Poon Hill Trek – The Best Short Trek in Nepal

Poon Hill Best Short Trek in Nepal

Want to experience the magnificent Himalaya mountains in Nepal but are too short on time to do a two-week trek? Then you will want to do the best short trek in Nepal. The Poon Hill trek can be done in 4 days and 3 nights giving you the perfect sample of the Himalayas to get your palette wet and present you with some stunning views.

You can also do the Poon Hill trek route that gives you an extra day making it a 5 day trek rather than a 4 day trek. We cheated a bit and our driver took us to the furthest point to drop us off skipping about one day of trekking.

Who is the Poon Hill trek for?

Looking at the View at Poon HillThe Poon Hill trek is for anyone who is short on time and wants to experience the Himalayas up close or anyone who isn’t quite confident enough to try trekking for over a week up to 20 days, then this is the perfect short trek in Nepal for you.

Coming to Nepal we were super enthusiastic about trekking, but both of us thought we weren’t in nearly enough shape to even trek for four days straight. We were comfortable knowing we were doing one of the more mild hikes in Nepal and it was only a few days in case we were going to get our butts kicked.  Luckily we did pretty awesome on the Poon Hill trek, although there are TONS of stairs that will keep your calves burning for days after. This gave us a taste of what trekking is like plus the confidence and motivation to want to come back and try a tougher trek like the Annapurna Base Camp Circuit (aka ABC) and Everest Base Camp, both which are much longer than the trek we did.

What to Expect

Poon HillThe level of difficulty isn’t too bad and the route we have shared gives you plenty of time to take rests when needed. Be prepared to do TONS of stairs. Other people who trekked with us used hiking poles to assist them and help relieve their joints up and down the mountain.

Camelback NepalYou will be sleeping in different tea houses along the mountain. Tea houses offer affordable accommodation, water refills, snacks, and meals. You will run into tea houses all along the trek so don’t worry about being stranded in the middle of nowhere on a cold mountain without a roof over your head for the night.

Tea Houses in Annapurna

Village of Tea Houses

The tea houses offer basic accommodation, think of camping with a roof over your head. Some tea houses are obviously nicer than others and all offer warm blankets even if the air in your room is so cold you can see your breath.

Don’t expect hot showers, at best expect luke warm water.

Each day we trekked for around three and a half hours with an exception of the day we did Poon Hill at sunrise.

The Route

Day 1: Start @ Sudame End @ Banthanti

After departing Pokhara at around 8 am it took us about 4 hours of driving to get to Sudame where we would start our trek.

A dirt road takes you all the way to Sudame skipping through some of the villages where some trekkers start their longer Annapurna Circuit trek at. It feels kind of funny to drive past trekkers and get dropped off at a place that takes them over a day to get to, but when times short you gotta do what you gotta do!

The crew day 1 poon hill

The trekking crew before all those grueling stairs!

Starting at Sudame you will trek up a grueling 3,000 plus stairs as you enter the mountain range. After about three and a half hours of going at a decent pace we made it to Sunny Hotel, a tea house offering your first view of the Himalayas early in the morning in Banthanti.

We arrived here in the afternoon giving us time to rest our jello legs after the stairs and enjoy a cup of hot masala tea as the sun went down and the cool air came out. The food was good and the heater in the dining room kept us warm.

Fishtail in Nepal

Machapuchare aka “Fishtail” is a sacred mountain in Nepal no one is allowed to climb.

Fish Tail Peak Guest House is a great stop for this trek as it’s mostly used as a lunch stop for people doing longer treks. We had the entire tea house to ourselves which was nice considering they have a shared bathroom.

Sunrise Pano on Poon Hill Trek day 1

Sunrise view from Banthanti

At night the stars were bright without any light pollution from Pokhara which seemed far away now and in the morning we were rewarded with great views of Machapuchare, aka Fishtail, the sacred mountain devoted to Shiva no longer able to climb as our first peek at the white mountains of the Himalayas.

