Pokhara Valley is the second largest metropolis of Nepal in terms of population.it is located 200 km west from Kathmandu city. The metropolitan of Pokhara covers around 464 square kilometers. The altitude of Pokhara valley varies from 827 meters above sea level in the southern part to 1,740 meters above sea level in the northern part. Pokhara has the highest amount of rainfall in Nepal. Pokhara recently merged with the municipality of Leknath forming Pokhara Lekhnath metropolitan city and making it the largest metropolitan city in term of the area. Later the city was named Pokhara metropolitan city.
The most traveler to Nepal finds Pokhara Valley more laid back and cleaner than Kathmandu Valley. Pokhara Valley is the paradise for the adventure seekers as well as more relaxed tourist. Pokhara receives different types of tourist looking for different experiences and activities. It is the adventure hub of Nepal. There are some tourists that come back to Pokhara Valley just to relax around the lakeside for some days. You can enjoy the view of Annapurna range, Dhaulagiri range and fishtail mountain and many more snowcapped mountains.
Pokhara Valley came to existence way later than Kathmandu. Pokhara valley was ruled by Shah dynasty in the 17th century. It was the main trade route between India and Tibet after Prithivi NaryanShah added Pokhara into his unified kingdom. Most of the early settlements were Newars of Bhaktapur migrating to Pokhara Valley on the invitation of Kaski king. After that, the only memorable travel to Pokhara Valley was done by Swiss geologist and explorer Toni Hagen while he was mapping the borders of Nepal.
There was no means to reach Pokhara except for by foot for more than 10 days. During the 1970s the main travelers to Pokhara were the hippies attracted by plenty of supply of marijuana, lakeshore setting, and slow paced life. It quickly turned into a tourist attraction by 1980s and a lot of hotels and resorts stared openly in Pokhara Valley. The most valuable development for Pokhara was the construction of Siddhartha highway in 1968.
Pokhara is more laid-back city than Kathmandu. Life in Pokhara is slow paced and it is a happy place to live in the first place. Most people of Pokhara Valley are involved in tourism. Agriculture is rapidly decreasing in Pokhara while service industry has become the most sought out occupation. The tourism is mostly concentrated around lakeside of Pokhara but the other parts benefit from different activities present around the valley. People who are not in urbanized areas are still involved in agriculture and general service.
The nightlife of Pokhara Valley usually ends around midnight and all the services close for the night. This is the case for the touristic areas, not the general locals. Mostly lakeside is still awake while the rest of Pokhara already sleeps. There are a lot fewer traffic jams in Pokhara Valley and lot open spaces than of Kathmandu City. Most food found in Pokhara are organic and those who can afford try out new foods offered in tourist areas. People try to live their life happily, that is why Pokhara is considered a better destination to enjoy the hospitality of Nepal.
There are so many activities that can be done in Pokhara. Even if you are returning from a trek or just visiting for a couple of days you can make your trip more memorable in the adventure hub of Nepal. Even if you don’t have enough budget, you can still enjoy the bike rides, camping, hiking or simply fishing in the lakeshore of Phewa lake. There are a lot to explore in Pokhara and these 11 activities will help you start your adventure in Pokhara.
1. Paragliding (those who have never done it before should do with an experienced pilot)
2. Hiking (there are a lot of hills and hidden valleys you can hike to enjoy nature of Pokhara. Try hiking early morning or evening to enjoy the amazing sunrise and sunset)
3. Skydiving (you will be able to see whole valley and its lakes while skydiving in Pokhara)
4. Zip lining (experience the tallest, longest, and the steepest zip line in the world along with beautiful scenery)
5. Tower bungee (Nepal’s only tower bungee with a view of mountains, hills, and rivers)
6. Rafting and kayaking (experience white water rafting in the rapid flow of the Seti river)
7. Camping (if you want something different than regular hotel rooms, try out camping by the riverside of Seti river)
8. Fishing (you can rent a boat as well as fishing rod and spend some quiet time to yourself in Phewa lake with some beer and snacks)
9. Ultralight flight (see the mountains up close while your pilot shows you the best views of Pokhara)
10. Stand up paddle boarding (experience this adventurous and physical activity in Phewa lake)
11. Mountain bike (rent a bike and explore the hills or other attractions of Pokhara)
Pokhara Valley is famous for its natural beauty and most tourist see it only that way. Pokhara is rich in culture and its unique traditions. People of Pokhara Valley have their own identity and beliefs. Because of this reason, there is a lot of cultural as well as a natural attraction that you can visit in Pokhara. The following places are there to give you a rough start on where to visit while you are in Pokhara.
