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Pokhara

3.9 /5 40 votes

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Best Time: September -November Read More

Ideal duration: 3 days

Nearest Airport: Pokhara Check Flights

"Gateway to the Himalayas"

Pokhara Tourism

Idyllic waters, majestic snow-capped mountains, crisp air, and friendly people await you at Pokhara, one of the most popular tourist destinations of the exotic East! Cradled at the foothills of the Himalayas, Pokhara is a metropolitan city in Nepal - it is even called the Tourist Capital of Nepal. This city offers a myriad of options for travellers of all kinds - from thrilling adventures and unforgettable journeys into the wild, to tranquil contemplation and serene meditation. Delve into the magic of this hilly city, for a truly memorable vacation.

Pokhara is the second largest city in Nepal, after Kathmandu. At an altitude of more than 900m, it is one of the highest as well. This gateway to the Himalayas stuns tourists all year round with its gorgeous views, wonderful weather and exciting activities. Nestled in the Pokhara Valley, the city is cut by the Seti Gandaki River and her many tributaries, which contributes to the unique geography of the land - there are many gorges and caves even within city limits! Tall mountain ranges watch over the city - the Annapurna range with four tall peaks tower over and guard Pokhara. The city is divided into two parts - Lakeside Pokhara and Old City. Phewa Lake (or Phewa Tal), a spectacular lake borders Lakeside Pokhara while Old City is the commercial hub. Phewa Lake flawlessly reflects the mountains that border it, making it a breathtaking photo-op. The postcard-perfect scenery is complemented by charming shops, dreamy caf├ęs, restaurants and pubs that line Lakeside Pokhara. Old City houses handicrafts and other enterprises, where you can buy anything under the sun. Pokhara is popular for handicrafts, woodwork and woolwork. Visit the Tibetan Mini Market for one-of-a-kind souvenirs!

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History of Pokhara

Pokhara was an important point on the trade route between India and China. Until the late 1960s, the valley was only accessible by foot. With the construction of Siddhartha Highway, which connects the city to Southern Nepal, tourism boomed in the city. The area along the Phewa lake, called Lake Side, has developed into one of the major tourism hubs of Nepal.

Nightlife in Pokhara

There are few options available on the lakeside including All the jazz, Club Amsterdam, Busy Bee and much more. The clubs close before midnight because of the local rules.

Shopping in Pokhara

Shopping in Pokhara can be a bit disappointing. There isn't much to buy as souvenir and things which are available are mostly overpriced. Nevertheless, the traditional Tibetian jewellery and trinkets are the things you must look out for.

More About Pokhara Tourism in Nepal

Trekkers throng Pokhara as it is a popular starting point for many treks in the Annapurna Range. The Annapurna Circuit Trek is a daunting challenge that is fitly rewarded with striking views of Pokhara valley atop Mt. Machhapuchhre, while the Manaslu trek takes you to the summit of the lofty peak. The Sarangkot trail is a much shorter one, which is perfect for novices. Pokhara is a crowd favourite as it is the impeccable place to unwind, rest and rejuvenate after a long trek. There are many short hiking trails for the uninitiated as well, so try out a new hobby at Pokhara! While you're at it, try to spot some exotic birds - Pokhara is the favoured nesting site of the green-backed tit.

Phewa Lake is a must-visit - the freshwater lake soothes the soul as the smooth water ripples out, perfectly reflecting the blue sky. The banks of the lake are paved and lit, so you can take a long walk along the stunning water with your loved one. Boating is also allowed at Phewa - take your significant other on a date in the middle of the lake. It definitely wins on the romance front!

If you are in Pokhara to contemplate and discover yourself, the World Peace Pagoda is the place to be. Built by Buddhist monks from Japan, the Pagoda stands as a testament to unity and brotherhood, overlooking Phewa Tal. You can either row to the Pagoda or take a bus, and introspect at this revered site. This is a stunning viewpoint too, from where you can see the entire valley. There are many temples you can visit - especially the Tal Barahi Mandir which is situated on an island in Phewa Lake. Other temples including the Bindhyabasini Temple, the Radha Krishna Shanti Ashram Lame Al, the Sitladevi temple, the Kumari temple and the Akalaa temple are revered by Hindus - a visit to these sacred places is said to assure blessings and boons! The Matepani Gumba is a Buddhist monastery you can check out as well.  

