I have ridden the public bus from Sorrento to Positano in Italy. At speed. Done the same along the winding curves and granite overhangs of Taroko Gorge in Taiwan. I’ve even survived the precarious ribbon that passes for road between Nepal’s Kathmandu and Pokhara. None of that prepared me for the bus ride from Kathmandu to Syabrubesi.
Tsergo Ri’s snowy peak in Northern Nepal towered over me, out of reach. I bade Chan the best of luck, waved to our Nepalese guide Sanu confirming my departure and turned around. The wind had picked up, and as I descended with Pukumar, our Nepalese sweeper, its ice cold hand slapped me across the face in final act of insult. I had failed.
Stream fed and dam regulated, Phewa Tal is Nepal’s second largest lake. Why it is also the focal point for visitors to Pokhara is easy to see. Quiet and still, and framed by lush green slopes followed by the dramatic snow capped peaks of the mighty Annapurna range, Phewa Tal is mesmerising.
Surrounded by the majesty of the Himalayas and its awe-inspiring snow capped peaks or by the swelter of the rich fertile plains of the Terai lowlands where rhinos roam and tigers lie in wait, it’s easy to dismiss Thamel as a dusty budget-tourist trap. But Thamel has its charms and deserves love. In a way it’s like your first friend on your first day at school – friendly and uncomplicated.
With tourism one of the key money spinners for Nepal, all tastes are catered to, particularly in the larger cities. But that doesn’t mean you should shirk an opportunity to sample the local cuisine. National staple dal bhat and beloved snack momo are a must try.
More than 22,500 dogs live on the streets of Kathmandu Valley. Cats on the other hand are harder to spot. I only found my first while whizzing down the mountain side in a tourist bus enroute to Pokhara. This short album is dedicated to Nepal’s feline residents.
Groupon would have me believe that Kathmandu’s cheaper accommodation options are personality-free, but as my search for a post-hike pad revealed, there’s much more to the city’s stays.