The Panchase trek is an off the beaten path 3-day hike through the rural areas and lush green forest in the Annapurna region. It is a moderate difficult trek with the highest point at 2500m which means no prior acclimatization is needed. The Panchase trek offers beautiful scenery and an authentic experience of staying with locals. This hike is a great option to do as an acclimatization hike before going to Annapurna National park.
Panchase trek facts
- Distance – 44,5 km/27,6 mi
- Time required – 3 days
- Starting point – Pokhara, Lakeside. As an option you can take a boat from Pokhara to the World Peace pagoda and start walking from there.
- Finishing point – Kande (the trek can be done either way)
- Highest point – Panchase peak (2500m)
- Total elevation gain (over 3 days) – 2762m
- Total elevation loss (over 3 days) – 1834m
- Accommodation – tea houses/home-stays
- Food – momos, chapati, rice, dal
Permits – no special permits or TIM cards required. Note! At the information office we were told that if you go to Kande you need a permit; technically it’s located inside the National park in fact nobody checks permits there, you can go up to Australian camp without a permit.
Route options on the Panchase trek
At the beginning we were a bit confused on different routes suggested online some sites saying the route starts and finishes at Kande (it’s a return 2-day hike), some that it starts at World Peace Temple. We checked a map and decided to start right from our hotel in Lakeside (Pokhara). The trail is not really marked but using an offline navigation application on my phone (Maps.me) we had no problem finding the way. Several accommodation and food options are available along the route. It’s totally up to you where you want to start and to finish, since we don’t like walking to and back the same way we considered the loop route as a better option, plus the part from Kande to Bhadaure (5 km) is along a dirt road under construction with some trucks and road working machines it’s not the most beautiful part of the trek.
Starting in Pokhara/finishing at Kande – it’s always great when you can just walk out of your hotel and start hiking. It doesn’t take long to get out of the city to the rural area and then to the forest. Total distance – 44,5 km/27,6 mi. Elevation gain – 2762m, elevation loss – 1834m. It’s possible to make the first day a bit shorter by taking a boat from Lakeside to the World Peace pagoda.
Starting at Kande/finishing in Pokhara – it’s the same route just walked other way around, the main difference of this route option is that you’ll have less ascend and more descend, 1834m up against 2762m down. Total distance – 44,5 km/27,6 mi.
Starting and finishing at Kande – it’s the easiest route option though you walk to and back the same way and as I mentioned above 10 km/6,2 mi out of it will be on the dirt road. Total distance – 30,2 km/18,7 mi. Elevation gain = elevation loss – 1706m.
Starting at Kande/finishing at Ghatichina – the shortest route option if you don’t want to go back the same way is to walk to Ghatichina and from there take a bus to Pokhara. Total distance – 26 km/16 mi. We were thinking of taking this route to get back to Pokhara from Panchase instead of going to Kande in case of rain.
Practical information for the trek
The route is poor/not marked we and other fellow trekkers we met on the route used Maps.me offline navigation app and it worked great, it was quite easy to find the hiking trail. Every day we find the finishing point and it gave us the best walking option of getting there, sometimes on the way we did see some route marking and signs.
No permits needed for this trek on the map you can see that Kande is located inside Annapurna National park but you still don’t need permits to access that area.
Tea houses on the route have electricity and power outlets remember to charge your phone every night you’ll use it a lot for navigation.
Panchase trek cost*
*for two people
- Snacks – NRP 100/US$1
- Accommodation + food (food was included in the price) – NRP 1600/US$14
- Food (lunch, dinner, tea) – NRP 1600/US$14
- Accommodation – NRP 300/US$2,6
- Food (breakfast) – NRP 600/US$5,3
- Transport (bus Kande – Pokhara) – NRP 300/US$2,6 (150 per person)
Total: NRP 4500/US$40 for 3 days/two people
Note! We had LifeStraw water filter so we could use tap water for drinking, we didn’t buy water on the trek. If you’re going to buy water add about NRP 150-200/US$1-2 pp. to the budget. A one liter bottle costs usually about NRP 25, at Panchase the price is NRP 100/US$1 per bottle.
Some sources say it’s an easy trek suitable for families with children and elderly people we don’t think so, it’s not the most difficult hike in the region the highest point is 2500m but it’s not that easy considering many steep ascend and descends on the route and remoteness of the area. I’d say it’s 5 out of 10 difficulty.
Guided tour or independent trek
Guided tour costs from US$400 per person vs US$20 pp. that we spent on the trek and the fact that you pay more doesn’t mean you’ll get better accommodation or food it’s very likely you’ll get the same, you just pay extra for someone to arrange the trek for you and of course for a guide and a porter. The main difficulty of the Panchase trek is poor route marking – a guide here might be quite helpful but with Maps.me app we didn’t have any problem of finding the right way. It’ll be cheaper to find a porter/a guide that knows the route than buying a tour package.
