• Still unspoilt trekking destination, off-the-beaten-track
• Fantastic views of the Annapurna range and Pisang Peak from the north
• Old high-altitude Tibetan villages of Nar and Phu
• Explore the traditional unspoilt lifestyle of the people in the area
• Rich flora and fauna, including blue sheep and Himalayan Tahr
• Cross Kang La Pass (5306 meters) into Manang valley, with spectacular mountain views
About Nar Phu Valley Trek -12 days
The Nar Phu Valley Trek was opened for trekking only in 2003 and first only for camping treks. Since a few years ago accommodation in tea houses and simple lodges has become available, making the Nar Phu Valley trek a great option for those who are looking for a tour off-the-beaten-track with still quite untouched nature and unspoilt traditions of the local people. In the old Tibetan villages of Nar and Phu, both situated above 4000 metres, still the traditional buildings and lifestyle can be observed. The area is not yet altered by a mass of trekkers like in the main Annapurna or Everest region that have turned local settlements into trekkers villages dominated by lodges. The unspoilt feel of the place gets even better with the amazing mountain views. With Nar Phu Valley lying north of the main Annapurna range, we have fantastic views of the massive mountain range.
Nar Phu Valley is in the Manang region where also the main Annapurna circuit trail runs, but it is a valley that at a place called Koto (before Chame village) turns off north from the Budi Gandaki river and off from the main trail. We first trek along a narrow river valley, slowly climbing in altitude, before reaching more open landscape at Meta. As we are starting the trek at a relatively high altitude (from Koto at above 2600 metres) and then the trail gains in altitude quickly, we have to observe our physical condition and may need to adjust the itinerary and add an extra day while climbing up towards Phu village (4080m), depending on how well you are adjusting to the altitude. Hiking towards Phu mainly along the Nar Khola, the scenery slowly starts changing from green jungles and green pastures to drier more rocky areas, similar to Tibetan plateau type of landscapes. The village of Phu is an old Tibetan village, where people have been managing their own lives with little influence from outside for decades. Their unique traditional lifestyle can still be observed. We suggest stopping for a rest and exploration day in Phu.
We trek back the same valley and after a further night stop at Chyako the trail turns west, climbing up towards Nar (4200m) – another old Tibetan village with rich agricultural land around and yak herds grazing on the surrounding hills.
After a rest and exploration day in Nar, we start our trek early in the morning towards Kang La pass (5306m). The trail from Kang La pass then winds almost 2000 metres down into Manang valley and offers breathtaking views of the valley and the massive Annapurna range just right in front of us. Far down below we can see the villages of Manang valley and the fertile agricultural lands.
On the way down into Manang valley, we stop for a night stay at Nawal and after a short trek the next day we return to Besisahar. There are several route options though, in case you have more time and would like to continue trekking. As the Nar Phu valley trail meets the main Annapurna circuit trail in Manang valley, you could continue the Annapurna circuit across the Thorong La pass, or trek to Tilicho lake, for example. Please get in touch with us at Himalayan Ecological Trekking so that we can help you with planning a route customized to your interest.
1. Where is Nar Phu valley?
Nar Phu valley are in fact two different valleys, one (Phu) leading north towards Tibet and the other (Nar) running west from the trail to Phu. It is an area in the northern part of Manang district, in the Annapurna region, north of the main Annapurna circuit trail. Having completed the Nar Phu valley trek, there is the option of driving back the Budi Gandaki river valley to Besisahar, or to continue trekking the main Annapurna circuit across the Thorong La pass, or to Tilicho lake, for example.
The Nar Phu valley is also known as “lost” or “hidden” valley, as it has been untouched for a long time.
2. What is the best time for Nar Phu valley trek?
The best seasons to trek in Nar Phu valley are autumn and spring. A little cold weather at night but warm and clear days and clear views on the spectacular mountain ranges. Often clouds appear in the afternoon, creating an interesting atmosphere and different but not less stunning views of the mountains. It is possible to trek also in the monsoon months, as the valley lies behind the high mountains and mostly in the rain shadow. But with the changing weather it is unpredictable if the rain clouds that often appear in that season allow for full views of the mountain.
3. How difficult is the Nar Phu valley trek?
The difficulty level of the Nar Phu valley trek is rated as moderate. The rugged and remote terrain of the region with still limited infrastructure means long walk days at times. Trekkers must be able to navigate steep trails and rocky terrain.
7. Nar Phu valley trek without a guide?
The Nar Phu valley trek without guide is not possible. It is a restricted zone and as per the law of the Nepal government a licensed guide and special permit are compulsory for the safety and security of trekkers.
4. Is a permit required for Nar Phu valley trek?
Traveling to the Nar Phu valley requires a special permit and a group of at least two trekkers. Because the trekking region is in a remote part of Nepal and relatively high in altitude, there is a risk that trekkers become disoriented and suffer from altitude sickness. To avoid these situations, the Nepalese government has made a guide and special permit compulsory for trekking in this region.
You will need two permits for this trek in fact:
• Special Restricted Area Permit for Annapurna (Annapurna RAP Permit)
• Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) permit
5. What is the cost of the required permits and fees for the Nar Phu valley trek?
• Special Restricted Area Permit for Annapurna (Annapurna RAP Permit): the cost varies according to the season. From September to November it is USD 100 for 7 days, and each extra day costs USD 15. The rest of the year (December-August) it costs USD 75 for 7 days and each extra day costs USD 10.
• Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP Permit): 3000 NPR
8. How can I prevent getting altitude sickness?
This is a guided trek, and you will be accompanied by one of Nepal's experienced trekking guides who knows how to recognise altitude sickness (as there may be other physical conditions as well with similar symptoms) and who knows what to do. They will take a very good care of you.
In general, it is important that you climb up slowly and avoid gaining more than 300-500 metres (altitude of night stay) per day. Drink plenty of water and avoid smoking and drinking liquor. If symptoms of altitude sickness are observed, climb slowly or stop for a rest day (depending on intensity) allowing your body to adjust. If symptoms persist and/or get worse, it is important that you move to lower altitude to avoid life-threating conditions.
9. How high is Nar Phu valley Trek?
The highest point on the trek is Kang La Pass (5306m), which we cross towards the end of the trek when you will have already adjusted to altitude. The highest point of night stay is at Nar, at 4200m.
10. Food and accommodation on the Nar Phu valley trek
Because is a restricted region and quite off-the-beaten path with basic infrastructure, there are a limited number of simple tea houses on the way. As for food, they will usually provide cereals (musli mostly), toasted bread, eggs, or pancakes for breakfast, and otherwise soups, pasta, sandwiches, and potato dishes as well as traditional Nepali daal bhaat (a dish of rice, lentils and vegetable curry). Although other items are available, we recommend sticking mostly with local food, like daal bhaat or potatoes, as this is usually safe and people know well how to prepare.