Nar and Phu villages are located in the north-west of Nepal, within the Annapurna Conservation Area. The valley is surrendered by unspoiled mountain valleys and mountains that feature a mix of raw Himalayan nature and ancient Buddhist culture. Bordering Tibet through high Himalayan passes, the culture, and religion of the area is that of Tibet. This region opened for foreign tourists in 2002. Yet it only became popular when local homestays started accommodating tourists in 2010. Before then, camping was the only option. Today it remains one of the best-untouched trekking areas in Nepal.
The Annapurna Circuit, lying next to the Nar Phu Valley trek area is very crowded with too many tourists during each busy season. Next door, Nar Phu Valley, is considered one of the best remote and off the beaten trails in the Annapurna Region. For trekkers looking to avoid the crowds, the Nar Phu Valley Trek is the ultimate option.
In this article, I will provide you with everything you need to know about the Nar Phu Valley Trek. Before reading, I would suggest watching this short video of highlights from the Nar Phu Valley Trek. As they say, a picture tells a thousand words!
- Nar Phu Valley – a hidden gem in the Himalayan wilderness
- One of the most scenic trails in the world
- No motorable road on 95% of the hiking trail
- Opportunity to camp in Buddhist monasteries or enjoy local homestay.
- Explore unspoiled mountain valleys that feature a mix of raw Himalayan nature and ancient Buddhist culture
- Nar Phu Valley lies in the rain shadow of the Himalayas, making it a perfect destination for monsoon trekking
Permits and Paper Work
Anyone traveling to Nar Phu Valley is required to have two different types of trekking permits. As the Valley is part of the restricted area, you must be in a group of at least two trekkers accompanied by a registered guide. Your trekking company then will arrange your permit to travel this hidden land.
|Nar Phu Valley Trek Permit Cost|
|Annapurna Conservation Area Project Permit Cost||NPR 3,000 per person|
|Restricted Area Permit (September to November)||USD 100 per person/per week|
|Restricted Area Permit (December to August)||USD 75 per person/week|
|A total cost||Season US$ 130/ Offseason US$105|
To get the Nar Phu area trek permit, you need to submit a copy of your passport, a passport-sized photograph, and original passport with the visa stamp. It will take 3-4 hours to get the permit from Sunday to Friday (10:00 am to 5 pm), except on public holidays. If you do not have the time yourself, your trekking agent can do this for you. Or you can contact us directly at email@example.com
Guide and Porter
A guide is required for the Nar Phu Trek. While Nepal has some trekking trails where tourists can trek without a guide, this doesn’t apply to the Nar Phu Trek.
Regulations also state that at least two trekkers should be in one group to get the permit. It is also possible to obtain a “ghost permit” if you are alone. But note you will have to pay double the amount as if there is a second person with you. The better alternative is to check with agencies if you can join their existing trips. Or contact us.
|Guide and Porter Cost For Nar Phu Valley Trek|
|Professional Guide with (Training, Licence, and field experience)||USD 32 per day|
|Professional Porter/ Guide with (Training, Licence, field experience)||USD 25 per day|
|Experience Trekking porter||USD 20 per day|
TransportationHiring a professional guide for the Nar Phu Trek is slightly less expensive than any other trek in Nepal. On average, the fee is about USD 30 to 35 per day. This includes the guide’s food, accommodation, and insurance. The reason it’s cheaper here? As tourism is still underdeveloped in this area, there is less competition and, unlike other trekking regions, guides still get a discount on food and accommodation.
The Nar Phu Valley Trek starts from Koto in Manang. During the hike, the trail follows a circuit route via the high pass of Kang La (5,240m). Making a loop the trail ends at the same point you started. To get to the trailhead, you have to travel from Kathmandu to Besisahar and then to Hunde. As for transportation, there are local buses and minibusses available on the Kathmandu-Besisahar-Kathmandu route. But from Besisahar you have to share a local jeep to Hunde.
|Transportation cost for Nar Phu Valley Trek|
|Kathmandu to local bus station taxi||USD 5|
|Kathmandu to Besishar a local bus||USD 10 per person|
|Kathmandu to Besishar a private car (Up to 3 people)||USD 100-120|
|Besishar to Koto a local sharing jeep||USD 25 per person|
|A total cost||USD 40 in a local bus (USD 125-150 in a car)|
The road between Kathmandu and Besisahar is called the Prithvi Highway. It is approximately 175km and the road condition is generally good. Between Besisahar and Koto, however, the road is muddy and dusty. This is off-the-road travel! The travel time between Kathmandu and Koto is around 10-11 hours; when there are no delays. Many trekkers opt to stay in Besisahar overnight (most likely you will reach there early afternoon from Kathmandu) and start fresh the next morning for the bumpy ride to Koto!
