Many mistake Pokhara to be a small, suburban province in Nepal. In reality, it is actually the largest city in this Himalayan country, around 200 kilometers (120 miles) from the capital city, Kathmandu. It is also one of the most expensive places to stay or visit, due to its proximity to the Annapurna Mountain Range, which is just 25 kilometers (15 miles) away. Many trekkers wanting to take on the Annapurna Circuit pass by Pokhara. However, there are so many things that you can do here, apart from taking on the mountains, that make it worthy of a couple days’ stay. Here are a few of things to watch out for in Pokhara, Nepal:
1. Phewa Lake
On a clear day, you’ll be able to see the Annapurna Mountain peak reflected on its surface. Phewa Lake is the second largest lake in Nepal, and is also Nepal’s focal point. You’ll be able to make a day trip out of this view. It’s quite close to the World Peace Pagoda. Phewa, or Fewa, is a freshwater lake reserve. The forestry all around it is still quite dense, casting an emerald hue on the lake. What can you do here? Go around the lake using the painted doongas for rent on the lakeside.
Phewa Lake Tour
Address: Pokhara Nepal
Website: Phewa Lake Tour
2. International Mountain Museum
Now, here’s a museum dedicated to all things about the mountain - famous mountaineers, the culture of the mountain people, especially in Nepal, the flora and fauna, and past and present developments on mountaineering all around the world. It holds three exhibit spaces: the Hall of Fame, Hall of the Great Himalayas, and Hall of World Mountains. For those who aspire to climb any of the Himalayan Mountains, take inspiration from the first few who’ve gone before you. There’s also a 21 meter (69 feet) climbing wall just outside.
International Mountain Museum
Address: Pokhara 33700, Nepal
Website: International Mountain Museum
Why do you visit Pokhara? Most of the time, most out-of-towners answer “because of the Annapurna Circuit.” Whatever your climbing capacity is, you’ll have to at least check out the base of what is deemed the highest navigable pass in the world. The Annapurna Circuit is considered the classic route for all trekkers since it was discovered in the 1980s. It takes 18 to 21 days on average to ascend and descend the pass. However, it is still quite challenging because of the four changing climatic zones and altitude, which makes trekkers (especially the new ones) prone to altitude sickness. Nevertheless, most people would attest it’s one of the most picturesque sites in the world, with the landscape and culture quite incomparable to anything else.
12D11N Annapurna Circuit Trek
Duration: 12 Day(s) Duration
4. Davis or Devi’s Falls
The Patalo Chango or the Underwater Waterfall is a series of cascades that end in an underwater tunnel. The tunnel is around 150 meters (500 feet) long. This is perhaps the most unusual thing about it; that it cascades down to an underwater pass. The best time to visit it is during the monsoon season, so you’ll see its full cascade. The summer season tends to make the waterfall smaller. To save time, you might want to combine this during a day trip from the World Peace Pagoda and a nearby Tibetan settlement, before heading to the waterfall. Davis Falls is found near the Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave on the other side of the World Peace Pagoda.
Address: Shital Path, Pokhara 33700, Nepal
The Shanti Stupa is another popular tourist attraction in Pokhara, as part of a network of pagodas built by a Japanese monk to promote world peace. One of the publications in Nepal even called it the “most famous tourist attraction” around Pokhara, where you can watch the sunrise and sunset with an unobstructed view. It’s also great to see it at night, as it stands illuminated against its surrounding mountain backdrop. At the Shanti Stupa, you can find a photograph of the new Dalai Lama, with Buddha relics at the base with a golden Buddha image as the central relief. On the second level are more photos of Buddha’s life, from birth to death, and his conquering of evil.
The World Peace Pagoda in Pokhara
Duration: 3 hours
The Poon Hill trek is one of the more accessible treks in Pokhara for those who don’t really have the time to take the lengthier Annapurna Circuit trek. The whole trek takes only 4 to 5 days, and most of the time you’ll be staying in teahouse accommodations, so you don’t really need to carry a lot of things with you. If you’re expecting more scenery and culture though, you might be disappointed. As it’s more accessible, this trek is also more commercial in the sense that there are already plenty of restaurants and souvenir shops, waiting to invade the tourist psyche. Nevertheless, it’s still a worthwhile experience, especially since you’ll still be passing a lot of natural wonders like gorges, waterfalls, and forests.
Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek
Address: Poon Hill Marga, Ghode Pani 33200, Nepal
These two lakes are part of the 8 network of lakes around the Pokhara Valley. These are less visited compared to Phewa though, so if you’re looking to escape the crowd, these two serene lakes are about 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) southeast of Pokhara. You can paddle your way to villages like Pachabhaiya, where small guesthouses are available overlooking some of the Himalayan peaks.
Private Full-Day Tour With Begnas Thulokot Hike and Begnas Lake Boat Ride
8. Paragliding in Sarangkot
Sarangkot is a couple of degrees cooler in Pokhara and is the highest point in the valley, best for watching the sunrise or the city lights. It’s also one of the areas best for paragliding, some say the best area, as you’ll be able to watch the Dhaulagiri and the Annapurna Range from a different view; from above.
