Only recently-opened to trekkers the area of Nar and Phu, close to the Tibet border, is destined to become one of the great trekking destinations in Nepal. The trail begins at Bhulbhule and follows the Marsyandi River Valley north through terraced hillsides to the village of Koto that lies behind the Annapurna Range. Leaving the popular trail behind, our trek takes us a deep and narrow valley into the previously restricted wilds of NarKhola Valley. Trekking in the area is unlike most of Nepal, with the wild, barren and treeless terrain similar to that of Tibet. Trails are rugged and at times cut high into side of the cliff, in an area that has changed little over the years. We spend a number of days exploring the region and visit the remote villages of Nar and Phu, as well as crossing the Kang- La pass.
Day 1 : Arrival and transfer to the hotel in Kathmandu
Upon arrival in Kathmandu, you be welcomed by Sherpa Holidays’ representative and transferred you to the hotel. The drive from the airport to the hotel is around 20 minutes.After your checkin the group leader will set a time for your trek briefing to discuss in regards to the trek. The evening is free but your trek leader will organise a welcome dinner at a fine local restaurant.
Day 2 : City Tour
Today, you will visit BodhnathStupa, one of the biggest Buddhist shrines in the world and Pashupatinath ,the main temple for the Hindus. Here you will see Hindu holy men (sadhus) meditating, pilgrims bathing, and occasionally funeral pyres burning on the “ghats”. The rest of your afternoon is free. In the late afternoon you will be handed over with your trek pack. Departure information for the next morning will also be given.
Day 3 : Drive to Beshisahar & trek to Bulbule (930m)(Driving time: approx 8 hours)
We depart from Kathmandu early in the morning and drive to Bhulbhule, the starting point of our trek. We take lunch en route before Dumre, where we turn off the main road to Pokhara and head north to the busy town of Besishahar. After short break we continue rather slowly on a rough track to the village of Bhulbhule and our overnight halt. En route we enjoy a long but rewarding drive through the picturesque terraced hillsides of Nepal, with fine mountain views along the way. Upon arrival, we meet our trekking crew and settle into our nearby lodge.
Day 4 : Trek to Jagat (1342m)(Trekking: approx 6-7 hours)
From our lodge we follow the west bank of the Marsyandi River with the snowy peak of Himalchuli (7893m) dominating the skyline. In the afternoon we cross the Marsyandi to the east bank and, after a short distance, views of Manaslu (8156m), Peak 29 (7541m) and Lamjung (6986m) open out on the horizon. Beyond Ngadi we cross a small suspension bridge over the MusiKhola to start a gradual climb to the village of Bahundanda (1311m), located on the top of the ridge. After a short descent we again follow the river valley to lunch at Syange (1136m). In the afternoon the track follows a cut in the near-vertical cliffs high above the river to reach Jagat (1341m), a Tibetan village that served as a customs post on the old trading route from Tibet.
Day 5 : Trek to Dharapani(1890ms)(Trekking: approx 6½ hours)
Today the vegetation changes to rhododendron and pine forest and the valley becomes narrower and steeper. We leave the village and soon cross the river on a large suspension bridge from where the trail ascends quite steeply, with the river tumbling through a maze of large boulders. After reaching the top of the zigzag climb, amazingly the valley widens out to reveal the village of Tal, which nestles amongst the fields of barley, wheat and potatoes. We have now entered the District of Manang and take lunch in one of the many hotels here. The afternoon’s walk follows the river valley crossing back to the west bank before gradually ascending to Dharapani (1890m), where we end the trekking day.
Day 6 : Trek to Koto (2610m)(Trekking: approx 5 hours)
The valley extends west through dramatic fir and pine forests. After half an hour of walking we reach Bagarchap (2160m), the first village on the trek with typical Tibetan architecture. Here we may observe firewood stacked on the roofs in preparation for the long, hard winters. The village marks the transition between the lower, wet valleys and the higher, dry, arid area of the Manang Valley. From here there are excellent views of LamjungHimal, Annapurna II (7937m) and Annapurna III (7555m) up the valley. Down valley to the east, Manaslu and Peak 29 soar magnificently towards the skies. Leaving Bagarchap we cross a small wooden bridge beside a beautiful waterfall and ascend to Laatamarang (2360m). The trail then continues to the police checkpoint at Koto, where we settle into our lodge around mid-afternoon.
Day 7 : Trek to Meta (3530m)(Trekking: approx 5-6 hours)
Spectacular as it has been so far, we now commence an even more impressive part of our expedition. From Koto, we complete the necessary formalities at the police checkpoint and then cross the suspension bridge to follow the NarPhuKhola through a forested and narrow valley. The trail has been improved in recent years, but there is certainly an aura about this particular section of the trek. Having spent the previous days on the well-travelled Annapurna Circuit, getting off-the-beaten-track rewards us with some stunning scenery. The walk through the spectacular narrow valley is one of the most haunting and beautiful on the trek. A mixture of beautiful oak and rhododendron and bamboo forest, sheer cliffs towering for hundreds of metres above the trail, a series of suspension bridges as we cross back and forth as we ascend gradually up the valley. We will take lunch near one of the suspension bridges and, in the afternoon, continue to follow the river before coming to the ACAP camping spot at Dharamsala. This is not an ideal place to stay, so we ascend the steep hillside to the remote village of Meta (3,530m), lying at the foot of KanguruHimal (6981m). In the late afternoon we can head up the hill towards the first camp on Kanguru. Here, there are fine views of the Annapurna range to the south, Pisang Peak to the west and across the valley towards the village of Na.
