Pokhara is Nepal's number 1 adventure and leisure city, a trekking gateway to the Annapurna's with plenty of entertainment for individual travellers as well as families with kids.
In Pokhara you can experience the best in trekking, boating, hiking, pony rides, paragliding or simply relax at one of the lakes near the city with the stunning Annapurna mountain range at the background.
Pokhara will overwhelm you with one of the greatest photo spots in the world. While you walk along the shores of the Fewa lake you will be surrounded by a panoramical view over the Himalayan peaks of the Annapurna Massif that reflect in this lake. A beautiful color combination that is created by the wooden boats and paragliders that are sailing, flying and rowing over the lake is probably going to be one of the highlights of your travel experience in Nepal.
There are plenty of souvenir shops in the market section of the city. Pokhara produces some of the finest handicrafts in the country.
There are many activities to do in the city like, short hike to Sarangkot is highly recommended, which offers the magnificent sight of the sunset, sunrise, and of the whole city beneath. Davis Waterfall, a sublime waterfall in the city is another excursion not to be missed.
Pokhara has also developed as an adventure destination in the last decade, offering everything from ultralight flying to paragliding, and from skydiving and ziplining to bungee jumping, Pokhara is a complete holiday package for a perfect vacation.
10 Best Short Treks From Pokhara
Pokhara, a land of lakes and adventures is a home for amusements to the tourists. The place makes a wonderful tour with the majestic mountain views. Tranquil lakes, exotic hill settlements, and its inhabitants are additions to your amusement.
The valley surrounded by hillocks on all sides is open to different adventurous walks. Ranging from short hikes to longer treks in the mountains. There are many exotic settlements, pristine forests, typical ethnic settlements where you can choose to go on treks.
If you are in Nepal for short time and wish to go on treks to enjoy the countryside. Then you have many options for short treks around Pokhara. These treks range from a day to a week’s. Whichever the trek you choose, you will have no less wonder and fun while trekking.
Naudanda Day Hike: It is a small village in Kaski district and the route through Sarangkot. It is a moderate and short trek from Pokhara. The trail is one of the best places for experiencing the rural life of Nepal. Mountain views, Phewa Lake, Pokhara valley, paragliding and high hill terrace farming. It is a Gurung village where you can get insights into typical lifestyles, mixed culture of different groups of People. It is at an elevation of 1600 meters above sea level. A classic Himalayan panorama, especially on clear mornings, is rewarding after your enthusiastic walks.
Sarangkot Trek: It is the easiest short trek from Pokhara which is 3 hours uphill climb from Lakeside Pokhara. The hill station is popular one- night destination as many people stop in to enjoy the sunrise over the Annapurna range. It is a beautiful destination for mesmerizing sunrise/ sunset view. Moments of spectacular pink and orange hues of the mountain ranges. You will enjoy the panoramic view of Pokhara, Fewa lake, the sea of green hills and chain of snow-capped peaks. It is popular paragliding spot in Pokhara from where you can float over the valley and lush forests. If you wish to add more excitement to your trip you can choose to trek to Dhampus. Or even plan for Annapurna Circuit trek. The place is a famous bird watching spot in the valley.
Royal Trek: It is one of the easiest treks in Annapurna region suitable for all. The trail got its name after Prince Charles walked through this trek in 1980’s. It starts from Kalikasthan- a 25 km drive from Pokhara city and proceeds along the foothills of Annapurna. Passes through typical Gurung settlements and concludes at the charming Begnas lake.
On the move, you will walk through the forest of Rhododendron. The panoramic view of Pokhara valley, Annapurna region in the north and Fishtail mountain. Along the route, you will pass through the valleys and ridges of various ethnic villages exemplary of diverse culture.
The locals you meet on the way are helpful and hospitable. You can interact with them to know about their culture, art, tradition, and everyday lifestyles. Eloquent hillside terrace farms.
We recommend this trek to the beginners who do not have earlier trek experiences and cannot stand high altitudes. Less crowded you get more close to the locals, nature, culture, and lifestyles. The trek is usually for 4-5 days depending on the time you spend on the way.
Panchase Trek: The place rests on the lap of Himalayas with its pristine beauty. Topographical diversity, historical, religious, and cultural features. It is a place of biodiversity and a home of different endangered bird species in the world. The place is the source of Fewa lake.