Day 1. Pokhara, Lakeside – Pumdi, 10 km
Lakeside (809m) – World Peace pagoda (1100m) – Pumdi (1300m), 10 km/6,2 mi
- Distance – 10 km/6,2 mi
- Starting point – Lakeside, Pokhara
- Finishing point – Pumdi
- Total ascend – 644m
- Total descend – 163m
- Walking time – 3h20min.
We started walking from our hotel with a quick stop at the Tourism Information office on the way. We were hoping to get a map but they didn’t have one, asking anything about the route was pointless as they didn’t have a clue so we just found Pumdi on Maps.me and followed the suggested walking route. It seemed to be quite accurate as it took us away from the road to the forest path, past World Peace temple to Pumdi. The route is not marked at all having an offline navigation app was super helpful. There were several tourists on the route and many people at the temple so it felt quite safe to walk in the area.
As an option you can take a boat from Pokhara to and from the pier walk to the World Peace temple, it will make your walking day half shorter, about 5 km in total but you’ll still have to climb all the way to the temple from the pier (it’ll be quite a steep climb).
- Steep and long ascend from Pokhara (809m) to Pumdi (1300m)
- The World Peace pagoda
- Beautiful views from the top of the hill over Pokhara, Phewa lake and the surrounding
Stops on the route
The World Peace pagoda, 5,5 km/3,4 mi from Lakeside. There are a couple of restaurant/coffee shops where you can get food or buy snacks and water. At Elite cafe you can even get a proper Espresso or Cappuccino. Everything a bit more expensive than in Pokhara; lassi – NRP 200/US$1,7, coffee – from NRP 150/US$1,3, water NRP 25-30/US$0,30. I’d suggest to stop here for lunch food options in Pumdi are quite limited.
Pumdi, a small rural village visited by very few tourists so people here don’t really speak English and are not used to see foreigners.
- Tea houses – yes but there are no signs you have to ask locals, they’ll take you to one of them, we found it immediately.
- Shops – yes, one or two small shops that sell water, snacks, sweets and cool drinks.
- Bus stop – yes, we saw a local bus stopping here, I guess it goes to Pokhara or another biggish town nearby.
Home stay in Pumdi
Price NRP 1600/US$14 for room and food (two people).
- Shower – yes
- Hot water – no
- Asian style toilet
- Blankets – yes
- Electricity – yes
- Outlets in the room – yes, we could charge all our devices
- Food – yes, dinner is included in the room price.
Our dinner was quite basic not like the food you get on the popular hiking routes in Nepal. It’s basically the food that local people eat; a big portion of rice, two slices of carrot and radish, very thin, watery dal and a little bit of chicken with many bones – don’t expect a lot here. I’d suggest to bring some snacks with.
Day 2. Pumdi – Panchase, 17,3 km
Pumdi (1300m) – Panchase (2080m), 17,3 km/10,7 mi
- Distance – 17,3 km/10,7 mi
- Starting point – Pumdi
- Finishing point – Panchase
- Total ascend – 1220m
- Total descend – 441m
- Walking time – 5h46min.
Honestly it was quite a tough day of walking and we were quite tired by the end of it. All we read online about the hike was saying it’s an easy hike suitable for elderly people and families with children. We’re quite experienced hikers but it wasn’t a very easy relaxing walk you walk uphill all day, with some really steep ascends.
First 6 km/3,7 mi the trail goes through rural area and small villages though there is not a single place to stop for food anywhere except Peace Home tea house after about 6 km where we stopped for food and tea.
Second part of the walk is really beautiful through the forest though this part has the most ascends for the day. The forest part of the trail is marked with small colorful ribbons on the trees and yellow-red marks painted on the trees and rocks. If your phone dies and you’re not sure which way to walk look for these indications. Before you enter the forest part make sure you have enough water to last you for 10 km/6,2 mi, there will be no place to refill water and it’s the main ascend for the day, about 830m up. There is a water tap just before Peace Home tea house. The forest path is quite slippery especially if it rains having walking poles will be quite helpful here.
- Very long ascend, basically the whole day you walk up with short downs in between.
- Not many places between Pumdi and Panchase to stop for food, basically there was only one place opened Peace Home Tea House, at about 6 km from Pumdi so make sure to have breakfast at your home-stay or bring some snacks with.
- Beautiful rural scenery; green hills, rice terraces, local houses, mountains etc.
- The last 10km to Panchase through the beautiful lush green forest.
Stops on the route
5 km/3 mi from Pumdi; Bhumdi tea house with rooms for rent, no food available.
