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Nar Phu Philanthropy Trek


  •   Rebuild Schools in Nepal
  •   Build Community & Make a Difference
  •   Join Forces with BACKPACKER
  •   Embark on a World Class Trek
  •   Himalayas' massive mountains
  •   Giant rivers, waterfalls & valleys
  •   Fantastic, local cuisine


Join BACKPACKER Magazine and Wildland Trekking on a life-list trek in Nepal and help with earthquake recovery efforts. BACKPACKER and Wildland Trekking are partnering to send multiple teams to Nepal in fall 2019 and spring 2020 and we hope you join us!

Participants will:

  • Join a BACKPACKER Ambassador and BACKPACKER readers on a special trip combining volunteer work and world-class trekking. BACKPACKER Editor-in-chief Dennis Lewon is leading the trip departing on October 25, 2020, and Randy Propster is leading the November 8 trip.
  • Support communities in need. After a 2015 earthquake devastated Nepal, thousands of schools and villages were damaged or destroyed. Long after the disaster faded from the news, the recovery efforts continue. We’ll spend a week helping the rebuilding effort—no skills required; training will be provided  
  • Trek through the world’s highest mountains on a 9-day journey on the little-known Nar Phu route in the Annapurna region, where we’ll visit remote villages and ancient monasteries. After the service project, we’ll spend a layover day in Kathmandu, then depart for the trek.


On a steep hillside above Manang, one of the highest villages on the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal, a lone monk lived in a one-room dwelling made of stone. Locals said he’d taken a vow of silence more than two decades earlier and hadn’t spoken a word since. I climbed up to see the monk when I trekked the route—apparently, he had a sweet tooth and appreciated visitors who brought him cookies. I found him sitting in his hut, and he grinned brightly when I deposited the treat on his small wooden table. He raised his hands to bless me, we smiled some more. Not much happened, really, but I remember the moment clearly 30 years later.

I’d learned about the Annapurna Circuit from an article in this magazine. The story extolled the unequalled beauty of the Himalaya and the people who lived there. It contained a photo of 26,545-foot Annapurna. I was sold.

I wasn’t the only one. Since 1973, BACKPACKER has run more than a dozen articles on Nepal, always saying: Go. Go have the experience of a lifetime. Go meet people you’ll never forget. It worked for me and it worked for generations of trekkers before and after.

So when an earthquake devastated Nepal in April 2015, it felt like a friend was in crisis. We at this magazine had a special obligation to help a country that had long helped us. We championed ways to give back, everything from donating to relief funds to traveling there to help restore the tourism industry. But one fact quickly became apparent: The damage was so extensive that the recovery would take years and require continued efforts long after the disaster faded from the news cycle.

That’s why we’ve launched this special project to put teams of BACKPACKER readers on the ground, in places where help is needed most. This time, we’re not asking for donations; we’re asking for volunteers. It’s time to put some sweat equity into a place that needs safe schools as well as a trekking economy.

Of course, trekking is also on the agenda. We’ll spend the first week working in a rural area. The second week, we’ll go on a trek in the mountains. Think of it as closing the circle between lifesaving aid and life-list adventure. I’ll bet that monk would approve, even if he couldn’t say so.

- Dennis Lewon, BACKPACKER Editor-in-chief

We're Here to Help!
Philanthropy Trip
20 days
$2900 Per Person

Travel to Nepal

  See Dates

Trip Dates & Booking

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Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Participants fly into Kathmandu. Participants are responsible for their own flights. We will rendezvous at the airport and make our way to our first night's hotel. We will have dinner together and an orientation meeting this evening.

Day 2

Today we will leave Kathmandu and travel to the building site in the Sindhuli District. This is approximately a 5-6 hours drive to Sindhuli. Then we will transfer into jeeps for another 2-4 hours. We will get settled in our tent accommodations and get oriented to the area and the project.

Day 3-8

These days we will be working on the building project for 8-10 hours each day. Training and tools will be provided. All meals are included during this time.

*Day 7 will be a rest day at the service project. There are cultural and natural sites to walk to from the location of the service project near the village.

Days 9

We will finish up our work on the building project, pack up, and head back to Kathmandu (5-6 hours).

Day 10

This day is a rest day set aside for sightseeing, relaxation, and recuperation in Kathmandu.

Day 11

Today we transfer to Koto Village in jeeps. It is an 11-12 hour drive along one of the most unique and scenic roads in Nepal. One part of our route takes us along an incredible road blasted out of a cliff, and we drive by waterfalls, deep gorges and amazing views. After our arrival in Koto we will get settled in our tea house accommodations for the evening, and enjoy a classic Nepali dinner.

Day 12
  • Lowest Elevation: 8,592 feet
  • Highest Elevation: 11,748 feet
  • Hiking Distance: 12.73 mi (20.5 km)
  • Trekking Duration: 7-8 hours

Today we embark on our trek with an initial stretch to the town of Meta. We begin by crossing the river and entering the Nar and Phu Valleys. Today's hike takes us through majestic forests, through a narrow canyon, under a broad waterfall, and out into the open for big mountain views. The last stint into Meta ascends a steep hill, where we earn jaw-dropping views of some of the giant glaciated peaks in the region.

