HIKING Nepal

The Poon Hill trek – our detailed guide and itinerary

The Poon Hill trek is probably one of the easiest routes in the Annapurna Sanctuary which explains its growing popularity. It’s a great route to walk for inexperienced hikers and for those who just want just to get a taste of hiking in Nepal. The trek can be done in 3 or 4 days, the route is well-marked, there are many guesthouses and restaurants on the way and quite a few people so no need to worry about getting lost, not being able to find a place to stay or to eat. The Poon Hill is a great trail to do as an acclimatization trek before attempting one of the more challenging routes like the Annapurna Circuit or the Annapurna Base Camp trek.

Poon Hill trek route overview

  • Distance – 40 km/25 mi
  • Time – 3-4 days 
  • Permits – TIMS card and Annapurna Sanctuary permit required 
  • Guide – can be done independently, with a guide/porter or in a group
  • Starting point – Nayapul, 2 hours by bus from Pokhara
  • Finishing point – Ghandruk 
  • Highest point – Poon Hill peak (3131 m)
  • Total ascent – 3000 m
  • Total descent – 1996 m
  • Accommodation – guesthouses
  • Food – Nepali and Western food

Where to start and to finish the Poon Hill trek?

Like other trekking routes in the Annapurna Sanctuary park, you have different starting and finishing points for this trek. The most popular way is to start in Nayapul and to finish in Ghandruk (we walked this way as the most trekkers do), the total ascent for the route will be 3000 m and total descend 1996 m. Y

ou can do it the other way around; to start in Ghandruk and to finish in Nayapul as you can see on the graph this way you’ll get less ascend and more descend compared to Nayapul – Ghandruk option; about 2000 m up and 3000 m down. There are jeeps and buses to Pokhara from both villages. Note! If it rains a lot the road from Ghandruk gets very muddy and there might be no buses to Pokhara from there. You can walk to Kimche from Ghandruk then (4 km extra and 300 m more down) or all the way to Kande through Australian Camp (plus 16 km and quite a lot of up and down extra). 

Route options on the Poon Hill trek, Nepal
Four route options of the Poon Hill trek

Combining Pooh Hill with Annapurna Base Camp

It’s a popular option many trekkers combine these two popular routes. You walk on the Poon Hill trek till Tadapani and from there to Chhomrong where you continue on ABC trek. You’ll need 8-9 days to complete the route. Here is the suggested itinerary;

  • Day 1. Bus Pokhara – Nayapul. Trek Nayapul – Ulleri, 12km
  • Day 2. Ulleri – Ghorepani, 8km
  • Day 3. Ghorepani – Poon Hill – Ghorepani – Tadapani, 13km
  • Day 4. Tadapani – Chhomrong, 10km from Chhomrong you can follow our ABC itinerary.
  • Day 5. Chhomrong – Bamboo, 8km
  • Day 6. Bamboo – Deurali, 8,5km
  • Day 7. Deurali – ABC, 9km
  • Day 8. ABC – Bamboo/Sinuwa, 15km/19km
  • Day 9. Bamboo/Sinuwa – Ghandruk, 14km/10km

Combining Poon Hill with Mardi Himal

Another option to extend your trek is to combine it with the Mardi Himal trek. You go on the Poon Hill trek all the way to Ghandruk, from there to Landruk, a village on the other side of the river and from Landruk continue on the Mardi Himal route. You need about a week to complete this route. Here is the suggested itinerary;

  • Day 1. Bus Pokhara – Nayapul. Trek Nayapul – Ulleri, 12km
  • Day 2. Ulleri – Ghorepani, 8km
  • Day 3. Ghorepani – Poon Hill – Ghorepani – Ghandruk, 19km. From Ghandruk you can follow our Mardi Himal itinerary.
  • Day 4. Ghandruk – Forest Camp, 9,5km
  • Day 5. Forest Camp – High Camp, 8,5km
  • Day 6. High Camp – Base Camp – High Camp, 9km
  • Day 7. High Camp – Siding/Landruk, 8,5km/12,5km

Combining Poon Hill with ABC and Mardi Himal

3-in-1 route that allows you to explore every corner of this part of the Annapurna Sanctuary. Be ready to multiple steep ascents and descents and some long walking days. To complete the route you’ll need about 2 weeks.

