Trekking in Nepal- The valleys of Naar und Phu
It is only since a few years that tourist are allowed to enter these valleys. The two Villages are also named Nargaon and Phugaon .
Map: Annapurna round from Himalaya karthographische Institut (1996)
I haven’d been yet in this faszinating area but Uros Sever allowed me kindly to show his pictures and sended me a detailed route description.
see his Website
Trekking to Naar and Phu and crossing Kang La (Photo Uros Sever)
The path through Naar Phu Khola gorge just after Koto.
Dreamteam (Photo Uros Sever)
Collecting bamboo sprouts for curry. Locally available supplies were limited to potato and saag. (Photo Uros Sever)
Pisang Peak from the path between Metha and Junam Goth. (Photo Uros Sever)
New bridge and old bridge at Naar Phedi. (Photo Uros Sever)
Moonson view of Lamjung from Kyang (Photo Uros Sever)
"Dangerous rocky path" is well maintained, wide and comfortable. (Photo Uros Sever)
Phu Khola Valley before the climb to the Phupi Yalgoe. (Photo Uros Sever)
Ganga at Phupi Yalgoe - Phu Valley entrance gate. (Photo Uros Sever)
Beautiful old chortens on the way to Phu village at Kyaung. (Photo Uros Sever)
Mani wall and ruins of a fort on the way to Phu village. (Photo Uros Sever)
Phu village. (Photo Uros Sever)
Phu village from Thashi gompa. (Photo Uros Sever)
Crossing new bridge at Naar Phedi. (Photo Uros Sever)
Naar people returning to their village from multiday puja at Yunkar gompa(Photo Uros Sever)
Naar village. (Photo Uros Sever)
Trekking in monsoon - Kang la. (Photo Uros Sever)
Puja on the top of Kang la. (Photo Uros Sever)
Nar & Phu trek by Uroš Sever
Geographic names follow Paolo Gondoni NAAR PHU Nepa map - 1:60.000, 950Rs, available in KTM, Manang...)
There are all new bridges built by ACAP and path is well maintained and comfortable.
Water supply might be a problem.
There are 2 unattended open huts at Singenge Dharamsala for shelter and building of one was going on in Kyang by ACAP.
There are no lodges on the way and in Phu, in Naar there are 3 lodges.
In abandoned Khampa settlements along the way it is sometimes possible to get very basic shelter in uninhabited huts (but obviously used occasionally by sheperds).
Period of trekking: July/August 2004.
Recommended period: September.
After checkpoint in Koto descend to Marsiyandi and cross the bridge. The path enters Naar Phu Khola gorge and stays on its right (orographic) side for some 2
hours. Cross new bridge and soon cross a stream coming form a side valley. (if I remember correctly there is a new bridge higher up but we crossed small bridge. On the other side is the first camping site.
The Nepa map shows here another bridge&river crossing but in fact the path ascends high above river and descends again. Here I stop following the crossings
of the stream but there were quite a few always accross new bridges. The walls of the canyon are steep and the stream is blocked by large rocks. The map counts
them as river obstructions 1 - 4. Just before Singenge Dharamshala (3.220m) the path leads behind sizeable waterfall. It is about 7h walk from Koto to Dharamashala.
There are 2 houses here: new and old one. It is convenient for locals from Phu to stay here overnight on the way to Marsyandi valley or back. There is not much more
here than a roof and a water source. nearby.
Soon after Dharamshala the ascent to Metha begins. The path climbs away from the river. Metha (3.560m) is the first of a few ex-Khampa settlements on the way.
Water is not so close in a sidestream coming from Kangguru Himal (6.981m) slopes. Now the path become level. On the left Pisang Peak is rising high above
the river. You can see the bridge crossing narrow deep canyon at Naar Phedi and initial curvs of the path to Naar. Side valley of Dho Khola leads to Mustang. Going
to Phu you have to stay on the true left bank high above the river. Soon you reach Junam Goth - another ex-Khampa settlement. After Junam the path descends
steeply to the side valley with two paralel streams. There is no bridge across and in the afternoon water of the second was high, wild and brown while the first stream
had clean water therefore we camped on a small beautiful grassy ledge above the first stream, 4-5 hours from Dharamshala.
