The gateway to the Annapurna range, Pokhara is where you will find your connection to Nepal’s unspoiled wilderness. Leaving the bustle of town and the airport behind, you’ll quickly find yourself entranced by the spellbinding beauty of the snowy mountain peaks, crossing over pristine rivers, and waving back to the friendly people along the road.

Whether you are a serious hiker or an aspirational one, Pokhara offers something for every physical ability. You can certainly set off to conquer the multi-day trek to Annapurna Base Camp (which is easier and quicker than some of Nepal’s other high-altitude hikes), but there are countless day hikes (of varying lengths and degrees of difficulty) for those who prefer the comforts of a more upscale lodge. Drive out to Patale Chhango (Devil’s Fall) and carry on by foot to snap some beautiful photos, or for a change of scenery, explore the Mahendra Cave, a large limestone cave famous for its rock formations.

The main attraction is undeniably getting out for some fashion of hike, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only thing to do. Set aside an afternoon to explore Pokhara’s serene valley lakes. Phewa Lake, originally used as a campground for trekkers through the Annapurna range, is now a hub of activity for visitors to the area. Take a boat out onto the lake and enjoy the mouth-watering cafes along the fringe. If you didn’t make through the shops in Kathmandu, make your way to the old Pokhara Bazaar. This traditional market is a bustling gathering place for an ethnically diverse group of traders and you’ll recognize the beautiful old Newari architecture of the city in the temples and monuments of the bazaar. Pokhara is also the epicenter of whitewater rafting in Nepal. Get lost in the mountain scenery while enjoying the thrill of the rushing rivers. For more tranquil endeavors, Pokhara is an exceptional destination to relish a quiet morning of bird-watching .

Like in Kathmandu, the majority of accommodation takes the form of modest guesthouses and backpacker hostels which makes the demand for our preferred hideout, Tiger Mountain Lodge, that much higher. Hitting all the right notes of warmth, hospitality, excellent guiding, and memorable meals, you might prefer to soak up Pokhara’s splendor without ever leaving the lodge.

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