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5 Things to do

Go on a boating escapade

The only boat here is an inflatable raft, so you might have to line up for a ride. It’ll be worth the wait because the colors beneath you will be unlike anything - from surreal shades of turquoise along the shore to navy blue in the middle. Clouds and trees get reflected on the crystal clear waters, making a leisurely boat ride a savory experience.

Trek to Murma top

A challenging 4-hour hike north of the lake brings us to the hilltop of Murma village. It’s not difficult to see why at 3,600m this is a favorite vantage point to see Rara from. Throw in a sunrise and a sunset at distant horizons, and erratic clouds swimming at eye-level, and you get an otherworldly feel to what is already an awe-inspiring vista. The only facility here is a telecom tower, so pitch a tent if you plan to spend the night at Murma Top.

Try Rhododendron extracts

Locally harvested and processed, rhododendron concentrate has quite an interesting taste and goes well with a host of snacks Danphe Hotel offers. They serve delicious snacks and even local spirits to concoct, a popular mix includes Sprite and local moonshine.

Hike around the lake

It’s a classic one. Take enough food and hydration for a full-day hike around the lake on mostly flat trails. Some stretches go deep through jungles as well as a grazing pasture where you can expect to encounter water buffaloes, well-fed horses and motionless cows, or even elusive red pandas if it’s your lucky day.

Relax and unwind

Kick back on the shores and loosen up after a long trek. Watch the water ripple silently with light breeze and hear the waves crash on the shores with stronger gusts. Watch gulls dive into the water and remain submerged for several seconds before resurfacing with predatory exploits between its bill. Heads up: The wooden machans by the lake are rather worn down and can sway albeit gently with any movement.

Alternative Routes to Rara Lake

Via Jumla

Travellers strapped with time have a luxurious option that will get them to Rara and back home in just over a week. Fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj and then onwards to Jumla, whence two days of driving and trekking will get you to Rara. (You can also opt to trek the entire way, which would require three additional days and involve climbing a couple of passes over 3,000m in altitude.) While you don’t have to be ripped for this trek, do make sure to get some exercise in weeks leading up to the trek. A day’s exploration later, we head to Talcha Airport in the morning, a mere two-hour trek, and fly back to Nepalgunj.

Itinerary

Day 1: Fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj

Day 2: Fly from Nepalgunj to Jumla

Day 3: Drive from Jumla to Jhyari

Day 4: Trek from Jhyari to Rara

Day 5: Explore Rara and hike up to Murma Top

Day 6: Trek from Murma Top to Rara

Day 7: Trek from Rara to Talcha, and fly to Nepalgunj

Day 8: Fly from Nepalgunj to Kathmandu

Via Talcha

This itinerary requires little fitness as you’ll be flying straight to Talcha from Nepalgunj, followed by a couple of hours trek to Rara. After having explored the area for a day or two, we walk back to Talcha and catch a plane to Nepalgunj. Short and sweet (and quite lazy, frankly speaking)!

Itinerary

Day 1: Fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj

Day 2: Fly from Nepalgunj to Talcha and hike to Rara

Day 3: Explore Rara

Day 4: Hike from Rara to Talcha and fly to Nepalgunj

Day 5: Fly from Nepalgunj to Kathmandu