Pokhara

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Pokhara is the third largest city in Nepal with about one million people in 2013. It is the starting point for most of the treks in the Annapurna area. It is considered by some to be the most beautiful place in the world.

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Points of Interest in Pokhara

  • Phewa Lake. One of the Nepal's most beautiful spots, Phewa Tal is surrounded by a combination of monkey-filled forests and the high white peaks. The reflections in the mirror-like water in the early mornings are impressive. Hire a boat and row yourself across the lake, or hire a local to do it for you - there are some fine times to be had on this lake, even in the middle of the night.
  •    Begnas Lake. Out of town and away from the hustle, Begnas Tal is quiet, clean and peaceful. There are a few basic hotels to stay in and the odd refreshment shop. The walk along the road leading to Begnas Tal is fascinating, the seasonal rhythms of daily life in the country make great images.
  • Rupa Tal. One of the more remote lakes in Pokhara with limited accessibility and hence more serene and unspoiled compared to the other lakes. A must visit for any nature lover
  • Dipang Tal. Beautiful lake where you can find wild lotus and wild swan. It is located about fifteen minutes walk from Sisuwa, the city centre of Lekhnath municipality
  • Devi's Falls. Also known locally as Patale Chhango. Spectacular, especially after heavy rains. Devi's Falls plunge into a cave and disappear into the earth. The name is from a Swiss couple who were washed away (or fell in) and drowned. NPR20.
  •    World Peace Pagoda (Shanti Stupa). Built about 16 years ago atop a hill overlooking Phewa Tal, the Stupa offers a great place to see the mountains and the sunset over Pokhara. It can be accessed by hiring a boat across the lake and following a pretty good track upward, climbing up through the forest (but watch out for leeches during the monsoon)or by foot from the road that passes Devi's Fall, turning right at the end of Chhorepatan. Taxis can now drive up to within 15min walk of the Stupa - ask them to use the Chhorepatan road, which is shorter and therefore should be a little cheaper than the Kalimati road.
    • Hike to the top. From the small fork road behind the bakery in Damside, go south 200m, past a few hotels to the road bridge over the big canal. Go southwest along smaller road to the cable bridge over the creek, notice the "peace" sign on bridge anchor cement. Cross, then go up steps to rite, hence main walking trail to left along rice fields. 200m to a small temple and water tap. Notice another peace sign and arrows pointing zig zag up behind tap. Follow ziggy trail through forest to steps and continue up them to top of spur ridge. Follow the large trail through lovely forest with monkeys at times. Warning: there have been reports of a few robberies. Reach forested ridge top at a mudhole/saddle, hence trail crosses over to north side, through more nice forest. Look for tree markers. gradually up until you reach open main ridge, within sight of Peace Pagoda. A few small cafes and a hotel here, then steps up to top. Morning views are best. Often Hindi/Nepali movies being shot on top. It should take around 35min from the hotels near the road bridge over the big canal.
  •    Sarangkot. The perfect pre-trek warm-up. Head up Sarankot in the late afternoon, and be prepared as it's steep and hard work. You can rent a motor bike for under NPR700 and take yourself to the top. The road is rough, but traversable. Great views, spectacular images and a great way to get a taste of what it's like to be trekking.
    • Sarangkot south slope trail. A challenging run/polewalk workout. Go north through Lakeside about 5 km, through Kare, around corner to SediBogar village. Park bike/moto at the Caravan Restaurant, which is the last spot to buy water & snacks. Follow stone road 1+km directly north towards Sarankot's forested slopes, past houses, to school. Don't try to ride a motorbike or bike up this road, too rocky. road ends to rite (east) of school, follow trail behind, east (right) into seasonal creek gully, then 100m up it trail goes off a bit to left and soon the grueling stone steps begin. Take water. Follow steps all the way, follow the arrows carved into stones where confusing, cross 3 new jeep roads but stay on stone step trail, way up you'll come out on the jeep road along north to Kalipani and Naudada villages at a restaurant/school 3/4's of the way up, follow road 100m left to parasail jump off, then continue up obvious steps to Sarankot village, with hotels/cafes/shops, and up cement steps to lookout tower. Morning views are best. This trail takes at least 52min from the bottom at Caravan park spot. Knee jarring descent takes 40min, or possible to take taxi or even hitch a ride in a parasail truck going down.
  • Mahendra Cave (North of Pokhara near Batulechaur).
  • Chamare Gufa - Bat cave. It is another cave located some ten minutes away from the famous Mahendra cave. This cave is famous for the bats that can be seen hanging by the walls
  •    Gupteswar Mahadev Cave (South of Damside near Devi's Falls). Contains a large stalagmite venerated as a representation of Shiva; two caverns: one the temple and the other leading to a spot near Devi's Falls. NPR30 or NPR100.
  •    International Mountain Museum, Ghari Patan, Pokhara,  +977 61 460742, e-mail: immpkr@fewamail.com.np. Daily 09:00-17:00. Displays about the people living in the Himalayas, of the 14 highest peaks and their most famous expeditions. NPR100 for SAARC visitors; NPR300 for others.
  •    Gurkha Memorial Museum (North of K.I. Singh bridge near Seti River Gorge),  +977 61 541966, e-mail: gmtmuseum@fewamail.com.np. 08:00-16:30 everyday. Museum dedicated to the famous soldiers from Nepal. You can observe here the various historic uniforms, their famous knives and the different flags. NPR150 for foreigners. NPR80 for SAARC resident.

