Nar Phu Valley, Tilicho Lake and Throng La Trek
A fantastic journey in a wild and unexplored area located north-east of Annapurna: the Nar and Phu Valley, this trek, in a wild and unexplored area north-east of Annapurna, is perfect for those trekkers who want to discover the Annapurna circuit as well as explore an untouched valley. Although Tilman first explored this region in the 1950’s, the Nar and Phu valley was only opened to trekkers as recently as 2003, and still relatively few westerners have explored its villages, which remain untouched by modernity. The remoteness of the valley and its proximity to Tibet has meant that the people and their culture have remained more akin to Tibet than Nepal, and they have retained their age-old practices. Most local inhabitants are engaged in yak herding and farming, like in rural Tibet.
Traversing an amazing combined expanse of high passes, remote villages, narrow canyons, lush forests, and viewpoints which overlook majestic snow peaks, this trek enjoys amazing natural diversity. We begin after driving for almost a whole day from Kathmandu to Jagat, from where we follow the popular Annapurna Circuit route as far as Koto, before heading into the previously restricted wilds of the Nar Khola Valley. Trekking in the area is unlike most of Nepal – the terrain is Trans Himalayan and similar to that of Tibet. Trails are rugged and at times cut high into cliff sides in an area that has changed little over the years.
We will spend a number of days exploring the region and will visit the remote villages of Phu and Nar, as well as crossing the Kang La Pass. We spend a couple of days in Phu to see the unique Buddhist monastery and chortens for which it is famous, and to explore the interesting rock formations in the area. One such monolith is nicknamed ‘The Leaning Tower of Pisa’, and guards the trail to Phu gate (otherwise known as Pupigyal Kwe). Here there are two forts, now in ruins, but impressively situated atop the flatlands before Phu. We will also have time to visit local villagers as they spin their yak yarn, pound mustard seeds and carry out other traditional daily activities
We will visit the Tashicholing Monastery before heading towards Nar, not far from the main Annapurna Trail. An area rarely visited by trekkers, Nar is a bit more lively than Phu and we will spend some time in the village square watching woman talk and weave carpets and blankets. Each family seems to have at least one child in the gompa (a combined fort, monastery and religious college) and thus the streets are alive with the sound of cymbals crashing, chanting and drumming.
We trek to Ngawal via Kang La (5322 m), an absolutely spectacular pass over-looking Annapurna II, Gangapurna, Tilicho peak, and the other peaks surrounding Tilicho, and Hongde. Next it is on to Braga (3500 m), an old, partially deserted Tibetan-style village to explore its ancient, yet colourful gompa.
The route will rejoin the Annapurna Circuit near Braga and continue to Manang. After a day rest in Manang we will follow the little-used route that leads to the Tilicho Lake. This route and its high passes link the Manang and Kali Ghandaki Valleys, and offer the adventurous and fit trekker high mountain scenery at its very best.
After a visit to the world's highest lake, Tilicho, the trail return and joins Annapurna Circuit trail near Yak Kharka and it continues to over Thorung La (at 5416m, the highest commonly-trekked pass in Nepal); pass offers a spectacular panoramic views of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri range along with superb birds eye view of mysterious kingdom of Upper Mustang and Tibetan plateau, and long descend to Kali Gandaki valley; deepest gorge in the world, then finally Jomsom, passing Muktinath, ‘where fire and water meet’, and which has been a sacred site for over 2000 years, and small ancient elusive Bonpo village of Lupra where spiritual Bonpo Buddhism is still practiced.
At Jomsom; an important town in the Kali Gandaki Valley, with its dramatic STOL airstrip, there is an interesting museum of local culture and Tibetan medicine, where the trek ends, and from where we take short flight or long drive to Pokhara, the lakeside town, and enjoy the overnight stay in hotel before return back to Kathmandu.
