Pokhara has long been known as the gateway to the Annapurnas but in recent years the lakes, rivers and mountains surrounding Pokhara have become one of the world’s best playgrounds for adventure sports lovers & adrenaline junkies…
Imagine sharing the same air space with eagles & vultures as you soar over lakes, rivers, villages & terraced mountains while gazing at the mighty Annapurnas… all year round. This is why Pokhara is one of the top 5 places in the world for paragliding. There are more than 20 companies in Lakeside operating daily tandem flights with their professional pilots, both foreign and Nepali.
Types of Flights:
All operators offer both 20 minute & 45 minute flights (the latter ‘cross country flight’ depends on the weather). For thrill-seekers, some companies offer special tandem acrobatic flights and some pilots will offer to do gentle acrobatics on regular flights.
You can bring your own compact or DSLR camera but its safety is your responsibility. For the best shots of you flying in front of the Annapurnas or above Phewa Tal, pilots can capture high quality photos and movies with professional equipment leaving you to relax during your flight. They are US$20 (fixed price) and come on a CD.
10am, 11:30pm, 1:30pm. These times can vary slightly, depending on the weather and turnaround.
Although paragliding is an extreme sport, tandem flights are very safe, comfortable and can be done by people of all ages! Most importantly listen to your pilot before & during the flight. Helmets are provided for passengers and make sure to wear protective shoes that won’t fall off!
Learn To Fly:
2 week schools are available for beginners from some operators & they supply all equipment for the duration of the course.
The calm waters of Phewa Tal are the perfect place to relax and marvel at the reflection of the Annapurnas. Colourful wooden boats are available to rent on the lake edge near Barahi Chowk, Hollan Chowk and near Freedom Cafe at the north end of Lakeside. You can hire a boatman to paddle you around the lake or you can paddle yourself. Combine a boat trip with the short trek up to the Peace Pagoda through the lush Raniban forest where there are beautiful views of the mountains and Phewa Tal along the way. You can also hire aluminium paddle boats and sail boats on Phewa Tal. At Begnas Tal boats are available for rent with/without a boatman.
Whether you would like to kayak around Phewa or Begnas Tal or raft down the white waters of the Seti river, Pokhara has it all. Several snow-fed wild rivers run through the surrounding areas of Pokhara making the region a top rafting destination. Popular trips start from 1/2 day adventures down the Seti river just 20 minutes from Lakeside to several day expeditions down the Kaligandaki and other rivers, which can take you all the way to Chitwan National Park. The grades of rapids vary from +2 to +5 depending on the rivers and season.
Only take a waterproof camera with you and make sure that it can be attached securely to you.
Clothing & Equipment:
Helmets and life jackets are provided by all operators. Take a dry bag or small pack with you to put any valuables or dry clothes inside (it will be fixed onto the raft in another dry bag). A waterproof jacket and sports shoes are advisable and some operators provide wetsuits.
Kayak Rental: For paddling around Phewa Tal you can rent kayaks from Lakeside for an hour/half day/whole day for reasonable rates.
Cycling is a fun & cheap way to get around Pokhara if you want to cruise around Lakeside, meander around the north side of Phewa Tal, visit the temples in the old bazaar or shop with the locals at Chipledunga. Bicycles can be hired from several points around Lakeside but make sure to check the brakes & tires before you set off!
If you are up for a more serious challenge then you can hire a good quality mountain bike (check the gears) and peddle up one of the surrounding hills such as Sarangkot or to the Peace Pagoda, or brave the Prithivi Highway and cycle to Begnas Tal where you can cool off with a swim in the lake. There are several different routes up and around Sarangkot: the main sealed road starts 200m on the left after Baglum Bus Park but you will have to share the narrow, windy road with speeding jeeps, buses and motorbikes. More adventurous routes on 4WD tracks pass through local villages and start from the south side of Sarangkot alongside Phewa Tal. Head north out of Lakeside and turn right just before the first bridge. Extreme mountain bike adventures are offered by some specialist companies which can involve several day trips such as riding from Mustang down to Pokhara or combining a trek with a ride.
To cool off on a hot day in Pokhara its best to go for a dip in a swimming pool. Many upmarket hotels have private swimming pools where non-guests can swim and relax poolside for the day for a fee, such as Temple Tree Resort & Spa, Waterfront Hotel, Fish Tail Lodge, Hotel Barahi, the Castle Resort or the Fulbari Resort. At Begnas Tal you can swim from the shore at the east and west ends where there are several small guest houses close to the lake.
There are a few companies that operate ultralight flights around Pokhara and the Annapurnas from Pokhara Airport. Short flights take you above Phewa Tal and the World Peace Pagoda for a spectacular bird’s eye view or to et close and personal with Mt Fishtail & the Annapurnas take one of the longer flights.
BUNGEE JUMP & ZIP-LINE
An exciting new addition to Pokhara’s extreme sports is the bungee jump & swing located at the bottom of the Zip-Line. It’s the first tower bungee in Nepal and has a 70m vertical drop & 3 second free fall. The Zip-Line is a huge 1.8km long, has a 2,000ft vertical drop & takes you to 120km/h all in the space of two minutes – long enough to catch a glimpse of the Himalayas right in front of you!
There are two golf courses and a driving range in Pokhara. Himalayan Golf course, 13km east of Lakeside, is a world class golf course with 18 holes in a stunning, unique location. Yeti Golf course is a 9 hole course on the grounds of the five star Fulbari Resort.
N.B. When organizing any adventure activity it is best to book directly with the operator to ensure that you have all information about the practice and safety of the activity.