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11 BEST Things to Do in Pokhara, Nepal

Pokhara, a city amongst the mountains, in Nepal is a place that you MUST visit when traveling through Nepal. Pokhara is one of the most magical, adventurous and romantic spots to visit in Nepal. Nestled right next to Lake Phewa, the city offers amazing views of mountains from just about anywhere! The Annapurna range of the Himalayas is very close-by.

Annapurna Massif soaked in the warmth of the sun and the distant peaks sparkle like gold-studded snow cones. The stillness of the atmosphere is broken by invigorant cool breezes. The beauty is so illicit, one feels almost nervous about heading straight for it. Surrounded by stupefying beauty, the place is a holiday for the soul!

Acting as a gateway to the Annapurna mountains for most who visit the city, there is a lack of appreciation for the city itself. But, the city has so much to offer all who pass through! From exhilarating activities like hiking, paragliding and bungee jumping to more peaceful activities like boating and relaxing by the lakes, the city of Pokhara can be overwhelming.

Pokhara is simply the perfect place to be, with its spectacular scenery, adventure activities, accommodations and food choices galore. Also known as the city of lakes, Pokhara has seven lakes, namely, Phewa, Begnas, Rupa, Maidi, Khaste, Gunde, and Dipang. You can find your Shangri-La like many other trekkers. If you are a writer or painter, then Pokhara's pristine air, spectacular snow-covered backdrops will entice you!

Go on fishing and boating excursions in the pristine Fewa Lake. Later, fix your cravings on the comfy restaurants dotted around the lake. Enjoy the natural beauty of the spectacular Himalayan peaks of the Annapurna massif as you take in the fresh air and tranquillity near the many lakes of the city including the famous Phewa Lake and the more serene Begnas Lake.

Pokhara ticks all the right boxes, with spectacular sceneryPokhara ticks all the right boxes, with spectacular scenery

From wandering around markets to catching a view of the mountains, we will now list some of the best things to do in Pokhara.

1. Admire the Mountains from Basundhara Park

In the early morning, you can see the snow-capped mountains of Annapurna from just about anywhere in the city. But, to get the best view, walk up to a rooftop or one of the parks along Lake Phewa. Basundhara and Miteri parks are right next to each other and offer a great view of the mountains as you step back from the busy streets amongst all the tall buildings and are able to see over them.

As the morning progresses, the view of the snow caps disappears as the clouds form from the evaporation of ice atop the mountains. Needless to say, there are other mountains to be admired so it is not entirely useless to go later in the day.

Side note: the parks listed are great for much more than simply getting a peek at the mountains. Positioned right on the lake, they are wonderful places for relaxing and clearing your head.

2. Go Out on Phewa Lake

Everyone who visits Pokhara should rent a canoe on Lake Fewa! It's very inexpensive even on a backpacker budget and you are allowed the better part of a day with it. While out on the lake, you are presented with such wonderful sights in all directions. The city on one side, the foot of a mountain of the other. There is little that can be compared to the mix of tranquility yet adventure that is felt out on the lake.

Have you ever wanted to walk on water? Fewa Lake in Pokhara offers you the second-best option with Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP). The sport lets you explore the lake freely on a paddleboard. However, balancing on the board can be a challenge initially. SUP can be a relaxing activity, and although it's usually a calm sport, you can also get a tiring workout out of it without even realizing it.

SUP is an experience that is completely different from other sports and will leave you completely relaxed in the end. If you are planning to do Stand Up Paddling then the best time is around the months October-November and March-April when the weather is perfect for outdoor sports. It is certainly one of the top things to do in Pokhara.

3. Ride a canoe to Tal Barahi Temple

For the temple hoppers reading this, mark Tal Barahi Temple on your map before setting out in your canoe. This temple sits on its own island in the lake. This experience is one of the best things to do in Pokhara, and it's certainly one that you do not want to miss!

4. Paragliding in Sarangkot

If you thought the view of the mountains was good from the roof of your hotel, think again. Imagine the view OVER the mountains. You know, the one where your hotel seems miniscule. This view is possible from the heights of paragliding in Pokhara. Thus, cementing itself as one of the best things to do in Pokhara.

