Tips for Trekking the Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek in Nepal

It’s already been a month since I spent a few days trekking the Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek, a relatively short and easy, but nevertheless beautiful trek around the lower Annapurna region. Although I’m no stranger to going on trekking trips abroad, I still tend to get a little nervous whilst I’m packing for them! The unfamiliarity of the route, the fact that most comforts and facilities are unavailable during the trek, whilst knowing that I should aim to have the lightest backpack possible, make planning for a trek an ordeal that I never look forward to! I’ve put together some tips for trekking the Ghorepani Poon Hill trek in the hope that you will find them helpful whilst working on your own trekking plans!

My full experience on the Ghorepani Poon Hill trek can be found here. This post will focus exclusively on the practical side of preparing for the trek.

top of the hill - Poon hill trek

Tips for Trekking the Ghorepani Poon Hill trek

Permits

The Annapurna Conservation Permit + TIMS Trekking Permit are both required for the Ghorepani Poon Hill trek. They can be obtained by your agent or guide or you can apply for them yourself in Kathmandu if you intend trekking without a guide. Read more about how to obtain the Annapurna Conservation Permit and the TIMS trekking permit.
My trek was organized by Royal Mountain Travel who also obtained my permits. The organizing team, guides and porters were truly excellent and very friendly, thus making my experience very comfortable!

welcome to Annapurna sign - Poon hill trek

Visiting Kathmandu? Read about 10 of the best things to do in Kathmandu

Difficulty

The Ghorepani Poon Hill trek is of average difficulty and can be tackled by anyone of moderate fitness level. The second day is toughest, since it is mostly uphill and involves climbing up about 5000 steps, so you might want to mentally prepare for this part!

The path at the Poon hill trek, Pokhara

Packing

I am breaking this into essential and optional items to make things a little simpler:

Essential

  • Good trekking shoes – be sure to break them in before the trek, walk in them for at least an hour a day for a few days before starting off.
  • Medication – any personal daily medication, as well as oral rehydration salts for replenishing salts lost through sweating and potential stomach episodes.
  • Toilet paper and tissues – very often not provided in toilets so always carry your own.
  • Blister pads – hopefully you will not suffer blisters, but if you do, these might well prove to be your salvation!
  • Rain jacket – I was trekking during the shoulder season which meant that we had rain every single afternoon. Though the rains were not especially heavy, a rain jacket was a necessity. Rain in the mountains is very possible even if you trek during the dry season, so always expect and be prepared for rain.
  • Fleece and other warm clothes – it can get cold in the evenings and at night. Be sure to carry enough warm clothes. A long sleeved top, a fleece and a good pair of socks should work well.
  • Trekking pants – I really recommend zip-off’s for easy conversion into shorts during the hot days.
  • Sunblock – if it’s sunny, you will get burnt when trekking in the mountains. Keep applying that sunblock!
  • Headtorch – power cuts in the lodges are frequent and not all rooms are equipped with a power supply. Carry your own.

Way to Ghoripani at the Poon hill trek, Pokhara

Optional

  • Trekking poles – I am not a fan myself but some people swear by trekking using poles.
  • Garbage bags – I always carry large garbage bags in which to wrap my important stuff when weather conditions are uncertain. My backpack does not have a rain cover so I normally cover up the backpack too when it rains, but even if you are using one which is equipped with a rain cover, I strongly recommend that you wrap up the contents, particularly any electronics and important documents you are carrying in plastic. Garbage bags are an easy solution.
  • Water bottle – not essential since you can buy packaged water on the trek but why not be eco-friendly!

porter horses at the Poon hill trek, Pokhara

Food Choices on the Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek

Many of my trekker buddies expressed concern about the type and availability of food choices on the trek before we left for the trek (not me, I am happy to eat anything), but of course if you dislike certain food types or suffer from food allergies, food choices are a very legitimate concern!

