• Modified on Mar 31, 2024

Pokhara, a touristic and picturesque city nestled in the lap of the Annapurna mountain range has now been officially declared as the “Tourism Capital of Nepal.” As of March 17th, 2024, this enchanting city embarks on a new chapter, solidifying its status as the prime destination for those seeking adventure, tranquility, and cultural immersion.

Situated about 200 kilometers west of Kathmandu, Pokhara is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, tranquil lakes, and majestic Annapurna Himalayan Ranges. Phewa Lake is one of the most iconic features of Pokhara. The lake, adorned with the reflection of the towering Machhapuchhre (Fishtail) Peak and Mt. Dhaulagiri, offers breathtaking views and opportunities for boating, kayaking, and relaxation along its shores. Visitors can take a peaceful boat ride to the Tal Barahi Temple situated on a small island in the middle of the lake or simply enjoy the stunning sunset views against the backdrop of the Annapurna HImalayan Range.

Adventure enthusiasts usually flock to Pokhara for its wide range of outdoor activities. Paragliding is immensely popular in Pokhara, offering a thrilling experience as you soar above the city and lakes, taking in panoramic views of the Himalayas. Additionally, Pokhara is a prime destination for trekking, with routes ranging from short day hikes to multi-day treks like the Annapurna Base Camp, Annapurna Circuit Trek, the Ghorepani Poon Hill trek, etc. which offer a chance to immerse oneself in the breathtaking mountain scenery, diverse landscapes, and rich cultural experiences of the region.

For those seeking spiritual solace, Pokhara is home to several significant religious sites. The World Peace Pagoda, perched atop a hill overlooking the city, provides not only a spiritual retreat but also offers sweeping views of the Annapurna range and the city below. Another notable religious landmark is the Bindhyabasini Temple, dedicated to the Hindu goddess Bhagwati, which holds great religious and cultural significance for the local community.

Lakeside Pokhara
                                                                                                                      Lakeside Pokhara

The city itself exudes a laid-back charm, with bustling lake side, vibrant cafes, and a welcoming atmosphere. Lakeside Pokhara, with its abundance of guesthouses, restaurants, and souvenir shops, serves as the main tourist hub, where visitors can unwind and soak in the relaxed ambiance after a day of exploration.

Pokhara's allure extends beyond its natural beauty and adventure opportunities. The city also offers a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of Nepal through its museums, art galleries, and cultural performances. The Gurkha Museum, International Mountain Museum, and Pokhara Museum are among the notable institutions that showcase the history, culture, and mountaineering legacy of the region. Here are some of the most asked questions about Pokhara, the Tourist Capital of Nepal:

Table of Content

How to reach Pokhara?

Reaching Pokhara is relatively straightforward, with several transportation options available depending on your starting point and preferences. Here are the most common ways to reach Pokhara:

  • By Air: The quickest way to reach Pokhara is by flying into Pokhara Airport (also known as Tribhuvan International Airport). Several domestic airlines offer daily flights from Kathmandu to Pokhara, with flight durations typically around 25-30 minutes. This option is convenient for travelers with limited time or those who prefer to avoid long overland journeys.
  • By Road: For travelers seeking a more scenic route or from neighboring cities or countries. The journey from Kathmandu to Pokhara by road takes approximately 6-7 hours, depending on road conditions and traffic. Buses, tourist coaches, and private vehicles ply this route regularly. The Prithvi Highway connects Kathmandu to Pokhara, offering picturesque views of terraced fields, rivers, and hills along the way.

Best Time to Visit Pokhara

The best time to visit Pokhara is during Autumn (September to November) and Spring (March to May) when the weather is mild, the skies are clear, and outdoor activities are at their peak. Autumn offers clear skies, minimal rainfall, and excellent mountain views, making it perfect for trekking and paragliding. Spring brings blooming flowers and pleasant temperatures, ideal for sightseeing and outdoor adventures. Winter (December to February) is quieter but still appealing for those who enjoy cooler temperatures and fewer crowds. Monsoon season (June to August) should be avoided due to heavy rainfall and limited outdoor activities.

Tal Barahi Temple in Phewa Tal
                                                                                                                      Tal Barahi Temple in Phewa Lake

Major Attractions in Pokhara

Pokhara stands out as a versatile city, offering a dynamic array of experiences that cater to a diverse range of interests and preferences. From its serene lakeshores and majestic mountain vistas to its crowded lakeside and vibrant cultural scene, Pokhara welcomes visitors with its sophisticated charm. 

