Annapurna Range Loop Trek To Poon Hill, Nepal - Day 1 - Trek From Birethanti To Ulleri

If you love trekking and want to experience the most famous mountain range in the world - The Himalayas firsthand, the best way to begin your adventure is to hike the trails of Annapurna Range - located near the city of Pokhara (200 km/125 miles from Kathmandu). The loop trail to Poon Hill - the popular view point via lush green forests and little, cozy mountainous villages of Ulleri, Ghorepani, Tadapani and Ghandruk offers absolutely breathtaking views of the Himalayan snowy peaks (if the weather permits of course). It's very easy to get to the start point from Pokhara and once you've started, you can give yourself as much time as you need - there are literally hundreds of guest houses along the way where you may stay overnight.

 

Part 2 - Trek from Ulleri to Ghorepani and Poon Hill >>>

 

Preparing for the Poon Hill trek

 

Nepal is really inexpensive and it's cheap to hire a guide who will walk the trail with you and provide you with some good information about the area and local customs. It's also a common practice to hire porters that will carry the luggage, however me and my friends carried the backpacks ourselves. It's another way to earn some money for the locals, however sometimes it seemed inhuman.

My advice is, if you hire a guide, ask him to take you to the local centers of the villages, I know that sometimes trekkers didn't even sea the villages as they slept in the 'modern' hotels quite far fro the actual village!

You don't have to have a guide to do the whole trek, it's pretty straightforward, however you must check in and get a travel pass (which is really cheap - not more than a couple of US dollars) at a checkpoint at the start of the trail. If you have a guide, you don't have to worry about the checkpoints nor finding accommodation. In case you need an inexpensive and reliable guide or tour services in Nepal, I know personally a great local company that could assist you. For more info, contact me via the contact form here.

Although you should be reasonably fit to do the trek, it's pretty easy. You can find great sport equipment on ONLYSPORTSGEAR.COM

Don't forget:

  • waterproof jacket
  • good trekking shoes
  • sunscreen
  • sunglasses
  • water bottle (in some places you can only refill water, no plastic bottles available to buy)
  • if you trek for 3 or 5 days - there's no point to take too much luggage - take only the essential things
  • toilet paper (sometimes available only at a ridiculously high price)

 

Where to start the Poon Hill trek?

 

The place to start the trek is called Nayapul (40 km/25 miles from Pokhara). To get there, you can try to catch a bus from Pokhara bus station, however the whole journey will take a long time as buses are not reliable. It's better to get a taxi (if you're alone, join some people) for around 20 USD - the journey takes 1,5 hours and you can stop to take some photos along the way.

The trek starts in Nayapul - it's not very impressive but in 30 minutes you'll get to Birethanti which is a much nicer, more local style village. It's also here where the checkpoint is. Now you can start the loop: you can either hike towards Ghorepani or the other way around - Ghandruk. It's easier and better to go to Ghorephani first and then go back through Ghandruk, which is the most spectacular of all the villages along the way (we got there on day 3).

 

Detailed map of the trail

Detailed map of the trail

Nayapul

Nayapul

On the way to Birethanti

On the way to Birethanti

Honeybees in Birethanti

Honeybees in Birethanti

Local women doing laundry in Birethanti

Local women doing laundry in Birethanti

The village of Birethanti

The village of Birethanti

Donkeys used for transporting goods

Donkeys used for transporting goods

A child in Birethanti

A child in Birethanti

Local women in Birethanti

Local women in Birethanti

Tired but happy

Tired but happy

A local house along the trail

A local house along the trail

A local house

A local house

Houses on the way to Ulleri

Houses on the way to Ulleri

One of the guest houses/restaurants

One of the guest houses/restaurants

A woman working in the field of cabbage

A woman working in the field of cabbage

Villages and hills seen from the trail to Ulleri

Villages and hills seen from the trail to Ulleri

The rain is gone - Himalayas appearing among the clouds

The rain is gone - Himalayas appearing among the clouds

First rhododendrons

First rhododendrons

First rhododendrons

First rhododendrons

Himalayas - the view from the guest house

Himalayas - the view from the guest house

 

The Birethanti - Ulleri trek

 

The first part of the trek is pretty flat and easy, also quite boring. There are barely any trees, mainly terraced fields. On the way, you'll pass many little houses and restaurants where you can stay and have some rest. Note, that at that point no snowy peaks are visible. But you can admire the local life instead. People working in the terraces as well as the most common animals - donkeys and yaks transporting packages and luggage up and down the hills.

There are no roads to Ulleri and other villages. To get there, the only way is to hike. Although many people had been saying that there are tonnes of tourists on the trails, I didn't feel it at all. I got the impression that we were in some really remote, incredibly beautiful place far from modern civilization. It was simply amazing. Especially during the last 30 percent of the trek when it got really steep. You must be prepared to climb literally thousands of steps. And this is by far the easiest part of the trek.

But when you see the views, the whole pain and tiredness will disappear in a second. The hills and villages down there, the Himalayan peaks and blooming rhododendrons that start appearing here and there at that altitude create a whole new, different world. It's literally impossible to describe it - you must experience it!

 

The village of Ulleri

 

The tiny village of Ulleri is lovely - with all the traditional style houses, breathtaking views and friendly locals. They don't mind the tourists and are happy to pose for a nice picture.Have some sweets for the kids ready! It's really nice to walk around!

We stayed in a guest houses in the center of Ulleri - it was very basic but comfortable. Not too mention the most beautiful view you can imagine straight from our window - we were lucky to see the peaks as the whole sky was covered and only the part with Himalayas was clear. Contrary to what I had been told, there was only a handful of tourists in the hostel. It was great to meet them - people in the mountains always seem so much friendlier than on the beach! We spent a great evening together - at that point I really started to regret that I had only 3 days to spend there. Everything was perfect, maybe with the exception of  the weather (it had been raining almost all day) and food - if you love meat - you might be disappointed. It's always better to order local meals than some western items like,for example pizza.

You may be surprised but there is WiFi in all of the guesthouses! It's not very reliable and the signal breaks, but when electricity is on, it does work!

In the second part, I've described the trek from Ulleri to Ghorepani and Poon Hill and in the third I will write about the trail to Ghandruk.

 

The guesthouse in Ulleri

The guesthouse in Ulleri

Spectacular views in Ulleri

Spectacular views in Ulleri

Ulleri

Ulleri

A rooster in Ulleri

A rooster in Ulleri

Houses in Ulleri

Houses in Ulleri

Sunny morning in Ulleri

Sunny morning in Ulleri

Ulleri

Ulleri

Colorful local houses

Colorful local houses

Traditional houses

Traditional houses

Ulleri

Ulleri

Restaurant on the trail

Restaurant on the trail

Ulleri

Ulleri

Beautiful rhododendrons

Beautiful rhododendrons

The village of Ulleri

The village of Ulleri

Spectacular view on the trail to Poon Hill

Spectacular view on the trail to Poon Hill

 

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