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Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek, Nepal - Everything You Need to Know!

I wanted to find a short 4-5 day hike starting from Pokhara, Nepal that had comfortable tea houses to sleep in each night and a nice view of the Himalayan mountains up top. After getting altitude sickness and severely cold on my Annapurna Circuit attempt, I was glad to see that the maximum altitude for the Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek was only 3,210m which is 10,531ft. Also even though the viewpoint at Poon Hill gets close to freezing at 2C/36F, at least it wouldn't get down to -20C like Thorlong Pass on the Annapurna Circuit or Everest Base Camp hikes. I figured the Poon Hill trek would be much easier, allow me to go alone without a porter or guide, and would be an easy start and finish in Pokhara. It turns out that I would be mostly right, but wanted to share this blog post to help guide others who are thinking about doing the same short trek in Nepal.

In this post I'll share the itenary of the Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek, my packing list, where I stayed, and tips about getting to and from Pokhara via bus or taxi as well as a breakdown of what each day was like. I also filmed a 15 minute video that shows bits from each day so you can see how the trek feels, sounds and looks before you go, accompanied by a 1 hour podcast episode recorded live on the trek with clips from people I met along the way! This was a fun hike, that is really popular to do because it's easy to navigate, while still being physically challenging and offering some amazing views. Here is everything you need to know about the Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek in Nepal.






Before You Go:



There are a couple of things you'll need to prepare before you go on your Ghorepani Poon Hill trek. First being the best time of the year to do the trek which is either March/April or then again in October/November. I've had friends do the hike in other seasons and get covered in leeches, so make sure you you avoid the summer months.  The nice thing about Ghorepani Poon Hill is that since the maximum elevation is only 3,210m or 10,531ft, it's one of the few treks in Nepal you can do during the winter as there's no high passes to get snowed in on or risks of avalanche to worry about. So the actual season for trekking is February - May then again  from September- November although the dates I mentioned above will be better and the best time of year is actually when I did it as at the Rhododendron flowers bloom from the middle to end of March.

You'll also need to apply for your ACAP Permit (Annapurna Conservation Area Project) and Trekkers’ Information Management Systems (TIMS) card while either in Kathmandu or Pokhara. I went to the office in Lakeside Pokhara and it was super easy. I arrived at 10:30 and was done by 11:00. Just bring your passport, 4,500 rupees ($42US) and if you have some extra 2x2 photos bring them with you. If you don't, you can take them there for free. While you're there you can also extend your visa to Nepal in case you just got the 30 day visa like I did and wanted to extend longer which actually saves you money versus buying a 90 day visa if you're only here for 45 days like I am.





Packing for Poon Hill



Since this is a shorter hike than the Annapurna Circuit or Base Camp, I would take a lot less stuff with you and opt out of getting a porter. My entire bag was less than 7kg/15lbs for the trek and it felt really nice being lightweight. 

Here's everything I would recomend bringing on your trek: 

1x Hiking Boots or Shoes - Since there is no snow on the Pool Hill trek, you can wear any type of comfortable shoes you have incuding tennis shoes which a lot of people wore without issues. I had my hiking boots so I wore those, but they're not needed.

1x Sandals - These will be worn mostly around the guest house and to and from the outdoor bathrooms. You'll want a pair you can wear socks with to keep warm at night if possible. 

5x Socks - Bring one pair for each day of the trek. Don't bother washing as it won't dry in time. 

1x Hiking Pants - Yes to the ones that zip off into shorts it would often get hot during the day. However, you can just wear thin, comfortable hiking pants like I did and roll them up which makes it easier than zipping on and off when it gets hot and cold. 

1x Thermal Underwear - Also known as long underwear or base layers, you'll want this at 5am on Poon Hill, and also some nights to sleep. Best would be merino wool base layers to keep you both warm and dry but any synthetic will do. 

2x Quick Dry Underwear - My favorite travel underwear is the Exofficio Boxer as they're comfortable and quick dry and odor resistant. Just wear one pair and have a backup that you hang to air out and dry overnight. 

1x Sleep Pants - You'll want to change of our your hiking pants when hanging out in the dining hall, so bring a pair of lightweight PJ bottoms to go over your base layers to lounge and sleep in. I just wore my trekking pants over my thermals to the dining hall and took them off when I went to bed, but if I had a lightweight set they would have been nice. 

2x T-Shirts - Make sure they're quick dry and synthetic. My favorites are the basic Northface t-shirts. Wear one during the day, and let them dry overnight. 

1x Long Sleeve Shirts - Any long sleeve synthetic shirt is fine but I would have loved to have a Merino Wool base layer if you can get them before you come. 

1x Fleece Top - Get yourself a quarter zip (1/4) fleece as it'll be your primary jacket most days and the zip allows you to quickly let in or out air. 

1x Rain Jacket - My favorite is the Marmot Precip. Get half a size larger so you can wear it over your fleece. 