  • Day 1. Bus Pokhara – Nayapul. Trek Nayapul – Ulleri, 12km.
  • Day 2. Ulleri – Ghorepani, 8km
  • Day 3. Ghorepani – Poon Hill – Ghorepani – Tadapani, 13km
  • Day 4. Tadapani – Chhomrong, 10km from Chhomrong follow our ABC itinerary.
  • Day 5. Chhomrong – Bamboo, 8km
  • Day 6. Bamboo – Deurali, 8,5km
  • Day 7. Deurali – ABC, 9km
  • Day 8. ABC – Bamboo/Sinuwa, 15km/19km
  • Day 9. Bamboo/Sinuwa – Landruk, 16km/12km
  • Day 10. Landruk – Forest Camp, 5km. From Landruk follow our Mardi Himal trek itinerary.
  • Day 11. Forest Camp – High Camp, 8,5km
  • Day 12. High Camp – Base Camp – High Camp, 9km
  • Day 13. High Camp – Siding/Landruk, 8,5km/12,5km

Guided trek vs independent hike

We prefer to hike independently when it’s possible for us it’s more interesting to find the way, arrange accommodation, carry our own backpacks, etc. I understand some people want to spend their holiday in a more relaxing way without doing too much planning or worrying if something goes wrong. To plan the Poon Hill trek is much easier than to plan the Everest Base Camp trek itinerary.

Independent trek

Pros

  • The obvious one, it’s much cheaper than a tour
  • It’s more adventurous you do all the logistics and planning yourself
  • You’re more flexible you decide if want to walk further or stay somewhere longer etc.

Cons

  • It might be a bit difficult to plan and to walk on your own if it’s your first hike
  • You’ll have to sort out any issue or problem on the way on your own

Guided trek

You can book a 4-day guided Poon Hill trek that follows the same itinerary as ours.

Pros

  • It’s easy no need to worry about route planning, finding accommodation, packing light because you have to carry your own backpack etc.
  • If you’re lucky to find a knowledgeable guide who speaks good English you can learn a lot about local culture, food, lifestyle etc.

Cons

  • It’s much more expensive
  • It takes away some part of the adventure
  • You have to stick to the group even if the itinerary doesn’t suit you well

A compromise option – hiring a guide or a porter

This is a good idea if you don’t want to join a group tour but don’t feel confident enough to walk alone, plus you create a working opportunity for local people. We never used a guide on any of the hikes in Nepal but we saw many tourists walking with a guide or a porter. The best way of finding a good reliable guide is recommendations from other tourists e.g. on the forums or Facebook groups dedicated to hiking in Nepal.

We asked around at the agencies in Pokhara and the average price is US$20 per day for a porter and US$25 per day for a guide. A porter can carry up to 20-25kg you can get one porter for two or three people. Same with a guide you can share one guide between a couple of people or even a group. You can hire both but in my opinion, it’s unnecessary.

Other tours and activities in Nepal

Campbell & Alya on the Poon Hill trek, Nepal
Stingy Nomads at Deurali pass, Ghorepani Poon Hille trek

Practical information

The best time for hiking the Ghorepani Poon Hill trek is March – April, and September – October comfortable temperature, not much snow or rain.

We used Maps.me offline app for navigation hiking in Nepal, the Poon Hill trek is marked quite well except the very beginning of the walk from Nayapul to Birethanti, we used the app to get to the trail.