Whether you seek adventure among the Himalayan peaks, tranquility by the lakeside, cultural immersion in ancient temples, or simply a relaxing retreat surrounded by natural beauty, Pokhara invites you to discover the many facets of its allure. With its versatility and abundant attractions, Pokhara promises something special for every traveler to enjoy and cherish. Here are some of the major must-visit destinations in Pokhara:

  • Phewa Lake: The largest lake in Pokhara, Phewa Lake is a focal point of the city's natural beauty. Visitors can enjoy boating on the lake while soaking in breathtaking views of the surrounding Himalayan peaks.
  • Sarangkot: A popular viewpoint located on a hilltop near Pokhara, Sarangkot offers panoramic vistas of the Annapurna range, including views of the sunrise and sunset that are simply mesmerizing.
  • World Peace Pagoda: Situated atop a hill overlooking Phewa Lake, the World Peace Pagoda is a symbol of peace and tranquility. Visitors can hike or take a boat ride to reach the pagoda and enjoy serene surroundings and stunning views.
  • Pumdikot Shiva Statue: Located at the hilltop overlooking the Pokhara Valley, Pumdikot is home to the second-tallest statue of Shiva in Nepal. The Shiva Statue itself stands an impressive 51 feet tall, atop the white stupa that adds 57 feet in height, making the entire structure an awe-inspiring 108 feet high. 
Pumdikot Shiva Statue
                                                                                                                      Pumdikot Shiva Statue
  • Pokhara Lakeside: The bustling Lakeside area is a hub of activity, with numerous restaurants, cafes, shops, and accommodations lining the shores of Phewa Lake. It's a great place to relax, dine, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere.
  • Gupteshwor Cave: This mystical cave is known for its sacred Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. Inside the cave, visitors can explore intricate limestone formations and a hidden waterfall.
  • Davis Falls: Also known as Patale Chhango, Davis Falls is a unique waterfall that flows into an underground tunnel. Visitors can witness the powerful cascade and explore the surrounding area.
  • Bindhyabasini Temple: This ancient Hindu temple dedicated to the goddess Bindhyabasini is a significant religious site in Pokhara. Devotees throng it and offer cultural insights into Nepali religious practices.
  • Mountain Museums: The International Mountain Museum and the Pokhara Regional Museum are the best places to learn about the culture, history, and geography of the Himalayas, including exhibits on mountaineering expeditions and local ethnic groups.
  • Trekking Trails: Pokhara serves as a gateway to several iconic trekking routes, including the Annapurna Circuit, Annapurna Base Camp, and Ghorepani Poon Hill trek. Trekkers can embark on multi-day adventures amidst breathtaking Himalayan scenery.

These are just a few major attractions that make Pokhara a must-visit destination for travelers seeking natural beauty, cultural experiences, and outdoor adventures in Nepal. To know more about things to do in Pokhara, reach out to our blog, here.

Annapurna Base Camp
                                                                                                                      Annapurna Base Camp

How much does it cost to stay and explore in Pokhara?

The cost of exploring and staying in Pokhara, Nepal can vary greatly depending on your preferences, travel style, and duration of stay. Here's a general breakdown of potential expenses:

  • Accommodation: Accommodation costs in Pokhara can range from budget guesthouses to luxury resorts. On average, budget options might start from around $10-20 per night, mid-range options can be around $30-50 per night, while luxury accommodations can go up from $80-150 per night or more.
  • Food: Food costs can also vary depending on where you eat. Street food and local restaurants can be very affordable, with meals ranging from $2-5. Mid-range restaurants might charge $5-15 per meal, while upscale dining options can be more expensive.
  • Transportation: Getting around Pokhara usually involves taxis, local buses, or rented bikes or scooters. Taxis and hired vehicles can be negotiated, while bus fares are generally quite cheap. Expect to spend anywhere from $1-10 per day on transportation, depending on your activities.
  • Activities: Pokhara offers a range of activities such as trekking, paragliding, boating on Phewa Lake, visiting temples and caves, and more. Costs for these activities can vary significantly. For example, a short paragliding session might cost around $70-100, while longer treks can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars depending on the duration and difficulty. Know more about Popular Adventure Sports in Nepal, here.
Bungee Jumping at Kusma
                                                                                                                      Bungee Jumping at Kusma
  • Souvenirs and Miscellaneous: Don't forget to budget for souvenirs, drinks, and other miscellaneous expenses. It's a good idea to have some extra cash on hand for unexpected costs or emergencies.
Souvenier in Pokhara
                                                                                                                      Souvenir in Pokhara                                                                                                                     

Overall, a daily budget for a mid-range traveler in Pokhara could range from $40-80 per day, including accommodation, food, transportation, and some activities. However, this is just a rough estimate, and actual costs can vary based on individual preferences and circumstances. It's always a good idea to research specific costs and plan your budget accordingly before traveling.

