Many like Nepal for the trekking, some like it for the nature, I love living in Pokhara.
Let me start with a disclaimer – Pokhara is the second largest city in Nepal, with more than 350 thousand people living in it. What I describe here, is the little bubble I call home in Nepal, which is the North Lakeside of Pokhara.
Why do I love it so much? To me, it’s the perfect balance between the tranquility, Shanti Asian living and the comforts that make our Westerners’ lives better. Some will tell you that a real traveller will only eat local food and go to remote places, where they can be totally disconnected. When you are in a place long-term though, having the possibility to dip your fingers in some comfort food every now and then, feels good – at least to me. What’s more, I’m a freelancer, I work online – WiFi connection is important to me.
Pokhara gives me these comforts, while breathing in the peaceful energy that revibrates all around, as I sit down by the lake, enjoying the stillness of its water and looking up at Sarangkot.
In the morning, if you gaze up at it after 10 o’clock, you’re sure to see a couple dozen paragliders, some with tandems, floating down, seemingly hooked to the invisible lines of the winds, from its peak towards the lake.
Pokhara is base to many paragliding pilots, trekkers going to Annapurna or its base camp, and for some unknown reason, at least to me, it attracts an astonishing amount of artists, writers and musicians. I am still in awe, every time a group of strangers, just sit in a circle and start jamming, creating a rhythm, a melody, so smooth, so full of good energy, that I am transfixed – for hours at a time.
The locals eat dhal bat – rice, lentil soup and a curry of seasonal vegetables – for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Every family, every cook, has his or her own way of making it. Think of stew – we all call it in the same way, but you won’t eat one that’s like any other. The same goes for dhal bat. I love it and I love some specific ones made by friends, but if I have to be brutally honest, there are days when all I want is a plate of chips, a chocolate crepe or a pizza and Pokhara is very understanding in this, it lets me indulge.
What will come to fellow vegetarians as a relief to hear, is that many restaurants, offering a vast vegetarian menu.
The best part of the food scene in Pokhara is that most businesses are family-run, so you can be sure that whatever dish you pick, will be made with dedication, love and the appreciation of knowing that by treating you well, they will enhance the business that supports the family you meet and greet when you go in.
Within a few days, the smiling faces will become familiar and you will even start seeing hands waving up to you, as you pass by.
I hope that this little glimpse into how I see and live Pokhara, will make you want to go. If you do, here are a few tips of what you could do:
- Walk by Fewa Lake or just sit in one of the restaurants on the lakeside
- Cross the lake by a traditional local boat, walk up the steps and find the Peace Pagoda at the top. If visibility’s good, look on the other side, you will see a clear view of the Annapurna range
- The same boats you rent to cross the lake for the Pagoda, can also be rented with no rower – go rent one and just float in the middle of the lake!
- Walk up to Sarangkot or take a taxi up and catch the sunrise on the 3 sisters of the Annapurna range
- Take the dust road at the very end of the North lakeside and then walk by the rice fields towards The Happy Village
If you are more adventurous than me, then you should try Paragliding with one of the local agencies or trekking the Annapurna Base Camp, which you could do at a not-so-strainful pace over 15 days.
I didn’t do them. I do writing, reading and the occasional escape to somewhere around – but friends who have gone said both were incredible experiences – so don’t take my word for it, take theirs.
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Coming soon – Pokhara’s surroundings