Travel Tuesday: Pokhara & Dhampus

Let me start this post off by saying... I have regrets. I didn't take that many pictures and it kills me. This leg of the trip was strenuous for me mentally and when I'm mentally down, physically down ain't that far behind haha! Sigh... I'll have to work on that. I arrived in Pokhara after a 12 hour flight from JFK to Qatar, a 5 hour flight from Qatar to Kathmandu, then a 30 minute flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara. From there, I met up with my guide provided by Anupam, dropped my bag off with most of my stuff at Lake View Resort where I would be staying after my mini-trek, and then off we went.

In my bag was a change of clothing for the next day, something to sleep in, a sweater for the morning, my Canon 5D Mark II, 50mm f1.2, and 24mm f3.5 TS, a couple bags of Sharkies, and a big bottle of water. The next time I do this trek (which I will), I'm bringing about half of that and I'll tell you why shortly.

At the base, there was a restaurant. I wasn't hungry and chose not to eat. Not the brightest idea but I just wasn't thinking and was a tad jetlagged.


This cool sign was at the beginning of what turned out to be 5 hours of this...

Pokhara_Dhampus_Nepa_Astami_Photos-15Stairs, stairs, and more stairs.... all the up to Dhampus. If you're in shape, or your're a local, it would normally take 2.5 hours. I was somewhat in shape and definitely not a local... oy. It took me 5 hours lol

Pokhara_Dhampus_Nepa_Astami_Photos-2When we got to the top, the original hotel we were supposed to stay in had no one there. It wasn't closed, all the doors were open... it was just unattended. I laughed hysterically and the guide thought I was nuts but the thought of an unattended hotel in NYC is... well, it just wouldn't happen.

Started chatting with some kids who were probably laughing at me and not with me... they probably thought "who gets that sweaty after a little walk up?" Either way, I loved them dearly.


After a nice hot shower and a full night's rest in a bed, I began to be able to really take everything in. For the first time ever, I was travelling (albeit only two days), in a country far, far away, with no one I knew. It was peaceful, it was exhilarating... and I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat.

The early morning view was spectacular...

Pokhara_Dhampus_Nepa_Astami_Photos-6Pokhara_Dhampus_Nepa_Astami_Photos-11Pokhara_Dhampus_Nepa_Astami_Photos-10Room for one night at Anu Guest House with hot shower + dinner + breakfast = $7.20 Can't beat that...


Needless to say, the way down was much easier.


This is the public bus they neglected to tell me existed. I guess at least I can now say I've walked up to the top to see the Annapurna Circuit. Pokhara_Dhampus_Nepa_Astami_Photos-20

The trek was stunning. I mean really... the views were amazing, there are rice plantations all around, and nice villagers living in cozy huts all throughout the way. But overnight, we got a lot of rain and the path we took down was covered by tall trees. As I walked down with confidence and pure glee from the fact that we weren't going UP, I noticed my leg felt a little... wet. It was a weird sensation considering it was the middle of the side of my calves and yet my feet felt completely dry. At first I ignored it but the wetness was moving... upward. Finally I stopped, pulled up my pant leg and I got me a couple nice little presents... small leeches on my legs! I almost died I tell you. Almost. Died. I was about to smush one with all my might when my guide said "Don't kill. Karma..." I looked at him and I think he may have seen that I was on the brink of an absolute breakdown because he started speaking oh so softly, trying to calm me down, grouped together a bunch of leaves and began to slowly brush the leeches off my legs. Looking back, I really wish I took some pictures but in reality, I was damn close to losing my mind. Leeches... blegh!

Once we got into town, we drove around Pokhara.


This next photo is for my friend Jonathan...


Random cows in the street are an everyday thing here in Nepal...

Pokhara_Dhampus_Nepa_Astami_Photos-39The Regional Museum of Pokhara is nice visit if you're ever in town. It provides a nice insight of how the people of Pokhara live as a community.


And here's the view from my hotel room at Lake View Resort. She one of the peaks toward the right?


My room key...


Pokhara and Dhampus are lovely towns to check out. Very mellow with plenty to do. Despite the leech ordeal, I'd definitely love to go back. Cheap accomodations, chai all day, good food, kind people... yup, definitely coming back here.

If you have any questions, feel free to drop a line!

Happy Tuesday!

xo, Astami