Pokhara is no longer the quaint lakeside town it once was. Now bustling with restaurants and bars, coffee shops and yoga studios, Lakeside has become a magnet for local and foreign tourists alike. For those wanting quieter experiences or to see a more “natural” side of Nepal, there are plenty of day and one-night trips from Pokhara, within driving distance. In less than one hour, you can be basking in Himalayan bliss while sipping tea made with stevia leaves picked from a backyard garden. Here are some of the best short trips from Pokhara.
With unobstructed views of the Annapurnas, Astam is a dreamy spot for sunrise. Set your time-lapse camera and sit back with a hot mug of coffee to watch the peaks turn gold. The final stretch to reach the village requires a Jeep or motorbike, but once you arrive, several accommodation options are available. From the plush Hananoie Resort to more budget-friendly eco-lodges, Astam can serve as a one-night destination or as a stopping point for those trekking through the region.
Rent a motorbike or hire a car to reach Ghachok, a charming village in the lap of Machhapuchare. Here dal bhat is prepared from homegrown ingredients, and fields of rice surround traditional houses made of stone. The village boasts several waterfalls for an afternoon hike and swim, or relax in your guesthouse’s courtyard with a book.
World Peace Pagoda
Anyone can see the White Stupa from Lakeside, yet few venture up there to stay. This area offers breathtaking views of the Pokhara Valley. Now that the road leading to Sarangkot busies during the tourist seasons, the Peace Pagoda is a winning alternative for sunrise or a romantic spot for New Year’s fireworks.
Lwang has become something of a poster image for village tourism. Locals who have been trained in the art of service and hospitality enthusiastically welcome visitors. Mountains frame the village, and a tea farm is within walking distance. Adventure-seekers can rappel off a nearby waterfall, and cultural enthusiasts can learn traditional dance moves. Your belly will be filled with local products, and if you do decide to stay the night, you are guaranteed to sleep soundly under Himalayan skies.
Forty minutes outside of Pokhara, Begnas offers visitors plenty to explore. Lakes, fisheries, organic coffee shops, and luxury resorts provide something for everybody. Restaurants serve fish cooked to order, and the well-kept Begnas Lake Resort has a tucked away deck to enjoy both chocolate cakes and the surrounding scenery. Drive further up the hill to Rupakot Resort, where an elevated viewpoint presents spanning mountain views.
Though a longer drive from Pokhara (count on at least two and a half hours), Bandipur is a nice way to break up the commute between Pokhara and Kathmandu. With Newari style architecture and surrounding hills, this village has managed to find the delicate balance between tourism, cultural preservation, and warm hospitality.
Should you find yourself in Pokhara craving a quiet or unique experience, ask friends for their favorite village recommendations and make time to explore regions surrounding Pokhara Valley.