On my recent trip with G Adventures to India and Nepal, we had 2 nights and about 1.5 days to explore. For most people visiting Pokhara, this simply doesn’t seem like a lot of time to do or see anything, but like I always say, it’s better to have a little time in a place than no time at all.
Most people visit Pokhara for trekking. In fact, almost every person you come in contact with will ask you if you’re there to trek, but just because this is a major trekker starting point, doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to do for non-trekkers like myself. Here is a sample two day itinerary for non-trekkers visiting Nepal. Note that Pokhara is known for adventurists, so this itinerary is not for the weak at heart.
First things first—how do you get to Pokhara? Tourist buses run from Kathmandu for around $6-8 USD frequently throughout the day. Flying is definitely the quickest and easiest way to get to Pokhara and Yeti Airlines, Buddha Air and Air Viva are the popular airlines that will take you there from Kathmandu. Flights range in price but can be around $80-110 USD.
Next, where do you stay? We stayed at Hotel Bougainvillea, where rooms range from $25-$55 USD for a standard room, or $35-$65 USD for a deluxe room. This hotel was centrally located, clean and did the trick, but there are hundreds of hotels in Pokhara and many that are close to the main street that is lined with shops and restaurants. If you’re looking for an even cheaper option, Pushpa Guest House and The North Face Inn are popular choices, but there are several hostels starting at only $4 USD a night.
Wake up bright and early and have breakfast at Tea Time, a great, inexpensive and cozy spot with fireplaces in the winter. Next head to Phewa Lake to rent a boat and driver to take you across the lake to the trail (prices are set and displayed on a sign by the lake), which will lead you to the World Peace Pagoda. The trail will take you around 45 minutes to climb, and come prepared for a hike. When you reach the top, there are several cafes with incredible views of the Annapurna mountain range. Once you head back down to the lake, grab a boat and get them to take you around the lake. There is a temple that is in the middle of the lake, Barahi Temple that you can also visit. Both the World Peace Pagoda and Barahi Temple are free to visit.
When you get back to mainland, walk down the main road (Lakeside) and take your time stopping and shopping in all the little local stores. You’ll find knockoff North Face apparel, trekking gear, handicrafts, gorgeous art, and everything in between. I loved shopping in Pokhara because it was not like the markets in India where the salespeople chase you down the road begging you to buy from them. Pokhara was a much more pleasant and peaceful experience.
For lunch, there are several options on the main strip by the lake, but popular eating spots are Pokhara Beach Club and Moon Dance Restaurant & Bar. The thing I loved about Pokhara, is mostly everything (aside from adventure activities) were all within walking distance to where we were staying so we didn’t have to worry about transportation.
When I was in Pokhara, we didn’t squeeze in all the adventure activities possible since we were on a guided tour and a bit more limited to what we could do with our schedule, but there is basically everything in Pokhara for thrill seekers. Although when you’re on a limited amount of time, ziplining and bungee jumping are two that can fit nicely into your schedule.
Pokhara not only has ziplining, they have the tallest, longest and steepest zipline in the entire world. With an incline of 56 degrees, length of 1.8km and a drop of 600 meters, this is definitely going to be unlike any other zipline experience you’ve had.
Price: $68.00 USD
This is Nepal’s first and only tower bungee, and is located 20 minutes from Pokhara’s main Lakeside area. You’ll also get an awesome view of the Himalayas, hills and rivers while you’re trying not to pee your pants before jumping off a 70 meter tall tower.
Price: $68.00 USD
After an afternoon of adventure in Pokhara, get cleaned up and head to Rainbow Restaurant & Royal Bar for dinner. This spot is inexpensive, and has a great rooftop patio that overlooks the street. I went a bit untraditional when I ate there and opted for the veggie burger and was glad I did—this was one of the best veggie burgers I’ve ever had!
Wake up before the sun and find a spot to watch the sunrise over the mountains. Your best bet is to ask your hotel where they would recommend, but with G Adventures we went to Annapurna Textile & Restaurant, which was about a 30-minute drive from Pokhara. Another popular option is Sarangkot. Located about 10km from Lakeside Pokhara. Hire a taxi that will take you there for around 800 NPR. Thailand Red Cat wrote about their experience in Sarangkot here.
After sunrise consider seeing the mountains from another level—the air. Paragliding is a popular activity in Pokhara and definitely one you can’t miss. We paraglided with Open Sky Paragliding and it cost around $150-$200 USD which included our photos and videos from the flight (you can opt out of getting these). The experience was incredible and although kind of scary, it was also peaceful to be flying up in the air over Pokhara with the birds.
Read about my full experience paragliding here
After your exhilarating flight in the sky, head for lunch at Boomerang. This restaurant is right by the lake, has a great patio, and serves up everything from traditional to Western food.
Spend the rest of your afternoon relaxing in Pokhara, or take a hike to visit Davis Falls. From Hotel Bougainvillea, the falls are about a 45-minute walk or from Boomerang it’s about 50-minutes walking. You could also hire a taxi, but where’s the fun in that? Across the street from the waterfalls are caves you can also visit—the first level is a Hindu temple and the second level is where the river runs through. You can read about the experience/hike here by travellers Mike and Elysia.