Nepal's

POKHARA
by David Woollan

Global Mark : to come

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Parks Culture Minor. Market Relax Fiesta 

Cost

AVER.
                   

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.
         


Description ?  This important industrial and tourist town provides fantastic views of the Annapurna mountains to the north and is the obvious place to organize your Annapurna trek; find travel companions and guides and buy equipment. Once the trek is finished spend a few days resting here as the list of hotels and restaurants is endless. At 780 meters above sea level, April through September can be very hot but one can always cool off in the beautiful Phewa Taal (Phewa Lake) or spend time in one of nearby Sarangkot's hotels (at 1500 m.a.s.l). Most tourist activity takes place around the lake, at Damside (Pardi), the southern-most tip of the lake or at Lakeside (Baidam), further north. These are actually suburbs of Pokhara as the town center itself lies three or four kilometers further northeast. The shops in the main shopping area of Mahendrapul are well stocked and you'll find just about anything you may need here. Unless you are planning some more obscure travel activity, outside of Kathmandu this is the place you'll probably spend most time.

What to do? Hire a bicycle and toil your way to the top of Sarangkot or work your way through town to Mahandra Cave / Go for a swim or hire a boat on Fewa Taal / Walk to Chhorepatan and marvel at the incredible Davi's Fall (best seen during the monsoon season) / Hire the equipment you'll need for the Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) / Trek or hire the porters for the Silkis Trek. Recover from the occasionally held Full-Moon-All-Night-Rave parties / Make a day trip to the valley's other two lakes: Rupa Taal and Begnas Taal / Visit the Tibetan Refugee Camps at Hyanga and Chhorepatan and talk Tibetan politics for a while / Hire a taxi to Bhadrakali Mandir (Temple) and then walk to Arwa village and Kalikasthan, the start (or end) point of the Royal Trek / Climb up to the Japanese Peace Pagoda for incredible mountain and lake views / Listen to live rock music and Teatime Restaurant or watch the rugby, basketball or soccer match at Club Amsterdam / Sign up for a course in yoga and or meditation / Round up a few friends and take a picnic to the Phusre River, on the back side of Chhorepatan - good swimming all year round on this river / Go to a Nepali movie (see "movie" section).

What you may not like ?  The extremely bad manners of the taxi drivers cum hotel touts that are there to meet you at tourist bus park. (Walk right out the bus park and hire your cab on the main road) / The terrible condition of the main road through lakeside together with the continual construction of new hotels / The tiny, Chinese-built tractors that deliver gas bottles as you are trying to enjoy your breakfast / The electricity cuts (nowhere near as bad as two or three years ago but still a few times a week) / The Tibetan lady souvenir sellers who don't like to take "no" for an answer.

How long ?  Two or three days before the trek to get your Annapurna Conservation Pass and organize guides if you want. Three or four days after the trek so that you can eat something other than daal bhat and enjoy a cold beer or two.

Where to stay ? Most hotels and guest houses are clustered in four main areas: by the airport, the city center (Mahendrapul), Lakeside (also known as Baidam) and Damside. There is no reason to select the first two mentioned areas and they will not be considered here. Lakeside is the most popular area and it is here where most of the eateries and bars are. Damside is a lot quieter and some places only open for a few months per year. There are room prices to fit every pocket and it is usual to negotiate a price. Even in the peak season the prices printed on the hotel's calling card are usually not charged. New hotels and guest houses are being opened every week and most hotels/guest houses are rarely full.
Nearly all hotels/guest houses have hot water provided by solar power. These probably won't provide much hot water in very cloudy weather. Some places also provide electric geysers. All places surveyed provided hot water from solar heaters unless mentioned.
The prices quoted here were those being charged just before the tourist season started, in August. Prices are usually more than double during the peak tourist season.
Note that in 1999 and 2000 there were many reports of theft from hotel rooms during the night in the Lakeside area. Make sure your room windows have safety grilles and that the door lock is secure.

- Damside Area :
This is a far quieter area than Lakeside with fewer restaurants and a more authentic Nepali "feel" to it. Many hotel here close during the low season however all these mentioned here were open during late Aug/early Sept. This is a better area than Lakeside for good lake and mountain views. For some reason this area is especially popular with Japanese visitors, hence the many signs in that language.

