Pokhara is the third largest city in Nepal with about 350,000 people in 2013. It is the starting point for most of the treks in the Annapurna area. It is quickly becoming a heavily touristed location, with dozens of hotels and restaurants sprouting like mushrooms everywhere every year. While today it is much easier to find modern amenities not common to other locations in Nepal, Pokhara has lost its small town charm and lakeside now feels more like Khao San Road (with all the usual: yoga, reiki, massages by blind people, overpriced souvenirs) than an authentic Nepali village. There are now over 70 agencies only for paragliding! Locals have unfortunately changed their attitude towards foreigners, who are no longer treated as guests but as walking ATMs. Many business owners are heavily in debt with banks (seems like everyone took a loan a few years ago when they finally got their property deeds and realized they could get money from this), and thus inflate prices every year to try, often unsuccessfully, to repay them.
Another consequence of this development is the appearance of dozens of "orphanages", which, in violation of all common sense and international treaties on child rights, take or rent children from the hills to take advantage of the money they can earn by offering volunteer placements to (usually European) "orphan cuddlers", who pay exorbitant amounts of money to play with kids for 2 weeks, while the organization owners get rich in the process. Many stories about this online and in Nepal if you ask around.
The influx of Chinese tourists is rising prices even more, and the opening on the International Airport, scheduled for 2020, will be the final nail in Pokhara's coffin.
Having said this, Pokhara is still beautiful and many great and genuine people can be found, but it takes some work on the traveler's side. If you intend to stay on the lakeside road, para-glide, and trek to Annapurna, you will be getting a very unauthentic version of Nepal. If you make an effort to get out of the tourist charade, you will find amazing scenery, great people, and unforgettable experiences.
Tourist buses (NPR700-800, 6-7h) and crowded local buses/microbuses (NPR400-600, 6-7h) travel the 200 km journey between Kathmandu and Pokhara almost every 15 minutes starting at 07:30 until late afternoon. Night buses are available, but the ride is painful. Greenline operates a convenient bus every morning between the popular tourist areas of Thamel in Kathmandu and Lakeside in Pokhara (USD20, lunch included). The road is winding with many switchbacks but offers wonderful views of hills and rural Nepalese lifestyle. The drivers will generally not drive too fast but some will calmly weave in and out of the stream of opposing traffic and slam on the brakes when a stop is required, making for a scary ride if you look out the front window. During the rainy season, there may be problems with the roads and flying may make more sense.
From Sunauli and the Indian Border
Buses are available from the border town of Sunauli (NPR280-380, 8 hours). If you can travel to the nearby town of Butwal, you will have more options for travelling to Pokhara. A 12-seater vehicle will cost around NPR5500 from Butwal to Pokhara.
Yeti Airlines, Buddha Air and Air Viva are reputable airlines that operate regular flights (USD$102-106, 40 minutes) that can be purchased online and at the last minute. The flights offer the benefit of a bird's eye view of the countryside and of the panoramic mountains themselves. Flights are almost always delayed and afternoon flights run the risk of cancellation as delays from the morning compound.
A taxi from the Pokhara airport to Lakeside should cost NPR250 if negotiated in advance.
Pokhara is a fairly small city and can be easily traversed on foot. Walking is necessary to get to places where vehicles or bicycles can't reach.
By local transport
Minivans operate on most of the popular routes. These are crowded and uncomfortable but the fare is cheap and student discounts may be offered.
Comfortable taxis are available to be hired.
Bicycles can be hired in a lot of shops in Lakeside (NPR100-300/day). Make sure the seat is not too hard, and try realigning the seat if it is set uphill way, instead of sloping down.
By motorbike or scooter
It is also possible to hire a scooter or a motorbike in Lakeside (NPR550+/day). You will have to buy petrol (NPR120/litre). Note that it is not possible to reach Sarangkot or the World Peace Pagoda with an automatic motorbike or scooter due to the steep uphill road, so get a manual gear model if you intend to travel to those places.
Lakes & Waterfalls
- Phewa/Fewa Lake (Phewa/Fewa Tal) (Just west of Pokhara). One of Nepal's most beautiful spots, Phewa Tal is surrounded by a combination of monkey-filled forests and high white peaks. The reflections in the mirror-like water in the early mornings are impressive. Hire a boat and row yourself across the lake, or hire a local to do it for you - there are some fine times to be had on this lake, even in the middle of the night.
- 1 Begnas Lake (Begnas Tal) (13.3 km southeast from Pokhara, along the Prithvi Rajmarg road). Out of town and away from the hustle, Begnas Tal is quiet, clean and peaceful. There are a few basic hotels nearby and the odd refreshment shop. A very nice Vipassana Meditation Retreat is also located here, one of many around the world. The walk along the road leading to Begnas Tal is fascinating; the seasonal rhythms of daily life in the country make great images.
- 2 Rupa Lake (Rupa Tal) (15 km southeast from Pokhara, along the Prithvi Rajmarg road). One of the more remote lakes in Pokhara with limited accessibility and hence more serene and unspoiled compared to the other lakes. A must visit for any nature lover.
- Dipang Lake (Dipang Tal) (12.7 km southeast from Pokhara, along the Prithvi Rajmarg road). Beautiful lake where you can find wild lotus and wild swan. It is located about fifteen minutes walk from Sisuwa, the city centre of Lekhnath municipality.
- 3 Devi's Falls (Patale Chhango). Spectacular, especially after heavy rains. Devi's Falls plunge into a cave and disappear into the earth. The name is from a Swiss couple who were washed away (or fell in) and drowned. NPR25.
