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Nepal is known for its stunning beauty, and Pokhara is definitely somewhere to visit to enjoy this. It is Nepal’s second-largest city and the gateway to the Annapurna circuit, meaning it is hugely popular with trekkers. But, it is not a destination only for trekkers and is worth a visit to see some of the awesome places to visit in Pokhara.
It is a beautiful city, centred around the lake, which is hard to miss, perched right on the city’s edge. Nestled under the backdrop of the Himalayas, with the lake glistening underneath, it is somewhere not to be missed when visiting Nepal. The city is one of the country’s top tourist spots. Not just as a starting point for hiking but for its interesting things to see, its natural beauty, and is a great place to relax.
Getting to Pokhara
As of January 2023, Nepal’s second international airport was opened in Pokhara. As of yet, no international flights have landed. However, daily internal flights to Kathmandu take around 25 minutes. Although, the planes are not large.
Alternatively, it is about a 200km drive from Kathmandu. The road is not in the best condition and is incredibly bumpy, so do expect this journey to take 8-9 hours.
Awesome places to visit in Pokhara, Nepal
1. Phewa Lake – Awesome places to visit in Pokhara
If you stay in the touristy part of Pokhara, you will be hard pushed to miss Phewa Lake. For a good reason, it is top of the places to visit in Pokhara. This should also be one of the first places you visit when you arrive. Perfect for getting your bearings and a lovely wander to start your time in the city. It is nestled among the mountains and wouldn’t look out of place in Switzerland. The clear blue water shimmers in the beautiful sunshine, making it the most peaceful place.
Walk the entire length of the lake, and along the way, there are lakeside restaurants and bars from which you can enjoy the view. Spend time taking photos of the views, the snow-capped peaks of the Annapurna range on one side, the lake and the beautiful scenery.
But don’t just limit yourself to walking around the lake! It is best experienced from the water. Hire one of the iconic colourful boats bobbing in the lake. Don the obligatory orange life jacket and row out in the middle of the azure water. You will find vendors hiring boats along the shore of the lake, and you can choose how long you want to hire it and whether you want to row yourself or have a boat with someone to do it for you. You can even hire large pedalos!
2. Tal Barahi – Awesome places to visit in Pokhara
If you hire a boat on Lake Phewal, visiting the Tal Barahi temple is a mu§st. Located on a little island in the middle of Lake Phewa, it is one of Pokhara’s most important religious places. This two-storey pagoda was built in 1416, is sacred to the Hindus and celebrates the god Vishnu, the protector of the universe. It can only be reached by boat, is about 300m off the shore, and you wouldn’t need more than 15 – 30 mins to explore the tiny island.
3. Sunrise at Sarangkot – Awesome places to visit in Pokhara
If you only stop at one of the awesome places to visit Pokhara, make sunrise at Sarangkot the one. This viewpoint is iconic for its insane views of the snow-capped Annapurna mountain range and is even more spectacular at sunrise. As the sun rises slowly in the distance and the first light hits the 8,000m peaks of the Annapurna range in the distance, you can’t help but have your breath taken away and be awed at how beautiful this world can be.
From this viewpoint, you’re blessed with uninterrupted, panoramic views of many of the most stunning Himalayan peaks, including the most deadly peak in the world – Annapurna I (8,091m), the imposing Dhaulagiri (8,167m), the triangle peak of Machhapuchhare (otherwise know as Fishtail), Annapurna II and Lamjung. The way the sunrises is incredible; the peaks turn from bright pink to orange and finally white.
To get to Sarangkot viewpoint, you can hire a taxi to take you to the lookout point (NPR 500+), or hire a scooter in Pokhara and follow the signs to Sarangkot. If you are feeling incredibly energetic, you can even hike it!
4. Annapurna Cable Car – Awesome places to visit in Pokhara
If you feel less energetic, the other option is to take the cable car to the Sarangkot viewpoint. This cable car opened in 2022 and connected the lake to the top of Sarangkot hill. From there is a short walk to the viewpoint. It takes just 10 minutes to get from the bottom to the top, but you have fantastic views back down the hill over the lake on the way up.
It costs $9 for tourists, and make sure to check the times the cable car opens to ensure you are at the top for sunrise.
5. World Peace Pagoda
One of the most popular activities in Pokhara is visiting the World Peace Pagoda on top of Anadu Hill.
