Nar Phu Valley Travel Guide
Trekking around Nar Phu
Nar Phu valley is one of Nepal’s most remote areas, situated in Manang district inside the Annapurna Region. Nar Phu was closed to foreigners, and only after 2003 did, they decide to open for outsiders. However, Nar Phu remains a restricted area, and the visitors need a special permit to travel around Nar Phu. Nar Phu trek is entirely unexplored and off the beaten trail; while the trails of the Annapurna region remain crowded, Nar Phu remains calm and silent. Nar Phu village remains untouched by modernization and is the most remote part of the Manag district. The trekkers can reach Nar Phu from three major routes depending on the weather. From March till December, the trekkers should take the route from Nyesyang and Mustang, From December to March, the route from Gyasumbdo is open, and the local villagers mostly travel the last route. To reach Nar Phu, the trekkers must cross more than 13 plank bridges through the valley’s middle. Nar Phu, situated in the lap of the Himalayas in the North, is surrounded by Gangla mountain and in the east by Gangru Himal and Damodar Himal in the West.
Nar and Phu are two different villages. Nar is situated at an altitude of 4110meters high and Phu at an altitude of 4,250m. These villages lie in the rain shadow area, so these villages receive less precipitation and are like a dry desert. The locals say that the dry stone-walled village of Phu has been there for 800 years. On the other side of the river of Phu is a peninsula of loose rock carved by two rivers. If you climb the top, you will reach Tashi gomba and the inspiring amchi traditional Tibetan medicine doctor. There are three main gumbas of the Nyingmapa sect in Nar Phu. Tashi Lakhang monastery holds a very high religious significance, as it is considered the last monastery constructed by Karmapa Rinpoche. The lamas of Nar are the guru of Gurungs; there’s a saying in the Gurung community a person cannot be a lama unless he has trained in Nar.
Nar Phu trek offers a great view of mountains like
- Annapurna II,
- Tilicho peak
- Kang guru
- Gjadzi kang
- Lamjung Himal
- Annapurna II
- Annapurna IV
- Kang guru I
- Pisang Peak
Nar Phu trek difficulty
Nar Phu Valley trek is a challenging trek, but the trek’s difficulty depends from person to person, and also, various factors determine the difficulty of the trail. Some of the factors that determine the difficulty of the trek are:
You don’t need to be athletic for this trek, but you need to be fit enough to walk the trek. Physical fitness is the most important element in trekking; if you are not physically fit, this trek will turn into a nightmare. The trekker has to walk for 6 to 7 hours per day in the rough terrain for more than ten days. If you exercise regularly and have no problem hiking for long hours, this trek will be less challenging. But if your fitness level is below average, you need to do some workouts before committing for this trek.
Personal experience plays a significant role in trekking. Having trekking experiences in high altitudes and high passes makes this trek less challenging. The trekker who has no problem in high passes and trekking for 6 to 7 hours per day is easy. But if you are a complete beginner in trekking and have no experience in trekking, then the Nar Phu trek will be challenging and strenuous.
While trekking, you need to choose the right weather; if you fail to do so, the trek can be challenging, risky, and sometimes even life-threatening. For example, the pass in Nar Phu receives heavy snowfall during the winter, so if you trek during these times, then the risk and difficulty are much higher, but if you trek in Autumn and Spring when the weather is clear. The temperature is also favorable, making the trek easier. However, during Winter and Monsoon, the weather remains unclear. It is freezing during the winter, and temperature can drop below minus degrees, and in Monsoon, there is heavy rainfall, so there is a high chance of rockfall. So selecting the right time decreases the difficulty of the trek.
Weight of the backpack during Trek
The golden rule of trekking is to your backpack as light as possible. At first, you may feel like you can easily carry those big loads, but those big loads will only push you back once you are on the trail. So make your backpack as light as possible and only carry what you need for the trek; don’t make it big and bulky. If you hire a porter, then the porter will carry your backpack; the standard weight that a porter will carry is 25 to 30 kilograms but don’t
make it too difficult for them. But if you are trekking independently, don’t make your Rucksack more than 10 kilograms. Remember you will also be carrying 2 liters of water.
Best season to trek to Nar Phu
Nar Phu trek in Autumn
Autumn is the best season to trek around Nar Phu valley. Autumn starts in September and ends in late November. During Autumn, the skies are clear, and the temperature is also favorable. The trekker will have a clear view of the landscape and the mountains. The local peoples welcome the trekker, and all the Guesthouses remains open during Autumn. Therefore, Autumn is one of the most favorable seasons to trek to Nar Phu.
Nar Phu trek in spring
Spring is another best season to trek around Narphu valley. Spring starts in March and ends in May. Spring is the season of the flowers. The trails will be filled with colorful flowers and green forests. The weather remains clear, and the temperature is also favorable for trekking. The Guesthouse remains open during this season.
