Trekking is by far the most popular activity in Nepal and the reason why 1000’s of keen hiker’s flock here during the high seasons. There are countless treks to keep yourself busy, from 2 days to 25 days and they all offer incredible experiences.

We headed out on a 4-day, 3-night trek to Ghorepani / Poon Hill. The Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek is the perfect introductory trek for individuals with minimal time in Nepal and for people who want to get a taste of the Annapurna Mountain Region. It is one of the most popular trekking routes with the highlight of viewing the sunrise at Poon Hill, 3810m above sea level. Although it is one of the most popular routes, we hardly ever walked with anyone else.

Poon Hill

Below we have outlined some tips, packing lists and options for hiking Poon Hill. To read our 4-day experience in vivid detail, check out our post here.

When to go to Poon Hill

We went in September and caught the tail end of the Monsoon season. Apart from heavy downfall during the evenings, we were pretty fortunate during the days with a mixture of sunshine, cloud cover & clear skies.

September to November is the most popular time for this trek, along with many others treks in Nepal. The Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek is throughout the Annapurna region (#6 in the map below)

Trekking Map of Nepal

Difficulty of Poon Hill 

The Poon Hill trek is categorised under “easy” but we would put it in the moderate to difficult basket. It wasn’t impossible but it wasn’t a walk in the park. Comparing this trek to that of Everest Base Camp or the Annapurna Circuit, then yes it’s easier but there were times it was a definite challenge and we questioned the reason we were putting ourselves through this pain. 7 hours of walking up 3500 stairs?! Why??

Unlike the Inca Trail, we weren’t mentally prepared for this. It definitely helps to have a thorough understanding of what you are about to face. 4 days was plenty for us, although this trek can be done in 5 to break up the days even more. See below for the map of our trek starting at the base at Pokhara towards Nayapul and going clockwise.

Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek Map

Top Tips for the Poon Hill Trek

  • Bring plenty of local currency (NPR Rupees). Good luck finding a credit card machine on the mountain.
  • Pack toilet paper! None of the tea houses supplied it.
  • Tea houses in the villages have power. Some will request a small fee to charge your items, others will be free of charge. Make sure you ask.
  • If you offer to eat for 2 meals at the tea house, accommodation is likely thrown in for free (based on if you are trekking without a guide)
  • Wifi is available in some guesthouses for 100 NPR ($1 USD) but who needs WiFi up here.
  • Should you need medical help, doctors and small hospitals can be found in Ghandruk, Ghorepani and Ulleri.

Annapurna Mountains

  • The higher you get in the mountains, the more expensive water/snacks are.
  • Hold onto your water bottle after Ghorepani, they will only refill your bottles, not give you a new one due to rubbish problems.
  • Two passport size photographs are required while applying for each entry trekking permit.
  • During the rainy season, keep a close eye out for leeches. They’re everywhere! It is wise to carry a small amount of salt with you.
  • Be prepared to wake up every morning for sunrises… it’s the best part of the day!

Sunrise Tea

What to pack

Unless you are hiring a Sherpa/porter, we suggest packing very lightly as you will be carrying your own belongings all day. Our packs weighed around 6kg (less when we finished all our snacks!) and we used everything we packed.

Maybe don’t pack like this guy…

Overpacked Trekking Bag

This packing list is based on a 3 night 4-day hike. At some tea houses, they have fire pits and you can hand wash & dry your clothes.

  • Underwear (just in case you may forget!)
  • 3-4 shirts
  • 2 pairs of pants
  • 1 pair of shorts (I didn’t wear shorts but Jacob did)
  • 1 pair of comfortable pants for the end of every day
  • 3-4 shirts
  • 4 socks
  • Comfortable hiking shoes
  • A long sleeve shirt
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Poncho
  • Water bottle
  • Hat/sunglasses
  • Microfiber towel
  • Sleeping bag liner (they do provide blankets but for extra warmth and cleanliness we prefer to sleep with these)
  • First aid kit (ibuprofen, bandaids, Imodium, toilet paper, sunscreen, hand sanitizer)
  • Bug spray & sunscreen
  • Camera
  • Kindle
  • Local currency
  • Plastic bag for wet clothes
  • Snacks (along the way you can buy pringles, chocolate bars and biscuits but they are $$)

Booking your Ghorepani Trek

Annapurna Mountains

There are 3 ways you can book this trek and here’s how they differ.

