“Gateway to the Himalayas”.
Where is Pokhara?
The city of Pokhara is on Fewa Lake in central Nepal. It’s the gateway to the Annapurna Circuit, a popular trail in the Himalayas. The Annapurna Range, with three out of the ten highest peaks in the world, Dhaulagiri, Annapurna I, and Manaslu, which are all within 35 miles of the valley.
Considered to be the tourist capital of Nepal, the city is a base for trekkers undertaking the Annapurna Circuit through the Annapurna Conservation Area region of the Himalayas. Pokhara is also home to many of the elite Gurkha soldiers.
The British Gurkha Camp in Pokhara is the main recruitment centre where the annual selection course is run.
Our journey from Secunderabad to Pokhara was by Plane, bus, and minibus.
We had booked our first night in Pokhara at the Hotel Trekkers Inn, a few steps from Fewa Lake. Our room commanded wonderful views of the mountains together with the lake. A spacious room with soft furnishings we did not wish to stay here for a further 4 nights.
The following morning we made our way to Hotel Mala. We had been to see the hotel the previous day. A bit further back from the lake, this 4-star hotel was more to our liking. Our room had a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a kettle, shower, hairdryer, and a private bathroom. Continental breakfast was included as well.
Nice swimming on the roof terrace affording beautiful views of Fewa lake.
Restaurants and cafes
A nice little cafe serving good organic and vegetarian food though most importantly good coffee. More expensive than others in the city.
Another good coffee cafe.
A cosy Italian restaurant with an open log fire. Serves good food. As it’s the oldest Italian restaurant in Pokhara, expect to pay for the name and history.
Places of interest
There are a number of adrenalin-fuelled things to do whilst in Pokhara. White water rafting and some of the best paragliding in the world is available here. Pokhara is the gateway to the Annapurna Circuit and offers some unbeatable epic trekking experiences.
International Mountain Museum
Located in the south of the city, the International Mountain Museum exhibits the history of mountaineering and the culture and lifestyle of people living in the Himalayas.
The World Peace Pagoda
Shanti Stupa, is a Buddhist pagoda-style monument on Anadu Hill, overlooking the city and lake.
There are a number of ways to get there, for the active, take a boat or a canoe across the lake, 1000 Rupees each for a return ticket, and walk up the hill via a rough and rocky track, approximately an hour walk.
As we didn’t fancy the walk up but wanted to walk down, we took a bus from the boat pier to the main road, Highway 10, for 15 Rupees each. A change of bus, another 15 Rupees each, and we were at the end of Siddhartha Rajmarg road, where the bus stopped.
From here there was a bus to the Pagoda, but it only runs a couple of times a day and we would have had to wait until 1400 hrs if we wanted this option. A taxi at 400 Rupees was our only way up as we didn’t want to wait.
From the Pagoda, which has free entry, there are spectacular views across Fewa lake and the city of Pokhara.
For the return journey, we chose to walk down the mountain track at a slow pace. It had been raining so extra care was needed. Also accompanied by some canine friends who seemed to show us the way.
The walk took around 45 minutes and was very pleasant.
Following the signs all the way down to the lake, where it is possible to get a canoe across the lake back to the starting point for 275 Rupees each.
No trip to Pokhara would be complete without experiencing it from the water in one of the many canoes.
Such peace and tranquillity on the lake only the sound of our canoe paddle dipping into the water could be heard.
In the lake, there is an island with the Tal Barahi temple on it, only accessible by boat. These together with the incredible views of snow-capped peaks of the Annapurna range and the densely forested slopes of Anadu Hill make this a must-do experience.
The Gurkha Memorial Museum
A short bus ride out of town gets you to the Gurkha Memorial Museum. Entry is 250 Rupees for foreign nationals. Split over three floors. On the ground floor, dedicated to the background of the Gurkha soldiers. The first floor displays the customs and traditions of each of the infantry regiments. Finally the second is dedicated to specialists such as Engineers, Signals, and Transport Regiments.
Sarangkot Hill viewpoint
This offers panoramic views of the mountains when the clouds allow. We tried for 4 days to go up there to see the Annapurna range without success, as it was too cloudy. There is a bus that goes up there but by far the easiest way is by taxi, we don’t know the cost as we never got there.
Alternatively, you can hire a scooter and follow the signs to Sarangkot. If you are taking this option and are British, you will require an International driving licence to allow you to hire the scooter.