Narphu in Winter
Trekking Narphu during winter is not recommended for trekkers as Nar Phu valley receives heavy snowfall. During winter, the trails are more dangerous the percentage of risk is severe. Most guesthouses remain closed during winter because of the heavy snowfall, so it is hard to get accommodation and food on the trail. The skies remain cloudy, blocking all the good views and landscape, and the temperature is also freezing during winter. However, winter can be an excellent opportunity to witness snow leopards. You need to make special arrangements for observing the snow leopard if you are interested, our company can help make those arrangements for you.
Narphu in Monsoon
Nar Phu valley lies in the rain shadow area, so it receives less rainfall during the Monsoon. Nar Phu valley is a desert and rainshadow area so the trekker would have no problem trekking in Narphu in the monsoon season. The monsoon season starts in June and ends in August. However, the roads connecting to Nar Phu from Beshisahar could be pretty dangerous because of the mud and landslide.
Accommodation in Nar and Phu village
The Tea houses are simple lodges that provide food, rooms, bathrooms, and electricity. The accommodations are not luxurious; the trekker must stay in basic tea houses. The tea houses are more like a homestay and less like a lodge. The locals have converted their private homes into tea houses; the trekker will be surprised by the warm hospitality at the tea house. All the tea houses are clean and well sanitized.
The rooms are usually twin rooms with two single wooden beds and a window just over the beds. The rooms are small in size but big enough for two people. The trekker has a direct view of the mountains from their rooms. The trekker will be provided with wooden beds, mattresses, pillows, and blankets, but we recommend that they bring their sleeping bag as the blankets sometimes may not be enough.
Attached toilets are scarce in Narphu; few tea houses have attached bathrooms. Usually, the toilets are standard toilets outside the room but inside the compound of the tea house. The toilets are Asian style meaning squat toilets, clean and well sanitized. Therefore, the trekker is recommended to bring their toilet paper, soap, or hand sanitizer.
The trekker can take a shower in the bathroom. In the lower zones, the tea houses provide hot water for showering, but in the upper zones, it is tough to get the hot water; however, some tea houses arrange the hot water on demand, but it will cost a few extra bucks. If the Tea houses do not have showerheads, they will provide a bucket, mug, and water.
Dining halls and kitchen
Dining halls and kitchens are the most attractive place in the house. The walls are filled with holy posters of the Buddha and Dalai Lama. They also light candles and burn incense in the dining hall and kitchen. The dining hall is quite like a restaurant where all the trekkers meet for food and share their stories. Usually, the dining halls are big enough to fit 10 to 25 people.
Food in Nar and Phu
You can find various food items during the trek, but once you reach Nar and Phu, the food options may be limited. The tea houses serve Breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, and beverages.
For Breakfast, the Tea house offers Tibetan bread, chapatti, Toast, oats, muesli, and eggs, which may serve with jam, honey, cheese, or curry.
For lunch and dinner
The most common option for lunch is typical Nepali food, Daal Bhaat with vegetables or meat. Thupka(noodle soup), MoMo (dumplings), Sherpa stew, and a variety of western and Chinese food like Macroni, Pasta, Spaghetti, pizza spring rolls. You may also find other meal options on the menu.
Snacks are limited once you reach Nar and Phu village. However, you may get a lot of options for snacks on the trail so that you can pack them from the trail for Nar and Phu.
- Milk tea
- Black Tea
- Honey hot lemon
- Hot water
- Ginger hot water or ginger tea
- Sherpa Tea: Sherpa tea is a unique tea made by the local Sherpa, also known as Shu Chiya. This tea is made with butter with needs special processing.
Drinking-Water on Nar Phu
The trekker can easily refill their water bottles at the Tea houses, and also there are water taps on the way; the trekker also may find river streams and waterfalls from which they can refill their water bottle.
Drinking untreated water is not recommended for this trek as it is not healthy and may make you sick. Must adequately treat all the water before drinking. You can use different purification methods to treat the water. Some of the methods are using purification tablets and life straws.
Permits for Nar Phu
Trekking independently or solo is not allowed in Narphu valley as it is restricted. The government doesn’t allow permits to solo trekkers; there need to be at least two people in the group to get the permit. The trekker can process the permits only through a travel agency. Having a licensed
For trekking around Nar Phu, the trekker needs three different kinds of permits as Nar Phu is a restricted area the trekker, so the trekker needs a Restricted area permit.
The cost of the permit also depends on the season of the trek.
Restricted Area Permit(RAP)
September to November
90 USD per person for 7days
December to August
75USD per person for seven days
Annapurna Conservation Area Permit
20USD per person
10USD per person
Money on the trek (banks and ATMs)
There are no banks or ATMs on Nar and Phu; you may want to cash out from Besisahar or Chame. The amount of money you need on the trek depends on how you spend on the trek. Since you will be trekking from a travel agency with a guide, the trekking agency will arrange all the necessary logistics and supplies, so you need the money for snacks and Tips.
