If you start trekking from Pokhara, you won’t be disappointed. Perched at the foot of the Himalayas, Pokhara is a beautiful town that feeds into many treks and tramps, including the Annapurna Circuit.
There are two ways to get to Pokhara. A $120 flight (which may or may not be cancelled, as it’s a dangerous airport and can get very foggy), or a $20 bus ride. The bus leaves Kathmandu at 7am… it’s an 8-10 hr ride, depending on the roads/ traffic. It was a long journey and a little bit scary at times, barrelling along a rutted dirt road with a sheer cliff face about 1m from the bus… but, we arrived in one piece.
After finding my accommodation, I walked two blocks into town. It’s a picturesque tourist town, nestled on the shores of Lake Pokhara. Lots of tourists, lots of restaurants, but still a laid-back peaceful atmosphere. I would guess that a lot of people here were either going on a trek, or just returned from one. Activewear was the choice of clothing. There was a variety of people here, which I saw reflected in the groups I saw in the hills. Families, couples, lots of single people, and elderly walking groups.
Had a lovely evening in Pokhara. Was picked up the next day at 8am by my guide. At this point, I’m going to do something I haven’t done before- I recommend my tour company. I emailed Mr Happy about two weeks before I flew in, and told him where I was going to be and for how many days. He suggested an itinerary and it fitted perfectly. The cost was very good value for money- included all accommodation, my guide, and food. He arranged all the relevant passes and all I had to do was show up. My guide was a guy called Ram. You’ll see a lot of photos of his back, or him standing and patiently waiting for me. That’s because he’s a cross between a mountain goat and a long-legged giraffe, bounding along mountain paths without even breaking a sweat or puffing. As a single woman, I’d been warned about male guides- I had nothing to worry about. Seriously, awesome guy, lovely gentle nature, excellent at his job. Basically we spent three days within metres of each other, and he was a delight.
Anyway- I’ll tell the story here in pictures. Because the place is STUNNING. So much like NZ. As I walked, I kept thinking how incredible it was, and how good the paths were. I could see my big brother and his eldest daughter doing treks here (she’s 6).
We set off from here- a small town near Modi Khola
Day one, Trekking from Pokhara to Ghandruk
Day two- walk to Australian camp
Day three – Australia Camp to Pokhara
I wont put a photo here, but as we were sitting waiting for our transport back to Pokhara, my ankle felt a bit wet. I had a look, and to my concern, my ankle- and shoe- were awash in blood. Awash. As in, a bloodbath. I tried to clean it up, with little success. Ram, after a moment of concern, concluded it was a leech bite (two days of heavy fog had brought them out of the forest) and we taped it up. Leeches inject you with an anticoagulant. This tiny wounds simply pump blood, for hours. It turned out I found another one on my other ankle soon thereafter… They don’t hurt, just a mess to clean up.
And so ended my adventure. We walked fast- apparently I’m quite fit (although did not feel it) and did things a couple of hours faster than normal. The families I spoke to along the way stretched the same distance out over 4-5 days, more suitable for children. I would recommend trekking in Nepal for anyone of reasonable fitness. You don’t have to be ultra fit- if you’re life-fit, you’ll be fine. If you spend your days running around after your kids, or go for a walk most days, you will survive. When booking, do be honest about your fitness level though to ensure you get the best outcome for your legs!
I want to go back to do Everest Base Camp trek. That will need a bit of training… But, I will be back.