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stdClass Object ( [ID] => 7322 [post_author] => 4 [post_date] => 2012-05-15 11:47:04 [post_date_gmt] => 2012-05-15 11:47:04 [post_content] => THOSE with little time on their hands but still want superb views of the Annapurna regularly embark on the Poon Hill - Ghandruk circuit. This four-day route is a popular one and something of a tourist treadmill these days with increasing numbers heading to Nepal each year for trekking, but when you see the villages and the views along the way you soon understand why. [caption id="attachment_7326" align="alignnone" width="548" caption="Terraced hillsides near Chiule. Pic: Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com"][/caption] In spring the track is replete with rhododendron flowers that scatter petals and colour in every direction in hues of pink, white, red and more. The views of the Annapurna range are spectacular and from Poon Hill at Ghorepani they line up as if waiting for a mug shot from your camera.
How to do it
If you're new to Nepal and unsure of your hiking abilities you may wish to hire a guide and porter. Those that are more adventurous and confident will be fine without one. It's impossible to get lost and there are maps available for sale.
Where to stay
There are guesthouses all along the route so there is no need to prebook anything. Simply turn up and you'll get a room. Most prices are standardised so the only reason to look around is to compare quality - but most are pretty similar and include hot showers. The idea is you will eat at the same guesthouse and some will charge more if you don't. The ACAP authority has standardised prices along the route for food and accommodation and the standard does not alter much. Some hotels will underwrite the costs so it's not uncommon to get a room for Rs. 100 when it's listed as Rs. 300 (US$3.50).
Highlights
One of the wonderful things about trekking in Nepal is the opportunity to see village life. Local people built and maintain the tracks and they serve as lifelines for them. Herds of goats, water buffalo and horses can regularly be seen along the way accompanied by their minders. Porters bringing both food in for the village and trekkers' bags are also commonly seen along the way. [caption id="attachment_7329" align="alignnone" width="550" caption="Local people use the tracks as much as trekkers. Pic: Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com"][/caption]
Day 1: Birethanti - Ulleri (4-5 hours)
From Pokhara most travellers get a bus (50) or taxi (1500-1700) to Naya Pul and then trek to Birethanti (30 mins) where all the fun starts. Get started before lunch for the best use of the daylight hours. The track begins as an undulating course which will soon get your hill legs into action. The first section of the trek is akin to something like teashop alley but improves as you walk. The hardest  section is the 3300 steps from Tikhedunga (1540m) to Ulleri, a good place to stop for the night. Some trekkers elect to stop at Tikhedunga the first night and do the steps plus the trek to Ghorepani the next but that does make for a long hike. There are superb views of Annapurna South and Hiunchuli on a clear day and plenty of fresh mountain air. You should also see your first horse trains here. [caption id="attachment_7324" align="alignnone" width="550" caption="Ladies with baskets of grass for animals. Pic: Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com"][/caption]
Day 2: Ulleri - Ghorepani (3-4 hours)
This should take about 3-4 hours given the worst of the climb is out of the way the day before. On this section the route climbs gently through rhododendron forest and if you've elected to come in Spring these should be in full bloom and are a sight to behold with pink, white or red flowers offsetting the green hills and forests around. The track is undulating up to Ghorepani and you should encounter lots of horse trains on this part of the journey as Ghorepani actually means horse water. If you're lucky the views of the Annapurnas should be clear and big from within town. Ghorepani is well set up with shops, bakeries and even Internet.
Day 3: Ghorepani to Ghandruk
Most visitors to Ghorepani get up at 4.30am for the dawn viewing of the peaks from Poon Hill (3210m). It's cold and crowded at the top of Poon Hill even at this time of the morning and you'll be battling with others to enjoy the views but it's worth it. Crystal clear the mountains linger into the horizon in both directions. It is absolutely superb and a sight you won't forget for a long time. [caption id="attachment_7323" align="alignnone" width="499" caption="Views from Poon Hill above rhodendron flowers. Pic: Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com"][/caption] Some people will continue on the Annapurna Circuit to Jomson from here, others will branch off on the Ghandruk or Annapurna Sanctuary treks that both go via Tadopani (2710m). Most people do these the same day as the Poon Hill ascent and it does make for a long day but you could stop off in Tadopani overnight (5-6 hours). From Ghorepani it's a beautiful walk up and along a ridge (3210m) before you drop down to a river before climbing again the other side to Tadopani (3.5-4.5 hours) where there are views on a good day to Ulleri where you overnighted earlier on the trek. In any case it's a good resting spot for the night, for a meal or just as a breather. Here again the trail branches. The majority of people turn down to Ghandruk (three hours) from where it's 4-5 hours out to Birethanti. Others head to Chhomrong (5 hours) and onto the Annapurna Sanctuary.
Day 4: Ghandruk to Birethanti
From Ghandruk it's an easy 3.5-4.5 hour stroll down to Birethanti with the route actually following the new road for some distance. From Birethanti it's just 30 minutes up to the road where taxis or buses can whiz you straight back to Pokhara for a lassi and hot shower. _________ If you liked this post, you may also like: Nepal: A trekker’s life in Namche Bazaar In pictures: Australia’s Overland Track, Tasmania  5 unmissable Australian walks  Trekking in India: The Dhauladar Range Travel: 6 great Burma/Myanmar treks 6 great Indian walking vacations Photographic posts of Nepal include: Kathmandu, Pokhara, Trekking in Nepal, Kathmandu Valley [post_title] => Trekking in Nepal: Poon Hill - Ghandruk [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => trekking-in-nepal-poon-hill-ghandruk [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2012-06-05 06:24:58 [post_modified_gmt] => 2012-06-05 06:24:58 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.travelwireasia.com/?p=7322 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw )

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