Pokhara is the third largest city in Nepal. It is the starting point for most of the treks in the Annapurna area. It is considered by many to be the most beautiful place in the whole wide world.
You can travel to Pokhara from the capital Kathmandu using the tourist bus travels that are readily available or the local microbuses or buses which leave Kathmandu for Pokhara almost every 15 minutes. These buses are available until late afternoon. There are night buses as well running on this route but these can be a painful ride, so avoid them. The local buses will cost you around NRs. 400 to 600. Coming from the southern border to India, several buses leave to Pokhara from the border city, mainly in the very wee hours (first at 4AM). It takes about 9 hours and costs between 280 and 380 Rs. Flights cost roughly USD$ 93 each way and take only 1/2 hour from KTM. They have the bonus of giving you a bird's eye view of the countryside and of the mountains themselves.
It is possible to hire a bicycle in a lot of shops in Lakeside for a small price (Rs 100-200 a day). If you are hiring a bicycle make sure the seat is not too hard. Also, try realigning the seat if it is set uphill way, instead of sloping down. Besides the Lake area, you can go for a bike ride down to the airport way, on way to the Tibetan settlement where there is a nice little monastery, a school, and refugee jewelery and craft stalls. Be prepared to ride all the way uphill on return trip to Lake Area. If yours is a mountain bike it is paddleable all the way back. But it is wise to take a rest halfway if you want to avoid suffering from cramps and weariness the following day, from the long ride.
By motorbike and scooter
It is also possible to hire a scooter or a motorbike in Lakeside (from Rs 450 a day). You will have to buy the diesel yourself (Rs 82 per liter). It is not possible to reach Sarangkot or the World Peace Pagoda with gearless motorbike or scooter due to the steep road.
Lakeside Trail Phewa Lake. One of the Nepal's most beautiful spots, Phewa Tal is surrounded by a combination of monkey-filled forests and the high white peaks. The reflections in the mirror-like water in the early mornings are something you must see at least once before you die. Hire a boat and row yourself across the lake (or hire a local to do it for you - there are some fine times to be had on this lake, even in the middle of the night!)
Begnas Lake - Out of town and away from the hustle, Begnas Tal is quiet, clean and peaceful. There are a few basic hotels to stay in and the odd refreshment shop. The walk along the road leading to Begnas Tal is fascinating; the seasonal rhythms of daily life in the country make great images.
Rupa Tal. One of the more remote lakes in Pokhara with limited accessibility and hence more serene and unspoilt compared to the other lakes. A must visit for any nature lover
Dipang Tal. Beautiful lake where you can find wild lotus and wild swan. It is located about fifteen minutes walk from Sisuwa, the city centre of Lekhnath muncipality
Devis Falls. Spectacular, eerie and unusual, Devi falls plunge into a cave and disappear into the earth. Rs 20. edit
World Peace Pagoda (Shanti Stupa). Built about 16 years ago atop a hill overlooking Phewa Tal, the Stupa offers a great place to see the mountains and the sunset over Pokhara. It can be accessed by hiring a boat across the lake and following a pretty good track upward, climbing up through the forest (but watch out for leeches during the monsoon)or by foot from the road that passes Devi's Fall, turning right at the end of Chhorepatan. Taxis can now drive up to within 15 minutes' walk of the Stupa - ask them to use the Chhorepatan road, which is shorter and therefore should be a little cheaper than the Kalimati road.
Sarangkot. The perfect pre-trek warm-up. Head up Sarankot in the late afternoon (be prepared, it's steep and hard work) find yourselves a warm guest house before sunset, go up the top for sunset and again for sunrise... you won't be disappointed. You can rent a motor bike for under 700Rs and take yourself to the top. The road is rough, but traversable. Great views, spectacular images and a great way to get a taste of what it's like to be trekking.
Mahendra Cave is a famous cave located in Batulechaur, the northern end of the Pokhara city.
