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10 Places to Visit in Pokhara, Nepal
Although Pokhara Lakeside provides plenty of tourist attractions such as great cafes and various interesting shops, Pokhara has to offer much more than these tourist attractions.
Below I've listed some places you might want to visit in and around Pokhara when you visit this tourist town of Nepal.
1. Fewa Lake
Fewa Lake (also called Phewa Lake) is the largest lake in Pokhara and is just steps away from the main tourist hub of Pokhara.
Although currently it's overgrown with weeds, it still offers scenic views. Though I hope that more work would be done to remove the weeds that obscure the beauty of the lake, because now the mountain reflection on the lake isn't as breathtaking as before.
Evening time this lake is visited by many locals as well as tourists - you are likely to see many couples, Nepali families and foreign visitors taking pictures of the lake and the surrounding areas. You'll also see many cheap shops close to the main path along the lake selling local food items as well as some European cakes and coffees.
2. Old Pokhara
If you want to see how Pokhara city looked like before it became a tourist destination, then you must see the old town of Pokhara.
Its located north of busy Mahendra Pul, which is the main marketplace of Pokhara.
There's a Nepal Telecom building at Mahendra Pul. When you find it, go along Tersapati - you'll pass many religious shops selling souvenirs and other religious items along the way.
At the intersection with Nala Mukh, you will get to see old Newari house style with beautifully carved out wooden window frames. This might give you the feeling of how the Pokhara city was like in the past.
3. The Tibetan refugee settlement
The Tibetan refugee camp that's closest to Pokhara Tibetan is Tashi Plkhiel.
The people you see selling souvenirs from their bags or backpacks in Pokhara Lakeside are the Tibetans who come from the settlements as such. This particular settlement is located around 5 kilometers from Pokhara. If you visit it, you may feel like being transported to Tibet.
I advise you to stay away from their religious performances and masked dances, because it is well known (especially was so in the past) that during such rituals and performances disembodied spirits may possess a person. It might be fun to experience electricity in the air, but it's very dangerous too.
That's one of the dangers people new to these countries never understand - that most of the Eastern culture is based on opening up to the demon spirits so as to ask them for some personal benefit. The people performing such practices do not understand that the final price of such opening up is yet to be paid - after their deaths.
4. Patale Chhango
Patale Chhango is also known also as Devi's falls, and is one one of the most popular tourist attractions quite close to Pokhara Lakeside.You can go there by bus or taxi, though buses sometimes get cramped in Nepal, and they are tiny.
It's a beautiful site where you can see waterfalls and waters gushing forth through strange cave formations.
It's nothing as scenic as you might witness in countries known for stunning waterfalls, but it's still beautiful due to the fact that such cave formation and water pathways are completely natural.
It's a nearby scenic high-altitude town which you can reach by taxi or bus.
It provides excellent Himalayan views and you can also watch paragliders take off from there, or do paragliding there yourself. I never wanted to do paragliding myself, but it was interesting for me to spend several hours in Sarangkot watching how the paragliders prepare their parachutes and how they take off.
You can see a good Sarangkot paragliding video below:
You'll likely want to spend a few hours there, though probably not longer than that, because apart from paragliding and scenic view, there's nothing much to do there.
Also, since it's a high-altitude town, the food is quite expensive - since villagers have to carry the products on their backs from the valley below, so naturally the prices are higher. Also, they take up the mountains only the essentials, so you won't get a variety of food items to choose from, be it in shops or small eateries.
6. Pokhara International Mountain Museum
This museum is situated in a beautiful place, so some people come here not so much for the museum, but to enjoy the serene surroundings.
In the museum you can watch a movie about mountains and see the exhibits showing the lives of the people who live in the mountains, mountain climbing hardships, as well as the tallest mountain peaks of the world.
It's advised to stay there for one or two hours. The taxi from the lakeside to the museum should cost you around 350 rupees. The cost of a ticket to the museum is 400 rupees for foreign visitors whilst those of SAARC countries - 200 rupees, whilst for Nepali people it's 80 rupees.
7. Poon Hill
A trek to Poon Hill is a very popular trek as it's short and relatively easy.
Though it may not be that easy for complete novices!
Usually this trek from Pokhara can be done in around two days.
Once you get to the top of Poon Hill, you'll see almost a 360-degree view of the Annapurna range and Dhaulagiri.
8. Begnas Lake
This freshwater lake is located in Lekhnah municipality of Kaski district, in Pokhara valley.
It's much more peaceful than Pokhara Lake because it attracts fewer tourists.
It's a great place for boating as there are many scenic places around. Some people choose to swim in this lake too.
As this will be a more local (non-touristy) area, expect the usual amount of litter around, though it seems people are now being encouraged to place their litter in some bins available in the area.
9. Seti River
This river originates from the snow fields and glaciers located around the peaks of Api and Nampa. You can see its map location here.
Some visitors are disappointed to visit it because the concrete bridge has destroyed its natural beauty. That's another warning against the overbuilding of Pokhara valley as this might destroy Pokhara tourism.
Sometimes this river is called a "hidden" river, because you cannot spot it unless you go and look for it. You can get the best glimpse of this river near the Gurkha Museum located in Old Pokhara.
The water of this river looks white because of its powerful water flow.
10. Surrounding Areas of Pokhara
If you can ride a motorbike, then go around the mountains to explore the beautiful surrounding areas of Pokhara. You can start your journey from the Kahare part of Pokhara Lakeside, and continue up into the mountains.
Beware, however - you must be a really experienced driver to attempt such a trip, as the mountains are steep, and mountain roads don't have any railings!
Also, make sure you attempt such a feat when the weather is good - you really wouldn't want to be caught in a storm or a flash flood.
On your journey you will see amazing mountain views, traditional valley village life, as well as waterfalls and some beautiful absolutely clear rivers gushing through the mountains. You might also spot some animals, especially the buffalo.
If you cannot rent a motorbike, you may decide to explore the surrounding area by a bicycle. However, you won't get very far by this mode of transport! It should still be enjoyable to slowly make your way around Pokhara lakeside, though.
Pokhara valley attracts most tourists because of its scenic beauty. Though some people decide to visit specific points of interest for tourists, such as the mountain museum.
Pokhara, however, is best for trekking and mountain-viewing, so you will probably find these activities most rewarding.