Pokhara is a major tourist hub in Nepal. It’s home to many tourist attractions and you will get to do a wide lot of things in Pokhara. In this Pokhara travel guide, we discuss travelling to, staying in and exploring Pokhara.
Pokhara has it all; including but not limited to skydiving, paragliding, rock climbing, hiking, cycling, boating to visiting tourist spots (like Davis Falls, Damside), and walking on the lakeside, enjoying live music, eating and shopping. You will get everything here and it’s the reason many trekkers choose to stop at Pokhara for trek preparations and also for relaxing after the trek.
How do I reach Pokhara?
With Kathmandu hosting the only international airport in Nepal, you can not fly directly to Pokhara and which lies 200 km west of Kathmandu. Even Though 200 km may seem less to some, driving through not-so-wide hilly roads takes at least 5 to 6 hours. So, if you are not in a private vehicle it may take you 7 to 8 hours.
The easiest way to get to Pokhara is through a 30 minutes flight. If you are not willing to fly, you can take a minibus or tourist bus. Tourist buses leave Jamal (near Thamel) at 7 am almost every day of the week.
The cost is $5-10 for minibuses and $20-25 for tourist buses. Tourist buses are preferred by most as they are comfortable and do not rush on the roads. Also, the hotels or cafes (where you stop by for breaks) are better while travelling on a tourist bus. Travelling in a local bus or minibus costs less but they are not comfortable and less preferred by travellers.
You can also choose to hire a private vehicle to reach Pokhara. Motorcycles, cars, jeeps and micro-buses are available for hire in Kathmandu. It is possible to hire with or without a driver. We also provide and arrange for transportation inside Nepal if necessary.
What to do in Pokhara?
Pokhara offers many tourist spots and also plenty of things to do. People planning to trek in the Annapurna region stay at Pokhara for 1-2 days for trek preparations and refreshments. It is a favourite of many. The city is full of tourist spots and some of the popular ones are Peace Pagoda, Devi’s falls, Mahendra Cave, Old Bazaar, Bat Cave and Sarangkot. Apart from these, you can also roam around the city. The lakes contribute to the beauty of Pokhara. Lakeside is always an amazing place to walk around.
Pokhara hosts most of the adventure sports in Nepal. Paragliding, boating, bungee jumping, zip flying and skydiving are some of them. Most travellers plan these activities before or after the trek as Pokhara offers all to start or end the trek.
All kinds of hotels, restaurants, bars, cafes, lodges and resorts can be found in Pokhara. Most internationally known and other traditional varieties of food are available. You have a wide range of options in food and accommodation. Your accommodation options also range from cheap hotels as well as all-star hotels with hefty prices.
If you want to know more about these: Things to do in Pokhara.
Where to stay in Pokhara?
From cheap lodges and fancy expensive hotels, all sorts of accommodation options are available in Pokhara. Even if you are travelling with a trek or tour operator, you can choose the accommodation according to your needs. Similar is the case for food as you get street food, traditional food as well as western food.
The costs vary according to the area you plan to stay. Hotels around the Lakeside usually cost more than the others. Most travellers like to book a medium-cost room and enjoy themselves outside in the bars, restaurants and bars until late at night. Staying is not a problem as there are plenty of options in Pokhara but this may not be true on occasions like Christmas and New Year.
Costs and Currency
The costs of staying in Pokhara can vary according to your needs. If you stay in a cheap lodge, eat simple food, do not spend more in pubs/bars, use local transport or walk then your costs will be significantly low. Your spending in the city can be adjusted as per your budget.
Nepali currency is widely used in the city. You can exchange your money for Nepali currency in either Pokhara or Kathmandu. Indian currencies are also accepted in some places. But exchange to Nepali rupees for convenience.
Walking is probably the best option in winter. With fewer chances of sun and rain, you can explore the city on foot. But this is only considered if you are looking to explore lakeside and nearby places. If you want to go to places like Begnas Lake and Davis Falls, walking is less of an option.
Hiring bicycles and motorcycles is a trend in Pokhara if you have prior experience of riding. However, the roads in Nepal are not that easy to ride and you should be careful. Helmets and insurance are some considerable preventive measures for this. Hiring scooters and motorcycles will cost you around $10-25 per day.
Hiring a taxi is less feasible as you will miss many things and limits your ability to explore. But if you want to go to places like Peace Pagoda, taking a taxi and walking is one of the best options. Negotiate and inquire before hiring a taxi so that you won’t be overcharged.
Local transport is a good option if you want to save up on costs but you need to have information on the routes of the places and places. Ask people and the conductor (the person who collects bus fares), before jumping in.
Trekking from and to Pokhara:
Most of the Annapurna region treks start and end at Pokhara. Ghorepani Poonhill Trek, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Mardi Himal Trek, Mustang Trek and Khopra Danda Trek all start and end at Pokhara. Similarly, some treks like Annapurna Circuit Trek end at Pokhara. Annapurna region and the sanctuary are around Pokhara. These treks are best known for views, mountains, forests, landscapes and culture.
All of these treks are enjoyable and you do not need to trek for many days from Pokhara to feel the adventure and explore nature as well as culture. These treks can be customized according to your needs.
Other short day hikes or treks of 2-3 days can be done around Pokhara. These include Dhampus Trek, Peace Pagoda Hike and Sarangkot Hike. These short treks and hikes are good to explore both natural and cultural aspects. We, Heaven Nepal Adventure are specialized in organizing all kinds of hikes and treks.
We hope the information on this Pokhara Travel Guide helps you. If you have any questions, please inquire. We aim to provide all information for travelling in Nepal.