Are you looking for an insider’s adventure travel guide for the best outdoor activities in Pokhara, Nepal?
As part of our Adventure City Guide series, Lisa from We Said Go Travel shares with you her expert insider tips on the top adventure and outdoor activities to do in Pokhara; including how to get there and costs.
Why visit Pokhara for adventure?
When most people think about Nepal, their first thought is of climbing Mount Everest. While this high altitude mountain trekking has been a main draw for hundreds of years, after two months there, Pokhara is my top choice for adventure in Nepal. Set on a large lake, the town is small, accessible and filled with opportunities.
Adventure Activities to do in Pokhara
Travel Tips: Walk
Cost: Free (if you walk through the jungle without a guide, or take a boat for 300Rp)
At Fewa taal (Fewa Lake), the second largest lake in Nepal, you can rent a boat to paddle around or take the service to the other side to climb up to the Peace Pagoda. We choose to walk through the jungle and ignored the touts offering us their guiding service. Two soldiers in uniform called out to us to stop.
They said it was not safe for us to walk through the jungle so they would accompany us to the Peace Pagoda. It does say in the Lonely Planet that there have been a few serious incidents with solo travelers on this walk. They were enjoyable company and taught us many words in Nepali. The view from the top is spectacular and we enjoyed our day. We came back by stairs and boat (300Rp or $3.50usd).
Sunrise at Sarangkot
Travel Tips: Walk up the hill and stay overnight
Cost: Free if you walk up and back and do not go to viewing platform. Staying overnight ranges from 900Rp and up.
For Sunrise at Sarangkot, we left Pokhara by foot the day before. The four-hour uphill climb was mainly on a stone staircase and takes you from the Lake at 884m to the view point at 1590m. We were preparing for our upcoming treks and it was a perfect day hike. You can also go by taxi or motorbike.
Staying at Sherpa Resort (www.sherparesort.com) made more sense to me as it had a mountain view, nearly all the other lodges had a view of the lake. This lodge has great wifi, restaurant, rooftop views and you can see sunrise over the Himalayas without going to the viewing platform, which can get crowded and has asmall entry fee. From Sarangkot, the sunrises over views of Annapurna South and Machhapuchhare (Fish Tail) if there are no clouds. We had a clear sky and memorable vistas.
I highly recommend it!
Travel Tips: Go now. We heard that within five years you will no longer be able to paraglide in Pohkara.
Cost: 20 minute (80Euros) and 45 minute (120Euros) para-gliding experience options
Website: Blue Sky Paragliding www.paragliding-nepal.com
Do you want to glide through the air with a backdrop of the Himalayas? This is the place and now is the time. There are seventeen paragliding outfits to choose from and five years left to enjoy it. As Max, a trained paragliding instructor from Italy, explained to us, a new international airport is slated for the area. Once it is operational, the paragliding will not be allowed in the area above Pohkara at Sarangkot.
There are 20 minute (80Euros) and 45 minute (120Euros) para-gliding experience options as well as pilot courses, multiday paratrekking and parahawking, where a hawk eats out of your gloved hand while you soar through the sky.
Best time of the year to visit Pokhara for adventure?
Travel in Nepal is busiest from September-October, with the best weather. During our stay from early February to mid-April, the early part was cold and rainy, March or April would be the best time to visit.
Finally, the reason I love Pokhara for adventure is because…
of the mountains. At first, I was afraid to go to Nepal as I did not think I would be able to trek. After eight days trekking outside of Pokhara at Poon Hill, I can say I am a good trekker even surviving a late Winter rain which gave us one day in snow and ice in the Tadapani pass to Ghandruk. We took the public bus from Pohkara to Nayapul (42 kilometers) to start our adventure and had no guide or porter.
Namaste Yeti Trekking Shop run by Kamal and Sushita rented us all our gear and sold us fleeces to keep us warm. Pricing in Pokhara unlike Kathmandu is standardized by the TESA (Trekking Equipment Shop Association). A microfleece set is 850Rp (83 rp to $1usd), and it is 100Rp/per day for down jacket. 80Rp/day for sleeping bag, 60Rp/day for trekking poles. Trekking permits for two people costs nearly $100usd and there are several check points. Overall we had good food and accomodation and the trail was easy to follow.
Get involved in Pokhara: I highly recommend eating at Everest Momo which started serving in December 2012. Their tagline says: “The Momo Addiction starts here!” I asked for more information from Prem, he told me, “This PEP Nepal Youth empowerment income source generating program is supported by Purna Yoga and Treks and Team 5 Nepal who opened a Momo house so that trekking porters have a job in the off season and can make some money.” Order vegetarian (45rp), cheese (75rp), Buff(50rp) or chicken (70rp) momo but they also have chow mein and delivery service. Personally I love the cheese momo, they reminded me of cheese tortellini. The food tastes better on their environmentally friendly leaf plates made from the ancient Nepalese technology “Tapari.”
