If you are planning a dream trip to Nepal, make sure to add Pokhara to your itinerary as it is an absolute must-visit destination. Nestled in the Annapurna range, which is one of the tallest mountain ranges in the world, Pokhara offers breathtaking views of the mountains and stunning natural beauty. There are many amazing places to visit and things to do in Pokhara that will leave you in awe!
Pokhara is known for its stunning lakeside location, being nestled in the Annapurna range, and of course, its many hiking opportunities, including the Annapurna Circuit or ABC (Annapurna Base Camp) trekking.
After spending one month traveling around Nepal, I am here to share the best places to visit in Pokhara, plus share helpful tips for you to plan your trip to Nepal. With so many places to visit in Pokhara, and to experience the natural beauty of Nepal, I recommend anyone to spend at least 3-days exploring it all.
The first part of this article will go through the best places to visit in Pokhara, whilst the second part will go through the most adventurous activities in the area! You can also find plenty of helpful information with all you need to know to plan a perfect Pokhara itinerary. Whether you simply want to relax and admire the views or are looking for an adrenaline rush, Pokhara has plenty of amazing things to do.
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Essential Tips Before You Visit Pokhara
Where is Pokhara in Nepal?
Pokhara is the second-largest city in Nepal after Kathmandu and is one of the most beautiful places in the country. Pokhara is located about 120 miles (200 km) west of the capital city of Kathmandu, it is a 7 hour bus ride away from Kathmandu.
It sits at the foot of the Annapurna mountain range, so naturally boasts stunning views.
How Many Days for your Pokhara itinerary?
I recommend at least 3 days for Pokhara, 2 for sightseeing and 1 day for rest, means walking around Lake Phewa and boating in lake Phewa, Pokhara is a place to relax. Or if you are into adventure, there are plenty of things to do in Pokhara too, as you will see on this article.
Now, if you are planning to go hike to the Annapurna Mountains, Pokhara will be your start and finish point. I spent 2 days before my hike to the Annapurna Base Camp, and 1 day after exploring the places in Pokhara, and it was enough time.
What to Expect When You Visit Pokhara
Most people visit Pokhara to go hiking in the Annapurna Mountains – I did it too, and I hiked the ABC (Annapurna Base Camp)
Pokhara is also a popular destination for yoga retreats, and to enjoy the magnificent lake area. Pokhara is a small city, but it offers amazing things to do and to see. And just like the whole of Nepal, it is very affordable and safe to visit.
It is easy enough to visit Pokhara independently. But if you prefer, you can hire a guide in Kathmandu to arrange all the plans for you – from flight to hotel and tours in Pokhara. I used this private driver and I highly recommend them.
When is the Best Time to Visit Pokhara
The best time to visit Pokhara is during the winter months of October, November, and December.
These are the perfect months for trekking with moderate temperatures, lower precipitation levels, and clear skies for the most spectacular views. During this time, the temperature will range from around 46 to 60°F (8°C to15°C) depending on which month you choose to visit Pokhara.
The Money Situation in Nepal
The Nepali Rupee is the official currency of Nepal. We recommend carrying a combination of Nepali Rupee and US dollars. The current exchange rate is $1 USD = 103Rs.
You can find ATMs just about anywhere in most of Kathmandu. Most ATMs have a maximum withdrawal limit of 10,000Rs, however, some NABIL machines have a 35,000Rs limit.
It can be quite frustrating to deal with the 10,000Rs limit on ATM withdrawals, as the associated bank fees can quickly add up. However, we strongly advise withdrawing as much cash as possible each time you visit an ATM. This will ensure that you have enough money to cover any unforeseen issues that may arise, such as political or social unrest.
Credit cards are commonly accepted in Kathmandu at most tourist hotels, restaurants, airlines, and tour agencies; however, fees may apply.
Best Places to Visit in Pokhara to Enjoy the City
1. Explore Phewa Lake
I will start this list of best places to visit in Pokhara with my favorite place in the city. Phewa Lake is one of the most beautiful freshwater lakes in Nepal and is the perfect spot for a boat ride or kayaking. You can also rent a bike and go around the stunning views of Lake Phewa.
If you decide to head out on the water in the evening, you will also get a great view of the city. With the stunning blue color of the lake and the backdrop of the mighty Annapurna Mountain Range, this is something you don’t want to miss off your Pokhara itinerary.