We were surprised with the facilities of guesthouses on the route compared to what we got on the Everest Base Camp trek the Poon Hill was almost a luxury trek. Basically, every guesthouse (tea house) on the way has wi-fi, hot water shower, and electricity, and most of the time they don’t even charge you extra for using any of these facilities unlike on some other trekking routes. So no worries about being offline, not showering, or not being able to charge your devices. You can even get proper Espresso or Cappuccino at some villages on the route.

The trek turned to be more popular than we thought there were quite a lot of people and we did it in early March, the beginning of the season but it could be because Annapurna Base Camp and Annapurna Circuit trek were closed due to heavy snowfalls, many people we met on the trek came to Nepal to hike one of these but had to change their plan.

Like on other trekking routes in Nepal you pay very little for accommodation but you have to eat dinner and breakfast at your guesthouse, food, not the accommodation is the main source of income for locals here. If you don’t eat at the guest house you’ll pay for your room two or three times more. The average price for a double room with a shared bathroom is between NPR  200-400/US$2-4. Some guesthouses have rooms with attached bathroom but they are a bit more expensive – NPR 400-500/US$4-5 for two people.

Pack some snacks (dried fruit, cookies, nuts, etc.) and chocolate with on the trek this stuff gets very expensive the higher you go e.g. Sneakers in Pokhara costs NPR 75/US$0,6 at Ghorepani you’ll pay NPR 250/US$2,2 etc. 

Poon Hill trek cost

Our total budget breakdown for 4 days, 2 people.

  • TIMS card – NPR 4000/US$36 (NPR 2000/US$17 per person)
  • Annapurna Sanctuary permit – NPR6000/US$54 (NPR 3000/US$26 per person)
  • Accommodation – NPR 800/US$7
  • Transport – NPR 1700/US$15
  • Food – NPR 8000/US$72

Total; NPR 20 500/US$186 for two people or NPR 10 250/US$93 per person.

Accommodation on the trek is very cheap between NPR 200/US$2 and NPR 300/US$3 for two people, in the peak season, April and October, prices might go up to NPR 400. If you’re one person they usually charge NPR 200/US$2 per room. At some places, the original price might be higher but you always can negotiate it. Remember to say that you’re going to eat dinner and breakfast at the place.

A meal on the Poon Hill trek costs between NPR 400/US$4 and NPR 600/US$6 per person depending on what you order, meat dishes are more expensive, vegetable and egg dishes are cheaper. A cup of tea is between NPR 60-100/US$1. A cup of hot water 50. A pot of hot water (1l) – NPR 150/US$1,3. A big plate of pasta or rice – NPR 500/US$4,5. The most expensive stuff to buy on the trek is bottled or canned drinks, for a small bottle of Coke or juice you’ll pay NPR 250/US$2,2. In general, food prices are about 30-40% higher than in Pokhara. 

Water on the trek. We used our LifeStraw bottle and used tap water for drinking there are water taps along the way where you can refill your bottle. Having some sort of filter or purification pills will save quite a bit of money. One litre of drinking water (bottled or refilled) costs between 50 and 100 depending on the place. You’ll need at least 2l of water per person a day if you buy it every time you can add NPR 150-200/US$2 pp. to your daily budget.

Transport is easy and cheap especially if you take local buses, jeeps are two to three times more expensive but I believe more comfortable and faster. Bus from Pokhara to Nayapul costs NPR 200/US$2 pp., bus from Ghandruk to Pokhara NPR 500/US$4,5, bus from Kande to Pokhara – NPR 150/US$1,2

If you wonder how much money to take on the hike I’d suggest to have at least NPR 2000/US$18 per person per day, it’ll be enough to pay for accommodation and three meals. If you’re planning to buy snacks, cool drinks, chocolates, souvenirs etc. on the way – NPR 2500/US$23 pp. per day.  

Cost of the trek with a guide or a porter

If you hire a guide, add to the above budget US$25 per day, for a porter US$20. That price includes guide’s/porter’s accommodation and food you don’t have to pay any extra but they will expect tips at the end of the trek.