Pokhara is home to people of the Gurkha community, who are known for their commendable military service. Check out their contributions to the country at the Gurkha Museum, for a fascinating insight into the history of Nepal. If you're a mountaineering enthusiast, the International Mountain Museum is a must-visit - this interesting museum houses artefacts from adventurous expeditions and even has a scalable version of Mt Manaslu. Try your hand at rock climbing too!

The Seti Gandaki River ends at Davis Falls, which has intriguing local lore attached to it. The waterfall briefly disappears underground, and reappears further down the path! The Mahendra Cave, the Gupteshwar Mahadev Cave and the Chamare Gufa are natural caves close by, which you can explore - don't forget to channel your inner Indiana Jones!

If adventure sports are your calling, Pokhara is nothing less than Mecca to you - the charming city offers paragliding and river rafting to all thrill-seekers. Soar like a bird over the magnificent Phewa Lake and try to touch the snow-capped peaks as you paraglide over Pokhara. You can take solo or tandem rides, depending on your expertise. River rafting and white water rafting are offered on Seti Gandaki and her tributaries - try to conquer the cold, gushing waters of the Himalayas on your way down!

Pokhara is quaint and idyllic in the sense that there are no auto rickshaws in the entire region. You can opt to walk to cover the sights, which is healthy and invigorating too. Burn some calories so that you can munch on the local Nepali delicacies guilt-free, as you explore the delights of Pokhara. You can even hire bikes and enjoy the fresh mountain air as you pedal away to the stunning sights of Pokhara. This affords the luxury of time a well - you can relax and spend as much time as you want at your favourite destination. 

Exchanging Money in Pokhara

ATMs are easily available in the city and cash is dispensed in NPR only. Major currencies such as GBP, USD, Euro, Yen or INR can be changed at the money changers'. ATMs of most banks levy a fee of NPR 750 per transaction, and limit withdrawals to NPR 25000, so it's better to withdraw a fair bit of cash in one transaction. Be careful of pickpockets and also be careful while using your cards.

Daily Budget for Pokhara

The daily budget can be from NPR 1500 if you are travelling on mid budget while it can go upto NPR 3000 if you prefer luxurious comfort. Being a popular tourist destination in Nepal, Pokhara offers something in every budget.

Religion of Pokhara

Hinduism and Buddhism are the main religions followed in the region

Pokhara Customs

Dressing in Nepal doesn't confine to strict or absolute norms for tourists. However, it is preferred that one does not dress scantily since it is not very fondly looked upon by the locals. The locals, in general, are very welcoming to foreigners, but like any city, one must be careful of touts and cheats. Saying Namaste as a form of greeting is a common practice. Shaking of hands as a greeting is practiced too, however, a man should not offer his hand to a woman unless he is offered it first. Tips are often given in Nepal. In restaurants and hotels, 5 - 10% of the bill is sufficient. You can tip your guide anywhere between NPR 300 - 500 per day.

Language of Pokhara

Nepali is the official language of the land and is spoken everywhere in the country. However, there is a significant population which can understand a fair bit of Hindi. Those dealing with tourists often have picked up a few English words as well. You can use words such as 'Namaste' for hello and 'Dhanyavaad' for thank you.

Currency in Pokhara

Visas and mastercards are accepted in Pokhara, however not every place has the option of paying via card so it's imperative that you always carry cash in NPR with yourself. No other currency is formally accepted, however guides may sometimes accept tips in USD to exchange for NPR, usually resulting in getting higher tips.

Restaurants and Local Food in Pokhara

Undoubtedly the most famous food you'll find here is the momo, a local dumpling. It can be steamed or fried, stuffed with chicken, buff or veggies. The cuisines on offer are a mix of Tibetan and Indian, with a decent amount of variety available for both. Thamel hosts several restaurants of many different cuisines, ranging from local to Indian to oriental to even European. Some of these are local and some are for tourists, the latter being comparitively expensive.
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How To Reach Pokhara

You can take tourist bus or taxis if you are coming from Kathmandu. The journey is usually 6-7 hours long. Taxis are also available from nearby cities and from India also. Alternatively, you can take a flight from Kathmandu which will land on Pokhara Airport.

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