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NarPhu Tilicho Lake Trekking

Abhishek Subedi June 23, 2020

NarPhu Tilicho Lake Trekking is an isolated trek with the delightful quaint Tibetan Villages, astonishing rock formation, alpine pastureland, narrow canyons, deep forests and majestic peaks. This trekking destination has more rugged terrain. The Mesokanto La Pass (5,089m) links Manang and the Kali Gandaki Valley. The Nar Phu Valley is less explored. It has a vast store of cultural riches. This valley is untouched by modern civilization. The people and the hospitality of the Nar Phu Valley never come second in the world. NarPhu Tilicho Lake Trekking is one of the restricted areas of trekking in the Annapurna Region. NarPhu Tilicho Lake Trekking is physically demanding as well as technical climbing. It is recommended to have proper trekking experiences. One must have basic mountaineering training and physical and mental stamina to cope with every adverse situation. The altitude itself is a challenge.

Nar Phu Tilicho Lake Trekking

NarPhu Tilicho Lake Trekking is an amazingly adventurous trekking route located in the Manang district of Nepal. The restricted areas of Nar and Phu lie between the two giant Himalayan ranges- Annapurna range and Manaslu range, which were opened for trekkers only since 2003. Also known as ‘The Lost Valleys’ because it remained undiscovered for a long period because of the remote location. NarPhu Tilicho Lake Trekking is a challenging trek which leads us to the rarely explored hidden valley of Nar and Phu, and one of the highest altitude lakes in the world, Tilicho (4919 M). With off the beaten paths, amazing mountain sceneries, remote beautiful villages of Tibetan ethnicity, high passes, Buddhist monasteries & gompas, prayer flags, and diverse flora and fauna, this trek is truly an unforgettable experience.  

During the trek, trekkers will have the opportunity to explore the medieval and secret valley of Nar & Phu and its unspoiled culture and amazing landscapes. Even though it is physically demanding during the Kang La Pass and Mesokanto La Pass, the marvelous views of Annapurna massif, Lamjung Himal, Dhaulagiri range, Manaslu Himal, Tilicho peak including many others is very satisfying and rewarding.

Day 1 Kathmandu to Koto

The first day of the trek starts with the drive to Besisahar. The trekkers will eat lunch at Besisahar and will ride in the four wheel vehicle from here. The road can be almost as challenging for the passengers as well as drivers. But the outside scene through the  whole ride is incredible and amazing. It travels along the old Annapurna Circuit Trek route, through amazing gorges and past stunning waterfalls. The trekkers will arrive in Koto at dinner time.

Day 2 Koto to Meta

The trekkers will start the day as early as possible because they have lots of distance to cover. You have to cross the river to enter the Nar and Phu valleys. The towns that are nearby to the Annapurna Circuit are relatively much more developed than the other valleys. But these valleys are a total remote area in terms of development.  The trekking route passes through beautiful woods, past small cave shelters and pilgrims, resting places. The trail emerges from the narrow canyon and passes under a wide waterfall. The woods from the canyon become thinner and the vistas wider. The route of the Meta involves climbing a steep hill. The hill offers the travellers the amazing and stunning views of some of the giant snow capped peaks of the area.

Nar Phu Tilicho Lake Trekking

Day 3 Meta to Phu

The trail starts with some of the unique, colourful Tibetan Buddhist chortens that Nar and Phu valley are famous for. The trail meanders along the ridge with a stunning view of the magnificent Nar Phedi Monastery. This is the place usually trekkers take some break time enjoying the harmonious and peaceful view of the monastery. After about 2 hour of hiking through amazing canyons and gorges you will reach a monolith that guards the steep trail up to Phu.

After passing through these trails, you can get the first view of the three villages in the area as well as the old ”dzong” (Tibetan-style fortress) and the remains of the two ruined forts, impressively situated at the top of the flatlands before reaching the village. The trekkers can watch the beautiful and wonderful  line of the color of chortens on the landscape just after crossing the bridge in to Phu. After a rest and refreshments, trekkers can walk around through the famous Tashi Lhakhang Gompa. They can pay respects to Lama Karma Sonam Rimpoche who came to Nepal with the Dalai Lama in 1959.

Day 4 Exploring Phu

It is good to spend an acclimatization day in Phu. The travellers can explore the tiny alleyways of the town or hike up to Himlung Himal Base camp. Phu is an interesting village. The travellers can spend their day sitting with the villagers, watching them spin their yak and sheep wool, pound mustard seeds into a paste for an oil or observe their culture and traditions. The travellers who are extra energetic and enthusiastic can hike up to Himlung Himal Base camp which will take you through a glacial valley. The 7125 metre peak was recently opened for climbing. On this beautiful trail you will see herds of blue sheep skillfully clambering up the steep cliff. The return trip from this peak takes about four to five hours.

