How to Reach Rara Lake from Kathmandu or Pokhara
 
Rajesh Neupane Written By: Rajesh Neupane
Published On : 14th June, 2024

How to Reach Rara Lake from Kathmandu or Pokhara

Are you planning to trek from Kathmandu or Pokhara to Rara Lake? You can reach their by various modes of transportation like Flight, Road or Both.

Each option has its own set of pros and cons, so it’s important to choose the one that best suits your preferences and schedule.

If you decide to take a flight, you’ll have the quickest and most direct route to your destination. You can catch a plane from either Kathmandu or Pokhara to Nepalgunj and then another flight to Talcha Airport, which is the closest airstrip to Rara Lake. This option is perfect if you want to spend more time exploring and less time traveling.

Traveling by road is an adventure in itself. You can take a bus or hire a jeep, which will allow you to see the diverse landscapes and experience different cultures along the way. However, be prepared for a long, bumpy ride, as the roads can be quite rough and challenging.

For those who want a bit of both, you can fly part of the way and then travel by road. For example, you could fly to Nepalgunj and then take a jeep through the scenic mountain roads to reach your trekking start point. This way, you get a mix of convenience and adventure.

No matter how you choose to get there, the views along the way and the final destination at Rara Lake will be well worth it. Make sure to plan ahead, pack wisely, and prepare for an unforgettable journey into one of Nepal’s most stunning and less-traveled regions.

Additionally, we’ve compiled essential safety tips to ensure a smooth journey. From hiring knowledgeable guides to preparing for changing weather conditions, we provide all the information you need for a worry-free exploration. 

Overview of Rara Lake: Why is it most visit destination?

Rara Lake, located in the remote Mugu District of Nepal, is one of the country’s most beautiful and peaceful spots. It is one of the Nepal’s largest lake, located at 2,990 meters in Rara National Park. Its clear blue waters are surrounded by lush forests and stunning mountains. Nature lovers and adventurers heading there from Kathmandu or Pokhara should know the best routes and transportation options to fully enjoy this hidden gem.

A trip to Rara Lake presents an exciting journey, offering a unique blend of tranquility and raw natural beauty. For those traveling from cities like Kathmandu or Pokhara, it’s essential to plan thoughtfully to make the most of this hidden treasure. Knowing the best routes and transportation options is key to ensuring a seamless and delightful experience. Accessible by a combination of flights and scenic hikes, the journey to Rara Lake adds an element of adventure and anticipation.

Once there, visitors can immerse themselves in various activities such as boating on the serene waters, hiking through the lush surrounding forests, and soaking in the majestic mountain views. The rich biodiversity of Rara National Park also offers opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts to spot rare species of birds and animals in their natural habitat.

Highlights of Rara Lake

Here are a few highlights of Rara Lake:

  • Known as the “Queen of Lakes”, Rara Lake is the biggest freshwater lake in the Himalayas.
  • The lake and the surrounding area are protected within the Rara National Park, which is home to a variety of unique flora and fauna including the Himalayan Black Bear and Red Panda.
  • Offers enchanting views of snow-capped mountains and is a perfect spot for activities like boating, hiking, and bird watching.
  • The area around the lake is less commercialized, providing a pristine, natural environment ideal for those seeking tranquility and solitude.
  • In spring and autumn, the area comes alive with colorful wildflowers and changing tree leaves.
  • Rara Lake has a rich cultural heritage, with nearby small villages inhabited by ethnic communities such as the Thakuri and Malla, offering a glimpse into traditional Nepali life.
  • The area boasts a surprisingly diverse avian population, making it an excellent spot for bird enthusiasts, with species like the Himalayan Monal and various migratory birds flocking to the lake.
  • Visitors can enjoy a peaceful camping experience by the lake, with the park authorities allowing designated camping spots to ensure environmental protection.
  • The lake freezes in the winter, presenting a different but equally captivating scenery, and is less frequented, ideal for those who enjoy an off-the-beaten-path adventure even in colder months.

Journey to Rara Lake from Kathmandu

The journey to Rara Lake from Kathmandu is an adventure that promises not only breathtaking views but also a deeper connection with nature. Starting from the bustling capital city of Kathmandu, you will first need to travel to Nepalgunj, which is a gateway to the mid-western region of Nepal. A short, scenic flight from Nepalgunj takes you to Talcha Airport, the nearest airpot to Rara Lake. Once you land, the real adventure begins as you embark on a trek through remote villages and verdant forests, all the while immersed in the natural beauty that Nepal is renowned for.

