Pokhara, Nepal, June 2016. Tourist buses arriving in to Pokhara will off-load passengers at a designated bus area called unsurprisingly the ‘Tourist Bus Park’, located some distance away from the tourist hotspot of Lakeside and equally some distance from downtown. Its the final stop on that marathon 7 hour journey from Kathmandu or Chitwan and as usual the local transport mafias are waiting, eager to score even before on has touched the ground! A slightly different routine from the airport malaise. The guy holding up a hotel name, selling the place’s virtues like there’s no tomorrow, will ride along in the ‘free’ taxi. Expect the room to be pricey (1000 rupees +), but if one opts to stay then indeed the taxi ride is free but the original guy holding the hotel want’s some substantial payment before everyone parts company. If one opts out of the deal then that taxi ride will cost 200 rupees.Good news is there will be a much cheaper hotel a few doors away!
Alternatively, here’s a few tips on cutting out the middle men and saving some cash.
- After getting off the bus and collecting any luggage head straight for the bus park entrance, cutting a line right through the touts. Be polite, smile and say you need some exercise.
- At the bus park entrance turn right and walk to the crossroads intersection. Cross over straight ahead then cross again to the opposite side. On that corner a bus will arrive within 15 minutes. Around 15 rupees and 6-7 minutes to Lakeside. Alternatively, a walk to lakeside will take 35-40 minutes.
- The last stop is at Barahi Temple. Walk back up the small road to the main street and choose from around 50 hotels and guesthouses
- Namaste and welcome to Lakeside, Pokhara.