A Way Abroad Logo
The ultimate resource for women dreaming of a life abroad

A Digital Nomad's Guide to Living in Pokhara, Nepal

write for us!

If you work remotely and love the mountains and adventure, Pokhara in Nepal, is the perfect place to spend some time as a digital nomad.

Getting work done sitting by the serene Phewa Lake, with the majestic Annapurna range as your backdrop, is truly magical. Having the chance to go hiking in the Himalayas during the weekend is the kind of work-life balance all mountain enthusiasts dream about.

Living in Pokhara, it can be your reality. I don’t think you can do that anywhere else in the world.

Now, you might be thinking Pokhara is Nepal's second-largest city after Kathmandu, so it must be somewhat similar, right? Wrong! In fact, it is the complete opposite of Kathmandu's hustle and bustle - quieter, cleaner, laid-back, and with lots of nature around.

I spent three months working from Pokhara as a digital nomad and in this guide, I’ll share everything you need to know. 

Short on time? Here’s the cheat sheet: 

📅For the best outdoor adventures, plan your stay during March-May or September-November. 

🗻With so many adventures to be had while living in Pokhara, we recommend nomad insurance, just in case.

🛂You can get a 90-day visa to Nepal online or upon arrival. 

🛏️Book a hotel stay before you arrive and then find an apartment rental in-person to save loads. We recommend starting off at Hotel Tourist Residency for something peaceful or Hotel Haven O' Ganga for something right in the heart of town. 

🛜Wifi is pretty good but power outages happen. Buy a local SIM card when you arrive or come ready with an eSIM.

💰The cost of living will vary based on your lifestyle but for me, I got by with $700/month. Earn travel rewards on all expenses with a Capital One Venture Card.

The Best Time to Visit Pokhara

sunset a lake that is surrounded by mountains with small canoes tied together at the shoreline.
Don't miss the sunset at Phewa Lake

Most of the digital nomads that visit Pokhara are mountains and trekking lovers. So, if you want to go hiking while working from here, the best seasons are:

  • From March to May
  • From September to November

I'd avoid any other season. Winter (December, January, and February) can get cold, and it is not safe for hiking. Summer (June, July, and August) marks the monsoon season, bringing loads of rain along with pretty high heat and humidity. I spent a couple of weeks in June in Pokhara and, despite loving the city, was ready to leave due to the unbearable heat.

Also, if you stick to the high seasons, you will have more chances of meeting other people and potentially teaming up for a hike. 

My time living in Pokhara spanned April, May, and June, and I noticed a significant drop in the number of tourists after May. This can be a good thing if you prefer solitude or mingling with locals. However, if your goal is to meet other digital nomads and make friends along the way, it's best to visit during the high season.

And don't worry about the prices skyrocketing in the high season - that doesn’t happen in Pokhara (yet). I'll get into that in a bit. 

With so many adventures to be had while living in Pokhara, just be sure you have nomad insurance, regardless of the season you spend here.

Visa Options

Nepal doesn’t currently offer a digital nomad visa, so your best bet is to enter the country on a tourist visa.

You can obtain a tourist visa upon arrival at Kathmandu airport for stays of up to 90 days. The process is quite straightforward: you'll need to fill out a form, which can be done online in advance or at an airport kiosk. After filling out the form, you pay the visa fee at the counter.

An important tip: make sure to bring U.S. dollars in cash, as they don’t accept Nepalese rupees for the visa fee. While there is a currency exchange and an ATM available, having cash in dollars will help you avoid any delays or surprises.

The fees for a Nepal Tourist Visa vary based on the duration of the visa:

  • Up to 15 days - $30 USD
  • Up to 30 days - $50 USD
  • Up to 90 days - $125 USD

*prices are from the time of publication (March 2024)

If you're coming to Nepal as a digital nomad, I recommend staying for at least two months. The country is filled with incredible places to explore, from Pokhara and beyond.

How to Get to Pokhara From Kathmandu

The entrance to Durbar Square with brick templates and people walking around
The difference between Kathmandu and Pokhara is vast, photo courtesy of depositphotos.com

Once you arrive in Kathmandu, you might want to spend a few days exploring the city. However, you could end up feeling like I did - I wanted to leave as soon as I set foot in it. It took me a few days to really start appreciating Kathmandu, but I wouldn't trade it for Pokhara in any case.

Now, to get from Kathmandu to Pokhara and cover the 200 km separating the cities, you have two main options:

  • A short 30-minute flight
  • A long and bumpy 10-hour bus ride. Yep, you read that right. It can take 10 hours, but sometimes it's more like 12... or 13. 

You might be scratching your head, wondering how a mere 200 kilometers between Kathmandu and Pokhara could possibly eat up 10 hours of your life on a bus. Believe me, I've pondered the same mystery. 

The roads? Not exactly the German autobahn. We're talking slow-moving buses, dirt roads at times, unpredictable traffic, and the occasional road fixing. Plus, there are the inevitable toilet and lunch stops that stretch out the journey.

Despite the less-than-luxurious conditions, I always ended up choosing the bus. It's a bargain compared to flying, with tickets going for as low as $9.