Barahi Temple

Muktinath Temple

World Peace Stupa

Devi\'s Fall

Bindhyabasini Temple

Mahendra Cave

Pokhara International Mountain Museum

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About Pokhara

Activities

  • Farmstay Just outside Pokhara is Hemjakot where Ishwar has opened his house for guests. He has a beautiful house and farm with an incredible view of the Annapurna range and his wife does fantastic Daal Bhat, and that's what you get for lunch and dinner, Price is NPR800 per person per day for all food and lodging. Call Ishwar on +977 9806 576 980 to arrange, he can either meet you in Pokhara or arrange to meet at Hemjakot. From Hemjakot it is a 50min walk up the ridge to his village. Rooms shared.
  • Boating just hire a boat and go out in the water for a day
  • Learn to ride custom bikes. With Hearts & Tears Motorcycle Club or just rent a motorbike at one of the many other places to rent motorbikes as the Enfields are expensive.
  • White Water Rafting 1-10 day adventure expeditions on beautiful Nepali rivers. There are many operators offering trips.
  • Paragliding. Don't miss soaring around Lake Pokhara and the Annapurnas with Lammergeyer eagles or huge Gryffon vultures to guide the way.
    • Tandem There are several companies that organize tandem flights, even for those with no experience, ranging from 30 minutes - 1.5h, as well as cross-country. You will find advertisements on the main road as well as most guest houses and hotels. In 2011 prices started from around USD90.
    • Lessons All the paragliding centres also offer lessons. A beginners course costs about USD120 per day including equipment rental. You will need a course of at least 15 days before you can obtain an international paragliders licence.
    • For experienced pilots Pokhara is a rewarding location for experienced cross country and/or acrobatic pilots. Any of the paragliding schools will be able to help you with logistics such as equipment hire, transfers to take-off, advanced training & folding of reserve parachutes.
  • Parahawking. Why go tandem paragliding when you can go tandem parahawking! Paragliding with a hawk that lands on your arm several times during the flight for a quick feed.
  • Festivals Diwali is always a favourite.
  • Tushita Recreation Centre, Lakeside (Across the lake fewa). A yoga , music and meditation centre across the lake.
  • Mountain bike. Consider these two fun bike rides:
    • Sarankot/Naudada/Hemja loop. 3h hard from Lakeside is a fast time. Go towards downtown (Mahendrapul) from Lakeside, turn north at "Zero Kilometre" along the main road to Baglung. Be careful as it's crowded. Ride about 5–6km north, slowly up, past the nasty old bus park, to the Sarankot Road junction, turn left (west). The climb time starts at the fork 50m further. Follow paved road up incredibly steep climb, 1st gear almost all the way. You'd rightly doubt a rental bike could do it. Good pavement mostly, climb zigs past houses and ends at a small village on a saddle. It takes around 40min from bottom. From here you can park bike and hike up old ridge trail to Sarankot, but for this loop continue west along rocky jeep road along mountains south slopes, past parasail place and onwards, rolling ascent to Kalipani village and after and hour or so jeep road hits the "hi-way" at Naudada village on ridgetop. From here good pavement zigs steep down to valley bottom, then its a long gradual decent to Hemja village, and back into Pokhara.
    • Dobindy Pass ride. A fun up and back hillclimb to a pass on pavement southwest of Damside. Take paved road south from Damside to Birota area then turn right (west) along main road, the "hi-way to Syangja and Tansen, gradually down towards Devi's Falls, continue west to the Chorepatan area to base of climb. The steep bends begin here, road climbs steadily, though not too steep, along south side of Peace Pagoda ridge, up to a few villages, then after a short steep decent into a forest for last climb up to the pass at Dobindy village. At least, it'll take just under an hour from Lakeside. From here you can continue west through scenic rolling country towards Syangja town, but it's usually possible to zip back down to hotel in about 35min. Beware; this road is getting more crowded, and sometimes with lots of buses & trucks in the wrong lane.
  • Parties ask around, there are sometimes full moon parties
  • Rock There's a great music scene, especially at Busy Bee
  • Canoe on the lake. Small white water canoes can be hired but these can often be difficult to steer on a calm flat lake. Sit on top kayaks would be ideal but so far no one seems to be renting those here.
  •    Vulture Restaurant. No you don't eat the vultures! Due to vultures eating dead cows that have been injected with a drug that helps the cows in old age but poisons the vultures when they eat them after their deaths, the population of certain species of vulture has collapsed in many parts of Asia. A charity group has set up a kind of cow hospice for cows coming to the end of their lives. They look after the cows but ensure they don't have any of the drug that kills the vultures. When the cows eventually die they are given as food to the vultures. Trips are arranged to view such early morning vulture feasts. To find out more and to be emailed if a cow should die, visit Blue Sky Paragliding.