Next morning second stream was still fast but negotiable. After crossing the path ascends to Lower and Upper Chyako, again abandoned Khampa settlements. On
the way back we were searching watersource intensively far around Chyako but could not find one.
From the small ridge above Chyako the path traverses a steep slope then descends to Mruju Khola to cross it on a good bridge, climbs up again and finnaly
descend to Kyang (4.000m), again abandoned settlement. There were workers here building another dharamshala. To better acclimatized we decided to camp
here. Watersource is some 20 minutes walk away. Kyang was just some 3 hours walk from our last camp.
From Kyang Nepa map describes a path as "dangerous and rocky" but even it is cut into sheer rock face it is wide and comfortable. After 3-4 hours the valley is
blocked by huge wall and very steep climb take you to Phupy Yalgoe "Phu Valley Entrance Gate".
Soon after the valley widens. After the bridge there are some old chortens and mani wall. Phu village (4200-4300m) is perched on the hill on the confluence of
Phu Khola with a side stream. The houses of the village are well maintained (better than in Manang) and it is quite lively in Manang. There is a camping site by the river
but we stayed in the village camping in an outside yard (we payed to the owner for camping and for using a small stone hut as kitchen). It is about 5 hours from Kyang to Phu
It seems yak husbandry is prevalent here. But Phu people tend to migrate to KTM or even to go to work in Indonesia like the owners of our campsite.
On the other side of the side stream there is qite sizeable Thashi gompa. We visited it during exstensive puja which mostly local women attended. We were
recieved warmly got a seat in the praying hall and were offered salted tea.
Side valley is the way to Tibet which in the past locals could reach in 3 days but we were told the route was dangerous due to glacier crossing.
It is possible to follow Phu Khola further to reach yak pastures (kharka) in the base of glaciers.
On the way back we went all the way to Junam Khola. We were lucky, this time second (now first) stream was clean and first (second) stream was rushing wildly
therefore we could camp&use clean water.
Next day we descended to Naar Phedi to cross the bridge. It is interesting to observe the structure of now ruined old bridge - looks like really neckbreaking building craft.
Initial climb winds uphill in a series of long hairpin bends to the scenic teraces. After some more climbing the level path leads above terraced fields to the Naar
village (4.110m). Again houses appear very neat with interesting details. We stayed in the lodge - a bit more basic than AC lodges but fine. Approx. 5 hours from camp to Naar.
We decided to go only to Kangla Phedi (4.530m) or Kang la pass base 2,5h from Naar. The path follow wide level valley - yak pastures with many grazing yaks.
It is 3 hours from Phedi to the pass, sometimes quite steep. Initial descend from the pass to Ngawal is quite steep and could be dangerous in hard snow. It is a
looong descend to Ngawal on the upper Pisang - Manang route.
Uros has also written some more information in http://trekinfo.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2469
You need a permit (beside ACAP permit) to enter Naar Phu area. The price was 70 usd per person for 1 week but it was said the price will soon change therefore 90 usd should be correct price.
You can not get a permit individually. It is issued by Immigration office in KTM only. Agency has to provide quite some papers to get one (registration papers, staff
insurance, even a list of food supplies etc.). The recipe to make it cheap is to find an agency which will apply for permit. You dont have to bring guide, cook, all kinds
of assistents, mess tent, toilet tent etc. what is usual on organized agency trek. I just hired 4 porters from the agency (insurance!) who brought their own tent, stove,
basic food etc. so the whole tour was not much more expensive than trekking from lodge to lodge. One porter was actually a lycenced guide but in fact he did not act
like one since he had not been in the area before (and I dont want to have a guide when I am trekking on my own). But formally our trek was organized by an agency
so policemen on the checkpost should be satisfied (although when we entred the area there was nobody there to check). Probably there is a misunderstanding on
Yetizone forum about same topic. Liason officers are no longer required on treks in restricted areas but treks have to be organized - it depends on your arrangement
with the agency how much staff you will have but I guess at least there should be a guide. That there are no more checkpoints in all maoist controlled areas is another issue.