Lies at 28 kilometers from Pokhara, one of the attractive trekking destination of Nepal. This is a low altitude trek, so suitable for all age groups.The village is a land of culture and biodiversity.
Covered with lush green vegetation from subtropical to temperate forests all over. Highest hill of Pokhara region. Known as Pancha Dham, the hill has also gained its popularity as a religious site. The mountain ranges of Mt Dhaulagiri, Mt Annapurna, Mt Manaslu and Mt Ganesh are visible from the place. It is the source of rivers like Rati, Jare, Andhi, and Seti. Forests of rhododendron and magnolia entice you across the way.
Siklesh Trek: One of the largest Gurung villages situated northeast of Pokhara. The trip offers the aesthetic beauty of nature and culture of Nepal.
The village acclaims as one of the major origin of Gurung community. And as ‘ Sat Saya Sikles’ meaning a village with seven hundred households.
You can walk through the rhododendron forests, varied landscapes of terraced hills to plain lowlands and beautiful villages. Sikles has a small hydropower plant of its own- no load shedding problems.You will enjoy the homestay facilities and handicraft productions.
If you are lucky you can join Rodhi Ghar- late night singing and dancing programme. The region is rich in biodiversity particularly good for butterfly and bird watching.
Ghorepani Poonhill Trek: Most popular trek in Pokhara for both teahouse and organized. It offers an exotic view of Annapurna region in short and easy trek. The trail passes through the Gurung and Tamang’s charming villages. Dense rhododendron forests, Oak forests full of birds, green hills, and diversified valleys.
It takes you along the ancient ‘salt-trade route’ and unspoiled countryside of different ethnic communities.
It is a 4-5 days hike in the foothills of Annapurna mountain in Nepal. The elevation is 3,210 meters from the sea level. On return, you can either walk down through Ghandruk village or choose to walk down to Dhampus. And enjoy the ethnic settlements and pristine nature.
Since the trek is much popular among the travel enthusiasts, the trail can be much crowded than you are expecting.
Begnaskot Hiking: The hillock situates in the northeastern rim of the Pokhara valley. The places provide an overview of different mountain ranges, Pokhara valley, and an undulation of green hills. The hike offers a clear insight into mountain culture and lifestyles. Across the route is Sundari Danda- an example of agricultural tourism in Nepal. En route, you can witness villages and day to day life of Nepali villages, the different view of green hills, lakes, and valleys. There is a village of multi-cultured people whose daily activities are agriculture and fishing.
On the hilltop is Begnas kot temple- a Hindu temple. The trek commences from Begnas lake- third highest lake of Nepal and second after Phewa lake among 8 lakes in Pokhara valley. Also, you can enjoy boating in Begnas Lake.
The trek route is among the less explored trekking routes in Nepal. So, it is a quiet and peaceful trail.
Ghandruk Village Trek: It is a typical village of Gurungs and their indigenous settlements. The model village rests on the foothills of towering Annapurna mountain. It is a popular place for treks in Annapurna region- an easy gateway to Annapurna Base Camp Trek.
You will enjoy idyllic rural scenes with farms, varying green forests, diversity of birds and glittering mountain ranges. Easy trails- no difficult ascents/descents, no altitude that causes altitude sickness. The trek is suitable for all age groups- from adults to old-age people.
It is popular as a model village that is promoting rural tourism with resources available at local level. Tourism is one of the major business of the people in the place. So, you do not have to worry about the lodging and food. There is a museum in the middle of the village where you can get the detailed information of Gurungs and their ethnic features.
Dhampus Village Trek: Dhampus is a small ethnic village of Gurung communities. In the northern face of the Pokhara valley behind the terraced lush fields. The village is an ideal place for overnight stay, sunset and sunrise views. The place rewards you with the views of Pokhara valley, Fewa lake, and the World Peace Stupa.
It is fantastic 2 days trek from Pokhara. The trek commences from Phedi- a 30 minutes drive from the lakeside of Pokhara.
Dhampus hill is one of the peculiar viewpoints in the Annapurna region. You see the wonderful view of mountains, lush nature, exotic landscapes, and pristine countryside habitat. From the hillock, you can see the chain of mountains so near and pristine.