Paragliding in Sarangkot
Address: Sarangkot, Padeli Rd., Pokhara 33700, Nepal
Website: Paragliding in Sarangkot
9. Barahi Temple
The Tal Barahi is a small, intimate temple on the lakeside of Phewa, in the Southeast section. It is technically located on another island. To get to it, you can take a small boat or a large barge for the 5-minute cross. It is dedicated to the goddess, Durga. She is said to have visited this temple but was rebuked by the villagers, except for one woman, who was later on saved by a great flood that came down to the village from the mountains.
10. Gurkha Museum
For those aiming to visit a couple more museums in this area apart from the more well-known International Mountain Museum, the Gurkha Museum is another specialized museum that focuses on the achievements of the brave Gurkhas; Nepalese national soldiers recruited by the British and Indian army. The museum follows the Gurkhas through two World Wars, up to their role now in peace-keeping missions.
Address: Lamachaur Rd, Pokhara 33700, Nepal
Website: Gurkha Museum
Here are some great experiences you can book for your trip to Pokhara
‘Dal Bhat’ is the traditional dish of Nepal and other parts of Bangladesh and India. The literal translation is lentil rice, the ‘dal’ is a lentil stew/curry that pairs incredible well with the plain rice and is a staple in every Nepali’s diet. In fact, Nepalese people often eat at least two meals of dal bhat each day. Your local host at the Dal Bhat Cooking Class will give you a hands-on experience on how to cook a perfect dal bhat. Learn all the tips & tricks, type of spices, and cooking methods. Bring this recipe back home and impress your friends! Not only that, learn the art of eating it without cutlery and with your hands, combining a small ball of rice with the dal and curry for a more authentic experience.
Dal Bhat Cooking Class : The Classic Mark of Nepali Hospitality
Price: 19 USD
Duration: 3 hours
If you’re looking for something different than your typical city tour, here is one activity for you! Nepalis are very fond of dancing and singing, so why not join them? Dance their traditional dance with props, costumes and lively beat accompaniment in a local dance studio. Fall in love with the classical Tamang. From easy to slightly challenging moves, there is no doubt that this is a fun-filled way of burning some calories from eating all that dal bhat. You get acquainted with a passionate dance instructor who executes the dances with precision and grace, a characteristic of Nepali charm. Plus, you learn the cultural significance behind every dance and move.
Nepali Dance Masterclass: The Tunes & Moves of the Nepali People
Price: 17 USD
Duration: 3 hours
Batik is an ancient Javanese art of decorating cloth by hands using wax and dye. It has been practiced for 2,000 years in southeast Asia and is becoming more popular in the West. The word ‘batik’ came from the Malay word ‘mbatik’, said to be from ‘amba’ which means ‘to write’ and ‘titik’ which means ‘dot/point’. In this workshop, you will immerse yourself in this fascinating art. Learn each step of the process. From skilfully outlining your selected design on a piece of cloth, to waxing its borders, to hand-painting up to ironing & removing the wax. From beginning to end, batik is a unique experience for everyone. Although it takes a lot of effort, you will be rewarded with a beautiful piece of art. Take it as a keepsake and hang it at your walls or frame and let it sit on top of your desk.
Batik Workshop (Nepali Style) with Ram
Price: 24 USD
Duration: 5.5 hours
Marbles are favoured by sculptors because of its relatively soft characteristics making it easy to handle and also its ability to harden and maintain its shape as it ages. The Taj Majal is an example where marble was used extensively in the design. Challenge yourself in this rare marble slabs carving workshop. In this workshop, you will learn how to stencil your chosen design onto a marble slab and carve it using a chisel. Our marble expert will give you the ins and outs of the craft and guide you in every step of the process, so you can achieve that fine beauty to remember your trip by.
Carving on Marble Slabs
Price: 24 USD
Duration: 5.5 hours
The practice of yoga has its ancient origin and is known as an exercise of the body, mind and spirit. Join our yoga class for a wonderful and energising session with one of the most well-known yoga teachers in Pokhara. It is a welcoming studio for you to relax and stretch out that weary and tired muscles. Even if you have not done yoga before, our seasoned yoga master will show you the basics of yoga along with light and gentle stretches. The pace gradually picks up and is tailored to your abilities and experience. Participants are advised to wear stretchable and comfortable clothing.
A Yoga Class For Ultimate Relaxation
Price: 11 USD
Duration: 2 hours
Magnanimous views of the mountains
Like the famous Annapurna Mountain ranges, the landscape of Pokhara is quite dramatically varied. Its geography from north to south has an altitude of 827 meters (2,713 feet) at its lowest point and 1,740 meters (5,710 feet) at its highest point. That said, wherever you are in Pokhara, you’ll most likely wake up to the magnanimous views of the three out of the ten highest mountains in the world - Dhaulagiri, Annapurna 1 and Manaslu. What other place can claim that?
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