Poon Hill trek, Nepal: Definitive guide

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Poon Hill top
On the top

The Poon Hill trek is probably one of the most famous trekking routes in Nepal, because of many reasons. It’s easily accessible, relatively short, and the views are incredible. We mean it, fellow travelers: That sunrise on the top of the hill, 3210 meters above sea level, was one of the best moments of our lives. It’s not that easy to find exact up-to-date information on the web about the trek, that’s why put together this guide. Put on your hiking boots and let’s jump in it!

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When to go

The best season to do the trekking is from October to March. During these months, the sky is clear and the view of Himalayas is guaranteed. April and May can be good as well, though a bit risky. During our 3 days in the mountains, in May, we just had 1 day of clear views, and we were lucky to have them on the right day. So, unless you have a very good karma, plan your visit before April!

Why choose the Poon Hill trek?

In Nepal there are literally thousands of mountains routes, that you could trek for a whole year and you will barely be able to see half of them. So what’s so special about Poon Hill?

1 – You can do it independently. That means that you can go without porters, since there are many full-equipped lodges. You don’t need to bring your own tent, blankets, food and so on. We went there without a guide, just with a detailed map. We advise you to think about hiring a guide or not, and the choice is up to you. Many people go there with a guide, many others without it: Mountains can be dangerous, so we don’t want you to hurt yourself or get lost.

2 – It’s relatively easy and short. It’s classified as a “medium difficult trekking”: If you like to walk and you’re average fit, you should be able to do it without problems. You’re unlikely to have mountain sickness (max height is 3210 mt), and there is no climbing. But… There are hundreds of stone steps. Maybe even thousands. You’ll probably go up and down for 6-8 hours, and that can be very tiring. The good thing is that you can choose to do it on the way up, or on the way down: Ask your legs before making any decision!

Stone steps! poon hill
Stone steps!

3 – The villages are just beautiful. The route goes through many different ethnic villages, and each of them is different. You can observe the communities which have managed to maintain their traditional way of life. With electricity, tablets and WiFi, though.

4 – Can be done in 3 to 5 days, depending on your fitness level and speed. We did in 2 nights/3 days, although we wanted to stay in the mountains for 3 or 4, nights. At the time, there were strikes and political elections, so there was no public or private transport for 2 days. That’s why we had to go by bus (instead​ of trekking) to the first village, and come back a day earlier than we planned.

5 – The view from Poon Hill is indescribable. Just take a look at our photos: Isn’t it incredible? That moment when the sun rose above the snowy peaks, rewarded us for all the efforts of the previous days.

Here is our itinerary, with our stops and the exact hours of trekking we did.

Day 1: From Kimche to Tadapani

Ghandruk Poon Hill
The beautiful village of Ghandruk

5 hours of trekking

Originally, we wanted to walk from Nayapool, the starting point, to Ghandruk and spend the first night there. But, as mentioned above, we couldn’t do it. So we took a local bus – check our YouTube video – from Pokhara to Kimche, a village just before Ghandruk. It took us almost 4 hours: With more than 2 hours on dirt roads, we were happy to get off and start hiking!

Poon Hill trek - way up
Zuzana on the way to Tadapani

We walked 1 hour from Kimche to Ghandruk, where we had a light lunch: Rice, omelette and canned tuna fish*. After a quick break, we hiked our way up to Tadapani. That was about 4 hours of pleasant – but quite hard – walking in the middle of a green, lush, rhododendron forest. We arrived in Tadapani, a small “village” of lodges, before 5PM, just in time to avoid the rain. Here we had a Dal Bhat with a couple of masala teas for dinner. We went to sleep at 9 in order to wake up early.

Tadapani
Tadapani

*Tip: If you are on a budget and want to save money, bring some canned food + energetic snacks with you. While accommodation is really cheap, the food is understandably quite expensive.

Day 2: From Tadapani to Ghorepani

5 hours of trekking

We woke up at 5.30AM, had breakfast and waited until it stopped raining. At 7.30AM, we were in the middle of the forests! The beginning of the path is descending, and after half an hour we had to hike up for another couple of hours. We stopped halfway in Deuleri, to have lunch and recharge our batteries.

Mystic forest!
Mystic forest!