Nar Phu Trek with Guide
Nar Phu valley is a restricted area, and the trekker cannot travel solo or without a guide. There also needs to be at least two people to trek to Narphu. Therefore, trekking with a guide is a must for Narphu as it is safe for the trekkers.
Before getting a trekking Guide, you should know who are trekking guides and what do they do :
- The trekking guide will ensure your safety and the staff’s safety.
- Trekking guides are well trained in their respective fields and have received various training on navigation, map reading, first Aid, conflict management, Search and rescue, etc.
- A trekking guide will always be with you from the day first till the end of the trek giving you all the services and ensuring your comfort.
- If there are any medical conditions or accidents trekking guide will help for first Aid, and if it doesn’t ease the symptoms, they will call for a helicopter rescue.
- A trekking guide will help the clients to get to their destinations safely.
Packing list for Nar Phu
- T-shirt: It can be a quick-dry T-shirt and avoid cotton. A quick-dry T-shirt will dry fast and keep you cool during the hot days, and one good thing is it doesn’t get smelly fast. Keep at least two pairs of T-shirts.
- Thermal set: You will also need a pair of a thermal sets to keep you warm.
- Undergarments: Pack at least 3 to 4 pairs of undergarments and sports bra for girls
- Mid-layer: For mid-layer, one pair of warm fleece would be enough for this trip
- Insulation: Down or Synthetic jacket.
- Waterproof jackets and pants one pair
- Hiking pants two pairs
- Warm pants for a night
- Trekking socks three pairs and one extra pair for night
- Gloves: One pair of inner gloves and one pair of waterproof gloves.
- Hats or caps: Caps works like a miracle for a sunny day. A woolen hat will always keep your ears head warm and protect you from cold
- Buff: Buff is the one thing that you should not miss. As it prevents your nose from being dry as it blocks the dry wind
- Day pack
- Sleeping bag (-20)
- Trekking poles
- Toiletries and sunscreen
- Personal medication and first Aid
- Extra batteries and chargers
- Solar panel
- Power bank
- Hand sanitizer
- Head torch
Attractions of Nar Phu trekking
Monastries and Gompas
Satek Gompa is located near Nar village. This gompa gives you a glimpse of ancient Buddhism. You can witness the monks performing their daily rituals and meditating for world peace. These monks dedicate their whole life to the monastery and for the betterment of the world. Visiting the Gumba and Meditating early in the morning gives you peace of mind and offers you the blessing for a prosperous life. If you want peace of mind and don’t know how to get it, this place will undoubtedly be beneficial.
As Narphu lies inside the excellent Annapurna circuit, it is home to thousands of different species of plants. The flowers bloom to their fullest in the spring season, offering the trekker a magnificent view of the natural surroundings. One of the best parts of the trail is the Bhartang apple farm, where the trekker can taste various flavors of apples and can also handpick them
Birds and animals
Annapurna Region is the home for various species of birds and animals; some of the birds are White-rumped and wood spine vulture, Himalayan monal, blood pheasant, spiny babbler. Bats like: Great Himalayan leaf-nosed Bat, Andersen’s leaf-nosed Bat, Steppe Whiskered Bat,
Nepal myotis Bat, Himalayan Whiskered Bat.
Squirrel like: Sotted giant Flying squirrel, Bhutan Giant Flying squirrel, Himalayan Marmot.
Rabbits like: Wolly Hare, Indian Hare
Rats like: Lesser bandicoot Rat, Soft flurred Rat, Short-Tailed Field Mouse, Himalayan White
Kiang/Tibetan Wild Ass
Himalayan goral, Himalayan Thar,
Himalayan musk deer
Kasmir musk deer
Wild Boar/ Eurasian Wild pig
Natural hot springs are a treasure of the Annapurna Region. The hot springs give relief from the pains and are also the Natural Healer.
Manang district is one of the most beautiful districts of Nepal. The beautiful village is in the lap of the Himalayas, surrounded by high mountains like Annapurna. You can add a few days in your trek to explore the undiscovered areas and feel the beauty by yourself.
Kang La pass
Kang La is a pass situated at 5322 m between Nar and Ngawal village. Since traveling to Nar Phu was restricted to tourists and only opened its gate to tourists from 2003 AD, Kang La pass is also off the beaten trail, and each year only a few tourists attempt it. So this pass is less crowded than Throung La Pass
but a bit difficult and strenuous. The Steep slopes, rocky terrain, high winds, and altitude makes this pass more challenging. There’s always a risk of altitude sickness in the high passes of the Himalayas. But with proper precaution and Acclimatization, we can easily cross the pass.
After reaching the top of Kang La Pass, the tourist can spend a little time witnessing the panoramic views of the Himalayas and the beautiful villages. Some of the mountains that the trekkers can see from the top are
- Annapurna (8,091)
- Dhaulagiri (8,167 m )
- Lamjung Himal
- Machhapuchhre Himal
- And Mt. Manaslu (8,156 m).