Timing: we were there in second part of July, beginning of August 2004 - monsoon time and I enjoyed walking by Marsyandi - very green, huge moisture, lechees,
empty routes&lodges, Manang valley all pink from flowering buckweath. But I would not recommend it for the first timer on AC since views can be obscured for days
and it is rather strange doing AC without seeing Annapurnas.
Thank you Uros !
Information update 2009 by Evan Nielsen september 2009
Nar/Phu as teahousetrek from Koto to Koto.
I am from Denmark. I have been Round Annapurna 10 times and at Tilicho
Lake 4 times. Now I one time a year go to Ghyaru, Ngawal, Khangsar,
Yak Kharka, Thorung Phedi and then back again. In april 2009 my porter,
guide and I did Nar/Phu as teahousetrek for the first time, and in august-
september we did it for the second time, also as a teahousetrek. Both times
we did Koto-Koto, so I don't know anything about the Kangla Pass. All
information below is from september 2009.
August-september is a nice time to do it. Everything is green, and there are
many flowers.It is not cold only cool at nighttime. You will only meet a very
few other trekkers, but if you want to see white mountains, it is the wrong time.
We had only rain at nighttime, but after Dharapani on the way back to
Besisahar we could see, that it must have been raining a lot. We had to cross
many landslides almost all the way to Bhulbhule. We walked on the road from
Syange to Bhulbhule, and a big part of this road will be closed for a very long time.
I have never seen so many landslides as this time from Karte to Bhulbhule.
Nar/Phu is in all ways a wonderful trek and a great thing to do, but it is also
a hard trek. There are only teahouses in Meta, Nar and Phu. Especially the
long, steep climb to Meta the first day is hard, because it is in the end of the
day. Otherwise you feel very strong, I will highly recommand a porter. A guide
is not necessary, but think about that you are moving into a remote area with
only a few people. May be you will be the only trekker, and don't expect that
communication will work. It can take hours to get help. If you take a porter or
guide be sure that they have an insurance, so they can get helicopter rescue
if needed. Dont't give too many kilos to the porter. It is also hard to him. In
august-september I were the only trekker To do it without a porter will be very
hard to many people. So take a porter and leave all unnecessary things
in Koto. Koto is also a good place to get informations. I can recommand Hotel
I can recommand this scedule: Koto - Meta/1 night - Nar/2 nights - Meta/1 night -
Phu/2 nights - Meta/1 night - Koto.
That is eight trekkingdays. The permit for one week gives only seven days, but
the police are not checking us, when we are back in Koto, so that should not give
problems. This schedule gives time to rebuild, relax, enjoy and experience lokal
. You need a special permit from Immigration. Only groups are allowed. Two persons are also a group. You can go to Immigration by yourself, or you can
let an trekking agency do it. Both times I were alone, so my agency had to make an arrangements with another passport, and I had to pay for two permits.
The checkpost in Koto did not ask me, why I were alone. There is now another checkpost in Meta. The fee for the permit is at the moment for one week 75$ / 90$.
Immigration will only issue permits for 1 week, 2 weeks...( immi.gov.np - apendix).
Maps: I used Nepa Map 1:60.000 Nar/Phu, but the map is not correct.
There are now good trails between Koto-Meta, Meta-Nar and Meta-Phu.
When raining or snow and ice is melting, there can be problems by crossing
Junam Khola between Junam Goth and Chyoko. Take advice from lokal people.
When we arrived there september 2009, we had to cross the river on two small,
thin and round trees. I said no, and we turned back. So I have not been in Phu
this time, but I were there april 2009. Just now they are building a bridge cross
Junam Khola. So next time there will be no problems.
Altitude: Before we started Nar/Phu, we had been several days in Manang area.
So we had no problems with the altitude.
Water: Take Iodine / Micropur Forte with you, so you can treat water. There is
a waterpipe in Dharamshala, two watertaps in Kyang and a watertap between
Nar Phedi and Nar.
