoksundo National Park.

Time : 7 Hours
Max Altitude : 3,104 m
Camping
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • Today’s trail grows increasingly strenuous as we move on. We start with a very steep and narrow ascent, hugging the cliff face.
  • After descending back down to the river, the trail climbs steeply again.
  • Take frequent stops to soak in panoramic views and catch your breath.
  • Tonight, we'll camp alongside the raging Suli Gad River. Try to relish the remoteness under the canopy of star-studded sky.

Time : 6 Hours
Max Altitude : 3,600 m
Camping
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • Begin the trek with an easy trail before the path becomes a steady incline at Sumdo.
  • Get your first glimpse of the stunning turquoise Phoksundo Lake from over the ridge vantage point.
  • Descend through birch forests to the upper Phoksundo Khola river valley.
  • Pass through the picturesque village of Ringmo with its mudbrick chortens and mani walls. Notice the new solar panels improving life for the local villagers.
  • From Ringmo, it's a short walk to Phoksundo's magnificent shoreline.
  • Set up camp right on the shores of Phoksundo Lake.

Time : 5 Hours
Max Altitude : 3,507 m
Camping
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • From camp, follow the precarious trail hugging the edge of Phoksundo's shores.
  • Ascend steeply up to 4,040m, gaining breathtaking elevated views of the lake.
  • Then plunge back down to the valley bottom of the Phoksundo Khola flood plain.
  • Trek along the river, entering the confines of the forest.
  • Take in your final views of the spectacular Phoksundo Lake from this serene riverside setting.

Time : 7 Hours
Max Altitude : 4,402 m
Camping
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • We set out through a glacial valley which offers us stunning views of Chammlang Peak.
  • As we head towards Phoksundo Bhanjyang, the path narrows and grows steeper. On the way we cross over the raging Phoksundo River and another stream.
  • Next, we climb up to a sweeping sheep meadow high above.
  • From here, we enter a new valley offering tantalizing glimpses of Kang La Pass ahead.
  • Continue trekking through this remote valley towards our day's destination to the village of Phoksundo Bhanjyang.

Time : 6 Hours
Max Altitude : 5,360 m
Camping
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • Our trek begins with a grueling 2-hour ascent up a dusty trail to Kang La Pass (5,360m), also called Nadra La.
  • From the pass's summit, take in ever so beautiful views of a vast valley bisected by the river.
  • Carefully descend the steep, snow-covered Kang La Pass on about a 3-hour downhill trek.
  • After getting across the Kang La Pass, we arrive at the small village of Shey Gompa.
  • With just a few abodes, this remote settlement is home to an ancient Buddhist monastery. Visit Shey Gompa, considered the heart of inner Dolpo before you rest for the night.

Time : Acclimatize full Day
Max Altitude : 4,126 m
Camping
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • We will be spending an extra day in Shey acclimating to the high altitude.
  • Our acclimatization starts with a hike northwards to the remote Tsakang Gompa, known as the "Crystal Monastery". Rather than a monastery, this 11th century construction was once a famed meditation center.
  • Explore the ancient Buddhist culture and legends surrounding this sacred site.
  • Back in Shey, explore the village's namesake Shey Gompa monastery. This centuries-old gompa belongs to the Buddhist Chaiba community who follow Padmasambhava.
  • Gaze upon the Crystal Mountain - its quartz-laced cliffs embedded with marine fossils. 
  • Try to soak in the magic of this rarely-visited spiritual and natural wonder.

Time : 7 Hours
Max Altitude : 5,200 m
Camping
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • The path begins criss-crossing over exposed rocks and loose scree as we gain elevation. The trail winds through juniper trees into a narrow, rocky gulch.
  • After a strenuous climb, we reach the heights of Saldang La pass at 5,200m.
  • Begin the descent northwards on a long, tiring trail into a pastoral valley below.
  • En route, we pass fields where yaks, sheeps and yak-hair tents fill the land.
  • After 6-7 hours of trekking, we will arrive at the village of Namduna Gaun. 
  • Much like Shey, Namduna is home to Namgung Gompa of the Karma-pa Buddhist sect. We will be staying overnight here.

