Pokhara (2,690 ft, 820 m) is an attractive lakeside city 125 miles (200 km) west of Kathmandu; and a restful hub for deeper ventures into the Himalayas as post-trek rejuvenation. Its busiest tourist months are October, November, and March, followed by September and April. Visitors relish the city’s many offerings, including adventure sports (paragliders can be seen throughout the day as they make their way down from a nearby ridge), shopping, and a busy restaurant, bar, and music scene. The tourist area has a laid-back atmosphere with many facilities for travelers. You can do lots of things during Pokhara Day Tour.
The Pokhara setting is breathtaking on clear days, with white-capped mountains looming extensive as they peek over the hills into the city. The mountains are best seen from the southern fringe of the valley, where high-end hotels are located. The highlight is the magnificent Machapuchhre “Fishtail” (6997 m, 22956 ft), considered sacred and therefore off limits to climbing.
Most tourist accommodation lies along the north shore of Phewa Tal, a 1.7 mile (4.5 km) lake that has been northwest dammed for hydropower. The lakeshore offers a pleasant place for a stroll. Phewa is also a source of some commercial fishing, mainly to the northwest. Boats can be hired to reach Barahi Temple, set on a small island, and for general leisure. One method to reach the Peace Pagoda (the white Stupa on the hilltop to the south) is to travel across the lake by boat and hike up from the far shoreline.
The Peace Pagoda is otherwise accessed by a rough road that 1eaves from Siddhartha Highway (the road link to Butwal and the Terai) southeast end of the lake. The shrine was built in 1996 with Japanese support, and on good days; the views are jaw-dropping, with the lake valley below and the snowy mountains as a backdrop, including three of the world’s ten highest: Annapurna (8091 m, 26,545 ft, world’s 10th highest), Dhaulagiri (8167 m, 26,974 ft world’s 7th highest) and Manaslu (8156 m, 26,758 ft, world’s 8th highest). The accommodation has been recently constructed for those wishing to spend the night and catch sunset and sunrise vistas.
Circuit Loop Day Hike around Phewa Lake From Peace Pagoda, follow along with the ridgeline east to Lukunswara Village, and stay rig continue to Pumdi, where you descend to the marshlands of the lake. There are makeshift wooden bridges to head directly to the other side or contour around the valley to the met road and local bus service at Pame Village. Otherwise, follow the pleasant road stroll along the north she the lake back to Pokhara.
The route follows a high ridge above and south of the Pokhara valley. Highlights are stunning views from Panchase Peak (8257 ft, 2517 m) and vistas from the ridgeline along the way, as well as the lush village scenery in an area that sees few tourists. The trail begins near the Damside of Pokhara and climbs northwest before continuing north to Naudanda and the Baglung/Beni Highway, where transport back to Pokhara is available. Otherwise, you follow the ridgeline to Sarangkot and descend to Pokhara.
Not many visitors are aware of the gorge that runs through Pokhara, at times very narrow. The Seti Khola (“White River”), so named for its chalky waters, has created deep canyons best experienced at the north and south ends of the city. Begnas Lake lies about 18 km out of town and has a few tourist facilities. Other smaller and more remote lakes in the area include Rupa and Lipang.
Devi’s Falls (also known as Patale Chango) is located a few kilometers south of the airport along the Siddhartha Highway and is a bustling tourist attraction that requires an entrance fee. The cascading waters of the Pardi Khola, a tributary of the Seti Gandaki, emerged from Phewa Tal. The falls disappear into an underground gorge and reappear half a kilometer away. Across the road is Gopteswar Mahadev Cave, which also requires an entry fee, Mahendra Gufaa, also known as Bat Cave, lies to the north of the Pokhara-Baglung/Beni High-way.
TIBETAN REFUGEES When China invaded and captured Tibet in 1959, thousands of Tibetans fled south to Nepal. Pokhara lay on an old trade route between India and Tibet and was a likely place for asylum. Three Tibetan encampments have been set up in the region. Tashi Ling is a settlement up the road from Devi’s Falls and has a Gomba and Tibetan medical clinic. Tashi Pakhel, near Hyangja village, lies on a shelf overlooking the Seti Gandaki, five kilometers from Pokhara along the Baglung/Beni Highway, and has guest house accommodation and a monastery. Paljor Ling is associated with the Tibetan Handicraft Center near the center of town.
