Nepal 34: Lakeside, Pokhara

Coming to Pokhara cleared my mind the way a big chunk of wasabi clears the sinuses.

I woke up the next morning feeling refreshed and refocused. Everything seemed clear.

I’d hang out in Nepal until I resolved things with the Austrians. I’d return home with a job offer in hand, ready for a new adventure, or I’d return home with that particular door closed. Obviously, one of those was the preferable option.

Once I had an interview or an offer, then I could work out the exact details.

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Nepal 32: Lakeside Abandoned

[this is an ongoing series about travel in Nepal. To get the full effect, I suggest you start at the beginning. But you do what feels right, friend.]

The Hotel Snow Leopard was located at the south end of Pokhara’s Lakeside district, a touristy area the Lonely Planet book described as “an extension of Kathmandu’s Thamel neighborhood.”

But when I ventured out of Hotel Snow Leopard that first night in Pokhara, I didn’t see many similarities to Thamel. The streets were wider, and emptier than in Thamel. No touts hassled me, and I wasn’t once offered drugs. The cool, crisp mountain air didn’t burn my throat upon swallowing. The full moon serenely lay on the surface of Fewa Lake, casting a calming blue-white light across everything.

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Nepal 31: The Power of Places

Alleyways in Ubud Bali

I lay in my room at the Hotel Snow Leopard, the light slowly dying, outside and in.

Pokhara, it seemed, also suffered frequent load-shedding.

Despite that surface similarity, I could already tell this was a different place than Kathmandu. For starters: it was quiet. After what had felt like a lonely eternity in the insanity of Kathmandu, it was nice to be able to hear myself think again.

Not that they were all welcome thoughts, as I’m sure you can imagine.

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Nepal 30: Hotel Snow Leopard

Our story continues with Part 2, in the northern town of Pokhara, nestled at the base of the Annapurna Mountain Range in Nepal. If you’d like to figure out how we got here, I’d suggest starting with Part 1.


We arrived in Pokhara around 4 p.m., heart rates elevated but otherwise unharmed.

My bus pulled into a big dirt lot, which apparently served as the local bus terminal.

I shook myself awake from the light sleep I’d been enjoying, and gathered my things.

I went through a brief panic when I thought I’d lost my hat, before realizing it had just fallen on the floor, probably when I shifted while asleep. I picked it up, put it back on my head, and shouldered my backpack. I was the last one left on the bus.

The touts were on me immediately as I stepped off the bus, grabbing for my bags and yelling offers for lodging.

I had done almost no research before getting on that bus this morning. I had no idea where I was, what there was to do in this town, or where I should stay.

So I took a tout up on his offer.
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Nepal 29: Bus From Kathmandu to Pokhara

Bus From Kathmandu to Pokhara

The bus from Kathmandu to Pokhara takes eight hours.

It travels a distance of 126 miles (203 kilometers).

Why does it take eight hours to travel 120 miles?

That’s a simple answer: the roads in Nepal terrible, the drivers are worse, and the whole dance takes place smack in the middle of the most mountainous terrain that exists on planet Earth.

Watching out the window for all eight hours of the trip, I had a front-row ticket to his terror.

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