Our favorite things to do in Pokhara

To many, Pokhara is just the gateway to Annapurna Circuit Trek and many more treks into the Himalayas. While we’re sure it’s going to be the gateway to the world of trekking in Nepal for us one day, we wanted to put together all the other things that Pokhara can offer to its visitors. Pokhara is a nice addition to any Nepal itinerary or just a place to relax and enjoy the surroundings.

There are actually so many things to do in Pokhara, even if you’re not a trekker or even if you’ve finished your trek. This little lakeside gem is actually full of diverse experiences it can offer. It took us two visits (and probably more to come) to realize the potential the town has for being a tourist highlight itself!

Nepal - our one-week cultural itinerary in Nepal, Pokhara, World Peace Pagoda

Boating in Fewa (Phewa) Lake

Fewa Lake is somehow inviting you to paddle its peaceful waters or take a boat tour and let somebody else do the hard work. In any case, it’s just magical! You can get absorbed in the reflections of surrounding hills, small islands with temples, local boatmen rowing with technique to be jealous of.

Fewa Lake is a major landmark in Pokhara and contributes to the tranquility and the total chillout vibe of the town. If you’re into other water activities, you might be interested in following the locals and taking a quick bath at the lake.

Things to do in Pokhara, Nepal - boat in Fewa Lake

Hiking to the World Peace Pagoda

If you’re into hiking, or even if you’re not, we highly recommend taking the hike up on stone steps to World Peace Pagoda. The hike takes 45 minutes to 1h 30 minutes (the latter especially if you stop to take many photos of the newly revealed beauties and catch your breath). While your knees might not be super thankful to you, your eyes and spirits will be elevated to a close to nirvana state when you start walking around the pagoda.

Things to do in Pokhara, Nepal - hiking World Peace Pagoda

Enjoying the sunrise at Sarangkot 

We are professional sunrise-chasers so we couldn’t go with the flow and wait for the sunrise at the nearby village Sarangkot. Sarangkot is a special place about 40 minutes’ drive from Pokhara, where crowds of people go to witness sunrise and the majestic Himalayas reflecting the first rays of light.

Well, our of two attempts (in October and in June), we got all clouds so we had to settle with lights turned off little by little, overlooking green hills and imagining how the mountain profile would look like. All that being accompanied by constant pokes of people trying to take the perfect selfie (with cloudy skies) and nasty mosquitos along with other human-blood-loving insects. If you want to go for sunrise at Sarangkot, we suggest that first you check the forecast and if it says 100 percent sunny, then there might be a chance of waking up 4 o’clock to be worth it.

Nepal - our one-week cultural itinerary in Nepal, Pokhara, Sarangot

Paragliding over the lake

Well, the weather was not on our side when it came to deciding if we should paraglide over Fewa Lake or not. We found the paragliding prices quite affordable in Pokhara, compared to other parts in the world, and quite hefty, compared to Bulgaria.

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We might have missed the opportunity to fly over Pokhara, but we let the drone spread its propellers for a while. And the colors of Pokhara are so vivid that we have to take that paragliding trip, someday!

Nepal - our one-week cultural itinerary in Nepal, Pokhara, Fewa Lake

Exploring local villages in the area

We decided to descend from World Peace Pagoda on the other side of the hill. That was the best decision – we were just passing tiny villages with kids playing on the street, mesmerizing views of hills and mountains with nobody else around, and an occasional colorful bus dropping off people.

Things to do in Pokhara, Nepal - hiking World Peace Pagoda

Refreshing at Davis Falls

It’s unbelievable how you can see a waterfall inside the city. Davis (or Devis or Devi’s) Falls are located in the busy part of Pokhara but still deliver enormous refreshment after so much sun and dust. There is an entrance fee and during dry season probably the water is not plentiful, but still it’s such a nice restart to just stand nearby dropping water.

Things to do in Pokhara, Nepal - Devis Falls

Going shopping at the local market

The area near Davis Falls is actually a bustling local market so if shopping is your cup of tea, go for some great deals – cashmere, singing bowls, Buddhism items, clothes, jewelry – they have it all! Don’t forget to bargain as prices are usually doubled when they see a foreign face. Anyway, shopping could be a fun activity in Pokhara, even if you don’t plan to buy anything.

Reading a book to immerse in the local culture

The plan here is simple: get a book from a local author in the nearest bookstore, then find your reading spot at the lakeside, in the garden, or wherever you’d feel comfortable, and get lost in the Nepali world. Idyllic places like Pokhara make easily the perfect setting for bookworms. Here’s a list of some of our favorite travel books.

Getting a massage

A friend recommended a massage studio in Pokhara – Seeing Hands. As the name suggests, it’s a social enterprise providing training and employment opportunities in massage therapy for visually impaired people. Their therapists proved to be well trained to professional massage standards – I needed a massage after a week on the bumpy roads of Nepal. So we highly recommend supporting Seeing Hands while indulging in the art of massage.

Eating organic in Pokhara

Pokhara carries this healthy-bio-organic-eco vibe all around. If you’re into a healthy lifestyle and good food, then you’ll be spoiled for choice on where to eat in Pokhara. Among our favorite places for organic and absolutely delicious food and drinks are the Ayurvedico cafe and AM/PM Organic Cafe.

Things to do in Pokhara, Nepal - eating organic food

Indulging in local cuisine at the lakeside 

When you’re into diving deep into the local culture by exploring traditional cuisine, then you usually find your own favorite places to eat by magic. That’s how we discovered New Fewa Restaurant where the local chef catered to our every whim and spoiled us with tasty momos, thukpa soups, and salads.

Watching a cultural show 

Some hotels in Pokhara are starting to host their own cultural shows – with local artists playing music, singing, and dancing. It’s a nice combination of having dinner and enjoying performance arts. Plus, having the chance to witness the energy of those artists is just so magical!

Things to do in Pokhara, Nepal - watching a cultural show

Witnessing an evening aarti ritual

We found out about evening aarti in Pokhara too late to be able to witness it (maybe another reason to come back). But aarti (Hindu ritual) in Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu was such a special experience that we know that aarti at lakeside Pokhara will be memorable! If you want to join, make sure you’re at the lakeside or at Tal Barahi Temple before 7 p.m. (6.30 p.m. in winter).

Further afield from Pokhara

There is so much to do in Pokhara, but don’t forget there are other things nearby. Besides hiking the Annapurna or other challenging and not-so-challenging treks, you can try out the Muktinath Yatra, which is accessible by bus from Pokhara or you can continue to it after your trek the Annapurna Circuit.

Where to stay in Pokhara

If you’re looking for an authentic and quite affordable experience ala “homestay” in Pokhara, then we highly suggest you book Bickey’s homestay. Bickey and his team are super welcoming, offer you as much tea as you can handle, the rooftop terrace is a nice place to hang out, and they can arrange all your trips and activities in Pokhara.

If you’re into more mid-range hotels, then Lake View Resort is a very nice place with a lovely garden and a cultural show every evening at their own restaurant.

If you’re more into high-end deluxe accommodation, then pamper yourself in Mountain Glory Forest Resort. It’s a bit out of town, but in the fresh green forests, and it offers a spectacular view and an amazing swimming pool.

Things to do in Pokhara, Nepal - hotels in Pokhara
*We brought part of this post in partnership with Nepal Tourism Board and PATA Nepal Chapter, who invited us to Himalayan Travel Mart 2019 and organized an exciting FAM trip!
Things to do in Pokhara, Nepal
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One Response

  1. […] need to go with prearranged tour if you don’t want to. You can show up in Kathmandu or Pokhara and make all arrangements for the trek once there and start trekking the following […]

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