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Pokhara

Health & safety

Dangers & annoyances

There was a time when the worst thing that could happen in Pokhara was paying too much for a Kashmiri carpet. Sadly, the downturn in tourism has led to an upsurge in crime. A number of travellers have been mugged on the walk to the World Peace Pagoda and on the trek from Phewa Tal to Sarangkot and it pays to check the current situation before you set off. You should be safe if you travel in a group and walk in daylight hours.

Like many traveller towns, Pokhara is mobbed by touts, and the problem has become worse as visitor numbers have fallen. It's almost impossible to get a taxi from the tourist bus stand to Lakeside without a tout coming along to steer you towards a commission paying hotel where you'll pay twice the going rate. The best way to escape their clutches is to claim you have an advance booking somewhere else.

Swimmers should watch out for syringes and other sharp pieces of junk on the edges of Phewa Tal and steer clear of the dangerous dam. If you hire a motorcycle, be aware of the standard Asian obstacles - potholes, speeding trucks, rogue cows and suicidal chickens.

The insurgency is not currently affecting travel around Pokhara or inside the Annapurna Conservation Area, but road transport to Kathmandu and the Terai may be affected by any sudden upsurges in violence. As always, check the situation locally before you travel.

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While you're there

Medical services

There are several pharmacies in Lakeside selling everyday medicines. For anything serious, there are two modern hospitals on the east bank of the Seti River.

Western Regional Hospital(520066)

Manipal Teaching Hospital (526416)

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