Elevation 2,824 meters or 9,265 feet

Day 2: Start @ Banthanti End @ Ghorepani

Poon Hill treks in NepalThis was the easiest day of the Poon Hill trek as you only trek for about 3 hours until you make it to the gorgeous mountainside village of Ghorepani where you will be just a short distance away from Poon Hill. Don’t let this day fool you though, you will need to rest your legs to prepare yourself for the next day.

Sunny View Hotel Ghorepani Nepal

Talk about a room with a view!

Luckily you will be situated in one of the most beautiful villages through the Annapurna circuit. We stayed at the Sunny Hotel and were rewarded with breathtaking views all morning and late in the afternoon. From here you will get panoramic views of Annapurna South and Dhaulagiri I, the 7th and 10th largest peaks in the world.

Sunny View Hotel Ghorepani Nepal

View from Sunny View Dining Hall

The dining hall at Sunny Hotel offers a warm place to enjoy the views through their windows and served up some of the best food we ate during our entire stay in Nepal. Not bad for a tiny little mountain village! There are individual bungalows with views of the mountains as well as regular basic hotel rooms. You will be provided a warm blanket to keep you toasty warm during the frigid hours of the night.

Sunny View Hotel Ghorepani Nepal

Elevation 2,874 meters or 9,429 feet

Day 3: Start @ Ghorepani End @ Tadapani

Poon Hill treks in NepalThis is by far the most challenging day and rewarding day. From Ghorepani you are only about a one hour climb to the top of the viewpoint of the Poon Hill trek. It is best to witness the sunrise from up here and get the breathtaking views of the Annapurna Himalayas. Most guides will leave at around 5:30 am, however due to the crowds I recommend starting earlier at 5 am.

Sunrise at Poon HillTrekking Poon Hill is challenging because it is really cold in the early hours of the morning, while you may get hot climbing all the stairs during the Poon Hill trek you will want to make sure you have gloves and plenty of warm layers waiting for the sun to come up at the top.

Sunrise at Poon HillSunrise at Poon HillWhen we were standing at the top and looking at the mountains and the sunrise it almost made me want to cry it was so beautiful. It also made me want to do every trek possible in Nepal. It’s such an overwhelming feeling of beauty and joy looking over the mountain range like that. It’s an unforgettable picture in my mind and I am so glad our lives have led us to this lifestyle and getting to experience something as mind blowingly beautiful as this. Anyways, you get it, it’s gorgeous up there and you may have some deep thoughts about how awesome life is when you’re up there.

Sunrise at Poon HillAfter the sunrise we trekked back down Poon Hill for breakfast and an hour or two of rest before heading out for the day. At this point already our legs were starting to feel a bit like jello and we didn’t realize we had about 5 more hours of trekking up and down to make it to Tadapani for the night where a cold Everest Beer was in order after this calorie blasting day.

blooms on poon hill trek

The gorgeous rhododendron trees in bloom

epic view spot from poon hill trekprayer flags and mountains nepal

blooms on poon hill trek

The gorgeous rhododendron trees in bloom

During the day you will get three more epic view spots of the Annapurna Himalayas as well as a beautiful trek through the forest and under the canopy of rhododendron trees. The entire day was beautiful but exhausting.

Poon Hill TrekTadapani also was a treat as it offered a spectacular view of Machhapuchchhre, aka Fishtail,  a waterfall, and pink blossoms of all the trees.

Magnificent HotelMagnificent Hotel

Magnificent Hotel

Basic rooms at Magnificent

We stayed at the Magnificent Hotel which offered epic views but very basic accommodation.

Elevation 2,721 meters or 8,927 feet

Day 4: Start @Tadapani End @ Ghandruk and ride back to Pokhara
View from Magnificent Hotel

What an incredible view

The very last day of our Poon Hill trek started with a gorgeous sunrise of Machhapuchchhre before we started to descend to Ghandruk where we would enjoy lunch and get picked up by our car to go back to Pokhara.

taking in the last views poon hill trek

Taking it all in

More beautiful blooms poon hill trek

More beautiful blooms along the way

This trek took us around 4 hours to complete and consisted of going up and down passing through more forest of the rhododendron trees and more small waterfalls.

