This is the blog of Martin and Caroline as they go out and see some of the world

Monday 12 December 2011

Kathmandu to Pokhara – Nepal

The jeep dropped us off in Thamel and we booked into the same bed and breakfast as 2 of the other girls as we had no place booked.  It was really expensive at $35 a night but we had already booked for 2 days so we decided that we would look for somewhere else for the rest of our stay. (We ended up finding one for the equivalent of $16 a night) The next day Martin decided to get a haircut in one of the barbers but the trimmers the man was using were so old and blunt that it was taking forever so Martin told him to use the cut throat razor and had his head shaved.  He then got a head and body massage and was in the chair for over an hour.  We met up with a few of the people from the tour the next night and we all went out for some drinks and something to eat. 
The next day we went to a place called Pashupati Nath which is where people take the dead to be burnt on burning ghats.  It sounds quite horrific but it is not.  It was quite expensive to get in but it was actually quite a nice place to spend some time.  One side of the bridge is set aside for common people’s ghats and the other side of the bridge is for rich people’s.  It was quite interesting to see the difference between the rich and the poor ceremonies.  The rich people had ceremonies that went on for a few hours but the poor people just had the body washed and then wrapped before being cremated.  Once the cremation is finished they are swept into the Bagmati River which runs alongside the ghats.  All the rubbish is also thrown into the river which is a shame as there is so much rubbish flowing down it.

We went and booked some trips to do on our journey through to Pokhara and we decided on some white water rafting and a jungle safari.
We headed off on the bus to the site where the rafting started from and joined our guide.  The rapids we did were a 3+ but the river has lots of different rapids all along.  We opted for a 4 hour trip but some people were heading off for 4 day trips.  We really enjoyed the rafting although Martin thought that maybe he would want bigger rapids if he went again. 

We had lunch and then were put on the bus to Chitwan National Park.  We stayed at the Jungle World Resort hotel which was really nice, there were only 6 of us in the whole place so it was really peaceful.

We went on a Elephant backed safari, we saw a young rhino but we were amazed we saw anything as there must have been about 20 elephants in the group trampling through the forest and obviously it was not a quiet walk through the jungle. 

We then went for a canoe ride down the river and we saw a lot of crocodile’s on the banks and in the water.
We then went on a walk through the jungle, we again had a small chance of seeing any wildlife though as all the hotels were taking their guests for walks as well and we all kept passing each other as we walked.  We were showed a tiger paw print by our guide and Martin was very suspicious about the print and while he was looking to find another print he walked straight into a fallen tree and cut his head, there was a lot of blood but luckily just a small cut.
There was then the option to have a bath with the elephants, we decided not to but it was still fun to watch.

If anyone is ever going to Chitwan, do not book a tour in advance as there are so many hotels there you are better off just getting the bus there and then finding a hotel on arrival as this tour was not value for money, we are sure that the hotel did not get paid the amount of money that we paid the tour operator in Thamel.
We then got a bus to Pokhara which took 3 hours longer than it should have because a lorry had broken down and caused a massive traffic jam but we arrived and booked into our hotel.  We decided to do some trekking and the man at the hotel knew of a guide so we arranged a 3 day trek with him.  His name was Yam and he collected us at 8am the next morning to start.  We crossed the lake by boat then climbed to the peace pagoda then headed off.  The views while we were walking were outstanding and there were mountain eagles flying over head the whole time. 

The 1st night we stayed at a man’s house who runs a camp site, we wished we had a tent as the room we were given was terrible, it was more like a cow shed with beds.  All night you could hear rats running around, we did not sleep well! 

The next morning we headed further up the mountain and were greeted with more great views.  That night we stayed at the Happy Heart Hotel which was stark contrast to the place the night before.  It is run by a lady called Maya and it was lovely.  Although there was no electricity or running water the whole place was really clean and homely.  We were invited into the kitchen to sit round the fire while she cooked dinner, it was really good to watch as she prepared and cooked about 5 dishes on 1 fire.  It got really cold at night so the fire was very welcome.  The next morning we were up at 5.30 to get to the summit of Panchase and see the views at sunrise over the Himalayas at 3000 metres.  It was steep but worth it.

We went back to the Happy Heart and had breakfast before we started our steep descent.  It was harder than going up.  It was 5 and a half hours of walking down the equivalent of a stone wall.  A lot of it was slippery as well so it was not so easy.
That night we went out for a well earned steak and a beer at our favourite restaurant in Pokhara.  If we ever get the chance we will most definitely come back to Nepal, it was our favorite place so far.

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