Our favourite place in Nepal
13.04.2014 - 30.04.2014
We arrived in Pokhara after a week of farming, getting chased by rhinos and treacherously hot weather. It was definitely a welcomed change. We were fed up of Daal Bhat for every meal and ready to be tourists again. We don't know what hit us first; the beautiful scenery of Phewa lake set in front of amazing forests hills slightly hiding the heaven like Himalayas.. or the hustle and bustle of tourists searching for a bargain in the hundreds of souvenir shops.
We shared our first two nights with our Canadian friend, Nicole, from the eco park. Our hotel was slightly more expensive with real mattresses and pillows and a duvet you could just bury yourself in. Not to mention the HD TV with football highlights.. Dan was very happy. This certainly was a little relief from the Flintstones style beds we had been accustomed to on the Eco Park.
We had managed to time our arrival to Pokhara very well as it was the Nepali new years eve, although you couldn't really tell apart from the funfair in the local park and every bar charging entry fees for the night proceedings. Our new years eve was spent in a local reggae bar listening to "UB40" while smoking Sheesha between sips of Gorkha (nepali beer). This took place over looking the beautiful lake whilst playing "yaniv" with our Israeli friend Uri.
Pokhara, although a very touristy place, is the perfect location to just relax and unwind. With the beautiful lake being the centre point of the city, you can escape the manic streets and just walk along side it or even hire a small canoe and bob along for hours on end. Or if your not that much of a "water-boi" you can just chillax in a quirky bar read or just watch everyone else pass by.
The main attractions to Pokhara are the amount of trekking you can do. We didn't plan or even budget to do any which left us a bit down beat but we made up for it with all of the extreme sports we did instead. The first of which was the paragliding. We woke up a little anxious for the jump as we have already experienced the extreme feeling of falling from our experience of the rope swing and bungee. All of that anxiety was a waste of time as the worst thing about the jump was the drive up through the narrow winding roads next to a drop of a 1000 meters with nothing but the drivers profound bravery to stop us from falling down. Once at the top we felt so relaxed and just wondered at the influx of colours swirling above our heads form the tens of other para-gliders harmlessly swaying in the wind. When we got strapped in we had three commands to abide by ; stop , walk and run. we got strapped in one by one and was told to wait until the right wind came. The few seconds felt like mins as we waited for the shoot to take the gush of air and we ran down the hill from the command "run!". As i got closer to the edge of the cliff fear grew but in stead of a sudden drop my feet left the floor and I just sat back in my seated harness. it felt like something else. You just sit there and gaze at the unbelievable scenery and feel the altitude change with the different wind temperature and the gushes of wind as you bank left or right. As i was there just relaxing watching what looked like a massive post card the instructor shouted "acrobats yes? acrobats good". Before I had chance to say yes, I was basically up side down plummeting to the ground before he did another trick and span me around in circles before he brassed for landing. With my heart in my mouth, we literally landed on our feet. No stumble, no run, just perfect. We just waited for the shoot to fall as I looked over and saw Amiee's huge smile.
As we didn't get to do any trekking we decided to climb the south hill of Phewa lake to the very top, where a Japanese Buddhist stupa lies, called the "world peace pagoda". To get there we got a canoe across the lake with Ant at 8 am. it was perfect timing as the clouds hadn't formed around the Himalayas yet the the view was breathe taking. Our driver was also a mountain guide and we asked him loads of questions about the mountains including the yeti. He managed to tell us where he lived how many times he has seen him and how heavy he weighs... Around 70 kg apparently.. and Ant replied "that's alright then, I can probably fight him". Crazy little Quebecer. We arrived at the shore of the hill and had to face the 1100 meter steep climb. It took us over an hour with many stops and a snickers break. Once reaching the top, the view was by far the most amazing view I have ever seen. The sight of the small part of the Himalayas was breath taking and made the city of Pokhara look like a small patch. a truly incredible experience.
Within our remaining days in Pokhara, we booked to do ziplining and white water rafting. We didn't have these planned before arriving but we thought we'd join Ant on the zipline, and why not do rafting.. we're in Nepal.. one of the best places in the world it! Pokhara boasts the most extreme Zip line in world. "ZipFlyer" reaches speeds of 160 km/hour and is 1.8km long. It was a fun experience, flying through the hills, so fast we could hardly scream! We had to keep our legs stretched out wide to stop us spinning, and the brake system was worryingly a small rope we had to pull ourselves before we reached the end of the line! White water rafting was booked for our journey out of Pokhara, where we spent 10 days in total. We were to take a bus to the Trisuli river en route back to Kathmandu.. but more about that shortly. The rest of our time in Pokhara was spent relaxing in bars and restaurants, meeting up with friends for drinks, chilling out around the lake, and getting hooked on "The walking dead", which Nicole let us steal from her tablet.
Boat ride on the Phewa Lake
Our first rafting experience was amazing! We were a little worried about just how big the rapids would be and how difficult it would be to stay in the raft.. but after our safety briefing and a few games we were feeling up for it! We had to practice how to save people if they fell from the raft and how to follow the commands for the team leader whilst keeping in time with the other 6 people on the raft. The Trisuli river was for beginners, so although it flowed quite quickly, there was lots of time in between the rapid areas, where we could jump in the water and float along with the current. The rapid were such a rush, paddling fiercely through them, or holding on for our lives hoping not to be thrown overboard! After we made it past each one, we all put our paddles in the centre for group cheer! We stopped for a lovely salad lunch on the river bank and gave our leftovers to the hungry mountain children who came down from the hills to watch. Once we reached the end point of the rafting route, we changed into some dry clothes and hopped on the next local bus to Kathmandu. Thank god this would be our last local bus in Nepal. It was packed full, hot and sweaty, Nepali music was blaring so loudly, and as we approached Kathmandu the air got more and more polluted. We we very relieved when we reached our hotel room in busy Thamel!
Rafting - Trisuli river - Thanks to our friend Andre! (Sorry there are no action shots)
There's not much to say about our last week in Nepal, because we both just so happened to get sick! Most of our days were spent in the hotel room feeling sorry for ourselves. Thankfully, we had seen the main sights of Kathmandu when we first arrived in Nepal, but we did manage to visit the famous monkey temple, meet up with some friends for dinner one night, and wait for it.. visit an international tattoo convention!
Monkey temple - Kathmandu
International Tattoo convention - Kathmandu
From not knowing what to expect of Nepal, we have fallen in love! We are already planning our next visit for more adrenaline activities and finally, some trekking! We can't recommend Nepal enough to those who love an adventure!