Food

The cheapest (and often the best) food is found at the street stalls, selling MoMos (NPR40 and NPR10 pieces), samosas (NPR10 each) or fried noodles (NPR50). Early in the morning, children walk the streets with trays of pastries; chocolate croissants, cinnamon rolls and other cakes. Each cost about NPR15.

Along the Lakeside road are a variety of restaurants, including:

  •    Asian Teahouse. Located along the main road through Lakeside on the opposite side from the lake. The only way you'll find this place is to look out for the handwritten sign sitting at the end of the alleyway that the restaurant sits in. Or by looking for a large shop named 'Almonds'; directly under this sign is an arcade that you walk through and it is at the end on the left. The food is great, in huge servings and the cheapest food in the area. The family that owns the restaurant is friendly, hospitable and informative.
  •    Babita Organic Cafe. Great value food including momos.
  • Bistro Caroline. Sister branch of the upmarket KTM restaurant with a garden on the lake and stylish interior. Offers a good selection of French and continental food. Probably the best wine list in Pokhara- expensive, but the toilets alone are worth it.
  • Blue Diamond Restaurant, Lakeside Rd (just 3 shops south of Mt.Kailas Resort, south end of Lakeside). Good western style breakfasts for NPR180, good Nepali Khanna (Dhal Bhat) for NPR130.
  •    Busy Bee Cafe. A beautiful outdoor garden bar, with Pokhara's best rock & roll acts on stage around 20:00.
  •    Clay Oven, Lakeside. Nice and cheap restaurant over looking the lake. Nice sizzler meals and USD3 pizzas.
  •    El Sol Spanish Restaurant, north Lakeside. Good and cheap Spanish food cooked by a Spanish chef. Pleasant and slightly hippy atmosphere.
  •    Emon Cafe (in front of Busy Bee). This restaurant and bar has nightly live music upstairs with indoor and balcony seating. Cheap beer that they may even discount a little more if you ask them nicely! Nice rooftop where they have a camp fire at night.
  •    Everest Steak House, Pokhara (100m after Club Amsterdam on the left hand side). The best steaks in town, including a gigantic steak which can only be eaten by a minimum of 3 people.
  •    Fewa Paradise, Lakeside. This restaurant stretches from the main road to the lakeside. Great for breakfast and lunch overlooking the lake. In the evenings they have nightly cultural music and dance shows 19:00-21:00, to enjoy along with your dinner.
  • Friendship Restaurant (20 metre down the side street near Bella Napoli in the southern end of Lake-side). 07:00-22:00. A small place that is deservedly popular with the locals. budget.
  • Cafe Fusion Restaurant & Bar, Lakeside (Near Standard Chartered Bank),  +977 61 466141, e-mail: cafefusion97@yahoo.com. Food from every corner of the globe. reasonable.
  •    German Bakery (1), Central Lakeside, Pokhara (Streetside at the Boomerang Restaurant). Similar to the other German Bakery locations. This one is attached to the Boomerang Restaurant so customers have the use of free Wi-Fi and tables.
  •    German Bakery (2), North Lakeside. There are three German Bakery locations (at least) in Pokhara. This one is take away only.
  •    German Bakery (3), Damside, Pokhara (Near airport on Damside Marg). Another location of this popular bakery chain. This one is especially good if you're walking into town from the airport or on your way to or from the hike to the World Peace Pagoda. Several tables, free Wi-Fi, good breakfasts including honey curd muesli as well as the usual bakery items. NPR40 and up.
  •    Godfather Pizzeria, north Lakeside. Great oven baked pizza.
  • Hanging Garden. This is one of the outlets of the famed Fulbari Resort and a one of its kind restaurant in Nepal because of its design and location. It is located at the end of the cliff facing the Seti river gorge. It offers a breathtaking view of the Seti gorge below and some of the best cuisines in Pokhara.
