Nar Phu Valley Trek is a fantastic trip to the wild and lost valley of Nar Phu offering off the beaten track wilderness experience in Annapurna region. Nar and Phu villages are situated off the Around Annapurna main trekking trial en-route to Manang is surrounded by Pisang Peak to south, Kangla Pass to the west, Kangru Himal east and Damodar Himal to the norht. The villages are situated at the altitude of 4110 meter. Being nestled inside the valley it is less windy but the lands are dry and rugged. Perhaps late Prof. David Snellgrove, a renowned Tibetologist, is the first westerner to have visited these villages in his Himalayan Pilgrimage. Their spoken dialect is different from Manang and Tibetan. Most of the houses are two-story with the entrance from the top. There are three Buddhist monasteries. Phu is located at the upper end of the valley. As in high mountain area people of the Nar Phu descends to warm region from December to February. People of Nar have closer relationship to Manang. Unlike people from Manang they do not trade widely, rather concentrate to nearby areas in the south. The Gurungs of Lamjung use the lamas of Nar Phu as they believe they are expert therefore they had great influence.
Nar and Phu villages were lost around 1960 at the advent of Khampas (Tibetan warrior) until 1975. Khampas made their actual presence from 1964 and lasted until they were driven out of Nepal entirely. They wages insurgency operation in Tibet after Dalai Lama escaped to India. The valley was opened to foreigners with special permit from 2003. Since then the lost village was opened to the outside world. The Khampas were powerful than the local so they dominated the villages. Actually the valley was a secure place for them. Though it is in close proximity to Lamjung in the south yet for central administration it is beyond their outlook post. In many aspects Manang dominated every aspects of Nar Phu though at later stage Lamjung exerted their influence as people of Nar Phu detested superiority exhibited by Manang. That is also one reason for the oblivion condition that isolated them from the rest and deprived of the development benefits happening around them. They have not been able to get out of the social clutch and the valley that surrounded them.
Occasional visitors to Nar and Phu villages were climbers. They go to climb Himlung Himal (7126m) to the east on the border to Tibet of Phu and Kanguru (6981m) east of Nar. French expedition to Kanguru in 2005 had met a big climbing disaster due to avalanche that happened near Meta. In 2009 another climbing disaster happened at Himlung due to unexpected avalanche. Technically both peaks are challenging than most trekking peaks.Nar Phu Valley is also approached from North West from Mustang through the high pass at Teri La Pass (5595m) Trek and Saribung La. These are not regular trekking route but used by the people of Nar and Phu and some wilderness trekking lovers. However, climbers liked to cross this pass after climbing Saribung peak (6327m). Most trekkers visiting Nar Phu liked to cross Kang la (5306m) to reach Manang via Ngawal and Braga on the other side of the valley. Other interesting places to combine with Nar Phu Trek are Tilicho Lake (4920m) Mesokanto La pass, and climb trekking peaks like Chulu West, Chulu East and Chulu Central. Pisang peak (6091), a training peak of Nepal Mountaineering Association, is also very popular. Our original version itinerary of Nar Phu Valley Trek goes through famous Thorong La Pass and ends the trek at Jomsom.
Kind of Accommodation and cost in Nar Phu Valley
Now Nar Phu Valley is possible as teahouse trek and home stay trek and does not need trekkers to camp. One gets to indulge in the local culture, traditional houses and lives of the warm people who make the treks more enjoyable. Accommodation is not an issue in Nar Phu Valley. The trails are usually unfilled or less crowded and new and improved tea houses are opening up all the time. No earthquake damage at all. The cost of a room on twin sharing basis usually ranges from NPR 500 – 800 (USD 5 – 10). The price goes high as you walk higher. Please do not expect luxury but comfortable enough for remote and cultural discover keens.
Guide and Porter Cost
Whereas many of the famous treks in Nepal do not have strict requirements for hiring licensed guide yet, all the controlled and restricted trekking areas in Nepal is mandatory that foreign trekkers must be accompanied by registered guide as per state law. The cost of a guide is USD 30 – 40 a day depending on the quality, level of education, experience of guide and season. Porter hire costs USD 20 a day. The cost covers wages, accommodation, food of the guide and porter. Some companies also offer fresh guides and they can act as Guide cum Porter (PcG) he carries some 10-13kg for you and simply guides you. Hiring a guide cum porter will cost USD 25 per day.
We recommend you take an experienced licensed guide as Nar Phu is adventurous and high altitude area, if something goes wrong; you really need a good guide with all the technical knowledge for safety that can handle crisis. The training and experience of a licensed professional guide can make your trekking more fun and enjoyable.
Transportation Cost Nar Phu Valley Trek
As Nar Phu Valley is located on the north of famous Annapurna Circuit and Throng La; the road access made it easier and local buses to besisahar from Kathmandu and connecting local jeeps to Syange/Jagat/Taal/ Dharapani or even to Koto and futher up to Manang is available. However, only Kathmandu to Besisahar has proper smooth road and it is dirt and unsealed bumpy road between Besisahar to Koto – Manang and the monsoon rain may affect the road if you are travelling in rainy season. You have choice to take Local bus/jeep or rent a luxury 4WD private jeep from Kathmandu. A local bus will cost around USD 5 – 6 per person to Besisahar and USD 25-30 per person to Koto and private jeep to Koto from Kathmandu will cost USD 400 - 450. If you are traveling in a group, the cost can be shared by all and would cost cheaper. And the same for vice versa.
