Trekking in the Himalayas

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Poon Hill Trek:

Overview:

To be precise Poon hill trek is a classic short trek for those who would like to have a taste of medium level trekking in Nepal. Located within 20 minutes fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara, Poon Hill trek features some of the most amazing views of the Himalayas. During the sunrise and sunset one can get spectacular views of the Dhaulagiri, Annapurna range, Machhapuchre and the Manaslu range to the east. This trek passes through typical mountain terrain and village settlement Ghandrung where you can observe the cultural lifestyle firsthand. Enjoying typical Nepali hospitality and scenic views of the Himalayas you can enjoy the fest of Nepali food and taste.

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Itinerary:

Day 1
Drive from TIA to Hotel Shanker by a/c car
Overnight at Hotel Shanker
You will be received by our welcoming staff at the airport when you step out in the arrivals area and be taken away in a comfortable coach to our hotel, a 30 minute ride. The hotel, Shanker, is located close to the tourist area of Kathmandu, and after check in formalities, you will be free to explore the area till our pre-trek briefing at 5pm at the hotel. During the briefing we will give you general orientation information, tell you what to expect on the trip, go over packing arrangements and answer any last minute queries you may have. We will also distribute your kit bag, sleeping bag and down/fiberfill jacket. Evening drinks and snacks will be served at the restaurant at our hotel from 6:30 pm until 7:15pm, and you will get the opportunity to meet your guides and fellow group members.

Day 2  
Full day sightseeing of Kathmandu city, Swoyambhunath and Patan
Overnight at Hotel Shanker
This is a free day, and as Kathmandu has more World Heritage sites than any other city in the world; in the first half of the morning we will take you to visit two of the most well known ones. The first, Pashupatinath, is an ancient temple complex sacred to the Hindu faith and the second, Boudhanath, is a magnificent Buddhist stupa dating from the 5th century AD, and an oasis of Buddhist calm. We return to our hotel around lunch time, and in the afternoon you may wish to explore the bustling Durbar Square (Durbar means palace), the home of erstwhile kings of Nepal. Another popular destination is the “monkey temple” or Swayambhunath – called the monkey temple for reasons that become obvious once you reach its periphery. Evenings are free for you to spend shopping or just wandering around the fascinating lanes and alleyways around the hotel. Get an early night as it’s an early day tomorrow.

Day 3  
Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara
Drive from Pokhara to Nayapul by shared a/c car
Trek to Tirkhedhunga & overnight at local tea house
We have an early breakfast and leave our hotel to catch our flight to Pokhara. The flight is about 20 minutes and we will be picked up at the airport by our vehicle to take us to the start point of our trek, about an hour and a half drive away, at Nayapul. We will be met by our crew here and twenty minutes from here, we will stop at the cluster of houses and lodges known as Birethati. Our trek permits will be checked and we will also have an early lunch. After lunch it’s a gentle but steady climb as we follow the Bhurungdi Khola (river) upstream. A short climb will bring us, after about after three hours of walking, to the cluster of lodges at Tikhedhunga. We spend the night here.

Day 4  
Trek to Ghodepani & overnight at local tea house
After breakfast, at around 8am, we leave camp and begin the day with a steep climb to the settlement of Ulleri. From here the trail continues to climb, although not quite as steeply, and makes its way through oak and rhododendron forests passing the settlements of Banthati and Nangethati before emerging at Ghodepani at 2840 meters. It’s a five hour walk to this place, and from the first cluster of lodges marking Ghodepani, you can walk further up to the ridge for about 15 minutes to the upper part of town where the views are better, and we can be better positioned for the morning walk to Poon Hill. Commanding views across both sides of the saddle ridge.

Day 5  
Visit Poon Hill
Trek from Poon Hill to Tadapani & overnight at local tea house
Today we get up at 4am, and using headlamps to light our way, we join fellow hikers making their way up to Poon hill. It takes about an hour to get there and we will reach just about in time to watch dawn break on the Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and Manaslu range. At this point the early morning start begins making sense, because at an elevation of 3210meters, the views here are possibly amongst the best sunrise views there are. After taking in the views, we return to Ghorepani for a hot breakfast at the hotel and then begin our trek to Tadapani (2610meters). Our trail climbs along ridges and through pine and rhododendron forests to Deurali (2960meters), and in about 4 hours we reach Tadapani, usually in time for a late lunch.

