There are so many fun things to do in Pokhara I’d recommend staying for at least three days.
Pokhara is Nepal’s gateway to the Annapurna Circuit and so it’s popular with the trekkers. BUT WAIT, it’s not only for the hikers, and even if you are trekking, it’s totally worth a few days extra to see all there is to do in the region.
This travel guide to Pokhara will help you plan your trip based on your personality. These are the absolute BEST things to do in Pokhara!
– What to do in Pokhara? Have fun in the mountains, canoe the lakes, and eat, eat, eat!
Pokhara is encased by the stunning Himalayas mountains, unfortunately not Everest as I may have thought on my Instagram (oops). You’ll have to go to Nagarkot for that delightful experience I’m afraid. But, there are 8 of the 13 biggies of the Himalayan range. And of course, they’re some of the most wanted places to visit in Pokhara.
Pokhara tourism is booming. The city has positioned itself as the adventure capital of Nepal with its paragliding, helicopter rides, watersports and hiking.
There are so many activities to do in Pokhara beyond trekking, let’s take a look at how I spent my three days there.
– DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links. All my travel was paid for myself. –
What to do in Pokhara
– One of the most popular things to do in Nepal Pokhara is to climb up to the World Peace Pagoda
1. Get up high at the World Peace Pagoda
The views from the World Peace Pagoda are some of the best I’ve ever seen in my life. Ever. Climbing up and looking out to the Annapurna range was an experience I hope I never forget. See the top pictures for a good example.
The Shanti Stupa, as it’s also know, is a symbol of peace for Nepal, and for Hinduism. The huge white pagoda can be seen from Pokhara Lakeside but obviously it’s up close that it’s the most impressive. It’s silence all round so you can enjoy the quiet and admire the views.
There’s a whole little village up here so head up for sunrise and enjoy a breakfast with a view. This is the number one of all the places to visit in Pokhara. Whatever it takes to get up there, please, just make sure you do!
It’s free to visit the World Peace Pagoda, but there is a donation box so pop a few rupees in to keep your karma in check.
You can join a trek and boat ride on GetYourGuide if you don’t fancy making it up there alone.
2. Visit Davis Waterfall in Pokhara
The Davis Waterfall definitely isn’t the most impressive waterfall I’ve ever seen, but for 30 rupees it’s worth a little look see. Also, it’s just opposite the Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave so you might as well.
3. Go down the Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave
The entrance to the Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave is impressive. As you traverse the steps down to the cave you can feel the cold sweatiness of the underground hit you.
Make sure to check out the ‘cow shed’ where a sacred cow is waiting for your offerings – you can light an incense stick underneath, if you like. Carry on down the cave and you’ll pass the construction (watch your head) and out to the small opening with a little waterfall.
It’s amazing that the Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave exists, but I was ready to get out pretty much as soon as I got in TBH. It’s kinda cramped and caves freak me out anyway.
There are a lot of locals here, well there were on the Tuesday I visited. Especially children. These young ladies asked me to take their photos, and each thanked me when I showed them.
Davis Falls feed into the cave and you can see it flowing through.
For us foreigners it’s 100 rupees to get into the cave in Nepal Pokhara. You’ll find with a lot of the activities in Pokhara that there’s one price for locals and another for foreigners. I’m totally ok with this, but I know some people get frosty about it.
4. Go paragliding in the Himalayas
Oh how I wish I’d gone paragliding in Pokhara, like everyone else. Seriously, look up to the skies on a sunny day in Pokhara and the paragliders look like a flock of birds there are so many of them.
Paragliding is one of the most popular things to do in Pokhara, for good reason.
I didn’t go paragliding in Pokhara because of the budget constraints. Now, with hindsight, I think $90 is pretty good. You get a free lift up to Sarangkot – one of the most popular view points in Pokhara – and you get to go paragliding in/near the Himalayas.
How cool is that?!
On my last day in Pokhara I was chatting to a lady in a bar who said it was the best thing she’d ever done. Don’t be like me and miss out!
The Pokhara views will just make this worth it, never mind the Himalayas.
Check out the latest prices for paragliding in Pokhara on GetYourGuide.
5. Do a helicopter landing at Everest basecamp
The helicopter landing at Everest is another thing I really wanted to do in Pokhara, but just didn’t have the funds. For anyone not into hiking, the helicopter right up to the Annapurna is kinda the only option.
For $289 if you’re a solo traveller you’ll have a one-hour ride up there, with some time landed to get out and have a look around for a photo. This is definitely one of those Pokhara activities you can show off about when you get home!
You can book your Pokhara helicopter tour before you go with GetYourGuide here.
Where is Pokhara?