- 4 World Peace Pagoda (Shanti Stupa). Opened in 1999 on top of a hill just south of Phewa Tal, the Stupa is the first Peace Pagoda to be constructed in Nepal and offers great views of the Annapurna Mountains, including Fishtail, Dhaulagiri, Annapurna South, and Annapurna III. This is a great place to watch the sunrise or sunset over Pokhara. The easiest way to get there is to take a taxi to the base of the Peace Pagoda (NPR1000 return, including waiting). If you want to go on foot, you must first get to the southern side of Phewa Tal, either by walking around the lake or rowing across the lake. Then take a very steep hike through the forest (watch out for leeches during the monsoon) or from the road that passes Devi's Fall, turning right at the end of Chhorepatan. To hike to the top: From the small fork road behind the bakery in Damside, go south 200 m, past a few hotels to the road bridge over the big canal. Go southwest along smaller road to the cable bridge over the creek, notice the "peace" sign on bridge anchor cement. Cross, then go up steps to rite, hence main walking trail to left along rice fields. 200 m to a small temple and water tap. Notice another peace sign and arrows pointing zig zag up behind tap. Follow the zig zag trail through the forest to steps and continue up them to the top of the ridge spur, follow the trail markers (notches in the tree trunks) wherever things get confusing. Follow the large trail through lovely forest with monkeys at times. Warning: there have been reports of a few robberies. Reach forested ridge top at a mudhole/saddle, hence trail crosses over to north side, through more nice forest. Look for tree markers. gradually up until you reach open main ridge, within sight of Peace Pagoda. A few small cafes and a hotel here, then steps up to top. It should take around 35 min from the hotels near the road bridge over the big canal.
- 5 Sarangkot. The perfect pre-trek warm-up. Head up Sarankot in the late afternoon, and be prepared as it's steep and hard work. You can rent a motor bike for under NPR700 and take yourself to the top. The road is rough, but traversable. Great views, spectacular images and a great way to get a taste of what it's like to be trekking.The Sarangkot south slope trail is a challenging run/polewalk workout. Go north through Lakeside about 5 km, through Kare, around corner to SediBogar village. Park bike/moto at the Caravan Restaurant, which is the last spot to buy water & snacks. Follow stone road 1+km directly north towards Sarankot's forested slopes, past houses, to school. Don't try to ride a motorbike or bike up this road, too rocky. road ends to rite (east) of school, follow trail behind, east (right) into seasonal creek gully, then 100 m up it trail goes off a bit to left and soon the grueling stone steps begin. Take water. Follow steps all the way, follow the arrows carved into stones where confusing, cross 3 new jeep roads but stay on stone step trail, way up you'll come out on the jeep road along north to Kalipani and Naudada villages at a restaurant/school 3/4 of the way up, follow road 100 m left to parasail jump off, then continue up obvious steps to Sarankot village, with hotels/cafes/shops, and up cement steps to lookout tower. Morning views are best. This trail takes at least 52 min from the bottom at Caravan park spot. Knee jarring descent takes 40 min, or possible to take taxi or even hitch a ride in a parasail truck going down.
- Kahun Dharahara. Kahun is the second nearest hill close to the city. At the top of Kahun there's a view tower locally called "Kahun Dharhara". You can get there by bus, motorbike or cycle. Hiking also shouldn't take more than 2.5 hours to reach there from Ranipauwa. A spectacular view of "Annapurna range" could be seen straight from the tower. The Pokhara valley could also be observed as well.The environment is peaceful at the top,you should shop and carry required items either from the valley itself or from the local shop in Kahun as there are no shops, cafe or hotels available at "Kahun Dharhara"
- Dhiki Danda (Hiking). One of the hills that provides a closer view to the Himalayas. Located on the north of Mahendra Cave, one can reach there hiking 2-3 hours all the way through Armala. The trail is about 5 km from Mahendra Cave. Beautiful scenery can be observed form the top.
- 6 Mahendra Cave (North of Pokhara near Batulechaur).
- Chamare Gufa - Bat cave (ten minutes away from the famous Mahendra cave). This cave is famous for the bats that can be seen hanging by the walls.
- 7 [dead link]Gupteswar Mahadev Cave (South of Damside near Devi's Falls). Contains a large stalagmite venerated as a representation of Shiva; two caverns: one the temple and the other leading to a spot near Devi's Falls. NPR30 or NPR100.
- 8 International Mountain Museum, Ghari Patan, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Daily 09:00-17:00. Displays about the people living in the Himalayas, of the 14 highest peaks and their most famous expeditions. Also includes some exhibits from other mountain areas such as Slovenia and Japan. NPR100 for SAARC visitors; NPR300 for others.
- 9 Gurkha Memorial Museum (In the northern part of Pokhara, near KI Sing Bridge at the front of the British Gurkhas Pokhara camp.), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 08:00-16:30 everyday. Museum dedicated to the famous soldiers from Nepal. You can observe here the various historic uniforms, their famous knives and the different flags. NPR200 for foreigners. NPR100 for SAARC residents. NPR2 for Nepalis. Discounts for children..
- Hiking / trekking - for information on trekking in the Pokhara region, including popular treks and suggested itineraries, see Trekking_in_Nepal
- Boating / canoeing - hire a boat or canoe for a day out on the water. Canoes can be difficult to steer on the flat lakes.
- Whitewater rafting / kayaking / canyoning - 1-10 day adventure expeditions on beautiful Nepali rivers. There are many operators offering trips, with some being Rapidrunner Expeditions, GRG's Adventure Kayaking, Adrenaline Rush and Paddle Nepal.
- [dead link]Paragliding: Tandem flights/lessons/parahawking. Don't miss soaring around Lake Pokhara and the Annapurnas with Lammergeyer eagles or huge Gryffon vultures to guide the way. Tandem flights: USD100; Lessons: USD120.
