Pokhara, between sport and relaxation

By Fanny — Posted in Depaysemoi on

Depaysemoi Tips Travel Guide Nepal

Pokhara is a place in Nepal where mountains and lakes meet. At the foot of Annapurna chain, Pokhara, which was spared by the 2015 earthquake, is a quiet place, adored by travelers who can recharge their batteries. But we don't get bored either, because the place, without the noise nuisance of Kathmandu, offers a lot of activities especially sports.

Pokhara, was our refuge during our stay in Nepal. We quickly fled Kathmandu, too dirty and noisy for us to join Pokhara. It was a little crush, and even before we knew it, we had made our mark in the city.

What to see and what to do in Pokhara ? The inescapable :

Enjoy Lakeside :

Pokhara stretches along Lake Phewa, and life of Nepalese is organized around it. You can walk around, or swim, the locals wash there, fish there, do their laundry and the dishes. It's not uncommon to see children running on it naked after school !
More than a dozen restaurants and guesthouses along the lake with a beautiful view, you just have to make your choice.

Pokhara - Nepal

Pokhara - Nepal

Pokhara - Nepal

Paragliding :

Pokhara is one of the most famous spots for paragliding. The activity was brought by some French several years ago, and since the agencies have multiplied.
Although daredevil, we have not tested this activity, Nils had already done it before, but I didn't. It must be said that we saw so much every day, that strangely it tired me without doing it ... But obviously, it is only part of a place where it will be less widespread.
By cons, it's possible to watch them land at Happy Village, you will see that some Nepalese children help to fold the equipment, and most have learned English through this, by being in contact with tourists.

To know :

If you want to paraglide, wait until it has rained. Pokhara is a bit like a bowl, so the pollution and other stagnate around, hiding sometimes the view of the mountains. But as soon as it rains, the next day the view is clear for miles and it's beautiful. Much better for paragliding !

Parapente - Nepal

Stay at Happy Village :

If Pokhara is still too hectic for you, walk 20 minutes to Happy Village. At the lake, there are some guesthouses and restaurants. Far more off-center and local, you will see more cows than cars.
When we arrived, it was here, at a friend's house, that we stayed before going on a trek. By cons, there is obviously less choice than Lakeside, so don't be afraid of a little walk to get to town, or you can also hitchhike, it works pretty well : car, motorcycle, trailer, we tested everything !
It's also here that you can see the paragliders land.

Happy Village - Nepal

Pokhara - Nepal

Rent a motorbike and explore the surroundings :

Pokhara is good, but there is more to see than the city ! Rent a motorbike is a good way to explore the area.
That's what we did, we rented a bike for 24h, we took the tent and we left without really knowing where to go to explore and find a place to camp at night.

Attention :

  • If you don't have the motorcycle license, or if you are not comfortable, we advise you not to rent a motorcycle. Already, the roads look like cross country courses so it already requires a minimum of control, but in addition, they drive so badly. They honk to announce that one doubles, one turns, etc. We also cross a lot of trucks. And it can be scary !
  • In Nepal, we drive on the left.
  • Having an international driver licence is essential in case of control, and problem.
  • Most motorcycles are in poor condition, no need to be an expert to notice, so test well before renting. On ours, we felt that it was not great, but we thought that for 24h it would go : on the return, we lost our kick and gear lever. I don't tell you how nice it was ! Well, we laughed at it and it's still the case, but for some it may not be the most pleasant experience.
  • Plan a mask to protect your mouth and nose.

Road Trip - Nepal

Eat ! :

You tell me we can do this everywhere in Nepal, and it's not wrong ! But Pokhara offers such a quantity of restaurants (of all kinds) that it would be a shame not to test them. With the more than affordable price of food, we have never eaten in the restaurant as much as in this country !
You will be able to introduce you to Nepali and even Indian cuisine. A good way to discover new things. Even if we find that the best dishes we ate were during the trek, Pokhara is not outdone either. We can only advise you to try as many restaurants as you can !

