Pokhara in Nepal – The former Hippie Hideout

Besides Kathmandu, the most famous city in Nepal is certainly Pokhara. The city is a very popular place with tourists, as it exudes a more relaxed vibe compared to Kathmandu. The location of the city with its almost 300,000 inhabitants is unsurpassable. Right on a lake and surrounded by some of the highest mountains on the planet. Pokhara is also an ideal starting point for all hikes in the Annapurna region. Those who miss their western food will also find it here. For our taste, the city was too touristy compared to the rest of the country. In hippie times, when there were still a few thousand inhabitants, this must have been a magical place.

Leckere Säfte gibt es überall am Straßenrand

General information about Pokhara

Before 1968, Pokhara was only accessible by foot and had only a few thousand inhabitants. Then, of course, when the first road was built and the town became much more accessible, its beauty and location did not go unnoticed and thus the town grew steadily to become the second largest in Nepal. Pkhara is located directly on Lake Phewa and offers a view of three eight-thousand-metre peaks (Annapurna, Manaslu and Dhaulagiri). Equally recognisable is the “Nepalese Matterhorn” Machapuchhre with its almost 7,000m. Phewa Lake is considered one of the most beautiful in the country and is the second largest in Nepal, after Rara Lake. If you are absolutely looking for an adventure, head to the west of the country and take on the trek to Rara Lake.

Sights in and around Pokhara

Pokhara is an ideal place to relax, especially if you have one of the bigger treks ahead of you. Overall, however, we found that Pokhara disappointed us somewhat. In days gone by, this must have been an incomparable place, when only people who really wanted to go here made the journey and there was no mass tourism. Now it is an easily accessible big city and holiday destination for local tourists.

1) Hikes in the Annapurna Region

The main reason for our trip to Nepal was the hike to Annapurna Base Camp. The ideal starting point for this hike is Pokhara. Pokhara is also a good place to relax a little before the trek, before heading into the mountains for several days. We did Annapurna Base Camp & Poon Hill, as well as the lesser known trek to Kapuche Lake and were absolutely thrilled with everything we experienced here.

Namaste Annapurna Base Camp

2) Begnas Lake

Begnas Lake is a good half hour from Pokhara and is perfect for a day trip. We hired a scooter and drove to the lake, had some delicious food and jumped into the water on a monkey swing and had a swim. Lake Begnas is the third largest lake in the country. Around the lake there are many cute little restaurants and accommodations that invite you to stay. However, we returned to Pokhara in the evening.

Ein gemütlicher Tag am Begnas Lake

3) Phewa Lake

Right in Pokhara is Lake Phewa, which is one of the city’s main attractions. Boats with or without drivers can be hired here to explore the lake. Pokhara is also a popular destination for local tourists, so it can get crowded, especially at weekends. But a walk along Lakeside with the mountain panorama in the background is also an inviting way to visit. Lakeside is the most touristy part of the city.

Boote am Phewa-See

4) World Peace Pagoda

The World Peace Pagoda in Pokhara is one of 80 World Peace Pagodas in the world and aims to promote peace between people of different religions and ethnicities. In each of the four cardinal points sits a Buddha representing a different Buddhist country. There is a Nepalese, a Thai, a Sri Lankan and a Japanese Buddha. Each of them in a different pose, which in turn show different phases in the Buddha’s life. The pagoda can be visited as a day hike from Pokhara, as a short hike by taking a boat to the other side of the lake beforehand, or by scooter/taxi and a short climb. The pagoda overlooks Pokhara with a fantastic mountain panorama in the background.

World Peace Pagoda mit Bergen im Hintergrund

5) Stroll through the city and enjoy western food

Sometimes it’s good to eat something a little more local when you’re on the road. Especially for people like us who are on the road for a longer time. We had lunch at the French Creperie three times during our stay. We especially liked the salad with goat cheese and the cheese variations, which satisfied our cravings. You can also get a decent pizza at “Goodfathers”. It is also interesting to have a look at Pokhara’s “Disneyland” with its screaming visitors.

Pokhara Disneyland
Pokhara Disney Land on the shores of Lake Phewa

Overnight stay in Pokhara

In Pokhara, there are several places to stay in all price ranges. If you want to socialise and meet other travellers, one of the hostels in the centre is the place to be. We stayed at the Kiwi Backpackers Hostel, where a delicious breakfast is included every morning. It alternates between pancakes, burgers and a smoothie bowl. I would classify this as a slightly more upmarket hostel. However, if you are looking for something smaller and familiar, you are wrong here, the hostel is huge. After the hike, we opted for accommodation a little more in the nature in the northern part. The Peace Guesthouse Cottage is situated on a slope and offers a great view. Each cottage has its own balcony and invites you to relax in the green. The rooms were spacious and clean and unbeatable value for money at the equivalent of just under €7 for two people.

Arrival and departure to Pokhara

Getting to Pokhara is extremely easy, especially from Kathmandu. There are regular buses from almost every major city to or via Pokhara. Even those who want to go to the Annapurna region will find buses leaving from the city centre.

Arrival & departure by public bus and minibuses:
Buses usually arrive at a bus terminal just outside the city. Most accommodation is near Hallan Chok or Lakeside. From the bus terminal, take a taxi or wait for one of the smaller buses heading in your direction. Buses often leave from the Old Bus Park. There are also minibuses that travel the exact same route, which are a little faster but also a little more expensive. A trip to Pokhara costs about 600 NPR (~ 5 €) for the public bus and about 750 NPR ( ~ 6 €) for the minibus. The journey time to Kathmandu is between 6 and 12 hours, depending on traffic.

Arrival & departure with the tourist bus
The tourist bus departs from another bus stop that is easier to reach on foot. Tourist buses offer much more comfort and are much more expensive than local buses. We also found the atmosphere in the local buses much more pleasant and exciting. The advantage of the tourist bus is that it usually lets people off in the middle of the tourist area and you don’t have to travel further with public transport/taxis.

Food & Drink in Pokhara

As already mentioned above, Pokhara is probably the most touristy city in Nepal. Accordingly, there are restaurants in all price categories and for every taste. However, those looking for cheap local food will also find what they are looking for. From our own experience, we can recommend the French Crêperie and the pizzeria “Godfahter’s”, which are also well worth a visit for budget travellers.

Frequently asked questions about your visit to Pokhara

Pokhara is located pretty much in the middle of Nepal and is easily accessible by bus from Kathmandu and other cities in Nepal.
Pokhara is situated in a valley 822 m above sea level.
Yes, especially the Kathmandu – Nepal route is served several times a day by buses, minibuses and the more luxurious tourist buses.
The best place for this is Kathmandu, as the clothes are much cheaper.
In Pokhara, there are some shops that buy and sell second-hand clothes. However, the price you get is often very low. As an alternative, you can try Facebook groups – where clothes are offered for sale and purchase.

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We are Julian & Naomi and we love to travel the world and immerse ourselves in other cultures. We have an adventurous, spartan, sustainable and reflective travel style. In our opinion, the greatest adventures are experienced when you do things on your own and try to live like a local. The taste of a country is best captured on the road
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