Poon Hill Trekking: a complete guide for your 3 or 4 day trek

Poon Hill Trekking: a complete guide for your 3 or 4 day trek

The Poon Hill trekking is one of the most popular hikes in the Annapurna region and perhaps in Nepal. It’s not without reason. The hike is incredibly beautiful, relatively easy, short, and offers a wonderful combination of nature, culture, and gigantic mountain peaks. It’s the perfect trek if you’re not very experienced, have less time, or want to add a few extra days to another trek. The route is well-marked, and along the way, you’ll find numerous teahouses and restaurants. Additionally, it’s an excellent trek to combine with the Annapurna Circuit or the ABC (Annapurna Base Camp) trekking.

The Poon Hill trekking in a nutshell:

  • Duration: 3 – 4 days trekking
  • Distance: 40 km
  • Difficulty: easy/medium
  • Starting Point: Pokhara or Kathmandu
  • Lowest Point: 1000 meters
  • Highest Point: 3131 meters
  • Total Ascent: 3000 meters
  • Total Descent: 1996 meters
  • Best Travel Time: Oct – Nov or Mar – Apr
  • Permits: TIMS card and Annapurna Sanctuary permit

In this article

poon hill trekking
poon hill
poon hill trekking
Poon hill nepal

Best Time to Visit Poon Hill for Trekking

If you plan to hike Poon Hill during your trip to Nepal, the best time to start is in October, November, March, or April. During these months, the temperatures are favorable, and there is less chance of heavy weather like rain or snow. October and November, in particular, offer clear skies and lush greenery due to the earlier rainfall, making it one of the busiest periods to visit Nepal.

In April, dry conditions may lead to smog, affecting visibility of mountain peaks. Based on our experiences, late October was an excellent time to visit Nepal.

poon hill
poon hill trekking

poon hill
poon hill trekking

Duration of the Poon Hill Trekking

Most people complete the Poon Hill trek in 4 days. It’s possible to do it in 3 days, but that involves long days of steep ascent and descent.

If you have more time and want to extend the Poon Hill experience, you can combine it with the ABC trek, adding extra kilometers and rewarding you with impressive views of snow-covered peaks. For the more adventurous, there’s the Annapurna Circuit, a complete journey through the entire Annapurna region. So, plenty of choices whether you opt for the standard Poon Hill, mix it with ABC, or tackle the entire Circuit—it remains a robust trek through the Himalayas.

poon hill trekking

Difficulty of the Poon Hill Trekking

Every trek in Nepal requires a good basic fitness level, but Poon Hill is relatively easy compared to other hikes. There are no difficult paths, and the route is quite straightforward. However, you ascend more than 3000 meters in a few days, and acclimating to the altitude remains a challenge in this region. Good basic fitness is advisable for the Poon Hill trek, sometimes referred to as the “trek of stairs” with about 3300 steps to conquer, but it’s all worth it in the end.

poon hill
poon hill trekking

Cost of the Poon Hill Trekking

The costs for Poon Hill vary depending on your travel style, group size, preferences, and the time of your visit to Nepal. Here’s a rough cost estimate for the trek:

  • Guide: 25 euros per day
  • Permits: 40 – 50 euros per person
  • Accommodation per night: 5 – 10 euros
  • Food: 15 – 20 euros per day
  • Transportation: 20 – 30 euros (round trip from Pokhara)

Keep in mind that these are rough estimates, and prices may vary. It’s always a good idea to have a buffer in your budget for unexpected expenses.

poon hill trekking

How to Get There?

Most people start the Poon Hill trek in Nayapul and finish in Ghandruk. However, it’s also possible to reverse the route, descending more but climbing less.

Another option is to end in Kimche or even walk all the way back to Australian Camp. Here are the most chosen options:

  • Start in Nayapul and finish in Ghandruk: 40 km / 3000 meters ascent
  • Start in Ghandruk and finish in Nayapul: 40 km / 1996 meters ascent
  • Start in Nayapul and finish in Kimche: 44 km / 3000 meters ascent
  • Start in Kimche and finish in Nayapul: 44 km / 2296 meters ascent

From Pokhara and Kathmandu, buses and jeeps are available to take you to the trek’s starting point.

poon hill trekking

Poon Hill Trekking Route

Day 1: Nayapul – Bhuktangle

  • Starting Point: Nayapul (1070m elevation)
  • Endpoint: Tikhedunga (1580m elevation)
  • Total Ascent: 540m
  • Total Distance: +/- 10 km
  • Duration: +/- 4 hours

From Pokhara, we leave the hustle behind and begin the trek. Along the way, we enjoy green landscapes, cozy villages, and flowing rivers. After a lunch break, we reach a comfortable homestay with luxurious amenities.

poon hill
poon hill trekking
poon hill
poon hill trekking

Day 2: Tikhedunga – Ghorepani

  • Starting Point: Tikhedunga (1520m elevation)
  • Endpoint: Ghorepani (2853m)
  • Total Ascent: 1360m
  • Total Distance: +/- 12km
  • Duration: 7 hours

The day involves a steep climb with 3500 steps. Despite some health issues, we reach the top of Poon Hill for a breathtaking sunrise. After breakfast, we start the walk to Ghandruk, enjoying beautiful views and meeting a friendly horse along the way.

poon hill trekking
poon hill
poon hill trekking
poon hill trekking

Day 3: Ghorepani – Poon Hill (3200m) – Ghorepani – Tadapani

  • Starting Point: Ghorepani (2853m)
  • Endpoint: Tadapani (2600m)
  • Total Ascent: 500m
  • Total Distance: +/- 12km
  • Duration: 6 hours

Early in the morning, part of the group reaches the top of Poon Hill for a stunning sunrise. After breakfast, we walk to Ghandruk, enjoying the surroundings. The day ends at a simple homestay with basic amenities.

poon hill trekking
poon hill trekking
poon hill
poon hill trekking
poon hill
poon hill trekking

Day 4: Tadapani – Ghandruk – Kimche – Pokhara

  • Starting Point: Tadapani (2600m)
  • Endpoint: Kimche (1900 m)
  • Total Distance: +/- 7km
  • Duration: 3-4 hours

The last day of the trek is short and straightforward. After lunch, we take a bus back to Pokhara, reflecting on a splendid Poon Hill hike as an addition to the Mardi Himal Trekking.

