Pothana is the first overnight stop on some treks in the Annapurna Himalaya, such as the Ghandruk Trek and the Mardi Himal Trek. It's not far from Pokhara, which is itself easily accessible from Kathmandu. Getting to Pothana from Kathmandu requires flying or going overland from Kathmandu to Pokhara, and then a combination of driving and trekking to Pothana.

First Leg: Kathmandu to Pokhara

By Air

Duration: 30 minutes

Flying is the quickest, easiest, and most comfortable way of traveling between Kathmandu and Pokhara, and the best option if you're short on time. Flights leave from Tribhuvan Airport's domestic terminal.

Flights only take around 30 minutes, although they are frequently delayed because of the weather. Try to sit on the right-hand side of the plane for the best mountain views. Flights run throughout the day, every day, with the last flight leaving mid-afternoon. Try to get on the earliest flight of the day, because if there are delays, re-bookings are done in the order of the original flight. If you're booked onto an afternoon flight and all morning flights are delayed, the knock-on effect means you may not even get on another flight that day. 

In Pokhara, the small Pokhara Airport is just a couple of miles from Lakeside, and there are always taxis waiting to take travelers to their hotels.

By Road

Duration: 6-9 hours

The Prithvi Highway connects Kathmandu and Pokhara. Following the Trisuli River for the first half, and with the high Himalaya coming closer into view as you get nearer to Pokhara, it's a very scenic journey. However, because of road and traffic conditions, it can be slow and physically draining. When there are no road delays, an overland journey can take as few as six hours, but this is uncommon. It frequently takes eight or nine.

Hiring a private driver is the most comfortable and convenient option. Foreigners are not allowed to hire cars for self-driving in Nepal, and most wouldn't want to anyway. Hiring a car and driver means you can stop when and where you like, plus you can leave at any time of day (tourist buses tend to leave early in the morning). This is the most expensive option.

Tourist buses are both affordable and reasonably comfortable: they're more expensive than local buses, but much safer. Most tourist buses leave from near Thamel around 7 am, and arrive at Pokhara's tourist bus park, not far from Lakeside. Pre-book tickets during busy times, or if you're traveling in a large group. There are several companies that offer a very similar service. The more luxurious Greenline Bus is the most comfortable but also the most expensive. Tickets include a buffet lunch, and comfort stops are of a higher caliber.

Local buses are cheap but generally pretty uncomfortable and not very safe--overcrowding and speeding should be expected. You can catch a full-size bus or a smaller microbus. They leave throughout the day, roughly every half an hour, and mainly from the Gongabu Bus Park. In Pokhara, they arrive at Prithvi Chowk or other local bus parks. 

Second Leg: Pokhara to Pothana

If you get an early-morning flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara and everything runs on time, you'll probably have time to continue on to Pothana on the same day. Otherwise, you'll need to stay overnight in Pokhara and continue on to Pothana the next day. As there's a lot to see and do in Pokhara, plus nice places to sleep and eat, this isn't a bad option. 

By Private Transfer and on Foot

Duration: Around 5 hours

From Pokhara, take a taxi or other private vehicle west along the Pokhara-Baglung Rajmarg Road. This is well-developed, as many travelers heading into the Annapurna Himalaya travel this route. Continue on this road for about an hour, until you reach the turn-off to Dhampus, at Kande. From there, continue by foot, hiking through Dhampus and the Australian Camp, until you reach the small village of Pothana, which should take around four hours. The trail passes through forests, with close-up mountain views when the weather is clear. 


Map of How to Get from Kathmandu to Pothana
Map of How to Get from Kathmandu to Pothana