Nepal Rhododendron Trek

Nepal Rhododendron Trek

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The Annapurna Ghorepani – Poon Hill Trek or the Annapurna Sunrise Trek is also known as the Rhododendron Trek if done during the spring time when the whole rhododendron forest is in full bloom.

Max. Elevation :  3193m Grade :  Moderate
Best season :  Sep-Dec&Feb-June Type of trek :  Tea house/Lodging
Duration :  9-11 Days Starting point :  Kathmandu
Ending point :  Kathmandu Highlights :  Nature

The Annapurna Ghorepani – Poon Hill Trek or the Annapurna Sunrise Trek is also known as the Rhododendron Trek if done during the spring time when the whole rhododendron forest is in full bloom. 

This low-altitude trek enables you to enjoy the breath-taking scenery of some of the highest Himalayan peaks. From the terraced rice-fields above Pokhara, the trek goes along good trails through picturesque Gurung villages and the world’s biggest rhododendron forest which, in spring, bursts with in many different hues.  Although a short course by general standard, it however offers superb Himalayan views including the Mt. Dhaulagiri (8167m), Annapurna I (8091m), Mt. Fishtail (6998m), Nilgiri (7041m), Annapurna South (7219m), Annapurna II (7239m,  Annapurna III (7555m), Annapurna IV (7525m), Lamjung Himal (6988m), Hiunchuli (6441m), Tukuche peak (6920m )and many other surrounding peaks

In particular the dawn views of Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchare and Annapurna South, from Poon Hill, the vantage spot for viewing, are the highlights of this trek. Short and fairly easy, this trek is a perfect starter for those not sure of their walking ability, or those who wish to make the most of only a few days. 

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Day 01: Arrive Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport (1300m/4264ft) and transfer to the hotel.

Day 02: After breakfast we set out for an extensive guided sightseeing tour of Kathmandu valley’s cultural, historical, religious and world heritage sites. During the course, we visit the famous Pashupatinath temple of Lord Shiva situated at the holy bank of River Bagmati where we will also observe the Hindu cremation ritual. We then proceed to the Boudhanath  Stupa, a major pilgrimage centre for the Buddhist faith which also is the largest of its kind in the world. We then have a short break for lunch followed by a visit to Swoyambhunath Stupa also known as the Monkey Temple from where we can have a bird’s eye view of whole of Kathmandu valley. Following this we then proceed for a visit to Kathmandu Durbar Square, the oldest royal palace of Kathmandu and a UNESCO world heritage site.  The whole area of Kathmandu Durbar Square is dotted with numerous fascinating Nepalese architect dating back many centuries. The site is also the home of Nepal’s living Goddess – Kumari, where we will also have the opportunity to experience firsthand this unique Nepali tradition.  In the evening we will attend the welcome dinner hosted by Makalu Adventure with live Nepalese culture shows.

Day 03: Fly (35min) to Pokhara (915m) and Trek to Ulleri (2050m) – 6 hours: After an early breakfast you will be transferred from the hotel to Kathmandu domestic airport for the flight to Pokhara where, on a clear day there are superb views of Mt. Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, Mt. Fishtail and the five peaks of Annapurnas.  After a brief orientation we will then drive for about an hour along the Seti River valley from Pokhara to the trek starting point called Naya Pool (new bridge) and have our trekking permit checked in Birethanti (1,100m) shortly.  From Birethanti, the path follows through sub tropical valley forest. After lunch the route then descends towards Modi valley through bamboo and terrace farmland before arriving to Tikhedhunga. As we continue our journey to Ulleri where we stay overnight, we are faced with a rather challenging section of today’s walk with thousands of steps and boulders leading us to Ulleri.  Ulleri at 2050 meters is truly a vertical town; so perched on the hillside that every guest house window looks unobstructed at the expanse of the opposite valley.

This trip takes you through beautiful Nepalese villages with spectacular views of the Annapurna region. Ideal for the first time trekker, this is a culturally rich journey through rural villages with an ever increasing build-up of mountain views and involves 5-6 hours gentle walk each day.

Day 04: Ulleri – Ghorepani (2750m/ 9020 ft): 5 hrs: From Ulleri we continue our ascent to Ghorepani village.  The name of the village “Ghorepani” in English literarily translates to Ghore (horse) Pani (water). In old days this place used to be a major trading centre where the traders used to take rest and let their horse drink the water so it gained the name as such. 

