One thing you must know about Nepal is that, things happen at its own pace in this country, so you must be very patient while travelling. To my experience, all the travelers I have come across are extremely patient and uncomplaining. I guess the beauty of this country does that to you.
Kathmandu to Pokhara
Slowly moving out from the commotion of the city, crossing suburban towns, I found myself looking at lush green valley through the serpentine roads. Imagine layers of rice paddy fields moving descending in the valley and layers of mountains ascending above you. To top it up, you will have a river accompanying you through your journey into the clouds.
If you take a bus from Kathmandu to Pokhara, it will normally only stop at designated places for breakfast and lunch on the way. If you are lucky, once in a while, the bus may have a flat tyre and will halt at an unexpected place to fix it. This might give you a chance to enjoy the beautiful countryside as you sip on a hot cup of tea and chat with the locals.
A quick getaway to Pokhara
Pokhara, being the ending point of the Annapurna circuit trek and the starting point for many other treks, attracts many tourists throughout the year. Apart from being a resting place for the trekkers, Pokhara is a beautiful place to spend some time in. It is also a very pleasant getaway for travelers who intend to live in Kathmandu for an extended period.
After spending a month in Kathmandu valley, I decided to escape the clatter and chaos of the city for a couple of days and take off to Pokhara. It was a breath of fresh air. Trust me, it is not enough time to see Pokhara, but you can definitely get a feel of that place. Pokhara is much warmer than Kathmandu, so if you want a brief escape from the cold winter in Kathmandu, Pokhara is the place for you.
Things you can do on a two day trip to Pokhara;
You are ought to stay at a hotel or a guest house at the lakeside. Drop off your luggage and take a walk through the lakeside. It is like an extended version of Thamel with restaurants serving many exotic cuisines, bars playing loud music, shops selling souvenirs and massage parlours. Grab you lunch and explore the interiors. It’s a pleasant walk and you will come across many interesting places to alight for a brief time and enjoy some hot lemon or chilled beer. In the evening for a serene experience, rent a boat at the Phewa Tal Lake and enjoy the mountains while boating. To complete the day, you must dine at a restaurant with live traditional dance and music.
After a peaceful first day, you can try some adventure the next day. If you are an adrenaline junkie, I highly recommend paragliding from Sarangkot viewpoint in Pokhara. You might think that the price is a bit steep, but it is totally worth it. The take off itself makes up for it. If not, just visit the Sarangkot viewpoint for an astounding sunrise. Later around noon, you can rent a bicycle or a motorbike to explore further areas. You can rent a motorbike for 500 rupees a day. They might try to cheat you by quoting a higher price, but you must bargain it down to 500 rupees.
Make your way to the World Peace Pagoda through a transit at the Tashi Ling village, a Tibetan refugee camp. Try out a local Tibetan restaurant at Tashi Ling for an authentic taste of Tibet. Later enjoy the sunset at the World Peace Pagoda.
For your last meal, if you enjoy Tibetan food try out the Potala Tibetan restaurant by lakeside. It is a tiny place with an extensive Tibetan menu and very reasonable prices, run by a Tibetan couple. You will be lucky if you manage to get a table. While you wait for your meal, sip on some Thungba, a local millet beer.
I tremendously enjoyed my two days in Pokhara. It was a blend of a tranquil and an adventurous experience. Being completely enchanted by the splendor and serenity of this town, I already planned my next trip to Pokhara.
Text & Images: Mithila Jariwala