Pokhara, Nepal: A Perfect Place for a Paraglide

Paragliding above the lake and Pokhara, Nepal.
Paragliding above the lake and Pokhara, Nepal.

A Lakeside getaway where everything is cheap, even paragliding over the Himalayas

By Monica Gray

Where

Local fishermen cast their lines into the lake at Porkhara, Nepal.
Local fishermen cast their lines into the lake at Porkhara, Nepal. Monica Gray photos.

Pokhara is a small lakeside town in central Nepal in Asia. Nepal is a central Himalayan country in South Asia, bordered in the north by China, and in the south, east and west by India.

Why Go?

Pokhara is the ideal getaway from the hectic and sometimes overwhelming city of Kathmandu. Situated along Phewa Lake, visitors can spend their days relaxing on colorful boats, drinking 80-cent coffees, and soaring through the air on an inexpensive tandem paragliding flight.

When to Go?

The best time to visit Pokhara is during peak season, from September to December. Another good time to visit Nepal is from March through April. During this time, the weather is warm during the days and cool and crisp during the evenings.

Getting There

Tilicho Base Camp on the Annapurna Circuit
Tilicho Base Camp on the Annapurna Circuit.

Visitors have several options to get to Pokhara, either by bus, minivan, or flight. The bus or mini ban is inexpensive and lasts anywhere from 6 to 8 hours and costs around $4-5.

The flight is 30 minutes but much more expensive (around $125) than traveling by land. Buddha Air operates 6-7 flights per day from Kathmandu to Pokhara.

Visitors can choose to travel on local transport, where they will most likely be the only foreigner. The buses are slow, tend to break down often and are quite cramped; you may have to stand in the isle! However, it is the cheapest option.

They also stop multiple times along the route to let locals onto the bus. This is the best way to travel and live like a local!

Travelers who wish to travel by land can choose to take Green Line, a bus company operating solely for tourists wishing to go to Pokhara. The bus leaves Kathmandu at 7:30 AM, and is comfortable, efficient, and offers free Wi-Fi. These buses will set you back around $25.

Green Line Website: http://greenline.com.np/routes/

Kathmandu Address: Tridevi Sadak, Kathmandu 44600

Getting Around

A local man and the author in Porkhara.
A local man named Om and the author in Pokhara.

The town of Pokhara is easily walkable. Otherwise, visitors can choose to take a taxi between any locations or hire a motorbike for the day so they can drive themselves around and explore the area on their own time.

Best Eats

Sunwelcome

This restaurant has some of the cheapest food in Pokhara and serves huge portion sizes. Their Heavy Set breakfast costs $1.75 and comes with coffee or tea, fruit, muesli, and yogurt or porridge, two fried eggs, two pieces of home baked bread, and fried potatoes with vegetables.

Their veggie burger and Swiss breakfast are also great quality. Beware of the wait time when it’s busy, though!

Address: Lakeside, Pokhara 33411, Nepal

Downtown Pokhara.
Downtown Pokhara.

OR2K

This restaurant serves both vegan and vegetarian food. It’s a bit more expensive than many of the other restaurants in Pokhara, however, the portion sizes and the overall wholesome, healthy quality of the food is worth the price.

They have both indoor and outdoor seating. You can also choose to lounge on colorful, plush cushions on the floor. The restaurant is open from 8 am to 11 pm.

Telephone: +977 61-467114

Address: Center Point Building, Baidam 6, Lake Side, Pokhara

Rosemary Kitchen Pokhara

This restaurant gets a lot of praise for its professional staff, cheap prices, and quality of food. One of their must try dishes is the rosemary chicken. The restaurant is open from 7 am to 10 pm.

Telephone: +977 61-467250

Phewa Lake, Pokhara
Phewa Lake, Pokhara

Address: Baidam Road | Lakeside, Pokhara 33700, Nepal

Busy Bee Café

This café is great for a night out with friends. They serve cheap beer and good pizza, which visitors can enjoy while listening to live music. The atmosphere is friendly and cozy, and it’s one of the only places in Pokhara that’s open late. It’s open from 11:30 am to 2 am.

Telephone: +977 9856026747

Address: Baidam Road | Lakeside -6, Pokhara 33411, Nepal

Where to Stay

Budget

Paddle boats floating on Phewa Lake as the sun sets
Paddle boats floating on Phewa Lake as the sun sets

The Mountain House Pokhara

With private rooms starting at $5 a night, this is one of the best budget places to stay in Pokhara. The furniture is new, there is a front garden, and it is in the central part of Lakeside. It’s very close to many restaurants, bars, ATM’s, and trekking agencies.  They also offer 24 hours of warm water to guests, which is hard to find in Nepal!

Address: Lakeside 6, Pokhara, Pokhara, Nepal

Moderate

Pokhara Choice Inn

With rooms starting around $27 a night, this hotel is one of the best choices for moderate spenders looking for a bit of luxury. It’s in proximity to Phewa Lake, the rooms are spacious, and the staff is extremely hospitable. They also offer a basic, complementary breakfast.

Address: Lakeside, Pokhara 44600, Nepal

Expensive

Athithi Resort & Spa

For those of you looking for a luxurious stay in Pokhara, Athithi Resort & Spa offers extreme comfort in a great location near the lake, but is tucked away from all of the craziness. Rooms start at around $70 a night.

