Pokhara is enchanting to such an extent that I visit it at least once a year from the capital city, Kathmandu. The place is so amazing that I always end up staying longer than planned. Moreover, I can think of no better place than Pokhara to keep away from the chaos and bustling life of Kathmandu.
Situated on the banks of Phewa Lake and encompassed by numerous unfathomable mountains and peaks, Pokhara is perfect for adventures and leisure activities. Pokhara is so mesmerizing that you must visit this place in Asia before you die!
While a lot of people visit Pokhara for the sole purpose of trekking but, the city has quite a lot more to offer. It additionally provides several ways to relax after your tedious weeks of trekking in the Himalayas. While in Pokhara you can also stroll around the wonderful lakes for laid-back vibes. Similarly, you can enjoy delicious Nepalese foods, or even practice yoga.
Practically, all the travelers who come to Nepal don’t miss a visit to Pokhara as the city is so serene, clean, and quiet. Another motivation to not miss a visit to this city is for the perspective on snowcapped mountains. These mountains are visible from all over Pokhara on a clear day. Needless to say, strolling around peaceful and vibrant lakeside is a surreal experience.
As a local, in this post, I am sharing all my favorite things to do in Pokhara.
Also, I recommend you to spend at least 5 days in this city to extract the best out of it.
1) Watch the sunrise from Sarangkot hill
I had been to this place last year and I vividly remember the first light hitting the Annapurna and Machhapuchre. As the light hit the peaks, they turned from bright pink to orange and finally into glowing white, I couldn’t hold myself but just stand there at the edge in awe of the mother nature.
This hill sits on the edge of Pokhara City rising just above the Phewa Lake. To add, this hill is highly rated for its panoramic views across several Himalayan peaks. The road full of lush forests that take you to the viewpoint is just as mesmerizing.
To reach this spot, you can either take a ride on a bicycle, hike your way up, take a taxi ride, or hire a scooter.
2) Pay a visit to the Tal Barahi temple
If it is your first time visiting Pokhara, you must pay a visit to this Hindu temple of the goddess Durga. This temple is situated on an island that is located in the middle of Phewa Lake.
With a boat ride, you will be able to absorb the stunning scenery of and around this temple. You will have plenty of options for boats at the shores so, hop into one for it is the only way to get to this two-stored pagoda temple. The journey to this temple is so peaceful that the only noise I could hear throughout was birds chirping and the paddles dipping into the water.
3) Hike up or drive to the World Peace Pagoda ( Shanti stupa)
Another activity you must not skip while in Pokhara is visiting the World Peace Pagoda. This symbol of peace is a gift to Nepal from Japanese monks. It is mainstream among the travelers for the breath-taking panoramic view of the entire Pokhara City, Phewa Lake, and the Annapurna range.
You can take a 40-50 minutes taxi drive to this spot or hike your way ( around 3 hours forest trek) up to the stupa. However, I recommend taking a local boat from the lakeside and then walking through the lush forest to climb up to the spot. This is what I did because this way, we will get to the spot with just a 45 minutes hike.
Consider visiting this spot early in the morning to avoid the heat and crowd. Similarly, the morning provides the clearest views of the Himalayas.
4) Have an exceptional paragliding experience
If you have planned to paraglide in your life, save it for Pokhara since it is one of the best places on the planet to paraglide. The thermal here is very stable because of the environmental factors. Similarly, Phewa Lake and snowcapped mountains give you the perfect backdrop for photography and videography.
You will have 2 alternatives for the flights (a standard trip of 30 minutes) and (cross-country trip of 60 minutes). The flight takes off three times a day from Sarangkot hill yet, the best time to paraglide is around 10-11 am (an absolute first trip of the day) because the thermals would be actively making the ride amazingly pleasant.
Phones, cameras, or other gadgets are restricted for safety reasons. However, the good thing is you can have your photographs and videos taken through the pilot’s GoPro, but you must pay for that.
5) Devi’s waterfall (Patale Chango)
The outflow of Phewa Lake forms a small stream that passes through a narrow gorge and then through Gupteshwor Mahadev cave forming an incredible waterfall. This waterfall is measured 500 feet in length and 100 feet in depth.
This waterfall is named after a Swiss lady who accidentally fell and was swept away by the waterfall in 1961. This is one of the most popular places in Pokhara and occupies a large area and is a lot of fun to explore.
A quick tip
Avoid visiting this place in the dry season as you will find nothing much to explore.
6) Explore the remarkable caves of Pokhara
Gupteshwor Mahadev cave
The incredible Devi’s waterfall flows through an underground cave named Gupteshwor Mahadev cave. The entrance will lead you down to a giant stalagmite known as Shiva linga. The stalagmite is around 600 years old and is worshipped as the main Shiva temple.
This place is also the spot to witness the lower part of Devi’s waterfall as the water stream passes through this cave system into an underground river.
The path to the Shiva temple is very wet and slippery so, be on the safe side. In short, just make sure that you are wearing shoes with a good grip. Along with that, take the path cautiously because there are no other safety measures and this place is known for a few tourists breaking their bones.
This cave attracts thousands of tourists every year since it is a classic example of caves of stalagmites and stalactites. It is a natural formation in limestones and comprises of lord shiva’s sacred statue.