If you're feeling fancy, there's also the option of a private jeep. Spoiler: it's pricier, and the journey does not get significantly shorter. 

There are plenty of tourism agencies in Thamel (the backpackers area of Kathmandu) where you can get bus tickets or hire a jeep. 

Serious about
browse all articles

Accommodation in Pokhara

If you visit Pokhara as a digital nomad, renting an apartment is highly recommended. This option offers the convenience of a personal kitchen and generally provides a more comfortable living situation than a hotel might. 

Airbnb and Vrbo are both reliable platforms for finding monthly apartment rentals, and normally they have a big discount for such bookings. As an example, I booked a beautiful studio through Airbnb for a month for just $220. 

You will find even lower prices when booking directly with the owner. But for this, you will need to be in Pokhara already or have local contacts.

Initially, it may be smart to book a hotel or guesthouse for the first few nights. This way, you can explore local apartment options in person, and you can get better rates. 

A few hotels to land in Pokhara are:

  • Budget Stay: Beli Guest House: Enjoy city, lake, and mountain views at this lovely and affordable private accommodation.
  • Mid-Tier Stay: Hotel Tourist Residency: Want somewhere peaceful? This hotel is in a lush area and each room has a small workspace.
  • Luxury Stay: Hotel Haven O' Ganga: Stay closer to the lake in a busier part of town, ideal if you're eager to explore Pokhara.

Another good tip is to browse Facebook Marketplace and relevant Facebook groups.

The downside is that you cannot read reviews from other people. To mitigate risks, I would ask for a one-night stay to test the place and the internet connection, before committing to a longer period.

As for where to stay, any place within a 20-minute walk from Phewa Lake is a good place to live.

Internet Situation: Wifi & Mobile Data

A white temle with gold accents against a bright blue sky
The World Peace Pagado, Shanti Stupa, photo courtesy of depositphotos.com

Overall, Pokhara boasts a pretty solid internet connection. Of course, a lot depends on where you're staying, how close you are to the router, and that sort of thing. But from what I've experienced, the WiFi is generally reliable. 

If you're considering an Airbnb/Vrbo, it's a smart move to check the reviews and chat with the host about the internet reliability before booking.

Pokhara does experience regular power outages. However, many apartment rentals are equipped with backup systems to keep the WiFi running smoothly during these times. So, it's definitely worth asking your potential hosts about their setup. You can also ask them to perform a speed test for you.

And just to be extra safe, mobile data in Nepal is super affordable. Whenever I had poor WiFi, I'd just switch on my hotspot and keep working. 

Ncell is a popular provider, and you can snag a SIM card either at the airport or from pretty much any corner of the city.

Digital Nomad Community in Pokhara

You'd expect a city nestled next to the Himalayas to be swarming with digital nomads, but surprisingly, Pokhara's digital nomad community isn't as bustling as Kathmandu's. 

But, hey, that's not necessarily a bad thing. The silver lining? It stays cheap. Especially when you compare it to digital nomad hotspots like Bali or Koh Phangan.

Don’t get me wrong, there are people working remotely in Pokhara. It is just that the community is not as strong/big as other places. However, I am convinced that this place will keep growing as a digital nomad destination in the coming years, so it will only get better.

The best way to meet people is to go to cafes, like The Juicery Cafe or Vegan Way where remote workers usually hang out. You can also join yoga classes, Facebook groups, and use apps like Bumble Friends to meet people. 

Cost of Living in Pokhara

A vibrant orange sunset over the blue mountains in Nepal
Epic sunsets over the mountains await

You might find this hard to believe, but living in Pokhara as a digital nomad, I managed to keep my living expenses around $700 a month.

It's truly one of the most budget-friendly places I've been.

Just to give you an idea, I usually made breakfast and lunch at home and treated myself to dinner out every night. I wasn't splurging, but even if you dine out for lunch as well, you'll find the prices incredibly reasonable.

Here's a quick rundown of some costs to give you a better picture:

  • Apartment Rental: Starts at 26000 NPR a month (around $220).
  • Local Restaurant Meal: Ranges from 100 to 300 NPR (about $0.80 to $2.20) per person.
  • Western Restaurant Meal: About 600 NPR ($4.50) per person.
  • Alcohol: A small beer will cost you around 350 NPR (about $2.60).
  • Body Massage: Though pricier than in places like Thailand, you can enjoy a nice massage for between 1500-2500 NPR ($11-$19).
  • Mobile Data: You can get 88 GB of data plus free calls for 1200 NPR (about $9).

As you can see, both Pokhara and Nepal, in general, are incredibly affordable. The money you save on accommodation and food can go towards amazing long-distance treks like the Annapurna Circuit, Manaslu, or even the iconic Everest Base Camp.