Trekking in the region offers charming traditional houses, terraced fields, and warm, friendly locals. The trail can be tough but provides views of Himalayan peaks, peaceful pine forests, and lots of wildlife. Look out for rare animals like the musk deer and the colorful Danphe, Nepal’s national bird. The trek is a peaceful escape from city life, perfect for reflection and tranquility.

This journey is not just about reaching a destination; it’s about the experiences and memories created along the way. The blend of natural beauty, cultural encounters, and the sheer sense of accomplishment as you stand by the shores of Rara Lake make this adventure one that will stay with you long after you’ve returned to Kathmandu. It’s a perfect way to explore the hidden gems of Nepal, offering a refreshing escape into the heart of nature.

Flight Options from Kathmadu to Rara Lake

Reaching Rara Lake from Kathmandu by air can be quite the adventure. Your first step is to catch a flight to either Nepalgunj or, if you’re looking to get closer to your destination faster, directly to Talcha Airport, the nearest airstrip to Rara Lake. Nepal Airlines and various other domestic carriers offer regular flights to Nepalgunj, making it a convenient first leg of the journey.

Once in Nepalgunj, you can choose to either go on a scenic trek or opt for a connecting flight to Talcha Airport. The flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj typically takes about an hour, followed by a breathtaking 20-minute flight from Nepalgunj to Talcha. Keep in mind that this second trip of your journey may be a bit pricier and schedules can be limited, so it’s wise to plan accordingly.

Road Transportation Options from Kathmandu to Rara Lake

If you prefer traveling by road, there are both bus services and private jeeps available that will take you from Kathmandu to Rara Lake. The journey usually includes traveling through either Surkhet or Kalikot, and given the rugged terrain and the substantial distance of approximately 560 kilometers, it can take up to two days to complete. The route is an adventure in itself, with winding roads offering glimpses of Nepal’s stunning landscapes, from terraced farms to dense forests and rolling hills.

When planning your trip, it’s important to consider the cost and the type of experience you’re seeking. Bus services are a more economical option, making them a popular choice for budget travelers. These buses may not offer luxurious amenities, but they provide a chance to interact with locals and fellow travelers, adding an authentic touch to your journey.

On the other hand, if comfort and convenience are your priorities, you might lean towards hiring a private jeep. Though this option comes at a higher price, it offers a more personalized travel experience. Private jeeps typically provide more comfortable seating, flexible departure times, and the convenience of stopping en route as you please, allowing you to take in the scenic beauty at your own pace.

Whichever option you choose, the road trip from Kathmandu to Rara Lake promises an unforgettable experience, marked by the raw beauty of Nepal’s diverse landscapes and the warmth of its people.

Combining Flight and Road Transportation

For those looking to optimize both their travel time and budget, a combination of air and road travel might be the perfect solution. Imagine not having to choose between speed and the scenic beauty of the landscape. This popular option offers a beautifully balanced compromise between the two, allowing you to experience the best of both worlds.

One effective and enjoyable way to do this is to first take a flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj. This quick flight saves a significant amount of time compared to an all-road journey, giving you a chance to relax before the next leg of your trip. Once you land in Nepalgunj, you can hire a jeep to take you the rest of the way to Rara Lake. The jeep ride not only adds a sense of adventure but also gives you the flexibility to make stops along the way, explore interesting places, and really soak in the diverse and breathtaking landscapes that Nepal is renowned for.

Using this combination of transport can significantly shorten your travel time compared to driving the whole way. It also makes the trip more comfortable by reducing the tiredness of long drives. Plus, the flight offers breathtaking views of Nepal’s mountains, adding to the adventure.

As you make your way by jeep from Nepalgunj to Rara Lake, you’ll pass through a variety of landscapes, from lush forests to rolling hills, giving you a wonderful taste of Nepal’s natural beauty. This journey allows you to connect more deeply with the environment and perhaps even interact with local communities along the way.

Regardless of the travel mode you choose, the journey to Rara Lake promises stunning scenery and a memorable adventure. The mix of air and road travel provides a seamless way to make the most of your trip, ensuring you arrive at your destination ready to explore the tranquil and picturesque Rara Lake, a gem nestled in the heart of Nepal’s remote wilderness.

Journey to Rara Lake from Pokhara

Traveling from Pokhara to Rara Lake feels like stepping into a world of unspoiled beauty. Pokhara, with its calm lakes and stunning Himalayan views, is the perfect starting point. Leaving the busy streets, you’ll journey through lush hills and terraced farmlands, each turn revealing a new stunning view of Nepal.

