Pokhara is the adrenaline capital of Nepal. It’s the Queenstown of New Zealand, but way cheaper. You can do anything here: bungee jump, white water raft, kayak, trek, paraglide, if there’s something extreme you want to do on a budget, this is the place to do it. Also, because it is set a bit up in the mountains and away from Kathmandu, the pollution is not nearly as bad, there is a lake, and you can see the Himalayas on occasion. We decided a few weeks ago to go to Pokhara instead of spending most of our time in Kathmandu after a few recommendations from friends, and we were very happy we did.
I’m not going to talk much about our bus ride from hell, because I’m sure what you can imagine a 9-hour bus ride in the winding mountains of a third world country could be. It lives up to all the ideas you have going through your head. No A/C, no shocks on the bus, lots of traffic, goats atop motor coaches, random stops for food, uncomfortable seats for tall people, and weird smells. There were some beautiful green countryside’s and rivers. The most impressive thing was Nepalese bus drivers, they have THE most skill I have ever seen. Pulling into spots and passing cars with an inch or less of clearance without a sweat. That was a spectacle in itself.
We arrived into Pokhara and were instantly taken by the Anaupua mountain range right along the valley. The largest peak being fishtail. It was like no mountains we had ever seen before. The enormity of it is indescribable and we both pledged that someday we must come back to Nepal and do a Himalayan trek because they mountains are too unreal to not. If we had done better at planning in advance, we would’ve done a 7-14 day trek to a base camp or a circuit. Everyone needs to see mountains like these, they are magic.
When booking our hotel, Scott found a gem that was just a few streets in from the main road that had two cute pups, Coco and Latte. We were obviously obsessed with them, and dogs have been a big pull in anywhere we’ve stayed. The hotel, Hotel Blossom, was a cute family owned, four story building, with an aesthetically decorated café on the bottom floor. Great for cups of tea, typing up blog posts, and getting some doggy cuddle time.
After we dropped our bags, we went on the hunt for good Momos. We found a place called Mo2’s Delights and ordered 30 momos because we were starving. Some kothey, some johl, and some chilly. They were all delicious and we scarfed them down before wandering around the rest of the town. Pokhara is located right on Lake Phewa, so decided to do a little evening walk around the lake. There were vendors and bars lined all the way along the lake, selling barbequed meat, mystery balls filled with who knows what, and lots of people gambling with dice. It was a picturesque lake with wooden boats, and a temple in the center.
Our walk concluded with dessert before heading back to the hotel, Belgian waffles with honey butter because honestly that’s all we could find for dessert other than a few random ice cream spots. I went and relaxed in the room and played with the pups while Scott got a cheap massage. He found out here that you can haggle for prices for massages and if you go in the morning because business is slow, they’ll offer you an even better deal, so you know what Scott was after the next morning. He even came back with apple pie and a brownie, what a good guy!
The next day we did some wandering around the main street, looked at some potential activites we could do in the upcoming days and scouted out the best momo place in Pokhara. Mitho Momo had the perfect kothey buff momo, kothey veggie momo, and chilly pork momo that will get your sinuses right. We went back there four more times while in Pokhara because why try anything else when you know this is the best! Don’t fix what ain’t broke, eh? We also enjoyed sweet lassi (a yogurt drink) there.
Scott and I decided that our excursion for Nepal would be whitewater rafting because they are said to have some of the best in the world, and Scott had never been whitewater rafting, so I definitely wanted to be there for his first time. The place we booked through was called RapidRunner Expeditions. We had a dinner of Vietnamese Pho that night but as we were walking home, I started to get horrible stomach cramps and basically fast walked all the way home thinking I just needed to go to the bathroom.
Unfortunately, eating all this wonderful food had caught up to me and I spent the next three days pretty sick. I tried to walk around at least once each day, but for the most part I was in bed trying to recover. Scott went out and walked around and I hoped he would enjoy Pokhara even though I couldn’t. On the second to last night we were in Pokhara I really couldn’t take it anymore and I really wanted to be able to go rafting the next day, so we went to the International Medicare clinic in town. The doctor had amazing reviews on Google, a 4.9 and we have travelers insurance (World Nomads), so off we went. We were in and out of the office within 30 minutes with prescriptions in hand. Even better, the next morning I was feeling tons better and we were able to go rafting!
Our trip left a few minutes’ walk from our hotel by motor coach and we drove 30 minutes outside of Pokhara to the Upper Seti river. It was beautiful gray/blue water with very little pollution and great views of the mountains. Our guide was kind and knowledgeable, having done this for 15 years, and we felt especially safe with many support kayakers around.
We went through a little intro to rafting and off we went with a pair from Germany, our guide, and an assistant of his. The water this time of year is high and fast flowing so the whole hour and a half of rafting is basically non-stop rapids. There was one part that the water is moving too rough and directly into a boulder, so we all had to get out of the raft and kayaks and walkaround to the other side of the obstacle. At that point, you were able to do a little cliff jumping and swim around before getting back into the raft for the last bit of rapids. Towards the end of the journey we hit a large rapid and Scott along with the other two people we were with fell out (by far the best part about whitewater rafting). I was glad that Scott fell out because it was his first time and it really makes the experience. Shortly after, we came to a bank where they served us lunch and we got to chat amongst ourselves. We met one of the kayakers, Tim, who is an Aussie that bounces around from place to place chasing the rafting/kayaking season. He was able to recommend some places in Australia for us to go and was just a cool guy to talk to!
Thankful that we got at least one fun excursion in Pokhara we headed back to our place and relaxed, looked into some stuff for our next destination and started a new Netflix series. Plus, we had a long 9 hour bus ride back to Kathmandu the next day for our flight out. I was finally starting to feel better so we enjoyed our last meal of Thuptka and momo and got ready for our flight to Dubai!