A trail of yoga and meditation where you can see the panoramic sunrise and sunset.
Route : Ghati chinna-Shidane-Panchase-Bhadaure-Kande (1 Night 2 Days)
via Australian Camp (2 Nights 3 Days)
Take the bus to Pame at Hallan chowk in the Lakeside, Pokhara and get off at the last stop. Then you’ll arrive in Ghati Chinna. Unpaved roads on the way might make you feel tired, but the view of Fewa Lake and farmlands will let you forget about it. (Takes 1 hour, Bus fee is 55NPR.)
It’s not easy to find the way from the uphill road in Ghati Chinna. Head to Sidhane homestay village via Dam Dame homestay village.(Takes 1 hour and 10 mins. 2 hours and a half from Ghati Chinna.) You might have some roti and chiya for lunch in Sidhane. About 4 households run homestay in Sidhane. It costs $10 to stay and 100NPR per person goes to the community fund. Or you can take a break and enjoy the view from the public school on the way to Dam Dame.
Go up more to Panchase, today’s destination. (Takes 2 hours from Sidhane, 5-6hours from Ghati Chinna.) Panchase is well known for the panoramic view, yoga, and meditation. You can find some good lodges rather than a homestay.
Don’t miss the sunrise with the panoramic view in the next morning. And choose a way to Badaure, whether to take a direct way or the other way via Panchase Byanjang. It takes about 2 hours if you take the direct way. Have some lunch in Badaure, and after 2 more hours, you’ll get to Kande. You can take a bus to the downtown Pokhara. Or you can head to Australian Camp from Kande. (Takes 1 hour and a half.) Stay one more night in Australian Camp, and you may come back to Kande or go to Phedi via Dampus. You can take a bus to Kande from Phedi, too.
Note : There are many lodges in Panchase. You’d better bring your own water and snacks. The written times are walking time. All prices are according to local transportation. If you hire a guide or vehicle, the price will vary. You’ll be guided to a homestay house in order of the village’s principle.
If you choose to have a one day trail, your hike will start in the morning and ends in the evening. (6-7 hours hike.) Or you may stay one night in Aatighar or Mauja, if you feel tired walking long hours. This trail starts from Long Bridge near Gurkha Museum. You can reach there by bus. Take the bus in downtown Pokhara. Find a bus that goes to Bagar which is the last stop. The view along both sides of the bridge is beautiful. Head to Haribar Cave, the temple of yoga and meditation(1 hour) first, and go to Armala village. You can bring your own lunch or have some Nepali noodles at a store in Armala. (2 hours)
Next stop is Aatighar. (1 hour) It is a very charming village but their homestay is not quite ready yet. If you still want to stay in the village, there’s one family you can stay with. Just contact them in advance.
If you don’t stay in Aatighar, there’s one homestay family at the next stop, Mauja, too. (1 hour) Warm-hearted homestay mother will welcome you happily. On your way back, walk down to Kahu Khola for an hour and take a bus to downtown Pokhara. It takes 1 hour.
If you go to Armala from Long Bridge, it’s a long pull up, taking 3 hours. But after that, flatland or even downhill roads are waiting for you.
A trail with a marvelous view of Pokhara from the tea farm in Lwang.
Route : Lwang - Ghalel - Lumle (1 Night 2 Days) via Ghachowk (2 Nights 3 Days)
Ghachowk(Thuche) village is the starting point of Machapuchare Model Trek. 20 households have started homestay in 2018 with the support of Karitas. Houses in Ghachowk are quite widespread whereas houses in other villages are huddled between small alleys and rice terraces. You can enjoy looking around the neighborhood.
We recommend the 1 Night 2 Days trail of Lwang - Ghalel. If you’d like to go to Lwang right away, there are buses from Hari or Milan Chowk to Lwang. But they are always crowded with village people as there are only 2 buses a day. On the other hand, there are many buses to Koramuk at Hari or Milan Chowk. It takes 1 hour and a half walk to Lwang from Koramuk. If you stayed the night before in Ghachowk, you need to come down for about 40 mins by bus and walk for 3 hours to Lwang. There are few stops where you can grab a bite at a store.