Whitewater rafting trips, mountain biking, rock climbing, canyoning, a zip line, ultra-light aircraft flights, and paragliding can easily be arranged at agencies in Pokhara Kathmandu with programs for beginners to experts. Recently, a company has been offering “parahawking,” paragliding accompanied by a magnificent bird of prey. The birds assist in finding thermal uplifts and occasionally land and take off from the paraglider’s gloved arm. Magnificent birds are provided by Himalayan Raptor Rescue, a rehabilitation center for injured raptors. Unfortunately, many wild birds in Nepal are succumbing to illness and death after feeding on carcasses of animals fed on pharmaceuticals poisonous to birds. Additionally, two nine-hole golf courses with a driving range within 4.5 miles (7 km) from Pokhara. The Yeti Golf Course is associated with the Fulbari Resort.
This village lies an hour’s hike up to the north of Pokhara and is a popular take-off point for paragliders, and has a newly built 1.8 km (1.1 miles) zip line that drops over 600 m (2000 ft) in 2 minutes. Reach it by motor road from nearby Baglung Bus Park. Otherwise, hike up for about an hour from the lake’s northern shore. Tourist accommodation and facilities are available, but prices are higher than in Pokhara, and the panoramic views make it worthwhile!
The large Mountaineering Museum is dedicated to the Himalayas, its people, and its climbers. Fascinating displays the ascent history of the world’s highest mountains and includes mountaineering gear and personal accounts. Other exhibitions cover culture, planning, wildlife, and climate change in the Himalayas—Pokhara and the surrounding area, a primary recruiting ground for the world-renowned Gurkha soldiers. The Gurkha Memorial Museum is on the grounds of the British Camp north of the Mahendra Pul area of town. It contains memorabilia from Gurkha history and warfare exploits, including uniforms, medals, and photographs.
Many tourist-oriented shops and street peddlers line the main strip in the Lakeside area. Locals flock to a bustling commercial sector near an intersection known as Prithvi Chowk and up to Mahendra Pul (recently re-named Bhimsen Chowk). The area has many shops, restaurants, and street-side vendors, mainly clothing and knickknacks.
City buses and minivans play the major thoroughfares of the city. Hail them from the roadside as they approach. It will help to know the pronunciation of the destination and the attendant; often, a teenage boy can alert you to the appropriate place. Fares are nominal; however, vehicles are often packed and might offer standing room only. Taxis are comparatively expensive but quicker and more comfortable.
Consider hiring a bicycle near Halan Chowk or from a guesthouse for the day. Also, motorbikes go outside the metropolitan area into the beautiful countryside. Roads link Pokhara to the south to the Terai via the Siddhartha Highway and Kathmandu via the Prithvi Highway. And up to Beni and now even on to Jomsom, a linkage to the Tibetan frontier will soon be unlocked.
For a highly recommended side-trip to Bandipur, 70 km southeast of Pokhara, please see Dumre in the section below, TO MANANG AND OVER THORONG LA, Eastern Valley of the Circuit. Dumre lies along the Pokhara-Kathmandu (Prithvi) Highway and is an access town for a counterclockwise trip around the Annapurna Circuit. Bandipur is an enchanting hamlet perched on a ridge, a 2-hour hike west of Dumre, and a sensational place to explore and unwind.
Please see the end of the Kathmandu section for arranging flights and buses between Kathmandu and Pokhara. There are three main bus parks in Pokhara. One is convenient for tourists, located in the southeast end of the Lakeside area, on the way to the airport near the intersection of Mustang Chowk. This Tourist Bus Park, Mustang Bus Park, has tourist buses to Kathmandu, Chitwan, and beyond.
Baglung Bus Park is for travelers to the ACAP trailheads of Phedi, Kande, and Nayapul. Also, Baglung, Beni, and further into the remote hills north of Pokhara, including Jomsom (about 150 km to the northwest). It lies 2 km up (north) from the intersection known as Zero Kilometer, aka Baglung Chowk. The central public bus park to the east of Prithvi Chowk has buses heading east to Kathmandu and south, including Bhairawa near the Indian border town of Sunauli and many more destinations.