18 Feb
Poon Hill – Ghorepani & Ghandruk Trek: A hybrid of cultural heritage and Natural Beauty

Ghorepani Village and View of Dhaulagiri Mountain Range.
Ghorepani Village and View of Dhaulagiri Mountain Range.

Last week we decided to trek around Annapurna region of Nepal, took one of the luxury Bus drive to Pokhara from Kathmandu and took 6 hours.  Same day further continued drive to Dhampus village at the foothill of the Annapurna region of Nepal.

Experts say that Poon hill is Nepal’s second best viewpoint after Kalapatthar, which is also one of the short trekking in the Annapurna region of Nepal and I realized that when I reached to the Top of Poon Hill. The Poon Hill Ghorepani trek offers the natural beauty, varieties of lifestyles, culture and traditions of people along with the breath taking spectacular view of the Himalayas, towering snow covered peaks, picturesque landscape, diverse flora and fauna.

View of Dhaulagiri Range from Poon Hill.

The trekking trail passes through villages, forests and unparalleled scenic mountains and terraced farmlands. This trek is graded as easy and you don’t need previous trekking experience. Average trekking hour will be 5-6 hours per day or you can make it shorter according to your need and interest. The altitude of this trek ranges from 910m (Pokhara) to 3210m (Poon Hill).

annapurna-south-Poonhil
Annapurna South View from Poon Hill.

Physical fitness for Poon Hill Ghorepani trek
There are not many physical requirements for Poon hill trekking as you are following the lower foothill of the Annapurna region of Nepal. Person with moderate physical fitness can apply for this trekking. There is no age restriction and young ones and senior people can equally enjoy this trek. So, Ghandruk – Poon hill trek is the complete family trekking, most of the places you will get the attached toilet bathrooms except the Tadapani and Tikhedhunga. Walk leisurely while enjoying each moment with incredible Himalayan views of Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri, Annapurna, Fish Tail, Hiunchuli, and other snow- caped mountains and move in and out of culturally rich multi- ethnic villages. This is also suitable for the first time trekkers. The trekking will depend on you. If you are experienced trekker you can complete in short duration otherwise it might take slightly long time.

Where is Poon hill?
Poon Hill is located at the southwest foothill of the one of the popular trekking destination in Annapurna region of Nepal. It is also popular for sunrise view over the Annapurna ranges. According to the local people there would be 400 to 500 people every morning for the sunrise particularly in the season time.

View of Hiunchuli, Annapurna South, Braha Peaks & Nilgiri respectively from the right from Poon Hill
View of Hiunchuli, Annapurna South, Braha Peaks & Nilgiri respectively from the right from Poon Hill

How to reach Poon hill?
There are two means of transportation from Kathmandu to Pokhara. One option is 20minutes flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara. The second option is to catch bus from Kathmandu to Pokhara and now there are luxury buses available on this route. Follow Prithvi Highway for 6hrs to arrive at Pokhara. Pokhar is the main gateway of trekking to Annapurna region of Nepal. There are different options to reach to Ghorepani, it depends on time and interest. From Pokhara take 40minutes of drive to Nayapul. Start trek escalating trail from Nayapul to Ulleri and Ghorepani then next morning hike to Poon Hill. If you have time you can go through Pothana, Tolkha, Landruk village, Ghandruk village and finally reach to Ghorepani. From Ghorepani it takes one hour steep up hike to reach to Poon Hill for spectacular sunrise in the morning.

Why Ghandruk Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek?

Walk through dense low land vegetation & Rhododendron forest
When we started trekking from Dhampus we started to explore the dense forest and natural beauties at the base of the Annapurna range. You will pass through the scenic rhododendron forest that supports wildlife, cross the river and traverse local villages of Gurung and Magar ethnics. Homestay in Ghandruk is another highlights along the route to Poon Hill.

Explore the Ghandruk village with warm Hospitality and cultural heritage
We started trekking early in the morning from Pothana village then we traversed Tolkha and Landruk village. From Landruk the trail was steep down to reach to Modi Khola river. Crossing the river bridge, just before reach to Ghandruk village it was steep up through stepping-stones for about 2 hours. We reached the Ghandruk village 5pm in the evening. We were really exhausted and we lost all our energy during the trek.

Traditional Houses in Ghandruk Village & View of Mt. Himchuli.
Traditional Houses in Ghandruk Village & View of Mt. Himchuli.