The experience is once in a lifetime! But finding an agency that will get you up there? Not so much. There are countless agencies that do bookings for paragliding in the city. Most agencies offer close to the same rate. Depending on the season and the length of the flight you choose, you can expect to pay somewhere between NPR 10,000-15,000 (US$85-130).

Sarangkot, at 1,592 m above Lakeside in Pokhara Valley, is the jumping off point for paragliders. From here, one can take in stunning views of three of the world's Eight Thousander's, namely Dhaulagiri, Annapurna and Manaslu.

As one of the most sought out tourist destinations in Nepal, Sarangkot is a great spot to view the sunrise over the Himalayas. It also has a magnificent view of the snow-covered mountains including Annapurna Massif, Fishtail Mountain, Dhaulagiri range, and Manaslu. The hill is located on the outskirts of Pokhara city. It is best viewed at dawn or dusk due to the spectacular pink and orange hues the mountain range takes on during these hours.

This area also offers views of the Pokhara Valley with all its natural beauty. If you're a nature lover then Sarangkot is where you need to be! However, adventure lovers are also welcome because the area is also a popular launching point for paragliders in Pokhara. Sarangkot hill offers a wonderful panoramic view of the Machhapuchhre (Fishtail) mountain and nearby Annapurnas.

5. Trek to Sarangkot View Tower

This goes without saying, as most people travel to Pokhara for this reason alone. Pokhara is practically the gateway to Annapurna. With Annapurna being recognized as one of the most awe-inspiring mountain ranges in the world, there's little reason to NOT go on a trek if you are in Pokhara.

Trekking doesn't necessarily mean going out and spending weeks in the mountains, though it can. There are many different trekking options, ranging from the 5-6 day Mardi Himal to the infamous Annapurna Circuit. While each one offers its own views and experiences, you really can't go wrong in your choosing.

For those who wish to perform a shorter trek can do the Mardi Himal trek. Traditionally, the trek is a 5-6 day venture, but you can complete it in 4 days too.

The trek leads you up to the best viewpoint from which you can see the Annapurna South, Mardi Himal, Fishtail and a couple of other towering snow-capped mountains. It's truly an experience like no other without consuming weeks of your time. To see some of the wondrous sights from the trek, refer to this gallery post. For a detailed story, refer to this story-time post here.

Now, what you may be waiting for: how and how much? Well, there are countless agencies throughout the city and, usually, hotel owners either run their own agency or sponsor another in their lobby. You will have no trouble finding a way. And, for reference, the cost would be around NPR 26,000 (US$220) for the trek which can include a guide, 3 teahouse meals a day, stays in teahouses and permit to enter the mountain range.

Don't forget to witness the spellbinding sunrise at Sarangkot. You'll feel like you are in dreamland when you witness that the sun rays are sprinkled all over the Annapurna Range and Pokhara Valley.

6. Visit International Mountain Museum

The International Mountain Museum in Pokhara has a stunning collection of artifacts, original gears, stories and photographs of the mountains, their inhabitants and mountaineers.

7. Make a trip to the Annapurna Museum

Do you want a different kind of adventure in Pokhara? Make a trip to the Annapurna Butterfly Museum to see more than 600 species of butterflies found in Nepal all under one roof. Situated on the second floor of a building on the Prithvi Narayan Campus premises, the Annapurna Butterfly Museum offers nature lovers an opportunity to explore an amazing collection of butterflies and moths found in Nepal and Southeast Asia.

The butterflies and moths are preserved in handmade dioramas which index the areas of Nepal where the beautiful winged insects are found. Attacus atlas (the largest moth in the world by wingspan) is the main attraction in this museum.

8. Visit Shree Bindhyabasini Temple

Bindhyabasini Temple, one of the many fascinating attractions in Pokhara, stands atop a hill near Bagar. The temple premise offers a spectacular view of the famous Macchapuchhre mountain as well as part of the magnificent Annapurna range. The white pagoda-style temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga who is said to be the chosen as a guardian deity of Pokhara.

It is believed that this deity was brought to the city of Pokhara by King Siddhi Narayan Shah of Kaski before the unification of Nepal. The pleasant park-like atmosphere surrounding the historic temple provides a great place to relax and enjoy a picnic with the family.

