It's not the end of the world, but Pokhara, and indeed all of Nepal, suffers from a real shortage of electricity, and the power WILL be out for a good portion of the day. It usually comes on at around 8pm at night to give the restaurants and hotels lighting, but that's not a guarantee and we spent a good few evenings in candlelight. Getting onto the internet can definitely be difficult!
The only really bad thing I can think of about Pokhara is what we experienced on first arriving. We arrived quite late in the evening, the sun was setting, and we needed to get a taxi from the bus station to Lakeside. Knowing that there would be lots of touts around we tried to get a little way away from the bus station, but when we found a taxi driver who agreed to take us to Lakeside North, his 'friend' got into the front seat, tried to get us to go to his choice of hotel, and when we refused, tried to jack the price up saying that we'd said Lakeside, not Lakeside North (which is a bit further). I don't mind paying a fair price, but I don't like being conned, so an argument ensued, and when we tried to get out of the taxi things only got worse. Only a lot of standing our ground and trying to get the backing of the crowd enabled us to get rid of them for 20NPR (even that being too much for the barely 300yrds we'd travelled). Not a great introduction to Nepal. That said, I know I made things worse by not staying calm.
If you do take a taxi, make the place you want to go very clear, arrange the price before you get in, and make sure it'll only be the driver with you, no 'friends'! If you do get hassled, stay calm! As ever, giving the name of a hotel is asking for trouble - best to just say Lakeside, and then walk to your hotel from wherever they drop you. 100-150NPR is a decent price for the ride to Lakeside. While Lakeside North is very quiet, it's quite a way from the main shops, and there's a toll for taxis of 10NPR to get that far.
I‘ve read a book about Nepal before going. Writer mentioned a trek under the rain. They cleaned the leeches from their bodies after this walk. I’ve read it as it was fiction and then…
The night we went Pokhara, we went to town for shopping. Time passed while we were wandering and it started to rain. We returned quickly to our rooms, changed our wet clothes and left the room for dinner. The hotel we stayed had a marvelous garden. Flowers were everywhere. We returned to room after dinner and I saw that one of my socks had a big spot of blood on it. There was a dot-sized hole on the outer side of my ankle, I tried to stop it but it kept bleeding. I tried compression, cleaning, etc. and then I got tired and slept. The next day it was only itching. I remembered to book and guessed that it was a leech and it had been removed before I noticed it. In the breakfast, we learned that there were some other victims in our group.
So, be careful while it rains. I had socks and long pants but they weren’t enough to protect me. Don’t forget, we are all delicious foods for some species.
The Pokhara region has the most abundant rain in Nepal, some 4000 mm per year. The same place has also some of the most violent hailstorms imaginable. Certain mountain ridges appear more vulnerable than others, but in general there is a chance of getting into a hailstorm in April-May afternoons everywhere in the Pokhara area.
The hail can be extremely damaging to crops (maize, especially at this time of year), including vulnerable fruits such as papaya and banana. These trees can be completely stripped of leaves and the fruit shredded.
Hail can also be damaging to people and animals as well as property. Cars and roofs can be indented by hail, and it hurts and it can be dangerous to be out in such weather. There are cases of people being killed by hailstones.
If you are out in these parts at that time of year far from shelter, do bring an umbrella. A cap with a shade may also protect your face somewhat.
Not joking; golfball-size hail will knock you out cold.
I was talking to a Russian who had his rucksack stolen. He was travelling on the bus from Pokhara to Kathmandu. Keep an eye on your stuff. The luxury buses keep the luggage in the boot as opposed to the roof.
I am going to make this short and simple. Please travel with a group or a reputable trekking agency to the Peace monument in Pokhara. I had no problems but I heard countless accounts of people being physically assaulted and robbed on the trek up to the monument. Please be careful.
There have been some robberies and violent attacks on individual tourists hiking the slope from Mardi (across from Lakeside) and up to the Peace pagoda. In the densely forested areas here there have been several incindents. Do not hike in this area alone or towards darkness. Due to the presence of maoists also in this forest, there is no police or other authority ready to assist you.
There has been a high incedence of muggings and robberies on the trail(s) from Sarangkot and down to Phewa Lake. The pattern is consistent with the prevalence of dissatisfied youth residing in this area, sympathetic to the maoists - an unholy alliance that gives them the moral authority to wrest money etc from people by violent means. I would nowadays advice against individual trekkers taking the route from Sarangkot back to Pokhara through the woods and villages. There are many armed maoists in this area, which is also the home village of "Prachanda" the military leader of the maoist uprising.
Once in a while the lights go out all over Pokhara.
Less often now, when more power plants are onstream and there is no need for the infamous "load shedding". Yet it remains something to be aware of.
Always bring a torch light when out and about and darkness nears...
There is no joke. If you go trekking in mountains during May, June, July or August, be prepared to have leeches. Yes there are, many many of them, especially after a rain.
Our guide decided to change the route one morning after raining, saying that the route in our plan was not under the sun, while another one he knew would lead us to the same point by a dryer route, so we agreed.
Later we found even on this "dryer" route there were hundreds of leeches. The guide said so you can imagine what it would be on another wetter route. Oh no, please, I don't want to imagine, though in my mind inevasiblly there was a picture of the mountain road full of leeches with their head dancing spying in the air.
How to avoid them? Almost no way. However, I found later wearing shorts attracts less leeches than long pants. Sound ridiculous? In fact, Light and dry are the enemy of leeches, so we should prepare them less dark and damp places to hid inside us.
Mind your steps. Stay on the dryer route, don't walk on grass. Watching your steps can also help, as you can see them on the ground if you check carefully each step.
But then you have less chance admiring the views. Oh what a day!
Avoid the Lamakhet porters' quarters if you can. It is co-located with a big chicken farm and fleas and chicken louse from the coop penertrate into the porters' quarters. Without a tent, it is better not to use this place, but to pull on toward the next significant village with a bhatti or pasal and ask there for a family overnight stay.
The place also stinks really bad from decaying chicken droppings, butchering place and remains. Unhealthy indeed.
The maoist insurgency has hit Phewa Lake, too. No more romantic evening paddling around as night falls. During my last visit, all boats would have to be on land by 6 pm. The Royal Palace guards next to the main boat landing are probably nervous about maoists out boating and will shoot at boats coming across and pulling up at night.
Maybe a transportation tip??? I may just duplicate it there...
Pokhara Airport's relative lack of technical infrastructure and a nasty ridge/hill to the south in the flight/take-off path, makes the airport very prone to cancellations due to bad sight conditions, fog, rain etc. Sometimes they use the weather argument to cover up technical mishaps and no info available-situations as well.
Just bank on this - don't think you'll be able to connect with an international flight out of Kathmandu the same day.
Calculate the delay hours, and perhaps opt for the bus or taxi to KTM instead.
A few times I have experienced flash floods in Pokhara.
This has been during the post-monsoon period as well as during spring-time visits. Typically, there is a build-up of clouds during the early afternoon, and they burst around 3-4 pm. Huge amounts of wanter may fall in just a short period of time. The lights in the city may go out, the street becomes river, and you might loose your foothold trying to negotiate your way through.
No life-danger, though, just a major nuisance and you may not wish to have your bag and contents taken by the current into Fewa lake as you stumble through the streets.
I went trekking in Annapurna Range in August and suffered bloodsuckers!
It's a tiny tiny leech at first, but comes from anywhere, even from the sky (from the treetop). Goes into your shirts, trousers, even into your shoes from a shoe lace gap.
It's no painful but if you are scared of blood, please avoid trekking in August.