Day 8 : Trek to Kyang (3820m)(Trekking: approx 5 hours)
To aid with our acclimatisation we take today’s walk slowly, as there is plenty to see and enjoy. The trail mainly contours around the hillsides and the scenery is in stark contrast to that of the lush vegetation of the Annapurna Circuit. Here, in the PhuKhola Valley, the barren landscape is as one would imagine Tibet to be like. The bamboo is replaced by outcrops of scrub juniper and the occasional outcrop of fir. From Meta we contour to the open valley at Chakku (3560m) and then follow the right hand side of the valley to Jhunum (3580m), where on the opposite side of the valley the wild strata of the cliffs is an impressive sight. We take our lunch here by the river below, surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery of the northern slopes of KanguruHimal. In the afternoon, we ascend to the deserted village and fields of Lower Chakku – formerly home to Khampa peoples from Tibet who established their home here in the 1960s. The trail then enters a tributary valley and descends to a small river before ascending a series of small passes that lead to Kyang. Surrounding us are the summer grazing pastures of Phu village.
Day 9 : Trek to Phu (3980m)(Trekking: approx 4 hours)
The walk from Kyang to Phu is one of the most exciting on the trek. From our camp at Kyang the trail immediately follows a spectacular route carved into the cliffs – a head for heights will certainly be an advantage! This last only for a few minutes before descending to the canyon floor, which is followed for a few hours with a few water crossings at some tributaries – the art of rock hopping will quickly be mastered! Soon the valley narrows and appears to be blocked by an impressive rock pillar that hides a short but spectacular zigzag climb to the gates of Phu. A ruined fort can be seen on the other side of the canyon and, after following the narrow trail, we cut into the steep valley sides and descend to reach a group of impressive mani walls and stupas with the remote village of Phu nestling on the opposite side of the valley. This is a spectacular location with great mountain views and the houses of this stone-built village are constructed on top of one another. We make camp by the river and the afternoon is free to relax or explore the village.
Day 10 : Rest and Acclamatization (3950m)(Acclimatisation day)
To aid acclimatisation we will take a rest day here and explore both the Tashi and SamduCholing Monasteries and this remarkable village. There is a small local tea house here where there is an opportunity to try Tibetan tea and something stronger – rakshi (the local brew). Here we are only a short distance from the Tibetan border and an optional walk up the LayjuKhola is highly recommended for spectacular views of both the mountains and a bird’s eye view of Phu village.
Day 11 : Trek to Chakku (3560m)(Trekking: approx 5-6 hours)
From Phu we retrace our steps down the valley and take lunch at Kyang, before continuing on to the campsite at Chakku
Day 12 :Trek to Nar (4130m)(Trekking: approx 5 hours)
Even though we are retracing our steps for a few hours on this day, we had our back to the view on the way up and this time it is an amazing experience to savour the superb mountain views of this part of the trail front-on. Before we reach Meta the trail bears right and a steep descent leads to two bridges crossing a spectacular canyon. The new suspension bridge is by far the more sensible option and a short climb through a rare cluster of vegetation, leads to the zigzagging trail that climbs steadily to the walled entrance to the Nar Valley. After passing a series of mani walls and stupa’s the trail levels out and our first views of Nar come into view. We arrive in time for a late lunch, so the afternoon is free to explore this interesting village. Nar has a number of interesting monasteries that are also well worth visiting. The villagers of Nar in the region(350villagers – 76 families) and seem to be more outgoing and lively in comparison to those in Phu and there is seemingly plenty going on. The villagers are usually busy working in the barley fields, whilst yaks and sheep graze on the surrounding hillsides, noisy children get up to mischief and the older folks sun themselves on the flat-roofed houses.
Day 13 : Trek to Kangla (5090m)(Trekking: approx 6-7 hours)
The scenery is wild and spectacular and there is the added bonus of knowing that we have this part of the world almost entirely to ourselves. We start the day’s walk by heading west out of the village to climb slowly up the wide GhatteKhola Valley. Behind us is the imposing peak of Kanguru and ahead is the Chulu Range. We take lunch close to the PonphaKhola and, in the afternoon, start the steep climb towards Kang La (Pass). As we ascend the zigzagging trail there are superb views down valley to the peaks of Kanguru, Manaslu (8163m), Peak 29 (7871m) and HimalChuli (7893m). We make camp below the pass a little way up from the valley in a most spectacular location, surrounded by stunning mountain scenery.
