Nepal has been severely affected by the recent earthquake, but that shouldn’t stop us travelers from visiting this lovely country. After all, a good many people of this country survive on the revenue generated by tourism. And it is not that all parts of have affected by the earthquake.
I have friends who are in Pokhara and are happily exploring the charms of this gorgeous mountain country, which is why I have put together this list of top 9 things to do in West Nepal’s Pokhara. You can take a look at it if you are either in Pokhara or planning a trip to Pokhara in the near future.
Trekking the mighty Annapurna
When people think of Nepal, they think of Mount Everest and the Everest Base Camp, but the Annapurna ranges are possibly the most trekked range in the whole of Nepal and Pokhara is the launching point. Between the Annapurna circuit, the Annapurna sanctuary and the Annapurna Base Camp, there is about 2 to 3 weeks of trekking for you where you can romance with the mountains in your own way. From lush green forests to dry and cold deserts and from snow capped peaks to icy glaciers, you will come across so much variety on your treks here. And the tea houses and the small villages on the trails are you only connection with civilization.
Volunteering at Tibetan Refugee Camps and Monasteries
At about 30 minutes from Pokhara are many Tibetan refugee camps and monasteries where you can go and volunteer. You could either work in the fields with the people or work in the monasteries. Either way, you will get exposed to a rich Buddhist side of Nepal that is also extremely scenic and spiritual in nature. The places I recommend are the Tashi Palkiel Tibetan Refugee Camp, Pema Ts’al Sakya Monastic Institute and Jangchub Choeling Monastery.
Paragliding from Sarangkot
When the weather is clear, Pokhara offers some of the most surreal mountain views in the whole world. And the experience goes up a notch when you paraglide from the tallest hill overlooking Pokhara, which is at Sarangkot. At sunrise, you see the first golden rays of the sun shining over the snow capped Himalayas as you glide your way down to the valley. Sounds fabulous right? Well, it is an even better experience when you you are gliding through the thin mountain air in the early morning hours.
Trek to World Peace Pagoda
The world peace pagoda or Shanti Stupa that towers over Pokhara is one of Pokhara’s iconic places. Most of the tourists prefer to take the winding road way to reach here, but if you wish for a different experience, you should take a boat, cross over to the other side of the Phewa lake and start climbing the steep green trail to the top of Shanti Stupa. This trek is steep for sure, but it continuously offers great views of the Pokhara town as you keep ascending and there comes a moment when you are right in the middle of the clouds or sometimes even above it.
Boating on Phewa Lake
The Phewa (Fewa) Lake dominates the landscape of Pokhara to such an extent that everything in this town revolves around this lake. The largest out of the many mountain lakes in this region, the Phewa Lake is a great one to go on a long boating trip. You can go boating on the lake, dine by the lake side, do some fishing or interact with the locals who will keep walking the lakeside all day long.
Mountain Biking at Roop Tal
One of the most remote lakes in the region, Roop Tal is also one of the most beautiful. Covered by rice paddies and dense forests, the only way to this lake is by a dirt trail. You can either reach here by mountain bike, dirt bike or by foot. Once you are here, you can indulge in canoeing, more mountain biking or camping by its super remote outdoors.
Canoeing at Begnas Tal
Another of the beautiful Himalayan lakes of this belt, this one with its spectacular mountain backdrops make for that romantic boat or canoe ride. It is not as remote as Roop Tal or as busy as Phewa Lake. It is right in the middle, but pretty exotic in its own right. Perfect for couples and those who wish for a quiet, relaxed and scenic holiday.
Picnic at the Devi’s Falls
Formed from a small mountain stream, the Devi’s Falls is anything but small. If it has rained in the near past, this waterfall carries so much water that it will instil fear in you. Nature’s raw power or brute force, however we call it can be seen live in action here. At just outside the town of Pokhara, Devi’s falls has easy access and can also be clubbed with the nearby temples and cave temples. A great picnic spot for families. It does get busy during holidays and weekends here.
River Rafting at the mountain rivers nearby
During summers and the monsoons, the mountain streams turn into raging rivers and present great river rafting opportunities. The rivers near Pokhara offer class 3, 4 and 5 rapids at different portions of the ride and offer a super adventurous experience.