Where to go to soak in Pokhara’s postcard-worthy views
Kathmandu may be the capital of Nepal, but Pokhara is its tourism capital, attracting more than a thousand domestic and international visitors daily. Located 200km west of the Kathmandu, the city of Pokhara can be reached via a 7-hour bus or a (slightly pricier but highly recommended) 40-minute flight from the city. It’s true that the town owes much of its popularity to the scenic Himalayan ranges of Annapurna and its trekkers, but the lakes, valley and its hills will leave you breathless just the same.
The lakeside is probably the main tourist attraction in the city of Pokhara, next to the Annapurna range. It is Nepal’s second largest lake and probably the country’s most beautiful. If you’re lucky, you might see the breathtaking mirror-image of the snow-capped Machhapuchchhre Mountain (fondly called Fishtail Mountain), but if not, an hour boat ride that takes you the Barahi Hindu temple in the middle of the lake is an excellent way to see the lake and its surroundings.
Pokhara Shanti Stupa
Also known as the World Peace Pagoda, the Shanti Stupa is one of the several shrines built by Buddhist monks from Japan in an effort to promote peace in the world. Perched a thousand metres above the ground in Ananda Hill, there are many ways to reach the stupa; one is hiring a car to drive you near the top, which will take you to a trail a few minutes from the monument; or an hour trek from the Phewa Lake for the adventurous. Come here to watch the sun set over the whole Pokhara valley down below.
Make the effort to walk up early in the morning to Sarangkot viewpoint to catch the sun’s first rays fall over Pokhara. It takes 30 minutes to drive to Sarangkot and another 30-minute hike to reach the viewpoint, but you won’t be disappointed – on very good days (and most likely if you visit during the colder months), a panoramic and postcard-worthy view of the Annapurna range and its white cones will take your breath away.