Panchase Trek is one of Nepal’s easier treks, making it ideal for families, the elderly, or travelers who just want to enjoy nature at an easier pace. Each day of trekking is short, at around three or four hours, meaning there is plenty of time to stop and appreciate the views, take photographs, and relax in the villages at the end of the day to witness—or even participate in—local village life.
Major highlights of this trek include the beautiful forest through which you trek and the expansive mountain views. The forests in the Panchase area are very biodiverse, and much of it is classified as protected forest. It has an especially large number of orchid species, at over 100, so keep an eye out for the beautiful flowers. Three 8000 meter-plus mountains can be seen from several points along the trail (Dhaulagiri, Annapurna I, and Manaslu) as well as from Panchase Peak, as can a number of less high (but still really impressive!) mountains, such as Machhapuchhare, Lamjung, and Gangapurna.
|Day 1||Boat across Lake Phewa, trek to Bumdi||1,520 m./ 4,986 ft.||3 hours|
|Day 2||Trek to Panchase Bhanjyang||2,065 m./ 6,774 ft.||4 hours|
|Day 3||Trek to Bhadaure||1,670 m./ 5,479 ft.||3 hours|
|Day 4||Trek to Naudanda, Short drive to Pokhara||1,515 m./ 4,970 ft.||2 hours|
Day 1: Boat across Phewa Tal, hike to Shanti Stupa, continue to Bumdi
Start with a boat ride across Phewa Lake to reach the starting point of the trek. The trail climbs for a short distance up to the Shanti Stupa (also known as the World Peace Pagoda), built in 1973 by a group of Japanese Buddhists. It is a popular tourist attraction in Pokhara, but as you continue on the trekking trail, the crowds will diminish.
Continuing on from the Shanti Stupa, the trail takes you down through the forest and then steeply back up and through the village of Lukum Swara. Most of the inhabitants of this area are ethnic Gurung and Brahman people, and you will have plenty of opportunities to observe their rural lifestyles on this trek. Today’s hike ends at Bumdi village.
Day 2: Trek to Panchase Bhanjyang
Today’s walk will continue through the forest, and the mountains will be visible from time to time. Peaks to look out for are Lamjung, Gangapurna, Machhapucchare, Dhaulagiri, Annapurna I, and Manaslu. Your guide should be able to distinguish these for you. The forests through which you’ll pass are especially interesting for their variety of flora and fauna, including an abundance of birdlife, monkeys, orchids, and numerous plants. In spring, you may be able to see Nepal’s national flower, the Rhododendron, in full bloom. The day ends with a gentle ascent to Panchase Bhanjyang.
Day 3: Early morning summit of Panchase peak (2,500 m./ 8,202 ft.) and trek to Bhadaure
Early this morning (the earlier the better if you want sunrise views), climb the stone steps about 500 meters up to Panchase Peak. This is the highest point on the trek, and from here you should be able to see an amazing panorama of the mountains that had just been peeking out at you on the trek so far. Have breakfast at the summit, then spend the rest of the day descending gently to your stop for the night, Bhadaure.
Day 4: Trek to Naudanda, drive to Pokhara
Today’s walk descends gently, following a jeep trail much of the way, and will pass through several villages. At Naudanda, the trekking trail joins the road, and you will be picked up here and driven back to Pokhara. Alternatively, extend the trek by one day or several, by following one of the suggested variations, below.
To add another day onto the Panchase trek, continue on from Bhadaure to Sarangkot. This takes about five hours. From Sarangkot, you can walk back to Pokhara Lakeside, thus eliminating the need for a transport pickup at the end. Sarangkot is a popular spot for a day hike from Pokhara and is also the launching site for paragliders. There are impressive views over Phewa Tal and the town of Pokhara.
To turn this trek into a longer and more challenging expedition, combine in with the Ghandruk trek. This turns it into an eight-day trip. From Bhadaure, continue on to Bhirethanti, Ghandruk, the Australian Camp, and Kande.
Nepal’s peak trekking seasons of autumn (September to November) and spring (March to May) are ideal. But the Panchase trek is also a good trek for the winter months as it doesn’t ascend too high, and the mountain views in December and January can be especially good around Pokhara.
Getting there & away
The Panchase trek starts and ends in Pokhara. The simple itinerary requires a vehicle pick-up at the end, but some variations would allow you to walk all the way back to Pokhara.