We live in a wonderful world full of beauty and majestic things. Surrounded by the magnificent view midst of the gorgeous mountains in Pokhara reminds me of one of the most beautiful trips of last year.
Pokhara is known as the 'Jewel of Himalayas', a place where you find yourself inhaling positivity, where you play with the country breeze, where the pure air blows away all the worries of the past, where there is spirituality, where there is an adventure, where the daily chores of people inspire you to the end, where your inner self seek for peace and perseverance.
A little more
Pokhara valley is the second-largest valley in Nepal situated at just 800 m above sea level. It is around 200 km from the country capital Kathmandu and a very famous tourist destination. Dense forests, the scintillating reflection of Annapurna and fishtail all over the lakes, amazing viewpoints, mystical caves, and whatnot, a paradise to adventure lover from paragliding to hiking to river rafting. Hosting from some of the most challenging treks like the Annapurna circuit to discover Himalayan culture in between the hidden villages throughout Poon hill trek, everything turns out to be in best and beautiful!
How to reach
By Air from Kathmandu
Pokhara Airport is a regional airport but you can fly from Kathmandu International Airport which is around 150 km. Due to the uncertain weather condition travel timing of 40 minutes often end up to hours and so. Buddha Air, Simrik Air, and Yeti Airlines are the flight operators who offer travel between Kathmandu and Pokhara. The new International Airport is under construction and might begin to operate from December 2020.
The most convenient and chosen option by travellers is by bus from Kathmandu which takes around seven hours on those topsy-turvy roads. Local buses are available at New Bus stand and more luxury buses are available at the Tourists bus station in Kathmandu. Private taxis are also available if you want more comfort for a 200+ km long journey. The ride from Kathmandu to Pokhara is thrilling and very scenic and was one of the best experiences of the whole trip.
If you are traveling from India, then also there are various options depending upon the city from where you are traveling. Gorakhpur and Varanasi are the closest cities in UP from the Sunauli border crossing and after reaching there you can opt for buses or private taxis. (Gorakhpur to Pokhara is around 278 km)Buses running from Bihar is also a common route. After crossing two of the easiest border i.e Rauxal and then Birgunj crossing the border you can take buses and hire taxis for Pokhara which takes around 6 hours.
Train doesn't operate in Nepal due to higher altitude and hence there is no option available to reach Pokhara via train.
Where to Stay
Settled with a backdrop of serene Phewa Lake and magnificent Mount Machhapuchhre, and peaks of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri range this property by Zostel, Pokhara stands out in the whole area. This property of Zostel is situated at the end of the Phewa Lake and is quite away from the market and the other hotels and homestays.
Also, route from Sarangkot to Sedi Bagar trek lies within 3 minutes walk from the hostel.
There are many hotels, guesthouses, and hostels like Pokhara Backpackers Hostel, Kiwi backpacker hostel, etc available in and around Lakeside. Airbnb has now been added and is also a good option if you are heading with your family.
Places to visit
Sarangkot is a hotspot if you are in Pokhara and you cannot miss the chance to admire breathtakingly amazing sunrise or sunset with a backdrop of four huge magical expressions called mountains.
Be it astonishing Annapurna II, deadly Dhaulagiri, sacred Machhapuchhare, or precious paradise Lamjung, everything about being here in between unparalleled view of these ranges will mesmerize you, filled up with the heavenly surprises of nature!
This village situated at an altitude of 1,600 meters height presents an extremely incredible view and no words can describe that moment when I was there and felt my heart racing way too fast for the entire period. Was the wind engulfing from those Himalayan ranges so majestic or that picturesque experience of Nepal from the top that still makes me dizzy and dramatic every time I think of it?
Maybe it's about the relationship I feel with the place and especially with the mountains, everywhere and every time.
Apart from serving jaw-dropping views, this place offers adventure drills to make it more exciting. Zip-lining, paragliding, trekking, and hiking facilities are available to satisfy your adrenaline rush.
Paragliding from here will give you a lifetime memory from your previous experiences with various shape snow-capped ranges around, beautiful Phewa Lake beneath, not to forget the whole village and Pokhara looks like a fairy tale of your thrilling dream.
Paragliding Fair: 5000-7000 NPR
Also, zip-lining at Sarangkot is famous world-wide and known to be one of the best, so next time you here don't forget to slide on its rope!
Phewa is the second-largest semi-natural freshwater lake in Nepal attracting people from all over the world. The reflection of Annapurna ranges and Machhapuchhare on the lake provide stunning pictures for photography. Located at an altitude of 742 meters with an average depth of about 8.6 meters.
The lake bordering beside the forested hill is famous for boating. There is a small island in the center with Tal Barahi temple in between and the white stupa at the top of the hill in the back. Watching fishtail mountains at the back, gliders coming from Sarangkot is like a feast to the eyes. The other natural habitats around can be captured while enjoying boating in between the serenity. Walk beside the lake soothes your mind, enjoy this nature walk early morning or in the evening and you are not going to get bored at all.
