Hiking and Trekking around Pokhara

Are you thinking of spending a couple of nights in Pokhara and interested in doing more than just a Pokhara city tour?  Pokhara is well-known for trekkers who are looking to go to Annapurna. Not very known to many,  this city does have a very nice view of the mountains and there are places here where you can actually do short day hikes!  
At least once a day, I would receive a new inquiry about the hiking and trekking options around Pokhara city.   I realised this is because there is not enough information available on the web regarding short and long days hiking options around Pokhara.   Having responded to a number of queries, I thought it is probably best to make this accessible to everyone!  Here you go then.. an article which I hope would answer any questions you may have on ways to enjoy Pokhara without Annapurna trek. I will guide you through the short hike and multiple days trekking options around Pokhara.  After receiving positive comments about the Kathmandu Valley Trek, I am very excited to also give you some insights on what is possible around Pokhara in terms of hiking. 

Highlights of this article

  • Pokhara is also known as the City of Lakes.  There are actually nine lakes in the city surrounded by more than 20 beautiful mountains. This includes two of the Himalayan ranges (Annapurna and Dhaulagiri) are both at above 8,000m. 
  • Pokhara is reachable by all major mode of transportation (except boat/ship and train!). Tourist buses are the most common among travellers. Flights are the shortest but the most expensive. 
  • There are breathtaking viewpoints and hill stations like Sarangkot, Dhampus, Stupa Hill, Poon Hill. Sarangkot is famous for sunrise over Himalayan mountains, while Stupa Hill is well-known for sunsets! 
  • The largest freshwater lake in Nepal, called Phewa Lake, is within the main touristic town of Pokhara.
  • It is possible to hike around Pokhara and you have several options from one day hikes (Stupa Hill and Sarangkot) or up to seven days (Poon Hill). Or if you want to extend to 10 days, then you can go for Annapurna Base Camp.   

How to reach Pokhara? 

At approximately 210km west of the capital city of Kathmandu, Pokhara is reachable by public transportation.  So yes, it is no longer a very remote area in Nepal.  The main transportations are tourist bus, local bus, private car and flight.  More than 50% of tourists I have had the privilege to speak to, prefers travelling by tourist bus.  This is especially true for backpackers and budget conscious travellers.  One drawback of taking a bus is that you use up almost two full days for a roundtrip journey to Kathmandu.   The commute time is roughly 6 to 7 hours, one way, so you may want to factor that into your itinerary.  As the road condition is not well conditioned, it is not possible to drive at a speed of 40-50 Km/hour.  For those tight on time and would like to see more of Pokhara, then the recommended mode of transportation is the 30-minute flight from Kathmandu.  Flight is the most expensive option but the most comfortable.  If you want to find out more available option about How to travel from Kathmandu to Pokhara please click on the highlighted link. 

One Day Hiking Options in Pokhara

Option 1: Stupa Day Hike

Also called Shanti Stupa or Peace Stupa, it was one of the 80 similar stupas around the world built by a Buddhist monk to signify world peace.  There are two of these pagodas in Nepal, one is in Lumbini and another in Ananda Hill in Pokhara.  Situated at around 1,100m above sea level, it lies on the south side of the Pokhara city.  What makes this stupa very special and worth going to is that it gives its visitors a panoramic view of the mountain ranges Annapurna, Manaslu and Dhaulagiri by the Phewa Lake, provided the weather is clear.  

The hike is fairly short and should be at around four hours in total.  For those with limited time, this is a good way to experience hiking in Nepal and see the villages around more up close! Ananda Hill can also be reached by car or taxi both from the heart of the city.   The hiking trail requires crossing a lake by a boat and then a fair hike all the way to the top of Ananda Hill.  You may want to time reaching the top of the hill by around sunset time as that is probably one of the most dramatic sunsets you would see in your lifetime with the colours of the mountains changing too! It is really breathtaking to see! If you need more information, please do not hesitate to drop a comment at the bottom of this page. 

Option 2: Sarangkot Naudanda Hiking

Another possible day hike around the city is in Sarangkot Naudanda.  It lies at around 1,600m above sea level and north-west of Pokhara.  For the adventurous at heart, the town offers more than just hiking.  This is the place which is well-known for paragliding, zip lining and cycling. In everyone's itinerary in Pokhara, this town of Sarangkot is definitely a must-see.  Your trip to Pokhara will be incomplete without a visit to this quaint little town uphill.  

While Stupa Hill is famous for sunsets, Sarangkot is your perfect spot for sunrise to see the Himalayan ranges.  Again, the weather and clouds can be unpredictable at this altitude and so we suggest you start wishing for a clear weather before you visit!   