Pokhara - Nepal

Borrow or rent a rowboat :

We could borrow one for free when staying at Happy Village, but there are also some rental points.
It is a good way to see Pokhara from another point of view, and enjoy the tranquility of the lake.

Attention :

There are a lot of leeches especially at the approach of the monsoon. So be careful if you want to take a break on a small lake island.

Pokhara - Nepal

Go on a trek :

With Kathmandu, Pokhara is one of the main starting points for treks including the Annapurna. If ever, a trek "long" doesn't tempt you, or you run out of time, it's possible to make shorter ones around a day or two.
Find out in the city, or at the local trekking agencies that are not lacking in the area.

How long to stay in Pokhara ? :

It's hard to answer this question ! Obviously, it depends on the time you have in front of you, but also on your expectations. Pokhara is a good place to stay because it offers departures for treks, but also for the south.
Nils was in love with the place, he loved the tranquility and serenity that reigned there. As I started to go around in circles. It was a little too quiet for me, and I wanted to see something else.
A week is a good average to enjoy the city and its surroundings.

Pokhara - Nepal

A glimpse of the beginning of the monsoon in Nepal.

Pokhara - Nepal

Pokhara - Nepal

Where to sleep in Pokhara ? :

When we were at Happy Village, we stayed with a friend and her boyfriend who rented a small house, and then we took a guesthouse next door.
After returning from the trek, we stayed at Lakeside at Babylon Guesthouse.
As each time we stayed for a long time, we had discounts on the rooms.

Paradise Guesthouse :

Price : 800 rupees (6,5€) for a double room with private bathroom and wifi. 400 rupees (3,20€) with long term trading.
Activities : Free Wifi, restaurants, psmall shops nearby, lake view, paragliding landing, 20 min walk to the center of Pokhara.

Babylon Guesthouse:

Price : 800 rupees (6,5€) for a double room with private bathroom and wifi. 400 rupees (3,20€) with long term trading.
Activities : Free Wifi, right in Lakeside so close to all amenities, hot water.

How to come to Pokhara ? :

Coming from Kathmandu, we took a tourist bus (that is to say a little "in better condition" than the local buses). Some agencies offer routes, just choose. Our ticket included the trip, but also a meal at noon.
You will probably sell the bus by saying that there is free wifi: there is never any wifi on the bus, no matter which one you take. By cons, there are toilets in the tourist bus, and that's good !

The road is quite chaotic, you will be shaken in all directions (even if it's not worse than the trip back from the trek to Pokhara), if you have a fragile stomach in transport, well good luck !

Departures are often early in the morning. It's necessary to join Kanti Path Road in Kathmandu, in 5-10 minutes of the district of Thamel. Dozens of buses are lined up, there is just to find yours and give your name for you to check on the list, and obviously show your ticket.
While waiting for the departure, there are many street vendors or on stands that offer food and drink. Ideal if you have not had breakfast time. In addition, the trip is long until the lunch break.

You must not be in a hurry in Nepal, you have hardly left before you will make a new stop at a petrol station, and then it's off again ... Before a new break around 11am to stretch your legs, admire the view and buy a little something to eat (yes, again). Between 13h and 14h30, there is the lunch break, which can be included in the price of the ticket if you have taken this formula. Otherwise you can pay directly on the spot. In both cases, you will not ruin yourself !

After 8 hours of road during which beautiful landscapes including views of the Himalayas, we finally arrive in Pokhara late afternoon. The bus station is a little out of the way from the very center of the city (it is not far from the Immigration Office), and just out of the bus you will be harassed by taxi drivers and other people wanting to bring you to their guesthouses. It's up to you if you want to walk between 10 and 20 minutes to reach Lakeside, or succumb to the attractive prices of a taxi.

Bus - Nepal

Practical information :

Bus from Kathmandu to Pokhara :
Price : 600 roupies (5€) per person with the ride and lunch.
Travel time : Between 7h and 8h of road.
Where to take the bus in Kathmandu ? : Kanti Path Road
What time is the departure? : 7am, but you will be asked to be there 30 minutes before.

The prices shown are the ones we had, you may encounter a difference (good or bad!) but at least it gives you an idea.

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