You pass through rolling hills in Mid-Western Nepal, where time slows down as you go by charming villages and green forests. The route lets you see traditional ways of life and interact with locals, giving you a glimpse into their customs and warm hospitality.

Approaching Rara National Park, the scenery changes to alpine meadows and dense forests of pine, spruce, and juniper. The air grows cooler and purer at high altitudes. Trekking through the park, you’ll enjoy abundant wildlife and flora, accompanied by the sounds of birds and rustling leaves.

Finally, reaching Rara Lake, you are greeted with a breathtaking view. Known as the “Queen of Lakes,” it sits at 2,990 meters, surrounded by snow-capped peaks and greenery. The clear waters reflect the sky and mountains, offering a magical, tranquil escape from everyday life.

The journey to Rara Lake from Pokhara is a chance to disconnect from routine and reconnect with nature and yourself. The beauty of Rara lies in both its stunning scenery and its peaceful solitude, reminding us of the world’s incredible natural beauty and the need to preserve it for future generations.

Flight Options from Pokhara to Rara Lake

Tourists have the option of catching a flight from Pokhara to Nepalgunj, and from there, connecting to Talcha Airport. These flights are comparable to those departing from Kathmandu regarding both duration and cost. However, they provide significant convenience for travelers who are already in or around Pokhara. Not only does this option offer a seamless travel experience, but it also considerably reduces the overall travel time.

This is primarily because Pokhara is geographically closer to Nepalgunj than Kathmandu, making the entire journey quicker and potentially less tiring. This can be particularly beneficial for tourists eager to maximize their sightseeing time and minimize travel-related fatigue.

Road Transportation Options from Pokhara to Rara Lake

Traveling from Pokhara to Rara Lake by road involves navigating through incredibly scenic routes that showcase the natural beauty and cultural richness of Nepal. Along the journey, you might find yourself stopping at significant landmarks like Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, which offers a serene and spiritual vibe. Continuing on, you may pass through Surkhet, a bustling town that serves as a gateway to the mid-western region of Nepal. As you progress further, the journey takes you to Kalikot, a district adorned with picturesque hills and charming villages.

The entire trip is quite extensive, often spanning a couple of days or more. The road conditions can vary significantly, ranging from smooth, paved highways to rugged, unpaved tracks, especially as you get closer to Rara Lake. This variation in road quality adds a touch of adventure to the already captivating travel experience.

Throughout this journey, you will gain an extensive insight into the rural life of Nepal. You’ll witness terraced fields, traditional houses, and local markets bustling with activity. The landscapes are incredibly diverse, from lush green valleys and rolling hills to dense forests and tranquil rivers. This road trip not only takes you to one of Nepal’s most beautiful and remote lakes but also offers a profound appreciation for the country’s rural charm and its breathtaking natural beauty.

Combining Flight and Road Transportation

For an efficient journey from Pokhara, the combination of a flight to Nepalgunj followed by a jeep drive to Rara Lake remains incredibly practical. This option significantly cuts down on travel time, allowing you to make the most of your adventures. After a brief but scenic flight to Nepalgunj, travelers have the opportunity to rest and recuperate, preparing themselves for the adventurous jeep journey that lies ahead.

The drive to Rara Lake offers a unique chance to explore the remote areas of Karnali, a region rich in natural beauty and cultural heritage. As you traverse through rugged terrains and picturesque landscapes, you’ll be greeted with breathtaking sights and the warm hospitality of the local communities. Each method of travel, whether by air or by road, presents its own unique set of experiences that cater to different preferences, ensuring a diverse and enriching journey.

Imagine soaring above the clouds and getting a bird’s-eye view of Nepal’s stunning topography during your flight, followed by the thrill of a jeep ride that takes you through winding roads, dense forests, and serene villages. Every twist and turn in the road offers new vistas and opportunities to witness the everyday life and traditions of the people living in these remote parts.

This two-part journey ensures that by the time you reach Rara Lake, the largest lake in Nepal, you already have a collection of unforgettable memories. From the serene waters reflecting the surrounding snow-capped mountains to the tranquil environment perfect for moments of reflection and relaxation, the destination itself is just the cherry on top of an exhilarating and fulfilling travel experience.

Trekking to Rara Lake

Trekking to Rara Lake is an exciting journey for trekkers of all levels. Although the trek can be tough, the peaceful lake surrounded by lush forests and stunning mountains makes it all worthwhile. The main trekking routes start from Jumla, and we’ll cover what to expect in terms of duration, difficulty, whether to hire a guide or go solo, and accommodation options along the way.