So you get the best of both worlds, my recommendation would be to combine the sunrise tour in Sarangkot with the hike to Naudanda.  You can then the take the drive back to Pokhara afterwards.  You must be prepared to wake up before sunrise and drive up to the base of Sarangkot hill.  From there, the hike to the sunrise viewpoint is approximately 20-30 minutes.  It is chilly early in the morning so make sure you dress in layers.  Another tip is to also get a cup of chiya (a traditional Nepali tea) while admiring the beautiful sunrise.  After a good breakfast in Sarangkot,  you can then start your hike.  The duration of the hike is roughly of 4-5 hours. 

If you require additional information, we are available for any questions you may have. Please do not hesitate to drop us a comment below. 

2 Nights and 3 days Hiking around Pokhara 

If you have more than a few days to spare for hiking, these are probably the best option for you.  In just three days, you can actually hike to the base of the Himalayas and experience the real trekking in Nepal even for a limited time!  

Option 1: Kathmandu, Pokhara, Dhampus, Australian Camp and Sarangkot. 

In order to complete this itinerary, you must have to have at least a total of about 5 to 6 days in Nepal including arrival and departure in the country.  This the best alternative we provide to our clients who only has a week in Nepal but still wants to experience some real Himalayan trekking.  This itinerary will take you to the major sightseeing destinations in Pokhara, Kathmandu plus a 2 night-3 days trek up to the base of the Annapurna National Park.  Here is a sample itinerary: 

Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu and sightseeing around the city. 
Day 02: Fly to Pokhara and trek to Dhampus with an overnight in the Australian camp 
Day 03: Trek from Australian camp to Dhampus and Sarangkot 
Day 04: Trek from Sarangkot to Pokhara and a full day Pokhara sightseeing. 
Day 05: Travel from Pokhara to Kathmandu either by flight or by tourist bus.  
Day 06: Departure flight to home country

Round trip flights to Pokhara from Kathmandu might be expensive but it will save you LOTS of time.  Many tourists prefer Pokhara over Kathmandu and trekking to the base of Annapurna National Park is an also a great experience.  Personally, I would recommend taking a one-way flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara but taking the tourist bus to Kathmandu.  You get to see the aerial view of Pokhara and if you are lucky, fly at the same height as the mountain ranges! At the same time, you enjoy the landscape of countryside of Nepal by taking the tourist bus back to Kathmandu by tourist bus. 

Option 2: Kathmandu, Pokhara, Poon Hill Trek

According to TripAdvisor, the number 1 travellers' choice as destination in Pokhara is Poon Hill.  At a height of 3,210m above sea level, Poonhill is just about 2 days trek from Pokhara. This option allows you to trek within the Annapurna National Park.  However, this might require one day additional of hiking and may require you to forfeit seeing the Pokhara city itself.  The itinerary for this trip would be as follows:

Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu and sightseeing around the city
Day 02: Flight to Pokhara and trek to Tikhedhunga 
Day 03: Trek from Tikhedhunga to Ghorepani 
Day 04: Trek from Ghorepani to Poon Hill and then head back to Pokhara
Day 05: Travel from Pokhara to Kathmandu either by flight or by tourist bus.  
Day 06: Departure flight to home country

If you have two more extra days and nights in addition to the minimum six days above, it is worth exploring Poon Hill trek even more and perhaps returning in a different way after reaching Poon Hill.  

In my humble opinion, I would recommend option 1 above if you really only have about 2 or 3 days for a trek.  However, if you have at least 5 days for trekking, Poon Hill trek is definitely a must experience for many travellers. 

In addition to the 5 days trek in Poon Hill, if you are able to extend that to 7 or 10 days, I would recommend Annapurna Base Camp.   There are several options you can take depending on the activities you like and how much time you have.  If you have questions, we are eager to help you plan your trip or give you ideas on where to go! Please do drop us a note or a comment below.  Please also email us at nestadventure@gmail.com. 

About Rajendra Khanal (Raj)

Rajendra Khanal (Raj) Born and raised in Gorkha, Nepal, I am proud to call the Manaslu region my home! I have been in the travel business for over a decade from being a porter, to being a guide, to being a manager and finally a founder of NEST Adventure. So you could say, I know my way well enough in the Himalayas especially in some of the off-the-beaten trails in Nepal like Manaslu, Kanchenjunga or Mustang
I am passionate about travelling and I strongly believe that seeing the world shouldn't break the bank (at least not too much!).  I have been to over 15 countries in Asia, Americas and one-third of the Europe (.. Latin America, Australia, and Canada are on my bucket list..one day!) as a backpacker myself, I am happy to share the experience about Nepal Himalayas. If you think I can be helpful planning your trip to Nepal, then do not hesitate to contact me. at nestadventure@gmail.com. I am also available on Whats app and Viber +977-9851052042 Or If you are interested to know more about me follow on  Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
 
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