9. Visit World Peace Pagoda

The World Peace Pagoda is a must visit destination if you are traveling to Pokhara. Situated at an altitude of almost 1000 meters, World Peace Pagoda (aka Shanti Stupa) hosts the ravishing view of the Himalayas along with the beautiful Phewa Lake. You can hire a taxi or a bike or a motorcycle to reach the World Peace Pagoda via Siddhartha Highway.

However, you will have to hike for 5 to 10 minutes to reach the pagoda and its main viewpoint. While you are at it, you can also stopover Davis Fall and Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave which are on your way to the World Peace Pagoda. Alternatively, you can also reach the stupa by hiking through the forests from Pokhara Damside for 2 to 3 hours.

10. Stroll, Dine and Shop on Pokhara Lakeside

Do you like to wander in the places you visit in search of specialty goods and great food. One of the best places to do this in Pokhara is all along Lakeside Drive. There are so many shops and restaurants lining the street. The shops sell a strong variety of items. With some selling trekking gear, some jewelers, some handicrafts and some general souvenirs.

The hemp market in Pokhara is especially strong, with some shops devoted to anything hemp. From clothing to backpacks to house decor, hemp is there. Due to the high interest in hemp products, there are quite a bit of people who sell fake hemp products which hold much less durability. Always be on the lookout and investigate each item thoroughly before purchasing.

Side note: Though mainly Nepali based, there is a solid presence of branded items including the likes of The North Face.

As for the restaurant scene, there is just about any food that you could want in the Lakeside area. Between the smaller Nepali roadside locations to the huge restaurants lining Lakeside Drive, you will be able to find anything from a buffalo burger to sushi to authentic dal bhat. Though, after stepping off of Lakeside Drive onto one of the side roads will help you to see prices drop drastically in an instant.

11. Spend a Night Out at Mahendra Chowk

The nightlife in Pokhara is special. As soon as that sun goes down, the lights go up throughout the city. Bars and restaurants turn up the music and set the mood for a great night. With plenty of people around, there's little left to be desired in terms of good times and good company.

Along with the bars serving the good times, the shops turn on the lights and set the mood for a wonderful night. With all of the lights on at the storefronts, the setting created is very comfortable and inviting.

One bar to highlight is the Busy Bee Cafe. The bar is huge with picnic tables lining the center, private tables scattered throughout, a full bar area and even a dance floor by the stage where the band plays. The picnic tables create a great environment for meeting new people. The mood is always joyful and exciting. With the words 'A place like nowhere else' hanging over the entrance, this place is one of the top spots in Pokhara.

In conclusion

The city of Pokhara is full of excitement and adventure. With things like paragliding, canoeing and trekking all available, this city is a super city. There is so much to do in this city, and these are only some of the best things to do in Pokhara. Should you ever enter the city, be sure to make the most of it!

Author Bio: This post was written by Joe Benson of letsjoetravel.com. He consistently posts new content from his travels both domestically in his home state of New Jersey, USA and from abroad. So far he has traveled to India, Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia and England. To see more of his work, check out his blog. To see his photography from his travels, check out his gallery page. Certainly, you will not want to miss what he’s up to.

6 Best Things to Do in Medellin, Colombia

Colombia is an amazing country in so many ways; it has everything you can imagine, including amazing landscapes and cities! One of the most popular, innovative and touristic cities in the country is Medellín, the so-called city of eternal spring. It is the second largest and second most important city in Colombia that hosts around 2.5 million people and that's surrounded by beautiful mountains.

So, whenever you happen to be in these amazing lands, don't miss out on Medellín by any chance! First off, learning some Spanish will definitely be helpful in a city like Medellin, as locals don't usually speak English that much. A great option for online Spanish classes is Whee. They are an online school that researches ways for students to learn very fast but have fun at the same time.

They believe in the power of groups, where everyone learns from each student's questions, realizations, and mistakes. It's a collaborative way of learning, but with teaching, an expert involved bringing out the best of each student. So, you will learn with Spanish games and fun activities, as education should be!

