While Kathmandu was a bag of mixed emotions, Nagarkot had been a fall-in-love-slowly experience in Nepal. So, I was contemplating how Pokhara would turn out, as we took the long bus journey from Kathmandu. Pokhara became an instant hit with me for many reasons and given a chance, I wouldn’t think twice to go back here! In this post, I am sharing the 15 best things to do in Pokhara, some of which I experienced and a few that I didn’t.
I have divided this Pokhara travel guide into two sections – the first one covers the major attractions of the city that are touristy and all of these can be covered in a day or two if you lack time to explore more/or are not interested in adventure. The second section consists of all the adventurous activities in Pokhara for every level of adventure seeker. These obviously need time to travel, and if you are like me who love spending time in the mountains, then head to this section!
The second section consists of all the adventurous activities in Pokhara for every level of adventure seeker. These obviously need time to travel, and if you are like me who love spending time in the mountains, then head to this section!
So without much ado, let me take you through the places to visit in Pokhara on your Nepal trip! Scroll through to pick the ones you need for your Pokhara trip.
15 Best Things to Do in Pokhara
1. Get a view of Pokhara at Peace Pagoda
A simple hike will take you to Peace Pagoda, from where you can get some amazing views of the Pokhara valley, and also the snow-capped Annapurna mountains are visible if you are lucky to have a good weather.
Day 19: No, this isn’t some island. It is Pokhara, the small town in #Nepal known for adventure and also the starting point for many treks including the popular #Annapurna base camp. That’s Pokhara lake which is quite big, and you can do paragliding here, which is up to 45 mins over the lake and the town. #Pokhara resembles a chic backpacking town with cafes and shopping centres. I loved this place for this exactly and its laid back feel. #lake #paraglidinginnepal #adventure #explorenepal #kathmanduadventures #indiatravel #sheisnotlost #shetravels #visitnepal #discovernepal #namastenepal #wearetravelgirls #travellikeagirl #thesologlobetrotter #travelstoke #dametraveler #girlswhotravel #womenwhoexplore #travelgirls #indiagram #backpackerlife #passionpassport #instapassport #travelwithaninsider #littlestoriesofmylife #exploremore #lifewelltravelled #travelstoke
We had a mist filled morning, and hence I didn’t get to witness a clear view, but the Lake Phewa looked awesome from above! The entry is free and you can spend almost half a day at the Pagoda if you wish to leisurely spend time.
How to get there: Cabs are easily available from the city centre and should not cost much. Public transportation is available but limited. Best time to visit: Around sunset/Before afternoon.
2. Stroll in the evening at Lake Phewa
I love walking along the lakes, and hence my favourite part of Pokhara is Lake Phewa, which I loved instantly! Located in the heart of the city, the lake is the iconic place of Pokhara. A splendid lake that is well-maintained, it is a great place to take a stroll in the evening. There are many good cafes on the street adjoining the lake, and hence the lake area is a very popular hangout amongst the travelers.
3. Explore the caves of Gupteshwar Mahadev
This cave temple is more popular among the religious locals of Nepal. Even on a weekday afternoon, the crowd was strong in the caves. The inside of the cave has a lovely formation of stalagmites that give way to stream and a faint waterfall which you can see up close by getting down the stairs.
The modern looking sanctum was recently renovated, passing through which you go underground to reach the ancient caves. The temple of Gupteshwar or Lord Shiva can be seen at the centre once you navigate through the narrow caves.
I enjoyed capturing the way the light passed through the rocks on the rear side of the cave, although the artificial illumination in the cave hindered the beauty (but these lights are necessary since it is pitch black otherwise!).
The cave is in the city area and is easy to locate! You can probably do this on a hot afternoon to escape the sun before heading to the lake or the pagoda for views. The entry fee is NR 100 for foreigners.
4. Head to Davis Waterfalls
Davis Waterfalls is also not far from the centre. This place is actually a gorge with waterfalls which leads to a tunnel underground that leads to cave formations of Gupteshwar Mahadev. The water comes from the Phewa dam, The legend of this place is sad – A Swiss couple went swimming here, and the lady Davis passed away in the tunnel due to the sudden water overflow.
It is a popular place to hang out with the locals with some additional activities for fun in place. In fact, I was surprised to see that the locals outnumbered the tourists on a weekday!