6 km/3,7 mi from Pumdi; water tap, Peace Home tea house with rooms for rent and a small shop, can get food here (dal, chapati, tea). There is a bus stop right next to the tea house, the bus goes to Pokhara.
Panchase – a small village, quite a popular place for locals to come for the weekend.
- Tea houses – yes, four or five, they all are called hotels but look just like a normal tea house.
- Shops – yes, a couple of small shops that sell water, snacks, sweets and cool drinks.
- Bus stop – no, there is no bus to Panchase
Happy Heart Hotel facilities
The room is very basic and cold. The previous night our sleeping bags were too warm, at Panchase it was great to have sleeping bags for below 0°C. Price NRP 300/US$2,7 for two people.
- Shower – yes
- Hot water – no
- Toilet – yes, a local hole toilet
- Blankets – yes
- Electricity – yes
- Outlets in the room – yes and there is a multi plug in the dining room
- Food – yes, they have quite a diverse menu from local food (dal, chapati etc.) to pasta and omelets.
Day 3. Panchase – Kande, 17,2 km
Panchase (2080m) – Panchase peak (2500m) – Panchase (2080m) – Bhadaure – Kande (1716), 17,2 km/10,6 mi. Bus Kande – Pokhara, 27 km/16,7 mi, 1h30min.
Climb to Panchase peak for the sunrise
- Distance – 4,2 km/2,6 mi, return
- Starting/finishing point – Panchase village
- Ascend – 422m
- Descend – 422m
- Time – 1h30min., return
The peak is the highest point of the trek, 2500m. The trail starts at the hotel but I’d suggest to find out where it starts the night before. We got a little bit lost luckily the lady that runs the place was awake she showed us the way. The ascend is very steep, it takes between 45 min. and 1 hour to get to the top. I’d suggest to start the ascend an hour before to make sure you won’t miss it. You can leave all your luggage at the hotel, the rooms have locks just take water and headlamp with.
Walk from Panchase to Kande
- Distance – 13km/8 mi
- Starting point – Panchase
- Finishing point – Kande, bus to Pokhara
- Total ascend – 476m
- Total descend – 808m
- Walking time – 4 hours
After the climb we got back to the hotel, packed our stuff, ate breakfast and started walking. The first part of the route goes through the forest it’s a very quiet and beautiful route with some great views over the snow peaks and mountains all the way to Bhadaure. The route goes uphill in the beginning and then down to the village. Note! the stairs are quite slippery walk down carefully.
From Bhadaure it’s the last up to the dirt road that is under construction, the last 5 km are on the road, there are not many vehicles occasional trucks and motorbikes.
- Early wake-up, at 5.15am to make it to the top for the sunrise
- Steep and long ascend to the view point with subsequent descend back to the village
- Walking on the dirt road under construction for the last 5 km to Kande
- Sunrise from the top of Panchase Hille
- Beautiful views of the snow peaks on the way to Bhadaure
Stops on the route
Bhadaure – a small local village. There is no bus from Bhadaure but there is a jeep to Kande that leaves in the morning. Not many people stop here.
- Tea house – yes
- Shops – yes
- Food places – yes
- Water tap – yes
Kande – a starting/finishing point for several hiking routes.
- Tea house – yes
- Shops – yes
- Food places – yes
- Water tap – no
Getting back to Pokhara from Kande
It was quite easy to find a bus we just walked into Kande (a small village) and jumped on the bus. It’s only 27 km/16,7 mi from there to Pokhara but the journey took 1h30min., the road is super bumpy and the bus makes many stops. It drops you 2 km away from Lakeside to get to your hotel you can catch a taxi (NRP 200-300/US$2) or a local bus or just walk.
Packing list for the Panchase trek
It’s a relatively short trek with staying at tea houses try to pack light
Smartphone – it’s one of the most important items to take on this hike the best and easiest way of finding the route is to use Maps.me navigation app, make sure to pack a phone charger as well
LifeStraw or any other water filter or purifying pills – it’ll save you some money there are several water taps on the route where you can refill water plus it’s environmental friendly
Headlamp – all tea houses we stayed had electricity but you’ll need a torch or headlamp to go up Panchase peak for the sunrise as you start walking in the dark.
Sleeping bag – all tea houses we stayed had blankets but we always prefer to use our own sleeping bags. At Panchase it was quite chilly I think we would get cold sleeping only under a blanket.
Toilet paper – none of the tea houses had it if you forget to pack a roll you can buy it on the way or at one of the tea houses you stay.
Accommodation in Pokhara
Lakeside is the main touristy area of Pokhara it’s filled with hotels, guest houses, restaurants, bars etc. here you can find accommodation on any budget from cheap home stays to fancy spa hotels.