Lying beneath the snow crested Annapurna Massif the lakeside town of Pokhara is a laid-back place to spend a couple of days preparing for or relaxing after a trek in the mountains beyond, exploring the local temples and stretching your legs on gentle walks in the valley.
The highway from Kathmandu only reached Pokhara in the 1970’s and up until then it was a quiet farming community that came alive in the winter when caravans from Mustang and Tibet met with the local Newar and Gurung communities to exchange goods. Today the bazaar area is filled with everything you might need for several days trekking and the lakeside is full of hotels and guesthouses, but the lanes still remain relatively free of traffic.
Around the town farmers continue to grow rice in the fertile valley which opens out to a landscape of subtropical flora, lakeside forests of oak and evergreens beyond. Situated at an elevation of 884m (2900ft), 400m (1300ft) lower than Kathmandu, it is generally several degrees warmer here during the day and perfect for taking one of the brightly painted rowing boats across Phewa Tal. From here there are numerous trails into the valley. It's just a short walk up to the World Peace Pagoda which affords a fabulous panorama of the Himalaya, including Machhapuchhare, one of the most beautiful peaks in the world rising over 7000m (22965ft) behind the lake and town. For a different view of the area micro-light flights and paragliding are available for those with a head for heights.
Located in the geographical centre of Nepal, Pokhara is easily reached by a full day’s drive or 30 minute shuttle flight with panoramic views of the Central Himalaya from Kathmandu 200km (125miles) to the east.