The Himalayan country of Nepal has lots to offer from pilgrimage sights to some of the world’s top trekking spots, such as Annapurna and of course is home to Mount Everest. This year Nepal is listed with the Lonely Planet as one of the top 10 best value destinations to visit in 2017 and also as one of the top destinations to visit with TripAdvisor. Here’s some of the best places to visit in the second largest city of Nepal Pokhara.
Nepal Pokhara – Top Destination To Visit In 2017
Getting to Pokhara
Pokhara meaning the valley of lakes, is also the gateway to some of Nepal’s best trekking, located 200 km away from the capital Kathmandu a world away from what you might expect. Situated on Phewa Lake also known as Phewa Tal or Fewa Lake it is a refreshing and beautiful site to visit, a complete contrast from the bustling capital of Kathmandu.
I reached Nepal Pokhara from India, but returned to Kathmandu via the tourist bus. There are a number of different bus companies including the well known Citylink, on this trip I traveled with Mountain Overland. The seats were comfortable and a bottle of water and also WIFI were included. The road is rugged with dramatic scenery, travelling alongside a ravine with gushing waters and the sun bursting out of the sky, reflecting of the glass bus windows. Seats are allocated on the bus, but thankfully on this journey the bus wasn’t full and I was allowed to sit at the front. If like me, you suffer from travel sickness highly recommend sitting at the front! It’s an incredible journey and well worth the adventure. There is also Pokhara Airport which has regular connections to Kathmandu and takes only 25 minutes compared to between 6 – 8 hours on the bus depending on the road conditions. Although this is also reflected in the cost!
Places to Visit In Pokhara
There are a few Tibetan settlement areas in the surrounding areas. I visited the Tashiling Handicraft Centre. The carpets are woven with Yak wool and are extremely beautiful. By the carpet showroom there is also a number of other stalls selling handicrafts such as jewellery and singing bowls. One of the larger buildings also has a photograph exhibition on the exile of the Tibetans journey and a large sand mandala.
The Devi’s Falls also known as Patale Chhango is named after the local tale that a Swiss couple plunged into a sink hole never to be found. The surroundings are lovely, with landscaped planted gardens and clear paths leading to the viewing points of the falls. Although I visited in late November and there wasn’t much of a flow. I’ve heard after the rainy season the large thundering cascades of water can be heard clearly and it’s worth visiting during this time to see the dramatic scene. There is a small entrance fee.
Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave
The Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave with its grand sculptured staircase is said to date back to the 13th century. Inside is a small temple. During my visit the deeper part of the cave was closed and from what I did see the most impressive part was the entrance. The sculptures on the spiral staircase was one of intrigue and curiosity. There is a small entrance fee.
International Mountain Museum
The International Mountain Museum officially opened in 2004, today it is a modern building housing a number of historical photographs, traditional costume, tools and much more! Well worth a visit if interested in the local area, history and geology. The entrance fee is Rs 400.
Only minutes walk from the Gupteshwor Mahadev cave is the River Seti, cloudy lemonade in colour from the lime deposits. For a small fee you can walk around the concrete funnel and be blessed at the other end if you wish before returning back to the entrance. One of the most significant water systems in Nepal Pokhara, for maintaining ecology.
The Shanti Stupa, the first world Peace Pagoda in Nepal, is well worth a visit! I was lucky to have visited for sunrise. It was a very early start, but was well worth it. The views are incredible!! See the city come to life as night turns into day and the sea of clouds travels through the valley below. Look out for one of the 800 birds including the Sunbird. The pagoda is 115 feet tall and 344 feet in diameter. The white pagoda has two tiers for visitors to circumnavigate. If you arrive early you can also witness the monks during their morning ceremonial practice. It can be reached by taxi in 15 minutes or you can walk there, but it takes more than an hour from the main Pokhara centre by the lakeside. Once you have reached the site you then have to climb many stairs to reach the top. Once there you can then decide if you wish to climb up to the second level of the pagoda. If traveling alone I would highly recommend the taxi option!
Lake Phewa is renowned for its colourful sunsets and the gateway to the 18th century pagoda style Varahi Mandir Temple situated on a small island. It’s one of the most popular attractions to visit for both locals and visitors alike. The Varahi Mandir Hindu Temple is dedicated to Vishnu in his boar incarnation.
There is a number of different accommodation options available in Nepal Pokhara ranging from home stays to small hotels. I stayed at the Hotel Grand Holiday located just off the main street by the lakeside. It’s not very modern, but most of the rooms have a great view of the mountains, there is also a terrace to enjoy the 360 degree landscape, WiFi and a restaurant serving the delicious local staple momos.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about the second largest city of Nepal Pokhara. If you have, please don’t forget to share! As always we would love to hear from you. Are you visiting Nepal and have questions? Or perhaps you have already visited and would love to share some of your highlights. Please do get in touch!
Happy Travels:) x
Disclaimer: All the above thoughts and opinions are my own.
Thank you to Massif Holidays