It’s 5 am on Friday morning, October 31. I force myself to wake up – we have a long drive to Lake city Pokhara, 200 km from the capital.
We are three this time. A Swedish girl, Alma, we met at the hostel, decides to join us. We pack, check-out and head to the bus station.
It’s around 6:15 am, and the city is already awake.
Through the straight line of buses parked right on the highway, we manage to find ours and hop on. We depart at 7 am.
It’s now easier to see how dusty Kathmandu is. I even thought it was an early morning fog.
The road is very narrow, curvy and bumpy. I can’t sleep.
At one of the shortstops, Mariam decides to buy fruits. She frowns saying that she paid 40 Rupees (roughly 40 cents) for five bananas.
“It’s okay,” I say, “I paid 30 yesterday.”
“Have you seen the size?” and hands me the bag.
I laugh out loud as I open the bag. Bananas the size of my index finger!
While driving through the countryside, you see the rural life of Nepalese in their little mud huts. The local buses and trucks are colorful and have flashy drawings. Besides, Nepalese tend to redesign ugly walls with various graffiti-like advertisements. So cool!
It takes 7 hours to arrive in Pokhara. We take a taxi to the hotel we booked a day before. But apparently the site had a technical problem, and our room was not booked. We ended up staying at a tiny place for a night.
Next morning we found a better place. Even had a view over the lake!
Pokhara is quieter and less dusty, with almost no traffic compared to Kathmandu. However, it’s more expensive as it is a hub for trekkers going to different tours. Many of the restaurants offer Western cuisine, like pizza, sandwich, burger, pasta and lasagna. There even are French and German bakeries.
On Saturday, we went to several tourist agencies to find the best price for Poon Hill Trek. Apparently, most of the treks require permits and guides. The price goes up to $300 per person for 4-5 day trek, including accommodation, Porter, and meals three times a day.
Thus, one person suggested an alternative – 3-day trek with no permits and extra expenses. Yay!
The city is full of funny names and writings. For instance, a bar is called Feel Free, or a hotel called Funny Home, Be Happy or Lonely View. One of the cashmere scarfs had a sign: “Dear Human, Just Feel Me.”
Burgeoning in Pokhara is much easier than in Kathmandu. If you say “no, thank you” and start to walk out of the store, they ask how much you are willing to pay.
Sightseeing here is limited. The Tal Barahi Temple, located on a tiny island in the lake, is accessible only by boat. Colorful boats at the deck add the beauty to the site.
From here you can continue to World Peace Stupa, is a symbol of peace. It has four statues of Buddha which were presents from Japan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Lumbini. Each figure represents the significant events related him. The entrance to the site is sacred, as you need to take the shoes off.
On a good weather, you can enjoy the view of Fewa Lake and Himalayan Mountain Range from here.