We will check into our tea house, have some to relax and/or sightsee, then meet for a much-deserved dinner.

Day 13
  • Lowest Elevation: 11,748 feet
  • Highest Elevation: 13,464 feet
  • Hiking Distance: 11.5 mi (18.5 km)
  • Trekking Duration: 7-8 hours

After breakfast we'll depart Meta, and begin to see some of the iconic, spectacular Tibetan Buddhist chortens for which Nar and Phu are known. Our hike meanders along a ridge with a wonderful view of a magnificent monastery. We'll continue hiking through breathtaking canyons and gorges, then up a steep ascent to the village of Phu.

After getting settled into our tea house we'll go on a short hike up to the famous Tashi Lhakhang Gompa to honor Lama Karma Sonam Rimpoche who arrived in Nepal with the Dalai Lama in the late 1950's. We'll return to Phu for a wonderful hot, Nepali dinner.

Day 14
  • Lowest Elevation: 13,464 feet
  • Highest Elevation: 15,748 feet
  • Trekking Duration: Optional up to 5 hours

Today is a layover day to acclimatize in Phu. You'll have the option of exploring the village and relaxing/recuperating, or hiking up to the Himlung Himal base camp. Phu is a fascinating village, and a day of exploration here is well spent. Opportunities abound to be around the villagers as they spin wool (sheep and yak), crush seeds into oil paste, and engage in other daily activities.

For those participants interested in an extra challenge, we offer a trek up to Himlung Himal base camp. Himlung Himal (23,379 feet) was recently opened for climbing, and the route to its base camp takes us through a stunning glacial valley and past herds of blue sheep grazing on steep cliffs.

Day 15
  • Lowest Elevation: 11.517 feet
  • Highest Elevation: 13,464 feet
  • Hiking Distance: 10.25 mi (16.5 km)
  • Trekking Duration: 6-7 hours

Today we retrace our steps back toward Meta, but deviate at the Nar Phedi monastery, which is our accommodation for tonight. Amazingly, the monastery is all that Nar Phedi consists of.

The monastery accommodations are neat and clean, and the nuns are exceptionally gracious and welcoming. We'll join them in the kitchen and help/watch them cook supper on a rustic fireplace. In the evening the nuns often do a blessing ("puja"), which we are welcome to observe. A modest donation box exists for visitors to contribute to the health of this wonderful, friendly place.

Day 16
  • Lowest Elevation: 11,517 feet
  • Highest Elevation: 13,563 feet
  • Hiking Distance: 3.73 mi (6 km)
  • Trekking Duration: 3-4 hours

Today is a relaxing hike. We ascend from Nar Phedi and hike along a winding trail up a hill toward Nar. We hike past a line of colorfully painted chortens on the way into the ancient village of Nar around lunch time. Nar is not very far from the famous, very popular Annapurna Trail, but it is off the beaten path enough to be rarely visited by trekkers and is as stunningly picturesque as Nepal gets.

The rest of today is set aside to explore and enjoy Nar. We'll reconvene for dinner at our tea house.

Day 17
  • Lowest Elevation: 13,563 feet
  • Highest Elevation: 17,292 feet
  • Hiking Distance: 8.7 mi (14 km)
  • Trekking Duration: 8-9 hours

Today is a strenuous hike so we'll wake before sunrise, have a quick breakfast and begin trekking towards Kang La Pass, which connects us to the popular Annapurna Circuit. Kang La Pass is not a technically difficult pass, but the high elevation (17,292 feet) will take its toll on us. From the pass we will soak up views over Tilicho Peak, Gangapurna, Annapurna II, and other towering Himalayan giants.

*Important Note: In spring the pass can sometimes be impassable, in this case an alternate route will be used today.

We'll descend from the pass and make our way to Ngawal, which sits along the Annapurna Circuit. You will notice the difference of being on the Circuit, as the tea houses are larger, the menus much more extensive and we will have access to cell signals and wifi.

Day 18
  • Lowest Elevation: 11,748 feet
  • Highest Elevation: 15,003 feet
  • Hiking Distance: 5 mi (8 km)
  • Trekking Duration: 4 hours
  • Driving Duration: 6 hours

Today is the last of our amazing trek. We'll notice the temperatures rise and the flora become much greener as we descend more than 6000 feet from where we were yesterday, at Kang La pass. We pass a beautiful lake and arrive in Pisang, where we get picked up by jeeps and driven to Besisahar, where a comfortable lodge awaits.

Day 19
  • Driving Duration: 6-7 hours

Today we board jeeps and drive back to Kathmandu./p>

Day 20

This is the departure day for which to schedule your outbound flights. As a group we will make our way to the airport and say our fond farewells. What an amazing 2+ weeks it's been!

Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however occasionally trips are subject to itinerary changes based on a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to: extreme weather, political or bureaucratic obstacles, earthquakes, fires, flooding and more.