Phewa lake is the most popular lake in Pokhara. Lots of domestic as well as foreign tourist go on a boat ride while enjoying the mountain view on this pristine lake. While some others go fishing and visit the temple on the island in the middle of the lake. You can see the awesome sunset in the evening and lights reflecting from nearby restaurants in the night. Many local vendors sell barbeque and alcohol in the evening to enjoy along the shore of Phewa lake.
It is the Hindu temple of goddess Durga. This temple is on the island in the middle of Phewa lake. Thousands of devotees visit this temple crossing the lake using the boat. Devotees buy the offerings and coconut to break them in the temple premises. The mountain view looks even better from this island. It only takes 10-20 minutes of a boat ride to reach the temple from the shore.
It is the tourist hub of Pokhara. There are hundreds of restaurants that offer a variety of foods from local to international menus. Bars along the lakeside has a great atmosphere after the sun goes down. The flow of tourist concentrates in the lakeside while colorful lighting makes the whole street colorful and enjoyable. You will be able to see souvenirs shops selling from local crafts and edibles to popular international products. Just walking the streets is fun during the night in lakeside Pokhara Valley. It is the only place where Pokhara’s nightlife exists. Most bars begin to close after 11:30 because of the curfew and police will start to move out the guest while some live music bars open till 2 am.
It is one of the 80 peace pagodas in the world which was built to unite people from all races and creeds. You can easily see the world peace pagoda on the top of the hill from the Phewa lakeshore. From the top, you will be able to see beautiful Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and fishtail mountains. If you look down from the top, you will be able to see the most part of Phewa lake and the Pokhara city. You can take a boat to the other shore and hike from there to the top of the hill. The hike takes around 2hours if you walk leisurely. You can also rent a bike or vehicle that goes from the back of the hill and you will only get to see the sight after you reach world peace pagoda.
Sarangkot is most famous for its view during sunrise. You will be able to see the panoramic view of the whole city, lakes, and mountains. Sarangkot is then famous for the paragliding spot on the top. The paragliders jump-off Sarangkot to enjoy the view around the valley while flying over the Phewa lake. You can bike /hike/rent motorbike/taxi to the top of Sanrangkot. If you are looking for the view try to get there before sunrise. This way you can see the change of color in the sky and view of the mountain is not covered by the clouds. You can get to paragliding terrain in around 30-45 minutes from Lakeside. From there it takes 25 minutes steps to the view tower.
International mountain museum was built to safe keep the records and document the past and present development of mountaineering all over the world. This museum not only focuses on the summiteers record holders but all the geologists, environmentalists, and sociologists that work for the protection and preservation of the mountains around the globe. This museum holds the history and stories of the mountain climbers, climbing journey and the gears used during the past and how it has changed now. Every day a documentary on mountains is shown for the interested ones. The museum also displays history, culture, geology, and flora and fauna of the Himalaya. You can get to the museum easily by walking from the lakeside. Spend 2-3 hours inside the museum and learn new things on the mountains and culture surrounding it. The entry fee is not that costly but is worth the trip.
Davis falls is called Patale Chhango by the locals which translate to the hellish fall. The interesting thing about this fall is that the Pardi river vanishes in the starting point of this fall in the underground. You can hear the water hitting the ground but is hard to see as it underground. GupteshworMahadev cave is located just opposite the Devis fall where you can see the water from Davis fall hitting the ground.it is mostly dark and the path leads pretty deep but you can enjoy some peaceful time hearing the water hitting the stones inside the cave. You can reach Davis fall in 45 minutes from Lakeside. It only takes around 15 minutes if you take a taxi.
Begnas is the next popular lake of Pokhara.it is the second largest lake in Pokhara after Phewa and third largest in Nepal. You can do boating while enjoying the mountains and hills around the lake. It comparatively receives a smaller number of tourists so, if you want some peaceful boating experience Begnas is the best option for you. Sundari Dandais around hour walks away from Begnas lake. There is a view tower in SundariDanda from where you can see Rupa lake in one side and Begnas on the other. You can enjoy the relaxing walk if you have enough time. It takes around 20 minutes from Begnas to reach SundariDanda while Begnas is around 45-minute drive from Lakeside.