Lwang is the destination of Mardi Himal Trek. You can either pass by the village or you can visit the Tea Garden at 1600 meters high. It’s a 30-40 mins walk. The view of villages and downtown Pokhara from the garden is wonderful.
A trail that leads you to Peace Pagoda where you can look down Fewa Lake.
Route : Hallan chowk - Pame - Chapakot(Ghaderi eco-village) (1 Day),
Bhumdikot - Chapakot - Pokhara(1 Day),
Bhumdikot via Peace Pagoda (1 Night 2 Days)
Take a bus at Hallan chowk in the lakeside and get off at Pame. (Takes 40 mins) As soon as you get off the bus, cross the bridge on your left side. After the bridge, go over the ridge. You need to go over another ridge again. You should ask people about the way since there is no road sign. You need to walk uphill road for about 2 hours to Japakot, so take a break and enjoy your peace of mind at Chaudara where village people rest and look down Fewa Lake. In Japakot, there is only a small store and no homestay families. So pass the village and go up for about 15 mins, then you’ll find Ghaderi eco-village.
It’s inhabited by about 25 households of Brahmin people and some Dalit people while most of the mountain villages near Pokhara are inhabited by Gurung People. This village is called ‘Eco-village’ because people have been working on a project of collecting waste plastic bottles in Fawa Lake and building structures out of the bottles.
A trail to Australian Camp. Raksi, the traditional Gurung liquor, is on the way!
Route : Millan chowk-Astam-Hyangjakot-Dampus-Pedi (1 Night 2 Days)
via Australian Camp (2 Nights 3 Days)
Take a bus to Milan Chowk for about 20 mins from Hari Chowk , and go up to Astam via Jhijhirka. It’s a 2-hour walk to Astam from Milan Chowk. There’s a good restaurant to eat and rest in Astam. Take some rest and keep walking for an hour, then you’ll reach Hyangjakot homestay village. There are 12 homestay households. Why don’t you try Raksi, the traditional Gurung liquor at dinner?
(*Hari Chowk and Milan Chowk are located on Pokhara - Baglung highway. You can take buses to other villages such as Hemja, Baglung, Gandruk, Nayapul, Lwang, Ghalel and Dhital.)
Enjoy the sunset with a panoramic view on the next day(just like Sarangkot). You can either come down to Phedi via Dampus or go to Australian Camp and stay one more night and come back to Kande. One day trail, 1 Night 2 Days or 2 Nights 3 Days trails are possible depending on your condition and time.
An impressive trail that you can enjoy the lights of the village shining like stars.
Route : Sikles-Tanting(1 Night 2 Day),
Armala-Atighar-Mauja-Thak, Eco-trekking(4 Nights 5 Days)
Both Sikles and Tanting villages are available for 1 Night 2 Days homestay since you can go there by jeep from Pokhara. (3 hours to Tanting, 5 hours to Sikles. The jeep leaves at Kahu Khola.) Sikles eco-trek has been operated differently compare to Annapurna trek. Sikles village is located at 2000 meters high, and you can see the Himalayas very closely. This village is very big with well-maintained lodges, so many tourists visit there. There are 13 homestay households. If you move to Tanting from Sikles, you get to walk both uphill and downhill roads for 3 hours. It’s the same the other way, too. Sikles and Tanting are located along both sides of a deep winding valley. You can see the lights of the opposite village shining just like stars at night, and the grand Himals in the morning.
Tanting is a big village with over 200 households, and 12 out of them are running homestay. From a Buddhist temple to traditional style houses with wooden windows, it’s a good place to walk around and see here and there. (If you’d like to have a look at the village but are not in a good condition to walk, you can just stay in Tanting only and come back. It takes only 3 hours to Pokhara by jeep. You need a trekking permit to visit Sikles and Tanting.
You can start this trail from Armala-Aatighar, too. Armala-Atighar trail is also one of 8 trails from this project. (Link) However, we only suggest this longer course if you love the remote area and don’t mind staying in the villages for a long time.
If you’d like to try this longer trail, start your journey from Armala – Aatighar and stay one night in Mauja. On the next day, walk up a steep slope for 3 hours, stay another night in Thaplanga, Sildujure. And then head to Sikles. If you stay in Sikles and Tanting, you’ll make a 4 Night 5 Days trip. If you can’t stay for a long time in the village, 1 Night 2 Days trip would be great, too.