Since Nar Phu is a remote area of Nepal, the cost of food on the Nar Phu Trek is generally more expensive compared to the Annapurna Circuit area. This remoteness also affects the menu choices, which are more limited. As anyone knows who has been on other high altitude treks in Nepal, the higher you go the more expensive food items are (due to having to be carried up there – and in this area, by mules).
Budget: You should budget around US 6-7 per meal. Around USD20-25 a day for three meals. This does not include soft drinks or alcohol or dessert (if there are any)! Naturally, it also depends on your appetite! But even if you do not feel hungry, remember, you must eat in order to have fuel for trekking. Drinking water will push your budget up considerably. On average a liter of water will cost around USD2 at lower altitudes and US4 at higher altitudes. Bring purifying tablets or a water filter to save money!
What Kind of Food to Expect in the Nar Phu Valley?
- Each teahouse/homestay offers basic food on a menu.
- Commonly any vegetables served in teahouses or homestays are produced from their garden. Therefore they are organic!
- Not every settlement offers meat (chicken, mutton, and pork). Please note that beef is almost non-existent here. However, in some places, yak meat may be available. If meat is on the menu, ask your guide to find out whether the meat is fresh or not. Raising animals for consumption is difficult and storing meat over the winter is challenging. So better be safe rather than sorry, and ask about the freshness of your dinner!
- You won’t find tea houses anytime you are hungry. Bringing energy bars or chocolate with you will provide you with that extra boost!
- “Dal Bhat power for 24 hours”. The most common Nepali dish allows you to eat as much rice as you can, with no additional cost. Rice is good as you need carbohydrates for the trek!
- While it is generally clean, please be cautious when buying local food or drinking water.
Streams fresh off the mountain are relatively clean and drinkable. You will see locals and your guide drinking this water. BUT, they are used to it. In order to avoid any upsets which will ruin your trek, you should use purifying tablets or drops or bring a portable water filter. Again, better safe than sorry.
Bottled water is available to buy in each camp, roughly NPR 200/ USD 2 at lower elevations and NPR 400/ USD 4at higher altitude. The majority of trekkers use water purification drops/ tablets or water filters to save money. (Any hikers booking through NEST Adventure, will be provided an empty bottle and water purification tablets. So if you are trekking with us, please do not forget to ask about this when you visit our office.)
During the day, you don’t need to carry more than one liter of extra water. Typically, water sources are available every one to two hours along the trail.
The cost of tea and coffee in the Nar PhuValley are relatively the same as in other mountain regions, slightly cheaper than tea and coffee in the Everest Region
A cup of tea – USD 1.5-4
A cup of coffee – USD 2-4
A bottle of beer – USD 5-8
A bottle of water/ soda – USD 2-4
⇒ Bottled water is available to buy in each camp at roughly USD 2 at the lower elevation and USD 4 at higher altitudes
⇒ The majority of trekkers use water purification drops/ tablets or water filters to save money. Water purification drops/ tablets are the best in practice.
⇒ You don’t need to carry more than two liters of water during the day. Usually, a water source is available every one to two hours along the trail where you can fill up. Please ask your guide about the water sources to be found along the way each day.
⇒ Carry at least one water bottle which is suitable for hot and cold water.
⇒ Your body needs plenty of water at this elevation. It is recommended to intake at least 5 liters per day. So please drink as much as you can to avoid dehydration. It also helps blood circulation and better acclimatization.
Accommodation on the Nar Phu Valley Trek
Basic accommodation is not an issue at all in the Nar Phu Valley as teahouses have started to spring up at each settlement area that caters to tourists. For a small group, up to 6 trekkers, it isn’t a problem. The cost for one twin room on a sharing basis is roughly USD 5 to USD 7 per person a night. If you want the whole room to yourself, the cost will be USD5-7 times two. Please note, if it is extremely busy, as with other trekking areas you may have to share a room even if you are willing to pay for the extra bed yourself. Communal living!
What to expect from the accommodation in the Nar PhuRegion
Where will you be sleeping? What should you expect from accommodation in the Nar Phu Region? Usually, the homestays are quite basic, with the family sharing the same space. At Nar Phedi, you will sleep in a Buddhist temple, sharing space with a monk.
