Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek Nepal

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ghorepani poon hill trek
Tea houses on our Ghorpani Poon Hill trek

In 2012 I made my first trip to Nepal, having no idea that I would return at least two more times. My friend, Megan, asked me if I would like to visit Nepal and do a bit of sightseeing and trekking, and I jumped at the chance. Neither of us cared about trekking to Everest Base Camp, so we started looking for other treks that we could do in 4-5 days in Nepal since we each only had a week off from teaching. We decided on the Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek Nepal. We went in March because that was our spring break and it turned out to be the perfect time to visit Nepal.

Megan’s friend had used Adventure Discovery Treks for his trek in Nepal and highly recommended them, so we decided to use their services, and now I can highly recommend them too. We contacted Rabindra Adhikari (Rabi) and organized our entire trip, both sightseeing and the Ghorepani Poon Hill trek, through him. The Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek Nepal is one of the most popular in Nepal due to it’s length of only five days and the fact that for trekkers, it is not difficult. It’s challenging at times, but not difficult. The views are amazing, so you will never get bored. We actually combined two of the days on this trek because we needed to complete it in four days rather than five due to slight differences in our travel dates.

ghorepani poon hill trek
One of the villages on our Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek

Here’s the suggested itinerary for the Poon Hill trek on the Adventure Discovery Treks website.

Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu and transfer to Hotel

Day 02: Kathmandu valley Sightseeing tour

Day 03: Kathmandu to Pokhara drive –7 hours

Day 04: Drive to Nayapul and Trek to Tikhedhunga (1500m) – 3 to 4 hours walk

Day 05: Trek to Ghorepani (2826m) – 6 Hours walk

Day 06: Hike to Poon Hill (3210m) and Trek to Tadapani (2721m) – 6 hours

Day 07:  Trek to Ghandruk Village – 3 hours walk

Day 08: Trek to Nayapul and drive to Pokhara –  7 Hours walk and 1:30m  drive

Day 09: Drive to Kathmandu – 7 Hours

Day 10: Depart Kathmandu

One of the things we changed was on Day 3 and Day 9, rather than driving to and from Pokhara, we flew with Yeti Airlines. The cost is a bit more, but worth it in my opinion, and not just because we only had 8 days instead of 10 to actually be in Nepal. We came to Nepal for trekking, not driving. So our flight got us on our feet quicker.

See what I did there? Flight to feet? Get it? Okay, let’s move on.

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The Himalayas as seen from our Yeti Airlines flight. I believe the tallest peak is Everest.

We left Kathmandu on Yeti Airlines around 7AM, partly because we were late getting to the airport. There’s a big difference between 15 TILL 6:00 and 6:15. This is how we discovered our guide’s English was still a work in progress. It didn’t matter. Our guide, Nabin, was so great and his English really is very good. The time of the flight was the only confusion we had all week.

So we arrived in Pohkara after getting a stunning view of the Himalayas out the window of our flight. We got checked in to the hotel and met our guide, Nabin, and our porter, Madhur, at 3:00 where they briefed us about our trek that we would start in the morning. There were two of us, so we had to put all our stuff into one backpack for Madhur to carry and leave the rest at the hotel while we were away. We just carried our day packs and so did Nabin. The porter carried our pack plus his day pack in front of him.

This was the first time I’d been backpacking and not carried my own stuff. I felt bad for Madhur and a bit guilty, but he skipped around on those trails like he wasn’t carrying anything! He was usually ahead of us and Nabin would have to tell him to slow down! He was 17 and this was his first trip as a porter. I couldn’t believe it.

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Nabin and Madhur, our fearless leaders

Day 1: We were trekking as far as Tikhedhunga on our first day, just a 4 hour walk. We got a taxi to Naya Pul where our trek would begin. In Naya Pul we got our first glimpse of the porters who carry tremendous loads for big groups. They have a very unconventional way of carrying it. They tie the load together, sometimes two backpacks, sometimes two huge duffel bags, and then put a strap around it and the strap goes around their head. All the weight is on their head and neck. Nothing supports the bottom of the load and nothing goes around their hips or shoulders. I was astounded at how much these men could carry.

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They’ve obviously done this a few times

After about 2 hours, we had talked a lot, taken a lot of pictures, added a cute dog to our group of four, and then we stopped for some lunch at a tea house. We had dal baht. I’d already had this at Rabi’s house, but didn’t know what it was called. Now I know. It is probably the most common dish in Nepal. Nabin even has a slogan to go along with his favorite dish. Dal Baht power – 24 hour.

We arrived at Tikhedhunga around 1PM and stayed at the Chandra Tea House. We spent the afternoon relaxing and after dinner Nabin and Madhur taught us how to play some Nepali card games. Today’s walk wasn’t too difficult. Four hours, no really steep climbs, and just a bit of rain when we stopped for coffee. We saw beautiful green scenery, waterfalls, many donkeys, water buffalo, flowers. Perfect temperature. Just a great day for trekking.

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Nabin, our guide. Such a sensitive guy. He gave us rhododendron flowers.