Lisa Niver Rajna is a passionate writer, speaker and global citizen who has traveled to over one hundred countries and six continents. She and her husband, George, co-authors of Traveling in Sin, are spending a sabbatical year in Asia, follow their journey at We Said Go Travel.
Have you visited Pokhara or Nepal before? What are your favourite Outdoor Activities in Pokhara?
Walking the Camino de Santiago Photos
These are my favourite Camino de Santiago Photos from my pilgrimage along the French Way in March. A truly beautiful way to spend a few weeks.
El Camino de Santiago kicked my ass. Well technically it kicked my feet. Turns out my minimal preparation for the Camino de Santiago was terrible. After a miserable effort of only 4 days, the doctor in Legrono told me that I wasn’t allowed to go on until me feet healed. I had walked just over 100 km’s and my feet were bloodied and blistered.
To be honest, I was relieved.
The thought of putting back on my shoes made my shudder. For the last 9 km’s I had stumbled along in jandals and socks. One of the travelling fashion sins I vowed I would never break.
So while I have unfinished business with the Way of St James (an upcoming post), I did want to share with you some of my favourite photos from the Camino de Santiago. Because I had yet to reach some of the more “unsavoury” parts of the Camino that Sherry Ott had discovered, every step of my pilgrimage had been beautiful.
There is no way you can get lost on the Camino de Santiago. Arrows, scallop shells and signs point you in the right direction at every bridge, road crossing and intersection.
Reaching the top of Alto Pedron gave views back the way I had come from Pamplona, as well as views to where I was going. The rocky path on the way down proved to be my ultimate downfall, as my too small shoes caused my toes to smash into the front.
There were so many beautiful old churches along the Camino de Santiago. But since I was walking in early March, it seemed that most were yet to open for the busier summer season.
And between every small village the well-maintained pathways of the French Way wound across the spectacular Spanish countryside.
Puenta La Reina has one of the most amazing bridges I have ever seen. It was also the 1st village I had the pleasure of sleeping in after busy Pamplona.
Most mornings I was up and walking before the sun began to sprinkle across the horizon.
Every village and town was built on a small hill. Sure it looks beautiful until you realise you have to go back up again to go through them all!
While there were only about 20 pilgrims walking each section every day, it wasn’t uncommon for you to encounter them all. The people I met along the Camino de Santiago were some of the most inspiring and remarkable people I have ever spoken to. They are the ones that make the pilrgimage so special.
Every village had at least one ancient church and it wasn’t uncommon to find them dotting the landscape in remote locations either.
I have travelled through Spain in the past, including cycling in Costa Brava and surfing in San Sebastian with both independent planning and a vacation planner. But having the opportunity to walk at my own pace through some of the most beautiful scenery in Spain on the Camino de Santiago has so far topped them all.
Hammock vs Tent Camping
Camping with a hammock is slowly but surely becoming more popular in recent years with new and improved hammock designs being preferred by some campers, compared to the traditional tent.
In this article we will discuss some of the key benefits and drawbacks of sleeping without a tent, and analyze key criteria so that you can choose your preferred shelter choice!
Most tents work well in the rain; however, you’ll need to bring a tarp if you’re using a hammock. Traditional hammocks are not waterproof, and are generally open at the top, allowing water to find itself inside if you don’t have an adequate tarp. Moreover, a decent under quilt is also a good idea so that you can stay warm and cozy during cold and stormy nights.
Packing up your hammock after a long night of rain isn’t too bad, whereas packing up a soaking wet tent is always annoying. You almost always get wet in the process.
For first time campers, pop-up tents are the simplest to setup. All you need to do is find flat ground, and bam, your setup is complete! The beauty of pop-up tents is that you don’t need to worry about figuring out where to insert the poles and erect the tent. Although, traditional tents are usually more robust, and have a longer life span.
Essentially, a tent is simple, but a hammock can become a little more complicated for first timers. You’ll need to find 2 trees facing a good direction and tie each end of the hammock to them. If your hammock setup is too tight, you will generally wake up with sore ancles, but if it’s too loose, you run the risk of the hammock touching the floor, and insects crawling in with you.
If your campground doesn’t have many trees, or if the trees are dead (they could break and injure you), hammock stands come to the rescue! Basically, hammock stands allow you to pitch a hammock if there are no trees nearby. They are portable, adjustable, and are easy to setup. The only drawback is that the ground should be relatively flat, whereas if you were to hang a hammock between 2 trees, there won’t be any stands touching the ground, so a rocky floor wouldn’t be a problem.
