The Nar Phu Valley trek is located within the Annapurna Conservation Area in the northwest of Nepal.
The valley is surrendered by unspoiled mountain valleys and mountains, combining pure Himalayan nature with ancient Buddhist traditions.
The language and culture are similar to Tibet, and the area is bordering Tibet through the high Himalayan passes. In 2002, this region was opened to foreign visitors, but it only became popular when visitors started to be accommodated by local home-stay in 2010. Camping was the only choice before that.
It remains today one of Nepal’s best-touched trekking areas. The Annapurna Circuit is very crowded with too many tourists during each season, lying next to the Nar Phu Valley trek region. Next door in the Annapurna region, Nar Phu Valley is considered to be one of the best remote and off the beaten trails.
The Nar Phu Valley trek is the ultimate option for trekkers looking to avoid the crowds.
Nar Phu Valley Trek: Highlights
- Nar Phu Valley–a hidden gem in the mountains of the Himalayas
- No motorway on 95 percent of the hiking trail
- Opportunity to camp in Buddhist monasteries or to visit nearby homestay.
- Discover unspoiled mountain valleys with a mixture of raw Himalayan nature and ancient Buddhist culture
- Nar Phu Valley is situated in the Himalayan rain shadow, making it a great destination for monsoon trek.
Nar Phu Valley Trek Permits & Required Documents
Anyone traveling to Nar Phu Valley must have two different types of permits. Since the Valley is part of the restricted area, you must be accompanied by a licensed guide in a group of at least two trekkers.
Your trekking company will then arrange for your permit to travel through this unseen land.
Nar Phu Valley Trek Permit Cost
- Annapurna Conservation Area Project permit cost USD 30 per person
- Restricted Area Permit (September – November) USD 100 per person/per week
- Restricted Area Permit (December – August) USD 75 per person/week
You need a copy of your passport, a passport-sized photograph, and the original passport with the visa stamp to obtain the Nar Phu area trek permit.
Except public holidays, it will take 3-4 hours to get the permit from Sunday to Friday (opening hour from 10:00 am to 5 pm). If you don’t have the time yourself, this can be done for you by your trek agent.
Regulations also specify that in order to get the permits, at least two trekkers should be in one group.
Guide and Porter Hiring for Nar Phu Valley Trek
For the Nar Phu Valley trek, a guide is required. Although Nepal has some trekking trails where without a guide tourist can hike, this does not apply to the Nar Phu Trek.
- Sherpa Guide cost: USD 33 to 35 per day
- Guide Porter cost: USD 22 to 25 per day
- Porter cost: USD 18 to 20 per day
Getting Nar Phu Valley Trek
The Nar Phu Valley trek begins from Koto. The trail follows a circuit route via the Kang La pass (5.240 m) during the trek. The trail ends at the same point that you started making a loop.
You travel by bus from Kathmandu to Besisahar and then to Manang to get to the trailhead. There are local buses and mini minibuses available on the Kathmandu-Besisahar-Kathmandu route. But you have to share a local jeep to Manang from Besisahar.
Transportation Costs for Nar Phu Valley Trek
- Hotel to bus station by taxi: USD 4 to 6 USD
- Kathmandu to Besisahar by local bus USD 5 to 8 USD p.p.
- Kathmandu to Besisahar a private car (3 people and luggage) USD 120-150
- From Besisahar to Koto a local sharing jeep USD 25 to 30 USD p.p.
Nar Phu Valley trek begins with a scenic drive from Kathmandu to Besisahar vai Prithivi highway. It is about 175 km long and the condition of the road is generally good. However, the road between Besisahar and Koto is muddy and dusty.
This is an off-road journey. The travel time between Koto and Kathmandu is about 9 to 10 hours; if there is no delay. Some trekkers choose to stay overnight in Besisahar (most likely from Kathmandu you will arrive early in the afternoon) and start the next morning fresh for a bumpy ride to Koto!
Meals Costs During the Nar Phu Valley Trek
The Nar Phu Valley is a remote region of Nepal, so the food costs on the Nar Phu trail are generally more expensive than in the Annapurna Circuit area. This remoteness also includes more restricted menu choices.
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).
You should have a budget of around 5-7 USD per meal. For three meals, about USD 25-30 a day. This does not include alcohol (if any)! It also depends, of course, on your appetite! But even if you don’t feel hungry, remember you have to eat for trekking. Drinking water will strongly push up your spending.
On average, 1-liter of water will cost about USD 1,5 to 2 USD at lower altitudes and USD 4 at higher altitudes. To save money, bring purification tablets or a water filter!
What Kind of Food to Expect in the Nar Phu Valley?
- Each guesthouse/homestay provides a menu of basic food.
- All vegetables served in tea houses or homes are produced from their garden. So, it’s organic!
- Not all villages provide meat (chicken, mutton and pork). Beef is almost non-existent here, please note. Yak meat may be available in some areas, though. Ask your guide which meat is on the menu to find out if the meat is fresh or not. It is difficult to raise animals for consumption and it is difficult to store meat over the winter.
