When I ask people what’s that one place that strikes a chord when you begin thinking about Nepal, mountaineers say Mt. Everest and the rest would say Pokhara. Many consider and I trust that Pokhara is the coolest city in Nepal. When you stay in Kathmandu and then stay in Pokhara, it’s an entirely different vibe, a different bunch of people. Pokhara has a lot of travellers from the regions like Europe and both south and north part of America. Travellers who travel to Nepal prefer spending time in Pokhara than Kathmandu, and hence you will see a lot of travellers from various part of the world. Before leaving for Nepal, I had planned a fixed number of days in both Kathmandu and Pokhara. But as soon as I reached Pokhara, I made my mind to reduce the numbers of days in Kathmandu and stay longer in Pokhara.
Have I written Pokhara many times? See! I am addicted to that city. Haha! Let me tell you more things about this place.
- What are the things to do in Pokhara?
- Where to stay in Pokhara and how much will it cost?
- How to travel within Pokhara? (Local transport in Pokhara)
- Must try food and what are the best places to eat in Pokhara?
- Local shopping in Pokhara
- What is the best time to visit Pokhara?
- How much would you spend per day in Pokhara?
- What are the things to carry while travelling to Pokhara?
What Are the Things to Do in Pokhara?
Take a boat ride at Phewa lake: The word Pokhara means ‘Lake’ so no doubt you will find many lakes all over the city. The best of all is undoubtedly the Phewa lake. Phewa is the largest in Pokhara and the second largest lake of Nepal. It is a beautiful place to spend time boating or kayaking. While chilling at the lake, you can also view the tip of the Mount Machhapuchhre, the mountain in the Annapurna Himalayas.
Trek to Peace pagoda: Peace Pagoda, also known as the Pokhara Shanti Stupa is a Buddhist style monument on Anadu hill. It’s a 45-minute trek till the Stupa from where you can see the entire Pokhara city and the Phewa lake scattered beautifully at some parts of the city making it look gorgeous from the top. To reach the Stupa, you first need to take a boat until a small forest area from where you will start the trek. It’s a 45 minutes trek till the Stupa. Once you reach there, you will see a huge Buddhist style circle shaped architecture. It’s peaceful, and you can spend some good time learning more about the local deities.
Also Read: The Ultimate Travel Guide to Kathmandu: Things to Do; Where to Stay, Eat, Shop and Travel
Paragliding at Sarangkot: Sarangkot is an uphill spot where paragliding takes place. I would recommend you to go there early in the morning as the sunrise view from Sarangkot is beautiful and not worth missing. You first need to book the activity with any paragliding service provider available in the city. Usually, the service providers give you the pick and drop service from your stay till the paragliding spot.
Eat seafood at Phewa: Lakeside Phewa is a lovely place for foodies. There are many barbeques stands on that lane that sells a variety of fresh seafood and chicken items. There is a big plate equally divided into columns that separate one dish from the other. You can select the dish you wish to eat; it will be freshly served to you after getting grilled.
Eat at Krazy Gecko: I am recommending this place not for the food it serves but for the extreme Phewa view it gives. Krazy Gecko is a lakeside restaurant with the wood and stone made tables/chairs just next to the lake. I would say, go to this place in the daytime for a better view of both the lake and the cafe.
Visit Davis falls and Gupteshwor Mahadev caves: Davis falls is the most visited waterfall in Nepal. The waterfall is quite massive, and the area around the falls is barred. The water forms an underground tunnel after reaching the bottom. This tunnel is approximately 500 feet (150 m) long and runs 100 feet (30 m) below ground level. After exiting the tunnel, the water passes through a cave called Gupteshwor Mahadev. It is the longest cave in Pokhara; going forward inside the cave there is a small pond where all the water gets collected.
Where to Stay in Pokhara and How Much Will It Cost?
