The two cities people visit the most when they are visiting Nepal and Kathmandu obviously and Pokhara. While Pokhara is the entry and/or exit points for trekking in the Annapurna region, travelers who are in Nepal to trek the Everest region including trekking to destinations like Makalu and Manaslu may take add some extra days to make a trip to Pokhara and if they do, they will be delighted with many things that make the city unique. Here are some insider’s tidbits about this pristine city.
Kathmandu versus Pokhara:
Even with the comparison to international standards, Kathmandu is a rather big city. The traffic, the hustle and bustle and the overall pace of the city can be overwhelming for anyone let alone someone who is visiting it. But please don’t take this as our attempt to demonize the city. Kathmandu valley is a beautiful city with lots to do and Thamel, the primary destination for tourist is a place where you could spend an entire day and not be bored even for a second. Compared to Kathmandu, the lake city of Pokhara on the other hand is relatively quiet and small. Moreover, the mountains are very near from the city and thus you get a very close-up view of them, including the world famous Mt. Fishtail (Machapuchre). The sunrise in Pokhara is breathtaking.
Getting to Pokhara is a mere 20 minute’s flight from Kathmandu. This is what we recommend: if you have not taken a mountain flight to the Everest region while in Kathmandu or don’t plan to do it, flying to Pokhara will give you a picturesque view of the Annapurna region. If you have or will go on a mountain flight to the Everest region, then it might be worthwhile to take the 5 hour or so bus ride there from Kathmandu. The luxurious tourist buses, most with Wi-Fi leave from Thamel and the ride will not only take you along the highway that treats you with the view of the mountains, but also introduce you to the villages of Nepal and an introduction to how people live. All these years and driving to Pokhara never gets old for us.
For the size of the city, arguably no city in South Asia offers more activities than Pokhara. The city is home to the most extreme zip lining in the world. The 1.8 kilometer line has a drop of 600 meter and speeds up to 100 MPH. We often hear that the price is too high (US$68) in Nepali standards for the zipline, but it is important to be mindful that this zipline was constructed with international standards and with components made by experienced companies abroad.
The other word class activity to participate while in Pokhara is the paragliding. Our friends at Avia club operate flight adventure in Pokhara and in the last 19 years, more than 35000 visitors have experienced the utterly beautiful adventure. Aside from paragliding, Avia club offers Hand Gliding, Paramotor, Skydiving and ultraflights that enable to see the Himalayas in a spectacular fashion. See the video sample of Pokhara Paragliding and some AVIA club pilots below.
As if the tallest mountain and the most extreme zipline was not enough, Nepal boasts the highest water touch bungee jumping in the world and that is located in, you guessed it, Pokhara. The 80 meter fall is located in Hemja Pokhara and is sure to test your adventure heart to the max.
For all the activities mentioned above and plenty of other thrilling and relaxing adventures, the offices to sign up are located in downtown where you probably will be staying. You cannot miss it. It is right on the lake side which is the most happening place. Another convenience about all these places is that for all these activities, the operators will come and pick you up to drive you to the destination.
Dining and Nightlife:
Like the Thamel area in Kathmandu, Pokhara has an abundance of restaurants and bars to cater to your culinary exploration and to quench your thirst. Places like the Olive Café offer world-class coffee and breakfast. Boomerang is a good lakeside restaurant for lunch. For dinner (and breakfast), we highly recommend the Moon Dance. We have known the owner of Moon Dance for a long time and Dorge is arguably the pickiest restaurateur when it comes to quality, cleanliness and freshness. Moreover, Moon Dance is engaged in a great deal of philanthropic activities and that makes the place even more worthwhile. The terrace of the restaurant is an excellent venue to enjoy a breakfast as the day comes alive for dinner as the sun sets in this beautiful city. Moon Dance and few other restaurants serve up fresh local trout that are very delicious.
If local foods tickle your fancy, find restaurants along lake side that is marked as a Thakali restaurant. Thakalis make one of the best set of Nepali cuisine and the goat meat (mutton) cooked with the Thakali method is (boy I’m drooling) heavenly. After dinner, there are many bars and pubs to hang out and meet locals and fellow travelers.
Pokhara is a city that is truly bless with all kinds of natural beauty which enables the city to be able to accommodate many activities. This and the fact that the city is the gateway city to the Annapurna region, Pokhara has always been a city that is favorite to both international and domestic travelers. In fact, it is a very popular honeymoon city for both Nepali and Indian newlyweds. Aside from the mountains, the city offers activities to explore unique caves and deep gorges with very narrow rivers.
For all our customers, we will make sure that we accompany you along your exploration of the city and make sure that you do not miss all that this beautiful city has to offer. If you are flying solo on the other hand, we hope that this article provides you with a good introduction of the city and what it has to offer.