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15 Best Places To Visit In Pokhara, Nepal {Epic 2019 Guide}

Written by:
Cazzy Magennis
/
Last updated:
July 31, 2019
Travel stories
If you find yourself in beautiful Pokhara, home of the Himalayas, then check out my full throttle guide to the 15 best places to visit in Pokhara.....
Pokhara Nepal
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Pokhara is a wonderful place located in beautiful Nepal. It’s typically the second spot on a Nepal itinerary and it’s probably my favourite place in all of Nepal: the beauty, the prices, the people, it’s all great.

Pokhara is known for its lakes, so is sometimes referred to as the land of lakes (a bit like Udaipur in India). There are eight lakes to be discovered.

We spent around 10 days in Pokhara, so we definitely know the best places to visit in Pokhara. Below I discuss all the activities I think you shouldn’t miss and any extra information you should know.

When should I visit Pokhara?

The optimal time for tourism in Pokhara is during the winter months which is November, December and January.

These are perfect trekking conditions for trekking the Anuradhapura region. Also, the weather is pleasant in general for all. It’s cold, but not too cold, and the temperature can creep up to 27/28.

We visited in November and I thought the weather was great (although it was misty which ruins those amazing Himalayan views)

view from sagarnot

How long should I stay in Pokhara?

This all depends on what you want to do in Pokhara. If you’re planning on trekking, there are day treks available, 3-day treks, week treks, and 2-week treks all in the Anuradhapura region.

But, if you want to trek and see the other sights that Pokhara has to offer, then I would recommend 20 days (presuming you are doing a 10-2 week trek!)

If you’re just there to sightsee, with day trekking, like Bradley and I, then 4-5 days is probably enough.

We stayed longer because we were working, and because we loved Pokhara! So you might find you want to stay longer in general too.

How do I get to Pokhara?

There are a few options to get to Pokhara from Kathmandu. You’ll be flying into Kathmandu as it’s the only international airport.

Tourist Bus: it’s easy to get to Pokhara via bus. It’s a common route and there are around 20 different bus companies who do. You will most likely here the name Greenline being thrown around, as they are considered the “luxury” option to getting to Pokhara, but they are significantly more expensive.

Now, when I did my research on getting the bus to Pokhara, I got a little freaked out by all the “it’s the most dangerous road in the world”, “buses have fallen off, and people have died”.

Okay okay, it’s a dangerous road, (but so is every road in Bolivia), and yes buses have fallen off, but this is RARE and it hasn’t happened recently in Pokhara.

So, no you don’t need to fork out $30 for the Greenline option, because it won’t be any “safer”. (They all go the same route), so opt for one of the other tourist buses for around 800 rupees, such as Mountain Overlander, and you’ll be fine.

The journey takes around 12 hours with stops, and you’ll typically stop for breakfast and lunch, and maybe once more for a toilet bring (bring your own toilet paper).

It’s not the best of journeys as the roads can be a little twisty turny, so I would take an anti-sickness tablet before you go, and try your best to sleep.

They all leave early in the morning and arrive there for around 3 pm.

Download some Netflix too to pass the time. There is WiFi on most buses, and it does sometimes work!

From the bus station in Pokhara is will cost no more than 300 to get a taxi to your hotel by the lakeside, DO NOT PAY MORE THAN THAT.

Local bus: Yes you can get a local bus, but they are crammed, and some are tiny minibuses, and really probably not as safe as the tourist buses (because the whizz around a lot faster, which isn’t recommended).

They are of course a lot cheaper, and you’ll put your luggage/rucksack on the top. I’d pay the extra £1-2 and get a tourist bus. Just saying.

Flying: Yes you can also fly to Pokhara. It has an airport, and it’s actually being redone at the moment.

You fly from Kathmandu domestic airport (I’ve heard great things about that airport lol), and flights will cost in the region of $70-100 depending on when you book.

The flight is very short at only 30 minutes and two of the popular airlines include Yeti airlines and Buddha airlines.

If you have the money, I would definitely suggest flying.

Taxi/Car: you can get a taxi or a car to Pokhara from Kathmandu. It will cost you in the region of around $50-80 depending on the type of vehicle you use and how good your haggling skills are.

If you book through an agent, they’re naturally going to charge you more.

So go onto the street and arrange something with a taxi driver the day before you leave. If he can’t do it, it’s almost certain he will know someone who will.

The best places to visit in Pokhara Nepal

Okay, now it’s time for what you came for: the best places to visit in Pokhara! Most of these things involve walking, so bring a good pair of shoes with you.

1. Get a massage by the lake

The Pokhara Lake is the tourist hub of Pokhara. It’s where all the hotels/hostels and restaurants are located and it’s a wonderful vibe.

If you take a walk up and down the lake, you’ll come across a small “massage” shop on the way. It’s basically like a small shed, and they advertise the prices on a little board outside, but it overlooks the lake.