Please note the following:
⇒ A basic private room with a shared toilet is available pretty much throughout the trek. However, please expect a couple of nights where you may need to sleep in very basic accommodation and share a room with other trekkers. Communal living again!
⇒ Bring a sleeping bag and sleeping mat with you (you can hire or buy in Kathmandu). Although beds, blankets, pillows, etc. may be provided, you might want your own, cleaner version. Also, the weather could be cold at night so sleeping bags are a must.
⇒ Extra blankets are provided in each camp at no additional cost. Except for the night in a monastery in Nar Phedi. Sheets are limited, and usually, only bottom sheets are provided.
⇒ Room heaters or open fire will be provided in the communal areas, but only in a few places and only during dinner time. Enjoy the time here to mingle with local Nepalis and fellow travelers. There is no heating in the sleeping rooms. Or in the communal room at times other than dinner.
⇒ The toilets are very basic (mostly squat toilets), usually in an outside building. Please take a torch with you if going in the night, particularly if it is near the jungle with the possibility of wildlife. Also, bring enough wipes or toilet paper with you. Better still, use water like the locals. Toilet paper may be available at the teahouse for purchase.
⇒ Do not bargain. The menu price is a fixed price!
⇒ Do not enter the kitchen without permission.
⇒ Tea houses usually charge additionally for hot water for bathing. And there is a price for charging mobile phones, cameras, etc. You may want to bring a power bank with you or a solar battery.
How difficult is the Nar Phu Trek?
The Nar Phu Trek is considered a moderate trek for the Himalayas. For example, the itinerary for this trek brings you to Koto (2,600m) on the first day from Kathmandu (1,300m). Which is less of an altitude gain in one day compared to Lukla (2,860m) in the Everest Region when flying in from Kathmandu. During my tenure as a trekking guide in the Himalayas, I never saw people becoming sick at Namche Bazaar (3,440m) in the Everest Region. If I had to compare the Nar Phu Trek elevation with the elevation of Namche, I can say you only gain this much altitude in 5 days. Although there are high passes, the altitude sickness rate here is lower compared to other trekking regions in Nepal. This comparison tells me that the Nar Phu Region is much safer compared to the Everest Base Camp Trek in the Khumbu Region. However, we cannot tell who will suffer from altitude sickness. It does not depend on age or fitness. But our itinerary gives plenty of time to acclimatize. And the secret is going slowly, stay hydrated, and note what your body is telling you.
Day 1 Drive from Kathmandu via Besisahar to Koto 2,600m; approx. 10-11 hours
Day 2 Trek to Meta 3,560m; approx. 7 hours
Day 3 Trek to Phu 4,080m; approx. 7 hours
Day 4 Acclimatization day in Phu with a side trip to Himlung Base Camp (4,800m)
Day 5 Trek to Nar Phedi, overnight stay in monastery 3,490m; approx. 6 hours.
Day 6 Trek to Nar Village 4,110m; approx. 3 hours
Day 7 Trek via Kang La Pass (5,240m) to Ngawal 3,650m; approx. 8 hours
Day 8 Ngawal to Hunde (3,350m) and local jeep to Besishar: approx. 8-9 hours hike down
Day 9: Besishar to Kathmandu approx. 7-8 drive
There are many telecommunication booths (small offices) available in case of an emergency. The local networks work only in about 30% of this trekking area, while each village has a VHF phone for emergency contact. Your guide will be able to contact the relevant people for any emergency.
Trek Essentials – What to Pack for the Nar Phu Trek
⇒ Hiking boot (high ankle boot recommended and wear than before you come to Nepal)
⇒ Sleeping bag
⇒ Sleeping mat
⇒ Down jacket
⇒ Thermal vest and long johns to keep the heat in
⇒ Pair of comfortable (quick-dry) hiking pants
⇒ Hiking socks (woolen socks are recommended)
⇒ Hiking bag (minimum 50l+10)
⇒ Climbing shoe or crampon may require if the trail has thick ice (Crampons can be bought or rented in Kathmandu)
What you Do Not Need
⇒ No climbing ropes required
⇒ No ice ax required
⇒ No Goretex jacket required
Additionally, consider taking the following gear for your Nar Phu Trek: warm hat/ head cover, scarf, sunglass, lip guard, sun cream, trekking pole, headlamp, windproof gloves, water bottle, water purification drops, camera accessories, first aid kit (including any prescription medicines you usually take) etc. A detailed list of trekking essentials for the Nar Phu Valley will be provided upon request. Please email us.