5. Get to know about the Himalayas at the International Mountain Museum
If the mystic Himalayan mountain range is your favourite, this is the first place that you should be checking! I just enjoyed this museum so much – from getting to know the details of each of the Himalayan mountains to find out about all the explorers who have made it to the summits of the highest peaks in the world, it was an enriching experience.
Not just the Himalayas, you get to know about the Mountaineers, the equipment and gears used, the things that happen during expeditions, the tribals of the Himalayan villages, and the most interesting of all – you’ll see and know more about Yeti, the mysterious being of the Himalayas!
How to get there: Local cabs are cheap and the best way to reach.
Timings: 9 AM to 5 PM all days.
Entry fees (in Nepalese Rupee): Nepalese: Rs. 80.00; Students: Rs. 40.00; SAARC Countries’ Visitors: Rs. 200.00; Foreigners: Rs. 400.00; Garden: Rs. 20.00
You can check their website here for more details.
5. Try Local Food
Momos were my regular throughout my trip in Nepal – Fried or steamed, or in a soup – you name them, and I loved them all! The traditional Dal Bhat did not go well with me probably because it is more or less an Indian Thali although it was good at some places.
If the Thamel area of Kathmandu is the best for street food, Pokhara offers you a wider spread of cuisines – from delicious pizzas to Tandoori to Mexican, the restaurants of Pokhara are excellent for a fine dinner after you come back famished touring around.
With the lake being just a block away (and the view visible from many cafes and restaurants), the best way to end days in Pokhara is to sip the beer and binge on the different delicacies by the lake!
We dined at the Moondance and Byanjan restaurants, and I simply loved them both – Moondance had the access to a great view of the lake that we enjoyed over a candlelight dinner. The food was excellent at both places and so was the ambience of the places.
6. Barahi Temple
Located in the middle of Phewa lake, Barahi temple dedicated to the local Goddess is visited by both the Hindus and the Buddhists of Nepal. We skipped this one because we had to rush. You have to take a boat to reach and come back, and I am sure the view of the city from this island temple would be lovely.
Adventure in Pokhara
Pokhara is the official capital of Nepal for adventures. The best part is that it caters to all levels of adventure enthusiasts, much like the town of Rishikesh in Uttarakhand, India. However, some of these need a weather check, and are seasonal, which means you need to plan ahead. Check out what you can do in Pokhara:
1. Watch the Spectacle of Sunrise/Sunset at Sarangkot
The alluring mountain peaks of the Annapurna mountain range makes the sunrise and the sunset a spectacle from the villages near Pokhara and hence is one of the top things to do while traveling in Pokhara. Located just about 10km from the city, Sarangkot opens to valleys blanketed by the fields dotted with greenery, with the snow-clad Himalayas at the distance forming the dramatic backdrop. The sunrise is spectacular if the weather favours, where you get to see the clouds envelop the valley.
2. Witness the Village Life Up Close at Nagarkot
Nagarkot is located about 4 to 5 hours drive away from Pokhara, and the countryside leads to picturesque valleys that are best-experienced hiking. After a drive from Kathmandu, we explored the villages near Nagarkot hiking, walking through the meadows lined with mustard and orange trees. The trail leads you to the remote villages, where the rustic wooden homes with vibrant doors take you to the heart of the village life.
Recommended read: Nagarkot – Hiking in the Villages of the Himalayas
3. Trek to Ghorepani
Waking up to the view of the snow-capped peaks every day on your trek until you finally see the entire range of the Annapurna mountains as the peaks bask in the hues of sunrise – That’s the Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek in a nutshell – Neither easy nor difficult, Poon Hill Tek is a favourite among avid trekkers, many of whom opt for its extended trail, the ABC – Annapurna Base Camp trek simply because they fall for the beauty of the views and the experience!
You can read all that you want to know about the trek here, including how to plan and book the same.