- 1 Parahawking/Vulture Restaurant. The population of certain species of vulture has collapsed in many parts of Asia due to vultures eating dead cows that have been injected with a drug that helps the cows in old age but poisons the vultures when they eat them after their die. A charity has established a hospice for cows coming to the end of their lives. They look after the cows but ensure they don't have any of the drug that kills the vultures. When the cows eventually die they are given as food to the vultures. Trips are arranged to view such early morning vulture feasts. To find out more visit Blue Sky Paragliding.
- Hearts & Tears Motorcycle Club: Motorbike Tours & Lessons. Learn to ride custom bikes
- Avia Club Nepal specializes in airborne adventure sports.
- Mountain Biking. Consider these fun bike rides:
- Around Phewa Lake
- Sarankot/Naudada/Hemja loop - 3 hours hard from Lakeside is a fast time. Go towards downtown (Mahendrapul) from Lakeside, turn north at "Zero Kilometre" along the main road to Baglung. Be careful as it's crowded. Ride about 5–6 km north, slowly up, past the nasty old bus park, to the Sarankot Road junction, turn left (west). The climb time starts at the fork 50 m further. Follow paved road up incredibly steep climb, 1st gear almost all the way. Good pavement mostly, climb zigs past houses and ends at a small village on a saddle. It takes around 40 min from bottom. From here you can park bike and hike up old ridge trail to Sarankot, but for this loop continue west along rocky jeep road along mountains south slopes, past parasail place and onwards, rolling ascent to Kalipani village and after and hour or so jeep road hits the "hi-way" at Naudada village on ridgetop. From here good pavement zigs steep down to valley bottom, then its a long gradual descent to Hemja village, and back into Pokhara.
- Dobindy Pass ride- A fun up and back hillclimb to a pass on pavement southwest of Damside. Take paved road south from Damside to Birota area then turn right (west) along main road, the "hi-way to Syangja and Tansen, gradually down towards Devi's Falls, continue west to the Chorepatan area to base of climb. The steep bends begin here, road climbs steadily, though not too steep, along south side of Peace Pagoda ridge, up to a few villages, then after a short steep decent into a forest for last climb up to the pass at Dobindy village. At least, it'll take just under an hour from Lakeside. From here you can continue west through scenic rolling country towards Syangja town, but it's usually possible to zip back down to hotel in about 35 min. Beware; this road is getting more crowded, and sometimes with lots of buses & trucks in the wrong lane.
- Tibetan Refugee Camp - go for a bike ride down to the airport way, on the way to the Tibetan settlement where there is a nice little monastery, a school, and refugee-made jewellery and craft stalls. Be prepared to ride all the way uphill on the return trip to Lake area and it is wise to take a rest halfway if you want to avoid suffering from cramps and weariness the following day, from the long ride.
- Rock Climbing, 3 Sisters, an organisation dedicated to the empowerment of Nepali women, runs a rock climbing course near Lakeside.
- Himalayan Golf Course offers a unique golfing experience.
- 2 Backstreet Academy, House no. 112, Dam Side, ((Near German Bakery)), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 9:00-17:00. An alternative tour experiences platform, they enable locals to offer authentic and unique activities to tourists such as cooking classes in a local's home, marble carving workshops, Batik Painting, making your own recycled bags, even a sculpture class where you learn to create your own miniature sculptures from a master craftsman in Pokhara. A social enterpise, they work with many underprivileged people who either serve as hosts or facilitators. The facilitators will pick you up from your hotel and translate for you. These facilitators are usually young students looking for work to pay for their education or orphans looking to transition into society. Transport is provided for most activities in Pokhara. A great way to interact with local people and take in the culture and have something memorable.
- Cooking classes - Stay on a farm and learn to cook Dal Baht from scratch!
Reiki, yoga, meditation & massage
Pokhara is Nepal's top yoga destination and there are over a dozen yoga retreats. Many of these retreats also offer massage, reiki and water/honey therapy. Some also organise 1-20 day treks that combine hiking with classes in yoga and meditation.
- 3 Purna Yoga Retreat Centre, Sedi Bagar, Lakeside, Pokhara (10 min walk uphill from north Lakeside, behind and above Castle Resort), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Purna Yoga Retreat is residential centre for yoga and meditation offering 1-21 day courses. 10 en-suite rooms, and a large and spacious glass-walled yoga hall with panoramic views of Pokhara, Phewa Lake and surrounding hills.
- Annpurna Yoga Ashram (Lakeside), run by guru Narayan Prasad Dhakal, offers daily yoga classes at 08:00 and 17:00 (USD8.50), massage, reiki, honey/water therapy, as well as one-day or multi-day spiritual/meditative hikes to small villages in the area that foreigners rarely get to visit. The guru also offers the opportunity for a homestay, with traditional organic meals cooked by his wife.
- Ask About Yoga, run by Preeti Gahlot, offers private yoga classes (NPR2,000) as well as twice monthly 4-day yoga-based hikes that include accommodation on an organic farm.
- Begnas Lake Resort (Sundari Danda, Begnas Lake. ☎ +977 61 560030) offers morning yoga classes to its guests.
- Bohemian Tours offers guided treks in the Annapurna mountains with yoga and meditation classes along the way.
- Garden Yiga Chozin Buddhist Meditation Centre (off footpath from Lakeside Road in North Lakeside. ☎ +977 61 462923) offers free daily meditation classes, dharma talks and donation-based hatha yoga instruction. A 3-day introductory retreat costs NPR3,300.
- Jiva Cafe & Spa offers yoga, meditation and zumba classes, therapeutic messages, acupuncture, beauty therapies in private cottages. On Phewa Lake walking path behind Busy Bee. 09:00-19:00.