Rara Lake is ideal for nature lovers looking for a remote and untouched Himalayan destination. Its pristine beauty will captivate you and create lasting memories. 

Are you planning your Trek to Rara Lake?

Planning a Trek to Rara Lake? Info Tours Nepal offers customizable itineraries with expert guides to ensure your safety and an amazing experience. We’re here to help! Feel free to call or email us with any questions.

Info Nepal Tours and Treks

Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal

(+977) 9841936940

[email protected]

Trekking Duration and Level of Difficulty

Trekking to Rara Lake offers a delightful adventure that falls into the moderate category, though it comes with its fair share of challenges. Enthusiasts can expect to navigate steep ascents that will test their endurance and stamina, as well as days filled with long stretches of walking. Depending on the specific route chosen and the individual or group’s hiking pace, the entire journey to Rara Lake can take anywhere from 5 to 10 days.

The adventure typically kicks off in Jumla, where trekkers begin a gradual ascent towards their destination. Despite the relatively gentle start, it’s the altitude that often presents the most significant challenge. Rara Lake is nestled at an impressive elevation of around 2,990 meters (approximately 9,809 feet) above sea level, which means that hikers need to be prepared for the effects of high altitude. To ensure a safe and enjoyable trek, it’s important to acclimate properly and stay hydrated.

Trekking to Rara Lake offers stunning views and a peaceful atmosphere, making the journey both challenging and incredibly rewarding. It’s an enriching experience suitable for both seasoned trekkers and those seeking a new adventure in one of Nepal’s most beautiful spots.

Local Accommodations and Tea Houses on the Route

Along the route to Rara Lake, there are various accommodations available, ranging from basic tea houses to more equipped guesthouses in larger villages. These tea houses offer simple rooms usually with shared bathrooms, and they provide a cozy place to rest and recover after a day’s trek. Most accommodations will offer typical Nepalese food like Dal Bhat (rice and lentils) as well as simpler meals like noodles or soup.

Staying in these tea houses also offers a great opportunity to interact with locals and experience their hospitality, adding a rich cultural layer to your trekking adventure. However, it’s advisable to bring your sleeping gear as some places might offer minimal bedding facilities.

Acquiring Necessary Permits

Before setting off on your journey to Rara Lake, make sure you have all the essential permits. Travelers need:

Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS) card

Rara National Park entry permit

You can arrange these permits through trekking agencies in Kathmandu or Pokhara, or you can obtain them directly at the entry points of the trek. These permits are vital for supporting conservation efforts and ensuring the safety of trekkers in this remote area.

Best Times to Visit Rara Lake

Choosing the best time to visit Rara Lake can significantly enhance your experience. The ideal times are during the Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to November) seasons. 

During these months, the weather is generally stable with clear skies, offering spectacular views of the lake and the surrounding peaks. 

While the monsoon season (June to August) brings lush greenery, it also causes slippery trails and leeches. Winter (December to February), on the other hand, is quite cold and the area could be covered in snow, making travel more challenging.

Packing Essentials

When packing for Rara Lake, consider both the climate and the activities you plan to undertake. Essential items include:

  • Warm clothing: insulated jackets, fleece, and thermals
  • Waterproof outer layers: a reliable rain jacket and trek pants
  • Comfortable trekking boots and socks
  • Sun protection: sunscreen, sunglasses, and a brimmed hat
  • Navigation tools: maps, compass, or a GPS device
  • Basic first aid kit and personal medications
  • Snacks and a refillable water bottle
  • Camera and extra batteries to capture the scenic vistas

Remember to pack light and smart, as carrying unnecessarily heavy bags can be cumbersome and may reduce your enjoyment during the trek.

Physical Fitness Tips and Considerations

Rara Lake’s high altitude and remote location require good physical fitness. Before your trip, engage in regular cardiovascular exercises like running, swimming, or cycling. Strengthen your legs with hikes that include elevation gains, as well as exercises targeting your core and legs. Acclimatization is key, so plan your itinerary to gradually ascend to higher altitudes, allowing your body to adjust to the lower oxygen levels. Listen to your body during the trek, stay hydrated, and maintain a steady pace to enjoy your adventure to Rara Lake fully.

Hiring a Guide vs. Solo Trekking in Rara Lake

Trekking to Rara Lake, located in the pristine settings of Rara National Park in Nepal, is an adventure of a lifetime. However, when planning your trek, one of the key decisions you’ll need to make is whether to hire a guide or attempt the journey solo. Here, we’ll explore the merits of both options to help you make an informed decision.

