Travel With bear
Find Yourself on the Journey
Find Yourself on the Journey
Why Pokhara is The Shit
There are several places you can go to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city, but the most common is Pokhara, and for good reason. Once you arrive in this gorgeous lakeside town you cannot help but think you are in a different country altogether. Pokhara is not only a pleasant respite from Kathmandu, but a location with a plethora of activities including, kayaking, mountain biking, getting tattooed, and people watching; however, the most popular activity to do, and the reason most people go to Pokhara, is for some of the best treks in the world!
For more information about Pokhara and activities to do while you are there, click here
Top 4 Treks from Pokhara
1. Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek (3/4 days)
The Trek to Poon hill from Pokhara is one of the easiest and shortest treks. It is well-marked and very popular, meaning that it can easily be done without a guide. Furthermore, there are many teahouses along the way so you will have no need to lug around a heavy tent and sleeping bag with you.
Many people enjoy this trek as a way to acclimatize themselves before attempting a more difficult trek such as Annapurna Base Camp (ABC). Others, like Turtle and myself, use it as a cool-down trek after a longer, harder trek: the Annapurna Circuit.
No matter what your reasons are for taking this trek, you will assuredly not regret the decision. The journey to the famous view of the surrounding mountain ranges is beautiful, and the view is something you will never forget. In fact, I was so inspired by the view from Poon Hill that I got a tattoo of it that wraps around my upper calf. (See Photo Below)
This trek can be completed in three or four days depending on your pace, experience, and how much time you want to spend at the nearby hot springs. Below is the most popular itinerary:
Day 01: Pokhara-Nayapul-Ulleri
This bus trip will take between 2-3 hours and cost around $2.00 USD. You can also take a Jeep if you want, but if so, I highly recommend no sitting the back bench seat over the wheels unless you are shorter than 5’9.
For more information about the hell that is a jeep ride in Nepal, see Turtle’s recent blog here.
Then hike from Nayapul to Ulleri. This stretch is about 12km (roughly 7 ½ miles) and should take you between 3 and 5 hours to reach your destination. There are plenty of tea houses and lodges in Ulleri that will allow for you to get a good night’s rest and a good meal to prepare you for day two.
Day 02: Ulleri-Ghorepani.
This 8km hike is on the shorter side and should take the average trekker between 2 and 3 hours to complete. Make sure and get to bed a little early because you will not want to miss the view from Poon Hill at sunrise.
Day 03/04: Ghorepani – Poon Hill – Ghorepani – Ghandruk – Pokhara
Wake up two hours before sunrise to account for crowds and the seemingly never-ending hike up 3,000 steps to the 3,200-meter elevation and a view you will miss for the rest of your life after seeing! The ascent should take you from an hour to an hour and a half. Once you arrive at the gate entrance you will have to pay 100 rupees to enter, but the views are priceless. (Pro Tip: remember your wallet!)
Once you summit, your eyes can hardly recognize what you are seeing as you watch the pink glow from the sun casting silhouette of the breathtaking Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri, Machhapuchhare, Annapurna II and Lamjung mountains. One look at this and you will want a tattoo of it too.
After witnessing the sun rise as it was meant to be seen, you can walk down a few steps a large café where you can have some delicious coffee or tea and a bite to eat before conducting the hardest hike on the trek.
If you thought that hiking up the thousands of steps was difficult and annoying, walking down these steep, slippery steps will be hell for you. My tip for you during this part is take it as slow as you need to prevent injury of your joints. Also, if you have big feet like I do, it may be advantageous to walk down with your feet parallel to the steps. It may seem as though the steps will never end, but I promise you, they do and then the real trek starts from Ghorepani to Ghandruk.
The trek from Ghorepani to Ghandruk is a long one and will test your endurance for sure. It should take you between 5 and 6 hours to complete the 16km (nearly 10 miles) trek to Ghandruk. Once you arrive you can end your trek and take bus to Pokhara; or you can stay the night in Ghandruk and take a bus in the morning. You can also hike to Tadapani from Ghorepani to begin the ABC trek.
My father and I did the Poon Hill trek a little differently, as you will find out later.
