Ultimate Guide to Nar, Phu & Tilicho Lake Trek

PUBLISHED ON 29 February, 2024
Ultimate Guide to Nar, Phu & Tilicho Lake Trek

The Nar Phu Valley journey, which includes Tilicho Lake, travels through some of Nepal’s greatest trekking paths and takes 18 days from Kathmandu to complete the trek! Travel to a recently found region and stop at the ancient Phu and Nar settlements in the Himalayas. The adventure factor of this journey is further increased with a visit to Tilicho Lake (5,200m/17,060ft) and the traversal of two high-altitude passes, including the highest in Nepal. With Tilicho Lake included, we have designed the ideal schedule for the Nar Phu Valley trek, and we will lead you there.

Major Highlights of the Nar, Phu & Tilicho Lake Trek

  • Walk through some of Nepal’s most northern regions and see a plethora of historic Buddhist monasteries.
  • Witness a customary Buddhist society influenced by Tibetan elements.
  • Views of more than 410 distinct peaks and mountains.
  • See Tilicho Lake Travel over Nepal’s highest pass, the Thorong La Beautiful flight to Pokhara.

Traveling to the trek Nar, Phu & Tilicho Lake 

After breakfast and hotel check-out in the morning, we come to pick you up and take you to the bus station so you can travel to Besishahar. The vistas are amazing despite the lengthy ride! Besishahar is a station hamlet that serves as both the starting and finishing points for the Manaslu Circuit Trek and the Annapurna Circuit Trek. 

We do a last gear check the night before we leave Kathmandu and get ready to begin the Nar Phu Valley walk, which includes a visit to Tilicho Lake! The village of Koto is where we are going initially. The path generally winds through trees, climbing and descending. Your first day of trekking in Nepal will be mostly highlighted by the vistas of the valley below and Mt. Manaslu (8,163m/26,781ft) to the east.

We gradually ascended to Meta village from Koto. Only a day’s hike away is Phu Village, our first featured village on the Nar Phu Valley journey with Tilicho Lake. On the way to Phu, we pass via Kyang hamlet, where you may have a tour of the ruins of the historic Khampa fort with an expert guide from us. Phu is simply a place of magic. 

This tiny Buddhist town, nestled deep in the Himalayas and completely cut off from the outside world, is nothing short of amazing. The Tashi Lakhang Monastery thought to have been constructed 300 years ago, is located in the village! We’ll explore and visit the monastery for an additional day while we’re in Phu. The view of Mt. Himlung Himal (7,126m/23,379ft) is particularly stunning from Phu.

To avoid severe altitude sickness, we will go for an additional day to reach Mt. Himlung Himal Base Camp, which is situated at 4,920 meters/16,142 feet. Regarding the security of its visitors on any hike in Nepal, We assume no liability. Additionally, you will be able to appropriately acclimate for higher elevations on the Nar Phu Valley trek with Tilicho Lake thanks to this journey up to Himlung Base Camp.

Traveling to Nar Village

We continue to Nar village, the starting point of the hike. The trail descends toward Mahendra Phul and crosses an 80-meter (263-ft) suspension bridge there! You’ll see more stupas indicating a trail leading to the settlement as we get closer to Nar. Our second and final village of interest on the Nar Phu Valley trip, which begins at Tilicho Lake, is Nar. 

Here, we stay an extra day to explore the neighboring monasteries and take in the vistas of Pisang Peak. The largest settlement in the entire upper Annapurna region, Manang, is our destination for the next day. 

But first, we need to climb over the Kang La Pass, which is 5,306 meters (17,408 ft) high. We must start climbing the pass early today. 

Traveling to Nar Village

Although the ascent is challenging, the views from the pass’s summit are breathtaking. A substantial portion of the Annapurna Himalayan Range becomes visible, and you will have a profound sense of accomplishment. We reach Ngawal Village after crossing the pass, and Manang is reached after another day of hiking.

Time at Tilicho Lake

We arrived at Tilicho Lake, the halfway point of the Nar Phu Valley trek! We stay an additional day in Manang for sightseeing and relaxation. Visit the historic monastery at Braga, one of the oldest communities in the area, which is located immediately below Manang. We’ll also go on a climb up to the Chhunker Viewpoint, which offers breathtaking views of the Annapurna Range and Tilicho Peak. In addition, we can take a quick trip to the nearby Milarepa Cave Gompa!

We resume our journey by taking the Annapurna Circuit trail, which leads us to Tilicho Lake (5,200 meters/17,060 ft), another significant landmark on the Nar Phu Valley trip. We have to hike for one day to go to Tilicho Base Camp (4,200m/13,780ft) after arriving at Khangsar hamlet. Base Camp is accessible by two different routes. A newer one and an older one. We’ll take the more recent route since it offers a better trail and better views to get to our objective. 

