OFF TO NEPAL | OFFTOWANDER.COM

OFF TO POON HILL TREK

POON HILL, NEPAL (APR 2015)

Nepal is probably on the bucket list of most adventure seekers. While I am not a trekking enthusiast, I want to experience trekking in Nepal and enjoy the majestic views of the Himalayas. Last year, my friend and I booked a one week trip to Kathmandu from 1st to 7th of April 2015 (Yes, two weeks before the earthquake devastated the country). Since it is our first trip in Nepal, we were looking for a short trek that is doable within five days or less so that we can also spend some time exploring the UNESCO Heritage sites around Kathmandu. After some Internet research, inquiring to different trekking agencies and comparing the prices, we decided to take one of the most popular trek in Annapurna region, the Ghorepani Poon Hill trek.

The Ghorepani Poon Hill trek is said to be suitable for anyone at any fitness level but still, the long distance walks plus some steep climbs make it physically challenging.

The trek took us 4 days. Here is our itinerary:

Trekking Day 1: Pokhara – Nayapul – Birethanti – Tikhedunga

We took the flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara, where our guide and porter are waiting for us. They took us on a long ride to Nayapul by taxi, then started our trek from there. We stopped at Birethanti for lunch, while our guide went to the check post to register our trekking permits.

I can never forget that on our way to Birethanti, I dropped my camera 😦 The filter broke into pieces but thankfully the lens was saved! The filter ring however, was stuck into the lens because it was slightly bent making it difficult to remove. The camera is still useful with the filter ring on it though I have to carefully remove the broken pieces of the glass while preventing them from scratching the lens.

We spent the night at the village called Tikhedunga.

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Trekking Day 2: Tikhedunga – Ghorepani

Waking up in Tikhedunga, we continued our trek towards the village of Ghorepani. This village is full of rhododendron trees, which makes the village even more beautiful during springtime!

OFF TO NEPAL | OFFTOWANDER.COM

OFF TO NEPAL | OFFTOWANDER.COM

OFF TO NEPAL | OFFTOWANDER.COM

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OFF TO NEPAL | OFFTOWANDER.COM

OFF TO NEPAL | OFFTOWANDER.COM

OFF TO NEPAL | OFFTOWANDER.COM

Trekking Day 3: Sunrise at Poon Hill, Ghorepani – Ghandruk

The highlight of this trip is to watch the sunrise from Poon Hill. We woke up before sunrise and put on almost every piece of clothing that we had because it’s really cold in Ghorepani and much colder at dawn! We didn’t have a flashlight but our guide has one. There were many other trekkers on their way to Poon Hill too so its easy to just follow them.

OFF TO NEPAL | OFFTOWANDER.COM

OFF TO NEPAL | OFFTOWANDER.COM

OFF TO NEPAL | OFFTOWANDER.COM

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After breakfast at our guesthouse in Ghorepani, we packed our bags and headed to Ghandruk.

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Trekking Day 4: Ghandruk – Nayapul – Pokhara

The farming village of Ghandruk is the last stop of our trek before we head back to Birethanti. We stayed in a lovely guesthouse that offered gorgeous views of the mountains.

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OFF TO NEPAL | OFFTOWANDER.COM

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OFF TO NEPAL | OFFTOWANDER.COM

OFF TO NEPAL | OFFTOWANDER.COM

OFF TO NEPAL | OFFTOWANDER.COM

With a sigh of relief and a sense of achievement, we made it back to Birethanti. Our trekking was finally completed. After our lunch, we walked towards Nayapul and from there, we’re happy to relax our sore muscles on our ride back to Pokhara.

Muscle pain aside – we still managed to explore Pokhara a bit by having a boat tour around Phewa Lake.

OFF TO NEPAL | OFFTOWANDER.COM

OFF TO NEPAL | OFFTOWANDER.COM

OFF TO NEPAL | OFFTOWANDER.COM

Some tips you might want to know:

  • Tourist visa can be issued upon arrival. There are kiosks before immigration where in you can fill in your details and have your picture taken using the webcam. It will issue a receipt then you proceed to pay the visa fee at the counter. After paying, get your visa and have your passport checked by the immigration.
  • Visa can also be obtained online in advance, which they highly recommend for first time travellers although we haven’t tried it. Here is the link: http://online.nepalimmigration.gov.np/tourist-visa
  • Visa fees: 25USD for 15 days, 40USD for 30 days, 100USD for 90 days. More information here.
  • Bring USD to pay your trekking package. Use Nepalese rupees (NPR) for everything else (like bottled water, snacks, souvenirs tips for guide and porter). Exchange some money when you arrive in Nepal. As usual, the exchange rates are better outside of the airport.
  • Be safe than sorry. Before you arrive, get a travel insurance with helicopter rescue and make sure trekking is covered. Read the insurance policy carefully as some travel insurance companies I saw can only cover up to 3,000 meters above sea level (Poon Hill is about 3,210 meters). I use World Nomads which covers up to 6,000 meters.
  • While some use water purifying tablets, we prefer to buy bottled mineral water.
  • The “teahouse trekking” style is very common in Nepal. We stayed in teahouses (or guesthouses) during our trek. There is no need to worry about cooking or camping equipment. Here’s a good blog post describing the 4 things that might surprise you about teahouse trekking in Nepal.
  • In guesthouses, you may have to pay for hot showers, Wi-Fi, and even battery charging.
  • Be prepared to walk 4 – 7 hours per day. Before you go, I highly recommend training that includes long distance running, stair climbing, and some weight lifting.
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