Ascend from Ulleri becomes gentle as compare to the previous day and arrives shortly to Banthanti. From here on we mostly pass through the rhododendron forest before arriving to  Nagthanti where we have our lunch. From Nagthali the forest becomes even denser leading to the path with stone steps and arriving to the lower part of Ghorepani. After ascending for about 20 minutes we finally arrive to the check post- the gate way to the upper village where we will stay overnight and from where there are mesmerizing views of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna ranges and Nilgiri.

Day 05:  Ghorepani – Poon Hill (3193m/10,473ft)-Tadapani (2700m/8,860 ft): 6-7 hrs: Today we trek from Ghorepani to Poon Hill and then to Tadapani. We cover the distance within five and half hours of normal trek. Early morning, we start our trip to Punhill (3180m.) to enjoy the sunrise view over Mt. Dhaulagiri (8167m.), Tukuche Peak (6920m.), Nilgiri (6940m.), Varaha Shikhar (7847m.), Mt. Annapurna I (8091m.), Annapurna South (7219m.), Annapurna III (7855m.), Machhapuchhre (6993m.), Annapurna IV (7525m.), Annapurna II (7937m.), Lamjung Himal (6931m.) and numerous other snowcapped mountain peaks. Having breakfast at Ghorepani, we then trek to Tadapani through the deep forests of rhododendrons, bamboos and oaks. En route, one can observe waterfalls, rocks, wild animals, birds and green valleys. Overnight at Tadapani.

Day 06: Tadapani - Ghandruk (1940m/6360 ft) 3-4 hrs: Comparatively, today is the easiest trek of all days. One has to trek through the forests of Rhododendron and oak One could hear soothing chirp of birds on the way. This trek also offers best alternative for birds lovers. Ghandruk is a big Gurung village. There is a handicraft centre and Gurung museum. From this village you could observe good views of Annapurna South, Hiunchuli, Gangapurna (7455m.), Annapurna III (7755m.) and Fishtail.  In the evening, typical Gurung Cultural program will be organized on request.

Day 07: Ghandruk: Today, we spend the whole day visiting surrounding rhododendron forest and exploring varieties of species. The rhododendron is an evergreen flowering shrub with cluster of bell-shaped flowers. There are more than thirty species of rhododendron in Nepal with dozens of varieties in all sizes and colours. One of the species Rhododendron Arboreum (known as Rose Tree) is the national flower of Nepal.While rhododendron can be found all over the world, Nepali rhododendrons are unique for their immense size and distribution all across the Himalayan foothills, which grows up to 30m tall and will often cover entire mountainside with its flowers when it blooms from later February to April. For further information about the rhododendron of Nepal please have a look at René de Milleville’s book called The Rhododendrons of Nepal (ISBN 99933 13 23 8) who has provided in depth information on this flower in Nepal.

Day 07: Ghandruk – Pokhara: 4 hrs trek and 1hr drive: Today, we trek from Ghandruk to Naya Pul then drive to Pokhara. The trek is downhill all the way to Birethanti and passes through different kinds of rhododendron forests. We step onto a staircase paved with stone slabs, curving in and out of the village and then terraced farms. It keeps going down almost without breaks from Ghandruk until Modi Khola river valley and finally arrives to Birenthanti from where; a half-an-hour’s walk takes us to Naya Pul. The journey on foot comes to an end at Nayapul. Then we drive from Nayapul to Pokhara. The rest of the day is at leisure or if you wish you can explore this charming lakeside city on your own. Overnight at hotel.

Day 08: Fly or drive back to Kathmandu, rest of the day is at leisure

Day 09: After breakfast we will set out for a sightseeing tour of Bhaktapur and Patan and return to our hotel at late afternoon.

Day 10: Transfer from hotel to airport, fly home

Trip Cost Includes
  • All airport/hotel transfers
  • all accommodation in Kathmandu and Pokhara on B/B basis and wherever stated
  • Welcome and farewell dinner
  • All accommodation and meals during the trek
  • Domestic flights (Kathmandu-Pokhara-Kathmandu (wherever stated on the itinerary)
  • Trek leader, assistant trek leader) Sherpa porters including their salary, insurance, equipment, flight, food and lodging
  • Down jacket, sleeping bags, Trekking kit bag/duffel bag, trekking map and trekking Poles
  • All necessary paper work and permits (National park permit or entrance fees etc)
  • A comprehensive medical kit
  • All government and local taxes
Trip Cost Excludes
  • Nepal visa fee
  • Airport departure tax
  • International airfare to and from Kathmandu
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Lunch and evening meals in Kathmandu and in Pokhara
  • Extra night accommodation
  • Travel and rescue insurance
  • Personal expenses (phone calls, laundry, bar bills, battery recharge, extra porters, bottle or boiled water, showers etc)
  • Tips for guides and porters

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