Introduction to Nar Phu Valley Trek
Nar Phu Valley Short Trek is one of the most popular trekking packages in Nepal in the lesser traveled trails. The Nar Phu Valley Trek can be done by bypassing the Manang Valley thereby reducing the total trekking time. The village of Nar Phu has been categorized as a restricted area. Hence, Nar Phu Valley trekking is classified as a restricted area trekking in Nepal. Previously, Nar and Phu used to be two different villages. Subsequently, the two villages merged as one and turned into a huge valley and it was jointly known as the Nar Phu Valley. The Nar Phu Trek leads hikers into the unseen areas on the least visited route to experience the unexplored Himalayan wilderness.
The Nar Phu Valley Short Trek is itself an enthralling experience for adventure lovers. During the course, trekkers may be blessed with views of snow-leopards and blue mountain sheep. In the same way, a herd of yaks or a barren of mules might bump travelers along narrow tracks. Simultaneously, a good number of tea-houses and small eateries on the trekking route is a huge relief for budget backpackers. The high-flying Kang La Pass, which is the highest point of the Nar Phu Valley Trek, is a spectacular viewpoint to witness the Annapurna massif, Lamjung Himal, Machhapuchhre, and Manaslu peaks.
The shorter format of the Nar Phu Valley Trek starts from Koto in the Manang district after several hours of drive from Kathmandu. Being a restricted area, Nar Phu Valley trek solo is not possible unless you purchase your permit along with a ghost permit through a registered agency. It is mandatory to have a trekking guide with you as well. The breathtaking views of mountains, ancient Buddhist monasteries, and the Tibetan culture are some highlights of this trip. Trekking in the Nar Phu Valley cost can be different depending on the number of days, the trekking route, and the services required.
While a restricted area, Nar Phu Valley Trek in Nepal’s remote location offers the best sceneries and an unchanged landscape. The Nar Phu Valley Trek map assists an avid traveler to plan his or her entire trip in the hidden valley. On one hand, travelers with less time can choose the shorter versioned 9-day trip to the Nar Phu Valley. While on the other hand, trekkers with sufficient time can follow the 21-days Nar Phu Valley Trek and enjoy thoroughly. The longer versioned trek covers the Annapurna Circuit Trek including the world’s highest Thorong La Pass. Royal Holidays offers a 9-day Nar Phu Valley Trek Itinerary which starts and ends in Kathmandu.
Nar Phu Valley Trek Itinerary
Day 01: Drive from Kathmandu to Koto (2600m) on a private vehicle: 8 – 9 hrs
Day 02: Trek from Koto to Meta (3560m): 6 – 7 hrs
Day 03: Meta to Phu Village (4050m) trek: 5 – 6 hrs
Day 04: Rest day in Phu Village – village exploration: 4 – 5 hrs
Day 05: Phu Village to Nar Phedi (3750m): 7 – 8 hrs
Day 06: Nar Phedi to Nar Village (4150m); 4 – 5 hrs
Day 07: Nar Village to Ngawal via Kang La Pass (5306m): 8 – 9 hrs
Day 08: Ngawal to Chame (2670m): 4 – 5 hrs
Day 09: Drive from Chame to Kathmandu on a private vehicle (1300m): 8 – 9 hrs
Nar Phu Valley Trek Highlights
- Spectacular mountain views of Annapurna II, Himlung Himal, Gangapurna, Tilicho peak and the Manaslu ranges
- Spend time in the colorful ancient villages and Tibetan monasteries that have remained intact over the years
- Unique and colorful Tibetan Buddhist Chortens
- Grab an opportunity to see the elusive snow leopard and the blue mountain sheep
- Experience life in the Tibetan plateau extended towards Nepal
- The medieval Nar Phedi Monastery
- Kang La Pass, the highest point on the trek
- Venture into Nepal’s isolated region where only a few have traveled
- Flawless valleys, gorges and ravines
- Lifestyle and culture of local communities with a prevalent Tibetan culture
Things to know before trekking to Nar Phu Valley
It is a well known fact that the Nar Phu Valley Short Trek will take its visitors to one of the secluded corners between the Damodar Kunda and the Annapurna Circuit. As such, trekking in this region falls under the restricted area, thereby requiring special permits to pass through. Intact and unaffected with modern influences, this trek provides experiences in the raw natural splendor along with the ancient Tibetan culture. The trek incorporates the ancient far-flung villages of Nar and Phu, age-old monasteries, Mani walls and Chortens. Besides, opportunities to see shocking rock formations, constricted canyons, dense forests, incredible glaciers, and snow-covered mountains are abundant.