After a cup of tea, we were ready to hike all the way up to Ghorepani. At this point, the landscape started changing quickly and we found ourselves in a mystic world made of huge, dark trees, sounds of exotic birds, and unknown wild flowers. The mist was covering everything and the forest was really scenic.

Misty hills around Deuleri
Misty hills around Deuleri

The Deuleri Pass, with its 3.300 mt  challenged our lungs, since at that altitude we started to run out of breath. We took it slowly, and we arrived to Ghorepani at about 2PM. We chose a room with a view, hoping to see some of the mountains in the evening. Unfortunately there were clouds all around, and we couldn’t see anything but the dark sky. We went to bed early: Poon Hill was waiting for us before dawn, the day after. The alarm clock went off at 4.30AM sharp!

After two days of clouds and no sights of Himalayas, we were a bit worried, like:

Zuzana: “We can do nothing about it. We’ll see tomorrow, and if the view won’t be clear, never mind. It has been a beautiful trekking anyway.”

Enrico: “I want to see the mountains! I want it so badly! I am tired of seeing clouds!”

During the night, a heavy rain washed down the beautiful village. Enrico was waking up every 2 hours and checking the sky. “I felt like a kid, the night before Christmas, when he can’t wait to open all the gifts”, he’d say.

poon hill trekking forest
Will we get on the top?

Day 3: From Ghorepani to Poon Hill viewpoint

1 hour of trekking

At 4.30AM, our alarm clock woke us up, in the middle of our dreams. We got quickly dressed and we started trekking up to the viewpoint. With its 3210mt, we had to climb the stone steps for about an hour. Together with many other people, each of them with the same dream: To see the sunrise with a clear view!

Poon Hill before sunrise
The Himalayas just before sunrise

After having spent some weeks in Nepal, we started to take our Karma into serious consideration. So, we tried to accumulate some good Karma here and there. Maybe we were lucky, or maybe it was thanks to the Karma itself, but we actually managed to finally see the Himalayas from Poon Hill.

Zuzana admiring The Himalayas
Zuzana admiring The Himalayas

It was impressive, and we couldn’t stop taking photos or just staring at the scenery. As the sun was slowly rising, the wedges of snowy mountains revelaed their cold beauty. After almost two hours, we went down to Ghorepani to have our last breakfast on the panoramic terrace of our lodge.

From Ghorepani to Nayapool – Ending point

7.5 hours of trekking

We started descending from Ghorepani at 8AM, and we arrived in Nayapool at about 16.30. That means about 8.5 hours of trekking, with a lunch break and short stops on the way. It was hard, guys! We had lunch in Ulleri, a beautiful village halfway, and we originally wanted to sleep somewhere on the way. But then, we continued walking down the hundreds of stone steps, saying “Another 30′ and we’ll stop…”. Well, we ended in Nayapool, taking a taxi to Pokhara, more dead than alive.

Around Ulleri
Around Ulleri

The Poon Hill trek has been definitely one of the best moments in Nepal. We already decided to go back to the Himalayas in the future and do another longer trek!

Have you ever been to Nepal? Do you like trekking? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

4 Responses

  1. Jenny Adhikari
    | Reply

    Beautiful photos and wellwritten text! Please come back and make a similar report on super photogenic Indigenous Peoples Trail! They could really need some marketing…

    • Enri & Zuz
      | Reply

      Hello Jenny, thank you for your kind words! And yes, we definitely want to go back for more. In the future we would like to do more hiking and explore distant areas of Nepal so for sure we will get in touch with Indigenous Peoples Trail!

  2. Nice review and beautiful photos Enrico and Zuzana. Ghorepani Poon Hill together with Annapurna base camp and Ghandruk circuit are of course the most popular trekking itineraries in Nepal. The best solution is to mix a unique itinerary like yours to enjoy the amazing view of Himalayan peaks from Poon Hill top and beautiful sunrise and to live and visit the cultural and hystorical village of Ghandruk. This is particular famous for its second biggest Gurung ethnic group who preserve their traditional lifestyle.
    I’m sure you will come back to Nepal again in future. The said is that “in Nepal one always returns twice”.

    • Enri & Zuz
      | Reply

      Hello Dani, thank you so much for your kind words! Of course we want to visit Nepal again. Next time we would like to find out more about lesser known ethnic groups and visit places tourists usually don’t go to! Aaand naturally do some more trekking. We are fascinated by Mustang, so we should probably start saving money 😀

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