Day 14 : Trek to Ngawal (3660m)(Trekking: approx 6 hours)
From our camp below Kang La we ascend steeply up a well-defined trail, initially on steep moraines to the notch in the ridge line and the prayer flags denoting the actual Kang Pass (5310m). From the top the views of the Annapurna range to the south are amazing. We can see Lamjumg, Annapurna II, Annapurna III and Annapurna IV and, further to the west, Gangapurna. This is a line of peaks that are all above the 7000-metre barrier, which act as a rain shadow to the area in the north. Once on top the hard bit begins – a knee-wobbling descent on screes and sometimes rough trails almost all the way to the valley floor. We descend nearly 2000 metres to the quiet and friendly village of Ngawal, where we take lunch and spend the rest of the day relaxing.
Day 15 :Trek to Manang (3540m)(Trekking: approx 1 hour)
We start the day with a two hour walk through open forest to Braga,an old Tibetan style village of about 150 partially deserted houses.We have time to explore the old village of Braga,with its large old gompa perched above the stacked houses.The gompa has an elaborate collection of thankas and statues. Annapurna II and Annapurna IV (7525m) tower dramatically above the valley floor to the south-east, while Gangapurna (7455m) and Annapurna III (7555m) lie directly to the south – a hauntingly beautiful panorama.The prayer wheels and chorten at the foot of Braga are particularly brightly painted.From here it is just a 20minute walk past a series of unique and colourful chortens to Manang(3540m)a village of 500 or so flat roofed houses.Manang offers good lodges with bakeries,internet and movies related to the mountains.
Day 16 : Trek to Letdar (4250m)
Today we advance towards the Thorong-La.On the way we cross a stream and climb to a small settlement of tengi 120m above Manang and ascend further past Marshyangdi Valley turning north west up the valley of jarsang khola. Amid the spectacular view of Annapurna mountain range,we trek beyond the lush vegetation of scrub juniper and alpine grasses to reach the small village of Gunsang.Gunsang is a cluster of flat mud roofs just below the trail at 3960m.As we approach picturesque meadows and rich forest of barberry ,juniper etc,we encounter horses and yaks grazing.the trail takes us further along a large stream that flows from Chulu West and Gundang,and leads to a rich pasture at 4250m to the small settlement of Letdar where we stop for the night.
Day 17 : Trek to Thorong Phedi (4525m)Trekking approx:4:30min
We will Undoubtedly be passed along the trail by galloping Manangi horses ,saddled with wonderful tibetan wool saddle blankets,and their jubilant riders.Todays an easy walk up to the Thorong Phedi but the altitude makes it hard .We get to Thorong Phedi for lunch and the afternoon is free to either take it easy or hike up to the lodge at High Camp for some acclimatization .
Day 18 : Trek to Muktinath(3760m)Trekking approx:7hours
We wake up early for the four hour walk to Thorong – La 5416m where we are treated with spectacular views over mustang and the surrounding peaks.The descent is almost as demanding as the ascent to the top of the pass,so a cup of tea and a snack at the local teahouse at Chabarbu and at the bottom of the descent is a required stop,and on to lower Mustang which we reach just after the pass and the serene temple complex of Muktinath.Muktinath is a very famous pilgrimage site for Buddhist and the Hindus and contains a wallof 108 waterspouts in the shape of cows headspouting sacred water,the jwala mai temple with perpetual flame and the pagoda styled Vishnu temple all of which make up the auspicious combination of earth,fire and water.
Day 19 :Trek to Jomsom (2713m)Trekking approx:5hours
The scenery is truly wonderful,soft light ,patchworks of fields,peaks overhead,horses tethered next to the tea houses,apple trees providing texture to the landscape.After a steep descent the windy Kali Gandaki (known as Thak khola by the locals)river valley where it intersects the Jhong khola ,and the last village in lower mustang.We follow the Kali Gandaki downstream through the village of Eklebhatti to reach the settlement of Jomsom where we stop for the night.Being the last day on the trek we have a bit of last night celebration with a few celebratory drinks with the crew.
Day 20 : Fly to Pokhara(Flight time: approx 15 mins)
We rise early in the morning for the return flight to Pokhara where we return to the Hotel located close to the lakeside. After a welcomed shower, we have the rest of the day free to relax or do some exploring. In the evening there is option to dine out at one of the many lakeside restaurants
Day 21 : Rest and explore Pokhara
A free day in Pokhara to explore, shop or just take it easy. Your trek leader will be there to assist you for further sightseeing’s in Pokhara.
Day 22 : Fly back to Kathmandu
After breakfast we are transferred back to the airport in the morning for our return flight to Kathmandu. On arrival in Kathmandu we are met and transferred back to our starting hotel. The rest of the day is free to do shopping or further sightseeing.Our final night in Kathmandu gives us a chance to go out on the town and enjoy a final dinner (optional) with our travelling companions and new-found friends.
Day 23 : International Departure
Your trip will come to an end today after breakfast. Your leader will be on hand to advise and assist with your onward travel arrangements.
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