Day 5 Phu to Nar Phedi

The Nar Phedi is about 3490 metres above sea level. The trekkers have to back down towards Meta and stop at the Nar Phedi monastery. The monastery is the only accommodation for the night at Nar Phedi. The rooms of the monastery are neat and clean and the nuns here are extremely humble and welcoming. The travellers can help them in a kitchen and watch them prepare dinner on a modest fireplace. Around 5 pm they usually perform a ritual which is the blissful and amazing scene to witness. The monastery also has a small donation box outside the entrance of the monastery where you can leave some contribution for the maintenance of this beautiful and friendly place.

Nar Phu Tilicho Lake Trekking

Day 6 Trek to Nar Village

The trekking starts with the climb out from Nar Phedi and following a windy path up a hill towards Nar. The trail passes through the line of wonderfully painted, bamboo-topped chortens on the way into the ancient village. You will arrive in the village around lunch time. Even though Nar is not far from the main Annapurna trail, it rarely gets its visitors. But the scene around the village is really picturesque. Nar village is a bit more social and lively than Phu village. During day time you can witness the village square teeming with chatting women with their back strap looms weaving wool fabric for rugs and blankets.  There are few teahouses on the outskirts of Nar and you can stay in a comfortable lodge with an extensive menu.

Day 7 Nar village to Ngawal via the Kang La Pass

The Ngawal is at the altitude of 5240 metres from the sea level. It is the long day trek so the trekkers have to start their trek before the sunrise and head towards the Kang La Pass which leads back on to the popular Annapurna Circuit. The trail is not a difficult path but the lengthy one. Once you reach the top you can enjoy the majestic views of Annapurna II, Gangapurna and Tilicho Peak. The trail starts off down the road towards  Ngawal. Ngawal lies on the upper Pisang route of the Annapurna Circuit. It is certainly very different from the other ancient villages. The lodges are big, the menus are much more comprehensive and there are even Wi-Fi and phone signals in most lodges.

Day 8 Ngawal to Manang

From Ngawal, you will head for Manang today. You will pass through the isolated village of Paugh overlooking the amazing views of the Annapurna range. Then, you will move gently uphill to Mungli and then to the main trail of Annapurna Trail at Mungle. You will eventually reach Manang. 

Day 9 Rest Day in Manang

You will spend this day adjusting your bodies to the high altitude environment.  When you move into a high altitude, it is necessary to spend an acclimatization day. The success of the trip highly depends on how well you are acclimatized. Though it is a rest day you will hike to surrounding places and keep yourselves busy throughout the day.

Day 10 Manang to Khangsar

From Manang, the trail descends to a Chorten and turns to the northwest and goes down to the River. After crossing the Jharsang Khola on a suspension bridge the trail goes through blue pine forest and the wheat fields before arriving Khangsar, Khangsar is a Gurung village. You can chat with people and learn about their civilization. 

Day 11 Khangsar to Tilicho Lake

In between Tore Gompa and Tilicho Lake, you will trek towards the big, grassy field where blue sheep are often seen. A steep descent will bring you to Tilicho Base Camp, where you will stay for the night.  You will start the trek early morning today to Tilicho Lake. Moving to the lake, you can have an outstanding view of Gangapurna, Tarkekang, Khangsar Kang and the view of Manang valley and Upper Pisang. After spending the memorable time at Tilicho Lake, you will descend down to Tilicho base camp in the same way.

Day 12 Tilicho Lake to Mesokanto Pass

You will be heading towards one of the high Himalayan passes today. You will begin to move towards Mesokanto La Pass (5,322m). It is very necessary to cross the pass very early to avoid the strong blow of the wind in the afternoon. The trail towards the pass is a little challenging with several rock sections.  From the top of the pass, you can enjoy superb mountain views of the Annapurna Massif.

Nar Phu Tilicho Lake Trekking

Day 13 Mesokanto Pass to Jomsom via Thimi

The travelers can observe the sunrise view from the pass before you descend down towards Kaisang. From there you will move towards Jomsom.  The trail passes through rhododendron and pine forest. You can also enjoy the panoramic view of the lush hillsides and slopes. Jomsom is a small and beautiful town in Mustang district. From Jomsom, you can have a fantastic view of Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri.

Day 14 Jomsom to Pokhara

You shall take an early morning flight to Pokhara from Jomsom. If the weather is fine, you can enjoy the incomparable mountain view of the Himalayas. You will have a relaxing day at the hotel. Moreover, you can visit lakeside in the evening and collect some of the most pleasant views.

Nar Phu Tilicho Lake Trekking

Day 15 Drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu Valley

It is time to bid farewell to the Pokhara valley and take a bus ride back to the Kathmandu valley. You can enjoy the beautiful landscapes, river valleys and clear sky through the window of the bus before reaching the city. 

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