Asia,  Nepal,  TDM,  Travel Journal

Pokhara (Nepal) – the city of excitement

Part 1: Travel Diary
Part 2: Practical Tips

Part 1: Travel Diary

Day 1: Patan -> Pokhara

Departure from the hotel at 6 am to take our “tourist bus” at 7 am near Thamel. It’s a tourist bus because everyone has a seat unlike the “local bus”. The bus is very comfortable, air-conditioned, free Wifi, electric plug, free bottle of water, … For 700 rupees per person, the bus brings us almost to the center of Pokhara

Contrary to the Kathmandu – Birgunj route where we wondered at each bend if we were going to die, the road that leads from Kathmandu to Pokhara is much bigger, and more touristic too. There are different stops with WC, restaurants ready to welcome 3 buses at the same time. The price is touristic too: 80 rupees the tea (instead of 20), 200 rupees the coca (instead of 80). The view is less impressive than Kathmandu – Birgunj. However, we follow a river and we see many “cages” suspended in the void to transport men from one bank to the other thanks to a long cable

After 6 hours (including 1 hour of traffic jams around Kathmandu), we finally arrive in Pokhara. The tourist side begins: 300 rupees to go to the hotel (3km hardly), much too expensive. But we take it anyway, too tired to negotiate

Our hotel is located in height and our room has a rather nice view on the lake. The works are in progress in our hotel which makes a lot of noise. By complaining about the noise, JB manages to get us a better room for less money for the following nights. It should be said that he became very strong in haggling and in spite of my Vietnamese side, I am always embarrassed when it is necessary to haggle and to say to somebody that it is too expensive for me to pay 0,5€ more (Note of JB: it isn’t because it is 50 centimes that it is necessary to be swindled)

There is a Korean restaurant, super rated on TripAdvisor. I think it’s the best meal I’ve had since the beginning of the world tour. Come on I give you its name: Natssul. The owners are Korean. I love their side dishes (kim chi and pickled vegetables). We decide to come back the next day to test their barbecue

Day 2 : Boat on Phewa Lake, Massage, Restos

Slow morning because it’s raining and you can’t see the snow-covered mountains anyway

We are motivated to go to the supermarket to buy basic hygiene products. Here, contrary to the other Nepalese cities, it is so touristic that it is easy to find toilet papers (the Indians and Nepalese use water and their… left hand, for them toilet papers are of no use)
In Pokhara, you will find everything: trekking equipment, international restaurants for all tastes (French, German, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Indian but few Nepalese restaurants), spa, massages… It is the base from which people go trekking for days in Annapurna and also the place where they come back from their trek. So, after so much effort, they will be more interested in a good massage, European food rather than local food. It makes sense

We have lunch at the Korean restaurant (Natssul) where we were the day before, their barbecue is very good and copious but you have to like this kind of dish which requires a little work

We rent a boat with rowing boat for 500 rupees per hour, we are a little disappointed by the color of the water (brownish because of the monsoon). The walk on the lake is very pleasant, we can even row ourselves if we want. A group of foreigners prefer the pedal boat. We stop 10 minutes on an island in the middle of the lake, where there is a small temple with lots of pigeons (all Nepalese temples are invaded by pigeons since rice is part of the offerings). Time seems to stop, we are so good here




We end the afternoon at the Mandala Spa at the Mount Kailash Hotel. During the happy hour (10am-5pm), the massage costs 1600 rupees for 1 hour and the relaxation package (1h30 massage, 30mn sauna/hammam) 2700 rupees. This isn’t too expensive compared to the quality of the care and the cleanliness of the place – and very affordable for Pokhara. When I leave the spa, I feel like I’m floating on a cloud, I feel very light. It’s rare that a massage has such an effect on me

Back at the hotel, the boss’s wife insists on the fact that I am Chinese (my voice is Chinese, my skin is Chinese, my head is Chinese according to her) even if I tell her the opposite. Poor woman. So I hurry to finish my tea and put an end to her insults

I also notice that we are very interested in the boss’s children. When they see us working hard to change rooms, one of them even comes to our room to take a look

Birgunj unfortunately taught us a lesson: if you don’t like children, you should never encourage them in any way to make contact, especially not during a weak moment, by offering them to play UNO or anything else. Especially if you stay in the same place for several days. Because that will signal the end of our freedom/intimacy, whether it’s Couchsurfing, Airbnb or at the hotel. They will come knocking on the door, looking out the window or other intrusion attempts. There we just smiled at them, and they spent I don’t know how much time looking out our window. Sure, it’s cute, it’s touching… but I don’t like children

We dine in a Vietnamese restaurant (Pho 99) and discover that the menu is strangely similar to the one near Kathmandu. In fact, it is a chain. The pho is really very good, and the fried noodles as well

Day 3 : Paragliding

We wake up early, hoping to be able to paraglide, but it is raining. The day before, we went to a travel agency (recognized by the state -> guarantee of quality), Essence Tours & Travels, which has lower rates than the others. We gave them our phone and asked them to call us as soon as there is a possibility of paragliding

At 9am, they call us, as promised, to tell us that we can do it at 11am

As soon as we paid the fees (10 000 rupees/person including photos and videos) a car is already waiting for us in front of the travel agency to take us to the top of the mountain. Apart from us, there are 5 other Chinese travelers in the car. How do I know they are Chinese? I can hear them talking. Much too much

JB and I look at each other, wondering what it will be like when we are in China and surrounded by Chinese people. Will they talk like that all the time? will they talk super loud? will they do selfies in the car like that every 10 seconds?