Address: Shanti Patan, Lakeside, Pokhara 33411, Nepal

Telephone: +977 61-466760

Da Yatra Courtyard Hotel & Resort

Well-equipped rooms with excellent staff and comfortable décor, this is one of the best places to stay in Pokhara for travelers who have a larger budget. It’s in a great location, only a block from central Pokhara, and offers quality breakfast for guests. Rooms start at around $90 a night.

Address: Pahari Marg, Lakside-6 (3rd Avenue), Pokhara 33700, Nepal

Best Attraction

An older Nepali woman gazing at the lake at dusk.
An older Nepali woman gazing at the lake at dusk.

Paragliding

One of the reasons people come to Pokhara is to go paragliding! Soar over Phewa Lake and get a glimpse of the Himalayan peaks in the distance as you float above the town. There are quite a few companies that take visitors paragliding, but always make sure to go with a reputable company.

Blue Sky Paragliding

The Discovery Tandem lasts from 20-30 minutes and costs around $100. It is perfect for those of you paragliding for the first time.

They also offer the Expedition Tandem, where you will drive 1 to 3 hours away from Pokhara and begin your paragliding experience from there. You may even get to spend the night in the mountains!

They also offer Parahawking Tandem flights, where you will be able to feed birds mid-flight! This flight is available from November to March.

Address: Lakeside Rd, Pokhara 33700, Nepal

Telephone: +977 61-464737

Om is from Pokhara and does a lot of community work around Nepal. He is currently building a school in Palchok.
Om is from Pokhara and does a lot of community work around Nepal. He is currently building a school in Palchok.

Sunrise Paragliding

The Cloudbuster lasts 20-30 minutes and costs around $100. The Cross Country tandem flight lasts 45-60 minutes and costs around $130. Their Acrobatic Flying lasts 10-20 minutes, and costs around $100, and is perfect for you adrenaline junkies looking for some heart-stopping action, where they will twist and turn the parachute, spinning you in circles!

Address: Baidam Rd, Pokhara 33700, Nepal

Telephone: +977 61-463174

Email: info@sunrise-paragliding.com

Frontiers Paragliding

They offer different paragliding options. The Cloudbuster lasts around 20-30 minutes and costs around $85. The XC Flight lasts 40-60 minutes and costs around $115. The Super XC is for those adventurers at heart, where your tandem pilot will take you deep into the mountains. This flight is only available during the springtime. It lasts 90-120 minutes and costs around $180.

Address: Halan Chowk, Lakeside, Pokhara, Nepal

Telephone: +977 61-466044

Email: frontiers@nepal-paragliding.com

Best Unusual Attraction

Watch the Sarangkot Sunrise

This offers one of the most spectacular sunrise spots in Nepal. Wake up at 5:30 am and head up Sarangkot Mountain for a view of the sun peeking above the Himalayan Mountains. Beware; there are several flights of stairs you have to walk up in order to get to the viewing point!

Best Tour

Boat Tours

Visitors can hire a boat for the day and relax on Phewa Lake. Small boats for 2-3 people can be rented, as well as larger boats for a greater number of people. Visitors will see Pokhara on one side and a pagoda on the other.

It’s recommended to take a boat later in the afternoon to avoid the sun’s rays! Take snacks and drinks for the boat in order to fully relax and enjoy your time on the lake. There are also kayak and paddleboard rentals.

Boats rates are as follows:

Single Rider Per Hour: 350 rupees (around $3.50)

Boat with Driver Per Hour: 400 rupees (around $4.00)

Boat for Entire Day: 800 rupees (around $8.00)

Life Jacket Per Day: 30 rupees (around $.30)

Best Alternative

Poon Hill

Seeing Poon Hill is a few days trek from Nepal, but if you want to catch a beautiful sunrise and fantastic view of the Himalayan mountain range, then add Poon Hill to your list. You can either hire a guide or trek to Poon Hill yourself.

After a several days trek, wake up early in the morning and trek up Poon Hill to catch the sunrise at 3,200 meters. From Pokhara, take a taxi to Nayapul. The entire trek will take around 4-5 days, and will end in Pokhara.

You will need two permits for this trek:

Annapurna Conservation Permit: 1,000 Rupees (around $10)

TIMS Trekker’s Permit: 2,000 Rupees (around $20.00)

Visitors can also choose to trek the Annapurna Circuit, a two-week beginner’s trek through the Himalayas. This trek either begins or ends in Pokhara and Besisahar, depending whether you go clockwise or counterclockwise.

Best Shopping

Women’s Skills Development Organization

This store sells woven products, such as bags, backpacks, quilts, and cushion covers. The prices are a bit more expensive than other shops in Pokhara, but supports women in Nepal to help further develop their skills to help them with employment.  The shop is open from 9 am to 9 pm.

Telephone: +977 980-1166110

Address: Lakeside Pokhara, Pokhara 33700, Nepal

Helpinghand Handicrafts

This shop sells products made by deaf men and women in Nepal. By purchasing their products, you’re helping support a great cause. The employees are friendly and helpful, and the products are beautiful.

Telephone: +977 980-4154058

Address: Lakeside 6, Baidam, Pokhara 00977, Nepal

Monica Gray

Monica Gray boarded the plane to Bangkok with a one-way ticket in October 2015 from the United States and has not looked back ever since. She is currently solo backpacking through Southeast Asia in search of adventure, delicious food, and amusing stories. Read her blog, www.globe-trottica.com
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