I have recently been writing about my experiences in Nepal for another publication and I decided that I have lots of unwritten posts ready for The Great Ambini too. My trip to Nepal took place in 2014, before the earthquake when I was just 17.
The majority of my time in Nepal was spent in and around Pokhara (pronounced Pok-ara) which is one of my favourite places I have ever been.
Nepal is a beautiful and diverse country, home to 9 of the 8000m mountains. It has a population of 29 Million people and is landlocked between India and China. Its capital is the city of Kathmandu, which was near to the epicentre of the 2015 earthquake so is slowly rebuilding itself.
The terrain is varied from the Himalayas, right the way down to the jungle in the South near Chitwan National Park.
Pokhara is Nepal’s second largest city and is 200 km west from Kathmandu. It is at an altitude of around 900m above sea level and is known as the ‘tourist capital’ of Nepal.
I will share with you my top five things to do in Pokhara.
This is the main reason why Pokhara is so popular. It is the gateway into the Annapurna circuit, with 3 mountains over 8000m within 30km. Often the base of people before they embark on the Annapurna circuit.
I went on one of the shortest routes on the circuit, called poon hill. (It was typically accident prone, read out it here)
There are fees for trekking passes and permits before you enter Annapurna so be prepared. For the longer treks, you are required to take along guides so that will need to be factored into your costs.
The Sarangkot Viewpoint
For a much shorter trek in Pokhara, the viewpoint in somewhere you need to explore. A short bus journey through hairpin bends, driven in true Nepali style will get you to the bottom of the steps to the viewpoint. There are only a few steps for you to climb, I went with school children who raced up them.
It is easily accessible, often known as Sarangkot, it is worth visiting for those panoramic views. On a clear day, you can see the Annapurna snowcapped mountains towering over Pokhara.
During monsoon season, you can mainly just seen Pokhara, but that in itself is worth seeing.
The World Peace Pagoda
On the opposite hill to Sarangkot viewpoint, across the lake sits the World Peace Pagoda. Nepali people love to call their country ‘Never Ending Peace And Love’ so this is a fitting place to visit while in Pokhara.
There are two ways to access the Stupa. One is to get a boat trip across the lake and climb a VERY steep hill. The other is to drive most of the way up and then climb the short sets of steps up to the top.
As this was another school trip, we opted for the second option and it was worth it. Our trip took about 10 minutes to walk up the stairs, so unless you love hiking, the steps are the easier option!
The Stupa itself was very peaceful and relaxing place to visit. The Buddhist importance was felt there and I felt the swarms of dragonflies there made us feel at one with nature.
There was also some lovely cafes below the steps, with great views across the city. It is a great place to sit and watch the world with a bottle of Coke or Fanta.
Although the monsoon clouds covered the views for us and we ended up unable to see the full panoramic.
This is one of the best things to do in Pokhara. I will admit I didn’t go parasailing as my group and insurance wouldn’t cover it. However, I was very jealous of everyone I saw parasailing in Pokhara!
The views across Phewa Lake and the Annapurna mountains would be incredible from the sky.
This was one of the things we did in Pokhara. On our day off we went kayaking on the lake, it was so much fun. I took some pictures on my waterproof camera, but I never managed to get the pictures into a readable format.
It was a shame, but it was really good fun. I also realised I am not very good at kayaking, especially when it was windy and there was a lot of reeds. It was great fun though to paddle around and explore the lake that we had been staring at for so many days.
I also had just injured myself in the Himalayas and was told that if I couldn’t walk by this day I wouldn’t be allowed to go white water rafting. So I forced myself to walk and then kayak to prove I could go rafting. (I am very stubborn)
Finally, eat all the food in Pokhara.
The food in Nepal is this great fusion of Nepali, Indian and Chinese. Think fried rice, momos and dal baht.
It is a great place to try all sorts of food and many places to explore. We loved ‘be happy’ restaurant as it was a big place to meet. They also did great sizzler dishes!
I hope you’ve made it this far through my post and know about all the things to do in Pokhara now! I loved my time there and want to visit again one day!
Until next time,
The Great Ambini
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