Poon Hill Trek Guide

Poon Hill Trek Overview

Highest Elevation: 3210

Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate

Starting Point: Pokhara

Finishing Point: Ghandruk/Pokhara

Duration: normally 4-5 days

Best Time to Trek: spring and autumn

Accommodation: Teahouse

Permits Required: Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) and the Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS) card

When people ask about Nepal, images of the towering peaks conjure up. Nepal is synonymous with mountains; this country is the heavenly abode of 8 of the 14 highest peaks in the world. Nepal welcomes thousands of trekkers and climbers alike every year. If you’re an adventurer or mountain lover, chances are you have been to Nepal and trekked to the mountains at least once. If not, there’s a high chance that it’s on your bucket list. Let us guess; it’s probably the Everest Base Camp Trek. Or maybe you are looking for shorter treks.

There are shorter treks-usually entail less than a week of itineraries-that are equally rewarding. Take it from us; the view is no less mesmerizing! These short treks, like the Poon Hill Trek, offer dramatic Himalayan scenery and an unforgettable experience to cherish forever. The Poon Hill trek is comparatively shorter and cheaper than the two classic treks: the Annapurna Base Camp trek and the Everest Base Camp trek. Poon Hill trek is an epic short journey to the vantage viewpoint of Poon Hill at 3210m. This trek is graded easy, ideal for novice trekkers, and also considered a fine adventure for families with children.  

Nestled in the Annapurna region of Nepal, the Poon Hill Trek is arguably the best short trek in Nepal. You can admire breathtaking panoramic views of mountains, including the Dhaulagiri range, Annapurna range, Machapuchare (Fishtail), Nilgiri range and Tukuche Peak. The enchanting sunrise from the viewpoint of Poon Hill is sure to leave you awestruck. With every step you take, you are closer to not just the majestic mountains but also the diverse culture and intriguing lifestyle of the Gurung, Magar and Thakali communities. Beyond stunning views and cultural richness, this Himalayan odyssey also introduces you to the generous hospitality of local people.

Imagine walking on centuries-old mountain trails, admiring the timeless beauty of Ghandruk and embracing the magical sunrise from Poon Hill. These are some perks of the Poon Hill trek. Staying in cozy trailside teahouses and guesthouses is an opportunity to immerse yourself in local lifestyle. You will definitely love hiking through the lush rhododendron forests. If these intrigue you, it’s time for you to lace up your hiking boots, pack your bag and get ready for an exhilarating journey to Poon Hill. And here’s everything you need to know!

Best Time to Trek to Poon Hill

Spring, from March to May, and autumn, spanning from September to November, offers the best of Poon Hill trek. Spring is the time of year when the trails are adorned with colorful rhododendrons. As you ascend the trail of Poon Hill, a canvas of rhododendron blooms welcomes you. The weather remains balmy with clear skies; while daytime temperatures are moderate, evening and night remain cool.

Similarly, during autumn, the weather remains predictable and the sky is crisp and clear. Both spring and autumn provide unhindered mountain vistas against the backdrop of blue skies. If you love to observe and immerse yourself in major Nepali festivals in local villages like Dashain and Tihar, schedule your trek during autumn. If you are wondering about the winter season, it’s a big-no. The cold weather, limited accommodations, and shorter days are some of the challenges of trekking in the winter season.

Trekking Itinerary

Poon Hill trek can be completed within 4-7 days to and from Kathmandu. The itinerary totally depends on you; it varies based on factors like the route you take, your pace, starting and ending points and side trips. If you’re short on time, you can do a 4-day accelerated trek. But there is a catch! You must be ready and especially physically fit for long hours of hiking each day. You would fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara, drive to Nayapul and complete the trek in 3 days.

A 5 to 6 days Poon Hill trek is the recommended hiking option to trek to Poon Hill. You will admire the awe-inspiring sunrise at Poon Hill and still have time to explore villages. Unlike a 4-day itinerary, you’ll have ample time to acclimatize and trek comfortably without the need to rush. With a slightly longer itinerary, you will have opportunities to explore side trails or simply relax and embrace the journey. And if you have enough days, you can go for 7-day Poon Hill trek. This is best for a family trek with children and elderly groups, to walk at your own leisurely pace, and with additional rest days. Besides, you can spend quality time in beautiful villages like Ghandruk, Tadapani and Ghorepani.