Crystal clear freshwater, peaceful environment, and greenery around, a perfect getaway from the little rush you find in Pokhara. Begnas Lake changes its color according to season and it takes around 45 minutes by bus to reach here from Pokhara. It is a very less visited place one could think of and hence you will find very few people there.
Boat Riding Cost: 300-400 NPR
Gupteswar Mahendra Cave
This cave of Lord Shiva is one of the largest caves of Nepal and is considered sacred to Hindus receiving tons of visitors throughout the year. The spiral staircase showcasing the tales of Hindu mythology on the adjacent walls lead you towards the entrance of the cave. Limestone deposits resembling the biggest Shiva Linga is worshiped by the pilgrims in large numbers and is the main tourist attraction. Photography is strictly prohibited in the first half of the cave. Due to the slippery surface and packed interior, it remains dangerous for senior citizens and kids.
Ticket: 100 NPR
It is a small waterfall connecting to the Mahendra cave. The thing which will fascinate you is that it falls over some rocks disappearing into an underground tunnel leading to Mahendra caves situated in front of the other side of the road. Though the place remains simple one can often find school children on trips over here learning about the history and myths related to such places.
Ticket: 100 NPR
World Peace Pagoda
Built by the Buddhist monk from the Japanese Nipponzan Myohoji organization World Peace Pagoda is one of the 80 such pagodas in the world and second Peace Pagoda in Nepal. This massive stupa painted in white situated at the hilltop provides a panoramic view of Annapurna ranges and the tal below. The whole Pokhara looks amazing from there and the sound of migratory birds from the nearby forests is an add on to its incredibility.
Buddha's life cycle has been shown beautifully in all the four directions all around the monument from his birth at Lumbini to his enlightenment at Bodhgaya, his teachings at Sarnath to when he reached nirvana in Kushinagar, UP.
Trekking is one of the best options to reach here from the southeastern shore of Phewa lake. You can book a taxi as well which drops till the staircase and afterward a little hike will get you to the stupa very easily.
Thousands of bats gawking at you in darkness clinging upside down to the ceiling of a damp-muddy surface and the moment you miss your light, the screechy sound might crash your head. Lucky you are if you have a guide, any local or brave enough to cross it by yourself. To be honest I found the exit the scariest. You have to climb the slippery rock which is not easy for older people and kids. Also, fitting in that crammed portion of the tunnel is not everybody's cup of tea.
Well, I crawled being unsure till the very end. At that time my cab driver who also supposed to be a guide and a local guy helped me a lot to overcome this adventure.
Avoid this place if you are claustrophobic and explore other places nearby!
Ticket: 50 NPR (not including the guide)
A three-minute walk from Zostel led me to this amazing cafe called Krazy Gecko in Pokhara, suggested by a fellow traveller sharing the same room in the hostel. This cafe setting beside the Phewa lake is mesmerising and a must-visit if you are here! At least I liked it and would love to visit again. Godfathers Pizzeria is one of the famous pizza spot serving finger-licking wood-fired pizzas and delicious pasta. There are many small and big restaurants, cafes around for your taste and hunger, keep walking and exploring.
Note: Not all of them except cards so make sure if you don't have cash in your hands.
Things to Remember
- Carry your proper ID cards like Aadhar, Voter if you are an Indian. Other foreigners need to bring passport and visas.
- Carry cash because there are very few places accepting cards.
- Carry your passport size pictures you might need it at certain places.
- Make your bookings before the dates to travel hassle-free.
- Choose only the authentic source for booking otherwise, you might end up in problems later.
- People are helpful but don't trust anyone easily and keep your options open before booking any guide or private taxis.
- The whole country is very sacred, so respect their culture and don't violate any laws.
Return full of dramas, memories!
Ending a travel tale without any drama is a myth in my life! How come you can put yourself in such circumstances could be definitely learned by me. I did my return booking from the zostel itself and headed towards the bus stand early morning with some fellow travelers who were going for the Annapurna trek. There are three bus stands in Pokhara, we got so confused running to-fro at one point. Thanks to our driver who took full responsibility for dropping us till the bus by any means. Our journey till Sunauli was not an easy bed since we got to change our bus in the middle due to some technical problems and the other bus was already full. It was a hell of a journey but an experience for a lifetime. We were out of Nepali currency and mind you local shops, street vendors hardly take any Indian currency.
All is well that ends well! We met some amazing local people, guides, guards, taxi, and rickshaw drivers who helped us a lot and made me realize how much these people put effort without their welfare. Sometimes you came across such wonderful heroes who leave their imprint for a lifetime for their kindness and love.
Pokhara deserves much more appreciation, not because of its scenic beauty but also for its people and the love they deserve! There are many things left to explore here and I am gonna make it very soon to do so!
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