  • ® Purna Guest House (23986), Damside. Also restaurant and laundry service. Clean rooms with geyser as well as solar hot water and attached bathroom. Sgl R150, Dbl R200. Good value.
  • Hotel Gurkha Haven (24527, gurhavhot@cnet.wlink.com.np) , Damside. Extremely well maintained hotel. Very clean rooms with attached bathroom and TV Sgl $15 Dbl $20. Without TV Sgl $12, Dbl $15.
  • Twin Peaks Hotel (22867, hoteltwinpeaks@yahoo.com), Damside. Hotel with nice lounge and garden. Clean rooms with attached bathroom Sgl $8 Dbl $11
  • ® Hotel Blue Sky (23433), Damside. A basic hotel with garden area. Clean and basic rooms with attached bathroom. Sgl/Dbl R150. Good value.
  • Hotel Jharna and restaurant (21925), Damside. A fine hotel with nice sitting areas and some rooms with exceptional lake and mountain views. Clean and well maintained rooms with attached bathrooms. Sgl $5-7, Dbl $7-10.
  • Fewa Guest House (33215), Damside. Also small restaurant area. Rooms, all with attached bathroom in need of some repair, otherwise clean and basic. Sgl/Dbl R400. What you may not like: staff more interested in chatting to themselves than talking to a potential client.
  • ® Hotel Mt. Heaven (20860), Damside. Also restaurant and rooftop garden. Very clean, largish rooms with attached bathroom. Sgl R200, Dbl R300. Good value for money.
  • Hotel Lake City and "The Rose" Restaurant (31341 lakecity@cnet.wlink.com.np) Rastra Bank Chowk, Damside. A hotel in a beautiful garden that serves as a restaurant. Clean but basic rooms with attached bathroom. Sgl $5-7, Dbl $10-12.
  • L.B. Guest House (no tel.), Rastra Bank Chowk, Damside. A few rooms in a family house. Very basic with attached bathroom Sgl R150, Dbl R300. With common bathroom Sgl R150, Dbl R200. Not good value.

- Lakeside south area : Good mountain views from this part of town and a few classy restaurants as well. Check the many small back roads as well as the main drag for other hotels as some of the more isolated ones will offer extra good value for money

  • Hotel Nasa (27121) Lakeside. Share the building with a large, local family. Guest house-style rooms. Small garden. R200 Sgl or Dbl, all with attached bathroom. Fan.
  • ® Hotel Angel, formally known as Johhny Gorkha (217113). Guest house-style rooms. Immaculately maintained garden. R300 Sgl or Dbl, all with attached bathrooms. Some with bath-tub. Some with balcony. Fan. Also travel agency service. Very neat and clean.
  • Hotel Pleasant Home, Ugly stone building. Some rooms with tiny windows. No garden to speak of. R200 Sgl/Dbl, rooms with larger windows R300 Sgl/Dbl. Also travel agency service.
  • Kiwi Guest House (22052. Kiwi@cnet.wlink.com.np) R200 Sgl/Dbl. Rooms with attached bathroom, some with bath-tub and telephone. Tidy and clean. Travel agency service.
  • Hotel Mount Kailash (23518). On very quiet road, tidy garden, guest house-style. Rooms with attached bathrooms, some with bath-tubs. Fan. Carpets a little faded, rooms a wee bit run down. Upper level windows have no security grilles. R200 Sgl/Dbl. Travel agency service.
  • ® Summit Guest House (24421, sgh@cnet.wlink.com.np), Multhok area of Lakeside. Surrounded by rice paddy, about as rural as you can get for lakeside. Only five rooms available, all with attached bathrooms, fan. R300 "suite" rooms Dbl/Sgl, R200 Dbl/Sgl others. Manager speaks Japanese. Small but very green garden. Also nice roof garden.
  • New Pokhara Lodge (21493, fax. 24990, poklodge@mail.com.np) Comfortable rooms with TV, attached bathroom. R700 Sgl, R1000 Dbl. These are peak season prices, no discount offered for low season.
  • Trekkers Lodge  (21458). In a cluttered courtyard, upper floor currently being constructed so noisy. Clean rooms with attached bathroom, fan. R500 Dbl/Sgl, smaller rooms R350 Dbl/Sgl.
  • ®New Tourist Guest House and restaurant (21479), Gaurighat Area of Lakeside. Share the house with local family. Nice garden area. Clean rooms with bath-tub and hot water geyser. R5/600 for Dbl/Sgl. In separate building rooms entered via common walkway, Indian-style toilets, R250 Dbl/Sgl.

