When I decided to travel to Nepal, a trek was in my mind. Since I had only fewer days in Nepal, a long trek was not possible, so I checked the internet for some short treks in Nepal and what I got was a long list. Obviously, I was confused. So go there and find out, that was my plan. And eventually, Panchase peak trek happened.
Panchase peak trek was unexpected and I never heard of it before also. We met one person in Kathmandu, he was a trek organiser in Nepal. Since we were leaving to Pokhara the next day, he suggested Panchase peak trek will be the best option for us.
We can do Panchase peak trek in three days. It is an easy trek and we don’t have to take any trekking permits or hire guides unlike many other treks in Nepal which is quite expensive.
Day 1: Pokhara – Guatchina – Makhanpur
The starting point of Panchase peak trek is Guatchina. It is a small village on the base of Pokhara valley. From Pokhara, local buses are available to reach Guatchina.
The bus journey will take almost 1-1.5 hours, though the distance to travel is less. The bus will circle around the Phew lake in Pokhara to reach the village on the other side.
After having a full plate of “Dhal- Bhat” from Guatchina, we started our trek. Finding the trail was not difficult.
We began hiking up to the mountains in front, passed small villages one after the other. There are roads going zig-zag all over the mountains. Actually, there is a road from Guatchina up to Panchase. But the trail we are taking is very old, used by the people living here for hundreds of years. Who needs road when you have a beautiful trail !!!!
Nepal is a nation with 95% of the land as mountains. The only exception will be Kathmandu and Pokhara valleys. The life what we experience in either Kathmandu or Pokhara is entirely different from life in the mountains. To better understand how people live in Nepal, we should go to the mountains. You may walk into a school compound all of a sudden built on a mountain slope, where children walk hours from their villages to study. Since transportation is a big problem, people live here with very few things. They produce most of the crops on their own and depend very less on products which comes from outside.
Another interesting thing is that the time has little relevance up in the mountains. When we, the city people consider each minute very important in life, it is totally the opposite. Life is slow and peaceful.
Also, if somebody tells you that the next village is 2 hours away, keep in mind that for us it will take a minimum of 3 hours.
A selfish life in the mountain is suicidal, people live here with mutual respect and cooperation. And these qualities make them one of the most friendly, innocent and welcoming people I have met during my journey.
The trail is mostly used by trekkers nowadays, people here prefer taking the newly built roads. Elder generation still uses these old trails. We met one such person on the way, an old man, he was very curious about us, asked us where we are heading and showed us the direction. We walked along with him for some time, but couldn’t catch up and he just vanished in front of us.
Makanpur village was our destination for the day. We were walking through a forest for a long time and finally saw the village. Makanpur is located on a mountain slope, houses are scattered in between farmlands. We found a homestay in Makanpur. It was a typical Nepali house, the host welcomed us with hot tea. The house compound was full of goats, cattle and chicken. We spend the evening roaming around the village and had a nice dinner later. The night was cold.
Day 2: Makhanpur to Panchase Peak
The next day, we continued our trek early in the morning. The villagers showed us the trail to Panchase peak. We passed the next village – Seethani, which was divided into Upper and Lower Seethani. From Seethani, an hour trek will take you to Panchase Bhanjyang.
Panchase Bhanjyang is not really a village. People from the neighbouring villages run tea-houses here. Tea-houses are very common everywhere in Nepal. They provide you with basic food and accommodation for the trekkers and tourists.
We saw a guy standing at the entrance of Bhanjyang. He welcomed us, started talking and walked us to his tea-house. A hot cup of tea was what we needed after the hike. We decided to stay in that tree house for the night.
After little rest in Bhanjyang, hiked up to the top of Panchase peak. The hike was steeper. Once you walk past the tea- houses of Bhanjyang, the trail will take us to a completely different form of nature. We enter into thick rhododendron forests, which looks like a kind of some imaginary world, all the trees were covered with thick mosses and the flowers are big and colourful. For me, walking through the forest was like having a psychedelic visual experience.
The rhododendron forest was thick and dark, through the gaps of trees we could see the snowy mountains once in a while. Such views were amazing. It was the sight of Machapuchare peak that excited me to go higher and get a better view.
Finally, after a 1.5-hour trek, we reached the top of Panchase peak. We get a spectacular view of Machapuchare peak and Annapurna 2 peak from the top. We don’t have to look up to see them, they were on our eye level.
There is a small shrine on the top.
The mountains often disappeared in the clouds to again reveal its enormous beauty as the clouds clear slowly. I spent some time watching the mountains playing hide and seek.
It was dark when we returned. Fog has already swallowed Panchase completely.
Back in Bhanjyang, our host gave us the warmest room and served us hot Thupka. That was the end of an amazing day.
Our sleep was interrupted by the sound of drops falling on the tin roofs, It was raining.
Day 3: Panchase to Pokhara
The third day was the most interesting part of our trek. When I came out of the blanket in the morning, all I could hear was the rain pouring heavily outside. First, I was worried because we had a long way back to Pokhara. As per our plan, we need to walk about 5-6 hours to reach Guatchina and then to Pokhara.
During all my previous visits to the Himalayas, there was rain at least for one day. The same happened this time also.
Opening the door of my room, all I could only see was the fog. The entire area was covered in fog and there was no visibility. We waited some time for the rain to stop but it didn’t show any sign. The rain in Panchase was beautiful like anywhere in the mountains. Our host was serving us hot tea regularly while we sat there watching the rain.
Whenever the rain slows down, we take our bags and get ready to leave. But after a few minutes, it will start again and this continued for a long time. Finally, by noon, we decided not to wait for the rain to get over to walk down.
We decided to take the same trail via Seethani and Makhanpur. If the rain didn’t stop, we could stay in Makhanpur, that was our plan.
Our host gave us his raincoat and walking sticks, we said goodbye to him and started our down trek. The road has become muddy and the rocks were slippery.
We walked about an hour in the rain and then got a lift in a truck all the way till Guatchina.
We returned back to Pokhara by evening.
Things to know before Panchase peak trek
Trek permit and guide
Trekking permit is not required for Panchase peak trek. Hence it a good option for a short trek in Nepal on a budget.
The cost of a trekking permit is quite high generally. There are many treks in Nepal that we can do without a permit.
You can do Panchase peak trek without hiring a guide. Carry very little luggage, then the trek will be an easy one.
The trail up to the top of the peak is pretty clear and well maintained.
We can finish the trek in two or three days. If you hike fast, you can reach up to Panchase Bhanjyang by first day evening and stay there for the night. The next day, you can trek up to the top and later return back to Guatchina.
For the three-day trek, stay at one of the villages on the way. Makanpur and Seethani villages have homestays. We stayed in Makanpur village. The facilities will be basic but good. They charged us 200 NPR per person for a night.
That is all about my trek to Panchase peak in Nepal.
Do let me know if you have any queries or suggestions regarding the trek.
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