The second largest city in Nepal, Pokhara is settled around the calm Phewa Lake with views of rolling hills and snow-capped mountains in the backdrop. It is home to the counseling center where Didi & Dhai’s founder Nora Parry worked. Our signature piece, the Pokhara Pendant, is also the namesake of this special place. We hope you get to experience the magic of Pokhara, and if you find yourself heading there, here are our suggestions.
The best way to get an authentic feel for where you travel is to find a homestay. Living with and learning directly from the locals is the best approach to touring with the purpose of understanding the culture in a more intimate way. Homestays allow you to be a participant as opposed to a passerby. You can find homestays in Pokhara here. The Pokhara Airbnb has homestay options as well.
If you are interested in being closer to the action, there are tons of hotels along the area called Lakeside, a touristy strip of shops, restaurants, and bars that stretch along Phewa Lake. Nepal is a backpacker’s haven – you can always find cheap, available rooms just by walking around and checking out the various hotels. Located on a quiet street just a minute walk from the main road, Hotel Elia is a great option that is inexpensive, clean and simple.
EAT & DRINK
If you find yourself staying with a family, take advantage of the delicious home cooked Nepalese food. Nepal’s signature dish dal bhat is always best when served inside the home. The meal consists of lentil soup served with rice, which may not sound very mind blowing, but the Nepalese have a talent for using spices to turn minimal ingredients into a flavorful and hearty dish. Momos (Nepalese dumplings) are also always a crowd pleaser!
Not only do the Lakeside restaurants offer great food, most of them are three stories tall and have outdoor areas where you can relax with great views of the lake and mountains. All of them serve Nepalese food, but majority have a wide variety of offerings ranging from Thai to Italian.
Perky Beans is a low-key coffee and breakfast shop that has a nice rooftop. Their iced milk tea tastes like a milkshake...so we obviously highly recommend it.
Busy Bee is a great restaurant and bar that is lively and always has a lot of travelers coming and going. Nepal has an amazing live music scene and Busy Bee has a band come on every night. The bands play anything from classic rock, 90s grunge, to current Top 40 hits. It is awesome.
Old Blues Bar is a little hole in the wall with pool tables that always has live music and a lot of Nepali patrons (as well as travelers).
Jiva Cafe & Spa is a hidden gem that you must find because it is a restaurant, bar, and spa in one glorious spot. Enough said. They offer great treatments for extremely reasonable prices and it’s located in a garden that overlooks the lake.
Because of its proximity to some of Nepal’s most well-known mountain ranges, Pokhara is a hub for trekkers and those seeking adventure. While there may be plenty of trips you can take away from the city to get your outdoor thrills, you also have exciting options close by.
Pokhara is arguably the world’s best destination for paragliding. Absolutely do this (if you’re not opposed to running and jumping off a cliff). The views are gorgeous and floating through the air turns out to be pretty fun. There are plenty of tour shops along the Lakeside stretch where you can book.
Head to the lake to rent a doonga boat, so that you can paddle around Phewa Lake and visit the World Peace Pagoda. There is a spot across the lake where you can dock your canoe and hike up the mountain to visit the temple to experience the stunning view looking down on Pokhara. There are also larger paddle boats that you can rent for the day and bring food and drinks on board for some time to relax on the water.
For more intense time on the water, there are plenty of tour groups that take you to the best whitewater rafting, kayaking, and canyoning close to Pokhara.
Hike up to Sarangkot (about 3-5 hours) to see one of the best views of Pokhara and the Annapurna Mountain Range. There are guest houses located up there or you can choose to make the walk back down. Sidenote: Sarangkot is where the adventurers start the paragliding session. They end it about 1,600 meters south.
If you are interested in private tours of Pokhara or need any information on the best trekking in the surrounding area, contact Socialtours, the best soft adventure specialists around. Based in Kathmandu, Socialtours has a wonderful responsible tourism philosophy and an even better team.
Nepal, and Pokhara in particular, is the perfect place to wander around and just stumble upon amazing spots, so feel free to disregard any and all of these recommendations! Just get there and experience the magic.