Pokhara is the second largest city of Nepal. It is close to the Annapurna mountain range so is a popular destination for backpackers, trekkers, and other tourists. My girlfriend and I visited in November and fell in love with an area called Lakeside. We developed such a deep bond with the place that we decided to come back.
This blog series will be taking you through my time in Pokhara from April 9th-April 17th. This is the
second entry in the series. Due to issues with internet at the hotel (a common problem in all cheap hotels in Nepal), I was unable to post these entries while still enjoying Pokhara. I hope you will enjoy them. Saturday 9 April
4pm. I left you guys having just got to our hotel (Hotel Harmony, which I would recommend). I posted the journey to Pokhara and then we decided to go out and see what we could find.
5pm. We decided to check out a place right opposite the hotel called Organic Food Kitchen. I wasn’t too big on it and the service wasn’t great. It was quite a cool little place though, with lots of hippie types frequenting it.
6pm. The sunset on the first day was truly beautiful. My camera just didn’t capture how perfect it was. The cows grazing in the grass, the people relaxing on the lake… I felt like I had just gotten home – Pokhara instantly pulled me back in.
7pm. We decided to grab a seat by the lake ourselves and enjoy the view of people walking past. Pokhara is the best place for people watching. Many of the huts by the lake are essentially the same with different seating arrangements, but they all have long happy hours where you can usually get buy 1 get 1 free on cocktails. After this, exhausted from the long day, we decided to just get an early night so we could begin fresh the next day. Sunday 10 April
10am. After a nice long sleep, we got boats on the lake. It was quite misty and the visibility was quite low (something that permeated our whole trip) but it was nice.
11am. I also discovered that I am the butterfly king.
12pm. Getting hungry for lunch, we walked back to ‘the strip’ (the main road in Lakeside) and went to Godfather’s Pizzaria. While we were there, a huge parade started marching down the street. There were people representing all different cultures and castes of Nepal walking, dancing and playing music to celebrate the Nepali New Year (which was on Tuesday and we were in Pokhara for). It was pretty mental. A full on marching band.
1pm. We wandered in to a little place called La Cantina, tempted by the sign outside promoting that they had a chess board and pieces. We went in and drank Nepal Ice (a beer I have never heard of before but seemed to be all the rave in Pokhara – I didn’t like it too much) and played. I got completely trashed and eventually just gave up.
2pm. Still at La Cantina, these are the guys who were working there at the time. One of them played guitar while the other looked after some random woman’s baby. There were some weird characters in the bar. Next to us was a group of tourists with nothing in common. Slightly further away, two Asian girls passing out on some cushions – one of them insisting on patting a really rubbish beat on a drum. They must have been on something. This was the Pokhara I had been missing.
3pm. We stopped off at the lake again for cocktails.
4pm. Here, Sara is feeding a cow some grass.
5pm. We went a place we had heard good things about called Phat Kath. We fell. In. Love. It is by far my favourite bar in Pokhara and we spent the majority of our time there. They do excellent, fast food which is reasonably priced, and during happy hour they do some okay cocktails (not very strong). But what makes Phat Kath great is all the cool things you can do there. For example, there’s just this random chicken pottering about who always looks really really angry. It’s both terrifying and hilarious in equal measure.
6pm. We couldn’t stay at Phat Kath for too long because, as mentioned previously, we were on a pretty strict budget. We went back to the hotel and started drinking our own urine. Nah, just joking. This is vodka and Red Bull. It was like being back at uni.
8pm. Good to go.
9pm. We went to a place called Freedom Cafe because the last time we were in Pokhara (November 2015) it had a night on called Psychedelic Sundays which sounded intriguing. However, that week it had been cancelled because of problems with sound so they had a really loud rubbish band playing which gave me a bit of a headache. I ordered some chicken chowmein and didn’t feel right for the rest of the night. But maybe that was the copious amounts of vodka I had just drank.
10pm. On the viewpoint on the lake. I just thought this would look nice.
11pm. So the night started winding down by this point so by better half insists we go to Busy Bee (a place we had up until then sworn we wouldn’t go again – very expensive, but good quality food) to get a pizza. We went over and, while with sober eyes this pizza looks objectively disgusting, drunk-o-vision said this was the best pizza I had ever seen.
12am. On the way home, we bumped into this French guy who took this photo of us on his phone. It was taken at Namaste Bar and Kitchen (or, you know, that bar with the massive fucking airplane on the roof). I was absolutely delighted when I realised you could actually go inside the plane. What. Monday 11 April
12pm. The following morning, we went for a late lunch in a French bakery right next to the hotel. I don’t remember the name but it is opposite Organic Kitchen. I would recommend it. They do great sandwiches and salads, and really give you a little boost in the mornings.
1pm. We had found a poster on the wall advertising a small daytime festival on a farm near Pokhara. We decided to try to track it down. After following this dried up river bed just outside of Lakeside, we found paths winding through farmland with red arrows painted on rocks pointing us the way. When we finally got there, it was literally three tents in a field with some guys juggling. We watched from a distance and decided not to go. This is why I love Pokhara though. The spontaneous adventures.
2pm. Waiting in the hotel for her to finish getting ready. Uh. Yeah.