2. Get Amazing Views at the World Peace Pagoda
The World Peace Pagoda is without a doubt one of the best places to visit in Pokhara. It is the symbol of peace in Nepal, and Hinduism. The walk up to the top takes about 50-60 minutes and is an incline walk, but isn’t too difficult.
It’s free to enter, and there are some restaurants located along the way. At the top, you can get some incredible views of Pokhara Valley and the Annapurna Mountain Range on a clear day. You can either hike or take a Boat Ride to the World Peace Pagoda.
3. Visit Gupteshowor Mahdev Cave
Exploring Pokhara’s caves is an interesting experience, and is very popular.
Everything about the cave is impressive, starting from being located in the middle of the city, to its entrance. As you go down the steps to the cave, you can start feeling the underground cold sweatiness.
You will get to see its unique geological features including stalagmites and stalactites, which make the cave seem otherworldly. In the cave, you also find a statue of the Hindu Lord Shiva located inside, and the “cowshed” a sacred cow where the locals make their offerings.
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4. Discover Davi’s Falls
Davi’s Falls is a well-known waterfall in Pokhara, and although it’s not exactly breath-taking it’s located right next to the cave system. The gorge here leads to a tunnel underground, which then leads to the cave formations of Gupteshwor Mahadev.
The story behind these falls is tragic. It is said that a Swiss lady named Davis died in the tunnel due to a sudden overflow of water. Visitors are required to pay a small entrance fee to access the site. However, be cautious of people trying to sell you things, as this place is known to be a tourist trap in Pokhara.
5. Catch the Views at Begnas Lake
Begnas Lake is the second largest lake in the Pokhara Valley, and the third-largest in the whole of Nepal. It’s popular with hikers, fishermen, and swimmers, even though the water is incredibly chilly. You can also rent a bike and cycle around the lake if you choose.
There are some cafes and restaurants around the lake, that is a perfect location to get a fresh juice and enjoy the views, or try a fresh fish dish.
6. Go on a Yoga Retreat in Pokhara
Although Pokhara is popular for its hiking opportunities, there are plenty of ways to relax within the city. There are lots of yoga classes and retreats located within the city.
With Pokhara’s scenic surroundings, it’s perfect for achieving some mindfulness. If you are really serious about yoga, you can trek with a yoga retreat in Nepal’s Mountain Villages, this is an amazing experience for spiritual and wellness while taking the marvelous views of Pokhara. I have done it and I really enjoyed the experience.
7. Spoil Yourself with a Massage in Pokhara
One of the most relaxing things to do in Pokhara is to get a massage in one of the spas. You can find a massage for every budget – from “interesting” places (not too nice or clean) to very nice high-end spas.
I choose to have a “blind massage” as it would be my first experience. It was after I hike the ABC and I was so sore and tired, and the massage was absolutely wonderful! I highly recommend the Seeing Hands, as they are social enterprise providing opportunities for visually impaired people of Nepal.
If you are looking for a spa, you will find outstanding Resorts in Pokhara such as the Temple Tree Resort & Spa with outstanding Annapurna Mountain Range Views, or the Hotel Middle Path & Spa, located only a 5-minutes walk from the Phewa Lake.
8. Enjoy the Food in Pokhara
Pokhara is full of incredible restaurants and cafes to fuel or refuel you after hiking. There is a wide variety of cuisine available ranging from Italian to tapas, and of course, authentic Nepalese dishes!
Some of the most popular restaurant choices in Pokhara include Cafe Concerto, I ate here the night before I hike the ABC, and it was outstanding! Also, great options are Rosemary Kitchen and Fresh Elements. Another great choice is the Krazy Gecko Bar & Rest with a large outside area and stunning lakeside views.
9. Take a Cooking Class in Pokhara
If you are looking for fun things to do in Pokhara, then make sure you take a cooking class.
Nepalese authentic cuisine is delicious, and what’s better than learning to cook it so you can divulge even when you return home! You will learn to make tasty dishes including Momo and Dal Bhat.
One of the best-reviewed cooking classes in Pokhara includes ‘Cook with Delight’ which is a home-based cooking class with a lovely family and it is very cheap too.
10. Head to Sarangkot Viewpoint
Sarangkot Viewpoint is one of the best places to visit in Pokhara and is a must-visit. It’s one of the easiest short treks from the city, although it still consists of a 3-hour uphill climb. Once you get to the top though, it will be so worth it!
The views of Pokhara, Fewa Lake, and the surrounding snow-capped mountains are breathtaking. They are even better if you head up at sunrise or sunset. At the top, there are lots of cafes and restaurants to grab a bite to eat, or you can take a picnic.