What is the history of Pokhara, Nepal and How has it evolved into a tourist destination?

The history of Pokhara, Nepal, is deeply intertwined with its geographical significance and cultural heritage. Dating back centuries, Pokhara has been inhabited by various ethnic groups, including the Gurungs, Magars, and Newars, who have contributed to its rich tapestry of traditions and customs.

Historically, Pokhara served as an important trade route between India and Tibet, facilitating the exchange of goods and ideas. Its strategic location along ancient trade routes contributed to its cultural diversity and economic prosperity.

The modern development of Pokhara as a tourist destination began in the mid-20th century with the construction of the Siddhartha Highway, connecting it to the capital city of Kathmandu. This improved accessibility opened up Pokhara to domestic and international travelers, sparking interest in its natural beauty and cultural attractions.

In the 1950s, trekking expeditions to the Annapurna region, with Pokhara as the starting point, gained popularity among adventurous travelers. The opening of the Annapurna Circuit trek, one of the world's most famous trekking routes, further enhanced Pokhara's reputation as a trekking hub.

Pokhara during 1900's
                                                                                                                      Pokhara during 1950s

The construction of the Pokhara Airport in the 1960s facilitated air travel to the region, making it even more accessible to tourists. Additionally, the development of tourism infrastructure, including hotels, restaurants, and recreational facilities, catered to the growing number of visitors.

Over the years, Pokhara has evolved into a diverse tourist destination, offering a wide range of experiences for travelers. Its stunning natural beauty, including the majestic Himalayan peaks, serene lakes, and lush green valleys, attracts nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Furthermore, Pokhara's cultural heritage, with its ancient temples, monasteries, and traditional festivals, appeals to those interested in history and spirituality. Adventure tourism, including activities such as paragliding, white-water rafting, and bungee jumping, has also flourished in Pokhara, adding to its allure as an adventure playground.

Today, Pokhara is recognized as the Tourism Capital of Nepal as it welcomes visitors from around the world to experience its wonders firsthand. Its evolution into a thriving tourist hub reflects the harmonious blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and adventure opportunities that define the essence of Pokhara, making it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking authentic experiences in Nepal.

Phewa Lake from Sarangkot
                                                                                                                      Phewa Lake from Sarangkot

Why is Pokhara declared as the Tourism Capital of Nepal? 

Pokhara has been declared the Tourism Capital of Nepal due to its exceptional natural beauty, diverse cultural heritage, and extensive range of tourist attractions and activities. The city is nestled amidst the breathtaking Himalayan landscape, with views of towering peaks such as the Annapurna and Machhapuchhre. Its serene lakes, including Phewa Lake, add to its charm, offering opportunities for boating and relaxation.

Moreover, Pokhara serves as a gateway to some of Nepal's most famous trekking routes, including the Annapurna Circuit and Annapurna Base Camp trek. Adventure enthusiasts flock to Pokhara for activities such as paragliding, white-water rafting, and zip-lining, making it a hub for adrenaline-seekers from around the world.

Pokhara's rich cultural tapestry further enhances its appeal as a tourism destination. The city is home to numerous sacred sites, temples, and monasteries, each with its own historical significance and spiritual allure. Visitors can immerse themselves in the vibrant local culture by exploring bustling markets, attending traditional dance performances, and sampling authentic Nepali cuisine.

Peace Pagoda Pokhara
                                                                                                                      Peace Pagoda Pokhara

Additionally, Pokhara boasts a well-developed tourism infrastructure, with a wide range of accommodation options, restaurants, and recreational facilities to cater to the needs of travelers. The city's accessibility, both by air and road, makes it easily reachable from major cities like Kathmandu and other popular tourist destinations within Nepal.