Time : 5 Hours
Max Altitude : 3,903 m
Camping
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • Today’s trek begins with a strenuous ascent up a scree-covered slope.
  • After 3-4 grueling hours of climbing, we will reach almost 4,800m in elevation. From this high point, carefully descend down a steep slope.
  • We will then arrive at the picturesque village of Saldang, perched on a plateau. Take in view of Saldang standing high above the Nam Khong Nala valley.
  • One of lower Dolpo's largest settlements, Saldang is also a prosperous agricultural hub. Its strategic location has also made it an important trading stop on routes to Tibet.
  • Explore the scenic village set amid this remote, high-altitude landscape.
  • Overnight in Saldang to experience life in this rarely-visited Himalayan enclave.

Time : 6 Hours
Max Altitude : 3,942 m
Camping
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • We depart from the village of Saldang, trekking down towards the river valley below.
  • Passing through fields and passing past strings of stupas, chortens and mani walls we reach the local Chaiba Buddhist monastery on our descent.
  • Arrive at the prosperous Namdo village, home to around 500 people. This settlement stretches 5 km along the high slopes above the Nam Khong Khola river.
  • Explore Namdo's monastery located at the riverside, and another gompa atop a cliff.
  • After exploring Namdo, continue downhill towards our riverside camp at Sibu.
  • Set up for the night along the banks of the Nam Khong Khola River.

Time : 6 Hours
Max Altitude : 4,369 m
Camping
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • Two hours after setting out following one branch of the Nam Khong Khola River, we will find ourselves amongst another stream feeding the valley.
  • Turn eastwards, beginning a steep ascent up the valley side then climb  towards the area just below Jeng La Phedi pass.
  • Take in views overlooking the dramatic Nam Khong Khola valley below.
  • After 5 to 6 hours of trekking uphill, we reach our night's camp at Jeng La Phedi.

Time : 7 Hours
Max Altitude : 4,240 m
Camping
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • From Jeng La Phedi, its a 2 hour strenuous ascent to Jeng La Pass at 5,090 m.
  • Upon cresting Jeng La, you will be rewarded with breathtaking panoramas of Dhaulagiri and other Himalayan peaks.
  • From the pass, we carefully make our way down into the spectacularly scenic Tarap Valley below. Tarap is a 20 km long valley cradled between mountains along the Tarap Chu River.
  • Arrive in one of Tarap's picturesque villages of Tokyu Gaon after the 6-7 hour trek over Jeng La.

Time : 5 Hours
Max Altitude : 4,090 m
Camping
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • Before departing from Tokyu Gaon, we will visit the village's ancient Chaiba Gompa monastery.
  • After a short visit, we follow the well-trodden trail towards Dho Tarap, passing fields where harvests can be seen.
  • Pass crumbling chortens and strings of colorful mani walls lining the path on the way to Dho Tarap.
  • In Dho Tarap, visit the "French School" just outside the village.
  • This area is home primarily to Magar people who have lived here for generations. Both Buddhist Nyingmapa and Bon Po practitioners coexist in these highlands.
  • Visit the Buddhist gompa, where the resident lama may show us his private chambers.
  • Hike up to the Bon Po gompa, a 30-minute trek from your Dho Tarap before we retire for the night.

Time : 7 Hours
Max Altitude : 3,800 m
Camping
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • Follow the downhill course of the raging Tarap Khola River through narrow gorges.
  • Keep an eye out for blue sheep, marmots, yaks and Himalayan herders with their flocks. Many Dolpo residents are making the seasonal migration to lower winter pastures.
  • In places, the centuries-old trail narrows precariously along the river's edge.
  • After 5 to 6 hours of trekking the Tarap Valley, reach your riverside campsite.

