Pokhara is a picturesque city in Nepal known for its stunning natural beauty and peaceful ambiance. Here are ten must-do activities in Pokhara for anyone visiting this charming city:
- Explore Phewa Tal: Take a boat ride on this serene lake and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
- Visit the International Mountain Museum: Learn about the rich history of mountaineering in Nepal through displays of information and artifacts related to famous climbing expeditions.
- Visit the World Peace Stupa: This peaceful Buddhist stupa offers panoramic views of the city and is a popular spot for meditation and reflection.
- Visit the Devi’s Fall: Also known as Patale Chhango, this waterfall is located just a few kilometers from Pokhara and is a popular spot for picnicking and swimming.
- Paragliding: Experience the thrill of gliding over Pokhara’s stunning scenery with a tandem paragliding flight.
- Explore the Bat Cave: This unique cave is home to thousands of bats and is a popular spot for nature lovers.
- Visit the Old Bazaar: Explore the charming streets of Pokhara’s old town and immerse yourself in local culture and history.
- Visit the Tibetan Refugee Camp: Learn about the rich culture and traditions of Tibetan refugees living in Pokhara.
- Take a scenic flight: Enjoy breathtaking views of the Himalayas and the surrounding landscape on a scenic flight over Pokhara.
In conclusion, Pokhara offers an array of activities for everyone, from outdoor adventure to cultural and historical exploration. Whether you’re seeking peace and tranquility, adventure and excitement, or simply a chance to immerse yourself in local culture, Pokhara has something for you.
Seeking a tranquil escape following an exhilarating trekking expedition or a break from the bustling streets of Kathmandu? Look no further than Pokhara. In this guide, we’ll share our top recommendations for activities in Pokhara, along with tips on accommodation, dining options, and transportation.
A Slice of Tranquility: Discovering Pokhara
Two compelling reasons draw travelers to Pokhara: mountain adventures and the opportunity to unwind. Nestled along the shores of Phewa Lake, adorned with colorful paddle boats gently bobbing on its surface, this serene haven ranks among our cherished destinations in Nepal.
For those in search of a place to relax (and refresh) after three weeks of trekking in the Himalayas or simply seeking an escape from the chaos of Kathmandu, Nepal’s serene lakeside town serves as the perfect antidote.
During our recent week-long sojourn, each morning we strolled along the lakeside, reveling in the tranquil morning air, and gazing at the towering peaks that pierced the clouds in the distance. These colossal 8,000-meter-high, snow-capped giants belong to the Annapurna range and are nothing short of awe-inspiring in their sheer size and majesty. On a clear day, they watch over the sleepy town from all directions like vigilant guardians.
Pokhara’s proximity to the Annapurna circuit has drawn travelers for many years. While some arrive merely as a stopover after epic trekking adventures, they often end up staying for the laid-back ambiance and the burgeoning adventure activity scene.
There is an array of incredible things to do in Pokhara, especially for those seeking an adrenaline rush. Options like white-water rafting and some of the world’s finest paragliding experiences can be found here.
Despite the rising buildings and slightly busier streets in recent years, Pokhara miraculously retains its oasis-like atmosphere, remaining carefree and relaxed while offering all the essential amenities for travelers.
In this post, we’re delighted to share our favorite experiences in Pokhara, along with recommendations for the best dining and drinking spots. We’ve also included tips on where to stay, where to shop, and most importantly, where to while away your days in blissful relaxation.
Pokhara Highlights | Favorite Things To Do In Pokhara
Hiking In And Around Pokhara
Hiking in the breathtaking mountains of the Annapurna Range is undoubtedly one of the best activities to experience in Pokhara and its surroundings. Having undertaken numerous multi-day hikes in Nepal, including the Annapurna Circuit, we’ve highlighted two of our favorite hiking options from Pokhara:
Before You Hit the Trail: Before lacing up your boots and embarking on your hike, take a moment to check out our complete guide to ethical trekking in Nepal. It contains valuable information on hiking sustainably and leaving the mountains pristine for future generations to enjoy.
Hiking Options to Consider: Your choice of hike will depend on factors such as your available time, budget, and fitness levels:
Short Hike (3 Days) | Poon Hill Ghorepani Trek
If you have limited time in Nepal but desire a glimpse of the renowned Himalayan Range and a taste of Nepalese mountain culture, we highly recommend the Poon Hill Ghorepani trek.
This three-day trek offers a condensed experience of what a longer Nepalese mountain trek entails. It meanders through charming villages, ascends numerous stairs, traverses jungles, crosses rivers, and culminates at an altitude of 3,200 meters, offering breathtaking views of the world’s tallest mountains. It’s an ideal introduction to trekking in Nepal.