11. Go Street Shopping in Pokhara
Pokhara is filled with souvenir shops, tea shops, hiking gear shops, yak products, and all between. I found it is nicer to walk around Pokhara, than in Kathmandu while shopping.
There are fewer people, the temperature is very pleasant in Pokhara and I found great things to buy before I go on my ABC hiking. Such as my yak super warm socks. They are a must-have item if you are planning to go hiking in the winter.
12. Explore the Pokhara Disneyland
Yes, I know – it sounds funny. But Pokhara has its own “Disneyland” too. Of course, it is nothing compared to the real one, but it is also fun. Here you can find typical amusement rides, such s a big wheel, bumper cars, bowling, and many other fun things.
I have to be honest that I didn’t take the chance to go on any rides, but I had fun watching the locals having fun. Here you can also spend a few hours watching local shows with dance and music, try some “food trucks” – it is definitely a fun thing to do while in Pokhara.
13. Enjoy the amazing Rupa Lake
One of the most unique places to visit in Pokhara, in my opinion, is Rupa Lake. It is located on the border of Pokhara and the Rupa Rural area, in the valley of Nepal. The third-largest freshwater lake in Pokhara is at an altitude of 600 meters, and the area is surrounded by abundant fauna and flora.
You can rent a boat to enjoy the lake and the majestic views of the reflection of the mountains. There is also an observation tower where you can catch the beautiful views of the valley.
14. Support the Tashiling Handicraft Center (Tibetan Refugee Camp)
This is a great place to visit and to learn more about the Tibetan Refugees – I also recommend you to read this very powerful article I wrote about the truth behind the Tibet Occupation – and to support the community. You can watch the women making rugs and wall hangings. All the money goes back to the community, and the purchase goes for a good cause.
You can also visit the museum and the store where you can find beautiful art-craft from Tibet. The community is supported by the Nepalese Government, and the Tibetan people here will welcome you and proudly show their community to any visitor.
Top Places to Visit in Pokhara for Adventure Travelers
15. Go Rafting in Pokhara
River rafting down the Seti River is a popular activity in Pokhara. No previous rafting experience is needed but be prepared for a bumpy ride and the water to be very chilly!
You will spend around 90 minutes heading down Seti River, with twists, turns, and small whirlpools as the boat head down the rapids. Aside from the thrill, the river itself is beautiful with crystal waters and of course the stunning backdrop of the Annapurna Mountains.
The rapids are grade 3 and 4, and the half-day fun starts as low as $60 with all the equipment, and lunch included. What a deal for the fun!
16. Take an Ultralight Flight in Pokhara
One of the most thrilling activities in Pokhara is to head out on an Ultralight aircraft flight. These small aircraft only sit two people – a pilot and the passenger!
The duration of the flights varies between packages but usually lasts between 15-90 minutes. If you’re brave enough you will be rewarded with stunning views of Pokhara and its surrounding mountain ranges including Annapurna, Machhapuchchhre, Manaslu, and Dhaulagiri.
17. Extreme Zip-lining
Pokhara is home to the world’s most thrilling zip line experience. The Zip flyer is the longest, tallest and steepest zipline in the world, with an incredible mountain backdrop.
With a total length of 1.8km, a vertical drop of 600m, and a speed of around 120km/hour this is a must for any adrenaline junkie. As you head down the zipline you will get a 180° panoramic view of the stunning Annapurna Mountain Range.
18. Go Bungee-Jumping
If you are craving an adventure activity full of adrenaline, then bungee jumping in Pokhara is for you!
This bungee jump is Nepal’s first and only tower bungee. With a 75m vertical drop, and a 3-second free fall into a natural gorge, this is an activity for the thrill-seekers out there. If you manage to open your eyes, you will get a glimpse of the beautiful Pokhara Valley, lake, and surrounding mountains.
19. Go on a Hot Air Balloon Ride
Going on a hot air balloon ride is one of the best things to do in Pokhara, and is the perfect activity for an adventurous traveler.
Balloon Nepal is the only company in the country to offer hot air balloon rides, and it’s located in Pokhara. The ride itself lasts between 25-60 minutes depending on the package you choose, and you will get stunning views of the surrounding mountain ranges including Annapurna.
20. Skydiving in Pokhara
Skydiving in Pokhara is definitely one for the more daring travelers out there!