Another variation of Sikles eco-trek is to include Bhurjung Khola and Tara Hill Top. Visit any travel agencies in Pokhara and plan your trip as your preference.
A skyline trail along the Himalayas, Lupa lake, and Begnas Lake.
Route : Kasyari-Thulakot-Lipeyani-Chisapani-Talbesi (2 Nights 3 Days),
via Lupa lake, Begnas lake (3 Nights 4 Days)
There was no accommodation in the old days, so people used to camp to enjoy this trek. Nowadays, many roads are under construction and there are a few accommodations available. But still, there are not many. When Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, and Mick Zaggar, the vocalist of The Rolling Stones visited this trek, it became famous and people called it ‘Royal Trek’.
Take the bus to Kahu Kola and get off at the last stop, Kayari. Go up for about 3 hours from there and you’ll find a homestay family who provides lunch. Go up another hour, and you’ll see the destination of the day, Thulakot. Enjoy the view of Begnas Lake and Lupa Lake. You’ll meet some goat friends welcoming you as well.
After the night, head to Lipeyani. At this time you’ll see the Himalayas on the opposite side with two lakes on both sides. It takes about 5 hours to Lipeyani and the way can be very challenging. Stay another night in Lipeyni. You can take the only bus back to Pokhara in the morning. Or stay one more night in Begnas Lake or Lupa Lake via Chisapani.
Thulakot and Lipeyni have 2 homestay households each. There are many guesthouses and hotels in Begnas and Lupa Lake.
The very first accessible trekking trail in Nepal
Route : Naudanda-Deurali-Kaskikot-Sarangkot (1 Day)
Accessible tourism which is inclusive of people with disabilities and the elderly has been an important issue along with ‘Inclusive Tourism’ and ‘Tourism for all’. The International Conference on Accessible Adventure was held in Pokhara in March 2018. There were case presentations regarding ‘Slow Walk’, and the importance of accessibility for disabled and elderly people was discussed. The first accessible trekking trail was inaugurated as a part of the conference with the participation of differently-abled people from all around the world. This event was organized by Nepal Tourism Board, National Federation of the Disabled-Nepal, Center for Independent Living for Persons with Disabilities, and supported by UNDP Nepal, Indian Embassy, Turkish Airlines, Soarway Foundation.
Naudanda has easy access. It takes only an hour from Hari Chowk. The trail starts from Naudanda. Enjoy the beautiful view from the Deurali viewpoint. And come back to Fewa Lake via Sarangkot. Not the entire trail is wheelchair accessible yet. It’s still under construction. You can find road signs marked with the slope angles. Wheelchair accessible trail is 45 minutes long at the moment. It’s not quite possible for a wheelchair user to go there by oneself, yet. But still, it is very meaningful that the first accessible trekking trail was launched. If you are a wheelchair user, you need to take a ride from the viewpoint. (Link to a newspaper article)
Code of Conduct for the Visitors
The homestay visitors are expected to abide by the following points:
1. Enjoy the Himalayas with short trails.
Although you can’t spare your time for a long trek, there are many short trails you can still enjoy the Himalayas. Spend your own quality time away from busy tourist attractions.
2. Experience the real village life
Explore the real village life on the wonderful rice terraces. Taste the local organic food, and cook your own Dal Bhat. Feel the changing seasons with different views. Not only can you experience daily lives in the village, but you can also experience traditional Gurung culture.
3. Positive influence on the village
Homestay villages receive tourists upon their own rules. Most of the villages save $1 per tourist as a community fund for road maintenance, environmental improvement, and preservation of the culture. Your consumption can make a good impact on the village.
4. Rural women empowerment
Since most of the men left the village for jobs, women have taken care of the village for themselves. Women’s participation is a large part of the homestay, too. Women take active roles in greeting tourists, making food, organizing cultural events and even homestay committee activities. Profits from the homestay will support their economic conditions and strengthen their abilities.
How to prepare
One of the most important things is your attitude of mind. Traveling is not just about admiring the scenery. It is also about trying to understand a different culture and interacting with local people. If you are ready not to judge the different culture, religion, and lifestyle, you may start on a journey.