- Every time you’re hungry, you won’t find tea houses. Bringing energy bars or chocolate will give you that extra boost!
- “24-hour dal-bhat power.” Nepali’s most popular dish helps you to eat as much rice as you can, at no extra cost. Rice is perfect because the trek needs carbohydrates!
Relatively clean and drinkable fresh streams off the mountain. You’ll see local people drinking this water and your guide. BUT, it’s used to them.
You should use purifying tablets or drops or carry a portable water filter to avoid any upsets that ruin your trek. Always, it’s safe than sorry.
In every village, bottled water is available for purchase, at lower elevations approx. USD 1,5 and higher altitude USD 3 to 4 USD. Many trekkers use drops / tablets or water filters for water purification to save money. Water sources are typically available on the trail everywhere/stop points.
Drinks Cost During the Nar Phu Valley Trek
In the Nar Phu Valley, the cost of tea and coffee is nearly the same as in other mountain regions, slightly cheaper than in the Everest region
A cup of tea – USD 1.5 to 3 USD
A cup of coffee – USD 2 to 4 USD
A bottle of beer – USD 5 to 7 USD
- Bottled water can be bought at about USD 2 at the lower elevation and USD 4 at higher altitudes in each camp.
- Many trekkers use drops / tablets or water filters to save money. Drops / tablets for water purification are the best in practice.
- You don’t have to carry more than two liters of water during the day. Normally there is a water source on the trail where you can fill up every one to two hours. Please ask your water sources guide to be found every day along the way.
- Carry at least one bottle (1-liter).
- At this elevation, your body needs plenty of water. It is recommended to drink at least 3 liters per day. To avoid dehydration, please drink as much as you can. It also helps to properly acclimatize and filter the blood.
Accommodation Facilities on the Nar Phu Valley Trek
Basic accommodation in the Nar Phu Valley is not a problem at all, as tea houses have begun to spring up in every settlement area that serves visitors. It’s not an issue for a small group of up to 6 to 10 trekkers.
On a sharing basis, the cost of one twin room is about USD 5 to USD 7 per person per night. The cost will be USD 5-7 twice, if you want the entire room to yourself.
Please note that if it is extremely busy, you may have to share a room, as with other trekking areas, even if you are able to pay for the extra bed on your own.
What to expect Accommodations During the Nar Phu Valley Trek?
Where are you going to sleep? What to expect accommodations during the Nar Phu Valley Trek? Home-stays are typically very common, with the family sharing the same room. You’re going to sleep in a Buddhist temple in Nar Phedi, sharing space with a monk.
- There is a basic private room with a shared toilet available throughout the trek. Please, however, expect a couple of nights in very basic accommodation where you may need to sleep and share a room with other trekkers. Living in a group again!
- Bring with you a sleeping bag and a mat (you can hire or buy in Kathmandu). While it may be possible to provide beds, blankets, pillows, etc., you may want your own cleaner version. Often, at night the weather might be cold, so sleeping bags are must.
- Extra blankets are provided at no additional cost in each camp. Except the night in a Nar Phedi monastery. Sheets are limited and only the bottom sheets are normally provided.
- In the common areas, but only in a few places and only during dinner time, room heaters or open fire will be provided. Here you can enjoy the time to interact with local Nepalis and other travelers. The sleeping rooms do not have heating, or sometimes in a shared room other than dinner.
- The toilets are very simple, usually located outside the house. If you go out at night, please take a torch with you, particularly if it’s near to the jungle with the possibility of wildlife. Bring with you enough tissues or toilet paper. Toilet paper can be bought at the teahouse.
- Do not negotiate. The price of the menu is fixed!
- Unless permitted, do not enter the kitchen.
- Usually, tea houses charge hot water for bathing. And there’s a charge for mobile phones, cameras, and so on. You may want to bring with you a power bank or a solar battery.
How Difficult is the Nar Phu Valley Trek?
The Nar Phu trek is rated for the Himalayas as a moderate trek. For example, the itinerary for this trek will take you from Kathmandu (1400 m) to Koto (2,600 m) on the first day.
Which is less than an altitude gains in one day when flying in from Kathmandu compared to Lukla (2,860 m) in the Everest Region. We have never experience people getting sick at Namche Bazaar (3,440 m) in the Everest region during our guiding in the Himalayas.
If we had to compare the Nar Phu trek elevation with the Namche elevation, we would say that you will only reach this height in 4 to 5 days. Although there are high passes, there is a lower altitude sickness ratio compared to other Nepal trekking areas.
This comparison shows that the region of Nar Phu is much better than the Khumbu region of the Everest Base Camp Trek. However, we cannot tell who is going to suffer from altitude sickness.
It’s not about age or health. Yet our route itinerary gives you plenty of time to acclimatize. And the trick is going slowly, stay hydrated, and take note of what your body tells you.