1x Down Jacket - You'll be cold at the top of Poon Hill where it reaches close to freezing while you watch the sunrise. It was 2C/35F when I was there and I'm glad I had it.  You can buy a lightweight one like this or just rent heavier knock off version from Pokhara for $1.50 a day (150 rupees) from any trekking shop. 

1x Buffs - You can get any multifunctional headband, but Buff is the original. They're great for scarves, ear warmers, hats, and to wear as a dust mask. 

1x Hat - Any cap would do, but I prefer the quick dry hiking hats like the Nike Featherlight.

1x Day Gloves - I only used it on top of poon hill, but I'm glad I had a cheap pair.

1x Trekking Poles - I didn't use them on the Poon Hill hike even though they were very useful on Annapurna Circuit. You can buy a knockoff pair in Kathmandu for $15 or bring some from home if you have bad knees and want to use them for the downhills. You can just use a single stick as most of the time it'll be stairs.

1x Water Bottle - Bring a reusable 1 liter Nalgene Water Bottle with you to use along with water purification tablets that you can buy in Kathmandu or Pokhara for around $3 for 50. Don't buy plastic water bottles as they get burned and pollute the air here in Nepal.

20x Activated Charcoal - These little tablets will save your stomach and is the best cure for diarrhea which you are pretty much guaranteed to get at least once if not a few times during your trip to Nepal. I bought 30 tablets with me and between myself and giving them away to people I ran out and for whatever ridiculous reason they don't sell them here in Nepal.

20x Water Purification Tablets - Use 1 per liter of water and let sit for 30 minutes, then you can drink tap water during your treks and save money and plastic. Get them for $3 in the city.

1x Face Lotion - I got some with SPF 15 and it was perfect to cut the wind on your face and give you a bit of coverage. Some lip balm with SPF 15 was also helpful. 

1x Sunglasses - These are optional, I used them just on the way down from Pool Hill after sunrise.

1x Backpack - You'll want to keep your pack to around 35-45L. I had a 40 liter pack and it was more than enough.

1x Set of Packing Cubes - These little inventions are the best thing that's happened to travel in a long time. Get one or two sets of packing cubes and organize your bag easily so you don't have to pull everything out to get to your essentials.

1x Sleeping Bag - You can rent one in Pokhara but I chose not to and just slept in my down jacket and used blankets which was actually really comfortable.  If you prefer you can bring an ultralight 0 degree f sleeping bag with you.

1x Head Torch - You'll want it for when the guest houses randomly don't have electricity for the night and for the sunrise hike in pitch black at 5am on the Poon Hill day. Keep a set of spare batteries as well. I accidently turned my on in my backpack and it almost drained without me knowing.

1x Quick Dry Towel - You'll need one for whenever you get around to showering. Get it in black so it dries in the sun the quickest.

1x USB Power bank - I just had a small one to charge my phone during days where the village was out of electricity and it worked great. This is optional, but since I used my phone to take photos I wanted to have it just in case.

1x Roll of Toilet paper - Put this in a plastic bag and carry it with you in your daypack. You can buy more along the way.

1x Smartphone + Headphones - I just used the free apple headphones my iPhone came with and they worked great. You'll want to download a bunch of audiobooks and podcasts before coming to Nepal as the 7+ hour days of walking can sometimes get boring without something to listen to. Aside from the Travel Like a Boss Podcast, I also recomend downloading Hardcore History, How I Built This and the Joe Rogan Experience.

1x Power Plug Adapter - Even though some outlets technically accepted U.S. plugs, most of the time it would just fall out. Having a European plug adapter saved me more than once.

1x Cash Money - There are no ATMs along the way so bring all the cash you'll need with you. I would suggest budgeting around $25-$30 a day, and having a small buffer. I always carry an extra $100US on me just in case.

1x Travel Insurance - I met a few people on my treks that needed to get taken down the mountain by either Jeep or Helicopter when they got sick. Here's what I do about travel insurance personally.



Temperatures range, so make sure you wear layers!

Getting to Ghorepani



The easiest way start your trek is by taking a taxi from Pokhara directly to Nayapul for 1,500 rupees ($15). The cheaper, slower way to do it is to take a taxi to the bus station in Pokhara for about 300 rupees ($3) and take the bus from there for another $2 or so to Nayapul. This method took around 3 hours which meant starting my trek at noon even though I left at 8:30am as you have to wait for the bus to leave. By taking a taxi straight to Nayapul, you can technically get your trekking permit and TIM's card at 10:00am when it opens and take a taxi straight from there to Nayapul to start your trek around noon.

From Nayapul, you'll walk around 45 minutes to the check in point at Birethanti where the road actually splits with a sign saying go right to Ghandruk. If you do, you'll be doing the trek counterclockwise which is less popular and less busy. Both ways have their pros and cons with maybe a bit less stair climbing going counterclockwise. I chose to go the traditional clockwise route as I was doing it alone and wanted to meet people on the trek, knowing that most would be walking that direction. The other benefit of going clockwise is being able to have the option to take the bus back down earlier than if you went the other way. Here's a video of my entire trek so you can get an idea of what it looks like, where you'll be staying, what you'll be seeing, eating, and a good overview of the entire Ghorepani Poon Hill.