Pokhara is Nepal’s second largest city in terms of both population and area.
It’s 200 kilometres (120 miles) west of the capital, Kathmandu.
People mostly visit Pokhara to go hiking in the Annapurna Mountains, but they also come for yoga retreats and for the lake too. For such a relatively small city, there are some great places to visit in Pokhara. You have to include it on your Nepal itinerary!
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5. Have a massage in Pokhara
One of the most relaxing things to do in Pokhara is to go to one of the spas and have a massage. Not all Pokhara spas were created equally though, of course. I’d strongly recommend doing some research into Pokhara spas, or at least, taking my advice.
– SO many choices for where to stay in Pokhara, and where to get your massage!
I went into one ‘spa’ that instantly halved the price of the massage without me asking, so I agreed, and then we went into what could only be described as a ‘back room’. I saw the colour of the sheets, the state of the toilet out the back, and pretty much ran away saying “I’m sorrrrry, I changed my mind”.
Felt bad, but not for me.
Having a massage puts yourself in a very vulnerable position and I just didn’t feel comfortable doing it there.
– Massages and wellness are one of the most popular things to do in Nepal.
Instead, I went to the Jiva Spa which was twice the price but about 5 times as nice. It’s a lovely spa and cafe on the lakefront with a few specially scented and sounded rooms especially for massage.
I paid 3000 rupees for a 90-minute Nepalese oil massage and would totally recommend.
6. Walk round Fewa Lake
Fewa Lake is huge, and makes for a lovely walk. One of the best free activities in Pokhara is simply to walk around it. I walked from the Tourist Bus Park right round to the other side.
Fewa Lake is at the centre of the city, and so of course, it’s one of the best places to visit in Pokhara.
There are plenty of benches, look out points and cafes and restaurants dotted around the lake to relax at.
7. And cycle to the other two lakes
You can rent bikes in Pokhara for around 100 rupees an hour. If you book more than three hours you can generally get some sort of discount too. I haggled 300 rupees for 4 hours with one lady.
Judging by the look of the bikes I would only recommend them for pootling around Lake Fewa and the vicinity – maybe out to the other lakes?
– Walking round the lakes is one of the most popular things to do in Pokhara
Begnas Lake and Rupa Lake are equally, if not more, beautiful, and don’t have all the hotels and infrastructure built up around them. If you want a peaceful cycle ride in Pokhara, then visit the other two lakes.
8. Mountain biking in Pokhara
I wouldn’t recommend the bikes for hire off the street for mountain biking – they didn’t look particularly well maintained to be honest. For bike rental in Pokhara I’d recommend the bike shop on the main street, near KFC. They offer bike tours around Pokhara, including hill tours up to the World Peace Pagoda.
Just to note: this will not be an easy ride!
Their prices start from around $70 for half day mountain biking trips.
Book your Pokhara activities before you go
Booking the activities in Pokhara you want to do before you go can help you with budgeting. It also gives you more time when you’re there, as you’re not wasting time going from vendor to vendor, trying to make sure the provider is legit.
I’d recommend using GetYourGuide for your Pokhara activities – click the link to see the full list.
9. Go trekking!
I had a great few days in Pokhara without trekking, but, as one of the biggest trekking hotspots in THE WORLD it would be remiss for me to skip it out.
Here are some of the most popular treks to do in Pokhara.
10. Do some yoga at an ashram in Pokhara
Yoga in Pokhara is kind of a big deal. It’s one of the most spiritual places in Nepal for tourists, and yoga retreats and ashrams have popped up all over the city. Judging my the amount of studios, yoga is one of the most desired Pokhara things to do.
I’d actually come to Pokhara to do a yoga retreat for three days, but after the stress and craziness of the Kumbh Mela in India, I decided to cancel and do my own thing.
– It’s worth going up to the ashrams in Pokhara for the views!
There are loads of yoga places in Pokhara to choose from, but I decided to go to the Sadhana Yoga Retreat for their evening programme. It was a 40-minute walk from my hotel, although I took ages as I strolled along Lakeside stopping here and there.
The evening programme cost $22 and meant I could join their tea and popcorn time, the chanting, the yoga class and dinner. One of the best parts of the experience was where the ashram was. There were beautiful views over Fewa Lake, and it gave me an idea of what it would be like to do a yoga course in Pokhara.
I was actually really glad that I’d cancelled the other course as the facilities were basic, and cold at this time of year (February). I really enjoyed my class and experience but I was glad I could leave and get back into the city too.
You can also find yoga at the Healing Garden, Annapurna Yoga Reteat and Osho Divine. You’ll see signs around town inviting you to classes.