It’s £2 for a half hour foot massage, £4 for an hour, and they do Swedish massage, back, neck and shoulder and much more. It’s REALLY good!

The staff are lovely, it’s very relaxing and it’s so cheap. So this is perfect if you’ve done a lot of walking and need to relax.

My only regret was not going enough.

walk up to peace pagoda

2. Visit Pokhara “Disneyland”

I kid you not, there is an actual big sign that says “Pokhara, Disneyland”, but no, it’s nowhere near as exciting as you may be thinking. But, it’s still fun.

You’ll see it in the distance from any angle of the lake as there is a big Ferris wheel. Head towards that! There are a variety of typical amusement rides (all look too old to use, but they still work haha)

But there is also bumper cars, arcade games, bowling, car racing machines, etc and it’s all SO CHEAP. I am talking like 10 pence a game. So if you’re looking for something different, cheap and fun, then head here.

There is always a lot of blackouts, and if the power cuts during your game, they’ll give you a new coin to start a new one.

3. Trek to Annapurna base camp

I had to include this because it is the top reason that people go to Pokhara, so needed to make the list of best places to visit in Pokhara.

Personally, I didn’t do this trek this time around. Simply because we didn’t have the time or money. It will probably cost a couple of hundred or more.

But it’s easy to arrange this trek. There are hundreds of shops in the main strip that are selling treks to base camp.

You have to have a guide to trek here (unlike Everest base camp).

If you don’t fancy walking, then you can take a helicopter ride to base camp, but it will be pricey!

I’ve seen the pictures of the trek and it looks breathtaking, so it’s definitely something to add to your bucket list. The Annapurna circuit is one of the most popular things to do in all of Nepal.

Annapurna base camp

4. Boat to the World Peace Pagoda

You can rent out little boats on Phewa Lake. It’s not too expensive and you can rent your own personal boat and simply go boating all day, or even some fishing, or you can take this option.

Take a boat ride across to the World Peace Pagoda, then walk up.

It’s will take around 50-60 minutes to walk up and it’s an incline walk, but it’s doable. The views on the way up are beautiful, and if you find yourself needing a rest, there are a few restaurants.

I will call the walk up from the lake the “left side”, the left side is less busy than the right side, which you can drive up to then walk up the last little bit.

The other side has lots of cafes and coffee places. You will be walking down that way, and the coffee is really good- to stop and have one!

The World Peace Pagoda is lovely. It’s a nice photo spot, and it’s open until 4.30! But if you want a picture there with no one else, then go early in the morning.

On a good, non-misty day (non-existent when we were there), you get amazing views of the Himalayas from here.

The mist in itself is fascinating actual, it doesn't look like anything exists around you. Then when you see the Himalayas, you’ll be thinking omg, how were they actually there the whole time!

It’s free to enter the World Peace Pagoda.

world peace pagoda pokhara

5. Visit the International Mountain Museum

You’ll see signs for this everywhere, and whilst this is something that Brad and I didn’t do, I still think it’s worth putting on the best places to visit in Pokhara list. The expansive museum is devoted to the mountains of Nepal, the mountaineers who climbed them and the people who call them home. There are a 21 m climbing wall too. A taxi here from Lakeside will cost you around Rs 800 return.

I guess this is one of the more hidden places in Pokhara as I didn’t hear about it until I see a big sign!

It costs 400 rupee entrance for foreigners.

6.Go Paragliding

This is one of the most popular activities in all of Pokhara, and I totally think it’s worth doing...if there is no mist. It costs around $60, (you might get it to $45-50 depending on how many people are doing it, and haggling skills).

There are a lot of people paragliding at one time, and it can look a little busy. But if you’ve never done it before, then I can imagine gliding through the air with a view of the Himalayas is pretty spectacular.

When we were there it was misty, and I don’t think it’s worth it then. Another great paragliding spot is Bolivia, where it’s also really cheap.

To book paragliding you can either book via one of the tour agencies in Pokhara, or you can head to the paragliding starting point (which is called sarangkot) and book one from there. A taxi will cost you around 600 to get there from Pokhara lakeside.

paragliding in pokhara

7. Go Whitewater rafting

Another fun activity on the list of the best places to visit in Pokhara.

The rapids around Pokhara are grade 3, and this is pretty good. You can opt for a half day, 1 full day, or even a couple of days adventure of white water rafting. The half-day session is $40 and I think that’s good value as it includes your transportation to and from and your lunch.

Again, this can easily be booked at one of the many travel booking shops in the area.

8. Go shopping

Pokhara lakeside is filled with souvenir shops (particularly tea shops) and you can pick up lots of presents for family and friends back home. Everything you get here, you can also get in Kathmandu, but if you just plan on using Kathmandu as a base for flights, then it’s nicer shopping in Pokhara. Fewer cars and you feel like you can breathe the air without dying (sorry Kathmandu)

9. Visit Begnas Lake

This is the second largest lake of the 8 lakes in the Pokhara Valley. This is a popular lake for walking, fishing and you could even rent a bike and cycle around it. It’s a freshwater lake too and people swim in it.