It is widely known that if something requires extra effort, then do not expect it to be cheap! You will be charged for anything extra in the mountains! The following are additional costs you may want to also factor into your budget when trekking in Nepal:-
A. Charging your electronic gadgets: Such as a camera, mobile phone, etc definitely costs you a few dollars. The extra cost needs to be paid due to the high investment for the small local hydropower station in the community. As you will be in the mountains for many days you will definitely require charge at least your phone or camera (as you would want to capture the sceneries for sure!). You might as well invest in a portable solar battery charger or a portable power bank. Extra batteries for your camera will help as well.
B. Bucket shower (i.e. a pail of water): Water is heated by gas or firewood and it might cost you a few dollars each time. In the mountains please don’t expect to have a shower every day. Yes, as much as we want to do that, it is just not practical and economical. And if it’s cold you might not want to take off all your clothes! So you should be prepared to smell the same as yesterday for several days. And remember we will all smell the same! Instead of a bucket of water, another option would be to pack some wet wipes and use them instead. Please bring the used wet wipes back to Kathmandu for disposal as they are not biodegradable.
C. Donations: If you visit monasteries, a gumba or stupa, although it is not mandatory, they do expect some small contributions for the maintenance of the premises. Costs here could vary.
D. Tips for the support staff: After each trek, your guide and porter also expect some tips from you. Of course, this usually reflects on your experience during the trek. Usually, USD 80-100 is average for ten days trek.USF 5 to 7 per day. This is shared between the trekkers in the group. For example, if you are 10 people, expect to pay around $10 each for a trek of ten days.
Total expenses and trekking cost
If you make a deal with a local trekking agency based in Kathmandu, the tentative price for this trek would be USD 55 to 65 per person per day in a small group. That also includes a licensed guide, a porter, basic food and accommodation, permit and local jeep/ local bus to and from Kathmandu. Depending on the group size and the agency you choose, the cost may vary slightly. However, the same package with an international agency or commission-based third party agency may go up to USD 100-150 per day per person.
September-November and March-May are the best seasons in Nepal for trekking. The temperature is mildly warm in the lowland and moderates at high altitude. Interestingly, this trek lies in the rain shadow of the Himalayas. As such the Nar Phu Trek is one of the best monsoon treks in Nepal. Between June to August, this trek can be done without any problem. And there will be a wider choice of accommodation and the cost will be cheaper in Kathmandu and Pokhara during the monsoon. Bonus!
About Our Guides – and What to Expect from Any Guide
There are hundreds of local companies in the market, and we are one of them. NEST Adventure is unique and specialized in remote area trekking in Nepal.
Please compare us with others. We offer:-
⇒ The majority of the professional guides from NEST Adventure are born and raised in the mountain regions and specialize in restricted area trekking in Nepal (Great Himalaya Trail route)such as Manaslu, Tsum Valley, Upper Mustang, Kanchenjunga and Nar Phu. So they know their way around these mountains very well.
⇒ All our guides go to Nar Phu at least 2 to 3 times every year so you can be sure of their experience in the terrain of this area.
⇒ Most of our guides are young but very experienced and well educated. They can converse very well in English, and in some cases, in other languages too.
⇒ Each of our guides has good relations with locals and teahouse owners along the way. So there no issues with communications with tea houses or finding accommodation.
⇒ To make sure you have a good rapport with our guide, we arrange a meeting with the guide before the departure or even on the phone before you confirm trek with us. You can ask him questions and test his knowledge and experience. If for some reason, you are not satisfied, we would be happy to provide another guide that will match your requirements. Please, do hesitate to contact us if you are looking for someone like I just described (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Nar Phu Valley Trek is an excellent alternative trail if you follow the itinerary above. The motorable roads in between help you skip the less scenic parts and bring you straight to the best part of the trail. It will be an exhausting experience on the bumpy road from Besisahar to Kyoto as the road condition is not so smooth, but when you reach your destination, it is worth all the effort. Our clients who experienced this trail have nothing but positive feedback. For most of them who had also been to Everest Base Camp aka EBC or Annapurna Base Camp aka ABC, they say Nar Phu is much better.
If you enjoyed reading this article share it with your friends and family! This might be the missing exclusive information about the Nar Phu Valley Trek they were looking for! We would also appreciate it if you could give us a rating below. If you have any queries about this trail, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are happy to answer all of your questions.
Yes, you need! ACAP permit plus the restricted area permit cost has now increased September to November – Per person per week US $ 100 and US$ 15/ day beyond one week. December to August – Per person per week US $ 75 and US$ 15/ day beyond one week (Restricted Area VDC Nar and Phu along with northern part of Tilicho VDC)