Travelers to Nar Phu Valley should know the following few things before actually trekking to the Nar Phu Valley:
Being a restricted area, trekkers will require purchasing two different types of permits for the Nar Phu Valley trek. However, if he or she intends to extend the trip to Annapurna region later on, then TIMS card is also mandatory. The necessary permits along with their cost are mentioned below:
Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP): US$ 30 per person
Nar Phu Valley Restricted Area Permit (NRA): US$ 90 per person/week (Sep-Nov), US$ 75 per person/week (Dec-Aug).
Trekking Information Management System (TIMS), (in case of trip extension to Annapurna region): US$ 20 per person.
Nar Phu Valley Trek is normally a teahouse trek where trekkers will stay overnight in teahouses in the entire route. It is also possible to find home-stays at some places – in either cases trekkers do not have to set up tents and camp. Basically teahouses are combinations of lodges and guesthouses. They have a basic room with little or no furniture at all and a blanket to cover up. Trekking in winter seasons will compulsorily require trekkers to carry sleeping bags.
Teahouses at some villages may not have electricity. However, teahouse owners have managed to install solar power in the dining hall area. They also charge trekkers a small amount for charging mobile phones, cameras or other electronic appliances. In Nar Phedi, there are no teahouses, so accommodation will be arranged in the local monastery.
Trekking in the Nar Phu Valley allows one to deal with the local culture, traditional houses, and lifestyles of local people. As the trekking trails are less crowded in this area, accommodation does not face any serious issues unlike the popular trails elsewhere. The cost of a room on twin-sharing basis normally ranges from US$ 4 to US$ 7. You can expect the price to increase as you go higher. Luxury should not be expected at these inaccessible villages that are highly uninfluenced by the modern technologies.
Food supply varies at various elevations on the trekking trails. It is obvious that trekking in far-flung areas will limit the variety of food stuff due to the inaccessibility of vehicular movement. The entire ration in those areas is carried by mules, horses or human porters. Travelers can eat their meals at the teahouses or small eateries along the way. Meals vary from simple but adequate items of food in the smaller villages to indispensable varieties in the larger places. Majority of the teahouses on the route to Nar Phu Valley will serve trekkers with the typical Nepali cuisine – Dal, Bhaat and Tarkari. Other Nepali dishes include bread,, momo, soups, curries, and other bakery items.
The cost of meals varies with season, destination, and partially the lodge owner. The cost of each meal usually is about US$ 4 to US$7. However, the cost will vary depending on the choice of food and the number of meals. On an approximate assumption, usually US$20 to US$25 should suffice for a day’s simple meals, tea and coffee. Travelers must expect an increase in food items as the elevation increases. It is always advisable to buy normal snacks, candy bars, cookies, cookies, and other light-weight quick-bites at lower elevations where the cost is tolerable.
Although bottled mineral water is easily available at lower altitudes, we encourage our clients to use boiled water. We practice responsible tourism and do not want to litter and pollute our clean environment. Every shop along the way and guesthouses have hot water for which they may ask for a small charge. We also encourage you to carry water purification devices or chlorine tablets to double purify the boiled water before drinking.
Washing and Toilet Facilities
Most of the teahouses on the Nar Phu Valley trek offer hot showers; some may levy extra charges for that. The hot showers may be in the form of a standard bathroom shower or a bucket of hot water. At higher altitudes, teahouses may fail to provide hot water due to the shortage of water. It is highly recommended to limit the use of hot water for ecological reasons unless solar energy or typical firewood is used for heating. However, showers or bath is not possible in the higher elevations due to the excess cold as well as the cost. It is in fact, a good idea to carry wet wipes and a small towel to clean your face and body. Washing facilities are available in almost all the teahouses. Nevertheless, it is always better to carry a bar of soap for your personal cleansing. Toilet is a typical Asian squat style in almost all the teahouses in the trekking route. It is normally difficult to find a room with an attached toilet. The toilets are .basically outside the room and the cleanliness depends on the availability of water and the lodge owner’s personal preference.
Difficulty of the Nar Phu Valley trek
Due to the long walking days and steep climbs in altitude, the Nar Phu Valley trek is a challenging trek. There are limited options of accommodations on the way therefore one has to walk longer to reach the next destination that has a proper accommodation arrangement. In a way, there is hardly any flexibility in the distance that must be covered on each day’s walk. The altitude gains are quite sharp on each trekking day. One cannot predict as to how your body will react to altitude gains. So, this particular trek is suitable for those who have a prior hiking experience. No doubt, a person should be perfectly fit and healthy as well.