- Nepali Yoga Centre (Lakeside Road) offers daily yoga classes 04:30-18:00 and 07:30-09:00 (NPR400) as well as full-day retreats that include breathing excerizes yoga nidra, meditation and chanting.
- Om Family (Lakeside Road) offers daily drop-in yoga and meditation sessions, as well as holistic treatments costing NPR500.
- Purna Yoga & Treks offers various guided yoga treks in the mountains with yoga and meditation classes along the way. Yoga trek is a perfect combination of gentle trekking schedule, healthy yogic food, exercises to stretch muscles and ease breathing, time to relax, reflect and enjoy the location for a deeper trekking experience and to connect the body and mind with nature. ☎ +977 9851158384 / email@example.com
- Rishi Yoga (in North Lakeside behind Chetri Sisters Guesthouse; ☎ +977 984 620 4406) offers 10-day intensive retreats with four hours of daily yoga instruction costing NPR6,500. Drop-in classes are held between 08:00 and 10:00 and cost NPR350.
- Sadhana Yoga (in Sedi Bagar, a 15-minute walk from Baidam-Pame Road; ☎ +977 61 694041) offers lodgint including yoga classes and vegetarian meals costing NPR2,400 (2-night minimum)
With the ever-present backpacker atmosphere, there is no shortage of live music.
- Busy Bee Cafe in Lakeside frequently has a live local band playing.
- Dipawali - the Hindu festival of lights and worshipping of Laxmi, celebrated in either October or November, is a great time to be in Pokhara.
- Full Moon Trance Parties are held in the surrounding hills during the warmer months. Ask around for details and schedule.
- Holi-the festival of colour is heavily celebrated. Concerts and musical events are held on Pokhara, Lakeside.
- Street Festival - is celebrated every year 4-5 days before New year until 2 January. Thousands of people gather and celebrate the festival on Lakeside street. On the new year's eve, activities like dancing & singing are performed. Street festival is one of the biggest festivals celebrated in Pokhara valley.
There are several ATMs located in central Lakeside. All charge a withdrawal fee of NPR400 per transaction. Nabil Bank ATMs have the highest withdrawal limit of NPR35,000 per transaction.
- Jewels and trinkets from the lovely Tibetan women who ply the streets with their wares in backpacks or blankets. Sit and enjoy the atmosphere, and make sure you bargain as starting prices generally are highly inflated.
- Kriayt Social Business is a marketplace in central Lakeside with the mission of empowering Nepali women to earn a living. You can buy beautiful handmade items and even design your own, all while supporting a good cause.
The cheapest (and often the best) food is found at the street stalls, selling momos/dumplings (NPR80 for 10 pieces), samosas (NPR10 each) or fried noodles (NPR50). Early in the morning, children walk the streets with trays of pastries; chocolate croissants, cinnamon rolls and other cakes. Each cost about NPR15.
Along the Lakeside road are a variety of restaurants, including:
- 1 Asian Teahouse. Located along the main road through Lakeside on the opposite side from the lake. The only way you'll find this place is to look out for the handwritten sign sitting at the end of the alleyway that the restaurant sits in. Or by looking for a large shop named 'Almonds'; directly under this sign is an arcade that you walk through and it is at the end on the left. The food is great, huge servings and the food in the area. The family that owns the restaurant is friendly, hospitable and informative.
- 2 Babita Organic Cafe. Great value food including momos.
- Bistro Caroline. Sister branch of the upmarket KTM restaurant with a garden on the lake and stylish interior. Offers a good selection of French and continental food. Possibly the best wine list in Pokhara, expensive but the toilets alone are worth it.
- Blue Diamond Restaurant, Lakeside Rd (just 3 shops south of Mt Kailas Resort, south end of Lakeside). Good western style breakfasts for NPR180, good Nepali Khanna (Dhal Bhat) for NPR130.
- 3 Busy Bee Cafe. A beautiful outdoor garden bar, with Pokhara's best rock & roll acts on stage around 20:00.
- 4 The China Town, 137 Lakeside Rd (Centre Point), ☎ . 09:00-22:00. Restaurant and bar that serves typical Chinese food, especially sweet & sour dishes. Fresh and locally grown/caught duck, fish and chickens. Also, a food menu for vegetarians.
- 5 Clay Oven, Lakeside. Nice and cheap restaurant over looking the lake. Nice sizzler meals and USD3 pizzas.
- 6 El Sol Spanish Restaurant, north Lakeside. Good and cheap Spanish food cooked by a Spanish chef. Pleasant and with a slightly hippy atmosphere.
- 7 Emon Cafe (in front of Busy Bee). This restaurant and bar has nightly live music upstairs with indoor and balcony seating. Cheap beer. Nice rooftop where they have a camp fire at night.
- 8 Everest Steak House, Pokhara (100 m after Club Amsterdam on the left hand side). Offers steaks so large they can only be eaten by a minimum of 3 people.
- 9 Fewa Paradise, Lakeside. This restaurant stretches from the main road to the lakeside. Great for breakfast and lunch overlooking the lake. In the evenings they have nightly cultural music and dance shows between 19:00-21:00.
- Friendship Restaurant (20 m down the side street near Bella Napoli in the southern end of Lake-side). 07:00-22:00. A small place that is deservedly popular with the locals. budget.
- Cafe Fusion Restaurant & Bar, Lakeside (Near Standard Chartered Bank), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Food from every corner of the globe. reasonable.
- 10 German Bakery (1), Central Lakeside (Streetside at the Boomerang Restaurant). Similar to the other German Bakery locations. This one is attached to the Boomerang Restaurant so customers have the use of free Wi-Fi and tables.
