Final day Annapurna Circuit only

Day 16 Ghorepani to Pokhara

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Day 16

Ghorepani

Birethanti

North

28°24.17'

28°18.72'

East

83°42.25'

83°46.56'

Altitude

2,874m

1,000m

Descent

1,874m

Time

4 hours 15 minutes

Distance

16 kilometres

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If you wish to see sunrise on the Himalayas, rise before dawn at around 5:30am and before breakfast walk upwards from Ghorepani towards Poon Hill (45 minutes). There are several paths, but the one which commences at the Snowland Hotel is the best. Poon Hill is about 250 metres above Ghorepani.

At the summit of Poon Hill, do not stand on the 'viewing platform' but instead, stand around a hundred metres north. In good weather you will see a beautiful sunrise of orange gold on Dhauligiri. Sadly, Machhupuchhare, the most beautiful of all the mountains lies east from Poon Hill. As the sun rises, its glare makes viewing Machhupuchhare difficult. A better view might be had on clear evening.

On the summit of Poon Hill you may buy coffee which is even more expensive than that on the Thorung La. Such are the effects of a free market economy! By 8am the crowd of up to 200 will have dispersed. If you want to view the mountains alone, wait a while.

Leave Ghorepani village by the path which leads due south past the police post on the left. Don't forget to checkout! After about 40 minutes of descent down stone steps you will reach Nangethanti. Here the path crosses the stream, in order to traverse the hillside to Banthanti (1 hour 15 minutes). Banthanti is a good place to stop for a tea break as there is a fine view to the north west of Machhupuchhare framed by the Bhiringdi Khola valley. Continue around the hillside to Ulleri (1 hour 40 minutes) by which time the horrendously steep descent has begun in earnest. Although paved the whole way, in a horizontal distance of 450 metres the path descends 300 metres. After 2 hours and 20 minutes the suspension bridge at Tirkhedhunga is reached and with it also the pleasure of level ground. Rest your tired knees in one of the lodges here.

From Tirkhedhunga continue along the left bank of the Bhiringdi Khola through Hille (2 hours 45 minutes) and then more gently to Birethanti (4 hours 15 minutes). There are plenty of tea shops along the way. In Birethanti, as well lots of shops selling lots of things which you no longer need there is a Police Post and ACAP post. Be sure to sign the books.

Cross the rickety suspension bridge over the Modi Khola and turn right. Nayapol, from where the buses leave, is above you! It takes about 15 minutes to walk up to the little shops on stilts. If you are lucky you may find a Tata Bus waiting for you. The buses facing uphill go to Pokhara. The journey takes 2 hours and in 1997 the official cost was 26 Rupees. Many trekkers opt to sit on the roof, however if you do this, face forward as many of the power cables strung over the road are low enough to take your head off. Once the bus arrives in Pokhara you will have to take a taxi to Lakeside, the main tourist destination. For a taxi from Nayapol to Pokhara, which may be slightly faster but less comfortable, negotiations commence at around 1,000 Rupees. It's a no-brainer!

Copyright Ian P Johnson October 1998