*Things you need :
Simple hiking wear (Check the weather ahead, and prepare depending on the season. As villages are in the mountain, it could be chilly or cold even in summer. Thin jackets are useful.)
Shower : It’s a very local style. It’s not in the house. There’s a small shower booth in the yard. You can take a shower with the hose attached inside. (As mentioned earlier, you need to bring your own toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, and towel.)
Water : You’ll be provided with local water that village people drink. If there’s a store in the village, you can buy mineral water. Otherwise, bring your own water. You may ask people to boil local water for you.
Food : The staple food of Nepal is Dal Bhat. It consists of lentil soup called ‘Dal’ and steamed rice ‘Bhat’. It is served with local organic vegetables as side dishes. If the village raises chickens, you can order non-veg chicken Dal Bhat as well. Just ask your homestay host. Nepalese have Dal Bhat as lunch and dinner. They have ‘Khaja(snack)’ between lunch and dinner. It could be corns, roti(Nepalese flatbread), rice bread, eggs, or chiya. Nepalese have Khaja quite late, so dinner time will be 8-9p.m. in the evening. You’d better check the dinner time with your host. Chiya is Nepalese black or milk tea. When you have chiya, you’d better tell your host about the amount of sugar you take as Nepalese take chiya very sweet. Breakfast is usually chiya, eggs, and roti. If you have any preference, you might talk with your host about the next day’s breakfast in the evening. You may have a look at the kitchen while your host makes Dal Bhat and participate.
People : So many different ethnic groups coexist in Nepal. There are over 100 languages as well. We encourage you to look up some information about people in Nepal. In most villages, there are Gurung people. If you check up on any books, videos or documents especially about Gurung people before you come, you can get closer to local people’s lives. In Gurung villages, you can drink Raksi which is the traditional distilled alcoholic beverage. (Approx. 30-50NPR.)
Cultural programs : If you visit the village as a group, you can ask for a cultural program. You can enjoy traditional dance, music and all. It usually starts after dinner. You’ll have a delightful night, dancing and listening to music with village people. It could be a fixed price, and if it’s not, you may pay individually depending on your satisfaction.
Festivals and time to visit : Hinduism is a huge part of Nepal. However, Shamanism, Tibetan Buddhism and other religions and different groups of people make festivals more colorful. The best time to visit Nepal is from Feb to May and from Sep to Dec. The weather is wonderful during those months.
In March, there’s ‘Shiva Ratri’ which is to praise Shiva, one of the three main gods in Hinduism and ‘Holi’, the festival of colors. The Nepali New Year is in April. From mid-June to mid-July is called ‘Ashad’. It’s the busiest season to plant rice. You can see the villages getting colored with green while enjoying ‘Ropain’, the rice planting festival.
In mid-July, Nepalese women apply ‘Mehndi(Henna)’ on their arms while wearing green bracelets to celebrate ‘Saune Sankranti’, the solstice festival. And it is followed by many different Hindu festivals. ‘Teej’, the monsoon festival celebrated by women, is in September. The two biggest festivals ‘Dashain’ and ‘Tihar’ are in October and November.
* The Himalayas are not something that you can always see. Nepalese say that only God allows you to see. The mountains are hardly seen in the monsoon season. (June to August)
A skyline trail along the Himalayas, Lupa lake, and Begnas Lake. Route : Kasyari-Thulakot-Lipeyani-Chisapani-Talbesi (2 Nights 3 Days), via
A trail with a beautiful view of Long Bridge and small beautiful villages.
Route : Valam(long bridge) - Harihar cave - Armala - Aatighar - Mauja - Kahu Khola
An impressive trail that you can enjoy the lights of the village shining like stars.
Route : Sikles - Tanting(1 Night
A trail to Australian Camp. Raksi, the traditional Gurung liquor, is on the way! Route : Millan chowk-Astam-Hyangjakot-Dampus-Pedi (1Night)
A trail with a marvelous view of Pokhara from the tea farm in Lwang.
Route : Lwang-Ghalel-Lumle (1 Night
A trail that leads you to Peace Pagoda where you can look down Fewa Lake. Route : Hallan chowk - Pame - Chapakot(Ghaderi)
A trail of yoga and meditation where you can see the panoramic sunrise and sunset. Route : Ghati chinna-Shidane-Panchase-Bhadaure-Kande