- 11 German Bakery (2), North Lakeside. There are at least three German Bakery locations in Pokhara. This one is take away only.
- 12 German Bakery (3), Damside (Near airport on Damside Marg). Another location of this popular bakery chain. This one is especially good if you're walking into town from the airport or on your way to or from the hike to the World Peace Pagoda. Several tables, free Wi-Fi, good breakfasts including honey curd muesli as well as the usual bakery items. NPR40 and up.
- 13 Godfather Pizzeria, north Lakeside. Great oven baked pizza.
- Hanging Garden. This is one of the outlets of the famed Fulbari Resort and a one of its kind restaurant in Nepal because of its design and location. It is located at the end of the cliff facing the Seti river gorge. It offers a breathtaking view of the Seti gorge below and some of the best meals in Pokhara.
- Hua-Han (Opposite the Royal Palace, near Jazz Cafe). Excellent Chinese restaurant, famous for its Kung Pao Chicken. Prices are comparatively high, and the interior indicates that it caters to customers better dressed than the usual trekker.
- Jazz Cafe. Great pizzas, less great pasta.
- 14 Koto Japanese restaurant (Opposite the Royal Palace, near Jazz Cafe). luxurious Japanese restaurant with excellent Beef Teriyaki and sushi.
- Laughing Buddha Restaurant - North Lakeside. Small family run place 5 mins north of the main strip across the road from the Chilly Bar. Good for simple and good Nepali dishes in friendly atmosphere. From cheap, filling breakfast-sets (NPR100-140) to lovely dinners. Good Chicken Tikka Butter Masala or Grilled Fish (fresh from the lake).
- 15 Lemon Grass, north Lakeside. Nice restaurant with lake views on the north end of Lakeside.
- Mike's Breakfast. Pokhara branch of the famous KTM restaurant.
- 16 Monsoon Cafe, ☎ . 09:00-19:00. Lovely cafe to enjoy breakfast or lunch. Fabulous desserts, quiche, baked potatoes and sandwiches
- 17 Moondance. A popular place to eat, and although the prices are high so is the quality.
- Natssul Korean Restaurant, ☎ . Located next to Lakeview Resort towards the tourist bus stand end of town, this is an outdoor garden restaurant run by a Korean couple and serves authentic Korean dishes. Recommended are Vege Bibimbob Hotpot, Beef Bulgogi stew and pork skewers. Free Wi-Fi and the complimentary side dishes are lovely.
- 18 Once upon a time, Lakeside, ☎ . 07:30-23:30. Italian and Indian Cuisine, very old restaurant in Pokhara. Free Wifi. moderate.
- 19 Once upon a time 2, Lakeside 6, ☎ . opening hours 07:30-23:30. The new restaurant offers Italian and Indian cuisine.
- 20 Olive Cafe, Lakeside. Nice food in central Lakeside.
- Peace Dragon Lodge & Restaurant (close to the World Peace Pagoda, just a 4 minute walk downward and eastward from the main gate), ☎ . Serves a good range of Nepali, Indian & Western dishes and light snacks. Prices are moderate, and the views are stunning.
- 21 Perky Beans. Popular place to eat, good breakfast, chapati wraps and renowned 500 ml shakes and smoothies.
- 22 Pokhara Java (On Mansawar, opposite Restaurant... Once upon a time.), ☎ . 06:30-. Nice and cosy coffee place, that serves breakfast, sandwiches and different varieties of coffee. Their set breakfast includes eggs, toast, hash browns and espresso coffee for Rs 195. budget.
- 23 Pokhara Steak House restaurant, hallan Chock, Lakeside Pokhara (main junction for Khahar and going to Bazar.), ☎ . 10:00-23:30. Speciality for all kind of steak dishes, sirloin, ribeye and T-bone. Prices are moderate.
- 24 Pokhara Thakali Kitchen, Just off Baidam Rd (Lakeside East behind the Trek-o-Tel Hotel), ☎ . 11:00-21:00. Authentic Thakali meals (including Daal Bhat) served on a large platter with several different curries. One of the best places to eat in Pokhara if you're looking for authentic regional dishes. NPR200-400.
- 25 Punjabi Restaurant, Lakeside. Authentic Indian vegetarian curries and breads. Another in a list of excellent places to eat in Pokhara if you like good quality curries. NPR180-300.
- 26 Sun Welcome, Lakeside. Small family run place 5 min north of the main strip, a few spots up from Newari. Cheap and delicious. Open all day, can even BYO.
- 27 Sweet Memories Restaurant, north Lakeside. Nice and cheap food with friendly staff.
- 28 Tara's Vegetarian Kitchen (Near the helping hands spa; down the alleyway with the "Fewa Spa" sign). A lovely small budget restaurant with a friendly proprietress. A great western-style breakfast with excellent hashbrowns; try the specialty dish, Simi Nariwal. Budget.
- Tushita Organic Restaurant, Lakeside, Basundhara Park. Serves Japanese food, sea food; specialist in sushi. Also offers Nepali food. Grilled fish, steak, pizza, herb wine are popular dishes. Delivery service for groups larger than 4.
- 29 Wooden coffee House (100 m down the side street between Trek-o-Tel and Natssul). 07:00-20:00. A lovely little place with outdoor seating in the sun, serving excellent coffee. It's set up by a joint Dutch-Nepal non-profit organization, helping single women with children. budget.
- Marwadi Sewa Bhojanalaya (Marwadi Shakahari Hotel), Mahendrapul, Pokhara. Price for two: NPR 500.
- Coffee Culture Cafe, ☎ . Various types of espressos, and other hot and cold drinks. The only completely dedicated organic coffee shop in Pokhara.