We forgot everything and all our exhausted gone when we received the warm hospitality from local people of Ghandruk village. Ghandruk is an ideal place to experience the mixture of trekking as well as learning the cultural value of local Gurung culture residing at foothill of the lower Annapurna region. Best known for its hospitality, Tourist also will get the best opportunity of Home stay with the traditional Gurung families, experiencing the ethnic way of living, knowing their ethnic culture, traditions, dresses and lifestyle. After visiting Ghandruk we came to know that it has gained the recognition of the model village in Nepal as well as in south Asian countries. Despite of the remoteness in geography, the region has been able to develop itself in an effort of the local community. Their unity in the community would be unforgettable memory that I have ever seen anywhere else. One of the role model examples is the mother group (called Aama Samuha) in the community. It has been recognized as the role model for the best hospitality and play vital role to entertain the tourist visiting in the Ghandruk village.

At Tolkha Village, A Traditional House with Mountain View & Mustard Field.
At Tolkha Village, A Traditional House with Mountain View & Mustard Field.

Local initiation for tourism development, No load shedding (power cuts)
In Annapurna region, places like Tolkha, Landruk and Ghandruk are the outstanding feature of having the local micro hydropower. When you travel in Nepal most of the places are suffering from the load shedding and it has severely affected the tourism sector. Ghandruk and surrounding places are the exceptional cases where there is no problem of load shedding as they have local micro hydropower projects and provision of the 24/7 electricity supply.

Easy trails with good accommodation attached bathroom facilities
When trek in the remote part of the Nepal most of the places it is hard to find the attached bathroom. So you have to share with other people. But in Ghandruk Landruk, Tolkha and Ghorepani there is availability of attached toilet bathroom but you have to book in advance. Home stay in Ghandruk is also available and is one of the way to explore the living style and culture of the local Gurung and Magar people residing in the Annapurna region of Nepal. You can find the spectacular lodges ranging from normal to the high quality hotel in this region. Because of the growing competition there are few lodges that provide the comfort lodge with attached bathroom but we have to book in advance. However most of the lodges have basic amenities.

Another positive point is the quality control of the lodges and local services provided by the local communities. All the room cost, food quality and their price ranges are pretty much similar. So it has been controlled by the village tourism Development committee.

Visit pleasant Ghandruk Gurung village and Gurung museum
The village lies on the lap of the Mt Ammapurna and Mt Fish Tail. When we reached to the Ghandruk village we found the rich cultural tradition, which has remain unchanged for centuries. The traditional meals and their culture made us the trip lifetime memorable. The warm hospitality of the local Gurung people with due respect is another highlights of this trek. Do not forget to visit the museum to know the culture tradition and history of the local Gurung people. Musical instruments, traditional agricultural tools and dressing styles are exhibited in the museum.

Wonderful Panoramic Mountain Views

Poon Hill is one of the best points for panoramic view of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri range. Enchanting Early morning spectacular sunrise view over snowcapped mountain from Poon hill (3210m) with the view of Mt Dhaulagiri, Mt Annapurna Himalaya range, Hiunchuli, Machhapuchhre (Fish Tail) and many other spectacular views.

On the third day was our special day because we conquered Poon Hill, one of the best views in the Annapurna region to catch the magnificent splendor of the sunrise over the Himalayas. We made an early morning climb along the steep trail to the view point of Poon Hill. It was great opportunity to have wonderful close up Mountain Views of more than 20 mountain including the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri.

The most popular mountain views are: starting from the right Mt.Fish Tail (6993m) Hiunchuli (6441m) Annapurna South (7219m) Annapurna 1(8091m), Nilgiri (7040m), Dhaulagiri I (8167m) which is 7th highest mountain in the world, Dhaulgiri II, III, IV & Dhaulagiri V (7118m) to the left hand side from the view point.

Bridge before heading to Landruk

On the Way Ghandruk to Tadapani

Yaks at Deurali, on the way to Ghorepani.
Yaks at Deurali, on the way to Ghorepani.
Tourist Trekking at Tolkha village
Tourist Trekking at Tolkha village
Landruk village
Landruk village
Rhododendron Forest Around Tadapani
Rhododendron Forest Around Tadapani
Trekkers at Banthati on the way to Tadapani to Ghorepani
Trekkers at Banthati on the way to Tadapani to Ghorepani

Video of Ghorepani Poon Hill