Pokhara: Phewa Lake and 9 more fun things to do in Pokhara, Nepal!

Last Updated on by Charlotte van de Sande

Pokhara is a cosy city close to the Himalaya mountains in Nepal. This is the base from which you can do some beautiful and challenging treks. Ranging from multi-day hikes to, for example, the Annapurna or Poon Hill, up to day hikes. Pokhara is also known for the many yoga retreats and the beautiful Pokhara Lake, also known as Phewa Lake. In this blog you can read all about the things to do in Pokhara, you will find a map of Pokhara in Nepal, we will tell you more about nice hotels in Pokhara and the best time to visit Pokhara. Finally, in this travel guide, you can read how to easily reach Pokhara.


Pokhara lakeview

Pokhara in Nepal

Pokhara is centrally located in Nepal, at the foot of the Himalayas and on the banks of the beautiful Phewa Lake. It is a nice city, and even though it is the second-largest city in Nepal, it feels like a cosy place. The area of the city directly on Phewa Lake is the best base in Pokhara for tourists. From here (weather permitting) you have a beautiful view of the snowy peaks of the Himalayas.

A popular activity from Pokhara is a multi-day hike in the Himalayas. In addition, Pokhara is packed with nice restaurants, bars and coffee shops. It is a city with a nice atmosphere and the perfect place to relax and eat well before or after a challenging hike.

Map of Pokhara Nepal

Below is a map of Pokhara in Nepal.Nepal itinerary travel guide Nepal

How many days do you allow for Pokhara?

We recommend staying in Pokhara for at least three days. This way you can get to know the city and do several fun activities. If you have a longer time, that is certainly not a punishment. We stayed in Pokhara for a week to relax, enjoy the view over Pokhara Lake and prepare for the Annapurna Circuit Trek.


Read this blog with 12 useful tips before you walk the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal!


Things to do in Pokhara: 10 cool activities

There is more than enough to do and see in the Pokhara area. Below are 10 fun things to see and do in Pokhara.

1. Boat trip on Phewa Lake & visit the World Peace Pagoda

Pokhara is located on Phewa Lake, the second largest lake in Nepal, which is also known as Pokhara Lake. Surrounded by hills and mountains, this freshwater lake is the place for an idyllic boat trip. In the various small ports of Pokhara, you can take a boat or rent a kayak to move around the lake.

A popular activity is to take the boat across Phewa Lake, from where you can climb to the bright white World Peace Pagoda in an hour. This is a Buddhist temple, built after World War II, which represents world peace. It is quite a climb, but once at the top of the hill where the pagoda stands, you have a beautiful view over Phewa Lake and the mountains behind it. When it is very clear, you can even see the snowy mountain peaks! If you are not going by boat, calculate by taxi about 30 minutes.

Just want to relax? Then you are at the right place at Phewa Lake. Around the lake are dozens of restaurants and cafes where you can enjoy the view and the nice weather from a hammock or lounge chair!Peace Pagoda Pokhara

2. Hiking or mountain climbing

Pokhara is the base for a number of beautiful hikes such as the Annapurna Circuit, Poon Hill or Annapurna Base Camp Trek. These hikes are accessible to everyone. For example, as a beginner, the Poon Hill trek is perfect. But experienced mountain climbers will also be satisfied in Pokhara. In the area around Pokhara, you have mountains like Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri, Himalchuli and Machapuchare (Fishtail) that guarantee a challenging climb.

You can also make several beautiful walks in Pokhara itself. For example along Phewa Lake or to the top of Sarangkot.Nepal mountain views Annapurna Circuit


We ourselves walked part of the Annapurna Circuit Trek. Read here our experiences of this challenging hike!


3. Watch the sunrise from Sarangkot

Sarangkot mountain is located just outside the centre of Pokhara. From here you have a breathtaking view of Phewa Lake, Pokhara and if you are lucky you can even see the snowy peak of Fishtail, the Machapuchare mountain. This place is, if it is not cloudy, the perfect location to watch a sunrise. Unfortunately, we were not so lucky with that… during all the days we were in Pokhara there were low hanging clouds. We have tried it but as you can see the view is very limited from Sarangkot with clouds!

To reach Sarangkot you can take a taxi upstairs. If you fancy a nice walk, then a three-hour hike to the top of Sarangkot is also a very good training before you go hiking longer!Sarangkot Pokhara

4. Yoga class and yoga retreats in Pokhara

Pokhara is the place in Nepal to do yoga. In the centre, there are several yoga schools where you can take a class, but there are also several yoga retreats. During such a multi-day retreat you will follow various yoga classes daily, you will receive meditation training and you will eat together as a group. Click here for an example of a 4-day yoga retreat in Pokhara.

