Pokhara was a welcome escape from the bustling city of Kathmandu.
Although it is the second largest city in Nepal, it is a relatively quiet and quiet lakeside town, which is mainly used as a base for hikes in the Annapurna region. What makes this city so breathtaking is the abundance of natural beauty along with picturesque panoramic views of the Annapurna Mountains. In every corner you can see these snow-capped mountains, which are the perfect backdrop for a calm lake. The streets are a combination of guesthouses, restaurants, bars, souvenir shops and hiking shops.
A bumpy drive to Pokhara
There are a few ways to reach Pokhara, but the most common is by tourist bus from Kathmandu. Daily tourist buses arrive at 6.30am from Kantipath, Thamel at 6.30am. Find the bus lines, you can not miss them. If you have not bought a ticket yet, you can do so on your arrival. It costs between 600 NPR and 1000 ($ 6 USD – $ 10 USD). For a more comfortable ride and including lunch, Green Line Tours offers services for 2500 NPR (25 USD).
To get back to Kathmandu, hop on one of the many tourist buses that leave from the bus terminal in Pokhara. Go and take your choice! Same costs, same buses. They all leave at 7.30.
This bus ride was one of the “more interesting” bus rides we have ever had. Considering that the distance is only 200 km, it took us well over 7.5 hours to reach Pokhara. The roads are some of the worst we’ve ever seen and drivers are not afraid to fly in potholes.
Too afraid of the bus? There are also daily flights departing from Kathmandu, a 25-minute drive. These flights are between $ 65 USD and $ 110 USD depending on the airline and can be booked the day before at one of the tourist offices.
Top tips for Pokhara
Bargains, bargains, bargains! Everything can be negotiated, including a return to Kathmandu. If you do not ask, you’ll never know, so do not be shy
Visa / Mastercard is accepted at most restaurants, but always with a 3-5% surcharge on each transaction.
Pre-booking hotels is much more expensive than doing it when you arrive (sometimes more than twice), but if you come in the high season (October-November) you may want to pre-arrange.
How long do you need in Pokhara?
Pokhara is one of the cities you can see in a few days, but also for a few weeks. We stayed here for 12 days, which was perfect. It gave us time to enjoy nature, but still relax and enjoy the slower pace, especially from Kathmandu. We recommend a minimum of 5 days to take advantage of all the offers on offer except long trekking tours (add 4 to 22+ days).
Where to stay in Pokhara
Virtually all accommodations are located in Lakeside, near the Phewa Lake. There are definitely guesthouses that you are looking for and it can be a bit overwhelming to choose. To help you, we’ve listed a few we looked at and stayed with. Our first choice would be Harvest Moon Guest House (based on a backpacker budget). It is just a short 7-minute walk from the main street, but it has facilities (super fast wifi!) And the staff is worth the walk.
In most guest houses, the average price for a basic double room is $ 14- $ 20 (including breakfast). There are hotels with dorm rooms for as low as $ 5 and hotels with rooms upwards of $ 100 USD.