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Nepal is home to many of the world’s largest mountain peaks and therefore some of the best trekking in the world. But don’t think you have to train for months or conquer high altitudes to enjoy Nepal’s mountains – there are plenty of treks to suit any fitness level such as the Ghandruk Trek.
The Ghandruk Trek is the perfect trek for anyone looking for a short trek in Nepal, with no difficult ascends/descends. This short but sweet trek takes three to four days, bringing you into the foothills of the Himalayas.
I came to Nepal with the intention to conquer Everest Base Camp, but food poisoning got the best of me and unfortunately, that wasn’t in the cards. Thankfully, I was still able to see some of Nepal’s mountainous beauty on the Ghandruk Trek.
What is the Ghandruk Trek?
The Ghandruk Trek is a 3-day trek that takes you into the foothills of the Annapurna Mountain Ranges to the beautiful heritage village of Ghandruk. There are plenty of friendly locals to host you in the village, as well as a museum which you can visit to learn more about the Gurung culture.
The Annapurna Mountains Ranges are one of the most beautiful places to go trekking in the world, with plenty of different treks such as the popular Annapurna Circuit. This trek takes almost two weeks, so if you don’t’ have a lot of time, the Ghandruk trek is a nice way to get a taste of the mountains.
A nice aspect of the Ghandruk trek is that you won’t see many other tourists on the trail. Instead, you will find lush green forests, friendly locals, and beautiful views.
Ghandruk Trek Itinerary
The Ghandruk Trek is typically done in 3-4 days. I did the 4-day trek as part of a one week tour through Nepal with Intrepid Travel. Four days gives you plenty of time to stop to enjoy the scenery, chat with locals and take your time to explore the picturesque villages.
The first day starts with an hour drive from Pokhara to the trailhead in Nayapul. From there, the trail takes you through vegetable patties and stone stairs to the charming village of Ghandruk. We trekked for about five hours on the first day.
Inhabited by the Gurung community, Ghandruk village is well-serviced with tea houses to stay in. It has stunning views of the Annapurna South mountain range.
It has been cloudy the first day of the trek for us, which felt disappointing as we missed out on the mountain views along the way. However, the scenery was still beautiful as we passed through many local villages and vibrant wheat fields. The clouds added a certain moodiness to the landscape.
On our first night in Ghandruk, the clouds cleared out from the sky and I saw the Himalayas appear before my eyes for the first time. It was a moment I’ll never forget. Although it was chilly, I stood outside and watched them lit by the moon and stars. The next morning, we woke up early to see the sunrise. The way the morning light hits the massive mountains is incredible. It’s one of the best sunrises I’ve woken up for.
The second day starts with more mountain views for breakfast, then a two-hour descending trek towards the village of Tolka where we stopped for lunch. Afterward, we trekked another three hours up to a village with tea houses where we spent the night.
You don’t get bored on the trail as there is so much beauty around. Aside from the majestic mountain landscapes, the paths are full of green forests, red rhododendrons, and friendly faces. Both locals and animals. I encountered so many dogs, cows, and goats on this trail!
On the third day, we trekked for another six hours from the village of Dhampus to Hemjakot, where we stayed with a local family. I loved this stay, as they had a ton of baby goats we got to play with!
Day 4 was an easy 3-hour descent to Phedi where we caught a bus back to Pokhara in time for a well-deserved lunch.
Fitness Level Required
The Ghandruk trek is relatively easy. Each day is only about five-six hours of walking, so you don’t need to be in amazing shape to do this. That said, there are a lot of stairs so be prepared for that. Unlike many treks in Nepal, you don’t have to worry about altitude sickness on this trail. The trek doesn’t go past 2000 meters of elevation.
How to Book the Ghandruk Trek
You can do this trek as part of a tour with Intrepid, who I recommend as a tour company. Not only do they plan excellent tours, but they are committed to responsible travel. I’ve traveled with them in the past and it’s allowed me to have unique experience and connections with the local community. You will be in good hands with them!
Alternatively, you can book the Ghandruk trek on your own through a tour agency in Nepal. There are many all along the lakeside in Pokhara. If you are Kathmandu, you will need to get the tourist bus to Pokhara which takes about seven hours.
Permits are required for the trek which you can arrange from tour agencies. A guide is not required for the trail but recommended if you are not a seasoned trekker or not well versed with Napoli language and culture. Not only will the guide help you during the trek with guidance, but they can provide insight into the local culture.
Best time to go on the Ghandruk Trek
The best season to go on the Ghandruk Trek is from Mid-September until May where you find great views around the region. Summer season from June-July is the rainy season and not a good time to go trekking in this region.
What to bring on the Ghandruk Trek
You won’t find hotels but you will find small villages with tea houses to stay in all along the trail. You don’t need to worry about bringing food and water, as supplies can be bought at each village, and there are plenty of tea houses to cook you a meal.
Here is a suggested packing list for the Ghandruk Trek. You can always hire a porter if you don’t want to carry your bag.
- SPF T-Shirts x3
- Hiking Pants X 2
- Underwear X 3
- Comfortable trekking shoes, and sandals to wear at night
- Socks x 3
- Packable Down jacket
- Hat/Scarf/Gloves for night
- Sunscreen/Sun hat/Sunglasses
- Refillable Water bottle – Use Lifestraw and then you can drink the water along the way
- Packable Towel
- Sleeping bag – the teahouses provide blankets but they are lightweight and it can be chilly at night
- Trekking poles – not essential but can be helpful going downhill
- Camera – check my photography guide for the best travel cameras.
Don’t forget travel insurance!
You definitely want travel insurance if you plan to trek in Nepal. Injuries are common on the trails, and in the event that something happens and you have to get air-lifted out via helicopter, this won’t be cheap. Give yourself peace of mind from this situation by getting travel insurance. I recommend World Nomad’s Travel Insurance as they cover a wide range of adventure activities including trekking and helicopter evacuation.
The Ghandruk Trek is perfect for those looking for a short trek or an introduction into Nepal’s mountain ranges. It’s full of beauty and few tourists which is all the reason to go.
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