The Nar Phu Valley trek is a trek through the Nar and Phu valleys that combines high peaks and passes, glaciers, remote villages, narrow canyons, lovely forests, amazing rock formations, yaks, gompas and uniquely ethnically Tibetan cultures. This trekking route was not opened till 2002 AD. Only a few outsiders have explored these virtually untouched villages or climb the many 7000 metres peaks surrounding them. The last route of the trek will take you over the high Kang La Pass, and then go down hill to Ngawal, a popular stop on the main Annapurna circuit route. The surroundings become more fertile on the last stretch before returning to the starting point. Nar Phu is becoming increasingly accessible to ordinary ”carry your own pack” trekkers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The trail gets much greener as you descend more than 2000m from the pass. The weather is also relatively hot and warm here. The trekkers have to start their day early to reach Pisang. The trail is wide and comfortable and passes a beautiful lake just outside Pisang. You can stop for a quick snack in the village and take a ride back to Besisahar. The trekkers can stay at the hotel in Besisahar and start preparing for the tomorrow departure to Kathmandu.
Enjoy the beautiful scenic views of landscapes, hills and mountains through your ride to Kathmandu valley.
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