Cost of an organized tour

There are different options as well depending on services you get, a number of people in the group, food and transport arrangements for an all-inclusive tour you’ll pay between US$50-60 per person per day (usually it includes Annapurna Sanctuary permit and TIM card). If you decide to join a tour I’d recommend to choose a reputable established company rather than go for a bit cheaper option with someone you don’t know.

Permits and TIMS for the Poon Hill trek

Like for any other trek inside the sanctuary you need to get a permit and a TIMS card. Both can be obtained at the Tourist Information Center in Pokhara, about 1,5 km from Lakeside. The office is open Mon to Sun from 10am to 5pm. Total cost NPR 5000/US$43.

Note! The immigration office is located in the same building you can extend your visa there. To get a TIMS card and a permit you need your passport, insurance (nobody asks to show it you just need the details to fill in) and a contact person in Nepal (we usually give our hotel details). No other documents needed.

To get the TIMS card;

  • First, fill the form that you get at the counter (name, insurance number, passport details, address in Nepal, contact information etc.)
  • Second, take a photo. No need to bring your own photos they take it right there at the office and it’s free of charge (4 passport size photos, it’s included in the price of your TIMS card).  
  • Third, give the filled form, two photos and pay NRP 2000/US$17 pp. paid cash in Nepalese Rupee at the counter.
  • Forth, get your TIMS.

The TIMS card is valid only for a single entry to the park every time you exit you’ll need a new TIMS card to enter the park again. The same with the permit you need a new one every time you enter the park. If you’re planning to do several hikes inside Annapurna Sanctuary it’s better (cheaper) to stay all the time inside the park than to go back to Pokhara after every hike.

To get the Annapurna Sanctuary Permit;

  • First, after getting your TIMS card go to the next-door room and get the form
  • Second, fill in the form
  • Third, hand the filled form, passport, two photos and NRP 3000/US$26 pp. paid cash in Nepalese Rupee at the counter.
  • Forth, get your permit.

Insurance for the trek

The Poon Hill trek is a moderate altitude hike that involves exhausting long ascents and dangerous steep descents, most of the time the route goes through remote areas having travel insurance is highly recommended. In fact, it’s required for getting your hiking permit. Nobody has ever asked us to show our insurances but when you fill the form they ask you to provide the name and the phone number of your insurance company.

There are many travel insurance companies we’d recommend using one that has experience in covering outdoor activities like World Nomads. Nepal is one of their top hiking destinations with thousands of people buying World Nomads insurance policies for trekking here so they know local specific. Their insurance is very flexible you can buy one that covers the entire trip or just the period of the trek. For example, if you have cheaper travel insurance that doesn’t cover high altitude activities you can buy World Nomads policy covering only the hike. You can get insurance just a day before the planned activity or even the same day, it takes just a couple of minutes, quick and easy.  Get a quote right now!

How to get from Pokhara to Poon Hill

The trek starts in Nayapul, a small town 40km from Pokhara. Buses to Nayapul leave regularly from the bus terminal in Pokhara. The journey takes 2-3 hours, price NPR 200/US$2 pp. To get to the bus terminal from Lakeside you can take a taxi or walk there is no public bus going that way. A taxi will cost NPR200-300/US$2.

Where to stay in Pokhara

Pokhara is a much better place to stay than Kathmandu we never spend more than 1 or 2 days in Kathmandu and try to get away from there as soon as possible. There are many great things to do in Pokhara both free and with a tour. If you have some time and would like to do an easy acclimatization trek before hiking the Poon Hill look at completing the Panchase trek. It’s a 2-3-day low-altitude route through the rural surroundings of Pokhara.

Lakeside is the main touristy area of Pokhara it’s filled with hotels, guest houses, restaurants, bars, etc. here you can find accommodation on any budget from cheap homestays to fancy spa hotels.

