Kathmandu To Rara Lake: A Complete Guide For 2024

Distance from Kathmandu to Rara Lake

Rara Lake lies at an altitude of around 2,990 meters above sea level. Kathmandu To Rara distance is approximately 650 kilometers. Rara National Park is located in western Nepal. It is known for its natural beauty, with Rara Lake, Nepal’s biggest and deepest lake, as its main highlight. The Rara Lake trek is one of the most beautiful, encompassing several hidden natural wonders of the Karnali region. The amazing Rara Lake circuit trip will satisfy your craving for adventure in the wilderness.

It spans three miles in length and one mile in width and reaches a depth of 548 feet. It is one of the cleanest lakes where you can nearly see the bottom. From a spot known as Chuchemara Dada, you can witness the finest view of the lake, where the navy blue waters appear to be in motion.

Snow-capped mountains rise majestically tall on the lake’s northern and southern shores, enhancing its beauty. You will encounter people from different ethnic groups with rich cultures and traditions. This national park is home to various endangered animals, birds, etc. 

Read more: Guide to Rara Lake Trek

Kathmandu to Rara Lake Itinerary

Kathmandu to Nepalgunj

To reach Nepalgunj from Kathmandu, you have two options. You can take a one-hour flight or opt for a jeep ride or a deluxe bus, which departs daily. The distance between Kathmandu and Nepalgunj is approximately 530 kilometers, and it takes around 15 hours to travel by road. 

Nepalgunj

The journey from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj will take you along the Trishuli River until Chitwan, where you can enjoy the scenic beauty of the Prithivi highway. From Chitwan to Nepalgunj, you’ll travel on Nepal’s longest highway, the Mahendra Highway, passing through various jungles where you might encounter different wildlife, such as deer and tigers.

Nepalgunj to Surkhet

Traveling from Nepalgunj to Surkhet offers two primary options: taking a bus or booking a jeep for the approximately 110-kilometer journey. No direct flights are available between these two destinations, necessitating either ground transportation or flying from Kathmandu as an alternative.

Surkhet to Jumla

Two main ways to reach Jumla are to take a flight directly or take a bus or jeep ride. The distance between these two locations is approximately 260 km. However, the road conditions are not ideal, and the journey typically takes 13 to 14 hours to reach Mugu’s capital. Due to this, many travelers choose to fly to Jumla and start their trek from there. 

Jumla to Rara Lake

Two ways lead to Rara Lake from Jumla. One involves taking a bus or jeep to Gamgadhi, the headquarters of Mugu district, followed by a five-hour hike to the lake. Alternatively, you can choose a direct hiking trail from Talcha airport, offering stunning views of the Himalayas of Nepal over the approximately three-day trek to Rara Lake.

How do you go from Kathmandu to Rara Lake? 

Flights

There are several flights to reach Rara Lake. A direct flight from Kathmandu to Talcha Airport is available. However, depending on the weather, there may be very few flights. If a direct flight to Rara isn’t available, you can fly to Surkhet or Nepalgunj and then take a bus or jeep ride to reach Rara Lake. 

Hire a Private Vehicle- Car, Jeep, Van

Hiring a private Car, jeep, or van is one of the most preferred modes of transportation for adventurers who tour the beautiful Rara Lake. A Rara Lake tour in a private vehicle allows you to explore many other tourist spots that come along the way. You can find numerous tour packages to Rara on a private vehicle. 

Public Bus

The public bus is the most budget-friendly option to reach Rara, even though it’s the longest route. First, you must book a bus ticket from Kathmandu to Kohalpur, which is about a 15-hour journey. From Kohalpur, you’ll catch another bus to Surkhet, which takes around 4 hours. Then, get on a bus along the Karnali river to reach Manma, which adds another 8 hours. Finally, from Manma, you’ll board a bus to Jumla, which is approximately a 4-hour ride.

Trekking

The Rara trek begins from Jumla. You hike to Chere Chaur on the first day, following the Jugad Khola. The next day, you ascend gradually until you cross the Jaljala pass (3580m) and descend to Jaljala Chaur. This marks your entry into the Rara circuit trek, where you ascend steep trails to Chalachaur for your second night’s stay. After breakfast at Chala Chaur, you head towards the picturesque Sinja Valley, significant in Nepali history and decorated with temples, monuments, and ancient settlements. You spend the night in Sinja.

rara lake

From Sinja, you climb on a gradual uphill trail alongside the Hima River to Luha village. After that, you ascend steeply to Ghorosingha, where you spend the night. The following morning, you ascend steeply again to Chuchhemara Danda, greeted with majestic views of the Himalayas and the beautiful Rara Lake below. The path down from Chuchhemara Danda takes you straight to Rara Lake. You will spend a day at Rara to enjoy majestic views of the freshwater lake. Also, Don’t forget to enjoy the exciting horse riding experience in the lake. 