Itinerary at a glance
Day 01: Arrive in Kathmandu and transport to Hotel. Overnight in hotel
Day 02: Kathmandu: world heritage sightseeing (Monkey temple & Patan/Bhaktapur), and preparing for trek. Overnight in hotel [B]
Day 03: Drive to to Jagat (1330m) or Chamje (1410m) via Besisahar (760m). Overnight in lodge [BLD]
Day 04: Trek to Dharapani (1960m). Overnight in lodge [BLD]
Day 05: Trek to Koto (2600m.). Overnight in lodge [BLD]
Day 06: Trek to Meta (3230m.) Overnight in lodge [BLD]
Day 07: Trek to Kayang (3740m.) Phu Gaun (4080m.). Overnight in lodge [BLD]
Day 08: Excursion around Phu valley [BLD]
Day 09: Trek back to Nar Phadi (3490m.). Overnight in lodge [BLD]
Day 10: Trek to Nar Village (4110m.). Overnight in lodge [BLD]
Day 11: Acclimatization and explore Nar Village (4110m.). Overnight in lodge [BLD]
Day 12: Crossing Kang La pass (5315m.) and trek to Ngwal (3660m.). Overnight in lodge [BLD]
Day 13: Trek to Manang (3540m.). Overnight in lodge [BLD]
Day 14: Rest Day in Manang; explore around village or visit to Gangapurna Glacier Lake or cave monasteries. Overnight in lodge [BLD]
Day 15: Trek to Khangsar (3734m.). Overnight in lodge [BLD]
Day 16: Trek to Tilicho Base Camp (4200m.). Overnight in lodge [BLD]
Day 17: Trek to Tilicho Lake (4920m.) and return to Tilicho Base Camp (4200m.). Overnight in lodge [BLD]
Day 18: Trek to Yak Kharka (4020m) or Lather (4230m). Overnight in lodge [BLD]
Day 19: Short trek to Phedi (4550m). Overnight in lodge [BLD]
Day 20: Cross Thorung La (5416m) & trek to Muktinath (3800m)/Ranipauwa (3700m). Overnight in lodge [BLD]
Day 21: Trek to Jomsom (2760m) via Lupra (2790m). Overnight in lodge [BLD]
Day 22: Very early morning flight or drive to Pokhara (830m). Overnight in hotel [BLD]
Day 23: Early morning fly or drive to Kathmandu. Overnight in hotel [BL]
Day 24: Kathmandu: leisure time or optional visit to Jamarko, our project in support of disadvantaged children & women. Overnight in hotel [B]
Day 25: Transfer to airport for international departure [B]
Meals are included...
B = Breakfast
L = Lunch
D = Dinner
Date & Price
All ACCESS-HIMALAYA adventure travel trips are small group departures and therefore places can fill quickly. To avoid disappointment, we suggest you book your trip as soon as possible.
... in Lodge TrekAccommodation in Kathmandu and Pokhara, bed & breakfast basis, (accommodation in twin room unless otherwise arranged) – see itinerary above for dates - accommodation facilities/details outlined below
All three meals (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) during the trek
All internal transportation as stated in itinerary (see itinerary above)
All lodge accommodation on trek – twin room with clean beds and mattresses, toilet facilities may be outside – no attached bathroom, unless specifically arranged, and where available.
Annapurna Conservation Area entrance permit
Trekking Permits (TIMS) for Annapurna area
Experienced English speaking government licensed guide/s
The required number of local porters to carry your luggage during the trek (We assign one porter for every two guests on lodge treks)
Staff and porter insurance
Guided world heritage sightseeing tour in Kathmandu with private tourist vehicle (2 or 3 sites - Durbar Square/s and Swayambunath (Monkey temple)) (English speaking licensed guide & private transport only)
Lunch on the overland travel (see itinerary)
Welcome dinner in Kathmandu
Free gift of Access-Himalaya trekking kit bag for each member of group (to be distributed on arrival in Kathmandu)
Free hire of four seasons Sleeping Bag and fleece liner for trek (should be returned after the trek).
Free airport pick and drop
... in Lodge TrekYour personal equipment
Charges incurred as a result of delays beyond our control
Your travel insurance, (Make sure the policy covers helicopter rescue and evacuation service)
Medical examination and vaccination costs
Personal expenditure, including bar bills, laundry, telephone calls, tips, shower/bathroom facilities on the trek etc.
Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu and elsewhere-apart from trek (see itinerary)
Heritage sights/Monastery/Temple entrance fees
Trek and Tour crew and driver gratuity/tips at end of tour/trek
Any others expenses which are not mentioned in 'Price Includes' section
- A AVAILABLE - Trip date is available and open for bookings. Go for it!
- G GUARANTEED - Trip is reached minimum numbers and this is 'Guaranteed to Run'
- L LIMITED - Trip is 'Guaranteed to Run' and there are a very limited number of available places remaining. Immediate booking is recommended.
- C CLOSED - Trip has reached maximum numbers and it is unavailable. Please Contact Us to enquire about other trip departure dates or booking this trip as a private departure
Trip Info (Tour/Trek Styles) Explained
- PG Private Group: This style of trip is organized for specific groups of people (families, friends,school and college students, colleagues, business associates etc.), and is closed to outsiders. If you are interested in this particular trip departure date then please get in touch with us.
- OA Open to All: This trip departure is open to all. However, if you are interested in this particular trip departure date but want your own private group, then please get in touch with us.
- LT Lodge Based Trip/Trek: This trip/trek is lodge (teahouse) based. All accommodation, including food, is provided in local lodges. Occasionally however, where a large group is concerned we may choose to send our own cook along, as well, to take care of your food hygiene and to cook some special additional items.We provide all necessary documentation, including permits, and arrange all internal transport. We provide trekking guide, assistant guide(s) and porters/animals for transport of your gear. You merely carry a daysack with essentials, including water.
- CT Camping Based Trip/Trek: This trip/trek is camping (tent) based. We will provide one 3-man tent for every two people, also single tents, where requested, on payment of supplementary costs. All food and drinks are provided by our experienced cook and his kitchen team. We provide all necessary documentation, including permits, and arrange all internal transport. We provide trekking guide, assistant guide(s), cook, kitchen crew, food and drink, and porters/animals for transport of your gear. You merely carry a daysack with essentials, including water.