Best Time to do the Nar Phu Valley Trek
The months from September and November are considered autumn in Nepal. These are the best months to do this adventurous Nar Phu Valley trek. During this season, the weather is more stable and trekkers can experience beautiful mountain vistas and the green hills. The spring season which falls during the months between March and May is also a good time to do this trek. During spring, flowers bloom and the lush greenery along with gleaming mountain peaks makes an excellent backdrop to the trekkers. Winter season between the months of December and February can make the trekking experience quite challenging. During these months the Himalayan region freezes and there is excessive snowfall, especially in the higher altitudes. Likewise, the months between June and August is considered to be the summer season as well as the monsoon season. Trekking these months is very uncomfortable as the trails become wet and muddy.
Health and Fitness for Nar Phu Valley Trekking
Various treks in the Nar Phu region are classified as easy, moderate or strenuous treks depending on the number of days, altitude and the specific trekking areas. A common thing between the various categories of trekking is that trekkers need to walk for 5 to 8 hours every day. As such, every different trek requires different levels of physical fitness. Going on the Nar Phu Valley trek requires trekkers to have good health, an average physical fitness and a high determination. Prior trekking experience is not mandatory, but if you are used to walking several hours a day, then it sure becomes easier. If trekkers have pre-existing health problems such as heart and lung diseases or any other major sickness, it is advised to consult with their physician before the trek and also inform the trekking agency accordingly. The maximum altitude of this trek is 5416m, so it is always wise to stay alert and be careful about altitude related hazards. It is suggested to drink lots of water and avoid any form of alcoholic beverages during the trek. Trekkers are also cautioned to be careful of frost bites and snow blindness at higher altitudes.
Guide and Porter Costs
Most of the trekking areas in Nepal do not require hiring a guide and a porter for his or her adventurous trip. However, it is mandatory for foreign trekkers to hire a registered guide while trekking in the restricted areas of Nepal as per the government norms. Most of the popular treks such as the Everest Base Camp Trek, the Langtang Valley Trek or the Annapurna Sunrise Trek do not have such requirements. Hiring a guide will cost a trekker from US$ 30 to US$ 40 per day depending on the guide’s experience, level of education, and technical proficiency. Porter, on the other hand, will cost US$ 20 per day. These costs cover their wages, accommodation, and food. It is also possible to find a trekking guide who will also act as your porter. The guide cum porter has a charge from US$ 25 to US$ 30 and he will carry a maximum weight of 15 kg only. It is highly recommended that you hire an experienced and a government registered guide while trekking in the Nar Phu valley. As the area lies in the remote corners of Nepal and involves high altitudes, it is always wise to remain safe. If anything goes wrong on the trekking, a good guide with all his technical expertise will handle the crisis tactfully. Your trekking experience will be more fun, enjoyable and highly knowledgeable when you have an experienced and a professional guide with you.
It is an important pre-requisite to have your travel insurance with you before you travel to the remote corners of Nepal. You should be sufficiently protected. You insurance should cover emergency evacuations, lost items, liabilities, physical injuries, and medical ailments. Ensure that your insurance covers all the activities in the Himalayas. We do not sell or arrange your travel insurance, so you have to do it yourself at your home country. We suggest you to mention all the activities you would be participating while traveling to Nepal to your insurance company. Accordingly, they will provide you a complete travel insurance package.
Tips and Donations
Tipping or donations are not mandatory though the guide, porters or drivers expect them from you. If you are pleased and totally gratified with the services offered to you during your trip, you might want to show your gratitude towards them in the form of small tips. In fact, tipping culture is quite common in Nepal. It is an indirect way to say thank you to your guides or porters for their dedicated work. It is a way to show how grateful you are to them for making your trip fun, safe and enjoyable.
While trekking in the distant places, places like monasteries, stupas or learning centers will expect some form of donations from the visitors. They normally place a donation box at the entrance area or somewhere in the visible zone. Through the donation amount collected, they improve their infrastructures by repair works or painting etc. If you wish to donate a small amount to such social causes, you might need to spare a few dollars for the same.
There are several fascinating reasons as to why one should do the Nar Phu Valley Trek. All the required information above will meet the inquisitive minds of novice travelers or trekking enthusiasts. As a basic fact, trekking to the mountains of Nepal itself is an adventurous trip that will surely satisfy the wanderlust in you. Crawling further and beyond, the majestic beauty of the mountains and green hills don’t fail to lure you. The warm welcome of the friendliest people on earth is something that will remain etched in your memory forever. The thrills of the trekking trails, on the other hand, are unforgettable experiences worth every dime you spend. Give us an opportunity to serve you once – it is a promise from Royal Holidays to offer more than your expectations!