Pokhara, last stop before the Himalayas

Pokhara in Nepal

Pokhara in Nepal is usually just a stop on the way to a longer hike, but there is certainly no reason to cheat yourself for the delights hidden in this exciting and cozy town in Nepal.

Most visitors to Pokhara are people who are either on a short visit before their hike in the mountains or have just returned to sit back and take care of a tired body and sore legs with good food and relaxation. Despite the constant transport of tourists back and forth from the mountains, the city has managed to create an inviting mood, that gives one a desire to stay a while.

Lakeside Road shopping in Pokhara

Evening panoramic view of world peace stupa, Phewa lake, Pokhara and great himalayan range, Annapurna, Manaslu, Nepal Himalayas mountains

Pokhara in Nepal is centered around Phewa Lake, and if you want a Nepalese wool sweater, a pair of hiking boots or a souvenir home, Lakeside Road – the closest to the lake – is the place to come. The small facades of the many shops often store a huge back room with clothes in all colors, so it is also worth going into the shops that look most modest. And there is plenty of room to negotiate prices. As in any other poor country, and  one must not forget that Nepal is that, it is important to have fairness in mind and consider whether to really try to push the already low price further down, and leave the seller with close to nothing. A good middle price is desirable for all parties, and the welcoming Nepalese people make it easy to compromise.

Lakeside is the setting for more than shopping, and when it’s time to fill up the depots, after the hike or an adventurous day in Pokhara, the good restaurants are not far away. There is a varied selection in similarly varied surroundings. The country’s geographical location has certainly influenced its cuisine, and Indian-inspired curries are very popular in the restaurants here. Western cuisine is also strongly represented, and the traditional Nepalese Newari cuisine is of course also present at Lakeside – several places serve local food with associated dance and music. If there is too much traffic congestion on the main street, it is easy to search for the actual lakeside, where, overlooking the lake, food is served in restaurants and in lounge-like cafes where you can enjoy the relaxing surroundings.

Lake Phewa, Pokhara, Nepal

Lake Phewa, Pokhara, Nepal

A fun afternoon on Lake Phewa

Phewa Lake, Phewa Tal or Fewa Lake is a lake in Nepal formerly called Baidam Tal located in the south of the Pokhara Valley The lake is stream-fed from the mountains, but a dam regulates the water reserve. It is the second largest lake in Nepal; the largest in Gandaki Pradesh after the Rara lake in the comparison to Nepal’s water bodies. It is the most popular and most visited lake in Nepal. It is the only lake in Nepal to have a temple, Tal Barahi Temple at the Lake.

POKHARA, NEPAL - People walking around of Tal Barahi Temple, located at the center of Phewa Lake, is the most important religious monument of Pokhara.

POKHARA, NEPAL – People walking around of Tal Barahi Temple, located at the center of Phewa Lake, is the most important religious monument of Pokhara.

Phewa is not only a beautiful backdrop to the city but also a haven for people who need to slow down. Several places around the lake are rented out there to tourists for room and board. Equipped with a bottle of water and a good packed lunch you can easily spend a few hours on the lake. Inland it is not clear, but as soon as you are out on the lake looking back over the city, the Himalayas show themselves on the clear days as a magnificent wallpaper that frames the small town.  We are more than 4000 meters up and yet the mountains rise majestically around the lake. The snow-covered mountain peaks are a sight to behold. And if there is a need to explore further, one can sail to the Tal Barahi Temple, which is in the middle of the lake. The Hindu temple is Pokhara’s most important religious monument and provides fine insight into the religious culture.

Tibetans in Pokhara Nepal

On the street in Pokhara, it is very normal to be stopped by Tibetan women, who want to sell some of their crafts. They probably come from one of the surrounding Tibetan refugee camps. Closely packed, and as an almost subculture in the Nepalese community, these refugees live without citizenship and completely without rights. Despite this, they welcome visitors with open arms, and for a modest amount one can be shown around in one of these refugee camps. It is one of the more meaningful and insightful ways to get away from the touristy Pokhara.

Panorama of mount Annapurna South - view from Poon Hill on Annapurna Circuit Trek in the Nepal Himalaya

Adrenalin junkies

You can do nothing but relax and shop in Pokhara, and one of the city’s main attractions requires nothing more than a platform high up – and otherwise just an adventurous traveler. You can read more about paragliding in Pokhara.

Pokhara can easily act as a host city for a single night at the start and end of the hike, but if there are a few days left in the calendar, they can rightly be used in this laid-back city, which offers opportunities most travelers would enjoy.

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