Nepal

Published on January 24th, 2014

14

Catching up on Nepal: Pokhara

O.k. nearing the Nepal finish line here now dear followers. Just a few more posts to go (and mostly all pics) Again, if you’ve not been following along these many weeks of nepal, nepal, nepal – do check out my preceding blather on my many adventures in “The Land of Everest”:

First Impressions of Nepal

Drizzly Nepal (a.k.a. All Is Not Always Rosy for We Wanderlusts

A Kathmandu Tattoo!

Catching up on Nepal: Bhaktapur

Kathmandu: Sardine-fest with 20,000 Nepal Soccer Fans

Catching up on Nepal: Sleeping With Monks
xxx

Pokhara – Umm, Didn’t Tickle the TL’s Toes

PeaceStupaAfar350x350

Yup, sad to say – probably the most “meh” locale on my romp ’round Nepal. It’s widely recommended by most every traveler to Nepal and is mainly handy as a base for treks into the Himalayas.

But alas, as the weather was iffy* when I was there (severe thunder and lightning storms each night), I questioned my physical ability to scamper up muddy trails, disturbingly adjacent to slippery drops to bottomless voids.  Indeed – acrophobic wuss that I am – I opted against being electrocuted on a mountain top, and instead tried my best to simply enjoy the attractions of the town of Pokhara itself.

And though I did make my way to both the World Peace Pagoda (nice enough, though pelleted with rain upon my arrival) and the nearby Tibetan refugee village (lovely folks, highly recommended), as well as “Devi’s Falls” (emphatic “meh” but at least I grabbed an Earthcache there – which I promptly neglected to log as a find, oh well) , the Sarangkot viewpoint (racing by taxi at dawn on my last morning in Pokhara, as the clouds finally parted for my one and only – 30 second – glimpse of Annapurna II at an astounding 26,000!) and of course the highly touted Phewa Lake…

Suffice, every inch of the latter touted lake proved to be bounded by – ironically yes, plenty of boat touts, along with a gazillion restaurants and masses of tie-dyed T-shirt shops. Indeed, the entire town of Pokhara – sorry, but just waaaaay too over-the-top touristy for me. I did find a fine little room in a most extraordinary “Octagon House” (shaped, as you might imagine), but my advice? Pokhara should best be kept to the most abbreviated visit – simply a get-in/get-out base for trekking the (no doubt spectacular, though I shall likely never know) Annapurna range.

Nonetheless, a few pics that make Pokhara look a lot more interesting than imho, it is:

(Click on any of the thumbnails to start the slide show)

*Which reminds me: My one (and only) regret with my (otherwise most memorable!) visit to the Land of Everest is that… I went far too early in the year (late August). Sadly (especially given that my prime reason for visiting Nepal was to lay my own baby-blues on those legendary Himalayan mountain peaks), for the entire 3 weeks I was there, the mountains were perpetually shrouded in clouds. I did get a few itty-bitty, momentary peeks at Nagarcot and on my last morning in Pokhara when the clouds parted for few nanoseconds, but sadly, that was it. ;(

The locals were all in unison:  “In just two weeks, it will be spectacular.”   So… my advice to those planning a visit to Nepal: do wait til at least mid September to go.

YMMV of course, but I’m just sayin…


About the Author

Off-the-beaten-path travel is my passion,and I’ve always lived life “like-a-kid-in-a-candy-store” – eager to sample as many flavors as I can. Indeed, my life motto has long been: This ain’t a dress rehearsal, folks!



14 Responses to Catching up on Nepal: Pokhara

  1. Sue Pearson says:

    LOL, loved the traffic jam… whats in a Zamosas, anything that was leftover from yesterday? or something specific, the dip looks yummy. Dang too bad about not seeing much of the mountain, thats what I’d be wanting to see the most! The shot you got was beautiful!

  2. I went to Pokhara in early October planning to trek the Annapurna circuit as soon as the rains let up. I ended up waiting there until the beginning of November before the weather finally improved. I also heard “Next week! Next week!” every single day I was waiting. That said, I didn’t mind Pokhara too much, although the abundance of pseudo hippies did annoy me at times.
    Daniel McBane kindly contributed to world literature by posting…How I Enjoyed a Terrible Terracotta Warrior Tour in Xi’anMy Profile

    • Dyanne says:

      Ah so the “next week, next week” was only a marketing ploy, eh Daniel? Well, du-uh! I should have known. But still socked in all over in October? Of course you really can’t tell w/ weather from year to year, but I guess best to visit no earlier than November (but then… that’s when the tourists are of course in droves!).

      And yes, I read of your scamper through the Himalayas – ever a boatload of droll entertainment. You were my inspiration NOT to trek Annapurna. 😉

  3. Ruthi says:

    YMMV soo so true.Have not been yet but my son was in Pokhara last year and has been raving about it ever since.Agree totally that lowering of expectations is very helpful when on the road.And staying away from Lonely Planet descriptions of course 😉
    Ruthi kindly contributed to world literature by posting…I’m back….time to go again!My Profile

    • Dyanne says:

      I think it definitely depends on those stupid clouds that obscure the very reason to hang out in Pokhara. AIS, I went at totally the wrong time, so really couldn’t expect any different. Glad your son found it fabulous.

      And yes, low/no expectations is key. And trust that I’ve not opened an LP tome in YEARS!