If jumping out of a plane at 13,000 feet sounds like a dream, then there is no better place to do it than Pokhara. After you take that daring leap, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular mountain and valley views. Although a fearless act for sure, the views are well worth the plunge.
21. Paragliding in the Himalayas
Paragliding is one of the most popular adventure activities in Pokhara. This city is considered one of the best places in the world to paraglide, and with the scenic views who would argue?
As it’s so in demand there are plenty of agencies offering a variety of packages, and you can get great prices as low as $100 for an approximately 30 minutes flight.
22. Go Hiking in Pokhara
Hiking is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Pokhara. There are so many incredible trails from the city and they range in length, difficulty, and duration.
One of the most popular hikes is the Poon Hill Trek which takes around 4-5 days and offers spectacular views of the Annapurna region – especially at sunrise and sunset.
If you are looking for day hikes, there are several great options including the Naudanda day hike, Sarangkot Viewpoint hike, and the Dhampus day hike. However, everyone knows that the most popular hike from Pokhara is the famous Annapurna Base Camp Trek!
You can also check my detailed guide on how to hire a porter in Nepal before you go hiking. I have learned a lot from my hiking, and I am happy to share the top tips with you now.
Best Places to Stay in Pokhara
You will find plenty of options of places to stay in Pokhara for all the budgets. The best area to stay in is at the lakeside, for the best views, and you will be close to the main attractions. I also recommend booking your hotel in Pokhara with Booking.com as you can check reviews, and have the flexibility to cancel it.
I have selected my top choices here for you:
MY PERSONAL RECOMMENDATION | White Pearl Hotel (⭐️ 8.8): I stayed at the White Pearl and I highly recommend it. It is only a 6-minutes walk to the lakeside, the views from my room were phenomenal, and the breakfast was really great with lots of options from fresh fruit to some local dishes.
BUDGET | Hotel Lake Shore (⭐️ 9.3): This hotel is the best deal for you if you are traveling on a budget! I love that this hotel is a sustainable hotel, it is located only a 7-minutes walk to Lakeshore. Also, the rooms are very comfortable and even better!? It comes with a delicious breakfast with the Annapurna views.
LUXURY | The Pavilions Himalayas The Farm (⭐️ 9.3): Do you want to stay at a 5-star hotel, without paying 5-star pricing? Even listed as a luxury, the prices of this spectacular hotel are really affordable. You will have your own terrace, swim pool, and an international restaurant with breakfast included.
How to Get to Pokhara
If you are flying into Nepal, you’ll be arriving in Kathmandu first as it’s the only international airport in the country. When it comes to getting to Pokhara, you have a couple of options:
✈️ Flight to Pokhara
You can fly into Pokhara from Kathmandu as the city has a domestic airport. The flight takes around 30 minutes, so is incredibly quick. Flight prices start from around $70, so if you have the money this is probably the best way to get to the city.
🚌 Bus to Pokhara
When it comes to getting the bus to Pokhara, you may have heard some scary stories. Some people call it ‘the most dangerous road in the world’, and yes buses have fallen off in the past but this is VERY rare.
Tourist buses are quite a popular way to travel from the capital, and the most luxurious option is Greenline at a cost of around $30. However, there are cheaper tourist bus options to choose from.
You can choose to get a local bus (which is cheaper) but it’s not recommended. They are generally very cramped and a lot more dangerous, due to the speed at which they are driven.
🚗 Private car/ taxi to Pokhara
It’s possible to hire a private car or taxi to take you from Kathmandu to Pokhara. If you haggle with a driver, rather than book through an agent you will get a much better price. However, in general, you are looking to pay around $60-$80 to travel this way.
If there is a large group of you, it’s possible to hire a whole jeep with up to 8 seats for $250. When divided by each passenger, it becomes pretty cost-effective.
Places to Visit in Pokhara Conclusion
As you can see, there are plenty of amazing places to visit in Pokhara. And if you are an adventure lover like me, you will absolutely fall in love with the city.
I hope that you have gained a good knowledge of all the things to do in Pokhara and that this guide helps you to plan your adventure trip to Nepal, and enjoy the most of it.
You may also love the following articles:
- Nepal Itinerary
- Best Hikes in Nepal
- Top Places to visit in Kathmandu
- How to Plan a Trip to Nepal, everything you need to know
- 30 Things About Nepal that I Wish I knew Before my Trip
- How to Hire a Porter in Nepal
- How to go on the Everest Base Camp with an Helicopter Tour
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