Pretty Pokhara

Pokhara Travel Blog

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Pokhara high street

Up early enough to walk to the bus station and avoid the taxi touts.  Happy to have paid the extra $3 for deluxe as sat comfortable with just 4 others on my bus watching the standard class completely full.  I've decided that as this is an extended holiday, I'm happy to pay a little extra for better accommodation, food and transport and don't need to slum it as cheaply as possible.  My bus set off in a procession towards Pokhara and out of the Kathmandu valley.  Soon realise why so many locals wear face masks as on the valley edge, can see a haze of dust/pollution hanging over city.

1st view of Machhupuchre from Pokhara

Initial impressions of rural Nepal is very similar to Ecuador with steep forested hills.  Main difference is that here flat areas are mainly Padi fields interspersed with banana trees and a suprising amount of cabbages.  Moving further away from Kathmandu, it appears conservation is not a high priority as a lot of low tech industries around with open mining very visible along main highway.  Workers playing basketball trying to land basketball size rocks over the side of a 10 foot high truck container. On the whole though, pretty drive mainly following meandering path of river and 1st views of snow capped high Himalayas getting ever closer. 

On arrival got quickly out of the way of the taxi touts knowing it was only a 10 minute walk to the tourist area.
Pokhara lake
  20 minutes of minor detours later I found the hostal I'd picked from the Rough Guide and no problem checking in.  Hotel manager very friendly and made a welcome tea and heplful in providing detail to best approaches to sorting a trek and other sights around Pokhara.  Offered to help sort any tour for me and not pushy when I refused to investigate for myself. Went out for a wander to find that Pokhara is a backpacker/trekker Mecca.  Every main street building either a restaurant, bar, hotel, tourist office or trekking shop.  Place has an immediate relaxed vibe with looks of contentment all around from trekkers either returning or about to embark on a Himalayan adventure.  Unable to find any tourist office that already has a group booking for Saturday, mostly advising to book a personal guide.
Steve and Harka
  I decided to wait and see if my Boston crowd arrived.  However popped in to photo shop to get some more passport photos for trekking permit and asked the guy behind me whether he was trekking soon.  As is the way it often happens, he  had just returned from the Annapurna Sanctuary trek I wanted to do.  As a fellow Brit (police sergeant from Croydon) happy to go with his recommendation and Steve set up a meeting with his guide.  Harka package very similar to the best of the tourist offices and preferring to go with personal recommendation, happy to set up a trek for Saturday. 

Trek agreed, I went back to hostal to find 3 westerners on the balcony outside my room.  They had all met 2 weeks prior in Pokhara and were staying around to enjoy the atmosphere.  They recommended the Busy Bee from 8.  I had already spotted an Ibiza bar, Amsterdam bar, blues bar and several other western style bars.  By the time I was ready to go out, my hotel manager had finished his shift and offered to take me to a few bars and happy to start with Busy Bee. The Busy Bee turned out to be a live rock bar with a local band blurting out western classics from Bon Jovi, Red Hot Chili Peppers to Rage.  Surreal setting in the middle of rural Nepal as bar was a template of many US bars.  Loads of Yanks in the bar giving it loads to celebrate Thanksgiving.  Had a couple Everest beers and chatted with bar manager who is really nice.  Good 1st night out in Asia and can see why people stick around in Pokhara !!

Woke up next day to see 1st clear view of Machhupuchre (Fish Tail).  A great sight of things to come.  However with no real plan for day in advance of trekking tomorrow had a lie in and sadly clouds had descended by time got up.  Had a lazy day down by the lake watching the paragliders drift down for Sarangkot - definitely going to try paragliding before I leave Pokhara.  Had a slow brunch and decided that plenty of time to do everything I want in Pokhara.  Found a quiet spot beside the lake and chilled out in the sun.  Met up with Steve and Harka again for a night out before Harka and I started trek and Steve left for Chitwan.  Harka took us to a nice restaurant before his favourite bar.  Turned out to be a Nepalese equivalent of a pole dancing club.  Waitresses worryingly in school uniform and not looking any older.  Both female and male dancers not much older rotating between traditional Nepalese music and western.  Obviously the pole dancing only went as far as swinging around the pole and no clothes were removed but the clientelle (Steve and I were the only westerners) were very appreciative of the dancing efforts and money was still handed to dancers who impressed.  Harka was in his element before Steve and I asked to go somewhere quieter.   Amsterdam Bar beckoned with a live band knocking out Dire Straits greatest hits.  Entertaining night but 4 660ml bottles of Everest later time top call it a night in preparation for the trek.   

I look forward to having a couple more nights out in Pokhara on my return.


rowanberry says:
You're helping me to become more confident about my trip in February. I've been feeling apprehensive as I'm 63 and have a hip-replacement and will admit that it's all a bit scary. Enjoying your blog thanks:)
Posted on: Dec 27, 2009
sylviandavid says:
sounds like a nice vacation....
Posted on: Dec 12, 2009
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Pokhara high street
Pokhara high street
1st view of Machhupuchre from Pokh…
1st view of Machhupuchre from Pok…
Pokhara lake
Pokhara lake
Steve and Harka
Steve and Harka
photo by: Makkattack