Medellín packs the punch of a city twice its sizeMedellin packs the punch of a city twice its size

Here are some of the best things to do in Medellin. In no particular order, we have chosen these things because they are unique, fun and interesting experiences. Enjoy the ride!

1. Visit Museo de Antioquia and Museo Casa de la Memoria

Medellín has a lot of good museums but these two stand amongst the best. Located downtown, the Museo de Antioquia hosts one of the biggest collections of the most famous colombian artist Fernando Botero, as well as numerous artworks from other national and international artists; you can easily spend a couple of hours immersed in a wonderful showcase of art in this museum.

On the other hand, the Museo Casa de la Memoria displays a touching, insightful and very informative exhibition of Colombia's cruel past with drugs, gangs and civil war. If you truly want to understand what happened here and the way we have transformed over the years for the better, visit this museum that will surely leave you inspired for a hopeful future.

2. Take a tour at Comuna 13

This might be one of the most iconic places to visit in Medellín. It's a symbol of great transformation and change through arts, music and culture. Comuna 13 used to be one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods in the city as it was taken over as a base for multiple crimes and drug trafficking.

But, over the years, its transformation has been one to watch with the houses painted with bright colors, multiple amazing graffiti and street art, and its multi-levelled escalators that connect the neighbourhood with the city and the people. It also has an amazing view of Medellín and wonderful little shops and street stalls to buy snacks, a beer or souvenirs.

Don't worry, it's really safe nowadays, so you can enjoy all of its wonder without any hurry.

3. Take a trip on the metro and the metrocable

Medellín is the only city in Colombia that has a public metro transportation system, and it was also the first one to have a metrocable (cable car) that connects the neighborhoods located at the hills with the rest of the city. With a metro ticket you can move pretty well around the city and visit and see amazing places.

With the cable car, you can have a fun ride and get to Parque Arvi (which is a super cool and gigantic park at the top of a hill). Paisas (the people from Medellín) are super proud of their transportation system and rightly so, as these are two of the reasons why Medellín it's also considered the most innovative city in Colombia and in South America. Don't forget to take a ride whenever you are in this wonderful city!

4. Day trip to Guatapé

This is for sure one of the most beautiful places you can find in Colombia! Located 2 hours away of Medellín, you can take a day trip or weekend getaway to this beautiful little colonial town that has an impressive man-made lake created for a hydroelectric dam, and a gigantic rock (called La Piedra del Peñol) with 740 carved stairs that you can climb all the way to the top for a mesmerizing 360 view.

The town also has colorful homes, restaurants and cafes where you can have amazing food and enjoy a good cup of Colombian coffee. Guatapé is that place where you can take really good postcard photographs and have tons of fun, so don't let it stay away from your things to do in Medellín list!

5. Enjoy nature at the Jardín Botánico

Medellin's botanical garden is the perfect place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city while still being in it. With its 14 hectares of land, about 4500 flowers and more than 130 bird species, the Jardín Botánico is also the place to go if you want to enjoy a good dose of nature while reading a book or hearing some music.

It does actually host some really cool music festivals, concerts and diverse events throughout the year that you can attend. There's also a nice restaurant at the center of the garden, it's a bit overpriced but worth a try for your first visit so you can have the complete experience. Additionally, the entrance to the actual garden is completely free, so go ahead and don't miss out on this wonderful natural oasis!

6. Party and eat at Parque Lleras

This park is one of Medellin's top touristic and expat hotspots but it's completely worth it! Located at El Poblado (also one of the city's top neighbourhoods), Parque Lleras hosts a great nightlife and some really good restaurants with amazing food to enjoy anytime of the day.

This is the perfect spot to go to a bar and have a few drinks before partying in some of the clubs around; so, if you start your night here, it's guaranteed it will be a lot of fun! Whatever you are looking for to dance, whether it is salsa, bachata, merengue, etc., you'll probably find it at Parque Lleras.

During the day, you can also find vendors selling art and souvenirs throughout the park. Don't forget to pay a visit whenever you happen to be in the wonderful Medellín!

Colombia is amazing in so many ways, and by going to a city like Medellín you'll understand why. We hope that you are now more eager to visit this beautiful, innovative city where you'll never get bored! Good luck and safe travels.

