Phewa Tal, Pokhara. Photo courtesy of S Watkinson
Many visitors to Pokhara arrive for one reason and one reason only - to begin their adventure trekking the Annapurna Circuit. But quite apart from its location as the ‘gateway’ to the Annapurna Circuit, it is a fascinating destination in its own right and it is well worth taking time out to experience the local culture and cuisine before heading out on to the circuit. If you don’t have the opportunity to explore before you set off, chances are that your trek around the Annapurna Circuit will also come to a conclusion in Pokhara. The city can be wonderful to relax in but, if you’re still feeling energetic, it is also a vibrant and exciting place to soak up the local culture and cuisine.
Take yourself off the to the Lake District where you will find an extensive and colourful array of small souvenirs to take home, including arts, crafts and clothing. Bartering is a common practice in Nepal, so try your luck against the stall holders and you just may pick up a bargain! You might be better off waiting for your return to Pokhara at the end of the trek to load up on your purchases, however, as you will want as little weight as possible during your Annapurna Circuit expedition.
If trekking through the mountains has left you a little footsore, why not relax upon your return by taking a boat out on Fewa Lake? You can choose to head out on to the lake in various vessels such as rowboats or kayaks which are rented by the hour or by the day.
For those who feel in need of some culture or history, Pokhara has several interesting museums to visit; and if you want to explore the surrounding hills around the city, you will discover some beautiful waterfalls, hidden caves and small, traditional villages only a short distance away.
For the particularly adventurous, Pokhara also offers a range of activities for the thrill-seeker including river rafting, jungle safaris and micro-flights over the Annapurna Circuit region.