Time : 5 Hours
Max Altitude : 3,550 m
Camping
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • We begin trekking downhill, following the dramatic Tarap River gorge. At certain precipitous points, the sheer gorge is narrow enough to leap across.
  • The valley narrows into a deep ravine, with the river raging far below.
  • We continue our descent through this geological wonderland of towering cliffs.
  • After 5-6 hours getting across the gorge, arrive at our riverside camp in Khanigaon.

Time : 5 Hours
Max Altitude : 2,281 m
Camping
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • We depart from Khanigaon, trekking alongside the Bheri River's course.
  • Pass through the village of Lalberi, continuing on through dense forests.
  • After about 5 hours of hiking, we'll arrive at the ancient fortress town of Tarakot.
  • Explore Tarakot's Old Dzong, as the locals refer to this historic walled fort.
  • From Tarakot, we will visit the famous Sandul Gompa monastery.
  • Sandul lies 8km east at the confluence of the Barbung Khola and Tarap Chu rivers.
  • Overnight in the unique frontier settlement of Tarakot.

Time : 6 Hours
Max Altitude : 2,150 m
Tea House / Lodge
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • From Tarakot, the trail descends alongside the Bheri River. This foot trail is built 20 feet above the river's edge.
  • After 5 to 6 hours of trekking past dramatic river scenery, arrive in Dunai. We've now come full circle, returning to this village marking the start and end point of our trek.
  • Spend one final night under Dunai's star-filled skies, reminiscing about your journey's highlights.

Time : 3 Hours
Max Altitude : 2,400 m
Tea House / Lodge
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • We start our final day of trekking along the Bheri River. Passing through the villages of Kalakonda and Motipur and their teahouses.
  • Soak in the last views of the dramatic river landscapes we've grown so familiar with.
  • As you near Juphal, the trail ascends slightly uphill towards the airstrip.
  • After 2 to 3 hours of hiking, arrive at Juphal.

Time : 35 Mins Flight to NGJ and 1 Hour Flight to KTM
Max Altitude : 1,440 m
3 Star
Breakfast, and Lunch
  • Another chance to enjoy this great flight and savor the final glance of the majestic Dolpo and the Himalayas.
  • Upon arrival in Kathmandu, you will be transferred to your hotel.
  • You will be served a farewell dinner in a fine restaurant.

Time : 25 mins drive
Max Altitude : 1,440 m
N/A
Breakfast

The grand finale of our adventure in the Dolpo District has arrived! Today marks the conclusion of our remarkable 24-day trek to Upper Dolpo. Our airport representative will accompany you to the International Airport, ensuring a smooth departure for your journey back home.

 

As we bid you farewell, we hold the hope that your wanderlust brings you back to Nepal once more. Safe travels!

 

Live Weather

Real Tempreture
18.27 °C
Feels Like
18.42 °C
Humidity
87%
Cloud
light rain

Video/Image Gallery

Cost Include

  • All airport transfers (international and domestic) via private air-conditioned vehicles.
  • All administrative expenses and government taxes.
  • Twin-sharing/double accommodation for 2 nights in a 3-star hotel in Kathmandu.
  • Twin-sharing guesthouse accommodation during the 19-night trek in the Dolpo District.
  • Standard meals throughout the trek (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner)
  • Round-trip airfare between Kathmandu, Nepalgunj and Juphal.
  • First-aid trained, government-licensed trekking guide.
  • Porters for luggage during the trek (1 porter for every 2 clients). Max weight limit for a porter- 18 kg (9 kg per trekker, weight limit). You can store non essential items in your hotel or at the DWT store.
  • Fee and Permits for Sagarmatha/Dolpo National Park and TIMS - Trekkers’ Information Management System (Please avail us with 2 passport size photos required for your permit).
  • Filtered water during included meals
  • Wages, accommodation, meals, gear, insurance, and medications for all staff.
  • 1 duffle or kit bag, trekking map and a trip completion certificate.