Nar, Phu & Tilicho Lake Trek

We can get to the lake from here. It’s a difficult climb, but worthwhile! The Lake has a truly mystical quality. gleaming in the morning light, and perfectly reflecting the snow-capped Himalayas that surround it. Tilicho Lake, you’ve arrived!

We continue with the Himalayan Guide Nepal Nar Phu Valley trip with Tilicho Lake after stopping at the lake for a while to enjoy the scenery. 

We’re heading for the Thorong La, Nepal’s highest mountain pass at 5,416 meters/17,769ft! We move on toward Thorong Phedi, also called High Camp, passing by the well-known yak herding location of Yak Kharka hamlet. Our final destination before passing through the Thorong La Pass is High Camp, which will take two days to get to.

Tilicho Lake and the final stretch of the Nar Phu Valley hike! Now is the time to get a head start. We therefore leave High Camp and begin our ascent of the Thorong La after eating an early breakfast. You will be able to witness some spectacular vistas of the surrounding Himalayas as you ascend the pass! We stop briefly at the prayer flags at the top of the pass to enjoy the view. 

We start downhill to Muktinath. There are a few teahouses at the pass’s base, and a trail leads progressively downhill to the village and temple of Muktinath. For both Buddhists and Hindus, the Temple of Muktinath is a well-known pilgrimage destination.

Exploring Muktinath

Equipped with 108 water sprouts and two small pools, the belief is that if you bathe at Muktinath, your negative karma will be removed and your positive karma will increase! If you can withstand the cold yet revitalizing water, you are invited to give it a try. The next day, we departed Muktinath and continued our journey to Jomsom, having reached the final stretch of the Nar Phu Valley walk with Tilicho Lake. 

We arrived at Kagbeni after traveling via Eklebaati in the direction of the Kali Gandaki River. Known for its apple orchards, this hamlet serves as a gateway to Nepal’s Mustang region and the Upper Mustang trip. 

Before continuing along the River to Jomsom, we spend some time exploring the area and visiting the monastery and market.

Jomsom features a separate airport and bus terminal. You’ve successfully finished the Nar Phu Valley trek with Tilicho Lake, therefore we’ll be taking an early morning flight back to Pokhara to say goodbye to the Annapurna Himalayas! Once you’re back in Pokhara, we will gladly extend your package so you can continue participating in the events here for a few more days. Activities in Pokhara include bungee jumping, rafting, paragliding, and sightseeing, to name a few. 

Muktinath Temple -Nar, Phu & Tilicho Lake Trek
Muktinath Temple

Detailed Itinerary of the Nar, Phu & Tilicho Lake Trek

Day 1- Arrival in Kathmandu 

At the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, the heart of Nepal, our representatives will greet you. During your flight, take in views of the terraced valley floor and the majestic Himalayas. You will have the entire day to explore the city and tour the surrounding streets, which are brimming with local flavor and culture, after being dropped off at Thamel. Visit our office to receive a tour briefing and to meet the guide.

Day 2- Explore Kathmandu

You can see cultural sites, take an exploration of the Kathmandu Valley, and pick your guides’ brains on history on this day. In Kathmandu, you can visit holy places like Pashupatinath and Boudhanath and converse with the people. If you have time, explore Durbar Square in Bhaktapur, which is home to renowned buildings, historic texts, and stone inscriptions. 

You will eventually make your way back to Kathmandu before leaving for a welcome meal. Other optional activities include trekking and mountain biking in Shivapuri National Park or taking advantage of the rare chance to fly over Mount Everest and the surrounding mountains.

Day 3- Drive from Kathmandu to Koto

We will drive to Koto on this day to start the tour towards the Annapurna area. First, you will be taken by car to Besisahar, which is located west of Kathmandu. Kurintar and Bandipur will be passed by as you continue northward to Besisahar. Following a brief pause there, the vehicle will ascend towards Koto. Despite the rough and uneven route, the captivating panorama is there to see.

Day 4- Trek from Koto to Meta

On this day, we will start our hike along the Nar Phu trail from Koto. You will rise early and cross the river to reach the Nar and Phu valleys to cover a lot of ground. As you go on, the path gets increasingly beautiful and isolated from the outside world. You’ll pass through bamboo, rhododendron, and oak woodlands. There are suspension bridges and straight cliffs to cross.

As you continue, you’ll observe rapid waterfalls from the small canyon. Before you ultimately arrive at the Meta settlement, you will ascend a difficult slope. The snow-capped peaks of Annapurna II and Lamjung are visible from Meta. The town is located on a broad plain with breathtaking views of the mountains in the area.

