How to reach Pokhara from Kathmandu?

A city full of nature’s wonders with aesthetically pleasing atmosphere, Pokhara is a wonder in itself.

Situated at a distance of 210km to the west from Kathmandu, the Pokhara city is also known as the City of Paradise.

Pokhara is a complete destination that is surrounded by Himalayas, and with a lake in the middle of the city, waterfalls, gorges and other nature’s gifts.

Moreover, it is also the gateway to many popular trekking routes including Annapurna Base Camp, Poon Hill Trek and some village hikes.

If you’re someone who loves travelling and experiencing places you’ve never been before, Pokhara can be a great option for you.

If you decide to fly over at Nepal, you’ll find yourself landing in the Kathmandu city because of the residency of the only international airport.

Due to this reason, this article is designed to help you give some ideas on how to reach Pokhara from Kathmandu through several transportations.

1.    Kathmandu to Pokhara Tourist Bus

If you are travelling from Kathmandu to Pokhara, the Tourist bus can quite possibly be the best option for you to travel on especially if your hotel is somewhere near Thamel.

It’s a known fact that every day 50 different companies operate the bus services from Kathmandu to Pokhara and vice versa.

You should remember that time is everything when choosing the tourist bus as your choice of transportation.

Despite the fact that a number of companies operate the tourist buses, they all depart at the same time.

Generally, the bus leaves at 7 am sharp but you will be required to be at the station 30 minutes before the departure time.

If you end up missing your bus, chances are you may have to travel by private car or local bus, or even wait until the following day if you still want to travel on a tourist bus.

You might be confused as to what the general prices of the fares are. There are different fares for different buses.

The cost actually depends on the service the bus provides to the tourists. For example, a standard tourist bus costs approximately US$8 – US$12.

Note that this won’t provide you with air conditioner facilities only natural air.

Moreover, the deluxe bus costs US$15- US$25, which generally includes lunch, Wi-Fi, real air condition, a bottle of water and maybe some snacks as well.

Being only 210km far from Kathmandu by distance, it won’t be a short trip. Due to the hilly road conditions, it will take more time than you expected which is about 6 to 7 hours.

However, the view you will see is simply stunning and you’ll get to experience the road of Nepal and drive around the mountain area.

2.   Kathmandu to Pokhara by Local Bus

The local buses to the city of Pokhara also depart every hour from New Bus Park station or Kalanki Bus Stop in Kathmandu.

The experience will be quite different from tourist buses because you’ll encounter Nepalese people in their natural form. If you’re lucky, you might also see some chickens and goats that people often travel with.

If you’re wondering where the local station to Pokhara is, it is Gongabu “New Bus Park”.

If you are staying in Thamel, the station is not that far. You can reach there in about 10-15 minutes if you catch a cab, it’ll take you approximately 20-30 minutes by a local bus.

The cab driver will charge you around Rs. 200 – 250 and by local bus Rs. 15-20 only.

If you’re someone who is fond of walking then it might be difficult for you to find your way. And be prepared to walk for approximately 30 minutes.

In general, buses leave every 30 minutes.  This can be an alternative if you miss the Tourist bus in the morning. But you have to make sure you get to the station before 5PM.

The cost of the local bus to Pokhara is Rs. 500 to Rs. 600 which is slightly cheaper compared to that of the tourist bus.

However, this option might not be as comfortable as a tourist bus and sometimes safety could be an issue too.

The drivers generally drive at a faster pace and are less safe than a tourist bus. It can also be congested giving the small space.

There’s a silver lining though. You will be joined by locals who will help you experience local music and language. The bus will stop at local shops where you can devour the local taste.

It is highly recommended to use this form of transportation if you are someone who wants to experience something different in a Nepali way.

There’s a high possibility of the bus stopping to allow the local passengers to get off in the time of need. The road condition is not very smooth and is slightly longer. You might want to buckle up and not expect to reach there for another 7-8 hours.

It really depends on the type of bus you choose.  The easiest way is to get off at Prithvi Chok and catch a taxi or another local bus to Pokhara lakeside or wherever you are staying at.

3.    Kathmandu to Pokhara  by Flight

From 8am to until 3pm, different airlines make their way to the city of Pokhara.

Airline companies like Buddha Air, Yeti Air, and other companies operate more than 10 flights a day.

Flight is by far the fastest and easiest way to the city of wonders. If you choose the flight option, you can tour in important places in Pokhara in even a day. It is possible.

It will probably be the shortest flight you will ever be a part of as it is not even 30 minutes.

Your wait at the airport, searching for a well bargained cab to drive to the airport will take much longer.

It is a known fact that there is only one international airport in Nepal situated in the capital city.

The airport is very simple yet functional. So you won’t have to worry about a thing.

The good thing about the airport is that you don’t have to walk miles and miles to get to your gate. And you won’t get lost.

There is always someone to assist you everywhere in the airport.

It is also very cultural and upon your arrival, the airport bus takes you direct to the immigration section where travellers get their visa, one escalator down, and you are in the baggage picking area, and then after walking for another 5 minutes you are outside.

Unlike in other countries, the flight fare in Nepal is fixed and doesn’t vary on a daily basis.

The cost is supposed to be fixed but the ticket prices could vary in the market if you buy them from an agency.

Okay now let’s dive into the costs. The standard cost first.

There are 2 different types of flight cost – local and foreign.

The standard local cost for a one-way ticket is USD 45 per person and this cost applies to all Nepali and Indian citizens.

The foreigners from other countries have to pay the standard one-way cost of USD 125 per person. However, based on the season, different agencies provide varying offers and discounts.

Here’s a quick note: If you go search online, for example, Buddhaair.com, you have no choice but to pay the full amount of USD 125 (USD 45 for Nepali / Indian) to get a one-way ticket.

But if you wish to spend low for the same flight, then you should consider approaching a local travel company.

The reason behind this is because the airlines keep track of how many flight tickets each travel companies purchased from them annually.

Based off of which the discount is approximately 10-30%.  And usually, the discount is much higher during offseason (January-February, May-September, and December)

The most cost efficient way to get there is by bus of course. But if you have a short timeframe, and do not have the full day to yourself, then flight option is your best choice.

In season time (March-April and October-November) when the weather is clear, one-day Pokhara tour from Kathmandu is possible and is definitely worth a try.

The mountains are usually visible in the morning and covered by clouds in the afternoon. It is a sight to see.

You are recommended to spend a minimum of one night in Pokhara. This allows you to see more of the city including its sunrises and a panoramic view of the Himalayas.

4.   Kathmandu to Pokhara  by Private Car

If you’re a comfort seeker, and want an easier way to get to Pokhara then this form of transportation will just do the work.

The cost usually depends on the car model and capacity. You will need to rent a car if you are travelling with your family and need to get back Kathmandu just in a couple of days.

Typically, a private car from Kathmandu to Pokhara will cost around US$100 to US$150. Note that companies generally charge a two-way fare as the car would need to drive back to Kathmandu on the same day after it drops you off at the destination.

If you are looking for a one-day tour only of Pokhara and return the same day to Kathmandu, this should be the full trip cost.

You can also request the car to stay overnight in Pokhara but this will require you to pay an overnight surcharge. This is still a cheaper option if you are returning to Kathmandu the following day instead of hiring a different car.

The time frame is approximately 5 hours which is much faster and easier.

Conclusion

It is really up to your preference that you choose the right form of transportation.

Good luck on your journey. We hope you have a good one.