Escape to: Pokhara, Nepal

Explore the beautiful lakeside town of Pokhara, Nepal.

by SHFamily | Fri, September 30, 2016

Zhoe Zhang explores the lakeside town of Pokhara, the launch pad for treks into the mighty Himalayas. Here are her suggestions on what to do, see, and eat there.

 

Sleep 

As a sightseeing destination, there are many hotels and B&Bs to choose from in Pokhara. However, if you want a quality place to rest your head with a reasonable price tag, Hotel Travel Inn is highly recommended. Located just five minutes’ walk from the lake, the hotel provides all the basic necessities including free Wifi, hot water and electricity 24 hours a day, which can be pretty hard to come by in Nepal.

On a good day, you’ll get a clear, stunning view of the whole lake and the Annapurna Himalayan mountain range from the hotel rooftop. The friendly and helpful staff can also help you book outdoor activities or bus tickets with a hotel guest discount.

Website: hoteltravelin.com 

 

Sites

Pokhara boasts a sublime view of Phewa Lake, with many lakeside tea shops for you to relax at and take in the view. Or, you can rent a boat to enjoy nature up close. From the center of the lake, it’s also possible see the bright white dome of the World Peace Pagoda sitting on Ananda Hill, 1,100 meters above sea level.

Also known as Shanti Stupa, the pagoda is a monument to peace and holds Buddhist relics. The original foundation stone was laid in 1973 by Buddhist monk Nichidatsu Fuji from the Japanese Nipponzan Myohoji, and the remainder of the construction was led by monk Morioka Sonin. A boat from the lake will take you to the bottom of Ananda Hill, and then it’s a steep trek (around 45 minutes) up to the monument. 

Website: onlinepokhara.com/city/world-peace-pagoda

 

Eat & Drink

Nepalese food draws influences from Chinese and Indian cuisines, both of which are available in Pokhara, along with traditional Tibetan food at local markets or street stalls. Momo is a must-try dish; it’s similar to Chinese dumplings, but with an added kick from the chili sauce.

 

One place to tick off your globe-trotting food list has to be the most famous curry restaurant in Pokhara: The Lemon Tree. Enjoy several kinds of seriously good Nepalese curry served with rice and naan bread, as well as freshly caught fish (a top tip is to eat on the second floor in the open air, with a great nighttime view of the main street).

 

Wash your dinner down with one of the country’s iconic drinks, Masala tea. Hugely popular, this traditional hot milk tea is mixed with pepper, cinnamon and other spices, giving it a distinctive sweet and spicy flavor. 

The Lemon Tree: 061 463246

 

Shopping

Handmade cashmere scarves and folk-style accessories are some of the most authentic souvenirs to take home. The hand-stitched style originates from women in the high mountains of Tibet, with items available to purchase from stalls on Pokhara’s main street, close to Phewa Lake.

 

All items are fair-trade products under the Women Skill Development Project (WSDP), established in 1975 to help local women who have been through difficult situations to become self-sufficient and secure an income through skills training. You won’t find a more worthy place to purchase beautiful gifts for your friends. 

Website: oxfamshop.org.au/pages/81352

 

Adventure

No trip to this region is complete without a trek into the nearby hills. Head into town and hire a local Sherpa (mountain guide), who’ll trek with you to find mind-blowing views. Booking a local guide is a great way to give back to the community. You’ll find plenty of options in the main tourist spots or stores that sell trekking gear, and these guides will likely cost less than a big tour company; just make sure you shop around.

 

For adrenaline junkies, paragliding provides amazing 360-degree views of the Annapurna Himalayas as well as Phewa Lake from 2,000 feet above sea level. Take in the vast array of paddy fields and mountains beneath you. Each trip includes a professional coach by your side and comes complete with a photo and video recording of the whole activity as a memento. The cloud-busting Sunrise Paragliding trip lasts approximately 20 minutes and costs around RMB500.

Website: sunrise-paragliding.com