The next day, you explore the lake before trekking back to Jumla via Pina and Bumra. It takes two days to reach Jumla. This trail has dense forests full of diverse wildlife.

Combined Modes of Transport

Combining flights with jeep rides is an ideal way to visit Rara Lake. You can fly to Nepalgunj, Surkhet, or Talcha Airports. You can take a bus or jeep to reach the lake from there.

Considerations for each option

If you have very little time but still want to witness the biggest lake in Nepal, you can opt for a direct flight to Talcha Airport. From there, you can easily reach Rara Lake within a few hours.

Traveling to Rara via bus to Kohalpur is another option. From Kohalpur, you can then take a jeep to reach Surkhet. You can enjoy the scenic beauty along the Karnali Highway. Now, take another jeep to reach Jumla. Once you arrive in Jumla, you can begin trekking and immerse yourself in the breathtaking Himalayan landscapes of Nepal as you make your way to Rara Lake.

Tips for travelers who want to Visit Rara Lake

Best time to Trek to Rara Lake

Trekking in Rara during winter is rare due to heavy snowfall, which can occasionally cover the trails up to 1 meter in depth. However, depending on the weather conditions, you can go on this trek anytime in the year. The ideal season to visit Rara Lake is Spring and Autumn. During this season, you can witness the vibrant colors of blooming flowers, the greenery of the surrounding forests, and the crystal-clear waters of the lake, reflecting the blue skies above.

Packing essentials

You should pack several items before you tour Rara Lake. Pack the following items.

  • Hat and Scarf
  • Lightweight thermal tops
  • Waterproof shell jacket and down jacket
  • Hiking shorts
  • Trekking trousers
  • Sleeping bag
  • Trekking Bag
  • First Aid kit and Medicines
  • Gloves and socks
  • Camera and Binoculars
  • Brush, soap, and Tissues
  • Water bottles and purifying tablets

Cultural sensitivities

Rara Lake lies in the Karnali zone, one of Nepal’s least developed areas. Only a small percentage of people in this region are literate. The residents of this region are deeply religious. Thakur society is dominant in this area. At the southeast corner of the lake lies a temple devoted to Thakur Baba. Local belief holds that the Thakur God opened the passage of the lake by shooting an arrow. These people have their customs, traditions, unique attire, dances, and music. They also speak their native language. Additionally, there are several monasteries in the area, including Chhapru and Murma, where Buddhist and Thakuri people gather for worship.

FAQs 

How do I get to Rara Lake from Kathmandu?

You cannot get a direct flight or bus from Kathmandu to Rara Lake. To reach Rara, you have two options. You can take a flight from Kathmandu to Surkhet. After that, you need to drive to Rara Lake. Alternatively, you can opt for a bus journey from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj. From there, you’ll take another bus to Kalikot, followed by another to Nagma. From Nagma, you’ll need to take yet another bus to Gamgadhi. Rara is a five-hour hike from Gamgadhi.

How long is the Rara Lake Trek?

The Rara Lake trek typically takes 7 to 10 days to complete, but a 15-day trip is ideal for exploring the western region of Nepal.

What time of the year is suitable for visiting Rara Lake?

The prime seasons for trekking to Rara Lake are spring and autumn, offering ideal weather conditions and breathtaking views. Heavy winter snow can block hiking paths, while summer brings rainfall, leeches, and bugs, making it less ideal for a safe trip.

Can we go to Rara Lake by Bike?

Yes, you can opt for a bike ride to Rara Lake. Many riders come here for a ride to explore the scenic beauty of western Nepal.

How much does it cost to go to Rara Lake?

The cost of traveling depends on your package. Several packages range from $1000 to $1500 for a 7-day trek, while a 15-day trek typically costs around $2300 to $2500.

Conclusion

Trekking in Rara will let you explore the hidden beauty of Western Nepal.  Despite being the largest lake, Rara Lake and its surrounding region remain raw and unexplored, offering numerous scenic beauties and a unique glimpse into the culture of Western Nepal. This trek promises countless memorable moments and stunning scenery, ensuring an unforgettable adventure you will cherish for a long time.  Rara Tour is the best destination for exploring the western parts of Nepal.  

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