The views from Poon Hill are some of the most captivating we’ve ever encountered, providing an uninterrupted panoramic vista of majestic Himalayan peaks, including Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri, Machhapuchhare, Annapurna II, and Lamjung. Interestingly, it’s also where one of us proposed, attesting to the epic beauty of this spot!
Furthermore, it’s an affordable option, with treks to Poon Hill Ghorepani starting at around USD $150 per person (NPR 10,500).
Long Hike | The Annapurna Circuit
Take our word for it: the approximately 16 days spent hiking the Annapurna Circuit are among the most inspiring and challenging days you’ll ever experience.
Trekking amidst some of the world’s tallest mountains, traversing diverse climatic zones (from tropical to alpine), passing through charming mountain villages, and basking in the warmth of Nepali hospitality is an unparalleled travel adventure unique to Nepal. Nowhere else on Earth can you sip chai tea while basking in the sun, surrounded by 8,000-meter peaks in every direction.
Starting from the seventh day onward, it becomes a strenuous endeavor—the days are long, the weather unpredictable, the altitude becomes challenging to manage, and the sleeping arrangements are often less than comfortable. However, reaching the pinnacle at Thorong La Pass and celebrating with friends, family, or even strangers is an indescribable feeling.
If you’re considering the Annapurna Circuit, we recommend booking in advance with a reputable tour company like G Adventures (check out their 18-day trek here). They prioritize safety, environmental preservation, and respect for local cultures.
For more detailed information on this hike, we’ve compiled the most comprehensive Annapurna Circuit guide available, which you can read here.
- Duration: 3 days
- Cost: Starting at USD $150 per person (NPR 10,500)
The Annapurna Circuit
- Duration: Approximately 16 days
- Details: Link to CoreTreks 16-day Annapurna Circuit trek
These hiking options provide unique opportunities to explore the natural beauty and cultural richness of Nepal’s mountainous landscapes.
Experience Adrenaline White Water Rafting Near Pokhara
The ferocious white rapids are approaching swiftly. “Paddle, paddle, paddle!” shouts our guide Nim, the urgency in his voice palpable.
We thrust our paddles into the rapids, the ice-cold glacial waters snapping us out of our adrenaline-fueled haze. This is pure adventure!
We’re embarking on a half-day Upper Seti River white-water rafting trip with Paddle Nepal, the pioneers of Nepal’s burgeoning rafting scene. Located just a short drive from Pokhara, the Upper Seti offers a short but exhilarating rafting experience.
Our guide for the day, Nim, also happens to be a world champion rafter. In fact, he recently returned from Australia, where he coached the Nepali national team to a top-10 finish in the world championships. Clearly, we’re in excellent hands.
For an hour and a half, we paddle our way through Class III+IV rapids, taking in views of the Annapurna mountain range in the distance and the serene, lush surroundings. While the rapids are not as ferocious as during the post-monsoon period, they are still enough to get our hearts racing. There’s even time for an impromptu cliff jump as if we needed another adrenaline rush.
The rafting journey concludes by passing under a suspension bridge adorned with colorful prayer flags. Afterward, we enjoy a quick lunch, celebrate with a Coke, and embark on a 20-minute drive back to Pokhara.
It’s the perfect dose of adrenaline, and the half-day trip leaves ample time to explore the other highlights of Pokhara.
For those seeking longer rafting expeditions, there are plenty of full-day and multi-day options available from Pokhara—simply inquire with the team at Paddle Nepal.
- Location: Paddle Nepal, Pokhara
- Cost: USD $51 per person for the half-day trip
- Additional Information: Bring suitable footwear for rafting, such as reef shoes or any closed-toe shoes you don’t mind getting wet.
- Best Time to Visit: October to November is the optimal time for rafting when the rivers are full and crystal clear.
Zen Out With a Yoga Session In Pokhara
These days, our yoga practice often takes a back seat, so whenever we have the opportunity to roll out our mats on the road, we seize it.
After our challenging hike to Poon Hill left our muscles in need of some TLC, we decided to join a drop-in yoga class at any yoga center, located in northern lakeside Pokhara. The Hatha class was exactly what we needed—a soothing practice that incorporated stretching, gentle poses, and a touch of meditation to conclude.
Almost all yoga center offers Vinyasa flow classes, and with three different sessions scheduled throughout the day, you can truly get your yoga fix.
Pokhara boasts numerous yoga studios that offer a variety of practices, from Vinyasa to meditation, often at affordable rates. So, take some time to explore the options near your accommodation to find the one that suits you best. Yoga is an excellent way to unwind, relax, and rejuvenate while in Pokhara.