Here are the suggested outlined itineraries for 4 to 7 days Poon Hill:

4-Day Poon Hill Trek Itinerary

Day 1: Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara and drive to Nayapul and trek to Tikhedhunga

Day 2: Tikhedhunga to Ghorepani

Day 3: Sunrise at Poon Hill and descend to Tadapani

Day 4: Tadapani to Ghandruk, drive back to Pokhara and fly to Kathmandu

5-Day Poon Hill Trek Itinerary

Day 1: Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara and drive to Hile and trek to Ulleri

Day 2: Ulleri to Ghorepani

Day 3: Sunrise at Poon Hill and descend to Tadapani

Day 4: Tadapani to Ghandruk

Day 5: Drive back to Pokhara and fly to Kathmandu

6-Day Poon Hill Trek Itinerary

Day 1: Fly/drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara

Day 2: Drive to Hile and trek to Ulleri

Day 3: Trek to Ghorepani

Day 4: Hike to Poon Hill and trek to Tadapani

Day 5: Trek to Ghandruk and drive to Pokhara

Day 6: Fly/drive to Kathmandu

7-Day Poon Hill Trek Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Kathmandu (overnight in Kathmandu) and Kathmandu City Tour

Day 2: Fly to Pokhara and trek to Tikhedhunga

Day 3: Trek to Ghorepani

Day 4: Hike to Poon Hill and trek to Tadapani

Day 5: Trek to Ghandruk and explore Ghandruk

Day 6: Drive to Pokhara

Day 7: Fly/drive to Kathmandu

 

Permits required for Poon Hill Trek

Everyone who goes to Poon Hill needs to purchase Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) and Trekker’s Information Management System (TIMS) card to ensure legal entry to Annapurna region and Annapurna Conservation Area. You can arrange both at the tourism information center in Kathmandu or Pokhara.

TIMS Card

TIMS cards can be easily and quickly arranged at the Nepal Tourism Board office in Bhrikutimandap, Kathmandu, or at the Nepal Tourism Board Regional Office in Srijana Chowk, Lakeside, Pokhara. To obtain the card for Poon Hill trek, you need to fill TIMS card application form, submit a copy of your passport and 2 passport-sized photos and pay the fee of NPR 2OOO (USD 17) per person. If you’re from SAARC countries, the cost is NPR 6OO (USD) per person. Please note that the fee may change over time and, so you are suggested to check and verify the fee before you trek. Also, if you’re organizing your trek from a trekking agency, the agency shall arrange the card for you.

ACAP Permit

You can obtain an ACAP permit at the Nepal Tourism Board office in Bhrikutimandap, Kathmandu or at the Nepal Tourism Board Regional Office in Srijana Chowk, Lakeside, Pokhara. And just in case you forget to get the permit from Pokhara, you can get them at entry points like Besisahar or Nayapul. Just like a TIMS card, you will need to fill out the form and provide a copy of your passport and 2 passport-sized photos. The fee for an ACAP permit is NPR 3000 (USD 25) per person and individual trekkers from SAARC countries need to pay NPR 1000 (USD 8). Again, please check the latest information on permits before you embark on your journey.

Packing Essentials

Although there is an ultimate packing list for trekking in Nepal, the packing list for the Poon Hill trek can differ slightly. You can prepare the list based on your preference. When it comes to the Poon Hill trek or other short treks, it is imperative that you don’t over pack or end up missing out on that one gear. Therefore, packing wisely is as important as choosing the right travel agency for the Poon Hill trek. A well-packed backpack ensures your comfort, safety, and pleasant trekking experience. Remember to tailor your packing list to the season. This is because the items essential for winter may not be handy in spring or autumn.

ClothingFoot WearGearPersonal ItemsAccessories
Lightweight Trekking pantsSturdy and comfortable hiking bootsA comfortable daypack (35-50l)First aid kitPower bank, extra batteries
Trekking shirtsMoisture-wicking socksSleeping bag and sleeping bag linerToiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper, small towel and soap, deodorantCamera and lenses
Waterproof and windproof jacketCrampons (optional)Trekking poles  Hand SanitizerTrekking map or guidebook
A fleece or down jacket Headlamp or flashlightInsect repellantReusable water purification system
Trekking shorts Water bottle or hydration systemPersonal documents: passport, trekking permits etc.Notebook and pen
Hat and Gloves Sunglasses, sunscreen, lip balms  
Gaiters Rain Poncho  
Thermal underwear    

Accommodation

One frequently asked question about the Poon Hill trek is what the accommodation is like. Well, it is a teahouse trek. There are many trailside teahouses en route to Poon Hill that caters to hundreds of trekkers, especially in peak season. You will be surprised to know that most teahouses have Wi-Fi and hot showers and private bathrooms. The teahouse along the route of the Poon Hill trek ranges from small family-owned teahouses to larger lodges that can accommodate at least 50 trekkers. In recent years, commercial buildings with modern amenities have sprung up.  

