This unique and seldom Nar Phu Trekking route offers the adventurous trekker a bit of everything that makes Nepal so special. From Besisahar, we will gradually ascend the Marshyangi River Valley to Koto and head northwards and enter the recently opened Nar Phu Valleys of Upper Manang.
Passing through the ‘Chorten’ gate that designates the entrance to Nar Phu, it’s as if we’ve been transported into a land where time has stood still. The Himalayan Pine quickly give way to high plateau, remote Tibetan villages built of stone, ancient Buddhist monasteries and grand views of the Annapurna Range. This magical area is known to have one of the highest concentration of snow leopard per square kilometer of anywhere in the world.
After numerous days of exploration, we exit this valley via the exciting 5,315 meter Kang La pass or also have the option to return back the same route depending on the clients’ interest and ability to cross the pass. Upon return from Manang, we pick up the main Annapurna Circuit route at Braga, continue to Manang Village where the trip concludes.
Nar Phu Trekking includes tour and exploration of Nepal’s heritage sites in Kathmandu.
ay 1 /2 : Kathmandu
Day 3 Kathmandu to Dharapani, 10 hours
Day 4 Dharapani to Koto (1880) , 16 km, 6 hours
Day 5 Koto to Dharamshala, 2625 m, 15.5 km, 6 hours
Day 6 Dharamshala to Kyang, 3260, 12.5 km, 8 hours
Day 7 Kyang to Phu, 3880 meters, 9 km, 3 hours
Day 8 Exploring Phu
Day 9 Phu – Loang, 4060 to 5050 m (pass) 4680 meters, 8.5 km, 7 hours
Day 10 Loang – Nar, 4680 meters (5400 pass) to 4200 meters, 12.5 km, 8.5 hours
Day 11 Nar – Khangla Phedi 4200 meters to 4630 meters, 7 km, 4 hours
Day 12 Khangla Phedi – Khangla Pass – Naygwal, 4630 meters (5300 pass) to 3670 meters, 9.5 km, 6 hours
Day 13 Naygwal – Manang, 3670 meters to 3540 meters, 3 hours, 9 km
Day 14 Drive to Manang to Besisahar
Day 15 Kathmandu
The trip begins with a 5 hour drive to Besisahar. As long and arduous as it sounds, we promise that you will not see the inside of a vehicle for the subsequent 11 days. We will get off the vehicle at Besisahar and begin our hike towards Manang. The day ends at Dharapani.
We set our sights towards the west on day 2 and begin our hike towards Koto. En route will be the ancient Buddhist village of Bagar Chap. The path will mostly be littered with rudimentary stone steps through pine forests. With Mt. Manaslu behind us we will occasionally get glimpses of Mt. Annapurna 2
Anticipating the mildly rigorous route ahead, we fuel up early in the morning and get off the Annapurna trail for the path heading to Nar/Phu valley. The contrast between the Annapurna trail and that towards Nar/Phu becomes apparent, as we are unlikely to encounter any fellow trekkers as we advance. Complementing this contrast is that of the terrain as the forest line thins and we get a clearer view of the mountains around.
We slip back into our boots and prepare for a steeper climb alongside the Phul Khola (river). Keeping in mind our safety and the need to acclimatize, day 4 will be relatively shorter. However, despite being a shorter trek we are likely to have our first encounter with yaks on this path and if we are lucky we may also get a glimpse of the annual migration of locals down from the high pastures in preparation for the winter months. We dust off our boots and call it a day at our campsite on the Kyang plateau.
Retracing our steps from the Day 4, we begin the day with a steep descent towards the Phu Khola. After a short hike alongside the river and a few hops across the river, the ascent upwards on the gorge towards Phu begins. The ascent is accompanied by a wide variety of colorful chortens (mini stupas) along the way that Nar and Phu are known for. As we progress further along the mystique and serenity of the canyon, we will encounter the ancient stone gateway of Phuohi Yalgoe or Phu Gate from where we will also get our first glimpse of the three villages of Phu. An hour or so more of hiking and we set up camp just short of Phu.
You could give your tired feet some rest or succumb to your curiosity and immerse yourself in everything Phu. We strongly urge you opt for the latter. Amidst such picturesque setting you could explore the ancient fort ruins, hike to Himlung Himal base camp, observe locals spinning yak wool, pounding on mustard seeds and several other activities that would be foreign to most of us. With highly favorable natural lighting, Phu provides wide variety of settings and characters for the budding or veteran photographer.
Aside from soaking in the lifestyle at Phu, you will also have acclimatized for the day ahead of us as we head into territory that has largely been unexplored by outsiders where the yak herders spend a few months every year. Views of the Himlung Himal from this point are nothing short of spectacular. This is also blue sheep country and we’re likely to get glimpses of the elusive blue sheep families along the route. Reminiscent of a jungle safari, the day too ends with yaks ‘hanging around’ our camping grounds on Loang.
Yes, the yaks are very likely to greet you in the morning as well. As we begin our hike, we’re likely to encounter several key directional signs that could go unnoticed to the untrained eye. Here, we would like to remind all our travellers that everyone on the route is encouraged to repaint/remark the signs with fresh paint for subsequent travellers (we’re trying to inculcate a habit of ownership and responsibility among all those who use this route). The trek gets strenuous as we start to tread on loose mud and stones but will also be rewarded in kind by a 360 degree view of the mountains such as Lamjung, Himlung, Tilicho, Annapurna 2 & 4, Namjung to name a few. The day will be an exhausting one and the rest at Nar for the night will be very welcome.
Perhaps the shortest day of the route, we have an easy 2-3 hours of hiking before us. We will start in the afternoon and reach the high meadows of Khangla Phedi where we camp for the night.
5240 meters above sea level, the Khangla pass offers views that every trekker in Nepal craves for. Having reached the highest point of the route we begin a steep 2 Hours decent before stopping for lunch. The trails then heads left, west towards Ngawal. We will end our day in this beautiful village with its prayer wheels and beautiful architecture.
To get to our final stop of Manang, we will pass through some open forests through Braga. Braga is an ancient village that has architecture on the mountainside, which is believed to have been built some 500 years ago. Once in Manang, time permitting we can either begin exploring the village or leave it for the following day. Manang has somewhat of the typical mountain tourist vibe, filled with trekkers, lodges, bakeries and souvenir shops. A perfect place to unwind and indulge in all the comfort foods missed. However, as much as Manang may appear to be a hub for tourism, you will also notice that the Manange people have a strong sense of bonding to their cultural identity and have maintained their core culture despite the commercialization from tourism. To what degree have they maintained this? It’s for you to find out. Lastly, for those daring enough, look for the local watering holes at night and sample the ‘Mustang Coffee’. If you like it, you’ve gone native.
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