2. 3-day Ghandruk Loop Trek:
The Ghandruk Loop is a great way to see the beautiful Annapurna Sanctuary without going on a long trek that could take weeks. The Ghandruk loop not only follows part of the famous Annapurna Circuit, but goes through a few rural Nepali villages. Overall, the Ghandruk loop is a short trek full of gorgeous mountain vistas and a unique cultural experience. Below is the 3-day itinerary:
Day 03: Pothana-Phedi-Pokhara
You should wake up a little early so that you spend a little time in Pothana. Afterwards, begin your trek from Pothana to Phedi. Along this stretch, you will not only see views of mountains but beautiful forest scenes. Once you arrive in Phedi, you will hire a bus back to Pokhara to bring your journey to a close.
3. Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) (11 days)
Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) Trek is one of the most famous treks in the world, and one that is on many people’s bucket list. Surprisingly, it is not very long, and the altitudes are not as high or as intimidating as the name may make it seem. Though Annapurna stands at a whopping 26,545 feet, the base camp is only about half of that. On the ABC trek you will see all of the beauty of the Himalayas and conquer two base camps of intimidating mountains: Machhapuchhare and Annapurna 1. Below is the 11-Day Route.
Day 04: Tadapani-Kimrung Khola- Chomrong
The Hike is mostly downhill and should take around 4 hours to complete the beautiful 15 km (9.3 miles) hike.
Day 05: Chomrong- Kuldi Gar- Doban
The Hike will go through the forest and down to the Modi River and finally back up to Doban. The entire hike should take 6 to 7 hours to complete the 14km (8.7 miles) stretch.
Day 07: Machhapuchhare Base Camp-ABC
Day 7 will be your shortest day of trekking, but the most dangerous and hardest. The highest altitude is 13,500 feet and there is a high chance of ice and hazardous conditions. Make sure you are well prepared and take the hike as slow as you need. Once you arrive you will have made it to Annapurna Base Camp (ABC): a life-time feat for many. If you are comfortable, you can stay the night here, but I recommend hiking back down to Machhapuchhare Base Camp and staying the night there.
Day 08: ABC-Bamboo
The next day make sure and wake up early enough to catch one of the best sunrises you will ever see in your life. After you pick your jaw up from the ground, you can begin you long trek back down to Bamboo. It is a long hike, but you can take the 17 kilometers (10 ½ miles) as fast or slow as you need. Starting out early, will allow for plenty of time. The descent is nearly 5500 feet.
Day 09: Bamboo-Jhinu Danda
This trekking day is quite long and requires climbing many steps through Chomrong, but the hot springs at the end are well worth it. There is a short 20-minute walk from Jhinu Danda to the well-deserved hot springs nearby. It should take around 6 hours to arrive in Jhinu Danda.
Day 11: Pothana-Phedi-Pokhara
The last day is a short trek from Pothana to Phedi. From there you will take a bus or jeep back to Pokhara to completer your life-changing trek. The hike is approximately 1 ½ hours and the drive should take around 45 minutes to complete.
4. The Turtle and Bear Trek (AC Clockwise, Kind Of)
One of the other famous treks in Nepal is the Annapurna Circuit. Most people start this trek from Kathmandu and hike in a counterclockwise direction ending at Pokhara, but the rare few try it the opposite direction. My father and I decided to try this, kind of.
Our original plan was to catch a Jeep from Pokhara to Muktinath, hike all the way up to Thorong La Pass at over 15,000 feet and hike back down to Muktinath in one day, then continue the back half of the circuit, ending with Poon Hill. Unfortunately, my father had some medical issues, and we could not make the pass. Below is our path:
Day 01: Pokhara-Halfway to Muktinath
We hired a Jeep who took us on a memorable 2-day trip from Pokhara to Nepal. After a hellish 12-hour journey, we stopped in a small town with beautiful mountain views and wild horses. I do not know the name of the town, as it was not a planned stop.
Day 05: Muktinath-Lupra-Lower Kagbeni
Day 5 was a fun day full of lessons, strong winds, near-death experiences, and hidden treasures. We left Muktinath in search for Kagbeni. We did not have a guide, so we tried to take an alternate route through Lupra. Long story short, we got lost along the way. On our way to Lupra we came across a beautiful old stone building with a stone fence and apple trees.
Day 11: Ghasa-Tadopani-Ghorepani
The next day we trekked from Ghasa to Tadopani to get in some well-deserved hot springs before continuing our journey to Ghorepani.
Day 12: The last day was nearly Identical to the last part of the aforementioned Poon Hill Trek.
If you want to know more about our unique trek and our experiences, click here
I love people and animals and lust after adventure. I am always up for the next trip, something I find to be integral to my soul. Sharing my love of cultures and nature is foremost in my aspirations, and I look forward to sharing them with you.