The monsoon season brings heavy rain to Pokhara, sending currents of murky water down streets and pouring into potholes. Side roads turn into small rivers, and locals hunker beneath awnings to wait for the rain to stop–or at least lighten up enough so they can go about their business. Rainstorms don’t usually last all day, but when they do, fear not. Travelers can easily find things to do until the storm passes. (Read here for rainy day activities in Kathmandu)
Break a sweat
Drop in for Zumba or yoga classes at the new and brightly lit Mudra Health Center. Polished wood floors float above Lakeside; the third story studio has windows opening up to spectacular views of Fewa Tal.
If group classes aren’t your thing, check out Pokhara’s newest gym, Orla. Day and weekly passes let guests use the free weights and machines, and for those with a strict Crossfit regimen, tires, kettlebells, and a training rope wait to be tossed around.
Footballers and soccer players can venture across town to Ranipauwa for indoor pick-up games. Ranipauwa Sports Center has a covered futsal ground, and local sports enthusiasts scrimmage into the evening.
Catch a flick
Movie theaters are now aplenty in Pokhara. From the covered bamboo canopy at Movie Garden, to QFX and Midtown Gallery theaters, film addicts can choose from Nepali, Bollywood, and the latest Hollywood releases.
Those looking for a more unique experience can visit one of the local cinemas in city center Mahendrapool. Even if you don’t fully understand Nepali or Hindi, movie showings are lively, with moviegoers shouting and cheering for their favorite villains, and old rickety seats add to the charm.
Pokhara’s Planetarium and Science Center has a maze of mirrors and an assortment of science projects to tinker around with, while the International Mountain Museum rotates exhibits on ethnic groups, climate change, and mountain excursions.
In addition to Nepali language classes, Learning House offers a selection of board games, books, and magazines, plus barista students are always willing to practice latte art for guests.
Satisfy your sweet tooth
Hunker down in one of Pokhara’s many cafes. With sweet and savory crepes, Metro’s list of treats is always tempting on drizzly days. AM/PM Organic Cafe serves up vegan and vegetarian delights, or take a taxi to the lesser-known Café 1938, where local students strum guitars and celebrate birthdays with exploding candles.
More adventurous eaters can try pani puri in one of the smaller khaja ghars (snack houses), or set out to find Dark Bean Café, where gelato is made from all-natural ingredients and the owners use mint from their house to flavor ice cream.
Have a day spa
Many hotels and spas provide massages and day packages. Choose from a menu of beauty treatments as Jiva Spa and Café, or book a massage at the Ayurveda Health Home. The pitter-patter of rain will help you ease into relaxed oblivion.
Shop your heart (and wallet) out
Pokhara can provide a better shopping experience than Kathmandu, and shop-owners are friendly and willing to cut a deal with buyers. You can find the latest fashions and styles in Mahendrapool’s Trade Mall and Midtown Gallery, or bargain for souvenir essentials Lakeside.
Bhat Bhateni on New Road is a multi-story shopping haven, with food items and clothing, umbrellas and other necessities you may have forgotten at home. A small arcade is in the basement, complete with bowling, air hockey, basketball, and video games, and covered food carts selling snacks, ice creams, and coffee.
Save on your visit
Since most tourists avoid Pokhara during rainy season, hotels and restaurants offer special monsoon discounts. Restaurants drop prices and promote extended happy hours, and hotels reduce rates. So, if you find yourself in Pokhara during the “off-season”, don’t worry! Plan accordingly, enjoy, and remember to pack a sturdy raincoat.
Top image: Sharada Prasad CS / Flickr