While Kathmandu is the country's capital, Pokhara is undoubtedly the capital of adventure and fun in Nepal. The quiet town is where most Himalayan treks in Nepal begin, and rafting is another popular sport in the area. Backpackers break journey here and fill the eateries as they swap tips on good Pokhara hotels.
The Phewa Lake and the dramatic twin-peaked fish-tail mountain called the Machhapuchhare are a sight to behold. To top it off, the weather is comfortable most of the year and the locals are welcoming and friendly.
Pokhara is surrounded by some of the Himalayas most majestic peaks, whilst crystal clear Himalayan lakes complete the picture.
If you don't have the stomach for a flight and would like to enjoy the local air as you travel, the 200km journey can also be done by bus, but be warned, it will take over five hours.
Since Pokhara is at a significantly lower elevation compared to Kathmandu, it feels quite different, even tropical. The landscape is of course dominated by the mighty Himalayan range but if you can tear your eyes away from them for a minute the other natural splendours of the area can be as breathtaking, and it is the perfect place to take a tour in Pokhara to explore this beautiful region. Flowers are in full bloom and forests cover the landscape, which is dotted with lakes and cut by clear, cool rivers.
Till the late 1960s, the only way to get to Pokhara was by foot, so for many it remained quite an enigma. By 1968 a road was built and soon tourism began to flourish and the city began to change quickly. Today there is good tourist infrastructure, with restaurants, internet cafes and a number of places to stay.
Most of the hotels in Pokhara run by friendly locals and offering good value for money. The strip along the shores of the Phewa Lake is a hugely popular resort destination for both Nepalis and foreigners. You can also use our interactive Pokhara map to choose your Pokhara hotel based on its location.
The journey between Kathmandu and Pokhara can be as much a part of the experience as arriving in Pokhara itself. If you opt to fly, you will be rewarded with a bird's eye view of the mighty Himalayas in the north and the green Mahabharat Mountain in the south. Coming here by road can be equally enjoyable, with the bus or taxi driving past several villages and tiny settlements by the banks of the Trisuli River.
Pokhara is situated along the ancient trade route connecting India and Tibet. This made it a significant outpost of the Kaski Kingdom during the seventeenth century. This kingdom was part of twenty-four Kingdoms called Chaubise Rajaya that made up Nepal and was ruled by members of the Shah Dynasty.
The Newars were called from Bhaktapur to trade with Pokhara in 1752 and influence of their artistic styles is visible in the architecture in certain areas like Old Pokhara or Bagar. When the Hindus arrived they brought with them their own unique traditions and by 1786 Pokhara became part of the kingdom of Prithvi Narayan Shah. By this time, Pokhara was already a key trading post. It is believed that in some places surrounding Pokhara, remains of the medieval kingdom can be found even today.
Mule trains are still visible camping outside town, laden with goods from remote areas in the Himalayas. The region is also famous for the valour and tenacity shown by the people - the Gurungs and the Magars. The people have earned a reputation for being good farmers, toiling away relentlessly on the land, and are renowned for the bravery shown in the battlefield as the famous Gurkha soldiers.
Between 1959 and 1962, about 300,000 refugees descended on Nepal from Tibet, when it was seized by China. Refugee camps were soon set up at Jambling, Paljorling, Tashiling and Tashipalkhel in the Pokhara region.
Today, they are full-fledged settlements and have a style of architecture that is distinctly Tibetan. Prayer flags flutter in the wind, chortens and gompas can be seen on the horizon and the buildings are unlike any others in Nepal.
The land sweeps upward dramatically as the mountains tower above the lower lands below. Due to the sudden change of height, the sight of the mountains can be quite astonishing to a first time visitor. In a short distance of 30km the land goes from an elevation of just around 1000m all the way to 7500m and more.
The southern part of the city by the 4.4sq km lake near the Pokhara hotel resort area is around 800m above mean sea level and the northern end of Pokhara city is 1000 m above sea level.
The prominent mountain ranges here are the Annapurna, the Manaslu and the Dhaulagiri, which provide a magnificent backdrop for a tour in Pokhara. The natural splendour of the area abounds, with peaks over 8000m in height, the Bat, Gupteswor and Mahendra caves, the famous Phewa Lake, the thundering Devi's Falls and more.
With so many travellers heading to Pokhara, it is important to book your Pokhara hotels, lodges or guesthouses as soon as possible. With our travel portal we offer hotels in Pokhara, as well as some great Pokhara tour options. We are a locally based company and can offer you the best advice when travelling to Pokhara.