I knew that I would love Nepal from the minute I arrived. After backpacking India solo for a month, entering Nepal was like a breath of fresh air. Everything moves a tad slower in Nepal, and it has a much more relaxed vibe than India. Pokhara is about a six hour drive or an hour plane ride from Kathmandu, and was the perfect end to my three month backpacking trip.
Arriving in Kathmandu
My arrival wasn’t the smoothest. My flight from Delhi had been delayed, and when I arrived at the airport, my pre-arranged driver was nowhere to be found. I walked out onto the pavement to a cacophony of taxi drivers all shouting “Need a ride, miss?” I looked around and saw a man with my name on a sign. Assuming he was my driver, I walked over to him. He told me that he didn’t want to take his car, but would rather take a motorbike because it was rush hour. I wasn’t feeling wearing my huge backpack on a motorbike, but gamely agreed. Stuffing my hand luggage in the front, I heaved myself over the side and struggled to stay upright as we blazed through traffic. When I told him I was American he laughed and said “American girls, Italian shoes, Chinese food, Nepali boys.”
Smiling politely, I waited for the ride to be over.
When he dropped me off at my hostel, he made me promise to meet him for drinks later. Having no intention of doing any such thing, I smiled and waved goodbye. When I arrived at my hostel, the manager told me that my real driver had lost his sign and the man that picked me up had found it.
So….slightly concerning. I vowed to be more careful from then on and settled in.
The room I was staying in reeked of smoke, had a shower with only cold water, and had no windows- essentially feeling like a prison. I knew I wanted to leave in the morning and immediately booked a flight to Pokhara.
Getting to Pokhara
There are two ways to get to Pokhara- via bus or plane. I opted for the plane ride, and planned to take the bus on the way back. Any travel agency can book a flight for you, but to avoid commission fees it is better to book with the airline directly. Skyscanner has daily listings at affordable prices. This plane ride was well worth it, as it was a beautiful, clear day and the view was absolutely stunning.
Set in a beautiful location on the shore of Lake Phewa Tal, and with views of the backdrop of the Annapurna mountain range to the north, this laid-back city was the perfect place to chill out at the end of my trip.
I stayed at Kiwi Backpackers Hostel, which I would highly recommend. The owner is friendly, and everyone sits around in the common area, making it extremely easy to meet new people.
I didn’t have enough time to do a long trek, which I highly regret. However, I wanted to make the most of my short time in Pokhara. After meeting some fellow backpackers at the hostel, we decided to go exploring.
My mornings in Pokhara began with a 7am yoga class and walk along the lake. It is extremely peaceful, and if you walk far enough, it’s possible to not even see another person. Row a boat around an island that holds the Hindu temple, Varahi Mandir, or paddle over to the starting point for the Peace Pagoda hike.
The World Peace Pagoda was built by Japanese monks in order to promote world peace, and watches over the city. The hike to the top takes about 45 minutes, which doesn’t seem like much, but it can be exhausting in the heat. When you reach the top, there are several cafes with incredible views of the Annapurna mountain range. Take note that this a silent temple, and it is respectful to not speak once inside.
Sadly, I had only three days in Pokhara. I spent the rest of my time eating ridiculous amounts of dal bhat, shopping for trinkets, and hanging out with the backpackers from my hostel. I really hope to visit again someday and trek to Everest Base Camp or the Annapurna Circuit, but it will have to wait for another time.
Getting Back To Kathmandu
I previously had wanted to take a local bus back to Kathmandu, as that is my preferred method of traveling. However, as it was the end of my trip I decided to treat myself and signed up for a deluxe bus. Let me just say- this was the nicest bus I have ever been on.
Usually when you book a ‘deluxe bus’ in Asia, it means literally nothing. This bus however, came equipped with wifi, lazy-boy like seats, and a bus attendant who walked around passing out drinks and snacks. I’m all for the local experience, but boy was this bus a nice change of pace from the bumpy, dusty and uncomfortable trips I was used to in Asia.