Nepal – Pokhara, Relax and Enjoy

Pokhara, Nepal, January 2017: Pokhara in the central areas of Nepal is where most long term visitors head for. Whether staying for a few weeks, months or even years, this town is the preferred hangout destination for most.. After 2 or 3 days in Kathmandu folks are happy to leave behind the choking pollution and the piles of garbage not to mention the overcrowded streets and head for the nations second city, Pokhara. The place is far less polluted, not overcrowded and within easy walking distance of some scenic mountain view points – now doesn’t that sound pretty good !

Up On The Roof…

So, as I settle in for a 3 month stay, here’s a look at some the mountain scenery.from my Hotel roof and down some backstreets, here in Lakeside. This of course is just the start – just a few gentle strolls around the local area as I recover from the 2 day journey from England to Pokhara.

Nepal -The Cost of Getting There

Pokhara, Nepal, January 2017: Here’s a brief rundown of the costs incurred getting to Pokhara. From the journeys starting point in Norwich, England to the final destination of Pokhara, central Nepal.

£10 Bus From Norwich to London: A journey I’d normally do by train for about £10 except that on this day, 8th January, there are no £10 tickets! So the bus it is, disembarking at London’s Stratford Station from where one can get the underground trains to the airport.

£6.50 London Underground to Heathrow Airport: A relatively straight forward journey from East London to first Holbourn and changing there for the line to Heathrow – a journey time of about to  1 hour 15 minutes.

£440 Return Ticket to Kathmandu via Abu Dhabi: Fares to Kathmandu have seen a dramatic increase compared to 2016. The average price for 2017 looks to be around the £600 mark for departures 1st week of January from London – so finding a return ticket for £440 was a lucky break! Etihad Airways, departing London at 20.00 bound for Abu Dhabi with a change of plane going to Kathmandu, E-ticket booked on-line direct with the airline.  Here’s a quick video clip while waiting to depart Abu Dhabi. In general, routes to Kathmandu via the Middle East are the most cost effective. Other options are to fly via India but the price is steep with Air India being the most expensive closely followed by Jet Airways with fares slightly less. The most expensive ticket by far is Turkish Airlines via Istanbul – over £700 return!

£7.05 2 Coffees  at Abu Dhabi Airport: Without doubt the most expensive coffee I’ve encountered thus far on my world wide travels! With a few hours to kill at the airport, the opportunity to sample some Middle Eastern coffee didn’t pass me by. First call, MacDonald’s – £3.15 for a standard white coffee, ouch! Sometime later, a CNN branded coffee shop with the price tag of a medium Americano coming in at a staggering £3.90. Looks like I made an incorrect assumption on the price of things, oh well.

£14.00 Kathmandu overnight: Airport transfer to Thamel and Stupa guesthouse accommodation. One can save a few quid here by leaving the airport and grabbing a taxi from the road outside and searching for a cheaper place to stay. Personally, I wouldn’t wander around Kathmandu late at night – its worth pre-arranging accommodation and transport, it’ll save potential grief in the long run!

£6.50 Bus Ticket to Pokhara: Prearranged by the guesthouse which is just a short walk from the bus stand. here’s a previous post about the bus ride to Pokhara!

So, give or take a few £s the total cost getting to Pokhara from Norwich, UK equates to £484.05

Nepal – Like some kind of an addiction

Pokhara, Nepal, January 2017: Nepal is like a drug I guess, some kind of an addiction. Its no surprise then that I’ve ended up here in Pokhara once again, the third year running and about the 6th visit. I shall be here until early April before heading off to South Korea, Malaysia and Thailand.

So why Pokhara and particularly in January?

No Tourists:: Well, that’s not strictly true. A handful of hardcore trekkers are in town but not enough to say the place is overrun with marauding Westerners (as will be the case later) and thus January then is considered the low season.

Climate: its the perfect time of year – cool and cozy by night, warm and sunny by day with zero humidity.For those of us with Northern European origins the place is positively tropical! Yes, that depletion of vitamin D we have endured the last few months can be quickly replenished along with a nice tan!

Cheap: Without doubt Pokhara is among the cheapest destinations on the planet and rolling up in January one has the pick of accommodation with the benefit of some discounting. Stay a few weeks or like me, 3 months it it can be cheaper still.

Quiet: If like me your not the party animal you once were then good news – its all over early. yes, by 11 PM they’re all packed up and in bed or huddled around little fires as the temperature drops to about 5 Deg C. So, if your not a big fan of boom boom base raging all hours of the night then Pokhara is a great place for some great sleep.

Scenic: Pokhara has a Lake, is close to hills and within a weeks hike of the Annapurna mountain range. If like me, your not into long arduous hikes up mountains but would still like to see those snow capped peaks then Pokhara in January is the place to be. Plenty of clear days offering stunning and dramatic mountain views – best observed early mornings before city pollution takes effect.

Clean: Yes, its true. Amazingly for a developing nation the place is pretty clean, not perfect but at the same time they’re not wallowing in piles of garbage. Its fair to say third world governments on the whole pay little attention to garbage disposal policies, but the folks here in Pokhara have a pretty good grip on the situation.

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So, for a relaxing stay, with outstanding value for money come on over to Pokhara and enjoy some stunning scenery.

NEXT: How I got here and a breakdown of the costs so far…..

