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Pokhara Valley

Pokhara Valley
Nepal Travel Destination

Pokhara, is a picturesque little lakeside town, located in central Nepal in the 2nd largest of Nepal’s valleys in the shadow of the Himalayas and is a Nepal destination hotspot. Pokhara’s existence has everything to do with its location, which attracts thousands of travelers from around the world each year. For centuries it served as the trading post on route between India and Tibet as well as the “go-to” market destination for the people of the surrounding valley and mountains. Pokhara has marked its significance in Nepal’s history and become a melting pot of Nepali culture. The Pokhara valley was originally seven fresh water lakes called Pokhari, it is from this word that Pokhara gets its name.

West of Kathmandu, Pokhara is easily accessible via a half hour flight or 5-6 hour drive from the capital. There are numerous flights and buses as well as other forms of ground transport between the two towns (more during the tourist season) which make travel to this town very convenient. Pokhara is also connected to India via highway from Kakarvitta, Biratnagar and Birgunj in the east and Bhairahawa, Nepalgunj and Mahendranagar in the west.

Pokhara for Every Traveler

If trekking and outdoor athletic activities are what drives you to travel to a new country, or if your time in Nepal is limited, or your idea of a perfect vacation simply does not include the desire for ANY sporty activities, Pokhara, has much to offer to any and every traveler.

Pokhara is truly the hub of Nepal’s outdoor minded traveler. For the the rugged outdoors addict, it is the starting location for many of Nepal’s trekking routes especially for those doing trekking in the Annapurna Conservation Area. It is also a base for Ultralight flights, rafting, Mountain flights, and mountain biking, fishing and many other activities. It is even a good starting point for the Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve, for trophy seekers. For specific treks near Pokhara visit our “Pokhara Nepal trekking Routes” page.

For the slower paced traveler it has a variety of activities from serene boat rides across lake Fewa (or commonly misspelled as Phewa), mild hikes to local temples, museums, shopping, fishing, leisure bike rides, pony rides, and trips to Gupteshwar and Mahendra natural limestone caves as well as visit the powerful (especially during the monsoon season) gushing water at Devi’s Fall among many more peaceful activities.

Lakeside Drive

Pokhara’s hot spot is Lakeside Drive which runs along the eastern side of Fewa Lake and is the popular location for travelers from all over the world. The street is lined with hotels and quaint little shops for any of your wants and needs, many besides traditional souvenirs, sell brand name knock-offs of outdoor sport apparel; most of equal and some of lesser quality. The street is packed with original and ornate restaurants providing both traditional Nepali cuisine as well as some western influenced eateries all with the magnificent Himalayas in the background.

Catering to those who get homesick while they travel, there are many Internet Cafés that have popped up all over Pokhara’s lake side. Many of the owners of these cafés take the “cafe” name seriously offering their clients coffee, tea and pastries. For a fee many also offer phone cards, local and international phone calls.

Some other activities that are getting ever more popular are Yoga, Meditation and Massage.

For those visiting Nepal and sensing a need for some nightlife, Pokhara’s lakeside, sports dozens of bars and dance clubs, often featuring live bands and uncategorizable rock/reggae mix with a sound that feels unique to the the area. Some play recycled pop songs that have been given new life and flavor at the local run-ins.

Outdoor Activities

Pokhara is the launching point for the most popular trekking destinations in Nepal like the Annapurna Circuit, Jomsom- Muktinath, Annapurna Base Camp, and Dhaulaguiri treks. There are different ways to start either of these treks, for those who cannot get enough trekking in their lives, they start trekking from Pokhara. There are also mountain flights to Jomsom, where you can personalize your distance to trek to any of these destinations. There are also buses and taxis that can take you to different towns close by if you do not wish to hike directly from Pokhara and regular PokharaKathmandu route buses leave daily.

Our sister-company, Avia Club Nepal, provides unique views of Pokhara city, valley, as well as Fewa Lake, and Himalayan mountains via ultra-light flight— a truly one of a kind experience. They fly you as close as safety allows with the feeling that you could practically wipe the snow off of Mt. Machhapuchhre (Fishtail Mountain)with your hand.

If river rafting or kayaking is your cup of tea, there are many rivers within a short driving distance from Pokhara. The Kali Gandaki, Seti and the Trishuli Rivers are the most popular and convenient rafting or kayaking launch sites to get to from the lakeside town. All easily accessed by bus or taxi and a respectable travel service should provide the transportation for you.

There is always the option to rent and explore the valley and surrounding mountains via mountain bike. This form of travel in Nepal has become ever more popular especially on Nepal’s non-paved paths. There are places to rent bikes along lakeside drive as well as maps so you know where you are biking.

Eleven of the worlds 15 families of butterflies, call Nepal home and 523 species of birds. Many of these can be seen in the Pokhara Valley.


Fewa Lake, the most famous lake in the Pokhara valley (other significant lakes being Begnas and Rupa) is home to over 22 native species of fish. In the center of Fewa Lake, there is what seems to be a floating temple (Barahi) which is actually an island and is the most important temple in Pokhara. Built near the center of the lake, this pagoda was constructed and dedicated to the boar manifestation of Ajima, the deity representing the female force Shakti. Barahi temple is easily accessed by renting a shuttle boat. When you are on the little island, you can buy some food to feed the large fish that swim around the temple. You are not allowed to fish from the temple as it is sacred and so are the fish that happen to be feeding there. During Dashain (a major holiday and festival) there is a grand celebration at the temple.

