Travel Nepal this 2017.
After Kathmandu, Pokhara is one of the most popular travel destinations in Nepal. We only have one international airport which is in Kathmandu city. If Pokhara is your first destination, you can take another domestic flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara from “Tribhuvan International Airport”. Pokhara lies in Kaski district, approximately around 204 km away from Kathmandu.There are many reason why people should care about Nepal and make a trip. Amazing mountain ranges, fast flowing rivers, beautiful natural landscape, multicultural tradition, unique architecture and the birthplace of Buddha are just some of the exclusive facts which drive traveler hearts to Nepal. Being a third world country and nearly even after 2 years of the devastating earthquake, the country is still in need of travelers contribution which can support job employment, economic growth and more. We were 3 friends from 3 different countries ( Nepal, Philippines and Brazil ) who recently made an unforgettable trip to Pokhara, Nepal.
We bought tourist bus ticket for Rs600 ( $6) from a travel company in Thamel. Thamel is one of the most popular tourist places in Kathmandu, Nepal. You can get everything you need like travel gears, international food, low budget to 5 star hotels, Nepali souvenir etc. We caught our bus to Pokhara from “Kantipath” near Thamel at 6:30 am and we departed at 7 am. You can also find a local bus/ microbus to Pokhara from “New Bus Park” which will cost Rs 400 ($4). All tourist buses departure from 7am to 7:15 am but if you are a not morning person then you can get local buses to Pokhara all day around. After passing traffic of Kalanki and Thankot, the actual highway started with the view of the marvelous landscape of hills, rivers, mountains and it was hard not to take pictures and videos during the journey. Our bus stopped 3 times (5 min toilet break, 20 min breakfast and 25 lunch). If you are in a tourist bus you can get free wifi, a plug to charge your gadget, AC and sometimes a free bottle of water or they even play a movie by times. On breakfast we got a plate of Veg Chow Mein ( Chinese noodle) which cost Rs 120 ($1.20). You can also find a coffee shop or Nepali breakfast ( Rice, lentils soup, curry) or snacks. After 7 hours we reached Pokhara but if we had taken a local bus, we could have reached within 4-5 hours. From Pokhara bus park we took a cab to our guest house. It was unexpected that we got a deal of $4 per room with attached bathroom, wifi, hot water shower. After resting for a while we 3 met up at 5:30 pm and went to explore the city.
Lake side is a very pleasurable place to walk around. Not to forget that Pokhara is one of the most popular honeymoon destinations for Nepalese. The view of lake, sunset and mountains plants and grows the seed of love and romance.There are many souvenir shops where you can get lost for hours learning about different products and bargaining. Second day, we hired a boat on Rs 800 ($8) and visited “Tal Barahi temple”, which is in the middle of a lake. Thousands of local tourists visit this temple every day. Some pray for better education, future and family, while others get married or leave pigeons for world peace. At a temple I bought a full coconut as an offering to one goddess and my friends were busy making videos of a Nepali marriage ceremony and exploring the temple. After our visit to the temple we rowed our boat to next side of the lake from where we hiked to Peace Pagoda.The boating women said she will wait for us and we should be back within 2 hours. Alfred (Our phillipines friend ) was with flip flops which made it hard for him to hike the mountain and it took us around one and half hours to be at the top as we rested, appreciated the beautiful view of lake and mountains by making many pictures and videos on the way. Thais ( Our Brazilian friend) is a very active hiker. She was ahead of all of us, it was funny to hear that she stopped and waited for us as she saw some bushes moving and spotted some black animal and assumed it was a bear. As we reached to her, we found out it was just a cow. When we reached to Peace Pagoda, a positive vibe and very beautiful garden welcomed us. The Pagoda is full of visitors and mountain lovers, you can also see whole Pokhara city and 3 beautiful mountains ( Dhaulagiri, Fishtail and Annapurna). We rested at a close restaurant and had some lunch acknowledging the beautiful view and talk a bit about Zipline possibilities. It had already been two and half hours so we started our walk back to our boat hoping the women had not left us. Behind the Peace Pagoda hill there is David’s Fall and Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave, which we unfortunately couldn't visit that day. But if you take a one way boat and hike to Pagoda you can make it to David’s Fall and Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave. From these places, you can also walk back to the lakeside or catch a local bus/ cab. On the way back, it was interesting to chat with other hikers about the importance of hot water showers for the tourist market and hearing their amazing experience of trekking in Nepal. We were very surprised with the kindness of the boat lady who waited 3 hours for us and she ironically joked that she had 4-5 cups of sweet tea and now she has a bitter taste along with that her one side of neck is hurting because she looked up many times for our arrival towards the mountain. We rowed back to the lakeside and gifted some extra cash to the kind old lady. It was a great experience for my friends to attend Nepali culture dance show where they were exposed to different forms of Nepali dance, songs and dresses that evening.
We started our third day with a visit to a local palm reader and it was stunning as some of the things he said were correct in each of our lives and he also advised the three of us “dos and don’ts” for our better future. Being a Nepali I can’t stay away from Dal Bhat much longer and it's same for more than the average Nepalese. I went to find some rice and lentils for breakfast and my friends went for western breakfast. This last day we were planning to make it to an Australian Camp but as we didn’t have much time and wanted to look at those 3 marvelous mountains even closer, we hired a cab to take us to Sarangkot. From Sarangkot, we had a closer and clearer view of the mountains than from Peace Pagoda. We were also able to spot more than 30 paragliders at a single time. It was very interesting to hear that to get a paragliding guide license, you have to fly with more than 80 different people. At the top you can also use a binocular which gives you a 20 times much closer view of those mountains for 2 min by paying Rs 20. In the evening we brought souvenirs for our families and friends and attended some live music concert. This was an amazing experience traveling pokhara which will be with us as an unforgettable memory. If you are making a week trip to Nepal don’t miss visiting Kathmandu, Pokhara, Lumbini and Chitwan. Our country has a lot to offer you and I can tell that you will have an amazing vacation and will plan your next trip again for Nepal soon.
Author: Sujan Pariyar is an engineering student | Founder of Volunteer Nepal program | Director of Innovative Social Centre | Charity Adviser.
Stories by Sujan Pariyar