- Lakeside central area : This is by far the most popular area to stay for it is here where the nightlife (as such), restaurants, bars and supermarkets are. Views of the lake are often obscured by new buildings (construction work is constant) and the mountain views are better further south. The main road here is in terrible condition. Still it is here where most people head.

  • Fuji Guest House (32570), Lakeside. Hotel has a garden area. Rooms, all with attached bathroom are basic and need refurbishing. Sgl/Dbl R200.
  • Moonland Guest House and Restaurant (no tel.), Lakeside. A small hotels with all rooms off a common hallway. Rooms with attached bathroom, clean and basic. Sgl/Dbl R200. What you may not like: nearby construction work.
  • Hotel Simrik (23266), Lakeside. Rooms clean and bright, some very large, all with attached bathroom. Sgl R200, Dbl R350. What you may not like: too close to the main drag, a very noisy area.
  • Alka Guest House (23357 sunrise@mos.com.np) . Some rooms are entered via common walkway, others guest house-style. Neat and tidy rooms with telephone, separate bathroom, hot water, fan. R450 Dbl, R350 Sgl. No garden. 
  • Hotel Monal (21459, upretishusil@hotmail.com) Lakeside. Next to Simrik but set back from the main road by its own upmarket restaurant and Internet café. Clean, modern and well appointed rooms with attached bathroom. Sgl $7/8. Dbl $8/10. 
  • Hotel Woodland (22800, jitu_tulsi@hotmail.com) A small hotel with restaurant. Also laundry and travel service in a very quiet area. Rooms, all with attached bathroom are clean and very comfortable. Sgl $6, Dbl/Trpl $10.
  • Hotel Plaza Annapurna and Hotel Gorkhali Dhee (27395, 22606, 32801, htlplazaannapurna@hotmail.com) Lalupate Marg, Lakeside. Just off the main road, one hotel on either side of the road. Large 4-storied buildings with good views of the lake from the top story. Rooms, all with attached bathroom very clean and comfortable. Rooms with view: Sgl $15, Dbl $25. Other rooms: Sgl $15, Dbl $20.
  • Hotel Octagon (26978, hoteloctagon@hotmail.com) Lalupate Road, Lakeside. A rather strange, octagon-shaped hotel with parquet floors. Leave your shoes at the main door enter! Rooms with balcony. With attached bathroom: Sgl R350, Dbl R500. With common bathroom: Sgl/Dbl R300.
  • Hotel Tranquility (21030, pkrcyber@mos.com.np) Lakeside. Hotel set in large and beautiful garden. Rooms with attached bathroom and balcony, clean but basic. Sgl R350, Dbl R500. Despite the lovely garden rooms are overpriced.
  • ® The Little Tibetan Guest House (31898, littletibgh@yahoo.com) just off Harlan Chowk, Lakeside. Set back off the main road in a large garden. Very comfortable rooms with attached bathroom. Sgl R250, Dbl R350. Good value for money and recommended.
  • Hong Kong Hotel (21202, 23808), Lakeside. A large popular hotel with restaurant and large TV lounge. Rooms with attached bathroom, some a little gloomy and basic. Sgl R200/250, Dbl R300. What you may not like: iron shutters divide parts of the hotel, very close to loud main road.
  • ® Hotel Blue Heaven (32648) Lakeside. A new, large, 5-storey stone-built hotel with large rooftop garden that provides exceptional lake view. Very clean, somewhat small rooms with attached bathroom and telephone. Sgl $6, Dbl $10. A professionally run hotel. Good value.

