Phewa Lake, paragliding, rafting adventures and things to do
Getting to Pokhara is relatively easy – there are two choices: you can choose to fly to Pokhara from Kathmandu, or you can choose to travel from Kathmandu to Pokhara by road. I personally prefer the land route because the scenery along the way is worth it. You will witness beautiful rivers flowing through green hills as your bus/car/jeep passes through the hilly roads. If you are travelling with the Greenline bus company, you will also have the opportunity to visit Riverside Spring Resort, which is a wonderful mid-way stop for lunch. Alternatively, if you are making the journey with your own personal vehicle, do remember to make a stop at the Manakamana Cable Car spot for a gorgeous cable car ride with amazing views on the ride up and down.
With a multitude of hotels at Pokhara (and more popping up every day!), you will be spoilt for choice, but I would strongly recommend finding a hotel near Phewa Lake, and preferably opting for the highest floor so that you can enjoy wonderful views of the surrounding snow capped mountains on clear mornings. The beauty of Pokhara lies in its easy accessibility. Everything within the centre of Pokhara is easily accessible by foot, and the views of the lake will ensure that you don’t feel tired or fatigued.
You will be spoilt for choices when it comes to paragliding options in Pokhara. Many of the trainers at several of the paragliding operator offices are experienced expats, with a passion for flying. We decided to go with Sunrise Paragliding for our paragliding experience, mainly because they appeared to be quite professional in their dealings with us and they also claimed to hold the longest flying safety record (let’s face it – when you’re flying so high up in the sky, the last thing you want to worry about is safety issues). Please bear in mind whilst booking that paragliding is subject to wind and weather conditions, so it is advisable to keep a few days in hand when visiting Pokhara.
On the day of our flight, we reported at their office at 9am on the dot. It was slightly overcast, so we settled in to wait for the sky to clear, still unsure about whether we would be flying that day. Around 10:30am, the sky suddenly cleared up and the sun came out in full force. Our team leader gave us the clearance to go ahead and we all bundled up in a jeep with other fliers and instructors for our 25 minute journey to the take-off point.
Once we reached the take-off point, we got the chance to enjoy the awesome views whilst our instructors quickly began to prepare for our tandem flights. My instructor was a Nepalese local with a passion for flying and he went over the take-off, flying and landing process with me a few times till I assured him that it was clear to me. Then, we took off.
I will not even try to put into words the magnificent feeling of soaring up in the sky in absolute silence, looking down below and not even be able to pick out an individual person on the ground. Let’s just say it is one of the most amazing and serene experiences I have had the privilege of coming across and I just can’t recommend it enough! We spent a good 30 minutes up in the air before finally gliding across Phewa lake and reaching our landing point. Once there, we were able to enjoy lunch (packed sandwich and water) provided by our instructors, whilst watching the other fliers complete their flights as well, following which we once again bundled up into our waiting jeep and headed back to Sunrise Paragliding’s office.
Famous for its many rivers, Nepal is also an amazing location for river rafting adventures. At Pokhara we decided to join a trip by Rafting Nepal, another operator who specialized in river rafting safety and promised a better experience with a longer rafting expedition (level III and IV rapids) and better views. We decided to opt for the Upper Seti River, half day package.
Thankfully, river rafting is not too dependent on weather and wind conditions. While sunshine and clear skies will obviously make for an unforgettable experience, overcast skies will also not affect your rafting expedition. Luckily for us, it was a day of sunshine!
Our rafting experience was a ride filled with rapids. With seven of us on board (six rafters and one instructor) and two kayaks accompanying us for safety and sudden falls, we navigated our way as our instructor kept yelling “left forward”, “right back” and “down, down, down!”
I lost count of the number of times he said “down!” as we came across jagged rocks. I, unfortunately, did not get any chances to take photos during the rafting itself as my hands were quite full, literally.
With the large choice of restaurants, café, bars and watering holes all around Pokhara, it can be confusing to pick the perfect spot to unwind after a day of activities. Having been there myself, I can strongly recommend the 'Busy Bee' hangout spot, snap bang in the centre of Pokhara. Ask around if you can’t find it!
With a unique interior, colourful flower garlands, twinkling fairy lights and large screens displaying games for the sports fans, this place is a well-kept secret that I was incredibly lucky to stumble upon.
If you are with a partner or a travel companion who isn’t a thrill seeker and looking for some serenity instead, fear not because the magnificent Phewa Lake offers just that! Rent a quiet paddle boat and take it out on the take early in the morning or during the late afternoon for an amazing serene experience. You can choose to spend your boating hour on the lake by either heading to the small temple in the middle of the lake, or just floating leisurely whilst enjoying the rocking motion of the waves and savouring the silence and tranquillity.
There are some other amazing attractions to visit in Pokhara as well, but we decided to skip them because we opted for the adventure activities that Pokhara had to offer.
Do drop me a line with your recommendations of other attractions, because Pokhara is a destination I’ll definitely be returning to one day!
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