Nepal, being a massive tourist drawing country, has some of the most beautiful and naturally blessed places located at its different regions. And there is no surprise that Pokhara is one of them.
According to the Forbes Magazine, one can stay in Pokhara at the cost of $15.84 US dollar per day. That caused Pokhara to top the Forbes list of No. 1 destinations for budget travellers.
Pokhara is Nepal’s second largest city in Nepal and is one of the enjoyable tourist destinations. It is the starting point for most of the treks in the Annapurna region, including the famous Annapurna Base Camp Trek.
Many tourists visit Pokhara Valley to see the Himalayan range and lakes. It is also famous for boating, trekking, rafting and extreme sports like rafting, canoying and bungee jumping.
Getting to Know Pokhara City
Located some 200km west of Kathmandu, it is situated at an altitude of 827m from the sea level and directly under the Annapurna mountain range.
Despite being smaller than Kathmandu geographically, its geography varies within just few kilometers from north to south.
If you are not looking for some adventures, then Pokhara also offers some of the most scenic locations to relax in. From sitting by the lake reflecting the Annapurna mountains to visiting cultural villages, there’s plenty to enjoy.
The ambience of peace and magic this place gives is truly felt by the people who visit here the very first time. The experience is unreal.
What to See in Pokhara City?
There are many natural and cultural things to see in Pokhara. Without much explanation let’s get into the places you should visit.
Lakes and waterfalls
- Phewa Lake : One of the most beautiful spots, Phewa lake is surrounded by the forests and white peaks. The clear reflections on the water is something you must see when visiting here.
- Begnas Lake : Away from all the city hustle lies another beautiful lake. Begnas Lake is quite and very peaceful. The walk along this lake is quite rejuvenating.
- Rupa Lake : This should be a visit to every nature lover. It is one of the remote lakes and very peaceful as well.
- Devi’s Fall : Locally known as Patale Chhango ( Hell’s Fall ), it’s a waterfall lying about 2 km south-west of Pokhara. Modern legend says a guy named David fell into the waterfall and was never seen again.
- Mahendra Cave: It is a very famous cave located in Batulechaur, the northern end of the city.
- Bat Cave : Locally knows as Chamero Gufa, it is ten minutes away from Mahendra Cave. The cave is so famous for its bats hanging on the walls.
- Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave : This cave is more like a religious place for pilgrims to visit. It is opposite Devi’s fall and ongoing its underground stairwell depth one comes across the waters of Devi’s Fall.
- Barahi Temple : This is the most religious place in Pokhara. It is built almost in the middle of Phewa lake and can only be reached by boating to its shore.
- Bindbyasini Temple : It is the center of religious activity in the old bazar. Dedicated to goddess bhagwati, worshippers come here to perform sacrifices.
- Bhadrakali Temple : This is also one the very few important monuments which is a must visit for anyone who loves travelling.
- Matepani Gumba : This is a beautifully designed Buddhist monastery on top of a hill above Matepani. The images of Buddha and other artifacts are truly breathtaking.
- World Peace Pagoda: The pagoda is a massive Buddha stupa and situated on top of a hill on the southern shore of Phewa Lake. This shrine is a great point which offers spectacular views of Annapurna range and Pokhara city itself.
- Sarangkot: This is the perfect pre-trek warm-up. You can rent a motorcycle and take yourself up to the top to experience the great view and beautiful nature. If you plan overnight stay, carry a warm backpacking sleeping bag.
The magnificent Annapurna panorama that’s visible on the northern skyline of Pokhara is quite incredible. The main mountain peaks are Annapurna I to IV and the beautiful Machhapuchhre (Fishtail Mountain).
Things You Must Do
- Hiking/Trekking : Most trekking routes of Annapurna region starts from Pokhara including Annapurna Base Camp / Sanctuary, Poon Hill, Mardi Himal, TAAN Model Trek, Khopra Ridge Trek and Jomsom – Muktinath.
- Boating/Canoeing: Just hire a boat or canoe and go out in the water for a day. Canoes can be difficult to steer on the flat lakes. Row boats are extremely overpriced at NPR 400 ($4) per hour .
- Paragliding: You don’t want to miss soaring around Lake Pokhara and the Annapurnas with Lammergeyer eagles or huge Gryffon vultures to guide the way!
Where to Eat?
‘Where to eat?’ A question that you ask yourself probably throughout the day. Here’s a list of some really amazing places with good food, good ambience at affordable prices.
- Asian Teahouse : It is located along the main road through Lakeside on the opposite side from the lake. The only way you’ll be able find this place is to look out for the handwritten signs. The food is really good compared to more expensive restaurants serving Dal Bhat and Chai. And, very good value for money.
- Pokhara Thakali Kitchen: The awesome versions of Daal Bhat which is considered the best type of Daal Bhat.
- Busy Bee Café : A nice outdoor garden bar. Cover bands playing famous rock n’ roll songs take the stage around 8pm.
- Mike’s Breakfast : A Pokhara branch of the famous Kathmandu’s Mike’s breakfast which serves the best food in town. If you’re having trouble as to where to eat breakfast, you definitely should go here.
- Café Fusion Restaurant & Bar : The place with best combination of food with the Sarangkot, Phewa, Peace Pagoda and fishtail view. Delicious and hygienic food : Indian, Chinese, Continental, whole live fish on order, Pasta, Lasagne, Mexican, Green MoMo & Noodles, Sandwich & Burger, and Typical Nepali Food.
- Pokhara Beach Club: Located on the outside of Lakeside area, it is a very calm and remote bar-restaurant serving amazing wild boar burger for your taste buds.
- Oxygen Lounge Bar : Situated opposite of Hotel Meera, it’s a great place located in the center of lakeside with beautiful view of lake and mountains from the garden of the bar. Live band every night. Late night camp fire. Varieties of drinks and cocktail.
- Pema Tibetian Restaurant: A local joint for Thukkpa (Tibetan Soup Noodles), Mo:Mo (Tibetan style dumplings) with great taste, with sukuti, sekuwa and locally brewed liquor. Amazing experience.
If you are vegetarian or vegan, you may want to try veg Mo:Mo and veg Dal Bhat.
Travel Itinerary Around Pokhara
Since one day is a very short amount of time, start your day super early.
- Take a cab and trip up to Sarangkot for spectacular sunrise.
- Head back to Lakeside for breakfast on a rooftop overlooking the Annapurnas.
- Take a boat across the lake and climb up the hill to see Peace Pagoda. Take a light lunch at the top café.
- Come back down and visit Devi’s Fall.
- Take a taxi and shop for souvenirs.
- Spend the evening in a pleasant lounge/bar with live music.
- Finish the night with the best drink you could possibly find.
There’s plenty above in the one day itinerary that can be broken up over a few days while adding some of the following.
- Visiting the famous Caves for more adventure.
- A long walk along the lakeside will be very rejuvenating.
If you want to experience the best Pokhara has to offer and have three days off, you can do the following:
- Take paragliding class and go for the surreal experience.
- Enroll in Nepalese cookery class.
- Take a motorbike trip. It’s an amazing experience.
- Boating/Canoeing is unlike anything here.
You can’t truly feel the magic unless you’re really in Pokhara. A nature and adventure lover will always want to come back over and over again. Pokhara has that effect on people.
If you’re here solely for food then you’ve found yourself a magnificent place. If you’re here solely for adventure, you’ve found yourself to the right place.
Book yourself a hotel, eat different cuisines, and meet different people every day. Trust me it’s something you will never forget until your last breath.
And the language won’t be much of travel. Tourists flock here every now and then so majority of people know English.
Overall, the place provides everything a travel junkie can need throughout his/her travel.