The Poon Hill trek detailed itinerary

Day 1. Bus Pokhara – Nayapul, 2h15min., NPR 200/US$2

            Nayapul – Ulleri, 12km, 3h30min.

Day 2. Ulleri – Ghorepani, 8km, 2h35min.

Day 3. Ghorepani – Poon Hill – Ghorepani, 3km, 1h30min.

            Ghorepani – Ghandruk, 16,3km, 5h.

Day 4. Bus/jeep Ghandruk – Pokhara, 2h30min., NPR 500/US$4,5

Day 1. Bus Pokhara – Nayapul, 2h15min. Nayapul – Ulleri, 12 km

Nayapul (1000m) – Birethanti (1025m) – Hile – Ulleri (2000m), 12 km/7,4 mi

  • Starting point – Nayapul
  • Finishing point – Ulleri
  • Distance – 12 km/7,4 mi
  • Time – 3h30min.
  • Total ascent – 1092 m
  • Total descent – 125 m
Nayapul to Ulleri elevation profile, Ghorepani Poon Hill trek
Poon Hill trek elevation profile Day 1 from Nayapul to Ulleri

Bus ride as usually took longer than we thought, over 2 hours to get to Nayapul, including 20min. stop for lunch. To get to the trail, first you walk through Nayapul, across the bridge to Birethanti (another village). Just as you walk out of the town there will be the first checkpoint.

About 500 m away there is the second checkpoint where you show your TIMS card, it gets stamped, they write down your name and that’s it. Another 300 m and the third checkpoint where you show your Annapurna National park permit, they again write down your name and tear the bottom part of your permit. To get from Nayapul to Birethanti we used Maps.me app after that the route is quite clear and easy to follow. 

The first half of the walk is on the dirt road though there are very few cars mainly jeeps driving tourists to Hile, the furthermost point you can get by car on the Poon Hill trek. Some people take a jeep, some walk. We walked this part, it wasn’t very tough, slight uphill but nothing hectic. After about 9 km you reach Hile. It’s a nice village with many guesthouses, cafes, and restaurants. As an option if it’s late or you’re tired you can stay here.

For the first 9 km, you basically walk all the time past small shops and local food places getting water or food won’t be a problem. There are many water taps on the way if you use a filter like us you’ll be able to fill your bottle along the route.

The second part from Hile to Ulleri is the tough part with a very steep and long ascend. In the beginning, you even walk a little bit down but the last 2 km to Ulleri is a long and steep ascent. Make sure to fill your water in Hile there won’t be many places after it. The ascent takes about 2 hours it’s quite tiring. 

Challenges

  • Long and steep ascend from Hile to Ulleri, about 800 m up

Highlights

  • Beautiful scenery on the way to Hile
  • Great views of the mountain range and the surrounding area from Ulleri

Majestic guest house, Ulleri

Located on the route, at the entrance to Ulleri, on the left-hand side. Price NRP 200/US$2 for two people if you eat dinner and breakfast here.

Facilities

  • Hot shower – yes, at no extra cost
  • Flush toilet – yes
  • Electricity – yes
  • Power outlets – yes, in the dining room, can charge your devices at no extra cost
  • Wi-fi – yes, at the restaurant, at no extra cost
  • Blankets – yes. It was quite warm we didn’t use our sleeping bags, blankets were more than warm enough.
  • Drinking water – yes, there is a big tank with filtered water outside where you could fill your bottle for free. Bottled water 1l costs NRP 50/US$0,5.
Views over the valley from Ulleri, Poon Hill trek, Nepal
Gorgeous views from Ulleri Village, the first stop on the Poon Hill trek

Day 2. Ulleri – Ghorepani, 8 km

Ulleri (2000m) – Banthanti (2210m) – Nangethani (2430m) – Ghorepani (2780m), 8km/5 mi