Day 2: We woke up at 6AM again and had our usual breakfast – muesli and hard boiled eggs. But once we saw what Nabin and Madhur were having, we decided to have that tomorrow! It was spicy curried potatoes and beans with this gorgeous bread. Forget the western breakfast. They seemed surprised that we would want this spicy dish, but we ate that for breakfast every chance we got. We started walking at 7:30. We’d already been warned about the steep uphill for the first 2 hours or so of our trek today. What we didn’t realize is that we would actually be going uphill all day! Just not as steep as the beginning.

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Views on Day 2 Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek Nepal

Lucky for us it was perfect trekking weather again and the rain held off until we reached our tea house in Ghorepani. All day we walked through huge rhododendrons – hot pink, bright white and brilliant red. Today’s trek was hard. All uphill. We were so tired by the time we got to Ghorepani that we didn’t even walk around and look at any of the village. And it was raining pretty hard after we got there and was a little bit cold. We did get a hot shower though. Megan and Nabin played cards and I wrote in my journal after dinner. I didn’t even have the energy to focus on a card game. I definitely felt the altitude today while we were climbing.

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Cool as a cucumber. Future guide? Time will tell.

 

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In Ghandruk. They were doing homework on the porch and their parents said we could take their picture.

Day 3: Poon Hill summit. Up at 5AM to make the 45 min trek up to Poon Hill. In the past, I have been so disappointed by anything that required me to get up so early. It had poured rain the day before, but the weather was clear this morning. I wasn’t really sure what we were supposed to see from Poon Hill. I thought we were supposed to watch the sunrise. We started out in the dark, but the sun soon rose and we were only 15 minutes into a crowded 45 min trek. The uphill was difficult in the beginning.

I was secretly wishing I’d just stayed in bed a while longer. However, I soon understood why so many people make this trek. Poon Hill did not disappoint. The point of this trek is not to see the sunrise. It is to see Annapurna when the sun hits it after sunrise. Nabin knew this. We were standing at the top off Poon Hill with hundreds of other people, and he didn’t even say anything. He just smiled and pointed in the opposite direction of where everyone was looking. And then we saw it. The clouds had cleared, the sun had risen, and we saw Annapurna in all its glory. Stunning.

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Annapurna at sunrise

After some milk coffee and more pictures, we headed down the hill, back to the hotel for a hot, spicy Nepali breakfast, and then we began our 7 hour trek to Ghandruk. We packed up after breakfast and left around 8:30AM. Our first couple of hours was uphill and I struggled, but not as much as yesterday.  We had morning tea, but Nabin got us up and moving again pretty quickly. I swear he can sense rain. We stopped for a lunch of more dal baht, which took a long time for us to get served, and then we were off again. More downhill. Today was about 2 hours of uphill, and 5 hours of down.

There was a lot of thunder, but no lightening, and it didn’t actually start to rain until we were about 30 minutes from Ghandruk. And there was some hail. I was glad I was wearing a baseball cap to keep it off my face. Megan wasn’t so lucky. She was in front of me and I heard her saying, ‘Oww.’ We were laughing, but I know it must have hurt!

We combined Day 6 and 7 on the itinerary I posted above, so Day 3 was a long day for us, but very doable. We did not need the recommended 6 hours and 3 hours to complete the two legs of this trip today.

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Crowd on Poon Hill but we still had a great view

Day 4: This was our final day of the trek. Was supposed to sleep in till 7AM today and of course, I couldn’t. I was up by 6:15. Nabin came to get us at 7:00 and we went to take pictures of Annapurna South from the other end of Ghandruk where the view was amazing. I have never seen a mountain like this one. I have never seen anything like the Himalayas, and I’ve seen a fair number of mountains! After we took pictures we stopped at the Old Ghandruk Museum (75NPR) which is small, but has quite a collection of artifacts. Ghandruk has two museums, but we only visited this one. I’m pretty sure neither of these museums makes much money, but it was interesting and worth a visit.

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A different view of Annapurna from the village of Ghandruk

After a really good breakfast of porridge with fruit and a lemon pancake, we set off for Naya Pul at 8:45. Today’s trek was mostly downhill or flat, for which I was grateful, although my calves were still protesting from yesterday’s downhill trek. We made good time and weren’t in any big hurry to get to NayaPul, but I’m glad we got there when we did. I had a really good lunch of momo and a giant spring roll, but while we were eating the clouds began to gather and it began to thunder. Everybody made it to the taxi when it started to sprinkle, and after a 1 1/2 hour taxi ride, we were back in Pokhara. Nabin took a little nap in the taxi.

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Nabin all tuckered out after our trek

More beautiful scenery on our last day, more rhododendrons, more cute dogs (but don’t pet them), and more fun with Nabin and Madhur.  We had dinner at a really nice place and walked around a bit, but it was raining a lot so it was hard to enjoy the shops.

This four day trek is one of the best experiences I have ever had. This was such a great experience because of the combination of people I was with, the beautiful scenery and the atmosphere of Nepal. Nabin is now a student in Tokyo, so unfortunately he’s not available as a guide if you do decide to go trekking in Nepal, but Adventure Discovery Treks and Rabi are still there, still in the office in Thamel in Kathmandu, and still ready to plan the greatest trekking adventure anyone could have in Nepal.

Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek Nepal

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Mary Lyons
I have had incredible travel opportunities since moving overseas eleven years ago. I created this blog to share my experiences, what I've learned, and my mistakes and frustrations, in hopes of entertaining readers and helping people to create and plan their own travel opportunities.

I would love to know your thoughts!

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