A close to 5-hour drive from the capital city of Kathmandu, the Valley of Pokhara boasts of its beautiful lakes, and the spectacular backdrop of snowy peaks and surrounding greenery it brings along. You can take a tour bus, costing NPR 600-700, or a minivan, costing NPR 500, from the main city of Kathmandu, and it will take you right in the center of the Pokhara valley, where the lakeside hotels and homestays lie at a walking distance. Here is a list of 10 things you do not want to miss out on doing when you are amidst that scenic beauty:
Breakfast at Mike’s Breakfast:
Along with being a great place to put up at, Mike’s Breakfast is one of the places that top the list for a good English breakfast in Pokhara! Situated alongside the lake, this café offers you with a more than perfect view of the Phewa lake, in the morning. You can spot the beautiful range of Annapurna mountains right from your table, along with getting glimpses of the local boys doing an amazing job of fishing along the edges of the lake. If you plan to sit there and relax until late morning, don’t forget to get yourself a glass of that yummy hot chocolate they serve! Then sit back and enjoy the beautiful view of para-gliders gliding alongside the mountains. (Cost for one: NPR 500)
Live Music Night at Busy Bee:
When it comes to Pokhara’s nightlife, Busy Bee is first place that comes to mind! Located close to the lakeside, this sports cafe has live music nights every week, where you can enjoy local bands performing to the tunes of Pop, Rock, Funk Rock and Electro Pop. Wait for when they slip in one or two Nepali songs in between! Whilst you sit and enjoy the music, don’t forget to try the local beers, Gorkha and Nepal Ice! You can also smoke shisha, or challenge someone to a game of pool or foosball. Due to its popularity, Busy Bee has the highest number of tourists visiting from different parts of the world, making it a great place to socialize with them. (Cost for one: NPR 1000 to 1500)
Japanese Food at Koto:
Koto, famous for its food worldwide, offers the best sushi and Japanese food in Pokhara! Try the Vegetable Tempura or Lake Salmon for starters. For main course, you can choose from different set meals. The large quantity allows two people to easily share one meal, which costs anywhere between NPR 700 to 900. Your meal is exquisitely served in the traditional Japanese style, with miso soup on the side. As soon as you sit at the table, you are presented with a complimentary cup of hot Jasmine tea. So you can relax, leisurely decide your order and sip on to your tea till the food arrives.
Having a meal at Moondance Bar and Cafe:
Offering a wide variety of choices for food, right from Continental, Italian, Mexican, Thai and Indian, Moondance is located close to Phewa Lake and is well-known for its top quality food and service. The Chicken Lasagna here is a must-try! Wholesome, melted cheese, topping the delicious chicken literally melts in your mouth. The steaks, succulent and flavorful, are a class apart, and the waiters ensure that the meat is cooked as per your suitability. The beef burger is a heavenly choice for red-meat lovers! Order a cocktail/mocktail and sip on to it along with your food since the drinks are absolutely delightful and go easy on the pocket as well, thanks to the Happy Hours! (Cost for one: NPR 1000 to 1200)
Cycling around Phewa Lake:
Rent a cycle for as cheap as NPR 100 bucks an hour and go around exploring Pokhara all on your own! The best time of the day to rent a cycle is just before sunset. Enjoy the cool breeze and cycle around the lake, blissfully taking in its beauty and greenery. Both geared and non-geared cycles are available in all sizes. You can also cycle to the Davis Falls, which is an approximately 3 km ride from the main market area around Phewa Lake.
Boating in Phewa Lake:
The perfect time to go boating in the Phewa Lake is early in the morning or just before sunset – neither of them can ever be disappointing! Avoid going in the afternoons since it can get a little hot. Extremely soothing and peaceful, a boat-ride in the middle of the beautiful mountains gives you the perfect opportunity to soak yourself in the beauty of nature amongst the calm waters. A boat ride for two people will cost you anywhere between NPR 150-200 for an hour.
Since you can get a view of the beautiful Annapurna Mountain range from almost all parts of Pokhara, paragliding is one of the best experiences you can have here! It might look scary, but in reality, simply gives you the feeling of flying like a bird in the sky. From about 8000 metres high, the snow-clad mountains look deeply mesmerizing, and make paragliding an experience of a lifetime. Paragliding will cost you NPR 5000 for one ride. You also have an option of getting a video footage of the experience by paying at additional NPR 1500. During the peak season, you need to book your slot a minimum of 7 days in advance since all the slots get filled up easily.
Nepali Thali at Thakali Bhanchha:
You simply cannot leave Pokhara without trying out the authentic Nepali food at Thakali Bhanchha! With their high standards for both, service and food, they use plates and bowls made from copper for serving the food. One of the classic characteristics of the Nepali Thali is the saag (spinach), and the mouth-watering tomato chutney served at the side, which goes amazingly well with all the other food on the plate. (Cost: NPR 700)
Kayaking in the Phewa Lake:
If you are the adventurous kinds, skip the conventional boating, and go away into the lake by opting for kayaking instead. You will have choices to select from a 1-seater, 2-seater or 3-seater. The technique for kayaking is slightly different from the conventional rowing of oars for boating, but once you get the hang of it, it’s almost addictive and thoroughly enjoyable. (Cost: 1-seater – NPR 150, 2-seater – NPR 400, 3 seater – NPR 600)
Topping the list of the popular tourist attractions in Pokhara, Davis falls is one of the most beautiful sights here! What is amazing is that the water gushes down into a natural tunnel, which runs more than 100 feet below the ground. The exact depth of this tunnel is still unknown. From a distance, the natural tunnel gives you the illusion of a huge crack in the surface of the earth. It looks exceptional and stands beautifully amidst the surrounding greenery. Once you have seen the waterfall, visit the Manokamana Devi Temple right beside it. Make a wish by tossing a coin into the wishing well and if it falls on the small plate, your wish could just come true!
An ideal vacation to Pokhara should be anywhere between 4 to 7 days.
Picture Courtesy: Nepal Sutra, lifeoutsidethecubicle.net, flickr.com, groupon.com, i.ytimg.com
This article was originally written for polkacafe.com.