Itineraries for Ghorepani Poon Hill 



There are a few different ways to you can the trek including both traditional clockwise or the less busy counter clockwise. You can also choose to do the trek in either 4 or 5 days. Here's the schedule that I followed and would recomend. I would have also considered and would recommend staying in Ghorepani an additional night as it's a beautiful village with really comfortable accommodation, and it would allow you to do Poon Hill one day, while going straight to Tadapani the next instead of a super long day from 5am-4pm. 

Day 1: Nayapul and trek to Tikhedhunga (4-5 hours trekking)
Day 2: Tikhedhunga to Ghorepani (7-8 hours trekking)
Day 3: Hiking to Poonhill and Trek to Tadapani (9 hours trekking)
Day 4: Tadapani to Ghandruk (3-4 hours) Option to bus to Pokhara from here. (7+ hour bus)
Day 5: Trek from Ghandruk to Nayapul and drive to Pokhara. (3-4 hour trek, 4+ hour bus)

I opted to take the bus from just after Grandruk, on our way to Kimche as the two girls I was trekking with were both exhausted and wanted to get back to Pokhara. However, after sitting on the bus for 8 hours I wish I had trekked down the mountain instead of sitting on the bumpy bus which wasn't that much faster. You can also opt to take a jeep which would be faster, but I don't like supporting them as unlike a bus that can carry 30+ people once an hour and are already running that route for locals, jeeps on the trek are annoying to trekkings and kick up a ton of dust.


At 3,210m/10,531ft on top of Poon Hill, Nepal

Final Thoughts



Another reason to hike down from Ghandruk is to be able to stop by and spend the night at the Jhinu Danda hot springs which is something I missed. So instead of the schedule I took, I would have preferred and would recomend instead:

Day 1: Nayapul and trek to Tikhedhunga (4-5 hours trekking)
Day 2: Tikhedhunga to Ghorepani (7-8 hours trekking)
Day 3: Hiking to Poonhill and Trek to Tadapani (9 hours trekking)
Day 4: Tadapani to to Jhinu Danda (6 hours trekking)
Day 5: Jhinu Danda to Nayapul then taxi to Pokhara (5 hours trekking, 2 hour taxi)

Overall the trek was really nice, and I would recomend it for a short, well planned route that you can do alone without a guide or a porter. However, because it's a shorter trek, it's also super busy with a ton of people on group tours so avoid this trek if you don't like crowds. Instead, I would recomend doing the Mardi Himal Trek as it's less busy and has even nicer trails and views of the mountains. The only reason why I didn't do this trek is because since I was going solo without a guide, I wanted a busier trek where I could easily meet other trekkers. But if I was either going with a group, guide or with friends, I would have done Mardi Himal instead. If you have the time and are prepared to go higher in altitude and cold, then I would recomend the Annapurna Circuit instead, as even though its a popular trek, it was way less busy and felt a lot more remote. Either way, enjoy your trip to Nepal and your trekking, there's something for everyone.

P.S. Keep an eye out for episode 194 of the Travel Like a Boss Podcast as it was recorded live on the trek!








With Love from Nepal,

Johnny FD


Comment below with any questions! 










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Post a Comment

  1. Hi Johnny, first of all I would like to say you "Thank You" for visiting Nepal. Secondly, I am happy to see your blogs about the trekking trips of Nepal and your way of writing (I am impressed). I am also a blogger at https://www.trekkingbuzz.com, a adventure travel blog. Please keep posting more articles, I will be waiting for your next blog about Nepal Travel and trekking experiences.

    Thank You again.
    Saroj Bhattarai - owner Trekking Buzz (https://www.trekkingbuzz.com)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Another fantastic video Johnny!

    ReplyDelete
  3. i love travel. I will be there soon.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for your post! I think there are many other people who are interested in them just like me! How long does it take to complete this article? I have read through other blogs, but they are cumbersome and confusing. I hope you continue to have such quality articles to share!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Very well written and engaging blog. Much appreciated. I will make sure to click on your links get you some referral credit. Cheers.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Johnny - can you update some wifi reception at Poon Hill region please? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Veronica, I didn't bring my laptop with my on this trip as it was only 4-5 days long but I had 4G at least at some point everyday using NCell and was able to upload photos, and reply to messages. All the guest houses had Wifi as an option for around $3. I even saw people watching youtube videos on their phones so I'd say it's decently useable.

      Delete
  7. I believe there are many other people who are interested in them just like me! How long does it take to complete this article? I hope you continue to have such quality articles to share with everyone! I believe a lot of people will be surprised to read this article!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have read your article. it is very informative and helpful for me.I admire the valuable information you offer in your articles. Thanks for posting it, again!

    ReplyDelete

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