- Gorkha Bar One of the famous outlets of the Fulbari resort this bar offers all kinds of drinks, cocktails and mocktails.
- Pushkar Guest House.
- Pema Tibetan Restaurant offering Thukkpa (Tibetan Soup Noodles), Mo Mo (Tibetan style dumplings), with sukuti, sekuwa and locally brewed alcoholic drinks.
- Busy Bee Great spot on the lake in the heart of Pokhara. Late night, with live music from 20:00. Pool tables, decent food, local beers and imported spirits.
- Tushita Sushi Bar, Lakeside -Basundhara Park. Local speciality "Sushi Bite with Delight" and Himalayan herb wine.
- Bullet Basecamp, ☎ . 10:00-23:00. A Dutch-Australian run establishment. Situated a little away from the touristy strip of Pokhara.
- Cafe Fusion Restaurant & Bar, Lakeside (For all Kinds of drinks). Chilled beer, variety of wine, spirits and soft drinks such as smoothies, cocktails and mocktails.
- Oxygen Lounge Bar, lakeside (Near barahi temple, opposite to hotel Meera), ☎ . 08:00-late. Its a great place located in the centre of lakeside with beautiful view of lake and mountains from the garden of the bar. Live band every night, and late night camp fire.
- Di Di's Cafe, Across from Yokohama Hotel. Fast wifi, outlets for ethernet cables and power access, power is always on. Run by a very nice Nepali family,
Virtually all tourist accommodations are located in Lakeside and Damside, near Phewa Lake. In addition, there are around 12 guesthouses uphill in Sarangkot. These guesthouses offer better views and less air pollution, they are much more expensive for both accommodation and food, as there is limited competition. Note that these hotels are not accessible by car - they are located a 20 minute walk uphill on gravel from the taxi stand in Sarangkot (NPR500 for a taxi, less for a microbus). Another option for accommodation is the Raniban Retreat (USD98-156 for foreigners), a new lodge near the World Peace Pagoda with the best views in the area. Or try a local farmstay or homestay.
It is possible to find medium or long-term accomndation in Pokhara. Best by far is to ask locally. Anything geared exclusively for tourists in the Lakeside area will start at about $US250/300 per month for a probably new but not really special place. It takes some time but if you scout around you can find good deals for $US100-150 per month. Keep in mind that most locals make a very meager salary usually under $US200. When they say that $US300 is "local price", it is of course not true. Many local options lack furniture/Internet/etc. so you will have realistically have to pay a bit more if you want something where you can immediately move into. Just take a few days and you will find a more genuine and nicer place and it will cost half price than the tourist apartments that are springing up all over Lakeside.
- Amrit Guest House. Lakeside; nice little hostel that has both dorms and double bedrooms. Dorm NPR150, dbl room 200+.
- Angle Hotel, ☎ , (mobile). Lakeside. Quiet, family-run, clean rooms and hot shower. NPR200-300.
- 1 Baba Lodge. Fine meals in a great outdoor dining area overlooking the "Damside" end of Phewa lake. Gynendra will make you welcome.
- Banana Garden Lodge, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Khahare, north of lakeside, started in early 1990s is one of the most popular budget guest houses in town. Its slight elevation gives the most spectacular views to the lake. Run by a family.
- 2 Butterfly Lodge, Central Lakeside, ☎ . Helpful staff, reasonable prices, big rooms with some of their profits going to the Butterfly Foundation charity. Also, they can arrange tours.
- 3 Crown Hotel. A friendly, family-run place that is handy for paraglider pilots/students as it is very near some of the paragliding schools. The rooms are fine and the atmosphere mellow. Be aware that there have been reports of a fake website for this hotel, that shows real pictures of the hotel but is rumoured to lead to fraudulent bookings.
- Farmstay Just outside Pokhara is Hemjakot where Ishwar has opened his house for guests. He has a beautiful house and farm with an incredible view of the Annapurna range and his wife does fantastic daal bhat, which you get for lunch and dinner, Price is NPR800 per person per day for all food and lodging. Call Ishwar on +977 9806 576 980 to arrange: he can either meet you in Pokhara or arrange to meet at Hemjakot. From Hemjakot it is a 50min walk up the ridge to his village. Rooms shared.
- Green Peace Lodge, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Sedi Bagar, Lakeside. One of the finest views over the lake, great sunset. Busy throughout the year.
- Hotel Lake Side, one of the oldest hotels in the town, overseeing Phewa lake.
- Hotel Monal, Central Lakeside. Very reasonably priced hotel with decent sized rooms. It has a nice courtyard, and a lot of socializing going on between guests. The Australian woman who manages the place is very friendly, helpful, and lives on premises. The Wi-Fi is pretty bad and the staff just tell you to use a neighboring hotel's Wi-Fi. 800 NPR.
- Hotel Temple Villa, lakeside, towards the northern end in a very quiet street. Friendly owners and basic but clean rooms, some with balcony. Located next to the Octagon Hotel and has a pleasant garden. Double with shared bath NPR500, with attached bath NPR600.
- Hotel Travel Inn, Lakeside. Good cheap hotel on Lakeside.
- 4 Hotel Yeti, Lakeside East, Baidam-6 (On a side street no more than 75 m off Baidam Rd (turn near La Bella Napoli restaurant) away from the lake, next to the Hotel Bedrock), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. . Draped with flowering vines. Clean, quiet, free Wi-Fi, nice garden. Modest breakfast available. Starting at NPR600.
- Hotel Mountain View, ☎ . Lakeside, near Basundhara Park. Family-run hotel with clean, peaceful rooms with lake view from the rooms and hot shower facility. Arrangement for trekking to ABC, Ghandruk, Ghorepani, and many places on demand. Air, bus tickets booking facility.