7 Best Places to Visit in Spain in October

While the tourist season runs from May to September, resist the urge to visit Spain at the peak time and you’ll be thoroughly rewarded. October is arguably one of the best months to visit Spain, as the summer heat has died down but winter’s chill hasn’t quite arrived. The sun is still strong and rainy days are rare, making it prime time for an abundance of activities—from hiking and biking, to wine-tasting, to exciting festivals.
October serves as the ideal month to visit SpainOctober serves as the ideal month to visit Spain
Let’s explore the best places in Spain to visit in October.

1. Barcelona – Jazz Festival

It may be surprising to hear, but some excellent up-and-coming jazz talent is coming right out of the Northeast corner of Spain. The best in local and international jazz is celebrated at the Barcelona Jazz Festival, held each October in various venues around the city. Even if you aren’t a jazz lover, you’ll relish in the energy the performers give and even getting to experience Barcelona’s most beautiful concert venues, such as the stunning Palau de Musica and the hip Sala Apolo.

2. Rioja – World-class Vineyards

You may have seen the name “Rioja” on a wine bottle once or twice—that’s because Rioja is one of the most famous regions for wine in the world. The beautiful is home to x number of vineyards, which become especially active during the fall as the summer heat cools and the weather is perfect for outdoor wine-tasting. There are plenty of vineyards to choose from, all which produce a variety of wines, making it easy to tailor the experience to your liking and enjoy the pretty fall scenery in this beautiful region of Spain.

3. San Sebastian – Horror and Fantasy Film Festival

Each end of October, right in time for Halloween and All Saint’s Day, is San Sebastian’s annual Horror and Fantasy Film Festival. The festival brings all things creepy, scary, and weird to the Basque city, which is a must-see in its own right. If scary isn’t your thing, the festival features plenty of fantasy films as well, in addition to children’s films, exhibitions, and a virtual reality showcase. Between showings and activities, you can wander around San Sebastian and uncover what makes this stunning city by the bay so magical.

4. Val d’Aran – Hiking, Biking & Wellness

High up in the Catalan Pyrenees sits the area of Val d’Aran, a valley tucked between the mountains and dotted with tiny villages. Just before the winter chill, Val d’Aran becomes a paradise for outdoors and wellness lovers. There are plenty of spas and retreats in the area, as well as many routes for hiking and biking through the Pyrenees. The area is especially beautiful this time of year as the mountains and forests explode in fall colors.

5. Bilbao – The Bilbao Night Marathon

Running may not be your vacation of choice... but this is more than a marathon. If there are any things the Spanish have perfected, they would be fitness and partying. This marathon combines both. Runners can choose between a non-competitive 5k for charity, a 10k, a half marathon, or a full marathon. There are over 10,000 participants each year, and if you try this marathon, you’ll see why: not only is running through the city of Bilbao at night magic in itself, but once the work is over, the play begins. After the run it’s time for the fiesta, which lasts well into the morning and features fireworks, live music, and delicious food and drink.

6. Gorbea Natural Park – Hiking & Nature

The Gorbea Natural Park in the Basque Country of Spain covers 200km of space, making it the largest park in the region. The park is formed around Mount Gorbea and its surrounding peaks, which make for excellent hiking—especially in the fall. The massive park is filled with forests whose leaves begin to change into vibrant yellows, oranges and reds come October. There are many different trails within the park, so choose one and allow yourself to be surrounded by the lush forests and the rainbow of colors they present.

7. Seville — The Seville Guitar Festival

Flamenco dancing, a beautiful city, and some of the best Spanish guitar players in the world. You can experience all this and more at Seville’s annual Guitar Festival, where guitar players from all over Spain gather and hold performances around the city, often featuring Flamenco dancing and delicious food. Plus, autumn is the perfect time to visit this Andalusian city. While summer brings oppressive heat to Seville, autumn is much cooler without ever becoming cold, making the weather perfect for a stroll in the October sun. Pandora Domeyko is a Barcelona-based travel writer and blogger, and the creator of travel blog Pandora Explores. On her blog, she covers solo travel and expat living in Barcelona and beyond. You can find her on Instagram, Pinterest, Medium and Facebook.