Pokhara: Boating, biking and a brilliant time!

So far, Nepal is turning out to be our favourite country! Pakistan is a close second but for different reasons, while Nepal stands out because of its sheer beauty.

After the excitement of Chitwan and our close encounters with creatures great and small, we headed off to Pokhara in Western Nepal. Pokhara is the third largest city in Nepal and is mostly famous for its location – nestled beside a beautiful lake and close to the Annapurna Himalaya mountain range. We left Chitwan early and headed across more gorgeous scenery – catching a glimpse at Annapurna herself, the 10th highest mountain in the world standing at 8091metres high. It was impressive even from the roadside – the only snowy peak in a row of lush green mountains and we all got out of the bus to have a gawp.

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As soon as we pulled up outside our hotel in Pokhara we knew we would like this place! We were staying at the Lake View Resort – right next to Phewa Lake – the second biggest in Nepal, which was absolutely stunning.

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I wasn’t feeling too great after the white knuckle bus ride there (drivers in this country are either all budding Michael Schumachers or just absolute psychos!) but really didn’t want to stay indoors and miss a second of our new destination, so we went for a walk to get our bearings.

There were so many options of activities and things to do or see in Pokhara – from paragliding and boating, to hiking, treking or white water rafting. We weren’t really there long enough to do any proper trekking, plus I think it would have been hard work in the height of the monsoon summer, so we dismissed that option. We want to leave a lot of the more extreme sports until we get to New Zealand so decided on a plan for our three days in Pokhara that would include exploration, boating on the Lake and hiring a motorbike to travel up to Sarangkot , a village 1600 meters high where we could get a better view of the Himalayas (Richard had got the biking bug again, after his impromptu fun in Chitwan!).

Plan made, we headed back to the hotel where we were treated to a free dinner – a lush Nepali feast (with just one or two food items on our plates that we weren’t sure what to do with!).

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The next day we got up and headed over to the boat hire place by the lake and got ourselves a rowing boat! Richard took charge first of all, just rowing me around like a lady of leisure (I knew he was just trying to fit in some arm exercises to make up for the lack of gym access on this trip, but I let him pretend he was being chivalrous!).

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We then took turns to row around a small island in the middle of the lake, which housed a small temple. Rowing is more tiring than I thought and I don’t think Richard was very impressed with my efforts and we just ended up going round in circles! The parts where I didn’t try to row however were extremely relaxing – I could have stayed on that lake for hours and it was so tempting to jump in for a dip.

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After we had finished we went to do some shopping for practical stuff like Swiss Army Knives – with our truly ‘independent’ travelling coming up, we needed to get kitted out with technical things like fruit-peeling instruments (aka the knife) and torches to arm us for those power cuts that are getting more common the further we travel across the world! Oh, and we also invested in a Collins Spanish dictionary as we don’t want to start losing our already limited Spanish skills!

We also looked for maps of the local area, ready for our biking expedition the next day!

That evening we went out into the main Pokhara town for a bite to eat and a drink. The town itself is great – completely set up for tourists of course, but the really cool kind who are into trekking, adventure and the great outdoors, so it has a really cool vibe about it. We ventured into a place called Bar Amsterdam (a little tribute to our friend Hans in Santa Ponsa!) as the barman said that they had a live band on too. After asking him whether they were any good we dubiously ordered some food and two bottles of San Miguel (hurrah, we’ve finally entered imported beer territory and have been hunting out San Miguel for days!).

There were a bunch of Nepalese lads hanging out with guitars and microphones in the corner – “that must be the band” we thought – hmm, don’t look too professional! Well, professional they weren’t, but absolutely awesome they were!

Our jaws dropped as they started up with music from Guns n Roses, AC/DC and the Eagles, all sang with an American twang! The guitarists were fantastic and it seemed effortless for them to play their instruments so well. After speaking to the lead singer once they had finished we discovered that the guys had only been playing together for two to three months and didn’t even have a name! Apparently, some of the original band members went to England and Australia to study and this was the latest ‘team’ – can’t believe they were that in synch with each other after such a short period of time!

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We were so pleased that we went in there – it was a brilliant end to a brilliant day! The monsoon had re-appeared while we were in there however and the street was a river by the time the bar closed – luckily a taxi drove by as we peered outside and we had an interesting ride back to the hotel!

The next morning after breakfast (which, by the way, is the best brekkie we’ve had since we left London – spicy potatoes in the morning, who can beat that!?) we headed Lakeside again to check out the bikes for hire. Remembering our many escapades from past holidays, we decided that a scooter would be much more fun than a proper bike so hired a little blue Honda Dios.

Well, as soon as we’d gone round the corner, we knew the ride to Sarangkot would be interesting – it didn’t have much ‘poke’ and we were looking forward to seeing how much of the 1600m it could climb! Once we’d got our map we headed off around the lake, following what we thought was the road to Sarangkot!

The road around the lake got bumpy quickly and we started to worry about our little scooter already! Part of the road had been cut off by a stream, so a bunch of locals were busy filling it in with rocks and stones. While there were lorries starting to queue up to get past, we had no problem and Richard just rode over the stream easily.

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When the road started to turn more into a pot-hole filled mud track than a road we thought we’d ask somebody whether we were actually on the road to Sarangkot – guess what, we weren’t! Turns out we were trying to follow a trekking route up to the village – no wonder the scooter didn’t like it! Still, it was a great little detour as the scenery was great!

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On the actual way to Sarangkot, we started climbing higher and higher – at one point we were going 5km/h up the steep mountain roads and I started to think we’d end up going backwards! We could only take the scooter most of the way up as the road became un-drivable so we parked up and walked the rest of the way. OMG that was steep! We were so glad that we invested in some walking shoes!

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By the time we had gotten to the top – past goats, chickens, tiny ‘shops’/stalls resting on the mountainside – we were absolutely knackered! The clouds had blocked our view most of the way up the mountain so we weren’t particularly optimistic about getting a great view of Annapurna, but since we had come so far, we just had to keep climbing!

Getting to the top of Sarangkot tower was pretty amazing – despite being up in the clouds, we got a few glimpses of the valley below, which were spectacular. We kept taking photos on the way back down too, as every angle threw up another amazing sight!

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Satisfied with our mission to the highest point in this region, we made our way back to Pokhara lakeside, stopping off at Devil’s Fall on the way. This was an awesomely powerful waterfall round the other side of the lake, which disappeared into the ground via a huge drop. Definitely wouldn’t have wanted to fall down there!

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Pokhara has been absolutely brilliant and is a place that we could have literally spent weeks in. It has a really nice vibe and there is so much to do – the scenery is by far the best thing about it and has fulfilled everything we thought Nepal would be!

We were heading to Kathmandu the next day, so had a chilled out evening, eating dinner in the town and getting another taxi back to the hotel after the heavens opened once again!!

You can have a look at more of our photos from Pokhara in the Latest Pictures on the sidebar – we took far too many to fit into this blog post!

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4 Comments

  1. January 01, 22:00 #1 Aisleen Author

    It was gorgeous! Would definitely go back there! Well, I travelled there by bus from London so took a while! But if you flew into Kathmandu and bused from there it’s pretty straightforward! 🙂

  2. January 01, 15:51 #2 Ryan @Treksplorer

    Pokhara looks incredible; thanks for sharing! Was it a long trip to get there?

  3. August 20, 12:14 #3 Joel

    Nice one Rick, pics look amazing…. love the motorbike adventure, should have rented a BWM mate!!!

  4. August 20, 10:36 #4 Nadine the German :-)

    Wow, that looks just amazing!


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