Pokhara has so much more to offer than Lakeside. Unfortunately, many visitors stick to the restaurants and cafes around the lake. To encourage guests to explore the greater Kaski area, here’s a list of “off the beaten track” destinations worth checking out during your time in Pokhara.
Lovely Hill has turned into a dating spot for locals, and for good reason. Pass the community of Parsyang to reach this scenic viewpoint. At the bottom of the road leading up the hill, you’ll find a few restaurants that serve typical Nepali snacks like chowmein and peanut sadeko. Better yet, pack your own snacks and enjoy the panorama of snowy mountain peaks while marveling at the cluster of city buildings below.
Ask your taxi driver to take you to the vegetable market in Siddartha Chowk. Colorful stalls of vegetables and fruit and dried goods sold in bulk are a feast for the eyes. Try your hand bargaining for a dozen bananas or order a fresh juice from one of the sellers. This is the perfect place to stock up on snacks and treats for more Pokhareli adventures.
There’s a viewpoint tower on top of this hill that will give you equally stunning views of the surrounding area (and yes, mountain peaks) without the crowds found at Sarangkot. You don’t need a guide and you don’t need a permit to follow the dirt road to the peak. Friendly locals can help point you in the right direction, and a few shops sell cold drinks and snacks if you’re feeling peckish on the way down.
If you’re not too bushed from your hike up to Kahun Dada, swing over to the Matepani community for Tibetan snacks like Mo:Mo and laphing. The monastery here is an additional walk up a winding, steep road, but the thick forest will lift your spirits and the daily chanting of the monks is worth the walk. Puja ceremonies take place most mornings and afternoons, and the younger monks are always happy to see visitors appear in the large stone courtyard.
Akala Devi Temple
This one will take some hunting, but it is listed on Google Maps. Take a taxi to Lamachaur to visit this Hindu temple perched on top of the steep gorge looking down over the Seti Gandaki River. Locals visit this place for religious ceremonies and daily rituals, and you can see the Himalayas from the viewpoint here.
Rent a bicycle in Lakeside and cycle around the lake to the quieter section of the tourist side of town. Pame is home to restaurants priding themselves on assorted fish dishes: fish stew, fried fish, grilled fish, fish and chips. The pace in Pame is slower than in other parts of Pokhara. Visitors sip cold beers and swing in hammocks, and clusters of bicycles park roadside to sit and watch the lake lap along the shore.
A short drive from Lakeside, Naundada is a village community that attracts visitors with traditional sekuwa, roasted and dried meat, and peaceful views of Kaski District. More active adventures can plan an easy day hike, stop at Sarangkot for lunch, then hire a taxi to return.
Begnas offers scenic tranquility and a peaceful getaway for those craving water, mountains, and untouched nature. A variety of accommodation hosts travelers of all budgets, and restaurants grill up fish fresh from the lake. Begnas is a convenient day trip, or for travelers with a longer itinerary, a wonderful overnight stay.
The best part of traveling is discovering unexpected surprises. Don’t be afraid to ask locals for their own favorite destinations. And if you get lost, you can easily find your way back to Lakeside by bus or taxi.