Day 5- Trek from Meta to Phu

Trekking starts at Meta and goes to Phu, the first isolated settlement. You will see chortans and stupas associated with Tibetan Buddhism throughout the route. Here, you will be able to observe the customs, religion, and culture of the Tibetan Buddhist community. You will arrive at Chyaku fields via suspension bridges. 

Views of Annapurna II and Pisang Peak are available from Kyang. You must traverse the stony trail that crosses the Phu River. After that, you’ll reach Phu village on a difficult walk. This location offers you a perspective of the three settlements that are grouped. A row of stupas is located immediately before arriving in Phu. 

Day 6- Acclimatization and Exploration Day at Phu

It is advisable to set aside this day for acclimatization to let your body adjust to the significant difference in altitude. You might use this day to flex your muscles and explore the surrounding area after breakfast and also go on walks in the pastures with the sheep and yaks and engage with the locals to learn about their way of life. 

You can watch the processes involved in making oil, mustard paste, and yarn. Alternatively, you can climb for four to five hours to reach the base camp of the Himlung Himal. Even closer, you can stroll up to Tashi Lhakhang Gompa to honor the Karma Sonam Rimpoche, who had come to this location. 

Day 7- Trek from Phu Village to Nar Village

You’ll be traveling from Nar Phedi to Nar village, so it will be a quick and simple hiking day. The path leading to this isolated settlement is lined with numerous Buddhist stupas and chortans. To go to Nar village further ahead, you will cross the Labse River suspension bridge.

Though it is smaller, Nar Village and Phu Village have a similar landscape. The village is bustling; you may see people walking their cattle to pastures and ladies spinning woolen cloth.

Day 8- Trek from Nar to Ngawal via the Kang La Pass

Kang La Pass 5320M
Kang La Pass 5320M

You will be traversing a high pass on this, one of the trek’s longest days. To reach the Annapurna circuit trail, head uphill over 5000 meters towards the Kang La Pass before dawn. The path is extremely long, requiring more than 8 to 9 hours to finish, even if the pass is not as challenging. You can enjoy breathtaking views of Gangapurna, Tilicho Peak, and Annapurna II from the pass’s edge.

Take the higher Pisang path towards Ngawal after savoring the scenery. There are isolated settlements nearby that have lodges.

Day 9- Trek from Nagwal to Manang

As you go to Manang, the vistas of Annapurna II and III are breathtaking. As you go higher, the air becomes colder and thinner. The trail passes by frozen rivers, snow-capped mountains, and coniferous slopes. Trekking begins in the charming village of Ngawal and continues to Manang. As you trek along the trail, you’ll encounter prayer flags, Buddhist shrines, and choruses. Upon reaching Manang, your overnight halt, you’ll feel relieved after a difficult climb.

Day 10- Trek from Manang to Khangsar Village

Heading out of Manang to cross a suspension bridge over the Manang River and make an upward rise. Keep going up. After walking for a few hours, you arrive at Khangsar, another stunning settlement. Visit a teahouse to relax and recuperate.

Day 11- Trek from Khangsar Village to Tilicho Base Camp

On this day, you’re heading down the Annapurna Circuit route to Khangsar hamlet. You will start your journey up the route toward the Tibetan Buddhist monastery, which is accessible after ascending a steep set of stone stairs. To get to the intersection of the ancient and new routes, you will have to trek up to the high ridge. Follow the new trail up to a steep ridgeline, then descend. 

Day 12- Visit Tilicho Lake, Return to Base Camp

One of the most fascinating days will be spent seeing Tilicho, one of the highest lakes in the world. You will start your day early and make your way down the narrow, steep trail towards Tilicho Lake, which leads to high cliffs. You will arrive at the captivating turquoise lake, which reflects the surrounding snow-covered giants, including Tilicho Peak and Mesokanto Peak, after around three to four hours. Lunch and entertainment can be enjoyed at the lakeside before the swiftly chilly winds take over. Spend the night at Tilicho Base Camp.

Day 13- Trek from Tilicho Base Camp to Yak Kharka

Pack your things and proceed to the trailhead to Yak Kharka after breakfast. The path leads past juniper bushes on rough, unclean paths that lead to ancient Khangsar. You can reach an ancient bridge that connects Gumsang and Yak Kharka via an unmarked trail. Yak Kharka got its name since this is where the herders bring their yaks to graze. It’s a fantastic spot to spend the night as well. 