There is also a zoo not far from it at Rupa lake.

I would recommend renting a moped (but driving super carefully) and driving out to these two lakes. There will be places to catch a bite to eat too.

10. Discover Mahendra Cave

I actually love caves, even though sometimes I decide I am too afraid to enter them. Not sure why.

Anyway, Pokhara has its own caves too. It is a rare example of a cave system in Nepal containing stalagmites and stalactites. A statue of Hindu Lord Shiva can be found inside the cave.

You can get here via a bus from lakeside for around 50 pence, or get a taxi for about 400-500.

11. Explore Davis Falls

Davis Falls in a well-known waterfall in Pokhara. We walked to here from the World Peace Pagoda.

If you have been to waterfalls anywhere else in southeast Asia, then you will not be impressed by this waterfall. Actually, it’s a bad waterfall with a tourist trap filled with shops and people selling you stuff.

BUT, it’s right next to the caves, so you may as well visit it when you are there. There is a small entrance fee which I can’t remember exactly, but it’s less than 100 rupees.

The falls are located on a busy street, so you can’t even imagine how there is a waterfall here. That’s probably why it’s isn’t exactly breathtaking.

davis falls nepal

12. Tal Barahi Temple

This temple is located in the middle of the phew lake, and you can see it as you float past on your way to the World Peace Pagoda. You can even ask if they can stop off there quickly too.

Unless you’re wanting to actually worship, I wouldn’t think it’s worth stopping.

But, you have to get a boat to get to it, whether you take a “taxi boat” or rent your own for the day.

13. Go to the cinema

If you fancy doing something that isn’t sightseeing or walking, then you can always head to the Pokhara cinema. There is a limited supply of movies (I think 2 at a time), but they are always typically showing one English speaking movie, and it costs 300 rupees for a ticket. That’s like 2 pounds. VERY cheap.

You can get the little mini bus in for 50 pence, and get it back. They leave and return from the lakeside.

14. Go dancing

Pokhara has a lot of pubs and even clubs for dancing. The weekend comes alive with music and you can hear club music into the early hours of the morning.

But, even also every night there are live bands and live music almost everywhere. So if you fancy a drink and dance, there is so much choice. There are even lots of happy hour offers so you can drink relatively cheap.

There is a load guide to clubs and bars here.

15. Visit Sarangkot

Sarangkot is the base spot for paragliding, but it’s also one of the top viewing points for the Himalayas. You can get a taxi to the “base” and walk up to the peak. The walk will take around 40 minutes to an hour and it's an incline climb.

On your way, you’ll see a little art gallery run by a lovely Christian man. He will probably invite you in to have a look. It’s completely free and he just wants a chat and wants to show you his pictures!

He even invited us for tea, but we ended up walking down a different way, otherwise, I would have loved to share tea and more stories.

It’s 200 to enter sarangkot and people may ask you to pay twice (on the road up, then at the entrance to the viewpoint), but you only pay once.

Once again, we had bad mist, so no views of the Himalayas, which was a pity, but I can imagine it’s absolutely breathtaking on a beautiful day. From here you can also see all the paragliders.

If you don’t fancy walking to the top, you can get a taxi the full way up, but the walk is nice.

Once you get up there, there are lots of cafes and restaurants to grab a coffee or bite to eat. People will also try to sell you stuff. It’s a great picnic spot in Pokhara and we brought our own picnic.

view from saragnkot
At nightfall...

Other things to do in Pokhara

I’ve listed all my best places to visit in Pokhara, but I thought I’d like a few more that I didn’t know about or haven’t been, just so you have a thorough travel guide. So if your still thinking about what to do in Pokhara, then keep reading.

  • Shree garden dhargay monastery
  • Tibetan Refugee Camp Day trip
  • Gorkha Memorial Museum, Pokhara
  • Sadhana Yoga Retreat Centre

Where to stay in Pokhara?

Pokhara lakeside is the best area to stay in Pokhara. It’s where all the hotels are and there is a lot of choice in terms of price. We stayed in a hotel called Hotel Tulsi.

It was one of the more expensive properties, but it had big rooms, and excellent location and a great breakfast. We also really liked the staff! The views from the rooftop restaurant are amazing too.

If you stay in the lake area, you’re never too far from anywhere at all.  I recommend using booking.com to book your accommodation. You get the best prices, and they have free cancellation in case you change your mind.

Where to visit after Pokhara?

After you’ve visited Pokhara, there are plenty of more places to visit on your nepal adventure. You could head to the heat of Chitwan and check out the safari, or head to the colds of Naragot, just east of Nepal. Or, you could visit the sites of Kathmandu!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my post on the best places to visit in Pokhara, and I hope you’ve gained lots of insight so you can plan your adventure.

Let me know if there is anything else you think I should add to this list.

Happy travels.

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