  1. Book a package through an agency. (Costly but convenient)
  2. Hire a local guide from your hotel or a from a recommendation. (Cheaper)
  3. Alone/with a travel partner. (Cheapest)

Option 1 – Book a package through an agency (what we did)

There are a ridiculous amount of companies in Nepal that offer their trekking services. How an earth are you supposed to choose? We were approached in Kathmandu by a very friendly man who talked us through the ins-and-outs of the trek. Whilst he runs a great company, Ammonite Adventure, and we were happy with their services, we wish we waited until Pokhara to book our tour, for cost reasons and so we could have met our guide before hand. Had we have booked through Pokhara, we would have gone with a very reputable company- Happy Treks Nepal. Our friends used this company and had a 10/10 experience.

Ghorepani Poon Hill Guide

Booking through an agency is similar to an all inclusive package at a hotel. Everything is covered in the one cost (apart from water, snacks & tips). It’s the easiest but it is also the most expensive. The company has to make money somehow!

In the cost, you’re given the trekking permit, a guide, accommodation, 3 meals a day & transport to and from Pokhara. We thought we’d snatched a great deal at the time until we hit the mountain and realised the cost of food and accommodation was extremely cheap, $3-$6 a meal and $5 a night at tea houses. Unfortunately, on top of it, we didn’t fit all too well with our guide. Although this isn’t the companies fault, if you can, meet your guide prior to your trek to ensure it’s a good fit.

Trekking Permit

We paid a total of $574 USD for the 2 of us for our trek which was around $150 more than what we would have paid if we had done it on our own or shopped around more. You live and you learn!

  • Pro – Everything is organised for you.
  • Con – More expensive.

Option 2 – Hiring a local Guide

This is definitely the “middle ground”. If you’re unsure being on your own and like the comfort of knowing someone is there then hiring a local guide (not through an agency) is the best bet. Unfortunately, these are a little harder to come by unless you know of one through a recommendation. Your best bet is asking your hotel.

If you hire a guide, you pay for everything yourself as you go (similar to the list below) however you have an additional cost of $20-$25 USD per day for the guides food, accommodation and services, plus any tip you wish to give at the end.

  • Pro – Get the best of both worlds. A locals knowledge, without the agency fees.
  • Con – Slightly harder to come by.

Option 3 – Alone/with a travel partner 

Unlike the Inca Trail, you can trek alone without a guide. However, for beginners and solo hikers, a guide is recommended for peace of mind & company!

Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek

We were quite surprised how many people were trekking without a guide. It got us thinking that we should have done the same thing, especially because we had each other. You follow a basic outline of where to spend the night & you can chop and change based on how you feel. There are plenty of villages throughout the route and a lot of friendly faces both locals and tourist alike to help you out. It’s quite difficult to get “lost” as it’s just one path.

Here is a breakdown of costs:

Note: These can change depending on personal needs.

  • TIMS Trekking permit is 2000 NPR ($20 USD)
  • Annapurna Conservation Fee 2000 NPR ($20 USD)
  • Local bus to Nayapul 350-400 NPR ( USD $3.50-$4.00)
  • Local bus back to Pokhara  350-400 NPR ( USD $3.50-$4.00)
  • Tea houses (accommodation) are located along the trail in the villages. They range between 300 NPR and 600 NPR for a room. ($3 USD – $7 USD)
  • Meals – Every tea house serves the same food. Literally. Main dishes are 300 NPR to 600 NPR ($3.00 USD – $6 USD )
    Note: The vegetables and fruits are relatively fresh along the way but perhaps steer clear of the meats unless you have a tough Nepalese stomach.
  • Water 60-100 NPR (USD $0.60-$1.00)
  • Pro – By far the cheapest, you can go at your own pace.
  • Con – Figuring out all the logistics without a local’s knowledge.

Tadapani Village

Important Tips

  • Online bookings look the easiest but they are without a doubt 2-3x the price. Avoid pre-booking this trek online.
  • Try finding a local guide through your hotel.
  • If you book through an agent, don’t be afraid to bargain with the price they give you, they will lower it.
  • If you’re going with an agency, shop around to get at least 3 quotes.

Conclusion

Annapurna Mountains

Which one would you choose? If we were to do it again (unlikely), we would definitely do it ourselves. It is for sure the most cost effective way. Hiring a local guide is the second best option (especially if you’re alone) and whilst booking a package through the agency is the easiest, it is by far the most expensive (whoops!) unless you can really bargain your way down.

Follow these tips on how to organise your trip and what to pack & you’re good to go. Nepal is stunning and everyone should make the trek here to experience some of the most magnificent hikes in the world. See our experience here!

Married days survived: 554

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