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11. Go to a singing bowls class in Pokhara
I just happened to notice a sign to a Tibetan bowls singing class at Nirvana in Pokhara. And so, having never done it before, decided to go along.
It was a lovely but strange experience.
I didn’t really feel anything at the time but after feeling a bit crappy for a few days – cold, stomach problems, low energy – I definitely felt lighter and happier on leaving. I was actually amazed at how much better I felt.
– I’d 100% recommend this on the list of spiritual activities in Pokhara
Basically, we sat cross legged chanting for a while, as the class leader chanted into the bowls. We were meant to have our eyes closed but I wanted to see what was going on.
And then we all laid down while he bonged the bowls around us. And then we came upto seated, chanted a bit more, and it was over, an hour later. Definitely one of the more unique things to do in Pokhara!
The class was free, but a donation was recommended.
12. Take a boat out on Fewa Lake
Taking a boat out on Fewa Lake looked like a really fun activity. You could row out to Barahi Temple.
I decided not to do this, basically just because I couldn’t be bothered on my own, but I totally would’ve if I had a friend.
Hiring a boat to go out on Fewa Lake was 500 rupees an hour, if you row yourself.
There was also an opportunity to join a sun rise boat tour, which the guy assured me was the best way to see Pokhara in the morning. I was so close to doing it but didn’t quite make it when I realised you had to get up for a 5:45am start.
Sure it would be nice though, and cost 1200 per person.
13. Movie Garden in Pokhara
The Pokhara Movie Garden is a great example of the Nepalese entrepreneurial spirit in action. The Movie Garden has a huge screen and shows classics and new releases every night.
For entry you just need to buy drinks and popcorn and then you can sit all night and watch the film. Get there early, it filled up quickly when I was there!
During my three days it was Moonrise Kingdom, Slumdog Millionaire and The Matrix.
This is one of the most unique evening activities in Pokhara for you to enjoy.
If you’re at the other end of town, nearer the Tourist Bus Park, you can try the Blind Tiger for your movie fix.
6 more Pokhara activities for you to think about
I didn’t actually get round to doing these activities it Pokhara during my three days there, but just wanted to give you the fill picture of all the cool things to do in the city.
– Sitting around drinking seems to be one of the most popular activities in Pokhara. Those prices though!
1. Gurkha Memorial Museum – dedicated to the gurkhas who fought in the Indian and British Army. Through photographs, sound and video, the museum tells their story.
2. Traditional Nepal dancing show – if you wander along the main street of Pokhara you’ll see the signs advertising the Nepalese dancing shows. You can have a meal and watch them in action. This would be a really great thing to do in Pokhara if you’ve just been trekking – a nice sit down activity!
3. Pokhara Disneyland – I’m not entirely sure Walt, Mickey and the crew would be too happy about Pokhara Disneyland, it’s not quite Paris standard, never mind Orlando. There was a dodgy looking Ferris wheel, and a few other rides, on Pokhara’s Lakeside.
May I present: Pokhara Disneyland…
4. International Mountaineering Museum – this is your opportunity to find out about the Himalayan explorers that managed to peak the mountains here. The equipment and the tools used are all highlighted here.
5. Ultralight flight – fly by the Annapurna range in a teeny tiny ultralight plane. Apparently you’ll feel like a bird, as you’re just so light in the sky. No bird has ever confirmed this though.
6. White water rafting – the Upper Seti River provides the perfect opportunity for you to get the helmet out and get exploring on the river. Ask at the tourist information centres for the best price, especially if there are a few of you.
See the latest prices for white water rafting on GetYourGuide.
– You’ll see monks all around Pokhara. Scenes like this are totally normal.
There are an amazing array of temples in Pokhara, ranging in beauty and significance. I didn’t actually make it to see any of these with my limited time, but if temples are your thing, here are a few to check out. They’re all among the most popular places to visit in Pokhara.
– Tal Barahi Temple
– Bindhabasini Temple
– Sitaladevi Temple
– Bhadrakali Temple
– Bhimsen Temple
– Jangchub Choeling Monastery.
Top tips for visiting Pokhara in Nepal
– Make sure you set aside some time to just chill by the Lakeside. There are some great little bars lining the lake, making the perfect spot to enjoy the sunset from.
– Go shopping. I bought a scarf for myself. The cashmere is zagged one you’ll see everywhere, for 1000. And a much better quality one for my mum for more. I also bought some little leather shoes, an Annapurna t-shirt and a little present for my boyfriend. There are so many shops, kinda selling the same thing, it’s down to you to get the best deal you can find.
– Challenge yourself. Whether it’s paragliding or yoga that’s just not your usual thing, while you’re in Pokhara try something new. There are so many cool things to do in Pokhara that this is your big opportunity to get out of your comfort zone.
