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…..