It was built just after World War II by Buddhist monks from the Japanese Nipponzan Myohijo organisation. And is one of 100 Buddhist stupas being built around the world to inspire peace for all races and creeds.
Getting there isn’t easy; you can hike or grab a taxi from Pokhara. From where you are dropped off, it is a 10-15 minute walk up to the pagoda, which is incredibly steep. Once you arrive at the Pagoda, you must take your shoes off and walk around barefoot. You must also remain silent, and guards will reprimand you for talking.
While the pagoda is interesting and important to see, and walking around it feels very peaceful, perhaps the best part of making the trip up there is the views. The Annapurna range once again looks stunning from this part of Pokhara.
6. Pumdikot Shiva Statue
One of the newer tourist attractions in Pokhara, the Pumdikot Shiva statue, was completed in late 2021. Despite the incredibly bumping roads to get to it, it is a very popular spot. So do expect a lot of other tourists when you get there. And, once more, while the statue is impressive, one of the best parts of this spot is the view of the mountains.
The statue itself is the tallest one of Shiva in Nepal. It stands at T 51 feet tall and sits on a white stupa that adds 57 feet, making the entire structure 108 feet high. It is part of a wider development plan for the area, but currently, the statue is the only part completed.
7. Get a massage
Due to the number of people in Pokhara for hiking, it is no surprise that many places offering massages have popped up. Whether you have been on a long trek or not, indulge in a massage in Pokhara. All along the main tourist road, Lakeside Road, you will see places offering them. Some don’t have the best reputation, so it is worth spending more and researching. Two that two come highly recommended: Jiva Spa and Seeing Hands.
The latter is a social enterprise providing training and employment opportunities for visually impaired people in massage therapy.
8. Devi’s Fall
The name behind this waterfall is slightly morbid – a Swiss couple was swimming a little upstream from the falls, and the woman, Mrs Davis, got swept under by a current and drowned. After a large effort, her body was found three days later, and reportedly her father asked for the falls to be named after her. Nepali spelling and pronunciation of her name often translates to Devis. Dev and Davi are common names in Nepal.
The fall itself isn’t perhaps the most spectacular you have ever seen; if you have seen waterfalls before, you will be disappointed by this. You can get quite close, but there is a viewing platform from which you can peer over. The interesting part is that the river disappears into an underground cave.
There are also some cultural Nepali moments in the complex, including being able to stand behind some local dress.
9. Visit Pokhara “Disneyland”
It is self-labelled as Pokhara Disneyland! However, do not think this will be anything like the image of have in your mind of what Disneyland is actually like! But still fun and an interesting place to wander around. You can see the huge Ferris wheel spinning around and at quite the space from the lake. I have never seen one go as fast as this!
There are rides you can go on, but not all are still in action. Parts of the park sometimes look abandoned, and even the open rides don’t necessarily look like they are at first glance. There are also bumper cars, arcade games and even places to buy food. It might not be the most beautiful spot, but it’s an assuming place to walk around.
10. Do some shopping
If you want to pick up some souvenirs in Nepal, wait until you are in Pokhara. Pokhara lakeside is filled with souvenir shops; you can pick up anything. From bags, socks, Christmas decorations, prayer flags, coasters, and masala chai tea. The list is endless! There are also hundreds of shops selling activewear and hiking gear. So if you want to stock up on anything like that, this is where to go. They aren’t necessarily genuine, but most are good quality.
You can get all of these things in Kathmandu, but the experience is much calmer in Pokhara. Less traffic, fewer people and a lovely street to wander down.
11. Adventure sports
If relaxing isn’t your thing and you are looking for some adrenaline, that is hiking, Pokhara is a great base for this and has plenty of options. Activities include white water rafting, bungee jumping, ultralight flights and kayaking, to name a few.
There are plenty of operators along lakeside who offer these activities, so once again, make sure to do your search.
Other places to visit in Pokhara
- Shree garden dhargay monastery – a little antiquated cloister
- Tibetan Refugee Camp Day trip – Settlement camp
- Gorkha Memorial Museum, Pokhara – Museum dedicated to the history of Nepal’s Gurkha soldiers.
- Sadhana Yoga Retreat Centre
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Thanks for sharing, this looks a great place to explore, with plenty to do and see 🙂
It’s such an interesting place! I’d highly recommend a visit ☺️