- Karki Guest House, lakeside, +977 61 535708. This guest house is quiet and clean and the owner is fantastic. Clean rooms and bathrooms and hot water all the time. Prices vary by season.
- Lonely View Lodge, Kharare Pokhara (5 min walk north from Lake Side on main road), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Small family based guesthouse with beautiful view to Lake Fawe. NPR300-500.
- 5 Machhapuchhre Guesthouse, North Lakeside (about 150 m north of Laughing Buddha Restaurant on right), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Free Wi-Fi, kitchen & dining room in hotel, views to lake and mountains. USD8-25.
- 6 Nanohana Lodge, Lakeside East, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Clean and well-managed, just off Lakeside Rd (Baidam Rd). USD10-20.
- Samrat Home, lakeside - north part, small homestay with clean, cosy rooms. Owner is an English teacher, and can provide useful information about Pokhara and surroundings. Rooms from NPR300; NPR500 with attached bathroom. Friendly atmosphere, convenient store downstairs with filtered water station for NPR10.) email@example.com Owner: Khaji Thapa.
- Penguin Guest House, towards the more relaxed end of Lakeside, almost opposite the Royal Lake House. Budget rooms, NPR200 a night for double or twin room, with shared bathroom, or NPR350 for double/twin with en-suite bathroom. Great cheap food, and smoke friendly. Owner is fluent in Japanese, and so it is popular with Japanese visitors.
- Pleasant Home Hotel, Lakeside Pokhara (Just north of Lakeview Resort, 200m up small road). Nice budget hotel with friendly owners and decent NPR500 rooms. TV, mountain views with balconies and secure parking. Quiet and rarely full. NPR500.
- Pushkar Guest House, a relaxed and comfortable guest house. Has a variety of rooms at various prices, hot showers and a rooftop restaurant. Overlooks the lake.
- 7 Pushpa Guesthouse, Lakeside, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Popular and friendly guesthouse in good location just off the main lakeside road.
- 8 Rupa View Guest House, Lekhnath-11 , Pachbhaiya, Begnastal , Kaski (2.2 km east uphill from Begnastal bus Park), ☎ , , e-mail: email@example.com. Located on Pachbhaiya hill, which separates Begnas and Rupa lakes. Run by local family. Most of the food items are grown in the garden and purely organic. 10 $.
- Sweet Dreams, lakeside, very small relaxed hotel with a small bar/cafe/garden attached which is great for escaping from the noise of the main road. Rooms from NPR300, next door to Billy Bunters.
- Top Lonely Guesthouse, Kharare Pokhara (6 min walk north from Lake Side on main road little up on the right), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Guesthouse with nice view. Wi-Fi and attached bathrooms available. NPR250-700.
- 9 Hotel Castle Resort, ☎ . Small, resort-style accommodation with a faux castle on a small hill overlooking Fewa Lake with ten rooms, heated swimming pool and an Irish pub.
- Hotel Diplomat, Lakeside (south side near the old palace grounds). A nice family-run place with friendly owner. All rooms have recently-installed (as of 2015) fixtures, silent generator, double beds. Mattresses are above par and visitors can sit on the roof and enjoy the views over the lake and mountains. USD15.
- Hotel Garden, Pokhara Damside (Near Damside chowk and airport), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. A modern, comfortable hotel with great, friendly staff, roof-top view, free Wi-Fi, orchid garden restaurant and bar.
- Hotel Meera, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Provides clean and spacious rooms for about USD30. They also have a great restaurant.
- Hotel Pokhara Inn, Fewa Lake, Pardi (Five-minute walk from the dam towards the airport. Next to Hotel Dragon and Hotel Sports.), ☎ . Completed in summer 2012, this 5-storey hotel provides rooms with full western bathrooms, comfortable mattresses, television sets, Wi-Fi Internet access, lock boxes and northerly views of the Himalayas. The hotel's driver can provide transport around town when needed or to/from the airport. The hotel's generator provides electricity when the local power goes out. Air conditioned rooms are also available at a slightly higher rate. USD15-25.
- Lake View House (Lake Side North, main road). Nice family-run guesthouse. Just 4 rooms, nice garden, view of the lake, 2 shared bathrooms, hot shower. Homemade food by request. NPR200.
- Octagon Guesthouse Pokhara, Lakeside (Central location down a quiet lane ask anyone). A small family-run place. Pretty octagon-shaped building, hospitable owner. USD15.
- Peace Dragon Lodge, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Located within 4min walk from the World Peace Pagoda and enjoying what is probably the best view in town, overlooking Phewa Lake and the mountain range stretching from Daulaghiri to Himal Ganesh, between them the Annapurnas, Fishtail (Machhapuchhre) and Manasalu. All tastefully-furnished rooms are en suite with solar powered hot water and 24-hour back-up power. Magnificent rooftop restaurant. With Western and Nepali co-owners. Internet connection available. USD30-45 but discounts of up to 25% are often available..
- Pension Tushita Great location: lake, park and jungle are just in front and mountain view in the background. Modern amenities (mini kitchen too). Beautiful garden with bees and rabbits. Recreation room, Japanese-style hot bath and organic restaurant are its speciality. Sgl USD16, dbl USD23. 20% of profits are donated to education and environment issues project CSR.
- Sampada Inn, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. An attractive recently opened (as of 2015) hotel in traditional Nepali design with engraved windows and brick work. The rooms are unique with exposed Nepali brickwork, natural wood furniture, etc. Free Wi-Fi. On a quiet street and 2min walk to the lakeside area. It is family operated. Rooms start at USD40.