– Don’t just go to the Western style restaurants in Pokhara, but have a look round and go into some more traditional places too. Not only will the prices be better, but you’ll also be supporting a local business, and get to try the real deal when it comes to Nepalese cuisine.
– Check out the Pokhara Noticeboard on Facebook for the latest tips, advice and events around the lake.
How to get to Pokhara
Kathmandu to Pokhara by bus…
I got the bus to Pokhara from Kathmandu, from Thamel. It left from S bus station just a few minutes walk from the main Thamel area. I paid 800NPR (£5.50) for the locals bus which took around 8 hours.
There are ‘tourist buses’ available, for around $25 (£20), but I really don’t see the benefit.
I got there, it was as comfortable as the roads allowed, and they even gave two free bottles of water too. They stopped every two hours-ish for food, drinks and the toilet, and for the cost, I had no qualms!
You will arrive into the Tourist Bus Park in Lakeside and from here it was a 15-minute walk to my hotel on 8th Street.
Kathmandu to Pokhara by air…
To get back again, from Pokhara to Kathmandu I decided to get a flight, just because I only had a week in Nepal and time was ticking. Pokhara Airport was an easy 25-minute walk from my hotel on 8th street, or you could just jump in a taxi.
I just looked on Skyscanner and went for the cheapest option, which ended up being SimKirk Airlines. I paid £74 for the 25-minute flight from Pokhara to Kathmandu.
Top tip for you: if you’re flying Pokhara to Kathmandu, sit on the A side for the best views. If you’re flying Kathmandu to Pokhara sit on the C side.
The flight went by quickly, they handed out sweets and water, and we arrived safely and on time in to Kathmandu Airport Domestic terminal.
Kathmandu to Pokhara by car…
Another great option to get from Kathmandu to Pokhara is to travel by car. This is especially beneficial if there’s more than one of you. You can book private transfers through GetYourGuide from around £70. The journey takes around six hours and you’ll be sat in comfort, able to stop when you like. If there are four of you, it ends up an absolute bargain!
Check out the latest prices to travel from Kathmandu to Pokhara by car here.
“Travel from Kathmandu to Pokhara in a private, air-conditioned car completely hassle-free. Avoid the confusion and hassles of public transport. Use an affordable alternative to flying, while traveling comfortably with your luggage.”
Where to stay in Pokhara
Lakeside is the main area of Pokhara, which is great because it has everything you need, and if you want to be in the midst of the action stay around 8th Street. While the further you go away the more peaceful it becomes.
I stayed at the OYO Romantica, which was good for the price but wasn’t the best.
I paid $11 (£8) for a private double room with breakfast included. I only had the breakfast on one of the three days though, as it was grim. The hotel was high which was good – I had views of the Annapurna Himalayan range from my window. Also, it was just out of the craziness of Lakeside but close enough for an easy walk. There was no heating and the towels were dirty, even after I asked for more they were dirty too.
– If you’re on a budget (like me) then Hotel Romantica, if you can afford a little more though…
OYO Romantica was good for the price, but I wouldn’t stay there again. I would recommend staying in the same area as I did though.
The Temple Tree Resort and Spa looked fab for the money – great location and a pool too.
“Featuring traditional Western Himalayan architecture, the boutique Temple Tree Resort & Spa enjoys beautiful views of the Annapurna Mountain Range. Boasting fresh air and warm temperatures, it also has an outdoor pool and free Wi-Fi.”
– check out prices for Temple Tree Resort and Spa on Booking.com.
– Temple Spa looked lush! It was just around the corner from the Romantica.
If I went to Pokhara again I would actually stay at Hotel Blossom. It’s clean, trendy, urban and kinda a bit hipster too. It has a cool coffee shop, comfy looking rooms and a 9.7 rating on Booking.com too.
– Hotel Blossom. I’m a sucker for a coffee shop!
“Situated within less than 0.6 miles of Fewa Lake and 6.2 miles of World Peace Pagoda, Hotel Blossom provides rooms in Pokhara. Among the facilities of this property are a restaurant, a 24-hour front desk and a tour desk, along with free WiFi. The accommodation features ticket service, and luggage storage for guests.
The rooms in the hotel are fitted with a flat-screen TV. Rooms come with a private bathroom with a shower and free toiletries.”
– check out prices for Hotel Blossom on Booking.com.
Things to do in Pokhara blog
I loved my time in Pokhara and would totally recommend visiting to anyone.
Pokhara was a real highlight to my trip to Nepal.
If you think I’ve missed any fun Pokhara activities out, or you have any comments, just let me know in the comments box below.