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Pokhara

Picture a cobalt blue lake with a gaggle of colourful rowing boats bobbing against the shore. Add in the soaring snow-capped peaks of the Annapurna range beyond, their reflections gleaming on the lake's mirror-still surface. And there you have it: picture-postcard Pokhara, Nepal's most popular resort town, in the most gorgeous of settings. Besides its picturesque location, Pokhara is also the main hub for trekking in Nepal, offering everything from a multi-day hike to a gentle afternoon’s stroll. There are all sorts of other intrepid activities on offer too, including rafting, mountain biking and paragliding.

Three things to do in Pokhara

Obviously there's a lot more, this is just to get you started...

Explore the town

You'll certainly want to spend some time exploring Pokhara. It used to be a sleepy little market town, but now it’s a bustling city, exceptionally popular with tourists from all over the world. First ‘discovered’ by backpackers several decades ago, it retains a friendly, chilled-out vibe to this day. The town is growing quickly, slowly spreading further around the lake, but it's not hard to find calm among the crowds if you venture off the beaten track. There are old shops to browse without the intense, hard sell energy you sometimes find in Kathmandu. Take in the views of the mountains over coffee or lunch in a friendly cafe by the lake, and explore a host of atmospheric temples and monuments.

Pokhara, Nepal

Phewa Lake

Visitors to Pokhara are inevitably drawn to Phewa Lake, the second largest in Nepal. This serene expanse of freshwater produces spectacular reflections of the surrounding Annapurna mountains. You can walk or cycle around it, but the quintessential Pokhara experience is to hire a paddle boat and be gently skulled across the mirror-flat waters to Tal Barahi, a Hindu temple on an island at its centre. Take a boat all the way to the other side and climb the steep forest trail to the brilliant white stupa of the World Peace Pagoda. Set high on the hillside, it offers magical panoramas back across the lake, close up views of the Annapurna Massif and, on a clear day, the distinctive silhouette of Fish Tail Mountain.

Pewa Lake, Nepal

Annapurna dreaming

For many, Pokhara is the jumping off point for exploring the epic mountains on foot, in particular the Annapurna Conservation Area. There are hikes for pretty much all fitness levels, from scenic day treks through the valleys and foothills to villages like Dhampus and Sarangkot, to multi-day expeditions to the high altitude Annapurna Sanctuary itself. On the subject of impressive panoramic views, Sarangkot - a hill just on the outskirts of Pokhara - is arguably the most spectacular viewpoint in Nepal. We think the best time to visit is at dawn, to savour the changing colours across the Annapurna mountains at sunrise, but the views at sunset are none too shabby either...

Annapurna

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Price from: £2,490 US$2,790
Ideal length 11 days
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