Day 6  
Trek to Ghandruk & overnight at local tea house

From Tadapani the trail descends through forests in a long steady descent where we lose about a thousand meters to finally reach Ghandruk, a village of Gurung people. Gurungs are one of the ethnic groups of Nepal and in this village is home to many of this ethnicity. Gandruk offers great views of Fish Tail or Machapuchre Mountain as well as the southern side of the main Annapurna massif. The town is a pretty collection of traditional houses and has a number of comfortable lodges serving wholesome food. It is a great place to spend a time exploring the older part of town.

Day 7  
Trek from Ghandruk to Nayapul
Drive from Nayapul to Pokhara
Overnight at Hotel Barahi

From Gandruk, we descend after breakfast on a path paved with flat stones and it’s about an 800 meter descent down mostly stone steps to the riverside town of Syauli Bazaar. We will take a leisurely pace descending and will stop in the warmth of this lowland valley settlement for lunch. After lunch, we follow the Modi river downstream on an easy gently descending walk that take us past Birethati, and a further 20 minutes to Nayapul, where we will find our vehicles waiting for the 90 minute drive back to our Pokhara hotel. We should be in Pokhara by early evening, and we will have plenty of time to relax and wander around before meeting for a group dinner.

Day 8  
Drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu by a/ c car
Overnight at Hotel Shanker

We catch a flight to Kathmandu. During this flight there are good view of the western end of the Nepal Himalaya from the left-hand side of the plane. The rest of the day in Kathmanud is free for sightseeing and shopping. (Very occasionally we are unable to fly, in which case we return to Kathmandu by road, arriving in the early evening).

Day 9  
Drive from Hotel Shanker to TIA by a/c car

Arrangements end today, and we escort you to the airport in time to catch your international flights home.

Trip Highlights:

  • Sightseeing in Kathmandu’s world heritage sites
  • Flight to Pokhara and mountain views
  • The wonderful lakeside town of Pokhara and the views of the mountains
  • Gurung villages and glimpses of local culture on trek
  • Outstanding dawn views of Annapurna, Machhapuchre and Dhaulagiri range from Poon hill
  • The Gurung settlement of Ghandrung and the views from the village.
  • Tasty local cuisine

Trip Notes:

A typical day: Generally, on camping trips, you will be woken up between 6-7 am with a cup of tea and bowl of hot water for washing. You wash and get ready, and before breakfast pack your gear into your kitbag which will be carried by a porter. You will get your kitbag in the afternoon when we reach camp. Breakfast will be outdoors or in the dining tent, and after breakfast you walk for 2, 3 hours. Lunch is generally served at 11 am on trail. You will get about an hour break during lunch when you can rest, write a diary, talk or do anything you like. After lunch, we walk for 2 to 3 hours and reach to camp late afternoon. All tents and gear are already set up by the time you arrive, and you are greeted at camp with tea and snacks. Stow your gear in your tent where your kit bag will also be waiting, and freshen up before dinner, again served in the dining tent. On teahouse treks, it’s pretty much the same routine but you have rooms to sleep in, a dining room to eat in (often with food you can order of the menu) and proper toilets with running water and showers. Lunch on teahouse treks are on lodges on the way.

Accommodation: Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, has all kinds of hotels to offer visitors – from five star hotels with good facilities and air conditioned rooms to small guesthouses with average rooms and basic facilities. Visitors can choose what they like on the basis of their budget.  On ‘tea house’ treks, we use lodges which  though comfortable, may be basic compared to European standards.  Most lodges on trek offer wholesome food, comfortable to basic rooms and common hot showers and toilets. Some use solar water heaters but these are entirely dependent on fine weather, so you cannot always rely on them. Meals are served in a common dining hall. On camping trips, we will have our own chosen campsites, often on private campsites with showers rooms and toilets, but also often we stay in wilderness, which consist of a dining tent, kitchen tent, toilet tent and two person tents for sleeping.

Meals: The menu varies daily and in teahouse treks you can choose food from the lodge menu, while on camping trips, the kitchen turns out comprehensive meals 3 times a day, besides tea and afternoon. Beside included meals, guests need to pay for packaged and alcoholic drinks they may purchase, as well as for souvenirs, laundry, optional sightseeing. The prices of meal and drinks may be different in different locations.

Money: All meals and accommodation are covered by within trip cost, but you carry spending money while on trek to take care of purchases you may make on journey. About 4000 Nepali Rupees per person per day  should be adequate in most cases. There are no ATM’s on most treks, the only ATM’s are in Kathmandu city or in larger towns or cities, so it’s best to carry cash on trek.  It is recommended you use a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of cash and other valuable items, and though our staffs are trustworthy, the ultimate responsibility for safekeeping of money rests with the guest. American dollars and Indian rupee are easily accepted in most of the places and all major banks of Nepal and licensed money exchangers can exchange hard currencies into Nepali rupee. Indian 500 and 1,000 rupee notes are not accepted in Nepal.  Credit cards are not accepted by all businesses, restaurants, or hotels, and you should check with your guide about where you may or may not use them. Traveler’s cheque, visa card, master card and other international cards are easily accepted in Kathmandu but may not be accepted while on trek.