Read this blog in which I test different yoga studios in Pokhara!mudra yoga 2 Pokhara

5. Have your stiff muscles massaged

Have you just returned from a multi-day trek? Then I am sure that you are quite stiff with the necessary muscle pain. Nothing is better than a wonderful massage where you can feel the energy coming back into your tired limbs. In the week after we walked the Annapurna circuit, I took a massage almost daily, so good! My favourite places for massages in Pokhara are Jiva Spa and Ayurvedic Health Home.Pokhara lake boats

6. Visit the peaceful Begnas Lake (Begnas Lake or Begnas Tal)

Are you looking for a place that is slightly quieter than the lake at Pokhara? Then consider relaxing for an afternoon at Begnas Lake, also known as Begnas Tal. This beautiful lake is only 10 kilometres away from Pokhara, you can get there in a taxi.

The special thing about this place is that it is near the busy and popular Pokhara, but you hardly find any tourists here. A good place to see authentic Nepal. Around the lake are some small villages and houses and you can do some nice hikes here. Next to Begnas Lake is also the slightly smaller Rupa Lake (Rupa Tal).Pokhara lake

7. Indulge in delicious food and a well-deserved beer

In Pokhara, you can eat soooo well! From vegetarian restaurants with vegan specialities to pizzas and pasta that seem to come straight from Italy, Australian brunches, Israeli falafel and German bread! After a multi-day hike, where you mainly eat dal bath for days on end, it is super nice to indulge in different food and a glass of wine or a cold beer.


We have described our 16 favourite restaurants, cafes and coffee shops in Pokhara in this blog!


8. Go to the open-air cinema

How romantic: on a small hill with a view of Pokhara Lake in the distance is an open-air garden. There are candles everywhere, you can order cocktails, delicious pizzas are served and you get free popcorn! In the Movie Garden in the north of Pokhara, you can go to the cinema every night in a cosy and romantic way. The films that are shot are often classics or films that have been released for some time.

The program changes weekly, so check the Facebook page of Movie Garden in advance.movie garden pokhara

9. Take a cooking class and learn to cook Nepalese dishes

Do you like cooking, do you like dumplings and do you like to get to know a bit more about the local culture? Then we have the ultimate activity for you! Learn to cook Momos (Nepalese / Tibetan dumplings) in a Tibetan refugee camp in Pokhara! Momo is my favourite dish in Nepal anyway, it’s dumplings filled with delicious herbs, vegetables and if you like, meat.

The cordial Tibetan Nyima and Namdol welcome you to their house in the middle of a Tibetan refugee camp, where they teach you how to prepare momos in a few hours and then eat them together.

Click here to directly book a momo cooking class or for more information!Pokhara Momo delight

10. Satisfy your adrenaline rush: go rafting or paragliding near Pokhara!

Are you an adrenaline junkie? Then you can’t beat your luck in Pokhara. In the vicinity of the city, you can do great paragliding with a view of the Himalayas and Pokhara Lake. Departure is usually from Mount Sarangkot. Click here for more information about paragliding in Pokhara!

Rafting in Pokhara

Another cool activity is rafting on one of the many rivers with meltwater from the mountains! Throughout Nepal, there are places where you can raft well, for example near Pokhara you can raft on the Seti river. Here you have level 3 and 4 descents, so very exciting! Click here for more information about half a day rafting, or look further for possibilities for a multi-day rafting and camping adventure!Annapurna Circuit (dag 1)


Where to stay in Pokhara?

Where to stay in Pokhara? Well, first of all, we recommend you to look for accommodation near Phewa Lake. This is a bustling place with loads of restaurants, bars and shops. Below are three great places to sleep in Pokhara. Including a budget hostel, standard hotel with swimming pool and luxury hotel in Pokhara!

Pokhara Backpackers Hostel €

Pokhara Backpackers HostelThis cosy hostel has basic double rooms. The location is perfectly located in the centre. You will soon feel at home here thanks to the friendly staff. From 14 euros per night including breakfast (two people).

Boek nu

Hotel Middle Path & Spa €€

Hotel Middle Path Spa Pokhara HotelguideThis hotel is located near the centre of Pokhara. The rooms are clean and there is a swimming pool. The breakfast is very tasty! Just like the coffee! You can sleep here for as little as 31 euros per night (2 people).