Chamare Gufa - Bat cave. It is another cave located some ten minutes away from the famous Mahendra cave. This cave is famous for the bats that can be seen hanging by the cave's walls
Gupteswar Mahadev Cave. Another cave famous for it's religious importance located in the southern end of the city, Chorepatan. This cave has a famous Hindu god Shiva.
International Mountain Museum - A museum about mountaineering and its history. You could have description of the people living in the Himalayas and descriptions of the 14 highest peaks and their most famous expeditions. Rs 100 for SAARC resident.
Gurkha Memorial Museum, - 08:00-16:30 everyday. Museum dedicated to the famous soldiers from Nepal. You can observe here the various historic uniforms, their famous knifes and the different flags. Rs 150 for foreigners. Rs 80 for SAARC resident.
White Water Rafting 1-10 day adventure expeditions on beautiful Nepali rivers. There are many operators offering trips with one of the best, Rapidrunner Expeditions  is run by Raja and Tessa Lama who offer superb high quality experiences. For more information visit their office at Centre Point on Lakeside.
Paragliding Don't miss soaring around Lake Pokhara and the Annapurnas with eagles to guide the way! There are several companies that organise flights ranging from 40 minutes - 1.5 hours, as well as cross-country. You will find advertisements on the main road as well as most guest houses and hotels. Prices start from around US$90-150 .
If Kathmandu is the cultural hub of Nepal, Pokhara is its center of adventure. An enchanting city nestled in a tranquil valley, it is the starting point for many of Nepal's most popular trekking and rafting destinations. The atmosphere on the shore of Phewa Lake is one of excited vitality as hipster backpackers crowd the many bars and restaurants exchanging recommendations on guest houses and viewpoints, both by the lake and above the clouds.
Pokhara is a place of remarkable natural beauty. The serenity of Phewa Lake and the magnificence of the fishtailed summit of Machhapuchhre (6,977 m) rising behind it create an ambience of peace and magic. At an elevation lower than Kathmandu, it has a much more tropical feel to it, a fact well appreciated by the beautiful diversity of flowers which prosper in its environs. Indeed, the valley surrounding Pokhara is home to thick forests, gushing rivers, emerald lakes, and of course, the world famous views of the Himalaya.
The powerful rule of the old kings of Kathmandu, the Lichhavis and the Mallas, held sway over this valley for some time. As these dynasties fell prey to their own troubles, Pokhara Valley and the surrounding hills disintegrated into small kingdoms, frequently at war with each other. These were called the Chaubise Rajya or the Twenty-four Kingdoms. It was among these that Kulmandan Shah established his kingdom. His descendant Drabya Shah was the first to establish Gorkha, home of the legendary Gurkha warriors.
Finally, Pokhara is part of a once vibrant trade route extending between India and Tibet. To this day, mule trains can be seen camped on the outskirts of the town, bringing goods to trade from remote regions of the Himalaya. This is the land of the Magars and Gurungs, hardworking farmers and valorous warriors who have earned world-wide fame as Gurkha soldiers. The Thakalis, another important ethnic group here, are known for their entrepreneurship.
Clearly the most stunning of Pokhara's sights is the spectacular panorama of the Annapurna range which forms its backdrop. Stretching from east to west, the Annapurna massif includes Annapurna 1 to IV and Annapurna South. Although the highest among them is Annapurna 1 (8,091 m), it is Machhapuchhre which dominates all others in this neighbourhood. Boastfully levitating in the skyline, the fish-tailed pinnacle is the archetypal snow-capped, needle-pointed mountain. If you want to see the mountains from close up, Everest Air offers a mountain flight from Pokhara that takes you on an aerial sightseeing tour of the western Himalaya.
Phewa Lake, the second largest lake in the Kingdom, is the center of all attraction in Pokhara. It is the largest and most enchanting of the three lakes that add to the resplendence of Pokhara. Here, one can sail or row a hired boat across to the water or visit the island temple in its middle. The eastern shore, popularly known as lakeside or Baidam, is the favorite home base for travellers and is where most of the hotels, restaurants and handicraft shops are located.