Day 9: Mountains and prayer flags anyday make me happy! What about you? Is it mountains or beach? #Myhappyplace #mountains #indiatravel #sheisnotlost #shetravels #visitnepal #discovernepal #trekgirl #Himalayas #prayerflags #colors #wearetravelgirls #travellikeagirl #thehappynow #thesologlobetrotter #travelstoke #dametraveler #girlswhotravel #womenwhoexplore #travelgirls #indiagram #backpackerlife #passionpassport #instapassport #travelwithaninsider #littlestoriesofmylife #exploremore #lifewelltravelled #ghorepani #poonhilltrekking
Recommended read: Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek – In the Quest of the Annapurna
You can book the trek for a discount of 30%. Just use the promo code THESOLOGLOBETROTTER30 for the discount to reflect.
Check the details and book below:Check the trek details
4. Annapurna Base Camp Trek
Annapurna Base Camp Trek is the second most extreme trek in Nepal, the other being the Everest. This magnificent trail passes through the mountains of Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchhre, Manaslu, Gangapurna and Tilicho Peak, finally culminating at the Annapurna peaks 1 to 8. The speciality of this trek is the different trails that it has – that decides the difficulty level as well as the duration of the trek. Also, this trek is comfortable because you get to stay in tea houses after tiring trek.
Our guide Shyam told us that the minimum number of days would be 13, although there are instances where people complete the circuit in less than 8 days!
You can book the trek for a discount of 30%. Just use the promo code THESOLOGLOBETROTTER30 for the discount to reflect.
Check the details and book below:Check the trek details here
5. Do The Craziest Zipline
Pokhara is home to the world’s most extreme zip line adventure, which is going to give you just the perfect adrenaline kick you need! With an incline of 56 degrees, a total length of 1.8km and a vertical drop of 600 meters, it is the tallest, the longest and the steepest zipline in the whole world.
Due to the weather, we had to miss this, but how I wish I could this! High Ground Adventures’ Zipflyers conduct this zip line from one of the mountain tops in Pokhara. You can check the details on their website.
Whitewater rafting is another extreme adventure in Pokhara that gets pretty crowded during the high season. The high currents of the Upper Seti river are perfect for rapids that take about half-a-day. You don’t have to have prior rafting experience. Just make sure to follow the captain’s instructions and enjoy! I didn’t try this again, as the water was too cold since the winter was yet to end.
7. Go Paragliding
Again, one of the adventure activities that I wish I could try was paragliding over the Lake Phewa. It is one of the popular activities and hence you can find many shops selling this in various combination of packages. It is better to book on the spot if you are traveling independently. If you are traveling with a trekking company, try to include this to get a better price.
8. Go Bungee Jumping
How about a 70-meter vertical drop for about 3 seconds amidst the valley of Pokhara? Try Bungee jumping close to the lake Phewa, Nepal’s new addition to extreme adventure, and be mindblown by the adventure. Sorry, but I am better off watching this! High Ground Adventures offer Bungee jumping along with the zip line – perfect for an adventurous day trip in Pokhara!
9. Take Ultralight Flight
Again, I would not try this, but this is one of the unique adventurous activity of Pokhara for those wanting to go for something off the grid. You can be a pilot of an ultralight flight and manoeuvre it while enjoying the stunning snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas and a bird view of Pokhara. There are a few companies that offer various flying tours, which can be booked online as well.
10. Mountain Biking
If you wish to try something more than hiking in the mountains, cycling is the best to go for. Many opt for mountain biking as a way to witness the sunrise/sunset in Sarangkot or Nagarkot, the trails of which are challenging as well as rewarding! You can rent the bikes in Pokhara city on a day-to-day basis or multiple days if you wish to go further.
11. Go Boating/Kayaking in Lake Phewa
You can try Kayaking or go on a boat ride in Lake Phewa, and enjoy the views of the city in the evening. This one is perfect for some soft adventure, for those who are averse to extreme physical activities! The price and availability depend on the season but can be covered easily if you plan a little ahead during the high season.
Plan Your Trip to Pokhara
How to reach Pokhara?
Pokhara can be reached either by flight, which takes about only 30 minutes from Kathmandu at a price of over 100$. Buses are the most common way to reach Pokhara, but the journey is exhausting and takes more than 8 to 9 hours. You can also opt for a private cab, which takes a few hours lesser.
Where to Stay in Pokhara?
Pokhara has a lot of budget as well as high-end hotels, and the best place to stay is near the lake, which is close to the main street. I stayed at Hotel Center Lake, which was not near the lake nor at the centre. The hotel was good with a great service and food at affordable prices.
Have you been to Pokhara? What did you like the most?
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