3pm. We went to a bar we had found in November called Boudha in North Lakeside. The guys who run the place weren’t around but we just chilled there for a while anyway. They have great artwork on the wall, and have a small treehouse they have built themselves. It’s pretty cool.
4pm. Back at Phat Kath. Yes, they have a slack line in the garden! We tried many times (and at varying degrees of drunk) but were never able to get more than three or four steps.
5pm. Afterwards, we decided to play a game of pool, and then a friendly game of Scrabble. I was kicking her butt until right up the end when she got a sneaky triple word score and beat me by one point. I was robbed. By the way, you definitely do spell ‘vye’ like that, right?
6pm. We found a place that sold large pizzas for 250 rupees and decided to share it. Tasty pizzas that wasn’t getting much business called Landing Place. I took this photo of the street outside.
7pm. We had plans to go see this movie called Samsara at the Movie Garden. The Movie Garden is a little-known place in Lakeside which screens movies once a day in an open-air cinema. It’s run by a British guy and a Spanish guy and they sell popcorn, pizza, drinks, etc. and usually have live music after the movie. Really great place. Really great atmosphere.
I couldn’t take any photos during the movie, but let me just take a moment to thoroughly recommend
Samsara. It is basically a movie with no dialogue that contrasts the best of humanity, the worst of humanity, and the power of nature. Lots of it are simple static shots of old temples, forests, volcanoes, and production lines. Weird movie but definitely worth a watch.
10pm. After the movie, we went to Bamboo Tea Time, which is probably my favourite place to eat in Pokhara. I find it quite cheap and they do very nice food. It usually takes a while, however. They’ve got a big open fireplace inside and there is also seating outside.
11pm. Before realising we had left it way too late to start drinking, we found this small joint near our hotel. These two guys served us and chatted with us for a while. Tuesday 12 April
12pm. Back at the little French bakery next door for breakfast before heading out for the big day.
1pm. By now, we had eaten, paid for a boat across the river and began our ascent to the Peace Stupa. In November we walked to the Peace Stupa and it was a truly awe-inspiring experience. I was excited to go back.
2pm. Within an hour, we had reached the top. We took a quick look at the stupa and sat on a bench nearby to catch our breath. There were a lot more tourists around than in November.
3pm. Still at the top, near the stupa, we got some food. This was the view. It is really hard to see anything because of the weird pollution that hung in the air throughout the whole trip. We still had a very nice time though.
4pm. We descended the hill to the other side near the refugee camp and Devi’s Falls. However, we had seen that in November so we just quickly grabbed a cab back to the hotel.
5pm. Back at the hotel chilling before beginning to celebrate the Nepali New Year.
6pm. Khukri Rum. A classic in Nepal.
7pm. Trying to show Sara some music from Room. The soundtrack is awesome. Photos might get a bit blurry/shit from here on out because I got pretty drunk.
8pm. At Phat Kath chilling in a hammock. Pretty sure I ordered some chowmein here which was awesome.
9pm. We stumbled across Nepali women in traditional dress dancing on a stage. It was very nice to watch, like all Nepali dancing.
10pm. Shining a light walking around the lake. God knows where we were going.
11pm. I sort of made it my duty to pet all the street dogs I saw in one hour. I get like that when I’m drunk. I managed ten in one hour and couldn’t believe it.
12am. We headed up to Maya for some food on a balcony overwatching the festivities on the ground. The streets were packed with people shouting, dancing, talking, all sorts. It was nice to observe it from above.
1am. A photo from the street still at Maya.
2am. We were joined by a large group of Danish tourists who we didn’t chat to much, even though we were bang in the middle of the table. We kept ourselves to ourselves and then left.
3am. We headed back to the lake. Everywhere was closing up by this point and wouldn’t serve drinks. We sat outside this bar on the lake while someone inside played acoustic guitar and sang. We had bought two cans of San Miguel and tried to drink one for above two minutes before giving up. Wednesday 20 April
1pm. Hungover (as you might expect). Went to a place a little bit up the road that served lots of Syrian and Middle-Eastern food. I had their popular falafel sandwich and it was delicious. Just what I needed for a hangover.
2pm. We rented some bicycles and rode out of Pokhara along a main road that takes you through lots of farmland and villages. One time we stopped and a farmer woman came and started talking to us in Nepali. Using the very basic Nepali we know, we were able to sort of have a conversation with her until she went to tend to her goats.
3pm. We continued to follow the road, past rivers and plains. It’s a very nice bike ride. Even though we were suffering with the poor visibility, the ride was still nice. By the end though, because of the bumpy roads, my hands and bum were hurting for a few days afterwards.
4pm. Finally, we managed to find a taxi and rode after it before it left. We caught up as the coolest taxi driver in the world was wading through the river with his kids on his arms, wife at his side. He said he would take us back to Lakeside (we were really far away by this point) right after smoking a joint he whipped out in front of us. On the way back, we bumped into a Nepali lady and her grandchild who also joined us in the taxi blasting Nepali music really loud. It was so much fun and is exactly why I love travelling. The unexpected adventures are what makes it. Then we had a nap.
I hope you enjoyed the second part of this series. The third part will be posted tomorrow and covers from after the nap until the Friday when we left Pokhara. See you then!