How to travel Nepal by motorcycle: The Perfect Day In Pokhara
You’re traveling in Nepal, and made it to the tourist mecca outside Kathmandu, the wonderful city of Pokhara. This bustling little city, settled beneath the foot of the Annapurnas and accompanied with (weather pending) stunning views of Machapuchare (The Fish Tail Mountain). Whether you want to venture out and paraglide, prep for an upcoming trek, relax after an arduous journey or visit a cultural icon this laid back Nepali city has something for everyone. And it’s best to see it on the back of a motorcycle.
Before You Ride
*Disclaimer: Although this is a smaller, more laid back city in Nepal with significantly less traffic than Kathmandu, the road ways remain unlike those in the more westernized nations in the world. So I urge you to know how to ride BEFORE you decide to take on the roads of Nepal.
*NOTE: This day can be done on an automatic scooter, as well as, a manual motorcycle.
How To Get Your Vehicle
Renting a vehicle in Pokhara is almost easier than finding a souvenir shop! Simply walk to lake side, and walk along the road until you see bikes and scooters lined up, here you will be approached by (presumably) numerous men willing to rent you a bike. Here you will negotiate the price for a full or half day of having the bike. This will not include the petrol you will need. Remember:
- Negotiate price: Start at 60% of their starting offer, don’t go for more than 75% of what they originally offered.
- Make sure to get Blue Book (registration) from them.
- ALWAYS wear your helmet while riding, it is the law, and if you don’t it will simply give the police one more reason to pull you over and make things more complicated than they need to be.
- Pack Right for the Day!
*NOTE: This is “unsanctioned” renting of a bike and a “cash-for-use” honor system, with no contracts, no rental agreement and will be viewed by the government as you essentially borrowing the bike from a friend.
What to Pack/Wear?
Not limited to…
- Sun Glasses
- Water bottles
- Closed toed shoes
- Face mask / Bandana
- Phone/GPS (I recommend Maps.Me, it works with no SIM!)
- Cash (For entry fees and Food/Petrol)
Now that you’ve rented your bike, packed your bag, dressed appropriately, had some breakfast and tea it is time to hit the road!
Stop 1: World Peace Pagoda
20 min + 20min-Up-Stairs
After breakfast, head out clockwise, around Phewa Lake, and start down the winding and twisting road up to a small gathering of buildings where stairs are visible. You will have to park the bike here and walk the rest of the way. This will take you up to the World Peace Pagoda, and a panoramic view of Pokhara and the Annapurnas.
As one of 80 post-WWII stupas built around the world by the Japanese, this Buddhist stupa represents peace in its most raw form. This tourist attraction is one of two constructed in Nepal, and offers some of the best views in the region!
Stop 2: Devis Falls
A lesser known thing to visit here in Pokhara, and all-in-all a little underwhelming. This waterfall used to be a local attraction for people to come, swim and wade in it’s waters up stream from the river. It wasn’t until a Swiss couple visited, in the early 60s, and one of them got caught in the under-current, carrying them down to their deaths. The body was retrieved, with great difficulty, and after Mr/Mrs Davis’ death, the cave retained the name Davis Falls.
Although it’s official name is Patale Chhango, meaning “Underworld Waterfall.” The waterfall drops over 100feet, and runs underground and through the Mahadev cave, which we will be visiting next! Due to the phonetic pronunciation and spelling of the cave name some say Davis, Devis or Devils.
*Note: There is a small fee of ~50NPR to enter!
Stop 3: Mahadev Cave
(Walk across the street)
As Nepals most famous cave, you will pass by a plethora of tourist stalls and tables selling every trinket imaginable, and once you’re through you will begin your descent down a large spiral stair case. The air will become thick, and warm as you advance deeper and deeper into the cave where inside there are two shrines in the main cavern. If open, you may continue on past into the second and or third chamber of the caves where there are more shrines and a view of the Davis Falls.
*Note: The 2nd and 3rd chambers of the cave are often closed during/after monsoon season until the water levels recede.
Stop 4: Rural Lakeside (and just ride!)
As you drive through town, pass through Lake Side, now would be a perfect time to stop by one of the small cafes for a small lunch and perhaps a cup of tea or coffee! After you’ve finished keep heading down lake side and eventually the paved road will give way to a dirt path. As you ride further and further, the city scape will give way to fields, fishermen, and small swamp like areas as the lake gets shallower. You can stop for pictures at any place along this picturesque route, and enjoy the clean air, and lack of people on the roads (as compared to Kathmandu!) Take this route for as long as you wish before turning back and heading to the lake for a wonderful sunset!
Stop 5: Phewa Lake (Lake Side)
—Drop off bike—
It’s time to trade the bike off, and walk to the lake. As the sun begins to set, you will grab a small row boat and paddle your way out to the middle of the lake where the setting sun will set fire to the mountains that grace the upper reaches of your views along the Lake. If you look towards the top of the hills surrounding the lake you will have a nice view of the World Peace Pagoda! Enjoy the peaceful water and beautiful sunset before heading back to town for some nightlife, or perhaps a drink around one of the many fire pits located within the bars of lakeside!
Read More: Motorcycle Around Kathmandu!