Legs’ muchbetter guide to Pokhara
Because its the gateway to a huge outdoor adventure playground the stunning Annapurna mountain range in the Himalayas. Situated a couple of hundred km west of Kathmandu, Pokhara is much more relaxed and less polluted than the capital city and makes a great base from which to venture out into the surrounding hills. Its best known as a starting point for trekking (and mountaineering) expeditions but theres plenty of other activities to be done in the surrounding area, think: rafting, kayaking, paragliding and mountain biking for starters.
Favorite Spot for trekking?
Theres so much stunning scenery around Pokhara that its likely to be a lack of time rather than lack of fantastic places to go that limit you. The Annapurna Base Camp trek is perhaps the most intensely scenic short trek in Nepal, taking 7-8 days: arriving at base camp is truly unforgettable. If youre pressed for time then 3-4 days is enough time to catch a stunning Himalayan sunrise from Poon Hill, whilst you need around 3 weeks to trek the full Annapurna Circuit, a loop around the whole mountain range although sadly every year the road gets extended a little further up the trail
Also highly recommended:
With a good put-in point for the grade 3/4 (season dependent) Upper Seti river less than an hour up the road, you only need a few hours spare to enjoy some excellent rafting. Good quality mountain bikes are available to rent in town should you feel the need to hit the local hills try the singletrack in the woods below the World Peace Pagoda. A quick paraglide off nearby Sarangkot hill is also excellent fun and dead easy to arrange.
Favourite Place for Food?
Thic Thak restaurant/bar on the main Lakeside strip has a good vibe and some evenings they show films upstairs on a massive screen. Mikes Restaurant at Hotel Fewa has tables right next to the lake if youre after somewhere tranquil. For breakfast or pastries try Boomerang German Bakery. Delicious snacks can be had from the numerous vegetable samosa & fruit stalls on the street at any time of day but make sure to haggle!
Favourite place for a drink?
Almost all the bars on the main Lakeside strip have happy hours with 2 for 1 cocktails and free popcorn/pizza with beer, so your throat shouldnt stay dry for long. Try Love Kush and the nearby Jazz Caf for starters think chilled vibes and big wood fires. Bamboo Bar down by the lake is very cool.
Best time of year to go?
Activities are available all year round but peak season is September-November after the monsoon when the weather stabilises and the rivers swell: make sure to book teahouse accommodation in advance if trekking the busier routes, especially the last few stops on the Annapurna Base Camp trek. The crowds thin out by early December but conditions usually remain clear, if chilly at altitude so this can be a good time to go. By January the high hills become dangerous or impassable due to snow, and avalanche risks are high dont venture out without a good local guide.
Good local guides and all of the kit you need to do a trek can be bought/rented cheaply and easily in Pokhara. If you get up early and wander the streets think 7am to 8am youll find locals selling trays of steaming hot pastries for half the price theyll be going for later on in the bakeries.
Interested in visiting Pokhara?
Check out all the friendly, local and independent accommodation, operators, guides, schools and bars in Pokhara. Pokhara is a great place to base your trekking holiday, canoe and kayak holiday and climbing holiday from!
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