After trekking in the Annapurna circuit for almost two weeks, it was nice to be back in the city again. Pokhara is the next largest city in Nepal after Kathmandu, and with its dramatic backdrop of the Annapurna Massif over the lake Phewa Tal, which can be compared to the Switzerland of Nepal.
Pokhara is Nepal’s number one adventure and leisure city, a trekking gateway to the Annapurna’s with plenty of entertainment for individual travellers as well as families with kids. In Pokhara you can experience the best in trekking, boating, hiking, pony rides, paragliding or simply relax at one of the lakes near the city with the stunning Annapurna mountain range at the background.
There are many activities to do in the city, such as taking a short hike to Sarangkot which is highly recommended. It offers magnificent views of sunset, sunrise, and of the whole city beneath. Davis Waterfall, a sublime waterfall in the city is another excursion not to be missed.
Phewa Tal is the landmark of Pokhara, where you can engage in a range of activities such as kayaking, swimming or taking a leisurely stroll around the shores. The tourist development along Lakeside Road has seen many restaurants, backpacker lodges and bars pop up, so there are plenty of food and accommodation options. It is great for an evening stroll and you can try out the various types of international cuisine. After dinner, shop around to hunt for some cheap souvenirs to bring home.
For a day hike that is more accessible from Pokhara and without the need to take public transport to Sarangkot, you can hike up to World Peace Pagoda. Balanced on a narrow ridge high above Phewa Tal, the brilliant-white World Peace Pagoda was constructed by Buddhist monks from a Japanese organisation. There are three paths leading to the pagoda and several small cafes for you to relax and admire the views. It was a sunny day when I went up to the peace pagoda and the views from the top are just spectacular, especially with the mountains in the background. If you do not wish to hike in the forest up to the pagoda, you can also take a boat across Phewa Tal, then climb up the steps to reach the pagoda.
How to get there
Tourist buses (NPR600-900, 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.
From Annapurna circuit:
Take a local bus down the mountain from Jomson to Beni, where there will be several buses going towards Pokhara. Beware of the super bumpy and uncomfortable journey down the mountain roads from Jomsom. The journey from Beni to Pokhara takes about 2 hours depending on traffic.