Cost Exclude

  • Lunch and Dinner in Kathmandu.
  • International flight fare and Airport Departure Tax.
  • Nepal Entry Visa (Visa can be obtained easily upon arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, with a fee of (USD 30 for a 15-day visa, USD 50 for a 30-day visa and USD 125 for a 90-day visa).
  • Travel insurance.
  • Any further expenses that are not included in the "Include" section.
  • Charges for any excess baggage (Limit: 9 kg per person) during the trek.
  • Additional night accommodation in Kathmandu due to early arrival, late departure, or an early return from the trek.
  • Personal expenses (shopping, snacks, boiled bottled water, hot beverages like tea or coffee, cold drinks, hot showers, alcohol, Wi-Fi, telephone calls, battery recharge fees, extra porters, etc).
  • Individual clothing and equipment.
  • Tips for staff, guides and porters.

Additional Information

Physical Fitness

  • Upper Dolpo trek is physically demanding, involving long hours of walking at high altitudes. Prioritize cardiovascular fitness, strength, and endurance in your training routine.
  • Consult with a healthcare professional before starting any fitness program, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions.

Altitude Sickness 

  • Understand the symptoms of altitude sickness (acute mountain sickness - AMS) and be aware of the risks associated with ascending to high altitudes.
  • Acclimatization is crucial for your body to adjust to the increasing altitude.
  • Headache, vomiting, nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath are common symptoms of altitude-related sickness. If you notice any of the signs, consult your guide and follow their directions.
  • When suffering from AMS, do not continue the trek; instead, stay at the same location or move to lower elevations.

Accommodations

  • Familiarize yourself with the teahouse accommodation system along the trail. These are basic lodges that provide meals and shelter.
  • The rooms are primarily on a twin-sharing basis.

Connectivity

  • Be aware that internet connectivity is limited, and you may not have access to it in certain areas.
  • Mobile Networks are unreliable.

Environment Considerations

  • Respect local customs and the environment. Follow the principles of "Leave No Trace" and contribute to responsible tourism.
  • Bring a refillable water bottle and purification tablets to reduce plastic waste.

Weather Condition

  • The best times to trek to Upper Dolpo are autumn (mid-September to November) and spring (March to early June). Temperature varies from 4°C (39°F) to -12°C (10.4°F) during March and early June to 8°C (46.4°F) average during the peak seasons of September and November.
  • Trek in the favorable seasons and keep away from the rainy season (July and August). In the cold months of January and February, the temperature can drop to -20°C (-4°F) and can be a little harsh in the mountains.
  • Traveling during bad weather conditions is the worst scenario possible, so always read the weather forecast or travel during peak seasons.

Trekking Permits and Documents 

Permits

  • Upper Dolpo Restricted Area Permit - USD 500 per person for the first 10 days, USD 50 per person beyond 10 days of stay
  • Shey Phoksundo National Park Permit - Nepalese - NPR 100, SAARC - NPR 1500, Foreigners - NPR 3000

Documents

  • Two passport-sized photos
  • A copy of international flight ticket
  • A copy of travel insurance 

Upper Dolpo Trek Length and Elevation

Trek Length

  • 19 Days 
  • 1 Night in Nepalgunj
  • 2 Nights at Kathmandu

Elevations

The elevation factor poses a significant challenge throughout the trek, beginning at Juphal airport with an altitude exceeding 2,400m. Since most individuals aren't accustomed to such heights, the journey incorporates acclimatization days. The ascent to Upper Dolpo is deliberately slow to allow for acclimatization and prioritize safety over speed.

Typically, daily elevation gains will fall within the 400-800m range. After days with substantial gains and higher altitudes, there's a pattern of including acclimatization days. These days serve a dual purpose, providing time for sightseeing and exploring the surrounding areas.