  • Starting point – Ulleri
  • Finishing point – Ghorepani
  • Distance – 8 km/5 mi
  • Time – 2h34min.
  • Total ascent – 837 m
  • Total descent – 90 m
Elevation profile of day 2, walk from Ulleri to Ghorepani
Elevation profile Day 2 of the Poon Hill trek itinerary. Ulleri to Ghorepani, 873 m up

It was quite a short walking day so you can take your time in the morning, sleep late, have breakfast and slowly start walking. The trail goes through the forest, past many waterfalls, small rivers, villages, restaurants and tea houses – plenty of places to stop for food, tea and to refill/buy water, no need to carry a lot of water with from Ulleri. In the beginning, in Ulleri, there is a steep ascend all the way to the top of the mountain. Most of the day you walk uphill sometimes gradual and easy sometimes quite steep and tough.

At the entrance to Ghorepani, there is a checkpoint where they check your Annapurna Sanctuary permits again. There are two Ghorepani villages; Lower Ghorepani and Ghorepani, they are about 10 min. and 100 m apart first you get to Lower Ghorepani from there you go upstairs to Ghorepani.

We stayed at Lower Ghorepani most people (mainly groups) went to Ghorepani. It was nice to stop at Lower Ghorepani and stay away from the crowds, we were only 4 people in our guesthouse. You can walk to Poon Hill from both villages, the trails join in the middle at the entrance to Poon Hill. At Ghorepani, it was not very cold but definitely more windy and chilly than at Ulleri.

Challenges

  • Walking uphill most of the day, 837 m elevation gain.

Highlights

  • Beautiful forest
  • Many waterfalls on the way
  • Nice views over the area

Hotel Glacier

We got a room for NRP 300/US$2,7 for two people if you eat dinner and breakfast here. The trail to Poon Hill starts right from the door of the guesthouse, plus there is a place with good coffee next door. 

Facilities

  • Hot shower – yes, at no extra cost
  • Flush toilet – yes
  • Electricity – yes
  • Power outlets – yes, can charge your devices for free when there is electricity, the power often goes off and they use solar panels but you can’t charge anything
  • Wi-fi – free when there is electricity if working on solar panels – 150 per device, unlimited time
  • Blankets – yes (if you don’t have blankets in the room ask them to bring)
Alya walking up on the trail through the forest
Alya on the way up, the second day had some steep ascents

Day 3. Ghorepani – Poon Hill – Ghorepani – Ghandruk, 19,3 km

Ghorepani – Poon Hill – Ghorepani – Tadapani – Ghandruk, 19,3 km/12 mi

Morning. Sunrise on the top of Poon Hill

Ghorepani (2780m) – Poon Hill (3200m) – Ghorepani (2780m)

  • Starting point – Lower Ghorepani at 5.20
  • Finishing point – Lower Ghorepani  at 7.00
  • Total distance – 3 km/1,8 mi
  • Time – 1h30min.; 40 min. up, 30 min. down, 30 min. on the top
  • Total ascent – 387 m
  • Total descent – 387 m

It takes about 45 min. to get to the top of Poon Hill from Ghorepani, the walk is steep uphill all the way, make sure to take water with. If you start at Lower Ghorepani your total ascent and descent will be a little bit more than from Ghorepani. The trail is easy to follow, you won’t get lost there will be many people walking up. We took only water, headlamps and cameras with, the rest of our stuff we left locked in the room in the guesthouse. Take money with to pay the entrance fee to Poon Hill (NPR 100 pp.).

You’re not allowed to bring a thermos with hot water/tea/coffee to the top, fine for that is NPR 2000/US$18. They sell hot drinks on the top for 2-3 times more expensive than down in the village, NPR 160-200/US$2.

Elevation profile of Poon Hill peak trek
Elevation profile of the walk to the top of Poon Hill. Up and down the same way, 387m ascent and descent

The sunrise was beautiful we were lucky with the weather the sky was clear we could see the sun rising from behind the mountains. Just after we started walking down it got cloudy and started snowing. The descent wasn’t much faster than the ascend the trail was partly covered in snow/ice we didn’t have hiking poles and struggle trying not to fall or slide down.