Trip Details

What's Included

  • Transportation for the duration of the trip
  • Tea house lodging during the trek
  • Professional, certified Himalayan hiking guides
  • The majority of meals (lunches/dinners in Kathmandu before/after the trek and lunch/dinner on day 9 are not included)
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone

What's Not Included

  • Transportation to Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Backpack, sleeping bag and trekking poles
  • Bar bills, drink bills, extra snacks, telephone bills , wifi bills and other personal expenses (shopping/ laundry)
  • Lunch and dinner on Day 2
  • Tents and sleeping bags
  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear (Oboz hiking shoes and boots recommended)
  • Kathmandu and Day 2 lunches/dinners
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • All expenses due to unavoidable events e.g. flight cancellation, personal illness, strikes, etc. (we recommend trip insurance coverage for these variables)
  • Trip insurance that includes medical coverage and at least $200,000 in evacuation and repatriation coverage (required in Nepal)
  • Gratuity for tipping your guide(s) and local crew. Tipping is optional but appreciated; the industry recommendation is 10-20% of total trip cost split between all staff, based upon the quality of your experience. USD is recommended. (Please see packlist for details.)
See the Packing Lists page for more information.

Meals: What To Expect

This Nepal hiking tour features a combination of in-town meals and meals prepared by your guides.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables. In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We can often accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee, and in some countries may be more difficult to accommodate than others. Please inquire with us for more information about the specific trip you're interested in.

Trip Logistics

Pre-Trip Communication

BACKPACKER and Wildland Trekking will communicate directly with the group on the details once the trip is filled.

How do I Register?

Ready to hike? In the Dates section of this trip page, the green dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service team, you can click here to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you're ready to register we'll email you a link to a registration profile. You'll have 72 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit ($100).

Feel free to call us for more info - we're here 7 days a week!

Where Do We Meet?

We will meet you at the airport on Day 1 and transport you to the first night's hotel, where we'll conduct an orientation meeting the first evening (your flight should arrive in Kathmandu before 5PM).

Age Restrictions

Age restrictions are as follows:
  • 12 and older to join this trip
  • Anyone younger than 17 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian

Trip Insurance Requirements

Field evacuation and repatriation insurance is required on all Nepal trips as a condition of partnership terms with our Nepali vendors. We also recommend medical insurance.

If you need to purchase field evacuation or repatriation insurance, we recommend IMG/iTravelinsured. They are one of the world’s leading providers of travel insurance and policies meet all Nepali requirements.

For information on the recommended IMG/iTravelinsured policies please click here.

For even greater information, or if you simply prefer communicating with a real, live person, feel free to contact our exclusive agent Michael Bennett. Michael will help you identify the best product for your needs, and there is no cost associated with his assistance. You may contact him at:

Email: WildLandTrekking@EasyToInsureME.com
US by Phone: 877-305-9083
Direct/International by Phone: 702-448-3664
If you already have the required insurance or wish to purchase from anyone other than IMG/iTravelinsured, we recommend careful consultation with the provider to ensure appropriate coverage. This is because many providers have a number of policy exclusions (of particular note for Nepal is to check field evacuation elevation limits).

Please bring a copy of your insurance policy to provide to your guides at the orientation meeting.

Weather in Nepal

Nepal is home to the highest mountain range in the world, the Himalayas. Kathmandu is at an elevation of 4600 feet (1400 meters), but the high points on our Nepal Treks are very high (13,000 to 18,000 feet). Because of these wild elevation changes, the temperatures and weather can also vary wildly.

The average temperatures and precipitation in the Himalayan region are:

Kathmandu Himalayas (11K ft)
Month Hi Low Precip Hi Low Precip
March 75° F 46° F 10 mm 49° F 27° F 31 mm
April 82° F 54° F 29 mm 55° F 31° F 36 mm
May 84° F 59° F 70 mm 57° F 38° F 55 mm
June 84° F 63° F 129 mm 59° F 42° F 171 mm
July 81° F 64° F 325 mm 60° F 45° F 283 mm
August 81° F 64° F 239 mm 60° F 45° F 261 mm
September 81° F 63° F 175 mm 58° F 42° F 161 mm
October 77° F 57° F 67 mm 54° F 34° F 63 mm


Apsara Boutique Hotel

Apsara Boutique Hotel

3-4 nights

Named after the Goddess of dancing and located in the tourist area of Kathmandu called Thamel, this hotel is a premier option in Kathmandu. Perfectly located to explore tourist areas around Kathmandu, this hotel also has amazing views and a wonderful rooftop meeting area.

Nepali Teahouses

Nepali Tea Houses

7 nights

Tea houses are inns/guest houses with sleeping rooms and home cooked meals. They vary depending on their remoteness. Lower ones have more amenities, such as flush toilets, showers and nicer dining rooms. As we ascend, they get more rustic with simpler toilets and more basic amenities. Rooms are communal with 2 or 3 beds.

* These exact accommodations are not guaranteed. In some instances alternative accommodations of similar quality and location may be used.

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