“Chasing angels or fleeing demons, go to the mountains.” ―
Nepal is a slice of paradise on Earth. With The Himalayas sprawled throughout, the country dips into valleys and rises up to peaks that pierce the clouds. Rocky roads flanked with nature’s unsoiled beauty leaves tourists mesmerised even when they are stuck in a crowded public bus, luggages pressed against their chests. The rugged road taken to explore Nepal is not one to be missed, especially for adrenaline junkies.
Where do we start?
Tear away from the bustling city of Kathmandu and enter Pokhara, the second largest city in Nepal. Despite being a hub for tourism, the city is quiet and offers tourists a chance to wind down. Everywhere you turn, Pokhara seems to be surrounded by the giants of the Annapurna range. Draped in blankets of snow, the peaks reflect light in the most dazzling way. While the town itself is tranquil, the activities offered there don’t disappoint. From mainstream trekking activities to paragliding, spending a week in this town will feel insufficient.
Unlike its larger sister, Pokhara does not have an international airport! There are a few convenient ways to get there from Kathmandu. Pokhara is half an hour away by flight and 6 hours away if you’re travelling on the road!
- There are regular domestic flights between Kathmandu and Pokhara that start at 100 USD.
- If you are on a tighter budget, tourist buses are available from Kathmandu, with the most notable being Greenline Tours (25 USD).
- Private Jeeps can be hired starting at 270 USD (one-way) but these can transport up to 8 people at a time and is a comfortable way to travel for the 6 hours.
- Take the road less travelled on with the public buses (4-5 USD). While this is an inexpensive way to travel, it is not the most comfortable as the space is small and jam-packed with people and luggages.
(Prices are subjected to changes and terms and conditions apply!)
Things to do
Paragliding in Pokhara | Photo credits: Jeeheon
Yes, you read it right! Paragliding is one of the most beloved sports in Pokhara because of its fantastic mountain views and incredibly safe procedures. Standard flights cost approximately 75 USD and while this might be relatively expensive, paragliding offers an experience of a lifetime. Take off from Sarangkot and bask in the incredible birds eye view of the area before floating over to Lakeside where you will descent. With the wind whipping against your face and feet dangling in the air, experience a view of Pokhara and its surrounding area like never before.
Paddling around Phewa Lake
Phewa Lake | Photo credits: Allie_Caulfield
While you can choose to cycle or walk around the lake, there is also the option of renting boats from the Lakeside to explore the lake. Choose to paddle yourself or hire someone to bring you on a tranquil ride around the turquoise waters for a relaxing hour. On your lucky day, a clear reflection of the Annapurna range will be visible on the the surface of the lake.
White water rafting
Bhote Koshi river | Photo credits: Anil Simkhada
Because of Nepal’s terrain, it is peppered with waterbodies. With long and pristine rivers, surrounded by a gorgeous landscape, Pokhara makes for an ideal location to do white water rafting. From Pokhara, the Seti River is one of the most popular destinations for this activity. Each rafting trip on Upper Seti is only 90 minutes long but offers spectacular views of the Annapurna. Upper Seti is a 30-minutes drive from the Pokhara Lakeside and this activity will take up half a day. At a cost of approximately 50 USD, tour companies do provide lunch and safety gear as well. For those who seek more than half a day of adventures, some companies offer white water rafting as a package that comes with trekking or exploring the Bhote Koshi river (2D1N).
Poon Hill Trek
Sunrise on Poon Hill trek | photo credits: Matt Zimmerman
How can we forget the one activity people come to Nepal for? Trekking. If you are not ready to tackle the tougher climbs which reach an altitude of 7000 metres and higher, this trek is a good place to start. The Poon Hill Trek is popular amongst beginner and intermediate climbers as it only requires 3/4 days of trekking on a relatively smooth trail. The trek starts at Nayapul, 2 hours from Pokhara, and ends at Ghandruk. You will be covering a distance of 40 kilometres and will ascend 3000 metres to overlook the beautiful range. However, before embarking on a climb of this magnitude, do obtain a permit and check for availability of accommodation at the guesthouses. Also the cost of your trek will vary depending on type of accommodation, group size and expertise of guide.
Whether you plan to take the rugged road or want to head over to Pokhara to simply soak in the sights, it is very important to plan! Take the time to read up and ask questions about the location. Gain access to maps and understand how transportation works as every country has their own system. Know the season you are planing for and pack accordingly too.