Like Kathmandu, Pokhara is not at all expensive concerning stay. As I have already mentioned in my Kathmandu travel guide; when I travel to different countries, I prefer staying with locals in the homestay. My second and third options are hostels and hotels respectively. You can book homestays using Airbnb, that’s my favourite way of searching for the ideal homestay. My other recommendation would be Homestay.com. So, in Pokhara, renting a house would cost you around NPR 800 – NPR 1100, that’s around $7 to $9.5 per night. Another option of a cheap stay is staying in a low price hotel. You can look for hotels in Pokhara on booking.com. A decent hotel would cost you around NPR 1600 – NPR 2400 per night. The best option for budgeteers is staying in a hostel. Hostel has a variety of stay options like a private room, a double sharing room and dorms with 6-8 beds. The cost of dorms is NPR 320 – NPR 640, that’s the per person cost for a night. You can book hostels with hostelworld, hostels.com, or zostel. Staying in a homestay is always beneficial. You get a chance to try local cuisine and live with amazing locals.
How to Travel Within Pokhara? (Local Transport in Pokhara)
Local transport in Pokhara is as challenging as it is in Kathmandu. There are no local trams/metro/trains and cab services like Uber. Private cabs become the only option, and since a car is a luxury in Nepal, cabs are very expensive. If you are good at negotiating you are the king otherwise you end up paying around NPR 500-NPR 600 for just 3-4 Kms. But one good thing about Pokhara would be that you can walk, or rent a scooty. This city with various lakes makes it easy to walk lakesides and explore the city.
Must Try Food and What Are the Best Places to Eat in Pokhara?
Nepal has four amazing traditional dishes that you should try for sure: Thakali, Laphing, Dhindo, Kamchemba. Read more about it at the must try food in Nepal.
Best Places to Eat in Pokhara
At the lakeside Phewa, the 3 Km long street has a lot of cafes and other dining options. One of my best spots is the Barbeque stands just outside the lake street. You will get a lot of options here: a variety of fishes, a variety of chicken and traditional Nepali momos. My other favourite restaurant is the Tandoori station that serves the best tandoori chicken I could find in the entire country. And don’t forget to visit Krazy Gecko for the fantastic lake view dining.
Local Shopping in Pokhara
The best place to shop in Pokhara is the Phewa market. It’s a long 3Km street with many eating options and shopping places. Clothing, bags, accessories, cookware, souvenirs, traditional ornaments, you can find everything on that street. Things are not that expensive, and you can always bargain and propose your preferred price for a particular thing. I bought a dozen t-shirts and got a pretty good discount.
What Is the Best Time to Visit Pokhara?
Summers are not pleasant and the rainy season is a huge trouble, so the best time to visit Pokhara or the best time to visit Nepal is from September to December. Since Nepal is a place where you get multiple trek options, the Sep-Dec season is also the perfect time to go for the treks. Even for other activities like river rafting, paragliding, bungee jumping, kayaking, canyoning, rock climbing, this is the best time of the year. The famous trek of this season is the Poonhill trek. It is the shortest trek of 4 days and also the easiest one. It gives the best Sunrise and Himalayas View when you are at the top.
How Much Would You Spend per Day in Pokhara?
The following is the average per day cost to travel Pokhara based on my few days of stay in the city.
- Stay: NPR 500
- Food: NPR 600 (All day meal)
- Local travel: NPR 300
- Miscellaneous: NPR 100
The total per day cost of travelling in Pokhara is NPR 1500, i.e. $13.17. There will be an additional cost if you go for some activities or take entry tickets of various places.
What Are the Things to Carry While Traveling to Pokhara?
- Raincoat: Pokhara is quite uncertain regarding rain so keep the raincoat in your bag to be prepared in case of sudden showers.
- Sunscreen: If you have a plan to wander in the city all day long, don’t forget to carry your sunscreen to avoid getting tanned.
- First aid and other emergency medicine: In case of emergency carry all your medications.
- Day backpack: Take along a day backpack to carry all your things in a tiny bag for any emergency.
So, that was the complete travel guide on Pokhara. I hope this helps you to plan a visit to this cool city soon. In case you have any doubts you can get in touch with me. Do watch the episode 2 of my Nepal Travel series: “Exploring Pokhara”.