  • Hua-Han (Opposite the Royal Palace, near Jazz Cafe). Excellent Chinese restaurant, famous for its Kung Pao Chicken. Prices are at the high end, and the interior indicates that it caters to customers better dressed than the usual trekker.
  • Jazz Cafe. Great pizzas, less great pasta.
  •    Koto Japanese restaurant (Opposite the Royal Palace, near Jazz Cafe). luxurious Japanese restaurant with excellent Beef Teriyaki and sushi.
  •    Lemon Grass, north Lakeside. Nice restaurant with lake views on the north end of Lakeside.
  • Mike's Breakfast. Pokhara branch of the famous KTM restaurant.
  •    Monsoon Cafe +977 61 461792. 09:00-19:00. Lovely cafe to enjoy breakfast or lunch. Fabulous dessert - the lemon cheesecake is divine. Also quiche, baked potatoes, and sandwiches are very tasty. Salads you can trust as well!
  •    Moondance. Great and popular place to eat though prices are high but so is the quality. Their lemon meringue pie is awesome.
  • Natssul Korean Restaurant +977 61 229198. Located next to Lakeview Resort towards the tourist bus stand end of town, this is an outdoor garden restaurant run by a Korean couple and serves authentic Korean dishes. Recommended are Vege Bibimbob Hotpot, Beef Bulgogi stew and pork skewers. Free Wi-Fi and the complimentary side dishes are lovely.
  •    Once upon a time, Lakeside,  +977 61 461881. 07:30-23:30. Italian and Indian Cuisine, very old restaurant in Pokhara. moderate.
  •    Once upon a time 2, Lakeside 6 Pokhara,  +977 61 461881. opening hours 07:30-23:30. The new restaurant offers Italian and Indian cuisine.
  •    Olive Cafe, Lakeside. Nice food in central Lakeside.
  • Peace Dragon Lodge & Restaurant (close to the World Peace Pagoda, just a 4 minute walk downward and eastward from the main gate),  +977 61 621182. Serves a good range of Nepali, Indian & Western dishes and light snacks. Prices are moderate, and the views are stunning.
  •    Perky Beans. Popular place to eat, good breakfast, chapati wraps and their famous 500mL shakes and smoothies.
  •    Pokhara Steak House restaurant, hallan Chock, Lakeside Pokhara (main junction for Khahar and going to Bazar.),  +977 61 692505. 10:00-23:30. Speciality for all kind of steak dishes, sirloin, ribeye and T-bone. Prices are moderate.
  •    Pokhara Thakali Kitchen, Just off Baidam Road (Lakeside East behind the Trek-o-Tel Hotel),  +977 61 462306. 11:00-21:00. Authentic Thakali meals (including Daal Bhat) served on a large platter with several different curries. One of the best places to eat in Pokhara if you're looking for authentic regional dishes. NPR200-400.
  •    Punjabi Restaurant, Lakeside, Pokhara. Authentic Indian vegetarian curries and breads. Another in a list of excellent places to eat in Pokhara if you like good quality curries. NPR180-300.
  •    The China Town (Chinese Restaurant & Bar), 137 Lakeside Rd (Centre Point),  +977 61 463847. 09:00-22:00. Serves typical Chinese food, especially sweet & sour dishes. Fresh and locally grown/caught duck, fish and chickens. Also, a food menu for vegetarians.
  •    Sun Welcome, Lakeside. Small family run place 5min north of the main strip, a few spots up from Newari. Cheap and delicious. Open all day, can even BYO.
  •    Sweet Memories Restaurant, north Lakeside. Nice and cheap food with friendly staff.
  • Tushita Organic Restaurant, Lakeside, Basundhara Park. Serves Japanese food, sea food; specialist in sushi. Also offers Nepali food. Grilled fish, steak, pizza, herb wine are popular dishes. Delivery service for groups larger than 4.
  •    Wooden coffee House (100m down the side street between Trek-o-Tel and Natssul). 07:00-20:00. A lovely little place with outdoor seating in the sun, serving excellent coffee. It's set up by a joint Dutch-Nepal non-profit organization, helping single women with children. budget.