Flights: The delay and cancellation of flights are not uncommon because of unfavorable weather or other technical problems. This delay and cancellation may be of a few hours or a couple of days. All accommodation and food are managed for you by the trekking tour managing group in case of flights delay or cancellation, except in extreme cases. You will however be liable for costs arising from delay of flight. In case of flights being delayed from remote airstrips due weather or technical difficulties, most itineraries have a spare day built in to absorb such delay. Longer delays may make require helicopter evacuation necessary, but such delays can usually be claimed through travel insurance.

High Altitude Sickness: Guests may suffer from altitude sickness if they travel rapidly to elevations above 3,000 meters. Most itineraries are however geared to make a reasonable ascent minimizing altitude sickness possibilities.  Typical symptoms of altitude sickness are persistent headaches, nausea, loss of appetite, disorientation and loss of balance, persistent cough and difficulty in breathing.  The immediate and best solution for acute mountain sickness is descent to lower altitude. In the absence of such an option, a medical evacuation by helicopter may be necessary or if possible, the use of a Hyperbaric chamber (Gamov bag).  Our guides and tour leaders will be monitoring group health on all treks that take us to altitude, and though not common, it is sometimes necessary to take clients off trek and descend to lower altitudes for their safety. For more information on altitude sickness, please visit (provide link to detailed info on site).
The tour leaders can exclude anyone if they feel that the very person is not fit, healthy and is not able to complete the tour.

Weather: The climate may be freezing or very low which may drop to -20 degree Celsius during the evening, night and early morning. The daytime temperatures may be generally between 20- 35 degree Celsius. The weather can change and snow fall may occur at any time at higher altitudes.

Tips: The culture of giving tip is not new in Nepal. A tip is generally given at an end of journey in appreciation of the services you receive. Visitors themselves should decide how much money they want to give as tips to porter, guide or team leader. Tour leaders may also organize a group’s tips kitty and at an end of journey you need to give tip to the tour leaders. Besides tips, visitors can help the porters by giving them mountain clothing and other useful items like water and wind resistant jackets, pants, warm hats, gloves, sunglasses, spare kit etc.

Visa information: Travelers can apply for Nepalese visa from Nepalese embassy or consulate office situated nearby. They can also get a visa from Tribhuvan International Airport or from any other entry point in Nepal if they have no time to visit an embassy, or are not travelling from their home country. Visitors should have a few sets of photos, a passport, and required money to apply for visa. Indians nationals do not need a visa to come to Nepal everyone else needs a visa to enter Nepal.

Note: All visas sold on arrival are multiple entry visas and are available to cover 3 different durations of visit: US$25 for 15 days, US$40 for 30 days, and US$100 for 90 days. Please ensure you purchase the duration sufficient to cover your whole visit including days of entry and exit. Please do note that these durations refer to each country into Nepal e.g. 15 days for each entry.

Visa extensions: Visitors can extend their visas from the immigration offices of Kathmandu and Pokhara only. They need to pay US $30 for 15 days extension, US $ 5 per day after 15 days and US$50 for multiple- entry visa. If visitors overstay then they need to pay a fine of US$3 per day if they overstay less than 30 days (plus a US$2 per day visa extension fee).

Health and travel insurance: Visitors should visit their personal physician or health clinic 4 or 8 weeks before coming to Nepal and vaccinate themselves. Travel and medical insurance is a must, and should include coverage for emergency flights and medical expenses.

Vaccination: Visitors must visit their personal physician or health clinic 4 or 8 weeks before coming to Nepal and vaccinate themselves though vaccination is not compulsory. However vaccinations are recommended for the protection.

Note: Some vaccinations are prohibited for the pregnant women and people with allergies.