One of the main reasons for choosing a hammock is the comfort that it provides you! It has a basically has in-built seat which is arguably more comfortable than a standard blow up mattress. You need to pick your tree’s wisely though! You don’t want a pinecone falling on your face mid-sleep.
If you have constant back pain and find it hard to sleep inside tents, you should give hammocks a try as they cause you to sleep sideways, similar to a banana shape, which a lot people find much more comfortable.
Hammocks are usually lighter and don’t include a wealth of poles and gear that tents do. Depending on the type of hammock that you purchase, they are usually quite similar to tents. You can however, find very cheap tents <$60, but they most likely won’t last long.
A good tent or hammock can cost between $200-500 without accessories. If you need a hammock stand, that will add to your cost, just like a mattress and other tent necessities will to its cost.
Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel
Trekking through the valleys of Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys with Middle Earth Travel feels more like the set of a Star Wars movie than a historical region once carved out and lived in by humans. Churches, homes and pigeon houses are scattered throughout the valleys, all waiting to be explored. The best part is, Middle Earth Travel know all the hidden secrets.
Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel
On the 26th of July (which just so happens to be my birthday!) Middle Earth Travel took us on their private and guided Top of Cappadocia day trek. From Pasabag, along the top of Cappadocia and down through the Gulludere Rose Valley to Goreme, we trekked 15kms in one day! (We recommend getting your bearings with this map)
Upon arrival to the Middle Earth Offices, we were warmly greeted by our new friend Atil whom we had met a few days earlier while mountain biking through the Kizilcukur Red Valley. We were then introduced to our guide and given a briefing regarding the day. Normally, the Top of Cappadocia tour would start from Çavuşin, however, since we had already explored Çavuşin Castle, they adapted our tour to compensate ensuring we would explore new terrain!
With charged cameras, plenty of water and our running shoes on, we were driven to our starting point of Pasabag. We wandered through the fairy chimneys, coming across camels and markets – then the true hike began.
It was a slow and gentle incline. With no trees to provide shade, I quickly realised why our tour guide had chosen to wear fully covered clothing! As the sweat quickly set in (a waterfall in Moss’s case) we snapped away with our cameras and enjoyed the entertaining shapes of Imagine Valley and the amazing view. We also passed a lot of rock piles, which according to our guide mean ‘father’ and are built to help lead the way.
The higher we trekked, the more breath taking the views became! As we walked along the summit of Bozdag mountain (the Top of Cappadocia) we could see EVERTHING – Pasabag, Çavuşin Castle, Kizilcukur Red Valley, Gulludere Rose Valley and Goreme. We were on the Father of Valleys! After a quick nod of agreement to the guide, we pushed ourselves the extra distance and made our way to the flag, as this HAD to be the highest point and was definitely worth a photo and a selfie or two!
From the flag we looked down upon Aktepe Hill which is known as a popular destination for watching the sun set and could spot Kizilvadi Restaurant, our destination for lunch! Kizilvadi Restaurant is an attraction of its own. With its own historic winery and Grape church, plus some Middle Earth Travel treks even stay there for the night! After having a massive feed of soup, salad and pasta plus a surprise birthday cake, we made our way down into Gulludere Rose Valley.
The scenery is amazing, with strong colours visible in perfect layers on the chimneys, you would wonder what an artist was thinking, had it been a painting. Also, hidden to the side of the track we walked across a little bridge and not expecting anything to be there we were wowed by the massive church carved. It was absolutely huge and hard to believe that its most recent use has been as a pigeon house!
Middle Earth Travel Review
- The team at Middle Earth Travel were extremely knowledgeable and certainly know Cappadocia’s hidden secrets. They have friendships with local tea garden owners which is also of benefit as it gained us entry to locked churches and hidden rooms that we would not have otherwise seen.
- We covered a lot of ground, however we did not feel rushed. The whole day focused on showing us the region, therefore we had as much time as we needed to explore each church and to take ‘just one more photo’.
- It wasn’t all about trekking. With a whole day and 15kms to cover, there were a few silly poses (especially in Imagine Valley), and we learnt a lot about the myths, legends and way of life in Cappadocia.
- In conclusion I highly recommend Middle Earth Travel if you wish to go trekking or mountain biking in Cappadocia.
- Cost: Day treks with Middle Earth Travel range from 50-90 euro, depending on the number of people taking part. This includes lunch, guide, vehicle transfers and entrance fees to historical sites, but excludes alcoholic and soft drinks.
- Middle Earth Travel are outdoor enthusiasts and offer multi-day over night treks, mountain biking, abseiling, or custom made itineraries, in multiple regions throughout Turkey.
Disclaimer: We were provided with a discount for the trek with Middle Earth Travel, however, as always our thoughts on our adventure travel blog our own.
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