Day 14- Trek from Yak Kharka to Thorung Phedi 

Start your hike uphill from Yak Kharka towards Thorong Phedi on this day. The trail progressively ascends to a ridge where breathtaking mountain vistas are revealed. From the wooden bridge, descend to the Marsyangdi to cross a river. The climb will start on the right side of the riverbed and go along a narrow path to Thorong Phedi, the base of the hill.

Day 15- Trek from Thorung Phedi to Muktinath

Begin by making your way over to the world’s highest pass, Thorong La. Since you will start your day before sunrise, this is one of the hardest and longest trekking days. There will be difficulty with every move you make. On the plus side, you will have breathtaking vistas of the Kali Gandaki and Mustang valleys. 

From the summit, one may see a close-up view of the snow-capped Dhaulagiri, the Annapurna range, and Tilicho Peak. After taking some photos and soaking in the scenery, descend to a Chabarbu tea house. On the way to the Muktinath settlement, the journey passes across a long, grassy slope that leads to the lower Mustang. Muktinath, encircled by the Dhaulagiri Himal, hosts one of the most sacred Buddhist and Hindu pilgrimages.

Day 16- Trek from Muktinath to Jomsom

Muktinath to Jomsom

You can take a short walk in the early morning to see the Muktinath temple. To cleanse yourself of all sins, you can bathe in the two pools and wash under the holy taps. Once Lord Shiva has bestowed his favor, return to your lodge to gather your possessions before making the voyage back to Jomsom. 

The journey to Jomsom is a rather simple one that is primarily downhill and straight. Savor the sights of Mt. Dhaulagiri, the huddled ancient dwellings, and the medieval caverns in the parched cliffs as you travel. On the journey, you can stop by the monasteries to see the incredible carvings and architecture.

Day 17- Flight from Jomsom to Pokhara

This is the last day you will be spending in the isolated Mustang area before you fly to Pokhara. Before boarding the 25-minute flight that provides breathtaking views of the Dhaulagiri range, Annapurna massif, Lamjung, etc., load up on dried apples. Once you get in Pokhara, check into a hotel and give your muscles a break. In the afternoon, you can even unwind at a spa. Go out to the neighborhood bar or club in the evening to have a great time.

Day 18- Flight from Pokhara to Kathmandu

You can kick back in the morning on this day, take in the scenery around Phewa Lake, and take photos of the stunning sunrise. After that, you can prepare your belongings and be driven to the airport to return to Kathmandu via plane.

Day 19- Final Departure

Since this is your last day of travel, you can pick up a variety of mementos from Kathmandu’s streets, including beautiful jewelry, diamonds, bamboo and jute items, and handicrafts that boost the regional economy. Following a farewell from our guides and crew, you will leave Kathmandu through the international airport. Recall the incredible experience you had exploring the isolated towns, breathtaking lakes, and sacred places of the Annapurna circuit.

Cost/price for Tilicho Lake trek 

Our pricing policy and itinerary for the Tilicho Lake trek state that the cost per person is 1072 USD. This cost is calculated on a double occupancy basis for two people (trekkers). For this amount, you will receive all meals and lodging during the hike, permits, a guide, a porter, all scheduled surface transfers, a flight from Jomsom to Pokhara, and much more.

This is the average cost of the trip. If you would like more luxurious travel than what our package offers, we can add more luxury for an additional fee. Similarly, we may lower the cost of the trip by eliminating certain services, like the flight from Jomsom to Pokhara, if you’d prefer an inexpensive budget trek.

How difficult is Tilicho Trek?

Trekking around Tilicho Lake is moderately challenging. Nevertheless, traveling to Nar Phu with Tilicho is an adventure. Since we’ve merged our excursions, we can classify this one as adventurous. Trekkers will find this journey difficult due to the hike to Tilicho Lake (4,949m) You will travel over 3,000m for 8 nights on this excursion. Remember, it’s nearly hard to accomplish in the cold.

Who Can Do Annapurna, Nar Phu Valley & Tilicho Lake Trek?

The journey to Annapurna, Nar Phu Valley, and Tilicho Lake is categorized as moderately to extremely tough. People in good physical shape who can easily climb stairs and trek across challenging terrain for extended periods would find it ideal.

You don’t need any prior high-altitude trekking experience because there isn’t any technical climbing required. It is not appropriate, nevertheless, for people who have knee problems and find it difficult to navigate terrain that is steep or downward.

With an average of 6 to 7 hours of walking per day, the trip lasts 19 days, 12 of which are spent on the hike. From a minimum of 2,600 meters (8,530 feet) at Koto to a maximum of 5,400 meters (17,717 feet) at Thorung La, the altitude varies steadily. The altitude increases the risk of altitude sickness and breathing problems, so it’s critical to provide enough time for acclimatization and to adhere to the schedule.