What to take to the summit

  • Headlamp – you start walking in the pitch dark
  • Water
  • Gloves – make sure you dress warm enough it gets quite chilly at the top waiting for the sun to come.
  • Beanie 
  • Camera/GoPro/Phone
  • Money 100 pp. entrance fee, plus extra to buy tea/coffee on the top
  • Hiking poles – will be quite helpful especially on the way down

The view was beautiful, worth early wake-up and tough walk but make sure the sky is clear (you’ll see thousands of stars if it’s) before you start the ascend otherwise you won’t be able to see much. If you don’t like getting up early you can go to Poon Hill in the afternoon of the day you arrive at Ghorepani in a way it’s nicer because unlike in the morning there will be no people on the top and nobody to charge NRP 100/US$1 at the entrance. 

Amazing sunrise on the top of the Poon Hill
Stunning sunrise on the top of the Poon Hill, the highlight of the trek

Afternoon. Ghorepani to Ghandruk

  • Starting point – Ghorepani
  • Finishing point – Ghandruk
  • Distance – 16,3 km/10 mi
  • Time – 5 hours
  • Total ascent – 683 m
  • Total descent – 1394 m
Elevation profile Ghorepani to Ghandruk, Poon Hill trek
Elevation profile of Day 3 of the Poon Hill trek; Ghorepani to Ghandruk. Ascend – 683 m, descend – 1394 m

The first part of the walk was quite tough from Ghorepani we went up to the pass, about 300 m the climb was tiring but it wasn’t the most difficult part of the walk. From the top, for the next hour, we walked in the snow mostly downhill and it was quite difficult as we were not prepared for that we didn’t have crampons or hiking poles. Walking down on slippery snow/ice ground was slow luckily we didn’t fall or hurt ourselves.

On the way between Ghorepani and Tadapani, there are 5 small villages where you can stop for lunch, rest or get water. Tadapani is about 10 km away from Ghorepani it took us a good 3h30min. to walk it. Most of the way was downhill but there was one steep uphill just before Tadapani, about 200 m up the last ascend for the day.

If you feel tired and that you’ve walked enough for the day you can stay at Tadapani there are several tea houses and restaurants. The views from the village are quite nice. We read that the views from Ghandruk village are truly spectacular and decided to keep walking. It’s about 6 km more to Ghandruk.

The second part of the walk from Tadapani to Ghandruk was easy through beautiful forest mainly downhill. It went quite quick. There was a guesthouse on the way as well. Ghandruk is quite a big place compared to the other stops on the way there are many guest houses and restaurants but not many shops four or five but all very small with very limited options.

Challenges

  • Early wake up for the sunrise
  • A steep ascent and descent on the top of Poon Hill
  • Walk over Deurali pass
  • A couple of steep ascends and descends on the way from Ghorepani to Tadapani.

Highlights

  • Sunrise on the top of Poon Hill
  • Beautiful views of snow peaks on the way to Tadapani
  • Nice forest walk from Tadapani to Ghandruk

Hotel Ghandruk

Price NPR 300/US$3 for two people, the hotel is located a little bit outside of the busy area, the view of the mountains from the garden is stunning.

Facilities

  • Hot shower – yes, at no extra cost
  • Flush toilet – yes
  • Electricity – yes
  • Power outlets – yes, there are a couple of multi plugs in the dining area
  • Wi-fi – yes, free
  • Blankets – yes

The Poon Hill trek can be combined with Annapurna Base Camp trek that starts at Ghorepani or with the Mardi Himal trek (as we did) that starts at Landruk which is about 2 hours walk (mostly downhill) from Ghandruk.