This was bittersweet as we were sad to not have views of the gorgeous mountains we saw trekking Poon Hill but a rewarding experience and something I am quite proud we did. Before coming to Nepal I didn’t think I was in any physical condition to do trekking here let alone the Poon Hill trek. Now I know I can do it and it’s inspired me to want to get in better shape and come back and do a longer trek, either Annapurna Base Camp or Everest Base Camp, or both!

The car ride back to Pokhara went past Birethanti where we drove past on the way to Sudame on day 1 completing our Poon Hill trek loop, well-shortened version of it!

Ghandruk Elevation 1,939 meters or 6,362 feet

What will you need?

poon hill trek

Be comfortable, you don’t need to invest in expensive gear for this trek.

If you don’t already own a ton of trekking gear you won’t need to go out and invest in hundreds of dollars of gear for the Poon Hill trek. Neither of us had hiking boots and were able to wear our tennis shoes, running pants, and bring tons of layers. We recommend packing light as you will have to carry everything you bring on your back, that is unless you hire a porter to carry all of your stuff.

poon hill trek

a Yak Blanket can easily be used as a scarf, blanket, or a wrap!

The days are warm and climbing all the stairs you will get hot, we recommend wearing athletic pants and a t-shirt during the day. Bring tons of layers for the evenings, nights, and early mornings including warm socks!

You will need minimal gear but we do recommend having a good backpack meant for backpacking as these are usually built for comfort. I had just a day backpack and after a few days it started bothering my back since it’s not meant for trekking and not built for comfort for days at time.

You will also want to bring a refillable waterbottle as you will not be able to purchase water bottles on the mountain, instead, you will have to purchase filtered water in which they will refill your bottles at all of the tea houses along the way.

If you’re prone to getting hangry be sure to pack some snacks for trekking Poon Hill. You will be able to purchase some on the mountain but they will most likely be candy bars at around $2 a pop. In Kathmandu we saw super markets that carried packs of granola bars and other nutritional foods that you could pack for snacks on your trek.

We also recommend bringing a head torch or flashlight for the sunrise Poon Hill trek since it’s dark when you start and it can be a bit dangerous if you can’t see.

How to do the Poon Hill trek?

Poon Hill TrekYou will need to get from Kathmandu to Pokhara to start this short trek in Nepal. You can either take a painfully long bus ride for about $12 like we did, plan on the trip taking anywhere from 6-11 hours. Or you can opt for about a 30-minute flight for ~$120 one way.

We recommend staying the night in Pokhara and getting an early start the next day. It’s about a 4-hour ride from Pokhara to Sudame where we started the Poon Hill trek. If you hire a local guide they will arrange your ride, if not you will have to hire a driver in Pokhara to drop you off.

poon hill trek guides

Our awesome guides Shyam and Rajan

We recommend doing this trek with a local guide, even though you can do the Poon Hill trek on your own. Why do we recommend a guide? This was our first ever trek like this, having a local who is an expert with the mountains and route was a total relief. It left all the planning and thinking out of it. They reassured us that we were fine and made sure we were well prepared before and during the trek.

If you plan on going without a guide during high season you will have a more difficult time finding accommodation in the tea houses in the villages. During peak season the tea houses fill up since the local guides know the different tea house owners they assure you will have a place to sleep before trekking. If you show up and do the trek on your own and the guest houses are full you may have to trek a few more hours to another village to find a place to sleep. This reason alone made us thankful we had Shyam and Rajan, our guides, who took care of this planning. These tea houses don’t really have the option to book ahead on your own in advance if it’s low season you’re most likely not going to run into this problem and it’s up to how confident you are in yourself to do it solo.

We recommend booking Kathmandu Adventures, our guides Shyam and Rajan were not only fun guides who dealt with our craziness and sense of humor but very knowledgeable of the mountains and spoke great English. When we come back we will be booking through this company and requesting the same guides again. When you have a good guide you feel like you gain a friend on the mountain, and that’s how we felt with both Shyam and Rajan.


Book your tour with Kathmandu Adventures with us and get a 30% discount on any tour with the promo code BOBOANDCHICHI30. 

Check availability here.

Kathmandu Adventures also gives a portion of their profits to various charities and social enterprises helping the local communities such as building new schools and helping young girls get an education.

