The Best Ways to get from Kathmandu to Pokhara

Yeti Airlines at the airport

Kathmandu to Pokhara is only about 125 miles in distance, however it is not as easy to get there as one might think. Poor road conditions combined with the amount of vehicles make it an average drive of around 7 hours. While flight times are much better, cancellations are common and hard to predict. Read below on everything you need to know about how to get from Kathmandu to Pokhara to have a successful visit.

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When to Visit Pokhara

Spring (March to May)

Spring is arguably one of the best times to visit Pokhara. During this season, the weather is mild, with warm days and cool nights, making it perfect for outdoor activities such as trekking, paragliding, and boating on Phewa Lake. March to May also marks the festival season in Nepal, with events like Holi and Buddha Jayanti adding to the cultural vibrancy of Pokhara. Just be aware that there could be very bad smog problems during these months.

Summer: June to August

Summer in Pokhara brings warmer temperatures and occasional rainfall, especially in the afternoons and evenings. While the weather may be humid at times, this season offers lush greenery and fewer crowds, providing a peaceful atmosphere for exploration. June to August is an excellent time for nature enthusiasts to witness the beauty of the monsoon landscape, with waterfalls flowing at their fullest and the surrounding hills covered in mist. It’s worth noting that trekking during this time may be challenging due to trail conditions.

Autumn: September to November

Autumn is considered the peak tourist season in Pokhara, and for good reason. The weather during this time is clear, with crisp mornings and warm, sunny days, offering unparalleled views of the Himalayan peaks. September to November is ideal for trekking in the Annapurna region, as the skies are generally free from clouds, providing stunning vistas of snow-capped mountains against the backdrop of clear blue skies.

Winter: December to February

While winter brings cooler temperatures to Pokhara, it is still a delightful time to visit for travelers who prefer quieter surroundings and snowy mountain views. December to February offers clear skies and sunny days, making it suitable for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and sightseeing. The winter months also provide excellent visibility for mountain viewing, with the Annapurna range standing majestically against the azure sky. However, it’s essential to pack warm clothing, especially for chilly mornings and evenings.

Book Your Pokhara Hotel

Experience tranquility in Pokhara. Nestled against the backdrop of the Annapurna Range, choose from lakeside retreats to cozy hilltop hideaways.

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Getting from Kathmandu to Pokhara

There are two main ways on getting from Kathmandu to Pokhara. One is by flying and one is by public roads. The challenging terrain has prevented the initiation of any railway system projects, despite numerous proposals being presented.

Flying from Kathmandu to Pokhara

The fastest way to get Kathmandu to Pokhara is by airplane. It is about a 30 minute flight from take off to landing. Many airlines in Nepal, including Yeti Airlines, Buddha Air, and Shree Airlines, fly this route. They maintain fixed prices that do not change as the travel date approaches, ensuring hassle-free last-minute bookings. It currently costs around $100 USD for foreigners to fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara. 

It is important to check weather conditions before leaving for the airport. The flight requires the pilot to use visuals to land the plane. This means too much smog or heavy rain can cause the flight to be delayed or even canceled. Almost all airlines that fly this route offer a refundable ticket.

During my visit to Nepal the Pokhara International Airport was closed for 3 days due to heavy smog concentration. I would recommend trying to fly out on the first flight if possible, this is usually when conditions such as smog is the lowest. I would also recommend having a back up option in case the airport is closed.

Bus seats in a luxury bus

Driving from Kathmandu to Pokhara.

Unless you are from Nepal or India renting a car is practically impossible. Not that I could even try to imagine driving in Nepal, especially in Kathmandu. You have two main options as far as the public roads. This is by a private car such as a taxi, or by bus. 


If you are looking for the cheapest option, taking a bus is the way to go. Buses depart Kathmandu in the morning and arrive in Pokhara in the early afternoon. On my return from Pokhara I actually ended up taking a bus myself. The journey for me was 8 hours, which made for a long travel day. Travel conditions can change dramatically due to the road and weather conditions. 

Luckily we had no troubles, but along the way there were a number of buses that had some sort of maintenance issue. Throughout the trip the bus driver will stop at roadside stores and restaurants for a short break. Make sure you have some money with you as most of these places do not take credit cards.

There are different styles of buses that can be rode from Kathmandu to Pokhara but prices range from around $12 – $15 USD. Tourists often refer to the normal tourist bus as the deluxe tourist bus, which features a 2×2 seating configuration.

I spent a few extra dollars for the VIP sofa luxury bus which had bigger seats. It seems that most people I talked to about what type of bus you will actually get really depends when you show up. Buses are switched out to whatever the company has to offer, which can be frustrating. The bus I took said that it included a/c, which was a stretch. It just blew air through the vents, but it was not cold at all.

Car Hire

A third option to get from Kathmandu to Pokhara is to take private transportation such as a taxi or driver. Due to my canceled flight, I chose to travel from Kathmandu to Pokhara by an alternative method during my recent trip to Nepal. While it is much longer than taking a flight, it was shorter than taking the bus. It took about 7 hours from being picked up at Tribhuvan International Airport to being dropped off at our hotel in Pokhara.

Drivers can be found pretty much anywhere in Kathmandu, and even arranged by your hotel or hostel. To find my driver I used the app InDriver, which I highly recommend to use while visiting Nepal. InDriver allows you to find taxi drives and there is not back and forth negotiation. A SUV from Kathmandu to Pokhara cost two of us around 14,000 NPR or around $100 USD at current conversion rates. 

It seems that this route ended up costing about 4,000 NPR more than a normal taxi. However, it was a larger vehicle and it came with full air conditioning which we took as a plus. Our driver was friendly and spoke a good amount of English. If you are traveling via bus or taxi the roads are rough and can be chaotic at times. 

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Conclusion: Getting from Kathmandu to Pokhara

Getting from Kathmandu to Pokhara can be challenging, but it is rewarding once you make it. My suggestion is to try to take a flight if it is within the budget. This will save you so much time and while flight delays are common, there are multiple flights daily. No matter how you are getting there I hope you have a great trip to Pokhara.

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