Boek nu

Hotel Pokhara Batika €€€

Pokhara Batika Hotelguide NepalNeed more comfort? This fantastic hotel has large rooms and is very clean. Shops and restaurants are just steps away. You sleep here from 99 euros a night, including breakfast (two people).

Boek nu


Very useful: click here for the hotel guide we have put together with our favourite hotels by destination in Nepal.


Where to eat in Pokhara?

There are a lot of great restaurants in Pokhara, but I have already described them all in a special blog about restaurants and hotspots in Pokhara.

Click here to discover our favourite restaurants, bars and bakeries!


How do you get to Pokhara?

Travelling by public transport in Nepal is very easy. As a tourist, you usually travel “Tourist bus”. Nothing more than a regular coach with the word “Tourist” on it. These buses are often too expensive for local people, they usually travel with minivans that are full. Below I describe how to travel to Pokhara from three different places.

Is public transport not exactly your thing? Then consider renting a car with driver to take you to different destinations. Click here for more information about hiring a driver.

There are only direct flights between Kathmandu and Pokhara. There are none between Chitwan and Pokhara and Bandipur and Pokhara. However, we advise you not to fly. The distances are relatively short and on the way, you can fully enjoy the beautiful scenery of Nepal!Bandipur things to do Nepal

From Kathmandu to Pokhara

Kathmandu to Pokhara is a simple but relatively long travel day. There are direct buses that take an average of 7 hours over the 200 kilometres. Along the way, you stop several times for lunch.

Which bus company do you choose for the Kathmandu-Pokhara trip?

There are dozens of bus companies and you can reserve seats at any hotel or tourist office in Kathmandu. Note: not all buses are of great quality, or have the best drivers. Unfortunately, several bus accidents still occur annually in Nepal by reckless drivers. However, our experiences were only positive!

The most famous (and best) bus company is Mountain Overland Travels & Tours. This is also the most expensive airline, a one-way ticket costs $ 25 per person.

We did not book tickets in advance but went very early (6:00 am) on the day of departure to the bus station near the Thamel district (Gongabu New Bus Park). Here we looked at the buses, asked about front seats (so we wouldn’t get car sick) and negotiated the price. We ended up travelling on the way there with Blue Bus and on the way back with Rainbow bus. We had a good experience with both and we only paid 5.50 euros per person one way (RS 700).

Do not worry too much, in general, the bus trip is fine. We were amazed at how good the road was and we thoroughly enjoyed the scenery we drove through.bus to Pokhara

From Bandipur to Pokhara

The journey from Bandipur to Pokhara takes about 4 hours and is about 70 kilometres. To go from Bandipur to Pokhara, first travel to Dumre, which is 8 kilometres away. We can advise you to take a taxi for RS 500 (€ 3.80) (a jeep that you book in advance in Bandipur), but you can also take the bus that will take you to Dumre for only RS30 (€ 0.22).

From Dumre there are direct tourist buses (the same as those that depart from Kathmandu) to Pokhara. We recommend that you order a seat in advance, as they will not stop otherwise. You can book a seat at the tourist offices in Bandipur and this costs about RS 600 (€ 4.50).Kids of Bandipur

From Chitwan to Pokhara

Chitwan to Pokhara is only 86 kilometres, but it takes more than 4 to 5 hours. This is because the road around Chitwan is especially bad in the beginning.

Tourist buses also run between Chitwan and Pokhara. These all depart from the Sauraha Tourist Bus Park around 09:00 in the morning. Again, the more luxurious bus (Mountain overland) runs for 25 $, and you can drive a less luxurious tourist bus for about 5-8 euros. You book tickets in advance at your hotel or a tourist office or make sure you get to the bus station around 08:00 and pick out a bus and driver who look reliable.Bandipur himalaya


What is the best time to visit Pokhara?

You can visit Pokhara all year round, but the two most pleasant and therefore busiest periods are spring and fall.

High season

In the spring and fall, the peak season is in Pokhara. This is roughly from March to May and from September to November. The temperature is pleasant during the day (around 20-25 degrees). These are the busiest moments because these two periods are also best for multi-day treks in the Himalayas.

Winter

In winter (December to March), it is the coldest in Pokhara, but the temperature is still not very low. You should not expect snow or temperatures below zero here and on average it is about 15 degrees during the day.

Summer

In the summer (June to September), it is very hot in Pokhara 25-30 degrees and there is a little more rain. This is low season, because of the amount of rain, there are hardly any draws.



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