- GAP Guide, Accommodation & Porter only: In this trip neither food nor transportation is included. Clients are responsible for food and local transportation, and our responsibility is to provide insured guide, insured porter, and all necessary permits. All additional costs are the responsibility of the clients, including charges incurred as a result of delays or cancellation of services beyond our control. Clients pay for their own accommodation. Any additional costs are the responsibility of the clients, We can arrange hotels and international airport transfer, on request.
- SG Self Guided/Budget Trip: This trip is specially designed for low-budget travellers who prefer fairly basic facilities with reduced services. It is a pre-requisite that a porter is hired for any self-guided trip, which is an ideal set-up for those who enjoy independent travel with minimum cost. We have added support to minimise the hard work of planning and costing, and we will be available to help in the unlikely event of an emergency. We will arrange all documentation (including permits), before you arrive in Nepal, so that you are free to get on with your adventure, relying only on your porter to help you on your way. All additional costs are the responsibility of the clients, including charges incurred as a result of delays or cancellation of services beyond our control. Hotel accommodation, local transportation and international airport transfers may be arranged, on request.
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Accommodation in Kathmandu
It is our policy to use Nepali-owned accommodation, always, as we feel this is an aspect of fair trade, and the hotels we use in Kathmandu are comfortable, clean, efficient and friendly. Most hotels are also family-run; we visit, and stay in the hotels ourselves, to ensure that facilities are ... read more..
Food on LodgeTrek
On lodge treks clients are provided with three meals a day - breakfast, lunch and dinner. Menus will be fairly standard, according to the region visited, but will vary in style from place to place, according to availability of ingredients, and in more remote areas choice will be relatively restricted ... read more..
It is a strict condition of joining an Access-Himalaya adventure holiday that you must be insured against all medical and personal accident risks, including repatriation if necessary. Helicopter evacuation, in the unlikely event of your being injured or taken seriously ill on trek, is very costly - an average rescue ... read more..
Nepal Visa and Passport
All visitors to Nepal require a passport (valid for at least 6 months after your return to your home country) and an entry visa. A visa application should be obtained from the Nepalese Embassy, in London (click here to download Nepal visa application form ), or in your own country ... read more..
Travellers' cheques are no longer accepted in Nepal, so please do not bring these as your currency. However, ATM facilities are widely available in Kathmandu, Pokhara and other large towns, so a Visa, or other internationally-recognized credit/debit card, would be useful. Larger shops accept payment by credit/debit card, although they ... read more..
Arrival in Nepal
At Kathmandu airport you should proceed through Immigration (you apply for your Visa here) to the baggage collection area. Once you have collected your baggage you should move on to the Customs officers to have your baggage cleared and chalked up, before leaving the Arrivals lounge. Immediately outside, you will ... read more..
Tipping and Service Charges
Tipping is an entirely personal and optional matter and at the discretion of the individual. Should you wish to give a tip in a restaurant, if there is not already a service charge included you may consider a tip of 10%. Recently there has been a recommendation for 10% charge ... read more..
Trekking Clothing & Equipment Guideline
The following is a guideline, not a prescription: we hope it will help you find your way through the minefield of items of clothing and equipment which fill the catalogues of outdoor adventure outfitters! Jacket x 1This should be breathable, wind-proof and waterproof (not showerproof), with attached hood. Suitable fabrics to ... read more..
Accommodation on lodge treks
Accommodation will be in simple lodges offering twin-bedded rooms with standard foam mattresses (if you require additional comfort you might consider taking along Thermarest or similar self-inflating mattresses). Toilets are mostly of the squat type, situated outside the main building. Toilet paper is not provided, so you should bring this ... read more..
Getting Around in Kathmandu
Your first day in Kathmandu is usually dedicated to settling in, and exploring the city. The next morning may include a sightseeing tour to Pashupatinath, Boudanath or the Monkey Temple (Swayambunath). During your free time, the best way to explore your environs is to walk, as this enables you to ... read more..
Accommodation in Pokhara
It is our policy to use Nepali-owned accommodation, always, as we feel this is an aspect of fair trade, and most of the hotels are also family-run.. The hotels we use in Pokhara are no more than 20 minutes away from the airport and are very close to the beautiful ... read more..
If our fixed departure dates are not convenient for you or your group, we can also arrange private departures on all of our small group tours. Private group departures will follow the same itineraries as our usual small group tours, or itineraries may be tailormade to suit your own convenient tour date/budgets.
Itineraries may be tailor-made to suit your dates. So if you can’t find a date to suit you or if you want to have your very own tour just with your friends or family then we can help you.
Customised Private Groups:
For most of our usual tours, or itineraries, where there is a group numbering 2 or more, we can customise and organise private group trip(s) where we design the itinerary and activities exclusively for you, according to your requirements and budgets, such as Honeymoon, Anniversary, Family, Scouts, School, College, Fundraising or Charity trips. Find out more about our private group tours.
To enquire about booking a private departure of this tour or about organising your own private group tour, please fill in the form below and we will get back to you shortly with details.