Pokhara, Nepal: The Perfect Place to Relax Before (or After) A Trek
I can safely assume that if you’re travelling to Nepal that a trek is high on your list of things to do. If you’re planning on trekking in the Annapurna Range you’ll most likely pass through Pokhara, a small city on the shores of Phewa Lake.
Pokhara is a great destination in its own right and is the perfect place to relax before or after a trek. It’s an excellent place to stock up on trekking supplies and go on a couple of warm-up hikes, as well as enjoy some decent food before the monotony of trekking cuisine takes over.
Here’s a quick look at some of things you can do in and around Pokhara.
Visit the Peace Pagoda (Shanti Stupa)
The actual pagoda isn’t of too much interest, but the view of Pokhara surrounded by the massive peaks of the Annapurna Range makes it a must-see spot. We hired a taxi (around 1000 rupees) to take us there and wait around for an hour or two. The view was incredible — don’t miss it if you’re travelling to Pokhara.
FURTHER READING: Shanti Stupa is one of two Peace Pagodas in Nepal (the other is in Lumbini). Read this article to find out more about them and why they were built.
A boat ride on Phewa Lake
While walking by the water’s edge local boatmen will implore you to take a trip on the lake. We eventually gave in to the pressure. It’s cheap and it’s always fun to be out on a lake in a small rowboat.
Watch the sunrise in Sarangkot
The hike up to Sarangkot is an excellent way to prepare for more strenuous future trekking. We hiked up to the village during the day and slept at a little guesthouse with a great view. We got up early for the sunrise — it was quite busy, but sunrise spots like this usually are. If you’re relaxing in Pokhara after a big trek you probably won’t feel like walking; taxis are affordable in Pokhara though so you don’t necessarily need to hike.
FURTHER READING: Check out the post I wrote about our quick trip to Sarangkot
Walk around the Lake
Walking around the lake-side path is one of the most relaxing things to do in Pokhara (if you can ignore the boat touts). It’s a picturesque town and even though it’s often full of tourists there is still plenty of local life happening all around.
Relax in Restaurants
You can find all sorts of food in Pokhara. Most of it is cheap and delicious, and the restaurants are often laid-back spots where people end up staying long after their meal is finished. We ate some really good pizza at Godfather’s Pizzeria and also ate at few of the small restaurants down by the lake. We didn’t have a bad meal in the five days that we were there.
Shopping in Pokhara
I was in need of some shoes for the upcoming Poon Hill Trek, so I searched the many identical shops looking for a bargain. I found some Salomon hiking shoes for about $30 — the guy said they were factory seconds but they could also have been knock-offs. They lasted for over a year of intense travelling, including some serious hiking in Patagonia (they were shot after that though). We also bought some gloves and socks and hired some jackets for the trek.
There is heaps more to do in and around Pokhara, but we opted to take it easy in preparation for (and recovery from) our hike in the Annapurna Range. We’ll be back one day to explore more of this beautiful area of Nepal.
Is trekking in Nepal on your bucket list? Let me know in the comments below!