Julie Nepal 6 Comments

Pokhara, a small city located about 200 kilometers (124 miles) west of Kathmandu, is a popular tourist destination in Nepal.  This city is located on Phewa Lake at the foot of the Himalayan Mountains and is the beginning of the Annapurna Circuit, another very popular trek in Nepal.

Pokhara is known as the adventure capital of Nepal and this is the place to go white water rafting, paragliding, and hiking. We came here to relax. After more than three months of travel all four us needed a break. We just needed to do nothing!

Kathmandu to Pokhara

But first we had to get there. We would be traveling by bus, the most economical method of travel in Nepal. There are many tour companies making the daily journey between Kathmandu and Pokhara, and we picked a middle-priced company, Baba Adventures. This was our first of many long distance bus journeys in Asia. I wouldn’t exactly say that we were looking forward to it, but traveling this way is almost a necessity in this part of the world.

Bus in Nepal

Nepal Truck StopTourist buses are relatively modern buses offering A/C and somewhat comfortable seating. Everyone has an assigned seat so there is no overcrowding like there is on local buses.

Our bus left Kathmandu at 7:15 am. Immediately it was very slow going. Two lane roads are the rule in Nepal. Never once did I see a speed limit sign.  But that doesn’t really matter as there are so many slow cars and trucks on the road that it is almost impossible to drive fast here.

There are also no shoulders on the roads, so if someone wants to pull over, they just stop in the road. Now, all of the cars behind them must drive into the oncoming traffic lane to pass them. This scenario occurred at least twenty times and we hadn’t even made it out of Kathmandu yet!

The biggest dangers on the road in Nepal are head on collisions and buses driving off the side of the road, landing in the river valley below. Just two days ago a local bus ran off the road, killing 27 on board.

Our progress was painfully slow. The roads were narrow and winding and we had to keep slowing down to avoid hitting oncoming traffic. Every time our bus slowed down we could hear the loud screech of the brakes.

Not even an hour into our journey our bus had to pull over to fix a flat tire.

I had read numerous accounts of these bus trips but never expected to actually live it. But the journey wasn’t all bad. The countryside here is beautiful. Lush mountains with dense forests, banana trees growing along the roads, terraced fields of crops…this part of Nepal is gorgeous. The towns along the way looked like tiny versions of Kathmandu, with trash and cows in the streets, half constructed buildings, and people selling goods out of small shops. Watching Nepal pass by the bus windows was fascinating.

From the bus

Our bus stopped two more times for breakfast and lunch breaks. We parked at roadside stands selling bananas, Pringles, candy bars, and bottled water, with squat potties for toilets. Finally, at 3 pm, eight hours from the start of our journey, we arrived in Pokhara. It took forever but we made it, safely. Tyler and Kara handled the journey extremely well. In five days we get to repeat the experience going back to Kathmandu!

Our “home” in Pokhara

Shekhar, the man running The Global Inn (our home for the next five nights), met us at the bus station.  A taxi took us to the hotel and we checked into our very small room. For just $25 a night the four of us were sharing a tiny room just big enough for three beds. We unpacked our things the best we could in such a small place. But it was clean and comfortable and we had our own bathroom, so we were happy.

Global Inn Pokhara

Our room in Nepal

Our Stuff

Pokhara Nepal

The Rooster Outside our Window

The next morning, at 3:30 am, a rooster began to crow outside of our window. There were small farms on either side of the hotel, one with cows and one with chickens. The rooster crowed all morning and well into the daytime. The next morning the little bugger was out again, welcoming the sun.

We were all able to sleep through the crowing, but he had me wondering, why start so early in the morning?

Homeschool in Pokhara

Most of our time in Pokhara was spent at the hotel, catching up on trip planning and homeschooling Tyler and Kara. Tyler and Kara were happy to have some downtime to watch movies on the TV, play video games on their computer, and just relax. At times, we felt a little guilty for not getting out and doing more, but sometimes it is very nice to just do nothing.


World Peace Pagoda

One day we did hike to the World Peace Pagoda, a Buddhist stupa high on a hillside overlooking Phewa Lake and Pokhara. It was a hot walk to the top but we had good views of Pokhara.

World Peace Pagoda

Respect the Silence


Phewa Lake

We walked along the lake several times, enjoying views of the boats on the water. We ate dinner every night at a great restaurant called Moondance Restaurant. The food was excellent and Tyler and Kara loved it here. We could eat pizza, pasta, Mexican, Indian, and Thai food. The normal rule is a place that serves so many different kinds of food is good at nothing. This place was different; everything was fantastic. Here we all found something we loved.  I have still been eating vegetarian, something I started during our Everest Base Camp trek.

Lake Phewa

Cyclone Hudhud

It rained the entire third day of our stay in Pokhara. The rain came from Cyclone Hudhud that hit India and Bangladesh two days before. As Pokhara received inches of torrential rain, the streets turned to small rivers, temperatures dropped, and we spent the entire day at the hotel.

This had me wondering, do roosters still crow in the rain, especially tropical, torrential rain?  I fell asleep wondering if we would hear the rooster the next morning.

This same weather system, which brought rain to Pokhara, brought heavy snow to the Himalaya Mountains. This snowfall caused an avalanche which killed numerous trekkers and their guides on the Annapurna Base Camp Circuit. This was a disaster for Nepal. Our guide from our Everest Base Camp trek, Indra, was leading a group of trekkers through the Annapurna loop when the avalanches hit the area. Fortunately, he was safe, as was the group of trekkers he was leading.

This storm illustrates the dangers of trekking in the Himalayas, and we feel very fortunate to have finished our trek with all four of us happy and healthy.

Nepal Travel Guide

So, Do Roosters Crow in the Rain?