Advantages of Hiring a Guide

Hiring a guide for your trek to Rara Lake can enhance your trekking experience significantly. Here are some reasons why:

  • Expert Navigation: The trek involves various trails, and although they are marked, a local guide with profound knowledge of the area can provide the safest and most scenic routes.
  • Cultural Insight: Guides offer valuable insights into the local culture, traditions, and stories of the area, enriching your travel experience.
  • Safety: Having a guide by your side can be reassuring, especially in case of emergencies like health issues or accidents. They are trained to handle such situations and can make your trek safer.
  • Support Local Economy: Hiring local guides contributes directly to the community, providing them with a sustainable income source.

Going Solo: What to Consider in Rara Lake

If you prefer a more solitary experience, trekking solo might appeal to you. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

  • Preparation and Research: You need to be well-prepared with maps, route details, and survival skills. Knowledge about the local weather, terrain, and wildlife is crucial.
  • Permits and Regulations: Make sure you have all the necessary permits required for trekking in the region. This can sometimes be more challenging to arrange on your own.
  • Physical and Mental Challenge: Trekking alone is not only a physical challenge but also a test of your mental resilience. You need to be confident in your ability to handle long periods of isolation and self-dependence.
  • Cost-Effective: While you save on guide expenses, ensure that your budget accounts for emergencies or unforeseen expenses.

Before deciding, weigh these considerations against your personal trekking experience, fitness level, and comfort with isolation. Whether you choose to hire a guide or go solo, ensure you are well-prepared for the adventure awaiting you at Rara Lake.

Safety Tips and Emergency Contacts in Rara Lake

When venturing into the mesmerizing but isolated Rara Lake, ensuring one’s safety and knowing how to handle emergencies are paramount. Here are some tips and contacts to keep you safe during your adventure.

General Safety Tips

Here’s what you should keep in mind:

  • Stay on Designated Paths: The trails around Rara Lake and within the Rara National Park can sometimes be tricky. It’s crucial to stick to the marked tracks to avoid getting lost.
  • Inform Someone of Your Itinerary: Always let someone know your plans, especially if you’re trek scienceg. The park or your accommodation should have details of your expected return.
  • Travel in Groups: There’s safety in numbers, especially in remote and wildlife-rich areas like Rara Lake.
  • Carry Essential Gear: Include a map, compass, GPS device, and a personal first aid kit.
  • Respect Wildlife: Maintain a safe distance from any animals you encounter. Feeding or provoking wildlife is dangerous and disrupts their natural behavior.
  • Prepare for Altitude: Rara Lake sits at nearly 3000 meters; make sure to acclimatize properly to avoid altitude sickness.

Emergency Contacts

It’s always a good idea to be prepared for unexpected situations. With that in mind, make sure to save these important contact numbers:

  • Local Police: Keep the contact info for the local police where you’re visiting.
  • Rara National Park Office: They can help with park issues and share trail info.
  • Tourist Police: Contact for travel emergencies or problems.
  • Embassy/Consulate: Have your country’s embassy or consulate contact details in Nepal.
  • Local Guides/Tour Operators: They can quickly respond in emergencies.

Stay safe by sharing your travel plans with someone at home. Bring a basic first aid kit and know where the nearest medical facilities are. Keep emergency contact numbers, including local authorities and your embassy, easily accessible. Our guide and staff will be with you throughout your journey to ensure your safety.

Respect the local customs and traditions of the communities around Rara Lake. Dress modestly, ask for permission before taking photographs, and be mindful of your environmental impact. Engage with locals respectfully, and take the time to learn about their culture and lifestyle.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can have a rewarding experience exploring the majestic beauty of Rara Lake while ensuring your own safety and respecting the pristine environment and local customs.

Check out our Rara Lake Short Video

Contact Us

Got questions or need help planning your Rara Lake adventure? Our team at Info Nepal Tours and Treks is here to help. Starting from Kathmandu or Pokhara, we’ll provide insider tips and support to make sure your journey is smooth. Visit our office in Thamel, Kathmandu for personalized advice on routes, accommodations, and must-see spots.

Prefer digital? Call us at (+977) 9841936940 for insights on permits, local guides, or current weather conditions. If email is more your style, reach out at [email protected] for quick responses on itineraries, packing lists, and more.

We’re dedicated to making your Rara Lake trip unforgettable, so don’t hesitate to contact us!

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