We leave Kathmandu to reach Pokhara. It is a small quite townC’est de cette petite ville paisible que nous allons commence notre trek pres des Annapurnas. Ici, c’est le paradis des randonneurs et grands sportifs! Relaxez-vous donc quelques jours dans cet endroit ou vous aurez tout: hotels confortables, restos pas chers ou massages tout confort puis lancer vous sur un trek de plusieurs jours, aussi interessant qu’eprouvant pour ceux n’aimant pas la marche!
Pokhara, first step
After an exhausting travel in bus from Kathmandu (mainly in small narrow roads near vertiginous cliffs in this mountainous country), we finally reach Pokhara. Another atmosphere than Kathmandu! Indeed, smaller and less congested, Pokhara is very important as it is the entrance to treks and the Annapurnas. Here you can see travellers from all over the world to try to trek or climb one of the highest summits in the world! Well, it would be the opportunity to admire beautiful landscapes! Meanwhile, you can find pleasant hotels and restaurants in Pokhara, touristic hub in Nepal, for very decent prices (as everywhere in Nepal). We can feel the tourist activity is becoming bigger and if you still don’t have all the equipment for the treks, no doubt you will find it here, for much cheaper than in Western countries for the same quality. And even without starting to climb, the surroundings of the city are already superb, between big lakes, rainforests and rivers, the place is not bad! Not polluted and natural, the environment is well conserved and you can have some fun discovering the numerous pagodas all around.
Let’s go trekking!
We begin our trek after having taken a bus from Pokhara, to where the path is really starting. You can get some information about the treks from the tourist agencies as there are different levels of easy or more complicated treks depending of your experience and your health condition. We choose to begin the one leading to Annapurna base camp, on several days. We are not helped by local people to carry our bags as we want to be independent and do whatever we want, but also because we would feel bad leading them carry our heavy bags, damaging their backs for very low wages. But it can also be seen as part of the local economy, thinking they could be jobless if they don’t do this job…Well it is up to you, but what is sure is it was quite a big mistake as we didn’t try to remove as much as kilos as possible as it is hot in the valley of Pokhara but cold when you climb higher. Therefor carrying these heavy backpacks for 7 hours per day is just unbearable and we have to recognize we did a big mistake…That’s why after a few days of trekking, we have to come back to Pokhara as we realize we are not trained enough, with huge backpacks…We decide to head back to Pokhara but we could have seen beautiful landscapes nevertheless, as well as a wonderful experience meeting locals living there, sometimes in very basic conditions. One thing you have to keep in mind is try to avoid leeches as much as possible as they are “chasing” the walkers, mainly during the post-monsoon period, when we were there. Hopefully it did not happen to you but be careful to put your pants in shoes with anti-mosquitoes sprays to keep them away 🙂 We also met friendly cows, horses and dogs but no problems on that side 🙂
Well, we enjoy beautiful landscapes and fresh air every day as a rewarding gift for long and exhausting days of walking carrying the backpacks. As we are not experienced trekkers (we prefer beaches or cultural experiences :)), we are getting tired quickly and head back to Pokhara. We liked the easy tracks (you can’t get lost, even if you go by yourself) and the stops in several small villages in which you can see the distance and the time to reach the next “pit-stop”. Locals are extremely kind and helping and if the accomodation can be very basic (no electricity, limited food…), we feel well as we can discuss with them as well as other travellers. Good discussion at nightime speaking about the world! Back to Pokhara, we get some relaxation time with massages and refreshing in a pool belonging to the hotel next door (you have to pay the entrance of course) but particularly pleasant as the weather can be very hot in the Pokhara valley. Efforts are rewarded!
And then we decide to head off to reach South Nepal, whre the jungle meets Indian culture! The highlight will be Chitwan National Park. For that, we take an uncommon transport: rafting! What a better way to go there than having fun? In the shaken waters coming from Himalaya, it is a really pleasure to be part of these special tours allowing us to discover amazing landscapes.