Moreover, in a related development, the government announced extended business hours for establishments in Pokhara, including discos, nightclubs, and live music venues, aiming to enhance the city's nightlife and provide tourists with a more vibrant and engaging experience. Bars, restaurants, spas, grocery stores, and snack shops in popular areas such as Lakeside, Prithvi Chowk, Mahendrapul, and Chipledhunga will operate without interruption until 1 a.m.

Overall, Pokhara's combination of natural beauty, adventure opportunities, cultural richness, and tourist amenities make it a deserving recipient of the title of Tourism Capital of Nepal, attracting visitors from far and wide to experience its wonders firsthand.

What are the trekking destinations around Pokhara, outside the city limits?

Around Pokhara, several exciting trekking destinations offer breathtaking views, cultural encounters, and adventurous experiences. Here are some of the most popular trekking routes outside the city limits of Pokhara:

  • Annapurna Circuit Trek: Regarded as one of the most scenic trekking routes in the world, the Annapurna Circuit Trek encircles the entire Annapurna Massif, offering a diverse range of landscapes, from lush valleys to high mountain passes. The trek typically starts from Besisahar, a few hours' drive from Pokhara, and takes around 10 to 21 days to complete.
Thorong La Pass
                                                                                                                      Thorong La Pass
  • Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) Trek: This iconic trek takes you deep into the heart of the Annapurna Sanctuary, offering spectacular views of towering peaks, glaciers, and diverse landscapes. The trek starts from Nayapul, near Pokhara, and passes through picturesque villages, terraced fields, and rhododendron forests before reaching the base camp.
  • Poon Hill Trek: Perfect for those with limited time, the Poon Hill Trek is a short and relatively easy trek that offers stunning sunrise views over the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges. The trek starts from Nayapul or Phedi and passes through charming Gurung villages like Ghorepani and Ghandruk.
Ghorepani Poonhill Trek
                                                                                                                      Ghorepani Poonhill Trek
  • Mardi Himal Trek: This lesser-known trek takes you to the base of Mardi Himal, offering panoramic views of the Annapurna and Machhapuchhre peaks. The trail passes through rhododendron forests, alpine meadows, and traditional villages, providing an off-the-beaten-path experience.
  • Dhampus Trek: A short and easy trek from Pokhara, the Dhampus Trek offers panoramic views of the Annapurna and Manaslu ranges. The trail passes through lush forests and terraced fields, leading to the picturesque village of Dhampus, where you can enjoy stunning mountain views.

These trekking routes around Pokhara showcase the diverse natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and adventurous spirit of the Annapurna region, making them must-visit destinations for trekking enthusiasts visiting Nepal.

Ultralight Flight in Pokhara
                                                                                                                      Ultralight Flight in Pokhara


In conclusion, Pokhara's recent designation as the "Tourism Capital of Nepal" is a testament to its unparalleled allure as a destination that seamlessly blends natural beauty, cultural richness, and adventure opportunities. 

Moreover, the city's evolution into a thriving tourist hub is a testament to its rich history and strategic geography along ancient trade routes. With a well-developed tourism infrastructure and a vibrant cultural scene, Pokhara ensures a memorable experience for travelers of all interests and preferences.

Sandhya Arati in Pokhara
                                                                                                                      Sandhya Arati in Pokhara

As Pokhara continues to welcome visitors from around the globe, its title as the "Tourism Capital of Nepal" is not just a recognition of its past achievements, but a promise of even greater adventures and experiences yet to come. So, whether you seek adventure among the Himalayan peaks, tranquility by the lakeside, or cultural immersion in ancient temples, Pokhara invites you to embark on a journey of discovery and delight in its many wonders. 

Ashmita Thapa

Ashmita Thapa

Ashmita is a content writer at Footprint Adventure with a really positive outlook on life. She is dedicated to exploration, and enjoys going on hikes and treks. She is delighted to travel  and explore the beauty of Nepal with Footprint Adventure. She genuinely believes in promoting her native country in whatever manner she can, with the goal of making the biggest possible contribution to the travel and tourism sector.

Ashmita adds that she is extremely appreciative of Footprint Adventure for offering her the opportunity to learn more about travel and tourism. She would also like to grow here with more dedication and effort for the company. She also values the chance to meet new people, explore various regions and cultures, and broaden her knowledge about travel and tourism in Nepal.

"Self-improvement comes through change. Push yourself to the places you've never been before"