England – Its Autumn

Norwich, Norfolk, England, October 2016. Its a wet Saturday – not just wet but cold and miserable. By 4 o’clock it’ll almost be dark. One of those days that Brits find it hard to even get out of bed. Its also the time of year many Brits plan their winter escape to warmer climates such as Thailand and India. I shall also be heading South later in the New Year, someplace very hot and very sunny. Until then here’s a look at the English Autumn season with a few snaps as I travel around the country side and through small villages.

Here, you are treated to an Autumnal display like no other. This is the area known as the Brecks and Thetford forest. (Google Map)

Autumnal Crocus’s and village greens – quite essentially, English!

 

England – Another Jotting From Norwich

Norwich, Norfolk, England.  Good news and bad news: The good news is that business is good and money for next years travels is rolling in nicely. The bad news is that the Pound Sterling has lost significant value among the worlds currencies since brexit thus I will need to review that bucket list.

Because I’m working so hard, there just isn’t time for any comprehensive blog updates and so I’ll just continuing sharing a few photos of my home city  – Norwich, England.

So please enjoy the views of our historic city and these images capturing the city’s medieval past starting with the river wensum quay side, once the hub of commercial Norwich.

Next is a gentle stroll along quaint street of the preservation area known as Elm Hill and Tombland. More about our preserved historic district here

And finally for this session here’s a few snaps from around the Cathedral grounds.

 

England – Backyard Motography

Norwich, Norfolk, England, Summer 2016. Norwich is my home city, my  backyard and the photos presented here are all taken with my Motorola G4 Smart phone.

Views of Norwich City Centre – a mix of history and modernisation that showcases the city’s evolution through time. More about Norwich here….

 

A Random Jotting from England

Norwich, Norfolk, England, October 2016. A very green, pleasant and insanely expensive country! It is however my homeland, my back yard and where I can make some money to fund my next round of travels. The harder I work the further I can travel – well, that’s the philosophy I keep in mind at the days end when the only thing to do is collapse into bed with exhaustion. Since arriving back in the UK end of June I have been extraordinarily busy. The British economy is booming since the Brexit vote and there appears to be a shortage of labour in some industrial quarters. This of course leaves little time for the kind of extensive blogging I have been writing, but not so much that I can’t share a few images of England and particularly my Back yard – Norwich and the surrounds (Google Map)

So, as I work hard and plan for my next exciting adventures in Asia lets take a look at England!

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Lets start with this rather nice photo – a typical English village. Cottages, a green and of course the church, every village has one! Tydd Saint Mary is the village, located on the fens near to the town of Wisbech, Cambridgeshire. (Google Map)

Its becoming increasingly common for country folk to keep Lamas as pets in the backyards of their pink thatched cottages – another fact of English country life.

Nepal – On the way to London Oman Air Flight 338 and Flight 101

Kathmandu and Muscat Oman, June 2016. About 3 1/2 hours to Muscat, Oman on a Boeing 737 packed full of migrant workers heading for their Middle-Eastern contracts. Some obviously flying for the first time as their anxieties are evident. A relatively short flight at night and with the entertainment system in good working order (its not always) its soon all over as the Muscat city lights illuminate the horizon. With the next flight to London 14 hours away the good folks of Oman Air have booked me a first class hotel with a free transit visa and of course a limousine bus transfer!

Time for a Cost-a-lot coffee and some plane watching before boarding the flight home – flight 101 to London. Just over 7 hours with the flight routing across Iran, Turkey and the Balkans before crossing central Europe and on into London’s Heathrow Airport.

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Here’s some of the views over Iran from 36,000 feet. An awesome view overflying millions of years of history.

And a few more views of this Jurassic landscape.

Soon we’r over London. As usual obscured by clouds but a few gaps enable some quick snaps as the plane turns over the East end before following the river Thames into Heathrow.

And finally, after leaving in January – Welcome back to London!

 

 

 

Nepal – Going Home, Kathmandu Stopover

Kathmandu, Nepal, June 2016.

Durbar Square and the surrounds. Last time here was just after the Earthquake when the place was in ruins. Today, the rubble and wood has been cleared but repairs look to be a very long way off. Here’s a selection of photos from a wander round whilst waiting to go to the airport later in the day. The officials in the pay booths are not enforcing the steep prices for a look at whats left of the place and in any case the through way to the left remains free for all from where one can see pretty much everything anyway. As you can see, life continues often with a smile!

here’s posts from last years visit:

Durbar Square Devastation

Donating to the School

 

 

Nepal – Time to go home, England

Pokhara, Nepal, June 2016. Yes, its time to pack up and go home. Time to say good bye to Nepal and its an emotional goodbye to the people of Pokhara, the one place in the world where it has been possible for me, a Western traveler, to become deeply entrenched within Nepal society and culture. And I don’t mean turning up and prancing around in those big baggy pants, no I mean being part of modern Nepali family society – sharing food, hardships and emotions.Its fair to say this is the hardest goodbye I’ve ever had to make – for the fourth time!

The long trip home to England starts with a 6 hour bus ride to Kathmandu. 30 hours in Kathmandu before the plane ride to  Oman. A night stop in Oman before the 2 PM flight to London.

And so with the last few goodbyes in the bag its off to the bus park and that long bumpy bus ride along the Prithivi Highway. So, just sit back and enjoy the dramatic scenery and a glimpse of rural life that is Nepal. $7 for the 6 hour ride on Line-up travels, and its a brand new bus with Wifi!

Photos from the bus.