Coffee Shops with Good Wifi in Pokhara

There are plenty of cafes you can work from in Pokhara but these are my favorites:

  • Little Windows: This place has amazing Buddha bowls, the internet is fast and reliable, and the vibe is just great.
  • Cafe Camelia: Their excellent coffee, great atmosphere, and the rare luxury of air conditioning make it a haven for digital nomads, especially on hot humid days. 
  • The Juicery Cafe: The vibe of this place is simply amazing. It is located right in front of Phewa Lake, their chocolate bowls are absolutely delicious, and in the evening sometimes they have live music
  • Silk Road: My personal favorite and go-to spot. It’s quiet, has a beautiful lake view, and the ambiance is just perfect for knuckling down to work. The staff are incredibly friendly, and their momos are something else.
  • New Phewa Restaurant: This small, local, family-run spot might be easy to miss, but it's a hidden treasure. Super affordable, with a friendly owner who manages the place herself, it offers a genuine taste of local hospitality right in front of the lake.

Best Things to Do in Pokhara

A super snowy mountain peak with a small tea shop refuge on the trail
Mardi Himal, one of the best treks to do in the area

Pokhara has so many amazing things to do, that's why I recommend staying at least one month, but if you could stay more, then even better. 

Here’s a roundup of the top things to do:

Walk along the lake

The walkway along Phewa Lake is stunning, especially at sunset. It's a beautiful sight to see local Nepalese people gathering with friends and family, enjoying the serene atmosphere. Pokhara is a beautiful city and this is really where it shows off.

Hike up to the World Peace Pagoda (Shanti Stupa)

This striking Buddhist pagoda offers panoramic views of the lake and the Annapurna range on a clear day. 

For those up for a hike, it’s about a 90-minute walk from the city, or a 45-minute hike after a short boat ride from Phewa Lake’s pier. There are fixed boat prices listed at the pier, so you don’t have to worry about getting a fair price. 

If you don’t feel like walking, a taxi can get you close to the top, with a bit of walking still required. 

The journey is well worth it for the breathtaking views and the peaceful ambiance of the pagoda. There are a couple of cafes where you can relax and take in the scenery.

Catch the sunrise at Sarangkot

If you are an early bird, a 40-minute taxi ride up to Sarangkot to watch the sunrise is a magical experience. The view of the sun rising over the Himalayas is unforgettable.

Check the weather forecast the day before to be sure it will be sunny. After all, waking up at 4 AM only to be greeted by clouds would be quite disappointing, wouldn't it?

International Mountains Museum

This museum is fascinating for anyone interested in mountaineering or the majestic peaks of Nepal. It details the history of the 8,000+ meter peaks in Nepal, the adventurers who first summited them, and offers insights into Nepal's diverse cultures and languages.

I spent about two hours there and I loved it. 

Go trekking! 

Pokhara is the gateway to some of the most spectacular treks in the Himalayas. A few of my favorite trekking trails near Pokhara include:

  • Poon Hill: Ideal for those looking for an easier hike, offering stunning views without the arduous trek.
  • Mardi Himal: A fantastic option for those short on time but seeking an epic experience. This trek takes around 4 days, though many opt for 5-6 days to fully enjoy it. Mardi Himal offers some of the best views in the area.
  • Annapurna Base Camp: For those with a bit more time, this trek takes about 6-7 days and offers incredible sights of the Annapurna range.
  • Annapurna Circuit: This is for the adventurous soul ready for a long and challenging trek. Taking at least 12 days, the route includes crossing the Thorong La Pass at 5,400 meters. The journey varies, lasting up to 22 days depending on the route and starting point.
  • Manaslu Circuit: Another lengthy trek that comes highly recommended, though I’ve yet to tackle it myself. It offers a chance to get close to the Tibetan border and cross the Larke Pass at 5,160 meters.

Spiritual Awakening in Pokhara

Pokhara is a hub of spirituality, offering transformative experiences for those in tune with its vibe. The city is rich with practices like reiki, meditation, sound healing, cacao ceremonies, and more, providing numerous pathways for personal growth and healing.

If you are into Yoga, there are many studios where you can drop in and pay for a class. However, if you're seeking something deeper, consider joining a yoga retreat. I participated in a 7-day yoga retreat on the outskirts of Pokhara and it was one of the best experiences of my life.

Hike around Pokhara

The city is surrounded by hills, so if you feel like squeezing in a workout between work sessions, you can hit the trails and connect with nature at the same time.

Final Thoughts: Pokhara for Digital Nomads

The streetview of a small city in Nepal, a great place to live for digital nomads
All mountain lovers will love the daily views here, photo courtesy of depositphotos.com

I hope this guide has helped you decide whether to include Pokhara in your next digital nomad adventure. I truly believe it is a magical place, perfect for those who are drawn to spirituality, trekking, adventure, and nature.

You simply can't go wrong with living in Pokhara.

Keep in mind that Nepal is a developing country, and sometimes things don't always function smoothly, which can be frustrating. However, if you're willing to be patient and keep an open mind, you'll do just fine.

If you're curious about the digital nomad lifestyle in Pokhara or have any questions, feel free to drop me a DM on Instagram or contact me through my travel blog.

keep a way abroad fueled!
Consider making a donation

A lot of effort went into making this amazing piece of journalistic genius. If it helped you out, send us a quick thanks by buying us a coffee. All the money donated through Ko-Fi goes towards keeping A Way Abroad awesome. Big thanks!

Pick an image to pin it!
Go back up arrow