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Equipments

For the Upper Dolpo trek, you'll need a variety of equipment, clothing, and materials to ensure your comfort, safety, and success on the journey. Here's a comprehensive list:

Please note: We provide a Sleeping Bag containing sleeping bag liners which are graded to be used up to -10°C. We additionally provide a 75 liters Duffle Bag and Trekking Poles to use for the trek.

Clothing

  1. Moisture-wicking base layers (Top and Bottom)
  2. Insulating layers (Fleece or Down Jacket)
  3. Waterproof and windproof outer shell jacket and pants
  4. Trekking pants and shorts
  5. Long-sleeve shirts and T-shirts
  6. Thermal gloves and waterproof gloves
  7. Beanies and Sun Hat
  8. Hiking socks and liner socks
  9. Gaiters (Neck/Leg)
  10. Scarfs and Balaclavas 

Footwear

  1. Well fItted Hiking Boots with Ankle support
  2. Ice Cleats (For Winter Months) 
  3. Casual Shoes and Sandals 

Equipment 

  1. Backpack (40-50 liters) with rain cover.
  2. Sleeping bag suitable for cold temperatures
  3. Trekking poles
  4.  Headlamp with extra batteries
  5. Sunglasses with UV protection
  6. Water bottles or hydration system
  7. Hydration bladder
  8. Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, biodegradable soap, etc.)

Creams and Medications 

  1. Tinted Sunscreen SPF 50 and above.
  2. Moisturizer 
  3. Lip Balm
  4. Healing Ointment
  5. Mosquito Repellent Cream 
  6. Cough Syrup 
  7. Medication for your Allergies 
  8. Blister Kit

Miscellaneous

  1. Waterproof cover for your backpack
  2. Energy Bars and Trial Mix
  3. Quick-dry towel
  4. Personal identification and necessary permits
  5. Money (cash) in small denominations
  6. Passport-size photos for permits
  7. Power bank or extra batteries
  8. Wet Wipes
  9. Pee bottle / Pee funnel for women
  10. Pillow Case

Remember, this list may vary based on personal preferences and the time of year you undertake the trek. Ensure that your gear is of good quality and suits the specific conditions of the Dolpo District.

Route Map

routemap images

Fixed Departure

# Dete Cost Status Action

Freqeuntly Asked Questionnaire

Upper Dolpo Trek is a trekking activity done in the Northern part of Dolpa District, which takes us through some of the most serene, beautiful and rich wildlife Nepal has to offer.

The most common way to reach Upper Dolpo is by flying to Juphal Airport from Nepalgunj and then trekking through the Dolpa District. The trek typically takes around 19 days, passing through various picturesque villages.

The best time to trek to Upper Dolpo is during the pre-monsoon (spring) season (March to early June) and post-monsoon (autumn) season (Mid September to November) when the weather is relatively stable, and the skies are clear.

You will need two main permits: Restricted Area Permit and Shey Phoksundo National Park Permit. Additionally, if you are flying to Juphal, you will need a TIMS (Trekkers’ Information Management System) card.

The trek is challenging, and a good level of physical fitness is required. Regular cardiovascular exercises and strength training are recommended to prepare for the altitude and the demanding terrain.

Altitude sickness is a condition that occurs at higher elevations due to a decrease in the amount of oxygen. To prevent altitude sickness, it's essential to acclimatize properly, stay hydrated, and ascend gradually. If symptoms persist, descending to a lower altitude is crucial.

Essential items include sturdy trekking boots, warm clothing, a good backpack, a sleeping bag, and a first aid kit. It's essential to pack light but be prepared for changing weather conditions.

The temperature rating of the ISO-certified sleeping bag we lend is -10°C (50°F) comfort level.

We recommend having cash of around USD 15-20; it should suffice for any additional costs you may need for a day.

Mountain Tiger Nepal has cancellation and refund policies. Please visit our terms and conditions page for more information.

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