- Khahare area of Lakeside : This is the least developed area of Lakeside although things are changing fast. Many of the hotels here still provide excellent views of the lake although mountain views are better further south than here. The further round the lake you get the further you have to walk to restaurants and bars.

  • ® Hotel Mandap (27088), Khahare. A new, well run hotel whose upper rooms provide good lake view. Very clean and pleasant rooms with attached bathroom. Sgl R200, Dbl R300. Very good value. Recommended.
  • ® Hotel Samrat (23217), Khahare. A large hotel with pleasant verandahs on each floor. Big, very clean rooms with attached bathroom and large setees, Sgl R200, Dbl R250. Also some rooms with common bathroom. Extremely good value and a highly recommended place.
  • Machhapuchhre Guest House (24643), Khahare. Live with a noisy family! Rooms with mould growing on the walls and tiny balconies. Sgl R100, Dbl R200. Only for the desperate.
  • Orchid Guest House (26911), Khahare. Basic but clean rooms with attached bathroom, Sgl R150, Dbl R200. With common bathroom, Sgl R100 Dbl R150.
  • Hotel The Wood Pigeon (26994), Khahare. A hotel in a gloomy building. Clean but basic rooms with or without common bathroom. Sgl R180, Dbl R200.
  • Pleasure Home and Mellow Fellow Restaurant (25378), Khahare. Hotel block set back off the road behind the restaurant. Clean and basic rooms with attached bathroom. Sgl/Dbl R200.
  • Kalpana Guest House (23650), Khahare Bangladi. A family house up a side road off the main drag. Nice garden area. Clean basic rooms with common bathroom. Sgl R120, Dbl R200.
  • New Family's Peace House (no tel.) Khahare. Basic rooms with or without shared bathroom in huts within a large garden. Live with the buffaloes! Sgl R130, Dbl R150.
  • Chhetri Sisters Guest House (24066, sisters3@cnet.wlink.com.np) A large, new hotel with a breezy restaurant and good lake views. Large, clean rooms with big windows but rather basic furniture. All with attached bathroom. Upstairs, Sgl $10, Dbl $15. Downstairs, Sgl $8, Dbl S10.
  • Hotel Jelly Fish (32194), Khahare. Very basic rooms with attached bathroom, Sgl/Dbl R200. With common bathroom, Sgl/Dbl R150. What you may not like: gloomy hallway and concrete staircase. Not recommended.

 

Where to eat ?  Many people enthuse about the incredible variety of cuisine that can be had in Pokhara : Mexican, Chinese, Nepali, Thai, American, Italian, Middle Eastern and others. And the price can be very good too, although a few places who have had big rent increases have had to change their menu prices accordingly. Others say that it is all international cuisine as interpreted by one Nepali cook and henceforth copied by thousands of others! Anyway, wander around Lakeside, Damside and Chipledunga, find the type of restaurant you want and give it a go.
The Don't Pass Me By Restaurant on Damside serves acceptable food at good prices or try the German Bakery for a sit down meal or some takeaway pastries, also on Damside. 
If you want to eat Indian food and listen to loud Gazal music, then Seven Eleven restaurant near Standard Chartered Bank is the place for you. If you don't want the music then make sure you finish eating before 8 p.m. Their food is good, though.
Zorba restaurant sells good German/Austrian food at moderate prices.
Try the small Neplali-style restaurants on the road down to the lake from Barahi Chowk for buff curries and daal bhats at budget prices.
Teatime/Once Upon A Time/Billy Bunter Restaurant (all clustered around Alka Guest House) are bamboo-built places serving all manner of International Cuisine and they offer a free video/DVD movie and/or loud music. Very popular with bigger groups and all meant to be washed down with a few beers.
For a romantic sundowner, go to the Fishtail Lodge garden and watch the sun set over the lake with excellent mountain views in good weather. Then dine in their restaurant - expensive. 
For freshly made pastas and other Italian dishes try Mamma Mia on the noisy road that leads to Mahendrapul, just off Harlan Chowk. Opposite is the ever popular Little Tibetan Tea Garden which serves Tibetan fare and (oddly enough) Eggs, Beans and Chips!