If you are cambining this trek with Throng La or Mesokanto La Pass via Tilicho Lake and ending the trip at Jomsom, there are flights/buses available from Jomsom to Pokhara. Even direct night bus to Kathmandu is available from Jomsom that is much cheaper and can be arranged on the spot.
Jomsom - Pokhara flight cost USD 123 per person
Jomsom - Pokhara local bus fare NPR 1700 - 1900 per person.
Pokhara - Kathmandu flight USD 115 - 123.00 per person.
Pokhara - Kathmandu by toursit bus USD 10 - 25 per person ( a private car / jeep can be arranged if you ask)
How much does it cost for meals?
As we mentioned earlier, Nar Phu valley is a remote and rural area all the goods are carried by mules, horses and human muscles which makes it expensive. As the elevation increases, the price of food increases and the menu choices decrease as it gets harder to transport more goods to remote places. The cost of each meal is approximate NPR 400 - 700 but it might vary according to your choice of food, the number of meals, and appetite. Approximately USD 20 - 25 should be enough for a day simple meals and tea/coffee. You will enjoy every bite, every sip after a hard day’s trek and the hard work of the men and mules required carrying them to such elevations. Every single piece of food feels worth every penny for the relief and joy.
Bottle of beer: NPR 500 – 700 (USD 4.5 – 7)
Bottle of water/soda: NPR 50 – 400 (USD 0.5 – USD 4)
Nar Phu Trek Permit
As Nar Phu is a protected area, the government requires different permits to support to preserve of the area, limit the number of tourists and control the borders with Tibet. These permits are required exclusively for Annapurna conservation areas. For the months of September to November, the rate per person is USD 100 for one week and if you are visiting between the months of December to August, the cost is USD 75 for one week per person. Beyond one week; it costs USD 15 / 10 per day per person. In addition; you need ACAP (Annapurna conservation area permit). The cost is NPR 3000 (USD 30). And if you are combining this trek with Annapurna Circuit, you will need TIMS Card that costs USD 10 for group and USD 20 for FIT trekkers.
Cost for other extra expenses
As the altitude increases, everything becomes more expensive due to the effort and cost of transporting goods there. It is the same for all high elevation treks to the mountains in Nepal. Here is a list of things you might want to indulge in during the trek and their prices.
You will need to charge your electronic devices like camera, phones, iPods and others as you spent days in the mountains. The cost is usually a few dollars but in the long run it will cost you more to charge many things. The cost is higher to support the local hydropower stations and there are no electricity everywhere but solar power. If you want to avoid this cost, you might want to carry a solar-powered battery charger or a portable power bank of your own. This ensures that you get to enjoy the beautiful sceneries and fun experiences and share them with the world all the time. And you should know the battery how long does it last after charging till the next.
Each day of the trek is a exhausting experience and you may want to take a hot shower and get fresh all the time. However, in the higher places showers or baths are not possible due to the cold and the cost. While some lodges might have proper bathrooms others provide only pails of water for your bath. These will cost you a few dollars every time but they will not feel like a proper bath. Instead, it is a good idea to carry wet wipes and a small towel to freshen up in the morning as well as before bed.
Tiping and donations
If you like the services of the places you visit or the people you meet in the trails, you might want to tip them and tipping culture quite common in Nepal. It is usually a good idea to tip your guides and porters for their hard work if they make your trip fun, safe, and enjoyable. Various places in the high altitudes like the monasteries, stupas and schools will expect some form of a donation from the tourists for the improvement of their infrastructures. You might want to keep aside a few dollars if you feel like contributing to such good causes. Trekking to the mountains of Nepal is one of the most adventurous trips you could ever enjoy. As you take in the majestic beauty of the mountains and green landscape, the warm welcome of the friendly people and the thrills of the trails, you will get an experience worth every penny you spend. However, it is a good idea to avoid being overcharged for things that you get for reasonable prices.
How much does it cost for the inclusive package?
The amount you pay for the same trek depends on the travel agency you choose. If you pick an international agency, they may charge you around USD 2200 – 3200 per person while as we are a local company our customized cost is 750 per person on twin sharing basis with breakfasts. Some agencies charge for their brands and the safety and convenience, local companies provide equally satisfying services. It is your choice to pick the agency according to your budget and travel plans though booking through local agency is your direct contribution supporting locals.
How long is Nar Phu Valley Trek?
Nar Phu Valley Trek will be 12 – 18 Days. You have option whether start it from Bulbule or Jagat in lower place to make your body fitter and stronger if you are beginner or moderate trekker. Some very experienced trekkers start their trek from Koto which is already at the elevation of 2600 meter above sea level that makes the itinerary short but it is NOT recommended for not used to trekkers considering high altitude sickness. You have choice to combine this trek with Annapurna Circuit, Tilicho Lake with Nar Phu Valley, or cross over Teri La Pass and enter in the Mystique Upper Mustang.