There is no food to get between Meta-Phu, Meta-Nar and Koto-Meta. Take
muesli and other kind of dryfood with you. You can buy it in Chame.
Food in the teahouses:
Don´t expect the same as on the Annapurna Curcuit. The
food in Nar/Phu is basic. That means tea, tibetan tea, chapati, champa, dalbat,
noodle soup, buckwheat, potatoes. Ask in the teahouses. In Phu it should be
possible to get a little more different food also momos, but no teahouse has a
Food prices for guide and porter: It is more expensive than the AC. Expect about
600 rupees as average a day.
Toilets: I found clean toilets everywhere.
: Look at local people and do the same especially women. Men are more
respected when wearing long trousers. Some places you have to take off your
shoes before walking in.
People are very, very nice and friendly.
Hotels: There are only small hotels in Meta, Nar and Phu.
Communication: At the moment the satellite phone in Nar is broken, and there is
no healthpost in Nar. There is a healthpost and satellite phone in Phu.
Koto-Meta: It is a long and hard day, the hardest day. Take your time and walk
slowly. There are many ups and downs must ups, but no climbs before the last
climb to Meta. Just after the first bridge cross Nar/Phu Khola there is a longer up.
From Dharamshala it is almost a long up until the climb starts. The climb to Meta
is long and steep, and extra hard because it is in the end of the day. Otherwise
you are very strong, a porter is a real good idea here. The steep climb continues
almost all the way to Meta. There are two small hotels in Meta, and at the moment
they are building three more.
Meta-Nar: It is 70 meter down to the bridge and then 630 meter up to Nar. That's it. In Nar there are four small hotels. I can recommand hotel Kangla.
It is again a long and hard day, but not as hard as the first day to Mata.
It is the long distance, that makes it hard. Not far from Phu there is a very steep
but short climb. There are two small basic hotels in Phu, but local people told me,
that also in Phu they are building more hotels.
: A long but ok day because in the end of the day it goes down to Meta.
Meta-Koto: No problems.
Internet: bluedandelion.net / nepal-dia.de
Koto - First bridge cross Nar/Phu Khola: 100 min.
First bridge - Third bridge cross Nar/Phu KHola: 115 min.
Third bridge - Dharamshala: 50 min.
Dharamshala - Climb start: 35 min.
Climb start - Meta: 60 min.
Meta - Junum Goth: 85 min.
Junum Goth - Chyoko 3.720 m.: 40 min.
Chyoko - Kyang: 70 min.
Kyang - Phu:170 min.
Phu - Kyang: 140 min.
Kyang - Meta: 180 min.
Meta - Nar Phedi: 40 min.
Nar Phedi - First Nar Gate: 55 min.
First Nar Gate - Second Nar Gate: 65 min.
Second Nar Gate - Nar: 35 min.
Nar - First Nar Gate: 60 min.
First Nar Gate - Nar Phedi: 35 min.
Nar Phedi - Meta: 45 min.
Meta - Cave: 150 min.
Cave - Koto: 140 min.
Meta - First bridge cross Nar/Phu Khola: 200 min.
First bridge - Koto: 85 min.
Future: As I have shown now two times it is possible to do Nar/Phu as a
teahousetrek. When I with 63 years can do it, many other people can also do it. That will also support local people. Camping groups are not supporting local
people. The Hotal kapacity is not yet very big, and many thing are basic. But the people and the nature make it to an exceptional experience. A teahouse in
Dharamshala and one in Khyang would help us teahousetrekkers. Until that happens Nar/Phu in some ways will continue to be a hard trek.
My next time to Nar/Phu is planned to be in august 2010.
Nakskov - Denmark september 2009.
further links with nice pics:
trek to Nar Phu in 1996 and 1999 by David Ketley
Saxonian Himlung expedition 2003 (in German)
Belgian Himlung expedition 2003
Austrian Himlung expedition 2004 (in German)
The Blog of Béa Mahili from 14 Nov. (in French)
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