Communications ?  The main Post Office is right next to Mahendrapul, in the town center. They have Poste Restante facilities and will accept parcels. Closed on Saturday and only open to 1500 hrs on Friday. Lakeside has its own Post Office, on the back road just off Sai Chowk but the person on duty is too busy reading a newspaper and I wouldn't recommend the chances of mail getting through.
There are no end of offices offering phone/fax/email on and around Damside, Lakeside and Mahendrapul. Note that Internet facilities in the Mahendrapul area are R2 per minute and quite slow whereas the Internet charges in Lakeside/Damside are R5 per minute and the speed is (in September 2001) extremely slow.

Some notes on economizing ? The "supermarkets" in the central part of Lakeside have titles like Pay and Save, Park and Save etc. but save you will not. On average you will pay up to 50% more than elsewhere. These operations are paying huge rents for their buildings and passing these charges directly to you, the visitor. If you are staying in Pokhara for more than a few days, it will be worthwhile making a trip into the town center and getting off the bus in Mahendrapul. Here you can shop economically at Saleways or the other "supermarkets". The bus leaves Harlan Chowk (spelt Holland Chowk on some maps), also commonly known as Camping Chowk (the campsite is next door) every half hour during the day. Or get a taxi at Harlan Chowk for about R70. 
Always, if possible, flag down a Maruti Suzuki taxi. They have meters and these are set to charge less than the old, less economical Toyota Corrolas. If the cabbie says his meter is not working, get off straightaway and flag down the next Maruti. There are plenty about!

Nepali Movies ? For something completely different, why not go to a Nepali movie? Don't speak Nepali? You don't need to as the plot is completely predictable and the main attractions are the blood and guts scenes and the elaborate song and dance routines.
"Bollywood", the Bombay-based film industry is famous for producing more films than Hollywood but for the size of population, Nepal's film industry is very lively too.
Films start at 1200 hours (buy your ticket at 1100 hours and if the film is the latest one or on Saturdays you'll have to shove your way to the ticket office as queuing is unknown!) and beware that the whole movie lasts about three hours including the intermission.
All the movies I have seen follow the same concept: a little bit of slapstick comedy, a romantic plot with at least one hero (amazing biceps and quite often a Sylvester Stallone look-alike) and plenty of karate, shootings and other mindless violence! There are usually six or seven song and dance breaks in the movie, amazingly elaborate and quite memorable. These songs are national hits and the audience may well join in as well as clap and boo the goodies and baddies!
Pokhara has three cinema halls: Dip Jhoti near the City Hall on New Road, Bandyabasini Cinema Hall (the biggest) and Sri Krishna both on or near Nala Mukh.


What to see ? If you have just a couple of days in Pokhara make sure you see the sunrise from the top of Sarangkot and visit the Japanese Peace Pagoda. Also visit Davi's Fall and the nearby Tibetan refugee camp. If you have a few more days in town, visit the other attractions mentioned here and in the "Around the Pokhara Valley" section.

  • Japanese (World) Peace Pagoda :

This gompa (monastery) and stupa (dome-shaped monument) was started over fifteen years ago with money coming from a Japanese Buddhist foundation and completed just a few years ago. It has been built on the hill overlooking the southwest section of Phewa Taal and is visible from many parts of Pokhara Town. Unequalled views of both Fewa Taal and the mountains to the north can be had from here. At 1100 meters high, it is a bit (but not much) of a climb from Pokhara.
There are three main ways to get to the stupa. Probably the most easy is to walk out of Chhorepatan on the road that goes to Syanga, just under a kilometer past Davi's Fall. From here you must clambour up a stone staircase and follow the ridge to the stupa - about 45 minutes walk. Local kids can show you for a few rupees if you get confused.
A second, more interesting way is from damside. Cross over the footbridge just by the dam and pass the rice paddy fields on your left with the forest on your right. When you come to the small shrine known as Khulain Bhattarai Mandir, hop over the barbed-wire fence and head up into the forest. Pick up the footpath which soon joins the main trail. You rise slowly and eventually join the ridge that takes you to the stupa. Total time is about one hour or a little more.
An alternative way is to hire somebody to row you across the lake to Typical Restaurant and Guest House. (You might also want to spend some time looking around this small village, known as Anandu). This is best done at the lakeside near Barahi Chowk, where boatmen are ready to row pilgrims to the small Barahi mandir island. Walk to the back of the restaurant and climb up the steep footpath that takes you directly to the stupa. It's a hard, thirty minute climb.
Note: All the hill that the stupa sits on is very unstable and there are constant landslides during the monsoon. Footpaths up the hill can exist one day and be washed away the next.