Nar Phu Valley Trek Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive in Kathmandu, 1400m.
Day 2: Preparation day and gear check.
Day 3: Drive from Kathmandu via Besisahar to Koto, 2,600m; approx. 9-10 hrs.
Day 4: Trek to Meta, 3,560m; approx. 7 hrs.
Day 5: Trek to Phu, 4,080m; approx. 7 hrs
Day 6: Acclimatization day in Phu with a side trip to Himlung Base Camp (4,800m)
Day 7: Trek to Nar Phedi, overnight stay at monastery, 3,490m; approx. 6 hrs.
Day 8: Trek to Nar Village, 4,110m; approx. 3 hrs
Day 9: Trek via Kang La Pass (5,240m) to Ngawal, 3,650m; approx. 8 hrs
Day 10: Ngawal to Hunde (3,350m) and local jeep to Besishar: approx. 8-9 hours hike down
Day 11: From Besishar to Kathmandu by Mini-HiAce bus approx. 6 – 7 drive
Day 12: Fly to home
Telecommunications on the Nar Phu Valley Trek
In case of an emergency, many telecommunications booths (small offices) are available. Local networks only operate in about 35% of this trekking area, whereas each village has an emergency contact VHF phone for any emergency, your guide will be able to contact the relevant people.
Nar Phu Valley Trek Packing List
Pack your clothes according to the hiking season. You’ll need warm gears for the cold. You’ll need a rain gear for the monsoon. Wear layers to remove the outer layer when feeling hot and sweaty.
- Hiking boot (ankle support boot recommended)
- Sleeping bag
- Sleeping mat
- Down jacket
- Sunscreen & Lip guard
- Ear Plug & Eye Mask
- A woolen cap
- A pair of hiking sandals
- Under wears
- Comfortable Sports Bras (for girls)
- Sanitary pads (for girls)
- 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, especially for late autumn. (Crampons can be bought or rented in Kathmandu,)
It’s well known that if something needs extra effort, don’t expect it to be cheap! You will be charged in the mountains for anything extra! The following are additional costs that you may want to consider when trekking in Nepal in addition to your budget:
Charging your gadgets: it certainly costs you a few dollars such as a camera, mobile phone, etc. It is necessary to pay the extra costs due to the high investment in the community for the small local hydropower station.
As you’re going to be in the mountains for many days, you will definitely need to charge at least your phone or camera (as you’d like to capture the landscapes!). You could also invest in a portable solar battery charger or a portable power bank It will also help with additional batteries for your camera.
Bucket hot shower: Water is heated by gas or firewood and every time it may cost you a few dollars. Please don’t expect a shower every day in the mountains. Yes, it’s just not practical and economical as much as we want to do that.
And if it’s cold, you may not want to get all your clothes off! So, for several days you should be prepared to smell the same as yesterday. And note that we’re all going to smell the same!
Another alternative would be to pack some wet wipes rather than a bucket of water and use them instead. As they are not biodegradable, please bring the used wet wipes back to Kathmandu for disposal.
Donations: If you’re visiting monasteries, gumba or stupa, even if it’s not mandatory, they’re expecting some small contributions to the premises.
Tips for the staffs: Your guide and porter are also expecting some tips from you after each trek. This will usually reflect on your experience during the trek, of course.
Generally, for a 12-day trek, USD 50 to USD 100 is an average, USD 5 to USD 7 a day. This is shared among the group’s trekkers. So, if you’re 10, expect to pay around USD 10 to USD 12 each for a 12-day trek.
How Much Does the Nar Phu Valley Trek Cost?
The local tour company can charge from USD 1000 to USD 2000 depending on the trek duration. The western operator can charge between approximately USD 2000 and 3500.
However, it makes more sense to choose a local tour operator because Nepali is the one with the most understand-how in Nepal. It’s as simple as that.
A licensed guide, a porter, basic food and accommodation, permit, local jeep / local bus to and from Kathmandu are included in the price The cost can vary slightly depending on the group size and the company you go with.
When is the Best Time to Trek the Nar Phu Valley?
The best trekking seasons in Nepal are September-November and March-May. The temperature in the lowland is pleasantly warm and at high altitude moderates.
Interestingly, this trek is in the Himalayan rain shadow. The Nar Phu Valley trek is thus one of Nepal’s best monsoon treks. This trek can be done without any difficulties between June to August.
And there will be a wider choice of accommodation in Kathmandu and Pokhara during the monsoon, and the cost will be cheaper.
Nar Phu Valley Trek Map
The Nar Phu Valley trek is a great alternative trekking trail in Annapurna region. It will be an exhausting off-road journey on the bumpy road from Besisahar to Koto as the road condition is not so smooth, but it’s worth all the effort when you reach your destination.
This trek combines visits to Natural Annapurna and high altitude trekking in the famous Annapurna region. If you have any questions regarding Nar Phu Valley trek or any other treks in Nepal, please contact us.