  • Hepatitis A: The vaccination of Hepatitis A is recommended for all visitors which provide long-term immunity.
  • Hepatitis B: This vaccination too is advised to all travelers. Three intramuscular doses are given in 0, 1 and 6 months.
  • Influenza: This vaccination is given annually to prevent flu.
  • Japanese B encephalitis (JBE): JBE vaccination is given three times over 3 to 4 weeks which avoids mosquito- borne vital encephalitis. Generally it is recommended for the travelers who travel to the Terai and other rural areas.
  • Meningococcal meningitis:  This vaccination is recommended for the prolonged stays.
  • Polio: Polio is generally given in childhood. But if visitors have not taken it at their childhood then it is recommended vaccination for them.
  • Rabies: Rabies is especially transmitted by street dogs and monkeys. It is strictly recommended for children and other visitors who are at the high risk of animal bites or direct contact with bats.
  • Tuberculosis (TB): Most people of the west are given this vaccination in their childhood. But if they are not vaccinated, it is suggested vaccination for them.
  • Typhoid: Typhoid vaccine is available as an injection and capsules which is recommended for all visitors because Typhoid fever is growing problem of Nepal.
  • Yellow fever: The travelers who come from Africa, America and other yellow fever infected area should take vaccine for yellow fever.
  • Tetanus diphtheria: Tetanus or diphtheria vaccine should be taken in every 10 years.
  • Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR): This vaccination is recommended for all the travelers born after 1956 but not for pregnant women or severely immune compromised individuals.
  • Cholera: Cholera is spread because of polluted drinking water. It is only recommended for the high-risk individuals like health travelers and people who travel to remote areas.

Packing tips:

  • Warm clothes for cold weather, including a set or two of thermal inner wear.
  • Water and wind proof outer shell jacket and pants.
  • Walking clothes like lightweight loose trousers, shorts and comfortable and cool shirts.
  • Rain ponchos, wool socks, broken in walking boots, long trousers, warm hats, gloves, bandana, trekking poles, cap/hat for walking in the sun
  • Sleeping bags if you have them.
  • Travelers wearing lenses should carry plenty of lenses solution and backup prescription glasses.
  • Sunglasses or ski glasses if walking in snow or high altitudes.
  • Basic first aid kit and personal medication.
  • Sunscreen and sun hat help.
  • Water purifiers like iodine tablets, filters etc.
  • Headlamps with spare batteries.
  • Hand sanitizers.
  • Photocopies of passports and other important documents
  • A travel guide book and map.
  • Cameras and carrying cases
  • For a comprehensive packing list, see (link to site on trekking FAQ).

FAQs:

On trek in Nepal, is there enough drinking water available?
Teahouse treks will have bottled water available, and often boiled water and filtered water is also available. On camping trips, boiled water is provided to guests 2 to 3 times a day to fill your water bottles. If you have water filters or water purifying tablets or filters, it is recommended you use them. The supply of water is rarely a problem on most treks, it is however prudent to ensure the water you drink is treated in way or another to ensure against water borne diseases. Bottled water is generally safe to drink, but it does generate empty plastic bottles, so it is better to carry your own water bottle, and fill up on treated water along the way.

Any good tips for eating out in Kathmandu?
For places to eat please look at our site (link to “Places to Eat” part of site)

Is there anywhere to store luggage while on trek?
Most hotels will store guest luggage while they ate out on trek. This service is normally free of charge.

Do I need to take walking poles?
Carrying walking poles is entirely a personal choice but not a requirement as such for trekking. Walking poles can help a lot while going downhill or across rough trail or snow, but again, many do just as well without. If you are habituated in its use, then it can be very useful, if not, you probably won’t miss them.

What distance do we walk each day?
The distance of each day depends on gradient, terrain and altitude. For instance, you can walk seven miles in 5 hours on the one day and you can walk just 3 miles in 5 hours next day because of the gradient and quality of path. Generally you walk five six hours in a day -  that is two to three hours before lunch, and another two to three after lunch.

On a lodge or teahouse trek, how much spending money should I allow?
Spending money always depends on you. Your food and accommodation are covered in trip cost, so all you will spend on are drinks, souvenirs, snacks.  About 3 to 4 thousand a day should be more than adequate, even if you are a habitual beer drinker!

Can you recharge camera batteries?
Recharging options are available in lodges in most popular teahouse trekking routes. They generally charge about 2 US dollars for an hour recharge. On camping trips and trips to less populated trekking routes, electricity supply may not be available. Please check with your guide on information specific to your trek.

Should I get my Nepalese visa in advance or at the airport?
The choice is yours. If you want to avoid queuing then you should get your visa in advance.  You can get your visa from Tribhuvan International Airport on arrival, but may have to queue for a bit.

Where can I find more details about the lodges we stay in on Nepalese treks?
Please visit our site for the details of lodges, hotels and guesthouses (Link to pages listing accommodation on trek)

Can I buy any equipment in Kathmandu before the start of the trip?
Visitors can buy almost any trekking equipment in Kathmandu, especially Thamel, with shops offering all manner of gear. If you are good at bargaining then it is definitely a plus point while shopping in Nepal.

 

Trekking in the Himalayas
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