- The Silver Oaks Inn, Lakeside-6 (In a quiet lane, take the road at the 7-Eleven /Standard Chartered Bank), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: noon, check-out: noon. Four-storey hotel with nice views and a shady, colourful garden. Clean rooms. Good views from balcony or rooftop. Traveldesk and big lounge/restaurant. Free Wi-Fi /desktop. Sgl USD23, dbl USD47 - both incl breakfast and tax; 25% discount in offseason.
- The New Pokhara Lodge, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. On the shores of Pokhara's largest lake. Sufficiently set back from the main road to guarantee peace, quiet & privacy, there are just 16 rooms, all with attached tiled toilets and 24 hours hot and cold water. Standard rooms with attached bath, and deluxe room with bath & air-con available. The lodge is built around one of the best gardens in town. Offers free very high speed Wi-Fi internet up to 10 Mbps. €11-30.
- 10 Third Eye Inn, Pahari Marg, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Lovely renovated hotel with clean comfortable rooms and amazing views from the rooftop. Same management as Sacred valley Inn. USD20-30.
- 11 Trekkies Guesthouse, 231 Nahar Marg, Lakeside, ward 6 Dihiko Patan, ☎ , , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A clean quiet little place in a rural like setting, yet only a short walk from the main road. The family running the guesthouse are helpful and friendly, the owner Bhadra is also an expert trekking guide. Meals and laundry services are provided, along with a roof top view of Phewa Tal and free Wi-Fi. NPR700 with attached bathroom.
- 12 Sacred Valley Inn, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Tourist favourite since 1998. Great location in Lakeside. Lovely airy rooms - some with balconies. Delicious breakfasts on the roof with amazing views. USD15-30.
- Hotel Nirvana, Durbar Marg, Lakeside (opposite the Palace), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Big airy rooms - some with mountain views. Lovely garden and great rooftop area for sitting and enjoying the views. Good breakfasts, Wi-Fi, helpful staff. USD10-25.
- Hotel Da Yatra Courtyard (Da Yatra), Pahari Marg, Lakeside-6 (From Boomerang Restaurant head hardly a block north and turn right and go east about 2 minutes walk), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 12:00 noon, check-out: 12:00 noon. Neo-classical 4-star hotel located in the heart of downtown lakeside: Cozy, comfortable, spacious rooms. All rooms are sound-proof. 24-hour front desk, lift service with 2-sides glass to capture views of aquamarine Lake Phewa, sacred Varahi Temple, World Peace Stupa and Queen Forest and other rolling hills. Outdoor garden bar, water-fountains, roof-top terrace, patio and cozy restaurant. Serves world class beverages, exotic cocktails and mocktails till late night. Fooday's Restaurant on premises. Free parking, free Wi Fi in room and all public areas. Gift-shops, shoe-shine machine and 24-hour security. Approximately a 2-minute walks from the lake-shore road. 100+ pax meeting hall with state-of-the-art sound system and necessary equipment. $155-$425.
- Fishtail Lodge. Located on a peninsula of Phewa Lake that is accessible from Lakeside via private boats. USD112-180.
- 13 The Fulbari Resort & Spa, ☎ . Nepal's only 5-star resort located outside of the capital. About ten minutes from the airport and offering unfettered views of the surrounding Himalayan ranges. Alongside the hotel is a former glacial canyon and the Seti-River gorge. Facilities at the hotel include four restaurants, one bar, a spa/health club, golf club and a casino.
- 14 Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge, Kalikasthan-Majthana Rd, Lekhnath (From Pokhara, take the H04 towards Kathmandu, then turn left on Kalikasthan-Majthana Rd for 4 km.), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 14:00. Eco-lodge situated 30 minutes out of Pokhara has stunning mountain views, home cooking with local and organic produce and 18 rooms. An infinity pool, and a range of massage, yoga and meditation therapies. Expert local guides escort walks exploring local culture, flora and fauna. 250-500 $.
- Raniban Retreat. A lodge on the top of a mountain near the World Peace Pagoda, offering what may be the best views in the area, 420m above town. D98-156 for foreigners, depending on the view.
- 15 The Pavilions Himalayas, Siddhartha Rajmarg (From central Pokhara, take the Siddhartha Rajmarg Rd for 8 km until you cross the Fusre Khola torrent.), ☎ . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. A recently opened (as of 2015) eco-resort with great service and comfort. Villas are peppered in the rice fields above the infinity pool looking at the mountains. As its off-grid the resort relies on solar panels and bio-gas for lighting and cooking, and the organic food from the farm next door. 150-750 USD.
- Annapurna is a mountainous region just outside of Pokhara, famous for trekking. Two popular longer treks are the Annapurna Sanctuary and Annapurna Circuit.
- Lumbini is the birthplace of the Buddha, reachable from Pokhara by bus (NPR150, 3-4 hours).
- Kathmandu is reachable from Pokhara by crowded local minibus (NPR400-600, 6-7 hours), tourist bus (NPR800-2000, 6-7 hours), and by plane (USD102-106, 40 minutes). Tickets are sold at all travel agencies.
- Chitwan National Park is a World Heritage site with tigers, rhinos and jungle animals which offers elephant rides, jungle canoeing, nature walks and bird watching, as well as more adventurous tiger and rhino-viewing.
- India is enterable at Sunali from the Nepalese border town of Bhairahawa, reachable by crowded local minibus (NPR545, 8 hours) or by tourist bus (NPR700, 8 hours). The buses leave very early in the morning (6am, 7am and 8am for local bus, 06:30 for tourist bus). Beware being a sold a ticket for a tourist bus that is actually for a crowded local minibus. Upon reaching the bus station in Bhairahawa, take a rickshaw to the immigration office/border control station (NPR250).