15th November – Bumpy ride to Pokhara
We leave for Pokhara today to get closer to the Annapurna mountain ranges which is about 8091 meter high.
The best time to visit the region is October to November time as the sky is clear and mountains can be seen from Pokhara.
Pokhara is a city bang in the middle of Nepal where majority of tourists use it as a base to do some adventure sports such as climbing the Himalayas, White water rafting, para-gliding and canoeing.
We left Kathmandu early on a tourist bus just 10mins walk from our hotel. There are normally over 15 buses ready to take tourists to various mountain start points and a majority going to Pokhara.
Boarded this old bus at 6:30am for departure at 7am. The bus reminded me if the bone shakers I used to take in Ghana when I was little. Ticket cost 400 NPR each (just over £3, Bargain) for a 200km journey. We’ve been told this could take 12hrs.
Typically in Asia, the driver stopped at the petrol station 10 mins into the journey. We have never understood why they don’t get the petrol before they pick passengers up. Mystery to me but we were underway that’s the main thing.
The journey took us through some winding roads in the mountains and throughout the journey we were beside a flowing river, with various rapids.
This journey reminded me of a few trips I’ve made in the French Alps visiting Julie’s mother iny near Grenoble and also when we went white water rafting on the Isere river floating inbetween the mountain ranges. Very beautiful.
We had an annoying French man next to us who kept doing the one thing we hated in China, clearing his throat but luckily for us not spitting. This made me want to vomit. He told his wife he had a sore throat but seriously every 2 mins he was doing it, so Julie and I moved to the back seat which was empty.
The journey was surprisingly short as it only took 7 hours and we even made a few stops for break and lunch.
Pokhara bus station is a five mins walk from the airport. When we arrived, we had a man waiting for us holding Julie’s name on a card. It was a welcome surprise for us as we thought we had to go through the hassle of haggling and still being ripped off. Taxi was 150 NPR.
Arrived at New Solitary Lodge and checked in. We did chose basic accommodation so it was nothing fancy and obviously basic, twin beds and private bathroom. We are actually 10mins walk away from the main town centre by the lake, which is ok because we thought we had to take a taxi everytime we wanted to go out. Room costs $6 per person per night.
It’s a family run hotel and they were welcoming and friendly. In the evening went into town to look around and also to see if we could find a trek to do.
Pokhara town centre is actually quite nice, it’s a bit like a ski resort where you have lodges and everybody selling a tour. Lots of westerners and nice restaurants, good atmosphere we thought.
We asked around and gave us an idea of how much it might cost us. Some were professional business others just didn’t have a clue, they just wanted your money.
Had dinner at a place called Mamma Mia, very pleasant food. After a while Julie wasn’t feeling too well, she had a headache and faint so we went back to hotel to sleep. We think it could do with the climate coming from 33 degrees on Thailand to 14 degrees in The Nepalese mountains.
Réveil a 5h donc pour aller jusqu’à la rue ou il y a tous les bus pour touristes qui vont a Pokhara.
Le bus n’est pas plein donc on a la chance d’avoir nos sacs dans le coffre et pas sur le toit. Il y quatre français avec un guide et deux porteurs, deux américaines du Sud avec un japonaise et trois asiatiques. L’un des français raclent sa gorge toutes les 30 secondes
comme s’il allait cracher dnc avec Kwasi on bouge au fond du bus.
Sur le trajet on fait deux pauses: une pour le petit déjeuner et une pour le midi. On a pris un chocolat chaud au premier arrêt histoire de se réchauffer mais rien la deuxième fois car c’était minimum 400 roupies!
On est arrives a Pokhara vers 14h et a la sortie du bus nous avons eu la surprise d’avoir un monsieur avec une pancarte a mon nom. On le suit et on monte dans un taxi jusqu’à sa guesthouse: New Solitary Lodge. On roule tellement longtemps qu’on croit qu’on est très loin de la ville. Et quand on visite les chambres on a un choc, on sait qu’on a choisit logement ‘basique’ mais quand même il y des limites. La chambre fait peur a voir et la salle de bain encore pire, le sol n’est pas entierement recouvert de moquette, le bas de portes est tout abime, il y a de la moisissure sur les murs etc…
On se pose dans le jardin pour attendre d’avoir le code wifi. Il se met a pleuvoir, super! Des qu’on a accès a internet on regarde ou on se trouve et on réalise qu’on est a 10 minutes a pieds du centre ville. On prend nos manteaux et on y va.
On rend visite. Plusieurs agences de trekking pour organiser un petit trek de 4/5 jours dans le parc de l’Annapurna. Après en avoir vu 5, on pense avoir trouve la bonne mais on va devoir négocie. C’est quand même cher.
On dine dans un restaurant pas trop loin de notre guesthouse: Mamma Mia puis on rentre. Je suis couchée a 20h!