Drinks

  • Coffee Culture Cafe +977 61 525587. Various types of espressos, and other hot and cold drinks. The only completely dedicated organic coffee shop in Pokhara.
  • Gorkha Bar One of the famous outlets of the Fulbari resort this bar offers all kinds of drinks, cocktails and mocktails.
  • Pushkar Guest House Not just beer, but COLD Carlsberg beer. They make a pretty good lassi as well.
  • Pema Tibetan Restaurant offering Thukkpa (Tibetan Soup Noodles), Mo Mo (Tibetan style dumplings), with sukuti, sekuwa and locally brewed alcoholic drinks.
  • Busy Bee Great spot on the lake in the heart of Pokhara. Late night, with live music from 20:00. Pool tables, decent food, local beers and imported spirits.
  • Tushita Sushi Bar, Lakeside -Basundhara Park. Local speciality "Sushi Bite with Delight" and Himalayan herb wine.
  • Bullet Basecamp +977 980 838 5970. 10:00-23:00. A Dutch-Australian establishment.. Situated a little away from the touristy strip of Pokhara.
  • Cafe Fusion Restaurant & Bar, Lakeside (For all Kinds of drinks). Chilled beer, variety of wine, spirits and soft drinks such as smoothies, cocktails and mocktails.
  • Oxygen Lounge Bar, lakeside, Pokhara (Near barahi temple, opposite to hotel Meera),  +977 980 410 3258. 08:00-late. Its a great place located in the centre of lakeside with beautiful view of lake n mountains from the garden of the bar. Live band every night, and late night camp fire.

Shopping

  • A motorcycle. Do your own thing in real style and avoid the tourist buses. Hearts & Tears Motorcycle Club next to Busy Bee offer lessons and rentals for experienced riders with Enfields and other Indian manufactured, "modern vintage" motorcycles.
  • Jewels and trinkets from the lovely Tibetan women who ply the streets with their wares in backpacks or blankets. Sit and enjoy the atmosphere, and make sure you bargain as starting prices are generally highly inflated.
  •    Nabil Bank ATM, Lakeside. This is one of the best ATM's for withdrawing cash, as it has a high maximum withdrawal amount of NPR35,000 and is located next to an actual Nabil Bank, so if you go when the bank is open and have any problem using your card, you can report it to someone working at the bank straight away.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Pokhara on Wikivoyage.

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