Arrived at the top of the mountain, I am the first to go down by paraglider. As a result, apart from the basic information (you have to run at the beginning, spread your legs on landing), I didn’t exchange much with my guide. JB, as for him, is the last one to go down so he could ask his guide for a lot of information. Apparently 60% of their clientele is Chinese, interested above all by the beautiful photos/selfies. This explains why the guides know some basic Chinese words to tell their clients to run, bend their legs etc. because most of them don’t speak a word of English

Because of the lack of wind, we only fly for 15 minutes (instead of 30 minutes in case of strong winds), but it is more than enough. The view isn’t bad, but in normal weather (except monsoon), the landscapes must be breathtaking

We do some acrobatic figures at the end of the flight, which gives the same sensations as the roller coaster at the Asterix Park. The landing is right next to the lake of Pokhara, so close to the water that we could have been afraid to actually be at the bottom of the lake. But the guides are experienced and land with such precision that we can land on the chain, a few seconds apart, without getting into each other



We will spend the afternoon watching the lake from our balcony while working

Day 4: Mini Trek

We have a very copious breakfast in a small restaurant before trekking. We have the surprise to see two cows who have the same idea as us: they also try to enter the restaurant. Hunted by the owner, they will be satisfied to eat his lawn and his beautiful plants


The advantage of being in low season is that there aren’t many tourists. We have a guide just for us, which motivated me to do this trek (at the beginning I didn’t want to, fearing to be a burden for everyone). I bring with me the minimum of things: my phone, my credit card, 500 rupees, 1 Kit Kat, my mini urban survival kit and 1 waterproof jacket. A cap screwed on my head, trail shoes on my feet & a pair of sunglasses, let’s go!

Our trekking guide is very nice, is in his forties, has two cats at home and seems very patient

A cab takes us all to Kande (1000m altitude), where it rains ropes. We will trek from there to the Australian Camp (2000m), Dhampus then Phedi on the way down


The first part promises to be easy: we go up and up, via fairly solid stone stairs


Arrived at Australian Camp after 1h30 of walk, we make a small break. The sight is supposed to be magnificent but it rains and we see nothing. IMG_2396

After the break, we are about to leave when I feel like a mosquito on my feet. I look at it and discover with disgust a leech that is draining my blood. I put on a bandage (thanks to my survival kit) and continue walking. The descent under the rain is very hard, the guide takes my hand during the whole descent because I keep slipping (without falling fortunately)

I don’t know if it’s the altitude or fatigue, but my knees are shaking and my sight offers me hallucinations that are a little worrying: I see for example a house indeed zoom in/zoom out

Half an hour later, feeling something sting me, I check and see a huge 8cm leech on my leg. I scream in fear because the vision is so frightening to me. The mosquitoes are so cute on the side. I don’t even dare to take it off and it is the guide who has to take care of it, the poor guy. He too is attacked by enormous leeches, even under his shirt. In fact, they are very numerous in high altitude and when it rains. They can project themselves towards the victims, in this case on our shoes and go up slowly on the feet or the legs. I should have worn long socks to protect myself

When we are attacked by leeches, it is stronger than us, we become obsessed by the slightest inconvenience. The guide and I check our shoes every 50m and the slightest inconvenience leads to a thorough inspection of our feet and legs

The massive presence of leeches sounds the end of my desire to trek. I inquire with the guide so that the cab comes to pick us up as soon as possible, which is unfortunately very difficult during the monsoon. We will walk another 2 hours before the cab manages to join us between Dhampus and Phehdi. In the meantime, the weather is nice, the leeches disappeared and the stones less slippery. But my knees continue to tremble so we finish the trek one hour earlier than planned

JB, having trekked in Vietnam (in Sapa) in sandals for 5 hours and climbed the Gran Paradiso in Italy, is doing very well and isn’t at all targeted by leeches. He is however the only one in shorts

In short, the trek in full monsoon, very bad idea! But considering the preview we have when the sky is clear and the leeches disappeared, the trek in Nepal in September/October/November must be sensational. We put some pictures here





I know that many bloggers advise against guides but frankly I disagree. Already, the path isn’t well indicated at all. There are several passages where you are next to a cliff or with your feet in a waterfall. To have a guide would be only to call the help if something happens to us seems essential to us

After so much effort, we treat ourselves to a last dinner at the Korean restaurant next door (Kims Restaurant), not super authentic but very good and above all served generously

I discover on the Internet that Chinese hackers have taken control of the screens and speakers of two Vietnamese airports. China is very unhappy with our unfavorable position in relation to their claim to maritime spaces that aren’t theirs. A few days before, they destroyed the largest Tibetan Buddhist site. It no longer makes me want to go to China, we are removing China from our original itinerary. Instead, we will go to spend our money in the Philippines

We prepare our luggage for the return to Kathmandu the next morning, before flying to Thailand and its beautiful beaches

Part 2: Practical Tips

  • Everything is negotiable even if prices are displayed on flyers or in agency offices. It is so touristic that there is a travel agency every 5m. A typical remark “the other agency offered us 20% cheaper” and it’s in the pocket
  • Prefer state-recognized agencies. This is roughly marked on their flyer or sign. We chose Essence Tours & Travels and are very satisfied with their rates & service
  • There is no point in booking anything before you arrive in Pokhara. The agencies are very numerous, you can book everything on the spot or even buy the trekking clothes on the spot
  • As everywhere else in Nepal but especially in Pokhara, they always give prices in dollars and calculate the equivalent in rupees according to the exchange rate. If you don’t have enough money in Nepalese rupees, you can pay in dollars

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