unexpected itineraries: a weekend (or week!) in pokhara, nepal

It’s getting to be trekking season in Nepal!!! After you’ve finished a trek, you might want a little break. While the prayer flags, mountain views, and endless amounts of daal bhat are certainly well-loved on the trail, your body can just get drained! Enter Pokhara.

Pokhara is a 7 hour bus ride away from Kathmandu or the city closest to the trailheads for the Annapurna region. It also happens to be one of the best places to relax, and one of my personal favourite cities in the entire world… it’s a second home to me.

Whether you have 2 days in Pokhara after finishing an Annapurna trek, or a whole week dedicated to relaxation, there’s plenty to do!

If you have 2 days…

DAY 1

Start your morning with a trip on Phewa Tal (the lake)! You can either hire a boatman to row you around, or you can row yourself! You can also hire a boat out to get to the World Peace Pagoda, which is worth a trip! You get rowed to the start of a half hour walk- at the top is the pagoda.

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After you come back from your boat trip/hike, have a DELICIOUS (& cheap) meal at Mo2’s. I highly recommend the jhol momos. (Sick of momos? Here are my favourite restaurants in Pokhara).

After lunch, head away from Lakeside and get into REAL Pokhara. You can hop on a bus into the city center for 50 rupees (or less if you look Nepali!). There, explore the temples, markets, and chaos.

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Have a nice dinner at Moondance in Lakeside. They have all sorts of amazing food, but my personal favourites are their Nepali/Indian meals… I’ve heard the pizza is amazing. Finish your dinner with amaaaazing lemon meringue tart or the brownie!

Nightlife in Pokhara is casual and always a good time! I really like Busy Bee, a bar with live music! Some of my best memories have been here.

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DAY 2

Wake up early and head up to Sarangkot for sunrise. You can easily negotiate with a taxi driver to drive you up. There are plenty of small hotels and restaurants up there for food and a cup of milk tea.

After you’ve watched the sunrise, head down to Lakeside and go shopping! Pokhara is a great place to buy funky, comfy clothes and great souvenirs for your family and friends. You can also get personally embroidered items. If shopping isn’t your thing, hang out at a lakeside cafe and have a lassi or go paragliding!

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Have lunch along the lake; there are plenty of restaurants to choose from!

Spend your afternoon having a spaaa treatment! I went to both the Jiva Spa and the Helping Hands Spa. The Jiva Spa is a bit more expensive, but very luxurious. They also have great food. The Helping Hands Spa is one of my favourite places to get a really GOOD massage, and I love going there because their employees are all blind or deaf. It’s a great way to give back to the community.

For dinner, I recommend the Crazy Gecko. Their food is absolutely delicious and they have amazing tables right on the water of the lake. A very good friend of mine showed it to me, and wow, was it amazing.

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If you have a week…

Besides everything mentioned above, go trekking! I know, I know, another TREK to relax from a TREK? This one is absolutely worth going for, and I can guarantee you’ll be missing the mountains. If you’d like a longer trek, do Poon Hill. It’s absolutely incredible, and the sunrise coming up over the Annapurnas is magical. If you’re looking for something not strenuous and beautiful, the Australian camp trek is great- and only two days!

To start the Australian camp trek, take a bus out to Phedi, where there will be an obvious trailhead. I think the bus to Phedi was about 150 rupees. There are signs the whole way up and you get to see the agricultural side of Nepal! It’s a really lovely escape back into the mountains, and it isn’t difficult at all.


 

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