Pokhara is one of my favorite cities because it has a bit of everything: mountains for hiking, lakes for sunbathing in the warm time of the year, urban vibe, laidback lifestyle, picturesque views, and adventurous activities. You can start a few long treks from Pokhara (Annapurna Circuit, Muktinath, Mustang, Annapurna Sanctuary) as well as do a few day-treks if you limited in time.
Today I will tell you more about Sarangkot – a hill station located on the outskirts of Pokhara and definitely one of the most mesmerizing places to visit for several reasons:
- From Sarangkot you can see numerous snowy mountain peaks: Mt Machhapuchhare (aka Fishtail), Annapurna, Dhaulagiri range to name a few.
- You can do a Sarangkot trek from Pokhara as a small preparation for more serious treks in Nepal
- Sarangkot height (altitude) is 1600m – it doesn’t require any serious prior acclimatization to complete it
- If you are planning to do Annapurna circuit or any other trek in that area, you can see the path and landscapes that lead into the sanctuary.
- Sunrise at Sarangkot is one of the highlight experiences in Pokhara
You can reach Sarangkot by bus, taxi, bike, by foot. In this post, I will tell some advantages and disadvantages of each way of reaching Sarangkot as well as the costs, timings, the aim of the visit and other details to help you plan this trip.
Pokhara to Sarangkot by foot / bike / taxi / bus – cost & timings
I’ve visited Sarangkot twice by foot and bike, my friends simultaneously have gone to Sarangkot by bicycle and car. Here is an overview of different experiences:
Sarangkot trek from Pokhara by foot
Duration: 2.5 – 3 hr climb; 1 – 1.5 hr descend. I’ve seen several people describing it as a 40 min – 1 hr hike from the lakeside and I will be curious to trek it with them. Though the hike is around 5 km only, it took me 2.5 hours at an average walking speed.
The roads: This hike is somewhat similar to Poon Hill trek. It is a combo of stairs and steep walking path. There will be a few viewpoints overlooking Pokhara from above. I know only two walking paths to Sarangkot and they cross each other on the way. One path is from Sedi Bagar – it was a very sliding climb after the rain, thus I’ve gone from a road near MoonBow hotel (Coordinates: 28.224598, 83.950596). It’s just 300 meters away from Sedi Bagar. There also starts a bicycle trek. In a non-rainy season, the most popular start of the Saragkot hike is Sedi Bagar.
Why to go to Sarangkot by foot: it’s a good preparation for a longer trek, there are nice viewpoints, you can see and hear several varieties of birds especially early in the mornings and meet a few friendly domestic goats.
Disadvantages: I’ve left around 6.30 a.m. and reached Sarangkot by 9 a.m. The clouds already covered the bigger part of the range and peaks. If your priority is the view – choose the transport over bicycle or foot.
Sarangkot trek cost: free (unless you hire a tour guide)
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Pokhara to Sarangkot by bike/scooter
Duration: around 30-40 min drive from the lakeside
Why to go by bike: if you rent a scooter, you can visit all the main places around Pokhara in one day: Sarangkot, Stupa, Davis Falls, caves. If you leave early morning, you will catch that mesmerizing panorama view from the hill.
Disadvantages: during winters it gets really chilly during the morning ride. There is a serpentine road so make sure you are an experienced driver. You need to negotiate with the bike rental company a day before if you intend to leave early morning. Make sure they show up at the time you need.
Bike renting cost: starts at 500 NPR/day
Sarangkot from Pokhara by bicycle
Duration: 2 – 3 hr depending on the route. Starts from the northern part of the lake
Road: The path leads at times through the forest, at times on the stone trail. 50% of the road you will need to push the bike uphill in front of you. From Sarangkot you can reach Pame village within 4 hours. Most of the time there is a descending path laid from the big size chippings which you can handle on the mountain bike. Check the breaks before renting – they need to work on time. In Pame, you will see a big river which is crossed by bikes and cars, but there is also a small bridge for pedestrians and bicycles. From Pame there is a nice straight road that will take you to Pokhara lakeside within 20-30 minutes.
Why to go by bicycle: nice views, a few streams on the way, physical preparation for other adventurous activities.
Disadvantages: you need to be a confident bicycle rider to enjoy this trek as the road is complex at times.
Bicycle Cost: the rent starts at 400 NPR/day and 500 NPR for the mountain models (this you need).
Sarangkot from Pokhara by taxi
Duration: 30 minutes
Why to hire a taxi to Sarangkot: you don’t need to bother about driving on serpentine roads and parking; take your time at the viewpoint (no pressure from the weather or public transport schedule)
Disadvantages: costly, the price depends on your bargaining skills. In low season the best deal I found was 1000 NPR. You have to negotiate the price one day prior as you need to leave early.
Pokhara to Sarangkot taxi fare: 1000 – 1500 NPR both ways.
Pokhara to Sarangkot by bus
There is a local bus to Sarangkot from Pokhara. It reaches the place where the wheel and paragliding terrain is. Coordinates of the bus station in Sarangkot: 28.241963, 83.95014. I’ve seen one bus while descending by foot from the hill. The local people from the village told the bus goes every 40min – 1 hour (haven’t checked personally).
Do you like traveling by road? Check out how to commute from India to Nepal by land.
Food in Sarangkot
While I and my friends reached Sarangkot by different means, we met at the top and took breakfast at a local café. If you follow the road on the left from the entrance to the Sarangkot viewpoint, there are a few budget cafes. In restaurants, the prices will be more expensive.
Last notes about Sarangkot
- You can reach one level higher (~10 min walk) from the bus station by taxi or bike. From there, everyone needs to climb stairs (~15 min) to Sarangkot viewpoint by foot. The entrance to the viewpoint costs 50 NPR. From the top, you can see Pokhara, valley, and mountain range.
- If you would like to see the snowy peaks from Sarangkot, you need to reach around 6.30 – 7.00 a.m. After this, the clouds gather around the mountains and by noon the peaks are almost not visible. During the monsoon season, the morning visibility also depends on the weather. It can be foggy at times.
- Apply sun cream – even if it’s cloudy and you don’t feel the sun, you can burn (been there, done that).
- Take water with you – the initial part of the climb will be through the forest. There will be shops closer to the top and some of the sellers in the smaller villages will be charging unreasonably high.
- There are plenty of guesthouses and hotels in Sarangkot in case you decide to stay there. Accommodation rates are more expensive comparing to Pokhara. I’ve asked a few owners – the cheapest guest house was 700 NPR (7 USD/room/night). You might get better rates further inside the village – I wasn’t investigating accommodation topic much.
Have you ever visited Sarangkot? What was your experience?