Sunday, March 24, 2013

Warm-up day treks between Kathmandu and Pokhara



Written by guest blogger, Claudia Woszczyk, London
Photos by David Jackson, London

If you come to Nepal and want to do some trekking in the Annapurna circuit we have a plan below that will give you more to see and experience for little or no additional money. I always suggest taking the tourist bus instead of the local buses, but with Claudia’s guide below it may work just as well to take a local bus.

Transportation is one of Nepal’s biggest flaws. That means a trip to Chitwan or Pokhara requires a day from hell to get there. But Claudia has found a better way. Just follow the directions below so you can ride about half way or so and then enjoy the day, then continue on the next day or so to the rest of the way. 

Bandipur


Bandipur is a traditional Newari village stuck in a time warp after the highway by-passed it. Evidence of former importance is everywhere in the quality of the architecture, merchant’s homes and cobbled streets. The pedestrianized high street with its small-street cafes made for a peaceful place to watch the world go by.

Entrance to the village is free and none of the sights incur any extra cost.

You can sleep for as little as 200-300 NRs. per night for rooms above the shops and caf├ęs on the heritage street. Rooms vary in quality and you can pay much, much more to stay in the clearly more up-market hotels on the same street.

How to get there: all the buses plying the Kathmandu – Pokhara, and vice versa, route will stop in Dumre. Alight here and change to the minibus to go the last few km up the hill to Bandipur. This bus should cost around Rs 30. You can take a share jeep, but they will probably try to overcharge you.

The real pleasure here is just to walk in whichever direction you feel like each day and see what you find. There are lots of other traditional villages along the unsealed tracks that lead out of Bandipur.


Around Pokhara

Begnas Tal & Rupa Tal
There are these two other lakes in the area, which often get omitted but make a nice day trip, or a few nights, out of Pokhara.

Minibuses leave from Prithvi Chowk to Begnas Tal regularly, and cost around 25 NRs. From here you can walk along the road through some nice villages, or ride on the roof of the bus, to a smaller, scenic lake called Rupa Tal.

Begnas Tal (Lake)


There are small guesthouses along the way and with views of both lakes that could be worth checking out – we only stayed for the afternoon.
View of Rupa Tal


It’s very quiet compared to Pokhara’s busy Lakeside area and might be more what you were looking for.

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My appreciation to David Jackson and Claudia Woszczyk of London for sharing some of their tips and photos.

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