Generally, most teahouses are simple and feature wooden twin beds with a pillow, blanket, and bedside table. While most tea houses have shared bathrooms, if you’re lucky, you will find private bathrooms. Remember that squat toilet is the norm. That said, there are Western-style flush toilets as well. Tea houses have a large communal dining area and sitting rooms heated by wood or yak dung burning stove in the center. 

Food and Dining

Delicious. Healthy. That pretty much sums up the food and dining experience while doing Poon Hill Trek. Dal Bhat and Momo are quite popular and readily available at every stopping point. This is because trekkers and guides alike prefer Dal Bhat as a meal after trekking for a couple of hours. An adage – “Dal Bhat Power 24 Hour,” is quite popular among trekkers in the mountain region of Nepal. Rest assured, the food is locally grown in the surrounding areas.

Besides these two food options, menus of the tea houses offer noodles, pancakes, eggs, potato dishes, rice and vegetable curries, tea, coffee, pizza and pastries. The breakfast menu of most teahouses usually serves toast, egg, porridge, and pancakes unless you order something different. Rice, noodles, momo, and pizza are some of the items on the lunch menu. Dinner options are similar to the menu for lunch and breakfast. Remember, it is advised to prefer vegetarianism during the trek.

Altitude and Acclimatization

Starting from the lowland village of Napayul at 1070m, the trek lets you ascend to Poon Hill at 3210m. Unlike the Annapurna Circuit Trek or Annapurna Base Camp trek in the Annapurna region of Nepal, the Poon Hill trek covers an altitude lesser than 3500m. It still rewards a breathtaking 360-degree view of the snow-capped mountains, which is nothing short of magical. Its achievable altitude is one of the reasons why it is recommended for novice trekkers. In spite of Poon Hill Trek’s moderate height, altitude sickness is still a possibility.

Fitness and Training

The Poon Hill trek is considered easy to moderate in difficulty and requires a reasonable level of fitness. We already mentioned that both novice and experienced trekkers can do this trek. It is crucial to get your body ready for the Poon Hill trek in order to have a successful and pleasurable trekking experience. Although the difficulty of this trek is regarded as moderate, it does encompass diverse terrain and altitudes, so having a reasonable degree of fitness and preparation can greatly improve your trekking experience. 

Concentrate on both cardiovascular fitness and leg strength during your preparation. To increase your endurance, take part in frequent aerobic exercises, including jogging, brisk walking, cycling, and trekking. Increase the duration and intensity of your workouts gradually to match the demands of hiking at higher altitudes. During the trek, go slowly and drink plenty of water. You should quickly descend to a lower altitude if you start to feel the effects of altitude sickness. Remember, fitness is key to success for any adventure to the Himalayas.

Guide and Porters

Do you need a guide for Poon Hill Trek? Yes, it is mandatory for international trekkers to hire a government-licensed trekking guide or porter for Poon Hill Trek. Can you trek independently? No, you cannot trek independently. Nepal Tourism Board enforced this rule on April 1, 2023, citing trekkers’ safety concerns. You can hire a guide or porter on a daily basis through a trekking agency in Kathmandu or Pokhara. A guide will not only provide assistance, they will also enrich your trekking experience. Your safety is of utmost importance to a trekking guide. Adding to this, they offer valuable insights into local culture, lifestyle, and landscape. Beyond their professional roles, they share stories and laughter.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Poon Hill trek is an amazing adventure that promises a blend of Himalayan grandeur and cultural immersion. This trek is ideal for both experienced and first-time trekkers who are willing to explore the Himalayas. Due to its easy-to-moderate difficulty level and well-maintained trails, it is a perfect choice for a family trek. As you journey through the trail of Poon Hill, you will be mesmerized by the majestic mountains and ever-changing landscapes. The sunrise view from Poon Hill, where the magnificent Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges come to life in an incredible symphony of hues, is unquestionably the highlight of this walk. So, pack your bags and get ready because Poon Hill awaits you!

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