4 April 2015 – 9 April 2015
Poor old Nepal.
When we arrived on 4 April 2015 in Kathmandu we had no idea that we would enjoy our time so much that we would want extend our stay from four to six weeks. We also had no idea that we’d be there for a 7.8 magnitude earthquake which would sadly, devastate much of the country.
So get cosy and get comfortable, this is our story of our time in Nepal.
We flew business class on Malindo Air Kuala Lumpur to Kathmandu. It was a little bit fancy! Not super fancy. But nevertheless a treat AND we got Wonder Wheat biscuits. That’s a treat in itself.
The Kathmandu airport was pretty basic, but nothing we didn’t expect. The biggest issue we had when we landed at around 11pm was trying to find a working ATM so we could grab a taxi into Thamel to meet Mike and Vic. After some walking backwards and forwards and a bit of frustration, we had a fistful of Nepali rupee and we were in a taxi on our way to a hotel listed on Wikitravel. We weren’t booked at the hotel but we were hoping to, and we did, manage to scab free wifi so we could check where Mike and Vic were staying so we could go and meet them. What we actually found out was that there was some confusion with dates and they were still in Gorkha, not due back in Kathmandu until the following day! It was after midnight by this stage so we grabbed an overpriced room at the hotel (they knew we were desperate!) and settled in for what was left of the night.
When I woke up the first thing I noticed is that it wasn’t 500 million degrees. It was a reasonable temperature. Yus! Finally. I’m feeling human again. We set about getting out bearings in town and moved hotels. Mike and Vic arrive and check into the same guest house and then we get down to business, catching up and hearing all about their month in Nepal which included (not at the same time) a rescue helicopter ride and getting engaged! You should read all about their amazing time here.
Mike and Vic left early the next morning for their flight to Delhi, India, and they left us some very tasty nuts, dried coconut and some squeezy drink bottles that they said would be invaluable on our trek. We said bye-bye and made loose plans to meet up again in Sri Lanka in a few months time, then Michael and I set off for a trip to Swayambhu Stupa also known as Monkey temple, for a spot of sight seeing.
One monkey, two monkey and looking back over Kathmandu
Oh yeah. There was a moment under these prayer flags where I was like “HOLY MOLY, this is awesome, I’m in Nepal.”
That afternoon we invested in a guide book on Nepal to help with our planning. We did a bit of research on what sort of trek we might like to do and bought a few supplies – TP, granola bars and water purification tablets.
Somehow, after only one night we’d turned our room into a bomb site.
But at 5.30am the following morning, it was all packed up and we were on a bus bound for Pokhara so we could finalise and begin our trek. Michael had a hot tea and a bunch of baby bananas in hand, and I had two boiled eggs in my pockets. This was going to be good!
The journey between Kathmandu – Pokhara is around 200km and we were told it should take around 5-6 hours. The roads leading out of Kathmandu are very steep and wind down the mountains, a constant string of bus after bus after bus. There were a lot of stops as we gave way to traffic coming in the other direction, mainly other buses and trucks which I guess were coming with food and produce from India. The roads and the traffic combined with a nationwide protest against the government meant that our bus ride quickly escalated from 6 hours to 10 hours. At one stage our bus stopped for a protest for almost an hour and then we were escorted through the next town by armed police. Sounds intense but I was almost oblivious to it all sitting in a bus in the line of traffic.
From the bus station in Pokhara we walked the 3km or so to our hotel and settled in for the next three nights. Pokhara’s tourist area is set around Phewa Lake. On a clear day you can see the 8000m plus Annapurna and Manaslu mountain ranges from the lake side – it’s a little bit spectacular and quite beautiful!
In Pokhara we visited a nice man who had yak cheese and made sandwiches.
We took a taxi to the Gurkha Museum (tough as Nepali soldiers – you should read about them!) then spent the rest of the afternoon walking the 5km or so back to the lake side, soaking up Nepali city life out of the tourist area on the way. Michael played cricket with a bunch of kids, then eventually bought them a new bat and balls much to everyones excitement! We saw cows not giving a hoot, oh the holy cow! And the sleepiest dogs ever. We had an ice cream. And we noticed a lot of roofs held down with stones and bricks – maybe a little bit backwards to us in New Zealand, but maybe a little bit sad if you think about it.
And each evening in Pokhara we watched the sun go down over the lake and enjoyed the scenery with a beverage or two.
Rate 1 NZD = 75 NRP | All prices in NZD
- Hotel Magnificent View, Thamel | Kathmandu – $21.30 p/n
- Yeti Guest Home, Thamel | Kathmandu – $9.30 p/n
- 50 water purification tablets – $1.70
- Nepal | Rough Guide – $17.33
- Bus Kathmandu – Pokhara – $9.30 p/p
- Tea on the bus – $0.66 for 1 cup
- Hard boiled egg on bus – $0.40 each
- Hotel Deep Oasis | Pokhara – $8.80 p/n
- BLT from sandwich man – $2-3 depending on size
- Gurkha Museum entry – $2.66 p/p
- San Mingual big beer – $2.39