Pokhara

The Annapurna Mountains above Pokhara's Phewa Tal lakeshore.

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.

Get in

By bus

From Kathmandu

Tourist buses (NPR700-800, 6-7h) and crowded local buses/microbuses (NPR400-600, 6-7h) travel the 200km journey between Kathmandu and Pokhara almost every 15 minutes starting at 07:30 through late afternoon. Night buses are available, but the ride is painful. Greenline operates a convenient bus every morning between the popular tourist areas of Thamel in Kathmandu and Lakeside in Pokhara (USD20, lunch included). The road is winding with many switchbacks but offers wonderful views of hills and rural Nepalese lifestyle. The drivers will generally not drive too fast but some will calmly weave in and out of the stream of opposing traffic and slam on the brakes when a stop is required, making for a scary ride if you look out the front window. During the rainy season, there may be problems with the roads and flying may make more sense.

From Sunauli and the Indian Border

Buses are available from the border town of Sunauli (NPR280-380, 8 hours). If you can travel to the nearby town of Butwal, you will have more options for travelling to Pokhara. A 12-seater vehicle will cost around NPR5500 from Butwal to Pokhara.

By plane

From Kathmandu

Yeti Airlines, Buddha Air, and Air Viva are reputable airlines that operate regular flights (USD$102-106, 40 minutes) that can be purchased online and at the last minute. The flights offer the benefit of a bird's eye view of the countryside and of the panoramic mountains themselves. Flights are almost always delayed and afternoon flights run the risk of cancellation as delays from the morning compound.

A taxi from the Pokhara airport to Lakeside should cost NPR250 if negotiated in advance.

Get around

By foot

Pokhara is a fairly small city and can be easily traversed on foot. Walking is necessary to get to places where vehicles or bicycles can't reach.

By local transport

Minivans operate on most of the popular routes. These are crowded and uncomfortable but the fare is cheap and student discounts may be offered.

By taxi

Comfortable taxis are available to be hired.

By bicycle

Bicycles can be hired in a lot of shops in Lakeside (NPR100-300/day). Make sure the seat is not too hard, and try realigning the seat if it is set uphill way, instead of sloping down.

By motorbike or scooter

It is also possible to hire a scooter or a motorbike in Lakeside (NPR550+/day). You will have to buy petrol (NPR120/litre). Note that it is not possible to reach Sarangkot or the World Peace Pagoda with an automatic motorbike or scooter due to the steep uphill road, so get a manual gear model if you intend to travel to those places.

See

Sunrise over the Annapurnas, as viewed from Pohkara

Lakes & Waterfalls

Viewpoints

Caves

Museums

Do

Adventure Sports

Education

Reiki, yoga, meditation & massage

Pokhara is Nepal's top yoga destination and there are over a dozen yoga retreats. Many of these retreats also offer massage, reiki and water/honey therapy. Some also organise 1-20 day treks that combine hiking with classes in yoga and meditation.

Live Music

With the ever-present backpacker atmosphere, there is no shortage of live music.

Festivals

Buy

There are several ATMs located in central Lakeside. All charge a withdrawal fee of NPR400 per transaction. Nabil Bank ATMs have the highest withdrawal limit of NPR35,000 per transaction.

Eat

The cheapest (and often the best) food is found at the street stalls, selling momos/dumplings (NPR80 for 10 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:


Drink

Sleep

Virtually all tourist accommodations are located in Lakeside and Damside, near Phewa Lake. In addition, there are around 12 guesthouses uphill in Sarangkot. These guesthouses offer better views and less air pollution, they are much more expensive for both accommodation and food, as there is limited competition. Note that these hotels are not accessible by car - they are located a 20 minute walk uphill on gravel from the taxi stand in Sarangkot (NPR500 for a taxi, less for a microbus). Another option for accommodation is the Raniban Retreat (USD98-156 for foreigners), a new lodge near the World Peace Pagoda with the best views in the area. Or try a local farmstay or homestay.

Long-term

It is possible to find medium or long-term accomndation in Pokhara. Best by far is to ask locally. Anything geared exclusively for tourists in the Lakeside area will start at about $250/300 per month for a probably new but not really special place. It takes some time but if you scout around you can find good deals for $100-$150 per month. Keep in mind that most locals make a very meager salary usually under $200. When they say that 300$ is "local price", it is of course not true. Many local options lack furniture/Internet/etc. so you will have realistically have to pay a bit more if you want something where you can immediately move into. Just take a few days and you will find a more genuine and nicer place and it will cost half price than the tourist apartments that are springing up all over Lakeside.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, April 01, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.