  • Davi's Fall :

A stream that drains the lake disappears into a ravine in a confused torrent of water. During the monsoon the spectacle is really something to see. The whole area is actually owned by the local secondary school and the small admission fee subsidizes this. Right by the Fall is the Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave and Temple, also worth a visit. A few years ago the cave entrance was open for all to see; now it is hidden in a warren of trinket stalls and momo restaurants. These two sites, plus a look around the trinket stalls and a stop for a cool drink will occupy a morning. To get there, from Damside walk down the main road (known as Pardi Road) to Birauta Chowk. Turn right and follow this main road (actually the Siddharta Highway) downhill until it turns to the right. The bustle of activity will tell you you have reached Davi's Fall. 
After visiting the fall and the cave walk a little more down the road to the Tibetan refugee camp and then on to the track that takes you to the Japanese Peace Pagoda. All three sites can be seen in one day.

  • Sarangkot :

From the lookout tower atop this hill, at 1600 meters, amazing views of the Annapurnas and of the Seti Gandaki River are to be had. A favorite activity is to hire a very early morning taxi (for about R600 but bargain hard. If you negotiate with the driver to return a couple of hours later, add another hundred Rupees or so) to take you to the end of the road, called (strangely enough!) Parking. From there you must walk uphill to the lookout tower, about 45 minutes or more to catch the early morning views. It can be very chilly up here, early morning, during the viewing season. You can scramble down the hill by taking the footpath that exits the parking area called Parking. You may take an occasional wrong turning but all paths lead downhill and you can see Lakeside in the distance. Picking up the road into Lakeside from Sarangkot shouldn't take more than two hours.
If you want to walk up the hill to Sarangkot, follow the main road out of Lakeside past the suburb known as Khahare. After twenty minutes walk a signpost tells you to turn right and start the ascent. Total climbing time might be a little less than four hours to the lookout tower. Remember that the sun will be on your back if you're climbing in the morning so take water with you. The best viewing season is the dry season (October-March) but make sure you leave really early if you want to climb up or else the cloud may have moved in.
For walks around Sarangkot and a list of guest houses in the area, see the Pokhara Valley section.

  • Mahendra Gupha (Cave) :

Take a torch and disappear below ground for a look at the locally famous cave. There is a small admission charge. Once you resurface, have a look at the nearby Kali Gandaki River, cross over the footbridge and have a look around the nearby settlements. The caves (for actually there are two) are about 7 kms north of Pokhara and the cheapest way to get to them is to take the local bus. Pick it up at the bus stop just north of the Main Post Office by Nabil Bank in the town center, or about a kilometer further north by Kanya Campus. Or hire a bike for about R50 a day, pick up a free map at any trekking agency and cycle there.

  • Walking right around Fewa Lake:

It is possible to make a circumnavigation of Fewa Taal, although it is by no means as simple to find the right paths as it may appear. The walk itself is not that strenuous but will take the better part of a whole day, allowing time to stop and ask directions.
From Lakeside or Damside walk to the path that leads to the Japanese Peace Pagoda. It starts in Chhorepatan and is described above. Walk to behind to pagoda by taking the steps that lead down from the rear before a small path climbs to the next nearby settlement. Five minutes beyond this settlement on the main path, you will come to a bigger settlement called Thala Gau. Keeping on the main (level) path you will now lose the view of the lake as the road crosses to the southern part of the hill. Now you can see all of Pokhara Town and the river gorge that leads towards Tribhuvan Highway. After 30-40 minutes walk you arrive at the settlement of Lukunswada. When the path devides into two, take the right (upper) path and then take the first left path that leads to the settlement of Pumdi. Here it is essential that you ask directions. You must take a small, stone stairwell on the right-hand-side that rises steeply over the ridge - no more than a fifty metre climb - and then descends steeply. Once again you can see the lake ask you descend through a beautiful, forested area. In many places the way is a narrow, stone path. Once you arrive at the small village of Marki, descend and then take the diagonal path that leads through paddy to the riverside. Follow the river to your left, as it meanders to arrive at the suspension bridge at the far end of Pame Bazaar. Cross over and walk through paddy to arrive at the large village of Pame. Here you can walk another two hours along the main road to reach Lakeside or take a bumpy bus ride back. Buses leave Pame every 90 minutes.

Moving On ? 
If you are going to trek the Annapurna Circuit starting from Naya Pul or go to Annapurna Base Camp you can hire a taxi if you have a big group or take the Baglung bus. This has its own bus station (sometimes called the New Bus Park) and is on the Malepatan Road, about 3 kms north of Pokhara.
The Central Bus Station (also called Old Bus Park) is right in the heart of town and buses here serve all other destinations. There is also a booking office here although it is easier just to board the next available bus.
You can book "tourist" buses to Chitwan and Kathmandu at any of the scores of booking offices in Damside, Lakeside or Mahendrapul. These buses leave at the Tourist Bus Park just by Rastra Bank Chowk on Damside.
Greenline buses depart from their own terminal close to the Royal Palace on Lakeside. These are "luxury" coaches that serve Chitwan and Kathmandu.
"Tourist" buses usually depart at 0700 hours, Greenline buses change departure times with the season, but usually depart at 0730 or 0800 hours.
Pokhara has its own airport, just east of Damside for many domestic destinations. Book well in advance from any of the various trekking agencies throughout town. Domestic departure tax is R165.

See also Outside the Pokhara Valley 


Backpacker's Tips : Esther Scheffer, Holland (March 05)
 
« There are three sisters in Pokhara who run, besides to a guesthouse, a project i think quite unique for asia. It is a project to improve the idependance of women. They are called the chhetri sisters.
You can actually hire a female guide or porter and in this way the women get there own income and hence an improve of indepency.
When I was there in 2000 all the women porter were already out on the treks so I had to hire a male porter anyways, but one of the sisters told me some more about the project. It is also about giving education to the women.
I think it is a very great and brave project in a continent so male-dominated. And after all the stares and harassemnet for (solo) women traveller it can also be much of a relief to be able to hire a female guide/porter (portress?).
Besides the sisters run a serieus buisness. They offer good services for good prices and so by employing the women you really give them more independenc let's say in conatrary to just giving money/charity.
In 2000 the prices are a bit (just a bit)more then the rock bottem prices (then again the philosofie is to employ women, certainly not to exploit them!!) but still a very good deal!
I saw recently that there is a website on this project: http://www.3sistersadventure.com/Herstory
I think this project might be of interest to everyone comming to Pokhara and especially for (solo) women travellers! Enjoy your travelling! »

 

Backpacker's Tips : Michieli Roberto, Italy (Jan 04)
« I spent about one week flying with my paraglider and, for sure, if I had a month I stayed there the entire month! You need relax and party at the same time? This is your place, take the hotel at the end of lake side (Apex Guest House, 200 Rps a night, also Tropicana 200 rps a night), have your breakfast at GURU bar (100 rps. for a special one), go to the take off with Blue Sky Paragliding (100 rps), fly how long you want and then have a beer. Sleep (yes, you are on holiday, you can sleep whenever you want!!), shopping with Tibetan women (it's the only way that they have to live so...help them, buy something, prices are ok and I spent a lot of time only speaking....very good women) and have a big dinner, party, beer, smoking for 500 rps (and, for sure, with 500 rps you can drink a lot of beer). So at the end of this fantastic day you have spent about 900 rps, about 11 $!!! If you are not a paraglider no problems, there are many activities that you can do.»