Yes, roosters still crow in the rain. Fortunately, the rooster did not get going until almost 6:30 this morning, and he was much less vocal than normal. In fact, we hardly heard him at all for the rest of our stay in Pokhara. The following two mornings he crowed, but it was a raspy, quiet, pitiful crow, almost like the rooster caught laryngitis.  I almost felt bad for him.

After four full days in Pokhara, we were all ready to return to Kathmandu. We had our fill of downtime and are now looking forward to the next leg of our journey: Bhutan and India. But first, we have to endure another eight hour bus journey to Kathmandu.

Best Things to do in Pokhara

For us, Pokhara provided some much needed downtime. But there is a lot to do here. Here is a list to get you started.

Hike to the World Peace Pagoda. Rent a boat to take you across Phewa Lake. It takes between 30 minutes to an hour to hike up to the Pagoda. The views over Pokhara are amazing.

Phewa Lake. Walk along the shore, rent a canoe, or go here at sunset. Phewa Lake is one of Pokhara’s most scenic spots.

Poon Hill. Start your trek before dawn to arrive at the summit just in time to watch the sunrise over the Himalayas. This is a great option for those who want to go on a “mini-trek” in Nepal without going to Annapurna or Everest. To do this hike, stay in Ghorepani.

Sarangkot. This is another spot with stunning views of the Himalayas.

Go paragliding. On clear days, numerous paragliders can be seen soaring around the mountain peaks that tower over Pokhara. This is something I am sad we missed. If we ever go back, paragliding will be #1 on our list of things to do.

Where to Eat in Pokhara

We ate at many places in Pokhara. There was one place we kept coming back to: Moondance Restaurant. The food was consistently very good. They offer a wide variety of dishes, from Indian to Thai to Mexican, and their prices are very reasonable. Definitely visit Moondance Restaurant while you are in town.

The other restaurant we recommend is Caffe Concerto. Sometimes it’s just nice to have a decent pizza. If you agree, this is a great spot to try.

Beware, there are some copycat restaurants in Pokhara. In 2014, there were two Maya Restaurants. We unknowingly went to the copycat one. The food was terrible. Make sure you check Trip Advisor and get the address so you go to the correct restaurant.

Ready for Our Next Adventure

We all enjoyed our time in Nepal, but we are all also ready to move on. This is a beautiful country, filled with friendly, colorful people. It can be frustrating, with the power cuts, slow transportation, and the noisy, dirty city streets. It is also eye opening, with its poverty and cultural differences. 

We stepped outside of our comfort zones coming here, trekking to Everest Base Camp, exploring Kathmandu, and taking our short trip to Pokhara. Tyler and Kara are seeing a part of the world they normally would only be reading about (briefly) in a textbook. I feel very fortunate for the month that we spent in Nepal.

From Nepal, our travels continued with a one week visit to Bhutan followed by a 5-week journey through India.

This post was originally written in October 2014 during our trip around the world.

Planning a trip to Nepal? Read all of our articles in our Nepal Travel Guide.


Pokhara Nepal things to do

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Comments 6

  1. Avatar for Charles E Gossett
    Charles E Gossett

    This is a great story, A pleasure read. The reason why is because I woke up this morning my rooster Almon Bailey was crowing Louder than ever. 9-26-2015 there is a tomorrow land or world here in Chattahoochee Hills Georgia,you guys and balls should someday visit I really wanted to go but got rained out but kind of sort of prayed for the rain, because I was not invited, the crow it’s just a bonus .. Well maybe next year. It’s swell that you guys had such a great time in India. And yes roosters do crow in the rain for damn sure. With my pleasure ha ha. .. @Cegs.

  2. Avatar for Vinod Sharma
    Vinod Sharma

    Julie and Family

    I always wish you well in all your travels as they are inspiring and a joy to read about.

    So it was with great sadness to hear of the many Trekkers who have lost their lives on the Annapurna Circuit yesterday to a freak snow storm.

    As I write I hear of 28 lives lost and 100s not yet accounted for. This was the news breaking in England on Thursday evening of 16 th October.

    You cannot escape from danger it is all around. So I expect the news above will be upsetting for you all. However I am sure it will not stop you from continuing with your epic adventure . Continue to enjoy your travels and continue to keep all those of us interested informed of your experiences.

    I pray for the safety of the 100s of missing trekkers on the Annapurna Circuit. Every life is important in this world, but a trekkers passing is like the loss of a good friend.

    Best Wishes
    Vinod from London

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Very well said, Vinod. This is a terrible tragedy for Nepal, especially after the avalanche earlier this year at Everest Base Camp that claimed the lives of several sherpas. I still haven’t heard anything about our guide, Indra. Hopefully he is not one of the missing.

      1. Avatar for Vinod Sharma
        Vinod Sharma

        Hi Julie

        Don’t know if you have found out any news about your EBC guide Indra.

        I have looked through lists of people known to be in area of the Annapurna Cicuit.

        There was a listing for an Indra Tamang from Nepal. This person is listed as safe. Whether it is your guide I could not say as I did not recall you giving his second name in your posting.

        The list is an unofficial list from a facebook page which was set up to help people find out about lost friends, family and local guides.

        I am sure you have probably seen this information, but I give it to you again in case you haven’t.

        1. Avatar for Julie Post

          Hello Vinod,

          Thank you for checking up on Indra, our guide. We just recently learned from Nepal Social that Indra and the rest of the team who were trekking the Annapurna Circuit are fine. Indra is now leading another group to Everest Base Camp. Thank you so much for your concern.


  3. Avatar for Missy McNaney
    Missy McNaney

    What a beautiful picture of the mountains and the colorful boats along Phewa lake! Kara we love our post card from Dubai.

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