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Pokhara is a popular starting point for long treks in the Annapurna range of the Himalaya, but it’s also an attractive and rewarding destination in its own right. Whether you’re passing through the lakeside city on the way to the mountains or it’s your final destination in Western Nepal, here’s how to get the most out of three days in Pokhara.
Day 1: All About the Views
Start your time in Pokhara by getting an overview of the city—quite literally. Wake up early and head up to Sarangkot, the hill to the north of Lake Fewa (Phewa Tal). It’s an ideal spot for watching the sunrise, with sweeping views over the Annapurnas, and the jumping-off point for paragliding over Pokhara. Most paragliding tours include gear, instruction, 30–40 minutes of flight, and hotel pickup and drop-off. After soaking in the views, enjoy a leisurely day by the lake. Paddle on Lake Fewa (or hire an oarsman to do that for you), visit the Tal Barahi Temple on an island in the lake, stroll along the promenade, and do some souvenir shopping in the Lakeside area. End the day at a bar or restaurant overlooking the lake—time it right and you can enjoy the sunset over the lake and mountains.
Day 2: Cultural Pokhara
Kathmandu may be better-known as a cultural destination in Nepal, but Pokhara has worthwhile cultural destinations, too. Just outside the city is a Tibetan refugee camp, which has been there for several decades. Tour the camp with a guide, where you can talk with residents, shop for handicrafts to support them, try some authentic Tibetan food, and visit the attractive monastery. Another cultural highlight, the International Mountain Museum tells the stories of the people who live in the Nepal Himalaya and those who explore and climb it, as well as providing information about the ecology and nature of the range. The museum will especially interest those who have been, or are planning to go, trekking in the nearby mountains.
Day 3: Mountain Trails and Villages
If you only have three days in Pokhara and are unable to go on a longer Himalayan trek, you can still spend one of your days hiking in the mountains to get a good taste of the Nepal Himalaya without the time commitment. The most convenient way to do this is to get a private transfer—ideally a four-wheel drive—to Phedi, Dhampus, or the Australian Camp. You’ll hike part of the way and be rewarded with mountain views and an intimate peek into Nepali village life. Going with a local guide is optimal for a deeper understanding of the landscape and culture of the places you visit. Return to Pokhara in time to enjoy a final sunset over the mountains and the lake before dinner.