What you need to know
Pokhara is a metropolitan and the second largest city of Nepal as well as the headquarters of Kaski District, Gandaki Zone and the Western Development Region. It is located 200 kilometres west of the capital Kathmandu. Despite being a comparatively smaller valley than Kathmandu, its geography varies dramatically within just few kilometres from north to south. The altitude varies from 827 metres (2,713 feet) in the southern part to 1,740 metres (5,710 feet) in the north. Pokhara is home to many Gurkha soldiers. It is the most expensive city in the country, with a cost-of-living index of 150, and the most expensive place in Nepal after Namche Bazaar.
Population: 264,991 (2011)
Area: 21.32 mi²
The Nepalese rupee is the official currency of Nepal. Nepalese rupee was introduced in 1932 and it replaced the Nepalese mohar at 2:1. Nepalese rupee is subdivided into 100 paisa. The issuance of the currency is controlled by the Nepal Rastra Bank. The Nepalese rupee is currently pegged to the Indian rupee at 1.6:1.
The city has a humid subtropical climate; however, the elevation keeps temperatures moderate. Summer temperatures average between 25 and 33 °C, in winter around – 2 to 15 °C. Pokhara and nearby areas receive a high amount of precipitation. Lumle, 25 miles from the Pokhara city center, receives the highest amount of rainfall (> 5600 mm/year or 222 inches/year) in the country. Snowfall is not observed in the valley, but surrounding hills experience occasional snowfall in the winter. Summers are humid and mild; most precipitation occurs during the monsoon season (July – September). Winter and spring skies are generally clear and sunny. The highest temperature ever recorded in Pokhara was 38.5 °C (101.3 °F) on the 4th May 2013, while the lowest temperature ever recorded was 0.5 °C (32.9 °F) on the 13th January 2012 .
The main language is Nepali and Maithili (although the local dialect of Maithili differs from what is spoken further west). English is well understood by the educated mass.
There are numerous safety issues associated with travel to Nepal , but most of these will not affect travelers spending time in Pokhara. However, the process of arriving in the area of Pokhara requires travel through less safe areas should visitors should be particularly alert when traveling to and from the city. Within the local city itself, there has been a recent increase in petty theft crimes so visitors should take proper precautions.Such crimes include pick pocketing, purse snatching, cell phone snatching, and, in rarer cases, muggings.
The other main safety concern in Pokhara is adventure travel safety. Many travelers spending time in the area are there to enjoy the excellent mountain and lake activities offered by the natural landscape surrounding the city. Travelers are reminded to use proper safety precautions when engaging in any high risk activities. When picking adventure travel operators, travellers are advised to select companies with a proven track record and those whom provide western standard Health and Safety systems.
In Lakeside itself there are several pharmacies who can provide a wide variety of prescription and non-prescription medicines as well as give advice for minor injuries/ailments. For more severe medical cases there are a number of reasonable hospitals in Pokhara however the most western hospital in Nepal is located in Kathmandu, which can be reached quickly by flight. For minor first aid assistance, you can find guides on the main Lakeside road with a number of extensive first aid kits and enough experience to help out travelers with a quick fix or refer them to local hospitals/doctors.
Pokhara has more than one hundred private and public high schools. Most private schools are referred as boarding schools. There several institutions of higher learning up to doctorate level in social sciences, business and science and technology.
Pokhara is a fairly small city and can be easily traversed on foot. Walking is necessary to get to places where vehicles or bicycles can’t reach.
Minivans operate on most of the popular routes. These are crowded and uncomfortable but the fare is cheap and student 45% discounts may be offered.
Comfortable taxis are available to be hired.
Bicycles can be hired in a lot of shops in Lakeside (NPR100-300/day). Make sure the seat is not too hard, and try realigning the seat if it is set uphill way, instead of sloping down.
It is also possible to hire a scooter or a motorbike in Lakeside. ou will have to buy petrol. Note that it is possible to reach Sarangkot or the World Peace Pagoda with an automatic motorbike or scooter despite the steep uphill road, but very tough going, maybe better getting a manual bike if this will be attempted.