Nepal: Himalayan Highs From Pokhara
Nepal is renowned the world over for its magnificent trekking, a place where you can lose yourself in amongst nature at its finest at dizzying altitudes. Given the right time of year, a good set of lungs and the correct footwear, incomparable views can be witnessed from high up in this Himalayan crumple zone. Having spent 8 months over the past year in Pokhara, the city of lakes, I thought it was about time to pen some facts about the best treks available in this breathtaking location.
Located 203 kilometres west of Nepal’s capital city Kathmandu, Pokhara offers something for everyone. If it’s the thrill of extreme sports that really gets you going then paragliding from Sarangkot is a must, or if you’re simply in search of true tranquility then the Japanese Peace Pagoda is where you’ll find it.
Yet the real reason why many visit the second-largest valley in the mountainous region of Nepal is for its world famous trekking. With seven lakes to explore, vast Himalayan ranges to scale and enough culture and history to last you a lifetime, it’s easy to see why 205,000 tourists grace Pokhara’s grounds (pre-earthquake figures) every year to experience a bit of adventure at altitude.
Here are just a handful of Pokhara’s most popular treks:
HOW LONG: Two to Three Days
A beautifully cultured trail and the perfect trek for all ages, fitness levels and those with less time on their hands. Although it’s considered one of the shorter treks, Panchase certainly wont let you down in terms of awe-inspiring vistas, something I can personally vouch for. Another of Panchase’s appeals is that it doesn’t require any permits, fees or even a guide.
Head 15km west of Pokhara to Kande where the ascent begins, admittedly I did the first part of the climb on motorbike but walking also comes highly recommended! The views on the way up range from subtropical valleys of banana trees and rice paddies to high ridges covered in rhododendron forest (Nepal’s national flower). Cross suspension bridges, drop in for dal bhat at a local farmers house, it’s all there for the taking.
Stay overnight in Deurali at the quaint Happy Heart Hotel and rise at 5:30am to watch the sun kiss the tip of Mount Fishtail. The climb itself is great fun, the path is paved the whole way to the top, surrounded by luscious tropical trees and orchids, also excellent for those who enjoy birdwatching. Panchase’s peak hosts a beautiful Hindu temple, and if the clouds haven’t already descended then the views will inevitably take your breath away.
HOW LONG: Five Days
Poon Hill, otherwise known as ‘Photographer’s Paradise’, is one of the most famous viewpoints in the world and stands at 3,210m. Poon Hill offers its visitors striking panoramic views of the Himalayan haven including Annapurna South, Annapurna I, II, III, and IV, Dhaulagiri, Lamjung Himal, Gangapurna, and Manaslum, to name a few. Lodges line the way so there’s little need to carry a huge backpack or to camp out in a tent, as many tend to think is required.
The trail passes through several interesting locations revealing a melting pot of age old Nepali culture. The scenery is something to behold allowing trekkers to walk through terraced slopes, historical villages, rice paddy fields and feel the warmth of ethnic groups such as the Gurungs and Magars.
The trek is extremely popular and these Annapurna foothills can be notoriously crowded during peak season, so expect an unforgettable trip filled with slow clad mountain peaks, but don’t necessarily come in search of solitude.
HOW LONG: Nine Days
The Royal trekking route earned its name from Prince Charles after he explored the course with his 90 strong entourage in the early eighties. It is one of the shorter treks that follows the shrub saturated path along the foothills of Annapurna and it’s appeal stems from the opportunity for tourists to experience local life with a variety of Nepali casts that inhabit the region, namely the Gurkhas. Known as the ultimate in eco-trekking, due to its environmentally sound approach to modern adventure, The Royal Trek covers a very reasonable elevation of 1,500m and is a popular walk amongst families.
It begins in the popular area of Lakeside and passes through beautiful Gurung hamlets. Visitors can absorb dramatic views of the eloquently constructed hillside rice terraces, the magnificent Annapurna range, Machapuchhre and Langtang Mountain. The trip ends at the scenic Begnas Lake which is about 30 km west of Pokhara City.
The Royal Trek is one of the less crowded routes, allowing tourists to capture the culture and immerse themselves in unspoilt nature.
Annapurna Base Camp
HOW LONG: Seven to Eleven Days
Pokhara is not only celebrated for its lakes, it’s also known as the ‘gateway to Annaupurna’ and chances are when striking up conversation with a fellow traveller in a Lakeside bar, they will have just returned from a rewarding trek to Annapurna Base Camp (ABC).
The ABC trek starts in Pokhara following the route through Nayapul, Ghorepani, Tadapani, Sinuwa, Deurali, finally reaching ABC that stands at a staggering 4,130m.
There are many Guest Houses available throughout the trek, making life a little easier for those unwilling to sacrifice hot showers and decent meals. Every ridge reveals a new Himalayan panorama providing many aesthetically pleasing scenes at high altitude. On the way up explore the lush green forests, cascading waterfalls and terraced farmlands, before reaching the base of the mighty Annapurna. Around 25,000 keen climbers are attracted to ABC during one short trekking season, which is almost five times greater than Everest Base Camp.
There are few other treks that combine such a vast variation of landscapes and terrains whilst bringing you so close to the 8,000m high peak of the majestic Annapurna in such a short period of time. It’s easy to see why the ABC trek is the reason why so many visit Nepal.
The ideal months for treading Pokhara’s paths, in terms of mountain visibility and climate, are March and April (pre-monsoon) or October and November (post-monsoon). So whatever is is you are in search of on your trip to Nepal, make Pokhara is number one on your list in order to witness some of the finest views on earth.
If you are interested in booking any of the treks above during your time in Nepal then please contact:
Dream Heaven Adventure Pvt. Ltd.
Mobile: +977 9851176782
Dream Heaven Adventure Pvt. Ltd. have been providing the best trips and sharing the passion since its establishment in 2012. Our programmes are dedicated to those with a willingness to explore. We know all the visitors to Nepal wish to experience not only the country, but its people, culture and tradition. we are confident that we have the knowledge and understanding necessary to turn your travel ideas into the holiday of a lifetime. Our goal is to make your interests and budget stretch as far as possible to enable you time for endless new experiences – Suman Aryal, Managing Director, Dream Heaven Adventure Pvt. Ltd.