The Barahi temple is the most important monument in Pokhara. Built almost in the center of Phewa Lake, this two-storyed pagoda is dedicated to the boar manifestation of' Ajima, the protesters deity representing- the female force Shakti. Devotees can be seen, especially on Saturdays, carrying male animals and fowl across the lake to be sacrificed to the deity.
Another of Pokhara's natural wonders that unfailingly interests visitors is the Seti Gandaki river. Flowing right through the city, the boisterous river runs completely underground at places. Amazingly, at certain points the river appears hardly two meters wide. But its depth is quite beyond imagination over 20 meters! Mahendra Pul, a small bridge near the old Mission Hospital, provides a perfect view of the river's dreadful rush and the deep gorge made by its powerful flow.
Locally known as the Patale Chhango (Hell's Fall). Devi's Fall (also known as Devin's and David's) is a lovely waterfall lying about two km south-west of the Pokhara airport on the Siddhartha Highway. Legend has it that a trekker (Devin, David..) was washed away by the Pardi Khola and mysteriously disappeared down into an underground passage beneath the fall.
Another of nature's wonders in Pokhara is the Mahendra Gupha. This large limestone cave is locally known as the House of Bats, an apt name for it. A two-hour walk to the north of Pokhara, it is best to bring your own torch to see the stalactites and stalagmites, as well as the local winged residents.
The Old Bazaar
Pokhara's traditional bazaar is colorful and so are its ethnically diverse traders. In its temples and monuments can be seen ties to the Newar architecture of the Kathmandu Valley. Located about four km from Lakeside, the market's original charm is alive and well. This area strewn with shops selling commodities ranging from edibles and cloth to cosmetics and gold is a pleasant and shady spot to stroll around.
The old bazaar is also home to one of Pokhara's most important shrines'. Locally called the Bindhyabasini Mandir, this white dome-like structure dominates a spacious stone-paved courtyard built atop a shady hillock. It is dedicated to Goddess Bhagwati, yet another manifestation of Shakti. The park-like grounds offer a fine picnic area, and on Saturdays and Tuesdays when devotees flock there to offer sacrifices, it takes on a festive local flavour.
The Pokhara Museum, located between the bus stop and Mahendra Pul, reflects the ethnic mosaic of western Nepal. The lifestyles and history of ethnic groups such as Gurungs, Thakalis and Tharus are attractively displayed through models, photographs and artefacts. One major attraction is a display highlighting the newly-discovered remains of an 8000-year-old settlement in Mustang. Open daily, except Tuesdays and holidays, from 10 am to 5 pm.
The Annapurna Regional Museum, also known as the Natural History Museum, is another interesting visit in Pokhara. Run by the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), the museum has an exceptional collection of butterflies, insects, birds and models of wildlife found in the area. Located at Prithvi Narayan Campus east of the old bazaar, it is open daily except Saturdays and holidays from 9 am to 5 pm.
Pokhara is the starting and/or finishing point for some of the most popular treks including the Annapurna Circuit and the Jomsom Trek. It also offers a number of short treks for those who cannot opt for long, challenging ones. The most popular destination among them is Sarangkot (1592 m), a former Kaski fort lying atop a hill to the west of Pokhara. The panoramic view of the Himalaya seen from this point is superb. Kahundanda, Naudanda, Ghandrung, Ghorepani, and Ghalchok are other favorite destinations around Pokhara.
Pokhara is located roughly 200 km west of Kathmandu. The journey between these two famed cities is certainly part of the Pokhara experience. Flying over the snow-capped Himalaya to the north and the green Mahabharat range to the south is thrilling, while the overland journey past sparse rural settlements nestled along the Trisuli river provides a view of life particular to Nepal's middle hills. There are daily flights and bus services between Kathmandu and Pokhara.
Pohara offers a wide array of hotel facilities from five star class luxury resorts to budget class guest houses.