Traveling with a friend and want to save more money?

Check out the Tour Saver coupon booklet for your trip. Basically, if you travel with a friend one person is FREE using any of the tour, restaurant, or hotel coupons in your Nepal Tour Saver booklet.

You pay $100 for the book and can literally save thousands or break even if you only use it once!


Disclaimer: Our trek was courtesy of Kathmandu Adventures, however all opinions expressed on this website are our own. This page also contains affiliate links. That means if you purchase anything from this site we make a small commission to help us run our website. All products for sale on this website we stand by 100%.

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Poon Hill Best Short Trek in Nepal

 

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  • Claudia Padgett

    There is a two week trek?! Oh myyyy! The area does look like there is sooooo much to see and do and I am sure the two week trek would be amazing but I think for myself, the one you did is a much better option. And the tour group seems great, will save them 🙂

    • Yes!! Everest Base Camp is around 20 days and Annapurna Base Camp is around 12! We want to do both actually! hahaha I think doing a shorter one is best so you know if you could mentally and physically handle a longer one!

  • Laura Nalin

    Love this!! I would love to do a trek in Nepal someday; my ultimate goal is Everest base camp BUT I think I’d like to start off on something like this 😛 The colors are incredible. I remember seeing your photos when you were on the trip and being amazed!

    • I think we are going back to do Everest Base Camp in 2018! I was the same though, I wanted to do EBC, or ABC, but was worried. This trek was the perfect one to get my palette wet and make me realize I could totally do a longer one!

  • Patricia Steffy

    First, your pictures are stunning! I love the idea of this, and my husband, who is an avid hiker, would probably start packing after reading your post. But I just don’t know that I’m in good enough shape to do it, and I have problems adjusting to high altitudes. Still, the Poon Hill short trek might be doable for me with one of those hiking poles to aid my knees on the steps, and a tea house or the Sunny Hotel to collapse in. 🙂

    • You shouldn’t have issues with altitude sickness on this trek! Also, I didn’t work out for months before this trek, I was nervous but able to do it just fine! The guides will go slow too and you’re not packing too much into one day. I think you could do it! Totally get the poles! You could train by just doing some staircases

  • Ok, this is my kind of trek if I was ever going to do a trek that was more than one day 🙂 I am not an experienced hiker so hiking less than 4 hours a day is what I need. Well, the last day is longer, but hopefully by that time I will be a little used to it. I also like that you can stay in a tea house cuz I don’t think I can carry a tent around with me! Love all your photos!

    • This trek is amazing! We packed the bare minimum. Scott carried the camera gear and I carried one change of clothes (we mostly layered) and baby wipes and tooth brushes. I don’t know if I could have carried more to be honest! Haha

  • Paige Brown

    This sounds amazing! Matt and I are going to Nepal next year and are planning to do the ABC trek. This sounds like a great way to get started though. I’m dying to spend as much time in the Himalayas as possible! It looks stunning. That room with the UNREAL view, though… Amazing-ness!

    • OMG you guys are going to have a great time! I want to do ABC! You’ll pass through here on your way or on the way back! Let me know if you guys are looking for a good guide, ours was fantastic and we ended up using them both the entire 3 weeks we were in Nepal! Plus you’ll get a discount!

  • 2TravelDads

    This is exactly how I would need to experience the Himalayas. It’s so strikingly beautiful and I just know doing a full trek won’t happen anytime soon. Thank you for sharing this great approach.

    • Thanks for your comment! We love this shorter option, because most of the gorgeous views come with 13-20 day treks! We found this to be the best first hike to do in Nepal to keep us wanting to come back for more!

  • Reshma

    Love love your pretty maps! They have come out so well! It was so fun doing this trek with you guys! 🙂 Such stunning photos too. Poon Hill trek was certainly amazing!

    • Thanks Reshma! It was fun doing the trek with you as well! We want to go back! Perhaps a reunion with the whole SHADOW gang!

  • Thanks so much for the kind words. Definitely one of the highlights of our trip. Having a guide definitely made the entire experience more fun and enjoyable!