Tip! Book a room at Hotel Middle Path & Spa before returning! Absolutely our favorite in Pokhara.

poon hill trekking
poon hill
poon hill trekking
poon hill trekking

Do You Need a Guide for Poonhill?

As of April 2023, a new rule requires trekking only with a licensed guide. This means you are legally obliged to undertake the trek with a guide. However, last year there were no strict checks, and certain regions refuse to comply, fearing a decrease in trekker numbers.

So, do you need a guide for the trek? Yes, officially. Is it possible to do it solo? Yes, but at your own risk. There’s a chance of a fine or being sent back. If you prefer to trek without a guide, it’s advisable to follow the latest news on this rule. This blog article provides a good overview of the current regulations and has updated the article several times: Latest Information on the Mandatory Trekking Guide Rule in Nepal.

Additionally, discussing it with other travelers who have completed the trek on-site is a good idea.

If you prefer to venture into the mountains with a guide, you have three options:

  1. Hire a private guide with a TIM license
  2. Book a tour and do the trek with a group
  3. Or book a pre-arranged trip with a travel agency

Why Choose to Do Poon Hill Trek Alone?

The main reason to undertake the trek alone is freedom. You can set your own pace and route. While it’s possible with a private guide as well, we noticed that our guide had a preference for certain routes and accommodation spots. Another reason might be cost-related. Guide prices have significantly increased due to new regulations, and some people opt to do the hike without a guide.

The drawbacks include the fact that everything becomes your own responsibility – arranging accommodations, permits, food, etc. There’s also a lack of certain knowledge, such as identifying symptoms of altitude sickness, predicting storms, or recognizing dangerous situations. Trekking at such altitudes always involves risks.

Advantages of trekking with a guide:

  • You have fewer worries as many things are taken care of, such as permits, accommodations, and the route.
  • If you’re fortunate with your guide, they can provide insights into the environment, culture, and Nepal.
  • When traveling with an organization, there are often porters, relieving you from carrying a heavy backpack.
  • Most importantly, you contribute to supporting the local population.
poon hill trekking

Drawbacks of trekking with a guide are mainly the costs and limited flexibility.

poon hill trekking

Safety

During a trek above 3000 meters, be cautious of altitude sickness, also known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). This can occur when ascending rapidly to a high altitude without adequate acclimatization. To prevent altitude sickness, it’s advisable not to go more than 500 meters higher than the previous day. For example, if you slept at 3000 meters, it’s recommended not to go higher than 3500 meters the next day or to descend. This allows your body to adjust to the altitude. Altitude sickness can affect anyone and is not related to your health or fitness, with the risk increasing above 2500 meters.

Symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite

Take enough rest, stay hydrated, and ascend slowly. If you experience symptoms of altitude sickness, stop ascending immediately.

It’s also crucial to closely monitor weather conditions. Especially on the last day, it’s essential to depart only in favorable weather conditions, as the trail may not be well-marked. Dangerous situations can arise, especially in the presence of snow.

poon hill trekking

Permits

Before embarking on the adventurous Poon Hill Trekking in Nepal, there are two essential permits to obtain: the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) and the Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS) Card. If you’re accompanied by a guide, they often handle the necessary arrangements. However, for independent travelers, it’s possible to manage this yourself at the Tourist Service Centre in both Kathmandu and Pokhara. The costs are approximately 15 euros for the TIMS Card and around 30 euros for the ACAP.

Important information to provide includes your arrival and departure dates for Nepal, the entry and exit points of your trek, a detailed itinerary for the trek, a local emergency contact number (which can also be your tour operator), an emergency contact number in your home country, and, of course, the policy number of your travel insurance (as trekking participation requires travel insurance).

Additionally, you need to submit several documents, including a copy of your passport and two passport-style photos. Carefully arranging these permits and documents before your trek is crucial for an uninterrupted enjoyment of the beautiful Poon Hill and the surrounding Himalayan environment.

poon hill trekking
poon hill
poon hill trekking
poon hill trekking

Packing List

Every kilogram feels ten times as heavy during a trek! And yes, that’s not an exaggeration. So pack light! Try to stay between 5 and 10 kilograms. Here’s what we packed:

  • Good hiking boots: preferably waterproof hiking boots
  • Flip-flops
  • Hiking poles
  • 2 pairs of hiking socks
  • 1 short hiking shorts/leggings
  • 1 long hiking pants/leggings
  • 1 long pants for the evening
  • 3 short shirts
  • 1 thick sweater
  • 1 waterproof softshell jacket
  • Hat
  • Scarf
  • Gloves (thin gloves worked fine for me)
  • Headlamp
  • Shampoo bar
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Sleeping bag (it was very cold during our trek)
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm (don’t forget! Thank me later)
  • Crampons: essential if there’s a lot of snow
  • Blister plasters
  • Power bank
  • Charger
  • Altitude sickness pills
  • Anti-diarrheal medication
  • Paracetamol

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