When we first arrived in Pokhara we were pretty done in from a month in India, 2 days of Delhi Belly preceeded by 2 days of hard riding. It was like arriving in heaven. So we stayed, and stayed and stayed.
All up we spent 2 weeks in this lovely city, lapping up all that it had to offer with only the short trek up into the mountains to break it up. So why was Pokhara so good?
India is a land of amazing food. Truly! Before we left Australia for India I thought it a bit odd that Dave would want to go to the land of curry – he hates curry. But it turns out he hates the Aus version of curry. Every day in India we would try a new variety of local fare and it was always great. The flavours were so layered and varied. It was a joy to eat such fantastically exotic meals. But… after a month I admit to craving some slightly more regular food. And Pokhara has western food in spades.
It was such a treat to be able to order freshly made egg pasta with a perfect sauce to match. And morning bacon and eggs (yes real bacon!!!!) , and pizza, and sandwiches, and Mexican (sort of Mexican anyway) and steak, and burgers and, and, and. Ok, so food is not everything but it goes a long way for a weary traveller.
The other thing is that India has effectively got no bars. In the south we could get beers with a meal and in a couple of towns/cities we found a couple of bars but they are dark male infested places where as the only woman in the room I made everyone uncomfortable. In Pokhara it was totally different. Most of the bars were attached to restaurants but we could still go in and order a beer and play some pool without me feeling like a pariah. The whole of the main street in the tourist area is bars, restaurants, outdoor outfitters for the trekkers (all knockoff stuff at cheap prices) and hotels. A travellers paradise.
Accommodation was easy with a comfortable room, set back from the hubbub of the main street costing us $15/night. Our days were spent relaxing and recharging the batteries while the nights were spent chatting to other travellers from all over the world. We met some of the most amazing people. One night was spent talking to a mad Irishman who came from Cork where Dave had lived (I didn’t understand a word he said but his hashish fuelled laugh was infectious), another with a missing persons recovery expert who worked the middle east and Africa, yet another with a German guy who was studying pollution in the Himalayas from the seat of a powered glider.
Pokhara is the town where all those who are looking to trek the mighty Annapurna circuit of the Himalayas stop to stock up on supplies before they leave and then celebrate their achievements when they get back. For us it was truly a brilliant place to stay. I would have to say there were only a couple of things that kinda made it a challenge. The internet is scrappy at times which can be a pain when trying to write blogs 😉 and like all of Nepal electricity is rationed. It only runs 12 hours a day, 5 hours on then 5 off, then 7 on and 7 off. The temps are massive (mostly around 38 deg C daily) so staying cool at night can be a challenge when there is no power to run a fan.
All that said it was a great place to stop and we had a ball. Each day would dawn clear and hot, then get hotter and smoggier, then in the afternoon the microclimate would provide a rapid downpour to wash everything clean while everyone scurries for cover then away we go for the nights entertainment. I would have to say I can’t wait to visit again, and again, and again.