Views of the mountain range from a lookout on the way to Ghandruk
Snowy peaks and lush green forest – scenery on the way to Ghandruk

Day 4. Bus Ghandruk – Pokhara, 3 hours/walk Ghandruk – Australian Camp

We didn’t do this part because the next day from Ghandruk we walked to Landruk where we started the Mardi Himal trek. There are several options of finishing the Poon Hill trek; taking a bus/jeep from Ghandruk to Pokhara, walking to Kimche and taking a bus from there, walking all the way to Australian Camp and from there to Kande and take a bus to Pokhara or continue hiking and do another route inside the sanctuary.

Getting back to Pokhara

There are jeeps and buses that drive straight to Pokhara from Ghandruk, it’ll take about 2h30min. to get back by bus, a jeep will be faster. Tourist price for the bus is NPR 500/US$4,5 pp., they will try to ask more but it’s the established price for tourists. Jeep costs NPR 1000/US$9 pp. but if you’re two or more people you can negotiate the price and very likely get a discount. 

Our packing list for the Poon Hill trek

It’s a 4-day trek with staying in tea houses so try to pack light to make the walk easier especially if you’re not planning to use a porter. If you want a more detailed post on gear and clothes for trekking in Nepal check our Everest Base Camp packing list.

Gear

Backpack – a 40L backpack will be enough but if you pack light.

LifeStraw or any other water filter or purifying pills – it’ll save you some money there are several water taps on the route where you can refill water plus it’s environmentally friendly. 

Headlamp – all tea houses we stayed had electricity but you’ll need a torch or headlamp to go up Poon Hill for the sunrise, you start walking in the dark.

Sleeping bag – all tea houses we stayed had blankets, it was really chilly only in Ghorepani so we used our summer sleeping bags with blankets but you’ll be fine just sleeping in warm clothing.

Hiking poles – there are some pretty steep ups and downs on the trek the poles will be quite handy especially on a rainy day.

Waterproof pouch for documents, money, phone, etc.

Small combination lock – you can use it to lock your room in a guest house.

LifeStraw bottle is a great item to have for any trek in Nepal
Alya drinking water on the way from a LifeStraw bottle

Clothes

Hiking shoes – we bought new hiking boots, Salomon X Ultra 3 GORETEX (women’s model ) for both of us. For a long time, we were thinking of buying GORETEX hiking shoes and finally we did. The shoes are awesome, very comfortable, waterproof, our feet weren’t sweating or getting cold. We’re very happy we’ve bought these shoes.

Hiking socks – we always wear merino wool socks for hiking, they work great; last long, don’t absorb odours, protect your feet from blister etc.

Trekking pants – Campbell always hikes in normal trekking pants I prefer wearing yoga pants.

Hiking shirt – Colombia hiking shirts are Campbell’s favourite, I like hiking in long sleeve running shirts and sports bras.

Sleeping clothes e.g. long cotton pajama pants and a thermal shirt for sleeping and wearing in guesthouses after the shower – it’s comfortable and warm. Ladies options; pants and shirt.

Hiking towel – most of the guesthouses if not all of them have a hot shower.

Electronics

Kindle – Campbell always takes his Kindle Paperwhite with on hikes. If you’re an owner of Kindle by joining Kindle unlimited program by Amazon you’ll get access to hundreds of thousands of e-books and audiobooks.

Smartphone – the route is marked quite well and there are many trekkers walking it but just in case it’s handy to have Maps.me navigation app on your phone.

GoPro HERO8 we used it a lot for taking photos and videos we had our camera with as well but ended up almost never using it.

Garmin Fenix 5X thanks to this watch we could add elevation profiles, distances, maps etc. to our post so for us it was really worth buying it.

Toiletries & miscellaneous

Recommended books and guidebooks

If you prefer e-books over paper books don’t hesitate to join Amazon Kindle Unlimited to get access to thousands of e-books and audiobooks. You can read or listen to books on your phone or tablet using the app. The first 30 days of the program are free.

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