Pokhara is a very cute lakeside city in Nepal. It usually serves as a gateway to the Anapurna range for the mountain lovers. However, even if you don’t hike, it’s still a very nice city. It was a huge change from the dirt and dust of Kathmandu. The little city is kept quite clean (compared), especially the areas immediately next to the lakeside, it has nice cafes and shops and is nice for walking around and relaxing.
It is located 200 km from Kathmandu, however, due to the wavy roads with a lot of potholes, it takes at least 6-7 hours to drive between them, and that’s if you are lucky. Rather count 8-9 hours. For us, the way back from Pokhara to Kathmandu was the worst, it took 9 hours and we were dying by the end of it. Please, see the details about the transport options here.
One more tip – if you are not taking a bus and have a car, stop to see Bandipur on the way.
Day 1 Highlights: World Peace Pagoda, Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave, Devis Falls, Boat trip to Tal Barahi Temple
Enjoy a stroll next to the Phewa lake. This is lovely at any time of the day. You will find a lot of colorful stunning boats, amazing views with the hills all around, lovely cafes on the banks of the lake, etc. Walking along the lake, you will find numerous photo opportunities, we couldn’t get enough of photos 😊
There is a tiny island in the lake close to Pokhara, where the Tal Barahi temple stands. It is a very cute place. The temple is dedicated to goddess Barahi. You can take either a small colorful rowboat or slightly bigger boatlike structures. All boats leave from a spot near the island, it’s not easy to miss. It’s always extremely crowded here. We took a small boat. I was somewhat apprehensive about safety, but we are alive 😀
Head to the World Peace Pagoda (Shanti Stupa) – Buddhist stupa located on top of the Anadu hill. It provides lovely views over the lake, Pokhara city and the Himalayas. You can either get a taxi from Pokhara or get by boat to the foot of the hill and hike up. The trail takes about an hour. Keep in mind, that even if you take a taxi, you still have to climb some stairs, but that is not too strenuous. As in any Buddhist site, you will have to take your shoes of, do have your socks with.
There are apparently 80 peace pagodas around the world built starting from 1947 following the WWII. Many of them are around Asia, but some in Europe and Americas too, including London and Vienna, San Francisco and New York.
From around the pagoda, you will get gorgeous views of the Phewa lake.
We enjoyed the Gupteshwar Mahadev cave. The cave itself may not be so impressive, but it is a religious site and there are a number of statues inside around the stalactites and stalagmites. You will get somewhat wet, while walking around the cave. When you get to the end of the trail, you will the part of the Devis falls.
The cave is dedicated to Shiva. We were most fascinated by the entrance to the cave – the beautifully carved round staircase with a number of statues.
You will find the statue of Ganesh here.
Devis falls is a popular spot with a lot of people visiting. I found a number of great reviews, so we went, especially that it was just across the road from the cave. I am glad we didn’t have to go far for this, or I would definitely regret. The name was given to it after the Swiss woman drowned here in 1960s. Nepalese call it underworld waterfall (Patale Chango), as the water disappears into the caves. However, it is rather small and unimpressive, unlike the impression some photos give.
Pokhara offers a lot to adventurous people. You have several spots for paragliding, ziplining and bungee jumping, if the weather permits. Just ask at any of the tourist agencies to book. We are not the ones to take this much risk, so we never did any of those 😊
Day 2 – Visit Sarangkot
You will most probably have to take a taxi from Pokhara or do a day tour. Like in case of Nagarkot, people suggest to stay overnight here. Many people love to watch sunrise or sunset here.
If you go by taxi, make sure it will drop you off at a higher viewpoint, not the lower, as your walk will be far more complicated.
It has beautiful views over the Anapurna range. But the visibility should be good. We didn’t manage to do this unfortunately, as the weather wasn’t conducive.