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They say love is sweeter the second time around, I say Nepal is sweeter and lovelier the second time around!

Yes, just a year after my first love affair with this Himalayan state, I went back late last year to experience more of Nepal. Needless to say, I am that hooked with this country. I simply love its mountains, its climate, its temples, its people, its cuisine and its beautiful mess and blend of everything!

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Poon Hill, an ideal short trek from Pokhara

I have been to the temples, durbar squares and other attractions in Kathmandu Valley on my previous visit. This time, my aim was to experience the mountains. But with only six days in my itinerary, trekking to base camps would be impossible. So I searched for short trekking courses in the Himalayas ideal for solo traveler and I bumped into Poon Hill.

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“If not for Poon Hill, tourists will not be flocking in Ghorepani”, my local guide said.

Located in the town of Ghorepani with elevation of 3210 meters above sea level, Poon Hill offers panoramic view of eastern Himalaya with the unobstructed view of the snow capped mountains of Dhaulagiri (8167m), Annapurna I (8091m), Machhapuchhare (6998m), Nilgiri (7041m), Annapurna South (7219m), Annapurna II (7939m), Annapurna III (7555m), Annapurna IV (7525m), Lamjung Himal (6988m), Hiunchuli (6441m) and Tukuche Peak (6920m) among others.

It was three days of walking, river crossing, eating Dhal Bhat and a whole lot more. A short trek that I highly recommend! So without further ado, here’s my itinerary, budget and tips to help you plan your trip to Poon Hill.

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The trek starts at the town of Nayapul.

Itinerary

Day 0: Flight to Kuala Lumpur

1900H: Arrival at NAIA 1 / Flight Check-in2115H: Boarding
2130H: Flight Manila to Kuala Lumpur

Day 1: Side Trip to Petronas Twin Towers + Flight to Kathmandu

0055H: Arrival in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) / Airport sleepover0530H: KLIA to Bus Station0615H: KLIA Bus Station to Kuala Lumpur Convention Center (KLCC)0730H: Arrival at KLCC / Explore KLCC and Petronas Twin Towers Area / Breakfast0830H: KLCC to KL Sentral0910H: KL Sentral to Kuala Lumpur Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT)1014H: Arrival in LCCT, Flight Check-in, Boarding1155H: Flight: Kuala Lumpur to Kathmandu1400H: Arrival in Kathmandu, Immigration Process1540H: Bus from Kathmandu Airport to Ratna Park1610H: Reached Thamel District1620H: At Nepal Wilderness Office to arrange the fee and documents needed for trekking1700H: Check-in at Festoon Inn1745H: Walked around Thamel / Dinner Sagarmantha Bazar1820H: Shop in thamel / change money / night walk in Kathmandu Doukha Durbar Square
1915H: Back at hotel / lights off

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Colorful boats in Lake Fewa, Pokhara

Day 2: Kathmandu to Pokhara Overland

0630H: Hotel check out / taxi to Ganganbu0900H: Microbus from Kathmandu to Pokhara1215H: Lunch break at Darechok1245H: Microbus left Darechok1530H: Arrival in Pokhara / walked to Lakeside1610H: Check-in at Hotel Lotus Inn Lakeside1700H: Met local guide Lok / we rented down jacket and sleeping bag / changed money / light dinner / night walk / shopping
2200H: Back at hotel / lights off

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A series of waterfalls in Nayapul

Day 3: Pokhara to Nayapul + Trek from Nayapul to Tirkedhunga

0600H: Call time / fix stuff0700H: Breakfast / hotel check-out0800H: Taxi to bus station0820H: Arrival in bus station / bought ticket to Nayapul0828H: Bus from Pokhara to Nayapul0955H: Arrival in Nayapul / start of trek1130H: Lunch at Greenland Restaurant in Ramghai, Kaski 71230H: Continue trekking1325H: Arrival in Hille
1350H: Arrival in Tirkedhunga / check-in Laxmi Guesthouse

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One of the teahouses in Tirkedhunga

Day 4: Tirkedhunga to Ghorepani

0615H: Call time / pack stuff0655H: Breakfast / checkout0733H: Departure from Tirkedhunga0853H: Arrival at Ulleri0943H: At Bhantanti area1103H: Lunch at Hungry Eye Restaurant in Nangenthanti1228H: Continue trekking1328H: Arrival in Lower Ghorepani1345H: At Upper Ghorepani / check-in at Mountain View Guest House / free time1800: Dinner
1900: Free time / lights off

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A typical Nepali house in Tirkedhunga

Day 5: Sunrise at Poon Hill + Return to Pokhara

0430H: Call time0500H: Start of trek to Poon Hill0535H: At Poon Hill for sunrise0710H: Trek back to hotel0730H: Reached hotel / breakfast / pack-up0800H: Check-out / depart Ghorepani0845H: At Nangnthani0930H: Quick rest at Bhanthani1052H: Lunch at Tirkedhunga1143H: Continue trek1213H: Jeep from Hille to Nayapul1310H: Arrival at Nayapul1320H: Bus from Nayapul to Pokhara1500H: Arrival in Pokhara / taxi to Lakeside1520H: Check-in at Hotel Lotus Inn Lakeside, free time, explore Lakeside1800H: Dinner, night walk, shopping
1930H: Back at hotel / lights off

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Poon Hill, a worthy trek!