  4. Ching-Hua says:

    These timing things can be tricky. At one point I was considering when to go to Kenya so I could catch the wildebeest migration, and I only had about 1.5 – 2 weeks to spend… so it’s pretty risky in that case, because you can totally miss what you spent a fortune to go see. The northern lights trip I made was somewhat similar cause I had only 2 nights to catch it, but less of an investment (good thing I got lucky).

    • Dyanne says:

      Ah, those elusive aurora borealis – one of few things on my bucket list. Excellent you caught them as they indeed can be tricky. I have a friend who ventured all the way to the boondocks of Finland (and spent a bundle) but nary a peek. Where did you see them?

      So, did you catch the wildebeest in Kenya?

  5. Marty says:

    Photos are stunning, as usual. The glimpses through artist’s eye are still a gift to us at home.

    • Dyanne says:

      Thanks Marty – good to hear from you. And yes, “home” – I’ll soon be headed in that direction (well leastwise my native land) though only for a brief touch down in D.C. en route to Ecuador.

      Hope you’re doing well there in my beloved Seattle. Now that I’ll be a bit closer (3k vs. 8k air miles) perhaps I might pop in once in awhile.

  6. Steve C says:

    Hey Dyanne, long time no “Blath”! As all you travelers in S/E Asia must post in the evening, I’m always treated to a nice mind trek when I get up in the morning. And so, you treat me.

    I looked back to my diary to find that we started our Annapurna Trek with a fight to Jomsom on October 18th (1987) and had relatively good weather the whole two weeks it took for us to trek back to Pokhara. (Our trek was only the last half of the total circuit) It did, however, snow the first night. But, what a wonderful sight that was to see everything covered with snow the first morning we woke. We stayed at the “Yak Hotel”, drank warm tea, and read while snug in our sleeping bags lounging on their front porch. As travelers, with no particular agenda or schedule, we had to smile at all the trekkers slogging past in the miserable mud and rain, trying to keep to their schedule so they wouldn’t miss their flight home, as vacationers have to do. It was the perfect location to read Siddhartha, by Herman Hess.

    I know that you know, but the one main thing I suggest to pre-travelers, planning their long term trip, is to be in the right place at the right time. Not the desert in the summer or Asia in the monsoon. You musta been there a little too early. Bummer. But, weather, being weather, you just never know.

    Also, Pokhara for us, was quite relaxing and a far cry from the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu, but that was 27 years ago. As the Gringo trail goes, it follows life cycles, just like everything else. Some places are gems in the rough and some have passed their prime. (kinda like people) 🙂 I’m finding a lot of the places we really liked back when, are now really touristy, according to some bloggers. Apparently, Pokhara included. Sigh 🙁

    It’s good to have you back on my feed. Glad you figured things out. I was missing that senior view. Blather on! Looking forward to where the TL’s toes touch down next. Tickled or not.

    • Dyanne says:

      Welcome (back) aboard the TL blather train, Steve! Hope to see more of my stray TL followers (sadly lost when I moved the site over to WordPress last summer ;() back here as well.

      Goodness – *1987*? Yes, Pokhara surely must have been quite different then. No doubt a most serene little village.

      And yes, ideally “the right place at the right time” but of course there’s really no way to guarantee. Better (as I mentioned below to Steph) to try to have low/no expectations, and then just enjoy/make the best of what you find.

      Again, welcome back Steve! And yes, do stay tuned ‘cuz the “TL’s toes” will soon touch down in earnest on a whole ‘nuther continent. By this time next month, tickled or not, my toes will be skipping down a trail in the Andes mountains in Ecuador.

  7. Our mileage definitely did vary because we really enjoyed our time in Pokhara. Granted, we had 90 days to spend in Nepal so we didn’t have to worry about making every single day count, but we found Pokhara a great place to just chill out and unwind. Unlike Kathmandu (which I really did like, but in a different way), we were able to sleep in past 6:30 am, weren’t constantly getting sick from the pollution (or the restaurants), and we actually found the electricity was a lot more reliable! Yes it’s hippy dippy super touristy, but I didn’t find it any worse in that regard than Thamel in Kathmandu (and at least people weren’t trying to sell us pan pipes or drugs ever time we walked down the street).

    I will say, we showed up in Nepal at the tail end of September, but we still found that visibility of the mountains was quite poor from Pokhara even a month later when we arrived to do some trekking. Certainly better than what you experienced, but most days by 11 am, they were all covered by clouds… I was hoping to try hang gliding while we were there, but with the visibility as poor as it was, I never wound up taking the plunge and ponying up the cash to do so.
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) kindly contributed to world literature by posting…Chewing the Fat with Agness of eTramping!My Profile

    • Dyanne says:

      Glad you enjoyed your stay in Pokhara, Steph – yes, I think the weather had a lot to do with it for me. I wasn’t in any rush, had plenty of time to stay, but with no chance to trek nor even see those fabled peaks – plus the electric out for hours on end every blessed evening – about all I was left with was a street lined with tie-dye T-shirt shops. At least you had clear skies every morning.

      The locals swore I was but 2 weeks early. But it seems best to wait to visit well into late October or November. But then… I’m told that’s when the huge surge of trekkers/tourists is in full swing.

      In any case, yes, each traveler’s MMV, and I find that low/no expectations help greatly when visiting any new place. That and… ever striving to make lemonade of lemons. 😉

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