Annapurna Cable Car in Pokhara: Despite Bad Tourism Situation, The Cable Car Offers Optimism


    Annapurna Cable Car Ticket Price

    NationalityTicket Price (Round Trip)
    Nepali citizenship700
    SAARC nationals800
    Other nationals$9
    Senior citizens and people with disabilities50% discount on tickets

    On Sarangkot hill, northwest of Pokhara, Takashi Miyahara, a Japanese businessman in the tourism industry, built Hotel Annapurna View over a decade ago. He imagined a cable car service that stretched from the shores of Phewa Lake to Sarangkot – because he knew the road wouldn’t be sufficient to draw high-class tourists to Sarangkot and his hotel.

    Miyahara’s dream was finally realized on February 18 2022. The beautiful tourist destination of Sarangkot finally had access to the newly constructed Annapurna Cable Car in Pokhara, which was funded by the private sector’s $2 billion investment in the construction. 

    On the banks of Phewa Lake, in Sedi, is where the cable car’s base station is situated. From Sedi, the gondola ride to Sarangkot, the cable car’s higher station, takes 9 minutes. The upper station is where Miyahara’s Hotel Annapurna View is situated. 

    Since Miyahara’s passing, his daughter has been in charge of overseeing the resort. The dream for the cable car was created with the intention of transporting guests to their hotel. Even though Miyahara is no longer able to see Pokhara’s newly built cable car, his legacy lives on with it. 

    Annapurna cable car in Sarangkot, pokhara

    Annapurna Cable Car Brings New Investment To Sarangkot

    The Covid-19 pandemic caused almost a two-year delay in the overall construction of the Annapurna Cable Car project, which had begun in 2013. With a few different setbacks, the ropeway was finally opened to the general public in February 2022, just in time for the upcoming tourist season.

    Early in the morning, visitors visit Sarangkot by cable car to see the sunrise. In addition to the magnificent sunrise views, when travelling to Sarangkot, tourists have the opportunity to see the Annapurna mountain range, Phewa Lake, Pokhara city below, the takeoff spot for paragliding in Pokhara, and distant views of the Peace Pagoda as well as the Shiva Statue across the lake.

    Investments in Sarangkot have grown since the cable car service started. New lodgings and eateries have been built at the upper station and a luxury apartment building next to the lower station. Small enterprises run by locals include tea shops, hotels, restaurants and handicraft stores. With better access to the popular view spot, more and more investment for hotels and eateries is flooding into the area. Whereas, what used to be about a 40-minute drive to the viewpoint, can now be completed in under 10 minutes by taking the ropeway.

    Around the upper station, locals are constructing new hotels, and those that already exist are expanding by adding new floors and additional rooms. There are now numerous conventional motels and coffee shops operating towards the top station and takeoff spot for paragliding.

    New Hope For The Tourism Sector At Sarangkot

    The Covid-19 outbreak decimated the tourism sector throughout Nepal, and Sarangkot as well as Pokhara in general was no different. However, the cable car’s operation has given entrepreneurs newfound optimism for the area. 

    For example, the owner of Bhanjyang Village Lodge and Restaurant in Sarangkot (one of my favorite places to relax and get a great view of the Himalayas), Gaurab Raj Subedi, claimed that after the cable car’s operation, visitor numbers have increased, making up for the losses they incurred during the Covid-19 outbreak. 

    Moreover, they noted that the influx of visitors and tourists seem to be using the Annapurna cable car to travel to Sarangkot instead of travelling by vehicle. With increased accessibility to the view point, tourists seem to be spending more time in the area as well as eating at the local eateries before heading back to Pokhara. 

    There has also been investment by the KC Group and Keyal Group, who both have experience in the housing market. They have begun construction of the Suryotthan Luxury Apartments in Sarangkot with an investment of Rs2.5 billion. On 17.9-ropanis of land, the apartment complex is currently being built, which is projected to be completed in about 2.5 years.

    Optimism For The Tourist Sector, But Less Tourists Than Expected

    Despite the optimistic outlook, fewer tourists than anticipated have been using the cable car service in Pokhara. Whereas, Arun Koirala, the administrative director of the Annapurna Cable Car, claims that since it began operating, the service has transported approximately 85,000 passengers. Sixty-five percent of them are citizens of Nepal, twenty-five percent are from India and other SAARC nations, and ten percent are foreign visitors. Translating to an average of 566 travellers per day. 

    At full capacity, the cable car can accommodate 5,000 people per day and runs for 10 hours starting at 5 am. It was anticipated that 1,500 individuals would use the service every day before development got started. However, the number of riders per day has not come close to the anticipated number.

    gondola at annapurna cable car in sarangkot, pokhara

    Koirala stated that their team was anticipating more tourists and travellers from China and Japan, however, this has not been realized yet due to the current economic situation around the world. Therefore, in his opinion, there is no reason to be dissatisfied because the cable car service will become profitable once a more tourist-friendly environment around the world occurs.

    Koirala went on to speak about how current investors are feeling. Whereas major investors have been patient, but smaller investors are becoming impatient with the current situation. Moreover, the smaller investors are expecting the cable car to start paying off as soon as the tourism industry recovers.

    Plans To Increase Domestic Tourism

    The entity overseeing the cable car also has plans to increase domestic tourism in the area as well – so they are not just waiting for foreign visitors. In order to draw in more tourists and increase the variety of attractions, they plan to construct a 62-foot-tall statue of Ganesh. 

    The development of the area, and the construction of the Ganesh statue will happen in collaboration with the Sarangkot Religious Tourism Development Committee. The idea behind constructing the Ganesha statue is that it will increase the arrival of domestic and Indian tourists.

    Pokhara’s Annapurna Cable Car

    The cable car is 2.4 kilometers long. Each of the 17 gondolas has room for eight passengers. The higher station of the cable car features a view tower, a garden, a restaurant, a coffee shop, and parking. Overall, 32 persons have received direct employment from the cable car. Additionally, at the lower station, there is a restaurant and parking as well. At the cable car’s top station, the firm has introduced adventure activities such as ziplines, a large swing, and sky cycling. 

    The Annapurna Cable Car in Pokhara is one of four ropeways in Nepal, with the other three being Manakamana, Chandragiri, and Kalinchowk cable cars. Are you interested in riding the newly constructed ropeway at the lakeside? Then make sure to take advantage of the free shuttle service that is provided. It is available throughout the day and can be seen going up and down the main Lakeside road (Baidam Road) all the way to the Fishtail Lodge on Damside. 

    Finally, when it comes to tickets, Nepalese citizens will pay Rs 700, visitors from SAARC nations pay Rs 800, and foreigners pay $9 for roundtrip journeys. Senior citizens and people with disabilities receive a 50% discount. 

    Pradip Karki
    Pradip Karki
    A seasoned journalist with a passion for storytelling honed over 5 years, specializing in travel, food, and tech.

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