The place is usually crowded, slippery, and dark. Bring a headlamp for you will need free hands to maintain the balance to prevent from slipping, or just in case you fall, you’ll have to get yourself back up.
One of my favorite experiences in Pokhara is visiting Bat cave. As I entered the cave and looked up, I was overwhelmed with giant patches of bats. At instances, I got opportunities to get close to these bats as well. The experience was scary yet thrilling however, take safety measures as the path is very slippery and dark. Likewise, at a few points you might also have to get on your fours to get out of the cave.
7) Stroll around and along the Phewa Lake (Lakeside)
The unmatchable memories of strolling along Phewa Lake is what pulls me towards visiting Pokhara every year. The vibrant wooden boats, warm inviting waters, spectacular reflection of the Himalayas on the water’s surface, and the perfect sunset give the much-needed respite from bustling city life. Perhaps, this is what makes it one of my favorite spots in Nepal to chill out.
8) Chill at Begnas Lake
I believe that this place is one of the most underrated spots in Pokhara. It is comparatively smaller than Phewa Lake but when it comes to scenic beauty, it beats Phewa Lake. It is additionally less busy than Phewa Lake so, in this manner you will have bounty chances to take amazing photos and recordings.
9) Raft in Seti River (white-water)
The adventure hub of Nepal, Pokhara offers a large variety of adventures, one of which is rafting. One of the most exhilarating experiences I have experienced in Pokhara is a half-day upper Seti River rafting.
For longer than an hour we all paddled our way appreciating the Himalayan ranges, lush forest area, and peaceful surroundings. I vividly recall that this heart-stopping experience accelerated my heart rate every time the icy cold water splash hit me.
You can go for half-day rafting for just NPR 5000 per person. In case an hour is not enough to get the best out of this trip, go for full-day rafting of 3 hours.
10) Cycle at Pame
Pame is the best place to live your mountain biking dream. Simply, ride alongside rice paddy fields, a delightful view of the mountain ranges, and a peaceful environment.
This experience is also what I will forever cherish. I remember starting early morning from Hallan Chowk and riding my way to the Pame village, then I stopped by for the breakfast in one of the cafes that offered mind-blowing lake and mountain view and then I cycled my way back to my hotel. The experience was a bit tiresome for me being a beginner but it was worth it.
You can hire a bike from your hotel itself or from offices that offer this trip.
11) Hike the Annapurna Circuit
A lot of travelers who come to Nepal visit here for the sole trekking purpose. The hiking experience that Pokhara provides is beyond compare, no wonder it attracts such a large number of tourists every year.
We all know that lakeside, Pokhara is the starting point for trekkers to ascend the Annapurna circuit (the second most popular range after Mount Everest) and this trek is one of the most thrilling and inspiring experiences one can ever encounter in a lifetime. Nowhere in the world, you will have the experience to trek between as tallest mountains. And since it is a long hike, I recommend you invest enough time to ascend this range.
12) Try out Ultralight flight, Zip-lining, and Bungee jumping
If you are looking for a bit more adventure than paragliding, I suggest you go for an ultralight flight as you will be able to absorb the entire Annapurna range through a panoramic view.
Another unique way to have an adrenaline rush is through zip lining that operates from the Sarangkot hill. It is one of the tallest zip-lines in the world and won’t leave you disappointed.
Similarly, the other thrilling experience that Pokhara offers is the bungee jump. The bungee site offers you the mesmerizing view of the Himalayas and lakes that you will be left spellbound by the beauty and the adventure as a whole.
Besides these 12 activities, there are also other incredible things that you can do in Pokhara.
-Explore the nightlife and chill out at a few bars around the lakeside.
-Visit the huge range of temples that this city offers.
-Rupa lake is another great lake to visit.
-Go for a relaxing massage session.
-Eat the most famous and delicious Thakali set.
-If you get time, visit the International Mountain Museum.
-Stroll around the lakeside area for the great shopping experience and pick up unique souvenirs to take back home.
Most frequently asked questions about Pokhara, Nepal
-The most convenient and fastest way to get to Pokhara is by taking a flight from the airport. The price range fluctuates according to the season, it ranges anywhere from 25 to 100 dollars depending upon your citizenship (foreigners are charged comparatively higher than Nepalese and Indian citizens). It is a bit expensive as compared to other modes but it will take you there in just 25 minutes, time is money!
You can also take a morning tourist bus from Sorakhutte, Thamel. This will only cost you around 6 to 8 dollars but the trip will take you around 6-7 hours. The tickets can be purchased from any tour agent in Kathmandu.
-No, there isn’t an international airport it Pokhara yet but it is under construction and we will have it at play by 2021.
-The distance between Kathmandu and Pokhara is just over 200 kilometers.
-Pokhara is a small place so you should be able to easily get around on foot.
Hire a scooter if you are staying there for a longer period. It will cost you less than a taxi if you are constantly on the go.
You can also simply hire a taxi, it doesn’t cost much but some taxi mafias may try to scam you at a higher price so be aware.
-It isn’t that expensive, I would rate Pokhara as an affordable place to visit.
It’s a wrap!
So that is it! I hope you enjoyed this list of best things to do in Pokhara. What do you think of the list? Also, do let me know in the comments below if you have a favorite place in Pokhara and think it should make it to this list.