Although you are not permitted to fish from the Barahi Temple, Fewa Lake is an ideal spot to indulge in some recreational boating or fishing. (For information on Himalayan River fishing click here.) You can rent a boat for a couple hours (or all day if preferred) and if fishing is on your list of things to do, you can also find fishing gear for hire. There is always the option to row yourself or hire a boatman to do the tiring work for you while you relax on the lake and enjoy the views. What is more exciting is you have an option of different boats to hire: rowboats, kayaks, sailboats, and even pedal-driven ones for those looking for a little exercise on the lake.

Besides Fewa Lake, Begnas and Rupa lakes are known to be peaceful, less populated destinations for the traveler looking to do a little boating as well as fishing. Other minor lakes of the area are the Dipang, Maidi, Khaste, Neurani, and Gunde.


One of the most stunning of Pokhara’s attractions has to be the panorama. Picture a town, a mountain lake nestled around green forested hills, colored wooden boats, an island temple and behind it all the magnificent portion of the Himalayas, the Annapurna Himal. The serenity and beauty of the place simply cannot be fully described, and is a must to experience for any one that will travel to Nepal.

A frequently visited attraction of Pokhara, is its hilltop World Peace Pagoda. A short hike up from the centrally located Fewa Lake through trees and other fauna, you come to a clearing revealing the magnificent white construction with a golden spire. It seems to be the guardian of the lake side of Pokhara. It has four images of Buddha facing the four directions of the compass. The structure takes a commanding spot on top of its hill visible from most of the valley.

The Seti Gandaki river is yet another Pokhara treasure. Simply a natural wonder, the river flows right through the town and some parts are completely underground. Other sections of the river appear to be no more than 2 meters in width, but in those locations, it can be nearly 20 meters (or 60 feet) deep! A great vantage point for this rivers fury is on a small bridge near the Mission Hospital where one can view the rivers work, as it carves a gorge with its powerful current.

A short hike to Saragkot, a village perched on top of a hill just north of Fewa Lake, through Kaskikot where you will encounter the ruins of Kaski Kings, offers beautiful sunset views as the white snow capped Himalayas reflect the setting sun across the valley. Travelers often watch the early morning views of the sunrise which are equally if not more breathtaking than that of sunset. The sunrise can be followed by a short walk down to the Bindebashini Temple followed by a short drive back to town. This trip usually takes about 2-3 hours.

The Bindebashini Temple is one of the oldest temples around Pokhara. According to legend, Pokhara was once part of the Kaski Kingdom during which time Goddess Durga, the temples deity, was brought here from India. Located near the area of the old bazaar, a trip to both can be easily accomplished.

Two other hills that provide a great vantage point for those wanting to travel around the valley which have views of the Himalayas are Kahun Danda, located about a 2 hour walk from Mahendra Pul which is in the center of Pokhara city and Phumdi Bhumdi, 7 kilometers south of Pokhara. A trip to the top will require about an hour.

A relatively unknown area of Pokhara the Ramkrishna Tole which is located in the old city of Pokhara where aging century old Newar houses are being preserved as monuments for their cultural value.

A short walk from the Gupteshwor Cave, you can find the Tashiling Tibetan Refugee Camp. This is a really good place to learn about their culture and to mingle with some of the refugees living here. This is a place to travel and see the cultural differences of the Tibetan ways versus Nepali as well as learn about the refugees personal history.

The Bhadrakali Temple and the Buddhist Monastery, about 4 kilometers from the Pokhara airport, are situated in a lovely forested location perfect for mountain views as well as a view of Pokhara city. You can even rest and butterfly or bird watch from here.


For those interested in learning more about Nepal’s wildlife and culture, there are several museums. The Pokhara Regional Museum has displays items that illustrate the culture and customs of Nepal’s different ethnic groups. The Annapurna Museum is located inside of the Prithvi Narayan Campus near the Seti gorge. Exhibited here are a vast collection of Nepal’s many species of butterfly, moths, and other insects. You can also find some interesting facts on the environmental problems of the Annapurna Conservation Area as well as ideas for solving the problems for the Annapurna region.

The International Mountain Museum is located 1.5 kilometers south of the Pokhara airport. Rightly so the museums location offers a view of the three 8000+ meter peaks of the area. The museums focus is on those who travel to this country for mountaineering. On display are also different mountain cultures and their ways of life, world mountain systems, ecology, as well as an exhibition of the world mountaineering history.

The Gurkha Memorial Museum was created to commemorate the surrounding homeland of the world famous (and feared) Gurkha soldiers. Established in the grounds of a British camp it contains a collection of past uniforms, photos, and memorabilia used by the Gurkhas during war time. (Please visit our Gorkha page to learn more about where these soldiers came from.)

A short myth of how Nepal’s Fewa Lake was created:

Before there was a lake in Pokhara, Fewa was once a beautiful valley home to god-fearing , gracious, prosperous people who after all of their fortunes, became uncharitable, arrogant and self-centered. When the Gods heard of this news, they did not want to believe it and wanted to see if it was true. One of the Gods disguised themselves as a beggar asking for the people of the town to help him. The only two people out of the whole town who had compassion to help the beggar, was an old poor couple with hardly anything to give. Seeing good in only these two people, the Gods grew angry, and decided to eliminate the valley, but not before forewarning the generous couple. As the two made their way up a nearby hill, they heard a loud roar as a giant mass of water poured down over the valley, destroying the arrogant village. The remaining water which was left, drained into what is now known as Fewa Lake.

To view pre-designed Nepal travel packages, see our programs page or the encyclopedia for more Nepal Travel items.