For national and international explorers and adventurers alike, Nar Phu Valley offers a chance to explore unspoiled valleys nestled between Annapurna and Manaslu, an area that is less traveled than its sister regions Annapurna and Manaslu. The Nar Phu Valley Trek, one of the world’s most scenic treks, offers Tibetan culture, high passes, Gorges, two picturesque medieval villages, and 7,000m peaks in an enclave of Tibetans.
Nar Phu provides an opportunity to encounter one of the world’s most unique wildernesses, passing through dramatic chortens, herds of blue sheep, and crossing some of the region’s highest pass crossings at Kang La and Mesokanto-La. In addition, this Trek offers the chance to experience the high, white, glistening mountains of the Annapurnas off the beaten path, which may be just what you are looking for to escape from the stress of your daily life.
About the region
As mentioned earlier, the Nar Phu trail explores remote villages, Tibetan-like people, forests, narrow canyons, Buddhist Gompas, and majestic mountains just off the Annapurna Circuit Route. In spite of its relatively recent opening in 2003, the Nar Phu Valley remains a relatively little-explored destination. A permit is actually required to enter this hidden valley.
A trip on the Nar Phu Trek is undoubtedly one of the best things you can do if you’re looking for a glimpse into a region full of raw beauty and Tibetan culture that harkens back to a time that Tibet itself has long since forgotten.
Getting to the valley is difficult, but once you go through a bridge over the Marshyangdi River, you reach the beginning of the Nar Phu Valley, which is easy to overlook. However, a whole new world awaits once you have cleared the narrow, densely forested entrance. Furthermore, Farmers in this remote area still grow and harvest potatoes, barley, buckwheat, and vegetables and raise yaks and sheep as they have always done.
Necessary Permits and Accommodations
The sacred Nar Phu villages require a special permit for trekking. From September to November, the Nar Phu valley trekking permit is US$90; from December to August, the cost changes to US$75 per person.
There are well-managed hotels at the start of the Trek. Further along the Trail, hotels with well-appointed facilities are harder to find. Homestays and small teahouses are the main accommodations, along with the majority of these paths.
Preparing For the Nar Phu Valley Trek
During the Nar Phu Valley Trek, the highest point is at an altitude of 4,600 meters. For experienced hikers, this isn’t much elevation gain, but it represents a substantial change for newcomers. Overall, the Trek requires many long days of walking. Therefore, people with lung diseases or breathing problems should either stay away from such activities or take precautions prior to performing them since high altitudes are difficult to adjust to. Furthermore, high altitudes may cause people to experience altitude sickness.
Due to the cold conditions at high altitudes, we recommend you bring the following items with you on your Trek. Our group of friends brought these things on our first trip to Nar Phu Valley.
- Warm clothes, including jackets, sweaters, and thermal wears
- Water bottles and thermos
- Tents if you plan to camp by the shore of Rara Lake
- Portable fire stoves
- Snow Glasses and flashlight
- Well-fitting gloves, socks, and shoes or boots
- Trekking sticks
- First aid kit
- Moisturizers and lip guard
- Energy bars
If you forget any of the items above, you can buy them easily in trek shops at the starting point of the Trek, though they are likely to cost more than usual.
Itinerary and the Trek itself
You can complete the Nar Phu Valley Trek in 7 to 12 days if you walk at a reasonable pace. If you are from Nepal, you will first need to get to Beshisahar. If you are not from Nepal, you will need to get to Kathmandu after obtaining a Nepali visa. From Kathmandu, we must travel to Beshisahar by public bus or book a private vehicle. From BesiShahar, we take a jeep ride to Koto to start the Trek.
We start our day early today since we have a long and somewhat challenging day for us. Just past the checkpoint, we cross the river that leads to the Nar Phu valley and hikes up through beautiful woods above Phu Khola. We travel through some beautiful woods and past some small shelters and pilgrims before reaching the village of meta.
While trekking towards Junam, one hour beyond Meta, you can see the second semi-permanent settlement, where "khampas" from Tibet used to shelter. To the right of the kharka, you can see a huge glacier flowing jaggedly down to the high pastures above us. After reaching Kayang after six hours of Trek, we can rest there for the night.
After about five hours of trekking through picturesque canyonlands and gorges, we'll reach the Phu Monastery, known as the "leaning tower of Nepal" because of its tall, twisted monolith. And we spend the night in Phu village.
Since we spent quite a bit of time getting to Phu, we will stay an extra day in the area to explore the wide valley systems above us, meet the local Phu residents and do some sightseeing. On this day, we do not ascend much higher to adapt to the region's altitude.
From Phu gate, we descend to the river and follow our footsteps back to Junam kharka, a wonderful place for our campsite. From there, we continue on our Trek to Nar Phedi.
After walking for about four hours, we descend past several streams and suspension bridges to Mahendra Pul while passing towards Nar Village. In the village of Nar, we may even see some blue sheep on the surrounding hillsides as the light is spectacular and the skies are deep blue.
5240m above the valley floor lays the Kang La Pass, which offers stunning views of Gangapurna, Tilicho peak, Annapurna II, and the peaks surrounding Tilicho, as well as the airport at Thong. Passing via the Kang La Pass, we'll reach Ngawal to rest for the night.
While moving on, on the Trek from Ngawal, fields are visible on both sides of the path, while the village of Braga appears below a craggy mountain to the right. We then climb steeply for about an hour to reach Manang, a remarkably large village in this remote mountain region. We stay here for the night and enjoy the community's remarkable hospitality.
The trail from Manang ascends gently from Gunsang at 3960m village to Yak Kharka. The hike from Yak Kharka begins with a gradual climb up the ridge, followed by a descent to the Marsyangdi headwaters and a crossing via a wooden bridge. Then, on the right bank of the river, you follow a narrow path across an unstable cliff face, eventually descending to Thorung Phedi, where we spend the night.
On the tenth day, we continue the Trek by getting up early in the morning (before sunrise) to complete the Thorong La pass (5,416m) by noon, then trekking down to Muktinath, a symbol of religious acceptance for both Hindus and Buddhists.
On the final day, we descend down the Kali Gandaki gorge. After passing through Tibetan villages Jharkot and Khingar, you descend steeply to Kagbeni, which is an ancient village known for its Tibetan architecture. Finally, we reach Jomsom at the end of the day, where you can enjoy the mesmerizing view of Tilicho and Nilgiri peak.
After you’ve enjoyed the thrilling and joyful cycling experience, you can choose whether to visit other beautiful places in Nepal or head back home. No matter what you choose, we hope you have a fantastic time.
We can accommodate group tours for this trip; however, you may also opt for a private tour according to your liking. We can arrange private trips at any time of the year at any date of your choosing. Please let us know what your preferred travel dates are so that we can accommodate you.
In the end, when we get back to Jomsom, we can follow our steps back home via Pokhara. First, do not forget to cherish all the beautiful moments you experienced during the Trek as you return home.