Mention traveling to Nepal, and most people will probably think of climbing to Everest’s base camp or other such demanding, expensive, time-consuming activities. There are a lot of those type of activities to choose from, but before you start those, or in lieu of doing them, the city of Pokhara deserves some love.
Pokhara is usually the jumping off point for bigger adventures, but plenty of smaller-scale air, land and lake fun abound. It’s really touristy but retains a chill atmosphere, and it’s likely you’ll see the same people from your flight and bus ride from Kathmandu in Pokhara. The city sits on the edge of Phewa Lake, with the snow-capped Annapurna range dwarfing everything else – it basically looks like Switzerland. Load up on layers, because if the heavenly views aren’t enough, the amount of outdoor fun to be had will keep you outside long past your bedtime.
This activity is practically synonymous with Nepal, and in Pokhara, there are trails for every level. One popular option in a four-hour uphill walk to see sunrise at Sarangkot, and another is walking through the jungle (rather than paddling across the lake) to the Peace Pagoda. Walking alone is not recommended, and Nepalese soldiers may accompany you. Other, more challenging treks can last anywhere from four to 24 days and of course will be incredibly physically demanding.
Want to stay on land but get off your feet? Rent a mountain bike to zip through the trails. If you’re pressed for time, this may be a good solution, as you can combine seeing local sights and stunning scenery into a shorter time. Another option is to go vertical – head out of town to Bimal Nagar to try rock climbing, or go to Chitwan and scare your mother by abseiling down a waterfall!
Water-wise, Phewa Lake is placid, perfect for lazy canoeing. To dial it up, try white-water river rafting, which is available for all levels. Much like trekking, you can choose simple day trips or more intense multi-day rafting trips that can start as far away as the Tibetan border.
The entirety of sky-based activities in Nepal are on my bucket list, and I don’t know why (okay: money) I haven’t done them yet! Possibilities include: paragliding, parahawking (!), bungee jumping, helicopter tours and mountain flights, in case you want to see Everest without having to climb it. Activities are usually around US $50 per person or less for land activities. Sky based activities range from US $100 or more depending on which you choose.
What’s your favorite way to get your adrenaline going in Pokhara?