Nothing to worry about though, the teahouses and lodges on the route all provide trekkers with an extensive menu including both Himalayan or Western food, so you can have some swiss-style rosti or spaghetti bolognese to accompany your momos and Tibetan bread, washed down with some Ghorka beer of course!

dhal and food at the Poon hill trek, Pokhara

The menus in the lodges are identical, but the dishes are cooked differently so you will never get the same exact dish served even if you’re ordering off a similar menu.
I always started my day off with a steaming bowl of porridge and coffee, had dal bhat for lunch and pasta or rosti for dinner followed by apple pie for dessert. This food routine I found, was perfect for balancing my energy requirements during the trek and for sampling lots of the local flavours!

It is important to carry about two litres of water with you; you should never be caught without! Water is sold at all the lodges, and some will refill your water bottle if you are carrying one.

I also carried some snacks such as granola bars and cookies with me at all times, but effectively never needed any – we were so well-fed!

views from the Poon hill trek, Pokhara

Accommodation

The rooms at the tea houses and lodges on the Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek are basic but comfy. A bed and a table are usually provided, I always had my own private room but rooms can be shared. A toilet and shower is usually found on every floor. Sometimes you are asked to pay extra for hot water (about 100 Nepalese Rupees/Eur 0.85). I suggest that you do, nothing better than a hot shower to soothe those aching limbs!

mountain views at the Poon hill trek, Pokhara

Blankets are usually provided, however I recommend that you take your own sleeping bag or at least a liner. I rented a sleeping bag from a shop in Pokhara for 100 Rupees/day – it was clean and freshly laundered and, to me, this arrangement made a lot more sense since I’m not actually carrying my own sleeping bag around on my travels.

Your room might or might not have a light bulb, and this might or might not be working, so carrying your own torch is definitely recommended especially if you want to go to the loo at night or need to pack/unpack in the dark. Charging plugs are mostly available only in the common area and you need to pay about 100 – 150 rupees to use these.

a collection of prayer flags at the Poon hill trek, Pokhara

Other Tips and Information about the Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek

1. Carry charged camera batteries. You have limited charging options; the charging plugs are few and you will be competing with other guests for access. You will also be snapping photos all day so if you’re using a camera, I totally recommend that you carry enough spare batteries to last you throughout the trek.

2. Carry a powerbank. Refer to tip no. 1.

3. Be prepared for very little connectivity. Lodges and teahouses normally provide wifi access (you need to pay for access in some cases), but this is very often slow and sketchy and unavailable during a power cut (which happens very often). If you are carrying a local SIM, be aware that coverage is very poor in the mountains and data access is often unavailable.

mountain path at the Poon hill trek, Pokhara

4. You can hire a porter to carry most of your stuff on the trek whilst you carry only the essentials in a day pack. Even so, porters will not usually carry more than 10 kg so if you are coming to Nepal with more than that, arrange for your stuff to be stored in Kathmandu or Pokhara during your trek. You will not have access to your items being carried by the porter until you arrive at your final destination for the day, so be sure to pack anything you need throughout the day in your little pack.

5. One of the reasons that trekking in Nepal is so popular are the gorgeous views of the mountains during the trek. However, be aware that (usually depending on the season), cloud cover may obstruct mountain views, and when you’re high up, you will be trekking through thick cloud with little visibility. Still, whatever the season, clear mountain views are never totally guaranteed! The best time to trek The Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek is generally considered to be autumn, i.e. October to December when most days are clear and cloudless.

Unfortunately, we didn’t even get to climb to the top of Poon Hill during our trip (the most spectacular point of the trek) due to a severe thunderstorm. Despite this, we still enjoyed some gorgeous views during the trek including a brief glimpse of the Fish Tail Peak on our last day.

6. Beware of the leeches! They are common in the lush, humid forested areas of the lower Annapurnas and apparently very partial to trekker blood! Keep as much of your body covered as possible and tuck your trousers into your socks. Check for leeches at regular intervals and remove any you might see attached to your clothes and shoes.

a river at the Poon hill trek, Pokhara

I would like thank the Himalayan Travel MartNepal Tourism Board and PATA Nepal Chapter for sponsoring my trip to Nepal. Opinions expressed in this post are, as always, my own.

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tips for trekking the ghorepani poon hill trek - A CheekyPassports Special
tips for trekking the ghorepani poon hill trek - A CheekyPassports Special

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