Day 6: Flight: Pokhara to Kathmandu to Kuala Lumpur 

0600H: Call time / breakfast / check-out0700H: Walk to Pokhara Airport0730H: Arrival in Pokhara Airport / check-in / pre-departure1215H: Flight Pokhara to Kathmandu1250H: Arrival in Kathmandu Domestic Airport, transfer to Internatinal Airport1320H: At Kathmandu International Airport, check-in to flight1515H: Flight Kathmandu to Kuala Lumpur
2215H: Arrival in Kuala Lumpur / sleepover in KLCC

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A view of Macchapure’s summit from Poon Hill

Day 7: Kuala Lumpur to Manila

0700H: Call time / breakfast / free time0920H: Flight check-in1120H: Flight Kuala Lumpur to Manila
1510H: Arrival in Manila

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This is how a solo room in the teahouses looks like

Expenses

P550 – NAIA Terminal FeeP245 – Bus to KLCCP75 – BreakfastP35 – LRT to KL Sentral (2.5 MYR)P135 – Bus KL Sentral to LCCTP1100 – Nepal Visa (25 USD)P9 – Bus to Ratna ParkP5350 – Guide/TIMS/ACAP Fee c/o Nepal Wilderness (122 USD)P558 – Dinner, grocery and souvenir itemsP90 – Taxi to Ganganbu (200 NPR)P226 – Kathmandu to Pokhara Microbus (500 NPR)P145 – LunchP225 – Three Days Rental for Down Jacket & Sleeping Bag (500 NPR)P291 – Head Lamp (400 NPR) + Rain Cover (250 NPR)P100 – BreakfastP135 – Taxi from Lakeside to Bus Station (300 NPR)P100 – Bus Fare for 2 Persons from Pokhara to Nayapul (220 NPR)P150 – Lunch (350 NPR)P500 – Accommodation and Food at Laxmi GuesthouseP22 – Donation to kids (50 NPR)P330 – Lunch in Hungry Eye Restaurant (730 NPR for dhal bhat, milk coffee and lemon tea)P580 – Bill in Mountain View Guesthouse (1290 NPR)P22 – National Park Entrance at Poon Hill (50 NPR)P271 – Lunch at Tirkedhunga (600 NPR)P90 – Jeep to Nayapul (200 NPR)P100 – Bus Fare for 2 Persons from Nayapul to Pokhara (220 NPR)P900 – Tip to Guide (2000 NPR)P90 – Dinner (200 NPR)P442 – Souvenirs (desk calendars, mug, flag – 980 NPR)P142 – Grocery ItemsP90 – Passenger Service Fee in Pokhara (200 NPR)———-
P13,098 Expenses (excluding airfare)

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A view of Mount Everest’s summit during a flight from Pokhara to Kathmandu

Tips

  • Poon Hill is an ideal short trek in Annapurna area. The trek to Poon Hill requires at least three days and two nights from Pokhara but it is recommended to have four days and three nights and pass by the town of Ghandruk going back (Nayapul-Tirkedhunga-Ghorepani-Ghandruk -Nayapul)
  • For first timers, it is advisable to join a guided group tour or hire an independent local guide. There are a lot of travel agencies offering package tour to Poon Hill for as low as 300USD, some with fix departure dates where solo travelers can join.
  • If you are a solo or independent traveler, another cheaper alternative is to hire a local guide like I did. Local guide fee is $25/day while porter fee ranges from $18/day to $20/day. This link will help you on getting a local guide or porter: http://nepalindependentguide.com/content/350-are-you-independent-traveler.html
  • Trekking on your own and without a guide is also possible. The trail from Nayapul to Ghorepani is relatively easy to read and with a lot of other tourists in the trail you will sure not get lost. Be sure to obtain the necessary trekking permits (TIMS and ACAP) in Kathmandu or Pokhara or you will be charged double if you get those in the trail.
  • Jacket, sleeping bags, tent and other necessary trekking and camping equipment can be rented in shops in Pokhara
  • It is advisable to spend a night in Pokhara before going into Annapurna. This is to arrange and fix everything that you need for the trek and to get acquainted to your group or guide.
  • Bring only what ‘s necessary for the trek, leave everything that you will not be needing in your hotel or guesthouse in Pokhara. Remember to pack light.

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